Severus Snape, Headmaster
That damn Potter boy was not coming out of that tent anytime soon. Spells and charms had been cast on it so Severus couldn't see exactly where it was, but he knew that it was there somewhere. Every once in a while he would hear bits and pieces of conversation too low to hear what they were actually saying. Severus supposed the conversation was about him though. Hermione was probably trying to convince Harry that Severus wasn't as evil as Harry thought he was.
"There is a lake a few yards away, sir," Dobby said, walking towards Severus. He hadn't even noticed that the elf had walked away, though Severus realized that he should have from the dead silence. "You could put the sword in there for Harry Potter to find!" Dobby smiled brightly.
"Dobby, its January. That water is ice cold, it could kill him he if he stays in there too long." Dobby's shoulders sagged a bit in defeat but he pressed on.
"But, sir, Harry Potter has to do something brave and plunging into ice cold water is brave. And you is a wizard, sir, you can fix Harry Potter if he gets sick!"
Severus sighed in defeat. He had been sitting here for at least an hour already and no ideas had come to him. Dobby's idea was the only one they had, and Severus was beginning to get impatient.
Severus walked in the direction Dobby had pointed and found the lake easily. There was sheet of ice on top, which Severus broke through easily. The water underneath was probably the coldest water that Severus had ever felt in his life. Harry either had to be insane or hell bent on getting rid of the Dark Lord to go into that water. So there wasn't going to be any problems with Dobby's plan, really, since Severus suspected that both of them were true. All they had to worry about was if he caught pneumonia or frost bite or froze to death. Severus lowered the sword into the water which was fairly deep, even at the edge. After a few spells the sword was ready for Harry to find. A soft blue light shone from behind it, making it visible to anyone who walked by.
Severus walked back into the trees and motioned for Dobby to follow. He put a finger to his lips. Dobby nodded and sat down on the grass. Wordlessly, Severus cast the Patronus Charm and a silver-white doe shot out of his wand, prancing lightly in front of him.
"Bring Harry Potter here. Make sure he sees the sword." The doe nodded and then galloped away, barely touching the grass below his feet. Severus sat down next to Dobby. Never in his entire life did Severus think that he would be in the middle of a forest sitting next to a house elf wondering if Harry Potter was going to accept his help.
Things certainly were bad for this to happen.
The silver doe stopped in front of the place where Headmaster and elf were sitting. It turned its slender head and waited for Harry to catch up to it.
"Wait!" Harry yelled as he charged into the clearing making no effort to conceal the sound of crashing through the brush. He stopped a few feet away from the Patronus. "What do you want me to do?" Harry asked it. "Who sent you?"
The doe didn't respond. It simply walked forward to the edge of the water and disappeared. Harry went to where it was last standing and gasped. "The sword," he whispered. Severus was impressed. So far it was working.
Harry stood at the water's edge for a while trying to figure out how he was going to get to the sword. After trying a few spells Harry realized that there was no way that he would be able to get the sword out of the water that way. Harry took off his shirt and his pants, standing there in his boxers in the middle of January. Severus had to admit that it was a pretty ridiculous sight. Harry must have thought so too because he glanced around him to make sure that no one was watching him.
If he only knew.
There was a splash as Harry dived in. Water came up on the banks and then receded back into the lake. Severus waited. And he waited. He wasn't sure if it was because he was anticipating it or not, but Harry seemed to be taking much longer than Severus expected.
Ron Weasley walked into the clearing. Dobby pulled on Severus' sleeve. He looked down at the small creature and saw that his eyes were wide.
"Harry? Was that you?" Ron repeated. The water rippled and Ron walked over cautiously to see what was moving under the surface. "Harry!" Ron yelled, panic in his voice. Severus stood up and walked over to Ron. Dobby scampered in front of him and got to Ron first. Ron barely acknowledged Dobby's presence. "Here, hold this, mate." Ron said, handing him a pack which Dobby took from him without a word as Ron knelt down and stuck his torso in the water. After a second or two Ron grabbed hold of Harry's arm pulling him and the sword that was still clamped firmly in Harry's hand out of the freezing water.
Harry rolled over on the grass and started coughing up lake water. Ron didn't seem to know what to do and watched fearfully.
"You alright there, mate?" Ron said worriedly. Harry nodded.
"Thanks for that, Ron." Ron smiled uncomfortably. "Come on. Let's get rid of the locket once and for all." Harry stood up and saw Severus for the first time. Harry narrowed his eyes at him, but Ron growled and moved forward to launch himself at him.
"No!" Harry said, catching the back of Ron's shirt. "It's ok."
"Are you mental, Harry?" Ron asked, turning to look at his best friend. "Snape's a Death Eater. He killed Dumbledore." Ron struggled to find the words to describe how much he hated Snape. His face and ears had grown red.
"No, I think he's actually on our side." Harry said looking at Snape again. Snape tried to smile at Harry to thank him for believing what Dobby had said but it was more like a grimace from all the years of disuse. He'd have to work on that. Not that there was much to smile about these day's anyway.
"You have gone mental." Ron shook his head in disbelief.
"No, Mister Ron, sir. Harry Potter is not going crazy!" Dobby said. "Dobby tells Harry Potter what really happened the night Professor Dumbledore died and Harry Potter believes him!" Dobby looked at Ron like he would kill him if he didn't believe Harry. But Ron seemed to believe the elf. Maybe it was just Dobby's personality or maybe it was something about house elves in general but Severus was getting the distinct impression that everyone seemed to believe them. They were very trustworthy little creatures.
"Why? What happened?" Ron asked.
"Never mind that now." Harry dismissed the question with a wave of his hand and throwing his shirt back over his head. "We have to destroy the Horcrux." Harry walked over to a big, flat boulder and laid a large golden locket on top of it. "Professor," Harry said, turning back to Snape, "Maybe you should go back to the tent. Hermione was writing down a list of questions she wanted to ask you last time I saw her."
"Alright," Severus said. He knew that it was a more personal moment with Harry and Ron. They had been fighting for this for so long and wanted to destroy the piece of the Dark Lord's soul together without an outsider watching. Severus turned and began walking back to the campsite with Dobby at his heals. The elf was unusually quite.
Hermione was standing in the middle of a clearing, her arms folded around herself. She watched Snape wordlessly as he approached.
"Where's Harry?" She said. Not having Harry standing next to him was making Hermione wary of Snape once again.
"Destroying the locket with Ron. I gave him Gryffindor's sword," Snape told her, with 'gave' loosely defined.
"Ron's here?" Hermione asked softly. Severus lifted one of his eyebrows.
"Yes, of course. Should he not be?"
Hermione opened her mouth and closed it again before speaking. "Professor, I think you'd better come inside. We have a lot to explain to each other."