To KoshKing and petulantpoet - my fellow Snape fans and kind reviewers.

Dog Days Are Done

Dawn

Dawn couldn't come fast enough. Andromeda Tonks cradled her injured arm and groaned as the wall at her back jolted again. Ted crouched beside her, hand shaking as he fussed with a potion bottle. "Give me your arm," he muttered.

"Oh, Ted." She wept openly as he dabbed dittany on her wounds. She hissed and kicked out at the sting, a slippered foot sending his broken wand clattering to the top step. They barely glanced at the now useless piece of wood. The slim witch's riotous black curls obscured her pained visage.

There was a crash in the room behind them, and Andy wailed louder. "Please, let this end!" Muffled spells sounded. The whirls and whooshes of powerful magic echoed as the walls vibrated. The locked door hammered so violently in its frame that something splintered.

"Soon now." Ted kissed the top of her head, held her close to him. "Sounds like she's holding her own in there."

"Gods, I hope so." A roar cut her off. Growls and whines. The sounds of some animal in agony and rage. Andromeda clamped her hands over her ears as the first ray of sun peeked through the round window at the end of the hall.

"Now, there." Ted rubbed her shoulders.

A few more whines, then scratching and shuffling…and silence. The crouching couple tensed. The door banged open, startling them, and a witch staggered out. She pressed herself to the opposite wall, slid down it. A bloody handprint remained. She breathed heavily once she was seated on the floor. Her dress was ripped in several places, and more blood spread across the shredded white linen over her chest.

"Cissy?" Andromeda crawled to her and began a cursory wound check. Ted attended with the dittany. "Are you alright, Cissy?"

Narcissa Malfoy let go of her wand. She flexed the hand that had gripped the device so desperately. The hilt's silver studs had left violent red impressions in her palm. "I'm fine." She was hoarse. "Just scratches. You?"

Andromeda nodded. "Me, too. And a nasty bruise on my back." She poured dittany across her sister's chest. "I'm so sorry I left you."

"One of us had to go. Besides, my binding spells are better." Narcissa grimaced at the dittany's sting. "Ted's wand?"

Ted Tonks touched his wife's back. "Gone," he answered. "Andy. I love you. But it's time we asked for help."

"No!" Andromeda glared at him, dark eyes flashing. "They'll take him away, Ted!"

"Maybe not!" Ted tried to calm her. "Narcissa said she might know someone."

Andromeda's eyes shined at her exhausted sister. "Do you, Cissy? Do you know someone who will help Teddy and not take him away from us?"

Narcissa let her head fall against the wall. She closed her eyes. "Perhaps I do," she murmured before losing consciousness.

Through the open door across from the troubled trio, a garish figure curled fetally on the floor. It was a repulsive thing among scattered toys and miniature furniture. But the sun's light falling through the bright red curtains illuminated a startling transformation as the hideous disfigurements popped and shrunk. The growling gave way to rattling breaths, and those gave way to an innocent snore.

Soon, all that remained of the monster was a sweetly sleeping boy…