Yeah, I was going to do some revision and change the end on this but I like the way it ended even f I know some of you will hate it. But I happen to like it and considering that I am the one writing, I'll keep it. Love you all, sorry for the delay, the world is insane...down the rabbit hole I go...








(let me know if I missed any?)

Mistress Slytherin

Chapter 26

"Severus." Draco hissed as he checked Harry's pulse. "What was that?" Draco said through grit teeth. Severus and Rabastan had been completely calm when Harry's eyes had glazed over and his mouth had begun quoting from the manifesto.

"A retreat. He hasn't needed it recently, his long sleep and the vampire blood coursing through him has done wonders for his mind but tonight was too much." Severus said tiredly. "This was what I was trying to prevent." Severus sighed.

"He was tortured." Draco said darkly.

"Yes." Severus said. "I was afraid this might happen." He said shaking his head.

"That was why you were so set against him going wasn't it? You wanted to protect him from reality." Draco said softly.

"Even you have wards in your hospitals that you don't dare to enter." Severus said tiredly. Draco stiffened.

"I stand beside Harry no matter what." He said softly but determinedly.

"As do I." Severus said with a nod. Draco was suddenly brought back to that moment in the ministry when the dark lord's body lay on the ground and sides were somehow taken- Severus had taken Harry's side and so had Draco.

And Lucius had stood by the dark lord.

Draco frowned as he settled into the seat beside Harry.

"My father…"Draco said swallowing thickly. "My father is a selfish and cruel man; he takes what he wants without regard to what anyone else might think. He treats his own son like a stranger most days and he's lost his way." Draco said softly.

"But he is your father." Severus said somehow understanding. "You can hate him bitterly, you can go down that road Draco, but it will only bring you to ruin." Severus said softly. Draco found himself nodding.

"I'm angry most days because somehow I still love him; I still remember the way that things were before mother died. But then I look at Harry and I know, I know my father does not deserve Harry. But Harry deserves to be with the man he loves." Draco whispered.

"Even if that man will only hurt him in the end?" Severus whispered. Draco's eyes flashed.

"And you won't?" Draco whispered. "You all but raped him Severus!" He snapped. Severus' breath caught in his throat.

"And I don't think I will ever forgive myself for that." He breathed honestly.

This made Draco stop.

Severus Snape was rarely if ever open and honest, it was his trademark- no one could tell what Severus Snape was thinking if he didn't want them to know. He kept the world more than an arms length away from him and no one, not even Lucius his best friend for years or Draco his godson, or even the dark lord, could get him to open up. Draco felt his breath catch as he realized something. In the last month alone he'd seen more emotion drawn out of Severus than in all the years he'd known the man, and Harry had drawn it out of him. Draco stared at Severus for the first time in true understanding.

Severus couldn't help it.

Harry was his weakness, Harry drove him to doing things that he wouldn't otherwise, Harry made him angry, hurt him, made him laugh- and made him wear that expression, the one he wore when he turned his head and looked at Harry. Harry was his world. Harry was Severus Snape's world.

"You love him." Draco said his throat seeming suddenly dry. Severus snatched his head up suddenly and a look of fear and vulnerability crossed his features before he could hide it. Draco felt a sudden ache in his chest. All this time he'd wanted Harry to be with his father, it was a dream he'd had since he was young and Harry was all he had. But what was best for Harry? Draco knew that if his father truly wanted Harry then he would be willing to make the effort to have him. But so far Lucius hadn't really been trying had he? Draco scowled. Lucius didn't deserve Harry.

He stood abruptly not waiting for Severus' answer and slipped out of the room without a second thought.

"I tire of seeing you entering his room." A silken voice said. Draco stiffened. He was so lost in thought that he hadn't noticed Andre. The vampire was looking at him with glittering poisonous green eyes and his expression was pinched. Draco blinked at him in shock and felt a shiver run down his spine. Merlin but his brain turned to mush around Andre. "I was informed that you might be interested in me." Andre said, and suddenly he wasn't across the hall but directly in front of him his gaze powerful and commanding. Draco swallowed despite himself and felt pink dust his cheeks. Green eyes searched his. "Is this true?" Andre demanded quietly. Draco nearly choked when Andre cupped his jaw with cool fingers and lifted it. Draco was always confident these days, he'd had to be, he'd been forced to grow up without Harry saving him at every turn, but there was something about Andre that went beyond attraction that drove him mad with fear and longing. He was like Severus now, he lived for Andre. This could make him weak beyond all doubts. Love was dangerous. Andre's breath seemed to hitch and Draco realized that he'd met Andre's gaze without resistance, that he'd let the other enter his mind without a fight.

"You know my answer already." Draco managed though he could feel himself trembling. Andre was staring down at him with wide eyes and Draco smiled faintly before shakily lifting his hands and settling them against the wide broad chest.

"You are terrified." Andre whispered. "I can feel it." He said his other arm coming around Draco who shivered in response.

"Because I know that you can leave me, so easily you could just walk away but I can't…" He lowered his gaze unable to meet Andre's eyes and hold them. He felt so vulnerable now; he hadn't felt this way in a long time.

"But Harry-" Andre said confused.

"Harry is like a father to me." Draco admitted.

"But you sleep with him-"

"I am weak." Draco said softly cutting Andre off. "Harry has been my only source of comfort for a very long time and some times I need to feel safe the way a child feels when they are near to their parents, sometimes I simply need his comfort." Draco admitted. Merlin what was he doing?! He'd destroy himself this way! He was going deeper and deeper and he couldn't stop it!

"I have seen you." Andre said suddenly wrapping Draco in his arms and pulling him to his chest. Draco felt his heart thunder to a halt as he listened breathlessly. "So strong and bold, yet I see you, your father and godfather are too wrapped up in their problems to care that you are sad." He lifted a hand and drew Draco's face back so that they were only a breath apart. "Let me take care of you, let me take away the loneliness?" Andre said his gaze urgent. Draco felt as though his heart would burst.

"You'll leave." He breathed. "Once you're done with Harry you'll leave." He said shaking his head. "I don't know if I can watch you walk away again." He said swallowing. He hated this, at times like this he was just like his father- selfish. It didn't matter that Andre had a life of his own, Draco wanted it so badly.

"I can do what I want Draco and if you will have me then I will stay. For you." And then Draco knew he was lost. Andre could tear him to shreds. But it didn't matter. Some part of him knew that he could be selfish with Andre.

"You already have me." He breathed before he could help it. He shivered because he knew how dangerous that was; he knew how easily he could be destroyed by this. Andre's gaze softened.

"I will not leave you." He whispered holding Draco impossibly close. "I have never cared for a human the way I've found myself caring for you." He breathed across Draco's lips. "I will stay." And then they were kissing and it was wonderful.

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Harry woke the next day startled at the sight of Severus sleeping in the chair beside him. Almost immediately his mind worked over what he'd seen and heard the day before, he wasn't sure how he'd ended up in his rooms and in his bed but that was the least of his worries. He sat up slowly testing his muscles and skin to be sure that everything had healed correctly, then he began to think. For the first time his mind edged on thoughts that he had been too terrified to think about before.


For years he'd ignored it like a black pock on an entirely brilliant world. He'd always boasted that he wasn't afraid, always held his head high and squared his shoulders, but he'd been there and he knew what went on there. Bella had taken him once, Harry wasn't sure if it was a threat or a lesson for him to have learned but now he could only see it as cruel.

He'd once satisfied himself in thinking that the people were happy, he didn't hear any complaints after all- but then of course he wouldn't. Anyone that complained would be spirited away in the middle of the night and taken to Rehabilitation. Psychological torture, physiological torture and a blend of experimental potions and spells, the human mind was destroyed and then methodically put back together again to fit the shape that the dark lord wanted.

And it had been going on for years.

Harry closed his eyes as memories from another time; another world came to the forefront of his mind. He had wanted so much to think that this dark lord in this time was better somehow, yes he was cruel, yes he tortured but surely this world was better than the one before it…right? But no it wasn't. He couldn't turn a blind eye to it any more; he couldn't ignore the truth any longer. And it had taken the ritualistic killing of thousands to get through to him.

Because that was the truth of what he'd seen in the other world.

This dark lord was just as mad, just as violent- only more controlled, only more capable and more dangerous. He shivered slightly.

There was so much though- so much that he hadn't really looked at, hadn't really seen. Most of the time he would just avert his eyes and try not to think about it, after all the dark lord's rule was absolute.

And then Harry had a very frightening thought.

What if the dark lord's rule wasn't absolute?

His breath caught in his throat and his heart thundered in his chest.

No! The dark lord wanted to make this world better! A world where if you worked hard enough, had enough ambition you could be anything you wanted!

And if you didn't- you died.

Harry's hands fisted in his blankets.

"Harry?" Severus' voice startled him out of his thoughts and he jumped guiltily. Dark eyes were watching him. "Tell me what you're thinking?" Severus whispered. Harry stared at him long and hard. Draco would stand beside him no matter what, he knew this. But would Severus?


The word was resounding in his mind, final and ensured.

"The people…" Harry said swallowing thickly. "The people aren't happy are they?" Harry said softly. Harry wanted Severus to say that they were- that Harry was simply suffering from paranoia the way the dark lord always told him. But when he looked up the truth was written- no, etched into Severus' dark gaze.

"No Harry." Severus said telling him the truth. "They aren't." Severus said shaking his head.

And then it was real.

He was just a pawn.

Something went very, very cold inside him.

"I'm sorry Harry." Severus said softly his gaze troubled and dark.

"You aren't happy either…are you?" Harry asked softly. "You haven't been for a very, very long time, neither has Draco." Harry said swallowing thickly. "I've been so selfish." He breathed in realization.

"Harry I won't lie to you about this because I think you need someone to tell you the truth. You have been broken down and built up the same way that everyone else that has ever survived the Rehabilitation cycle has." Severus said his voice soft and clear. Harry stared at him in silence.

"I don't remember." Harry whispered.

"You do, you remember parts of it but even the training has been suppressed."

"No!" Harry snapped suddenly. "No they wouldn't do that to me I'm Elite!" Harry said fervently.

"Think hard Harry." Severus said softly. "There are holes in your memories, when we were at the Weasleys and they placed the cuffs on you? Think Harry!" Severus whispered harshly.

And Harry did.

And Harry remembered.

"The manifesto." Harry whispered.

"Yes Harry." Severus said quietly. "The manifesto is no mere essay, it's a trigger, a spell binds you to it as it does to anyone who has ever read it." Severus said grimly.

"But my Occlumency is perfect!" Harry deflected desperately.

"But it wasn't always, not when you were a child, not when you'd first come to live with Bella." Severus said shaking his head. Harry couldn't deny that. It made him pale and dizzy but there was no denying it. Bella- Bella had raised him to be the dark lord's Elite, to be unwaveringly loyal- and some part of Harry had always known this. He'd hated the dark lord once hadn't he? When he'd first arrived at Hogwarts sharp eyed and ready to make the world see him he'd been thirsty for revenge, but also terrified. He had known first hand what the dark lord was capable of. He frowned softly. Come to think of it he'd known that it was wrong, that something was wrong with the world, something was wrong with him.

Why hadn't he paid more attention?

Harry frowned.

Because the dark lord had shown him the barest crumb of affection.

It hadn't even been real affection but Harry had been so desperate, so starved for it, that it didn't matter that things were wrong because he had the dark lord's attention and the dark lord was using words like adoption and father…

Harry swallowed.

He'd never had a father.

But he had hadn't he? He'd had James, he just didn't know it.

"Is there any way to reverse the damage?" Harry breathed softly.

"I will find a way." Severus said with a sharp nod. Harry stared at him for a moment longer.

"I can't…I can't make any choices now, not when I'm not sure whose thoughts are helping to make them…" He said trailing off. Severus nodded.

"Harry tell me what you feel right now." The man urged his eyes soft. Harry stared at him and trembled. How he…felt? He stared some more, everything in him was screaming that he shouldn't, emotions were weakness and weakness got you killed! But those were Bella's words, the dark lord's words, not his. In another world in another place Severus Snape would scoff at him for getting so easily worked up, would insult him for his tears. This Severus was a stark contrast.

"I'm scared." He admitted softly before he could really help himself. He was trembling because he knew that his world had just come crashing down around him. It wasn't just hard work and following orders any more, it wasn't just sitting at the top of the world and turning a blind eye to what was at the bottom. "I'm scared." He repeated. And he was, he was terrified and shaking. Severus let out a long sigh and to Harry's great surprise slipped up in the bed and settled against the backboard an arm curling protectively around Harry.

"Yes, I know Harry, I know." Severus whispered. Harry found that he couldn't stop himself from curling into Severus. Snape was the only solid thing in his crumbling world now. "I'm here Harry; I always will be no matter what choices you make." Severus muttered in the silence. Harry curled into him further and stared ahead his thoughts a tangled mess of knots.

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Harry let out a long breath as he stared at his parchments and charts giving himself a moment to just look at it all and absorb its meaning. He should be preparing to take over India- that's what Draco and the others were doing, but Lucius' pointed rumors kept getting to him so he assumed that whatever was happening to the dark lord was becoming serious indeed. Harry sighed and rubbed his temples restlessly. He didn't know what to do. There were more questions than answers, more fiction than fact. He found himself constantly remembering what was written in with the Auror's reports back in England. The horror stories, the numbers that were no longer just numbers but people with faces and names and the glorious battles that no longer seemed so glorious. He sighed and stared down at the chart before him.

His calculations could be wrong.

Should he leave it all up to chance?

Was it even in his hands?

Was this too good of an opportunity to pass up?

Eliminate an enemy using circumstance…he could go by that angle.

"James?" He said reaching into his pocket and pulling out a gallon. James glanced at him from where he stood. "There is a muggle custom that Lucius taught me once in France. It involves leaving everything to chance, so tell me…" He said catching the man's gaze.

"Heads or tails?"

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Lucius knocked lightly on the partially open door before slipping through his eyes wide as he stared at the usually immaculate office. Papers strewn about, priceless artifacts shattered and crunching against stained carpet- and in the corner the small fire that had alerted him that something was wrong. The dark lord was sitting in the sitting room on the lounge his head clutched in his hands. This was the third time Lucius had seen him like this that week. Lucius' breath caught as he moved closer noting the nearly empty decanter with a crack down the middle.

"My lord?" He asked again wondering why the dark lord wasn't in his favored chair but rather on the lounge staring down at his feet. Slowly the dark lord lifted his head and stared at Lucius. A trembling hand reached out and settled on his chest causing him to stiffen and swallow thickly. It wouldn't be the first time if the man blasted him across the room.

"Lucius…" The dark lord whispered. His voice was oddly soft and nearly frightening in intensity. Lucius stared at the dark lord his eyes widening in realization.

"Harry?" He dared breathe. Because only Harry ever looked at him that way, as though he was the light in his life. The dark lord's expression softened impossibly further before something…changed…shifted almost. The dark lord's eyes narrowed darkened and hardened.

"Lucius what-" And then he realized that it had happened again and his mouth snapped closed. "Get out." He hissed. Lucius stood abruptly.

"Of course my lord." He said with a short bow before wisely making for the door. Once outside he felt his heart begin to race. It was happening more and more often. What was this? Was his lord going mad? Why had he looked so much like Harry in that moment? Lucius clutched the head of his cane. Whatever was happening, it wasn't good and he needed to begin making plans.

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"Harry." Draco said sharply. It had been three weeks since Harry had been captured and tortured. Harry had spent a majority of this time silent doing his tasks almost as an afterthought. Harry glanced up from where he was poking at his food and frowned at Draco's alarmed expression. Beside Draco Andre was quick to put an arm around him in comfort.

"What is it?" Harry asked curiously.

"A letter from an old friend." Draco said softly before handing the letter over to Harry who skimmed it for a few moments before stiffening and going pale.

"Fools." Harry said glancing up from the letter.

"They took all the proper precautionary measures but still..." Draco said shaking his head.

"What is it?" Severus asked narrowing his eyes.

"The dark lord is going mad." Draco said softly.

"We don't know that." Harry said sharply.

"We do actually." Draco said softly. Harry stared hard at him.

"Draco?" Harry said softly in warning.

"He's submitted himself to an examination." Draco said softly. "I wasn't sure if I should tell you or not." Draco said grimly. Harry understood, this put them all in a tight spot. Harry frowned deeply in thought.

"And? What have they found so far?" Harry asked evenly as he handed back the letter.

"He's suffering from manic delusions, he sees people that he's killed and he is sure that they are haunting him." Draco said haltingly.

"And?" Harry pushed.

"And he's paranoid; he thinks that you are somehow the cause of it." Draco admitted. Harry' hands tightened into fists and he felt chilled as he stared at the table.

"What are we going to do then boss?" Fred said after sharing a look with George.

"Nothing." Harry said with slow determination. "If he wants my help he will summon me. While he is paranoid like this there is nothing that can be done." Harry said tiredly. "We continue with the mission, we move tomorrow and we focus on rebuilding this nation." Harry said with a nod. "Any news on Dumbledore?" He asked with a frown.

"Nothing still." Draco said shaking his head. Harry frowned. Nothing- nothing at all since the attack at the ministry. Harry could still see Dumbledore's warped expression, the madness, the single red eye. He had theories about that eye, about the ring on Dumbledore's finger.

"The people don't trust him any more." Severus said mildly. Harry glanced at him sharply. Dark eyes met his calmly. "Even his old friends are tired of losing family members to his plots he's considered a mad man now, as much as they might want to act out they won't do so knowing that he is more likely to sacrifice them for some great purpose or another." Severus said as though talking about the weather. "The people are looking for a leader though which we must be wary of, if they find anyone worthy while the dark lord is ill they could easily bring down the ministry." Severus said softly.

"Oh ye of little faith." Harry said smirking slightly. "You forget that I've had my hands in the ministry for a while now, it will not fall. The right people know what to do." He said with a nod. As though he'd leave for India without leaving a back up plan behind! Seeing Severus and Lucius go head to head had only ensured that he put plans into place to keep the ministry running should anything happen to the dark lord.

"That is a both frightening and beautiful expression on your face Harry." Severus said honestly his dark eyes burning quietly.

"Ohhh Sevvy!" George said with a grin while Fred tried to get a hold of his laughter. Harry flushed slightly.

"You just don't give up do you?" He said in mild annoyance. Mostly though he found it a bit flattering.

"Never." Severus said before taking a sip of his tea. "I'm quite determined to have you as my husband Harry." He said without the usual reserve that he wore. This time Harry couldn't keep his face from turning bright red. Fred and George howled with laughter and even Draco snorted his eyes glittering slightly in mirth while Andre gracefully covered a smirk with his napkin.