Plot, new characters, new magical terms and abilities etc. are my intellectual property. If you want to borrow then please kindly ask. JK Rowling's characters and Wizarding Universe are all uniquely hers.
Authors Notes: I am doing my own thing and am drawing on my own Nanticoke/Lenni-Lenape Native American heritage for this story for inspirational purposes, but am taking a number of liberties here. Some of the dialogue of the Native Americans in this story comes from famous quotes found through many sites on the web as well as my own recollections from various readings.
Alternate Universe, Fantasy, Drama, Angst. Summary: After the fall of Voldemort many secrets are revealed amidst new beginnings. But nothing is ever as simple as it would seem even for a Native American in the Wizarding World reconnecting with her long-lost father. Harry Potter once again is The Chosen One and there is a lot more to loose. SS-RL-HP-OC
WARNING: Harry goes beyond mental in this chapter.
Chapter 8: Troubles
'I told you,' Bill said heatedly. 'The man is a parasite! Leopards don't change their spots!'
'William Arnold Weasley I have had enough!' hissed his mother.
'Molly's right,' Remus said with a sigh. 'Badmouthing him won't get us anywhere and I think we all know better than that. Severus has proven himself over and over again and still nothing is ever good enough. I am not casting blame, not at all. I don't have that right especially when I could have made a difference in his life…'
'Lupin how can you…' began Bill.
Professor McGonagall held up a hand. She had remained quiet long enough watching an obviously distressed June as she lay on the old family sofa with her father holding her tight.
'You will hold your tongue, Mr. Weasley. You are entitled to your opinion, but this is neither the time nor the place to exercise that right!'
'I know Sev'rus is – difficult – but I love him and I am not ashamed or afraid to admit it,' June said in a soft whisper.
The eldest of the Weasley boys went quiet. Like her ex-boyfriend, the Sachem had a way a commanding attention without trying.
'So… Lupin is your father?' asked Ginny even though it was more than obvious. Seeing them together there was no room for doubt. But she just couldn't get her head around it.
Charlie moved a small table by Remus and his daughter and then placed a tray on it with steaming cups of tea and a plate of biscuits. He took a seat on the floor with his back against the sofa and stretched out his long legs in front of him.
'Good on you, Lupin,' he said. If anyone ever deserved some happiness it's been you.'
'I'm a lucky man, Charlie. Not everyone can say they have had true love, but I can. I could say I have regrets – but if June had stayed with us she may not have survived the war. And given the concerns of Albus, Firenze and the Oracle we are very fortunate she is with us now. I just wish the circumstances were different…'
'I'm so sorry, Remus!' Molly said tearfully. 'If only I had known…!'
'You weren't to know Molly. I guess I can consider myself lucky that my secrets have always been my own and the Headmaster's. I argued with Albus as the day is long about all this; I didn't want June to have any more problems than she needed should the truth about her parentage came out. But I suppose you have to question what you really have if even your closest friends and those you love don't know who you really are.'
'Spoken like a true Wise-man,' June said quietly.
'So that's where you get it from,' Ron said with a smile.
Professor McGonagall nodded in agreement.
'So I have heard Ron…' June replied quietly.
It was one of the things revealed to her during that last Vision Quest before she left her people. The room went silent as everyone digested what had been revealed about Remus and June.
'Right – enough about me,' said June as she sat up and rubbed her eyes.
Bill came in from the kitchen and handed her a hot mug of tea, even though she had a perfectly good one that Charlie had brought in.
'Thanks Bill,' she said with a wink as she gave his hand a gentle pat.
Bill gave her a smile and then took his seat quietly. Despite her dubious taste in men, he really did like her and didn't want to add to her problems
'What the…?' roared Bill as he dropped his own cup of tea out of fright.
Standing in the middle of the Weasley sitting room was Professors Dumbledore and Snape and Standing Bear.
'Grandfather,' June said quietly. All things considered she shouldn't be surprised that her grandfather wanted to see her. Although this was not exactly the place or time she would have expected to see him. She had expected to be summoned. For him to come and with the Headmaster and Severus, it must be quite serious indeed. 'What brings you here?' she asked respectfully as she stood.
Her grandfather motioned for her to sit down. Mr. Weasley stood and offered his seat to the Nanticoke Elder.
'But, I thought you said your family were all deceased?' asked Molly quizzically.
'They are, Mrs. Weasley,' said Standing Bear as he accepted the cup of tea Ginny offered him. 'We have all gone home save your Mr. Lupin.'
It was Ginny's turn to drop her tea.
'Wait – but you're her grandfather…?'
'Indeed I am,' the Elder said before taking a sip of his tea. He frowned. 'I never did like milk in my tea….you Yengese…'
He shook his head ruefully and took his granddaughter's cup of sugary black tea that Bill had brought in.
'Ahhh a bit of tea in my sugar never hurt, my Nicantet…'
June rolled her eyes and smirked. This lightened the mood somewhat. She was still quiet as was Severus. There was no place for him to sit but next to her once Dumbledore and her grandfather had sat down. They avoided looking at each other even though they desperately wanted to. Even if there had been more room he would not have wanted to sit anywhere else but next to her.
'So you're dead then?' asked George incredulously. 'You look pretty good for a ghost…'
His mother cuffed him around the head.
'Please excuse my son's ignorance,' said Mr. Weasley nervously. 'But surely you understand…this is all rather a bit much to take in…'
'According to the Ministry Educational Decrees this is impossible…' muttered Bill as he scratched his head.
'I am not a ghost; ghosts do not drink tea. You see me with your own eyes, young Misters Weasley. You hear my voice. Touch me if you like. I can also assure you there is none of your so-called 'Dark Magic' at work here.'
'I don't think that will be necessary,' said Mrs. Weasley timidly as Fred and George inched surreptitiously towards the Elder. 'WHAT DO YOU TWO THINK YOU ARE DOING?!'
The twins shot back into their seats and tried to look innocent. June failed to suppress a burst of laughter. She winked at Ginny and Fleur and both giggled as they winked back.
'So what brings you here, Grandfather?'
'Amongst other things your broken heart; and the Potions Masters.'
'I think it's time we prepared for dinner,' said Charlie as he stood and cleared his throat.
'What? Oh – yes!' said Mrs. Weasley reluctantly. 'All right you lot – time to muck in. You boys can de-gnome the garden and set out the table and chairs and things. Girls – kitchen!'
She started shooing everyone out.
'Arthur! You too! Out!'
'No,' said Standing Bear. 'As the Elders of this tribe and of the Headmaster's Order of the Phoenix you must stay. We need a Council and your wisdom is just as sacred. Charlie and Ronald Weasley I ask that you also stay.'
'Oh here we go again,' moaned Ginny. 'I might as well be 12 instead of 20…'
Standing Bear laughed.
'Ginevra Weasley – my words for you are for your ears only. If you act like 12 years old then I will pass this way and leave you to it.'
The Nanticoke tilted his head down and looked up raising his eyebrows.
'Be careful what you ask for Ginny, you just might get it,' June said knowingly.
'What are we, chopped liver?' asked Fred.
Mrs. Weasley leaned over and slapped the back of his head.
'What, Mum? What?'
'Young Mr. Weasley – you too will have your moment. I would suggest that you do not waste your time with your wizarding toys and spells trying to listen to what does not concern you.'
'Damn – he's good!' George said with a grin.
Already the twin's minds were working on how they could improve their business. Weasley's Wizard Wheezes was successful, but with the Elder's help they could go international. He could steer them in the right direction with new merchandise. They'd always wanted to open a branch of the shop on the Continent.
'I might have a suggestion or two,' Standing Bear said with a crafty gleam in his eye.
'Don't fall for it guys,' June giggled. 'You might as well call it 'Shenanigans'…'
Her grandfather loved a good prank and had been one of the biggest at pulling them in the tribe. Mourning Dove always complained about her husband's antics, but her husband and granddaughter knew she loved them just as much as they did. He had even sold merchandise at Grey Dove Trading – the Nanticoke General Store and Trading Post under the trade name of 'Shenanigans'. It was an interesting side of the fearsome warrior that never ceased to amaze people when they found out about it.
The Weasley twins were no exception. They rubbed their hands with glee as Standing Bear began to brag just a bit about some of his legendary exploits amongst his people and their competitors.
'June will have to bring you by the Trading Post…' said Standing Bear proudly.
'You do business in...erm…wherever it is that you are…?' asked Fred incredulously.
'The entire village is there; amongst other things,' said June. 'The realm of the spirit is like any other realm in once sense and then again it is not like any other. It is the reality – and this is the shadow. I can explain later and when the time is right I will show the two of you. I haven't even seen it yet so you will have to wait your turn…'
'Just what we need, another one!' muttered Mrs. Weasley as Ginny stifled a burst of laughter.
'I have an idea,' said June as she stood. 'Where is the backyard?'
'Right here,' said Bill as he led the way.
Everyone trooped out after her with Professor Snape bringing up the rear. The Sachem held up a hand to keep them back and walked out a few yards away from the house. She moved a hand in an almost royal wave. The gnomes all scattered. A few enterprising souls tried to find their way back and instead ended up heading for the nearest Muggle village.
'Now that's what I'm talking about!' said Ron admiringly.
June blew into her cupped hands and then threw her hands forward. A large Nanticoke Longhouse appeared where there was once nothing but slightly overgrown grass. The land had been cleared around it and two Nanticoke warriors resplendent in ceremonial regalia stood on either side of the entrance.
There was nothing but silence as the wizards and witches tried to make sense of what they were witnessing. Standing Bear stood proudly. His granddaughter had a tough road ahead of her trying to overcome so much ignorance, but he knew she would rise to the challenge with the support of these people.
But first there were some very important issues which needed to be resolved.
June signaled for her grandfather to come forward. They had a quiet conversation. Those assembled supposed it was quite something, because Standing Bear's eyebrows shot up and they heard him say 'Nicantet – are you certain of this?' June nodded and her grandfather hugged her.
The Sachem turned around and surveyed the garden. Up popped a long table and chairs and stone barbecue pit. The glass was greener that anyone had ever remembered seeing it. Lush beds of flowers and a vegetable garden appeared adding new life to the surroundings. A final glance and there were plenty of trees, a well, a gazebo with a hammock and a babbling creek.
June was sharing of bit of her homeland with her newfound friends.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley sighed. 'Just what we always wanted…'
'Brilliant June,' Charlie said quietly.
'It is not temporary,' advised Standing Bear. 'Treat it with respect and love and you will be rewarded in abundance.'
June gave Mrs. Weasley a gentle smile and then turned her attention to the group at large.
'We would ask that all of you process inside.'
'All of us?' asked George.
'I won't say it again, George.'
George grinned and tried to control his excitement.
'Erm, what about Harry?' Fred whispered as he fell in line next to June.
'Let's leave him where he is for the moment. He will find us when the time is right….'
'Will he be alright?'
'I hope so, Fred. For his sake as much as anything else. For my grandfather to come – only a fool of the highest calibre wouldn't consider his actions as much as his words carefully.'
'I hate to say it – and don't get me wrong because I don't mean any disrespect or anything – but Harry; well it just seems to me that it will take something really extreme to make him see sense and get his act together. I mean, there is no way I wouldn't take this thing with you and your grandfather seriously – but Harry – I don't know…'
'I know,' June said sadly. 'That's what all this is about and partly why I am here.'
'For the record I agree with Mum – I think you and Professor Snape will work things out…he stands to loose too much and I think he knows that. We all think your lovely and you are really…'
To Fred's everlasting surprise June gave him a big hug.
'What was that for?' Fred said with a sheepish grin as he went bright red.
'For just being you, Fred.'
'Can you two stop with the love-fest and get a move on?' said Ginny with a grin as she poked her head out of the opening to the wigwam.
June gave her a look and then burst into laughter. It was good to not be taken so seriously all the time. Laughter and light-heartedness were needed in abundance and she said so.
'That's why we like you already – you are one of the most chilled people we ever met,' said Fred as they stood near the entrance.
'There is a time and place for everything. But I was serious – watch it with my grandfather when it comes to those new prank boxes and merchandise you are thinking about…he likes blowing up things. He's blown up the Trading Post I don't know how many times…'
Fred looked at her in awe and then moved forward and stepped into the wigwam.
The only two people left outside were June and Severus.
The Sachem started to move forward when she felt a light touch on her back. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before turning around to face the man she still loved. There was so much pain in her eyes. Snape couldn't find the words to apologise to her for all that he'd put her through.
'Perhaps we should go somewhere a little more private,' he whispered.
June nodded in agreement as he held out his hand. She took it and they went back inside the house to the sitting room.
'It shouldn't take so much effort from your grandfather for me to see sense,' the Potions Master said quietly.
'If that's what it takes so that I don't have to lose you then so be it…'
'Do you mean that June? Even after what I said?'
June shook her head 'yes' as tears began to stream down her face.
Severus pulled her into his arms.
'I'm so sorry,' he whispered as he held her tight. 'Can you ever find it in your heart to forgive me? I don't want you to hate me; I don't want to loose you!'
'I can't change who I am, Sev'rus; I can't help what I am. I know you have problems with my father. But those problems are bringing far too much pain to all of us. They are nothing to do with me...'
'I know.' the Potions Master croaked.
'I carry the lycanthropy genes and I have my own peculiar situation to deal with; I know how you feel about werewolves – I know you despise them just like most others in your world…' June said quietly extricating herself from his arms. 'Maybe I shouldn't love you – but it's like Mrs. Weasley said: Love that is real doesn't just evaporate into nothing.'
She sat on the sofa once more with her head in her hands. She didn't make a sound, but the Potions Master knew she was crying. Severus stood looking at her with a multitude of thoughts running through his mind. He ran a hand through his hair frustratedly for a few moments.
'Your…'own peculiar situation'?' he asked hesitantly.
'The fits I have, Severus…I don't transform into a werewolf like my father does and its not limited to the full moon – I don't understand why. But I do suffer certain ill effects like the seizures. Sometimes it's a life-or-death struggle. It's a lot for anyone to have to deal with…I just took it for granted that you would be ok with it because of what you are and what you yourself have been put through your whole life. I was stupid – I made a mistake. I shouldn't have assumed anything – me of all people – well, I should know better shouldn't I? I got so caught up in having you like me that common sense went out the window. I know that having feelings for me is not something that came easily to you. Walk away if you want – it's your choice. At least for one wonderful moment – I was finally able to have love…'
'It doesn't matter,' Severus said in a heated rush as he sat down and gathered her in his arms. 'I promise you – it doesn't matter to me…'
He tilted June's face up so he could look into her eyes. Her face was bright red and her brilliant blue eyes were bloodshot from the tears streaming down her face once more.
'I love you, my precious Moony. You are all that matters to me!'
'Wow!' Fred whispered as he took in the scene around him.
There was a circle of fire at the centre of the longhouse and various practical items from the hoops of its frame. Bullrush mats, tools, feathers, several masks, a snapping turtle rattle and a soapstone bear-effigy pipe. A fox-headed staff leaned against what served as a sleeping platform under which blankets, mats and various items of clothing were stored including moccasins. There were cooking pots and birch bark drinking cups, dishes and containers stored under several other similar platforms though they were not in view.
June was now resplendent in Nanticoke ceremonial regalia and took a seat on a woven mat on the floor after taking down the pipe and preparing it with a tobacco and herbal mixture. Everyone took their places quietly as directed by Standing Bear. Severus took his next to the woman he still loved.
'We must cleanse and purify ourselves to be worthy of this sacred circle and our place amongst the Spirits,' the Sachem said strongly. She took a succession of puffs and then passed the pipe downwards from her head to her toes with her arms held out from her sides. She puffed again and then levitated it down her back and each arm.
With the exception of Standing Bear, Professor Dumbledore and her father, the others were left gobsmacked.
June stood before her father and repeated the ritual. One by one she went to the each of the Weasleys and offered the pipe. George went for his wand and June eased his hand down and shook her head 'no'. The pipe moved downwards from his head to his toes in front and then in back and finally across each outstretched arm.
'Sacred wisdom can be yours if you are willing to rid yourself of misinformation and are open to a new way of being,' she said quietly.
George nooded his agreement and June moved on. She stood in front of Professor Dumbledore, The Greatest Wizard of the Age, and offered him the pipe. He puffed and then stood quietly as June levitated the pipe as she had done with the Weasleys.
'But surely Dumbledore…' whispered Bill.
'This isn't about ability,' Remus whispered quietly. 'It is about respect and letting go of your ego. Be still and observe.'
Standing Bear took a good long look at the werewolf as he folded his arms across his chest. After a lengthy silence he nodded his agreement.
At long last, June's father had his seal of approval.
'The calamity before you is of a scale the likes of which you cannot possibly comprehend,' Standing Bear said intensely.
'It's just so…incredible,' Mr. Weasley replied wearily. 'And the only thing that we can be certain of is that it has something to do with Harry,'
'Once again, the fate of our world rests with the great Harry Potter,' Bill spat angrily. 'Just when it seemed things had finally calmed down and we could just get on with our lives – here comes something else!'
'Bill…' his mother began.
'No Molly,' June interrupted. 'Bill is entitled to his feelings and we will not invalidate them. I'm just as angry as he is and if we are all honest, there isn't a person here who doesn't deeply resent having to face what you know is on the horizon. Everyone in this room save my grandfather has tried over and over and over again with him. Psychologically, he needs help and a lot of it. But he doesn't see that he has a problem – he lays blame everywhere but his own two feet.'
'But what can do?' asked Professor McGonagall. 'He won't listen to reason! God knows your father and Albus have tried I don't know how many time. Even Severus – but Potter unfortunately inherited the prejudices of his Godfather and... Well… You see…'
'The demeanour and methods of the Potions Master over the years only exacerbated situation. He acted as only he could, but it did not elicit the result even he had set as his goal. Prejudices and grudges run deep in this world to the detriment of all,' Standing Bear said.
'So this is my fault?' Snape barked, quite forgetting himself.
'No, Potions Master! But you have played your part, however unwillingly, to the shell of a man that is no more the Saviour of your world than the ground on which we sit or the air that we breathe.'
'You breathe?' George asked.
'I will explain some other time, Mr. George Weasley,' Standing Bear said as he roared with laughter. Addressing Snape he said, 'The path you walk was forged by bullying, abuse and hatred. Your life was not filled with many advantages. You were never allowed to be more than what you are, Severus Snape. Wizards made you what you are and set you on the path which many now condemn you for. But understand this – how different this world would most definitely be had your life been what you had truly wanted for yourself deep inside!'
The longhouse was filled with silence as everyone tried to come to the conclusion they knew the Nanticoke Elder expected them to arrive at.
'I'm sorry – I just don't understand,' Ron mumbled. This was followed by similar comments from his brothers.
'Without delving into my personal affairs,' Snape said reluctantly. 'My being a Death Eater is what saved our world in the last war. Had I not turned, the Dark Lord would be alive and very much in power. The world of wizards and Muggles alike would be very different and it is highly unlikely that any of us save June would be here now to have this discussion.'
'Harry Potter had his role to play, but it was constantly being re-defined because of his attitude as much as his actions. Severus was a vessel – he was the vessel through which the result you desperately needed could come. No one else could have done it; it was his destiny and his alone.' June said as she looked around the meeting space. 'He was able to do things no one else could have done. He was able to observe Lord Voldemort for years. He knew his strengths and his weaknesses because he doesn't have the deficiencies common to the majority of witches and wizards, namely your inability to focus and weakness with logic.'
'You-Know-Who – weak?!' George exclaimed.
'Beneath whatever it was that he turned himself into – the Dark Lord was still a man, And as such he did have weaknesses, just as we all do,' Snape said firmly. 'I probably have my Muggle father to thank for my ability to be so observant – and logical. I was able to focus not only my will to survive, but to also learn as much as I could about him so that I might destroy the Dark Lord – and finally free myself from bondage.'
'You – you're not a Pureblood?' Ginny asked incredulously.
'No, I am not Miss Weasley.'
'And neither was Tom,' Dumbledore added in gravely tones. 'Yes, Ginevra – even Lord Voldemort himself was a Half-Blood. His father was Muggle and his mother a Witch, the same as Severus. Unlike Severus' mother Eileen Price; Merope Gaunt never had any chance to take a proper place in our world. The Gaunt family were the descendents of Salazar Slytherin. Instead of elevating them in status, his legacy destroyed them all.'
'I just don't understand it!' Ron said in shock. 'Everything he stood for, everyone he murdered…'
'Hypocrisy in the extreme,' Snape replied.
'So you admit that you were a hypocrite,' Bill said accusingly.
'I've never denied it, Mr. Weasley; you and others like you have chosen not to listen and I gave up trying to account for myself in the aftermath of the war. You still believe only what you choose to.'
'So – despite what we all believed to be true (and what some of us still want to believe); Severus had to become what he was because it was his destiny. And that destiny is what saved us in the end,' Lupin said quietly.
'Precisely,' Standing Bear said firmly as he rested his fearsome gaze on Lupin. 'However, this does not excuse certain matters. Such things should be kept private, but I will say only this: given the circumstances the parties concerned need to come to some resolution about matters that have festered for far too long.'
Lupin nodded. 'Rest assured, it will happen,' he said firmly as Snape murmured his agreement with a heavy sigh.
'So what do we do about Harry?' Mr. Weasley asked worriedly. 'I've heard that he's barred from the Three Broomsticks…'
'Rosmerta's barred him?' Ginny gasped.
'Llewellyn stopped by the shop earlier,' Fred said. 'Harry and Rosmerta have had the mother of all barney's and she kicked him out for good.'
'And this time next week he'll be shagging her again,' his sister replied bitterly.
'Llewellyn doesn't think so,' George added with a shake of his head. 'They were fighting so bad that Ros got hurt somehow and that was the last straw for her. She isn't having him back
'See – I told you! He is out of control!' Ron said angrily. 'That's why I'm moving into my own digs. I've had enough and I don't need my life ruined any more than it already has been!'
'Is that right, Ron?'! came a growling voice.
Harry stepped into the longhouse, nearly tripping on his trouser legs. Fred and George were short, but they still had more to their height than he did.
'Well, isn't that a fine how-do-you-do!' the Saviour of the wizarding world hissed.
Harry glared at June and Snape. He might as well been hurling a Killing Curse their way. 'Come to turn everyone against me, have you Snape? I know you seem to revel in that pathetic existence you call a life, but you just cant keep that nose out of my business, can you?'
Severus was wound tighter than a spring, one more word against him and June knew he would pounce. She placed a restraining hand on his shoulder.
'Say what?' Harry laughed. 'The greatest Death Eater Scum that ever graced our world, the one-and-only Severus Snape has to be held back – and by his latest fuck?! Oh this is brilliant, this is! So how much is he paying you, Love? Is she that good Snape? You come to your senses sweetheart and…'
Without warming Ginny jumped up and punched him so hard he nearly fell into the fire they were seated around.
'You cunt!' Harry roared.
'You watch your fucking mouth, Potter – you just bloody well watch it!' Charlie said as he pushed Harry hard in the chest, causing him to stumble backwards.
'I don't know what's gotten into you,' Lupin said dangerously. 'But you will apologise – now!'
'Ohh is the big, bad werewolf going to teach me a lesson? When you kick Sirius' arse for all that shit he dragged you into, that might be the day I listen to anything that you have to say! Oh, I forgot – he's dead because you couldn't even be bothered to keep him from falling through the Veil and you kept me from helping him! So just FUCK OFF!'
During Harry's latest tirade Standing Bear had risen quietly and slowly manoeuvred himself into position. He grasped hate-filled Gryffindor from behind in a vice-like gripe.
'Who the fuck do you think you are?' he shouted. A litany of cursing and kicks rained down futilely for the next few minutes. Harry was so out of control that nothing would calm him, not even the terrifying presence Standing Bear.
Dumbledore remained silent after a look from June. They needed to let this play out.
'I can't bear this anymore, I can't!' Mrs. Weasley hollered as she started to cry and then ran outside.
Everyone could hear her bawling loudly as the back door to the kitchen slammed shut.
'Now see what you've done?' Ginny thundered before running out. 'Everything you touch turns to poison! I hate you! I hate you for what you keep putting us through! It's over, do you hear me? It's over!''
'I'm sorry; but I need to see to Molly and Ginny,' Mr. Weasley said to Standing Bear and Dumbledore apologetically.
He turned his attention to Harry, who was now lifted clean off the ground and still kicking out.
'We've loved you and cared for you like one of our own and this is how you repay us? We've all been through enough trying to save you from yourself. You are hell-bent on destroying yourself and anyone who tries to do anything for you. June has done nothing but try and make you see sense. You don't respect yourself, you don't care about your friends and you can't even appreciate the privileged situation that you've always had in our world!'
'Privileged – after everything I've been through…?!'
'And how much of it did you put yourself though – eh, Harry? We've all sat by and watched whilst you were given books and clothes and anything you wanted or needed at no cost, long before you'd done anything that might be equating with deserving them. My children have had to go without, but they were no less deserving than you. I could barely feed my family but not once did I ever begrudge you the blessings that came your way – the blessings that still do like the house you were gifted on Taransay. Even in the midst of catastrophe, you are still so ruddy blessed and yet you just refuse to see things for what they are! Stay away from my family! I'll not have them hurt by you anymore! I don't want you in my home until you've come to your senses and have gotten yourself together and can unreservedly apologise and that's my final word on all of this!
'So your inability to master the fine art of birth control is my problem? Don't make me laugh!'
'You little…!' Ron roared as he rushed his former best friend, only to be held back by Bill and Charlie.
Mr. Weasley stormed from the tent. He needed to calm down before he tapped into long-held resentment and anger, especially at the way Ginny had been treated.
'Hear me now, Harry Potter,' Standing Bear said ominously in a low purr in his ear. 'You have seen horrors that no one should ever have to face even as a child. Everyone here knows this. However, these good people have also seen horrors the likes of which you have no awareness. I will not belittle your experiences because they have affected and changed you profoundly. But understand this also: of all those who have survived the horrors of Voldemort and his supporters, Severus Snape has seen things the likes of which even you cannot fathom. This man you persist in hating is the only one besides my granddaughter who can save you in every sense of the word!
'Enough, Potter! There is no love lost between us – but everything I did so that you would live, that of any of us you would survive the Dark Lord! I know that my methods weren't agreeable to you or your friends, but for once try to see through someone else's eyes,' Snape said sharply.
This last comment earned the Potions Master a penetrating look from the Nanticoke Elder who loosened his grip on Harry only slightly.
'The weaknesses you had as a Hogwarts student are still very much in evidence! And it is those weaknesses, that will cost all of us in the end!' Snape continued. 'It would not matter if there were not so much at stake. Our whole world and the world you grew up in – everything hangs in the balance and simply because the road you are traveling down and the lessons you ought to have mastered!'
'The only thing you care about is yourself – and Slytherin!' Harry snapped.
He had calmed somewhat and June conjured a chair and directed him into it. She was at least comforted by the fact that Harry stayed seated of his own accord after her grandfather pushed him in it, and so conjured chairs for the rest of them and large table. Harry was seated at one end and her grandfather at the other with Severus and June in the middle but on opposite sides. Bill sat next to the Potions Master and Charlie sat next to the young Sachem on one side and Ron on the other. Ron was sat near to Standing Bear to keep the boiling tensions between he and Harry to a minimum. Lupin finally took a seat next to Bill; Harry would just have to live with being that close to him. Professor McGonagall moved in so that she was between Harry and Lupin. It was past time this discussion be held, but it couldn't have happened without Hogwarts' new DADA professor.
'Slytherin as a House is still on the outside looking in, Potter! My students, above all others, are hated and reviled before they even have a change to know who they are and to make choices for themselves. Gryffindors are the exalted and chose ones of all the houses. It has been this way since the dawning of the school and 3,000 years is a long time for such pestilence to be so rampant. You and members of your House have broken many a rule, and oddly enough some infractions have been either completely overlooked or rewarded with positions on house teams and state-of-the-art Quidditch brooms, not to mention house points which enable you to take the House Cup away from those who rightfully earned it. I could go on but surely you see the sense in this.'
'You really are one for holding grudges, aren't you!' Harry laughed incredulously. 'There hasn't been a wizard or witch who turned that wasn't in your House and everyone knows that!'
'Severus makes a valid point, Potter,' McGonagall said guiltily. 'It's of no consequences to victors when they benefit from less-than-honourable behaviour, but Severus is wholly justified and I bear some of the blame for that. For all the times I've chastised you I also turned the other cheek when it benefited our House. It seems like such a small thing to you, but even now there are Slytherins from your year whom have never forgotten; nor have the Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs. You see – everything at Hogwarts has always come down to the ancient rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin. The four founding partners were supposed to have an equitable arrangement and no thanks to Godric Gryffindor it turned out to be anything but.'
'Just sounds like sour grapes to me!'
'Take Draco Malfoy as an example,' Snape said quietly. 'He was never his father's son; never what Lucius thought a Malfoy should be. Draco spent most of his life trying to gain his father's approval – and his love. He couldn't do anything right by his standards at home and he certainly couldn't at school. His grades were never good enough and neither were his Quidditch results. You guard the memory of your parents without hesitation, you who never knew them. Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy were not the best of people, nor were they the greatest of parents perhaps, but their son loved them no less than you still adore yours. Even when he was forced to become a Death Eater to atone for the sins of his father in the Dark Lord's eyes, the love Draco Malfoy had for his father never wavered. All of us loved and lost; we have fought for the right to live and for self-determination. We do this because of our humanity, Potter. Draco had his problems – and he lost his life because of them. He died because of his continued denial of the danger he was in and what was really happening around him. He told himself that I was his enemy, that I was jealous of him. He accused me of all manner of things and refused to let me help him, Potter. The Dark Lord got him in the end just as I said he would, but it had everything to do with Draco and his attitude. Those of my students who listened to me and let me guide them as I see fit survived. The ones who went their own way did not.'
'Malfoy was arrogant and reckless just like his father!' Harry spat. 'And Slytherins will do whatever it takes to save their own necks first so…'
'Why is it that on the one hand you can sometimes grudgingly concede this in yourself in your youth,' June asked. 'And yet most other times you refuse to see that you have not changed, Harry. You are bitter, angry and deeply disturbed by everything that you have not given yourself space and time to confront and accept.'
'Look – you don't know me, OK? Now I know you seem to have people tripping all over you like YOU are some kind of Messiah – but I'm not in your fan club!'
'This is not about me, Harry! It's about you – all of this is about you!' June said venomously. 'A day doesn't go by when I don't pray the Great Spirit and ask "Why me?"! I didn't ask for this and I don't want it! But guess what – this is my destiny and like or not I have no choice but to deal with it or let myself be destroyed by it! I have lost everything; everything that ever mattered to me! I didn't want to leave my home, even though things were quite right. I didn't want to leave my people, even though some of them hated me and tormented me for who I was and what I was for as long as I could remember. And even though I wake up every day filled with pain, I go on! I go because I must! This is the hand that I've been dealt and not entirely bad. I've got a good job now; I've got a wonderful man who loves me and whom I adore. We had a misunderstanding and I'm to blame for that just as much as he is. But I have him – and I wouldn't have if I'd still been running around on the Rez back home. I've got my father again – the best father a girl could have. Well – besides Mr. Weasley and my grandfather. So what if everything isn't exactly a ray of sunshine? Life is what you make of it – and so are people. Severus has only ever tried to do right by you – and far beyond what Dumbledore asked of him. He did it because it was the right thing to do even if he resented it. He's an honorable man who made mistakes like we all do!'
'My mistakes don't involve torture and murder!' Harry roared. 'Oh, but let me guess – now you are going to look through your mind's eye and tell me that bastard never did any of those things, right?! He's as pure as driven snow and not once did he ever do anything on the level of that kind of deviousness.'
Snape got up from the table shakily and walked back to the fire, slowly pacing back and forth.
'I know what he's done. I know what it took to get the Mark and to take his place in the Inner Circle.' June said firmly as she rose. She walked over to the Potions Master. 'I know that the man I love is incapable of such things willingly, especially now,' she said gently as she looked into his troubled black eyes.
'He should have died then if he's so damned honourable!' Harry barked. 'But no – once a Slytherin, always a Slytherin! He only cared about saving his own neck!'
'So do most people, Harry, when their backs are against the wall. It is an indelible peculiarity of human nature to want to live especially when the odds are stacked against it.' Dumbledore said. 'I know you resent me too; just as you do the others. But I really did believe that you had rather a lot to deal with and so didn't want to add to your burdens all those years ago. I acted as I thought I must. I made mistakes with you; mistakes that I cannot undo…'
'…and those mistakes have enabled you to survive as much as your own and the Potions Master's,' added Standing Bear.
Harry was silent for a change and so the Elder continued. 'I know you do not believe in Destiny; nor do you accept that such a thing could change. But I put it to you again that regardless of what you believe, you do have a greater destiny and within that some things are meant to be and others aren't. It is no great mystery; it just is what it is, Harry Potter. Life will carry on regardless – but remember this: even inaction is an act itself. A coward will let themselves be carried along even through the most turbulent of storms; but a warrior – a warrior will always steer the canoe.'
'And what if it seems completely pointless?' Harry asked gruffly.
'Even if going home is inevitable, he can sing his last song with strength knowing did the best he could under the circumstances.'
'What are you on about?'
June explained in the simplest of terms who her grandfather was and how it was that he was here. Harry made the usual comments about what the Ministry taught and yet again June cleared up the misinformation. The Auror-In-Training sighed and ran a hand wearily through his head. He was beginning to come down and needed a pick-me-up. This was all a bit too much.
'That's not what you need, Potter,' Snape said gravely. 'Self-medicating doesn't take your problems away.'
Harry said nothing as he rose and walked towards the flap.
'I'm not like you!' he said to Snape with a penetrating look.
'I am who I am, Potter; and so are you. I don't hold who you are against you. My problem with you now is the same as it's ever been: you need to take these matters far more seriously than you are wont to do. There are things that have come to pass which ought not to have been and things that will come to pass that most definitely do not need to!'
'That's the pot calling the kettle black!'
'Ah – but I made my mistakes just the once, Potter. And unlike you I have not caused a Karmic disturbance. The harm I have done is quite narrow in focus, and has mainly affected myself.'
'Back to that are we? Something's blowing in the wind and it's all my fault…!'
'Why else would I come, Harry Potter?' asked Standing Bear.
'I'm too tired to care right now…' Harry replied as he stepped through the entrance and started running.
The others ran after him but it was too late. Just as he jumped over a hedge there was a loud CRACK!.
Harry was gone, and there was this undeniable feeling that nothing had really been resolved.
'What do we do now?' Ron asked dejectedly.
'We carry on, as best you can,' Snape answered tensely. 'There is still the matter of your fiancée, Mr. Weasley.