Harry heard the lock on the cupboard door. It was a sound he was very used to hearing. A sound that always made him angry. He cursed under his breath since he was aware that his aunt was most likely still at the door making sure he didn't do anything to escape despite the door being locked. He waited until he finally heard her walk away. He heard his cousin screaming about wanting ice cream. Sure, that boy needed more ice cream. He wanted a reward for his hard work. As if Dudley could even spell the word work never mind recognize what work entails.
He hated living here and hated his relatives. He was sure there had to be a word that would mean something worse than hate but he didn't know it as of yet. He wanted to get into a better position to fall asleep as his stomach growled. He just didn't want to move too much as he was in pain from the yard work he had done today and would have to redo tomorrow since Vernon and Dudley destroyed everything because the flowers weren't three centimeters apart from the bushes. The bushes were too close to the fencing. Dudley destroying things was the only exercise that boy got. He wasn't sure who was the biggest idiot in the family. He for remaining here or one of his relatives for their repetitive destruction of items they purchased just for him to redo work over and over. Harry could do go down the list of excuses his relatives always provided for their destruction but he was tired of his relatives and their excuses for forcing him to redo every single chore almost daily. The only good thing about the chores was he was outside of the cupboard.
There would be no food tonight as his stomach reminded him again that he hadn't eaten in two days. He had his full with the water hose. They hadn't figured out that Harry would drink from the hose as well as sneak food from his cousin when he could. They were morons. However, he did enjoy watching his cousin try to explain why food was missing and say things like how he must have been so hungry. As if that tub of lard would know what it was like to even feel a bit of hunger pain. Dudley was the biggest kid in school and heading to be bigger than Uncle Vernon.
He decided to escape into his world of make-believe. A world he wished was real. A world where he could ignore people and just do what he wanted when he wanted. A world where he was never hungry. A world where he could sleep on a real bed and not be forced awake. A world where he could be cared for and loved. A world where he could be appreciated but not expected to work for anything. He fell asleep with a slight smile on his face as he imagined eating a big thick steak.
Harry woke to Petunia screaming her head off about the laundry. Harry guess she discovered her whites were now pink. Harry blinked a bit. He didn't want to deal with them today. Petunia would be whining to Uncle Vernon about talking to Dudley regarding the boy's lack of emptying his pockets or throwing things in the running washer without checking.
Harry wished he was anyplace but in Surrey. He felt a bit dizzy and then a rush of something strange touched his body and he wasn't in his cupboard any longer as he landed on solid ground with a thud. He didn't get up right away as whatever happened made him a bit dizzy. When he was recovered he looked around. He was in a forest or maybe a park with a lot of trees? He wasn't sure. He went to get up but something was wrong. Harry looked down and forced himself not to panic. He wasn't human any longer. He was a cat. A spotted cat to be exact. He remembered thinking about how great it would be to be a cat, to have someone take care of him, sleep twenty hours a day, and not be expected to do anything. He didn't remember thinking about being abandoned in some woods and having to fend for himself.
"Now, where did you come from?" Harry's head whipped about and he was on his paws. There was a man dressed in black with a basket hanging from his arm. "A bit on the skinny side. I bet you're hungry." Harry's stomach growled. "Come with me. Hogwarts has plenty of food for cats." Harry wasn't sure about this guy or what Hogwarts was but food was food when you are hungry and not used to getting it. Harry wobbled a bit as he tried to walk. "Are you injured?" The man pointed a stick at Harry who flinched. The stick disappeared after the man said some weird words. There was a piece of paper that came out of the stick and the man was reading it now. "I can help heal you if you want to follow me."
Harry wobbled a bit as he tried to follow the man but he did manage it without falling. It had been touch and go on the stairs and the getting over a stone wall. He did it and felt proud of himself as he followed the man in black. He was going to need to learn how to cat. It wasn't as easy as cats made it appear. "Severus, what have you brought back?"
Harry saw an older woman in the doorway. He wondered if he was in an alternate reality or universe. The guy was wearing a dressing gown and the woman looked like something he had seen on the telly in one of his Aunt's programs from the last century. "I believe it is an Iberian Lynx and he has been starved and abused."
"Merlin, who would do such a thing?"
"I am not sure. I found him in the Forbidden Forest and he followed me here. I promised him some food and I will heal his injuries." Harry was a bit surprised that someone would care that he was abused. No one ever did before. The neighbors and his teachers ignored it so why were these two strangers worried about him?
"Good. Let me see what I can discover."
Harry freaked out as the woman turned into a cat. Yes, he turned into a cat but not willingly. He started backpedaling away from the two humans until he was in a corner. The man in black and the strange human-cat tabby were looking at him. *Relax, I won't hurt you. I figured I could find out your name and tell Severus.*
*Freak.* Harry automatically gave the name his relatives called him. He knew his name was Harry but he wasn't allowed to use it outside of school. He had only been permitted to use it after one of the teachers did the roll and he didn't know his name was Harry and missed it. He informed her his name was Freak and Dudley backed the claim up. However, the next day was as if the event never happened.
The human-cat transformed and muttered a few things in a language Harry didn't know. "He needs a new name as well. Whoever had him before called him Freak." He started to head toward the door but stopped. He looked at the two humans. This was what he wanted. He didn't want to be at his relatives, he wanted to be someplace where he could sleep the day away, be feed, and not be Harry. He sat down.
"Let's get him to your quarters, get him comfortable, some food, and I have a blanket we can use for a bed until you can get some supplies for him."
"Minerva, I am not going to keep him. I am just going to heal him, feed him, and if he decides to stay he may but he isn't going to be my pet."
Mineva started laughing. "It's not how it works with cats. Cats pick you, not the other way around. He picked you. Now, come, let's take care of him."
Harry didn't disagree. He did pick the man in black, Severus. Anyone was better than his relatives. His relatives would only miss the free labor they got and not him so he wasn't too worried about them.
----------------Time Skip---------------Harry is now 11 and it's been 4 years (I might do snippets and flashbacks to cover the years but basically he was just a cat and well, you know the fun cats can have)
"Albus, do not give my cat a lemon drop. He just leaves them there or bats them around and I end up stepping on them." Severus watched as his cat hopped off of the counter (he gave up trying to keep the cat off of his kitchen counter) and weaved his body around his legs. "Yes, yes, your breakfast is coming." Severus opened the cupboard and pulled down a can of cat food, a can of tuna, before heading to the cold storage box and retrieving some fresh salmon. "They were out of rabbits, Morpheus."
Harry sat down and meowed. "Severus, you can't keep ignoring my request." Severus was opening his cans of food and Harry could smell the salmon. He wanted some rabbit but he didn't feel like hunting for one.
Harry wanted to laugh. Dumbledore had been attempting to get Severus to go and fetch someone by the name of Potter from the muggle world whose parents had been killed in the last war by some evil dude. He didn't know the whole story nor did he care. He did feel a bit sorry for this Potter kid. He hoped the boy had better luck with his relatives than he did. "Severus, Hagrid had no luck and I need you to see if you can locate him. Arabella didn't notice when the boy disappeared and apparently neither did his relatives."
"Well, that says a lot." Severus put his food bowl down. Harry looked up and let out a low meow. "No." Harry meowed again. "No, no, you are not getting any milk."
"I thought cats weren't to have milk?" Dumbledore had the lecture from Minerva enough to know.
"It's raw goat's milk. The vet suggested it as part of a well-rounded diet." Severus also thought it was a way to spoil his cat but he wasn't going to tell Dumbledore that information. No one but Morpheus knew what happened once his door was closed and he was going to leave it that way. Severus looked at the face staring up at him. "Fine, fine." He went to the cold box and got the small container of goat's milk. Fine, he had several containers of goat's milk. He always kept them measured out and made it easier just to grab one of the containers and pour it on Morpheus' food. "Don't say I don't do anything for you."
Harry meowed his thanks and began to eat, purring a bit as he did so. "Will you go and check for him?"
"Will you cease speaking about it if I do? No matter what I discover, I do not want to hear another word about the brat until he is at Hogwarts."
"Fine, fine." Dumbledore waved his hand.
Harry and Severus recognized that has you have my word until I come up with another reason for you to become involved in whatever plot I have planned. "Albus, I mean it."
Harry would have rolled his eyes if he could. He was very aware of how much Dumbledore liked to pull the guilt string on Severus. He used someone named Lily Potter to get the man to do a lot. Lily had been Severus' best friend. He wasn't sure how Severus was involved in her death by the crazy guy. He did know her husband was a first-rate bully and that her son did something amazing and was now some type of Savior. He felt a bit bad for the kid. He lost his parents and everyone at Hogwarts was expecting some type of James Potter, Jr. with Lily Potter mixed in, combined with magical powers, and greatness. He thought it was a lot of heap on the shoulders of a boy nevermind when they did it when the boy was a baby. He finished eating and headed to the fireplace and his cat bed. He let out a yawn.
"He didn't finish."
"He never does. He will eat it later tonight." Severus got up, picked up the bowl, and placed it in the cold storage box. "When do you wish me to leave?"
"Today, right now if possible. We must locate him and bring him back here and I will get his relatives sorted out."
"Fine, go away and I will retrieve the brat." Severus escorted Dumbledore to the door. Once the door was closed, Severus grabbed his cloak. "I can't believe I have to go and fetch the brat. I am plagued by Potters." Harry yawned again, pulled the blanket up over his head, and went to sleep. "Be grateful I am not taking you with me to hunt for him." Harry peeked out from under the blanket. Hunting, he liked hunting. "No, no, I am not taking you." Harry went back under the blanket.
Harry yawned as Severus returned to his quarters. "A complete waste of time. I just know I am going to get stuck looking for the brat." Severus removed his cloak.
"Severus, we do need to find him." Minerva followed Severus in. She was dressed in her standard robes. Harry wondered if the woman had ever attempted to wear less clothing.
Harry got up, meowing a greeting at Severus and Minerva. He still wasn't sure how or why she turned into a cat but he just enjoyed chatting with her and the other cats at Hogwarts. "Why didn't he check on him over the years?"
"I am not sure. I can't believe he never checked on him. I was informed that he did." Minerva sat down on the couch and Harry jumped up on the couch. She always scratched him in the best spots and gave him catnip. "No catnip today." Harry didn't care as she scratched his back in the perfect spot between his shoulders.
"You spoil him." Severus went to his desk and opened up the top drawer, removing some cat treats. He held up the treat. His cat jumped off the couch and ran to him. Morpheus stood up on his hind legs, his paws almost reaching the middle of Severus' chest. Severus gave Morpheus the treat. "Rabbit Jerky is his new favorite."
"As if you don't. I know you buy him goat milk."
"Tea?" Severus headed to the kitchen as his cat finished the treat and headed back to Minerva. He knew Minerva would want some tea and assumed she answered him. Severus used magic to get the water hot. He placed the tea bags in the mugs and the cream out. He placed everything on a tea tray and returned to the living area. "Cream?"
"Please. You know Albus will want you to keep looking until he is found."
Harry curled up on Minerva's lap. He wondered where this Potter boy was. He also wondered why Dumbledore didn't look before now? "Yes, I am aware. I am not sure what he is expecting. We have no idea how long the boy has been missing. It has been a few years. The boy could be anywhere or even dead for all we know."
Minerva let out a gasp. "Severus, you don't think they killed him?"
"I am not sure but I do believe if the wrong people discovered he was missing who knows what they might have done to him or what he had to do in order to survive." Severus was aware of the darker aspects of muggles and what could happen to an abandoned child or runaways in the muggle world. He didn't want to give false hope or even promote a false sense of finding a safe and happy Harry Potter but he also didn't want to destroy any hope. He was hoping. He didn't want the last piece of Lily to be gone. He hoped the boy was fine and that he could or would locate him, alive. "How do you think he will cover up the fact that Potter is missing?"
"I am not sure. I believe he is hoping that you will locate him before the new year starts." Minerva was running her hands over the soft fur of the cat on her lap. "Are you going to use Morpheus to help you locate him?"
"We have nothing to use for scent. The darling relatives didn't have a piece of clothing or anything else from the boy. I am not even sure how we can locate him. We have nothing to use for any location spells, nothing we can use to determine when he ran away from the house." Severus took a sip of his tea. "If he ran away."
"Yes, I did warn Albus. Do you have any ideas on how or what you might be able to use to locate him?"
"No, I am going to need to do some research. I am sure Albus is already searching through his books."
"Yes, and I bet he will visit the DoM to see if there might be some spells he could use. He always discovers something or some way to do what he wants." Minerva sighed deeply. "I will never understand why he never checked."
"I have to agree. I might visit Gringotts and see if they have any ideas." Severus was hoping the goblins might have some forms of magic that they could use to locate the boy. They might be willing since the boy was going to be a lord one day. They would do almost anything to protect their gold and make a profit.
"I will watch Morpheus if you need me to."
"As if he doesn't spend enough time visiting you. I know about your stash of food for him." Severus wasn't worried about Morpheus leaving him for Minerva. He always returned home and never slept anywhere at night but on Severus' bed.
Harry felt a bit bad about Severus having to do extra work. He wanted to be with Severus. He wondered if perhaps he would or could go with Severus. He fell asleep as they moved onto other issues regarding the new school year. It was the same issues each year and Harry found it boring.
______________Time Skip----A few days--School not started as of yet.__________________
Harry wasn't a very happy cat and didn't want to make things harder for Severus so he was making Dumbledore's life miserable. After all, it was because of Dumbledore that Severus was never around. Dumbledore and his desire for this Potter brat to be located. Severus called the Potter brat a few other names each time he returned from someplace Dumbledore sent him. Harry dropped the rotted piece of cloth he found into Dumbledore's hall and left. He hoped Dumbledore liked the smell as he didn't. He also directed some rodents to the man's office.
Harry was playing a game of chase with Mrs. Norris when Severus came storming down the hall. *Wonder what the fashion mess did now?* Mrs. Norris sat down as she didn't believe in letting humans seeing her run. She had too much dignity for that to happen.
*No idea but I wish he would leave Severus alone. It's not as if there aren't others who could look for the brat.* Harry sat down next to her as they waited for Severus to get closer to them. *He didn't even get any sleep last night. He was up making potions for Poppy.*
*My Argus was up late too because he had to wait until the fashion mess was done using his office before he could clean it.*
*Figures. He loses the boy and our humans have to pay the price for finding the brat.* Harry gave the cat equivalent of a huff.
*I know, I haven't gotten my chicken this week because of it nor have I got my required sleep.*
*I didn't get my rabbit.* Harry wasn't happy with the Headmaster. He had Severus on a schedule and the old fart ruined it. He was only getting the basics of food and he missed it. He wondered if Hagrid would know if he hunted some rabbits in the forest? *Want to go hunting?*
*Your idea of hunting and mine are two different things. You have nothing to fear in the forest, I do. However, if you catch some rabbit or something, I do hope you will be willing to share?*
*I always do.* Harry always made sure to bring food back to the castle for the kittens and other cats to have some. He didn't like to see anything wasted.
Severus saw the two cats. Mrs. Norris looked like a kitten sitting next to his Morpheus. He felt the tension go out of him seeing the two cats. He also felt a bit guilty as he realized he hadn't been giving his cat the attention he normally did. "Come on you two. I will give you some tuna and salmon." Once in Severus' quarters, Severus prepared the tuna and salmon as he chatted with the cats. "No luck on locating the brat but I do have the night off if you want to go out to the Forbidden Forest and hunt while I pick some ingredients. Mrs. Norris, you are welcome to join us."
Severus laughed as Morpheus did a bit of a dance and Mrs. Norris remained seated. "You won't be joining us but I am sure Morpheus will share." Severus placed the bowls down and watched the cats eat the food. He began to prepare his own dinner as he wasn't going to eat in the Great Hall tonight. He wanted a complete night off. He was looking forward to gathering some ingredients as a way to calm his mind and regain his focus. He was mentally exhausted as well as physically. He needed this night to relax and enjoy gathering ingredients as well as watching Morpheus antics.
He ignored Mrs. Norris' finishing off the rest of her food as well as Morpheus'. Morpheus was sitting by the door waiting to go hunting. Severus didn't bother to try and get the cat to leave the door. It would be futile. He also didn't rush. Morpheus was aware of how the routine worked and he wasn't going to change it. He enjoyed his light meal and gathered his potion gathering kit. "Mrs. Norris, you are welcome to remain if you so desire."
*No sleeping on his bed, it's my spot.*
*As if.* Mrs. Norris hopped onto the couch. She curled up and got settled.
Severus opened the door and out they went. They were almost to the front doors when Morpheus caught the scent. He let out a low growl. Severus groaned. "No, Albus." He hadn't seen Dumbledore as of yet but he didn't want to listen to guilt trip.
"Severus, it won't take by an hour of your time to check a place in London."
"Get someone else. I said no. I need some ingredients for potions as well as my cat who needs to go out hunting. After that, I am going to keep the date with my bed that I promised myself I would keep."
"I trust you to do the job because I know you will succeed."
"No, Albus, no. You have plenty of people who could do it." Harry let out a meow. "He needs to hunt."
"We need to find Harry."
Severus whipped around. "I am not putting my life on hold because you lost the boy. I have other duties to complete as do you. I am not going to endanger my cat's health, the students of Hogwarts, nor those who rely on Poppy to keep them healthy and alive. There is a reason why the old crowd is still around, use some of them to find the boy. I am taking the night off and doing my paying job while permitting my cat the time to hunt."
"Yes, yes, I understand. I will see if Remus might be able to assist."
"Just keep the wolf away from me." Severus turned and walked out of Hogwarts. Harry followed behind but was planning on how to leave some remains on Dumbledore's steps tonight.
Harry started hissing at Severus' door. Severus was editing his research notes for an upcoming article. "Morpheus?" The cat kept hissing at the door. His back was arched, fur was fluffed out, Severus could see the extended claw. "What is going on?" He heard a knock on the door. He got up, looking at his cat. The cat walked in front of him, hissing at the door. "I am sure a great hunter like yourself will protect me but I do need to open the door. No one intending to harm me is going to knock."
Harry wasn't so sure of that aspect of Severus' logic. He smelled danger and he wasn't allowing it into his home. Severus opened the door. "Lupin, what do you want?"
Harry hissed louder, almost spitting at the weird-smelling thing. It wasn't human. It smells similar to the four-legged terror that Hagrid had but different. He had already taught that four-legged terror that he was in charge. Now, it was time to give another lesson. It was time to teach this one that no one touches his Severus. "Albus sent me down. He wants me to remain here for a while until we find Harry and I will need the potion."
Severus growled. Harry hissed backing up Severus. "I already told him no unless one of you pays for it. I am not spending my money on making potions for you." Severus slammed the door in Lupin's face. "I wish Albus would listen when I give him answers. No, instead, the blasted man ignores anything he doesn't like to hear and believes someone will just do as he wants."
Harry hissed at the door until he didn't smell the non-human. Severus petted him. "Such a good kitty. You do that every time you smell him and I will give you a treat."
Harry's ears perked up at the word treat. "Meow."
"I am heading to get it now." Severus walked to his desk. He opened one of the side drawers and pulled out the rabbit jerky. "Here you go, you get two for being such a smart kitty." He wasn't surprised when he felt the paws on his chest. He held gave him one and watched him eat it before giving his cat the second one. He started to run his hand over his cat, scratching his favorite spots. "Such a good boy." Severus sat down. He patted a spot next to his research. "I will brush you after I finish this article."
Harry hissed as he was sitting with Mrs. Norris as the weird-smelling non-human entered the hall they were sitting in. *That is it.* He kept hissing until the thing was gone. Mrs. Norris joined in on the fun.
*Ah, yes, him. He has been up with the fashion impaired one when he isn't out looking for the brat.*
*He is looking for the brat?*
*Yes, heard him telling the fashion mistake that he hadn't any luck. Why is your human still looking if that one is? Whatever it is. It smells like a dog but not a dog at the same time.*
*I am unsure. I did get extra treats when I hissed at him.*
*Exactly.* The two cats were very smug now on how they were going to get extra treats out of Severus. They were also going to be sharing the information with the other animals in the castle.
Harry was just waking from his mid-mid afternoon nap when Severus entered his quarters. Severus looked tired. He hoped the man was going to take a nap. He could go for his mid-mid-late afternoon nap a bit early. He walked to Severus' bedroom door. "Meow?"
Severus looked at his cat. "No, sorry. I expect Dumbledore will be here shortly for a process report. As if he would give me time to remove-" There was a knock on the door "my cloak." Severus hung up his cloak. He opened the door. "Albus, Minerva, and Lupin. What do I have the horror of having you visit, Lupin?"
"Severus, perhaps inside your quarters?" Dumbledore didn't want for an answer before entering.
Harry hissed at Lupin. A long hiss as he arched his back, fur rose, and claws were extended. "Oh, dear, Albus, Morpheus has a habit of putting dogs in their place. There is a reason why Fang listens to him over Hagrid. Perhaps, your office would be better?"
"Nonsense, I am sure Morpheus will get along with Remus once he realizes he is no danger."
"You don't know Morpheus." Minerva and Severus exchanged a look at Minerva's words. Minerva was expecting the cat to take a swipe at Lupin any minute now.
"Morpheus?" Lupin looked at Severus. "You named your cat Morpheus?" Lupin looked at Harry. "I do understand why though." The cat's growling and hissing were increasing. Lupin's wolf felt a bit afraid which was a first. "Perhaps we should go to your office, Albus? Are you sure he is a cat? He is a big boy."
"If you are done with that pathic attempt at insulting my cat, what is it you wish? As you can see, Morpheus has excellent taste regarding those who gain entrance to my quarters."
*Damn skippy I do. I am not letting that thing in here.* Harry started stalking forward.
Minerva pointed to him. "Severus, perhaps you might want to place him in your bedroom before he attacks, Remus?"
Severus turned and saw Harry moving forward toward Lupin who was still in the doorway. He slammed the door on Lupin. "Problem solved."
"Severus!" Dumbledore looked shocked.
"I told you before to keep him away from me. My cat doesn't want him here either. This is our home. You need to respect my wishes in regards to who I permit into my quarters." Severus went to the desk and was about to give his cat a rabbit jerky treat but figured Dumbledore might take it the wrong way. Screw it. He opened the drawer and pulled out the bag of treats. He tossed one to his cat. "Now, what is it you wish?"
Harry was going to be dumping a lot of smelly things in Dumbledore's hall now. He wondered how dead rabbits would smell after a few days? He could also steal some things from Hagrid's garden that smelled very bad. Harry walked to the bedroom door. He would wait.
"I came here to discuss the brewing of Remus' potion."
"Provide the funds and I will brew it as I informed him. I am not paying for the supplies. It's expensive." Severus wasn't going to pay to craft a potion for the one person who had attempted to kill him in their fifth year. "Is that all?"
"No, how did it go looking for Harry?"
Minerva rolled her eyes. Severus arched a brow. "Do you see the boy with me?"
"Severus, please, let's be civil." Dumbledore sat down.
Severus was about to lose it. "I have been up for almost a week between brewing potions, getting my own work done while restocking the Infirmary, finishing a research paper, and looking for the brat. I am heading to bed. Do not expect to see me for a day or so. I have things I need to get finished before the students return at the end of the week. Did you not inform us that Lupin was going to be here looking for the brat? I will not be going out looking for him until you have a solid lead. Now, get out so I can sleep." Severus looked at Minerva. "Tea tomorrow?"
"Certainly." Minerva could understand why Severus was being less than civil to Dumbledore. They had argued against bringing Lupin here. She understood why Severus didn't want the man who almost killed him in his home. Lupin could have searched for Harry Potter from his own home. There was no need to have him at Hogwarts. As much as she liked Lupin, this was still Severus' home. "Wait, why are you being asked to brew his potions? I thought he had a supplier?" She turned to Dumbledore. "You did not hire him did you?" She was going to have to check the accounting books as well as the contracts. She wouldn't put it past Dumbledore to hire him for a fake position while he looked for Potter.
"No, Minerva, I didn't. He will continue to look for Harry but he will be at the Welcoming Feast. He might be able to smell Harry with the sorting. Now, Severus, we can't have him around students during that time of the month without a potion. It shouldn't take long to brew."
Minerva and Severus sighed. They knew they shouldn't have been surprised and they weren't by the fact that Dumbledore ignored everything they said to him. "It takes a month to brew. You know this." Severus wanted to strangle the man. "You need to pay for the ingredients or he does. I don't care who. I am sure he pays more to buy it from any store. I am aware the guild adds almost fifty percent over the cost to the stores." The stores added another one hundred percent on top of that.
"It is only the right thing to do Albus. You did bring Remus here and you can not expect Severus to just donate his time, his ingredients, and expertise for nothing while doing the millions of other things you seem to believe all the heads of houses can do without assistance." It had been a long-standing argument she had with Dumbledore since she because the Deputy.
"Fine, I will find the funds if you brew the potion."
"I will start when I get the funds. He will need to purchase his own for this month." Severus wasn't about to start brewing until he got the funds. He had been burned by Dumbledore way too often for him to start brewing ahead of time. "Now, I am going to bed." Using his wand, he opened the door. Lupin was still standing there. Once they were gone, he closed the door. "Meddlesome old fart." Harry meowed his agreement. He walked to the bedroom door and waited for Severus. Severus headed for his bedroom. "No hogging the bed."
Harry gave him an innocent look as he hopped on the bed. He walked up to the pillow area and curled up on the pillow that Severus never slept on. He would move once Severus was in bed. He preferred to sleep on Severus' chest. He heard the shower running. He wrinkled his nose. Water was only good for drinking. He began to craft a list of items he and Mrs. Norris could leave for the one called Lupin and Dumbledore. They weren't going to get away with treating his Severus that way. Nope, not if he could help it. He started to purr when Severus laid down. He licked Severus' face. "You do realize that hurts a bit? Your tongue is like miniature razor blades." He purred louder. "What would I do without you, furball?"
Harry and Mrs. Norris were not happy cats. Lupin was in front of them. They had been sleeping in the sun when they heard Lupin approach. *Bite him, bite him, bite him, bite him.* Mrs. Norris was hissing up a storm. Harry had snapped his teeth at the man once as well as attempted to hit him with his paw. Harry saw Lupin's hand coming close and snapped at it as he brought up one of his paws and swiped at the arm. He drew blood.
*What does that mean?* Harry looked at Mrs. Norris as the weird one was doing a bit of a dance as he was speaking. He was very satisfied that he got the weird-smelling human. He would get him again too.
*You are too young to know. Do it again.* Mrs. Norris was hissing behind Harry. *Sink those teeth into him.*
Harry decided it was time to clean the castle of vermin. "Morpheus, no!" Minerva appeared out of nowhere. "Remus, back away, now. Do not turn your back but slowly back up or he will start to hunt you and you can't outrun him." Minerva was getting annoyed by the problems of having Lupin at Hogwarts. None of the animals were happy and were making sure that everyone in Hogwarts was aware.
Harry growled and hissed as Lupin obeyed. *Be afraid, be very afraid.*
"He almost bit me and he did scratch me." Lupin showed her his bloody arm. "I don't understand it. I never had a problem when I attended."
Minerva wanted to roll her eyes. "Most likely because you never saw them. Right now there are no students so they are out and about having fun once the students return, they hide. This is their home and you are the one who is an interloper. Do remember."
*Yeah, weird-smelling human.* Harry hissed again. He was going to get rid of that vermin one way or another.
"I am sure Poppy will be able to handle the scratch." Minerva turned into a cat. *Don't hunt him.*
*Tell him to stop sneaking up on us. We were sleeping in the sun.* Mrs. Norris wasn't about to give in on this. The weird one had to go.
*I will. Morpheus, you can't hunt him.*
Harry pouted. *Why not? He is the one who is on my territory.*
*He is a guest of the Headmaster's, please let him do his job and he will be gone soon.* Minerva transformed back. She was going to be speaking to Dumbledore and Lupin. The animals at Hogwarts weren't happy and judging by the corpses by Dumbledore's office they weren't above making it known.
Severus started laughing. He had been summoned up to Dumbledore's office but took one whiff of the area and retreated. He sent a message saying if they wanted to speak to him, they could come to him as the area around Dumbledore's office was offensive and he didn't want it to linger on his clothes. Lupin was standing in the doorway. Dumbledore was behind him. "Severus, it's not funny. He almost bit me. He did scratch me."
Harry was standing on the back of the couch hissing at Lupin. "What did you do to him?"
"I didn't do anything. You can-" Lupin shut up.
"Ask who? Minerva? I will." He slammed the door in Lupin's face. "Damn wolf." He petted Harry. "So, you got him. Good boy. You serve some treats." Severus headed to his desk and pulled out the pouch with the rabbit treats in it. "I say three. If you manage to bite him, I will give you four." He ignored the knocking at the door knowing it was Dumbledore until he finished giving his cat the treats. He walked to the door. He looked at his cat, no hissing, no growling. He opened the door. "Albus."
"Severus, my boy, perhaps the simple solution to this situation would be to leave Morpheus in your quarters." Dumbledore didn't try to enter Severus' quarters. Harry was smelling the air.
"No, he was here first. This is his home. Keep the wolf away from my cat and nothing will happen. I am sure Minerva could explain-" Severus was sure Minerva had already spoken to the cats and would be aware of the situation.
"Explain what?" Minerva looked at Dumbledore before stepping around him and entering Severus' quarters as he indicated for her to enter. "Are we still on for tea?"
"Yes, however, the wolf was here complaining about Morpheus scratching him." Severus watched Dumbledore. Dumbledore was aware of how protective Minerva was of his cat.
Minerva glared. "I see. Did he inform you that he approached them while they were sleeping in the sun? He is the one who started it and I have no idea why he is determined to make friends with Morpheus, Mrs. Norris, or the other cats at Hogwarts. It is the reason your area smells. They are not happy."
"I see." Dumbledore had tried everything to get rid of the smell but it seemed to get worse. "Could you ask them to refrain?"
"Are you going to ask Remus to leave?" Minerva arched a brow. She didn't think it was fair or correct for Lupin to be at Hogwarts. He had a home and he could still attend the Welcoming Feast without staying at Hogwarts.
"Minerva, he needs to locate Harry."
"I fail to see where he resides determines if he locates Harry. Unless you believe Harry is hiding at Hogwarts." Minerva petted Harry.
"I am sure if Harry were here we would know it. No, Harry is out there, hopefully, we can find him soon." Dumbledore sighed deeply. "I am at a loss as to what we can do."
"Come in and have some tea." Severus felt bad for the old fart. "I have some lemon biscuits." Severus headed to the kitchen.
"Thank you, Severus."
"Albus, I am aware you are stressed but Remus needs to leave. It's not fair to those who live here." Minerva gave Dumbledore a pointed look. "You are aware of the issues and I don't mean just regarding the cats."
"I find I am in agreement. I will see if Remus will return the night of the feast. I just wish we had something to go on."
"Aye, the poor bairn." Minerva wasn't surprised when Harry hopped onto her lap and curled up. "Does the Ministry know?"
"No, and I am a bit concerned about when they do. I do not want anyone from Tom's side hunting for him and they will if it gets released." Dumbledore wasn't sure how he could prevent it.
"You might want to speak to Madam Bones ahead of time. She might be able to get some Aurors to assist the wolf." Severus placed the tea tray down on the table between the couch and two chairs. He took his normal chair. "I haven't had any luck but I don't want the likes of Avery or Macnair searching for him either." Severus began to pour tea.
"Cornelius would use Macnair. He is a trained hunter by the Ministry's standards." Minerva thought it was a very polite way of saying killer. "I do hope we discover him soon."
"School starts in a few days." Dumbledore looked a bit saddened by everything, older suddenly. "I wish I had listened."
"We better pull our memories, Severus, Albus just admitted he should have listened."
"I have been hoping for some type of accidental magic but nothing." Dumbledore added some lemon to his tea as well as several cubes of sugar.
Severus wondered how the man's face wasn't in a permanent sour face with all the lemon he used. "Did he have magical outbursts when he was at his relatives?"
"Yes. I double-checked and it registered. No warning was ever issued since it registered as accidental magic. Thankful, no name was ever listed. I just looked up the muggle address."
"Well, he isn't a squib, so that is some good news." Minerva tried to sound cheerful about it but she was worried. "Can you search by looking for more accidental magic?"
"I have been searching but so far the outbursts match incoming students. I still have a lot of files to go through as there are no ages, sex, or anything listed on the files. I don't want to spend too much time done in the achieves for fear of someone wondering what I am doing. However, I have done a few days a week so far." Dumbledore had created some fake reasons for searching and was going to have to craft some more.
"A bit time consuming but perhaps worth it if we locate the brat."
"Who will take him during the holidays? He can't return there?" Minerva was a bit concerned about where the boy was staying now. Hopefully, the horror stories she heard about children living on the streets were true.
"I was thinking the Weasleys." Dumbledore didn't want to admit they were also the only family that was part of the Order.
"I can't see that happening. Molly wouldn't know how to deal with an independent or troubled child. Yes, she has a lot of kids but she won't know how to deal with a street-wise boy who has been doing whatever in order to survive."
"Severus, Molly would be a great mother figure for him. She would be able to provide a lot of guidance, love, compassion, and understanding."
Severus shook his head. "Albus, haven't you learned anything about abused and neglected children? Do you honestly think a child who has never known a mother figure, never been hugged, never experienced anything you think happens in a family is just going to embrace it? You are talking about a child who lived with adults in an adult world, surviving in adult ways. What makes you think he is going to welcome our interference in all aspects of his life. How about you discuss things with him before you make your choices. Better yet, how about we find him before you decide? Do not make more mistakes regarding this boy's life. He has already paid a very steep price for your mistakes."
"I am sorry to say this Albus, but Severus is correct. I didn't object strongly enough when you placed him but I am now. You need to listen with your ears regarding him and not have your mind on a set course of action."
Harry was tired of them speaking. A cat can't even get a peaceful nap. He hopped off of Minerva and walked to his cat bed. He crawled under his blanket. He pulled it up and over his head. Humans talk too much. He fell asleep.
Harry won't be discovered for a bit. I am not sure if I will do it in the 3rd or 4th year. It won't be during his first year. Also, yes, there will be some issues I just haven't decided on which way I want to go.
Harry was sitting next to Severus as they saw the students get off of the train. Harry made a grunting noise. "Yes, the dunderheads are back. The wolf will be here tonight too." Harry hissed at the word wolf. "I agree." Severus headed to the Great Hall as Minerva turned with corner with the Sorting Hat in her hand. "The wolf?"
"Remus is due to arrive shortly. He is using Albus' floo." Minerva looked down at Morpheus. "Albus won't like you in the Great Hall tonight. It would be entertaining."
"Yes, I am sure Morpheus will finally manage to sink his teeth into the Wolf." Severus had been encouraging it after all. He made a mental note to go to Diagon Alley and pick up some more cat treats. He wondered if Morpheus would like deer. "How do cats feel about deer?"
"I have no idea but I believe Morpheus would like deer."
"Let me walk him to my quarters before the dunderheads descend on us." Severus and Morpheus walked to Severus' quarters as Severus was preparing a mental shopping list. "I better get treats for Mrs. Norris." Harry agreed as the more treats the better was his way of thinking. Mrs. Norris joined them as they were near Severus' quarters. "Argus?"
"Aye, Severus. I was hoping that Mrs. Norris could stay with Morpheus. I heard Lupin is to be here and I don't want her hurt."
"I am sure he would enjoy the company. Hopefully, Lupin won't remain here beyond tonight."
"Good. The Weasley Twins do not need the likes of him around."
"Agreed." Severus opened the door to his quarters and the two cats jumped on the couch. "Don't destroy anything." Severus wasn't too worried about the pair. They were great friends and usually slept when they were in his quarters. "The Welcoming Feast beckons us." Argus grumbled about students, chains, and hanging them from their thumbs. "I do believe that is a great idea despite Albus never agreeing with you."
Harry growled as he was patrolling the third floor with Mrs. Norris. *There should be nothing up here.* Mrs. Norris was aware her Argus was on the floor above them. *I can get Argus if needed.*
Harry was smelling something strange. It was getting stronger as they walked. *I don't think he is needed. It doesn't smell like a human. Severus did say the dunderhead of a headmaster warned students about not coming up here. He was telling me how the Headmaster just waved a red flag for every Gryffindor to come up here and discover what is hidden.*
*Yes, my Argus caught a few already. It is why I wanted you to patrol with me. The red-headed twins were up here but they escaped before my Argus could catch them.*
*Do you hear that? It sounds like a mutt.* There better not be a mutt in his home. He taught Fang his place, he would teach another one if need be. Harry was sniffing near a door. *Smells like one too. Who would let a mutt into our home?* Harry wasn't a happy cat. He was going to be putting dead animals by the Headmaster's office again.
*Honestly, you have to ask? You know it was the idiot Headmaster.* Mrs. Norris jumped up and grabbed the latch and hung on. *Not even a doorknob, just a latch.* She used her back paws to push away from the wall.
The door swung opened and Harry saw a huge dog. It had three heads. What type of dog has three heads? He didn't care and he was going to make sure it realized it wasn't welcomed here. He let out a yowl and ran into the room. Soon the doggie was trying to run away but Harry wasn't about to let this one escape. No mutts in Hogwarts. How many times must he teach these mutts a lesson. *Bite him.* Mrs. Norris was cheering him on. *Watch out, the middle head is trying to grab you. Bite him on the leg.*
A lot of yelping and whining was soon heard from the three heads that were now using their paws to cover their heads. Harry hadn't even had a chance to bite the mutt before it was whining and trying to cover its head. "Merlin!" Minerva's voice was louder than the whining of the three heads of the mutt. She wasn't sure what to do as Morpheus was beating the snot out of the dog. She didn't see much blood but the cat was making sure the dog would never forget him. She sent off a Patronus and waited.
"Minerva? Sweet Merlin." Severus' voice carried. "Morpheus, let him go, now!" He wasn't about to get between the claws and the three-headed dog that he couldn't believe Dumbledore permitted into Hogwarts.
"Severus is there a way to stop your cat from killing Fluffy." Dumbledore had his wand out but he wasn't sure what to do. "I don't know if any spells will work on them."
"Fluffy? Please tell me this isn't one of Hagrid's pets." Severus wondered about Dumbledore permitting Hagrid so many dangerous animals. The half-giant could handle them easily but not students.
*Fluffy?* Mrs. Norris felt bad for the mutt. *Morpheus, its name is Fluffy.* She was trying not to snicker. Fluffy for a three-headed dog.
Harry smacked the dog on the butt. *Fluffy?* Harry laughed. *Fluffy!* He needed a good laugh and this was it. It had to be another one of Hagrid's mutts. How many did the man have?
Minerva transformed. *Morpheus, you need to leave Fluffy alone.* She couldn't believe the three-headed dog was named Fluffy. *He is here to guard the room. The headmaster placed him here.* She was also not happy with how easy it was to get into the room in the first place. The two cats shouldn't have been able to access the room. If the cats could then students could also.
*If the man wants a dog, he should just get one and stop bringing strays into our home.* Harry smacked Fluffy again. He wasn't even using his claws. *I can teach it to behave if he wants a mutt so badly.*
*Please just leave him alone. I will make sure he leaves.* Minerva couldn't believe she was seeing a three-headed dog curled into a ball, whining. There were a few scratches but no bite wounds that she could see. *Did you bite him?*
*No, he is a big whiner like all dogs.* Harry trotted over to Severus and stood up. *Treats?*
Minerva transformed. "Fluffy will need to leave. I do not believe he is up for guarding anything. Severus, he wants a treat." Harry sat down, looking up at Severus.
"What did he do to my Fluff?" Hagrid was standing in the doorway. He walked over to the whining dog. "I warned you to keep away from Morpheus. Albus, why is Morpheus in the room? How did he get into the room to hurt Fluffy? You don't be blaming Morpheus either. He was doing what he always does."
"I would love to know those answers myself. The door had only a latch, no wards, and no protection from anything or anyone." Severus petted his cat. He couldn't give him a treat in front of Dumbledore and Hagrid unless he wanted to listen to a long lecture from Dumbledore. "It's bad enough that you waved a huge red flag at the Welcoming Feast." Severus put up his hand. "Do not even try to deny anyone coming up here as Argus has had several for detention already. The dog needs to go and better protection is needed. Morpheus is better protection for the students."
"I agree with Severus, Albus. Fluffy is most likely never going to want to see another cat in his life." Minerva was never going to understand why Dumbledore didn't grasp the concept that Morpheus hated dogs. "You were very aware of how Morpheus feels about dogs. It hasn't changed his spots as you can see." Minerva closed her eyes for a second. "You should be thankful it was Morpheus and Mrs. Norris that gained access and not a student. I think the students wouldn't be able to handle Fluffy as easily as Morpheus did."
*Is the show over?* Mrs. Norris was looking forward to laughing about a three-headed dog when she provided the details to the rest of the castle cats.
*I think so. Though I still wouldn't mind another few rounds with Fluffy.* Harry hissed at the dog.
"I better take them down to my quarters so Hagrid can move Fluffy." Severus shook his head. "A sentence I never thought I would say in my life." He turned on his heel. "Come on, Morpheus. I am sure the big bad doggie is cowering enough because of you."
*Damn skippy he better be cowering.* Harry gave one more hiss to Fluffy before following Severus. Mrs. Norris added her own hiss and went off to spread the tale of the defeat of the three-headed dog by the great Morpheus.
Harry smelled something foul. *You smell that?*
*Yes, what is it?* Mrs. Norris gagged a bit on the smell. *It's worse than anything you left in the Headmaster's office area.*
*It's not something good. We better find out what it is.* Harry knew it wasn't any students as they were at the Halloween Feast. Dumbledore and his love of feasts. Harry followed the scent until he saw a huge two-legged thing with a weapon. Harry growled. The thing turned toward him and he hissed. *Get help.*
Mrs. Norris took off, yowling up a storm. Harry ran between the thing's legs, scratching one of the legs as he did so. He dodged the club and ran between the legs again, scratching the other one. He jumped up into the air after he cleared the legs and bite the thing on the back. He sank his teeth and claws into the back of the thing and it started swirling around trying to get him off. Harry dug his claws in deeper, using his back claws to get a good solid footing. He released one of his front paws and dug it in deeper a bit up the back. He repeated the process with his other front leg. Once secure, he opened his mouth and released the area he had bitted and sunk his teeth up a bit further between his two front paws. He was growling and he wasn't going to give up until someone came and handled the two-legged thing.
"Sweet Mother of Merlin and Morganna."
Harry got to see the body of Poppy Pomfrey as the thing twisted around again in its attempt to grab him. "Morpheus!" Severus had his wand out.
"A troll!" Harry thought it sounded like Pomona but he wasn't sure.
"Everyone wands out, we need to kill it but make sure it doesn't land on Morpheus." Filius had his wand.
Harry jumped off of the two-legged thing. The humans could handle it now was his way of thinking. He did his job of protecting his home. He watched the humans kill the thing before Dumbledore and Minerva arrive. He wondered what took them so long. He walked over to Dumbledore and hacked to get rid of the foul taste in his mouth. Severus picked him up. "Morpheus." Severus hugged him. "Let's get your checked out." Severus ignored everyone as he carried his cat to his quarters. "You will get all the treats you deserve once I make sure you weren't hurt. After that, I am going to kill a certain Headmaster that has permitted the wards to become so bad a troll was in here."
*Troll, interesting. Nasty tasting things. They needed to stay out of his home.* Harry didn't resist the extra attention Severus was giving him.
The next few months were uneventful except if you were Lupin who was terrorized by Morpheus every time he entered Hogwarts. Lupin swore the cat had a Marauder's map with how quickly the cat appeared. He started to use the floo to go directly to Dumbledore's office after Morpheus almost bite him. The only thing that saved him from being bitten was his boots. He knew that Mrs. Norris was cheering Morpheus on. He could feel it in his bones. He also noticed other cats would appear and hiss at him. He was glad he wasn't staying here because he was sure he would have been bitten numerous times by now not to mention dead things at his door.
"Lupin, I didn't think you would walk the halls." Severus left off the at all since Morpheus made sure to scare the pants off of the wolf. Severus was heading out to gather some potion ingredients and was a bit surprised to find Lupin walking the halls this late at night. He wondered if or when the wolf would see his cat.
"Severus, where is your cat?"
Morpheus let out a growl. *Stupid dog, never learns.* He sat down next to Severus, daring the two-legged dog to move. *Come on, give me a reason.*
Lupin started backing up. "I was leaving soon but Albus wanted me to just see if I could find a lingering scent of Harry."
*What was so important about this Harry brat? He was going to hate this person as soon as they saw them because of all the extra work his Severus was having to do and it was affecting his hunting time as well as his snuggle time with his Severus.* He growled again as he stepped forward.
"Severus, perhaps you could do something? Please. I mean that cat hates me." Lupin kept walking backward until he was against a door. He opened the door without taking his eyes off of Morpheus and entered the room. The door slammed shut.
"Well, that takes care of the wolf. You deserve an extra treat for that. Now, let's head to the Forbidden Forest. I have ingredients to gather and you have some hunting I know you want to do." Morpheus meowed his agreement as they started to walk to the forest. "I am not sure why Lupin was here again. I don't trust Dumbledore and his desire to have the wolf here. Something else is happening. I have found Lupin wandering the halls too much for him to be looking for a lingering scent of Harry Potter. I wonder if he hopes to locate one of those maps the Marauders think I don't know about?"
Morpheus meowed his agreement. It did sound like something the old goat would do.
"Technically, I didn't know about them until a few years ago when Argus showed me a strange parchment that he removed from the Mutt's hands. I have it in my office. I shall have to work on figuring it out. I haven't looked at it since Argus let me have the map. He figured it was the reason why the Marauders always caught me. I find I agree with him."
Morpheus loved these walks. Severus told him so many interesting things. Severus spoke about whatever was on his mind. He enjoyed listening to him even if he didn't always understand what Severus was speaking about. He had no clue what a map was. He was aware of who the Marauders were since Severus had vented many times since that two-legged dog appeared. He didn't like what the Marauders did to Severus. Yes, Severus was able to hold his own and get even with them but four to one wasn't fair in his book. He was proud that Severus held his own and got revenge. It was what he would have done.
"I believe there is vital information that Dumbledore is hiding beyond that the brat being needed. As far as I am concerned, Dumbledore should have kept a closer eye on the boy and what was going on in that home. I bet this summer holiday, he is going to drive me insane."
*He wants company in his madness.* Morpheus was going to make sure Dumbledore became aware of his displeasure.
"You're right, he is nuts. Thankfully, the school year is almost over. Just two more weeks before we ship the dunderheads back to their parents for their summer holiday. I heard several of the cats had kittens. I expect you and Mrs. Norris will be teaching them this summer to patrol."
Morpheus was looking forward to the dunderheads leaving. He and Mrs. Norris were already planning their spots to enjoy the sun, teach the kittens how to patrol the halls while the dunderheads were gone to get them ready for the upcoming year. He wasn't sure why the students believed it was just Mrs. Norris who alerted Argus to the students being out after curfew. He always went to get Severus, Mrs. Norris went to Argus, and the other cats went to whoever was the closest.
Severus stopped talking as they neared Hagrid's hut. "No going after Fang, I don't think he has recovered from the last time he attempted to chase you."
*Stupid dog as if I am afraid of him.*
Severus waved to Hagrid as they passed his hut. Morpheus was wondering what the man was doing up so late. He caught the scent of something, something he never smelled before. He stopped. He started to smell the air. Something dangerous was nearby. He started to follow the scent toward Hagrid's hut.
"At least, Fluffy is gone as well as several of his other dangerous animals." Severus noticed Morpheus wasn't with him and turned to find out why. Morpheus was in hunt mode and heading for Hagrid's hut. Something was up. Hagrid was up too late at night, Morpheus in hunt mode. He groaned. Hagrid had another dangerous animal. He sent a Patronus off to Dumbledore and Minerva. He started to walk toward Hagrid's hut.
Severus followed Morpheus who was now growling at Hagrid's door. He could hear movement, Fang started to whimper. He wasn't surprised by Fang's whimper but Morpheus wouldn't be alert and in hunter mode if it was just Fang. He didn't have to wait long before Dumbledore, in his nightclothes, and Minerva joined him. She appeared to have transfigured her clothing instead of getting dressed in her usual professor robes. "We have an issue." Severus pointed to Hagrid's hut and Morpheus.
"Oh, dear, what has Hagrid have now." Minerva transformed and got close to Morpheus. She smelled something like sulfur and brimstone. *What do you think?*
*Something dangerous. Hagrid was moving it around, calling it Norbert when he realized Severus and I were close.*
Minerva transformed back. "Hagrid has something that smells of sulfur and brimstone. Hagrid calls it Norbert."
Dumbledore sighed deeply and walked to Hagrid's door. He knocked on the door. "Hagrid, open up."
"Dumbledore, a bit late at night." Hagrid saw Morpheus with his fur sticking up. Fang was already cowering under his bed. "I see."
"Yes, Hagrid, who is Norbert?" Minerva didn't want to deal with whatever animal that Hagrid discovered.
"Well, he's only a baby." Hagrid looked very concerned. "He won't hurt anyone, I promise."
"Hagrid, what is Norbert?" Dumbledore had a sinking feeling about this. He loved Hagrid dearly but the man had no clue regarding what was acceptable to be at Hogwarts in regards to animals.
"Well, see, I, he's, well, he's my baby dragon."
"You have a baby dragon in a wood hut?" Severus couldn't believe how incredibly stupid Hagrid could be regarding animals. A dragon inside of a wooden hut. They were lucky that Hagrid hadn't been burned alive while his hut was torched by a baby dragon.
"I will floo call Charlie Weasley in Romania." Minerva wasn't going to bother dealing with Hagrid. It was Dumbledore's job. "You should be thankful that Morpheus smelled him. You could have been burned alive." She stormed off. She didn't want to listen to Dumbledore's excuses or his slight misunderstanding line. "Dragons!"
Severus was hiding his grin as Minerva kept muttering about dragons, three-headed dogs, idiotic headmasters, and Hagrid's love for anything. "Where is this Norbert?"
Hagrid stepped aside to grant Dumbledore and Severus entrance. Morpheus followed on Severus' heels. He wasn't letting Severus near a dragon. Morpheus couldn't believe his eyes when he spotted the dragon sticking its head out of a huge cauldron in the fireplace. The poor thing looked confused and started talking. ^Why many humans?^
^To protect you. We are going to get you to live with others of your kind.^
Norbert jumped out of the cauldron and rushed toward Morpheus. ^Understand me.^
^Yes and we will get you with others who will too.^ Morpheus was suddenly hugged by a dragon. Not an experience he wanted to repeat. ^Don't squeeze too tight. I can be broken.^
^Sorry.^ Norbert released the cat but curled up around Morpheus.
"I didn't expect that." Severus looked at his cat with a dragon wrapped around him.
"Morpheus likes him." Hagrid was beyond happy. "Can't we keep him now? Morpheus approves."
*I most certainly do not approve of keeping him.*
"Hagrid, it is for the best. Dragons need to be with other dragons and he needs to learn how to be a dragon." Dumbledore was a bit confused by Morpheus. The cat terrorized anything he believed to be dangerous yet was permitting a baby dragon to curl around him. "Severus, I do believe Morpheus is the key to keeping Norbert under control until we can have Charlie and the people at the dragon reserve handle the situation."
"It better be quick as I don't think Fang and Morpheus can remain in the same small hut for long. The dog is already hiding under the bed." Severus had a feeling that Morpheus would make sure Fang learned he was still in charge.
"Well, Hagrid, prepare some tea, I have a feeling it will be a while."
"Indeed." Severus glanced down at his empty basket and his cat. They weren't going to have an enjoyable night and again it was because of Dumbledore and his lack of maintaining the wards. He was hiring the goblins this summer.
Morpheus glared at Hagrid as he cried seeing Norbert being lifted away by Charlie Weasley and his fellow dragon tamers. Charlie and his team had used the floo to arrive at Hogwarts. They quickly unpacked a travel container for Norbert, correction, Norberta, after they guided the small dragon out of the hut with a very grateful cat and a dog that was still shaking under the bed. *I swear some of these two-leggers are just stupid. A dragon.*
Minerva arched an eyebrow but didn't comment as she agreed. Severus was outside giving Dumbledore a lecture about wards, safety, Hagrid's dangerous animals, and protecting the students. She wanted her bed and a few hours of sleep before she had to deal with the students. "Hagrid, you know it's for the best. Now, why don't you go and get some rest? I am sure Fang would also like to be able to come out from under the bed. Morpheus will follow me."
Morpheus gave a growl at Fang for a quick reminder that Fang was not his friend and he would put the dog in its place if he attempted to come near him. He followed Minerva as he mumbled more about bad dressing headmasters, dragons, dogs, and dragons. *As if I wanted to keep that dragon. A fire-breathing menace in a wood building. I have also missed my hunting time and I can't even tell you how many naps.* Morpheus was normally asleep with Severus in bed now and he hated when his sleeping schedule was messed up. It was as bad as messing with his hunting schedule and Hagrid had accomplished both things tonight.
*Don't leave dead animals by the gargoyle, I have to walk in that hall and it stinks when you do. I am sure you can find more creative ways with Mrs. Norris to torment the headmaster.* Morpheus gave Minerva an innocent meow. *Oh, please, you are too much like Severus at times for me not to recognize his influence in your attitude and revenge plots.*
Morpheus gave the cat equivalent of an as if before strutting over to Severus. *Hunting time not lecture the idiot time.*
Minerva recognized Mrs. Norris's influence in that statement. "Severus, I do believe it would be advisable to take Morpheus out hunting while you gather potion ingredients. There are still a few hours left before daybreak." Morpheus was a very grouchy and upset cat as was Minerva. She wasn't thrilled with the stunts that Dumbledore had been doing since they discovered that Harry Potter was missing.
"I am serious, Albus, get the wards fixed or I will have the goblins over the summer check them. No more dangerous animals and that includes the Wolf." Severus didn't give the man time to answer before he started for the Forbidden Forest. "I think the lemon drops have rotted his remaining brain cells." Morpheus meowed his agreement. They walked deep into the forest with Severus picking up ingredients as they walked. "Go hunt, I will be in this area for a while."
Morpheus took over and soon caught the scent of a rabbit. Severus began to pick the ingredients he needed as well as some that he could safely store until he did need them. He pulled some weeds out by his herbs that he was growing as well as added some plant food to some of the plants in the area. He wasn't surprised when Morpheus returned shortly with a rabbit and finished his meal and promptly fell asleep.
Summer holidays were here and Mrs. Norris and Morpheus were enjoying having the kittens run after them as they taught them how to patrol the halls, what to look for, where to watch out for the students hiding in alcoves hoping to escape detection and detention. They hadn't seen the Wolf since Severus threatened to have the goblins out to check the wards.
Severus was still required to go out and search for the Potter brat at times but mostly he was able to pass on the assignments claiming he was working on research or potions. Morpheus was glad to have things settle down and get back to normal. The summer passed quickly for those of the four-legged variety and soon the preparations for the return of students was underway. Kittens were learning which staff members would give them treats and play with them. Morpheus and Mrs. Norris had introduced the kittens to Dumbledore's office and quarters and well, let's just say some of his belongings didn't survive the introduction process.
Severus was looking at the mess in Dumbledore's quarters. He had already seen the shredded, thankfully blank, parchment all over Dumbledore's office as well as broken candy dishes, lemon drops scattered about, books on the floor. It was nothing compared to the mess of Dumbledore's quarters. The small pack of kittens was corralled in a large crate. The kittens had shredded the bed linen, the curtains, some of Dumbledore's robes, as well as broken some more candy dishes, books were on the floor, feathers from the ripped pillows and shredded toilet paper was everywhere. "Albus, I am unsure what you desire me to do about this situation. Those kittens are Hogwarts' kittens. They do not belong to anyone."
"Yes, but perhaps you could speak to Morpheus about teaching them manners? I will also speak to Argus and see if he can speak to Mrs. Norris. They seem to be able to control the cat population. I am sure when Minerva returns from her holiday, she will also speak to the other cats."
"Albus, they are kittens. It's part of them being kittens. You left your door opened, they had fun." Severus had a feeling the door being opened had some help. He was aware that Mrs. Norris and Morpheus were not impressed by Dumbledore and his deeds since Harry Potter disappeared. You would think Dumbledore would have learned not to piss off the cats of Hogwarts after Lupin. "I would suggest you kitten proof your areas until Minerva can return and speak to the cat population. You are the one who got them upset when you permitted Lupin to remain."
Dumbledore looked confused for a few seconds. "I see, do you think Minerva will be able to get them to change their minds?"
"How about you doing something for the cats to get them to change their minds. Perhaps some salmon, tuna, or even catnip." Severus looked around Dumbledore's quarters. "Skip the catnip, stick with treats or toys."
******End Mini Flashback*******
Morpheus was sitting on Severus' desk watching him write out his research. Morpheus was reading what Severus was writing but he wasn't making much sense. The human language was confusing. He decided it was too boring, he picked up the discarded quill and began munching on it. "Morpheus, not my quills." Severus removed the quill from temptation. He summoned a ball. He threw it. "The students are returning tomorrow, so I can only play with you for a short time period since I want to get this research paper submitted."
It didn't last long as they heard a knock on the door. "It better not be Albus." Severus walked to the door and wasn't surprised to find Dumbledore standing there. "What?"
"I do apologize Severus as I know you are working on a paper but I have a message from Remus and he thinks he might have a lead on Harry. He can't get close since the boy he is checking out is with a wizarding family behind some wards but he is an incoming first year. I was hoping you might be willing to do a home visit with me. I don't have the boy listed in the Book of Names and think it could be Harry."
Severus groaned as Morpheus dropped the ball at his feet. "Fine, Albus, but this better not be one of your wild goose chases." Severus plucked his outer robe from the hook next to the door. "Lupin should have been able to confirm if it was. He has a nose for Merlin's sake."
Morpheus started to follow. "Severus." Dumbledore looked down at Morpheus.
"No, Morpheus, I am afraid you need to remain here. I will be back soon." Severus wondered why he was agreeing to go on another wild goose chase after someone who might be Harry Potter. He waited until Morpheus jumped onto the couch before closing his door. "Lupin better be right or I will douse him with silver," Severus muttered under his breath.
"Severus, please, I am aware of how you feel about Remus but he is doing an important job. We must find Harry."
"Albus, you do realize we have no idea what the boy looks like, when he disappeared, or how he disappeared, and for some reason, you are expecting the Wolf to be able to smell his scent when it's been over a decade. You do realize scents can and do change over time. He won't smell like a baby." Severus wondered if there was an intelligent test to be in the Light because it was certainly needed based on his interactions with those who were light wizards.
"Remus is our best option."
Severus groaned. If Remus was the best, they were doomed to never finding Harry "the Brat" Potter. He wondered what he did in a former life to be cursed with Dumbledore and Potters. It had to be something very bad as he also had Black and the Lupin to deal with when he was a student. Karma was certainly kicking his butt for something he did in a former life.
Severus was ready to curse Dumbledore as they left Richardson Manor. He couldn't believe he got dragged to a Death Eater's manor. "I can't believe you didn't recognize the name of McCullin. The family has never gone to Hogwarts. They are Durmstrang Institute legacies. Did you even investigate them before we came here?"
The meeting didn't take long. They didn't even get inside. As soon as Lewis McCullin saw Dumbledore he almost growled after Dumbledore explained that they were there to discuss his son. McCullin snarled at Dumbledore that his son wasn't the missing Harry Potter and if they didn't get off of his property, he would file trespassing charges. Severus had rolled his eyes when Dumbledore opened his mouth and he was aware that McCullin saw it. It would cover him in the future if or when the Dark Lord returned. McCullin slammed the door as Dumbledore attempted to enter after he ignored the man's words. "We had to try."
"I am not visiting Death Eaters to see if they have Harry Potter as their child. Hogwarts isn't the only magical school nor is in the UK the only magical place. He could be anywhere and attending any school." Severus was going to make sure he paid the wolf back for his part in this. "You better hope Morpheus didn't destroy anything in my quarters as I did promise my cat that I would spend the night with him."
"Severus, you are aware of how important Harry is. We must locate him." Dumbledore looked defeated. "We are running out of options."
"Perhaps you should start preparing the wizarding world for a war instead of relying on one boy." Severus was never going to understand placing that kind of responsibility on the shoulders of a teenager. Trained Aurors were fearful of engaging Death Eaters. Yes, they did it but it was never one on one. Death Eaters aimed to kill while Aurors were trained to subdue. Severus also wanted to add that they should stop banning magic because Dumbledore thought it was dark. Dark was what the Death Eaters used. You can't fight against something you do not know.
"Severus, you do not know the full prophecy but trust me, Harry is needed." Dumbledore sighed deeply. He stopped walking. "I still can't believe Petunia. Harry should have been safe there. Blood wards were to protect him."
Severus almost snapped about Petunia and what type of person she was. He remembered how cruel she was to Lily. She was a petty, jealous, vicious, pathic excuse of a human. "If you had listened to Minerva, we wouldn't be in this position."
Dumbledore sighed deeply. "Perhaps. However, he would have been in danger in our world and also the price of fame." Dumbledore had believed he had done the best.
Severus apparated back to Hogwarts. The old fart was never going to admit he had been in the wrong by placing Harry with those muggles. He headed straight to his quarters. He opened the door to his quarters and found his cat playing with Mrs. Norris. Mrs. Norris stopped as soon as he entered.
*Like he cares.* Morpheus tossed the quill into the air. It had been the quill he had been chewing on earlier. He meowed at Severus.
"Yes, monster, I did leave it out for you to play with." Severus had left the old quill out as he normally did. It kept his cat from eating his good quills. "Mrs. Norris, do you want some tuna?"
*Oh, I love visiting. He always gives such great treats.* Mrs. Norris started to rub against Severus.
*I have him well trained.* Morpheus headed for the kitchenette. He hopped up onto the counter by the can opener. He meowed.
Severus headed into the kitchenette. "No, not too spoiled. If it was anyone else, I would be using them for potion ingredients for being on my counter." Severus ran a hand down Morpheus' fur. "What a waste of a trip. It wasn't him." Morpheus wasn't surprised. Dumbles was jumping at the chance of any child with dark hair being Harry Potter. "He dragged me to a Death Eater's manor. I expect Lucius will be having a great laugh once he hears about it."
*He should tell him. It would be funny.* Mrs. Norris agreed as she rubbed against Severus' leg. Morpheus agreed.
"I will inform him in the morning. It might brighten up his day since I know he has to go to the Ministry in the morning. He will be able to laugh at the memory as Dumbledore does something stupid." Severus pulled down two cans of tuna. He grabbed the bowls for the cats and opened the cans. He put the bowls down on the floor and watched as the two cats switch bowls. He wasn't sure how or why they did it. It didn't matter what bowl he put down they always wanted the one the other one had. "Now, let me see if I can finish the research paper." Severus headed back to his desk.
Morpheus and Mrs. Norris finished their tuna. Mrs. Norris hopped onto the couch as Morpheus went to his bed. *He kitten-proofed his office.*
*Yep, the kittens tried this morning. Wonder if he cat-proofed his office. I believe I know where we can gain access to catnip.* Morpheus was aware they couldn't use Severus' supply. *The big guy who lives outside has been growing some. He harvested some last month.*
*The lion twins will also have some interesting toys too.* Mrs. Norris added to their growing list.
*The dunderheads will be returning soon. We wait until they do.* Morpheus laid down in his bed. He let out a yawn.
*My Argus will have collected several things as well.* Mrs. Norris settled down. She would nap for a bit before returning to her own bed. *He always keeps it nice and cozy in here.*
Severus watched the two cats settle down. He sent a message to Argus that Mrs. Norris was sleeping in his quarters but he expected she would be returning to him as soon as he was finished working. Argus watched Mrs. Norris as closely as he watched his Morpheus. The two cats were very well protected by the two men. The two cats were spoiled by each man. No one but Minerva and Dumbledore was aware of the soft spot Severus had for his cat (well, he thought).
Morpheus watched the dunderheads enter Hogwarts. *Their back!* He was watching for the lion twins. They would certainly have some interesting stuff hidden on him. The cats would be watching the duo. They needed to locate where the lion twins left their supplies. Mrs. Norris was in the Great Hall with Argus as the students entered. Morris and Heidi would be up in Gryffindor waiting for Crookshanks. Some of the other cats would be converting other cats returning.
Morpheus headed to the Great Hall. He walked between the right wall and the table. He sat down by Severus' feet as the last of the students sat down and they waited for Minerva to bring in the ones who rode over the water. Water, why would anyone want to be even near water. He shuddered at the idea. He hated the first day each year because it took forever for him to get Severus to give him some type of meat. He was hoping for some ham. Severus was aware he preferred ham over turkey or chicken.
As soon as the students were sorted, food appeared. Morpheus started purring as soon as Severus put the plate of ham down in front of him. He hoped this year would be a nice quiet uneventful year except for their plans regarding Dumbledore. He was hoping the old fart would learn to leave his Severus alone and keep the dogs out of Hogwarts.
Morpheus followed Severus out of the Great Hall and into the Slytherin dorm. He listened to the normal speech by Severus with the warning sticking together and if they had any problems to speak to him and Morpheus would also be able to protect them if needed. Morpheus always watched out for the little snakes. There was one who liked to torment his snakes were in the lion's house. He was also aware the blond one that Severus' favored was a dunderhead who liked to start problems despite Severus warning him against causing problems.
Morpheus followed Severus back to his quarters but he didn't enter Severus' quarters. He started to head out of the dungeons. He had some cats he needed to speak with and get everyone caught up on what happened over the summer. He hoped Minerva wouldn't be in the cat room. "Do not leave anything dead in the Headmaster's Hall."
Morpheus turned his head and meowed his agreement. He had other things he planned on doing. He was going to stop by Gus, the Gargoyle before he went to the cat room. It was time for Gus to fail in understanding English. He wondered how long it would take Dumbledore to find a way around the language issue. He greeted Mrs. Norris as he exited the dungeon. *First a trip to Gus.*
*Can't be cat, Minerva would get around it.*
*True, how does frog or dog sound?* Morpheus didn't care if no one could get back into the Headmaster's office but it would be funny to watch them try.
"ALBUS!" Severus couldn't believe he had to yell. He wasn't against yelling but he found he got more attention when he insulted people without raising his voice. It was his favorite project. He loved to think of ways to insult people. His favorite was crafting ways to insult someone and have them thank him for it. The Marauders were a favorite for that aspect, except for Lupin. Lupin had a brain and it had been a challenge with him. He loved a challenge.
"What?" Dumbledore looked at him. They were in the staff room and Dumbledore had been researching why his gargoyle wouldn't admit him to his office.
"Have you tried different languages? It doesn't necessarily have to be a curse or prank." Severus had been attempting to tell the man the same information for the last hour as well as the variety of staff members who entered the room but quickly left after listening to Dumbledore's latest issue.
"You think it could be that simple?" Dumbledore closed his books. Morpheus looked up from Severus' lap, yawned, nudged Severus' hand for the man to pet him. "I wonder."
"Yes, I do. It would be easy to change. The difficult part will be discovering the correct language and word." Severus wanted to hit the man over the head. The man never went for the simplest solutions, he dove headfirst in the complex solutions instead. The man was a dunderhead.
"True. Perhaps, I will see if one of the Unspeakables can discover the solution." Dumbledore started to close his books. "Excellent solution, my boy. Now, why did you yell my name?"
Severus growled as did Morpheus. "I had been attempting to inform you of the solution for an hour, you never heard a word I spoke." He picked up Morpheus, cuddling him into his arms. "I have a class." He walked out of the staff room. He warned any staff member he saw to avoid the room as Dumbledore was in there working on fixing the gargoyle. "It must be a Gryffindor thing." Morpheus agreed.
The students had been back for a week. Lockhart had not shut up during any meal and Severus was tired of the stories. "The blonde ponce needs to go," Severus muttered at dinner. Morpheus wondered which one Severus was referencing. He thought there were a few that needed to go, fine, fine, he believed most of the humans needed to go. Morpheus meowed his agreement. "Well, most of the students and staff." Severus shared with his cat. Morpheus trained his human well.
"Well, I did win the-"
Severus rolled his eyes as he dropped more ham onto Morpheus' plate. He had been successful in ignoring the blonde ponce so far and he planned on keeping it that way. "Pompous twit."
"Severus, what an amazing cat you have. I had a Highlander cat. I can give you wonderful spells to help train your Highlander, they are just so friendly and sweet. They love water. I taught mine how to swim."
Morpheus looked horrified. Severus blinked for several seconds. "I would love to see the results of you teaching Morpheus how to swim."
Minerva covered her mouth. Dumbledore ruined Severus' fun. "Morpheus isn't a Highlander, he is an Iberian Lynx. He isn't fond of dogs, people, water, well, there is a bit of a list. He is a bit like Severus."
Morpheus sat up straighter as being compared to Severus. "I must object, he likes people especially if you have bacon or ham." Minerva always carried some cat treats on her for the cats of Hogwarts. The blonde twit made Morpheus list. How dare he suggest swimming! As if. It was time to break out the duo's stuff and use it on the blonde idiot as well as Dumbledore.
"Any luck getting into your office, Albus?" Filius had seen some of the Unspeakables working on the gargoyle.
"I know just the spell to permit you to enter your office again. I referenced it in Gadding with Ghouls! I will fetch you a copy."
"Yes, thank you, Gilderoy, but the Unspeakables have it handled." Dumbledore smiled down the table to the man. "They believe they are close to a solution."
Morpheus wanted to laugh. Yeah, sure, close. They were still using human languages. Gus was having fun turning them into different objects. One was a plate for a day. Mrs. Norris, the cats, and kittens provided Gus with suggestions. A catnip toy was the favorite by far but who knew humans could move that fast when you wanted to play with the newest toy.
*I am a bit worried about the red-haired female that belongs to the duo.* Mrs. Norris watched the girl disappear into the bathroom, again.
*Yes, she does seem to use the bathroom a lot. Why does she use the one that floods so much?*
They were watching Argus cleaning up the water. *No idea but I believe I will be watching her. I think she is causing Myrtle to flood the bathroom.*
*Myrtle doesn't care for strangers. She is easy to make friends with so I am wondering what the girl is doing to cause Myrtle distress?* Morpheus thought she smelled a bit weird. Well, weird for a human.
*No idea but I will be on guard duty.*
*Excellent. Oh, the idiots working on Gus finally realized it was an animal language. We might need Trevor to be close by to keep them from speaking frog.* Morpheus, as well as the other cats, had enjoyed being able to use Dumbledore's office as a second cat den. The kittens couldn't get in but they could. Morpheus thought it was because of Minerva.
_________________Halloween night_______________________Transcipt from the movie but changed to suit my needs____________
Morpheus started howling. He was staring at his hanging friend. He was going to kill whoever hurt his friend. He continued to howl until humans arrived.
The younger blonde ponce arrived first. "Enemies of the heir, beware." Draco glanced around the arriving students. "You'll be next, Mudbloods."
Morpheus continued to howl. His friend was dead, he just knew it. Whoever killed Mrs. Norris was going to pay. Morpheus heard Argus arriving. "What's going on here?" Morpheus watched him pushing through the growing crowd of students. "Go on, make way, make way. Weasley, Granger... what are you...?" Morpheus howled again. Argus glanced at him before looking up and seeing the frozen form of his cat. "Mrs. Norris?" He turned and faced Weasley. "You murdered my cat."
"What? No, no, I didn't. I just arrived here."
Argus grabbed Weasley as Draco, Crabbe, and Goyle grinned. "I'll kill you." He wanted to strange the brat. "I'll kill you!"
Dumbledore made his way through the crowd, Morpheus was still howling. "Argus?" Argus released Weasley when he heard Dumbledore's voice. The students step aside as Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape arrive on the scene. Morpheus looked up at Severus. He let out another howl. "Argus, I..." Dumbledore finally noticed the writing and Mrs. Norris. "Everyone will proceed to their dormitories immediately." The students start to leave. "Weasley, remain behind." Granger remained with Weasley.
Morpheus growled at the duo. Argus still looked ready to kill Weasley. "She's not dead, Argus." Morpheus is a bit surprised and happy as Argus trembles with relief and confusion. "She has been petrified."
The other blonde ponce just had to speak. "Ah. Thought so. So unlucky I wasn't there. I know exactly the countercurse that could've spared her."
Dumbledore just smiled at the idiot and nodded. Morpheus was going to shred his socks. "But how she has been petrified I cannot say."
Argus pointed toward Weasley. "Ask him. It's him that done it. You saw what he wrote on the wall. More pureblood nonsense. He has always hated Mrs. Norris."
"It's not true, sir. I swear. I never touched Mrs. Norris." Morpheus noticed how he didn't say he didn't write the warning. Morpheus was going to have Crookshanks watched the new enemy of all cats.
"Rubbish." Argus glared at Dumbledore. He wanted something done. It was his cat that was hurt.
"If I might, headmaster. Perhaps Weasley and his friend were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, the circumstances are suspicious. I for one don't recall seeing either of them at dinner." Severus had a feeling his cat was making plans regarding the two. His cat would not take anyone hurting his friend easily and would want revenge.
"I'm afraid that's my doing, Severus. You see, they were helping me answer my fan mail."
The blonde ponce needed to go. Fan mail shredding would be incoming. Morpheus thought. The list was growing of idiots that needed to be out of Hogwarts. It would so much simpler if the headmaster didn't permit them entrance.
"Innocent until proven guilty, Severus." Dumbledore smiled and dismissed the two lions.
Severus glared at Dumbledore. Argus felt the same way. "My cat has been petrified. I want to see some punishment!" He saw Severus give him a small smile. They would make sure some punishment was dished out.
"We will be able to cure her, Argus. As I understand it, Madame Sprout has a very healthy growth of Mandrakes. When matured, a potion will be made, which will revive Mrs. Norris. And in the meantime, I strongly recommend caution... to all." Dumbledore wandered away.
Argus slowly removed his cat from the wall. Morpheus gave a low howl followed by a growl. "I will see if I can find a grown Mandrake plant. Argus, I will make sure she is revived."
"Aye, Severus, I know. I am tired of him letting students torture my cat and doing nothing about it. Last week someone set off a stink bomb by her."
"Yes, I am aware. Morpheus was also covered and I have to give him a bath. It wasn't a pleasant situation for either of us." Morpheus had endured the bath only because of the smell but he wasn't a happy cat. Mrs. Norris and Morpheus got Peeves to prank the brat to did it to them for the following days. The boy smelled like an outhouse by the end of the week.
Severus and Morpheus followed Argus back to his quarters. They would make sure Mrs. Norris was comfortable. Morpheus jumped on the bed next to his friend. He looked at the two humans. He had a feeling it had to do with the red-hair girl and the bathroom but he wasn't sure. Mrs. Norris always patrolled the halls as did he. It could have been anyone.
Morpheus organized the cats to watch Myrtle's lavatory and certain people. Crookshanks was watching the redheaded girl as well as her brother. Crookshanks reported how often the girl went into the lavatory and remained for a long time. *It's her, I just know it, Crook.* Severus was still searching for a mature mandrake but it turned out the planting season was in the fall. Severus was still searching and hoping. It was slightly after the students had returned from their Yule holiday and the girl didn't look good. The redheaded boy was too much of an idiot to be able to petrify his friend.
*I agree. We need to figure out how to get into the lavatory to see what she doing. You and I are too big. She would notice us. The kittens are too young.* Crookshanks and Morpheus were currently sitting in a small alcove watching the lavatory the redheaded girl disappeared into. *I wish Myrtle could tell us but she disappears down into the pipes when the girl enters.*
Morpheus and the rest of the cats had been busy during the weeks that followed the petrifying of their friend. The Blonde Ponce had his fan mail shredded so much that he kept it in a locket wardrobe now. So next were his clothes. The babies in the cat area had some warm clothes to sleep on while their mothers went to eat or rest. The redheaded boy's quills disappeared as well as his socks. The boy didn't have a pair left. Minerva found the items, eventually, but after the items were rendered useless for humans. Morpheus and the others gave her an innocent look. They didn't want their games ruined because she could turn into a human.
*Perhaps I can get Argus and Severus to patrol here when it is about the time she leaves.* Morpheus was aware his human and Argus were looking for ways to find out who hurt his friend and make sure the person or persons got punished. *The book she carries smells weird.*
*Aye it does. She is always writing in it. She has been smelling off slowly, almost sickly.* Crookshanks watched as water was running out of the lavatory. *How many times must she do that before the humans do something? It's not as if anyone but the redheaded girl uses that lavatory.*
Morpheus looked at the water as the puddle was growing. He turned his head. *We need that book.*
*You think it's the book?* Crookshanks wasn't sure how they would get the book. It was a bit heavy for a single cat to remove from a pouch. Dragging it would be a bit easier as long as they didn't get caught. *Perhaps at night would be best once they are asleep.*
*Agreed. We can make sure Argus or Severus is around at the time to get the book outside of the dorm. I will see when he plans on doing an early morning potion ingredient run and we can arrange it for then. I will have to have him chase me up to the dorm but he will if I have his potion gloves.*
Crookshanks thought for a few seconds. *I can get the book or perhaps we save ourselves the problem by speaking to Minerva and having her get the book?*
Morpheus liked Minerva but he didn't trust Dumbledore. *Dumbledore might just give the book back. The old fart doesn't seem to care about anyone but his lions and won't believe anything bad about them.*
*True but if it fails, we can still use your plan.* Crookshanks was a very practical cat and much preferred to sleep, hunt, or eat. He wasn't much for this watching game. It was fun at first but the girl was boring. She only ever sat down and wrote in the book. She was almost as boring as his human. His human put him to sleep with how boring she was. All she ever did was go to the library and get more books. She wouldn't even give him a quill to play with because she needed them for her essays. She was dull, dull, dull.
*Very true. They won't suspect a cat of stealing it if you have to hide it for a few days until we can get it to Argus or Severus.* Morpheus stood up. *Severus should be done with his class by now. I will see if he can catch her as she leaves.*
*Detention would be a good way to get access to the book too.*
Morpheus headed down to the dungeons. He went straight to Severus' office and waited for the man to finish his lesson. He could hear Severus assigning an essay. Severus didn't like Morpheus to enter his lab because of the cat fur so Morpheus just stared at Severus until he was finished. Once the students were gone, Severus entered his office. "Meow." He hopped down onto the floor and walked to the door. He stopped about halfway, turned, and meowed again.
"I see. Show me." Severus wasn't sure what his cat wanted but Morpheus was attempting to tell him something. He just didn't understand cat and Minerva wasn't around to translate. He followed Morpheus up to the second floor girl's lavatory. He ignored the water as his cat was leading him inside of the lavatory. It had to be important if Morpheus was willing to get wet. He could see Crookshanks was watching from across the hall. The orange cat was a bit hard to miss. He had a feeling this was where they wanted him to be. He was about to open the door when Ginny Weasley opened the door instead. The girl fell backward and water splashed upward. She looked shocked as she stared up at Severus.
Morpheus saw the book slide from the girl's hands and snatched it up. He started to drag it toward Severus. He was growling at the book. Ginny Weasley tried to get the book back but Morpheus' claws took care of that action. He kept dragging it toward Severus. So much for his plans. Severus picked the book up. He could feel the darkness that was leaking out of the book. The book was glowing a bit. He opened it up.
"What is going on, Ginny?"
"Why am I wet?"
"Why do I feel sharp pain?"
Words kept appearing on the page.
"Ginny? What is going on?"
"You stupid girl." Severus snapped the book closed. He paled when he saw TMR on the cover. "Come with me now." Severus didn't bother to help her up. He could feel the darkness of the book fighting to get free as if it was aware of what danger it was in. Dumbledore needed to see this book.
"It's my journal, give it back." Ginny tried to remove it from Severus. She was soaked. Her clothes were clinging to her, she was cold from the water, her lips were turning blue. Morpheus shook. He hated being wet.
"The Headmaster's temporary office now!" Severus didn't give her much choice and she followed him to the Headmaster's office.
Crookshanks was laughing as Morpheus passed him. *Great plan.*
*Shut up.* Morpheus followed Severus as did Crookshanks.
Severus cast a drying charm on them when they were at the staff room's door. This was Dumbledore's temporary office until he could get into his office. None of the staff were happy with it and had moved the staff room couch and other items to a different room so they could escape Dumbledore and the students. Severus knocked on the door before entering. "Headmaster, I believe I found the cause of our problems."
Ginny glared. "It's my journal. Nothing more."
Severus held out the book. "Feel the book. Look at the initials." Dumbledore touched the book and his eyes went a bit big. "She has been writing in it and it writes back."
Dumbledore took the book and opened it up. The pages were blank. He had seen the girl writing in the book. He picked up a quill, dipped it in the ink well. He wrote hello on the page.
Dumbledore looked up at Ginny. "Severus, do a dark magic scan."
Severus flipped his wrist. Morpheus hopped onto the table that Dumbledore was using as a desk. He had been right. It was the book. Severus scanned the book and Ginny Weasley. "She is covered in it. It hasn't latched onto her core but it is close. The book is pure dark magic. It's pure black."
Dumbledore sighed. "It seems we have our solution to our problems." Dumbledore set the book aside as he thought. "We will need to inform her parents and have her go to St. Mungos for a cleansing ritual."
"We might want to see her memories of her time in the second-floor lavatory," Severus suggested. "She has been seen coming and going out of there quite often and it has been noticed how she has disappeared for several hours at a time."
"Yes, yes, it would be a good idea. I will have Arthur and Molly meet us at St. Mungos." Dumbledore stood up. He picked up the book. He looked at Severus. The silent agreement to destroy the book was reached. They didn't want to voice it in front of Ginny or the book until they had more answers they weren't going to discuss much about the book and a solution. The book seemed too aware to take a chance.
"What? I am fine. Just give me back my journal. It's mine!" Ginny tried to lunge for the book but Severus was faster and stunned her.
Dumbledore normally wouldn't permit this time of problem to escape Hogwarts but St. Mungos or Gringotts were the only ones who could cleanse the girl's soul. He needed answers to the book as well and he couldn't use her memories unless he had her parents' permission. Dumbledore could feel the dark magic of the book attempting to seep into him. He looked at Severus. "A secure place for this book until we can resolve the issue?"
"I have one in my quarters." Severus was handed the book.
"Secure it and meet me at St. Mungos. I will inform Minerva before we leave. I believe she can speak to Morpheus to find out his involvement." Dumbledore used magic to lift the stunned form of Ginny Weasley. He cast an invisibility spell on the girl. "No need to panic the students."
"Indeed." Severus petted his cat. Morpheus was going to get salmon for a week for discovering and alerting them to the problem. Once Dumbledore was gone, Severus smiled at his cat. "Morpheus, you are such a good boy. Good job. You and the rest of the cats." Morpheus meowed his agreement. Severus headed to his quarters to secure the book. Once the book was secured, Severus gathered the potion pouch he had for healing and dark magic solutions. He checked to make sure he had the necessary items before leaving his quarters. "Don't torment Minerva too much." Morpheus gave Severus his best who me look.
Morpheus was staring at the petrified form of Mrs. Norris. "Argus, I just need to cover her with the potion and spell some of it into her. She will be wet but fine." Severus had found a mature mandrake yesterday and had been up all night brewing the potion for Mrs. Norris. It had been a rough few weeks since the book was discovered.
Ginny Weasley was seeing a mind healer for the damage the Dark Lord had caused. Since she had the journal over the summer, it wasn't a Hogwarts' issue and Hogwarts didn't have to pay for her medical expenses. The girl had endured her mother lecturing her on writing back in a book that responded to you. She even mentioned the demon twins in her lecture. Molly went on about how she had thought the twins would have taught the girl to be wary of prank items as well as strange magical items. Arthur added his agreement while hugging his daughter to him. Severus was just happy to leave. Molly's loud voice gave him a headache.
Dumbledore refused to share with Severus what the man thought the journal was. Severus was aware that the journal was a bit more than a book that magically answered you back. Yes, the dark magic was dangerous in the book but he had already determined it wasn't a cursed item. It wasn't something that was possessed in the traditional sense. Morpheus had agreed with him so he knew he was right, especially after seeing the girl's memories. The memories showed the girl entering a secret entrance in Hogwarts. Showed her killing the roosters, petrifying Mrs. Norris, as well as the student and a ghost. Morpheus felt justified as he got it right.
The secret tunnel wasn't easy to get into since the sink could only be opened by a parseltongue. Dumbledore had attempted to hiss the same way as they heard in the memories but he failed. They ended up blowing the lavatory apart to gain entrance into the secret tunnel. It was the searching of the tunnel that shocked Dumbledore and Severus. They had to fight a sixty-foot Basilisk. Severus was the one who was able to kill it so he was able to claim the corpse of the Basilisk.
Severus had informed Morpheus he had never seen the Headmaster run or at a loss as to what to do to kill the snake. Severus aimed for the eyes and when it opened its mouth to snap at them, Severus sent a dozen summoned flying daggers into its mouth. The snake crashed to the ground barely missing Dumbledore. Severus was never going to forget seeing the cool and always calm Dumbledore swearing up a storm as he ran to escape the snake chasing them.
Severus and Dumbledore had spent the next week exploring the chambers but couldn't gain access to any of the rooms they felt were down there since they weren't parseltongues. They were afraid to destroy any of the walls because they had no way of knowing which walls were support walls for Hogwarts. Morpheus followed Severus down one night and it was discovered that Morpheus could gain entrance to the rooms. Severus didn't inform Dumbledore of this information. The books and potion ingredients in one of the rooms along was a major find. He wasn't sure why but he felt it was better to keep it hidden. The lavatory was closed to everyone but Severus who added his own personal wards to the lavatory.
"She will be fine?"
"Yes, it will be as if nothing happened to her. She won't even remember being petrified." Severus reassured Argus. Morpheus wasn't sure about that aspect but he was aware he would have fun telling his friend about everything. They also would have about two months to torment the students before they left. Morpheus thought Mrs. Norris would enjoy that to make up for the lost time.
"Good. I saw The Blonde Ponce packing his stuff he won't be returning."
"Yes, he has been revealed to be a fraud. I believe Albus discovered some memory altercations in some people and had the Ministry investigate. I am surprised he hasn't tried to make a run for it. I am expecting the Aurors to arrive any time." Severus was positive that Dumbledore had been aware of the Lockhart situation but expected them to find Harry Potter and have him expose it. Lupin was still useless in locating the brat.
"He did run. Left this morning. I already informed Albus. I expect he won't hire anyone to fulfill the rest of the term."
Severus snorted. "As if. He can't even get anyone to stay longer than a year." Morpheus placed a paw on Mrs. Norris. He nudged her a bit. "She needs a few more minutes, Morpheus."
Mrs. Norris slowly woke up. She looked at the three staring at her. *What did Dumbledore do to me?*
Morpheus laughed. *I will explain everything later. Argus has been very worried about you.*
Argus picked up his cat and cuddled her. "Come on, Mrs. Norris, let's get you cleaned up. Severus did a great job of bringing you back to me." Argus looked at Severus. "Thank you."
"You're welcome. Go and spoil her for a bit." Severus handed Argus a towel for him to wrap the still wet Mrs. Norris. "The potion will come off easily and won't cause her any problems if she licks herself. She won't like the taste so I don't expect it to be a problem."
*The one time I will permit myself to be given a bath.* Mrs. Norris voiced her opinion.
Severus just stared at Dumbledore. Minerva had her mouth hanging open. "You did what?" Filius was the only one to speak. Filius was shocked but he was also older than anyone in the room. It took a lot to shock him and Dumbledore finally did it. However, he was quick to recover. "Please, tell me you didn't?"
"I hired Remus to teach DADA this year. He has the skills, the abilities, and his NEWT in the subject." Dumbledore was still using the original staff room as his office as they had yet to figure out what the password was for the Gargoyle. He had called a staff meeting the day before everyone was due to leave for their summer holiday. "He will fit right in. Severus, I do expect you and Remus to end your strife around the students." He ignored Severus' glare.
"Yes, I am sure the cat populous will love it." Pomona Spout didn't look up from her gardening magazine.
"Morpheus will kill him." Aurora Sinister summoned up the situation for everyone. Hagrid even groaned when Dumbledore had made his announcement. Everyone agreed with her. No one doubted that Morpheus had the ability. They remembered the troll. If Morpheus was willing to take out a troll, he would be willing to handle Remus Lupin.
"Albus, you will be informing the cats of Hogwarts of your decision. I am not doing it." Minerva looked around the staff room. "Where is Morpheus?" Morpheus was generally Severus' shadow.
"Napping with Mrs. Norris." Filch was leaning against the wall to the left of the door while Severus was still staring at Dumbledore on the right side of the door. He wasn't going to inform them that the two cats had been almost inseparable since they had been reunited. The only time they had been separated was at night or when Morpheus went with Severus into the Forbidden Forest.
"I am not telling my cat you brought that wolf back into Hogwarts. Have the lemon drops rotted your brain? You are very aware of how much the cats of Hogwarts hate him. I believe the kittens expressed their displeasure in your office." Severus couldn't believe Dumbledore. "Morpheus almost bit him. Morpheus, Mrs. Norris, and Crookshanks are very anti-dog in any form."
"Aye, Fang won't come up to Hogwarts because of them. He won't leave the hut if he smells Morpheus with Severus when they collect ingredients." Hagrid had the mental image of Lupin running in his werewolf form from Morpheus with the wolf whining in fear. He had a feeling he wasn't the only one as he looked at Severus.
"I am sure we can keep Morpheus and the other cats contained while he is here." Dumbledore popped a lemon drop into his mouth. "They are just cats."
The staff groaned. The man was an idiot if he thought that cats could be contained. Perhaps Dumbledore needed to take Care of Magical Creatures? "No. I am not locking Morpheus up because you won't hire anyone who isn't light enough for you. I am well aware that several people have applied over the years. They were neutral and you rejected their applications. Of all the hair-brained schemes you have come up with, hiring that mangy, flea invested, sorry excuse of a -"
"Albus, while I do not agree with Severus' description of Remus, I do agree with him regarding the cats as well as your hiring policy regarding the position. This is their home. We have discussed this before with you when you first attempted to bring Remus to Hogwarts. Hasn't two years of Morpheus and the other cats chasing him out, taught you anything? It certainly didn't help Remus' standing when he approached the cats from behind while they were sleeping." Minerva sighed. She realized it was a lost battle. Dumbledore would not change his mind. She threw up her hands. "It's on your hands."
"I am sure, Minerva, you could speak to the cats and get them to understand." Dumbledore's twinkling eyes were working at full capacity.
"Albus, I will put this bluntly. I am not in charge of the cats of Hogwarts. The honor of that position goes to Morpheus and Mrs. Norris. They are the ones who train and teach the kittens. They run the clowder." Minerva thought it was an understatement. The cats ran the castle if she was honest with herself. She had a feeling it was the cats that got the Gargoyle to change the password. "Morpheus is the alpha. He won't let Remus remain. While at times, they may listen to me, provide me with insight into the students, they do not follow my orders or me. I am just a human who can be a cat to them."
"I am sure it will work out. It is just a slight misunderstanding between Remus and the cats."
Two weeks before Hogwarts starts (so mid-August)
Severus had ignored anything to do with Hogwarts beyond preparing potions for Poppy and doing some revamping of his lesson plans. Dumbledore and most of the staff had left for their summer holiday so it was mostly him and Argus at Hogwarts. Poppy was taking some courses at St. Mungos in her downtime but still aided those in need.
Dumbledore was hoping since he would be away that Unspeakables would be able the gargoyle to release his office. Dumbledore spent the summer bothering his brother in Hogsmeade. Severus was aware of it because he and Minerva had received messages from Aberforth asking they lost a headmaster since he had one in his pub and could they come and claim the nutcase. Minerva disappeared into the Scottish Highland to visit her family after Aberfroth's third letter in one day.
The search for Harry Potter was still going but it was a slow go. Lupin was still attempting to locate the brat but wasn't having any luck. Severus wasn't sure who would be searching while Lupin was at Hogwarts teaching. The staff was arriving today and Severus wasn't looking forward to this year. He heard a knock on his door and wasn't surprised to discover Filch. "What happened?"
Filch laughed. "Come, it's funny." Severus followed Filch to the front doors of Hogwarts and outside. They were standing on the stairs and Severus could see Lupin running, screaming for help as Morpheus, Mrs. Norris, and several other cats were chasing him. The cats were smart as they kept cutting him off and give him less and less area to escape. Filch laughed.
"You would think he would apparate out as he is just outside of the wards." Severus was going to review this memory later. Lupin was getting desperate as he realized that the cats here closing in on him from all sides.
"Aye, they chased him to the edge of the wards. They let him get about halfway here before they descended upon him. I think Morpheus got a piece of his robes before the idiot started to run."
"This is going to be an interesting year. Dumbledore was warned, the wolf was warned, it's not our fault they didn't listen." Severus was going to up the treats he gave every cat if they kept doing this. Severus still laughed a bit each time he thought of the day that Dumbledore with Minerva in her cat form informed the cats about Lupin being hired. Minerva had not been thrilled with informing them. Dumbledore found his new office redecorated by the kittens. It had taken three days to remove the smell of dead animals as well as several things he didn't want to think about.
The students were returning and Lupin was stuck in his quarters. He wasn't sure how he was going to make it to the Great Hall on time. The cats appeared as soon as he exited his quarters or classroom. They would leave him alone long enough for him to cross the hall since his quarters and classroom were opposite each other. Minerva had done it after he had been chased out of Hogwarts again. Lupin opened his door slowly. He was hoping he wouldn't see any cats.
Lupin stepped out of his quarters. He started to walk down the hall and was about to step on the stairs when he heard the growling of Mrs. Norris. He turned his head, saw the tabby approaching him. He started down the stairs since turning back wasn't an opinion. "Don't run, don't run, don't run" was his mantra as he stepped off of the last step. He made it to the next set of stairs when Morpheus appeared. He ran down the stairs with the cats joining the chase as he ran. He saw Minerva leading the students into the school. "Move out of the way, get out of the way." Lupin watched as the stunned first years moved aside and he ran out the door. He headed for the Shrieking Shack and was able to get inside and slam the door closed.
While Lupin was running:
Minerva wanted to laugh but refrained. "The cats of the castle will not permit any shenanigans as you can see. Do not think they wouldn't do the same to each of you should you disobey one of their rules. One - no dogs. Two- do not leave your house after curfew. Three- they protect you and the castle do not pick on any of them." Minerva gave them her sternest face. "Remain here while I send someone to resolve the situation with the cats and we will have you sorted in no time." Minerva headed to the Great Hall. Minerva walked by Severus. "Morpheus, Mrs. Norris, and the cats chased Remus to the Shrieking Shack, again."
Severus sighed deeply. "I will handle the cats. Have Albus send someone to fetch the wolf." Severus stood up. He headed to his quarters and grabbed the case of wet cat food. He headed to the Shrieking Shack and whistled. The cats heard him and saw the case of food. Morpheus and Mrs. Norris lead the cats away from the shack and over to Black Lake. He started opening cans and putting the food down on the wonderful muggle invention of paper plates.
Severus could see Aurora had been sent to fetch and escort the DADA professor to the Great Hall. What a way to impress the students, their DADA professor running from cats. Morpheus sat down next to him. "Good job."
*Of course, as if we would allow that mutt in our school.* Mrs. Norris looked up from her plate. *Besides, it is fun to chase the mutt.*
*The mutt needs to go.* Morpheus had a strict no-dog policy. *Crookshanks will be back tonight too. He will enjoy having some fun with the mutt.*
"You can't keep chasing him." Severus did the normal lecture but his heart was in it. He was still giving the cats treats when they chased the wolf. He wasn't worried about them understanding his words. "He is a staff member." There he did his required duty. Dumbledore wanted him to lecture his cat about chasing the wolf and he did it again. He petted Morpheus. He lowered his voice. "Who is the greatest kitty?" Morpheus rubbed against Severus. "I picked up some salmon for you and Mrs. Norris." Severus waited until the cats were finished and banished the plates. "Go and play. I will see you after the Welcoming Feast." Severus headed back to the Great Hall.
Dumbledore sighed as he saw Remus running for the Shrieking Shack, again. The man had been taking his meals in his quarters. However, it was required that once every two weeks a staff member must attend a meal in the Great Hall if they weren't the head of a house. He flinched a bit as Morpheus caught Remus and he could see the ripped robes in the cat's mouth as Remus was finally at the shack. Remus couldn't leave this classroom or quarters without the cats chasing Remus and no matter how many times Minerva had attempted to speak to the cats, they were still anti-dog.
Dumbledore didn't even want to think about their failed attempts to contain the cats. No matter what he did, no matter what ward he had placed around the different areas to keep the cats away from the DADA area, the Great Hall, and the stairwells, the cats were able to breakthrough. He had wanted to get rid of most of the cats but Minerva, Severus, and Argus as well as most of the staff stopped that idea. They would rather get rid of Remus first. He needed Remus especially now that Sirius escaped. He was hoping that Remus would spot Sirius around the area and lead them to Harry.
Dumbledore had managed to stop Fudge from having Demenators near children. Why the man thought that would be a brilliant idea he wasn't sure. He had to remind Fudge the parents wouldn't want their children soulless. He wondered if Fudge had been dropped on his head. Sweet Merlin, his plans were just falling apart. It was only October. He wasn't looking forward to the rest of the year.
He was sure Tom would have made an appearance by now but nothing. He had been hoping the lure of Harry Potter at Hogwarts would have gotten some attention from the man. The Daily Prophet ruined the rest ruined any future use of the boy's name until he was located. The Daily Prophet also had a field day with him not being able to access his office. It had taken three Unspeakables until last week to get the gargoyle to grant him access. They still don't know what happened or why. The Unspeakables only stated that the gargoyle just moved on its own when they started to run some scans. They thought it might have been a timed prank. Dumbledore was going to be speaking to the Weasley Twins regarding it.
Two months later (Yule Holiday)
Severus was looking at the folded piece of parchment. He was aware it was called the Marauder's Map as it insulted him any time he opened it. He had been debating with himself regarding speaking to the wolf about how to use the map but just couldn't find it in himself to do it. He had thought of the different passwords that Marauders might have used from their idiotic nicknames for themselves to even using the name Lily.
Morpheus was roaming around the castle and Severus needed a break from the potion research he had been doing. Severus didn't believe the Marauders were smart except for the wolf who was a follower. He closed his eyes and started to review his memories of when he was spying on the group. He opened his eyes. He looked at the parchment. I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."
A very detailed map of Hogwarts appeared on the parchment. He saw moving names and realized it provided the location of everyone in Hogwarts. He was going to curse the wolf. This was how they always found him. The map didn't list any animals that he could see. Dumbledore was in his office. Minerva was in Gryffindor's common room, Lupin looked as he if was dashing down the DADA hall from the stairs. Since Morpheus, Mrs. Norris, and Crookshanks were in the Forbidden Forest he wondered how the man could be afraid of kittens. The three dangerous cats weren't even around. He had left the three by the stone wall in the forest after he had gathered some ingredients for his research potion. The cats were sleeping in the sun and didn't follow him back.
Severus noticed the map was very detailed but missing areas of the dungeons, the RoR, and some of the areas only staff had to access. He wondered if he could improve upon the map and headed to the library. He had a new project he would work on when he needed a break from potions.
Morpheus stood up from his nap. *I am heading back. The sun is almost gone.* He stretched a bit.
*I was thinking the same thing plus I want to see if we can catch that dog-man.* Mrs. Norris yawned a bit before giving her front paw a quick lick to clean her face. She did a few swipes of her paw over her face. *He makes some funny noises when he is running.*
*How it is still around, I am shocked.* Crookshanks jumped down of the wall. *He runs everywhere now.* Crookshanks glanced at the big human's hut that kept a dog.
Morpheus sniggered. *I think my Severus is making a blanket out of the ripped cloth I have brought him from the wolf.* Morpheus jumped off of the wall. *He is fun to chase.*
*You drew blood last time, I think you were just a second off.* Mrs. Norris was Morpheus' biggest cheerleader. *I think you need to do to him what you did to that troll.*
*Oh, the smelly thing? Perhaps, it might come to that.* Morpheus remembered the smell thing that tasted nasty. *I was expecting him to go one way and he went the other.* Morpheus would get rid of the wolf. One way or another. *The kittens have been using his socks for beds.*
*Your Severus has the best treats when they bring him the toys that the dog-man has.* Crookshanks looked toward Hogwarts. *I heard him mentioning he needed to order more feather things, so more treats for the kittens and us.*
Morpheus had to agree. His Severus did give the best treats. *I think they have old hates. My Severus doesn't like the dog-man.*
*Understatement. My Argus doesn't either. Call him one of the brat pack that was here when Severus was a student.*
The three cats headed back to Hogwarts. *Dog-man should be due out of his area soon.*
*Yes, Severus informed us last night.* Mrs. Norris gloated. They loved having a human on their side.
*Morpheus, are you still aiming to remove his complete robe?* Crookshanks had an idea.
*Yes, I want it for Marie. She needs one for when she has her babies.*
The three cats headed back into Hogwarts. They weren't surprised to see Severus waiting for them by the door. "Ah, I was just coming out to see if you were ready to return home." Severus petted Morpheus. "Argus is looking for you, Mrs. Norris." Mrs. Norris meowed her thanks and headed off to find her Argus. "I have made some progress on my research so tomorrow, I will be heading out to the forest, Crookshanks if you want to join us."
Crookshanks followed Severus to his quarters. He had been spending most of his time with Morpheus and Severus. It was better than listening to his human wine about her grades, her assignments, and something about a permanent record.
Morpheus was patrolling with Severus up by the Gryffindor tower area. It was one of his human's favorite areas to patrol as he always caught some of the little lions in naughty situations. Morpheus wondered why none of them had babies as of yet. He heard something. He looked up at Severus and meowed lowly. "Go." Severus would follow his cat to the miscreants out after curfew. Morpheus was in hunter mode. He was lower to the ground, smelling the area while he slowly walked as he followed the scent. Severus quietly followed his cat. He wasn't sure what was going on as his cat never acted this way with people. They turned the corner and Morpheus growled before he launched into the air and landed on a large black dog. Severus was shocked. A dog was at the entrance to Gryffindor.
Morpheus sank his teeth into the neck of the dog as it started squealing and attempt to shake him off. *I hate dogs! You have no right being here!* Morpheus had his claws buried in the dog's fur. He spitted the fur out of his mouth before he bit down again. The dog started whining and trying to shake him off. The dog dodged a spell sent by his Severus before it started to run away with Morpheus on its back. Morpheus kept biting and sinking his claws into the dog as it ran.
Severus was running after his cat and the hugest blackest dog he had ever seen. He sent a Patronus off to Dumbledore warning him about a strange dog that had been attempting to get into Gryffindor. He wasn't surprised to discover Dumbledore by the second-floor stairs as Morpheus and the dog flew by Dumbledore. Dumbledore attempted to fire a spell at the dog but the dog was running erratically as Morpheus bit and clawed the thing. Morpheus was still hanging onto its back. Severus wasn't sure how the cat managed it but he was a bit impressed as the dog kept running.
"What was that?" Dumbledore was staring after the black dog.
"No idea but I don't think it was a dog. It was attempting to enter the Gryffindor common room. Morpheus attacked it before it started to shred the portrait." Severus and Dumbledore were walking down the stairs. Severus resisted the urge to rush the headmaster along. He hoped his cat wasn't hurt.
"Severus, could you provide a memory of it for me? I want to review it." Dumbledore asked as they reached the front doors. They couldn't see anything but they could hear a lot of dog whining and squealing. "How long?"
"It won't take long for Morpheus to return. He will release the dog once it's off of Hogwart's property." Severus was staring out into the darkness. "I also have no problem with providing my memory." Severus wasn't surprised that the headmaster had still been up. The man was generally up late. "I am wondering how the dog got in?"
"I am unsure. It shouldn't have been permitted as it's not an improved animal but if Hagrid accepted it as a pet-" Dumbledore trailed off.
"Albus, you must do something about Hagrid and his animals. However, I don't believe that was one of them. It looked to be a Grim. I will have to review my books regarding magical animals but I do believe it was." Severus didn't hear any whines. "I believe the dog is gone."
"Yes, yes, I do believe you are correct on both accounts. I will check with Hagrid in the morning as well as alert Minerva to tonight's adventures." Dumbledore watched as a very satisfied cat returned to Hogwarts. "Excellent job, Morpheus."
"Indeed." Severus petted his cat. "Extra treats for you tonight."
Morpheus purred as he thought about his water dish. He needed to wash his mouth out. The black dog's fur was nasty. He wondered when the last time the mutt had a bath. He headed to the stairs that lead to the dungeons. *Let's go, time for treats and then a nap.* Morpheus sat down. *I need to clean up too. I think I got blood on me.*
"Good night, Albus." Severus walked to the stairs. "I will check you for wounds."
*As if-* Morpheus gave a very disgruntled meow.
"Yes, I am sure a great hunter and protector like you don't have a single wound, however, for my peace of mind, I want to check." Severus walked past Argus' office. He saw the man was still up. "Argus, just a warning-" Severus proceeded to inform the caretaker of what happened.
Argus started laughing as Severus described the chase. "Very good, Morpheus. Shame Mrs. Norris and I missed it."
*Did you bite him?* Mrs. Norris wondered.
*Of course, numerous times. It needed a bath. Dogs are so nasty.* Morpheus preened as Severus and Argus petted him telling him how truly amazing he was. He was aware of this aspect as well, he is a cat and everyone knows cats are amazing.
Severus was sitting at the head table. The Wolf was breathing a bit hard but not as hard as he had been originally when Morpheus chased him. The running had improved the Wolf's physical health. "Morpheus?"
The Wolf jumped out of his seat and was off running. "What was that about?" Lucius had been sitting next to Severus. He hadn't seen Morpheus which was surprising given how that cat was always with Severus.
"Oh, dear, Morpheus and Remus do not get along." Filius was trying not to laugh. He had never seen anyone run out of the Great Hall so fast. Lupin didn't even look around to verify if Morpheus was in the room.
"Understatement of the decade." Minerva took a sip of her tea.
"Morpheus is Lupin's exercise program. He chases the man to the Shrieking Shack." Severus watched Lucius' lips twitch. Lucius was here this morning as they were going to be discussing the Grim from the night before as well as extra precautions to prevent any future attempts at the entrance to Gryffindor.
"I better go and inform him that Morpheus is out in the Forbidden Forest." Aurora reached for a muffin. She was heading to bed soon and never ate anything heavy in the morning but the muffin would serve as a holdover until dinner when she woke. "I shall see everyone at dinner."
"I take it your cat has been enforcing a strict no dog policy?" Lucius hoped he could get a memory of Lupin running from Morpheus. He remembered all the time times that the Marauders caused many students to run in fear during their time at Hogwarts.
"Yes, he is very effective. I do believe Lupin hasn't been in such good shape since his time as a student." Severus had enjoyed the antics a lot. His cat had returned so much laughter and fun times into his life. This year, however, was the best year. He loved watching his cat chase Lupin out of Hogwarts. It would never get old.
Lupin finally returned to the Great Hall, ignoring the laughter of the students. Many were wondering why the man was so afraid of the cats. They had seen the cats chasing him out of Hogwarts and had been playing pranks on the man believing if he was afraid of cats, he must be afraid of everything. Lupin handled the pranks and other issues rather well. "I do apologize." Lupin retook his seat.
Dumbledore sighed as Severus, Lucius, Lupin, Minerva, and Filius entered his office. He had reviewed the memory and hadn't seen what the Grim had desired in Gryffindor. "I have Severus' memory set up if anyone wishes to view it." Dumbledore pointed to the pensive. "I have reviewed it but I am unsure of why it targetted Gryffindor." Dumbledore wasn't surprised when everyone wanted to view the memory. He served Severus some tea while they waited.
Lupin looked pale as he exited the pensive. Everyone else was a bit confused. "Why would a dog want to enter Gryffindor?" Mineva took her cup of tea and sat down.
"It's a Grim." Dumbledore finished providing everyone with tea. "Remus, are you alright?"
"No, no, I am not. It's not a Grim. Well, yes, it is, but it's also not." Lupin looked at them. "It's Sirius. He is a Grim. He must be looking for Harry and assuming he is in Gryffindor."
"What? Are you saying he is an animagus?" Minerva looked a bit surprised. "Is it registered?"
"He is and no, they never did. James, Sirius, and Peter learned to help out with my problem. They were going to register but the war was starting and as Aurors, James and Sirius thought it would provide better protection if they didn't. Peter just didn't want to do it. He is a grey rat."
"A grey rat?" Minerva looked at Dumbledore. She had wondered for years why a grey rat was so healthy after living for over a decade at the Weasleys. She had expressed her concerns to Dumbledore but neither of them gave it another thought and never questioned Hagrid regarding it. "There is a very healthy rat that is over a decade old with a missing digit in Gryffindor. It was originally a pet of Percy Weasley but it now belongs to Ronald."
Severus' eyes went a bit big. "No rat lives that long."
"It has to be Pettigrew and Sirius must be attempting to get him. He did break out after the Weasleys were in the paper for winning that lottery. I didn't think anything of the rat sticking out of the pocket of Ron's. If Sirius didn't kill Pettigrew, he is after him now." Lupin was looking at Dumbledore.
"We need to catch the rat to provide the evidence needed to show Sirius is innocent." Minerva put her teacup down. "I will be able to get the rat easily."
"Yes, yes, but we must be careful," Dumbledore warned. Perhaps Sirius might be able to use the Black family magic to locate Harry Potter. He felt a bit hopeful. Yes, Sirius must be released. He never wanted Sirius released but if the idiot could help locate Harry, he could always arrange for an accident later.
Severus and Lucius exchanged a quick look. They realized this wasn't about getting Black released, it was about locating Harry Potter. They watched the Gryffindors make some plans to catch the rat as well as what to do with it. "Pardon me for interrupting your great capture plan but why not make it easy. Simply enter the dorm and stun the rat, place it in a charm cage, and then force him back into his human form in a safe and secure place at the Ministry. It would force a trial for the Mutt and then work on getting control of the Mutt."
"Yes, yes, excellent plan, Severus. Minerva, please proceed. Remus and I will wait for you at the apparition point. I am sure Lucius wouldn't mind joining me?"
Lucius resisted the strong urge to roll his eyes. "I am sure I can do so. I will assume that Severus will work on capturing Black?"
Severus had a few ideas on how to capture the mutt. All of them involved Morpheus. Morpheus would enjoy it a lot. "I do not believe it will be an issue." Dumbledore wanted to have control over Black. "I expect once the truth is released, Remus and I will be able to speak to Sirius."
Severus didn't respond but he was going to make sure Morpheus had some fun with the doggie duo. He headed back to his quarters since Minerva was going to get the rat.
Severus was looking at the map. He had a few hours to kill since Minerva and Dumbledore were off with the Wolf and Lucius. He opened it up and was scanning it. This had been an ongoing project which he found he was enjoying. He wanted to see if he could improve the map and noticed the name he had been dreading to locate and yet wanted to locate, Harry Potter. The name was up on the fourth floor.
He snatched up the map and headed to the fourth floor. The name hadn't moved as he almost ran to the fourth floor. He ignored the students as he kept his eye on the name on the map. He entered the area on the fourth floor and found Morpheus, Mrs. Norris, Crookshanks, and some of the kittens sleeping. They opened their eyes when they heard Severus. Severus watched as Morpheus stood up, stretched, and walked toward him. Severus watched the name Harry Potter walk toward him. Severus closed the map. He picked up his purring cat and headed back to his quarters.
Severus wasn't sure what to do. He had this cat for years. His friend, his companion, his sidekick, his laughter, his assistant, and his confidant. He wanted to curse the fates as Morpheus was still purring in his arms. He gently set Morpheus down. He was aware and a bit torn about what to do. He wanted to force a change but this wasn't Harry Potter, this was Morpheus. Harry Potter had been a cat for over six years. The boy was almost fourteen and he had come to Severus as a cat when he was about seven. He wasn't sure how the boy's mind would handle the issue. The boy clearly believed he was a cat. He hadn't seen any signs of him being a human. He wasn't even sure if Morpheus was aware he was Harry Potter. He had seen how the muggles called him freak as if that was his name.
He wasn't about to inform Dumbledore. The man would force the issue and he bet would force the boy back to those muggles. He needed a plan. A solid plan that would help Harry deal with being Morpheus as well as protecting him from Dumbledore and the Dark Lord in the future. He glanced at his cat who was drinking some water. His cat was very smart but he remembered how the cat looked when he first saw him. His mind flashed back to when Minerva informed him that his name was freak. Yes, he needed a plan, he had to protect Harry as well as start to teach the boy about magic. Perhaps it was time to spend some time at Prince Manor. "Morpheus, how about we have a holiday at Prince Manor when the dunderheads go home?"
Morpheus didn't look impressed as he had no idea what a holiday would entail since he never left Hogwarts. He yawned a bit and headed to his bed. It was time for his mid-mid-afternoon nap. He also wondered if he could get a chance to chase the dog-human again. He fell asleep. Severus was staring at the map. He needed to make sure no one else realized Harry was here. He noticed that Harry Potter wasn't on the map. He laughed a bit. His quarters weren't on the map but hadn't noticed that their names didn't appear. Morpheus was protected if he was in the dungeons. He smirked. The Marauders weren't as smart as they thought they were.
Remember some areas of Hogwarts aren't on the map including certain areas of the dungeons. I am thinking the Marauders would have the potion labs but certainly not Severus' quarters or private lab.
Severus didn't want to sit in the headmaster's office and listen to him and his concern for the Mutt. "The trial is when?" Lupin had come directly from the Ministry with Dumbledore via the floo. Lupin was hyperalert when he was at Hogwarts. It only took a slight meow or even just saying Morpheus before he would start running.
"Tomorrow. I have already spoken to Amelia. Peter is locked in a secure cell. Sirus is having his wounds taken care of. It seems Morpheus did a lot of damage to him when Sirius attempted to capture Peter on his own. The wounds were infected so he is being treated and should make a full recovery." Dumbledore smiled at everyone. Granted, it was only Minerva, Lupin, and Severus present. "He will be joining Remus in searching for Harry."
"I do hope you warn him about staying away from Morpheus?" Minerva was going to make sure she was present when Morpheus discovered Black in Hogwarts. Dumbledore wasn't going to like the results of inviting Black to remain at Hogwarts. She didn't think it was right that they should house Lupin or Black. She firmly believed that Black needed some time with a mind healer.
"Oh, yes, we have to mention it to him." Remus looked a bit pale at the idea of Morpheus going after them. "Sirus' back was a mess. He will need clean robes and -"
Severus wanted to dance as he tuned out the ramblings of the Wolf. His cat hated the mutts. He was still working on a solution to help Morpheus realize he was Harry without shattering Harry or having Dumbledore discover the truth before Harry was ready. He didn't want to involve anyone in this but perhaps he could speak to Poppy and have her suggest some books. He would have to keep it general but abuse and Harry's possible issues with dealing with reality.
Severus looked at Dumbledore. "Sorry, was sorting out my potion crafting schedule. I will have to speak to Poppy." It shouldn't surprise Dumbledore as Severus tuned out most of the people in the Order when they spoke. So many of them were whiners and complainers. They were the types who would never be happy unless they were making others miserable.
"Excellent, perhaps you could make a few mind clarity type potions for Sirius?" Dumbledore hoped it wouldn't be a battle with anything regarding Sirius with Severus. He was very aware of the friction between the pair as well as Lupin.
"Who is paying for the ingredients?" Severus would be adding an extra five percent on the ingredients since it was the Mutt. He generally just charged for the ingredients. He would also make a few for Poppy to have on hand for just in case.
"I am sure-"
"No, no money, no potion." Severus wasn't about aid one of the Marauders. The Marauder who was the one who almost got him killed or turned into a werewolf. They were also going to be searching together for Harry. He didn't want them anywhere near Hogwarts and Morpheus AKA Harry.
"Albus, Severus isn't your personal potion maker. He has numerous jobs to do in this school. He shouldn't be responsible for paying for ingredients for a potion you want for Sirius." Minerva huffed. "Honestly, you are very aware of how Sirius treated Severus and you expect Severus to assist him. You are aware-" Minerva's lips were thinning out, a sign of her building anger.
"Yes, yes, Minera, I am." Dumbledore dismissed her concerns as he always did. Severus could see Minerva's eyes flash in anger.
Lupin was feeling even sicker as they discussed the past. "Albus, it is the right thing to do."
"Fine, I will pay for the ingredients." Dumbledore hated to pay for anything himself but calmed himself down as he realized he was one step closer to finding Harry and getting his hands on that money as well as Harry. He never wanted Sirius released but if Sirius could help, it was a step in the right direction. After all, it was for the greater good.
The next day:
Morpheus was watching some of the kittens place some dead animals around the dogman's office and quarters. They would be adding some aromatherapy to Dumbledore's hall later. *So I heard you are now calling it aromatherapy.* Crookshanks laid down next to Morpheus. Mrs. Norris was on Morpheus' left side.
*Yes, I heard some of the girls discussing it in their Herbology class. It was a very interesting lesson.* Morpheus lifted his paw. *Flower lady was informing the class about the scents of some of the plants. The cats are gracing the inside of the dogman's quarters and classroom.*
*Good idea, some of it can be dangerous if handled wrong. My human won't shut up about it. There is a boy in the common room who is very good with plants and she keeps insisting she is correct despite the boy having better grades.* Crookshanks wanted to stuff a dead bird into his human's mouth. It was why he avoided her.
*The plant boy is a nice boy. She should listen to him.* Mrs. Norris began to clean herself.
*Hey are your humans acting weird?* Morpheus continued watching the kittens as they were playing tag while dragging the dead animals around.
*What do you mean?* Mrs. Norris didn't stop cleaning herself but did give Morpheus a curious look.
*Severus has started to read to me which isn't unusual but it's stories about humans who don't remember who they were and having to learn how to deal with being human. Do you think that those dogs could be human and he wants me to see them as human? It isn't happening but do you?*
*He might be under some pressure from the fashion mess to have us make nice to the dogman.* Crookshanks sat up. *Did you hear about how the one you chased was a human?*
*Another one? How many dogmen is the fashion mess going to permit into our school?* Mrs. Norris made a coughing sound. *Sorry, furball.*
*You don't think the fashion mess will bring it here to be mated to the other do you?* Morpheus had a gleam in his eyes. *I wonder if I can get each of them at one time? Who do you think would run faster?* Soon a betting pool was going with the adult cats of the castle.
Two days later:
The Daily Prophet announced the trial of Sirius Black. Many still believed the man was guilty. While they were aware he didn't technically kill the Potters, many believed he did betray them and he should be on trial for that aspect as well as being a Death Eater. Since Dumbledore was Chief Warlock, he was aware that Sirius was innocent of all charges. "Sirius will be joining us today," Dumbledore announced before the staff left for their first session.
"You do realize the cats of the castle have a betting pool going? Well, several to be truthful. One for how soon Morpheus will drive Sirius out of the castle once he sees him. One for how long it will take Morpheus to discover it. One for who runs faster, Remus or Sirius and my personal favorite is how soon will it take Morpheus to have them running together out of the castle. Oh, Hagrid asked if he should reseed the grass on the running path from Hogwarts to the Shrieking Shack."
Severus was trying not to laugh at the calm delivery of Minerva's betting pool information. His cat was going to drive the two mutts out of the castle and he was hoping he could pack their bags. He shouldn't encourage the behavior but he had a feeling that once Dumbledore had Harry, he would force Harry to befriend the two mutts. He didn't want to lose Harry to the two mutts. Morpheus was his and he was Morpheus'. After all, cats pick their humans.
Dumbledore didn't give anyone time to object before he got up and left the hall. "I hate when he does things like this." Minerva wished for once that Dumbledore thought about those who lived and worked in the castle and not his own desires.
He looked at Poppy as they stood up. He needed to speak to her regarding some books. "Poppy, I have some questions I am hoping you could answer for me."
"Certainly, Severus, I will walk down to the dungeons with you since I need to get some fever-reducing potions from you. I had several Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs last night with fevers."
Severus didn't speak until they were almost to the dungeons. "Poppy, I need some suggestions on books to read for anyone who might be suffering from problems with associating with their identity, handling abuse steeped into creating a different set of securities for safety, and perhaps something on acceptance of self."
"Oh, this sounds like it might be an interesting potion you are researching." Poppy pondered for a few seconds. "You might want to check some of the muggle books that deal with the issues as they have been dealing with mental health issues a bit longer and handle them better. I find we are too quick to use a potion and believe the problems will disappear. Andromeada Tonks might be a good person to regarding your research. She is a mind healer but she also works in the muggle world. I will give you a short list for helping to identify the problems but she will be a much better source of information."
"I appreciate it Poppy. I do have some on biology of the brain but nothing to handle the emotional aspect." Severus had a feeling Morpheus/Harry was going to have a lot of emotional problems handling being Harry Potter.
A week later:
Severus was grumbling as he watched the Mutt strut around Hogwarts as if he owned it. The wolf was smart enough to be on the look-out for Morpheus. Since it was before diner time, Morpheus would be up on the fourth floor with the kittens and other cats napping. "Remus, why are you so jumpy?"
"Morpheus." The wolf was eager to get to his quarters. Lupin was acting like he was on fifteen cups of coffee and some energy drinks.
"You are afraid of a cat!" The mutt laughed and pulled the wolf toward the defense hall. "I am sure he can show me where I am staying." The mutt yelled over his shoulder. Minerva and Severus exchanged a quick look. The mutt was going to learn a harsh lesson.
An hour later:
Severus was assisting with Minerva with her deputy duties when they heard the loudest yowl and a lot of screaming. They ran out of the her office and saw a Grim running with a trail of cats chasing him. Morpheus was on top of the Grim and the rest the cats were right on his heels. "Why are the cats wet?" Minerva wondered what Black had done to the cats.
Peeves came flying down the hall throwing things at the Grim. "No pranking kitties bad doggie." Peeves started to throw stones at the Grim and had very good aim. He never hit Morphus and never missed the mutt.
Minerva and Severus groaned. Severus wanted to curse the doggie duo. "He pranked Morpheus? What was he thinking?"
The wolf was running down the stairs. "I tried to stop him but he wanted to -"
"Some payback?" Severus snarled. "I warned Albus, I warned him." Severus started cursing the old fool. Minerva and Severus had spoken to Dumbledore about the prank but their concern was dismissed.
Severus was ignoring the doggie duo as he focused more on helping Morpheus into realizing he was Harry. It wasn't going well, he thought. Morpheus always listened to him when he spoke. The cat probably could do potions better than a seventh year with the knowledge that Severus had shared with him over the years. He had been reading aloud to Morpheus books about different magical theories including animagus transformation. Morpheus barely looked interested.
Severus was reading the different books Poppy and Andromeada provided but he wasn't finding anything on how to handle this situation. Yes, there were stories of people being stuck in their animagus form but Severus believed it was more about accidental or wish magic. He had tried creating stories for Morpheus to see if perhaps it would help but it would be his luck that Morpheus was more interested in getting rid of the doggie duo. Well, he voted for getting rid of the pair too.
He closed the book he had been reading on multipersonality disorders which provided some useful information but also didn't apply to Morpheus. Morpheus was curled up with Mrs. Norris and some huge orange cat. He believed the cat to be Granger's but he wasn't sure. Perhaps, no, he couldn't separate Morpheus from his friends even if they were feline. He could try-no, forcing it would be bad and Dumbledore would use it. He didn't realize he fell asleep in his chair until the next morning. Morpheus was sleeping on his lap when he woke. It was Monday and back to dealing with reality for now.
Severus was sitting next to Minerva for the monthly staff meeting. He was getting a small list of things she needed to get accomplished but didn't have time since she was currently doing more than half of Dumbledore's job. Dumbledore had been slacking off on doing his job since he discovered Harry was missing. Dumbledore breezed in with the doggie duo behind him. Lupin was smart enough to scan for Morpheus before he entered.
"Well, let's get settled, we have a few issues." Dumbledore sat down in his normal seat in his yellow robes.
"I'll say. When are the cats and house-elves going to stop their strike?" Pomona snapped out. "My gardens have been overrun with rodents. We have never had this much of an issue until-" Pomona looked directly at Black.
"The whole castle has been except for the cat area." Filius wasn't laughing or smile. "The house-elves have refused to clean and have only agreed to cook for students and after some bribery they agreed to cook for us."
"Yes, I am aware of the issues. I am attempting to resolve them." Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling.
"You won't until you get rid of Remus and Sirius. The cats have had it. The continued pranking of them has gotten out of hand. The kittens were green last night." Minerva glared at Sirius. "I will not have you pranking them or any other animal in Hogwarts."
"I am only defending myself. Snillivus' cat is a menace." The mutt jumped out of his seat. "The cat needs to be put down." The ranting got worse and worse as the staff was getting madder and madder. Lupin looked lost as to what to do. Dumbledore was staring at Black in shock until finally Minerva recovered and cast a Silencio on Black.
"I will tell you right now, Sirius Orion Black, you lay one more finger on any of the animals in Hogwarts, I will personal make sure you never have sex again!" Minerva glared at Dumbledore. "They need to leave today! No more. It's finished. I am sick of Sirius bullying students if they aren't in Gryffindor. I won't even mention what he has been doing to the Slytherins. Albus, you will remove them from here or we go on strike too."
"Aye." Was heard around the room.
"Now, now, I am sure it's a slight misunderstanding. Sirius hasn't hurt anyone and he is recovering from Azkaban. He needs some time." Dumbledore smiled. "I am sure if given time, he will see that the cats of Hogwarts aren't out with a vendetta against him."
Severus wanted to laugh. The cats of Hogwarts did have a vendetta against Black. They never forgot who dumped water on them, the pranks, and that it was Black who turned into a dog. "Today, Albus!" Minerva left the meeting muttering in Gaelic. The rest of the staff followed her example.
Severus headed down to his quarters and was a bit surprised to find Morpheus, Mrs. Norris, Crookshanks, and a few other cats camped in front of his fireplace. Morpheus glanced up and meowed his greeting. "Still on strike?" The cats meowed as they nodded their heads. Severus headed to the kitchen. "Who wants a can?" He didn't even touch the can opener before his kitchen was filled with Morpheus' furry friends.
yes, yes, I am aware it's fast but the muse just wouldn't leave me alone.
Severus was attempting to remove the dye from the cats and kittens that the Mutt had targetted again. Morpheus was currently purple and one very unhappy cat as he was informing Minerva about what happened. The adult cats had several kittens around them while Severus was washing one of the kittens.
Minerva was sitting on his desk. *He what?*
*The dogman first hit the kittens again.* Mrs. Norris was wet from her bath and wrapped in a towel in Argus' arms. She and a few of the older cats had been hit by Peeves' dung bomb which was an accident and had Peeves bringing them ribbons and other toys to apologize.
*The kittens started crying and we came out to see the issue. He dropped something on us.* Crookshanks was green and yellow. He had a group of kittens meowing on him as some of the mothers were working on calming down their own too. The house-elves were filling up buckets for washing the cats and kitten.
The entrance to the kitchen opened. Peeves was leading the rest of the staff. "See, see what the dogman did to the babies." Peeves had two kittens in his hands. "Bad dog man needs to go."
"Oh, my!" Pomona headed straight to a bucket. "Severus, are you doing this in any type of order?"
"Grab and clean has been the main goal. Argus has been drying the ones I have finished and given them some comfort before putting them with their mothers." Severus wasn't surprised when the staff members broke into two teams, the washers and the dryers. "Minerva is getting the full story."
"Good, they won't get away with this." Irma Prince looked furious as she picked up a polka-dotted kitten. "Poor babies."
*We tried to catch them but we were stopped by an invisible thing. The dogman kept throwing things at us until Peeves came along and hit him with the smell thing.* Mrs. Norris looked at Morpheus. *He started to use spells on Morpheus.*
Minerva quickly shifted. "Severus, we need to check Morpheus, Sirius was using spells on him."
"What?" Several gasped as Severus pulled out his wand and started to run some scans on his cat. No one spoke as they waited for the results. "I am going to kill that Mutt!"
"Severus?" Minerva read the results after Severus handed them to her. She let out a sigh of relief. "Nothing stuck but Morpheus has residue from several cutting hexes, a few stinging hexes, and shows signs of resisting a rather dangerous bleeding curse. It doesn't list which ones exactly."
"He needs to go." Filius growled. No one had seen Filius angry before and it was a bit scary if they were honest with themselves. Not the look but the fact that someone had made the half-goblin angry. Filius was the happiest and easiest-going professor.
"He does. Is everyone in agreement on a strike? A full strike. We do not do a thing." Minerva copied the results and handed the original back to Severus.
"Yes, let's get the kittens and cats cleaned up. After that, we set up a proximity ward and protection ward to keep that fool out of the cat area." Aurora saw everyone agreed with her. "We do not inform Albus either. He needs to learn."
"Agreed." Minerva smiled. "The house-elves, if you agree, will continue to make sure the students are fed, the ghosts can be used to keep the students safe, and if we are forced to attend to our classes, I am sure the students would love to hear about the Marauders and their pranks," Minerva smirked a bit. "I will even pull their detention records."
Severus hid his smirk as he looked at Morpheus. He had a feeling that once Morpheus was revealed as Harry, he would have the same support against Dumbledore that the staff was displaying in their protection of the cats of Hogwarts.
The students were a bit confused. There wasn't a single staff member at dinner, they didn't consider Black and Lupin were the only two who finally appeared as staff. They were served their food but no one was sure of what to make of no professors being present. Black looked at Lupin. "Where is everyone?"
"No idea. I know Albus had a meeting with the Minister." Lupin was a bit relieved as it was the first time he got to the Great Hall without having cats chasing after them. He narrowed his eyes at Black. "What did you do?"
"Me? I haven't done anything."
"Sirius, if I discover you did something to the cats, I will kill you." Lupin saw Black's face go a bit pale as he growled out the last part. "What did you do, Sirius Orion Black?" He resisted the urge to grab the man and shake him.
"I just did a slight prank on them again. Snivillius' cat needs to go. I know it is the one causing the problems. He is the head cat and once he is gone, the rest will fear us again." Black looked a bit smug. "I put a ward -"
"No, no, no....tell me you didn't do anything to Morpheus? Tell me right now, Sirius." Lupin couldn't believe his friend would hurt the cats. They were the ones who were invading their territory. He understood that concept as his wolf was the same way about their small cabin in the woods. Cats were hunters and they had their own natural order within their clowder.
"He deserves it." Black glared at Lupin. "No cat has the right to determine-"
Lupin grabbed Black and pulled him out of the Great Hall. The students had been listening and we're not happy with what they had heard. It was time to go to Slytherin on the two Gryffindors. "They need to go" was shared by more than one student. It was honestly the first time in anyone's memory that the four houses were in full agreement.
"I know just how we can do it." A Slytherin seventh-year student looked at some of the Gryffindors, Ravenclaws, and Hufflepuffs. "We need three students from each house except for Slytherin to speak to a certain person. Pick the three and let's get started."
Two days later:
Dumbledore was wondering where his staff and the students were. He didn't see anyone yesterday since he had a Wizenagamot session. He was sitting in the Great Hall and breakfast started over thirty minutes ago and so far only Lupin and Black had joined him. He had already heard about what Black had done and the man was still sitting with his head hanging down after he gave him a long lecture about what he had done wrong. He didn't think that Black thought he had done anything wrong but he was upset that Dumbledore was mad at him.
"Albus, none of the students showed up for my class yesterday nor the meals." Lupin felt a strange case of fear in his gut mixed with apprehension. Something was happening and it was big. He had a bad feeling it had to do with the cats and what Black had done to them.
"Oh, I am sure Minerva has everything under control." Dumbledore dismissed the concern as he always did. Two owls flew into the Great Hall and dropped the newspaper in front of Lupin and Dumbledore. Dumbledore was drinking his tea but Lupin opened it up.
STAFF AND STUDENTS OF HOGWARTS ARE ON STRIKE
By Rita Skeeter
My dear readers it appears we have a serious situation at Hogwarts. The staff and students have gone on strike after Sirius Black has ignored numerous warnings regarding the cats of Hogwarts. We have been hearing some strange rumors regarding Hogwarts and now we can confirm they are true. Sirius Black has been torturing the cats of Hogwarts.
"He has been dying them strange colors. Peeves has been defending the cats. He has targetted Morpheus, Professor Snape's cat. He calls Professor Snape some nasty names including Snillivius. He is a bully! He was even in our common room trying to teach us to prank anyone in Slytherin. We like pranks but he was cruel." A fifth-year Gryffindor told me.
"Black is taking his revenge on Morpheus when Morpheus was protecting our house from his breaking and entering in his dog form. Black is a big black dog and he has been trying to show the upper years how to become animagus. Morpheus was protecting us and he wants to torture him." A seventh-year Gryffindor informed us.
"Everyone knows that Morpheus and the cats do not like dogs inside the castle. It's normal for cats to not like dogs. Hogwarts is their area to protect." A seventh-year Ravenclaw informed us.
"It is so bad because the headmaster has been ignoring what everyone has been complaining about. No one wants Black there or Lupin for that matter. Neither are staff. However, Lupin at least provides some fun seeing how many times he has run out of Hogwarts and to the Shrieking Shack because the cats chase him. We don't know why they chase him but Black has been vocal about Morpheus." A teary Hufflepuff added. "It's not right."
"The staff hasn't shown up for four meals so far and the Headmaster hasn't even noticed. Black and Lupin show up for each meal but the elves won't feed them. The house-elves hate them too." A sixth-year Ravenclaw added.
"It's bad. We go to class and the staff is present but it's been just chatting with them about anything we want. We ask a question and they answer. No assignments, no assigned reading, and no tests." An excited Hufflepuff nudged one of the Gryffindors. "Tell her!"
"I will, I will." The Gryffindor looked a bit fearful. "I heard Black talking about killing Morpheus before forcing the Headmaster to get rid of Professor Snape. Black wants to poison Morpheus and have the professor blamed for it. Lupin has told him no a few times but Black talks a lot, out loud. He isn't sane and mutters about how he has to find James, protect James from Snivillius, kill Morpheus since Hogwarts is their caste, not some --He swears a lot--- cats."
"Everyone has heard him regarding James. Some Gryffindors asked him who James was. He said James Potter, the greatest Marauder, and his best friend. He told us stories about the Marauders. He bragged about almost killing Professor Snape by having Lupin kill him. He told us that Lupin is a werewolf and he sent Professor Snape to investigate the causes of the noises in the Shrieking Shack. He laughed as he said that Dumbledore protected him, James, and Remus from being punished. Dumbledore warned the professor about exposing the secret as who would believe two pure-bloods against a half-blood." The Gryffindor boy sighed. "I can provide the memory of him talking about everything if need be. He is dangerous."
My dear readers, my editor summoned the Aurors when were learned of this. The Aurors and Madam Bones were not happy with the information we discovered. They asked us to keep the names hidden until such a time they can press formal charges.
"Albus, read the paper, now." Lupin was shaking. "Sirius, what have you done?" He thrust the paper toward Black. The doors to the Great Hall opened. Madam Bones and a team of eight Aurors entered.
Dumbledore had read the headline and lowered the paper at their entrance. "Amelia? What is the problem?"
"You are under arrest, Albus as well as Sirius Black and Remus Lupin." Madam Bones signaled the Aurors who moved forward.
Minerva entered the Great Hall with Severus and several other staff members. Minerva was holding a copy of the paper. "Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore you have a lot to answer for."
"They are being charged." Madam Bones informed the deputy headmistress. "You will be in charge until he can return if he is granted bail. Black and Lupin will not be returning even if they get bail."
"Good." Minerva glared at the doggie duo before turning to stare at Dumbledore. "All these years, it was a lie."
"It was for the greater good. What good would have come from them being charged? Remus would have been killed." Dumbledore felt he had done the right course of action.
"Why would he have been killed? He was not in the wrong. The only charges against him are failing to file his status and accessory after the fact but based on what I saw in the memory, I do not believe he was given an option of informing anyone about the situation and your words confer it. So, therefore, that action will be reviewed again." Madam Bones looked at Professor Snape. "Is that the reason why he forced you into being a spy? Forced you to remain here? We are very aware of the sealed files and we are in the process of having them opened."
"May I will speak to you at a later less public time?" Severus was aware of Dumbledore's secret-keeping method. The man believed if he buried it under enough legal red tape it would never be discovered. He was going to speak to Madam Bones regarding Harry and what Dumbledore has been keeping hidden since Dumbledore discovered the boy was missing.
"Yes, I will owl you when I am free."
"Thank you." Severus gave a quick bow of his head.
"You're welcome. Minerva?" Madam Bones watched Dumbledore being escorted out. Black and Dumbledore had silencing charms on them.
"I have several issues that should be discussed as well."
Madam Bones looked at the rest of the staff. "I believe I will assign a few Aurors to arrive later and take statements, memories, and anything else you deem we might need."
"Very good. The staff will be available. The students can remain in their houses." Minerva wasn't sure what would be revealed but had a feeling this was going to change Hogwarts.
Severus and Minerva closed off the cat area for the cats to get settled again. Morpheus followed Severus when the area was secure. Crookshanks was going to remain with the cats. Mrs. Norris was with Argus being spoiled. Severus and Minerva arranged for the students and staff to be in the Great Hall for when the Aurors and Madam Bones began the interviews. Each head of house stayed with the student while they were being interviewed with the remaining staff taking turns watching the students while they were also being interviewed.
Morpheus comforted each of the Slytherins as they were being interviewed. He would hop on their laps and let them pet him as they were questioned. Most of the Slytherins spoke about the way Dumbledore treated them, favored the Gryffindors over Slytherins. They told about the bullying and Dumbledore's lack of care regarding it if it was done by Slytherins. They provided the backstories of past students for the Aurors to research. Severus provided the Aurors with a list of former students who were expelled or bullied because of Dumbledore's lack of care.
Severus watched as his cat had the Aurors eating out of his paws. The Aurors were good with the students. They didn't push but let the students have their say. Severus did notice that no Aurors were from the Order. Madam Bones had sent a group of Aurors to gather the old archives regarding detentions and other student files. Madam Bones had two Aurors per house speaking to the students. A male and female Auror working in pairs and Severus was able to see why. The women were able to catch subtle things and would probe a bit while making the students feel secure. The males were a bit more direct but still remembered they were dealing with innocent (Severus wondered about how innocent) students.
Several hours later, the students were guided back to their houses. Minerva escorted Madam Bones to her office. Severus followed them and Minerva arranged for tea. "How much trouble is he is?" Minerva finally asked the question he wanted to be answered.
"I am not sure currently. Since Albus was aware of the attempted murder after the fact, I am not sure if I can give him anything but a slap on the wrist given the time since the crime occurred. If it was anyone else, I would have a chance but it is Albus. Lupin will have to register but he won't be charged for anything except failing to register and a fine. Sirius Black will have an attempted murder charge added to his file." Madam Bones looked around the room before adding some privacy charms. "Albus is in deep trouble. Many people have sent in reports regarding the bullying and other issues including child abuse being dismissed."
"I fear it is true." Minerva wasn't sure what else the DMLE would discover but they would uncover a lot of things that Dumbledore wanted to keep hidden.
"Harry Potter's name was mentioned." Madam Bones pulled three files from her robe. "We have been investigating his disappearance as you are aware. I am aware that many are aware of the abuse by the muggles as it has been released. However, what wasn't revealed was a few letters between the muggles and Albus. The letters have the muggles demanding that Harry be removed and Albus giving them free rein with their behavior toward him. One letter tells Petunia Dursley that he wants her to teach Harry to be submissive and unaware of magic."
"Petunia was always a nasty piece of work." Severus never had a use for Petunia. She was a nasty child and hadn't grown up. He understood why Harry had run away. He was still working on figuring out how the boy managed to change into a cat. He also needed to get Harry to accept he wasn't a cat but a human. However, one thing at a time.
"Oh, yes, I had forgotten you would have known her too. Lily and Severus knew each other before they attended Hogwarts." Minerva explained to Madam Bones. "I did warn him about leaving Harry on the doorstep of her home."
"You were aware he left a baby on a step at night on the 31st of October?" Madam Bones looked at Minerva.
"It was actually the 1st. I am not sure what or where Harry was between the time." Minerva frowned. "I am not even sure why I was accepting him leaving Harry on a step."
"I see." Madam Bones looked at Minerva closely. "I want the staff checked for potions and compulsions."
Minerva looked a bit shaken as she agreed. "I can make purging potions." Severus offered. It would give him some time to chat with Morpheus while he brewed the potion.
"I will want a complete list of purges and anything discovered." Madam Bones removed a form from one of the folders. "I will need you to fill out this form on each one you do. I am sure once I review the information we gathered today I will have more questions. I will have to ignore some crimes due to time but I can use them to show a pattern."
Morpheus stood on his hind legs and snagged a biscuit. "Morpheus!" Minerva was trying not to laugh as Severus rebuked his cat. "I swear I feed him." Morpheus kept eating the biscuit. Severus poured some water into a cup and placed it on the floor.
"Meow!" Morpheus drank some water as the biscuit was a bit dry.
"I am guessing the cat bed is for him." Madam Bones saw the tartan cat bed on the sill of the window, a cat tree in the corner, and some treats on a shelf near the corner of the room.
"You will find Hogwarts is very cat friendly. Hogwarts gets a tad upset if the cats are unhappy." Minerva sighed. "Sirius Black's attack on the cats has the ghosts and Hogwarts a bit unsettled. The truly sad part is that Albus didn't even realize the staff and students were on strike for a few days. Sirius and Remus read about it in the paper and informed him. The ghosts told me that former Headmasters tried to inform him but he ignored them. The former Headmasters might also have some information."
"I have already arranged for some of the Unspeakables to come and speak to the ghosts and portraits." Madam Bones removed another piece of parchment. "Were you aware that Albus had a relationship with Grindelwald and the line for the greater good was from their plans to take control over the muggles?" She handed a copy of the letter to Minerva.
Your point about Wizard dominance being FOR THE MUGGLES' OWN GOOD - this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled. We must stress this point, it will be the foundation stone upon which we build. Where we are opposed, as we surely will be, this must be the basis of all our counterarguments. We seize control FOR THE GREATER GOOD. And from this, it follows that where we meet resistance, we must use only the force that is necessary and no more. (This was your mistake at Durmstrang! But I do not complain, because if you had not been expelled, we would never have met.)
"I got it from Bathilda Bagshot. There is also a letter from Lily Potter to Sirius that mentions the relationship also." Madam Bones pulled out two pieces of parchment. "Here is a copy."
Thank you, thank you, for Harry's birthday present! It was his favorite by far. One year old and already zooming along on a toy broomstick, he looked so pleased with himself, I'm enclosing a picture so you can see. You know it only rises about two feet off the ground, but he nearly killed the cat and he smashed a horrible vase Petunia sent me for Christmas (no complaints there). Of course, James thought it was funny, says he's going to be a great Quidditch player, but we've had to pack away all the ornaments and make sure we don't take our eyes off him when he gets going.
We had a very quiet birthday tea, just us and old Bathilda, who has always been sweet to us, and who dotes on Harry. We were so sorry you couldn't come, but the Order's got to come first, and Harry's not old enough to know it's his birthday anyway! James is getting a bit frustrated shut up here, he tries not to show it but I can tell -- also, Dumbledore's still got his Invisibility Cloak, so no chance of little excursions. If you could visit, it would cheer him up so much. Wormy was here last weekend, I thought he seemed down, but that was probably the news about the McKinnons; I cried all evening when I heard.
Bathilda drops in most days, she's a fascinating old thing with the most amazing stories about Dumbledore, I'm not sure he'd be pleased if he knew! I don't know how much to believe, actually, because it seems incredible that Dumbledore ------
The second page
------could ever have been friends with Gellert Grindelwald. I think her mind's going, personally!
Lots of love,
Minerva looked a bit pale. "I believe you should investigate Tom Marvolo Riddle. Albus was the one who spoke to him about Hogwarts. Albus mentioned showing Tom magic by burning his wardrobe. While this might not sound important, Tom Marvolo Riddle was my schoolmate. He later became He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named. There are many things that I believe Albus handled wrong. He destroyed the belongings of an orphan during a war with magic. Yes, they weren't destroyed-"
"However, the damage was already done. I have read about Tom Marvolo Riddle. He had asked not to be returned to the orphanage because of abuse. The paperwork was done and was to be filed but Albus stopped it. He is one of the many students we have searched regarding abuse over the decades. I wasn't aware he became -"
"Well, that is interesting." Severus looked at the pair of women. "I was the one who heard part of the prophecy that Albus has kept hidden. I am now wondering if it was a set-up." Severus looked at Morpheus as the cat hopped onto the window sill and laid down in the cat bed. "I only heard but of it but it was in a loud pub without privacy charms while he gave an interview."
"An interview in a pub?" Minerva was confused. "He would never-" Minerva looked at the two letters. "Everything--it had to be a set-up."
"There is no evidence that I would be able to use to build a case against him. Most people would see the evidence clearly with enough facts pointing in the correct direction but his reputation even now, won't be tarnished. Most will see him as doing something to protect an innocent werewolf. Most would dismiss everything just based on Albus' word." Madam Bones put the letters back in the folder. "I am going to have a hard time getting him convicted of anything since so many feel they owe him everything. Most of the employes in the Ministry were former students of his."
"True. He would also use his defeat of Grindelwald to spin the past association." Severus was very aware that Dumbledore might have been a Gryffindor but he was a Slytherin as well. He wondered if Dumbledore pushed the hat for Gryffindor to set himself up for taking control. Slytherin has never had the best reputation and he was aware Dumbledore's younger brother went to Slytherin. Dumbledore was a general and he would not go down without a fight.
"If you need anything from here or if you have any questions, we will gladly help." Minerva sighed deeply. "I have never cared for how many children he ignored regarding abuse."
"Poppy would have a lot of information," Severus suggested.
"I have a meeting with her arranged for tomorrow as well as several healers from Gringotts and St. Mungos." Madam Bones gathered her belongings. "I am not sure if he will be able to retain his position as headmaster but I am going to try and stop him from returning. I will also be speaking to the Board."
"As will we." Severus was going to be speaking to Lucius. Dumbledore needed to be controlled before Harry became human or Dumbledore would have his Savior and be back in the magical world's good graces again.
This update took a lot longer than expected. I had several ways I wanted to do this but my muse and I kept going round and round.
Severus was heading to St. Mungos. He had scheduled an appointment to speak to Andromeda Tonks regarding Harry AKA Morpheus. He wasn't going to share with her the true reason why he needed to meet with her but he was hoping she might have some idea on what to do or what direction he should take regarding getting Harry back to being a human.
Severus felt it was the correct time to get Morpheus back to being human with Dumbledore, Lupin, and Black having their legal issues they wouldn't be focused on finding Harry. While Lupin wasn't facing criminal charges, he was dealing with the fines and was now registered as a werewolf. Dumbledore and Black were still in the holding cells at the Ministry.
Minerva and the staff were back to work. The students were happier now that Lupin and Black were gone. Minerva was working with the Board to get classes, assistants, and anything else possible returned to Hogwarts while Dumbledore was gone. Mrs. Pince had gladly supplied a long list of books. The staff, including him, supplied a list of updated books that they would rather use.
Three days the Aurors and Madam Bones were at Hogwarts. Madam Bones and Poppy spent a lot of time reviewing the old records of students and Poppy provided a detailed list of those who were abused and Dumbledore's lack of response. Madam Bones assigned several Aurors to speak to the former students while she spoke to the current students.
Severus was sure it would only be a matter of time before Minerva would receive permission to involve some mind healers from St. Mungos and he wanted to speak to Andromeda before she got too busy with Hogwarts. Severus avoided St. Mungos as much as possible since healers and mind healers would often stop him and ask him about potions, make suggestions regarding improvising a new potion, or a helpful suggestion to improve a potion especially to get children to take their potions willingly. Severus was able to prevent it this time because he would just nod and say I have an appointment I don't want to be late for. Many of the healers and mind healers accepted it as he through St. Mungos. He was almost to Andromeda's office when the head of St. Mungos potion-making stepped in front of him, blocking him from reaching his destination. "Tiberius, I have an appointment with Andromeda. I can't be late."
"It won't take but a minute, Severus. I am having an issue with the new potion you crafted for burns. I can't seem to get it to the finer texture that you demonstrated. I can get it to work and it has but it's a bit thicker than what you produced." Tiberius was an older man who was a bit timid. He was average height, a bit of a paunch, a rescinding hairline, and always looked flush. It didn't help that the man always wore tan.
"Did you stir counter before adding the fig leaf?" Severus inwardly sighed. Tiberius was a nice man, a bit too nice if Severus was honest with himself. The man never spoke loud, never seemed to be phased by anything, and was always agreeable. There just had to be something wrong with him.
"Yes, and I added the mint after counting to fifteen." Tiberius chewed his lip a bit as he thought. "Perhaps I am counting too fast or slow?"
Severus arched a brow. "I did say to use the word thousand to keep the timing even. The thinness of the potion is a constant even timing."
"Yes, yes, I will see if that helps. If it doesn't, perhaps I could watch you brew it again?"
Severus wondered why he was plagued with morons. "Yes. Next time I need some, I will come here and brew it." Thankfully, Severus rarely needed to make the potion. The only time he needed to brew it was when St. Mungos had emergencies and needed more. It was a potion most of the idiotic Gryffindors could do. Granted, they were just acceptable but the potion would work.
"Oh, Tiberius, leave the man alone. He has an appointment with me." Andromeda had heard Severus' voice and stepped out of her office to find out what was delaying the man. "Severus, I have tea ready."
"Tiberius." Severus nodded quickly at the man before stepping around him and heading for Andromeda's office. "Thank you." He entered Andromeda's office. It was soothing. The room had slightly off-white walls, a deep forest green couch with two matching chairs, the carpet was basic beige, her desk and office chair were blond oak, and the curtains were blue. There was a full bookcase behind her office chair. There were several ferns and spider plants on the window sill. There was a silver tea set on the table between the couch and chairs.
Andromeda smiled before following Severus into her office. "Have a seat."
Severus sat down in the chair closest to the windows. Andromeda sat in the opposite chair. She began to serve tea. "I am aware this isn't a social call, Severus, as I know if it was you would have just floo called or written a letter."
"It isn't. I do appreciate your agreeing to meet with me. I have some questions I am hoping you might be able to provide a greater understanding and comprehension on my part." Severus hadn't quite figured out how to broach the Harry/Morpheus issue but he was hoping he wouldn't have to reveal too much information.
"I will gladly assist in this endeavor. Potion?" Andromeda handed him a cup of tea. "Two sugars.'
"Thank you." Severus wasn't surprised she would remember, they had several teas together over the years when he needed assistance on researching a potion. "I am interested in your thoughts or ideas regarding an area I have never ventured into before."
"Oh, this sounds interesting." Andromeda leaned a bit back in her chair to get comfortable.
"I am not sure if interesting is the correct word but I have some questions regarding the acceptance of reality if someone isn't even aware of a reality different from the one they are in." Severus thought that sounded a bit confusing but he was hoping Andromeda could understand it somewhat.
Andromeda looked a bit confused. "Let me ask a few questions to see if I understand what you are asking. Does this person know of this reality you want them to accept?"
Severus wasn't surprised by the question. "They are aware of it but not in the form they should be in." Severus held up his hand. "Let me give you an example. If someone was in a prison all their life, they were aware of others coming and going of others but they never left, their world revolved around the prison but suddenly they needed to be outside of the prison and accepted it as well as being aware of each side of the prison."
"Complex. There are a lot of different problems I could see. However, it would also depend on the person. As you are aware, everyone handles stress, change, and even normal events differently. If you are talking about creating a safe way to reveal the outside of the prison to a person, you are talking about forcing a major adjustment in their reality. Using your example, the prison is a safe place, their reality would be a safe place to them as well. Removing the safety, especially if it is the only safety they have ever known could be a bit dangerous as well as complex if you do not establish a safe place for them to venture into or even retreat into if they need one."
Severus had been a bit fearful of that aspect. Morpheus only knew Hogwarts and his quarters as being safe. Petunia never provided one and Severus wondered if Morpheus even remembered being human. "It would be more so if the person was thrust into the spotlight, forced into being something he or she wasn't?"
Andromeda looked at Severus. "Albus was asking some interesting questions regarding Harry Potter and how to determine if the boy would be evil, dark, or light. He was concerned since he had no idea where the boy had been since he disappeared from his relatives what influences the muggles might have had on him and how he might view the magical world."
"He came to you?" Severus wasn't surprised by the idea of Dumbledore believing someone might be evil or dark if Dumbledore didn't influence them. He had wondered if that was why he had kept Harry away from the magical world. He believed Dumbledore was hoping to be viewed as a savior and mentor to the returning Harry Potter once the boy entered Hogwarts. A boy who would be grateful for position attention.
"No, he wrote me a few letters. His concern was based on the lack of being able to locate Harry and wondered if perhaps a dark faction member might have obtained control over Harry and how to counter the issue. He was asking about potions." Andromeda arched a brow.
"Indeed." Severus was going to kill the old fart. No one was going to drug up Morpheus or Harry Potter. "I am sure he will discover the truth about whatever happened to Harry Potter eventually." Severus ignored the part of his brain saying he needed to kill the old fart. "How would you handle introducing a different reality to someone who viewed the new reality but in a different light?"
"Again, it would be hard to determine the correct way without meeting the person and having a few discussions with the person. However, I do have several books that could provide some insight. The best solution I have is to go slow, no rushing, no potions, and certainly, no spells. No shortcuts as Albus loves to do. Time, patience, listening and watching. I would also suggest discussing changes you wish them to explore but bring it up casually."
Severus frowned. "It wouldn't work on this aspect. The person in question doesn't even believe they are human, currently. I am not even sure if they remember ever being classified as human." Severus was hoping she might think a creature of some sort, a non-werewolf would be perfect.
"Ah, yes, we have had several of those cases. Some of the werewolves have wanted children but didn't want to turn the children until they were old to accept their wolves. The children believed they were werewolves." Andromeda got up and went to her bookcase. "In those types of cases, again, no rushing, no potions, no spells, or even compulsions. While they work in the short term, they do more damage in the long term. Something I have been trying to get Albus to see when he tries to claim child abuse isn't real because families love each other and the parents might need some help."
"I am aware of his lack of understanding about abuse. Love is the cure-all if you listen to him." Severus resisted the urge to gag at the idea.
Andromeda smiled. She pulled down some books. She set them on her desk and started to write a list of titles for Severus to read. "Here are some book titles I would recommend. I would still suggest watching, listening, time, and patience. It will be a long road for any child and expect setbacks. Accepting any new truth is hard but when someone learns their life has been a lie, it can be very hard to get them to grasp the truth."
Severus thought it was a bit of an understatement. He was also going to have to be careful because of Dumbledore and his plans. Harry Potter was famous and while Morpheus was a brave cat in his eyes, Morpheus was not one for being the center of attention. Morpheus' best friend was Mrs. Norris and he wasn't sure how Harry Potter would relate to other children. The cats disappeared when the students were present. Morpheus followed him around but he wasn't known for sitting around children. "May I write or call you if I have any questions or concerns?"
"Certainly." Andromeda handed the list to Severus. "Severus, I am aware that Albus is in trouble and Harry's name has been mentioned in the newspaper. Were Albus' questions because he discovered Harry and was hoping for a quick fix?"
"No, Albus has no idea where the boy is. It is why he had Lupin and Black at Hogwarts." Severus was relieved the pair were gone.
"Those two, pfft." Andromeda shook her head. "Albus let those four get away with too much. Sirius is my cousin but he was an immature bully and I am sure Azkaban didn't improve him."
"It didn't." Severus looked down at the list. He hadn't seen some of the titles in the bookstore. "Muggle titles?"
"Yes, muggles have made a lot of advancement in the mental health field. In a lot of ways, they are more advanced than us in medicine and mind healing."
"I have used several of their methods in medicine to craft better potions." Severus stood up. "Andy, I do appreciate this time."
"Anytime, Sev, anytime. I am always willing to help a fellow snake." Andromeda escorted Severus to the door. "I will even provide a session or two if you need me, for free, to help."
Severus smiled. "Thank you. I will keep you informed of the situation."
"You're welcome and I look forward to hearing from you."
Severus headed back to his reality. Hogwarts and Morpheus were waiting for him. He had a lot of reading to do if he was to help Harry Potter without alerting anyone to the location of Harry Potter.
Severus didn't have much time to spend with Morpheus since Dumbledore was dealing with legal issues. The running of Hogwarts was left up to Minerva and Severus on top of their other duties. The students were back in classes but the staff was playing cleaning up after the mess they realized Dumbledore had left Hogwarts sink into. The cats were working double duty getting rid of the vermin.
The Aurors and goblins had been at Hogwarts for almost a week. The Aurors were searching through the archives while the goblins were updating the wards. The Ministry was not happy about the extra expense for the Aurors and the Board wasn't happy with the extra expense for the goblins. Lucius was busy pushing through as much as he could while Dumbledore was out of Hogwarts and the Board didn't have to listen to Dumbledore complaints or his speeches about the greater good.
The Ministry was currently looking for Harry Potter which brought more questions to Dumbledore's doorstep. Questions that Dumbledore didn't want to answer including why did he seal the Potter family's wills. Questions that led to exploding more about Dumbledore's past after Madam Bones submitted the two letters regarding Dumbledore and Grindelwald. Dumbledore was being dragged into a lot of question and answer sessions which Dumbledore played ignorant or claimed the greater good.
The Ministry was up in arms about Death Eaters and the return of the Dark Lord because of Dumbledore and the lack of answers he was providing. They had taken several memories from different people and discovered the fake prophecy after speaking to Minerva and Severus. A lot of unpleasant secrets were being revealed. Secrets that Severus and Minerva as well as several other Order members were having a hard time accepting but also not surprised by.
Lupin was registered as a werewolf and had been fined for failure. Black was sitting in a cell next to Dumbledore waiting for a trial for the attempted murder of Severus and animal cruelty. Black's mouth was killing Dumbledore whenever anyone spoke to the man to discover what had happened over the years. Granted it was mostly about the war and secrets that Dumbledore didn't want anyone to know regarding the Order and the raids that some of the Order members engaged in.
Severus was tired. No, he was exhausted. His cat was suffering because of it and he wasn't sure what he could do to fix the situation. He didn't want to deal with Dumbledore and the messes he had created. Severus had been summoned a few different times to answer questions about the war. He wasn't in trouble but Madam Bones needed some insight into the issues and since Severus served each side, he was the best one to answer the questions.
"Oh, Morpheus, can you wait for a trip outside for hunting? I am exhausted."
Morpheus headed to the bedroom. He could use another nap. He hopped onto the bed. Severus followed. He looked at the wardrobe and then back to his bed. Severus pulled out his ward and changed into his nightclothes. He would shower when he woke up. "Yes, yes, I know but you can deal with it." Morpheus curled onto the second pillow. "No sleeping on me." Severus crawled into bed. He yawned.
Morpheus waited until Severus was asleep before climbing onto Severus. He curled up on Severus' chest. He was just happy his Severus was home. He was going to have to find a way to make the fashion mess pay for taking Severus away from him. Morpheus was going to have to speak to Mrs. Norris about finding a way to get their humans back to their normal schedules. It had taken him a long time to train Severus to fit his schedule. Yes, he was going to have to speak to Mrs. Norris.
Morpheus picked his head up as he heard a knock on the door. Severus didn't move so Morpheus laid back down. The knocking didn't stop. Morpheus wasn't sure who was the annoyance but it had to be important for them to keep knocking. Severus started to move, Morpheus let out a low growl as he got off of Severus and went to the second pillow.
Severus' growl was much louder as he moved to get up out of bed. Severus glanced at Morpheus. "Don't bother pretending. I am aware you were sleeping on me."
Morpheus just closed his eyes as he heard Severus use magic to change his clothes. He ignored the muttering Severus was doing about killing whoever was waking him up. Once Severus left the room, Morpheus followed him out of the room. Severus opened the door to see Lucius standing there. "Lucius?"
"I do apologize but it is important and not something we can discuss any place else since Dumbledore's not around."
Severus stepped back and granted Lucius access to his quarters. "Tea?"
"Please, I am aware it's been a long week for each of us with Dumbledore and the problems he has created." Lucius sat down on the couch. Morpheus looked at the blond before following Severus into the kitchen. Severus put down some fresh food for Morpheus while he was in the kitchen before returning to the living area with tea. "Dumbledore has made a mess out of everything. Hogwarts, the Ministry, and even with the Board. I am not even sure what they will discover regarding the war but what I am hearing so far hasn't been good."
"Yes, the Aurors and goblins have been here. Minerva has had the house-elves cleaning out the archives. We discovered there were many areas that Dumbledore has let fall to the wayside due to neglect. Minerva and I have been writing up the reports for the Board so don't be surprised when you see them." Severus had a feeling there was something important that Lucius was attempting to tell him but he wasn't sure how. Lucius had ignored the tea but Severus wasn't surprised. He hadn't felt like tea either.
"Do you remember the item that was protected at Hogwarts the year Quirrell taught?"
"Yes, it was the same year that a troll was in Hogwarts." Severus had a very bad feeling about what he was about to hear.
"He's back." Lucius swallowed. "He did something to the mark to keep it from alerting the Ministry about his return. He arrived at my manor a few days ago." Severus waited for the shoe to drop as he thought of all the times the crazy old fool could return was when Dumbledore was in trouble. Dumbledore could and would use it to get himself off of any charge. "He appears to not be as crazy as he was before he disappeared."
"Appears?" Severus was wondering what was happening.
"Yes, he has been catching up on the events over the past decade and hasn't cursed anyone so far."
Lucius' face hadn't betrayed what he was feeling but he was sure it was the same thing he was feeling. Dread. Dread that a crazy madman was back. He couldn't alert anyone since there would be too many questions asked regarding where the information might have come from or who provided it. "You stated he hasn't cursed anyone?"
"Yes, it's almost like he was before the start of the war before he started to engage Dumbledore in battle. Narcissa did a health scan on him and asked some basic mental health questions. He seemed sane. I am not sure what he is planning but I do know he hasn't mentioned Harry Potter."
Severus was reading between the lines and found the information very interesting. The Dark Lord wasn't searching for Harry which gave him more time to protect Harry and help Harry recover mentally. The Dark Lord had become so focused on killing Harry during the last war that Severus wondered if it drove the man deeper into his madness. "Any idea?"
Lucius looked at the fireplace for several seconds before answering. "No. He hasn't mentioned any plans which is strange." Lucius turned his head to look at Severus. "He was even nice to Draco when he came home for the weekend."
Severus was confused. He could see Morpheus enter the room. Morpheus climbed into his bed and buried himself under the blanket. Severus was grateful that Harry was safe. However, knowing the Dark Lord was back and Dumbledore was in a holding cell, for now, put him into a bit of a pickle. "What do you think he plans on doing?"
"I am very unsure. He hasn't made any plans. He has just been researching and catching up on events. He hasn't even asked about those in Azkaban. He has ordered some clothes and books."
"Has he been to Gringotts?"
"I think so. He doesn't look the same. He looks younger, a bit fuller in the chest and shoulder area, his eyes are green instead of brown, otherwise, he is the same. He appears to have used the last two years to get a few things set up if he returned during the summer holiday. I haven't asked him about his return."
Severus was going to see if Minerva had any information regarding what item they had protected. He was going to have to research the different ways the Dark Lord might have returned. "Has he mentioned me or anyone else?"
"No, which as you know is a bit surprising. He was always planning and giving us assignments. Narcissa has already dropped several hints about her and Draco spending the summer holiday in France."
Severus didn't blame the woman. "Politically, this is a mess. Dumbledore might not be free currently but he could use it to get free if he put enough pressure."
"Yes, he would use it and promote more fear again." Lucius wasn't sure how he felt about everything. The Dark Lord being back and as long as he kept to the original goals, he could support him. He didn't want a crazy, mass-murdering Dark Lord.
"Indeed." Severus needed to revamp some plans but foremost, Harry was going to come first. Harry needed to be protected. "Shall we keep our ears and eyes opened?"
"Yes, the Slytherin way." Lucius picked up his teacup. "Slytherin way."
Morpheus peeked out from under the blanket. He liked the Slytherin way. He was going to have to speak to Mrs. Norris to see who they were discussing.