A Pathetic Order
"Can you see to Doge, Poppy?" Minerva asked. Now she definitely wanted a calming draught. What had been stuck in Harry's craw to do this damage? Even Remus hadn't been beaten as badly as Doge; he was a member of the old generation, an advisor on the Wizengamot, and he'd been in the Order since its inception. Given what she knew, Minerva was surprised that Doge had been dosed with the potion; Doge was one of Dumbledore's oldest friends. She'd heard a few comments here and there that referred to Doge as Albus' dim-witted but devoted sidekick.
Once Poppy was seeing to Doge, Minerva stalked over to Harry, whose dark mood didn't seem to have abated any. She said nothing about Severus' words to Molly; given Severus' anger, she didn't want his wrath turned on her. He was entitled to defend Harry; Molly had no right, as her son said, to go around using that spell on anyone. Given how vindictive Harry could be, Molly would only end up in front of the Wizengamot for aggravated assault. It seemed she knew now where the Weasley children got their hotheadedness from; it certainly wasn't Arthur, who was calmer and quieter than anyone she had ever met.
"Harry?" Minerva asked quietly, watching him with worried brown eyes.
Harry ignored Minerva, not wanting to say something to her he'd actually regret. He was so angry; usually he could just go out and fight to relieve his pent up emotions. That wasn't possible here; for the first time since his Dom had taken him from that damn room, he felt the claustrophobia greater than ever. To make matters worse, Poppy was over there undoing all his handiwork. He really should have guessed, but, idiot he was, he hadn't.
"If you fix him, I walk," Harry snapped, unable to keep silent.
"Did you know?" Arthur asked, whispering into his son's ear. The twins had surely known something was up. They had been too happy, and very quick to defend Severus and Harry. Then again, anyone with half a brain would have done so. Certainly nobody was coming to his wife's defence, although he could see some of them were extremely angry at Severus bringing up the Fabian and Gideon murders, with good reason. Both men were considered heroes by the people in this room.
"Yes," Fred said seriously, no sign of repentance on his face or in his voice. His lips twitched; it was so like Harry to turn around and say something like that.
Poppy froze from where she was crouched over Doge, her gaze going from Minerva to Severus, and then to Harry. He was sitting at the other side of the room with his arms crossed, staring levelly at Poppy, showing no hint of remorse. The room was silent, waiting with bated breath for Poppy to do something... anything. She stood up from her crouching position; from what she'd learned of Harry, he was truthful. She didn't want to test him; no doubt Severus would leave as well. Poppy had seen how attached Severus was, she knew that when he loved, he loved very much and completely. The worst of the damage had been dealt with; his nose has been fixed, and the rest were just bruises which he could fix himself.
Severus felt amusement flash through him, Harry had only been here a few weeks, and seen Poppy and Minerva only two times, yet they knew how serious he was. It may have something to do with having nothing to lose, nothing bar him was keeping Harry here, and they didn't even realize that. Or perhaps not everyone realised it; he could almost see the cogs turning in quite a few people in the room. Arthur Weasley, Lupin, Moody... even Granger, but he wasn't surprised by that. Black, though, just looked stupefied; he'd probably have to spell it out to him. How the idiot had managed to become an Auror and remain one, he would never know. His amusement didn't last long, once he got the gist of Harry's emotions.
Stalking over to Harry, ignoring the rest of the room, he pulled out a calming draught and handed it to Harry. He gave him a stern look that said he had better take it, otherwise he would shove it down his throat. He was tempted to take one himself! He couldn't help but pinch the bridge of his nose. He wanted answers; Doge was useless, and he didn't understand why Harry had attacked him. Especially if the old wizard's confusion was anything to go by. Attacking Remus or the others was one thing, but Doge was an old man, not someone who could keep up with Harry. Unless, of course, he had his wand in his hand; then he would be classed as competent.
"What the hell are you giving my godson!" Sirius snarled, trying to stalk forward, only to be held back by an irate Remus. Black glared at Remus, getting annoyed at his constant interference, especially when it came to Harry. First when he asked Minerva earlier, now this; it was getting beyond exasperating. It was as if Remus was trying to keep him from his godson.
"Enough, Sirius," Minerva said, warning clear in her voice. She, unlike Dumbledore, wasn't about to let the two bicker at each other's throats during meetings. They would either buckle up and act their ages, or they were out. They had a world to save, and that was not something they could do while arguing among themselves. "If you cannot behave yourself, you will find Hogwarts is no longer open to you."
"Ooo, please misbehave, for me?" Harry drawled sarcastically. His green eyes were dulling as the potion began to work and calm him down, but there was still a wicked twinkle in them.
Fred and George laughed, along with Charlie, Bill, and Ginny; the tension seemed to disappear as the twins wandered over to Harry, making their allegiance clear. They hesitated a few feet from the pair, seeing the look Snape was giving them. They weren't about to piss him off, not wanting to risk the budding friendship they had with Harry.
"You had better be honest with me, Harry; I am in no mood for half-hearted excuses, is that understood?" Severus whispered into Harry's ear so nobody could overhear them, not even Minerva, who was still standing pretty close to them.
Not that anyone other than a few were actually trying to listen in. The others were all gossiping about just why Harry had attacked Doge. Their opinions ranged from Harry being a deranged psychopath to him being controlled by someone. Their long hard search for Harry had kept them going, each of them imagining their hero to be pure and naïve. It was glaringly obvious that they didn't understand what it was like to live on the streets.
"Yes, sir," Harry murmured. The calming draught had worked too well; he just wanted to close his eyes and sleep.
"Why did you attack Doge?" Severus asked, a hint of sternness entering his voice. He did ask himself if he really wanted to know; his mind was filled with all sorts of ideas, none of them good. He knew Harry'd had several Doms before him, and as an older wizard and pureblood, he probably preferred the D/s life. He liked to think Harry had more taste than to end up with a man one hundred and sixty years old. But, as he had explained to Lupin, Harry would have done anything to get off the streets.
The room had gone silent hearing Severus' question, their own minds curious. To say this was an Order meeting they wouldn't be forgetting any time soon would be putting it lightly.
"Harry," Severus repeated as a warning.
"I met him," Harry said quietly, shooting a glare at everyone else in the room. Damn them, he didn't want them to see him like this. Yet he couldn't sneer or growl at Severus, not only because he respected him too much, but because his Dom would hate that. He wanted to prove how much he needed Severus, not drive him to being constantly angry with him.
"When?" Severus asked urgently.
"I was nine," Harry replied.
"I presume you mean while you were still at the Dursleys'?" Severus stated in resignation.
"The day before I ran away," Harry clarified.
Severus inhaled sharply, causing the Order to frown and wonder what did he know that they didn't?
"Am I correct in the assumption that he is the reason Vernon Dursley stabbed you?" Severus asked, sighing tiredly.
Understanding now, each of them gasped; Ginny whimpered, utterly horrified. She had been sheltered greatly by her parents and siblings. Despite being possessed by Lord Voldemort, she was innocent and naïve in the ways of the world. Fred and George winced, unable to look at anyone; so much for knowing everything that had happened from reading a bloody newspaper. No wonder Harry had reacted the way he had earlier if his uncle had come at him with knives during his childhood. The spell that spanked them seemed pretty damn mild now.
"I did no such thing!" Doge exclaimed wide-eyed, blindly searching for his wand from where he sat against the wall. He was terrified that Snape would come after him next. Pulling it out, he whimpered pitifully when he realized it was in pieces; he'd had this wand since he was eleven years old. Utterly devastated now, he pulled out the second half and cradled his broken wand to him, suffering from a harsh blow.
Harry hissed, glaring at Doge in a way that promised death if he didn't shut up.
"How would you have seen Harry, never mind interacted with him?" Minerva asked Doge.
"He followed me around," Harry snapped. His voice softening, he continued "Every time I went anywhere out of Privet Drive I could feel a creepy spidery sense…I never understood it. It just made me feel bad, wrong…I felt it again the second I walked into this room."
"His magic was active at the age of nine?" Moody asked, staring at Potter with undisguised pride, deeply impressed.
"What does that mean?" Harry asked with a frown.
"Some people's magic is more… aware than others, depending on how powerful they are. The fact you knew you were being followed speaks a great deal to how quickly your magic…matured," Minerva said in explanation. "I do not understand why him following you would cause your uncle to…" she was unable to finish the sentence. She, like everyone else, had heard the unvarnished truth from Vernon Dursley's mouth, but it seemed he had somehow managed to get around the Veritaserum and Severus' Legilimens. They hadn't known about Doge or the fact Vernon had stabbed Harry, but given what they knew…she wouldn't be surprised if Dumbledore had had something to do with it.
"You do not understand Minerva," Severus sighed, sitting down himself now. Everyone else stood in silence, not even attempting to talk or look at one another. "There was never a day that went by that Harry wasn't hurt, in ways that an observer should have found troubling. If I had seen Harry back in the day, I would have known something was wrong… the fact a man of Doge's statue and age didn't report it…" Severus' voice trailed off meaningfully. Doge been in the Wizengamot, had seen the lowest dregs of society dragged in; if anyone in here other than himself could and should have been able to spot abuse, it was him.
Harry snorted bitterly, "He saw my aunt hurt me that day; he bowed to me in a shop, causing her to go nuts. She almost yanked my arm out of its socket, roared at him, then proceeded to come back. I made the mistake of asking how he knew me; she slapped me, then she basically dragged me home. The second my uncle got back she told him about it. That was when I gave up hope of anyone giving a damn."
"We do," Tonks said.
Harry laughed derisively, "That's only because you want me to fight the Dark Lord for you. Don't try and pretend otherwise; I'm not fucking stupid. If you genuinely want someone to fucking like you, you don't go around imprisoning them when it's clear they don't want to be bloody there! And don't try and look innocent," he said coldly, looking around the room. "You all took part, and if for a minute I thought it would fucking stick ―and things weren't in such bad shape― I would have you all arrested as accessories to kidnapping." At this point Harry looked directly at Lupin, Black, and Tonks.
"If I am not needed, I shall head back to the hospital wing," Poppy said, looking very awkward. She was very angry at Harry's situation; she'd known Dumbledore had kept Harry here against his will, not that this entire group of people had had a hand in it. She was, simply put, disgusted with every single one of them, and she wanted to get out of here before she did a Harry and attacked them all before flaying them alive with cutting words.
"Of course," Severus said, a knowing look on his face.
"I can see why you think that, Potter," Moody said moving in, his wooden leg clunking harshly against the stone floor. "Unfortunately, we all trusted the wrong man. Everyone here can tell you how suspicious I am, and he still got to me." His voice trailed off in a growl as he did he noticed the collar properly, and saw the magic in it with his magical eye. His real eye widened, as his magical eye automatically went to Snape's sitting form.
Harry scoffed and shook his head; why didn't they listen to him? Standing up he caught Severus' eyes and begged him without words to get him out of there. He was getting angry again; he was so tired of being angry all the time.
"I think we are done for today," Severus said, standing up swiftly and guiding Harry towards the exit.
"I don't think so, Snape," Sirius said with a sneer, standing in front of the door.
Harry didn't even given any warning this time, he just flung his hand out and Sirius went flying, falling with a thud on the table, scattering books everywhere.
"Shall I tell everyone?" Minerva enquired.
"No," Severus bluntly said, he would tell them himself, perhaps after the trial, which was looming over them like a cloud. Two days, then they would know every dirty little secret Dumbledore had been hiding. "I do suggest you inform the Minister about the potion. Hopefully they will have been working on the Antidote; if not, get them to send over the results of all their tests and I shall do what I can."
"Of course," Minerva said quietly.
Then just as quickly as they had come, Severus and Harry were gone. Whether she told them or not, Minerva knew they were all speculating what could be going on.
"Ouch," Sirius groaned, getting shakily to his feet. Ironically enough, he'd fallen not far from where Doge was still sitting.
"That was…" Fred gaped.
"...Totally awesome!" George said in awe.
"Boys!" Arthur half-heartedly scolded, shaking his head. The twins would always be the twins, even during war; part of him was actually grateful for that.
"You were warned, Sirius; you are only damaging any chance you have of getting to know Harry," Minerva lectured the animagus like an errant schoolboy.
"Potter is with him of his own free will, isn't he?" Moody asked; for once his voice was quiet.
"They are; neither Harry nor Severus were drugged, Alastor. They came together on their own. Try and keep it under wraps for now; I think Severus wants to be the one to give the news," Minerva said.
"More likely to see everyone's reactions," Moody smirked, his scarred face stretching creepily. He'd never trusted Snape, but it seemed as if he was going to have to. He wasn't stupid; he'd realized that Snape was the only reason Potter was here. He'd made that pretty obvious in his earlier rant; he'd stared at everyone other than the Weasley twins, Snape, and Minerva.
"I wouldn't be surprised," Minerva admitted wryly.
"Why did he leave with Professor Snape?" Ron asked, disgusted.
"I think it's best if you get back to Gryffindor Common room," Minerva said, adding, "Twenty-five points from Gryffindor for disrespect, Mr. Weasley; do not forget yourself."
"Yes, Professor McGonagall," Hermione immediately said. Grabbing Ron, she basically dragged him from the room. Ginny followed them out without saying anything to anyone, still shaken up by what she'd heard. There hadn't been anything like that when her mum told her the story of Harry Potter the boy-who-lived.
"I suggest you all refrain from going to the trial unless the potion is removed from your system," Minerva said sympathetically as she looked around the room. It certainly explained Remus' behaviour; if Dumbledore had told him to do it, and then the young man had no hope of being able to fight it. Perhaps once the potions were removed from Black she would see an improvement from him. Although, once he figured out his godson's relationship, it might all be unravelled. IF Harry gave him a chance.
"What about Doge? If he remains in the Order, I'm out," Fred said bitterly.
"Me too," George said unnecessarily, since one twin never went anywhere without the other.
"What?" Doge cried, his rasp evident this time when he spoke.
Minerva stiffened looking caught in the headlights, "Please, we shall reconvene after the trial; only then will any decisions be made."
"Very well," Moody said, "Tonks, Black, move it." They had work to do. As promised, he would keep quiet about Snape and Potter; between both of them... well, he'd hate to get on their bad side. He could sense the power rolling off both of them.
Thanks to Jordre and Jake for editing this chapter!