Chapter 9 – "Center Stage"

In the Winzengamot chamber, Albus was given center stage. The Minister left his place in the Dias and paced around Albus on the floor.

"Now, what did you do when Snape reappeared?" the Minister asked as if he were speaking to a very young child.

"When he asked me which son of Harry Potter I was, I told him that I was Albus Severus Potter, a Slytherin third year," the boy answered.

"No, that's not what I meant. How did you get Snape to reappear when he'd been dead over two decades?"

"Oh, I understand. I called Death to come," Albus replied leading the Minister.

"And…go on," added the Minister.

"I showed him that I had the three Hallows. And when he came at my bidding, he asked which enemy I wanted killed."

The Minister looked a little stunned, "Who did you want dead?"

"Nobody really."

"But how did you get Snape back?" the Minister really wanted to know.

"I asked him if he could give back the dead," Albus told him.

"What next?" the Minister coached, looking a little relieved.

"He said he could," Albus confirmed.

"Yes, yes, then?"

"Then I told him I wanted Severus Snape back," Albus replied.

The Minster was positively excited by the thought of it, "And then did you go to where Snape was buried in the crypt next to Dumbledore?"

"No."

"No?"

"No."

"Well, boy, how did he get back?" the Minister was flustered.

"He just did," replied Albus.

The Minister was stymied, "Well, what happened exactly?"

"I just told you. Death disappeared and Uncle Severus appeared," Albus told the Wizengamot.

"Just like that?"

"Just like that."

The Minister remained mystified, "No incantation?"

Albus shook his head.

"And all you needed was the cloak, stone, and Elder Wand?"

Albus nodded his head this time.

The Minister produced the stone and the Wand again, "Give me the cloak!"

Albus complied.

The Minister's hands shook greedily, "Death, I command you appear!"

Nothing happened.

"Death – appear before me!"

Nothing happened.

"Death! I want my son back! Give him up!"

Nothing happened.

The Minister trained his eye and the Wand on Albus, "Why is nothing happening?" His eyes narrowed, "You are a liar, boy. Like your father lied when he was your age!"

"Let me try," Albus offered. "Death came to me before."

The Minister stepped closer to the boy and handed him the objects. When Albus touched the Wand, it was not like before. The Wand made no effort to acknowledge Albus as its master. He stood there silently before the Wizengamot.

"I can't."

"NO! I'm too close!" The Minister went mad with rage and grief, "Bring me Potter and Snape!"

Harry and Snape were led back into the chamber.

In front of the whole assemblage, the Minister screamed, "Crucio!" at Harry and Snape who were immediately dropped to the floor.

The Minister turned on Albus, "Shall I kill them so you can raise them along with my son?"

Albus froze with horror. He looked between Harry and Snape, who having just caught their breath, were just rising back to their knees.

Arthur stood and called to the Minister, "Was that necessary? You are frightening the boy half to death!"

The Minister turned on Arthur and stunned him. Minerva caught him. Before he could turn back he heard a cracking sound.

In Albus's hands were the two parts of the Elder Wand. The boy looked at the Minister defiantly. The two parts were tossed into different directions. They tinkled on the floor where they landed. The Minister's face turned deep purple with rage as he raised his wand toward Albus as Harry dove at his son. Snape leapt at the Minister. They rolled on the floor struggling for the Minister's wand. Snape wrenched it from him and threw himself free. He tossed the wand to Harry who by this time had tucked Albus behind himself. The aurors retrained their aim upon the Minister.

"You all right?" Harry asked Snape.

"I've had better days," Snape panted, dragging himself to an upright seated position.

The Minister crawled over to the parts of the Elder Wand and whimpered over the broken pieces.

"You killed him…you killed him…" he was heard to say as the aurors took him to St. Mungo's for treatment.

Albus wrapped his arms around Snape's neck as Harry went to check on his father-in-law.

"I couldn't let him kill you and Dad. The only thing I could think to do was break the wand. I was not sure it would truly destroy it as you wanted me to do. I'm sorry…" Albus told Snape.

"You did exactly the right thing," he reassured Albus. "No apology is necessary."

Sitting next to Snape, Albus whispered, "The Wand…it did not feel the same as when I found it the first time."

Snape nodded, "You were no longer its master. Middleton was. He defeated you when he took you from me in Egypt."

Arthur was recovering with the assistance of McGonagall and Harry. Gradually they gathered themselves back together.

Arthur spoke, "I think it's time to go home."

"How about a portkey for all of you?" asked Middleton.

In a blink, they were racing through space to the Burrow. From there, McGonagall and Snape apparated to the Gates of Hogwarts while the Potters and Weasleys all celebrated at the Burrow. McGonagall's and Snape's breath puffed like little steam engines in the cool winter air and light snowfall swirled around their heads. They reached the castle's mammoth door and it swung open for them as they arrived. Snape headed for the dungeons while McGonagall headed for her Headmistress's suit.

"Severus, care to come up for some fire whiskey? You look like you could use it," McGonagall offered.

"No thank you, Minerva. Perhaps later, for now I'm going to find some potion for this pounding head of mine. The aurors slammed me against walls when they snatched Albus from me. I'll see you for lunch tomorrow or the day after."

Yes, thought Snape as he slipped between the cool crisp sheets. It is surely a good thing to sleep in my own bed.