Author note: Sooo yeah, I didn't intend to take such a long break! Getting married and having two kids in 3 years seemed to eat into my time, and then I had a chapter written my laptop fritzed on me and I lost it, my lovely wife bought me a replacement laptop for my birthday so here we go!
Minerva looked over her spectacles at Severus, parchments littered the newly appointed Headmistresses desk. Severus folded his arms, leaning back in his chair
"...the governors appointed you for this very reason" He said to her, gesturing to the papers
"I didn't realise things had gotten so bad" she too leant back in her chair "how many other children has he harmed with his maddening schemes?" she sighed "I dread to think"
Severus looked at her
"i know of one" he said quietly
Minerva rubbed her eyes with one hand
"Are dead or in prison...I have no idea where Lupin is these days, nor do I care" he replied with a shrug "I have let my daemons go Minerva, I had to grow up very fast, I made bad choices, if I can help steer the young students from taking the path I did, then so be it" he rubbed his forearm absently, he met her gaze "do not misunderstand me" he saw her look "i was a Death Eater, and I did enjoy it for a time, however it was clear that Voldemort was insane very quickly...he was not our saviour"
"...your saviour?" she cocked her head to the side as she shuffled the papers into a pile.
Severus took a drink of water, unsure how much to reveal at once, he knew she was taking stock of things and it would only take a few nudges in the right direction..
"How much do you know about the Dark Families?" he asked "I believe the McGonagall line is Light as far back as the Founders?"
"Grey actually," She replied "neutral but with a Light affiliation if we had to pick a side"
"Interesting..." he paused "so how much do you know?"
She looked at him
"Only as much as most, the Dark families are secretive, their traditions are kept hidden. But before the rise and subsequent fall of the Dar-" She took a breath at the look on his face "Voldemort... things were moving, I know a few Families were sending their children here, instead of secreting them away, as was their way... Abraxas Malfoy was one, I thought Lucius would definitely be down for Durmstrang but surprisingly he sent him here"
"times were trying to change" Severus nodded "Abraxas was one pushing for change, sadly he never saw it in his lifetime"
"why do you ask?" she asked him
"because I have ideas" he said "I was rather hoping you would pick me for Deputy Minerva. I'm not stupid, I know you do not agree with my faith and it would be remiss of me to try to persuade you otherwise"
"..go on.." Minerva took a sip of tea "You have my interest"
Severus looked at her for a long moment, trying to order his thoughts before he spoke.
"You know Slytherin harbours Dark Family children" he began "and Gryffindor harbours the Light" he began "the others...well they are a mix, depending on a child's affinity, some maybe get Ravenclaw over Slytherin" he waved his hand "the truth is, if Albus was right, that Voldemort is not as dead as we think he is, then we have to start now, we have to protect the Dark Families as well as the Light, and the greys and the neutrals, we have to show that Hogwarts will not fall foul of the old restrictions of the past. To allow the Dark children to be more open with their friends and peers without the threat of persecution" Severus got up and began to pace "To our Light families, we must remove the stigma and the curtain of distrust against Dark Families, education is paramount in changing the way people see us, people like the Weasleys are a stain on the Light Wizards" he said passionately "they treat Dark Magick as if it is the most dangerous thing on the planet, why? Because they're a Light family and they've heard nothing but bad things about it, Stories, half truths passed down the generations!" he took a breath "there are plenty of Light spells that can kill and maim, and I'm sure they know that..."
Minerva smiled a little
"i agree" she said after he sat down "and I can see why you will be an outstanding Deputy Headmaster Severus...however, I have some stipulations"
Wednesday folded the paper in her hand, tucking it into a pocket in her robes
"...news from home?" Harry asked
"of a fashion" She replied
"oh?" he asked, yawning a little
"it will wait" she said "...I'm glad you got to speak to them Harry" she said, discreetly putting up a silencing ward "Are you?"
Harry bit his lip
"In all my life I never thought I would be able to do it, talk to them I mean" he said "I'm glad, it puts my mind at rest to know that they are proud of me, Of the path I've chosen" he exhaled "come on you have that look on your face like you're dying to try out a new poison on some unsuspecting person" he eyed her.
"i cant divulge it yet as its not my place, but I will let you know when I have spoken to whose involved" she said to him "Speaking of which, I said I would meet Hermione in the library, she's lacking in some parts of her education"
"Don't kill her" Harry warned with a laugh "see you later Sister"
Hermione shut the book in front of her, heaving a sigh. The peculiar feeling wasn't leaving her, she was desperate to know why she felt like she was missing something. She sat back in her chair and grumbled a little. Wednesday was late to meet her by ten minutes.
"...apologies" a voice startled her "I was preoccupied with other things"
"that's no problem" Hermione told her "I was reading" she gestured to the book in front of her.
"interesting choice" Wednesday looked at the title "come, there's a nook around the corner that's free and its more private for our conversation" she walked towards a towering bookshelf.
Hermione followed her, shouldering her book-bag as she walked, She turned a corner and saw Wednesday sitting in one of the chairs, she sank into the other one, and watched as Wednesday put up a silencing ward and an anti-eavesdropper ward
"I wish magick came to me as easy as it does to you" she said with a sigh
Wednesday smiled, Hermione flinched
"it will, in time" she said "I have been casting since I tried to kill my father with a fire poker, I was two" she told her "Mother was delighted, Father taught us only age appropriate spells once we could talk, but its mostly Family Magick, we don't use incantations, mostly" She crossed her legs "Hermione?" she paused
"i have some news for you, from my mother" she crossed her legs at the ankles
"Oh?" Hermione asked "what does she want with me?"
"Hermione, this wont be easy for you to take..." she took a deep breath "your not a muggleborn"
"erm...yes I am, my parents are muggles-"
"no, they're not" Wednesday unfolded the parchment she had been reading earlier "Mother sent me this missive this morning." she explained "When she got back to the manor, she found she had some of your hair on her dress, it must have fallen out and gotten caught. She...she used it in a potion to determine if you were a simple muggleborn with Dark Family traits, or if there was something else..." Wednesday handed her the parchment
Hermione took it in one hand, her eyes lowered as she read the letter, Morticia's cursive lettering was in elegant green ink on the white parchment.
My darling daughter
I hope Hogwarts is keeping you well . It seems that Dumbledore has more to answer for. I do not believe Miss Granger is a simple muggleborn. I found some of her hair on my dress this evening and I concocted a hereditary potion to see what the results are. I was right.
She has vampire linage, from a rather prominent family.
I believe she is the stolen Heir.
When you and your brothers were around three years old, there was a lot of anti Dark activity, and the Alucards were killed, their daughter Helena disappeared in the aftermath, no one had a clue, the Sects were in uproar trying to find her for years. I helped in the searches for a while, but whoever had her her closed their ranks and disappeared into the night.
Hermione dropped the letter
"...I..." she gasped, her hands shaking
Wednesday watched for a moment as the other girl battled her emotions. After a few minutes, Hermione looked at her
"...i always knew something was missing..." she said "but...how can I be a vampire? Surely I should be unable to go out in the sun or..." she trailed off at the look on Wednesday's face
"Hermione, believe me, nothing you've seen in the muggle world is true." she took a slight bit of pity on her "you will more than likely come into your heritage when your older, the whole thing about sunlight and stuff is myth for the most part. Your pale skin is testament to that"
"says you" Hermione shot back "your paler than I"
"i am...different" Wednesday told her
"but...why would he take me from them? If I am Helena Alucard" Hermione asked "what does he stand to achieve?"
"I don't know" Wednesday said to her "the main thing is that you are taught to cope with the knowledge and to be able to control your magick, Harry can help to a point, but really you should meet your true family...speaking of which, may I ask you something?"
"are your muggle parents abusive?" Wednesday asked
"...nnno...they love me a lot" She swallowed "they just...found it hard to accept at first that I'm a witch...once they saw Diagon Alley they came round" she told her "... I need to think about this" Hermione stood and pushed through the wards. Wednesday let her go
A ripple in the air made her smile
"... you may come out Severus" She nodded as he came in to view, entirely unsurprised that she knew he was there
"... I will see that she is seen by the correct people...she will need care and attention"
"indeed" Wednesday stood, collapsing the wards "I will ensure Marcus is aware of developments."
Hermione trampled her way through the long grass that surrounded the Quidditch Pitch. She kept walking until she couldn't walk any more and sat herself on the stump of a large tree. Looking up at the huge castle, she exhaled angrily.
"...Wednesday said I might find you out here" Harry said, startling her, Hermione fell off the stump
"Harry?!" she coughed "how the hell did you find me?" she demanded
"its one of my gifts..." he shrugged "I imagine its quite a shock" he said "finding out something like this" he sat next to her
Hermione looked at him
"she told you?" the accusation in her voice
"not exactly," Harry told her "I got a letter, not from my Mother" Harry took off his glasses in the dusk, wincing a little but turning his eyes on her "I have my own gifts Hermione"
"So you say" She scowled "what am I to do Harry?" she asked him "if I really am Helena, I have a family in this world..." she sighed "i just don't know..."
Harry shifted on the tree stump
"Hermione, I know Dumbledore bound your Family magick, and that binding broke the day you floored Ron Weasley, ever since then its been breaking out of you at inopportune moments and causing you pain, do you hate it that much?" he asked her
Hermione sighed, looking away from his blood-splattered eyes for a moment, choosing her words
"He told me it would kill me, I used to get so scared of it...he said it would help to stop it" she said to him "you don't understand!" she snapped "you've never-" she cut herself off
"why don't you try me" Harry said gently "I just might surprise you"
she looked at him then down at her shoes, Hermione bit her lip
"when I was four, was the first time it happened that I remember" she said "...my parents had left me with a babysitter and she'd put me to bed but turned the light off, I was so scared of the dark...and I just wanted some light to see my toys..." she opened her hand and a small ball of ice blue fire roughly the size of a tennis ball sat on her hand "this appeared on my hand, I had no idea what to do with it, I thought it was pretty. But I must have exhausted myself because I fell asleep and it disappeared.. that was the first time I did magick ….it wasn't until I got a bit older that things got bad"
"Bad how?" Harry asked
"the lights, I quickly got used to, id make them whenever my mum and dad would turn my lights off and if I woke in the night they'd appear so I wasn't scared. I could read books and my parents wouldn't know anything. But when I got older, when I was six...the magick started trying to lash out when I got upset, I was bullied at school Harry, I was the know-it-all. I just wanted friends, to fit in and..." Hermione trailed off for a moment, her voice thick.
Harry watched as she stood up and dropped her book bag on the floor. Hermione sighed, throwing her hands out to her sides
"what does any of it matter?" she asked "why didn't they find me? If i'm so special to them?"
"they tried Hermione" Harry told her "for years they looked for you, even Mother helped and she's the best in her Sect! She cried for you...she worked her fingers almost dead. Cast so many spells Father had to carry her to bed every morning she worked every night to try to find you...he was too good at hiding you" Harry stood up, putting his glasses back on as the evening light dipped and the huge braziers that lit the grounds began to spark to life.
"i don't know what to do" she said "...i...ive been trying to control it, but I just cant" She shrugged "it just wont listen to me"
"What do you mean?"
"it wont listen to me, I tell it to stop, or to do things and it just...lashes out at things like its got a mind of its own" Hermione told him "i figured if I hide it inside me it cant hurt anyone..."
"Hermione you cant just force it inside like that!" he said, horrified "let it out...you wont hurt me"
"Please Hermione" he said "my control is fine, if I need too I can overpower you" he gave her a wry smile.
Hermione giggled, a little thrown by his attitude. She sighed
"very well..." she took a few steps away from him and lifted the hold on the magick she had forced deep in her chest.
Harry felt the change before he saw anything. He kept still as a long tendril of energy whipped at him, reminding him fondly of Cleo, his mothers Snapping Clover back home. Hermione shrugged
"The tentacles are new. It used to not be so visible" she said " what do I do now?" she asked
Harry spent a few minutes admiring the magick, trying to get an idea of how to handle it, he 'hmmed' to himself for a moment, watching as something stirred nearby..
A rustling in the surrounding trees made her turn, Harry stood, looking around
"Hermione...we need to get to the castle" he told her "something's out here with us...and its not friendly"
An indistinct growl made them jump, coming from the shadowed trees.
Hermione's magick lashed out wildly in the direction of the noise, a thunderclap of energy exploded as a tendril caught something in its way and she staggered to the side, trying without success to pull it back towards herself, the tentacles swayed wildly
"...make it stop Harry!" She pleaded "I cant-" she looked at him.
Harry grabbed her hand in his and let out some of his own power, much like he had done in the hallway..
The ground around them began to wither and the plants died within a few seconds, Harry raised his other hand and a whispered command had the magick calming down, overpowered by the strange force around him. He brought the tendrils back from the forest with his own and made her look at them, calling his own back and out of sight.
Hermione blinked, she raised a hand to her face and saw it glittering with energy
"How?" she asked him
"i'll tell you sometime..." he said with a smile "but now we need to get back inside."
"...Professor Snape?" Harry knocked on the office door
"...come in Harry, is everything alright?" Severus asked, letting him into the office
Harry paced a little, he stopped suddenly
"something's in the forest" he said "and its dangerous"
"Dangerous how?" asked Severus
"I...I think its the spirit of Voldemort" Harry said bluntly
Severus recoiled, his hand grabbing his forearm, twitching slightly
"Are you sure?" he demanded
"Yes Sir" Harry nodded "whatever it was. It was less in strength than a wraith but was no lowly wandering spirit"
"What were you doing in the forest anyway you know its forbidden" Severus demanded
"oh no Sir I wasn't in the forest!" Harry quickly explained "Hermione was in the trees around the Quidditch pitch, Wednesday told me she'd had some rather startling news and I wanted to be around if she needed to talk. We got talking about how she's been forcing down her magick into herself and when she let it out, it disturbed the spectre in the forest, I didn't get a good enough look at it but it definitely wasn't humanoid, but it had blood red eyes, I saw those clearly, and it...hissed...it tried to charge at us but Hermione's magick threw it away, I clamped her hands and forced her magick down, we ran back to the castle, it didn't follow us, if it had I would have had to do something, but it didn't"
"where is Miss Granger now?" Severus asked
"Safe in the dorm with my sister" He said "i thought I better alert someone when I realised i'd felt that...thing before"
"Before?" Severus stopped walking
"I know I've felt it before, and I know my own history Professor" he said with a flat tone "I cant help but think this has something to do with Dumbledore"
Severus looked at him
"i will take this to the Headmistress at once." he said "go to the dormitory and do not leave until the morning" he told him sternly "i shall be fire-calling your parents tonight. No doubt they need to know"
"Yes" Harry nodded, he sighed "I need to catch up on some of my homework"
"very well" Severus nodded "I will send for you if I need you"
"Minerva?" Severus knocked once on the door as he arrived at the top of the spiral staircase
"Severus what is it? I was about to retire" She looked at him as he entered
"My apologies, we need to talk" He did not sit, but he paced "Albus has placed the children in more danger than we knew" Severus said "I had a visit from Mr Addams this evening, he said that he saw the spectre of Voldemort in the Forbidden Forest"
"...do you believe him?"
"I have no reason to think he is wrong" Severus replied "how do you wish to act?"
Minerva exhaled, taking off her glasses for a moment, she stood and crossed the office, to the window, looking outside across the grounds
"...is he here for the Addams boy?" she asked
"I do not know" He replied "Miss Granger's magick stirred up the forest earlier, I believe she was having control issues and had gone outside to try to get some sort of control back, whatever she did stirred some of the forests' inhabitants, and unfortunately, Voldemort's spirit, why he is here I can only guess" Severus paused "...you don't think...the Stone?"
She span on a heel
"It is heavily protected" she said "I saw to that myself-"
"before or after you became Headmistress?" he asked lightly, Minerva glared
"both" She said with a snap "i wasn't happy with him housing it here anyway... you know that"
"then why keep it here? Return it to the Flamels?" Severus offered "over the Yule holiday, dismantle the protections and remove it from the school"
"I will think on it" Minerva replied, folding her arms "excuse me Severus, I am tired, I will see you in the morning for the staff meeting"
Morticia met her husband on the veranda, staring at the night sky
"...something on your mind cara mia?" he asked, seeing her expression, Morticia blinked
"Voldemort is back...he's hiding in the forest at Hogwarts, apparently he is a spectre" She took his hands in hers "i just had a fire call from Severus"
Gomez lit a cigar
"...what of the children?" he asked "do we pull them-"
"No" She shook her head lightly "Harry will deal with it, of that I am sure"