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Ollivander had no way of knowing what the potion had really cost.

The House-elves of Malfoy Manor were silent as a rule. For generations they had been in servitude to the family. In the best of times, they were so quiet and so invisible that their masters and mistresses completely forgot about their existence. At the worst of times, they were prey.

Except for Dobby. His name was never spoken aloud, but his blatant and successful rebellion lit the tiniest of fires in each of them. Without him, it’s doubtful whether Tippy would have had the courage to do anything.

Ollivander’s plea for help had not gone unheard, but the elves had looked at one another with their large eyes filled with despair. The Malfoy rules were clear. The prisoners in the basement were the property of Lord Voldemort, and what he chose to do with them was his right. They were not to interfere. Interference was grounds for punishment, and punishments had become much more vicious and common since the Dark Lord had taken up residence. He and most of his devoted followers seemed to have an inexhaustible appetite for cruelty. The penalty for helping would likely be death.

Tippy had shaken in the shadows for a long time before realizing she had to go to the only one who could help the girl, and as it happened, he was visiting the manor then to report on activities at Hogwarts. The coincidence was too much.

Praying to anything that might have pity on a House-elf, she knocked timidly on the guestroom door.

“Rodolphus, if you are attempting to bother me again about that ludicrously mythical enrichment potion, I will only point out to you once more that you are a buffoon for believing in such chicanery!” Snape’s voice bellowed.

“No, Sir,” Tippy said, barely whispering and not daring to turn the doorknob. “I is needing to speak with you, please.”

A moment later the door opened as an apparently livid Snape stared down at the elf.

“Well?” he said, and Tippy swore she saw sparks coming from his eyes. “What is it?”

By this point, punishment boils were starting to erupt on the soles of her feet, but Tippy managed not to flinch.

“Please, Sir, one of the prisoners is being ill and needs a potion or might die,” Tippy said.

Snape looked confused.

“Ollivander is ill?” he asked.

“No, Sir, it is being the girl,” Tippy said.

Snape inhaled disdainfully through his nose, then motioned the elf inside the room, closing the door swiftly behind her.

“What girl?” he asked.

“Miss Luna Lovegood,” Tippy said.

“So that’s the carrot he’s using on old Xenophilius,” Snape mumbled to himself, “and the stick into the bargain, I’ll wager. She’s ill?”

“Dangerously, Sir,” Tippy said. “Surely, they is not wanting their hostage to die?”
“She’s being held to make her father more compliant, not for ransom,” Snape said smoothly. “He has been promised her return if he aids in capturing Potter.”

“But then, if he is finding Harry Potter, he will be wanting his daughter back, yes?” Tippy squeaked, unable to keep from shifting from foot to foot now.

“The Dark Lord never stated what condition she might be returned in, if the promise is even deemed worthy to be kept,” Snape said evenly. “Lovegood’s motivation is all that is necessary. The girl is therefore expendable as he will never know the difference until it is too late.”

Strangely, as Snape was saying these callous words, he was taking a vial from his pocket and silently pressing it into Tippy’s hand.

“I is understanding, Sir,” Tippy said, looking at the glass container in her hand. “I is sorry I has been bothering you.”

“Get out of my sight,” Snape snarled, opening the door, “quickly.”

Tippy nodded and sped off down the corridor, and despite the pain she didn’t stop running until she had made it safely back to the Malfoy kitchens, the precious cargo gripped protectively in her hand. From there, she could legitimately Apparate into the cellar. Finger on her lips, she handed the vial to the old man, and happiness and gratitude transformed his face. The girl would live.

As Tippy left the makeshift prison, she was less certain of her own fate. Breaking family rules could be fatal, and she had done that in spades. Worse, part of the magic the Malfoy family used meant she was unable to conceal her own guilt. She would be forced to confess what she had done, though she could not be compelled to say what role Snape had played, something she had no intention of doing.

When she Apparated back to the kitchens, she saw that she would have even less time than she thought until she was made to speak.

The young master was there, eating a slice of toast by the fire. He did that fairly often now when he was at home; if possible, he avoided the dining room since the incident with Professor Burbage.

The words magically sprang from Tippy’s mouth without her consent.

“I has been bad, Master Draco! I has brought medicine to the Lovegood girl in the cellar when I is not getting permission to do so,” Tippy said, throwing herself on the floor before him.

“Luna’s been ill?” Draco asked.

“Yes, but she is out of danger now, I is thinking,” Tippy said.

Draco stared at the elf’s prone form. He should ask how the elf managed to help her, but he had no desire to find out. The less he knew, the better it would be for them all.

He considered his words carefully, then said, “Your punishment is never to speak of this again or your tongue will catch fire and smolder for three days. If a similar situation occurs, you are to tell me immediately so long as no one else is present. Is that clear, elf?”

Tippy nodded.

“Go soak your feet in cool water,” Draco added, then left.

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