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His Own True Heir by Scaranda [Reviews - 0]

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Harry sat with Hermione and Ron and Lupin in the subdued Great Hall. He watched as Hermione slipped some more food into the bag at her side; he wasn’t sure just how much she thought Draco was actually going to eat. Of course Ron would probably join him for an after lunch snack; he’d have to build himself up for sharing mealtimes with the rest of the Weasleys in Romania next week.

The Hall was packed with the dignitaries of the wizarding world, and the friends and contemporaries of Albus Dumbledore who had come to pay their last respects. Harry kept looking around the tables to check that no one who could possibly be Snape or Sirius came in. He’d spent most of Dumbledore’s funeral anxiously scanning the crowd for another Lupin, or a telltale scuffle that the Aurors had arrested someone. He wished this were over and he was back at the safe house, checking what was going on there.

He found his thoughts unexpectedly slipping to Severus Snape; he wondered how he was feeling just now. Harry knew in himself that Snape would have been the one to deliver the Headmaster’s eulogy if things had been different. Somehow he knew that was what the Knight Protectors of the Shield of Merlin were going to do anyway, in quite another way. He watched Minerva McGonagall walk across the hall and stoop to have a few words with Lupin. The werewolf rose and followed her out.

‘Come on,’ Hermione said. ‘Let’s get back up to the dorm. Draco will be starving.’ She nodded to the bag.

As they passed through the entrance hall they saw Lupin and McGonagall disappear behind the closing wall of the staircase leading to the Headmistress’s office.

‘I wonder what that’s all about,’ Ron murmured.

Harry frowned. ‘I don’t know.’

‘Are you uneasy about Lupin, Harry?’ Hermione asked.

‘No.’ Harry shook his head. ‘I don’t think so. I don’t think he’d willingly betray anyone, if that’s what you mean.’

‘But you think he might submit to pressure?’ Hermione gave him a calculating look. She didn’t want to tell him just how much McGonagall knew. She well understood what the Headmistress had said about dangerous secrets, but she knew this was worth keeping. She had to know what was going on, and she didn’t want Harry, or Draco for that matter, to stop telling her things; she knew that was exactly what had happened last time. Women were better at secrets; they understood the courtesies and relevancies of the different types, they were much more experienced.

Harry frowned again, and pushed his glasses up on his nose. ‘Maybe McGonagall just thought Lupin was upset. He tends to be a bit overemotional.’ He nodded to the other two. ‘You go on; I’m going to watch for him coming back out.’

He didn’t have long to wait for the staircase to open again, but when it did it was Minerva McGonagall who stepped into the corridor. Harry had a funny feeling she summed him up in the moments it took for her to reseal the steps.

‘Potter,’ she called. ‘What are you hanging about for?’

He decided to call her bluff. ‘I thought I saw Lupin go upstairs with you. I was waiting for him. I wanted to speak to him.’

‘And you were right, Potter,’ she replied as she reached him. ‘Lupin won’t be long. Professor Dumbledore just wanted a quiet word with him.’

‘He’s alert in his portrait?’ Harry gasped; the Dumbledore he’d seen in the portrait the week before had been slumbering. ‘Can I speak to him?’

‘Not just now, Potter,’ she said. ‘Perhaps in the days to come, but for now he only has short periods of time when he can converse with this world from the next. Perhaps once he settles in, and the Times behind the portraits get used to another being inhabiting their spaces.’

Harry frowned, then gave a little laugh. ‘I think I’ll get Hermione to translate what that means; it sounds as though it would take a while.’


Lupin took a deep breath before he opened the door of the safe house; he was almost expecting the walls to be dripping with blood, or at the very least to find the atmosphere so hostile that he had to cut his way through it. He didn’t expect to find Lucius sitting reading the beginning of chapter two of his book, with his long damp silver-blond hair lying loose on his shoulders, whilst Sirius stirred a pot of what looked and smelt suspiciously like fermented manure.

Snape was nowhere to be seen; perhaps he’d been killed in an effort to keep the two of them apart, and they’d donned this façade of domesticity to try to cover the crime.

‘Where’s Severus?’ Draco asked as he and Harry followed him in.

Sirius nodded to the stairs. ‘Asleep.’

‘How is he?’ Lupin asked.

‘All right, I suppose; it’s hard to tell. He’s not exactly communicative at the best of times,’ Sirius replied as he picked what looked uncomfortably like one of his long dark wavy hairs from the pot. ‘How was it?’

‘Okay, I suppose. The boys will tell you. I need to talk to Severus.’ Lupin began to climb the stairs as the rest of them frowned at his back.


Severus had heard them come in, heard the brief exchange of words without knowing what they were, and the creak of the stairs as someone came up; he knew it was Lupin. He was sitting up by the time the werewolf pushed the door open. He still felt nauseous from the Polyjuice Potion; if he’d been at Hogwarts he’d have cobbled up something to settle his stomach, he didn’t think Lupin’s company would do the trick.

‘Did you speak to him?’ he asked without the preamble of discussing who was at the funeral, who delivered the addresses and eulogies; he knew it hadn’t been him, so it didn’t matter much.

Lupin nodded. ‘You knew?’

‘I suspected he’d be in his portrait immediately. He’s not a fool, Lupin; he knows we need to strike while Voldemort thinks we are at a low point.’

‘He wants you to get to Hogwarts tonight. He says he’ll make sure the steps are open and the office is empty two hours after midnight.’

Snape winced as his stomach roiled, in case he’d forgotten about his abuse of it, as though threatening him with double retribution if he tried to maltreat it again. ‘What about Minerva?’ he asked.

‘I’m not sure.’ Lupin shrugged. ‘I don’t know what she knows.’

‘More than we want her to know, I suspect,’ Snape replied and stood up as quickly as he dared. ‘What is that disgusting smell? Please tell me Black isn’t making dinner.’

‘He’s making something; it smells like old shoes,’ Lupin replied with his self-effacing smile. ‘I’d hoped you left him stirring a potion. I’m glad I had a big lunch.’


‘What if I wait on the Apparition point on the hill outside Hogwarts with the Invisibility Cloak, and that way Sirius can just change to Padfoot?’ Harry suggested, omitting to mention it would save him a lugging a basket of snake around if it weren’t necessary.

‘Don’t just ignore it because you didn’t think of it, Severus.’ Sirius pointed the ladle at him before he had a chance to say anything. Something brown was sliding off it; it made an unpleasant plopping sound as it landed on the floor. Harry watched, fascinated to see if it was going to crawl off into a corner of its own accord.

‘I’m not ignoring anything, Black,’ Snape replied; his lip was curled in disgust at the brown mess too. ‘You’re not going.’

‘Wouldn’t it be better to have me under your watchful eye than to have to worry about what I was up to behind your back?’

‘You’re very childish at times, Black,’ Lucius muttered across the table. He looked disappointed that dinner did indeed appear to be what Sirius was messing about with; he hadn’t even had the buffer of a Hogwarts lunch.

‘Yes, I revert to it as a last option when common sense doesn’t work,’ Sirius snarled at him. ‘Let’s eat and go.’ He began ladling great lumps of gooey matter onto plates. ‘This’ll put hairs on your chest.’ He grinned as he manfully tried to shake it off the serving spoon.

‘What is it?’ Draco poked hesitantly at his plate with his fork, as though he expected it to poke him back.

‘Peasant fodder,’ Lucius muttered as his own plate was laid before him. He gave it a threatening look.

Sirius laid the next plate in front of Snape. He pushed it away and glared at him. ‘Don’t be ridiculous, Black. I am not eating that.’

‘Fine, your delicate stomach can starve then,’ Sirius declared in triumph as he laid Harry’s plate in front of him, ‘or have another dose of Polyjuice. There’s nothing else.’ He brought two plates on the last trip. Harry noticed he’d given Lupin a big helping and hadn’t taken much for himself; he suspected that was a pointer.

Snape had already left the table, and was cutting some slices from the hard loaf that sat waiting to be fed to the gulls. He broke the remainder of the bread into small pieces and put them onto his still full dinner plate. He opened the door, placed it on the ground outside and stood watching for a moment. None of them saw the smirk on his face as the gulls began to swoop in to scavenge. He took the remaining two slices of bread over to the fire, and began to toast them on a fork as the others chewed bravely for a bit.

Sirius laid his fork down at last; he’d managed to swallow a few token mouthfuls. ‘It’s fucking horrible, isn’t it?’ He assumed his most crestfallen look, before turning to where Snape had buttered his nicely browned toast and had proceeded to crunch into it with apparent satisfaction. ‘And that miserable fuck’s finished the bread.’


‘All clear. Mischief managed,’ Harry whispered and folded up the Marauders Map. It wasn’t fooled anyway, but he knew it wouldn’t be; it had recognised Peter Pettigrew and Barty Crouch quickly enough when they’d been to Hogwarts under different guises. He nodded to Snape and Sirius, and the two men slid in the door, still under the Cloak; Sirius, as though he were a young boy enjoying a game of hide and seek, Snape, as though the whole thing were somewhat beneath his dignity. Severus had taken the Polyjuice, and Harry suspected it was already having effects other than having allowed him to don his Lupin persona; even in the dark he could see his moody silence and pallor were more marked than usual. That was beginning to worry Harry. Sirius hadn’t bothered to take the potion; Lucius wasn’t any less a wanted man than he was, and he could use Padfoot if necessary.

‘Do you want us to come up with you?’ Sirius asked quietly as they reached the bottom of the steps leading to the Headmistress’s office.

‘No.’ Snape shook his head. ‘Potter, you wait here with the Map and you wait halfway up, Black. That way you can let me know if anyone is coming.’

‘Professor,’ Harry said as something that had been nagging at him coalesced into a thought. ‘What about the rest of the portraits? Aren’t some of them unfriendly to our cause?’

‘It is a risk we have to take. I suspect there is some code of honour amongst portraits which does not allow them to eavesdrop though.’ Snape gave him a long look. ‘Perhaps while you’re waiting you could give your godfather some lessons in the forward thinking technique you have managed to develop.’

‘Will Voldemort worry about codes of honour?’ Harry asked with a tight smile as Sirius made a rude sign at Snape.


‘You must all go, Severus,’ Dumbledore said from the portrait. ‘And your missing members must be replaced by another Gryffindor and another Slytherin. We cannot allow death to defeat us.’

Snape shook his head in denial. ‘They’re too young. I cannot allow it.’

‘Then you have already failed,’ Dumbledore said firmly, dismissing his objections. ‘When you work out where the last two Horcruxes are, you must summon him formed as the pentagram, and you must not break formation if you all want to survive.’

‘How will we find them?’ Snape asked and ran his hands through Lupin’s hair.

‘I cannot say. But I know this much, Rowena’s brooch has passed from your world. I suspect it will be waiting for you somewhere. Remember they may be infected by Voldemort’s soul, but they once belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw and Helga Hufflepuff.’

‘And is the cup still in this world?’ Snape asked with a frown; things seemed to be becoming more complicated instead of clearer.

‘Leave Helga Hufflepuff’s cup to the ladies, Severus.’

‘What ladies?’ Snape asked suspiciously, and took another look around the seemingly empty office.

‘It is a grave failing of yours to want to do everything by yourself. I seem to remember telling you that a long time ago.’ Dumbledore gave Severus a long look. ‘And don’t bother to give me that fraudulent humiliated look; I always saw through it, you know.’

‘Are we going to succeed?’ Snape asked quietly.

‘I do not know, Severus. I only know you are going to try. Keep one another close.’

His voice had dropped to a low murmur, and when Snape looked back to the portrait it was just a picture of an old man slumbering in a red armchair, until it opened one eye and winked at him. It was taking a huge effort on Snape’s part to keep the toast he had eaten earlier in its current place of residence, and the wink hadn’t helped.


Apart from throwing the toast up into a sink in Moaning Myrtle’s bathroom, with same Myrtle cackling her delight from one of the cubicles, Harry thought Snape looked much better than he had since he’d killed Dumbledore, as though speaking to him had laid any self-doubts he might have had. They had moved to the Gryffindor Common Room, and Harry raised a finger to his lips as the tapestry hanging on the gallery flapped in what might only have been an errant draught. He unfolded the map and watched the three witches climb the stairs, as Sirius pulled the cloak over himself, and Snape lit one of Lupin’s cigarettes, slouching in a chair, and leaving the cigarette dangling between his teeth the way the werewolf did.

Hermione opened the door, and McGonagall and Andromeda Black followed her in.

‘Potter,’ McGonagall nodded. ‘Severus,’ she added nonchalantly to where he sat watching her. She sniffed the air with a little smile. ‘And I think the cat in me smells dog.’

‘Minerva.’ Snape twisted Lupin’s lip in his own mannerism, as he belatedly hauled himself to his feet. It wouldn’t have mattered whose persona he’d donned, Harry reckoned; only Severus Snape could acknowledge a greeting in quite that way. ‘You may as well show yourself, Black,’ Snape added without bothering to feign resignation.

Severus took his time turning to Andromeda; she had always fascinated him, she was the only woman he had ever lain with. He suspected that if she hadn’t already been married to Ted Tonks he might have taken the step himself, even though she was almost ten years his senior. It had been Andromeda and Lucius who had dragged him back from his suicidal abyss when Sirius had dumped him, Andromeda who had shown him more about pleasuring a man than anyone else ever could have, although he had to admit to himself that Lucius had had a little input there too.

‘Why bother with the disguise, Severus? No one else smells of cinnamon and orange blossom.’ Andromeda smiled and leant to embrace him.

Damn the Blacks and damn their blue eyes, Snape swore to himself. One was as bad as the other. ‘Andromeda,’ he murmured and kissed her cheek. It took some effort on his part to remember they weren’t alone in the room, and he only reluctantly managed to resist the temptation to push her over the table and make a proper job of it. He rather liked Andromeda; there weren’t many people Severus Snape thought that about.

‘Is this a private party?’ Sirius asked.

Harry could see he was a touch miffed, as though he were the one who was supposed to be popular. The attentions of Hermione batting her eyelashes hopefully, and the Headmistress, who was looking at him as though she were chewing a rag soaked in vinegar, seemed to be poor compensation for his stunningly beautiful cousin. Harry had a feeling Sirius was missing something.

‘I hope you’re looking after him this time, Sirius.’ Andromeda gave him an accusing look, as Snape looked away, and Sirius favoured her with a sour look back that eclipsed many of those Severus had to offer.

‘Can we get on?’ Sirius muttered as Harry and Hermione shared a snigger.

Sirius was definitely missing something, Harry realised with a smile; Snape had had a fling with Andromeda, and Sirius didn’t know. He watched his godfather try to catch Severus’s eye, but he wasn’t having any of it; he totally blanked him. Harry straightened his face as Sirius tried to dredge his Gryffindor grin from somewhere, the irresistible one, the one he assumed would knock everyone flat, the one that left the present company remarkably unimpressed.


‘Aren’t you being a bit childish?’ Harry asked Sirius as Snape went upstairs shortly after Lucius and Lupin, pleading tiredness. Severus didn’t fool Harry; even though he’d resumed his own form, he’d noticed him becoming more and more withdrawn, the pallor he wouldn’t have seen on Snape’s face had been evident on Lupin’s though. Harry knew Severus was struggling with the effect of the Polyjuice. He hadn’t even bothered to return any of Sirius’s jibes, and the more he ignored them the more outrageous Sirius had become.

‘What d’you mean?’ Sirius turned; he still had a petty wronged look on his face.

‘Come on, Sirius. He’s obviously not feeling well.’ Harry nodded to the stairs. ‘Don’t you think you should go up and check he’s okay?’

‘Yeah,’ Draco added unhelpfully, ‘and you could leave the attitude down here. It’s enough to make anyone sick.’

‘How entertaining do you think it is to watch someone throw up?’ Sirius asked with an indignant air to Harry and a hostile look to Draco.

Harry thought there something a touch defensive about the remark. ‘Why are you being so horrible to him?’ he asked with a perfectly straight face, as he laughed to himself at all the times he’d thought exactly the opposite when Sirius had been in Grimmauld Place.

‘Well, for a start he’s horrible. You’ve got to admit that, Harry,’ Sirius reasoned.

Harry nodded. ‘Yup, pretty horrible.’

‘Pot ugly too, now that I come to think about it,’ Draco added more helpfully. ‘Funny, I never really noticed that before.’

‘How can you not notice that?’ Harry asked.

Draco shrugged. ‘I had a sheltered upbringing.’

‘With Lucius and Narcissa?’ Harry scoffed, glad Draco had joined the game.

‘Yeah, Severus too,’ Draco nodded. ‘All I really had to compare them to were elves.’

‘Who won? Between Snape and Dobby, in the looks stakes?’ Harry asked, wondering if Sirius had at last realised they were playing.

‘I never did work that out.’ Draco seemed to mull something over in his mind, as though he were just realising something he’d known for a long time. ‘He’s a dreadfully decadent old tart too, versatile as well.’ He ignored Harry’s warning look. ‘If he wasn’t shagging my father, he’d be shagging my aunt. It all became a bit incestuous. Merlin only knows what went on when Lupin came a-calling. The only one who never got a bit was Narcissa, I suspect.’

Harry gave the two of them a weak all-encompassing smile. ‘Well, who needs looks if you’ve got all that personal charm?’

Sirius finally shot them a suspicious look. ‘Are you two laughing at me?’

‘Are you going to sleep at all, Black? Only we have a great deal to do tomorrow, and it would help if you’re not falling asleep at the important bits.’

Harry started as he looked at the barefooted man on the stairs, wondering just how long he’d been standing there. He was dressed in a pair of high-waisted black trousers and a white silk shirt; fine dark hair escaped from where the top buttons had been undone, and an untied cravat hung around his neck. His long ebony hair fell to his shoulders in what could only be described as a shaggy mess. It was as though his comb had worn itself out with the precision of the middle parting and had gone into retirement, leaving the rest to frame his almost white face and startlingly contrasting black eyes in whatever unruly way it saw fit. The thin-lipped mouth, which was either twisted in scorn or twisted in cynicism, although to be fair, Harry reckoned indigestion might be contributing that evening, perfectly offset the long nose that cast unkind shadows on the almost angular planes of his face, giving him a dark brooding look. That was it, Harry realised, dark and mysterious. There was no getting away from it though; he was one ugly bastard … he had enough sex appeal to stagger a Hippogriff too.

He watched Sirius give Snape a slow up and down look as though satisfying himself that sleep wasn’t on the agenda.

‘I’m just coming. This two were trying to take the piss out of me.’

‘I suspect that wouldn’t be terribly difficult,’ Snape replied as he turned and made his way back up the stairs.

‘Now who’s got the personal charm?’ Sirius grinned in triumph at the two boys as he stood.


His Own True Heir by Scaranda [Reviews - 0]

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