A tale of three wizards and the power of loyalty. Mentions of torture, presented in four parts.

Characters: Albus Dumbledore, Severus Snape, Harry Potter, Tom Riddle

Friendship (non-slash)

The Power of Loyalty

Chapter One: Blue

For one to have lived as long as he had, experienced as much pain and hurt as he had, it was difficult to get truly angry. There were few people who could turn his eyes steely blue, rid them of their typical twinkle. There were even fewer people who could cause his magic to react, who could drive him to make windows explode or walls bend with his anger and distress.

It wasn't that he was a strong wizard, per se. Many said he was, of course. That he was the most powerful wizard in the world. He didn't believe that to be true. He was, true, greater at reasoning than most, and the dealings with his sister had taught him much humility, and much restraint. His power came from much gathering of knowledge, some of it rather obscure. But the largest portion of his power came from his loyalty. It seemed, perhaps, that many were loyal to him, but it was often, and truly, the other way around. He was deeply protective of those under his charge, especially the two boys that were currently vexing him.

As it was, the walls of the school, of his office, were bending inward around him. A number of delicate items around his room had long since exploded. He could hear the castle groaning in distress, could hear its protests, but he could do nothing. His emotional turmoil was rather high at the moment.

He took a deep sigh, clearing his head, but doing little for his anger. He could do no good for his boys if he was unable to do anything about the fury coursing through his veins. The walls boomeranged outward, as far as they had inwards, and finally settled back to normal. The school groaned happily. He walked over to a wall, between a portrait of a particularly old headmaster (although this man had not been older than he was currently, he certainly looked as if he was nearly dead) and a very colorful one (refused to wear anything but neon colors throughout his duration). He placed his right hand on the wall, then his left thumb squarely on the colorful wizard's dog's nose. The bricks shifted subtly, and he reached his hand into the wall. The castle accepted his arm, and he picked up the staff that was inside.

The Aurors had said that they couldn't get inside, that the location was too heavily warded. They had said that snake-face himself was not outside, but that his patrolling Death Eaters had injured a rather large number of Aurors and Order members. They had said that it was impossible to penetrate, that the defenses were too strong.

They didn't have his anger, and they didn't have his staff. The staff was an old one, ancient really, that he had obtained after a rather odd set of coincidences that weren't really necessary to discuss. It was powerful, but only in certain hands. It was powerful in the hands of someone who was needing to rescue or avenge another. He had used it, not his wand as most thought, when defeating the man who had once been his best friend. A man he would certainly not rather think about right now. Avenging his sister's death was what drove the staff's power that day.

Today, as he held it in his hands, he knew it would work. He knew it would serve his purposes. He could feel its warmth spreading through his fingers as they flexed against the wood. It was a long, wooden thing, with a jewel on the end that glowed in different colors. When he had fought his old friend, it was blue. Today, it was ebony black and emerald green.

He stood, whispered to his familiar, and disappeared in a burst of flame.

He arrived among the Aurors. They seemed alarmed. Alarmed at his anger, and alarmed at his presence. They watched him carefully, noting, even, the staff in his hand. One even dared ask why he was there.

His answer was sufficient: Why shouldn't he be there?

The Auror seemed to have a reply. Something, most likely, along the lines of how dangerous it was or how improbable the rescue was. But as soon as their eyes met, the Auror said no more.

He straightened his staff, flexing his fingers around it again. His fury, this time, he refused to squelch. The Aurors automatically stepped back, and he turned toward the area they had cordoned off. With a quick sweep of his empty hand, he rid the wards that the Aurors had set up. With each step, the trees shook, the grass rippled. And this time, there was no Hogwarts to contain his anger.

The Death Eaters were, indeed, around, but he could not be stopped by them. He had taught nearly all of them, and he knew how each and every one fought. It was not difficult to anticipate their moves, or to realize what he could use to counter said spell. Within moments, he had reached the door to the fortress, his footsteps never stalling.

He could feel them; they were close. He walked through the entryway, stalling a few more Death Eaters along the way.

He made his way down the stairs, never spotting Snake-Face, the man who supposedly feared him so. The child he had taught, turned into the man that these two had nearly died for.

With his staff, he drew aside the wards that guarded the stairwell leading into the dungeons. He walked slowly down the stone steps, brushing aside a few guards again. His staff moved of nearly its own accord, refusing to allow the rescue to fail.

He finally reached the cells. He opened doors of Muggles, of wizards who were trapped for no reason. But the last cell was the one he was seeking. The last cell was the one without windows. The one that never received food. The one that always held the tortured. The cell with its occupants nearest Death's grasp. But he wasn't too late… he couldn't possibly be too late.

His staff found the final wards before he did. His staff stopped him, and led his arm to spin the wards into nothingness. They had been rather silent, and deeply hidden. He was grateful, yet again, for the circumstances that lent him this staff.

His slow walk continued, staff and senses wary of possible wards. He finally… finally reached the final cell. He stood before it, hand and staff waving slowly over the door. He searched for further wards, not finding any. He tried, simply, to push the door open, but it did not give. He tried his hand's magic, his staff, but nothing gave.

He stared at it. It didn't seem to be warded, necessarily… With a sudden start, he knew what to do. He found the fury buried not-so-deep inside of him. He found the fear for their safety, the anger, and the loyalty. With a mighty bang, he unleashed it all on the door. The impact was not slow: It was a mighty eruption that blew a hole in the door's frame and, he hoped, not on anything inside.

His staff lit up from the force of his will, and light flooded into the tiny room.

He saw blood, he saw filth.

But what he heard renewed him.



Their eyes sparkled the same colors as the gem on the staff.