Forlorn Hope

The Right of Sable Jade

52: The Right of Sable Jade

"Alright then, one more question… Horris." Sirius said with only minor hesitation, "Do you trust me?"

"Enough to do the Rite of Passage? Yes."

It stung him to hear the boy still keep the sharp edge to his voice whenever the topic remotely touch on their relation, even after the week they had spent in practical confinement with each other.

"And you realize what is about to happen?"

"We've been over this Sirius." the boy whined,

"Humor me then…" Sirius insisted, needing to follow tradition.

"You Flare, causing me to Frenzy, and keep me held in place while you suck the Dark Energy out of me till the Deathfrenzy starts, we spar and I end up sleeping it off for a few days."

"In a nutshell…"

"So, can we get this over with already?"

"Not yet." Sirius told him, pulling out a little crystal shard Dumbledore had given him. "I need you to do just one thing first."

"What's that?" the boy asked him uncertainly, his eyes hardening.

"Think of it as a safety net for you." Sirius responded, "Just hold it at the tips and press until it absorbs a few drops of blood from your two fingers."

The boy, Horatius, looked at the crystal uneasily a bit longer, not moving. Finally, he took a tentative step forward, stepping within range of Sirius' palm.

"I don't like people taking my blood." he told him,

"You said you trusted me, Horris."

"Sirius I… oh fine, whatever." The boy responded finally, putting his left index and thumb on the sharp edges, lifting the tiny weight. The crystal began to glow red the next moment, and the boy took in a sharp breath.

"You alright?"

"Cold." the boy told him, in an almost defiant tone, dropping the crystal back in Sirius' hand once the glow subsided, the crystal now appearing like a rich ruby.

"Want me to heal your cuts?" Sirius offered, as Horris didn't have his wand.

"Too slow Sirius… I'm an Asp, remember?"

And so he was, Sirius noted, putting the wand away as Horris presented his unhurt hands.

"Now can we get this over with?"

"You took the potion?" Sirius sighed; knowing now was as good a time as any.

"Yeah, I'd rather not kill you while I frenzy Sirius…"

"You want me bound Sirius?" Horris asked lightly, though he really was worried, so many things could go wrong.

"No, I'll use a Binding Spell later if I must, but not yet."

"I'd rather you do it now Sirius… please." Horris insisted, losing his light tone. He had no wish to have his Frenzied self sting Sirius with his venoms. Even though Sirius insisted Shadowed people could not be effected the way normal people were, Horris didn't want to risk it. His father's potion was supposed to suppress the venoms, true, but the motto 'better safe than sorry' was looking awfully good right now.

"Horris…"

"I'm serious. Please." he insisted once more, holding his hands out as if to be shackled in emphasis. When Sirius approached, he turned around so the magical restraints could bind his wrists behind him. They were cold; making him feel as if a mild Dementor (as if there were such a thing) had touched him. This was part of the allure of these blasted things; sapping the strength enough to keep thoughts of escape away. Horris hated the feeling, but he knew it would help Sirius gain the upper hand. No matter what the man claimed, even the other Asps knew they were no match. And now he wouldn't be able to control himself at all, wouldn't be able to keep Sirius from dyeing at his hands while he sat and watched it all occur.

If he even remembered, Horris noted, not sure which was worse as he still could not recall the events of his first frenzy (and with no one willing to so much as cough when he asked them about it). He remembered the other ones though, each of which he longed to forget. He remembered throwing Draco across the room, watching his hair stain a vivid crimson. He wondered if it would ever truly go away, as the blonde still bore a light rosy undertone on that part of his head. It was faint, but Horris saw it. He remembered slapping Lea, when she had unknowingly come in during his tantrum and couldn't get away in time. Dean saved her, thank Merlin, while Draco held him off as best he could. He must have healed her, too, because there was no bruise there the following morning. Why she kept coming afterwards he couldn't understand, though she insisted come hell or high water. Merlin, may this be the last time he had to lose control…

He felt the potion begin to work even as Sirius helped him sit in the chair, fit with the several other restraints Horris had insisted on. The potion should suppress his venoms and sedate his magic but destroying the connections hurt. Merlin, his Dad never said it would be this painful! He cried out despite himself, making Sirius jerk back from the lock he was closing.

"Potion… hurts." Horris managed, since Sirius seemed to think some restraint or another caused the pain.

"Horris?"

"Keep going… I'm… fine." he wasn't lying, the pain lessened slowly as less and less connections remained, "It's almost done."

"You positive?"

"Flare, I don't know how long the potion will last… we need all the time we can get."

Sirius panted, dodging another fireball. The restraints had lasted an amazing ten minutes, and Sirius now had a royally psychotic Asp after his hide. Why did no one feel it prudent to mention a certain Godson of his (even if he could not use the title officially, yet) was a bloody panther Animagus? Honestly, if this was the kid's power with suppression potions, he was sorry for the bloke who wanted to get on his bad side while Horris was in his prime… or when he Flared, once this crud was over and done with. Sirius had been running around for a good hour now, doing his best not to get killed while not hurting his boy. And this was his boy. He didn't care what the child or Snape thought. Who first offered him a family? Sirius. Who protected Harry from his to-be father? Sirius. Who did Harry protect when he and Sirius first met? Sirius.

The kid was finally slowing, thought Sirius was worried that the potion might not last much longer. He had to keep him angry enough to keep him Frenzied, while conserving as much of his own stores as he could. As he didn't have to Flare full force, just remain Flared long enough to absorb the Dark Magic while keeping his own from being absorbed, he could last far longer than the kid and thus force the Deathfrenzy. The kid had left the (thankfully) barren room's walls completely scorched with fire and spell residue (from wandless magic no less!). The floor, to Sirius' utter dismay, was iced over, making it hard to dodge the previously-mentioned fireballs the kid currently preferred over his earlier pointed rocks, curses and (the oh-so-appreciated) jet of boiling water.

Another half hour and the boy's eyes turned from black-on-red to black-on-white, signifying the onset of the Deathfrenzy. Merlin… the kid really looked like Snape now that he had black eyes! Those eyes would now forever grace his face, erasing Lily's most prominent feature from her son. Damn Snape for killing his godson's last link to her!

"Concentrate now…" Sirius said in a calming voice, still dodging the fireballs, hoping the kid would quickly recapture control. "You can control this thing kid… come on…" he continued, "The sooner we finish this, the sooner we can go see your friends and… and your father."

The curses paused for a moment, then returned in double force. They were now becoming more accurate, not lacking foresight as they previously had. His thinking mind was coming back, a good thing, even though his actual consciousness was still suppressed.

"Come on kid, come on, you know you want to leave this room as much as I do…" he continued to coax, "Let's just finish this and I'll finance the best dinner the Three Broomsticks has to offer for you and your friends… how does that sound?"

In answer, the boy lunged at Sirius, pinning him squarely against the wall.

"Now… Horris… let's not do anything hasty now… you don't want to leave Snuffles as a three-legged dog, now do you?" he asked, trying his best worm his way out as Horris was obviously trying to make his venoms work (and failing, thankfully, at least at the moment). Finally, Sirius could move enough to transform, sprinting to the other side before turning into a Wizard once more.

"Oh, come on… is that any way to treat your Godfather?"

"You're not." Horris' voice answered, meaning that the Deathfrenzy was now at least somewhat releasing the mind. "Haven't… haven't earned it…yet."

"Alright." Sirius nodded reluctantly, hoping to keep the still-frenzied boy talking, forcing the mind to stay alert, hoping it would help it pull free. "How do I earn it?"

"I don't care." The boy growled, the voice morphing into the Frenzied identity,

"Come on Horris, don't give in now…"

"You…" a far more struggling voice continued once more, "You have to… that's what you have to… figure out…"

"No freebies huh?"

"No.. freebies." The voice agreed tiredly, "Not…not now… not the…this time."

Sirius smiled, despite not liking the fact that his Godson felt such a grudge. The weary voice meant that the Deathfrenzy was starting to geed off of real energy instead of Dark Magic… just a few more minutes and-

His Godson screamed, a scream that made Sirius' very bones turn into solid ice; not even the fires of Hell could warm him. Deathfrenzies ended in fainting from lack of energy, not passing out from pain!

"Horris! Horris concentrate!" he yelled out, over the screams. If the boy fainted without killing the frenzy they'd be back to square one, and the kid worked way too hard to be tossed back like this.

"Horris, Horris please!" he almost whimpered, as the boy slid down against the wall, still breathing raggedly.

"Sirius," the boy asked weakly, "get Dad."

"Horris, I can't-"

"Please," Horris begged, stifling tiredly, "get…Dad."

Severus pushed past Black as soon as he grabbed a few pain and sedation potions, not caring if the blasted mutt fell on his ass. He walked with as much speed as he could master without breaking into a full run, all thoughts focused on getting to his son as soon as possible.

"Horatius?" he asked softly, entering the room with a degree of caution. It would do him no good to walk in on a raging Asp, after all, and he did not know exactly what his son's condition was. All he knew, really, was that something was wrong. The mutt had caught him in the middle of fifth year potions, barking wildly, making most of the Gryffindor cauldrons explode. He had only strayed long enough to snap that Draco was in charge before he left, daring any of the students to interfere before rushing to his privet lab for the potions Horris would doubtlessly need.

He spotted the slouched form of the boy in a moment, rushing over to the unconscious child as soon as he could. He knelt next to him, his hands working almost subconsciously in the well-practiced motions, checking the boy over for any injuries while Severus watched the boy intently, fearfully. If Black did anything to hurt him… Merlin have mercy on the soul of the filthy mutt. When his hands finished, Severus wondered if he could lift him or not. Horatius was not husky by any means, but certainly a far cry from the scrawny Potter boy, and Severus was not very athletic himself. He wanted to carry him, to protect him, to make sure he was safe… the logical part of him flatly noted how levitating the boy would be better, as it would keep any injuries he might have missed from being aggravated as he carried him, not to mention levitation would prove the faster of two methods. The other part of him, the annoyingly insistent protective part, however, found the spell somehow inadequate. It left him too exposed. What if it dropped him? What if…

Severus wanted to pick his son up, keep him safe, end of story. Still, he did not wish to test his lifting ability on his unconscious son…

"What the hell you doing Snape?" Black demanded,

"Taking my son somewhere where I can monitor him while he rests comfortably. Why, Black, you do not expect me to have left him on the floor, do you?" he responded, still concentrating on his son.

"Is he alright?"

"Stable. The details of his condition can wait until he is in bed instead of lying on a cold, hard floor Black."

"He's okay though?"

"As far as I can tell without a detailed diagnosis, he is simply exhausted. The Rite worked, I take it?" he stopped when no answer came, "Black?"

"I… I think so."

"You think Black? You think!"

"He lost consciousness before I could be sure. He was bloody close though, he could have drained the last of his energy kicking it all the way out…"

"Or the Soulshadow's return could have sapped the last of his energy. Damn you Black!" Severus scowled, pushing his door open and walking into the bedroom. He set his son down on the covers, pushing the boy's hair to the side gently in an attempt to calm himself before returning to his sitting room… and Black. He did a diagnostics spell (in as much an attempt to stall as to check that his earlier tests had not deceived him), verifying that the boy suffered only from magical and physical exhaustion. His venoms had already healed the few bruises Severus had seen earlier, telling him that the Suppressor Potion had worn off between the time he fainted and the present. He sighed, not knowing wheather to leave another vial by the bed for when Horatius woke. He chose against it, forcing himself to remain optimistic (for once), though he could not allow himself to linger, in case his hopes proved erroneous. He ought not give the boy any Dark Magic in either case, he rationed, and especially if the damn mutt had indeed failed.

"Dad?" Horris asked absently, before even attempting to open his eyes. He forced them to slowly form slits when no answer came though, not willing to remain so vulnerable in Merlin-knew-where. This wasn't the room he had been in for the past weeks, in either case, so something was up… either way. He hoped that was a good thing. He was in his Dad's bed, he realized, having come in here on several occasions. So the curse was over, he deduced, smiling broadly. Thank Merlin.

A sudden pressure to his left drew his attention to the door, alerting him of a nearing magical entity.

"Dad?" he called again, though the field was different from that of his father.

"Hey kiddo… feeling better?"

"Sirius…" Horris acknowledged, " I'm surprised Dad let you in here."

"Didn't have a choice, really… he'd hate to have you wake up alone."

"He's not here?"

"Teaching… you've been out for a few days bud, he couldn't leave his classes too long… he did want to be here though."

"I am here Black." his father's voice sneered, joining the other man in the doorway. "Have you been awake long, son?"

"Nah, haven't even stood up yet."

"How do you feel?" his Dad continued, nearing, both Snape men presently ignoring the third individual.

"Drained." Horris told him, sighing. "It's over though, right?"

"Unfortunately, things do not appear to be so fortunate." his father replied, suddenly looking worn.

"Your eyes." Sirius explained, "They're still green. If it had worked, they're supposed to turn black."

"Oh."

"And no, not all black eyes come from being Shadowed." his father added promptly, probably catching Horris' lingering gaze, "Mine are quite natural, I assure you."

"Are you sure it didn't work though?" Horris pressed feebly,

"It may be tested, but not in my chambers." his father replied, now fully in his 'professor-mode'.

His father was stressed, worried probably, about him… that's usually when he acted like this, when he was worried or when he tried to balance Horris' emotions. It worked, too… each time Horris felt like he was about to break down, his father's reversion into the 'Greasy Git' as most called him (minus the snide comments) pulled Horris back onto solid ground. He didn't know why it worked, didn't know how, but it did. Thankfully, it did. Perhaps it worked like a slap in the face when a person was hysterical… maybe like a cold shower… he wasn't sure. Either way, it was an act fueled by concern, not hate, though Sirius might think otherwise (judging by the look in his eyes). It was needed, welcomed even, and that was all that really mattered.

"Once you are rested," his father continued, blatantly ignoring the glare Sirius was shooting his way, "we will give the condition a definitive trial. As for now, you should be aware that Voldemort sent word two nights ago; we are to meet in three days son, Rest up."

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