Severus chained smoked the whole night. Fudge was a blithering idiot and there was no way to reach Azkaban yet. Albus refused to visit Barty Crouch Sr. just yet. The potion's master was sure that Crouch Sr. was dead while Jr. impersonated him. There was no trace of the house elf either. Dobby and Kreacher were unable to locate her anywhere.
He passed out and skipped breakfast and lunch. He tried to remember the details of 1992-1993 but it was all different. Voldemort came back before and it was all new territory. Albus swore that Araminta Crouch was alive and well. She attended charity balls once in a while and looked fine, until this summer. Albus had seen her about a month ago. Severus was sure that Araminta was dead in Azkaban but could not prove it. It was maddening. The potion's master drank whisky and slept until Lily came home. She kissed his forehead.
"Love, please shower." She wrinkled her nose at him.
"I love you." He whispered and she gave him a huge smile.
"I could take a bath with you." She said and began to undress. Severus nodded and got rid of his clothes too.
He felt the water and ridiculous ammounts of bubbles relaxed. The man closed his eyes and told her all he did. Lily kissed his jaw. "Remus said we have to wait."
Severus sighed, "We do. Azkaban in impenetrable without Fudge's men to keep the dementors away."
"Tuney and your father will take precautions." She said.
"Fidelius." Severus said and kissed her forehead.
"Yes, I will be secret keeper." Lily's eyes met his. "I'm sorry for fighting you so hard on the security measures."
Severus kissed her lips. "It matters little now. I think I knew it would happen again. How could it not?"
Lily kissed him back and sought him to make love. They stood up and went to bed. Severus was happy to forget about his sorrows and be lost on Lily.
The man woke up and saw red. His wife's hair was on his face. He sighed. "I have third years first thing this morning."
"Good luck with Harry, Ron and Draco." She said and burrowed deeper into the beddings. Severus kissed her bare shoulder. They went to sleep very late. He would have to lie if he did not admit that being with Lily did not make him powerful and optimistic.
He had coffee and headed to the Great Hall. He breakfasted with Minerva who nodded severely at him. She knew, Albus could not call the Order yet, it would cause mass hysteria but he could rely on those closest to him. Minerva, Hagrid, them and Aberforth.
Severus drank more coffee and then stepped out of the Hall. He bumped into Remus. "Sirius is with Narcissa. He will be here this afternoon." He said in passing.
Lily was not mistaken. Harry looked confused yet hopeful to speak to him. Draco looked defiant as did Ron. Ms. Granger sat by Ron and tried to calm him down a bit. She did not have the timturner on her. He thanked the gods that Albus listened and refused to accept Minerva's request. He could only imagine what it would be like to give that artifact to the girl now.
Severus taught and then sat down. Harry remained back as did Draco. "You need to tell us what is happening?"
"10 points from Sluytherin. You will address me as professor Mr. Malfoy." The man said with a frown.
"Dad, please." Harry continued.
"Why is my dad here sir?" Draco asked undeterred.
"Mr. Lupin is the best candidate for the job now." Severus said. "All you two need to do is stay out of trouble. This time, I mean it. There are adults looking for your colletive safety."
"I know that Ron is hurt now but you are too young to understand the danger we are all in." Severus spoke clearly.
"Stay together and be cautious." He said and dismissed his godson and child.
The potion's master received his next class and spent an uneventful evening that turned into an uneventful month. The children had their visit in Hogsmeade. They were so excited that did not notice Sirius following them. Lily had been a mess but tried to remain calm as their child cruised through Hogsmeade. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Draco went to different places even near the Shrieking Shack. Sirius related that Draco left the group early to meet with Theodore Nott and Daphne Greengrass at the three Broomsticks while Ron left to go with the twins to Zonkos. Harry and Hermione returned to the castle since the day was too cold.
Remus turned into a werewolf three nights after the kids' outing. Severus transformed into the panther and ran along Remus. Sirius ran behind them. He not as fast as them. Remus and Sirius howled while Severus smelled the air for prey and rats, one specifically. There was nothing. They returned to the shack after daybreak.
"I have to teach soon." Severus said as he dressed again. "Your lesson plans are rubbish." He addressed Remus who half smiled and went home with Sirius.
The Potion's master spent the day teaching seventh years both potions and DADA. Augustus and Percy looked weary and looked to be arguing as they entered the classroom.
"Why would he have anything to say about it?" Percy hissed.
"He's different, he's muggle." Gus hissed back.
"We love each other, that should be enough. Sometimes, I think you are ashamed of us." Percy said with betrayed eyes.
"How could you say that Perce? I love you very much." Gus said and kissed the redhead.
"Gentlemen." Severus said once Augustus saw him.
"Severus." Percy said quickly. "It's not what you think."
Augustus looked at him defiantly. "It is exactly what you think Sev." He then proceeded to hold Percy's hand.
Severus was surprised not because of his brother's sexuality but because his brother was a sexual being. He was too young. Suddenly, Severus realized that Augutus was almost 18. "I will be discreet if that is what you wish."
"I will tell dad and Tuney over Christmas break." Augustus said.
Percy smiled, "my parents know I fancy him." The older man smiled; of course Molly knew which was why she began to bunk Augustus with Ron instead of Percy.
The rest of the class filled in. Severus taught class quickly and then had potions with the boys again. Augustus looked less tense in the afternoon. Life passed Severus by and he was not enjoying it. He realized that when he saw Lily reading a book.
"Did you know that Gus is gay?" He asked in greeting.
"I did and so does Tuney. Do you care Sev?" Lily asked carefully.
"Not at all but it is strange to see him as having a romantic relationship. I've always thought of him as a baby." He said honestly.
"Do you think my father will care?" Severus asked.
Lily looked pensive. "I was concerned when Tuney asked for advice about Gus but not anymore."
"How come you did not tell me you knew?" Severus asked a little irked by her silence.
"We were at odds." She said simply.
Severus nodded and told her about Percy. "I had my suspicions and so does Tuney."
The older man rested his head on Lily's lap while she played with his hair. "I don't undertsnad how I could not see it." He wondered out loud.
"Well it did take you ages to figure that I loved you." She said, "face it, you are clueless about romantic relationships.
Severus laughed a little, "Percy is good for him, smart, dependable, honest and kind."
"Remember when they were little. They were very curious about each other." Severus said.
Lily kissed his nose, "you are adorable." She said lightly.
Severus was happy to have good things happening. But not all could stay normal. He wanted to enjoy routine for a little longer but his luck only lasted until the night late November.
He brewed wolfsbane for Remus when Albus called him to his office. It was urgent since he used his patronus.
Severus extinguished the caudron and left for the headmaster's office. Albus looked tired and weary. "It was Barty's blood, his son confessed. I convinced Cornelius to let me inside Azkaban. The body there was of a woman. I alerted Cornelius who raided Barty's house."
The younger man took in the news quickly. "Where is he? We have to interrogate him."
Albus looked sad, "Cornelius is poisoned by fear. He ordered Barty be given the kiss before veritaserum could be used. Crouch Jr. admitted to serving his master and spoke of him rising through the ashes thanks to him and his useless traitor of a father."
Severus felt lead on his stomach. "Why did you not stop him?"
Albus sat down and replied, "he gave the order as we took him into custody. I thought he'd seen reason."
The younger man shook his head, "how could you have trusted him? I told you that we needed him alive. Now the Dark Lord knows we are aware that he has his body back."
"It's time to bring the Order of the Phoenix back." The man said quietly. Severus had never seen Albus look so old and tired.