Pre Edit Count – 3,725 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Rise Above It by Switchfoot
He then jerks his head, feeling the call, “I need to go, my Lady. I will come and speak with you later. I think your knights will be contacting you soon to tell you of what they found. If you have need of me, just call for me in the fire.”
She nods and tells him, “Thank you.”
He bows to his lady and then is gone.
Bella settles into her chair as the fire flares. She smiles, guessing her Peregrine has warnings everywhere so that there is no way for him to be found until otherwise wanted. Though it intrigues her that he disappeared; is this Hogwart’s way of showing her it approves?
When the rich voice of her old friend sounds, Bella grins. “Severus! Is this safe?”
The fire flares again. “I am making sure, milady. Hold for a second.”
The flame turns some interesting colors and then his voice comes through, saying, “It is safe now for the rest of the night. Once the sun arises I am not able to guarantee it but I suspect you will have a busy night.”
The irony was rich in his voice and she cannot help but grin. When his face appears in the fire, she lifts an eyebrow.
He chuckles. “It seems that Potter is living up to his father’s legacy. As much as you know I hate to admit it, the boy couldn’t have had anything but bad luck appearing at that time.”
Bella nods. “I know this better than any. He has no blood of Slytherin in him. Now, I can’t say if he may have issues from the spell used on him. I haven’t had time to work on the spells he is surrounded by. There is dark magic around him though; I know this for sure.”
Frowning, Snape asks, “When will you be able to do this. I am not thinking it will be well for the boy to be suspected of being Slytherin’s heir. He has Black blood in him from his father. Who knows if he may not have Slytherin?”
She chuckles. “Because I checked for it. I needed to make sure there was no blood from Voldy in him. It would have been a tried and true way of him tracking Harry. I need to look for anything else that could be attached to him but first I need to unravel the spells layering around the poor boy.”
Snape sighs and looks to the side. “As always, I will keep an eye on him. He won’t enjoy it, but I cannot allow any to suspect otherwise.”
She smiles at the man. “I understand and I will make sure he understands as well when the time comes. I may have you teach him occlumency here shortly.”
His black eyes snap to hers. “You know just as well how to teach him. Why me?”
Grinning at her childhood friend, she says, “Because why would I teach him when the master who taught me is available?” Then her face straightens. “And he will not accept me being harsh with him. We cannot have me harsh with him. There are secrets surrounding him he has not told me of, Severus. I cannot risk him not opening to me. It may end up the difference between his life and death.”
Sighing, the man nods. Then his eyes narrow. “You need to sleep, Bella. I already see that you are exhausting yourself. Be careful, milady.”
She smiles, a true caring one. “Thank you Severus. Now you go before any suspect.”
As he nods, she remembers, “Oh! Severus!”
He arches his eyebrow at her. “I have a protector coming when he wishes to. Let everyone know. I don’t know how they will react.”
Severus is still, then asks, “A vampire?”
She nods. His jaw tightens. “Was it him?”
Smiling, Bella tells him, “No. But if you ever wish to know what Edward looks like I’ll just say Diggory is his doppelganger.”
His eyes look like they were going to snap with the fire that suddenly blazed in them. “He just transferred into your house did he not?”
She nods, amazed by the fire in her friend. He nods in return. “I will pass the message and will make sure everyone looks for the Cullen. You are his singer, correct?”
Swallowing, she had forgotten to tell Peregrine that part. “Yes. I am being as careful as I can be.”
The man in the fire stares at the woman in front of him and he finally nods. “If you need anything, even a sleeping draught, let me know. I trust none other than myself for you.” He is warning her with that request and knows she will understand what he is leaving unsaid with the statement.
With a bow of his head, he is gone.
Almost immediately, the flame shoots green and Lucius’s voice calls out, “Swan!”
Bella’s eyebrows go high as she asks, “Lucius?”
His face appears and he searches her face and what he can see of her. When he is sure she is safe, he asks, “I just heard what happened. The board just let out of a meeting on it. I am so sorry, milady!”
She shakes her head, and asks, “Lucius, I am not understanding.”
He asks, “May I come through, milady?”
“Of course Lucius!”
With that the flames go higher and then Lucius is before her. He moves right in front of her before falling to his knees. “Forgive me, Bella!”
She is leaning forward and is worried. “Lucius! Calm down. Tell me what is going on!”
He looks up at her and then tells her so quickly his words almost stumble over each other of how he had been given a book and told to give it to Potter or one of his friends. He had no idea it was anything and even with the spells he cast over it, felt it was harmless. He thought it would be a good way to show his willingness to comply with his Dark Master. To gain stronger footing in his circles.
But before the meeting from the School Board, he had been contacted and congratulated. He had no idea what the book was, but the way the inner circle had advised him he would be elevated for opening the chamber worried him.
Bella leans back, her mind trying to figure out what is going on. “Lucius, who did you give the book to?”
He tells her, “The youngest Weasley. I swear to you, Bella, I would never harm a child!”
She nods to him. “I know better, Lucius. Calm down. We will figure out what needs to happen. I wonder though. Harry had issues with going through the barrier and it is what caused his unique entry into school as well as that odd report of him doing magic at his home and his denial of it. It didn’t appear on the spell I did, so I suspect it was an outside source. Could this be the work of the book?”
Lucius stands and relieved she believes him, starts pacing. “I am not sure. I could find nothing in the book itself. It was blank and none of the spells I cast did anything.”
Relieved her friend is calmer, she leans back in her seat. “Lucius?”
He is still pacing and he answers her, “Yes, my dear Swan?”
She lifts an eyebrow. “Did you really think I wouldn’t listen to you?”
He stops and turns to her. “Bella, your friendship is the only reason I am not falling in a deep pit of despair nor giving up. I had been so close to it, with your death being told. Bella, my dear, you vastly underestimate my feelings for you.”
Frowning, she rises to walk to him, then her windows blow open as her name is brought by the winds.
Lucius, not wasting a second, jumps in front of her and backs her into a corner, his body blocking hers. Fawkes is also in the air above them and Bella is as protected as well as either of them can make her. Lucius mutters the spell that all the owls learned years ago to alert others of danger to the Lady.
He just finishes when the torches are blown out and the fire dies down in an instant, then flares up.
In the light provided by the flaring flames. There is a blond man crouched on the floor.
Before anything else could happen, a large black dog flies through the portrait, followed by a black being, who upon arriving at Bella’s side, shows to be Severus.
Through the window comes another friend she had missed being here, Remus Lupin.
With a look at Bella, the three men surround the man crouching on the floor as her phoenix hovers over her, sheltering their Lady in his wings.
Bella is trying to see the man but the men block her view until they are in position. Then Bella can see the windblown blonde hair, and she asks softly, “Jasper?”
Severus jerks his head to her, then down to the man… vampire in front of him. He utters, “Sanguinis protector.”
The rest of the room jerks their head to him, then look to the being before them.
The vampire rises, his eyes roving over them all, then when they land on the woman with the black dog before him and the phoenix over her, he smirks. “Bella. Why does this not surprise me?”
The men are still surrounding the vampire and Fawkes is on the back of her chair, ready to defend his lady if needed be or take her away.
Sirius reluctantly turns man again, mostly so he can have his wand trained on the creature before them.
Jasper, though, is leaning against the fireplace, the flames dancing on his face as he looks over the woman who calls to his very being to be by her side.
Looking her over, he admits she resembles the child he had known as much as the bird above her resembles an parrot. No. This woman is much different than the girl he had been driven to protect last spring.
Taking a deep breath, he asks with a lifted eyebrow, “So… Who wants to start? I can tell you very little but then I suspect you are the one with the answers.”
Lucius narrows his eyes to him. “You will address her as milady. She is Lady Swan. She deserves your respect.”
An eyebrow lifts higher at the comment. He turns his golden eyes to her in question.
Sighing, she lays a hand on Lucius’ arm. “Lucius. He has no idea who I am. The last time this man saw me, he had seen an 18 year old girl who was hidden under magic to not show who I am. He was the last coven I had to watch over before Aro could find the way to release me.”
He growls as well as the other men on how their lady had been forced to serve others.
Jasper watches them and tastes their emotions. All of them would die to protect the woman in the midst of them but he could smell the one who was a dog and the one who had come through the window also has a smell of a wolf around them. Then there is the one dressed in black. He just smells… off. He has no idea what it is, but it set off his senses as a warning. This was not a man to be messed with.
Then there is the protector who is the closest to Bella. The man who actually spoke up and corrected him. He is everything you would think of a cold English lord. His clothing, his hair, his very bearing. Until Bella touched him or he checks on her. Then that coldness warmed. It made him dangerous. He would literally do anything to protect her.
Not that the others wouldn’t be the same but this man screamed danger to Jasper and he is aware that this man had been in Bella’s room first. The others had come quickly, but this man had been here first. Why?
Sighing Bella asks, “Severus, I suspect you know of what he is. Can you explain? It was made clear that I was not told all.”
Severus looks down at the vampire before him. “Lucius and Sirius also know of him. I just could name him from your warning.”
Lucius is staring coldly down at the man. “He is the vampire protector for you. He was reborn as he is with one mission in life, to serve you, to protect you. Very few of the Vampires meet their Sanguinis Wardas. In fact, none have in the last 200 years. It is never known if the Shield is first or if their wards are there. But this man’s life is now tied directly to you, if you claim him.”
Sighing, Bella tells him, “I claimed him. My Peregrine told me of the pain I may make him suffer through otherwise.”
Remus’s eyes narrow. “He has killed for you?”
A low growl rumbles from Jasper, who snaps, “Not only killed, but tore the idiot up and burned him. It is lucky Fuckward hid from me, cause if I ever get my hands on him, he will be a pile of ashes as I dance in the purple smoke of his ashes.”
A bark like laugh comes from Sirius. “I think I may actually like you.”
Severus’s dry voice interrupts him, “If you are quite done, Black, we have other things more important to discuss than your thoughts on her shield.”
Rolling his eyes, Sirius shifts his weight. “First off, you know as well as I do that if she claimed him, he is hers. He could not attack us no matter what since we are sworn to her.”
Jasper shakes his head, then drawls out, “Mind letting the idiot hick boy here know what the hell you guys are talking about?”
Lucius’s eyes bounce over to him, and he asks, “What can you tell us? It will make it possible for us to tell you more.”
Jasper nods, his eyes watching the man before him. “I have always felt a need to protect little Bella but when she was being hunted, that need became an obsession. Not a good one since it somehow allowed her to escape me. I felt a pull and took off to follow it as soon as Alice let me.”
Bella’s eyes narrow and Remus notes it as Jasper continues his story. “After I calmed down from the pure rage I felt on coming upon her and the damage she had sustained, I had torn the attacker to shreds. I burned him to make sure he was not a danger to her and everything became calmer. I could think. Until her birthday.” The growls escape him as he remembers that fuck up.
Bella watches him as he growls out again, then his eyes flash up to meet hers. “I swear on all that I hold dear to me, that I was NOT attacking you!!! I felt the bloodlust of that fucker and went after him to protect you. Except he fooled them all to believe I was going to attack you.”
She tells him softly, “I know. Your eyes were black, but when they flashed to me, they were… soft.”
He starts to pace. “Then you were gone. I couldn’t find you. So I went after Fuckward. I thought he killed you since there was no sign of you anywhere. Then tonight I get this voice inside of me telling me that I was yours and if I accepted I would be taken to you. My brother appeared and told me to accept. He also told me once I did, everything would make sense. Also, he said to let you know you have two more coming.”
He watches her as well as the other beings in the room. When she sighs, she asks, “Sirius, would you mind telling him what you know? I suspect I need to ask the castle to make more rooms for him and so forth.”
Severus is the one who turns and looks down at her. “Bella. This is the answer to something we have all worried about. Your safety is paramount.”
She shakes her head. “No, Harry’s is. I am replaceable.”
Lucius turns and he tells her in a cold voice, “If you ever say something like that again, I will personally take you to Malfoy Manor and lock you away. Did I not tell you moments ago how worse things would be if you had not been here? Who would know to look for the bloody book? How would I know who to tell? Then there is Potter. How did he open the Chamber?”
Sighing, Bella leans back in her seat. Her eyes rove the room, then land on Remus. “Remus. Where have you been?”
A lopsided smile lands on his face as he leans down and kisses her on her forehead. “Albus had me with the werewolves trying to gain their support.”
She suddenly clenches her jaw, then once she can get control, she grinds out, “What?”
The other men in the room, take a careful step back from the woman who is clearly incensed by his words.
Remus chuckles though. “He basically sent me away. If Sirius hadn’t sent his patronus to me, I wouldn’t have been aware you returned. Though I am not sure how he separated us…”
Severus growls as the rest of the men also voice their displeasure. Jasper is quiet watching them.
Lucius tells the werewolf, “We all want to know that. She was sent away into basic slavery to the Vampire Kings.”
Remus’s eyes flash amber and a deeper voice issues forth, growling, “Pack Alpha Female is to be protected!”
Then his eyes seem to… meld into an odd color as Remus’s voice issues out, “Bella as a slave?!?!?!”
Pacing, Sirius tells him, “When they figured out how to release the geis on her, she had returned and claimed her place again. She had me released from Azkaban, cleared my name and has the Ministry kissing her boots for their handling of me. I had re-sworn myself to her house and since I am the last Black, you know what that means.”
Remus’s eyes fade into their normal color as he grins wolfishly. “Your mother’s portrait is screaming.”
The men all grin. Bella sighs. “I told you that you didn’t need to, Sirius. That none of you but Lucius had to and he only had to since his house has always been under the Swans in the House of Lords.”
Jasper chuckles and they all stare at him. He shakes his head as he tells her, “But I suspect they have all given you their oaths.”
When she sighs, he just chuckles. “Nice to know some things have remained the same.”
Lucius tries to control his emotions, and manages to, which impresses Jasper with how deep those feelings ran in the man who looked like a prince of ice.
He turns to Bella and asks her, “Will you allow me to consult with you on the morrow? I wish to look in my books and will forward to Black any that discuss the bond the vampire and you have. I also will strive to send you information on the book.”
Bella leans forward with Fawkes taking off and landing on her shoulder, rubbing his head on his human. “Please do. Lucius. This is not your fault. I will inform the rest. Remus, you will be staying here. I have some ideas to discuss with you, and I suspect Sirius and you will be needing to have some time together. Severus, I can ask Hogwarts to allow you to appear in your rooms.”
Severus straightens and asks of the building, “Will you allow me to apparate into her rooms in times of need?”
The room very gently rumbled and Severus bows to his lady. He tells her, “I feel much better with that as an option. I will also see if she will allow me to send you a potion. I rather not trust any other than she herself.”
Bella smiles, and she tells him, “I will have my elves contact you. Sirius had sent me Trunks to serve me here and of course I could not deny Ward her time here either. I suspect you feel able to trust them?”
Severus looks up to Black and tells him, “Not often do you use the brains you were gifted with, but this is one of the few times you used the sludge to use.”
The two men glare at each other, then Sirius cracks. “That was actually a good one.”
A smile, so slight you may not know it as one, hovers on his lips then Severus looks down at his Lady. Bowing to her, he tells her softly, “Sleep is as much a need for one such as you as for the rest of us. Please take the potion I sent to you.” When he receives her reluctant nod, he actually flashes a slight smile as he disappears.
Remus cuffs Sirius on the back of his head. Looking at him, Sirius tells him, “Don’t even. She is as much of a marauder as the rest of us. She has heard much worse than that.”
Lucius shakes his head and taking his lady’s hand in his, kisses it as he bows over it. “With your leave, milady.”
She chuckles and uses the hold he has on her hand to jerk him forward into her hug. He is stiff, then softens in her hold. He tells her so softly that even Jasper can barely hear him, “I am sorry. I will correct this.”
Bella sighs, then says, “You told me as soon as you could. We will solve this. Now go home. I need to get to sleep and get rid of you guys before Severus sends his damned potion.”
A smile graces his face and Lucius nods. “Take care of her. “ Looking at his fellow knights, he nods, and then steps back into the flames using the spell Bella had made for these trips.
Then there was the two old friends and the new knight to be alone with their Lady.
Final count: 3,755