Plotting and Planning
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
A special thanks to The Lonely God With a Box for beta'ing my story.
A/N: Here is chapter 23. I hope you enjoy it. :)
After finally calming the boy down from his panic attack, Severus managed to get Harry from off the floor and back on the couch, but couldn't convince his primate from cling hold to him. So the Potion Master was sitting on the couch with a small boy next to him that seemed to be glued to his side. All three wizards sat in the lounge deep in thought. After the panic attack that both Remus and Sirius caused, they didn't want to leave his side. They both needed to know what was going on.
Several things surprised Severus in these last few moments. Sirius was now very adamant about helping Harry. Both Remus and Sirius were understandably angry about what happened with Harry. The three of them were now sitting in the lounge together. No one was throwing hexes at each other. He was amazed how one boy could change everything so much. A rivalry that was going on for over twenty years seemed to vanish in just one afternoon. Severus looked down at the sleeping boy that was laying against his chest.
What power do you really possess, young one? Severus thought. And the first person that popped in his head that showed that same kind of compassion and love: Lily. He couldn't help tightening his hold of Harry as the small boy snuggled down closer to his professor. Now, sitting here with his arm draped across the small boy's shoulders, Severus looked out the window in the lounge and saw something coming towards the window.
“Archimedes,” Severus said, pulling the werewolf and animagus out of their thoughts.
Sirius saw Severus looking out of the window. He saw what he was looking at and got up to allow the owl access to the room.
The owl landed on the table in front of Severus. Seeing that the Potion Master was pinned on the couch by the fourteen year old, Remus got up and removed the small parchment that was attached to the owl's leg. The distinct smell of blood filled the werewolf's nose as he looked down at the parchment. Seeing the distress on Remus' face, Severus held out his hand for the missive. Once Remus handed it over to him, Severus couldn't believe what he was seeing. He tried to stand when he felt pinned. In that moment, he forgot that Harry was leaning on him, asleep.
“Tami,” Severus called out.
Remus walked over towards Severus. Tami popped in front of Severus.
“Go get Poppy,” Severus ordered. “Be careful. Bring her here.”
Tami nodded and popped out of the room. Remus reached down for the sleeping child. He was a little surprised that Harry was still asleep after all that. When he grabbed hold of Harry, he noticed that Severus' arm tightened around the small child. Remus couldn't help the smile on his face. This was the same thing Harry did when he tried to move Severus from his arms.
“Severus,” Remus said. “Let me take Harry. I'll put him to bed. Once Poppy gets here, you will need both your hands to help her out, what ever the problem may be.”
Severus looked up at the man. His hardened look didn't change but his arm did loosen around the child. Remus picked up the child with a grimace. No fourteen year old should be this light. Once they had successfully made the switch of who was holding Harry, the bear dropped on the floor. Sirius picked it up and handed it to Remus. Remus, cradling Harry to his chest, turned to walk out of the room when a small pop made him turn around.
The three wizards were surprised to say the least when the elf came back with a battered medi-witch. Sirius and Severus were at her side within moments of her arrival. There was blood everywhere. The two, once rival wizards, now were working together both cradling her against them, walking slowly to help the hurting Poppy to the couch.
As they laid her down on the couch, Severus saw that Remus was still standing in the doorway.
“Take Harry out of here,” Severus ordered. “I don't want him waking up and seeing this.” Remus hesitatingly turned and left.
“Make sure he has that bear next to him,” Severus then called out.
Without being asked, Tami left the room and appeared seconds later with a small basin filled with water and a flannel to try and wipe the blood off of the medi-witch's face. Severus and Sirius worked on cleaning up Poppy. Remus returned to the lounge. The three wizards worked in concert of trying to make the medi-witch as comfortable as possible. Once they got most of the dried blood off of her face, Sirius and Remus gasped at what they saw. Her eyes were burnt and slashed up. The Potion Professor, the ex-Auror, and the former DADA teacher all knew what curse was thrown at the woman to make her eyes like that. Severus placed the wet warm flannel over the medi-witch's marred eyes. He spelled it so that it would stay put on her eyes. Poppy woke up with a gasp.
“It's alright,” Severus soothed. “You're safe now.”
“Sev...Severus, is that you?” Poppy sounded weak.
“Yes, it's me. You're at Grimmauld Place.”
“Sirius,” Poppy gasped. “Where's Sirius?”
“I'm here,” the animagus reached for her hand and held it. “What happened?”
“Where's Harry?” Poppy started to panic. “Where is Harry?”
“He's safe,” Remus answered.
“I'm here, Poppy,” he put his hand on her shoulder and gave a comforting squeeze.
Severus' face darken at the medi-witch's urgency for Potter.
“Tami,” with a small pop the elf re-appeared. “Go watch Harry. Do not let anyone in that room unless it is me. Do not let him out of your sight. Do you understand?”
“Tami is understanding, Master Sev'us.”
Severus turned back to Poppy, “Poppy, what happened?” his voice much calmer than right before.
“Greyback,” Poppy said as tears slipped under the spelled flannel over her eyes.
Sirius looked up at his friend and saw his face darken.
“What about him?” Severus wanted her to continue.
“He was there with some other Death Eaters,” Poppy voice was shaking. “They showed up after you left with Tami.”
“What did they want?”
“You, Severus,” Poppy tried to not start crying. But the tears flowed non-stop. “Then Albus showed up.”
“Albus,” Severus raised an eyebrow at her.
“That seems highly unlikely,” Sirius said. “Albus would never associate with known Death Eaters.”
Severus glared at Sirius. “I'm a Death Eater.”
“No,” Remus interjected. “You're a spy.”
“You're the one my godson trust.”
Remus nodded his head with agreement.
“Albus...he was the one that did this,” She completely broke down after that confession.
Sirius gently pulled her up an embraced her as she cried on his shoulder. All three wizards looked at each other in shock of what they they were witnessing and what they just heard. Poppy Pomfrey has always been a strong, independent witch. Feared by many. So to see her breakdown in front of someone, it surprised the three wizards. Each one lost in their own thoughts. The only sounds in that room was the muffled cries of the medi-witch.
Severus believed that if Albus was so bold as to attack Poppy, then Harry could not stay here. Quickly, he got up from kneeling by the couch, and rushed towards the door. Remus was right after him to stop him.
“Severus,” Remus called out. “Where are you going?”
“I'm taking Harry out of here,” Severus looked incredulously at Remus.
“And where are you going to take him?” Sirius asked. “You're both safe here.”
“Are you completely insane, mutt,” Severus voice rose a little. “Don't you think I know who your secret-keeper is for this place? I knew it was a risk to bring him here, but I needed your help...”
“Yes,” Remus cutting Severus off. “You do. Both you and Harry. Well, let us help you.”
“He wants you, Severus,” Poppy said letting go of Sirius and laying back down.
“He wants me to return Harry,” Severus said. “I...”
Severus was cut off by the distinct sound of a apparition pop. They all looked towards the ceiling as the sound came from upstairs.”
“Where did you place the child?” Severus looked at Remus.
“Upstairs, first door on the right.”
Severus rushed out of the lounge and up the stairs. Remus was right behind him. Once they got to the room and opened it, did the two men take their first breaths again. Harry was still asleep on the bed. As the Potion Master looked around the room, trying to find where that apparition pop came from. He noticed that Tami was no where to be seen. His brow creased at not seeing his mother's elf. Harry started showing signs of waking up. Severus entered the room and sat on the end of the bed.
Harry stretched and saw his Professor sitting next to him. He didn't remember getting in the bed, but he really didn't care one way or the other. As long as he was near his professor, he was fine. Harry shook his head at the thought that he, in just a few short days, had grown accustomed to waking up and seeing the dour man. How much more comfortable he had been, and how he did not want to loose that feeling.
“Feeling better?” Severus drawled.
Harry nodded. He was about to sit up when he saw that he still had the bear locked in his arm. Embarrassment began to show on the boy's face.
“Oh now, calm down,” Severus said moving out of the way so that he could pull Harry's cover off of him. “You had a panic attack earlier. I had to calm you down.”
“I didn't want them to think I was a baby,” Harry whined not knowing that Remus was standing at the door.
Remus put his head down, hiding his smile at Harry's childish whining. So much that child has been through, Remus thought.
“No one thinks you're a baby,” Severus sounded bored. “Listen,” his voice became more serious. “There is something I need to tell you. Madam Pomfrey is downstairs.”
A smile graced the boy's lips. He really liked Madam Pomfrey. She was always motherly towards him. She reminded him of Mrs. Weasley. He always wanted to have someone to make a fuss over him. Sitting up, Severus handed him his glasses, and he saw that one they were not alone, that Remus was standing in the doorway, and the both of them had grave looks on their faces.
“What's wrong?” Harry's smile leaving his lips.
“She was attacked,” Remus said.
Harry looked from Severus to Remus, getting up from the bed. “Why? Why would someone attack her?”
Remus and Severus looked at each other, then Severus looked back at Harry.
Severus said, “Because of me.”
Harry looked over at his professor. “It wouldn't have happened if you were not helping me. Don't think I forgot that the Headmaster wants me back with my relatives.” Harry lowered his head and sighed. As much as he didn't want to do this, he knew it would probably be for the best. Even though, the past couple of days have been peaceful, Harry knew that peace and nice was never in his cards. It was a wonderful dream, but it was time to wake up. Besides, him going back meant that no one else would be hurt.
“Harry,” Severus looked at the boy standing in front of him.
Harry lifted his head and looked at his professor, making eye contact.
“Take me back.”
“Harry, no,” Remus said walking over to Harry. “There are other ways. You don't have to go back to that.”
Harry's eyes never left Severus'. Severus knew why Harry said that, and he couldn't help the feelings of pride and respect for Harry. Maybe the dour wizard was feeling more for the brat. Severus made Harry a promise that he would not be taken back to his relatives. By Harry asking to be taken back and not being forced the way Albus wanted, Harry was taking the choice out of Severus' hands.
Severus knew that he would eventually have to take Harry back to those vile people before the week let out. And now the child standing in front of him, just made it easier for him to do that. But he wouldn't leave him unprotected.
“Severus,” Remus yelled. “You can not actually be considering taking Harry back there.”
“No,” Severus said, still looking at Harry. “You are.” He looked up at the werewolf.
“Yes,” Severus said, standing up and facing Remus. “And you are going to have a long talk with the male Dursley.”
“If you think I'm going to let you take my godson out of here, you're very much mistaken.”
Severus sighed and turned towards the door. Sirius was standing at the door with his arms folded.
“Yes, you are,” Severus drawled out. “Because you are going with him. And you are staying with your precious godson.”
Astounding looks were all that Severus was getting. Sirius was dumbfounded. Remus was trying to work it all in his head. And Harry was looking at his professor with a gleam in his eyes.
“You didn't think,” Severus said, looking at Harry with his hand on his shoulder, “that I would have you taken there and not protected you. Silly child.”
Severus walked out of the room and went back downstairs to check on the only other Slytherin in the house. No one was there to witness the small smile that was on the dour man's face as he made his way back down to the lounge. Once there, he began working on Poppy, bandaging her eyes. A moment later, the three Gryffindors walked into the room and the four of them plotted and planned on taking Harry back to his relatives and keeping him safe while the medi-witch rested.