Harry found it difficult to return to Ron's house knowing he was the bearer of bad news. In particular, he did not want to have to be the one to tell Snape about Georgia Mason; and worse, after having searched for Daniel and not finding him, to tell the man that the boy was missing. He knew the wizard who killed Daniel's mother had not kidnapped the boy since Daniel was not present when his mother was slain. Harry surmised it was possible that Daniel had left the house and Georgia was out on the street searching for him. It was the only explanation for her not being inside No.12 Grimmauld Place.
He apparated leaving her body in the drawing room at Sirius' house. He hoped…no…prayed Daniel would not return and find her dead.
He entered his friends house and wondered just how things managed to get so out of control in such a short time. He thought his task was insurmountable in trying to find the Horcruxes, destroy them and kill Voldemort. Now he would be dealing with Snape who was gravely injured and his reaction to the gloomy news; he was also wondering just what he should do to find Daniel. He was worried that hee was fast losing any ally who could help him perform the former tasks. If he lost Snape to grief or anything else, they would all suffer for Harry realized how fully he needed the man's help.
Hermione met him in the kitchen. She saw the look in his eyes and he hated it when he saw the worried expectation in her face. He'd been the one causing that look on too many occasions and he was sick of it. He wished the stormy weather in his life would just let up and give him a reprieve, just for a short time.
"What is it Harry?" she asked.
He told her and she caught her breath in horror. Remus and Ron entered the kitchen as he was explaining what happened. They all stood looking at each other for a minute.
"Could anything else go wrong?" Hermione murmured.
"I'll go and get her body, Harry," Remus said, reaching for his cloak. "He's sitting up and awake but not well. Ron's mother is doing the best she can, but I think we need an antidote for the poison in his wounds. If there was anyone who could make one it would have to be him. He knows more about potions than any of us, so I suggest we see if we can assist him in any way possible.
Harry nodded. "I agree. I need him. Let's hope he's willing to make the potion. I think for sure he'll want to look for Daniel."
"I'll tell him for you, Harry," Hermione offered. "I'll tell him about Georgia and Daniel."
He shook his head. "He already thinks I'm a coward. I need to face him and take whatever he's going to hand out. We have no chance of getting the last Horcruxes without his help. We don't know how his mother will interfere with our job or what will happen if she goes to Voldemort and I think time is running out."
She looked at him and nodded in understanding.
"Bloody awful thing, Harry," Ron said, looking off into the distance. "I'll distract mum and get her away from him. If you need me to fetch ingredients for the potion, just say. In the meantime, while your speaking to him I have something to do and I won't be at it long." He went to the room where Snape lay and coaxed his mother to the kitchen. He whispered to her and then guided her to a chair as she reacted to the news.
Hermione stood watching him, pride filling her face. Mrs. Weasley was reacting with strong emotion and Ron was comforting her. For the first time Harry could remember Ron was acting like an adult in front of his mother and not relying on his older brothers to deal with the situation.
Harry left them and walked into the room. The light from the single lamp was dim. Snape was sitting up in bed, pillows propped behind him. His neck and part of his chest were heavily bandaged and he looked drained of blood. Given all of this, the dark eyes were sharp and he was aware. He gave no hint he was in pain.
"Mr. Snape," Harry said and drew a chair to the bedside. He glanced on the covers and noted the potion's handbook laying in Snape's hands. It was a surprise since the last time he'd seen it was when he'd hidden it from Snape in the Room of Requirement.
"Thought you had lost this, Potter?" Snape said, "It would have been a dark day indeed if that were the case. There is important information in here."
Harry wondered for a moment how the man had come by it and then sat the thoughts aside. It wasn't important.
"Mr. Snape, I hate to be the person who tells you," he said, and took a deep breath. "Unfortunately, I must. I apparated to Grimmauld Place. Madam Mason was outside and someone in a cloak, hiding his face, walked up and used the Ava Kedavra curse on her. She is dead." Harry stopped, allowing the news to be absorbed.
Snape's face was now completely drained of blood and he looked more like a corpse than a living person. The book dropped from his hands and to the covers. "Dead?" he repeated in a raspy voice.
Harry nodded. "Yes. I left her in the drawing room and came here immediately."
"Daniel?" Snape whispered.
Harry shook his head. "He wasn't there. I searched the house. I think he left shortly after we did. Georgia may have been on the street searching for him. I…I don't think she ever really understood how much danger she was in, but I think she would have only made herself vulnerable if she were worried about Daniel. I may be wrong about that. I'm very sorry." It was all he could think to say.
He rose to his feet. "We need to find the ingredients to make an antidote to the poison in the bite wounds in your neck. We'll need your help. I'll give you some time but we must do it soon and you are the only one who can supervise. Hermione is very good at potion-making and I suggest she do it. The sooner you are able to help us the better."
He watched Snape for a minute and then turned and left.
Hermione stood at the door and entered as Harry left. He watched her. Snape's head was down and she went to his bedside and laid a hand on his shoulder speaking to him softly.
Harry sat across from Mrs. Weasley and they stared at one another. She was weeping silently. He didn't know what else to do but wait for Ron and Remus to return.
"I'm sorry we've brought this trouble to you, Mrs. Weasley," he said quietly. "Actually I'm sorry I have ever brought trouble to you and your family. It seems I can't keep it from you no matter how hard I try." He said it with deep sincerity and deep regret.
She wiped her tears and rocked forward in her chair to pat his knee. "I love you like I have loved my own children, Harry. I would do for you what I would do for any of them."
He nodded. "You have been my family from the beginning. I've had no other and it's helped enough to get me through a lot."
She smiled through the tears and then sat back, holding a hand to her chest, looking sad "In case you ever doubt it, just look for yourself." She gestured at the clock which Harry had seen on his first trip to her home. The hands were all pointing to each member of her family indicating they were in peril. There was an additional hand he had never seen before. It pointed to his name.
He caught a sob in his throat and couldn't quite look at her directly for a minute.
"We have a great deal ahead of us Harry," she said. "I think we're better off if we face it and share the risk together as a family."
He dropped his head with gratitude and nodded. Hermione entered the room with a paper in her hand.
"It's a list of ingredients, Harry," she said. There were no tears on her face, just deep sadness.
"How is he?" Harry asked.
"He wants to find Daniel, but he's so weak he can't get out of bed. The sooner we make this potion the better." She handed him the paper.
"Ron's going to fetch whatever we need, but he's gone right now." Harry remained sitting.
Hermione sat beside him, hands clasped together between her knees. "Do you have any idea where we might look for Daniel? Mr. Snape would…" she stopped and glanced a the door to his room, "He might be able to concentrate on what we need to do if he knew Daniel were safe."
"I have no idea, Hermione," Harry said.
She nodded and they sat together while Mrs. Weasley went to the kitchen to make tea and sandwiches. They had all been up for the pasty twenty four hours and they were running on empty. Hermione looked exhausted. She was covered in filth from the dungeons, Snape's blood and her hair was wildly out of control. Harry stared at her and thought he had never seen her look so bad.
"You need to rest," he said.
"So do you, Harry," she said. "I'm good for awhile longer. We must do something about Daniel if we can. Harry… Snape's mother was horrific." Her face scrunched up.
"When you're up to it you'll have to tell me what you learned from her," Harry said.
"Did you find your mother's wand? she asked. I know you went looking for it."
He nodded and withdrew the small trunk from his pocket. She knew what it was immediately. It was in Snape's old Hogwart's trunk.
"You know what that means?" she said.
He shook his head. "No. What do you mean?"
Well Harry, it's your mother's wand," she began. "Since you can't use your own against Voldmort, you might be able to use hers. Some wands accept other family members you know. Do you have it?" She accepted it when he pulled it from his robes. "Do you sense anything?"
"No, Hermione, I don't," he answered, taking it back and holding it in his hands. "It's not important. I'm glad to have it. I've never had anything of hers before." He caressed the wand and held it in the light. "I wonder how he got it?"
"He would have had to been there the night your parents were killed, Harry."
He nodded. "Yeah, you're right. Hermione do you have any idea why Snape's mother wants Daniel?"
She glanced at her dirty hands and rubbed them together nervously. "I think Snape kept Georgia Mason a secret from his mother. Whatever! Not important right now. What is important is that she knows the Medal she took is a Horcrux. She knows what they are and she's not afraid of Voldemort. I think she's going to take to him. That can't be good because it'll be beyond our reach. What I said before is true, I think she would trade it for Daniel."
Harry shrugged. "Might as well not think about it. That won't happen."
She nodded understanding the depth of their dilema.
It was at that moment the door opened and Ron and Daniel came through.
"Ron!" Hermione jumped to her feet and ran to him, one hand reaching for Daniel. The boy was as white-faced as Snape. It was clear Ron had told him about his mother.
"I want to see my dad," he said. Hermione guided him to the door of the bedroom and followed him in leaving Ron and Harry alone.
"How did you ever?" Harry exclaimed.
"He's half muggle. Lived in the muggle world all his life Harry. Just like you. When I saw him the first time yesterday he was at Hogwarts. Said he'd taken a train to Hogsmeade. I figured if he knew he might know about the Knight bus. There's hardly any other way for a kid his age to travel around. He wouldn't know about the Floo Network, just like you didn't. I thought I'd surely be able to track him down." Ron smiled briefly and stared at the door to the bedroom. They heard Daniel's sobs coming from the next room. They stopped for a minute as if the sound had forcefully muted them.
Harry nodded. "Right then, Ron. We need to get a list of ingredients and then I think the best possible place to find them at this time of night is at Hogwarts. Can you go there and fetch them?" He handed the paper to his friend.
Ron nodded. "I'll go now."
His mother came in at that moment with a plate of sandwiches. "I'm coming with you, Ron." He started to disagree and then nodded. The look they gave each other spoke of their acceptance of each other as equals.
Harry was left in the room alone, wondering what his next move might be.
Remus and Ron returned about the same time. Remus walked in his cloak covering the body of the woman. He laid her gently on the sofa.
"We've got Daniel," Harry said immediately. Remus looked surprised. "Ron found him and he's gone to get the things we need for an antidote."
"He knows about his mother?" Remus asked gently arranging the cloak that covered her face.
At that moment Ron entered.
"Where's your mum?' Harry asked.
"She's stayed behind to talk to McGonagal," Ron said handing him a basket.
"Mr. Weasley," a deep heavy voice said. They turned. Snape was standing leaning in the door of the bedroom, one hand on Daniel's shoulder to steady himself. Hermione was behind him looking worried. "Thank you for finding Daniel." It was clear he was ready to collapse and was barely managing to stand erect.
Ron gulped and nodded. He'd never received a compliment or even a comment from Snape which hadn't been cruel or ugly.
Snape looked down at Daniel. "Should we do this together?" he asked the boy. Daniel nodded, his face flushed red with tears. They walked to the sofa and Daniel pulled back the cloak. Snape dropped to one knee with great difficulty. Daniel didn't cry, but Harry could hear Hermione trying to stifle her sobs and there were tears in Remus' and Ron's eyes. He wondered if his own were wet with tears, the last time was recently when he stood over Dumbledore's body.
He was tired of weeping.
Snape had one arm around Daniel and he waited until the boy had a chance to gather himself and touch his mother. Daniel reached for her hand and then looked up at his father. "Did she suffer?" he asked.
Snape shook his head and drew the cloth back over her before attempting to rise. When he couldn't, both Harry and Remus reached and pulled him to his feet.
"Should you be out of bed, Severus?' Remus said. "It's time to put you back so we can brew a potion. Ron's brought the ingredients for the antidote and Hermione can brew it in your room."
"Yes," Snape moaned. He started for the door and then turned. "Daniel stays with me." The boy rose to his feet and rushed to his side.
Harry watched as Hermione made preparations. Snape had given her the potions book and was watching her every movement. With very little guidance she began to prepare the solution. Neither spoke and yet there was something between them. Harry waited to see if Snape would chide Hermione or act cruelly towards her and then realized that Snape was acting differently. He was looking at her with something like respect and Harry decided that the past twenty four hours had changed them both dramatically.
Remus joined Harry at the door and they moved away to talk. "What now do you think?" Remus asked. "Morilla has a Horcrux, Obviously neither she or Voldemort managed to get hold of Daniel. Do you have any idea who killed Georgia Mason, Harry?" he rubbed a hand over his tired face. "And why? She would have been worth more to someone alive, I would have thought."
"No Remus, I don't. I couldn't get a look under their hood before they disapparated." Harry sat at the kitchen table an withdrew his wand and waved it to sit two teacups before them. The new day was dawning and light was piercing the darkness of the night. He was exhausted and knew everyone else was too. He looked at his friend. "We don't have a chance do we Remus?"
Remus stared back and smiled. "It looks bad, Harry. But I always believed hope is our best weapon. I have to admit sometimes it's the hardest weapon to come by." The man returned to staring into his teacup. Ron joined them.
Ron held a vial in his hands and in the other he held a pair of glasses similar to the ones Harry wore.
"Remus, Hermione found this in Snape's vaults when she went to Gringott's. There were a dozen vaults and each held something different. She was interested in the one that held the potions. This was labeled as a cure for lycanthropy." He sat the eyeglasses on the table and turned to Harry. "Fred and George were trying to find a way us to travel around without using brooms or the floo network or anything else the ministry anyone else could track. Something a spell couldn't prevent, like apparation. So they invented this."
Harry looked at the glasses. "Eyeglasses."
Ron shook his head. "Portable, controllable portkey. Notice Harry, I've been carrying it around. It only transports you when you activate it. And you set the destination."
Remus and Harry sat looking at Ron in stunned silence.