113

Being followed into the night wasn't something Ted had in mind.

Quite frankly, he was unsure if he was or not. Perhaps his paranoia was getting the best of him again, but he couldn't shake the fact that a tall man in the dark coat had been following closely beind for the past few blocks and it surely hasn't gone unnoticed since he's left the bank.

To this, Ted tightened his grip on his brief case as he continued walking home.

It was a quick walk to his flat and with the traffic outside of his building he didn't think to be in much danger, but Ted still took precautions as he stepped up to his door and fiddled with his keys.

He turned his head and watched the figure walking his way along the sidewalk.

If it wasn't for the dim lights hitting the pavement, Ted wouldn't have gotten the glance of the strangers dark eyes staring directly up at him.

He swallowed thickly, but just as he was about to panic he watched the tall man walk right passed him and continued his way down the side walk.

Ted had let out a sigh of relief.

"Bloody hell." He mumbled to himself, finally able to unlock his door and allowed himself into the darkness of his home.

Without a moment to waste, Ted closed the door with a quick lock and placed his brief case to the side.

He moved around his flat. Taking off his blazer and loosening the tie around his neck while he looked through the fridge just to see the very little he had of food before he decided on leftover takeout and a bottled beer.

Just as he shut the fridge he stopped in subtle motion to the small sound that came from the livingroom.

He could only make out a slight creak... like someone had took a soft step towards the kitchen.

Someone was in his home.

And it didn't cross his mind a moment more that it had been the man that followed him from work.

Slowly, Ted grabbed a sharp kitchen knife and stayed hidden, pressing his back against the wall that separated where the stranger could be heard approaching and him.

Even though Ted was panicking on the inside, he couldn't help but feel that he was expecting this kind of situation to happen.

Especially after his brother being murdered in cold blood.

He thought about Thomas in this moment— Thinking about what his brother had felt in his last moments of life, wondering if he had felt the same amount of fear as him or had Thomas been just as stubborn and confident that he was going to live.

With footsteps rounding the corner Ted allowed himself to jump out with a knife nearly piercing the tall figures shoulder.

Ted could have easily stabbed him.

The blade was sharp enough to puncture the fabric of the strangers dark grey coat almost impalling the skin, but as soon as Ted caught the man's face in proper lighting he looked somewhat familiar.

"I'm not here to hurt you, but if you keep that knife on me a second longer I just might have to." Severus spoke in a low warning tone that made Ted retreat the knife immediately.

"Wait a minute..." The muggle squinted at him, "I know you. Y-You were at that meeting... with the Order."

"My name is Severus Snape." He addressed himself properly with his hands still remaining calmly in the pockets of his coat, "I'm sure Dumbledore has already told you why I'm here?"

To that Ted chuckled nervously, tossing the knife aside with a sigh of relief leaving his lungs. "You mean, did Dumbledore tell me that a strange man might follow me from work just to break himself into my home and scare the living hell out of me? No, I must have missed that lecture— except I'm starting to believe that all of you wizards think housebreaking is a proper entry way... I've got a door, if you know what that is."

The wizard only made a face of annoyance before he retreated backwards and began to wander through the flat.

Ted followed behind him, "May I ask why you didn't just address yourself outloud before you creeped up on me?"

Severus shrugged, "No particular reason, I just wanted to see what you would do. Which by the way— you should have really led yourself anywhere else, but home. If Eleanor were here you could have gotten her killed."

Now, Ted frowned at his own decision making.

Severus stood in the center of his livingroom. Looking at the college degrees Ted had framed on the wall and a few pictures of what he assumed to be family members. There was a bookshelf with mostly classic literature, mathematics and business.

Overall there wasn't much of a setup besides a small couch, a leather recliner, a TV set and record collection which consisted mostly of 70s classics.

"I came here to talk about the arrangement." Informed Severus, turning his attention to Ted who was back in the kitchen. "Unfortunately time is running out and Eleanor and the boy aren't entirely aware of the situation they're about to be in and I need to make sure they're in good hands; safe ones to be exact—"

BLAM!

Food had been shoved in the microwave followed by a loud slam. Ted pressed some buttons watching his meal cook.

"Sorry." Ted apologized, "What's the plan?"

"You are the plan!" He exclaimed with gesturing hands at the muggle, "You keep them here. That's it. That's the plan! I just need to buy some time before I find them somewhere else to stay. A war is coming and a lot of people are going be sent out looking for them. They wouldn't be here long. At least not for more than a month or two... maybe three, but right now your well-being is still in consideration given the fact that instead of feeling the need to pay attention to what I'm saying you're microwaving pasta!"

"Alright, bloody hell... quiet yourself or you'll get my landlady down here and she hates me enough as it is." Ted took his food out with a small glare sent to him. "And by the way, Pasta is an Italian dish. This is Chinese food." He spoke with a matter-of-fact tone before he took a bite, nearly burning the roof of his mouth at the forkfull of vegetable chow mein.

Severus rubbed his eyes in frustration.

Out of curiosity, Ted lingered on a thought he couldn't help but ask, "If you dont mind me asking, what exactly would you be doing during all of this?" It was an odd question, but Ted wanted to know and Severus didn't know if he was willing to give him that information.

Severus thought about it. He knew what he had to do, but it was going to take a lot more than a few months to do it.

"The same thing you'll be doing. Protecting them." Was his response. "Speaking of which, I need you to do something for me, well actually a few things..."

Ted put his food down giving him his full attention.

Reaching inside of his coat pocket Severus took out two things:

His wand and a thick envelope of written documents addressed to Eleanor.

"I need you to give this to her when you see her. Maybe not right away, but just when she settles herself in." Ted was about to reach out to grab it, but Severus's hand retreated quickly. "And DONT. OPEN. IT. Her eyes only. Understand?"

He nods and Severus allowed him to take it from his grasp.

"She used to do this too you know?" Ted waves the envelope. Remembering the years he'd watch Eleanor write for hours. "She'd spend most of her time at her writing desk each day. I never really knew who she was writing to because I never wanted to intrude. Never realised that it was probably that Nephew of hers."

It seemed like Severus had forgotten who he was talking to as Ted had brought up a memory of Eleanor. This man used to be her husband. They used to have a life together. A life Severus seemed to be jealous of considering that Eleanor was mostly happy during that time in her life or so he assumed she did.

He'd do anything for her to have that feeling again, but given his situation... it was unlikely.

No matter how much he loved her he just wanted what was best for her.

"You didn't know about the boy?" Severus now asks after pushing himself away from his thoughts.

Ted shook his head. "She hardly ever told me anything about her family. At least besides that fact that most of them had passed on. I didn't know she was a Potter until later in our marriage—which resulted in it ending rather roughly." He spoke sadly, "I regret leaving her the way that I did, but in all honesty it was for the best of us. It wasn't quite working out to begin with..."

Severus clenched his jaw as he stared at the floor while he listened.

"Is she doing better these days?" Ted asked while he began to eat again.

Severus hummed in agreement, but was desperate to leave the conversation and get back to business.

He looked at the wand in his hand and Ted seemed to follow his gaze.

With a finger Ted pointed, "What's that out for?"

"So..." Severus began knowing that Ted wasn't going to be a fan of this part of the favour. "I'm going to need you to take a vow..."

With three weeks into his suffering, Harry still dreaded the brutal chore of detention.

His past few detentions had been mostly spent with Snape who surprisingly enough didn't say much to neither him or Malfoy as they would quietly scub the floors and pick chewed gum from under the desks for hours on end.

Harry had been somewhat nervous about going to detention given the fact that he gave Snape a regular copy of the potions book instead of the half blood prince's copy; That one had been placed in the room of requirements, where he knew not even Professor Snape could find it.

Although, Professor Snape hasn't mentioned anything about the copy and Harry had hoped for it to stay that way.

Walking to the Dark Arts room Harry had met face to face with Draco as they both approached the door. Sending a glare to eachother.

"Potter."

"Just shut up." Harry responded with in aggravation, but it seemed to only be the peak of it as he read the written parchment that was placed on the closed door.

Detention is held in Professor Adlers Classroom today.
(Don't be late)

"Don't be late? Her classroom is in the dungeons! That will take at least 8 minutes if rushed!" Harry exclaimed with an outrage.

Draco scoffed, "Then you best get stepping Potter, Don't want to make your auntie wait longer than she should." He mocked before he began to walk away.

Harry rolled his eyes and followed after him, now meeting his pace.

"You know? If I could recall correctly it was my auntie you were wiping your alligator tears on." He pointed out like it was a fond memory which only made Malfoy's face twist in anger, "Don't act innocent, Malfoy. I know what you're up too."

Rushing down the moving staircase, Draco was quick to place his foot in front of Harry just to make him trip forward a few steps. He landed on his nose which resulted in a small nose bleed.

"Don't act like you didn't deserve that one, Potter!" Draco retorts back down at him and continues walking further down leaving Harry to groan in both anger and pain.

Harry sits up with a finger pressed against his nostril to see crimson.

"Hurts doesn't it?" A voice approached from behind him. Harry immediately turns his head  to see Severus Snape standing over him.

He stood casually with his left hand shoved in his pocket and the other holding a book.

"C'mon, get up." Severus outstretched his palm which even though Harry didn't want to take it he allowed Snape to help as he was easily pulled to his feet.

The boy moved away from him, "Thanks."

Severus hummed in response while he continued down the steps.

With curiosity Harry caught up with Professor Snape.

"Why aren't you in charge of detention today?" He asked feeling like it was punishment enough just to walk up to the third floor but only having to walk back down.

Severus stared down at him, "Because I didn't feel like it." He said flatly.

Harry looked up at him not telling if he was being completely serious or if he suddenly gained a poor sense of humor.

"But Isn't that your job? I mean I have homework everyday and just because I don't feel like doing it, it doesn't make it go away-" The boy continued to prattle which only seemed to make Severus second guess whether he should have left him on the staircase.

Groaning under his breath the professor sent an irritated glance his way, "What are you doing?"

Harry shugged, "Just trying to have a conversation, sir."

"No. You're annoying me." Severus stated back.

As they walked down the rest of the four floors down the castle in silence, Harry found it suprising that neither of them argued. Snape didn't even glare at him for once.

And to that, Harry felt that it was somewhat of an accomplishment.

"Hey El, do you have any tissues in here?" Severus had asked as he walked in the classroom with Harry.

"El?" Harry questioned the nickname with slight disgust.

Severus ignored him.

"How'd you get that?" Eleanor stares at the bloody nose her nephew was holding as she went around her desk to grab what he needed.

Harry was about to say something, but was quickly interrupted by Snape, "Malfoy tripped him on the staircase..." Severus looked around, "Where is he?"

"Draco? He hasn't checked in at all." Eleanor approached the both of them and gave Harry a few tissues while scanning over the rest of his face to make sure there wasn't any other injuries.

Approaching the windowsill Severus stood there with his hands on his hips. Looking outside to see if Malfoy might have been wandering around, but instead he only caught sight of a strange storm coming in.

There wasn't suppose to be any rain today, but for some reason the summer sky had turned gray and dark clouds approached quickly from the north.

"The hell?" Severus whispers to himself.

And suddenly it all seemed to click once he felt a pulsating pain on his forearm.

"Oh Harry," Eleanor had brought up, now catching Severus's attention as he turned his head slightly to listen. "Headmaster Dumbledore sent me a message asking for you. He said it was rather urgent so I guess you're off today."

Harry let out a sigh of relief and threw a dirty sponge back into the wooden bucket. "Alright then. I'll see you later."

"Bye." She watched as Harry walked out in a hurry.

Thunder began rumbling around the castle which caused Eleanor to now pay attention to what Severus was looking at, "Summer storms are always the strangest."

"I don't think it's a storm..." he said loud enough for Eleanor to make out.

Her eyes flicked to him questionably, "What?"

Severus didn't respond but only clenched his jaw in deep thought. "I'm going to go look for Malfoy."  He lied.

"To talk to him about what he did to Harry?" She asked not understanding what he was doing or ignoring what he said moments before.

Severus walked out of the classroom. "Uh-huh."

Although he didn't make it far alone as Eleanor pulls Severus by his arm making him halt. "Shouldn't we be a little more worried about him?"

"Hon, that's why I'm going to go look for him. I'm sure he's just moping around somewhere." He explained calmly. Trying his best to not raise her suspicion of the matter while handling his own panic.

Eleanor shook her head, "That's exactly what I'm worried about Sev! We can't act so casual about this! He's been depressed all year and in the last two weeks those two have tried to harm eachother twice now. It's not normal. I've tried to get him to talk to me in the last week, but it's almost like he's too scared to. Something is wrong!"

Staring down at her, Severus let's the feeling of guilt sink in. It was him that told Draco to avoid her. It was him that's been hiding all of these things from her. There was a lot he felt guilt from and it made him sick to his stomach that she was so easy to lie to.

But he was doing it all for a reason. He didn't want her involved in the middle of something nobody can control.

It's been done already.
It's too late.

"I hear you." Severus speaks softly, placing his hand on her shoulder, "And I'll put an end to this, okay? Trust me."

He was telling the truth, but even as he watched Eleanors eyes dance with his own he could tell that there was something blocking his trust in her eyes like she knew something he didn't want her to know... at least not yet. Not now.

"You trust me, don't you?" Severus needed her reassurance.

She blinked at him, nodding. "With my whole life."

His face stayed still as he let her words sink into his soul.

Gripping the back of her head he brings her close to him as his lips kiss the top of her head.

"I love you with my whole life Sweetheart." His shakey voice vibrates through her hair. "You know I'll always be good to you."

Eleanor immediately knew something was terribly wrong, this felt like a goodbye and not a goodbye see you later it was more like a goodbye forever.

"What's happening, Sev?" She wasn't understanding why he was saying these things to her. "You can tell me! Tell me what's going on!"

His thumb runs over her cheeks as he takes in her emotions along with his own. He shakes his head giving her a weak watery smile.

This was it for now.
He had to sat goodbye to her.

"There's too much to say." The tone in his voice even more shaky than before, "Not enough time."

"Is he back?" Eleanor asks indicating that Voldemort was once again on the lookout.

"It's a bit more complicated than that." He allows the tears that threatened to fall run down his cheek. "But I wont let him get you— none of them. I've got a place for you and the boy. Go to London. Find 39 Hill Street and knock on door 116 B. He'll take care of you both. You'll be safe."

"What about you?"

Shaking his head Severus let out a long sigh, "Don't worry about me, but you need to leave as soon as you can. I'll go find Draco and Harry... I need you to go to your chamber and start packing."

"No! If there is trouble I'm going to help you find them—"
Eleanor was cut off by Severus placing his palm over her mouth and backed her up against the pillar, blocking her from view.

She muffled out a noise, but Severus hushed her.

Scared and confused Eleanor listened to what Severus was trying to hear down the corridor.

She would have thought he was crazy, but her blood instantly went cold when she heard the echo of Bellatrix Lestrange cackling.

"Fuck!" He cursed, "You need to leave. Now! I'll distract them."

Eleanor pushed herself away from the pillar. "There's more of them?!"

"Go!" He shouts and she hurried around him, bolting towards the chambers with her wand at the ready.

Severus tried to calm down his panting as he began to follow the voices down the opposite side of the hall.

He just hoped to have come across Harry Potter before they did.

"We did it Professor!" Harry breathed out. Dripping wet and shivering as Dumbledore still had his weight leaned on him from the side. "We got the horcrux!"

Dumbledore nodded his head at their achievement of finding one of the few horcruxes, but felt instantly ill, almost falling over from exhaustion— Harry was quick to catch hold of him.

"We need to get to Madam Pomfrey, Professor. " The boy insisted although Dumbledore refused as he repeated 'No' over and over again. "You're sick. You need medical attention."

"Get Severus." Dumbledore said instead.

Harry looked at him as if he had gone insane. Especially since he had come across Professor Trelawney only a half-hour before who then drunkly told him about her suspicions about Professor Snape the night his parents died.

Perhaps that emerald potion had made Dumbledore delusional...

"No! I'll get Madam Pomfrey. You can stay here and rest!" Harry watched as Dumbledore struggled to stand on his own.

"My boy, you must listen to me." Albus points a dark finger at him, bending over to cough. "I know you say you don't trust him, but I told you to do as I tell you. It's Severus that I need and that dark mark isn't disappearing any time soon!"

Harry sighed, "Alright." He turned  to exit the top of the astronomy tower with the invisibility cloak wrapped over him in case he were to come across Death Eaters, but stops in the motions of loud footsteps approaching the spiral staircase.

Instantly Harry had been shot with a silent spell that retreated him from the entrance way and up against the corner of the room where he had been left speechless and unable to move.

Dumbledore sent Harry one last apologetic look before a figure approached from the stairway.

"Expelliarmus!"

Professor Dumbledore stays calm as he stared to the boy who made his wand fly over the railing of the astronomy tower.

"Draco..." He addressed, "It's good to see you too."

Pointing his wand at the headmaster, Draco only glared around the room. "I heard another voice up here..."

Dumbledore raises his shoulders. "You must be as mad as I am dear boy. I'm with my own company, but I see that you might not be." He says gesturing to the dark mark that formed in the sky. "I must say. I'm impressed."

"Quiet!" Draco shouts, "Don't act like you ever cared about me. I have a job to do and this time... I'll be the one to finish it!"

Humming, Albus Dumbledore had decided to disagree with that statement. "Doubtful."

Upon the arrival of foot steps, Bellatrix Lestrange laughed her way up the staircase like a mad woman.

Draco had stood straight and tried his best to keep his composure together even though Dumbledore still stared at him with eyes that weren't threatened by him at all.

Four Death Eaters in dark cloaks approached the astronomy tower, Bellatrix with a toothy grin seemed to have stopped in her tracks once she saw that Albus Dumbledore was still standing in the flesh with his arms placed on his hips.

"WHAT'S HE STILL DOING BREATHING?!" She yells at the boy who flinched at her shout.

The Headmaster tilts his head to the side, "I was wandering the same thing Madam Lestrange, but it seems like the poor boy couldn't manage without an audience."

Draco glares at him.

A wheezing giggle came from one of the Death Eaters, but one narrowed glance from Bellatrix had shut him up quickly.

"Draco... Draco... Draco..." She sang now walking up from behind her nephew, "When instructed to kill... your instructions are to... what?" Lestrange asked as if it was a puzzle.

The boy swallowed thickly feeling humiliation. "...kill..."

She nods her head, "Good! But — what are you not doing right now that was supposed to be done before we got up here? C'mon take a wild guess!"

With a shaking arm pointed at Dumbledore, Draco looked back and forth between the woman who snarled and the headmaster.

"Knock it off, Lestrange." Severus landed the final step of the staircase with daggers being sent to the witch.

He was out of breath. Chest raising with every heavy breath he took as if he had just finished a marathon.

For once, Draco was glad to see Snape approaching his side.

"Severus." Dumbledore greeted, but the ex potions master only stared him down before he sent the slytherin boy a concerned look seeing if he was okay.

Draco shook his head as if he were to bluntly say no.

"Alright kid." Severus mutters quietly to give the boy some reassurance. He let's his eyes wander around the room to see if Harry was hiding anywhere.

His dark gaze lands on an empty corner against the wall like he could sense that someone was there.

Whether or not he knew, Harry was right where he was staring.

"Well? Can he do this or not?" Questioned a snarky Death Eater, but before he had gotten the answer another set of footsteps had approached the spiral steps.

"GREAT!" Shouts an aggravated Bellatrix, "I thought we fought off those guards!"

The Death Eaters kept their wands pointed at the entrance and awaited for an ambush.

Severus nudged Draco to stay behind him as he watched the figure emerge from the stairwell, but instantly felt more uneasy than he had before.

The cloaked Death Eaters immediately averted their wands from the target once the suited man glanced around the room with cold silver eyes.

All of the sudden, a man everyone once knew to be locked away had been standing in front of them.

Nobody knew he escaped Azkaban Prison nor did anyone seem to know how he managed to do that as he was stared at in disbelief.

"Dad?" Draco had choked out, not sure if he was real or not.

Lucius Malfoy takes slow strides into the open space with his arms swinging at his sides. He licks his chapped lips before he stops in his tracks. "Wouldn't want to miss my boys' first execution, now would I?"

To this, Severus swallowed hard knowing that his plan was going to be a lot more difficult.

AN: I appreciate the patience everyone has given me. I know it's been so long since I've written anything, but this year hasn't been the easiest. I love you. Thanks for sticking with me also I'm very excited to introduce Lucius as the villain  of this story but you'll see more next chapter 🤍 !!