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Chapter 14: Miracles
“Sarah, have you seen Megan?” Albert, the head of the Spell Damage department, asked when he saw her walking by in the hall. He was a large man with a big jaw and he looked a bit like a bulldog. He even resembled a dog, when he spoke. It was always a quick snap that used to send people in fear.
“Excuse me! I missed what you said,” Sarah had to admit it. She had been lost in her thoughts when he tore her out of them.
“I asked where Megan is. Her patient Mr. Lockhart needs help,” he barked at her.
What an always dissatisfied men! Sarah wondered how his wife could bear him.
She gritted her teeth put a smile on and answered, “I will go and find her.”
Apparently she forgot to add enthusiasm into it, because he barked at her, “Go! You won’t find her by staying here.” She also heard something like, “Why are those women so lazy?” as she left.
Sarah did not have to wonder where Megan could be. She was most probably having a cup of coffee; it was her habit. Sarah decided to get a cup for herself, too. It was quite hard to concentrate on the work on a hot day in the middle of June.
She went to the staff room which was just around the corner and found Megan there drinking coffee just as she had imagined.
“Albert sent me to get you. Mr. Lockhart needs something,” she reported lazily.
“Well, he always needs something! I can’t sit with him all the time! I guess his old healer quit the job just because of him. He’s so annoying!” she answered angrily as if Sarah was at fault.
“Albert is not in the mood today. I mean, he is even in a worse mood than usually so you should better go.” Sarah did not want Albert to think that she had not found Megan. She wanted to avid trouble that day at any cost. There was completely no need for arguments when after just a few hours she would get a free week. She smiled imagining not seeing all the patients, doctors, and annoying colleagues for a whole week.
“However, you seem to be in an unusually good mood. Are you together with your boyfriend again?” She settled back into the couch like preparing for a long talk.
“Yes, I am. You should go to Lockhart now.” She was trying to get her out of the room so she would not have to tell her anything.
“He can wait. I’ve taken his autograph four times today. Better tell how you made it up with your lover.” She did not intend to leave before Sarah would tell her something.
“There’s not much to tell, really.” She tried to dodge again, but unsuccessfully.
“Don’t be so pertinacious!” Megan said. “I don’t see what’s there to hide.”
“Ok, so I came to his house, but he did not want to talk with me so I left and waited when he would come back to me to apologize,” Sarah shortly explained.
“Did you have to wait for long?”
“Yes, it took him about five minutes.” Sarah said it completely serious, but Megan started laughing insanely.
“Five minutes? Yes, that’s much. I hope you made him suffer greatly for such a delay.”
“Yes, I did for some time. I could not let him know that I had been waiting for him.” Actually he had been rather scared hen she had left is house that he won’t come back that day. She would never admit to anyone that she was so unsure about him, though.
“Why aren’t you telling me anything about him?” Megan pouted.
“Go to Lockhart! He will tell you more interesting things!” she sent her away.
“Yes, he is a more interesting companion than you are. He talks at least!” she snapped and ran out of the room.
Sarah hoped that she would not have to talk with her again that day. One conversation was enough.
When she finally got home some hours later she found Severus in the kitchen. He was making supper. Usually it was not anything special, just some chicken, boiled potatoes and salad. He had not come up with anything new again, but Sarah did not mind. She did not enjoy cooking so she was glad that he could make something by himself.
“Smells good!” She sat at the table and tasted the salad. “Can you imagine? We can spend a whole week together! I’m so happy.”
“I can imagine. I’m unemployed now, if you have forgotten.” Snape did not know what would happen with him next. Voldemort was planning on taking over the Ministry and if he would succeed then Snape would become the new headmaster of Hogwarts. He did not want to think about it. It sounded ill. He did not want to look into the eyes of his prior colleagues. Snape did not know what Voldemort as planning for him in case he could not take over Hogwarts, but he knew that he would not be able to stay without a job. Voldemort wanted him in a useful position. It seemed that his plans never worked. The fantasy about going away with Sarah and staying out of everything would never come true.
“Do you have any ideas about what we could do during next week?” Sarah asked with a hope that he would have some, because she had completely ran out of new ideas.
“Actually, I have. You know that I can’t go far away from Britain in case he summons me, so I have picked south west of Ireland as out destination point.” He looked at her curiously waiting for the judgment.
“Why south west of Ireland?” She did not see it as the best vacation place, but she did not mind either.
“You will see.” His face remained unchanged as always.
“Sarah, have you finished packing?” Snape asked after he had finished the third cup of tea. He had thought that they would go to Ireland next morning after Sarah finished work, but it was already dinner time and she still refused to go.
“Just some more minutes,” she replayed from the bedroom.
Some more minutes did not sound as good as Snape had wanted so he poured in water for another cup.
“How do you think, should I take my boots in case the weather would be very bad?” she asked.
“You can take everything with you. We can put your entire apartment into the suitcase with a good shrinking charm,” he had to suggest it earlier. They would have saved a lot of time by taking everything with them.
“Oh! I forgot about the shrinking charm,” she responded. “I think I’m ready then,” she finally stated.
“Don’t worry, we can Apparate back any time in case you need something,” Snape did not want her to worry.
“No, then the joy of the trip would be ruined. Besides, I’m not used to apparition to other countries. I have to come here from America by plane while it’s not safe to Apparate over so great distance,” she explained.
“Well now we aren’t going too far. Are you ready?” he made sure that everything was alright.
“Yes,” she answered.
“Take my hand,” Snape said and Apparated her, himself and the not-large-enough suitcase
When they could feel the earth again Sarah almost got blown off her feet by the strong wind. Luckily Snape was fast enough to grab her and she did not lose balance. They found themselves on a high cliff and it was evident that there was water underneath. Sound of billowing waves could be heard and there was a light smell of salt in the air.
“We’re here,” Snape stated.
Sarah turned around to see a cottage not far from the cliffs and a village down in a valley. It looked that people were not coming to that place and it was just what they needed.
“No one will disturb us here,” Snape explained.
“I see. I hoped that here would be a beach somewhere, too, but it seems that here are only cliffs around here with not much chance to reach the water,” Sarah said, although she knew that she probably sounded ungrateful by wanting too much.
“Here is a beach. Do you see that island over there?” Snape pointed at a tiny piece of land in a distance.
“Yes, that looks like a beach. Will we have to go there by apparition?” she asked pointing out that she did not prefer apparition.
“No, I have a better idea, but let’s get our things in at first.” He grabbed the suitcase and guided her to the cottage. It was very small and simple, yet charming. The contrast of colours around it could be seen just in photos. The cottage itself was white, but it was surrounded by red roses, green grass and a clear blue sky. It was a time for Sarah to regret that she did not have a photo camera. They went inside to see that it had a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom. All the furniture in the house was old, after some time it could be called even antique. All around was an aura of neglect; however, the house was rather clean.
“Whose cottage is it?” Sarah wanted to know. Snape had never told that he had another house apart from the one in Spinner’s End. This did not look like one which could be rented, too.
“It’s Albus’s. He sent me to relax here many years ago. I remembered this place and thought that we could come here,” he explained.
“Are we allowed to come here? It doesn’t seem right to me.” She was a bit worried. Severus could not have asked for allowance to come here. This was not even Albus’s house anymore. When if someone who inherited the cottage would come and found them there. It would be highly unpleasant. However, Severus did not seem to be worried.
“He said that I can come here whenever I want and he reminded that not so long ago.” He saw that she did not seem convinced. “Don’t worry, no one can come here. Albus’s brother isn’t interested in his properties. I don’t think that anyone has been here in ten years. It is, since I left,” he concluded after casting a quick look around. “Albus spent all the time in Hogwarts. He did not need another place.”
“But it looks rather clean here,” she said, still not convinced.
“I have put a charm against dust. Do you think I wanted to clean it again in case I came back?” he laughed. Actually, she thought that it had been a good idea. She would not have wanted to clean anything either.
“Let’s go and see that beach now!” Sarah wanted to see the whole place where they would spend the next week.
“Well if you want to…” Snape had not intended to go right away, but he had no reason to postpone it.
They went almost to the same cliff on which they had Apparated. Sara still felt unsure about being so close to the precipice, but Snape led her even closer to it so that she could see how waves were splitting against the rocky coastline. Sarah seized Snape’s hand to gain more safety, but Snape took her in his hands and lifted her on his back.
“Why did you do that for?” she did not understand.
“You will see. Hold tight!” he urged.
They were so close to the precipice that she did not feel safe being lifted higher on his back, but she would never admit that she did not feel completely safe with him.
“The wind has almost disappeared,” he mentioned.
“Do we care about that?” she asked. She hated pointless discussions about the weather and flowers.
“Actually we do care about that,” he said very certain.
“Why?” she was curious.
“Are you holding very tight?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said, but was unsure why he kept asking that and what he was planning to do.
Before she managed to wonder what would happen he ran in the direction of the precipice. She was so shocked and excited by what would happen next that she only managed to grab his shoulders tighter and hope that he was not out of his mind. Yet, he probably was, because he jumped off the cliff. She did not think that it was a good joke.
“Severus!” was the only thing she managed to scream out before fear petrified her voice.
Sarah had not been so scared for a long time. She could probably say - never. She was falling off the cliff holding to her beloved man who had pushed both of them over the edge. She could not find any reason for that. She looked down, because she imagined that they could be falling into the water, but there were big and sharp rocks beneath just like everywhere near. She wanted to scream and find out why he had done that, but she could not emit a sound. She knew that he was rather disappointed with his life, but it was not so bad at least not to do something like that. It was probably the first time when she realized that time was passing slowly. She had analyzed many opportunities for why was happening what was happening, but she noticed that they had not fallen low. She quickly shut her eyes not to see the ground. She did not want to see what would happen in the outcome.
After a few seconds nothing had happened. They could not still be falling. The cliff was high but not high enough for a half minutes fall. She could not be dead without realizing it, could she? She opened her eyes to find that the scenery had not changed much. Only they were further from the cliff and they weren’t falling anymore. They were flying. She was not sure though, because she had never heard that even wizards had found a way to fly without a broomstick, but it seemed that Severus had. She was so amazed that she even forgot about the fear he had put her into just a few seconds ago.
“Severus!” she screamed. “I will kill you! I will really kill you!”
“I would not advise you to do that before we get on the earth,” he laughed. She was shocked. She had just thought that he was mental and she would die, but he thought that it was amusing.
“Then I will kill you when we get on the earth!” She did not have a clue what she would do to him, but he deserved a good punishment.
“You can’t scare me. I’ll keep flying as long as will be needed for you to calm down and forget about intentions to kill me.” He speeded up and flew down to the water. Sarah stretched her hand and touched the water. It was amazing. Now she understood why it was good that wind had quieted. They would not be able to fly just about the surface of the water if waves were roistering. She enjoyed that moment as much as she could. It was the most wonderful moment of her life so far. Naturally, she was hoping that there would be more moments like that.
“How did you learn to do this?” she finally asked.
“The Dark Lord thought me to. You see even someone like him can be a cause for happy memories.” Snape took a left turn and they were heading towards the small island they had wanted to see.
“Will you teach me to fly?” she wanted to know. She had dreamed in the childhood that she would find a way to fly, but she had forgotten about that wish later.
“Only some of the Death Eaters are allowed to know this trick and I don’t want you to resemble any of them,” he snapped. Sarah was bit disappointed, but it still seemed like a miraculous dream not a reality so she did not take it seriously.
“Hold on tight again. We’re landing,” Snape said.
Sarah laughed. It sounded rather strange to be landing. Snape slowed down and they were approaching the earth. It seemed that it would go smooth, but in the last moment Snape landed face first into the sand. It was not so unpleasant for Sarah since she was on his back. Snape turned around and pushed her off his back.
“I have to practice landing,” he admitted.
“Yes, you do, but it was wonderful anyway,” she cheered him up and kissed him.
They looked around and concluded that it was really a nice island for swimming. The coastline was sandy, but the middle of the island was rocky and there were some trees growing among the rock.
“Do you want to go into water?” Sarah asked.
“Not really,” Snape confessed, “but I know that you want to, so let’s go.”
“Are you really willing to go without appropriate clothing?” she could not believe her ears.
“Don’t let me change my mind,” Snape said and waited for her to start undressing. It was much more pleasant than last year since Snape did not have to turn around so he would not see her naked. He quickly freed himself from his black robes and they walked into the water together. Water was rather cold. It had not warmed up jet because summer had begun not so long ago.
“Let’s swim or otherwise we will freeze,” Sarah advised.
“We will freeze anyway!” Snape complained, but she was already swimming so he had no other chance than to catch up with her. It did not take long for them to freeze like Snape had predicted so they decided to get out of the water.
“I think I saw something interesting on the bottom. I’ll dive in,” Snape suddenly said and plunged in.
Sarah wondered what he could have seen there, but soon he emerged from the water and he was holding something in his hands. She saw that it was a seashell when he opened his hands.
“This looks like it could have a pearl inside. Open it,” Snape said with a smile on his face that made her wonder whether he was teasing her or not. However, she had never seen a real pearl taken out of the ocean so she risked. She slowly opened the seashell and gasped; there really was a pearl inside. She ripped the shell up to get it out, but to her amazement she had been wrong. It was not a pearl that was inside, but it was a golden ring with pearls. She did not know what to think. It could not be a proposal; at least she had never expected it from Severus. She just looked at him with big eyes and waited for what he has to say.
“Will you marry me when it will be safe?” he asked.
Sarah did not know how to respond. It was too unexpected. When she got out of shock and was able to move again she embraced his as tight as she could, kissed him and felt for the first time in her life what tears of joy meant.