Harry woke up to a gentle knocking at the door, hearing the door squeak a little bit as it opened completely. He sat up quickly, shaking Draco awake, who sat up slowly asking hoarsely, “What’s wrong, Harry?”
“Somebody’s here,” he replied, gripping the sheets tightly as his face paled. Draco’s eyes widened as he grabbed his wand and maneuvered himself in front of Harry defensively, shaking a bit, but determined to protect his friend.
They could both see two big shadows in the doorway, and could hear murmured voices getting closer, closing in on them, and Harry was quaking with fear at this point. Suddenly, the shadows groaned in pain. They heard Hermione say, “Stop it, you’re scaring them! Draco’s going to hex you into next week!” The light flickered on and Harry could see two men dressed in green robes, both dark haired and quite tall, holding their stomachs in pain, where Harry assumed Hermione elbowed them. (He would know, many nights of not studying would often earn Ron and him an elbowing from her). Draco relaxed immediately, which gave Harry the impression that the men were people he could trust. “You idiots," he scolded, holding his hand over his heart. “You scared Harry and me to death!” Draco turned to Hermione. “Did they scare you too?” Hermione glared at the grown twins as she said, “Yes, fortunately for them, I only hit them with an extreme tickling charm.”
The pair apparently had the decency to look sheepish, then introduced themselves, “I’m Rabastan Lestrange,” the first one said, the man that had a patch of hair beneath his lower lip, the same dark brown color as his chin-length tresses. Harry noticed he had a thinner face than the other brother, who introduced himself as Rodolphus Lestrange, and that Rodolphus also had a beard rather than just the one patch of facial hair, though he also had the chin length hair in the same brown shade.
He asked the first question on his mind. “Are you related to Bellatrix?”
Rabastan laughed. “Only by marriage.” Harry raised his eyebrows. “Oh. So you’re…?” He heard a deep chuckle come from Rodolphus. “No, that would be me,” he said, and Harry had to laugh at the wrinkle of disgust that Rabastan wore at the implication that he was married to his sister-in-law. Then the Death Eater perked up, exclaiming, “Hey, I bet that means we’re related!” Harry’s brow furrowed in confusion. “How?”
“Well,” he replied, “you see, Harry, Bella is your godfather’s cousin, and I’m willing to bet that he blood adopted you, which would make you related to us through marriage.” Harry flinched at the reminder of his dead godfather, but he wondered about blood adoption. “I don’t remember him blood adopting me…” he said quietly. “He probably did it when you were a baby,” Rodolphus said as he leaned against the wall. “Anyway,” he continued, “we should probably take you to the foyer like we were ordered to before Snape curses us.” Harry nodded and the five got up from their places and started for the foyer, where Snape was waiting.
“Finally. It only took you a couple centuries to find your way here,” Snape drawled, and despite hearing the obvious disdain in his voice, Harry didn’t mind it. Sitting in the leather chairs that were provided, he saw that Lucius and Tom were also there, along with a woman with wildly curled hair. She tensed as she spotted him, but Tom saw it and shook his head sharply. She glanced at him warily, but did not move. Harry eyed her curiously, but did not make any movements toward her either.
“So as you know,” Snape began, “I was asked by Tom to go back to the school, to fool Dumbledore and decide what to do about the children’s education…”
Snape prowled the halls of Hogwarts, just having gotten back from Malfoy Manor, making his way to the dungeons. He would have to brood and find a good excuse for taking Harry and two other students out of his class to an unknown location without the old fool’s permission (that is, if Dumbledore even knew), but he wasn’t a spy for nothing, and he would find a reasonable answer.
Just as he gets into his personal quarters, the floo fires up. ′Dammit, I need more time.′
“Severus!” he heard the old man call.
He relaxed his face into a familiar mask, and strode to the fireplace. “Yes, Albus?”
“I need to ask a favor of you,” he says, his eyes twinkling so much that Severus could determine it from the crackling flames.
"Oh no, here it comes…”
“I happen to have a potion that I need made, and it has to be made very specifically. It’s ancient, of course, and very rare, I doubt that even you would have heard of it,-”
“Get on with it, Albus,” he snarled, angered at the implication that he couldn’t handle it, and of course, if it was rare it was almost certainly dangerous, and most likely meant for Harry.
“Yes, well, even due to the circumstances, I have every confidence that you can make it perfectly, and it is urgent that you do. It is very important for the Greater Good.”
And there it was, the Greater Good. Definitely involving Harry. “But of course,” he said smoothly, his face not betraying any emotions. Dumbledore obviously had plans for this potion, so it wouldn’t matter if he said no, he would get someone else to make it, even though the potion wouldn’t be the best. Severus would rather be in the know, than not.
“That’s wonderful, Severus!”
Dumbledore gave him a parchment with the ingredients and the directions, all of the more complicated type, but he did have all the ingredients he needed, surprisingly. There was no name for it, not on the parchment, but as he was halfway through the potion, he realized what it was. What on Earth is he planning to do with a soulmate potion? Immediately, the answer came to him. Dumbledore would do anything to get control back over Potter, or in this case, even more control than he thinks he has, and in order to do that, he would hold Harry’s soulmate against him.
Who does he think he is? That’s against every old rule that ever existed.
Then again, if anyone could get away with it, it’d be him.
As he neared the end of the potion, he noticed the last ingredient was hair from the chosen recipient of the potion. Obviously, he would need Harry’s hair, though he wouldn’t be getting it from him anytime soon, so why-
Then he noticed that at the bottom of the parchment was a lock of hair, stuck with a sticking charm. A quick flick of his wand told him it was indeed Harry’s hair, so he added it to the potion and stirred clockwise six times, then let it simmer. When it turned a bright white colour, he knew it was done and he quickly turned off the heat. He took a metal ladle and poured some into a unbreakable vial, putting the stopper in immediately.
′Who is Harry’s soulmate?′
He took the vial and stowed it away in his robes, then went the potions cupboard, taking out another white potion and holding it up. It wasn’t the same potion, but it would fool Albus long enough for him to get away. It was obvious the children couldn’t come back, as the Headmaster’s meddling had become too dangerous. They would have to teach them at the manor. He left the fake vial on the lab counter where he knew the old man would find it, and then he flooed to Malfoy Manor.
“...And that’s all I know, my Lord.” Severus held out the vial for Tom to take, and he did, staring at it intensely before giving it to Harry. “It is yours, little one.” Harry looked over at Tom curiously, wondering why he would give it to him at all. As he turned the vial in his hand, another part of him wondered about the potion itself, how it worked and what the result might be. Tom nodded, satisfied, before saying, “The children will be taught here; we can’t have them unprepared for anything that might happen. I’ll sort out who is to teach what, and we will begin tomorrow.” There were nods and murmurs of agreement across the room.
The conversation is interrupted by the fireplace glowing a bright green, the adults scrambling to get up and armed, putting the children out of harm’s way. Tom was about to hex whoever was coming, when Hermione shouts, “Wait!” Everyone freezes as she runs to the fireplace, just as a red-head comes out. “Ron!” Harry can see him stumbling, and he sees that the fireplace is still glowing. “Weasley! Were you being tailed?” Snape asks demandingly. He shakes his head no, and chokes out, “Friends, they’re friends.” This is proven when Neville Longbottom comes out of the floo, followed by Luna Lovegood, the Weasley twins, and lastly, surprisingly, Blaise Zabini, who immediately goes to stand by Draco, while the others stood awkwardly by the floo. Hermione hugs Ron closer he slowly comes back around, and helps him stand. “Sorry about that, Dumbledore got a bit nosy. We barely made it out.” Snape glares at him. “You fool! Did he hear where you were going?!” Luna answered for him. “I made sure that he didn’t. Muffling charm, you see,” she says in an airy tone. “There were too many nargles for him to break it.” Snape took that statement as, “He was too angry and distracted to do anything competently.”
Ron, now steady, gently takes Hermione’s hands and moves them away from him. “I’m fine, ’Mione.” She smiles at him. “I’m really glad you came. And I’m glad you did this for Harry.” He blushes up to his roots. “It’s fine, really. Harry’s my best mate. I would do anything for him,” he says as he turns to Harry. Harry feels genuine joy at his words, and notices that at this moment, now, the gray that had taken over Ron’s aura faded away, leaving a bright color, not entirely white, but a hell of a lot lighter than before. It was like watching the clouds clear away from the sky after a long rain.
It felt good.
Harry watched as Draco strolled up to Ron, and grimaced. But instead of insults being traded, he saw the young Malfoy give Harry a cautious glance before turning back to Ron and saying, “Thank you. For bringing Blaise, I mean. It means a lot.” Ron looked at him bewildered. “You’re welcome, I guess. I mean, I don’t really know why I brought him along. He was just kind of standing in the halls while we were running and I kind of dragged him with us. He tried to hex me,” Blaise smirked, “until I told him I was just taking him to you. I mean, I’ve seen you hang out together, but I wasn’t entirely sure...” Draco shuffled, uncomfortable with a Weasley being nice to him. “Yes, well… thanks.”
Out of the corner of his eye he sees Lucius stand up, and clear his throat. All eyes turn to him. “I think it would be acceptable to find rooms for all of you? I have plenty to go around. After, I believe we should take Harry to Gringotts, get some things sorted.” Tom nodded in agreement. “Though before anything can be done, I believe the inner circle that is here with us at your manor need to be informed that Harry is not a threat, and get rid of the ones who insist on trying to kill him.” Snape sneered. “I can do that, My Lord.”
Tom looked at him in faint amusement. “Yes, you certainly can.”
Soon everyone was settled in, Harry getting moved back into his old room, and everyone else getting their own room, Lucius gently knocked on Harry’s door. A half second later the door was open and the boy was standing there, ready to go. As they walked down the halls to the foyer, Harry asked, “What exactly are we going to Gringotts for?” Lucius turned his head barely in his direction as he answered, “We are going to see about what you have inherited. Vaults, bloodlines, properties.”
“Oh,” whispered Harry. Lucius turned and smiled a bit as they stopped in front of the floo. “I don’t bite, Harry,” he said in amusement. He watched as the boy jumped. “Well, of-... of course not, I’m just… not…”
“Used to being with a Malfoy and not have them hate you?” Harry nodded hastily in agreement. Lucius hummed. “Well, that’s quite alright, I’m not used to having a Potter, alive,in my manor.” He busied himself with getting the floo powder from the top of the fireplace, seeing as how Harry himself was too short to reach. “Now, we’ll be going to the Leaky Cauldron, then to Gringotts, and you’ll need a disillusionment charm so none of the Order, or anyone else, for that matter, can see you.”
Lucius cast the charm and readied the floo, having Harry go first, then himself so that it wouldn’t be as suspicious to have the floo go off and no one come out of it, as long as the charm was in place. Not long after, Harry was staring up at the large white building of Gringotts, curious to what awaited him inside.
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