Haunted Jaded Eyes
It was quite an idyllic scene the cottage made, and as old as the couple sitting inside the cottage were, even they found the scenery breathtaking and beautiful. There were wards on the cottage that made even Hogwarts seem child's play in comparison. One would never guess just how old the couple was, as they sat down to breakfast since they barely looked a day over forty. Their current residence was in Loretto, France. The French doors were open letting in a gentle breeze coming from the ocean. The water and beach were a simple walk down from their home, sometimes they saw families passing by, but this early in the morning nobody was about. This property had been there's for centuries, it was their first home, they'd moved in directly after getting married. His second property (Muggle property) had been turned into a restaurant, in fact, he had many things named after him.
Both of them were digging into their Greek yogurt which was topped with strawberries this morning, after having finished their scrumptious scrambled eggs and toast. Which she made herself, they saw no need for House-elves, they hadn't used them when they were young, so they refused to do so now. Glancing up when the normal owl made its appearance, with the magical news they bought from various areas, Britain curiously absent from the list of newspapers they got. "It seems we have mail today," Perenelle said, dabbing her napkin against her face out of habit, watching as a snowy white owl swooped in and hooted at them, eyeing the food greedily. Giving a melodious unburdened laugh, Perenelle placed a saucer with some bacon and a few slices of fruit for the owl to pick from. It was a very beautiful bird, but she couldn't help but wonder who had gotten in touch with them.
"Indeed we do," Nicolas said, glancing shrewdly at the owl, it certainly wasn't Albus, he always sent his Phoenix, not that he knew they were alive, curiosity got the better of him and once he had ensured there was nothing of harmful nature within or on the letter he gracefully removed it from the owls leg. The beautiful creature continued to greedily eat the food his wife had so graciously provided. He placed a goblet which he filled with water for the owl before his attention was roused back to the letter in his hand.
He opened the thick parchment and surprise began to bloom over his features as he read, his wife waiting patiently to find out what or who had caused such a reaction from her husband.
Master Nicolas and Lady Perenelle Flamel
I apologize for you writing to you out of the blue, unfortunately, I am in desperate need of your expertise, not for myself, but for a student here at Hogwarts. My name is Severus Snape, I am the current Potions Master here at the school, we have been informed of your passing, which is now in doubt in certain parties due to the nature of how we were told. If you are reading this then it's obvious that it was misleading. I would like nothing more than to be able to write to you and tell you everything, regretfully I find myself reluctant to do so. It is not the information you would write in a letter which can be intercepted.
If you can spare any time please come to Hogwarts at your earliest convenience, if its secrecy you are worried about, then please, feel free to use my personal Floo.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
"Interesting," Nicolas murmured, his brow puckered, noticing that the wizard had not given him the password so he could, in fact, use his Floo network at Hogwarts. The owl he noticed, had obviously flown off at some point when he was reading the letter, evidently, it had not been asked to await a reply.
"What's interesting? Who is it, dear?" Perenelle questioned, the clinking of her spoon on the bowl brought Nicolas' attention to her.
"It seems as Severus Snape needs my expertise, something happened to a student," Nicolas explained, "He wouldn't elaborate in the letter, which I don't blame him for, with interception and of course, the prospect of us not getting it - I wouldn't want to make it into a long winding letter either."
"Severus Snape? That is fascinating," Perenelle admitted, she knew who it was, she had, after all, a Mastery in Potions, although not many knew that, her husband was the most renowned of them both. She didn't even bother to ask her husband if he intended on going, for she knew without a doubt he would, especially when it came to youngsters, he had quite a soft spot for them. "When are you going?"
"He has not left instructions on how to get to his home, he has given me permission to use his Floo but has given no password," Nicolas confessed his tone now sounding as perplexed as he felt.
Perenelle smiled suddenly, "I would suggest using the word Aconite." she informed him sounding incredibly smug, even when Nicolas turned his attention to her in curiosity.
Shaking her head ruefully, she removed the letter from her husband's fingers and turned it to the back, and there he saw what had caused her amusement. He as a Potions Master so it made sense that he would use ingredients as his password. In a very good and lifelike drawing was an aconite plant, all that was missing was its vibrant purple color. He huffed out a little laugh, it was also used in wide-eyed/awakening potion if that wasn't a double meaning he didn't know what was.
"He's a cautious one isn't he?" Nicolas murmured quietly, placing the letter on the table thoughtfully thinking on everything he learned.
"Considering the way the magical world is at the moment you can't blame them," Perenelle chided her husband. They knew by sheer happenstance that Lord Voldemort had returned, they'd been eating out one day when they heard a British family, a Muggle family with a Muggle-born witch trying to explain to her oblivious parents, and toning it down as well. Perhaps a little scared that she would be pulled from Hogwarts if they understood the full ramifications in letting their child attend the school. They had been in England the year Lord Voldemort was destroyed by Harry Potter, so to say he was back had been quite curious to say the least and he and his wife had discussed it at length wondering how he had succeeded in what he did.
"Perhaps," Nicolas conceded, "If he is a teacher no doubt he will be teaching today, his password might be different by the weekend…how do you feel about an impromptu lunch at Hogwarts, my dear?"
"Are you sure you want to do that? Perhaps replying to the letter and asking Severus to attend a meeting here would be best?" Perenelle answered cautiously.
"I shall get him to take a Vow if I feel it's required," Nicolas promised.
"Lunch at Hogwarts it is," Perenelle nodded thoughtfully, hopefully it wouldn't all go belly up.
"Then it's been decided," Nicolas gave his own nod, and with that they happily dug into their breakfast again, enjoying the morning sun shining in the room along with the heat.
Severus scowled at the students, who were more rambunctious than normal, he'd deducted points from all three houses and it was only lunch time. It could be the lack of sleep that was also making him feel as though they were more unruly than normal. He'd been woken at five o'clock this morning, for no reason, and he'd been unable to get back to sleep. Refusing to wake Harry with his fidgeting he had reluctantly removed himself from his warm bed, and with the time he had on his hands, he'd also written a letter to the Flamel's and had used Hedwig to post it, asking Dobby to take the owl to Hogsmeade and let her fly off to deliver it. He was quite frankly dreading the resuming of classes, so he decided to enjoy his freedom while it lasted he thought as he claimed his seat at the head table. Catching sight of Harry did make his bad mood lessen considerably, at least on the inside. He was much too professional to let it show, not in this setting.
Or so he thought, as the feel of the wards activating in his rooms did cause him to show a considerable amount of surprise. There were only three people in the world who knew his password to Floo into his rooms. Two of them were in this room, himself and Harry, the only conclusion he could draw was…it was the Flamel's, Harry had been right all along. Of course, he had been, huffing in sardonic amusement, he merely shook his head and stood up without touching his plate. He could feel the stares of the others looking at him as he left so unexpectedly, even the students knew it was extremely out of character for him.
Severus took every available shortcut he knew to get to the dungeons in double time, forcing the fact he was about to meet the Flamel's for Merlin sake, they were legendary to all those who are magical. He'd certainly never expected to meet them let alone find a reason to write to them and request a meeting. Straightening his spine as his door came into view as he closed the portrait behind him, brushing off the cobwebs, and regaining his breath before approaching his door, murmuring the password he walked in to find the couple standing beside the fireplace neither so much as twitched when he entered he suspected they had come at this time for a reason.
"Thank you, for agreeing to meet with me," Severus said, professionally, "Would you care to take a seat? Some refreshment? A light lunch?"
"I wouldn't say no to familiarizing myself with Hogwarts food again," Perenelle said with a smile crossing her face, "It has been many years since we were within her walls." and that wasn't when they were attending Hogwarts for they had never attended the school, she had attended Beauxbaton.
"Yes, too long," Nicolas agreed, letting his wife sit before he claimed the one next to her, noticing that he used a House-elf to cater to his needs. Not even a few moments later, the was more food than three people could consume spread out over the table in front of them. The food looked absolutely mouth-watering he had to admit.
Severus sat down, gesturing for them to help themselves, "The reason I called you…"
"Before we get to that, I am afraid I must ask you, how did you figure out that we were still alive?" Nicolas enquired, even Dumbledore thought they were dead.
"I did not figure out you were alive, Harry Potter and I came up with the idea that you may be alive, there was no proof, no definitive confirmation or conclusion." Severus stated calmly and coolly, wondering idly if it was the right or wrong thing to say. It might even be simple curiosity on Nicolas' part.
"Harry Potter? Now why on earth would he be even remotely in the know about who we are? It's not often you find children that know who we are, I understand everyone knowing who Harry is but this is a genuine surprise to hear he knows who we are." Perenelle questioned in her surprise.
"I must ask you for an oath at least that you will not inform anyone that we are alive, let alone the Headmaster of Hogwarts," Nicolas added 'Hogwarts' just to make sure the oath would be completely binding. He hadn't gotten to where he was by being lax in his care of dealing with wizards, he knew of every single loophole one could create - he'd lived long enough to do it himself.
"The…Headmaster?" Severus inquired shrewdly, not sure why the hell he was so surprised, "You have not kept up with recent news I gather?"
"The Daily Prophet is pathetically lacking, the Ministry owns it, so anything they want you to know is reported, they conveniently decide against informing you of what you should know. I have never bought it since they took over the company, that aside, I believe there's something you wish to tell me?" Nicolas asked, a desire to know what had happened. Surely Dumbledore had not died? It would have been all over the news internationally, and he was positive he would have heard about it.
Severus leaned back against his seat, staring at the enquiring couple, tapping his index finger to his chin thoughtfully. The fact Nicolas wanted some sort of oath would imply he most emphatically did not desire Dumbledore to know of the fact he was still breathing. He wasn't stupid, this must have something to do with the whole episode that had happened during Harry's first year at Hogwarts. He was beginning to even wonder if Albus HAD permission to take the stone let alone destroy it. "Albus Dumbledore was put in Azkaban prison," he informed them, watching their eyes to as wide as saucers.
"May I know the crime?" Nicolas managed to speak over his incredulous shock.
"Crimes," Severus corrected absently as he poured himself some coffee and made a platter of sandwiches for himself. He would need some sustenance before classes this afternoon, but his annoyed mood had completely evaporated, although right now he honestly couldn't say what he felt other than a deep-seated curiosity over the pair.
"He was arrested for more than one reason?" Perenelle gasped, utterly astonished. It certainly didn't sound like the man she'd come to know, he was exceptionally sneaky, he had even tried to find out everything about her husband's stone, presumably to recreate it? Nicolas had known of course and had made sure to remain tight-lipped about the entire thing. You could have the stone in your possession for decades, centuries even, but never find out how to make it or how to use it. Then out of the blue Albus had gotten in touch with them, informing Nicolas that the stone was in imminent danger, that Voldemort wasn't dead and was after the stone. Nicolas had written back, giving him written permission to remove the stone from the vault, or rather part of the stone, Nicolas wasn't trusting enough to put all his eggs in one basket, or rather stones as their case may be. That had been the last of the contact for a year, then Albus wrote with condolences that the stone was destroyed with regret. They'd known there and then to let Dumbledore and Voldemort believe it truly was all that was left of the stone and 'die' having a good relationship with the goblins had enabled them to do this, they had read a 'will' not that they had left anything to Dumbledore.
"He was," Severus replied firmly, glancing at the time, there was not going to be enough time to discuss everything in the short length they gave for lunch. "Excuse me, just a moment," he said apologetically, stalking over to the desk in his quarters, he began to search through the bundles of paperwork, finding the quiz he had planned on using when the need arose, he scooped up the seventh year one, since it was the only class he had left. Tapping the parchment with his wand once, he copied it twelve times, for the students he had in his N.E.W.T's class this year. He wrote on a blank piece of parchment, informing the students to go to the library, with the quiz and do their work there. "Dobby?" he called on his personal House-elf, well his and Harry's.
"What can Dobby do for Severus?" Dobby said popping in, waiting to see what his Master wanted from him.
"Take these and put them on the desk in my classroom, tape this to the door for the students, please, Dobby," Severus ordered him, handing the parchment bundle over. Once the House-elf was gone, Severus reclaimed his seat, now he had time to inform the somehow completely oblivious Flamel's what had been happening the past few months (in their time since it was years in his own mind - which was just insane even to him and he'd experienced it).
"Dumbledore was originally arrested for drugging Arthur Weasley with the Ageto Potion and forcing him to sign a marriage contract for his daughter, Ginevra Weasley, to marry Harry Potter, who Dumbledore had control of due to being his magical guardian. Thankfully Sirius Black had made Harry his heir, and Orion Black had put a stipulation onto the Black estate, preventing magical guardians from signing marriage contracts to whomever they please." Severus said with a vicious, vindictive smirk. "The contract forced him to marry Ginevra Weasley, he was found out and put on trial the day after he married, he apparently didn't learn his lesson and tried to do the same thing with Vendicatori who he was in negotiations with in a bid to get more help to win the war and in a sneaky move, practically tried to sell Harry to them, hoping that the Ministry wouldn't put him in Azkaban with Harry going missing."
"Ginevra Weasley? I am not familiar with that name," Perenelle confessed thoughtfully, but it had been a long time since she'd been in contact with any Weasley.
"She's sixteen years old, I sincerely doubt you have heard of her, as it stands she's technically Ginevra Dumbledore now," Severus replied, "She's the actual reason I wrote to both of you for aid I must admit."
"What has he done to her?" Nicolas asked resignedly, his eyes closed momentarily.
Severus grumbled slightly before sitting up straighter, "I have no idea, it's part Potions part Alchemy, he used Dragons blood to prevent standard diagnosis charms from showing it. To make matters worse, not only does it seem to have some sort of controlling agent in it, Professor Filius Flitwick, the Charms professor, observed that it was causing her immeasurable amounts of pain…we're going on the conclusion its when she does something that would go against Dumbledore's demands - whatever they were,"
"Of course, concealment, it's one of the uses we found for it," Nicolas nodded in understanding, it made sense that Severus would call upon him, there was nobody better at Alchemy.
"Forgive me, but neither of you seem…surprised by this development, I cannot help but wonder why," Severus said eyeing them as they ate the sandwiches they had plated for themselves. "I take what I learned from Dumbledore with a grain of salt, but I do believe he was close to you. Not only did he learn from you but he was trusted enough to acquire the stone, not something I feel should be lightly done."
"That's because the stone was either a fake…or not all of it, isn't that right?" Salazar said causing Nicolas and Perenelle to jump a little at the unexpected intrusion.
"Salazar, how long have you been there?" Severus enquired, staring at the founder amused.
"Long enough," Salazar admitted, "Why didn't you just ask me? After all, I know about Alchemy just as much as the next Alchemist."
"Alchemy has come a long way since your time, I just assumed that it might be unknown to you," Severus admitted, hiding the sheepishness he felt, he had not thought to ask Salazar at all.
Salazar just made a dark noncommittal noise, not impressed, and most assuredly not willing to admit Severus had a point, that just wasn't a Slytherin move to make.
"May I see the results if you have them?" Nicolas asked, deeply intrigued now, that and he was definitely going to do whatever it took to help. This was a sixteen-year-old child, someone he had married! It was quite frankly sickening to think about it, sure people marry with age differences, but that age difference in particular, was boarding on ridiculous and disgusting. Upon reading the results he added pedophilia to the list, Dumbledore was worse than he had imagined.
"This is an original creation," Nicolas said humming thoughtfully, "It's not going to be easy to create an antidote but I will tell you this…it isn't impossible."
"Nicolas…I do not think she'll be able to take this if you do brew it, she's pregnant," Perenelle said thoughtfully.
"I feared the same thing," Severus sighed nodding resignedly. "The Headmistress Minerva and Poppy our Healer has already been in contact with Molly and Arthur Weasley to tell them the date that they have to come for their daughter, she will not be able to remain at Hogwarts obviously."
"I'm afraid both your fears are correct, there's ingredients in both the alchemy process and the potions that will cause harm…not just harm but it doesn't bear thinking about." Nicolas said grimly. "How long has Dumbledore been imprisoned for?"
"Life, the Vendicatori ensured as such, as well as forcing the Ministry to place binding cuffs on him, his magic is completely inaccessible." Severus informed him. Not to forget that Granger was currently looking for ways to make the cuffs for Harry, he wasn't sure what his bonded had planned, but he had his suspicions, the only problem was, he couldn't be put in Azkaban the Death Eaters would just break him out and if they didn't he'd still always be a threat.
"With his magic inaccessible he cannot enforce his will through this potion, so only demands he has made before his imprisonment will work on the girl." Nicolas mused thoughtfully, his mind whirling with ideas on how to create this antidote. Obviously, with Severus being a teacher he wouldn't be able to work full time on the antidote. "Perhaps we should meet up every weekend? Saturday or Sunday, and see what we can come up with?" begin the process - which as he had informed Severus wasn't a simple one.
"Not this weekend, I haven't even been able to do anything yet," Severus informed them, rubbing his eyes, "I will use this weekend to start the process."
"Severus, this is a two-part potion, both of you working on it individually will not work, these's aren't two separate creations, it's two combined into one, mixed together expertly, it will take both of you working together from the get-go to accomplish this." Perenelle pointed out to the Potions Master before her husband could. "That is if there's only going to be two of you, you'll have to pardon my assumptions on that front."
"There were only four people who knew before this afternoon, Poppy, who cannot help on this front and Filius who found out there was something wrong," Severus explained absently, "And myself, and Harry Potter. Now you both and Salazar know." his mind was on Perenelle's words, what if it did take all their combined efforts to get some sort of antidote created? "Would Sunday be suitable?" deciding that it was perhaps best to work together than mess up even if it was only once before they learned their lesson.
"Most definitely," Nicolas nodded, it was good timing, it was exactly what he needed, a nice new project to work on and undo some of the damage Dumbledore had done. Considering he'd used Alchemy he felt it was his duty since he had taught Dumbledore a great deal of what he knew. The fact he was imprisoned was a weight off. He would need to discuss Weasley in greater detail, to try and find out what the old man had done to the girl the diagnosis and potions would only get them so far.
There we go! I'm sorry the last few chapters have focused more on Ginny than anyone else, I'll try to keep it at a minimum it just seemed like the easiest way to continue the story, since I don't want to bore everyone with 'Harry' attending classes or 'Severus' teaching I'd like to keep it away from that sort of setting and instead focus on other things until the school year is up and well...the obvious until Voldemort is defeated...sooo most of you gathered what the end of the last chapter meant ;) boy or girl? I'm also going to have to find a awesome name too :D something different like i did with Pretty Boy (I used the name Kellan :D so yeah) I'm also sorry I haven't been on a lot I'm afraid my mum has the Flu and family comes first :) but I'll get back to normal sooner or later! R&R please