You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com
View Online | Printer Friendly Version of Entire Story
Chapter 7: Chapter Seven
Severus made his way back to his room, taking the back stairs to avoid seeing anyone in the corridors. He wanted answers but he knew that talking to Professor McGonagall was probably the only way he'd find them. As he approached his door he noticed the frame was empty and he frowned. Where was Sir John? He took out his wand and after a few complex spells the door finally swung open, allowing him access. By now, Severus was in a bad mood and he stomped into his quarters to find the old man.
"Come on... come with me..." Severus could here Sir John's voice but he couldn't see him anywhere. He heard a girlish giggle and followed the sound into his bedroom, where he found Sir John trying to coax a buxom woman over to his portrait.
"Sir John!" Severus called his name and the woman jumped away.
"Not now boy!" Sir John said, with a dismissive hand.
"I am master of this chamber and you are my Dolor Altor. When I arrive at my door I expect to be greeted by you," his voice was dark and he watched the woman scamper back to her own portrait.
"Listen here lad, I don't appreciate being talked to like that..."
"If you don't like it, I'm sure I can find a replacement." Severus knew his words would put a stop to the old man's anger.
"You're right, I'm sorry." Sir John bowed and mumbled something under his breath. Severus eyed him icily and Sir John should have been glad that he couldn't hear him because if he had...
Severus shook his head and turned back to his living room. He sat down at his desk with his collection of books.
"Did you get everything you were looking for?" Sir John asked, after a few minutes. His gentle tone told Severus he'd had time to cool off.
"Not everything, someone was..." Severus paused and lifted his head to look at the portrait on his wall to his left. He wanted answers to what Professor McGonagall had said... "What happened to her?" Severus watched Sir John for a second.
"Who?" The wizard asked slowly.
"You know who I am referring to." Severus could see it in the other man's manner.
"It is not my place to say. If you want to know about it, I would suggest talking to Minerva." Severus snorted and shook his head.
"Do you honestly think she would confide in me?" Severus took the silence to mean what he had already guessed. "Were you there?" He asked.
"If you're asking if I was alive... yes...and no." The man walked from his current frame and Severus frowned. What did he mean?
"What did you mean by that?" Severus asked, running after him.
"You should talk to her about it. I cannot tell you."
"I order you to tell me what you know," he knew Sir John wouldn't be able to refuse his order.
"She'll never forgive me," Sir John said with a deep sigh. Had Severus been anyone else he would have let the old wizard off but unlucky for Sir John, he wasn't. Severus wanted answers and if this was what he had to do to get them, then so be it.
"She needn't know," Severus said as he sat down on his sofa and waited for Sir John to speak.
"What is it you want to know?" Sir John asked with a defeated sigh.
"What happened to her?" Severus asked eagerly, wanting the wizard to continue.
"A man came to the house. Wanted Minerva for one of his sons but she didn't want to marry. She was only 17, she had her own ideas but during those times, she was expected to marry well.
Apparently she discussed the marriage with the chosen son and they agreed against the arrangement. Of course, the father was furious and although the decision was mutual, he spread the word that she had refused him. Shed a bad light on her in the eyes of the magic community." Sir John moved to chair in his current painting and sat down heavily. "A few months later, the man returned with friends and tried to force her into marriage. But when she refused, they attacked her." Severus frowned, he was no stranger to violence but for some reason this made him feel uneasy. Maybe it was because he knew the person... or more than likely, it was the thought of something like that happening to Professor McGonagall.
"They attacked her because she didn't want to marry his son?" Sir John nodded, solemnly.
"Yes, I suppose he thought he could frighten her into it. He certainly underestimated her." Severus noticed Sir John smile fondly at the thought of his relative.
"Why was he so insistent?"
"Well I'd imagine it was the estate he wanted." Severus stared in confusion at the painted man.
"What estate?" Sir John suddenly fixed Severus with an icy stare.
"Oh yes, everyone always perks up when they learn of the estate." Severus eyed him darkly, angry that the man was judging his interest. Sir John remained silent while Severus was deep in thought. An estate? Of course! Severus berated himself for not thinking of it sooner. Sir John. If he was given the title or inherited it then there would be land, not to mention a large sum of money to go with it.
"So she was an heiress," he said, more to himself than the painting.
"She was sole heir to everything her father owned and at that moment in time, she had just inherited the whole lot upon his death." Severus didn't know what to do with the information he'd just received. He stared at Sir John, unsure what to say.
"So no one knows about this?"
"Oh I'd imagine a lot of people know about it." Sir John said with a shrug and Severus frowned. Professor McGonagall had said no one knew of it.
"Well in those days, she was quite the celebrity." Sir John smiled. "Everyone watched her, wanted to know what she was doing, what she was wearing." He paused a second and when he continued Severus noted a hint of bitterness in his voice. "When people heard she turned down a marriage proposal it was a huge scandal and everyone turned their backs on her. But once they learned of the attack and how bravely she defended herself... well, everyone soon changed their tunes. She was everyone's daughter, sister... suddenly they wanted what was best for her." He gave a sceptical laugh and shook his head. "But when she disappeared..."
"Wait, she disappeared?" Severus asked shifting forward in his seat eagerly.
"I'm not sure of the details, I died just before then but..."
"What do you mean she disappeared?" Severus asked again, cutting the older man off for a second time. Sir John frowned at Severus and took a few minutes to respond.
"She left, disappeared. She signed her sisters' name as caretaker for the estate and left." He said, sounding a little angry at Severus' impatience to gather information.
"Where?" Sir John shrugged.
"I left her a small cottage, I suppose she could have gone there." Sir John began moving through the frames towards his own portrait and Severus followed him. He still had questions.
"I don't know." Severus caught the wizard's eyes shift slightly and he noticed the way he hastened his steps.
"You're lying." He stated.
"Look," Sir John stopped in his portrait and turned to look at Severus. "It's not my place. I've told you what I can but if you desire more, you have to find it some other way."
"But..." Sir John shook his head and gave a slight bow.
"Now if you'll excuse me..." Severus watched Sir John walk into the distance of his portrait and growled in the back of his throat.
So Professor McGonagall had been attacked when she was younger. Could that be the reason for the scars? Sir John had said most people knew that had happened to her but she had stated earlier that no one knew of it.
He walked back to his desk deep in thought. This was all interesting information but how did it relate to what the deputy had said in the library?
Suddenly he realised with a note of anger that Sir John had not supplied the information he needed, the wizard had tricked him, giving him information he could have probably found in the library.
Severus' lips curled and he let out a dry laugh. He had to hand it to the old man, he was an intelligent trickster.
Severus stored away the information he had learned and sat down behind his desk. Just as he was about to pick up a book he felt a tingle on his left arm and he froze. He pulled back his sleeve to show the graceful grey swirling lines of the Dark Mark. It tingled for a few seconds then stopped, it didn't burn, it didn't turn black... what did it mean?
He suddenly felt sick at the thought of being summoned and pulled the sleeve down over it quickly. He knew he should contact someone in the Dark Lord's circle but he was hesitant. Maybe he should talk to Albus.
He stared at his covered arm for a few minutes before standing up and heading in search of the Headmaster.
Severus made his way along the corridor toward the large eagle that would escort him to the Headmasters office. He was only halfway towards it when the man himself appeared from behind a tapestry, whistling happily.
"Severus, I haven't seen you in the Great Hall recently." Albus said with a wide smile. Severus stopped and gave a deep sigh.
"Yes and there is a reason for that, Headmaster." They walked towards the eagle together.
"I do not wish to sit in a room full of people that do not like me."
"Not everyone feels that way." Severus rolled his eyes at the slightly teasing tone the older used.
"Filius doesn't count," he said as he followed Albus up the stairs.
"Then what about Minerva?" Severus caught his foot on the next step and stumbled slightly.
"What about her?" He asked, recovering quickly. Albus smiled, his eyes twinkling behind his glasses.
"Is she not making more effort to get to know you?" He asked, beckoning Severus inside his office.
"Well yes but..." Severus paused in the doorway. How had he known that? A sudden nervous feeling spread through his stomach. "Did you send her?" He managed to ask.
"I'm sorry?" Albus had sat down behind his desk and was peering up at Severus.
"Did you order her to keep an eye on me?" He stepped into the office, his temper beginning to flare. "I'd do the same thing if I there was someone around me I didn't trust." Albus' eyes lost their sparkle and Severus knew he'd spoken out of turn.
"You and I both know I did no such thing," his voice held the same strict tone it had when Severus had first come to him for help. Then, as if it hadn't happened, he smiled. "Besides, as you get to know my deputy, you'll understand that she is not one to do something just because I asked her." Severus snorted.
"I may not know her well, sir but I know she would do anything you asked of her."
"But this is personal, she wouldn't do this." Severus sat down as Albus offered him a chair. He stared at the older wizard, wondering just how well he knew Professor McGonagall.
"How long have you known Professor McGonagall?" Severus asked.
"Almost her whole life." Albus leaned back in his chair and smiled slightly, Severus wasn't sure why. "I taught her here as a student and she became my assistant before she eventually took over my position."
"What can you tell me about her?" He asked, knowing this was his chance to get real information.
"Why the sudden interest?" Albus asked and Severus noticed, with a touch of panic, that the annoying twinkle had returned to the Headmasters gaze.
"No real interest, we were merely talking about her..." He shrugged his shoulders, hoping to give the impression that he didn't really care.
"Minerva is a gifted witch who has always strived to do good for children. Whether it's their quality of living or their education."
"What brought her here?"
"I did." For some reason that surprised Severus and he frowned.
"Like I said, she is a gifted witch and I knew she would make a tremendous teacher." Albus crossed his hands over his chest as if he thought this conversation might go on awhile.
"What did she do before that?" He asked, looking down at the floor. Albus was silent for a second and Severus finally looked up to see him staring at him.
"Why don't you ask her?" Severus shifted uncomfortably in his seat under the Headmaster's eyes. "You should be trying to befriend your colleagues and this is the kind of topic you should bring up with them. Shows you have an interest in that person, I'm sure it will reflect well on you." Albus smiled encouragingly but Severus sneered and let out a deep sigh. They were quiet for a few seconds before Albus spoke again. "Did you need something Severus, or did you merely come to question me about Minerva?" Severus started out of his thoughts and frowned at the amused look Albus had.
"I think I may be summoned soon." Severus was pleased to see that that brought the older man back to his senses.
"Do you know why?" He asked, leaning forward onto his desk.
"No Sir, I felt..." He gripped his left arm for a second and he noticed Albus' eyes flicker over. "I think I will be summoned but I can't be sure."
"What does this mean?"
"I can only think he'll want a report of on-goings here."
"Do you know what to give him?" Albus asked, as he stood up and began pacing the room.
"I have an idea sir yes." Severus watched him move back and forth over the well worn rug. The Headmaster seemed almost as agitated as he felt.
"And you have been practicing..?"
"Of course I have." Severus interrupted with an annoyed frown. He'd been working on becoming a master of Occlumency long before he returned to the castle.
"Then you have my permission to leave whenever you need to. Aberforth has a place for staff to apparate to and from, you should use that." Severus nodded and stood up. He turned to leave but Albus reached out and grabbed his arm forcefully. "I want you to report to me as soon as you get back." Severus nodded again but the older man's grip tightened on his arm. It was painful. "I will be the first person you see." He slowly let go of his arm and Severus eyed him curiously.
"Yes Sir." He replied and bowed slightly as he left the room.
Severus was about to head back down toward the dungeons but before he started down the stairs, he looked down the hallway towards Professor McGonagall's rooms. For some reason his feet moved in that direction and he found himself being taken there. When he arrived outside the door the great lion raised his head and gave a low threatening growl.
"My mistress does not wish to be disturbed," the lion said in that deep reverberating voice.
"I don't want to see her," Severus said and he wasn't sure if it was the entire truth.
"Then why are you here?" It asked, its ears flattened against his head as if preparing to hunt. But before Severus could answer him the door suddenly swung open causing the lion to stumble and Severus to step back.
"Severus..." Professor McGonagall stood before him in a navy, long sleeved dress. It looked the sort thing she would wear under her teaching robes as the material was thin and as he looked at her, he could see every movement her slim body made under the flimsy fabric. "What can I do for you?" She asked, crossing her arms over her chest. At the action Severus' eyes were drawn to her chest and he could see the swell of her small breasts peeking up just above the scooped neck line.
"I..." What was happening to him? He never noticed this sort thing on any other woman apart from... He suddenly felt sick at the thought of Lily.
"Severus?" He looked up to see his former professor peering at him with worried eyes. Once again she wasn't wearing her glasses.
"Are you alright?" Severus felt one of her hands fall on his shoulder as if it were on fire. All of a sudden he had an overwhelming need to tell her everything, about his deal with Dumbledore, about what had happened to his scar, about the possibility of being summoned... but he knew he couldn't.
"I'm perfectly alright," he said, his voice clipped. "I don't need you smothering me." He shrugged her hand away and ignored the cold spot it left behind.
"Was there something you needed?" She asked, her voice matching his.
Severus wanted to talk about what he'd over heard in the library but he knew it was pointless to even try. He watched her for a second, trying to think of the right way to approach this situation he'd found himself in.
"Will you be taking breakfast in the Great Hall tomorrow?" He asked, although he already knew the answer.
"Perhaps..." He was about to ask her if they could sit together but at the last minute he realised how childish it would have sounded. Although when it came to becoming better acquainted with someone, he did still feel like a nervous adolescent sometimes. He cleared his throat, readying himself to try again.
"Will you be sitting with us?" Professor McGonagall asked before he could say anything else. He nodded. "Then I shall try to save you a seat." Severus nodded again and upon realising that he had nothing to say, turned away and headed off down the corridor.
"Severus." He turned back to look at her. "You may want to arrive early or you may end up sitting between Cuthbert and Sybil." She smiled slightly before closing the door but Severus was left frowning.