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Chapter Thirty-Six: Applying Control

Severus struggled to remain on his feet. The mad urge to laugh bubbled up in his throat as he saw the four figures heading towards him. They'd sworn that they'd never give up on him, never abandon him, that one way or another they'd find a way to watch over him and hound him. Now, two were dead, one was mad and better off dead, one was slowly going mad and dying. It had been a child's promise, four little girls of twelve swearing to keep an eye out for their honorary little brother forever. Yet, nearly thirty years later, here came their sons running to his side.

Draco and Longbottom --Longbottom?-- stood at his sides and put his arms around their shoulders to help him remain standing. Then Zabini cast a diagnostic spell. Impudent brats! He could manage on his own, he had for years. At least Potter didn't interfere; he just stood there, silent and none too steady on his own feet.

Zabini snarled out something in Italian.

"Mr. Zabini, I can assure you that Voldemort would never do such a thing, though I wouldn't put it past MacNair or Goyle to go bugger a goat," Severus said icily.

"Oh, he's in bad shape, he almost has a sense of humor," Longbottom mumbled to himself, then looked nearly ready to faint when Severus' glare made him realize he'd actually said that aloud.

Severus fully expected the sons to be as aggravating as the mothers had been by Halloween; they were already half way there. Zabini ordered Longbottom to get something from the greenhouses, but he didn't hear what, as all of his concentration was firmly focused on standing upright and not passing out. Zabini then took Longbottom's place at his side as Longbottom took off running.

Severus kept his eyes focused on the castle and began the long walk to it. Draco and Zabini were carefully half-dragging him; at least the little brats didn't use a levitation spell.

Oh Merlin, Severus suddenly realized, if Potter's condition meant he had had another vision -- his focus quickly became keeping the contents of his stomach in place. He did not want to contemplate what Potter might have seen.

"You're going to lose that boy if you do not wake up, Albus!"

"Alastor, you of all people must understand why Harry couldn't have been raised with the Lore..."

"No, I don't. He would have far better odds of surviving ... You knew about Lily?"

"Of course I did!" Albus growled. "How could I not! And look at what she did!"

"What did she do?"

"The alliance bond, for one."

"And how is that a bad thing? Other than that it protects Harry from being controlled by you?"

"Someone must control him! He's a sorcerer!"

"So was Lily. So was Harlan."

"Harlan was no Sorcerer, nor was Lily Evans a Sorceress."

"You are being a blind stubborn fool."

"You don't understand."

"No, you don't." Alastor shook his head. "Did you know -- of course you knew the Riddle boy was a Slytherin by blood -- tell me, was it you that started the houses dividing? Grindelwald was a bloody GRYFFINDOR! How did it come about that everyone thought he was a Slytherin, Albus?"

"You don't understand a thing."

"Well then make me, Albus!"

"There is a Prophecy. A very old one; very little remains. The Soul's Thief and a Battle of Serpents are the only two lines that remain that could be successfully translated."

Alastor swallowed and said tightly, "I've seen that Prophecy."

"You couldn't have. The only known copy is here at Hogwarts."

"There is a complete copy. In perfect condition. I've seen it. And you, bloody fool, have pushed it into happening!" Alastor snarled and stalked out, his wooden leg making an angry clack, even on the carpeted floor of Albus' office, as he left.

"Quit growling, wolf!" Severus snapped, glaring up from the bathtub at the other wizard, who was sitting on the edge of the tub ready to assist if necessary.

Remus looked startled. "I--"

"Control your beast! You were growling whether you realize it or not!" Severus snarled.

The healing spells and potions the boys had forced upon him had done their job well. The little miscreants might end up nearly as skilled as Poppy if they survived the war. Necessity and survival were harsh teachers. They were managing to learn, though, so there was at least a glimmer of hope. Something Severus hadn't held even a few months before.

Remus swallowed.

"Did you take your Wolfsbane?"


Severus leaned back and closed his eyes.

"I'm sorry."

Severus didn't answer. For the first time ever he almost put credence in Lupin's claim that Severus was his mate. "Who changed the wards on my room?" he asked instead.

"Your wards are still there."

"Don't be dense. There have been additions."

"I'm not sure if it was one of the children, or if the castle itself did it. These rooms are likely sealed completely from Dumbledore now."


Remus recounted the previous day's events and everything that had taken place since the annulment Dumbledore had tried to push through, including Harry's vision and the confrontation with Dumbledore.

Severus listened in growing, silent horror. Once again he thought that if Voldemort didn't kill them all, Dumbledore would find a way, whether he meant to or not.

"Severus, are you all right?"

"ARE YOU BLOODY INSANE, LUPIN!" Severus snarled. Lupin had been there for his 'report' to the four brats who were becoming more like their mothers in his mind by the day. He'd left out the ingredients of the potion and how they had been procured, but he'd seen the look in Potter's eyes. Potter had seen all of it. Hopefully his vision had been only of the potion making, not what had come after. Not Bellatrix. Not what had Lupin growling -- Bellatrix's scent was all over him. "AND IF YOU TELL ME TO CALM DOWN I'LL POISON YOU!"

Severus was vaguely horrified at his own lack of control; it was something he prided himself on. He knew his temper was usually far too short, but that was the one small spot his control slipped, and then only in the relative safety of Hogwarts.

Good idea, Seamus. Harry wrote. Seeing the mirrors, it hadn't taken but a second for Harry to guess what Seamus' idea was.

He'd given up trying to talk; his throat was just too raw even with the potions Blaise had given him. Blaise said he had to keep quiet for two days, then he should be back to normal. He, Neville, Blaise and Draco had done what they could for Snape by way of spells and potions, then left him in Remus' care to be cleaned up. With any luck, Remus would convince Snape to rest a while. None of them were betting on that though, they half expected the two men to be arriving in the tower any time now.

"I'm confused." Neville frowned at the group of mirrors that had been transfigured and placed on the wall in the common room. A large rectangular one with smaller square ones staggered around it hung on the wall by the hearth in the 'sitting area' of the room.

"And that is supposed to be news?" Draco muttered, then yelped as Pansy jabbed him sharply in the ribs with her elbow.

"How are mirrors a good idea?" Pansy asked.

"Muggle Security systems have cameras and monitors -- like boxes with glass fronts that show what the cameras record," Seamus explained. "Except we have Hogwarts herself so we don't need monitors. I think we've got the spells set right -- Luna helped a bit."

Luna shrugged. "All I did was convince Hogwarts to cooperate."

Seamus snorted. That was a big contribution in his mind. He was bonded to Hogwarts just the same as Luna, but was nowhere as at ease with the bond as the strange Ravenclaw girl.

Bloody Brilliant! Harry scratched down on his notebook and held it up for Seamus to see, while the Irish boy went over how the mirrors were at least supposed to work.

"This is a Muggle thing?" Draco gaped, not quite convinced that Muggles could come up with anything this useful and clever.

Harry rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, Malfoy, it's a Muggle thing," Seamus snorted. "Wot? You think Muggles are stupid?"

"Wizards are far superior. Muggles don't have magic, how can we not be superior?" Draco sneered.

"Right, Muggles are so inferior that Muggleborns and half bloods come to Hogwarts and do every bit as well as those who have the purest Wizard blood. Muggles are so inferior that Hermione is top of every class she's in. Muggleborns and half bloods go from living in the Muggle world all summer to living in the Wizarding world during the school year with no trouble at all. Let's see you go manage a school year in the Muggle world, Malfoy," Seamus shot back.

Harry snorted at the confused expression on Draco's face. He almost --almost-- felt sorry for Draco, who was clinging to Wizard superiority for dear life, or at least sanity's sake.

Muggles are so inferior that a Muggle raised half blood has Purebloods marked as his slaves and is trying to take over the Wizarding world! Harry scribbled, and held the notebook up for Draco to see.

"But they don't have magic!"

"They have science," Seamus shook his head.

"Who cares about Muggles!" Pansy snapped. "Do the mirrors work, is the important thing."

"What did we miss?" Millie asked, coming over. She and Tynan had been talking by floo to her father, who had agreed to ignore anything that might possibly sent to him by Dumbledore or by Dumbledore's proxy and instead alert Tynan immediately.

"Muggle mirrors," Draco huffed.

"Oh, just shut up, Malfoy" Neville grumbled. "It's a rather clever idea if it works."

"Oy, you lot, McGonagall says you're to be about your studies tomorrow like normal," Tonks said as she entered the Common room for the first time in over a week. "No more loafin' about and neglictin' your work for you lot." At their reactions, Tonks took a step back and held up her hands in surrender. "Don't kill the messenger, just repeating what McGonagall told me."

"What the devil does that old bat think we've been doing? Playing exploding snap?" Blaise growled. "She was up here last night..."

"She's still got her head halfway up Dumbledore's arse," Seamus muttered.

"At least it's only halfway now," Neville sighed, getting a few odd looks for being the one to voice what they all were thinking.

Tonks stared. She had been so busy with sorting out her lesson plans that she had little idea what the Apprentices had been up to the past week, although she knew Seamus hadn't been reporting to her every day as he should. She was his official advisor after all. She hadn't said anything to McGonagall or Dumbledore, though; she'd been panicking over the lesson plans.

"Mirrors," Tynan ventured, pointing at the objects he referred to. He was quite curious as to how well the mirrors would work and was hoping for a demonstration before he went to the office/apartment suite the teens had convinced Hogwarts to set up for him to try to begin sorting out the Malfoy/Black, Parkinson, and Potter/Gentry/Slytherin inheritances.

"Dumbledore's office, rewind to after we left earlier," Seamus commanded.

Moody and Dumbledore were shouting at each other in the mirror.


"And how is that a bad thing? Other than that it protects Harry from being controlled by you?"

"Someone must control him! He's a sorcerer!"

"So was Lily. So was Harlan."

"Harlan was no Sorcerer, nor was Lily Evans a Sorceress."


"Did you know -- of course you knew the Riddle boy was a Slytherin by blood -- tell me, was it you that started the houses dividing? Grindelwald was a bloody GRYFFINDOR! How did it come about that everyone thought he was a Slytherin, Albus?"


"... Prophecy."


"At least we know Moody is on our side," Neville managed. "But should we really be spying on people like this?"

"Bloody Gryffindors!" Draco snarled.

We took away Dumbledore's ability to monitor the castle. Someone has to keep an eye on the wards and student fights that might turn dangerous. It's not like we're going to set the mirrors on the Astronomy tower to try to catch people making out! Harry wrote and held the tablet up to Neville, who blushed bright red when he read it.

Pansy looked over to read and turned slightly green. "You don't suppose that the old cretin did that, do you?"

Draco grabbed the tablet and snorted. "I wouldn't put it past the old man," he said, then handed the tablet back to Harry. "So you're a bloody sorcerer, eh, Potter? Sorcerers are all supposed to be Dark."

According to Snape my mum, your mum, Aisling and Neville's mum were all Sorceresses. That's how they managed the Allegiance Bond and our tattoos!

Draco took the tablet back from Harry, who had whacked him on the arm with it, and read the words aloud.

"My mother wasn't Dark," Neville glared.

"Neither was mine, Longbottom!" Draco snapped.

Feeling a bit ridiculous, Harry clapped his hands at the two then grabbed the tablet back from Draco. Soul's Thief? What is it? Another prophecy? Battle of Serpents makes sense -- Voldemort and me--

Seamus moved to read aloud over Harry's shoulder as he wrote.

"The Soul's Thief is a crystal. It's what was used to create the Dementors," Tonks said. "At least that's the myth they tell us at Auror Training. They even say it's a myth, that no one remembers how the Dementors came about, and that the Soul's Thief is just a fairy tale."

"Voldemort's after a crystal, he Crucio'd Bellatrix over not finding it," Seamus read as Harry scribbled. "If it's the crystal Voldemort is looking for..."

"Time to bloody get Granger," Blaise grumbled.

Harry shot Blaise a quizzical look.

It was Luna that answered his unspoken question. "Hermione, Ron, Ginny, the twins and Dean are all in Hogwarts. Dumbledore's hiding place for them is in the far west section of the dungeons."

"Let's see if the werewolf actually got Severus to rest. We need to talk to them, but not if Severus is actually resting," Draco said. "Make the mirror check on Severus."

At Draco's words, the largest Mirror faded black on Dumbledore sitting at his desk with a strangely dark contemplative expression on his face; then Severus and Remus appeared in the mirror.

"WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS THAT WEREWOLF DOING KISSING MY GODFATHER!!!" Draco bellowed, surprised by what they were seeing.

Harry's eyes bulged. SNAPE? Remus was kissing SNAPE? He felt Seamus tense and scribbled messily without taking his eyes off the mirror. Don't be bloody stupid, Sea! It's just SNAPE!!!!

The letters sprawled all over and were barely legible, but he couldn't take his horrified eyes off the mirror to make sure the words could be easily read. Seamus relaxed a bit behind him, though, so evidently he'd understood.


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