Sorry for the delay, everyone! I've been flooded, literally flooded, with work (both for school and for beta-ing) and I've not had time to even think about my own stories! Anyways, hope you enjoy this!
Thanks to my beta, GirlinBlue2364, who helped me with this chapter, including giving me a few tips and an idea of what should happen next (though even that was a kept from her so as to keep it as such). Thank you, GB~!
Disclaimer: As always, this isn't mine… A girl can dream, though!
Severus knocked in two quick successions before entering the Dark Lord's study. Voldemort himself was sitting in front of the fire, a book in on hand and a glass of what looked to be firewhisky in the other. At Severus's entry, Voldemort finished the sentence he was on and placed the bookmark back into place before shutting it with a resounding thud.
"You wished to see me, Severus?" Voldemort questioned, sure he hadn't missed a planned meeting with the other wizard.
"Yes, my Lord. I came to let you know that I've completed the potion you wished for." Severus answered, pleasure and pride in his work and the accomplished task shining through his voice slightly. Not that Voldemort much cared, for as soon as he had heard that the potion was finished, he leaped to his feet in a very un-lordly manner.
"It is finished?" He asked; hope making his tone of voice just the slightest bit breathless.
Severus, too filled with feeling, nodded.
"Bring me to your lab." Voldemort ordered his eye bright with plans for his new future not far from his grasp.
A few moments later, both men were seen at Severus's lab door. No one would admit noticing that they were panting from exertion, though everyone they passed swore that they had seen Severus Snape leading the Dark Lord to the dungeons area. After quickly saying the password and dropping the wards, Severus stepped back for Voldemort to briskly enter.
There, on the sturdy oak table in the middle of the room, was an iridescently green tapered bottle with a wooden cork. Voldemort looked back at Severus, awe and wonder in his eyes. "Is that…?" He asked, unsure of the sight he saw before him.
Severus nodded again. "Yes, my Lord. That is what it is."
Taking a deep breath, Voldemort turned on his heels and, in one go, snatched the bottle, uncorked it, and swallowed the thick potion. For a couple of moments, nothing happened. He was just about to give up all hope when Severus gasped.
Looking to the mirror stationed above the table in the corner, he watched his old features begin to slide off his flesh like water on a window pane. Gone was the hairless head, replaced with thick, dark chocolate wavy locks that seemed to be able to spring up if a person would pull one down slightly. Gone was the scaled skin, instead pink flesh graced his body. Once a face with gaunt cheekbones and a nose-less appearance, now there was sculpted cheeks and a tall, slightly rounded nose. Even as all his features changed, his wine red eyes remained.
When, at last, the potion finished changing all it could, a twenty-four year old Tom Marvolo Riddle stood exactly where the Dark Lord Voldemort had graced not ten minutes previous.
Moving closer to the mirror, Voldemort gazed in wonder at his new features. "Severus, you don't understand what this truly means to me," He whispered, carefully touching his nose as if testing its reality.
Meeting his gaze in the mirror, Severus stayed silent.
Harry woke to his bedroom door opening. He didn't realize he had fallen asleep. Rubbing eyes to clear the sleep from them, he was that Severus Snape was grazing the door's presence.
"Hello," Harry began warily. "To what do I own the pleasure?"
"My Lord sent for you for breakfast. If you'd follow me?" Severus turned and began walking away, forcing Harry to follow.
By the time they got to the Great Hall, Harry was panting from both the distance from his rooms to the hall and his trying- and failing- to keep up with Severus' longer stride. Harry would not have been all that surprised that it was to Severus' perverse amusement.
"Ah, Severus. Ever punctual, I see." A voice carried to them from the vast amounts of window on the east side of the hall. The sun shined brightly in, distorting the figure's body with light. Harry thought the voice was familiar, but couldn't place it.
Severus bowed, but said nothing. It was Severus' bow that made Harry realize who the figure was.
"Voldemort?" Harry asked, not fully believing his eyes.
"Aw, Severus. You ruined my game! I was going to have him guess who I was." Voldemort turned around and walked quickly down the hall to meet him.
"Forgive me, my Lord. I had forgotten."
"Oh, don't lie to me. You know as well as I you have a wicked sense of humor and like to use it at the most inappropriate times."
Severus smirked but otherwise said nothing.
Harry, however, was still shocked. "Voldemort?" He said incredulously, "You are Voldemort?"
"How can you be so shocked, Harry? You did meet my diary, did you not?"
Harry blinked owlishly, still not fully comprehending. Voldemort didn't seem to mind; he rather liked that look on Harry. Instead of saying such, he beckoned towards the table. "Care to join me for breakfast? I'm sure you're famished since you missed your actual breakfast, and I can say without a doubt that I am too."
"I told you that the potion would do that to you." Severus muttered slightly, but followed Voldemort all the same. Louder, he asked, "Will anyone else be joining us?"
"No, I think this should be good enough for now. I wouldn't want Harry having an apoplexy any time soon." He chuckled lightly when he saw Harry give a little jerk, as if waking himself from his thoughts.
Slowly, Harry walked closer and sat in the first chair he came to, which happened to be at Voldemort's right hand side. Neither he nor Severus chose to point that out as Harry reached for an apple, biting into it with a far-away look in his eyes. Every so often, Harry would fidget, be it wiggling around in his seat, uncrossing then crossing his legs, or sighing. Both men, however, ignored Harry and instead began to read the morning paper, commenting now and then about this story or that.
They were discussing Gringotts plans for vault renovations when Harry suddenly gasped and dropped his unfinished apple. His eyes turned quickly as he nearly threw himself off his chair, almost knocking it over in his haste.
"Harry, what is it?" Voldemort asked, worried about what was wrong.
Harry turned away, mumbling something as he flew towards the Manor entrance. Severus and Voldemort rushed to follow, still in the dark about what was occurring.
When Severus and Voldemort reached the now opened doors and looked out, they were greeted with Harry throwing his arms around the Weasley twins, the Malfoy family looking on with identical smirks on their faces.
"Lucius!" Severus called surprise evident in his voice. He quickly rushed forwards and embraced Lucius and Narcissa. "What brings you two here?" He asked, noticing from the corner of his eye that Harry had released the twins and was now talking animatedly with Draco. He also saw that Voldemort was watching him from the shadows, unsure of how he should be acting. Severus was surprised but kept it to himself as he listened to Narcissa.
"Well, we knew that Draco could no longer stay at Hogwarts without harm falling onto him from either Dumbledore's followers or even Dumbledore himself. Draco wrote to us that he knew of a few people who followed Harry only, though at the time we didn't know who it was. You can imagine our surprise at seeing a Malfoy and not one but two Weasleys willingly talking to each other!"
"Yes, I'm sure it came to greatly change you existence." Severus replied dryly.
"Oh, hush you!" Narcissa teased him, "Anyways, we knew that if they only followed Harry, Dumbledore would see it as just as great a betrayal. We couldn't just leave them there!" She gazed lovingly at Draco. "I'm also not so sure there is much resentment between them either."
"I wouldn't be all that surprised if they had gone to Draco for a prank idea or two, to be perfectly honest." Severus conspired with them.
Lucius chuckled, "Yes, Draco does seem to have a more devious nature that much is for sure."
Voldemort finally seemed to realize that he would have to step out if he wanted to greet Lucius and Narcissa. "Is this all?" He asked as way of greeting.
Severus had to hand it to the Malfoys their reaction time was fabulous. They hardly blinked in reaction towards an unknown, wine eyed man ordering them, instead replying, "No, my Lord."
"How many others are going to be coming?" He asked, "I'll need to know how many rooms the house elves will be airing out."
"There will be Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood coming here as well, though we will have to go back for them in a few hours. I did not want to make Dumbledore too worried about his loss of followers, and I knew that they needed to gather all their belongings as we would not be heading back." Draco answered for his parents, stepping up and bowing to his Lord.
"Really? Neville and Luna too?" Harry asked excitement evident in his voice.
"You know…" One twin began.
"We wouldn't…" The other continued.
"Leave you like that." They finished together. Everyone but Draco and Harry began to feel a touch dizzy from their back and forth way of speaking.
"Fred, George, do you really have to do that now?" Draco asked, humor barely hidden in his tone as he questioned the twins.
"Aww, now Draco, don't spoil their fun." Harry teased back.
"Do you really want the Dark Lord getting too angry at them though?" Draco whispered, glancing quickly at the Dark Lord in question.
"I am here, you know." He informed them slowly, as if speaking to three year olds.
"Oh, we know." Harry smirked back before reaching and grabbing the twins' hands in each of his own. "Come on then, I'll show you guys your new rooms!"
"Harry, by the by," Voldemort called to him just before they entered the mansion.
Harry turned back, eyebrow cocked in question.
"If you ever want dessert again, you had better respect your elders and wait to be sent off next time." Voldemort smirked slightly as horror filled Harry's emerald eyes.
Harry nodded and began to depart when Voldemort waved him away, but turned around quickly again to ask, "They are in the same wing I am, right? The empty rooms on the same floor?"
Voldemort concurred and Harry and his party headed off.
"So, these will be your new rooms for the time being. I'm sure you will eventually get permanent residence though." Harry said as they walked through the rooms mentioned.
Inside, there was everything the twins could have hoped for. A large set of windows overlooking the gardens in the back, creamy walls and a baby blue king sized bed. The carpet was a few shades away from white, and the wardrobe and door leading to the bathroom were butternut. Baby blue accents were interspersed throughout the room. Overall, the room was very soothing, perfect for calming the otherwise hyperactive twin tricksters.
My rooms are next door and Draco's across the hall from you. If you need anything, I'm either there or in the gardens." Harry said, nodding towards the windows that looked out to said gardens. "Most likely I'll be where the herbs are found, since that is where the best bench is."
"You can also see if Severus will let you into his potions labs. I'm sure if you really wanted, you could pass his tests with flying colors." Draco interjected as their looks became more contemplative. He somehow knew that they would try to use their own fireplace as their work site and he really didn't want to hear explosions at gods only knew what hour of the day or night. The twins shared a grin as if caught with their hands in a cookie jar. Harry snickered. He was happy that his friends would be with him and excited to see what horrors the twins would create on the Death Eaters in his honor. Oh, he couldn't wait!
So, sorry if it was slightly short… I will be working on a one-shot soon though, so maybe that will make up for it? Anyways, reviews (both good and bad) are always wanted, but make sure you let me know why you liked or didn't like it! How will I be able to grow into a better writer if there is nothing for me to base my work on? Also! Can anyone guess how Harry knew that Fred, George, and the Malfoy's had arrived at the mansion?