Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Crumbling Pedestal :: 40 :: Ripples in the Pond

40 • Ripples in the Pond

Heru awoke to the calming sensation of being wrapped in someone’s arms. Heru smiled lazily and shifted his hips. He got an immediate response, one that made sure he got out of bed an hour later in a very good mood.

When he left the bedroom for breakfast, Severus was at his side. Not five minutes after the food was on the table, Mark bounced down the hallway and took a seat, smiling winsomely at his parents. “Morning!” he chirped.

Heru smiled and continued to eat. Severus, on the other hand, said, “Mark, just a reminder. Your father’s temper may be a bit off today.”

“Sure, dad. I remember. So, when are you going to let Draco out?” he asked innocently, then snatched several pieces of toast from the rack.

Heru coughed and blinked slowly, then looked at his mate.

“Later this morning, I expect, though possibly this afternoon. We’ll need to speak with the headmaster first to make sure the details have been taken care of.”

“Okay. I just thought it would be nice to have another kid to talk to, you know?”

“I think,” Heru said, “that you could visit him after you’re done eating. But when you’re ready to leave, call Dobby in to make sure he does not get out, all right?”

“Thanks, father.”

After breakfast Heru and Severus walked up to Albus’s office and entered after a quick knock, then seated themselves. Albus was already there behind his desk, and looked up from the paper spread out before him.

“So, about Lucius,” said Heru without preamble.

“He has been taken into custody by the Ministry. Of course, they found it rather odd that his Dark Mark was no longer present and Cornelius has pressed to have him released because of it, and because he survived what obviously killed his fellow followers.”

Heru furrowed his brow, then glanced at his mate. “Er, does that mean he thinks Lucius is something along the same lines as Severus? That he was a spy?”

“I believe so.”

“Well, that’s just great. I have no idea what to do.” Heru snorted and crossed his arms.

“You do still hold a dear threat over his head,” Severus pointed out. “Several, in fact.”

“I suppose so.” Heru sighed and shrugged. “Whatever. If he goes free of his crimes, so be it. But if he has the temerity to try to rise in Voldemort’s place, he’ll have to deal with me.”

“Then I suggest you make that plain to him,” Albus said calmly. “Would you like me to contact the Ministry to have him brought here?”

“Yes, fine, but warn us before his arrival, or at least secure him somewhere and let us know so we can prepare.”

Albus nodded.

“Then I guess we can go let Draco out,” Heru said.

*

Dobby was summoned almost as soon as they had stepped through the serpent door and asked quite politely to pack up the boy’s things and move them to Heru’s and Severus’s quarters. Draco was led out and eventually was able to sit on a real couch—rather nervously, that is.

Praecino was present for two reasons. Heru’s temper was certainly not steady, so naturally his faithful friend was there to soothe him with song. And, of course, they had no reason to hide their affiliations any longer. So it was that Draco’s first act upon sitting down was to stare at the phoenix with wide eyes, only to snap his gaze over to Heru when he spoke.

“That,” said Heru calmly, “is Praecino. I’m his wizard.” Draco said nothing at that pronouncement, just blinked either in surprise or at the odd phrasing, so Heru continued. “You are here, released, because Voldemort is no more. You no longer need to fear slavery at his hands.”

Draco looked at Severus for confirmation, who nodded and said, “Yes, he is gone. Utterly, unlike the first time. Given that, I suggest you take a good, long time to decide what kind of man you want to be. I think you’ll find that’s a very important decision considering that Voldemort wasn’t actually all that hard to deal with in the end.”

“How—”

Heru shook his head, catching Draco’s attention again. “How is irrelevant. In fact, every single Death Eater, bar one, was killed as well.” Draco’s already pale face blanched, so Heru hastened to clarify. “Your father lives.” He saw the confused look darted at Severus but ignored it. “No doubt you will be able to see him. I suggest that you give that a great deal of thought as well. Your father lived, when those of many others died in Voldemort’s service. Perhaps you will be grateful for that kindness and strive to live up to being worthy of it.”

“I don’t understand. Uncle Sev?”

“I don’t expect you do,” Severus said. “Not yet, anyway.”

“You aren’t . . . dark?” Draco asked Heru, and was met with rich laughter.

“Dark, certainly. Evil? No. Do you honestly think a phoenix would have chosen me otherwise?”

“Draco,” Severus cut in, “I think you probably ought to clean up. I’m sure you’d enjoy that at this point.” He stood and flicked his wand out to levitate the boy’s trunk, then stalked off toward the bathroom Mark normally used. Draco, after another look at Heru, followed. Severus was back in a minute and sitting in his chair. “That went fairly well, don’t you think?”

Heru shrugged. “Hopefully.” He gave Severus a steady look. “Hopefully we won’t have to worry about another dark lord rising. Severus, what does the Ministry know?”

“Not much, actually. They know that the Death Eaters are dead and that Voldemort is presumed so. Albus was . . . how shall I put this . . . infuriatingly reticent about what happened. He was, however, being straight about how the Ministry regards Lucius. Being that only he and I survived—apparently there was a social gathering in progress when you finished off Voldemort. Narcissa contacted the Ministry.”

“Did she now. How very interesting. I think I feel a bit better about that lady, then.”

“Heru?” Severus gave Heru an indecipherable look.

“What is it?”

“How do you feel about what’s happened? We shattered a number of families last night.”

Heru shrugged again and gave his mate a frank look. “Part of me grieves, but another part of me says that had anyone else come forward, as you had all those years ago to Dumbledore, and sincerely asked for help or to help, I would have spared them. I realize that some of his people had to have been too scared to do so, but you normally don’t receive help unless you ask for it. Nearly every single person was from Slytherin house, Severus. Any one of them could have come to me, a blood Slytherin, for judging. Even Lucius is only alive because of his son and he was halfway to his own decision. As for the children, I’ll find a way to take care of any orphans or those of my blood who need assistance, even if it’s quietly done.”

“I can accept that. What of sympathizers?”

“We’ll cross that bridge when we—” Heru broke off as Fawkes flashed into the room and deposited a parchment on his lap. “Fawkes, can you wait, please?”

Fawkes trilled agreement and fluttered over to sit next to Praecino for a cozy chat.

Heru & Severus,

Lucius is in my office, along with Narcissa. Would you prefer to bring Draco here, or for them to come to your quarters?

Albus

Heru scratched his head and handed the note to Severus. After a moment he said, “I almost prefer going up there. I mean, we can threaten him either way, right?”

Severus chuckled. “So we will go up there.” He fetched a quill and scribbled something on the parchment, then offered it to Fawkes, saying, “Thank you, Fawkes. Please return this to Albus.” The phoenix obligingly flashed out a second later.

When Draco appeared again he was prodded out the door by a silent Severus with Heru close behind, up to Albus’s office and in. The second Heru spotted Lucius he crooked his finger at him, then stalked off to a corner.

“You will remember,” Heru said as soon as the blond was at his side, “what I told you previously. I trust you recall the things I’m referring to.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good,” he said coolly. “Then let me say a few more things before you can reunite with your son. You owe that boy your life, and due to him people think you lived because you’d betrayed Voldemort to us. I suggest you capitalize on that, if you take my meaning.” Heru arched a brow at Lucius and continued, “I also suggest you stay far away from politics, my dear fellow, or anything else that might cause my eye to fall upon you with suspicion. Disgrace the name of Slytherin again and I will not be so lenient. Do I make myself perfectly clear?”

“Yes, sir.”

Heru could almost smell the nervousness that Lucius was hiding. “I’m sure you can be quite reasonable when you put your mind to it. One last thing. If you decide to be helpful in the aftermath of recent events, send Severus and me a note. I’m of a mind to do a little more community service work soon regarding the families that have been upset. You might wish to partake of that, as it could help your image, no?”

“I will take that under advisement, sir.”

Heru broke into a warm smile and rested his hand briefly on Lucius’s shoulder. “Well, then. I do believe you have a son to see and take home.” He turned on his heel and stalked back over to Severus, nodding ever so slightly. Heru turned to Albus and said in a low voice, “Will you be able to handle things from here?”

“Of course, Heru. Rest and spend time with your family.”

Heru flashed the headmaster a quick smile, then paused at Narcissa’s side long enough to greet her before retreating back to the dungeons with Severus.

*

“When?”

“July thirty-first.”

“Sounds good. Found any candidates yet?”

“Yes, but we think you should look them over first for potential.”

“Let us go look, then.”

*

“Ow! That hurt!” whined Sirius, cradling his fisted hand with the other.

“Don’t be such a baby, Padfoot, and get on with it.”

Heru cleared his throat rather loudly and gave Sirius a pointed look. “The blood is supposed to go into the goblet, if you please?”

“Right, sure.” Sirius angled his hand so that the cut on his palm dripped as directed, hastily snatching it away when Heru nodded.

Heru nobly refrained from rolling his eyes and gestured, then coated his index finger in the blood still seeping from the wound and traced runes on Remus’s forehead and cheeks with it. “Now, each of you drink. Trade off until it’s gone.”

Heru bit his lip at their expressions as they traded sips of the concoction, then smiled briefly. “Now kiss, and that’s it.” Five minutes later—Heru had to clear his throat again, loudly—he said, “Gentlemen?”

“That was it?”

“Yes.” Heru gave a long suffering sigh. “You’re blood-bonded as mates. Congratulations!” He threw his hands up into the air, then brought them down to push the hair back from his face. “We’re taking a half hour break before the next part, okay? Go . . . stare at each other adoringly or something. Oh, and you can wash off the blood now.”

A look at Severus showed that his own mate’s mouth was twitching suspiciously. “Just shut up, Severus. Not one damn word.” Heru whipped around to face the other way. Seconds later he felt arms slip around him and sharp teeth nipping at his ear.

“Not even, I love you?”

“That’s more than one word, so it’s all right.” Heru shivered and pressed back against his mate, then abruptly pulled away and reversed himself. “I don’t care how lost they are in each other right this minute, or seem to be. I refuse to provide them with any ammunition. But I’d be thrilled if you’d take advantage of me later.”

Amused laughter reminded them both that Tonks was standing nearby. Heru shot a glare at her and said, “Don’t think I won’t hex you senseless, cousin.”

Tonks gave him a saucy grin, bounced over to a chair, and flopped into it. “Well, that was an interesting ceremony.” She looked up with a sober expression and said, “I’m glad you let me witness it.”

“You’re family, Tonks. I’ll even do the same for you if you like, when you find the person you want to marry.”

“Why don’t you explain that in more detail, hm?”

By the time Heru was finished it was time to bond the new couple to their soon-to-be children.

*

“Sirius, Remus, I have a proposal,” Heru said solemnly, though his eyes were sparkling. “I realize this will probably open some wounds, but. . . .”

They glanced at Severus before raising their brows at Heru questioningly.

“There are some people that ought to be . . . chastised, don’t you think?” Heru cocked his head to the side and simply looked at them.

The Dursleys?” Severus hissed.

Heru gave him a quick grin. “If they agree,” he hissed back. “Don’t you think it would be fitting?

That depends on how you define chastisement.

Heru shrugged and looked at Severus innocently. “Just some changes, that’s all.

Remus cleared his throat. “Excuse me, you two, but could you use English?”

Heru grinned. “Sorry. This is really none of my business, actually, but it came to mind, so I figured I’d mention it.”

“Yes, but who?”

“Potter’s muggle family.”

Sirius sat up straight. “Albus would kill us.”

“You’d let that stop you?” Heru asked with a snort. “What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, and it’s not like I’m proposing anything nasty. Just . . . somewhat malicious.”

Remus gave him an appraising look, then glanced over at his mate. “What did you have in mind?”

“For one thing—if what I’ve heard is correct, anyway—someone badly needs anger management lessons. I was thinking that embarrassment is an effective teaching tool for certain kinds of people, you know?”

Sirius grinned. “I can think of a few things I’d like to do to that lot, yeah.”

“Then how about we have a little talk about their welfare, hm?”

1 September 2002

Heru took a moment to glance over at Mark and smiled faintly. His son caught his eye for a second, then turned to answer one of his friends at the Ravenclaw table. Moments later the last student had been sorted so Heru stood and spread his arms, catching the attention of all the students in the hall. As Severus sat down beside him, he began.

“Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts. . . .”


And Now, Our Cast:

Albus Dumbledore eventually retired and gave over his position as Headmaster, finally taking on the mantle of Minister of Magic.

Minerva McGonagall also ended up retiring and gave over her position as Deputy Headmaster, taking on a spot at the wizarding orphanage set up by Heru.

Remus Black continues to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts and has become the new Head of House for Gryffindor. It should be noted that he took on the name of Black after agreeing with Sirius that it was time the name was redeemed.

Sirius Black took on the position of Transfiguration Professor, though he and Remus both spend as much time as possible with their blood-bonded twins, Servius and Tychon.

Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy took an abiding interest in Heru’s orphanage under his watchful eye, and set aside a great deal of their own fortune for its operations.

Draco Malfoy left Hogwarts at the end of his seventh year and went off to see the world, purposely staying in muggle areas for a year to see how the other half lives, and coming to the conclusion that the poor bastards aren’t that bad.

Tonks still hasn’t found the right person to bond with, but insists that she has plenty of time, blaming part of it on the fact that she let it get out that she’s related to Heru (and nobody wants to cross him).

Ron Weasley finally got up the courage to ask Hermione out and their first date was a complete disaster. They agreed not to try again, thankfully, and after he left Hogwarts went on to an entry level job at the Ministry.

Hermione Granger attempted the auror program at the Ministry, but decided it was not right for her, and ended up working at Heru’s orphanage while studying to be a mediwitch in her spare time.

Vernon Dursley was cursed with the unfortunate tendency to turn plaid whenever he became excessively angry rather than red or purple, and also to sound as though he’d been inhaling helium. Rumor has it that he’s gotten fairly good at reining in his temper of late.

Petunia Dursley has developed the unfortunate tendency to whinny like a horse whenever she laughs, not to mention bray like a donkey every time she attempts to spy on her neighbors.

Dudley Dursley mysteriously lost a great deal of weight and had to be fitted for glasses after a small accident involving a quartet of smirking wizards—not that he remembers the incident, having had his memory erased—and has become quite frightened by technology in general.

Marge Dursley has embarrassed herself on more than one occasion by having a little too much to drink and then spilling every secret she has to whoever happens to be close enough to overhear. Rumors of bestiality abound.

Mark Slytherin lost his Potions partner once he began at Hogwarts, but continues to spend a great deal of time with Margaret, much to his parents’ barely hidden amusement.

Severus Slytherin took on the mantle of Deputy Headmaster in addition to his duties as Head of Slytherin House and Potions Master, and has already tried teaching his new son, Salvalus, how to brew a boil cure potion.

Heru Slytherin took on the mantle of Headmaster and promptly tossed Albus’s supply of sherbet lemons, replacing them with Refreshers, and spent the entire summer prior to the start of the new year searching for a replacement Divination Professor, finally luring Ron Weasley away from the Ministry to do the job.


Snapshots not directly associated with any chapter: A39-Slytherin Solution, Prophecy