Both men looked up from their books as an alarm began ringing loudly.
"If it's not one thing, it's another, eh Snape?" Moody growled, pulling himself to his feet and stomping toward the door.
"What's going on?"
"Someone has set off the wards on the 3rd floor corridor," Severus answered.
Singe followed them out the door and into the hall before Moody realised what he was doing.
"Where're you goin' then?" He asked, turning to the dragon behind him.
"With you, of course!" Singe answered emphatically.
Moody glanced at Severus, who sighed gustily.
"We don't have time to argue. You may follow us to the 3rd floor, but no farther. This is not up for debate. Do you understand, little snake?"
Singe, with some difficulty, nodded his large head and thumped his tail on the floor.
"Come, we must hurry," Severus answered, turning and rushing down the hallway.
After three flights of stairs, and a trip through a hallway that Singe had never seen, they arrived at the forbidden third floor. Without a glance backward, Severus and Moody pushed forward, and Singe dropped despondently to the floor.
. . .
Severus and Moody opened the door to find the poorly named "Fluffy" snoring on the floor beside an open trapdoor and a still playing harp.
"Age before beauty," Severus offered with a smirk, waving a hand toward the dark hole in the floor.
"Beauty, eh?" Moody grinned.
"Stop! NO," Severus growled back. "Never mind. I'll go," Cutting him off by jumping feet first into the hole.
"I'd say you're too easy, Snape, bu' we both know yeh're not!" Moody laughed as he perched himself at the edge of the trapdoor.
"Did I not tell you that we are done with that disgusting excuse for a conversation!?" Severus hissed, banishing the remains of the Devil's Snare away with his wand.
Moody dropped the remaining feet with a harsh thump. He pulled himself upright and smiled at his pseudo-son over the wan light of his lit wand.
"Now why would we want ta be done wit' that? Watchin' you turn green is one of my few pleasures!" Moody laughed, clapping Severus on the shoulder a little harder than necessary.
Severus scowled and walked away through the room of flying keys. With a glance, he saw that the door on the other side of the room had been blasted from its hinges, and he stalked toward it with Moody clomping close behind him.
They didn't speak again until they reached the room that housed Severus' potion riddle.
"Yer doin', I s'pose?" Moody asked, circling the table contemplatively.
"Yes," Was Severus' curt reply.
"I don't s'pose you have an antidote for all this?"
"As a matter of fact, I do," Severus answered, smiling coldly.
"And in turn, you will never again mention me and anything resembling your perverse sexual advances together ever again."
"Aw, Snape. That hurts me ol' heart."
"I'm sure it does," Severus answered, holding out the vial of potion. "Do I have your word?"
"Hm," Moody answered, not reaching for the antidote. "Migh' be easier on you, but t'would be a lot less fun for me!" He laughed and his arm shot out and unerringly plucked out the correct bottle from the table. "Or I could jus' solve the riddle and keep on makin' you squirm. Decisions, am I right!?" He dug an elbow in Snape's side and knocked back the potion.
"Nasty," He added with a shudder. "Well, s'pose I'll see you on the other side!"
With that, Moody stepped through the flames with smile and wave.
Severus stared after the man for a moment before shaking himself and taking his own potion.
"Gryffindors," He growled, rolling his eyes and stepping forward after the old man who delighted in driving him mad.
. . .
Singe poked his head into the room that his father and grandfather had disappeared through with more than a little curiosity. He had waited for a long time, but now his nerves were getting the better of him. He didn't want to call to them unless he needed them, because he feared his distraction would cost them. He just wanted to make sure they were okay. He wanted to them to come back whole and healthy and be with him.
His eyes widened at the sight of the giant Cerberus and he eased his way into the room to examine it more closely. It snuffled a bit in its sleep and he backed away hurriedly, briefly forgetting who was bigger.
After watching it carefully for another moment, Singe eased back into the room, taking care to leave a wide berth around the still slumbering Cerberus.
The open trapdoor was a curious sight. Its depths were dark, but he could smell a floor not too far down. It smelled like magic and rot, a smell he always associated with Herbology and Professor Sprout. The memory made him wistful, and he dropped a few burning hot tears into the hole without noticing.
The space below also smelled like his family, so at least he knew where to go if he needed to retrieve them.
He eyed the hole and scratched his side with a back claw while thinking. He had wings. If he needed to get them out, he could fly up with them.
Well, maybe not both at the same time.
Seeing no light or change in the darkness below, Singe decided to jump. He just hoped he wasn't making a giant mistake.
. . .
"Moody I expected, but you, Snape? I hardly picked you for a Dumbledore lackey," Quirrell said by way of greeting, his wand pointed unwaveringly at them.
"Dumbledore lackey?" Severus sneered, glancing at Moody out of the corner of his eye. "I think not."
"But yet you have come to stop ussss," A high, far too familiar voice sounded from somewhere behind Quirrell.
He flinched at the sound of his former lord's voice.
"I came to stop someone. I did not know-," Severus started to say.
"Crucio!" Quirrell shouted.
"Incarcerous!" Moody shouted.
Quirrell batted it away with a hand as Severus collapsed and desperately tried to keep from screaming aloud.
Blood was beginning to drip from his nose before Quirrell ended the spell, turning his head to focus entirely on Moody's increasingly violent attacks.
Through blurry eyes, Severus watched the volley of curses flashing rapidly between the other two men in the chamber. His marked arm burned furiously, making his efforts to reach for his wand all the more difficult.
"Dad?" A voice whispered urgently in his mind, but he didn't have enough mental energy to answer it.
His wand, which had rolled a few feet from his body sometime during the cruciatus, was within reach. He raised his body up on trembling limbs and crawled forward. Finally, his fingers closed around the familiar wood, his magic reaching out and caressing his core with comforting tendrils of magic.
"Expelliarmus," Severus managed, squinting at the darkness surrounding Quirrell.
"Ha!" Moody grunted.
Quirrell's wand flew from his grasp.
"You dare!" Voldemort's screeched.
Quirrell sneered and his hand twitched toward Severus, a nasty coloured curse flying out of it.
He screamed as the bone breaking curse knocked into him, crushing its way through his left leg. Severus collapsed back down, managing to turn his head as he vomited on the floor beside him.
"DADDY!" His son screamed in his mind.
A familiar roar sounded from the doorway, and he stared uncomprehendingly at the sight.
. . .
He had started slowly through the room below the Cerberus, but had picked up speed as he went. He could feel the pain in his father's mind, and by the time he was in the room with the giant chess set, he was flying. He vaguely felt one of the knights trying to hit him with a sword, but he merely flew faster.
"Dad?" He tried, but got no answer.
His father screamed in his mind as he reached the flamed doorway, and he roared in response, flying through the fire without another thought.
"DADDY!" He screamed, seeing his father huddled palely on the floor.
He looked at Quirrell, with his ridiculous turban, and knew instinctively who was to blame. With another roar, he flew at the man, his claws ripping into his body much the same way he had done with Dumbledore not so long ago. He crushed the man beneath him and slammed a clawed arm down onto Quirrell's skinny throat.
A new voice sounded in his mind. It laughed and screamed and he shuddered at hearing the sound that had plagued so many of his nightmares.
His dragon breath, which he usually kept so tightly controlled when he was around other people, flew out of his mouth with his next roar, setting the man's body and clothes on fire.
The laughter in his mind turned entirely to screams, and he was glad.
"You don't get to hurt my DAD!" He roared.
The body beneath him abruptly fell silent, and he had begun to take a step backward when it happened. A black cloud burst from Quirrell's body, and flew straight for him.
. . .
Severus watched in horror as the black substance rose from Quirrell's now unmoving body and flew into his son's. He heard his son roar again, and then watched as his son's familiar face turn toward him. His normally green eyes gleamed red, and he heard Moody gasp from beside him.
"Hello, Severus. My dear slippery snake. You've betrayed me, haven't you? And to think, with a monstrous creature like Harry Potter!"
"Lad! Don't let him win!" Moody called out.
"There is no more Potter, Mad-Eye! There is only Lord Voldemort!" Harry's wings spread menacingly as he stalked toward Severus.
"Harry, son, you have to fight," Severus said firmly within his mind. "Fight for me and your granddad. Use that strength you had when you fought Dumbledore so many times. Fight because we love you. Fight because your home is with us now. Fight against him! Do it now, little snake!"
Voldemort the dragon opened his mouth to cast burning flames upon Severus' prone body.
"NO! DADDY!" A voice screamed between them, aloud and within and all around.
The world exploded.
. . .
The roar of magic whiplashed across them all, burning hot with a familiar smell of petrol and terror. A bright orange light exploded from Singe's silver body, and around them, they could hear Voldemort's anguished screams. Singe's eyes flashed green then red and then back to green.
The room began to shake, dust shaking itself loose first and then larger pieces of masonry started to fall around them. Severus heard Moody curse and then he cried out as the older man threw his body atop his own. A moment later, a shield flickered into existence over them.
A violent maelstrom of magic whipped its way around their dragon, the orange being added onto by greens and yellows and more. A hurricane level wind ripped toward Singe, sucking all the air from the room as it did, and then exploding outward with concussive force.
The last thing Severus saw before losing consciousness was a large dragon holding its head in its claws, bursting at the seams with light and magic.
And then, nothing.
. . .
"Dad?" A voice-a familiar voice-poked itself into his awareness.
"He's been asleep longer'n you, lad. It's gonna take 'im longer to wake up."
Why on earth do I know that voice?
His body ached, and his mouth tasted atrocious, but he was alive. Tentatively, he wiggled the toes on his left foot and breathed out in relief at the lack of pain.
"He's moving. He's going to wake up," Said that same befuddling voice.
Silence, then the sound of a man clearing his throat.
"He jus' might," The man agreed.
A small hand wrapped itself around Severus own, and he mentally gasped.
He groaned as his eyes creaked open, and then he groaned again at the brightness of the lights in the room.
He heard muttered curses and the sounds of someone fumbling for their wand, and he barked a laugh.
"Still can't keep ahold of your wand, Moody?" He asked slowly, opening his eyes again.
Harry's face, unblemished and with two working eyes, was staring down at him and he gasped at the sight. Unbidden, tears pricked his eyes, and he watched in amazement as his son smiled back at him.
"Harry?" The word feeling foreign on his tongue.
"Dad," Harry grinned, throwing himself forward and wrapping thin arms around Severus' neck.
"How?" He managed, hiding his tears in Harry's messy locks.
"I got rid of Voldie out of my head. And when I woke up, I was me. Not the me that I was after the accident, but the me that I was before."
"How is this possible?" Severus croaked, letting go of Harry long enough to look at Moody.
Belatedly, he realised that Moody had somehow managed to move them all into Severus' quarters. He briefly wondered how long he had been unconscious, but that thought was pushed aside in order to hear Moody's answers.
"You know 'bout as much as I do, Snape. I found him after the dust had cleared, and he was a little boy again."
"Maybe I changed because I was trying so hard, Daddy. I wanted to be what I was inside my head, and I did," Was Harry's wise answer.
"Your hearing?" Severus asked, glancing back and forth between his son and pseudo-parent.
"Better. Not perfect, but better. Passable. But I can still hear Moody inside my head!" Harry answered triumphantly.
"And your leg? Your hands?" Severus asked, goggling at it all.
"Snape," Moody grunted, sitting down on the edge of the bed beside him. "Harry and I think he might have some metamorphosis talents that were unrealised before all this happened. Show him, lad."
Severus watched as Harry concentrated. Harry's hair grew out to shoulder length and then back, while his eyes shifted through a myriad of colours before coming-thankfully-back to his normal green.
"And your dragon form? You can still do that?" Severus carefully asked.
"I didn't try, because I wanted to make sure you saw me like this. I don't want to get stuck like that again, even if messing with you was lots of fun!" Harry giggled.
"Brat!" Severus growled, reaching over and pulling Harry onto the bed proper beside beside him.
He struggled to sit up, and finally, with some reluctance, let Moody help him upright. His son instantly curled into his side, and he wrapped an arm around him with no small degree of pride.
"What happens now, Dad?" Harry asked.
"Now?" Severus glanced at Moody. "We should probably tell your friends."
"And Poppy," Harry suggested, grinning at the shudders coming from his family.
"If you desire," Was all Severus said.
"I love you, daddy," Harry's voice said in his mind.
Severus grinned openly.
"And I you, little snake."