Content Harry Potter Miscellaneous
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Author Notes:

Splits from Be Careful around Chapter 55, borrows from Chapter 54. Enjoy!

Under cover of darkness and his Disillusionment Charm, Severus Snape crept up the stairs of Malfoy Manor.

Narcissa always was more sensible than Lucius. She has no wish to see her child dead, but neither does she like the idea of his fully embracing his father's lifestyle. Thus, she was easily persuaded that removing temptation from his way fell under the terms of my Vow to her, to keep him from harm.

Also, she may not be of the Malfoy bloodline, but she is Lucius's wife by magical law. Therefore, the Manor responds to her wishes in some capacity, and now to mine, as her designated representative. I should, with that power, be able to override any charms Draco has placed on his room, and remove Luna Lovegood from his presence while they are both sleeping. A Memory Charm to make him think he tired of her and handed her over to me, and a secure room at Hogwarts for her, and this particular disreputable episode will be done with.

And I will be able to face Dumbledore again.

His last conversation with the portrait of the old Headmaster had been singularly annoying. Dumbledore had seemed unworried by the fate of the Ravenclaw sixth year, being instead far more interested in the precise wording of the conversation Severus had held with Draco about her.

It was as if something amused him about it. And then, when I asked him why he was so interested in one young man who shows absolutely no interest in being redeemed, he had the gall to suggest—no, to outright say—

"Draco reminds me greatly of another young Slytherin I once knew," Dumbledore said, adjusting his spectacles. "He had a stronger personality, but I believe that made it all the harder on him when the foundation of his world dropped away. Still, with time and help, from me and from others, he managed to rebuild himself into a creditable man." The small, vague smile left Severus in no doubt of whom Dumbledore meant. "Perhaps, given that same time and help, Draco may do the same."

The only help you ever gave me was to force me to dedicate my life to protecting the child of the man I hated, Dumbledore. Severus continued on his way up the stairs. If I am anything resembling "creditable" today, the credit—he half-smiled at the unintended pun—must go to Cecilia. Cecilia, whom I met, or unintentionally created, not long after Lily's death, and who has been my greatest comfort in the years since then…

He had never truly understood why the woman of his dreams had the looks of Narcissa Black—not Narcissa Malfoy, for Cecy had a carefree air that Cissy had lost with her marriage—but he chalked it up to Narcissa being the only other woman of his own age with whom he had been on speaking terms in the years since Lily had died.

Or perhaps, somewhere in the back of my mind, I am attracted to her, but the front of my mind is well aware of how Lucius would treat anyone he even suspected to be meddling with his property. Thus, I fantasize about her, and leave the real woman strictly alone.

"Except for swearing foolish Vows to her for reasons unrelated to her own," he muttered aloud, emerging from the stairs. The pain of killing the only man who had ever helped him, to save an ungrateful boy and further the cause of the Dark Lord he hated, stabbed at him again, but eased as he thought once more of Cecilia and what she had told him after he had wept in her arms that night in his dreams.

"You know the truth, Severus, and I know it as well. And Harry Potter will learn it eventually, and he is a fair-minded young man. He will not hate you so much as to blacken your memory untruthfully. Just think…" Her teasing smile flashed out at him. "He might even name one of his children after you!"

If you do so, Potter, it had best be one with Lily's eyes, Severus thought idly as he came up to Draco's door. I will settle for nothing less. Though do make it a middle name if you can…

He flicked his wand at the door. "Alohomora."

It will likely not work, but its manner of not working will tell me how to proceed next.

The door swung silently open.

Or perhaps I am dealing with a cocksure boy who does not have the wit even to lock his door at night.

Severus stepped into the room. The little light admitted from the hallway showed him the two occupants of the bed, sleeping nestled together with Luna's back to Draco's front, his arm possessively over her side, and their two right hands—

Ah, I see. He places his safeguard on her, rather than on the room. But anything he can do, I can undo.

He crossed to the bed and lit his wand, shining it on the soft rope holding the two hands together. Their fingers were interlaced, he noticed, and wondered if Luna could already be succumbing to the temptation to think the best of her captor.

More likely he forces her to behave as if she did.


He went to one knee beside the bed, the better to examine the rope and be sure it was not under an alarm spell. There was no question in his mind that he could deal with Draco Malfoy, but he was not sure that he could do so silently, and it would be better for all involved if no one but himself and Narcissa ever knew about this little expedition.

Most alarms are triggered by simple touch. If this one is, I will have my wand available to silence it immediately.

Wand at the ready, he laid the heel of his left hand against the rope.

Nothing happened.

Can he truly be this lax, this trusting? This foolish?

Then again, I am forgetting with whom I am dealing. Yes, he most certainly can.

In amusement, Severus let his hand relax. His fingers dropped onto the uppermost arm of the pair of children, for a brief instant touching skin to skin.

Draco's lips twitched, and his eyes moved under his closed lids.

Severus tried to jerk his hand away, but it was already too late.

Cecilia Black dropped her book at the loud thump from Draco's bedroom. What in the world—has he fallen out of bed? Or Luna?

Lit wand in her hand, she jerked the door open. Draco and Luna were both sitting up in bed, blinking in confusion. Draco was untying the rope that ensured they remained together during the transit from his original world to this one, while Luna was rubbing her eyes with her free hand. "Has someone played a Christmas prank on us?" the girl inquired of Cecy.

"I don't know. Draco, would you turn the light on, please?"

"Yes, Mum." Draco leaned over and flicked the switch on his bedside lamp, filling the room with pleasantly dim light, then scratched his arm. "Something tickled here, just as I was dropping off…"

"I am sorry to hear it." Cecilia put out her wand and stepped over to the hallway door, her heart beginning to pound as she recalled with whom she had recently been discussing her son, and what he had pledged himself to do despite all her tactful efforts to the contrary. It cannot be… but if he touched Draco at just the right instant… "Go into my room, you two. You can call a house-elf if you'd like a midnight snack."

"What if I fall asleep again?" Draco objected. "I don't want to transit back to Malfoy Manor by accident and miss Christmas."

"A good point. Come here." Cecy embraced her son and kissed his cheek, focusing on the precise small changes she wanted his mind to make as he slept tonight. "There," she said, letting him go. "Meddling with sleep is dangerous for long periods, but one night will not hurt you. Your magic will not notice when you pass into dream state tonight, leaving you here with us at Fidelus Manor." She could not be more specific than that without giving herself away, but hoped the unseen occupant of the room, if such there was, would apply his fine mind to the ideas inherent in her words. "If you want to use my bed, feel free."

"I think I would like that," Luna said, covering a yawn. "Come on, Draco, I'm sure you're tired too, after all that work at Godric's Hollow. It was lovely to see Harry and Hermione and Ron again, though."

"And to be sure we got them their packages." Draco chuckled. "I'm looking forward to seeing their faces when they get them open…"

The door closed behind them. Cecilia lifted her wand. Hominem revelio, she thought clearly.

The spell swept out through the room and showed her, for one sparkling instant, a crouching form behind the bed.

The spoken form of that spell is tangible to the one so located, but the unspoken form is not… he will not be certain that I know he is present…

But no. He would know that I would check. And he would be ready in case I strike at him.

How to tell him that I suspect his identity?

An idea came to her, from a tale he had related to his own detriment, some years ago. She smiled, lowering her wand.

"Healer Cecilia Black, mistress of these rooms, commands you to reveal your secrets!"

A small noise like a cough, or a stifled laugh. "Mistress only of the rooms?" said a well-known voice, smooth and dark and utterly precise. "Not of the house?"

"Not of the house, no." Cecy laid her hand on the doorframe beside her, steadying herself. She had suspected this. She could not let weakness overcome her at the moment her longest-standing dream came true. "I stay here only because of my son. My home is in London, near that of my cousin Sirius and his family."

"Your home." The voice was considering. "Is it yours alone, or do you share it with another?"

"No, I live by myself. Draco may share my home after he leaves Hogwarts, until he finds a place of his own or unless he prefers to remain here. But I have no one else with whom I share my home, or my life."

"And why not?" The voice took on a tinge of sneer, as though the speaker were critical of her choice. "You are young still, and beautiful. Talented, strong in magic. Generous, loving, kind—altogether, a woman any man would be proud to call his own. Why have you not married long since?"

"I believe you already know the answer to that question," Cecilia countered. "I believe it may even be the answer you would give yourself, if you were asked this same question."

Across the bed, Severus Snape flickered into view, looking at her skeptically. "I," he said, "have never been described as 'beautiful.'"

"Perhaps," Cecy said softly, "that is because you have never asked me to describe you."

Severus gave her one of the disapproving looks his students knew so well.

Cecy only smiled. "You are several years too late for me to think you do not know how I feel about you," she said. "Nor, unless you have lied to me, how you feel about me."

"I had no conception you might be real," Severus said, seating himself on the bed and looking around the room. "I am still unsure that you are, or any of this. You mentioned dreaming to Draco a few moments ago…"

"I believe I can explain." Cecilia Summoned Draco's desk chair and sat down. "If you will let me tell you how we first came to meet, from my point of view."

"I am listening."

Drawing a deep breath, Cecy composed herself to begin. "Some sixteen years ago, I dreamed one night in late autumn of a man who resembled Lord Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts. He asked me to tell him about myself, and I did so, giving him my name, my family, some few details of my life, and my profession—a Healer of the heart and mind. He smiled to hear it, and told me it was for precisely this reason he had sought me out."

Severus had blinked once at Cecy's use of her friend's title, but was now nodding in wary agreement that this sounded suitably Dumbledorean.

"He was Albus Dumbledore, he told me, but an Albus Dumbledore from a world far away from mine. And in that world, there lived a young man who was near-mortally wounded by the death of his love." Cecilia hesitated, but Severus would hardly be harmed by hearing her state the truth. "The death he considered—with some justice—to be his own fault."

A wince greeted this, but so did another nod.

"Dumbledore asked me if I would be willing to befriend this man, to meet with him in a dreamworld that we could share, to let him think me nothing more than a dream, and to help him heal, as best I could." Cecy glanced sideways at Severus, surprised at her sudden shyness. "And when I saw a picture of the young man he meant, I agreed. For I had fallen in love with my world's version of that young man, but he loved another and had no time for me…"

When her story was finished, Cecilia sighed deeply. "So, now you know the truth. About Draco, about yourself, and about me." The question weighed heavily on her mind, it must be spoken, though the answer would shatter half her life if it was what she suspected it would be. "What will you do now?"

Severus looked down at his wand, which he still held loosely in one hand. Pointing it at himself, he murmured a charm Cecilia did not catch. Then he slid it away and turned to face her, standing up as he did so.

"I will return to my own world, if Draco will be so kind as to transport me back with him," he said. "I will try to survive this war, and to end it quickly. Any help you, and your friends, can provide will be welcome. I am afraid I have little to offer in return—"

"Nothing is needed." How could her heart be beating so loudly, so fast, drowning out even the sound of her own voice in her ears? "We are glad to help."

"And then, if I may prevail upon Draco for one more—transit, I believe he called it—I will return here, to ask you a question." Severus met her eyes, desire and hope warring for place in them. "You answered it once, long ago, in the positive. I dare to hope you will answer the same again."

Cecilia was across the room before she recalled beginning to move.

In the next room, Draco and Luna looked up at a small squeaking noise. "What was that?" Luna asked.

"I don't know." Draco got up and opened the door to his bedroom.

Then he shut it very quickly indeed.

That… was my Headmaster. His hair looked cleaner than usual, but I'm sure it was him. Even if I couldn't see his face, because he was busy snogging my mum.

Oh, Merlin, I'm going to have bad dreams tonight…

Shortly after the New Year, Luna allowed Harry, Ron, and Hermione to rescue her and the sword of Gryffindor from Draco, who did his best to hex them all for old times' sake and to fulfill the conditions under which the sword must be gained. Harry did hit him with a Disarmer, which Draco later discovered had cracked two of his ribs. The sword was used for its intended purpose, and Luna remained with the Trio, after visiting her father briefly to explain to him where she'd be going and why (he was rather intrigued to find that she'd be visiting him in dreams from now on).

Severus presented Voldemort with the Elder Wand as a gift, explaining that Dumbledore had once mentioned it by name. Voldemort, after some internal debate, thanked him rather than killing him. After all, Severus had always been a useful servant, and he could die later if it proved necessary.

Ginny, under direction from a note from Harry (smuggled in, if she had only known, by her Headmaster), stole the remaining Horcrux from the Room of Hidden Things and gave it to Neville, who met the augmented Trio in Hogsmeade with it. When the unliving Horcruxes were safely destroyed, Draco and Severus appeared and captured Harry, taking him to the Headmaster's office, where Harry was forced to watch the relevant memories. Severus then allowed Harry to see him and Draco disappearing together, after having summoned Voldemort and opened a vial of Vanishing Potion in the room where they were. Harry assumed, as he was meant to, that they had committed suicide rather than allow Voldemort to catch them as traitors, and went out to wait for his destiny.

Meanwhile, in the otherworld, Professor Riddle (whose life story had caused Severus a fit of uncontrollable laughter) located Nagini, and Draco made transit back to kill her with Fiendfyre, then Apparated to where he knew the remainder of the Trio was and carried Luna off, waving at them cheerily before he triggered the Dreams-Without-Sleep Charm.

Through the TVP, everyone watched the end of the story avidly. Severus was heard to mutter something when Harry was revealed to be alive, but no one, not even Cecilia, ever pressed him to repeat it. They were married the next day, and Severus took up his counterpart's post as Advanced Potions Professor, since it was the youth and incompetence of students which had so frustrated him in the old days. Teaching only the N.E.W.T. level class suited him perfectly, and he had time for research of his own.

Draco and Luna were married shortly after she left school. The atmosphere of their wedding day, which seemed to cause Hogwarts to vibrate with joy, started Draco thinking, and after the honeymoon, he sought out Severus to ask some questions. A few months later, with Luna's understanding of happiness and Cecy's of how the mind worked to help them, the two wizards managed to brew a potion which, when activated with a simple spell and a good memory in mind, created a fog with the same basic characteristics as a Patronus which lasted for twelve hours before having to be replenished.

The potion was put into mass production immediately. Its creators were awarded the Order of Merlin, First Class, and an undisclosed, but "obscene" (as the Daily Prophet would have it), amount of prize money from a grateful world. Draco and Luna used their share to travel for half the year, searching out new types of magical animals, and remain in their home in Wiltshire for the other half, Draco writing and Luna illustrating picture books which contained tales from their home world.

Cecy invested her portion "for the children," by which Severus (who would use his to keep himself in rare ingredients for years to come) thought she meant Draco and Luna, until she told him otherwise. He revived five minutes later, demanded that they give his son a normal name, and passed out again before Cecy could tell him they were going to have a daughter.

And they all, as much as was in their natures, lived happily ever after.

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Author Notes:

No comment on whether or not that second-to-last paragraph holds true in mainline BC. But if you know me, you know how much I love both my hints and my red herrings…