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 39. Enjoy!
Narcissa took her sister to one of the guest rooms on the second floor. Once she approached her towards the bed, Bellatrix lay down.
“I can't believe you,” Narcissa sneered. “What were you thinking?”
“I don't need this from you,” Bellatrix said through clenched teeth. There wasn't a part of her body that wasn't hurting.
“You should be thanking me,” Narcissa said, sitting on the edge of the bed. “How am I going to protect Draco now?” The last part she said more to herself.
“Thanking you?” Bellatrix looked at her sister. “For what? I didn't ask for your help. I don't need your help.”
“Yeah, I can see that.”
Bella turned so that her back was facing her sister. “I thought the Dark Lord would be proud of me.”
Lady Malfoy looked at her sister and shook her head.
“Professor, do you know what happened?” Hermione stood up from the step, turned back, and looked at the door hanging off the hinges.
“There's a spy and a traitor in the Order. Come with me. It's not safe here.”
Albus Dumbledore held out his hand towards the girl and she walked over towards him.
“Grab hold of my arm,” Albus said. “I will apparate us near Hogwarts.”
Hermione did as told and grabbed hold of the arm that was extended towards her. After she felt the tug at her navel and a resounding pop, when the young witch opened her eyes she saw that they were standing at the outer gates of the castle and in the distance stood the brilliant building that many children and professors called home.
“Come, Ms. Granger,” Albus said, walking towards the castle. “We have much to discuss and I think it would be more comfortable inside.”
Hermione followed her Headmaster back to the school. Once they got inside, they headed straight for his office.
“Please sit, Ms. Granger.” Albus said, sitting behind his desk. “Would you like some tea? Tami.”
There was a small pop next to Hermione. She couldn't help the gasp that escaped her lips when she looked at the condition of the elf that popped in next to her.
Tami, who was usually a bubbly spirited elf, was now withdrawn and despondent.
“Master Headmaster calling Tami,” Tami deadpanned.
Hermione looked at the small elf standing next to her and her heart just broke. All her work on S.P.E.W., this was what she was fighting against. Yeah, there were some elves who didn't want to be in servitude, but the look of this poor soul looked like the world just ended.
“Please bring Ms. Granger and me tea and some of those cauldron shaped biscuits I love so much,” Albus said, his eyes twinkling madly.
With a small nod the tiny elf popped away. Seconds later, Tami came back with the asked items on a tray.
“Will you need Tami anymore?” Albus waved his hand and the tea poured itself into the provided tea cups. Tami's ears slightly perked up and her brow creased watching the Headmaster pour the tea.
“No, that will be all,” Albus said. “Oh Tami, do cheer up. You know how I dislike seeing you sad.”
Hermione looked from the Headmaster and the elf. She couldn't help but wonder if there was more to that last request than just what was said. Tami popped out of the office.
“Now, Ms. Granger,” Albus started.
“Professor, what has happened?” Hermione asked, cutting the Headmaster off.
“There have been a few incidences. Things that do not concern you, but I would like to stem on the side of caution.”
“So you've gotten Hedwig?”
“Hedwig? No.” Albus shook his head. “The warding went off when you were port-keyed there. I came straight away.”
“Oh,” was all that Hermione said, sitting back in the chair after accepting her tea.
“Now, Ms. Granger, I would like to ask you some questions.” Albus sat back in his chair. “Drink up. Drink up,” he encouraged her.
Hermione brought the tea cup to her lips and was about to drink when suddenly the chair she was sitting on flipped to its side. Both witch and wizard were surprised at what had just occurred. Hermione, though her bum was still in the seat, found herself laying on her side, her tea cup flung from her hand, spilled and smashed against the desk. Albus quickly got up and was at the young witch's side. Helping her up in the chair, Albus saw there were no outward bruising appearing on the child.
“Are you alright?” Albus asked.
Hermione nodded. “What was that, Headmaster?”
“I'm not sure,” Albus said, standing back up and walking back to his chair, but not sitting down. “Tami.”
Hermione looked at the Headmaster, confused. Why was he calling her back? She thought.
Another small pop and the elf was back standing in the office.
“Yes, master Headmaster, sir.”
“What did you do?” Albus asked. His back was still facing towards Hermione and Tami. When he turned around, Tami instinctively took a step back and Hermione cowered a little in her chair.
Never had the young witch ever seen the Headmaster look downright evil. There was no twinkle in his eye. The grandfather look that he bestowed on the school was absent on his face. He looked truly scary.
“What's happened, Master Headmaster?”
Hermione looked from Tami to the Headmaster. She could see the fear in Tami's face. Hermione was a little frightened from the way the Headmaster was looking.
“Are you trying to hurt one of my students?”
Tami's eyes got big as tears began to well up in her eyes. Never had she been accused of physically harming a student who resided within the walls of Hogwarts.
“No, Master Headmaster,” Tami shook her head. “Never.”
“I think you did,” Albus countered. “And I think you need to be punished.”
Tami's mouth fell open, and began to back-step away from the Headmaster. Hermione couldn't believe what she was hearing. She knew that she just couldn't sit idly by and watch the poor elf harm herself.
“It's alright, Professor.” Hermione stood in front of Tami. “She said she didn't do it. There should be no need for punishment.”
Albus looked at the girl standing in front of him, and by the look on her face, he knew he was acting differently in front of her. And if he wanted to receive her help, he knew that he couldn't show his true nature in front of her.
“Leave, Tami.” Albus ordered. With a squeak and a pop, Tami was gone. “I do apologize, Ms. Granger. I will not hold you any longer. You will floo to the Burrow. If you would be so kind as to explain to Molly and Arthur that I will be calling on them in a few days, I would much appreciate that.”
“Yes, Professor.” Hermione walked over to the fireplace. She was about to light the fire when it lit on its own. She looked back and saw the Headmaster with his wand, pointing it at the fire. He then levitated the canister of floo powder towards her.
“Do have a safe journey, Ms. Granger. Enjoy the rest of your Summer holiday.”
Hermione didn't verbally respond. There was a lot on her mind and after what just happened she began to worry about the sanity of the Headmaster. Usually with his eccentric ways the Headmaster usually took on, it was uncommon to see the Headmaster without his twinkle.
Stepping into the fire after throwing down the powder, Hermione spoke clearly, “The Burrow.” And the teen was gone, leaving an angry Headmaster in her wake.
Tami popped into the kitchen. Dobby walked over to her. She looked at him and wrapped her small arms around her friend's neck.
“Thank you's so much,” Tami said, after letting her friend go.
“Did it work?” Dobby asked.
“Yes,” Tami nodded. “Girl did not drink funny tea.” Dobby nodded.
“Dobby happy he could help.”
Tami smiled at her friend. She really liked Dobby. He was different from the other elves. He was a free elf. He helped her when she had to iron her hands. She missed her Mistress and Master Sev'us. The only solace she had was that school would resume in a little over a month, and she would be able to at least see Master Sev'us again. She really did hope they found Mistress.
Severus had been up for about ninety minutes when his arm started to tingle. Waking up in the Weasley's house, laying on his mother's lap, Severus shook his head. For years, only a select few knew that Minerva had adopted Severus. Now in the span of a few days, that number that knew seemed to double, if not triple. The Potion Master, when he was younger, used to speculate that if people knew that, he would be ridiculed. As he got older, he thought that people would think ill of Minerva, and shun her for her decision. Severus was used to being left out of the fold. He was used to be secluded. But Minerva, everyone loved the animagus. Even though she was strict, most of the students still loved and respected her. And Severus would just hate it if she was shunned and disliked because she had the 'Greasy Git from the dungeons' as her son.
Severus was pulled out of his thoughts by a hand on his arm. He looked over to his adoptive mother standing next to him.
“Are you alright?” Minerva asked. “How are you feeling?”
Before he could answer, the tingling in his arm intensified to a dull ache. Minerva felt the slight flinch in her son and quickly let go of his arm. They looked at each other neither one saying a word. As much as it broke her heart, Severus was a spy and needed to go whenever he was called. After the scare she had last night, she really wasn't ready to let Severus go, but knew that she couldn't hold him back. Minerva reached up and cupped her son's face. Severus, enjoying the contact with his mother, closed his eyes and leaned into the touch. She held him for a few seconds more and then let him go and stood back. Severus gave his mother a slight nod and walked out of the house.
Harry, Sirius and Remus were standing at the bottom of the stairs when they saw Severus with Minerva. Neither one said anything or let on to their presence while Severus and Minerva were together. When Severus turned and walked out of the house, Harry found his voice and called out to his Professor. Getting away from Remus and Sirius, Harry ran after Severus out the door.
Severus was walking down the path towards the edge of the wards, so that he could apparate away when he heard a voice.
Severus turned around and saw the messy headed boy who had wiggled his way into his heart, and for the first time, he didn't feel annoyed or angry at the thought of the child, like he did when Potter first walked through the Great Hall about to be sorted. He didn't feel hatred for the child like he did when Harry had his first Potions class. For the first time, Severus actually felt love and protectiveness for the child as Harry ran towards him. As the child got closer, Severus found himself opening up his arms and was rewarded with a small child rushing and colliding into them.
“You're leaving me,” Harry mumbled into Severus' robes.
“Never,” Severus voice was low and soothing. “I have things that I have to do. I'll be back, but if I can't, I will see you when school resumes.”
“Don't stay away long,” Harry said, looking up at Snape.
“I'll try not to, child,” Severus smirked. “Now,” he said, letting go of Harry, “get back to the house. I'm sure Mrs. Weasley has a breakfast feast waiting for you.”
Not wanting to let go of his Professor, with great reluctance, he did so.
“Even though there are anti-apparition wards around the house, I do not like you out here by yourself. While I'm gone, you will keep your wolf and mutt by your side. Understood?”
Harry nodded, “Yes sir.”
Severus turned and continued on his trek outside the wards and Harry made his way back into the house. Harry couldn't help the feeling of worry that he was getting, the further and further apart he and Severus were becoming. Harry just hoped that everything would be fine and his Professor would come back.
Harry walked back into the house and saw Sirius and Remus waiting for him. They were walking towards the kitchen when the Floo turned on.
After a flash of green fire, the traveler walked through the fireplace and into the house.
“Hermione!” Harry called out.
Dusting the soot off of herself, her head snapped up when she heard her name and then was shocked at the familiarity of that voice. One that she did not expect to hear here.
They both rushed towards each other and embraced.
A/N: Thank you to everyone that has reviewed, favored and followed my story. :) I can't tell you how much I appreciate it.
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