I\'d like to thank all of those who have taken the time to read and review this story. I appreciate your comments. Thank you all very much.
All canon characters belong to JKR.
Thanks as always to June for all ov her help.
Chapter 8 â€“ Running some errands, and a visit from two friends
As Ginny was finishing up her breakfast preparation, Severus walked in wearing his pajamas still. He had decided not to wear his way-too-big clothes and would just wait for Lucius to bring him something back from the manor.
He took a seat across from Hermione, who was starting on her scrambled eggs. Ginny placed a plate of eggs in front of him, just the way he liked them, sunny-side up.
â€śHow did you know I like my eggs like this?â€ť asked Severus as he dipped a piece of toast into one of the yolks.
â€śHermione told me,â€ť said Ginny, then she poured them both some pumpkin juice and began cleaning up the kitchen.
Severus then looked at Hermione.
â€śHow did you know?â€ť he asked her.
â€śSeverus, I spent seven years having breakfast at the same time and same place as you. I just noticed you never had your eggs any other way.â€ť
â€śHow does Hagrid like his eggs?â€ť he questioned.
â€śHow am I supposed to know?â€ť said Hermione, not realizing sheâ€™d just given herself away.
Severus now knew that sheâ€™d been watching him during her years at Hogwarts. But in his now deteriorating logical mind, he couldnâ€™t think why she would want to watch him doing anything. He rolled his eyes and shook his head, then continued eating his breakfast.
Ginny was mumbling to herself as she washed the dishes. At one point she forgot she wasnâ€™t alone and her voice began to grow louder and louder.
â€śLook at me, why must I always look so frumpy,â€ť she protested as she scrubbed the skillet. â€śYou would think I was some hobbly old witch living in a cave in the woods.â€ť
Hermione looked at her friend, and sadly thought she was right. Ginny did dress like a bit of an old spinster. She took a drink of her pumpkin juice and looked at Severus. He made a circling motion towards his head with his finger, as he mouthed the words â€śsheâ€™s crazy.â€ť Hermione giggled and tried to keep the juice from spewing out of her nose.
Ginny continued her babbling as the two finished eating.
â€śOh, I almost forgot,â€ť Severus said. â€śAlbus said he asked Potter and Weasley to stop by and give you any assignments you missed.â€ť Severus wiped his mouth and took his plate to the sink.
â€śGood, at least I can occupy my time until tomorrow. Do you think the potion is okay?â€ť she asked him.
â€śIâ€™m certain itâ€™s fine. I asked Albus to look in on it. It should be finished tomorrow sometime. We can go back to the castle in the afternoon and see if itâ€™s ready for us to drink.â€ť Severus walked out of the kitchen and into the living room. He took a book from the shelf and threw it on the floor, along with a large pillow, then made himself comfortable and began flipping through the pages and enjoying the colorful pictures.
Back at Hogwarts, Albus walked into Severusâ€™ private lab to check on the counter-potion. He leaned over the simmering cauldron and took a small chocolate-covered hazelnut from a small pouch he held. As he went to pop it in his mouth, he accidentally bumped against the table and missed the candy, allowing it to fall into the potion. He stood frozen, as though waiting for something to happen.
â€śOh dear.â€ť The liquid started to fizz, then it turned a light tan color, then brown, and finally back to its original mint green color as it continued to simmer. â€śIf Severus finds out, I think this time he actually will kill me.â€ť
He backed away carefully from the cauldron and went to his office. Heâ€™d have to do some research to make sure he didnâ€™t just ruin or change the counter-potion in any way that would be harmful to either Severus or Hermione. There was no time to start a new counter-potion.
Lucius was almost finished at the manor. He found three outfits that Draco had worn as a child, and managed to find some of Narcissaâ€™s more casual clothes and Transfigured then to fit Hermione. He then placed the clothes in a small case and shrunk it so that he could put it in his pocket.
He then Apparated to Diagon Alley. Slowly he walked through the crowded streets, making sure he wasnâ€™t spotted as he passed Ollivanderâ€™s shop. When you were a Death Eater, everything was questioned. Although he didnâ€™t notice anyone watching him, he walked past the shop and cast a Disillusionment Charm on himself. Heâ€™d learned to cast it in such a way that he slowly faded out of sight, almost as though he were walking off into the distance. After he was fully out of anyoneâ€™s eye, he walked back and into the store, where he appeared in front of Mr. Ollivanderâ€™s front desk. The windows in the shop were coated with a special film so that those inside could see out, but those outside could not see in.
â€śMr. Malfoy. Good morning,â€ť said the old wand maker.
â€śGood morning, Mr. Ollivander.â€ť
â€śWhat can I assist you with today?â€ť
â€śI am in need of two wands. They are replacements, actually.â€ť
â€śAh, replacements. I gather the originals wereâ€¦lost?â€ť
Lucius leaned forward towards Ollivander slightly. â€śMay I assume we are alone?â€ť
â€śYes, we are.â€ť Ollivander immediately raised his own wand and warded his front and rear entrance. He suspected that Lucius came to him in secrecy, and being the man he was, Ollivander wanted no interruptions.
â€śI need a wand for Severus Snape, and Hermione Granger. Their original wands were lost yesterday in an unfortunate accident.â€ť He knew he couldnâ€™t go into details and he also knew that Ollivander would not ask him for any.
â€śIt will take me about two hours, but I can have two just like the originals made for them.â€ť
â€śI will return in two hours then. May I use your back entrance?â€ť asked Lucius.
Ollivander nodded and let down the wards. When Lucius left, Mr. Ollivander set to his task of making two wands to replace the lost ones. He briefly wondered what kind of â€śaccidentâ€ť the Professor and Miss Granger might have had, but he knew it was best not to think too much of such things. His job was not to question; he was merely a wand maker.
Lucius walked out of the shop and looked at his pocket watch. It was a quarter past nine in the morning. He knew Arthur was already at work, and decided to make his way to the Ministry. While the two men had spent many years feuding, they now had a good relationship. They respected one another, and Lucius knew Arthur was a good and fair Minister of Magic. He continued walking and thinking about Ginny.
Back at Grimmauld Place, Ginny finished cleaning the kitchen and went into the study. She was looking for some books for an essay she needed to complete for Monday.
In the living room, Hermione sat in a large leather chair, next to the fireplace. Severus continued to peruse through the large book filled with pictures. He was on the floor on his stomach; his chin rested on his hands, his knees were bent and his small feet were waving around making circles in the air.
There was a loud crackling from the Floo, then Harry and Ron stepped through.
â€śHi, Hermione,â€ť said Harry. Ron stood next to him smiling.
â€śHow are you doing, Hermione?â€ť asked the redhead. They noticed Severus on the floor and greeted him as well.
â€śHi, Professor,â€ť said Harry and Ron in unison. They werenâ€™t intimidated by him in his six-year-old form.
Severus looked at both of them over his shoulder with a bored expression, and then turned his attention back to his book.
â€śThanks for stopping by and bringing me my assignments!â€ť Hermione walked towards Harry and took the book bag he held in his hands.
Harry smiled and sat down in the other leather chair on the other side of the fireplace.
Ron patted his stomach and walked towards the kitchen.
â€śIâ€™m starving, is there anything to eat? I could eat a Hippogriff.â€ť
â€śIâ€™d like to see you try,â€ť mumbled Severus.
â€śDid you say something, Severus?â€ť asked Hermione.
â€śI said thereâ€™s something in my eye.â€ť Severus turned slightly and rubbed his eye. â€śYou know how dusty these old books can be.â€ť
Hermione shrugged and turned her attention to the books Harry and Ron had brought her.
â€śRon and I were hoping you could help with the Alchemy paper for Professor Borgen,â€ť said Harry.
â€śHarry! Thatâ€™s due this coming Monday. You should have done that by now.â€ť Sheâ€™d already had her own paper done the same day it was assigned. Harry and Ron were world-class procrastinators. She wondered what they would do when they graduated and began their careers.
Ron came out of the kitchen holding a turkey leg.
â€śWhatâ€™s Hermione yelling about now?â€ť he asked.
â€śHermione is yelling because you two are unbelievable,â€ť protested the small witch. She knew that ultimately she would wind up helping them, but at least yelling at them cushioned the blow for her somewhat.
Ron looked at Harry.
â€śOh, you told her about the paper,â€ť Ron stated.
Severus was not even pretending to look through his book, as he was now more interested in the tongue lashing the two young men were receiving from Hermione.
Back in London, Lucius arrived at the Ministry. He strode through the corridors in his usually imperious manor. While heâ€™d changed in many ways, he was still a bit haughty at times. When Severus broke him out of Azkaban, his escape went virtually unnoticed. The furor over the supposed killing of the Headmaster of Hogwarts by its new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor was the talk of the wizarding world.
Albus had actually been hiding out in a small house within the Forbidden Forest. During a meeting with a few of the Order members, Severus introduced Lucius as wanting to switch sides and help. After the rest of the members found out what Voldemort did to Luciusâ€™ family, they knew his offer had to be genuine: Lucius wanted revenge. But in time he came to realize that his views were changing.
After Albus returned to the public eye a few months ago, Arthur, who by then was the new Minister of Magic, granted a full pardon to Lucius, who was still a Death Eater spy and told Voldemort that heâ€™d used the Imperius Curse on the Minister. Almost four months ago, Arthur also exonerated Severus, who was still being hunted for â€śkillingâ€ť Dumbledore and being a Death Eater.
Lucius approached the Ministerâ€™s office. He smiled at the old witch sitting at her desk, guarding the door to the office.
â€śI would like to see the Minister,â€ť said Lucius.
The witch looked at him. There were many who still didnâ€™t trust him, but lucky for him he had money. That made it easier for people to forget about his past infractions.
â€śDo you have an appointment, Mr. Malfoy?â€ť she asked.
â€śNo, I do not. Is he in?â€ť Lucius was growing impatient.
â€śHave a seat, please, and Iâ€™ll see if he can see you.â€ť The witch stood and walked through the door just behind her.
Lucius continued to stand, not appreciating being told to sit.
A few moments passed and the woman came out, followed by an unsmiling Arthur.
â€śLucius, come in,â€ť Arthur held the door open and closed it behind Lucius as he stepped into the office. Once behind closed doors both men shook hands and acted more friendly towards one another.
â€śHow are you?â€ť asked Arthur.
â€śIâ€™m fine, thank you, Arthur, and you?â€ť
â€śOh, Iâ€™m doing well. A few pounds heavier though. Mollyâ€™s taken to cooking Italian food now, and all of those rich meals are doing quite a number on my waistline.â€ť Arthur took his seat behind his desk and Lucius sat across from him. â€śYou must have your hands full right about now, though. Albus told me what happened with Severus and Hermione.â€ť Arthur smiled, wondering what sort of trouble the six-year-old Severus and Hermione might be causing. While he had been tempted to tell Molly about what was going on with Severus and Hermione, he knew that the last thing they needed was Molly tutting over them as though they were actual children.
Lucius chuckled. â€śThey certainly gave Voldemort a run for his galleons, I can tell you that much.â€ť He recounted to Arthur what the two did the evening before.
Arthur was laughing so hard his ribs hurt. He stopped laughing, however, when he found out Hermione had been hit with an Unforgivable.
â€śSheâ€™s fine now, isnâ€™t she?â€ť asked Arthur with concern.
â€śSheâ€™s fine, yes. Thanks to your daughter. We are staying at Grimmauld Place. Itâ€™s the best place for them to be until the counter-potion is finished. Iâ€™ll be taking them back to Hogwarts tomorrow.â€ť
â€śAh, Ginny said she would be staying there for a few days also. She goes there to study sometimes. Iâ€™m afraid that with Fred and George around while their shop is getting remodeled, the Burrow is rather distracting for her,â€ť said Arthur. He studied Lucius for a moment as he noticed the blond wizardâ€™s eyes shining with interest as he said his daughterâ€™s name. If anyone would have told him a year ago that he would be trying to get Lucius Malfoy interested in marrying his only daughter, he would have sent them straight to the St. Mungoâ€™s mental ward. But heâ€™d seen a change in the wizard over the past few years, and he realized that even when Lucius had been a bigoted Death Eater heâ€™d loved his family with passion.
Arthur knew Ginny was special. She didnâ€™t like wizards her own age and she could be very bull-headed. It would take quite a man to be able to handle her, and both he and Molly thought Lucius might just be that man. They knew that Lucius would be a good provider, and he would protect her from anything or anyone.
â€śI was happy to know that she was staying there. Itâ€™s been a long time since Iâ€™ve had to care for a child,â€ť Lucius laughed. â€śNot that they are actually children, but they are having their moments.â€ť
The two sat for a while talking about the raid in Hogsmeade. Lucius also informed Arthur about Voldemortâ€™s plans to invade Hogwarts. Arthur said that he would send a few Aurors to patrol Hogwarts until Lucius could gather more information about the attack.
â€śIâ€™d better get going. I need to pick up the wands I ordered for Severus and Hermione. I shall speak with you again soon, Arthur.â€ť Lucius stood and shook hands with Arthur. While heâ€™d wanted to speak more about Ginny, he decided to wait. He wasnâ€™t sure yet if Arthur would be receptive to his interest in his daughter.
â€śOh, yes,â€ť Arthur said. â€śPerhaps you can stop by one night and have supper with us. You know, Ginny is also a very good cook. Iâ€™m sure sheâ€™s probably already taken over the cooking duties at headquarters.â€ť Arthur walked Lucius to the door. He decided to go for the gold. â€śYes, sheâ€™ll make some lucky wizard a wonderful wife someday.â€ť He patted Lucius on the back and smiled. â€śNow you say hello to Ginny for me, and maybe you both can stop by and have supper with Molly and me tomorrow after you take Severus and Hermione back to Hogwarts. Iâ€™ll send Fred and George away and we can have a nice relaxing meal, just the four of us.â€ť
Lucius nodded and left. As he walked down the hall he wondered if heâ€™d just imagined what just happened. It almost seemed as though Arthur had not only invited him to have dinner with his daughter in his home, but heâ€™d just given him the go-ahead to pursue her. Lucius didnâ€™t need a brick wall to fall on his head. With an extra spring in his step, he walked to the exit of the Ministry and off to finish his errands.
At Grimmauld Place, Hermione sat between Harry and Ron trying to make them understand the Alchemy lesson they were to write their essay on.
Severus was now sitting on one of the large leather chairs on the far side of the room. His book was on his lap and he was using it as a desk. He was making a few notes. Heâ€™d come up with a thought of how to possibly alter the very potion he and Hermione had been drenched with. It might be a way to help them fight Voldemort. Heâ€™d borrowed some parchment from Hermione and one of her pens. He had to admit that Muggle pens were easier to use when you didnâ€™t have the comforts of a regular desk to write on. Heâ€™d been sitting there listening to the three discussing the two young menâ€™s Alchemy assignment. He rolled his eyes as Harry and Ron struggled to understand the simple equations.
â€śHonestly, itâ€™s a wonder either of you two even graduated,â€ť Severus said from across the room.
Harry and Ron looked up and scowled.
â€śThis isnâ€™t exactly easy, you know,â€ť protested Ron. â€śThey may as well ask us to make another Sorcererâ€™s Stone.â€ť
Before Severus could retort, they heard a popping sound outside. A few seconds later the door opened and Lucius walked in. Harry and Ron immediately grabbed their wands and rushed toward the tall wizard.
â€śHow the hell did you find this place?â€ť asked Ron, as he held his wand towards Lucius.
â€śHermione, quick, get a hold of someone at the Ministry!â€ť yelled Harry.
Severus ran toward them, and stood next to the very nervous Harry and looked up at him.
â€śPotter, stop being such a doody face and put your wand down! Lucius is helping us!â€ť yelled Severus.
Harry looked down at Severus.
â€śOh right, he just waltzed in here toâ€¦hang on. Did you just call me a doody face?â€ť asked Harry.
Ginny, whoâ€™d been in the study all this time, ran out to see what the commotion was. She saw her brother and his best friend pointing their wands at Lucius. She walked towards the group and stood between Lucius and the two younger wizards.
â€śGinny! Have you gone mad? Get out of the way!â€ť yelled Ron.
â€śRonald, Harry put your wands down,â€ť said Ginny.
Hermione jumped and snatched Ronâ€™s wand out of his hand.
â€śHey! Give it back!â€ť yelled Ron, as he now chased after Hermione, who was running around the entire living room.
â€śWhatâ€™s going on here?â€ť asked Harry, as he now lowered his wand.
â€śWhatâ€™s going on is that Lucius is part of the Order. Heâ€™s been helping sinceâ€¦â€ťSeverus looked at Lucius who was staring at Harry.
â€śSince Voldemort killed my wife and son in cold blood,â€ť Lucius said somberly. He walked around Ginny and went further into the living room. Heâ€™d been reminded of his familyâ€™s massacre one too many times that day, and it wasnâ€™t even noon yet. He took a bottle of firewhiskey from the secret cupboard next to the bust of Merlin on one of the shelves.
Hermione stopped jumping on the couch and looked at Lucius. Sheâ€™d never seen him look as sad as he did at that moment. Sheâ€™d asked Severus before they went to sleep to tell her the entire story of how Lucius came to the Order. When he told her, she felt pity for Lucius. No one should ever have to feel such sadness. She gave Ron his wand and jumped off the couch, then approached Lucius and placed her hand on his arm.
â€śItâ€™s all right, Lucius. Heâ€™ll get whatâ€™s coming to him and more,â€ť she said in her small voice.
Lucius looked down at her and took hold of a long strand of curly hair.
â€śYes, he will,â€ť he said. He looked at the others in the room, standing in silence. Lucius set the bottle of firewhiskey down, not pouring himself a drink. â€śI have your wands, and some clothes for you and Severus.â€ť
Severus walked to Lucius, who was handing Hermione her wand. He then took his own. Severus waved his wand around several times.
â€śExcellent,â€ť Severus said, then transfigured the coffee table into a huge spider right in front of Ron.
â€śAh!â€ť Ron began to shake and was dangerously close to pissing all over himself, when Hermione transfigured the spider back into a coffee table. She frowned at Severus then went back to looking through the clothes Lucius had brought her.
â€śLucius, these are lovely.â€ť She beamed. Ginny sat down next to Hermione and admired the clothes Lucius had brought her. They no doubt had belonged to his wife at one point.
â€śThey are exquisite, Lucius,â€ť admitted Ginny as she looked at him.
â€śJust a few things, nothing fancy. Severus, these should fit you,â€ť said Lucius.
â€śThank you, Lucius. Iâ€™ll take care of them. I know they belonged to Draco.â€ť
â€śI have plenty more where those came from. I donâ€™t need them back. The same goes for you, Hermione. Iâ€™ve put all of their things away. They are memories, but just that. I do not wish to dwell on my past.â€ť
Ginny cleared her throat. â€śIs anyone hungry? Itâ€™s about time for lunch.â€ť She looked at Harry and Ron. â€śYou two are welcome to stay for lunch.â€ť
They nodded and sat back down on the couch. Harry decided not to ask too many questions for once. He would speak to Albus after they left Grimmauld Place. He decided that if Lucius was here, then it could very well be that he was helping the Order. He had been wrong about Severus when he thought the Slytherin had killed Albus, so he decided he would just give Lucius the benefit of the doubt.
They took their former places. Ron and Harry sat on either side of Hermione. Severus sat on the leather chair, and Lucius took a spot next to the fireplace. Lucius noticed Severus staring at the three Gryffindors on the couch.
Severus was brooding. He didnâ€™t like the boys sitting so close to Hermione and monopolizing her time. Now that he had his wand back, perhaps it was time to make use of it. The boys were staying for lunch, and he set his mind to making sure they wouldnâ€™t be staying for supper as well.
I hope you all enjoyed this chapter.
Sometimes the best things come in small packages by ancientgir