- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Abuse - Child
- Character Bashing
- Discussion - Child Abuse
- Discussion - Murder
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Alternate Universe
- Canon Divergence
- Challenge Response
- Time Travel
Chapter Two: Gathering Allies
Severus Snape walked up to the rundown shack that Dumbledore had advised him Lupin was residing in. For once, things could not have worked out better for him. Soon after they decided that they needed to make contact with Lupin before they searched out Harry Potter’s living conditions, Dumbledore called Snape in for a meeting advising that they would be getting Lupin as the next Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor and that he would be required to be making him Wolfsbane Potion every month.
Convincing Dumbledore that he would need to speak with Lupin immediately was quite a bit easier than Severus had expected it would be. After the expected amount of grumbling and insult throwing, he advised the Headmaster that it would be wise for him to speak to Lupin to find out his overall health so that he could fine tune the wolfsbane potion or in case any other health potions were needed. Dumbledore didn’t even blink, just gave him the location, his eyes twinkling madly as always. Shifting the bag that he was carrying looped over his shoulder to a more comfortable position, Severus reached out and knocked on Lupin’s door before his nerves could convince him once more that this was a bad idea.
As it was, Narcissa had spent quite a bit of time already shoring Severus up when it came to reconnecting with the wolf. While people always assumed that it was Lucius that Severus was friends with and then was introduced to Narcissa, it was actually the other way around. Narcissa had only been one year ahead of Severus in school and had been there to it cushion him after the fallout with Lily. While his childhood friend would always be his best friend in his heart, Narcissa Malfoy nee Black would always be more like a 1B than second to the red headed witch.
It was because of Narcissa that Severus was named Draco’s Godfather. Lucius had wanted someone much more high profile within the Death Eaters and politically connected like either Corbin Yaxley or Augustus Rookwood. One of the things that had been stuck in Severus’ brain the last several days since finding out about Lucius’s Merlin assisted time travel, was to wonder if he regretted either his first choices or giving into Narcissa’s demands. After all, Severus wasn’t sure he was much of a better mentor to Draco than either Yaxley or Rookwood would have been.
Now though, it seemed that Severus had an opportunity to make up for all of his misdeeds and bad decisions. Finally, he would be able to truly make up for them instead of what he thought was happening when he went to Albus Dumbledore. Lucius had stressed several times over the last couple of days that Severus had to be truly willing to rid himself of his bonds to both Riddle and Dumbledore or his life would be forfeit. To be honest, Severus was a little tired of insisting that he was truly and completely willing without any reservations. To be fair, when Severus had griped his annoyance to Cissy, she had let him know that Lucius was focused on it more out of worry than doubt.
As Narcissa pointed out, Lucius had many acquaintance and work associates. He had people he was connected to because of the Dark Lord, and he had family connections. The thing was though that Lucius, probably because of the nature of the path he’d thus far chosen to travel down, had very few honest to goodness friends. People that he truly trusted and whose opinions really mattered to him. It was a sentiment that Severus understood, as he found himself in the same boat.
More than once over the years, Severus had regretted how he had handled Remus Lupin’s attempts at friendship when they were students. At the time, Severus had been unable to separate Lupin from his friends, a fact that he believed wholeheartedly is what eventually made him vulnerable to Dumbledore’s manipulations. Then, when Lily took up with James, all that Severus could see was that James bloody Potter had everything he wanted.
It should have occurred to him that he had no right to be mad at Lily over James’ feelings for her or vice versa, and he had always carried a heavy weight of blame for what he saw now as an overreaction on his part. Knowing what he knew now though, he was convinced that Dumbledore was already potioning him with behavioral modification potions and spells. So, he was trying to come to terms with the notion that maybe he really should forgive himself and let the past go.
“Are you just going to stand there? I got tired of waiting for you to knock.”
Severus blinked startled and almost sighed at himself for being caught off guard. Shifting the heavy bag again, Severus tilted his head slightly to one side in silent apology before speaking. “Please forgive me. My mind was preoccupied with thoughts of the past. I come to speak with you. There is something that I would like you to see, and then depending on what you have to say about it, I think that you and I need to clear the air.”
Remus arched an eyebrow but then stepped back and motioned for Severus to enter the rundown shack that he was staying in. Looking around, Snape tried not to sneer at the condition of the near hovel that the werewolf was living in, but quickly reminded himself that Lupin didn’t exactly have a lot of ways to make money. Crossing the one room shack to the table that appeared to be part of what it seemed was supposed to be a kitchen, Severus took out his wand to shore up the table as he was unsure it would hold the weight of the item he’d brought with him without some help.
Once he was sure it would hold up, Severus set his bag on the table, and removed the Malfoy Family pensive that had been loaned to him in order to help convince Remus of their sincerity. Seeing movement out of the corner of his eye, Severus looked up to see that Remus had moved to stand on the other side of the table and was watching him with a guarded expression. Reaching in his robe pocket, Snape withdrew the copy of the dream/vision conversation with James Potter that Lucius had provided him.
Carefully, he poured the memory in the pensive and looked up to Remus. “I have not actually seen this myself. So, I would like to watch it with you for curiosity’s sake, if you don’t mind?”
“Given that I have no clue what you are trying to show me, Severus, I can’t honestly say if I object or not.”
Severus bowed his head briefly before nodding. It showed how rattled he was by this entire trip that he hadn’t explained anything to the werewolf. “My apologies. I am… I am still a little off balance from the news I received yesterday about what I am going to share with you. It seems that I am not thinking clearly. The memory in the pensive is from Lucius Malfoy. He called me to the manor yesterday to have a breakfast meeting with himself, Draco and Narcissa. During the meeting he… made some claims that… well to be honest I would rather you just see for yourself as I can’t imagine a situation how you would believe me otherwise. I watched the man take an oath on his magic and I still don’t believe it.
“The reason I asked if you mind if I join you is because this… Well, this is a copy of a dream conversation or vision that Lucius had with or of James Potter that ended up sending him and Draco back in time. While I am not… a fan of Potters, I am not ignorant of the fact that he meant a great deal to you. I am trying to be sensitive to your feelings as unlikely as that may sound.”
“James Potter… visited Lucius in a dream and…. Sent him back in time?”
Severus waved a hand impatiently towards the pensive. “I know how it sounds. Even with the oath I find it hard to believe, which is another reason why I want you to watch it. If anyone will know if it is really Potter, it is you. So, would you prefer to go at it alone or may I join you?”
Severus watched Remus who after several long minutes seemed to settle a weight before nodding and stepping closer to the pensive. Stepping forward himself, Severus counted down from 3 and then plunged his head in to see the conversation for himself.
When he was done, Severus straightened and couldn’t help but sit down on one of the chairs at the table, only vaguely worrying that it would hold his weight. When he saw Lupin do the same thing, Snape decided that it must be ok. Waiving his wand, Severus summoned some chocolate for the pale faced werewolf, knowing the man would have some somewhere in the shack.
“From your expression, might I assume that it was indeed Potter?”
Jerking his head up, Remus looked at Severus slightly wide eyed, and realizing there was chocolate in front of him, broke some off and popped it into his mouth before speaking. “It was James. I can’t… He mentioned doing it all because of Draco and how he reminded him of himself. Is that… You’re Draco’s Godfather, right? Do you see it?”
Severus sat back and ran a hand through his long black hair. “I never thought of it before, but I will confess since Lucius mentioned it yesterday, I have not been able to stop pondering it. I can indeed see the similarities, and I can see how the differences between them was what saved James and doomed Draco. If this dream was real then…”
“That means the potion is real,” Remus finished as if he’d read Snape’s mind. “You are going to take it right? You should. If James says you can survive it, then you should do it Severus. You deserve to be a free man.”
“Do I?” Severus asked sharply before taking a deep cleansing breath. “One could argue that being tied to two men and living with whatever they demand of me is the least that I deserve for what I have done. One might say that it is entirely my fault that Lily and James Potter are dead, and their son is stuck in this… situation.”
“But that’s the thing, Severus. It wasn’t you. I mean technically I suppose, but if James is right and you were being controlled by behavioral modification spells, potions and charms, was it really you? As one of James’ best friends I would argue that it wasn’t you it was Dumbledore. How do you even know that you did that of your own free will? If I trust anyone in the world it is James Potter. I know that you don’t, but he was always a good friend to me.
“So, I know that there is no way he would have been part of giving you that potion if he thought you were responsible. I also know that there is nothing on earth that would have forced Lily to say that she forgives you if she still blamed you. So, yes, I think you deserve freedom, and I hope that someday this is going to be shown to someone who will put Dumbledore where he belongs. Is it… I think I need to be cleansed.”
Severus shook his head, forcing himself to stop arguing the point when he knew that Lupin was correct. Until he was cleansed, Severus didn’t really know if anything he did, said, or thought was himself or one of his masters’ will. The notion made him sick to his stomach, and he’d already promised Cissy to speak to a mind healer once he was cleansed.
“We agree. In fact, Remus, I would like you to join us. I know that Lucius has done a lot of horrible things in his career as a Death Eater, and no one forced him into becoming one. I can tell you though that I believe his sincerity in making changes and doing the right thing this time. The thing though that I can’t get over is that I, and anyone who helps us, has a chance to save these children… my snakes.”
Remus just stared at him quietly, and taking it as a sign that he disagreed, Severus barreled on, arguing his point. “Just because their parents are horrible people does not mean that their fates should be set in stone, or that they are any less worthy of being saved than your precious Gryffindors or muggleborns, or even the half-bloods. In fact, one might argue that saving the snakes goes a long way to saving everyone else.
“People never stop to consider that these children are the majority of the ones who will be shaping our future. Most of them are heirs or will be married to heirs. Those that aren’t or don’t will most certainly end up in high power positions within the government with the ability to sway other powerful people.”
Unable to sit still any longer, Severus shoved his chair back and began to pace, ignoring Remus’ arched eyebrow as the continued his rant. “Are they hateful, spoiled, rotten little brats? Yes, they most assuredly are. Have they had any chance at being anything else given the environment they’ve all grown up in and the influences they’ve had? No, they absolutely have not. And, despite what people seem to think, just because Sirius Black was able to go against his family, does not mean they all can.
“Black was a rarity in that he had someone on the other side, the “acceptable” side that believed him and was willing to take him in and fight the Black Family. These children don’t have that option. The only paths they have are within that house. I find it disgusting and disheartening how many people have written off children when they all have so much potential!
“I’ve heard their discussions when they think I wasn’t around. I hear how they question things, and seek to know the other side, but most of them can’t afford to ask the wrong people those questions and those that are acceptable to speak with don’t know any more than they do! So, I ask you, what chance do they have? Tell me, Lupin! Why are your Gryffindors good enough to be saved, but not my snakes!”
Chest heaving, Severus turned, his eyes blazing with anger at the injustice his charges had to live with and the futures that he was helpless to save him from and glared at Remus daring him to justify the children not being worthy.
“I would never write off any child, Severus, and I agree that every child should be given a chance. If the Slytherins aren’t getting one, then it’s as big of a tragedy as the Gryffindors or anyone else. And, for the record, I wasn’t silent because I disagreed with you. I was silent because I was ashamed that it had never occurred to me that any of the Slytherins might not want the future that has been laid out for them. It disturbs me and makes me sick to my stomach that so many, including apparently myself, are just writing off these children.”
“Oh,” Severus replied unable to form any more witty response and found his way back to the table. “My apologies then. I…”
“No, Severus, never apologize for standing up for those kids. They need you. As you have beautifully articulated, they have no one else to fight for them. That speech just proved why you need to take that potion! You must free yourself of Riddle and Dumbledore’s bonds. The children need you. Even with others on their side, Lucius, Narcissa, and now me. You are the one they trust and will look to. I remember how important our Heads of House were when I was at Hogwarts.”
“You?” Severus echoed afraid to hope, and unconsciously leaned forward. “Does this mean that…” Snape stopped speaking mid-sentence as he was scared to finish, terrified to hope.
“I will join your side,” Remus said gently, sending a smile Snape’s direction. “Maybe once we both are cleansed of Dumbledore’s interference we can finally work on that friendship or… maybe even something more?”
“You would…” Severus started but once again stopped, this time the ball of emotion clogging his throat and preventing him from speaking more.
“Moony has always seen you as his mate,” Remus explained and sighed. “Maybe it’s time that I take Sterling Barrows up on his offer. He’s contacted me a handful of times saying that he could help me settle my wolf, that I just need to accept Moony, and things will go much easier for the two of us. Dumbledore though… Well, I guess after what I have heard that he must not want me settled for some reason.”
“Being unbalanced makes you easier to manipulate,” Snape sneered and practically threw himself back in the chair, not realizing that at some point he’d leaned forward. Looking around the shack once more, Severus huffed exacerbated at the place the wolf was living in. Taking a chance, hoping that Narcissa and Lucius wouldn’t mind the sudden guest but arguing mentally that it wasn’t like they hadn’t planed on inviting him eventually anyway, Severus turned his attention back to Remus.
“Come stay at Malfoy Manor with us,” Snape invited forcing his hands to lay calmly on the wooden tabletop. “We hope to have Harry there soon, and we’re already working on freeing Sirius. In fact, Lucius should be in a meeting with Amelia Bones about it by now. I am sure Mister Potter will feel better having someone his parents trusted with him while he is surrounded by what he’s most recently perceived as enemies.
“Narcissa is going to be meeting with Sterling Barrows, and I am sure that she would be happy to speak to him on your behalf. Come stay at the manor. Let us help you so that you can help us and the children. Let’s…”
Severus paused becoming choked as he began the personal part of his plea. Fiercely though he tried again and forced himself to speak the words refusing to let Dumbledore control him spells and potions be damned. “Let’s give us a chance, a real chance. We’ll start off with that friendship we both wanted but were too stubborn and afraid to fight for and then go from there. Don’t let Dumbledore and Riddle control who we are. We… we deserve this chance.”
“We do,” Remus said softly looking at the pensive, and Severus wondered if he was thinking about James. “James always had the wildest of ideas, but they were almost always worth it in the end. OK, I’m in. Let’s go to the manor and get ourselves cleansed then we will see where life takes us when it’s ours and ours alone again.”
Smiling, Severus nodded and reached across the table, happy when Lupin took his hand. Quietly, he sat in the kitchen in that rundown shack and marveled at making his first decision that felt like his and his alone since he had been a child. He looked forward to seeing what the two of them could do when they were a united front.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Narcissa had never been the nervous sort. One could not show any weakness around her sister Bellatrix, even when they were small children, or feel the consequences. Her sister, who was the apple of her aunt Walburga and their parents’ eye, had never been a particularly good person, or sane for that matter. However, she had to admit that at the moment, she was probably the most nervous than she ever had been in her life. Her current mission was one of her own plotting and planning. In fact, Lucius and Severus only knew that she had a meeting with Sterling. Which was true, she did have a meeting with him, but it was a joint meeting. She had requested that he facilitate a meeting with her and probably the last person that anyone would ever suspect
The thing was though that they had a lot of hands in the till at the moment, and in Narcissa’s mind they needed some spies if they were going to free Severus from his masters. Therefore, they needed someone on the side of the light that could get them information, but Dumbledore would never suspect of treachery. She knew that Lucius had something planned for the Death Eaters, but no one had considered the other side, and Severus would never tolerate Lupin being used in such a manner.
Lucius’ knowledge of the first timeline would prove to be handy even as things changed, and he advised that there was a plot to resurrect the Dark Lord underway. While Lucius and Severus had come up with a suitable person to act as a spy within Riddle’s camp, they did not have any such person to do the same within Dumbledore’s camp. Thus, Narcissa’s long shot and current mission.
Taking a deep breath, she stepped inside the gates at Barrows Castle and made her way up the drive. When she got to the front door, she was unsurprised to see the Barrows Family’s Steward House Elf Tyrian. Like the Malfoy family, the Barrows had a theme to their House Elf names, and also followed the old ways. Thus, they had not only general House elves, but also a Steward House Elf and Personal Attendant House Elves all named after shades of purple, which was featured heavily on the family coat of arms.
“Tyrian, good morning.”
“Good mornings to you Lady Narcissa Malfoy! Welcomes back to Barrows Castle. Master Sterling’s Personal Attendant House Elf Han will be attending to yous during your meeting. Master Sterling is set up in his personal office and has Master Drew as well as Mistress Professor Minerva McGonagall in attendance. They is all ready and waiting for yous there. Dos you remember the way, or can Tyrian show you?”
“I believe that I can find my way, Tyrian, but I would not be opposed to your guidance. I heard from your cousin Hera that good tidings are in order. Congratulations on the upcoming babe. When is Violet due?”
“Oh! Thanks you Lady Malfoy! Violet and Tyrian is most excited! This is being our second babe, and we is hoping for a boy. We is both pleased, and Master Sterling has already promised Violet and Tyrian that the new babe will has a place within the house like our other babe.”
“That’s wonderful, Tyrian. I gave Hera leave to help Violet should she need help with this babe as she did the previous one.”
“You is very kind and an honor to both of yous Houses, Lady Malfoy,” Tyrian praised as he paused in front of a set of beautifully carved purple heart wooden doors. “You will find the rest of yous party inside Lady Malfoy. If Tyrian can be of any assistance, please just let him knows!”
Nodding, Narcissa squared her shoulders and pushed open the doors striding confidently into the office. “Lady Malfoy,” Sterling greeted with a smile as he hurried over place a kiss on each of her cheeks before stepping back and allowing his brother Drew to greet her as well.
The Barrows were part of the Elite 12, which was a class of Magical families recognized worldwide because of both their diversity in doing business across not just the muggle and magical worlds, but also across many continents and countries. Historically, the Barrows had been based in the United States, but during the leadership of Sterling’s father Rhodium Jefferson Barrows, his family had moved from Virginia in the us to England and taken up residence in their family home there.
Rhodium Barrows and Charlotte Boartrusk, an Australian witch whose family had originated in England back in the Middle Ages, had three children. Sterling Reginald Barrows was the current Lord and the first-born son of the family. Palladium Andrew “Drew” Barrows was the second born and was known worldwide for his knowledge of and work with Magical Creatures and Beings. Drew was single and had previously claimed that he spent way too much time travelling the world to settle down.
Narcissa knew from Sterling, who adored gossiping, that Drew had finally decided to settle down and was looking for something within Britain so that he could be near his brother. One of Narcissa’s goals while she was there was to feel him out to see if he would be interested in the Care of Magical Creatures position at Hogwarts. Currently Dumbledore was wanting to hire Hagrid, but the Board of Governors was currently fighting it concerned over having someone without a mastery or legally being able to carry a wand teach their children.
Then the youngest of the children was a lovely witch named Charoite Suzanne “Charo” Barrows. Charo was an extremely talented Herbology Master and held a position at Beauxbatons as the head of their Herbology Department, where she taught the seventh years NEWT level rare magical plants class for those who planned to go on to apprenticeships after their studies there were complete. According to Sterling, she had been dating an amazing Egyptian wizard named Malik Ahmed who was a charms master and also a professor at Beauxbatons.
Thus far, only Sterling had any children, a son from a previous marriage, and his heir. Mercury Frederick Barrows was a 23-year-old wizard who had been educated at Ilvermorny and currently worked at Gringotts with Bill Weasley whom he met there during their training. Both Mercury and Bill had apprenticed under Gringotts’s top Human Curse Breaker Stephen Paddington and currently held spaces on his team.
One of the items on their long list of things to accomplish was to see about getting Hagrid’s conviction and banishment from carrying a wand reversed. After Severus filled them in on the happenings of the previous year and who had actually been responsible for the Basilisk deaths the first time around, Lucius thought possibly that there was an opportunity to put a wedge between Dumbledore and one of his staunchest supporters that they otherwise might not be able to sway.
Therefore, one of the things that he would be speaking with Amelia Bones about was reinstating Hagrid’s rights to carry a wand and practice magic, and then formally completing his magical education. It was something that Severus advised Minerva had mentioned the end of the year staff meeting, and Dumbledore had advised was impossible to do, which was complete hogwash in Narcissa’s opinion.
All it would take was a copy of the memory from either Potter or one of his two little friends as to how they found out Riddle was responsible to clear Hagrid’s name. Not impossible in the slightest, but if Dumbledore cleared Hagrid’s name, then he’d have to come up with another way to manipulate him. In Narcissa’s opinion it was disgusting, and she was used to dealing with Death Eaters and their twisted morals.
After greeting Drew, Narcissa turned her attention to the woman watching her steadily and found herself intrigued at the unexpected fifth person in the room. “Narcissa, you know Minerva McGonagall of course. I believe she was teaching at Hogwarts when you attended there?”
Narcissa nodded smiling and offered her old professor a nod of greeting. “Transfiguration was one of my favorite subjects,” She confessed and stepped forward holding her hand out to McGonagall who stood and shook it.
“You were one of my best students, Lady Malfoy. It is because of that, that I agreed to this meeting. Although I am honest in that I asked my partner Nahele Horn to join us as a precaution. Your recent companions make me leery.”
Narcissa nodded and turned to the Native American whom Narcissa knew had been Head Auror within MACUSA before retiring and moving to Britain. Narcissa had been unaware of his relationship with Minerva though and was intrigued by how the two of them met. “Selecting a former Head Auror within MACUSA is a perfect choice and I do not blame you for your concern for your safety. I am well aware of my family’s reputation and most recent actions. However, we are trying to correct that, and this meeting is just one of our first steps.”
Turning her attention to Former MACUSA Head Auror Horn, Narcissa smiled and held a hand out to him. They had met exactly once at a political function in the states that Lucius had attended not long after Riddle’s first defeat at the hands of Harry Potter. While she and Lucius both knew that there was no way the sharp-witted former Head Auror bought Lucius’ story about his actions in the first war, the gentleman had been charming and treated her with respect, nonetheless.
“Mister Horn, it is a pleasure to meet you again. I think your presence at this meeting will be invaluable. I believe we could use someone of your experience to help us with the believability and truth of things.”
“Lady Malfoy, you are looking as lovely always and don’t look like you have aged a bit since the last time that I saw you. I promised Minerva that I would try and be a neutral party in this, and that is what I intend to do. Now, Sterling indicated that you had a memory that you wanted us to start off watching? How did you come by this memory?”
“I do,” Narcissa confirmed pulling out the vial of the copied memory that Lucius had given her. “My husband provided both myself and Severus Snape with a copy of a dream conversation he had that… well let’s just say it has completely changed his outlook on everything. He believes that this was more of a vision than a dream, and I am hoping that Minerva will be able to give us her opinion on that after watching this memory. I believe she is quite familiar with this other… person.”
Pulling out a vial from the handbag that she was carrying, Narcissa passed it to Sterling who motioned them all to follow him. Stepping to a large, empty space on the wall, Sterling drew an intricate pattern on the stone with the tip of his wand, prompting a door to appear, which he opened and motioned for the others to enter through to the Pensive Room.
The pensive was sitting in the middle of the room on a pedestal. Both the pensive and the pedestal appeared to be made of Purple Kunzite and carved with a series of ruins most likely to assist with protection and to warn of any alterations or falsities in the memories placed within it. Handing the vial to Sterling, Narcissa waited for him to pour the memory into the pensive and then on his signal joined the others within the memory.
Once they were done viewing it, Narcissa let Drew assist her to a chair as she found herself slightly shaky from the memory. Although, she did not appear to be the only one as she noticed Mr. Horn helping Minerva as well. Once they were seated, Sterling poured them each a drink, giving the gentlemen whiskey and the ladies brandy.
Once they were settled, Sterling lead things off after he took a swig of his drink. “Let me start off by saying that there was nothing to indicate that there were any falsities in that memory or any indication that it was fake. Given that that pensive has been around for over a thousand years, I am quite confident in its results.”
“That was James,” Minerva said, and Narcissa noticed that she’d traded her brandy for Mr. Horn’s whisky and couldn’t help but smile at the sight. “I know that man well, and I am telling you that spirit talking to Lucius was James Potter. I never… I am ashamed that it never occurred to me that anyone within Slytherin House might be as vulnerable as some of my Lions.”
“Severus has speculated that at the very least the majority of the Hogwarts professors and at worst all of them are being potioned and or manipulated by Dumbledore in some way.”
“Well, I want that shite cleansed from me immediately! I will not have it!” Minerva spat and Narcissa nodded.
“I am happy to hear that Professor McGonagall, because we have a proposition for you. Lucius has given us a list of things to expect, and he says that another war is coming. He says that in his original timeline Riddle was put back within a new body at the end of Draco’s fourth year. If that happens, and we are hoping to avoid it, but if it happens, we want to be prepared. Lucius is preparing to create a third side. One who follows neither Riddle nor Dumbledore. We are going to open Malfoy Manor as a Sanctuary to any who need it. We’re going to work on mending some fences between the House of Malfoy and the light Houses that we have been at war with for longer than anyone can remember the reasoning behind it all, including and starting with the Weasleys. Right now, Severus is speaking with Remus Lupin to try and bring him in, and if we can do that then we are going to see about getting Harry Potter out of whatever place that Dumbledore has him stashed at, because according to Draco something is very not right in that house.”
Minerva frowned at the last statement and Narcissa could see her temper riling up again. “I have never seen sign of such a thing, and I am Mister Potter’s Head of House.”
“Are you sure you would notice though if you had seen it though Minnie?” Nahele asked gently drawing her attention.
“If Dumbledore is influencing you with potions, and might I add that doing so is an international violation regardless of whether it is illegal in Britain or not, I would guess that one of the things he is controlling is making sure you do not notice anything about Potter that he doesn’t want you to see.”
“To what end?” Minerva asked skeptically. Her protective instincts toward a man that she had known for so long, clearly out in full force.
“So, that you don’t notice that he’s priming himself to be a sacrificial lamb to Riddle,” Narcissa said, and Sterling frowned before voicing a question.
“Who is Riddle?”
Narcissa smiled at her host before explaining. “Tom Riddle is the Dark Lord’s true name, or Tammy Riddle as Draco has taken to calling him.” Narcissa then proceeded to explain the story of Draco and Lucius’ conversation that ended up with Voldemort in red lipstick and a blond wig, which gave them all a chuckle before moving on.
“Anyway, back to what I was saying, according to Lucius, at the end of the second war with Riddle, Harry sacrificed himself knowingly. He gave himself up and allowed Riddle to cast the killing curse on him without even attempting to protect himself. Lucius advised that he was never sure of why, only that it was done. So, it is clear that Dumbledore had primed the child to believe that it was ok for him to sacrifice himself in the name of everyone else’s wellbeing.”
“My God,” Drew breathed softly next to her drawing Narcissa’s attention briefly, and when she turned back to Minerva she could see the older woman had once more grown pale and shaky.
“He’s with his Aunt Petunia,” Minerva said softly as Nahele tried to comfort her as Han popped in with a mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream for her and immediately popped back up. When Minerva went to pick up the mug though, her hands were shaking so badly that she immediately set it back down.
“We left him on the front porch like a fucking bottle of milk, dear Merlin,” Minerva moaned and grabbed her head with one hand as she paled even further.
“Minnie?” Nahele questioned, and Narcissa guessed that he was growing concerned for the woman’s health. Cissy knew that she was.
“Sterling, I think you should send Han to the Dverger immediately,” Drew suggested as he got up and moved to kneel in front of the Hogwarts’ Professor. Narcissa knew that while he wasn’t a fully trained healer, because of the nature of his job and the number of dangerous creatures that he interacted with that he had more mediwizard training than most.
“I agree,” Sterling offered and immediately did so. Opening her handbag, Narcissa searched until she found the vial that she was looking for, and standing crossed to Drew.
“Andrew, here,” Narcissa began giving him the vial. “This is some Pepper-up Potion that Severus recently made. He makes all of the medical potions used in the infirmary at Hogwarts. So, I promise that it is safe.”
Drew nodded and took it and watched carefully as McGonagall took it. “I think its her fighting whatever potioning that Dumbledore has done to her. We need to get her cleansed ASAP. Now that she has started questioning things, I am concerned that this will only get worse if we don’t get whatever Dumbledore has done to her out of her system.”
Just then Han popped in with Alkrat the Barrows Famiily Gringott Accounts Manager and Brodnus one of the Dverger Healers. Quickly the Healer began scanning her and almost immediately began growling out orders to Alkrat in what Narcissa guessed to be Dwarvish. Soon, Minerva was floated out of the room with Sterling leading the way to one of the guest rooms with a concerned Nahele trailing after them.
Several hours later, Narcissa and Nahele were being escorted to the front door by Drew while Sterling sat with Minerva while her partner was gone. Narcissa was headed back to Malfoy Manor, and Nahele was headed to his flat to get some things for himself and Minerva while she healed.
Pausing at the front door, Narcissa and Nahele stopped to exchange goodbyes. “Cissy, count the Barrows Family in on whatever you need. We are frimly on your side. I can’t even imagine what kind of person would potion someone they claim to be a friend with behavioral modification spells and potions to the point that they would rather see them dead than free themselves from their control.”
“Agreed,” Nahele growled angrily through teeth gritted out of frustration and anger. “To think I could have lost Minnie today if the Dverger hadn’t reacted so quickly, and all for what? So, Dumbledore retained control over one of his puppets? It’s obscene. You can be sure I will be mentioning this to some people. If he would do this to someone that he works with as closely as he does Minerva, what would he do to someone he doesn’t supposedly like? What is he doing to those Slytherin children for instance? I have heard that he has no love lost for those in that house.”
Narcissa nodded in understanding quite upset herself and feeling the need to be in her husband’s arms and to see her son and know he’s safe and healthy and had a second chance to make his own path. “It’s quite disturbing. We appreciate your support, and if there is anyone else that you think would be willing to join our cause, please let us know. Lucius is not afraid to show the vision to anyone who truly needs it. Obviously, we would rather that Dumbledore not know what is going on just yet, but if we know whomever it is can be trusted, we’re willing to risk it to gain an ally.”
“Sterling and I will put our heads together and see what we can come up with,” Drew promised giving her a hug goodbye. “Maybe we will go talk to George Paddington to at the very least ensure that they do not shift over to Dumbledore’s side. I know he has said that if there is another war that they will not sit it out like they did the first go around.”
Narcissa shuddered at the thought of what Dumbledore would or could do with the power and money of the Paddingtons behind him. “Yes, please. We need to make sure that is not a resource that he has access to. Nahele, if there is anything that we can do for Minerva, just let us know. I will give Severus this list of potions right away. I am sure he will contact you or Brodnus if he has any questions. Drew, please thank Sterling for his offer of assistance for Remus. Hopefully, this time he will take him up on it.”
With that, Narcissa headed out the doors, and as she walked down the drive to get outside of the wards so that she could apparate home, she felt herself becoming more and more concerned over what would happen when they tried to cleanse Severus. She also couldn’t help but wonder if Dumbledore weren’t a bigger monster than Tom Riddle ever was.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Lucius Malfoy apparated just beyond the wards at Longbottom Manor, and as he studied the grand manor in front of him, he was glad that he’d had the last-minute burst of inspiration. Patting his inner pocket to make sure that he had not only the copy of the conversation with James, but also a copy of the list of events during the original timeline as he could remember them. Both were for Amelia, as he anticipated her wanting as much information as possible.
Initially he struggled with the notion that he was going to just waltz into Amelia Bones’ office at the DMLE and expect it not to get back to Dumbledore, who would only be happy about that situation if it were ending in Lucius under arrest. Thus, he needed to come up with a location for the meeting where he could show the memory in a pensive. Since Severus needed the Malfoy pensive for Remus, Lucius had found himself at a loss. That was until Draco asked what they were going to do with Longbottom, and if this time around could they first get Augusta to get Neville his own wand, and second, convince her to move Neville’s parents somewhere other than St. Mungos.
Realizing that he could kill two birds with one stone, Lucius sent both Augusta Longbottom and Amelia Bones missives asking for a meeting. Fortunately, since both Lucius and Augusta were members of the Hogwarts Board of Governors, it wasn’t unusual for him to need to send her owls. So, he could contact her without someone in Dumbledore’s camp questioning it if they found out.
When Draco suggested that bringing in Neville would be a brilliant idea, Severus had sneered that he couldn’t imagine what good that would accomplish, unless they were trying to burn down the school. This let to Draco’s, admittedly surprising, defense of the Longbottom Heir and his scathing review of Snape’s teaching skills to any house that wasn’t Slytherin.
“I love you Godfather, sometimes I have loved you more than either of my parents, but you’re a shite teacher, especially for anyone that is a lion. You scare Neville half to death, and that’s why he always melts cauldrons. Not to mention that with now Dumbledore encourages the house rivalries to the point where it’s more like the Muggle War of the Roses instead of a friendly House competition, its ludicrous that they put Gryffindors and Slytherins in a class that can be as volatile as Potions.”
“And what would you do if you could make out the schedule?” Snape sneered not expecting Draco to have a response. Lucius though had to smirk when his son immediately shot back with an answer, knowing that Draco had worked quite hard with Hermione Granger and Padma Patil as an adult to fix the Hogwarts classes so that they were up to snuff.
“The first thing I would do is to contact the muggleborns and the half-bloods or anyone else raised in a muggle family earlier than a few months before the start of their first year. I would make sure they had access to muggle educational classes on wizarding culture, relations, etiquette, etc. I would make sure they had access to all the basic wizarding knowledge that those raised within Magical Britain get. That way when they get to Hogwarts everyone has the same starting knowledge.
“Then I would never put Gryffindors and Slytherins or Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws in the same classes. I would always pair Slytherins with Ravenclaws, because the ‘Claws and Snakes are the most likely to get along. Same for the Hufflepuffs and the Gryffindors. Then I would either change the Magical Creature class to include Magical Beings, not my first choice, or create a second class that specifically dealt with educating our magical children the cultures of magical beings and how to relate to them, this one being my preference.
“Then I would create a class on wizarding culture, the Wizengamot, and how the Ministry works so people understand these things. I think that if we had more people going to Gringotts to check for a Magical inheritance then more of our Magical Houses wouldn’t be abandoned and the Chief Warlock wouldn’t have so much voting power within the Wizengamot no matter who they are.
“When Hermione and I started a campaign to have it done in the original timeline we had at least half of the abandoned houses reopened because Magic selected a new Head of House. I would educate them on the Book of Souls and the importance of following the old holidays and the impact it has on magic when these customs and rituals are abandoned. I would make sure that it is part of the Hogwarts Charter that the Headmaster cannot hold another political office.
“Its obscene the amount of power that Dumbledore holds. It shouldn’t be allowed! I would create more clubs and classes for things like art, music, and other activities to promote house unity, and I would make sure that bullying all around is punished. Not just against Slytherins bullying the other houses. I would hire more professors and expand the class offerings. I would change some of the mandatory classes and get rid of Divination unless the student shows skill for such things. Would you like me to go on or have I made my point?”
“I keep forgetting that you are an adult in a child’s body, brat. My apologies.” Severus had offered and Draco had quickly accepted it. Lucius guessed that Draco would forgive Severus just about anything this time around. His Godfather’s death had been a blow to Draco that Lucius didn’t think his son had ever gotten over. He had never really understood just what his Godfather meant to him until he had to watch his son navigate life without him.
“Lord Malfoy, welcomes to Longbottom Manor,” a House Elf greeted, and Lucius forced himself out of his own head, not having realized that he’d reached the manor doors.
“Mistress Augusta is in the conservatory with Madame Bones. Dittany will takes you there right away Lord Malfoy sirs,” the tiny house elf in a ivy patterned uniform advised before heading off through the manor. Once they reached the conservatory, she announced Lucius and then popped off saying that she would be back with tea.
Glad to see a pensive waiting on the table that the ladies were sitting at Lucius made his way over nodding to each of the ladies before sitting. “Dowager Lady Longbottom, thank you for agreeing to host this meeting. Madame Bones, thank you for agreeing to meet with me outside of your office. I know that you both are uncertain as to my motives, and even though I know you won’t believe it, I do understand. So, I suggest we start with the reason I requested the Longbottom family pensive be available and then we can go from there.”
Taking the vial of his memory copy from his inner robe pocket. Lucius poured it into the pensive and then motioned for the ladies to view it joining them inside the memory of his conversation with James Potter. As he watched the interaction, Lucius found himself watching the older Lucius this time instead of James.
It was hard to see himself in such an unhealthy state and made a mental note to himself to cut back on his alcohol intake. While the Dark Mark hadn’t been good for his magic, burying his troubles in fire whiskey had not been the answer either, and certainly it hadn’t helped him repair his relationship with his son.
When they pulled out of the memory, Lucius noticed both ladies were shaken as both had known James Potter. Augusta because Frank and Alice had been such good friends with James and Lily Potter, and Amelia because she had gone to school with them. If Lucius remembered correctly she had also been friendly with Lily. Withdrawing the copied scrolls of information that he and Draco had written down, Lucius carefully passed it to Amelia, who looked at him surprised. “That is copies of all the information that Draco and I can remember from the first timeline. The only person who has all that information other than my son and I will be you. While I am not afraid to be open in that we have been sent back to right things, I don’t think it would be a good idea for the contents of the original timeline to get out.
“Both Draco and I have impenetrable occlumency shields. So, I am not concerned over someone getting inside our heads. In addition to that I am going to our Gringotts Vault tomorrow to get some necklaces that have been in the Malfoy Family for generations to help provide additional protection for our minds from attack or someone trying to influence us. I do though think that it is important that someone as fair and just as yourself is forewarned over the things that are to come. The very first and most important suggestion I have for you Madam Bones is that you seek out the Dverger about either adding better wards to your current home or moving to the Bones ancestral residence.”
Amelia put the scroll in the pocket inside her robes with a nod. “I take it I did not survive the first time?”
“No, you did not,” Lucius confirmed gravely. “And I can honestly say it was a big blow to those fighting Tom Riddle, or the Dark Lord as you call him. This time around, I refuse to pander to his ego, and will not call him anything other than who he is given that the name change is about nothing more than his ego rather than a gender identity issue or some other reasonable request for an alternative name.”
“And why should we believe that you are going to follow along a different path this time, Lucius?” Augusta asked sharply, studying him with narrowed eyes. “For all we know, you are the one who killed Amelia the first time.”
“I was not, but I understand your doubt,” Lucius offered calmly and looked to Amelia. “Zeus was supposed to suggest to you that you bring some Veritaserum with you when he dropped off the meeting request. Did you follow his suggestion?”
Amelia nodded and pulled the small vial out of her inner pocket. “Although I will admit that it was difficult to get some that was not made by Severus. I understand now though why you made the suggestion. This helps to relieve any doubts as to the authenticity of your responses. Will you allow me to perform the spells checking for the counter-potions before giving you this?”
Lucius nodded and sat still while Amelia ran through a series of spells to check for the handful of ways known to fool the truth telling serum. Once she was confident that Lucius hadn’t done something to try and trick them, Lucius handed her the counter potion that Severus had provided him that morning, and then let her administer the three-drop dosage.
“I am going to begin by asking you to lie to me. What is your full name?”
Lucius paused trying to say Draco Malfoy, but couldn’t get more than the first two letters of his son’s first name out before he was forced to stop trying to fight the serum. “Dr… Lucius Abraxas Malfoy.”
“Very good, Lord Malfoy. Now, I will begin questioning you about what you have requested this meeting about. Is the memory you provided us true and without manipulations on your part?”
“Yes, it is a copy of the conversation that I had with James Potter when I fell asleep in my study a couple days prior.”
“And has this memory copy been altered by anyone other than you?”
“No, I pulled the copies out myself, and put them directly into vials that I had in my possession,” Lucius confirmed speaking slowly and without emotional inflection, as were the common signs of someone under the serum’s spell.
“You said copies. Who else has a copy of this memory and why?”
“I gave a copy of the memory to Severus Snape who has gone to try and bring Remus Lupin to our side and hopefully to see about getting into his pants. That nonsense has been going on far too long now. A second copy was given to my Cissy for whatever meeting she had today. She advised she was going to Barrow Castle, but I suspect that she asked him to invite someone else to the meeting. I do not know who that would be, although I trust her judgement as she has always been the smarter of the two of us.”
Somewhere in the back of his mind, Lucius registered Amelia and Augusta’s amusement to his words, but because of the serum’s powerful control over him, was unable to respond to it. “And what are your intentions for this meeting Lord Malfoy?”
“I wanted to try and bring Madam Amelia Bones, Head of the House of Bones, and Dowager Lady Augusta Longbottom, current Acting Head of the House of Longbottom to our side and away from Dumbledore so that we might have a chance at defeating both Vold… Tom Riddle and Dumbledore this time around. In addition to that I need to convince Augusta to get her grandson a new wand, because she is damaging his psyche by forcing him to use a wand that is not compatible with his magic.
“I also would like to convince her to move her son Frank and daughter in law Alice out of St. Mungos where Dumbledore has influence and to a French Clinic that specializes in mind healing and lately has been doing miraculous work with people who have had much more cruatius damage than Frank and Alice do. Harry Potter as well as their son Neville need them back in their lives.”
“And what are you to get out of all of this? What is your ultimate goal by coming back in time to try and change things?”
“I wish for my son to live a happy life with his Veela Mate and to do the right thing for once in my life. I wish to be the father and husband that Draco and Narcissa deserve instead of the son my father created. I want to try and make up for all the damage that I did the first time and try and make sure that neither Draco nor any of his other friends are forced into the same path that I was, and many the Thunder’s parents were. I want our children to be able to be children.”
“Have you forsaken the preaching of the man known as the Dark Lord, and are you truthful in your intent to bring down Dumbledore?”
“Yes, I seek to create a third side in the war that is coming to us. In addition to the people that we are currently reaching out to, I would like to get a meeting with Arthur Weasley to try and end that blood feud. Harry Potter will hopefully soon be a part of my family, and I will not have fighting within the House of Malfoy, no matter how long a blood feud has been going on. I only want our children and their children to have a better and more peaceful life than I and my peers have had.”
“Is there anything else that you wish us to know, Lord Malfoy?”
“Only that I am sincere in my need to make amends for what I have done and ask that you not judge my son or his friends by my actions or their parents actions. I ask that you not judge Severus Snape for the things he has done in the past and understand that not only was he being manipulated by Tom Riddle, but also Albus Dumbledore. I would ask that you free Sirius Black and help me let Rabastan Lestrange escape so that he can serve as a spy within the Death Eaters for us. Neither man was ever a Death Eater, and Rabastan was only present because he was there to try and stop his brother from harming the Longbottoms. In fact, Rabastan claims that he cast a protection spell on Neville, which is why he survived unharmed.”
“Ok, I think that is everything, Lord Malfoy. Drink this, and then once you are free of the truth compulsion we will talk more.”
Lucius drank the vial that she handed him, and then accepted the teacup that Moly made him as the group sat in silence. Lucius could feel when the serum’s effects were broken, but gave it several other moments to be safe, and finished his tea before speaking. “I do believe I am back to normal, Ladies. My thanks in your patience and for not taking advantage. Although, I would appreciate if you would not share with Severus my speculation on his love life. He would be most displeased.”
Lucius looked to Augusta who looked more shaken than he’d ever seen her. “I didn’t… He’s being damaged by using Frank’s wand? Dumbledore insisted that it would be fine to use, and that he didn’t need his own.”
Lucius took a deep breath and gave the woman a short nod. “Draco says there was an incident in their fifth year where the wand Neville was using that was still Frank’s old wand was broken. According to my son, Neville’s magic and performance in school was much better after he got a wand that was his own.”
“And Frank and Alice?” Augusta pushed and Lucius sighed again.
“I don’t have proof on that one, although with everything else I know, my guess is that Dumbledore wants to keep them away from being able to influence anyone else. My guess is that Frank especially was unhappy about Pettigrew being the secret keeper, but never had a chance to tell James. If he knew that Sirius Black was in prison, and it thought that he had betrayed James and Lily to Voldemort he’d have baby kneazles.”
“Wait, are you saying that Peter Pettigrew is alive?” Amelia asked sharply and Lucius proceeded to inform her of what had come out after the war that Sirius Black had been wrongfully imprisoned in Azkaban without a trial and had never been guilty of anything. Pettigrew had been living as a rat as a Weasley family pet the whole time. He also went on to share how Rabastan Lestrange was similarly innocent and had been automatically assumed guilty because of his brother and sister-in-law.
“Rabastan was never a believer in Tom’s preaching. He was there on occasion because he always looked up to Rod, who for some reason adored Bellatrix, but ne was never a death eater, and never involved in any of our plots or attacked anyone. At least not to my knowledge. I do however think that he would, if we asked, work as a spy within Riddle’s ranks if we could…. Extract him from Azkaban under the right circumstances.”
“So, you’re thinking what? Prison break?” Amelia asked and Lucius nodded.
“That maybe would justify you reopening their cases claiming that you were looking for any information that could help you find them. That would them give you reason to “find out” that Sirius never had a trial and build a case to clear Rabastan’s name after this is all over.”
“What makes you think that Rabastan will help us, Lord Malfoy?” Augusta asked, and Lucius was glad to see that she was looking better. He had always been secretly fond of the elderly witch who had a sharp mind, and guilty of nothing more than falling victim to Dumbledore’s manipulating her grief.
“Rabastan Lestrange hates Bellatrix with a passion. He blames her completely for what has happened to his brother and would do just about anything to bring her down. I believe that if approached with the right incentive that he would cooperate. It might require promises to either move Rod out of Azkaban or reforming the prison so that his brother has much better living conditions, but I think at least the latter is workable. Having spent time there during the first timeline I can tell you that the conditions at Azkaban are deplorable and need to be fixed.”
Amelia nodded and made a parchment and a quill appear to make some notes for herself. “Anything else?”
Lucius thought and decided to go with some things he’d been turning over in his mind. “Augusta, I think we need to have the hat checked to see if it has been tampered with. There has been some sortings that do not make sense. Draco tells me that after the second war, he found out from Hermione Granger that Harry Potter was able to influence the hat into putting him in Gryffindor where he wanted instead of Slytherin where he belonged.
“I don’t know if you know this, but there are certain Houses, namely the Founders Houses and those of the Heirs to Camelot, that depend upon them being sorted correctly. If someone is interfering in that, it is causing Magical Britain considerable damage, and would explain things like why the birth rates of magical children has decreased. I suspect that the lack of heirs to such powerful houses has damaged or at least weakened pool of magic available to us.”
Augusta froze then nodded sharply. “I will send some missives to the others, but I have no problem spearheading that. I will just claim that Potter told Neville the story, and I just heard it from my Grandson. I think you as well as the rest of the Board need to get together and discuss some other changes. We can write it off as an attempt to ease the hostility between the Houses.”
Lucius nodded with a smile thinking about Draco and his response to Severus that morning. “I will have Draco write out his ideas. He was quite involved in Hogwarts educational reform in the original timeline. He has quite a few marvelous ideas.”
“What are you going to do there? Is it fair to the others or even Draco to have what is essentially an adult competing a second time against children?”
Lucius ran a hand over his hair. He understood the question as Narcissa had asked him the same question, and his opinion on the matter had not changed from that original discussion. “I don’t see that we have any way around it. The first issue I see is that I believe, and Severus agreed strongly, that it would do great harm to the Slytherins in his year and younger to not have Draco there. They all look to him as a leader, and I think it would damage their futures not to have him involved.
“Then there is the fact that as much as it may not be fair, I think Draco deserves a chance that he didn’t get the first time around. There were times, and especially during his latter years that he was fighting more to just survive and less concerned on learning, which affected his future. He has though said that he is willing to sit out Quidditch because he admits that it would be an unfair advantage.”
Augusta and Amelia both nodded and the trio spent another hour going over things, making sure that they hadn’t missed anything. Lucius made sure that they were aware he was beginning preparations to open Malfoy Manor as a Sanctuary and suggested that at least one of the ancestral homes on the light side do the same. He also shared their plans for saving Harry Potter from wherever Dumbledore had him stashed, as well as their plans to cleanse Severus and Remus as well as anyone else they think could have been potioned by Dumbledore.
The consensus was that they would try to get anyone they thought would keep the truth from Dumbledore to see the Dverger to get the cleansing ritual done and the protection spells and charms added to prevent him from doing it again. By the time he was walking back down the path to the main gate, Lucius marveled at how well the meeting had gone, and that this time around the House of Malfoy and the Houses of Longbottom and Bones would be fighting on the same side to bring down not only Voldemort, but Albus Dumbledore as well.