Disclaimer – Potter and his pals belong to JKR not me.
Sirius spent most of the remainder of the day of the 'atrium incident' networking a surprising number of people who wished 'to do more'. There were many school – age kids who just wanted an adventure ... and thumbing their noses at the ministry was thrilling. Then there were the young witches who thought protesting the separation of Lucius and Severus from the women who loved them 'very romantic' and vowed to never give up on reuniting them.
The adults who slipped him parchments with names and floo addresses had various reasons for offering assistance. Some were angry at the ministry for some personal slight or other. Some were truly appalled at the clear misuse of power – and were not stupid enough to believe that it couldn't happen to them as well.
Some were young enough to perhaps also being looking for 'excitement' – or older and retired and also looking for 'excitement. Several very elderly witches and wizards – nearing or over the 150 year mark – cackled and offered some truly frightening suggestions for 'getting the ministry's attention'.
The Weasley twins, along with Cedric Diggory had the best ideas of how to continue with the demonstrations to the best effect. They had done most of the organizing, along with Petunia and Rosmerta. All the pranking had given the twins an excellent sense of timing … and what would make wizards and witches laugh and feel like backing them.
They soon had demonstrations planned for Diagon Alley and every Quidditch game to occur over the next week. They assigned each of the Wizengamot members to four or five of the adults who wanted to help. They were to lobby their offices for hours every day … making as big a ruckus as possible.
Arthur Weasley had been given the key to one of the vaults Tom had set up … he was to bail out and pay the fine for anyone who got themselves arrested in the process. Since Arthur was there at the Ministry anyway he agreed quite happily.
The buxom girls and their T-shirts – whose numbers grew by the hour, and who now had French and Spanish members – were to return to the Atrium at random times throughout the day … and every day after, to make a fuss and had out pennants and T-shirts.
The remainder of the day was a nightmare for Ministry Security Aurors. The intake clerk and discharge clerk were like revolving doors and Arthur simply stayed at the discharge desk, Gringotts key In hand, paying bail and fines every few minutes.
'Disturbing the peace' and 'verbal harassment' were not considered more than misdemeanors and as fast as the Aurors brought them in, giggling and snickering, they were freed to return to their activities.
Some of 'the T-shirt girls' were having a bit of a contest to see how many fines they could accumulate.
The twins had hastily made up a huge batch of confetti that was charmed by Andromeda to chant "Free Snape! Free Malfoy!" The more confetti - the louder the chant, but even one piece would still chant rather quietly for several hours. By afternoon the miscreants were armed with bottomless bags of it – enough to last all week.
There was an emergency meeting of the Wizengamot called that evening, when they realized that the Ministry was under siege. Albus, Cornelius, Hugo, Amelia Bones along with their allies sat, looking at their opponents with some hostility. The few neutral parties were in between them looking unhappy.
Rufus fired the opening shot with a purpling face. "We need to restore order! These anarchists need to be placed in jail for a few days …"
Cornelius banged for order and silence, interrupting Rufus, though he didn't need to object to Rufus' demand, as there were a dozen members shouting protests. Even Rufus' allies looked alarmed at his proposal.
"Many of them are children … or at least very young … such brutal tactics are quite needless." Madame Marchbanks shouted in scandalized tones.
Albus stood … silencing the assembly. "Even if such a ludicrous idea was taken seriously by anyone here … it would never be allowed by myself while I am Head of the Wizengamot. It contravenes every law promising freedom – particularly freedom of speech. The members of the Wizarding world we govern have the right to let us know how they feel about how we are running things … whether we wish to hear them or not."
There were rueful chuckles from several wizards … some of whom were trying to brush a few lingering pieces of confetti out of their hair that were still chanting in tiny voices.
From the narrow line of 'neutral' wizards Heribert Brothers of the Department of Mysteries spoke up. He rarely went to the Wizengamot meetings unless there was something really big going on … or if it was demanded, like now.
"It's yer own bloody fault!" He shouted, addressing Rufus. "Anyone with more than 3 brain cells knows you are out of line holding Snape and Malfoy this way … and no one believes your codswallop about 'protecting' them." He ended in a sneer when Rufus tried to splutter an answer.
Hugo grinned, it was always best when someone else shouted the accusations that it might be impolitic for Albus or Cornelius to say.
Amelia spoke in icy flat tones that would brook no opposition. "We want them freed … immediately, or brought before us to question ourselves as to whether there is any cause to hold them … now."
There was a lot of nodding in answer to this. Albus' faction were all nodding, so were the neutrals, even the ones that backed Rufus – or just didn't like Albus – were looking at Rufus meaningfully.
Zebulon Smith leaned forward to speak in Rufus' ear. "Come on, Rufus, you've had your fun … keeping this up makes all of us look bad …"
Rufus clenched his teeth, Smith hated Malfoy and Snape – so if he was no longer backing him, things were going to get difficult. He rose and lifted his nose. "I should have my questioning of the three Death Eaters finished by the end of the week …"
There were shouted responses to that and queries as to whether they could at least have their lawyers or family, now. Rufus merely shook his head. Even his backers groaned a little … they couldn't know of course that he was close … another day or two and Snape would be irrevocably insane and Malfoy broken enough that a well-place obliviate would finish the job.
Hugo Savage rose this time. Albus always muted his power – trying for a kindly look. Hugo had no intention of looking kind, he let his power swirl through the air – reminding them that he'd been top Auror for decades while in his prime, and a legend among them for years … most of them owed him their lives or the lives of family members.
"I want an immediate repeal of the law allowing the Head of Azkaban and Holding Cell Aurors and Security to sequester people in this manner." Hugo spoke forcefully. "I want it repealed now and access to Malfoy and Snape this very night."
There was a response from almost every member of the Wizengamot at that, with everyone speaking at once. "But what if that law is needed in the future ..?" "It hadn't been used in centuries…" "… And now it is being misused …" "You don't just repeal laws willy – nilly." "It's outdated …" "It was there for a reason …"
Everyone had an opinion, and they all wanted a say. Cornelius finally rose and banged for silence and nodded to a 'neutral' wizard who asked for the floor.
"We obviously are not going to come to a decision right now." Pius Thicknesse said in conciliatory tones, "We've all had a very difficult day … but as you say – this law needs review and the fate of the two wizards being held by it must be decided. We should all go home and carefully review our stance on this and prepare for a debate first thing in the morning …"
Pius sat, feeling satisfied. Obviously Rufus needed more time for whatever he was doing. There were a few whispers from Rufus' team, but for the most part the fate of Lucius and Severus was unknown. Voldemort was hoping they were being tortured to death … well; he'd given Rufus another day to finish them off, with any luck.
Albus and Hugo were obviously displeased, but Cornelius and Amelia looked triumphant … sure that in the morning they would have their victory … even if the law was not overturned, they had an obvious majority and would force Rufus into handing over Malfoy and Snape.
A vote was taken and the Wizengamot dispersed. Rufus hurried off to send Barty Jr to Azkaban. He needed him silenced as well. Barty had insisted they were resurrecting Voldemort … even under veritaserum. The problem was the wizard was clearly mad – and firmly believed what he was saying, so he could tell these lies about Voldemort being brought back even after taking the truth serum.
Severus sat in a soft chair, watching Harry open another present – exclaiming in excitement as a very fancy Quidditch helmet was revealed. Flattering helmets were hard to find – they tended to be functional when made for wizards his age that still had growing to do. Parents hated to pay high costs for things that could be outgrown.
Severus didn't mind though, watching Harry light up in happiness was repayment enough.
Severus watched Rosmerta and himself look at each other in shared smugness at their cleverness … finding really extraordinary gifts was sometimes a challenge.
He really enjoyed finding happy memories like this one and watching them over and over. He could easily simply live back here behind his wall until he wasted away and died. Not a bad way to go, really. He wouldn't even be aware of his death – he would just … fade out he supposed, like going to sleep.
He strolled to another section of memories, watching Lucius bring a two year old Draco to visit him. Lucius had been worried about him, still in mourning for Lily, and not bothering to eat for days at a time.
Lucius had brought a picnic basket full of food and insisted he eat with the two of them. It wasn't necessarily a happy memory – but it had been a comfort to know someone cared if he lived or died. It still gave him a warm feeling of friendship and … well, family.
Severus frowned; Lucius was shouting … he didn't remember that …?
No, it wasn't Lucius, or at least not this Lucius. Severus sighed. He needed to go beyond the wall, apparently. He hated doing that it was so difficult out there without his memories and it was terrifying to run to get back behind the wall if they got surprised by a dementor.
Still, he had to try. He walked to the area where there was a small door in the wall and pried it open a crack – just enough to slip through and then reclose it. It was immediately difficult to remember why he was out here, though the shouting was clearer.
Severus opened his eyes reluctantly to find a haggard blonde wizard looking at him in relief.
"Finally, Severus – eat something, and drink some water … you're getting quite dehydrated." Lucius waved to Ben, who hustled in with food, water and chocolate.
Severus ate and drank what he could before making a slow, shuffling round of the toilet and water basin. He sank back onto the straw and shivered.
Lucius talked to him, trying to keep him awake for a time, reminding him that Harry and Tom had made it to safety … that the latest Daily Prophets were full of their family's efforts to free them … that they were on the T-shirt fronts of buxom young witches and Severus needed to get freed so he could take his revenge on someone for that.
Severus tried to smile for the slightly hysterical wizard in the next cell, the haggard blonde was a trifle dramatic, but he was right … even without his memories he knew that being on someone's T-shirt was not his idea of something good.
Lucius managed to keep Severus awake for almost an hour, getting a little more food and water down him before Severus curled up. Lucius watched him shiver and looked at Ben.
"Can he have his cloak? … it's fur-lined and will get him a bit warmer." Lucius was close to begging, but Ben merely nodded and fetched the Severus' cloak and took it in to tuck around the thin form. Severus rolled up in it and sighed. The cloak had a mix of warming and cooling charms so it adjusted to whatever was needed. It quickly became toasty warm.
Ben reclosed the cell and looked at Lucius in apology. "I wish I could do more. I did get the rotation of dementors cut back, saying I would need medical help if they kept it up."
Lucius nodded, "Just remember the plan – if the worst happens, the moment you're let off the island go to my lawyers with your memories. They'll see we're avenged."
Ben nodded unhappily. Once on Azkaban isle whether as a guard or a prisoner, you didn't leave until your time was up and there was simply no communication except through the warden.
Lucius leaned against the bars and shook his head. Watching his friend die a little every day was torture. Even worse the memory the dementors was drawing from Lucius before he would finally retreat into his fox form was of he and Severus, when Lucius had led Severus to Voldemort – after years of telling him of the wizard's greatness.
He'd known that Severus had looked up to him while they had been at Hogwarts together, trusting the older boy's cunning. Severus had believed that Lucius … the smart, rich, powerful and popular Slytherin must absolutely know what he was doing when he chose to follow the Dark Wizard.
His memories of persuading classmates to follow Voldemort had once been points of pride for him. Now they were the worst sort of torture. Watching Severus' slow descent into madness, knowing that the Dark Mark Lucius had helped persuade him to take was the main reason he was occupying the cell - it was like acid being poured into an open wound.
Rufus might have objected to a bachelor schoolteacher having custody of 'The Boy Who Lived', but he would not have resorted to Azkaban over it. This move was because Severus bore the Dark Mark.
Added to all this, he got to listen to Severus' worst memories being replayed time and again. Finding Lily dead was, of course, top of the list. The next favorite of the dementors was of Severus seeking help from Dumbledore … apparently hearing Albus say "You disgust me." was Severus' second worst memory.
That made Lucius burn with fury, how dare that sanctimonious swine pass judgment on Severus? The Headmaster might 'have everyone's best interests at heart', but Albus had ruined too many lives for Lucius to feel he could point fingers at anyone.
Besides, feeling furious at someone else took his mind off his own self-loathing.
When he was curled up as a fox, and shivering in misery, he would imagine what his lawyers would do to Rufus and his minions once he was out - at least he hoped so. But Lucius, of all people, with his knowledge of the numerous loopholes that existed everywhere in laws - no matter how fool-proof the lawmakers thought they had made them - after all, he'd made use of the loopholes, himself many time. He knew that Rufus had invoked old laws and in spite of things - prosecuting Rufus might be impossible.
Then, mentally giving up on the lawyers, he would think about what Petunia would do. She and her garden club women and the ladies from the kids-school were formidable when crossed and very well connected socially. No matter what, they could socially ruin Rufus and ensure that he would never advance anywhere in anything even if he survived the coming conflict.
Dudley and Draco could likely make Rufus sorry when they were older … they might even find something to horrify Rufus even now. However, Dudley was too upright to avenge Lucius' death in proper Slytherin fashion, if Lucius didn't survive. Draco, well, Lucius had long known that he didn't have the makings of a Death Eater or a killer, but he was alright with that.
Besides, if worse came to worse, he knew that when Tori obtained a wand, Rufus' days were numbered. Lucius smiled fondly. Tori – backed by that little hellion Beth - would make Rufus rue the day he'd decided to imprison a Malfoy.
Lucius took a last look at Severus before trying for a nap. He relaxed a little, he needn't worry about he and Severus being avenged. Tom and Harry would likely make it unnecessary or impossible for Tori to take revenge. There would be nothing left of Rufus, or anyone else remotely linked to this debacle when that pair got loose.
Severus had been mentally pacing in front of the wall when the cloak was placed on him. He'd been conscious enough to wrap up in it. Being mentally close to the wall – and closer to his memories helped him remember why the wall was there and what he needed to do. He also realized that the longer he stayed this side of the wall, the more likely he was to stay sane. Drifting among the memories could become permanent if he stayed there too long.
It was a dangerous game of chicken … staying out here until he felt the dementors and then racing to cross the wall before they and the dark memories caught him.
He was roaming the mist, reviewing a few of the things … Lucius? …. He thought the wizard's name was Lucius … had said the Daily Prophet was saying. It seemed there were people trying to free the two of them, but really, who would do that?
He felt something bump his leg and then start burning into it. His hand slowly crept down into an inner pocket in the cloak and closed around a small globe that was almost uncomfortably hot. What was it?
He wandered closer to the wall, and a few shreds of memory crept over to meet him – another failing of the wall, if he was caught over here on the other side.
The little globe was crystal … a crystal made from shards from Danburite. Danburite that had been melded together for him by … by who? He waited patiently while the globe glowed. He could almost feel emotion coming from it … warmth and concern and even … love? Ah, yes the globe had been made for him by … Harry!?
He sighed in relief … he only knew the name Harry – and that it was the name of his son. He curled up and slept, clutching the warm sphere that radiated love. He had family.
Harry and Tom combed potions journals and catalogs, looking for some of the ingredients need for the 'dementor potion'. Some of the ingredients were readily available – though expensive - and they ordered them right away. Two were available ... in the Himalayas and Bombay. They sent for them as well and hoped the owls survived the flights.
There were three others that they needed help finding. Two were restricted and one was just nearly impossible to find.
Director Yuan Chang had some pull … and he contacted the Head of the International Confederation of Wizards – Rustim Argonne. Rustim had assisted with the variances so the members of Dragonsrest could start studying magic early … and he was interested in helping the very interesting witch from China with a potion that Yuan insisted was very important, although Yuan declined to explain why.
Rustim promised to facilitate the acquisition of the restricted ingredients. This just left the 'nearly impossible' ingredient … the 'flaming Chinese lantern' plant. It still grew in a few places in the wild … but most plants were grown in a few obscure Chinese greenhouses that grew magical plants. They were tricky to grow and though beautiful – they were a bit dangerous. They tended to cause fires if they bloomed while too close to flammable material, since the 'lanterns' had real fire in their blooms.
Finding someone willing to sell a plant, in the unlikely event that they found someone who had grown one - it was going to be an epic struggle.
Yuan assigned Cho, who was spending part of the summer on the Reserve and part on Lyonesse, to start contacting Greenhouses and offer an enormous reward for a plant.
Cho had no idea why they needed the plant, but she was happy to have an assignment – one that didn't involve wearing tight T-shirts and chanting loudly. She admired the girls that could do that, but was too reserved to join in.
The second day of Sirius' attempt at stirring up unrest and coordinating near-riots found Tom and Harry wandering a bit aimlessly around the reserve. Tom had found that the dragons were quite interesting to look at as far as their 'magical colors' was concerned.
Tom had given up interpreting the colors as meaning anything. The intensity obviously reflected the amount of magic a person had available although it was not necessarily the amount they had control of. The colors though, well, he was beginning to think the colors meant something to the witch or wizard personally.
"What do the dragons look like, Tom?" Harry asked, enchanted with the thought that Tom could 'see' the magic the dragons held.
Tom smiled and glanced over at Harry. Harry's magic was in constant motion and the colors constantly changed as well. At the moment he was various shades of a rather peaceful blue.
Tom looked back over at the dragons. "It's like looking at prisms … a lot of sparkling light." Tom described some of the different sparkling lights and how they changed as the dragons flew or flamed.
Harry reached into a pocket, gripping the Danburite crystal that was a twin to the one that Tom carried. He kept hoping that their father would answer them through his own sphere of crystal, but the Aurors must have taken it from him when he was taken to the Ministry holding cells.
Ever since Severus and Lucius had been 'held for questioning', Harry had been uneasy. Some part of him kept asking "would Rufus dare to put them in Azkaban?" He never voiced the question … it was too far-fetched and too frightening to actually say out loud.
While Tom was describing the dragons Harry gripped the crystal a bit pensively. He almost didn't notice the crystal heating up at first, but then he gasped as he felt his father's presence. He pulled the crystal out and concentrated on sending love and support … and that they were going to free him.
Tom watched anxiously – all he could see was a faint golden glimmer in Harry's hands, but he could sense Harry reaching out to Severus desperately. After nerve – rackingly long minutes he heard Harry's voice grit out "He's in Azkaban … AZKABAN!" Harry's magic roiled in fury, making the air thick with the smell of ozone and crackle in anticipation of what might soon happen.
Tom drew up in shock. Somehow he'd been sure that Severus and Lucius were in the holding cells at the Ministry - just as Rufus had said. He'd thought that these were power plays and a way for Rufus to attempt to condemn the pair as trouble making Death Eaters. Tom had obviously underestimated the danger Rufus presented to their family.
The dragons heard the news through the connection Tom still had with them that Yvane had created by his mere presence. They reacted with a rage that surprised everyone on the Reserve. They felt that the continual danger that the family that Yvane had adopted and the Reserve had protected were being subjected to was a direct insult and utterly unbearable … and they meant to put an end to it.
Dragonriders and Dragonkeepers boiled out of their offices, workrooms and houses like an anthill that had been kicked over. None of them seemed pleased by the news that Lucius and Severus were in Azkaban instead of merely being bored to death in ministry holding cells.
Yuan came out of his office looking fiercely angry as well. Tom and Harry were soon surrounded by Dragonriders in battle gear with short swords and daggers. Tom was somewhat mollified by the fact that he hadn't needed to ask for assistance.
Dragons crowded around … all of them demanding to be on the rescue team. They was certainly no lack of mounts for the riders.
Yuan shouted for quiet and even the hellish female Horntail quieted to faint hissing. Yuan waved at several of his personal aides. "You three go to Lyonesse … let them know that Malfoy and Snape are in Azkaban – and we're going to spring them." The trio nodded grimly and left.
"While the rescue team is gone we need new wards placed." Yuan waved a group together. "The bunch of you are the best at that …" Yuan gave them a grim smile. "We need to ward out the ministry … and perhaps lay a trap or two." The group smirked and took off.
"Rigel Blackpool …" Yuan waved the young man forward. "Your family has worked in the ministry for centuries … so I assume you know your way around?" Rigel answered with a nod. "I'll leave an alarm with you that will let you know when we have begun the attack … you will go let the Wizengamot know what we are doing and why. They are holding a wizard who lives on the Welsh Reserve under our protection … we have the right to retrieve him – and Malfoy as well, while we're at it, as he is being held under suspicious circumstances and we intend to extend our protection to him as well. Yuan wave two very imposing looking Dragonriders. "You need to accompany him, in case Scrimgeour decides to jail Rigel as well."
The pair nodded grimly, and followed Rigel into Yuan's office where they would be ready to floo to the ministry.
Yuan turned back to the remaining Dragonriders and Dragonkeepers … he would need to be very careful and diplomatic as everyone was eager to be included in a rescue they were sure would someday be legendary.
"Now – we must split our force, half of you will likely need to hold the Reserve against ministry forces. They will not be in time to protect Azkaban from us … but they will probably decide to come here 'and welcome us home'. I'm not going to pretend that it will be impossible for them to break our warding – they do have some of the best in the world at their command." Yuan looked at the dragons and riders grimly. "We'll need to protect our territory."
Yuan had chosen his words carefully. Many of the dragons looked affronted at the concept of the Reserve being attacked and the ultra-territorial Welsh Greens in particular started scurrying to stand guard at the likely entry points.
A good number of the riders and keepers looked equally alarmed at the mention of 'invasion of territaory' and started to form up a group of those that would stay.
Yuan looked over the still too large group. "I need all but one of the healers to stay – there are likely to be injuries for you to address – I'll want just one with us in case of a serious injury … they rest of you need to gather whatever you might need to treat two wizards who have spent too much time with dementors." He watched the group split off and run for the infirmary.
Yuan almost had the group to a manageable number. "Now, the only real defense against dementors is the patronus charm … anyone who has not mastered it will need to stay." This left the number Yuan wanted.
The dragons were quickly harnessed and riders and keepers up on their backs. Yuan and Yao were ready. Tom popped into the Hebredian Black dragon and Harry climbed up, using a very strong sticking charm to stay in place.
The female Hungarian Horntail and her meek males did not have riders as yet … but they had no intention of being left behind and took off along with the group of rescuers. Harry had managed to scribble a note to Rosmerta and sent Hedwig off with it.
Yuan had glanced at Tom and Harry and decided that asking them to stay would be a study in futility.
They took off in a flurry of wings and bellows. The trip to the North Sea took an hour after they gained enough height to catch an airstream to gain speed. Harry was glad for the heating charm and the bubble head that protected him from the sheer speed they were travelling at.
Soon the daunting walls of Azkaban were seen. The journey had been long enough to cool their rage and harden it to grim determination … except for the female Horntail who was itching to flame something.
During the flight Tom had talked to the dragons, and through them their riders. They had formed a basic plan – no one had ever been inside Azkaban, so they had no idea of where the holding cells were, but Tom was hoping that a patronus could find them. Meanwhile, the dragons would take care of the dementors and any wizards who dared show their faces.
The female Horntail lunged ahead of the pack, followed by her three horrified males. There were dementors patrolling out over the sea and they were the first casualties to fall to the Horntail's ire.
Many of the other riders and dragons quickly encircled the island and started taking down dementors. Tom zoomed straight toward Azkaban's entrance, catching three dementors lurking in front of it. They seemed to be milling around in confusion and Tom did not hesitate to use that opportunity to turn them into the much – needed ashes for Harry's potion.
Tom landed and Harry scrambled to the ground. Tom popped back into a wizard and looked around in shock. "Harry, my vision is back!"
Harry stopped scooping up dementor remains to glance up in surprised delight. "They said the injury was made worse by transforming … maybe the cure could only be completed by transforming?" Harry asked uncertainly.
Tom nodded in agreement and then shrugged. "No time to celebrate … let's get on with it." Harry finished scooping up the final residue from flamed dementors, and then the two of them aimed their wands toward the entrance doors and cast their patroni.
Yvane flew like an arrow to the door and through it, the cheetah raced after him quite annoyed at being left behind.
Tom cast a well-powered bombarda and made short work of the entrance door. The warding on Azkaban was almost all for keeping wizards and witches inside and preventing escapes … the few wards for preventing unlawful entrance were rather old and not very effective against very irritated wizards and irate dragons.
The cheetah raced back to them and darted away, leading them down the hallways to the holding cells, which were not very far from the entrance, luckily.
A few guards appeared, confused by the noise and were quickly stupefied by Tom and Harry who had no wish to get into any prolonged battles.
Lucius huddled in his cell, almost envying Severus his near – oblivion. Barty Jr. had been brought in an hour ago – he'd been given the Kiss and the empty shell had been dumped in the cell on the other side of Severus. It sometimes took a day or two for the person's body to give up and breathe its last … like it was hoping the soul would return.
He was distracted by a sudden commotion outside and a few yells. A glistening white form flew triumphantly through the door and stopped, wings flapping and jaws grinning happily. The dragon patronus looked at the huddled form of Severus and stopped grinning. The final remnant of Yvane passed through the bars and sank down beside him, wings enveloping the wizard protectively.
A cheetah darted through the door, glared at Yvane and looked back at the door expectantly. Lucius got to his feet just as the door was blown off its hinges and Tom and Harry raced through the dust cloud.
Ben emerged from his room just in time to find himself staring down the business end of the wand of 'The Boy Who Lived'.
Lucius anxiously reassured them that Ben was 'on their side' and had done all he could to assist them. A sweating Ben opened the cell doors and Harry hurried in to try to drag Severus out.
The patronus Yvane had caused Severus to stir, coming out from behind the wall and gaze at the patronus in wonder. The boy entering the cell had further intrigued him. He was used to seeing Ben or the blonde wizard, but this was new and he was sure he knew the anxious looking boy.
Harry helped Severus to his feet, appalled at how skeletal the wizard had become. The constant attacks from dementors had drained Severus of energy, and sucked what little fat he possessed off him. He was left with little more than skin over muscle and bone.
Harry ran his hands over the thin shoulders and arms. "Dad ... Dad …" Harry attempted to gain Severus' attention. Severus was looking around a bit curiously but with no recognition. He finally looked at the boy who was starting to get annoying with his constant pleading.
Harry was silenced by his father's blank look. The dementors had taken his father, it seemed. As soon as he pulled himself together he was going to tear Azkaban down to the foundations for this.
Severus was thinking furiously, he should know this boy … wait, the crystal had told him he had a son … and the boy was saying 'dad'. He slowly pulled the crystal out and looked at it as it rested on his palm. The rest of the wizards froze, almost not daring to breathe while Severus worked it out.
The crystal pulled a memory out from behind the wall, knocking a stone or two loose. A few memories broke free and a slow trickle of memory started flowing out, but Severus was only interested in the one that had come out first.
The boy … Harry was underweight and Severus was worried, Harry always stopped eating when he was worried … Severus had scolded him, pushing a vial of nutritional potion too him to drink …
Severus finally focused on the boy and raised his own thin hands to grip the boy's shoulders. The boy was thinner than he should be, as well.
"Harry …" Severus' voice was a harsh whisper … ragged by all the screaming he'd done. "Harry, you're much too thin … I know I've told you that you need to eat …"
Harry sobbed in relief and grabbed Severus into a hug, and suddenly realized that he was only a few inches shorter than Severus. His father had always seemed so very tall and imposing.
"Yes, Dad, I promise I'll do better … let's get you home and we'll both eat a good meal … Tinker is likely fixing up a feast for us." Harry put one of Severus' arms across his shoulders and half carried – half led Severus out of the cell and past Tom. Severus hesitated; eyeing Tom carefully … this young man was in that memory as well.
"Tom …?" Tom relaxed and smiled a little. Severus knew their names … the rest would come with time.
They exited Azkaban to find a scene of chaos that would have brought a smile to Sirius Black's face. Dragons were chasing frantically dodging black cloaks and the air was full of flames from very upset dragons.
The Warden and his personal guards had fired some curses at the Horntails as they flew past their windows, and managed to get a cutting curse through that opened a laceration on one of the male Hungarian Horntail's flanks. The female had taken the harm to one of her trio of suitors very badly.
She was clinging to the side of Azkaban and directing a stream of flames through the windows, while the males were tearing at the walls energetically … except for the wounded male who was on the ground bellowing loudly about his injury. The Healer was fixing him up, but he was still carrying on quite dramatically.
Harry clutched the large bag of ashes from the late dementors. Tom popped into the dragon and Severus was helped onto him along with sticking, warming and bubble-head charms.
Lucius was assisted onto Yao, to ride to the Reserve with Yuan. Ben was taken up behind one of the Dragonriders and they were off - their rescue had been a success. They were hesitant to stop and use floos – Rigel had been sent a message on schedule to announce their coup, and who knew where the Ministry might be waiting for them. They had not had time to send for portkeys … and the Azkaban wards would not allow them anyway.
The Horntails left off tearing down Azkaban reluctantly - they had just started making good progress on the one tower.
Harry talked to Severus non-stop on their way back. Severus listened silently with only an occasional hoarse, whispering yes or no.
They arrived to the Reserve to find another scene of chaos. Tom landed near Dragonsrest … a bit apart from the madness and changed back. Severus stood between Tom and Harry while they watched the snarl of Dragonriders, dragons, ministry Aurors, ICOW peacekeepers and a large group of T-shirted girls and other banner and placard – waving witches and wizards.
Something big was going on.
A/N – Was determined to finally spring the guys. Hope you enjoyed.