|lions_roar (lions_roar) wrote in sshg,|
@ 2009-05-18 05:40:00
Title: Discord in the Garden
Rating: Pg-13 (Rating may change for descriptions)
Characters/Paring: HG, SS, MM, AD, HP, DM, RL. Eventual HG/SS
Summary: At the fall of Voldemort, there was peace; but history has proven that peace shall never last. A Dementor's kiss, a long laid plan, a potions, and a threat.
Warning: I am new to Harry Potter and fan fiction alike, this will be my first attempt at both, I hope you find it satisfactory. I would like to warn you that this is in no way compliant to HBP or DH, the plot formed when I was finished reading book five; therefore, it is AU.
Author's Note: The prologue and chapter one were a two for one deal. I hope to update this story once a week (It will be rather epic, I'm afraid and chapter sizes will vary).
Disclaimer: See Prologue.
Discord in the Garden
A Dark Congregation
A conference of six was gathered around the archway. Shrouded in darkness, they each appeared to hunch, the tips of their bodies angled toward the loosely billowing veil. The air was heavy, filled with their anxiety and the subtle movements occurring beyond the Department of Mysteries. It seemed as if their eyes were glued to the space before them, waiting for a change in the whispers.
“Do you think she’s made it?” One wondered allowed, gaze drifted slowly to one of the mindless figures among their ranks.
Vacant brown eyes stared back, unblinking and glazed over in the absence of being. She had been this way for three hours, her curls spilling around her face, lifeless themselves with no agitated hands to push them back. It was disconcerting to see the shell of such a brilliant witch, alive but not there, her mind wandering somewhere else.
“We’ll know in due time, Mr. Potter,” although her voice held it’s cool, Minerva McGonagall’s expression betrayed her dismay. These were her colleagues and once-students resting in mindless heaps on the floor as what made them who they were drifted in another plane. One for three hours, one for six years; and each minute that passed could prove the complete loss of both. She had not intended to be awoken this early in the morning to witness the loss of another…friend.
Beside them Remus fidgeted, his hands buried deeply in his cloak pockets. He stood closest to the prone figure of Hermione, and wrapped in the clutched fingers of his left had was a phial she had left for him. Why him, he had not been made aware. Perhaps because Harry’s blind faith in her knowledge ended when her spirit was on the line; one of his friends had perished in the final battle, he would not have allowed her attempt this knowing that she could vanish as well. Remus had worked with her long enough to know this wasn’t an rash act. The young woman had been subdued for months, pensive just as long, yet excited as if on the trail of a mystery. The impromptu meeting that had been called this morning was her answer to questions everyone had failed to ask her.
The fourth among them stirred, his gray eyes regarding each carefully. At his feet sat the long since empty Severus Snape, curved figure staring at the ground, his curtain of black hair covering his face. He had been hard to find, hidden away for six years, but with the help of Draco, Hermione had located him the night before guarded by the Dementor who had stolen his soul.
“As much as it pains me to admit, Potter, Granger knows what she is doing,” the phial Draco carried himself was proof of her knowledge. When she’d enlisted his help three months prior, through owl and insult, he’d been uncertain if she could pull this off. Alas, leave it to the know-it-all to unravel a secret long since hidden away.
“What are we to do?” the Headmistress asked, through her spectacles she peered at the chiseled features of her Potion’s Master.
“Nothing but witness,” Draco responded. “While I understand what Granger is doing and Remus has the faintest idea, you and Potter are only here to take note of her rescue. Well,” he added with daunting mirth, a misplaced sentiment in the chamber, “Potter was actually of use, as he snuck us in here.”
“Draco,” Remus warned with a sigh, “now is not the time to spur an argument, and I’d suggest that all of you remain quiet.” His eyes belayed his stern words, filling them with kindness. “We won’t hear her if it isn’t absolutely silent.”
Minerva and Draco each had the good graces to look contrite, but the expression flitted quickly off the face of the youngest as he deliberately moved closer to the veil. “Have your potion ready, Remus; and Potter, help Granger stand near the veil. Headmistress, could you assist me with Severus?”
They shuffled into place carefully, all aware of the dangers of the veil, yet all seemingly willing to risk their lives. Whatever Hermione had found, whatever had spurred her to willingly receive the kiss of a Dementor, it pertained to the uneasy feeling that had settled in Magical London and Hogwarts. Apparently the young Transfiguration Professor believed that to rescue Severus Snape’s soul was parallel to discovering the cause of the befalling darkness.
A soft breeze enveloped them, and Harry leaned closer. “Do you hear that?”
“Hear what, Po--”
Softly, dreamlike yet menacing, was the sound of a hundred whispering voices…No one may leave this place, you have been banished to your fate.
Step aside, It was not the voice of Hermione Granger that weakly hissed back, but that of her supposed companion. And of the four, it was Minerva who gasped with shock, for surely she had always been the last to expect to hear his voice again.
Remus, are you there? Distantly, Hermione’s voice called, rushed and clipped.
“Y-yes, I am. Right here.”
Malfoy? She inquired, the inflection of her question drew away but receded forward again.
“At your beckoning call,” He responded, voice betraying his irony, eyes betraying his wonder.
Hurry! Severus Snape seethed, six years had not diminished his dislike for idling.
“Touch their fingers to the veil, quickly!” Draco ordered, drawing the phial from his pocket, he motioned for Remus to do the same. “Hold his hand steady, Headmistress. And Potter, her fingers must touch! Do you want the potion to go to waste!? Here, no, Remus…make her drink it.”
Two phials touch two pairs of slacked lips, and as the maroon liquid disappeared down reluctant throats, the conscious group of four watched in worry and awe. One might say that they were each disappointed by the next occurrence, for nothing wondrous took place--no flashing blue or green lights, no grand replacement of souls.
There was merely the dual sound of gasps as brown and black eyes blinked rapidly and the exulted laughter of Hermione Granger filling the Chamber as she smiled at her glowering charge, “Bloody hell, it actually worked!”
“Hermione Granger, I insist on taking this time to explain to you just how rash your actions were,” Minerva’s nostrils had flared, her lips thinning until there was nothing left remaining of them. In the safety of her office and minus the attendance of Harry and Remus, she dared to raise her voice above it’s usual calm. “What if you had failed? My girl, your soul would have been trapped and your body useless, don’t you understand? And you, Draco Malfoy, assisting her without so much as a word to me. In this castle! I'm appalled.”
From her position in the too-plush chair, Hermione scratched a blunt nail on the armrest and averted her eyes from her superior. Her respect for Minerva had grown from the teenage awe to a deeprooted knowing of the older woman's abilities. To be chided so openly in front of a crowd was embarrassing, to say the least, but also what was needed to make her see that she had taken action too quickly. If she had failed, that morning she had been absolutley certain she wouldn't, the Order would have been left with a disadvantage, as she was the lead behind their research. Sitting in the chair, perfectly safe and intact, Hermione was able to think of what could have happen, and she didn't like the what ifs...
Behind the angry witch sat Dumbledore, leaning forward in his portrait and fingers steeped. The sight of Severus Snape, coherent in the room corner, had made the portrait’s curiosity far too strong to satisfy by feigning sleep.
“I knew perfectly well what I was doing, Headmistress," Hermione stated stubborning, her self-reassuring words lackluster at best. Had she known? Or had she only hoped that she had known?
An undignified snort from the shadows prevented her from continuing, “You read it in a book, Granger, and therefore assumed it would work. With the potion being only a theory and having no recorded prior experimentation, I’m certain you had entirely no idea what you were doing.”
Hermione scuffed and tilted her nose upward, “That’s a sorry excuse of a thank you to the person who saved your soul, Professor Snape. And there was too recorded experimentation, you should know that, considering…”
“If I recall,” he drawled venomously, “I did not ask to be saved.”
Draco, who had been watching silently from his own chair, regarded his old Head of House with the quirk of an eyebrow, “From the looks of you, Severus, I’d say you were better off a mindless twit. There is not enough fat on your body to make that sneer look anything but pained, and your customary drawl has been diminished by six years of mindless drooling, but far be it from me to argue Granger’s logic.”
Minerva seemed to jerk, affronted by the young man’s words. Never had she heard him speak to Severus in such a way, “Draco Malfoy, you are not--”
“Minerva,” Albus spoke softly, “the young man has a point.”
Hermione blinked rapidly, “He, he does?” In her years as a student and the more recent years as a professor, she had never heard of Dumbledore allowing a student to speak poorly of their wards, or colleagues for that matter. She’d had her fair deal of spats with Draco in this office, and he had put an end to each; his sudden allowance of Draco’s irony was a hard pill to swallow.
Dumbledore’s portrait nodded solemnly, “And so do you, Dear.” Painted blue eyes twinkling, he spoke to the corner, “And, Severus, I do believe that you did ask to be saved. If I recall correctly, the process of the regaining one’s souls starts with the ingestion of a certain potion before the said soul is removed from the body. Miss Granger would not have been able to help you return if you had not already taken it.”
Growling, Snape jerked away from the corner and stepped into the light. Hermione knew that his appearance had further diminished in the six years his body had existed idly, she had, after all, just rescued him from the Dementor the night before; but seeing his famished frame animated in anger, his sunken eyes narrowed and longer-than-ever hair dangling in his face made her cringe in shock. He was fit more scarier with his soul than without it.
“I did not ask her for help, Albus!”
Smiling softly, the portrait held his hands up in peace, “You didn’t have to, my boy. Miss Granger did not simply choose to save your soul, she had to. Life Debts do not vanish when a soul is removed from one’s physical body. And, seeing as your body was mere stages away from certain death, she was compelled to retrieve your soul. In her eyes, it was the only way to save you and repay the debt.”
Sneering, Snape eased closer to the portrait, his fingers gripping the back of Hermione’s chair tightly. Sensing the closeness, she leaned away imperceptivity and adverted her gaze from his anger. “That does not explain, Albus, how she discovered such a method existed…” his tone was suggestive and filled with accusation.
Hermione made to speak, “I received instructions, Sir-”
“Albus-” Minerva beseeched, “You didn’t-”
“It’s quite simple, really,” the old man smiled. “Severus, your presence in the Order was clearly needed once more, and there was no one other then Miss Granger I could think of who possessed a mind brilliant enough to discover the means to retrieve you.”
Settling back in his chair, Dumbledore pause and rested his chin on a bent hand, “Welcome back, Severus. Now, if you are all done, I think there is another matter Minerva would like to address.”