Chapter Fourteen – Reverses and Refusals
"Headmaster, are you out of your mind?" Severus roared, not believing what he was saying. The Weasley family, under the Imperius Curse? Well, someone had done it, and it wasn't any Death Eater that he'd known who was still alive. They'd be bragging about it if they were, he was sure.
"No, Severus," he said calmly. "Mr. Weasley here has been answering questions by means of Veritaserum. From what he has told me, and from the symptoms Molly is showing, she has been under the Imperius curse since before the Quidditch World Cup."
"Fine. Let them say that all you want – I don't want them anywhere near my daughter," Snape snapped, turning on Weasley. "And if you so much as try to put one drop of poison in anyone's cup this year, I will personally track it back down to you, brat."
"Speaking of which, Severus," Dumbledore said calmly. "Ginny is in need of a new home since Arthur and Molly are terrified of losing her. They need a third wand to release them from the Unbreakable Vow now that the deal is null and void. Could you do the honors?"
Snape growled lowly in his throat. He wasn't busy, per se, but he had better things to be doing. He now had four insane teens under my rooftop, a wife, and he had to balance this insane family life with the life of a spy for Dumbledore and Voldemort. Ugh, this was hell, he groaned. Weasley was his least favorite student by far, and there was no way in hell that Snape was going to let all three members of the Golden Trio under his roof. Potter and Granger he could put up with since they cancelled each other out in the trouble department, and both kept each other, as well as Kiru and Dudley, busy. Put a fifth child into the mix? No thank you, he'd rather die by the Cruciatus Curse, thank you very much.
"Professor?" a female voice squeaked from the doorway to reveal a terrified Ginny Weasley. "Is – is it safe, sir?"
"Fine," Snape snarled. "Miss Weasley, come here." She scampered over, and he muttered a few Latin incantations. Gradually, the fires left her arm, and receded into his wand, and disappeared into thin air with no trace of the vow behind as a reminder. "Who poisoned Potter's drink and why?"
"Ron did," she said simply, hesitating before adding, "Mum told him to." She flinched, half expecting to die, but relaxed when nothing happened.
"There," Dumbledore said gently. "No harm done."
"No harm? No harm?" Severus roared. "This lot nearly killed Potter last year, Headmaster! I spent more than half my school year making sure poisons didn't get into Kiru's, Potter's or my drinks! You call that 'no harm done', Albus?"
He stared at the Potions Master, who stormed out of the office, literally shoving Molly out of his way in a rage. The twins were gaping as he rounded the corner, not willing to believe what was happening. Snape was still in a rage over Dumbledore forgiving this "ragtag batch of hooligan liars". He'd seen dozens of Death eaters escape Azkaban by saying they were under the Imperius Curse. Unfortunately, Molly had testified that she was under the Imperius Curse while under the influence of Veritaserum. Well, so much for allies in the war. Oh, they were screwed, so royally screwed the next time they needed help.
Severus swore black and red for hours until he finally calmed down enough to apparate home. He was still pissed off at Molly and Arthur, and wasn't at all happy about what was going on. Hissing angrily, he sauntered down to the basement where he could complete the next potion for Poppy's medical stores in the Hospital Wing, his black cloak billowing behind him. Strangely, he felt – calm, almost when he was brewing. It released something inside him that helped him feel more – at ease – with his past.
He sighed, setting down wearily, rubbing his face in frustration and drowsiness. As much as he was used to the effects of the Cruciatus curse, it didn't mean he was immune to the after-effects. The potions he was brewing were extremely simple, but just complex enough to need something that none of the teens had yet. Kiru and the others didn't dare come down here – not when he was still so upset. Chessie could always tell his mood somehow, even across the mansion's vastness, and warned the others when he was in a foul one, like today.
"Professor?" Hermione called out shakily, not sure if she could come down. She warily tiptoed downstairs, taking extra care not to disturb anything. "Professor Snape?"
"What, Granger?" Severus snapped, his dark eyes latching onto hers. "This had better be good."
"Sir – I – I was wondering how you and Chessie got married," she admitted. "Not that I have anything against you, but…you just didn't seem like the marrying type to me before, sir. You seemed too…withdrawn, almost."
"In a way, it was forced," Severus admitted darkly. "Her cousin was threatening her with a werewolf attack, and I knew that the werewolf in question would attack her at any given time of the month, day or night. That, and said cousin is a known Death Eater."
"So, he said she had to marry a dark wizard, and she chose you?" Hermione verified, and Severus nodded. "She – willingly chose you? Why?"
"Ask her," Severus snapped. "I don't know. All I know is that for some unfathomable reason, she won't let me divorce her when this whole mess is over with and he's gone."
"You mean – you-know-who?" Hermione asked, and the Potions master was extremely close to hitting or killing her. "I'm sorry, sir. It's just – what do you think about all of this? What do you want her to do after the war is over?"
"Yes," Severus answered coldly. "And my thoughts and feelings are none of your business, Granger."
"Sir, with all due respect," she pled, "I would feel at least a little more comfortable living under your roof if I could at least begin to understand you, since you are my new guardian and all…"
"Get out. NOW!" Severus roared, and she skirted out, taking just as much care not to hit potions as she did on her way in. "And go to your room! I expect you to have all five rules of this house memorized before I get back upstairs for dinner!"
"Blimey," Harry and Dudley murmured as Hermione ran past them crying. "What happened?"
"I – I tried to talk to Snape," Hermione sobbed as they went into her room. "I tried to see his feelings and his point of view on things. You know, to be nice, and he – he yelled at me!"
"Damn," Dudley murmured. "Well, at least he doesn't have you doing yard work like he does me. Besides that, I – you don't know the rules, do you?"
"Oh yeah," Harry realized. "We forgot to tell her Professor Snape's five rules of the house. Sorry about that, Hermione, we should have told you sooner."
"A bit bloody late," she sobbed onto her pillow as a large white bird ascended into the house.
"No," Severus protested loudly when the four teens crept downstairs a few hours later, and the fireplace had been opened to the floo network for only temporarily as Dumbledore was wanting an emergency meeting with the whole Snape family. "No, Albus! I will not take them in, damn it! I've already got four kids under my roof, one a muggle born and one muggle, one pureblood and one half-blood, and you're telling me to put myself in more danger by taking in a lunatic and a blood traitor! No! I won't have any part of it!"
"Severus," Dumbledore said quietly as he stepped out onto the tiles.
"No! I'm not having any of it!" Severus yelled angrily pacing in front of the headmaster to make sure the old wizard didn't gain further entry. "No, no, emphatically no!"
"Professor," Luna said quietly from behind the headmaster, "I won't tell anyone, but the Nargles are extremely flustered around you, and even more so when you're angry."
"Pipe down, Lovegood," Snape spat. "Give me one good reason to take them in, Albus, and it had better have something to do with Azkaban."
Damn this all to hell, Snape snarled mentally. This was outrageous, and much more so now that he already had four teens to look after. Voldemort wanted him to get Chessie pregnant, and there were eight rooms for sleeping in aside from the master bedroom. Each teen had their own, but if they took in any more students, that would change in a heartbeat. One bedroom was already converted into a nursery for newborns and toddlers, and only three were available. Even if he'd forced two girl couples into sharing two bedrooms, he still would be crowded for space. A jar broke off to the left from Severus' wrath, and he forced himself to try to calm down and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"Severus," Dumbledore said calmly, "They have nowhere else to go. Prince Manor has many places they may stay, I'm sure, and there are too few people I would trust with a task such as this as much as I do you, Severus."
"Damn it, Albus," Severus swore angrily. "I said no and I meant no! I've already got four teens under my roof, and Chessie's already converted one of the bedrooms into a nursery, and another into a playroom for small children! I wouldn't have enough room unless I forced everyone to start sleeping two or three to a room!"
"Why not use an engorgement charm, Professor?" Luna asked distantly. He glared at her, growling deeply in his throat to show his distaste of the very thought of the idea she'd made. "And why not ask the others to see what they think?"
"I for one wouldn't mind," Kiru grinned coming downstairs. "You're yelling is really loud, by the way, daddy. Apparently Hermione's in trouble, so she sobbed out for me to give the thumbs up. Dudley and Harry – I have no freaking clue."
"Dudley doesn't care," Harry reported as he walked in at that moment. "And neither do I. Hey, Luna."
"Hi, Harry, Kiru," she returned in unison. "What's it like here?"
"Heaven," Harry grinned while Hermione yelled down, "Hell" at the top of her lungs. Snape rolled his eyes while Kiru smirked and bit her lip to keep from laughing. Harry and Chessie were laughing quietly, but immediately cleared out of the room to give the Potions Master some room to calm down before he blew his top.
In the end, they didn't stay at the Prince Manor, and no other person would take the two girls in on such a short notice. Chessie was tempted to, but she knew that the finances were already strained as it was from raising the four they had. They were getting a monthly allowance for Hermione for now, and Harry and Dudley were getting a monthly allowance as well. Kiru didn't get one, but simply inherited everything from her late biological mother. Harry also had everything from Gringotts he needed, while Dudley was getting his cash flow from his parents' retirement funds.
Chessie snickered at the thought of the two adult Dursley's rage when they found out what had happened to their son and their retirement funds. Chessie went to her husband, putting a hand on his shoulder gently to help calm him down. She looked him in the eyes, knowing he'd read her mind to know what she was saying, and he fumed silently for a few minutes. Dumbledore was still waiting calmly and silently.
"The answer is no, Headmaster," Chessie said finally. "Severus and I have too many things going on right now, and the finances are already strained enough by raising four teens. So, no, we're not taking them in, orphaned or not."
"And if Molly were to pay you?" Dumbledore inquired, and the couple shook their heads. "Perhaps, if I were to give one of you a promotion?"
"What kind of other promotion could you possibly give us? Severus is already the head of Slytherin House, and there's no other position that's available," Chessie argued, almost to the point of yelling or cursing out her employer. "And no, Lovegood, Defense Against the Dark Arts is already been filled for next year. Unless you were to somehow arrange for me to be in charge of Quidditch or something, I highly doubt you'd be able to give me a promotion."
"I want nothing to do with being deputy headmaster," Severus added quickly and sourly. "That's Minerva's job."
"Perhaps more information as to why Kiru is a Parselmouth?" Dumbledore said calmly. "More information about Voldemort? Surely you can't deny the young ones rights to what they need and deserve to know."
"Touché, old sod," Kiru snarled. "I'm fairly sure I know why I'm a Parselmouth. From what I understand, my mother was one, and she was a direct descendant of Salazar Slytherin himself by means of an illegitimate great-grandchild that his granddaughter mothered with a half-blood descendant of Gryffindor. That's why we have the Ocarina, and that's why we're rash even though we're in Slytherin, or cunning while we're in Gryffindor. I'm not stupid, and you should take your own damn advice!"
"Speaking of which, Kiru," Chessie said calmly eyeing the snake behind her. "Where did you get that snake?"
"Noki? Eh, he followed me a few hours ago. He can't seem to leave me alone," Kiru shrugged.
"A basilisk for a familiar," Dumbledore paled to an ashen gray. "This is most disturbing. The last time that a basilisk came into Hogwarts was two and a half years ago."
"Don't remind me," Severus, Harry, Chessie, and Hermione all growled and moaned. "That thing almost destroyed us all!"
"Yeah, if Harry-kun hadn't killed it," Kiru pointed out. "The answer is still no, and will remain as a no until further notice. Now get off of our turf before I let Orochi get his way."
Dumbledore paled as he grabbed a small amount of floo powder and used Severus' fireplace to get back to Hogwarts. Snape grinned in delight at Kiru's words, and hastily looked away from Kiru's familiar until she started laughing. Severus raised an eyebrow, and Kiru explained that Orochi's stares didn't have the normal murderous gleam to them since it was her familiar. Its piercing stare could only kill or petrify if she allowed it, which was almost never unless she was angry, or unless the person Orochi was hunting had tried to kill her on numerous accounts. This left few options, although Kiru still wanted to see the snake she had gotten so attached to while in her first year.
Orochi was happily chatting with Harry before the sun went down, while Kiru and the others were now a little more at ease with the serpent.