Poison Pen

Harry has had enough of seeing his reputation shredded in the Daily Prophet and decides to do something about it. Only he decides to embrace his Slytherin side to rectify matters.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5554780/1/Poison-Pen

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30. On Your Mark

The meeting of the Board ended immediately after their vote.

Augusta Longbottom looked on in puzzlement as a weary looking Lucius Malfoy hurriedly port-keyed out.

She'd thought he would've taken the time to rub their noses in his triumph over Dumbledore's removal as Headmaster. He'd been trying to accomplish it for years now.

'How odd,' she mused. 'How that man bought his way back onto the Board is beyond me.'

Augusta mentally went over the meeting. Now that she thought of it, Malfoy had seemed rather drawn and lackluster, far from his normally abrasive personality. Strange indeed, perhaps this would bear looking into.

0o0o0o0

A drained and weak Lucius Malfoy collapsed in the entry to Malfoy Manor. Shocked house elves quickly gathered their downed master and levitated him off to his bed. They then informed the Mistress of the house who quickly summoned the family healer. A note was also sent to Severus Snape requesting his expertise immediately. It would receive no reply.

"Well? What is wrong with him?" Narcissa demanded when the examination was done.

"I'm sorry, Lady Malfoy," the healer said, straightening his robes as he put away his wand. "The only cause for his extreme weakness is a slow and steady drain on his magic. I'm afraid that he will become less than a squib in a matter of hours. We can only hope that his heart is strong enough to handle the loss of his magic."

"What! You can't be serious! My husband is a powerful wizard, what could possibly do this to him?" She screeched.

"I can only tell you that he is the fourth person I have seen in the last day suffering from the same malady. The fact that he still has a magical core at all is a testament to his strength. Knott and Avery weren't so lucky. They are both Muggles now, and may still die from the draining. Those in attendance to the Master when he collapsed weren't so fortunate. They are now dead."

He hesitated, then turned to face her directly. "It seems to be centered on his dark mark, Lady Malfoy. Since you are not affected, I assume you, like myself, have no Mark?"

She shook her head in reply. "No, it was decided that my appearance in society was more important. The Dark Lord exempted me from bearing it. Draco isn't scheduled to take the Mark until next summer." Narcissa staggered to a nearby chair and dropped into it. " Merlin's ghost, what are we to do now? How is the Dark Lord? Any idea on what caused his collapse?"

"Not at this time. He hasn't regained consciousness. His last words were of the Potter menace."

0o0o0o0o0o0

Severus Snape sat wearily in his over-sized armchair, rubbing his left arm, clutching a crumpled note. He could feel the Dark Mark on his left arm throbbing with his pulse. This was it. Could Potter have managed to do something fatal to the Dark Lord? It had to be, it was the only explanation.

"Severus?" He glanced over at the fireplace.

"Yes, Minerva?" he asked standing.

"May I come through?"

After he gave his permission, he slumped tiredly back into his chair, "Forgive me, Acting Headmistress but I am a bit indisposed tonight."

"Indisposed, Severus?"

"The Dark Lord is showing his displeasure for some reason. I am not sure why he is doing so, but I find myself incapable of answering his summons. Why are you here, Minerva?"

Minerva sighed as she sat across from him. "Oh Severus. With Albus confined to St. Mungo's for who knows how long, I have been forced to suspend classes for a week until things are more settled."

"It's just as well," Severus said, holding up a bottle of Ogden's Best. "Care for a dram?"

"Severus? Are you alright? You look terrible! Perhaps a dram isn't a good idea at this point. . ."

"Well, it certainly can't hurt!" He snorted in disgust. "To be truthful, it feels like I'm dying Minerva. Like every last bit of energy is being sucked out of me."

The Headmistress' gasp of shock echoed in the room. "I. . I'd best get Poppy. . ."

"No! If it's what I think, no one can help me." Gathering what strength left to him Severus continued. "I think he's dying, Minerva. He's trying to keep himself alive by sucking the magic out of his followers. I always feared it might come to this."

A knock sounded at the door. Minerva rose shakily to answer it. "Mr. Potter? I'm afraid Professor Snape is unable to see you right now." Her quavering voice shocked Harry.

"What's wrong Professor? Is he hurt? What?"

"Not now Mr. Pott. . ." She was stunned when the boy in question brushed past her and hurried to the side of his weakening professor.

Severus looked up at the bane of his existence and sucked in a gasp. The boy looked terrible and yet at the same time powerful.

"I just got back from the goblins. The ritual worked," the brat was explaining. "They really wanted to keep me for a couple of days but something told me to return here."

Then Potter plopped onto the sofa next to Minerva. Of all the gall!

"Ritual!? What are you going on about Potter!" Severus snarled. He wasn't about to spend the last moments of his life catering to this whelp!

Potter sighed, running a hand through his already messy hair. "The goblins offered, for a price, a ritual to get rid of the horcrux that ol' Tommy boy placed in my scar and to take care of any others he might have made as well. So, once I claimed the Slytherin headship by right of conquest, the Keeper, along with my advisers, informed me that I needed to cast Riddle from the family and strip him of all Potter, Gryffindor and Slytherin family magics. He did, after all, use my blood in that disgusting ritual my fourth year."

Both adults straightened in their seats, eyes widening in stunned awareness.

"So I did. And now, ol' Tommy boy is finding it hard to keep his patchwork body together," Harry said with a shrug. "He's relying on the connections to his followers, sucking away their magic to keep himself alive. They'll either become squibs, or die when their hearts give out."

Severus sucked in a breath, clutching his left arm. So this was it. He'd be sucked as dry of his magic as a vampire drains its victim. The last moments of his life and he had to listen to this brat's prattle!

"Professor?" Potter asked, leaning forward to watch the older man closer. Severus could see the magic rippling around the boy. "Why does Dumbledore trust you so much? Why have you always protected me while I attended Hogwarts and why haven't you asked me if I could remove your Dark Mark?"

Severus scowled. How dare he! The snifter shattered in his hand as his anger powered his waning magic. "GET OUT!"

"Now Severus. . . " Minerva started.

The boy stood, hands on his hips. His green eyes, Lily's eyes, glaring down at him. For a moment, a brief moment, Severus saw Lily standing in front of him ready to give him one of her famous tongue lashings. "Look sir. I can help you, but I need answers to those questions first. You just have to trust me."

"I might say the same to you, Potter!"

Harry sighed, running a hand through his hair. "Fine! Be that way!" He turned to go, throwing up his hands in frustration. "Try to help the man for my mother's sake and what do I get? Well, I tried!"

"Potter! What are you babbling about!?"

Harry stopped at the door, placing a hand on the handle. "Answer my questions, sir and I'll tell you."

"Very Slytherin of you, Potter!"

"Yeah, well, I am now the head of family for the Slytherin line, sir."

"Severus, you should tell him," Minerva interjected.

Severus bowed his head. His greasy hair curtained his expression. "I was the one that told the Dark Lord about the prophecy. I had no idea that he would target Lily for it. I went to Albus after . . .after. . . I just wanted to make amends for what I had done. He offered to shield me, protect me if I gave him an unbreakable vow to serve as his spy. Afterwards, I went to Lily's grave and vowed to protect her son as best I could. Because of so many factors, I couldn't openly be seen to help you, Potter. Of course, you didn't make matters easier by prancing around Hogwarts as if you owned the place."

"Well, sir," Potter said, quietly. "I do sort of own the place, now."

Minerva huffed, which the pair ignored.

"As for the Mark, why should I ask you?" he lifted his tired eyes up to the boy. "If Albus couldn't remove it, what makes you think you can?"

"Well, maybe, he's not a parselmouth like I am?" Harry asked as he returned to the room. Severus gazed into the boy's intense green eyes as a unfamiliar feeling started well up in him. A feeling he had smothered, never allowed himself. Hope.

Potter knelt in front of him, holding out a hand. "I can remove the Mark and stop the draining because as I said, sir. I am a parselmouth. More importantly, I now control the Slytherin magic that Riddle used to bind you."

Severus stared into those glowing, green eyes, wishing they were Lily's eyes. He didn't see Lily in those eyes now. The power, the compassion, and determination were all Harry nor did he see James Potter. For the first time since the boy had come to Hogwarts, he was seeing Harry, just Harry.

Between one feeble heart beat and the next, Severus slowly took in what he was feeling and with the last of his fading physical strength, he lifted his arm. Tremors racked his muscles as he slowly offered his trust to Harry.

"Thank you, Professor," Harry said as he pushed up the man's sleeve to expose the ugly, inflamed brand. Severus watched in horror as the boy hissed and poured magic into his arm.

Agony. Sharp and burning. He fought the urge to cry out. Darkness threatened to engulf him. No! He refused to go out like this! He would be damned if he would allow the Dark Lord to win this one!

"Here, Severus drink this," came Poppy's voice as the darkness receded.

Poppy was bending over him, pressing a vial to his lips as he came to in the Infirmary. "That one was a strengthening potion and this is a pain potion."

"How is he, Poppy?" came Minerva's voice from the far side of the bed.

"He'll be fine after some rest," Poppy said. "Honestly, he should've been brought to me when you first found him. Why in Merlin's name you allowed Mr. Potter to remove that disgusting tattoo without me present is beyond me."

"Now Poppy!"

"Don't Poppy me, Minerva McGonagall!" the mediwitch huffed. "First Albus, now Severus and Mr. Potter! What do you think you were playing at!?"

"Did someone mention me?" came a tired voice from the next bed.

"You should be asleep, Mr. Potter! The idea of doing a dangerous Goblin Ritual and then performing complex magic so soon after. It's a wonder you can still move!"

Severus started to chuckle. For the first time, since he had taken the Mark, he felt free. Raising his arm, he noted a light gauze wrapped around where the Mark should have been and rubbed a finger over the bandage. A prickly feeling shot up to his shoulder. Gone was the ever present throbbing that radiated from the Mark. Was he totally free?

"But . . . but. . .?" came Potter's voice.

"Sleep young man and I mean it!" came Poppy's voice.

"Alright, you win, but I have to tell the Professor something."

"Make it quick!"

Severus turned his head towards the boy. "What is it Potter?"

"Sir, not only was I able to remove the Mark and snap its connection to your magic, I found a lot of other spells and stuff attached. Some of it had Riddle's magic around it but some, I didn't recognize. Most of them were compulsion and loyalty spells. At least that's what they felt like. I was able to get rid of most of them, but you might want to check with the Goblins. For a fee, they'll take care of what I missed."

Severus took in a breath. Albus. It had to be. "Th. . . thank you, Mr. Potter, I'll. . . .I'll take it under advisement."

0o0o0o0

There wasn't a whole lot of humor in this one. We just wanted to show everyone what happened to Snape. We think we've tied up most of the loose ends, but feel one or two are left. We'll see.

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