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Silent Wedding Bells by the_artful_dodger

Format: Novel
Chapters: 14
Word Count: 49,869
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Drama, General, Romance
Characters: Dumbledore, Lupin, Slughorn, Snape, Sirius, Lily, James, Lucius, Narcissa, OC
Pairings: Snape/OC, James/Lily, Lucius/Narcissa, OC/OC, Remus/OC

First Published: 03/19/2006
Last Chapter: 04/30/2008
Last Updated: 05/16/2010

Summary:
Beautiful banner by Jeanie @ TDA

Camilla Portman has been labeled "unruly," "headstrong," "stubborn," and "opinionated" by the pureblood community. Everything a pureblood girl should not be. Her parents want her to marry a young man who will "put her right." Someone who will break her spirit. They extend an offer to Severus Snape. (Snape/OC)


Chapter 1: An Arranged Marriage
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Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

A huge "thank you!" goes out to Trickie Woo for helping me fix up this chapter and being a great beta!


Silent Wedding Bells
the_artful_dodger


Severus milled around the ballroom of the Malfoy manor, greeting familiar faces and shaking the hands of those people who were less familiar to him. It was the Malfoy family’s annual Christmas Eve party. Every prominent pureblood family was there, drinking and celebrating the Dark Lord’s latest conquest. Severus never really enjoyed these sorts of parties. He found the idea of meeting new people and listening to them speak about their families or their latest business investment as if he cared to be extremely tedious. 

In fact, he was half-listening to an ancient witch talk about her eight cats and how one of them would hack up hairballs much more often than she thought to be normal when his godfather interrupted them and, with a polite nod to the woman, steered him away.

His godparents, Abraxas and Tatiana Malfoy, had raised him since he was six years old. They had raised him like one of their own sons, instilling in him the same strong pureblood values they did in Lucius, despite his mother’s foolishness and he was incredibly grateful.

His godfather led him towards his godmother who was talking cheerfully to a good-looking couple. Suddenly, his godfather stopped and studied Severus.

Severus looked back at him. "Something wrong?” he asked finally.

His godfather continued to study him silently.

A house elf bearing a tray came up to them and offered them drinks. Severus was able to snatch one off the tray before his godfather shooed the elf away. “Abraxas, why are you staring at me like a fool?” Severus snapped.

His godfather smirked. “I have good news,” he said.

Severus took a sip of his drink waiting for his godfather to continue.

“I’ve found you a wife.”

Severus coughed and sputtered. His throat had just seemed to close up. His eyes watered and Abraxas pounded his back, trying to help him recover his air supply. “I’m only seventeen,” Severus choked out.

“You’ll be eighteen in less than a month, besides Lucius married Narcissa when he was eighteen. She comes from a strong, pure bloodline. With that Prince blood in you, you two will make excellent children.”

Severus was at a loss for words, which was a rare occurrence.

“Those are her parents.” Abraxas nodded toward the good-looking couple speaking with his godmother.

“When we go over there it’s important that you make a good impression. I want a set date for this wedding before you go back to school.”

Severus’ head was spinning as his godfather lead him towards the group.

“Ah, here they are. Severus, meet Xander Portman and his wife Leila,” Tatiana Malfoy said jovially as they approached.

Severus shook both their hands firmly and tried to gauge their reactions to him. They had a regal air about them; something in the way they stood and moved exuded confidence.

“He looks like he could handle her, don’t you agree, dear? He’s got a good grip.” Mrs. Portman said, smiling to her husband. Before Mr. Portman could agree, however, Abraxas spoke.

“Of course he could. We raised Severus with-”

“Do you know our daughter? Camilla?” Mr. Portman interrupted, observing Severus carefully.

Severus had never heard anyone deliberately cutoff a male Malfoy before. It was a disrespectful action and Severus glanced at Abraxas to see what he would do.

But Abraxas inclined his head, encouraging him to answer.

“Is she a Gryffindor?” Severus asked after a moment of thought. The name did sound familiar though he couldn’t put the name to any face.

“Ravenclaw,” Mr. Portman said with what seemed like a stern tone, as if the idea of his daughter being a Gryffindor was insulting. However, the man’s voice was deep, much of what he said sounded threatening.

“Oh… well, does she spend time with Gryffindors?”

“She does, unfortunately,” Mrs. Portman answered, her expression sour, “Her best friend is a mudblood named Lily Evans. So, naturally, she hangs around delinquents like that Potter brat and Regulus’ older brother, the one who was disowned.”

“Sirius Black,” Severus replied automatically.

“Yes, yes that’s the one… Now tell me Severus, what do you think the woman’s role is in a marriage?”

He took a quick glance at his godfather, who again inclined his head just slightly.

“Well,” he began, “I believe a good wife is there to satisfy the husband’s needs. She should be selfless and respectful. Her husband and children’s needs should always come before her own. She should always comply with her husbands wishes and only speak when spoken to.”

 “And if she doesn’t?”

“She should be made to.” He hoped this was a decent answer. He didn’t want to get married. He would rather live his life without some stupid girl interfering all the time, but that didn’t matter. What mattered was that Tatiana and Abraxas wanted it and he owed them everything.

“Oh he’s perfect, Xander. She needs a man like that to guide her. She’ll end up embarrassing this family even more if-.”

Mr. Portman held up a hand to stop his wife. “Alright Leila, if you like him… Severus, would you be interested in marrying our daughter? We’re willing to negotiate monetary benefits.”

Abraxas smiled triumphantly.

“Well, I…” Severus began warily. He paused, vaguely aware that what he said next would impact the rest of his life. “It would be an honor, sir.”

Xander Portman smiled for the first since Severus had met him. Something in his smile made Severus think this man knew something he didn’t. “’An honor,’ hmm? We’ll see about that.”

“Fantastic! Why don’t you and I discuss details upstairs, Xander?” Severus’ godfather suggested.

Severus politely excused himself from the group and numbly navigated through the Malfoys' many guests. “I think I’m engaged,” he said, approaching the blonde man who had turned out to be like a brother to him.

Lucius raised an eyebrow. “Really?”

He nodded and motioned over to where Abraxas was still talking to the couple. “Those are her parents.”

“The Portmans? Well, that’s quite impressive, Severus,” Lucius exclaimed, clapping him on the back. “They’re old money. I remember how Mum made such a fuss over my clothes the first time they came ‘round for supper.”

“But I’ve never even heard of them.”

“They stopped coming out when their five year old daughter helped Sirius Black set fire to the Black’s nursery.”

“That was her?” Severus groaned. “Is that why they’re friends then? Because they’ve both been rebelling against pureblood society since they were born? Gods, that girl is infamous.”

Lucius smirked. “Don’t worry too much.”

Severus nodded absently. He knew he could manage some disobedient tart, but it certainly wasn’t something he looked forward to; especially since it seemed that she regularly conversed with those he considered enemies.

“You’ve always enjoyed a challenge.”

A/N: This is just a short chapter, sort of an introduction to the story. The chapters will get longer after this, don't worry. Anyway, I'd love to know what you all think, so be sure to leave a review!

Revised: February 12, 2008
 



Chapter 2: Dishwater
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Special thanks to Trickie Woo for being a fantastic beta!

Chapter 2


“Snape? Snivellus? No, absolutely not! This is some sort of joke. Tell me you’re joking.” Sirius was silent for a moment, waiting for her to laugh and admit that she was indeed kidding.

Camilla looked out at the snowy landscape. She wished with all her heart she was joking. “My parents couldn’t find anyone who wanted anything to do with me. I guess I have a reputation for being ‘unruly.’”

James gave a grim smile. “You are a bit stubborn,” he said.

“Maybe it won’t be so bad,” Peter said, patting her shoulder.

“How can it not be bad Wormtail?” Sirius snapped.

Camilla gave Peter a small smile. “He was just trying to comfort me, Sirius.”

The compartment became silent again. Camilla’s parents had broken the news to her just that morning, as they drove to King’s Cross Station. She hadn’t even had time to process the information herself before she was telling her friends. Their reactions had only solidified her thoughts that this was the worst possible thing that could ever happen to her. Lily hadn’t said anything; she had simply covered her mouth in shock. Remus, who was her best friend, hadn’t said anything either, though he did pale noticeably. Camilla hadn’t cried yet, but she knew she would. The moment she was alone, the tears would come. She didn’t want to cry in front of her friends. It made her seem weak. The only people who’d ever seen her cry were Remus and her parents.

Camilla wondered what her life would be like after June 31st. Her parents had agreed to a summer wedding. She had always wanted her wedding to be in autumn. Autumn was her favorite season. Secretly, she had always hoped to name her daughter Autumn. Now, she couldn’t. Well, she could, but the name would hold no meaning. Camilla was suddenly disgusted with her thoughts. How could she think of having children at all? Any children she would have would also be Snape's children and that just wouldn't do. She would just not have any kids at all. The thought made Camilla sad all over again. Everything she had always wanted, all her dreams, were never going to happen.

Camilla stood quickly. “I’m going to the front to get something off the trolley,” she said, pulling the door of the compartment open.

“Get me some chocolate frogs, will you?” Sirius called, as she began to shut the door.

Camilla waved to indicate that she had heard him and set off down the train.

She had needed to get out of the dead silent compartment. She knew they were all dying to talk about it, but didn’t want to upset her. That was fine. She could feel the tears burning and she didn’t want them to see her cry. Camilla felt the tears sliding down her cheeks. She desperately wanted to stop crying, but found that she couldn’t. She choked out a sob. She needed someplace she could be alone. She couldn’t bear to have anyone seeing her like this.

“Camilla! Camilla how was your break?”

Camilla froze. She especially did not want Darcy Rodman to see her crying. Camilla turned around slowly.

“Oh dear, you’ve been crying,” she said in a falsely sweet voice.

Camilla gave her a cold look.

“Perhaps I should I ask Severus to bring you out some tissues. I’m sure he’d be glad to, seeing as you’re his new fiancé.” Darcy paused waiting for Camilla to respond.

She didn’t.

“Severus told us all about the arrangement your parents made with him. Did you know they are going to pay him a thousand galleons a year to keep you off their hands, not to mention he’ll get every sickle of your inheritance when they kick the bucket.”

Camilla gulped. She hadn’t known that. She scowled at Darcy. “Is that all you have to say?” she asked icily.

“We can’t wait to welcome you into our circle of friends, Cammie, I can call you Cammie can’t I?”

“I’d prefer that you didn’t.”

“Well, what does that matter?” Darcy responded with a cold smile, “Because now that Severus is in control of you it doesn’t really matter what you prefer.”

Camilla felt rage boil inside her. “No one is in control of me. I control myself, and if Snape thinks otherwise he’s in for a real surprise.”

Darcy smiled again. “You don't really believe that do you?,” she asked stepping closer to Camilla, "You poor thing. Severus will beat you down until you are a mere shadow of your present self… just as your parents asked, of course. And in ten years when you’re following Severus around and taking orders from him like a good pureblood wife should, I’ll look at you, smile, and say ‘I told you so’.”

Without thinking, Camilla raised her hand to slap the smug look off Darcy’s face. However, someone grabbed her wrist and threw her hard against the wall of the train. She winced. Her eyes were closed as she tried to erase the shockwaves of pain pulsing through her back.

“Don’t you ever try to lay a hand on my girlfriend again, do you understand me bitch?” a voice quite close to her spat angrily.

Camilla opened her eyes. She was staring into the brown eyes of Cain Holden. He had her pinned against the wall and it made her feel very awkward. He laughed. “Well if it isn’t Camilla Portman, or should I say Camilla Snape?” Camilla struggled to get away from him, but unfortunately he was much too strong for her to push him away. He laughed again, his eyes dancing mischievously. “Will you look at those eyes? Prettiest eyes I’ve ever seen,” he said softly, “Like a stormy gray ocean when she’s angry… and pool water when she’s not.” He laughed again. “What do you think Severus? Think you’ll be okay looking into those when you’re knocking her up?”

Darcy laughed hysterically at her boyfriend’s rude comment. Camilla sought to find somewhere else to look. She didn’t want to look into Cain’s eyes anymore. She felt like he could see inside her and it was discomforting. She heard Snape mumble something to Cain. She felt strong hands grab her face and her eyes left the patch of wall above Cain’s right shoulder they had settled on. Instead, Cain’s hands pointed her head towards Snape. She couldn’t help but glance at his face. He was staring intently at her, his black eyes boring into hers. If Cain’s gaze had been disconcerting, it was nothing compared to this. She averted her eyes. “What do you reckon, Severus? She’s certainly a looker isn’t she?” Cain asked conversationally, as if he often pinned girls to the wall and talked about them as if they weren’t there.
He probably does, Camilla thought.

“I don’t see it. She’s disgusting,” Snape said finally. Camilla’s head shot up.

“Ah, that’s only because she’s been doing a bit of crying and her mascara’s running. But, look. You’ve gone and made her angry. See, stormy gray ocean, just as I said,” Cain replied with a smile.

“Looks more like dishwater if you ask me,” Snape said coolly. Cain, Darcy, and another boy, who was standing near Darcy, laughed. Camilla felt Cain’s grip loosen just slightly and she seized the opportunity.

She pushed him hard with surprising force. He grunted as he fell back into his girlfriend. “I’m better looking right now than you will ever be,” she snapped at Snape as she shoved past him. She half expected him to grab her arm and throw her back against the wall like Cain had, but he didn’t seem to make any effort to stop her and she was able to walk back to her compartment without any sort of trouble.

Camilla opened the door to her compartment, walked in and shut it behind her. It was silent for a moment. “Where are my chocolate frogs?” Sirius asked.

“Oh I’m sorry I totally forgot. I’ll go back and get them,’ she turned back around to leave.

“No! Never mind, don’t bother. I’ll get them.” Sirius stood and gently squeezed her shoulder. Camilla sat in Sirius’ vacated seat.

Remus gazed at her. Then, with a small wave of his wand, he had conjured a washcloth. He reached up and gently wiped her cheeks with it. She had forgotten her messy face. The cloth was damp with warm water and it felt so comforting. She gave him a grateful smile. “You’re wonderful.”

He chuckled softly. “I know.”

Lily was watching her carefully as well. She put a hand on her friend’s knee and smiled. “You’ll get through this. I know you will. And you’re going to do it with that same old Millie spirit.” Camilla smiled at her friend’s use of her nickname.

“I hope so, Lily,” she responded softly.

A/N: Thank you for reading! I'd love to hear what you think about this chapter so go ahead and leave a review :)

Revised: February 13, 2007


Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Special thanks to Trickie Woo for helping me clean up this chapter!

Chapter 3


Camilla stared at the ceiling. She didn’t want to get up. She knew it would probably be her worst day at Hogwarts. Ever. She could tell by the way all the professors had glanced at her and quickly looked away upon catching her eye that they all knew about her horrible predicament. She had spent the night fuming with hatred at her parents. How could they expect her to marry a man who thought the color of her eyes looked like dishwater? “You’d better hurry. You don’t want to miss Flitwick handing out schedules,” one of Camilla’s dorm mates, Kelly said as she headed out the door. Camilla sighed pulling herself out of her bed. Her smoky gray cat, Simon, looked up at her. She imagined, for a moment, that even he was gazing at her in pity. When she had refilled his food bowl she dropped it on the floor with a little more force than necessary. “Don’t look at me like that,” she snapped.

After she had received her schedule along with a pitying smile from her Head of House Camilla sprinted down the corridors to her first class of the day: Defense Against the Dark Arts. She had gotten up so late that she hadn’t had time to eat breakfast. She could already feel her stomach protesting.

Camilla pushed open the door to the classroom. The whole class looked at her. Professor Mitchell was lecturing the class and Darcy and Cain were standing at the front while the rest of the students were all standing near the opposite wall. “Why Ms. Portman, how nice of you finally join us. I’ll see you in detention tomorrow evening. Today we are reviewing nonverbal spells and using them in the context of a duel. Please join your classmates,” Professor Mitchell said smoothly.

Camilla lugged her bag to the back of the room. Remus and Lily both stood aside making room for her between them. Professor Mitchell continued lecturing the class. “Are you alright, Millie?” Lily whispered.

Camilla shrugged. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?” Remus rolled his eyes and began to say something, but she held a finger to her lips. “I don’t want to get in any more trouble.”

“Ms. Portman! Are you so proficient in my subject that you do not feel the need to pay attention?” Professor Mitchell was scowling deeply at her.

“No, Professor. I’m sorry.”

“Mr. Holden has just expressed a valid concern about hexing his own girlfriend. Since you seem to feel that you do not need to turn up on time nor pay attention, perhaps you would like to demonstrate your expertise and take up Ms. Rodman’s place.”

“Umm… no thank you Professor.” Camilla knew she would get in trouble for this. She was willing to take that risk. She was terrible at DADA and she had only continued with the subject because Remus has pushed her to. He had insisted that it would be much more useful , Should You-Know-Who ever arrive at her doorstep than the Advanced Muggle Studies class she had planned to take. Of course, she knew he was right, but that didn’t make the class any more enjoyable.

Professor Mitchell raised her eyebrows. “I’m sorry, Ms. Portman, but it wasn’t a request. Hmm, perhaps you object because you don’t believe Mr. Holden to be as capable as you. Perhaps you would like someone who is a bit more of a challenge?”

“What? No! That’s not-” She certainly did not doubt Cain’s abilities. He had more than proved his strength against her own on the train. It was her own abilities that she was concerned about. The fact that the only nonverbal spell she could do was the shield charm was what concerned her.

“Severus. Perhaps you would be an adequate challenge for Ms. Portman.”

Camilla looked at her teacher in horror. The witch knew exactly what she was doing. At that moment Camilla’s dislike for her Professor turned to hard, cold hatred. She slowly walked to the front of the classroom, pulling her wand out of her robe as she went. She walked up to Snape so they were face to face. They were so close she could smell him. She couldn’t determine what the scent was exactly, but she knew they were a mix of potions ingredients. She decided he spent too much time in front of a cauldron. He was taller, her forehead only reached the tip of his long nose. She had to look up to meet his eyes.

She gave him a defiant scowl. He was smirking at her. “I’ll go easy on you,” he whispered so only she could hear, “I think that if I have to look at you for the rest of my life, I’d like you to keep your pretty face.”

“I thought you said I was disgusting,” she snapped back quietly.

“Even dishwater looks decent in some shades of light.”

Camilla was about to respond when there was a sharp knock at the door. A tiny blonde first year came scurrying in holding a scroll of parchment. He handed the scroll to Professor Mitchell. After quickly scanning it, she said, “Thank you, Mr. Hollands, they will be on their way as soon as they are finished with their duel.” Camilla looked at the scroll. Judging from what Professor Mitchell had said, it was a note summoning her and Snape somewhere. Fantastic, she thought.

The blonde boy shuffled in placed for a moment before the Professor barked at him, “What else do you need Hollands?”

“H-he would-would li-like to s-see them now, P-Professor.”

Several people laughed at the boy’s stutter. He blushed red and Camilla felt for him. “Very well, Mr. Hollands, thank you.” The boy quickly walked out. “Portman!” she barked, “You and Severus are to take this and report to Dumbledore’s office.” Camilla’s classmates began to whisper at this. She went up to Professor Mitchell.

“Thank you, Professor,” she said, giving her teacher a fake smile. She snatched the note out of the woman’s hand and marched defiantly to the back the room. She grabbed her bag and was turning to leave when she felt a hand on her shoulder. She turned to look into Remus’ concerned gray eyes. Lily was looking at her as well. “Stop it, you two. I’m fine,” she reassured them, “I’ll talk to you later.” She gave Remus a quick kiss on the cheek and left the classroom.

Severus and Camilla walked silently down the halls. He was walking slightly ahead of her and she took that as evidence that he did not want to talk, but that really didn’t matter to her. He would have to talk to her eventually so they might as well start now. “They picked a June wedding. I hate June, what about you?”

“Do you hate June simply because-?”

“No,” she interrupted, “I don’t like the summer at all really. I’m more fond of months like October and November.”

“Why don’t you-?”

“Because it can be so hot and humid. I find it sort of clogs my mind.”

“Do you always-?” He paused. Camilla looked at him waiting for him to ask his question. “This,” he said, as if he were talking to a small child, “is the point in my sentence where you interrupt me again.” She blushed slightly and mumbled an apology. It was silent again as they walked. She decided it would be best to start a new conversation.

“I hope we’re not in some sort of trouble… I’ve never been to the headmaster’s office. Have you?”

“If I answer you, will you let me finish?”

“I said I was sorry!” she snapped back.

“I’ve been there a few times,” he replied, ignoring her tone. Camilla waited for him to elaborate, but he didn’t.

“What do you think he wants us for?”

“No doubt something to do with-”

“The wedding, that’s exactly what I was thinking.” He gave her a scowl. She covered her mouth when she realized what she’d done.

“No wonder no one wants you. You’re completely graceless.” She stopped in the middle of the corridor.

“I’m graceless? You told me my eyes looked like dishwater! If that’s not graceless, I don’t know what is.”

“Honestly, are you going to obsess about that forever?” He stopped further down the corridor at a statue of a stone gargoyle.

“Yes! Yes I am because it was a hurtful thing to say!” She watched him from her spot. She thought she heard him say something, but he hadn’t spoken loudly enough for her to hear what he had said. She furrowed her brow in confusion. The statue was moving… and he was stepping into the small alcove that had been created. “What are you-?” she called, then as realization hit, she sprinted towards him. “Wait for me!”

She was able to jump in just as the statue began to move upward and the corridor they had been in disappeared from view. Camilla had never been to Dumbledore’s office. She was slightly nervous, despite the fact that she knew she was not in trouble. She took a deep breath as they stepped onto the landing, facing a door. She reached for the doorknob and began to turn it. Suddenly, she felt a stinging slap on her hand. She looked up at Snape who was giving her scathing look. He wrenched her hand violently away from the doorknob. “Manners, Portman. Learn some.” He gave two sharp knocks at the door.

“Enter,” a voice from behind the door said. Snape opened the door and strode inside, Camilla following him, fuming.

A/N: I just wanted to say "Thank You!" to everyone who has taken the time to read and review my story. It really helps keep me going. I read and take into consideration everyone's thoughts and opinions. I intend to answer every review, but it will probably take me a very long time so please don't take it personally. Thanks again!

Chapter 4: A Discovery
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Tons of thanks go out to Trickie Woo for all her wonderful help. I really appreciate all the help and feedback you’ve given me!

Chapter 4


Camilla looked around. It was a large, circular room. The walls were covered in portraits, which she guessed to be previous headmasters and headmistresses of Hogwarts. At first, she thought that even they were shaking their heads with sympathy. Camilla erased this thought from her head. “Welcome, please take a seat,” the headmaster said kindly, indicating two comfy-looking chairs placed in front of a large, highly polished, wood desk.

Camilla and Severus sat down across from the headmaster. “May I offer you some licorice wands?” he asked.

Camilla leaned forward to take the headmaster up on this offer. Her stomach was growling intensely. She took quite a few of the sweets and Severus gave her a disgusted look. “Thank you, Professor. You have a lovely office,” she said politely.

“Thank you my dear, I like it.” His blue eyes twinkled over his spectacles and Camilla smiled. She found that when his eyes twinkled like that she felt a strange sense of comfort and warmth. “I have just had the pleasure of speaking with your parents Ms. Portman and they have informed me that I am to be invited to your wedding.”

Camilla glanced at Severus, then back at the headmaster. “Oh?” was all she could think of to say.

Professor Dumbledore nodded. “They also requested that the faculty and I do our best to ensure that you both get adequate chances to get to know one another before the end of term.” Both students quietly waited for him to continue. “We thought that perhaps it would be a good idea to arrange private living quarters for you to share.” Camilla choked violently on the last bit of licorice, staring at the headmaster wide-eyed. “Of course, you would have separate bedrooms. It would be rather like the arrangement our Head Boy and Girl have.”

Camilla turned to Severus in alarm. Surely he would have something to say about this. “If that is what you believe to be best, Professor,” Snape said calmly. Camilla opened her mouth and then closed it again. She didn’t want to argue or refuse the headmaster, but really! Shared quarters? It was ridiculous. She did not want to spend any more with Snape than she had to.

“What do you think, Ms. Portman?” Dumbledore looked at her expectantly.

“Well, I… I think that… It’s a marvelous idea, Professor. It will give Snape-Severus and me plenty of opportunities to… erm… talk and get to know each other,” she spluttered. Snape’s name sounded so odd on her tongue. She repeated his name in her head. Severus. Severus. Severus. It would take some getting used to.

The headmaster gave a small smile. “Very well, then. That’s settled. Your things will be moved there shortly. Do you have any questions or concerns perhaps?”

“No, headmaster. Thank you for your time,” Snape said, rising from the chair.

“Actually, I do.” Snape sat down with an irritated sigh. “I was curious,” Camilla continued, “Does this happen often? I mean, arranged marriages.”

Dumbledore thought for a moment. “Well, I believe they happen more than one might expect. Just last year, in fact there was one. They were seventh years and shared the quarters you two will be sharing.”

“I see.” Severus moved to get up again, but Camilla had another question. “And what do you think of it Professor? All these arranged marriages?”

She could tell without looking at him that Snape was growing impatient. “Many concern me and I fear for the welfare of those involved, but others I believe to be very advantageous. An interesting tidbit I learned a while back was that arranged marriages tend to last much longer than average.”

Camilla bit her lip. She wanted to ask what sort of marriage he thought she and Severus would have, but she didn’t feel as if she could ask the Headmaster that in front of Snape. The headmaster looked over his spectacles at her and she felt like she knew what his answer would be anyway. Very advantageous indeed.

“You don’t understand Professor! He plans to violently smother me until-!” she began pleadingly.

“Thank you,” Severus interjected forcefully, “for your time Professor. I’m sure we’ll be fine.” Camilla glared up at him from her chair. She couldn’t possibly imagine how they were going to spend the next few months living in such close proximity, let alone being married.

--


“These were expensive!” Camilla shouted at him, dangling a pair of pink, lace knickers in front of him. He pushed her hand out of his face.

“You deserved it!” he shouted back, “You dumped ink over all my essays.”

“That is easily reparable. I can’t wash this crap out Severus! I’m going to have to buy all new underwear. You got it over every bra and every pair of knickers. Besides, the ink on your essays was an accident!” He snorted in disbelief. “How am I supposed to go out in public without underwear?!?”

“Well, since the public shouldn’t be seeing your underwear, I hardly think it’s that pressing of a problem. Besides if you’re so concerned about it you shouldn’t leave your bras everywhere, it’s disgusting.”

“I’m sorry I’m too disorganized for you!”

“You’re not disorganized, you’re a slob.”

Fuming, Camilla pounded up the stairs to her dormitory. So much had changed in the past two weeks. She had moved from the comfort of the Ravenclaw dorm to her own private one, with a large bed and an enormous armoire for her clothes. Severus’ dorm was on the opposite side of the common room they shared. Since the move, the painfully true rumor that Camilla Portman (most knew her as “Lily’s friend”) was betrothed to Severus Snape (“Cain’s friend”) had been circulating ferociously. Remus and Lily had been amazingly supportive, warding off any would-be questioners and making themselves available whenever she needed them. However, Camilla and Severus had not made any progress in their relationship, if anything, things had gotten worse.

Severus and Camilla fought every evening. It was always about small, meaningless things, like how books were arranged or whether the carpet was dark blue or black (“Who would want black carpet?” she had snapped angrily). This was morning, though. And mornings were reserved for fighting about the mean-spirited things they had done to each other’s possessions when the other’s back was turned. Camilla had spilt ink over Severus’ essays (which had truly been an accident) and Severus had gotten back at her by spraying doxycide onto all her underwear.

She pulled her robe over her head. She didn’t usually wear her school robes on the weekends but the fact that she had no bras made it necessary. She stomped back down the stairs and without saying anything to Snape, exited through the portrait hole.

--


“I hate him! He’s rude all the time and he never has something nice to say about anything or anyone.” Camilla and Remus sat in the shade of a large tree near the lake on Hogwarts grounds.

“On a positive note, another Hogsmeade visit next weekend. You can buy some new knickers,” Remus said teasingly.

“That’s good, I guess,” she replied quietly. Remus sighed, knowing she probably wasn’t in the mood for silly banter. Her head was resting on his shoulder and he could just smell the wonderful, flowery scent of her hair. He found himself wondering how Snape could treat her like he did. Camilla, who was far more beautiful, kind, and lovely than any woman Snape could have possibly gotten for himself, had practically been handed to him on a platter and he was treating her like dirt.

“You deserve so much more than this,” he said quietly to himself. Camilla raised her head to look at him.

“What?”

“Huh?”

“What did you say?”

“I just said that…that you…” Remus leaned slowly towards her. She didn’t back away from him. “You deserve so much more than him.” He cupped her cheeks and stroked a stray hair from her face with his thumb. She was staring at him slightly wide-eyed. Gathering up his courage he kissed her gently. At first, she didn’t move and he expected her to push him away, but she didn’t. She began kissing him back. A huge weight seemed to be lifted from his shoulders. Apparently, his feelings weren’t one-sided.

After a few moments they pulled apart. He gave her a small smile. Her cheeks were flushed and she returned his smile. Her eyes glanced over his shoulder. Suddenly an expression of concern clouded her face. He turned around. Cain Holden was standing at the entrance of Hogwarts watching them. Cain gave them a cocky wave and turned into Hogwarts. Camilla jumped up. “I have to get to Severus before he does. We’ll talk later okay?” she said frantically. Before Remus could respond she was sprinting across the grounds toward the school.

--


Camilla ran down several corridors, trying to find the quickest route back to the common room she and Severus shared. Finally, she arrived and practically shouted the password at the portrait of a young woman in a field of sunflowers. She bounced anxiously on her toes waiting for the portrait to open. It seemed to take an eternity. When it open she bounded in. The common room was empty. She glanced up the stairs to Severus’ dormitory. She listened carefully for any sort of sign that indicated that Severus was in his room. She couldn’t hear anything. She slowly crept up the stairs and turned the doorknob. With just one look she could tell that Severus had not been in his room since the morning.

She stepped into his room. She knew it was probably too late to seek out Severus before Cain did; she would have to deal with him later. Now, her curiosity motivated her. Biting her lip, she moved into the center of the room. Immediately, something bright and yellow poking out from one of his dresser drawers caught her eye. She picked it up, examining it. It was a birthday gift bag. She peered nosily into it. Pushing the paper aside, she found several chocolate frogs and a small vial of a golden liquid. She pulled the card out. She recognized Lily’s hand writing at once.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEVERUS!
I brewed this just for you… well, actually, Slughorn wanted a bit as well, but I started with wonderful intentions of making this solely for you. I’m sure you don’t mind. Have an awesome birthday!
With love,
Lily


She put the card back in the bag. Lily always gave chocolate frogs along with birthday gifts. Scanning over the rest of the gifts, Camilla spotted a black bag with green paper. It looked quite out of place among all the other bright, birthday themed gift wrappings. She reached in and pulled out a simple, silver mask. She flipped it over, confused. She was puzzled as to who would give a mask as a birthday gift, especially to someone as bad humored as Severus. Peering back into the bag, she pulled out a white piece of paper the size of a business card.

The time to act is now.
-Lucius


Camilla frowned. She had no clue what to make of this odd gift. She put the mask to her face, thinking that maybe the mask had some sort of magical property. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Nothing had changed, however, she did feel like she had seen someone in a mask like this. She racked her mind for a moment. Finally, she decided to give up. She placed the mask and the slip of paper back in the drawer. She tried her best to arrange everything the way it had been. Thinking it was probably a good idea to head out of his room before he returned.

On her way out, she glanced at a newspaper on Severus’ nightstand. It wasn’t until she was halfway over the threshold of his door did the picture in the paper register with her. She slowly walked backwards. She analyzed the picture. Death Eaters were throwing curses at a group of aurors. The headline shouted, “Twenty dead in Death Eater attack!” Camilla swallowed as she realized what the mask had reminded her of. She snatched up the paper and rushed to the drawer. Pulling out the mask, she compared it to those worn by the Death Eaters. She closed her eyes. She was marrying a Death Eater. “Oh, Merlin. This can’t be happening,” she whispered to herself.

“What are you doing?” a strong voice barked.
Camilla spun around.
Severus was standing in the doorway.

Camilla forced a smile. “Happy Birthday!” she yelled happily, trying to distract him from the mask and newspaper in her hands.

“My birthday was a week and half ago,” he replied coldly.

“Oh? You should have told me. I would have gotten you something.”

“I highly doubt that. Now,” he said taking a few steps toward her, “what do you think you’re doing?”

She remained silent. She searched his face for some sort of hint of what his reaction would be. He was advancing toward her slowly. His face was calm, but it was a scary, disturbing sort of calm. Something told her that despite his emotionless features, he was very angry.

A/N: The end of another chapter! I love hearing from readers so drop me a review and tell me what you’re liking (and not liking) so far. I'll try to answer everyone's reviews, but I can't promise that I'll get to it in a certain amount of time. I hope that's okay. Thanks!

Revised: March 3 2008

Chapter 5: A Slap in the Face
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Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Thank you to my fabulous beta Trickie Woo!

Chapter 5


Severus held his hand out to her. “Give them to me.”

She immediately held the newspaper and the mask out to him. All she wanted to do was get out of his presence unscathed. He took them from her and came so close to her that if she moved she would touch him. She gazed uncomfortably over his shoulder. He reached around her and placed the items back into the drawer. He roughly shoved the drawer closed and she realized too late that she was leaning on it.

She stumbled backwards, hitting her lower back. She winced.

He took a few steps backward, giving her a steely gaze. “Why are you in here?” he demanded harshly.

“I was looking for you.”

“Surely, one glance inside my room would be enough to tell you that I was not there… or am I overestimating your intelligence?”

Camilla sighed. “I just… I’m nosy okay? You don’t talk to me. How else am I supposed to find out anything about you?” She paused, wondering if he would say something. He didn’t. “I’m sorry,” she said softly.

He seemed slightly surprised that she had apologized, but that didn’t stop him from giving her a nasty sneer. “And what did you find out about me?” he asked. Camilla remained silent. “Go on, speak.”

“That you don’t like muggles very much?”

Severus folded his arm across his chest. “No. I don’t.”

Camilla shifted her feet. He was still staring coldly at her. She stared back at him, not willing to look away. She was sure that in his mind, it was a battle for control, a battle of wills. It was a battle she knew she would lose, but for some reason, she battled anyway. They’d done this before; staring into each other’s eyes for minutes at a time until her eyes burned and watered and she had to blink and gaze at the fireplace instead.

Camilla looked at her shoes.

“Do you like him?”

She looked up. “Who?”

“Lupin. Do you like him?”

She bit her lip, debating what to say to this. “He’s my friend,” she answered finally, “Of course I like him.”

“Don’t play games with me,” he snapped suddenly, “You know what I mean.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

He growled impatiently. “Answer the damn question!”

“No! I don’t like him… not like that. Okay? Is that good enough for you?”

“Then why were you outside snogging him?”

She looked up at him. She shook her head, not able to articulate an answer. “And how do you think that makes me look when my fiancé is snogging someone else in public?”

“It makes you look like you don’t give a crap about me, that’s what it looks like!”

“I don’t care about you!” he replied angrily, “What I do care about is my reputation!”

“You mean your reputation for being a greasy, rude, caustic git?!?”

He took a few menacing steps toward her. “I couldn’t give a damn about what you and your stupid friends think of me, you arrogant little bitch.”

His voice was close to a whisper and Camilla realized that this was the angriest she had ever seen him. He’d never said anything that her mother classified as “dirty words” to her. His voice had never taken on that low hissing effect, which slightly terrified her.

He stood over her and took her chin in his hand, forcing her to look up at him.

She could feel his breath on her face. She felt her hands shaking slightly. She clenched them into fists. She was not going to back down.

“I mean the people who matter. The people who are worth something. Not your disgusting muggle-lovers or that mudblood.”

She let out a nasty, mean laugh. “The ones who kill innocent people for fun? You’re right those are the people who truly matter,” she said sarcastically. She knew she was pushing him to his limit and that his self-control was deteriorating dangerously fast, but she couldn’t stop herself. “Besides, you’re being hypocritical don’t you think? I mean, you’re part muggle aren’t you? In most purist’s eyes you’re just as filthy as a muggle.”

For a moment, Severus seemed to stop breathing. His face remained cold, but she was sure that somewhere deep inside he had just exploded. She smirked up at him, reveling in her victory. She had insulted him into speechlessness.

Then, he exhaled slowly and calmly. He traced smooth circles on her cheek with his thumb. He sneered at her and she knew what was coming. She tried to raise her arm to stop him, but she was too slow. She felt the sting before the she heard the sound of the violent smack. Tears sprung to her eyes immediately and she was powerless stop them from streaming down her cheeks. She didn’t really know why she was crying, because after the initial sting it hadn’t hurt much. She assumed it was probably the shock of having been slapped across the face for the first time in her life.

He grabbed her chin again and forced her to look up at him and she was strongly reminded of Cain and the incident on the train.

“If you ever say something like that to me again, I’ll do much more than slap you. Do you understand?” he whispered into her ear.

All she could do was choke back a sob.

“Answer me.”

She didn’t.

He kissed her gently beneath her ear and Camilla tensed in shock. He trailed soft kisses down her jaw line, stopping just before he reached her lips.

She let out a shaky breath. She had stopped crying.

“Do you understand?” he repeated calmly.

“Yes,” she replied softly.

“Yes, sir,” he prompted.

Camilla clenched her teeth. He was forcing her to admit defeat and she hated him for it. She hated him for it, perhaps even more than she hated him for slapping her.

“Yes… sir,” she spit out finally.

As soon as she said it, he pulled away from her and took her arm roughly. “Now, get out.” He shoved her towards the door.

She marched angrily out of the room, slamming the door behind her.

--


“So you two fought again?” Severus grunted in reply. “You’re a man of many words Severus,” Lily said sarcastically. “What did you guys argue about?”

“Nothing important.” Severus knew that sooner or later, Camilla would tell Lily what had happened, but he certainly wouldn’t.

“I wish you two would get along. It would make everything so much easier, don’t you think?”

He didn’t answer her. He didn’t think he’d ever be able to get on with his future wife. “She’s determined to hate me. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

Lily gave him a doubtful look as she sliced caterpillars for their shrinking potion.“You could try being nice once and awhile,” she responded, a little bitterly.

“Whose side are you on?” he snapped.

“Camilla’s,” she said bluntly.

Severus and Lily worked in silence after that. The two students had been working on potions projects together since the beginning of their sixth year. Tonight, they were finishing up on a simple brew of shrinking potion Slughorn had asked them to make for his second years. Not one of their friends knew about their work together. They both agreed that it was best to keep their friendship a secret simply because they were from such different groups that none of their friends would accept it.

Suddenly, the door to the student potions workroom opened. Both Severus and Lily looked up. It was Camilla. Severus groaned inwardly. She looked as if she’d been crying.

“Oh. I didn’t realize… Lily can I talk to you?”

Lily placed her knife on the table and wiped her hands on her trousers. She shot Severus a confused look and he rolled his eyes back at her. As Lily exited the room, he could hear the two girls whispering for a moment then, the door shut.

Severus decided he’d better prepare himself for the inevitable storm of fury that he would have to endure. When Lily returned a good half-hour later, she didn’t look happy.

“I’m trying to decide whether to hear you out and then leave or just to leave now,” she said coldly, her arms folded over her chest.

“She cheated on me,” he spit out, “with that werewolf no less! And then she went through my things!”

“Yeah, I know. She told me what she found.”

“The gift from you?”

“The mask! How could you possibly-?”

“I’m not a Death Eater!” he shouted back at her. “Lucius is just-”

“Then explain that to her! And explain to me why you thought it was okay for you to hit her!”

He groaned and looked at the ceiling. He was not in the mood to argue with Evans as well. He heard Lily exhale angrily.

“I’m leaving. Tell me when you’re willing to be decent person.”

“Listen, I just lost it, okay? I’m tired of arguing with her all the time and she insulted me and she never shuts her mouth and-.”

“Tell me how any of this excuses your behavior.”

Severus sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. “I know I was wrong,” he began warily, “but sometimes you can’t forget how you were raised. It was a lapse in control and judgment… it won’t happen again.”

“You actually sound like you regret it,” Lily replied.

“I do.”

“Prove it.”

He looked at her. “What?”

“Prove to me that you truly are sorry for what you did.”

He rolled his eyes. “How?”

“Apologize to her.

“You know I never apologize to people.”

“Well now that you’re getting married, it’d be a good time to start, don’t you think?”

He didn’t answer her.

She packed up her things into her bag and hoisted it onto her shoulder.“I’ll see you Tuesday to check on this, okay?” she said indicating the potion. “And I shall know if you apologize or not Severus.”

“Got it,” he replied coolly.

--


Camilla scribbled a short reply to her mother. She refused to write anything more than necessary to the woman who had shoved her into the clutches of Severus Snape. She glanced up when Severus entered through the portrait hole, but then went back to her note.

“Who’s the letter from?” he asked, seeing the owl perched patiently on the desk.

She clenched her teeth. He had a lot of nerve speaking to her after what he did. “My mother,” she replied tensely.

She folded the parchment and tied it to the owl’s leg. It soared out the open window. “She’s coming to visit with us next weekend in Hogsmeade. I hope that’s alright with you.” Instead, of waiting for his answer, she headed up the stairs to her dormitory.

“Camilla?” He was looking at her from the bottom of the stairs. “I actually, wanted to talk with you… about something.”

She bit her lip. She certainly didn’t want to talk with him, but Lily had made her promise that if he came to her she would give him a chance. Camilla descended the staircase slowly and stopped in front of him.

For a moment, he just looked at her. Then, he took a deep breath. “I don’t do this, normally,” he began, “but I thought that… I need to tell you that I’m…”

Despite all the hatred she felt for Severus, Camilla could not help but find humor in the situation. He was having a dreadful time trying to get out the words. She knew that Lily had put him up to this and he was far out of his element.

“I think you know what I’m trying to say,” he ended irritably.

“That doesn’t mean you can’t still say it,” she replied.

“Why do you have to be so damn stubborn?” he snapped.

She turned around to go back to her dormitory. She was not going to end up in another fight with him.

“I’m sorry,” he said finally.

She turned to face him. “I’m sorry too. I’m sorry for going through your things.”

He immediately bristled. “What about cheating on me? Are you sorry for that?”

“You don’t even like me. Why do you care if I kissed Remus?”

He shook his head in anger and disbelief. “Just forget it.” He turned his back on her and disappeared into his dormitory.

A/N: Thank you, thank you, thank you for everyone who has been reading and leaving wonderful comments! I love hearing from you!

Revised: March 3 2008

Chapter 6: The Death of Simon
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Disclaimer:As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Thank you to my amazing beta Trickie Woo!

Chapter 6


Camilla dashed around their common room snatching papers and books off the floor and shoving them into her bag. She had noticed that in the past week or so, Severus had become as lazy as she was about leaving his things strewn around. There were clothes, books, scraps of parchment, and quills all over the floor. There was even a large ink stain on the carpet that neither of them had bothered to clean up. Camilla was sure that the house elves had stopped coming because they never knew what was rubbish and what wasn’t.

“Severus, could you possibly find Simon and give him his food? I’m totally late,” she asked, in her nicest tone.

He stared at her from the couch where he was reading a book. His classes didn’t start for another two hours. “You mean that ugly, gray-?”

“Severus, please!”

“Fine, I’ll look for the disgusting, little-”

“You’re so mean!” she shouted as she sprinted out the portrait hole.

Without moving from his spot on the couch, he picked up the small bowl Camilla had thrown on the coffee table. He shook it and the food rattled. He glanced around waiting to see if the cat would appear. It didn’t and he shook the bowl again.

“Stupid animal,” he mumbled. He placed the bowl back on the table and returned to his book.

--


Camilla found Severus just the way she had left him earlier. He was still on the couch reading a book. He looked up when she walked in.

“Did you even go to class today?” she asked him.

“Why do you care?”

She frowned. “No need to snap at me, I was just wondering.” She threw her bag on the ground and bent over to dig through it. She pulled out a tattered old potions book.

Severus immediately sat up and in less than ten seconds he had strode across the room and snatched the book from her.

“I accidentally picked it up this morning,” she said in response to his scowl.

He flipped through it briefly and glared at her. “Did you look in it?” he asked accusingly.

Camilla ran through the possible consequences her answer could have. Of course, she had taken a peek inside. She hadn’t been able to help herself. She had seen him write in it occasionally and was dying to see what secrets the book might have.

“You know what?” he said as she opened her mouth to respond, “Don’t waste your breath. We both know that you did.”

“I didn’t!” she lied.

“You’re a nosy wench. Of course you looked. Just admit it.”

“Fine, but it’s not like I understood any of it. It was just a bunch of meaningless scribbles.”

“Did you ever think they might look like scribbles to you because you aren’t intelligent enough know what they really mean?”

She rolled her eyes. “I have to go. I was just dropping off my stuff.” She headed towards the portrait hole.

“Where are you going?”

She thought for a moment. “I’m meeting Remus,” she answered finally, without turning to face him.

“What for?”

She bit her lip and continued walking. She could hear the increased bitterness in his voice.

“We’re working on the Defense Against the Dark Arts essay together,” she lied.

“Then, don’t you need your stuff?”

Finally, she turned around. Staring into his cold eyes, she could tell he knew she was lying. “Remus has mine. We were working on it earlier as well.”

“Right... Actually, before you go I need to talk to you.”

“Can it wait?” she replied impatiently.

“Your stupid cat died, okay? There, now you can leave.”

Camilla stared at him. “What?” She was sure she had misunderstood him. Simon couldn’t be dead.

“If you want to go be Lupin’s whore until we’re married, that’s fine. Just don’t come back with any diseases… and tell me right now if you’re planning on having sex with him because I don’t do leftovers.”

“You’re lying.” She stared at him. Sometimes, when he looked at her she felt like he knew. It didn’t matter what it was, he just seemed to know. She silently begged him not to do this to her.

“No,” he said slowly, “I’m very serious. If you aren’t a virgin when we’re married we won’t be getting married.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about!”

Severus sat on the couch and opened his book. “Isn’t Lupin waiting to snog you?” he replied coolly.

She gave him one last glare and stormed out.

--


Camilla silently walked across the entrance hall and into the broom closet, shutting the door behind her.

Remus looked up at her, from his seat atop a box of Mrs. Scower’s Magical Mess Remover. “Why did you want to meet here? It’s a little cramped isn’t it?”

She didn’t answer him. Instead, she pressed her lips to his in a sudden kiss.

He kissed her back for a moment then pulled away. “I thought we were going to talk?” he said uncertainly.

She sighed. “I need something to get my mind off Severus and his cold heartedness. But if you would rather talk than snog me senseless… that’s okay too.” She gave him a mischievous smile and slid into his lap. “Now… what did you want to talk about?”

“Um… I…”

Camilla knew that from his position he had the perfect view of her cleavage.

He swallowed and finally looked up into her eyes. “I wanted to talk about us and… you know, Severus… but really… it’s not that important. We can talk about it later.”

“Are you sure, Remus?” she asked with fake concern.

He nodded and kissed her lips gently.

An hour later, Remus rested his head on the cold stone. Camilla was still settled in his lap, resting her own head against his bare chest. She was tracing one of the many pale scars that littered his body. He had been nervous to say the least about removing his shirt in front of her, but she didn’t react. Perhaps she had even expected the scars.

He sighed. “I should probably go,” he said finally, “It’s late and I have an early potions class tomorrow.” With a sigh, she nodded and removed herself from his lap.

He stood. “Do you want me to walk you back?”

She shook her head. “I think I’m going to sit here and think for bit.”

“Okay,” he said picking up his shirt and Gryffindor tie from the floor. “Though you should probably put these on.” He tossed her blouse and bra to her. “You wouldn’t want Filch coming in here, seeing you like that.”

Camilla laughed lightly and he smiled.

Then, his face grew serious. He knelt next to her and kissed her gently. “I love you, Camilla.”

“Remus,” Camilla began, looking away from him.

“No… listen. I love you so much, but this… tonight, was a one time only thing. We both know that we can’t be more than friends. You’re getting married and you need do your best to make things work with Severus. Coming out and doing this with me is not the best way to go about it.”

Camilla didn’t answer, just watched him sadly out of blue eyes.
He gave her a soft smile and tucked her hair behind her ears and stroked her cheek. Finally, he stood again. He opened the door to the closet and turned to look at her. “I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said, and left, closing the door behind him.

Putting on her clothes, Camilla thought about what Remus had said and about Severus. Making things work with him would be difficult if not impossible, so why try? He’d already told her he didn’t care that she was involved with Remus. She wondered if he was being entirely truthful.

She was just finishing buttoning up her blouse when she heard footsteps heading quickly towards the broom closet. The door flung open, revealing Cain and just behind him Darcy. “I saw that Gryffindor leaving here,” he growled “What were you two up to?”

She scowled at him. “It’s none of your business,” she replied, picking her wand up off the floor.

He gazed at her wand for a moment then back at her. “It looks rather bad, you being in a small, cramped storage closet with a man who is not your betrothed.”

“Do I look like I care?”

Cain gazed at her coldly. “I hope Severus beats you into the ground for this. You’re quite the nasty little bitch.”

“Severus doesn’t give a damn about what I do and you have no right to tell me what to do. You may be able to shove around your weak girlfriend, but not me.” She stepped around the couple and began making her way back to her common room. She was stopped, however, by a strong grip around her wrist. She spun around angrily. She was not going to have a repeat of what happened on the train and she was not going to let Cain think he could control her. She reached up and swung at him with all her might.

In her rush of hatred, she couldn’t decide whether to punch him or slap him so when her hand finally collided with his face it turned out to be a little of both. Cain ended up with four violent scratch marks across his face, two of which were bleeding. He stumbled backwards slightly, his hands clasped to his reddened cheek. Taking a deep breath, she stepped out of the closet. “Have fun you two,” she said sarcastically and snapped the door shut.

--


The fire was finally beginning to die down and Severus still sat, scowling at it. He didn’t know what his problem was. It wasn’t like they were romantically involved or anything… unless one counted their upcoming marriage as romantic, which Severus didn’t. Truthfully, he was only in it for the money and because the entire Malfoy family all thought that it would be the “perfect” arrangement to ensure his future. But really, how was he supposed to react? His fiancé was out at midnight snogging some other man. He should have had some semblance of control over her by now. Severus wondered what Lucius would think if he knew. Not that Severus had really made a valid attempt at trying to rein her in, besides the fact that it made him look bad, he didn’t much care that she wasn’t here waiting on him. He preferred the peace and quiet of an empty common room. Then, why was he so angry that she was out with Lupin?

Severus ran his hand through his hair. He had a horrible tendency to over analyze things to the point where he would get a headache. It was his original reason for investing time in his study of Occlumency. However, over the years, he had found that the craft also had many side benefits. It not only made him a much better liar, but it also helped him cope with the constant torture James Potter and his friends inflicted upon him.

He leaned back on the couch and began to relax, trying to clear his mind of all his anger and frustrated thoughts of Camilla. Just as he closed his eyes, he heard footsteps coming through the portrait hole. About time she got back, he thought to himself. Without opening his eyes, he asked, “Did Lupin provide you with adequate assistance on your… essay?”

“Severus…” came a strained voice in response.

He opened his eyes. A very disheveled looking Darcy Rodman was standing awkwardly in front of the fireplace. Severus frowned.

“How did you get in here?”

“Cain told me your password,” she replied.

He furrowed his brow. “Oh… do you need something then?”

“Something… happened. I mean, to Camilla; something happened to Camilla.”

Severus could tell by now that she was trying to hide something from him. Clearly, Cain had sent her and she wasn’t comfortable. She was staring at the floor and shifting from one foot to the other.

“What do you mean?” he asked slowly.

She gave a loud sniff. “I don’t know… Cain just told me to come get you. They’re down near the dungeons corridor… just down the stairs. He said to tell you to hurry.”

Severus stared at Darcy for a moment, not sure what to do or what to say.

She gave another sniff. “Severus… there’s blood everywhere. It was so horrible.”

A/N: Thank you so much for everyone's continued support of this story! I love hearing what you all think; all your opinions are so valuable to me! So any comments you may have, leave 'em in a review.


Chapter 7: A Lack of Control
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Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Thanks to my beta Trickie Woo!

Chapter 7


Severus sprinted down the corridor. When he reached them, he shoved Cain out of the way and knelt next to Camilla. Her eyes were closed and her lips parted just slightly. She was much paler than he had ever seen her. He took her face in his hands and called her name. She didn’t respond. Severus looked up and took in his surroundings while he quickly determined what should be done. Darcy was right. Blood was everywhere. There was a thin trail of it further down the corridor that led to where Camilla lay sprawled on the ground, where it had pooled around her head. “What happened?” he demanded.

Cain was silent for a moment, then said, “She fell down the stairs… we just found her.”

Severus nodded. He untangled his hands from her hair, which were now covered in blood themselves and lifted her limp body into his arms. “She needs to go to the hospital wing.”

“No!” Cain shouted, “Can’t you heal her yourself?”

Severus gazed at Cain a moment, and then changed his course back to their dormitory. “Go to the student potions room and get the box of healing potions.”

“All of them?” Cain asked incredulously. Severus ignored him and continued walking. “Clean up this fucking mess and quit blubbering! Hurry up!” he heard Cain shout at his girlfriend.

When he finally reached the dormitory, he placed Camilla gently on the carpeted floor, kicking away stray pieces of parchment that were littered about. He hovered over her, searching for a sign that she was even alive. Finally, he felt a small burst of warm breath on his cheek. He let out a sigh of relief.

Cain appeared at his side with a box of various healing potions and salves. As Severus tried to slow the bleeding, Cain stood over his shoulder watching his every move. The intrusion angered him even more.

“What did you do?” he spat at his friend.

“What are you on about? I told you, she fell.”

“That’s the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard.”

Cain crossed his arms across his chest defiantly. “I wouldn’t have done anything if you’d learn to exercise some fucking control over her! If anything she’s gotten worse over the past month. You should-.”

“Don’t you dare tell me how I should treat my future wife.”

“I’m better qualified than any to tell you how to treat her. Darcy does whatever I say and it took me far less than a month to make it that way.”

“Darcy is significantly weaker and you know it,” Severus replied, using his wand to clean up some the blood from Camilla’s face.

“Give me a day with her and she’ll never say another word against you.”

“I would, but I’d prefer not to marry a corpse.”

Cain turned and stalked angrily out the portrait hole, leaving Severus alone to tend to Camilla.

--


He hadn’t realized how panicked he had been until he was gazing into her calm, blue eyes and he was finally free from most of his adrenaline. She was sitting on the sofa quietly. He was kneeling in front of her pressing a damp cloth to the side of her head.

“This might sting a bit,” he murmured, removing the cloth and dipping his fingers into a smooth, white cream. He gently spread the healing salve onto the wound. She hissed in pain, her hand reaching out and tightly gripping his shoulder.

“A bit?” she said through gritted teeth, “It stings more than a bit, Severus.”

“Maybe you just have a low pain threshold.”

“I almost died and you are still making mean remarks-.”

“You almost died because you tripped over your own feet.”

Her face took on an expression of disbelief and outrage. “You can’t possibly believe that! Cain is such a liar. You know he pushed me!”

“You remember that, do you?”

Scowling at him, she pushed him away from her and stomped up to her dormitory. Severus sighed. They had actually been nice to each other for a total of five minutes and he had ruined it.

--


It was very early in the morning and Camilla had still not had any sleep. Her head was throbbing painfully and she could not stop fuming with hatred at Severus for not believing her. She had tossed and turned until finally she decided to get up and take a shower.

Wrapping a towel around her body, she trudged down the stairs. The common room was pitch black. The fire had probably gone out hours ago. She realized that she had left her wand in her bag and she needed it to dry out her hair. She stumbled through the dark, smashing her toe into the couch. She yelled out and gritted her teeth, trying to erase the pain.

“Are you sure Cain pushed you?” said a voice right next to her ear. Camilla shrieked and fell backwards over the coffee table. “Because you’re incredibly uncoordinated without his help.” She was sure she heard a hint of amusement in his voice.

“Why are you sitting in the dark?” she asked angrily, avoiding his question. “It’s creepy.”

“Why are you walking around in only a towel? It’s whorish,” he countered.

“I didn’t think you’d be down here in the dark at three in the morning.”

“Well, you were mistaken weren’t you?”

She ignored him and began attempting to stand without revealing herself, which proved to be a difficult task. Not only could she barely see anything, but she was sure that Severus was watching her from the couch. Struggling to untangle the towel, she growled in frustration.

“Do you need some help?” he asked after a moment. She could tell by his tone that he was sitting there smirking. She refused to respond.

Several minutes later, Camilla was still trying to stand without letting her towel fall. “I wish you would go upstairs or something so I can fix this stupid thing!”

Then, without a word she saw his shadow stand. Amazed at the fact that it seemed like he was actually going to listen to her, she smiled. However, her satisfaction only lasted about two seconds when she realized he was not going upstairs, he was approaching her. She tugged the towel more tightly around herself.

Standing over her, he lit his wand. She blinked at the sudden light and gazed up at him. He didn’t have a shirt on. He was offering it to her. Biting her lip nervously, she took it from him. He turned around politely, still offering the light of his wand.

When she had made sure that his shirt was long enough to cover all of her she said, “Thanks… you can turn around, by the way.”

“So, what are doing down here anyway… I thought you went to bed,” he said turning to look at her.

“I… um… I had a headache. I decided to take a shower,” she mumbled. She noticed how his eyes swept over her body and she shifted uncomfortably.

“You left so suddenly I didn’t get a chance to give you anything for the pain.”

“You say that like it’s my fault or something,” she snapped. He simply rolled his eyes at her. “By the way, I have news. I have successfully removed us both from this horrendous predicament. You should be proud.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Oh yeah? Go on then.”

“I had sex with Remus.” She waited for him to react, but his face remained expressionless. He simply stared at her. “Now, you can just tell everyone that I wasn’t clean or pure or whatever. It’s a perfectly reasonable excuse to get rid of me.”

“Yes… except for the fact that I haven’t and should not have had the chance to verify that. People usually find those things out after the wedding.”

She put her hands on her hips, frustrated. “It’s worth a shot. Besides, you said you wouldn’t want anything to do with me if I wasn’t a virgin. Now, I’m not! Why aren’t you angry?”

“Were you trying to make me angry?”

“No! I was trying to get us out of this disgusting marriage!”

“Then, why does it matter if I’m angry?”

“It doesn’t!”

“Oh… well, I am angry. In fact, I’m appalled that you would even go near that vicious beast let alone spread your legs for him.” Camilla opened her mouth in shock. “Are we still meeting your mother in Hogsmeade today?”

Camilla regained her composure and answered, “Yes, perfect time for you to tell her that you want nothing to do with me.”

He shrugged. “Fine.”

“Fine,” she responded.

--


It was ten o’ clock in the morning when Camilla knocked quietly on Severus’ door. When she heard him grant her entrance she pushed the door open. Taking glance around the room, she found Severus still in bed and seemingly still very tired.

“What do you want?” he mumbled irritably.

“I just came to return your shirt.” She placed the shirt and tie he had let her borrow earlier atop his dresser. She turned to leave but he called her back.

“Seems you learned your lesson about knocking, eh?”

She simply rolled her eyes. She was in a good-natured mood and she would not let him ruin it. After all, this was the last time she would have to put up with his sarcasm. She smiled at the thought.

“I was worried about you.”

“What?” she asked confused.

“Last night… I was worried about you,” he confessed.

Camilla raised her eyebrows. “Forgive me, but I find that hard to believe.”

He stared at her for a moment, as if debating whether to argue with her about it. Then, he shrugged. “Well, it’s the truth. I can’t make you believe me.”

She sighed. “Really? You were really worried?”

“That’s what I just said isn’t it?”

“Can I sit?” she asked hesitantly. He moved over on the bed to make room for her and she sat, then lay on the bed next to him, making sure to keep a decent amount of distance between them. “Why do you treat me the way you do, Severus?”

“Because you treat me the way you do.”

“What are you talking about? You were mean to me first!”

“You hated me from the moment you found out about the arrangement. I never had the chance to act any differently because you already had a predetermined view of me and you’re so damn stubborn nothing I could have done would have changed it.”

“That’s not true! You can be nice to me, your future wife, and be mean to other people. It’s not that hard. I know,” she said, “because I do it all the time. You may not have known this, but to most people I’m a very nice girl.”

“And to me, you’re a bitch,” he finished with a sneer.

“And to me, you’re abusive!” she countered, angrily.

For a moment, they were both silent. She heard him sigh.

“My father abused my mother and me from the moment I was born,” he began, “When it finally became apparent to my mother that a child shouldn’t be raised in that sort of environment she begged my godparents to take me in. Reluctantly, they did. My mother was, and still is, the shame of the pureblood community so you can understand why they weren’t particularly keen on me. I proved my worth to them though. I was just as strong and smart as Lucius, if not more so. I quickly became a second son to them.”

He paused for a moment and glanced at her. She placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, urging him to continue. “I grew up with Lucius and his two sisters. Lucius and I were always placed above them, they were beaten all the time and I’ve never seen anything wrong with it. This is going to sound absurd, but even after living with them for ten years I don’t know what their voices sound like. When I came to Hogwarts, it was the first time I had to take orders from a woman, the first time a girl talked back to me or refused to do what I said. It’s hard,” he admitted, “Even now, it’s hard to restrain myself. Especially when I have to deal with girls like you who are just as stubborn and opinionated as I am.”

Camilla lay next to him, stunned at his sudden revelation. This was the most honest and sincere she’d ever seen him. She had to admit to herself that this side of him was appealing. He wasn’t making snide or sarcastic remarks; he wasn’t insulting her or making her angry. He was actually being nice. And even more surprising to her was that he was looking into her eyes and holding her hand. Suddenly, Camilla felt nervous and awkward.

“I wasn’t raised like that,” she said, trying to break the silence. “I’m an only child so my parents spoiled me rotten and turned me into a whiny brat.”

He laughed. “And here I thought it was a lack of oxygen at birth that had made you that way.”

She gave a little chuckle, then said, “That’s the first time I’ve ever heard you laugh. It’s nice.”

“Don’t get used to it.”

They fell into silence again and Severus removed his hand from hers. She felt a twinge of hurt and rejection. He pulled himself into a sitting position and looked down at her. Slowly, he placed a hand on her waist and entwined another in her hair.

She opened her mouth to say something, anything. But the words simply would not come. It wasn’t long until all she could see was his eyes and at that moment she felt so many powerful emotions hit her. At first, the onslaught of emotions overwhelmed her, threatened to drown her. All the emotions that had plagued her the past few weeks seemed to be magnified. She closed her eyes, trying to free herself from the conflicting feelings.

At once, the intensity of the emotions died down. They retreated to the back of her mind, leaving her with a racing heart and a queasy stomach. Their bodies were still touching and a moment later his lips crashed into hers. She placed her hands on his shoulders, though she couldn’t decide whether to pull him closer or push him away. She felt his tongue trace her bottom lip and without thought she opened her mouth, allowing him to deepen their kiss.

Suddenly, the reality of what they were doing hit her and she pulled away from him. “I have to take a shower,” she muttered anxiously as she scrambled off of his bed.

He ran his hand through his hair. “Didn’t you just take a shower a few hours ago?”

“Well, now I feel dirty and I want to take another one,” she snapped.

“Camilla-.”

But she refused to listen to what he had to say. She quickly descended the stairs fuming at herself for her actions.

--


Camilla peered into the bright window of the Three Broomsticks. It was festively decorated for Valentine’s Day, pink hearts dangled from the ceiling and a young wizard was going from table to table offering people candy hearts.

Severus was already inside speaking to her mother and with every word he said her mother’s frown seemed to deepen.

She pulled her cloak around her tightly, blocking herself from the fierce wind. She was growing more and more nervous as she watched. Her mother was sure to be incredibly angry.

Finally, Severus stood and shook hands with her mother. They spoke for a few seconds more then Severus exited the pub and approached her.

“She’s furious, isn’t she?” she asked anxiously.

He shrugged his shoulders with an air of nonchalance.

“I guess I’d better go in,” she said, more to herself than him. She took a deep breath and made to move around him, but he took her firmly by the shoulders.
He looked as if he might say something, but he simply looked down at her, studying her face.

“Severus,” she said slowly, “Maybe after this we can be friends? Maybe things will be easier without the silent wedding bells ringing behind our every action?”

He nodded slowly, then kissed her softly, gently cupping her cheek. She was reminded how intoxicating kissing him seemed to be. Even when he was kissing her softly, it was demanding, confident, so unlike Remus.

When he pulled away from her, she stared up at him, bewildered. She got no answer to her silent question, however.

His face was expressionless and calm. After silently observing her for another a moment he simply walked away.

A/N: Hey everybody! Another chapter for you! Thanks to everyone who has reviewed! Some may have noticed that I'm a bit slow responding, but I promise everyone will get a response... I'm just trying to use most of my computer time for writing :). So thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and review! I love you guys so much!


Revised: March 3 2008

Chapter 8: Starting Over
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my fab beta Trickie Woo!

Chapter 8


Her mother looked at her sternly as Camilla sat across from her. “Good afternoon, mum,” she said cheerfully, trying to mask her growing dread. She had known this would be difficult, but she hadn’t really thought about her parent’s reactions. She had mainly worried about Severus’, who had been surprisingly calm. He was probably just as relieved as her.

“How could you do this to your father and me?” her mother hissed in response. “How could you do this to yourself? Giving yourself away like some common whore.”

Camilla sat stiffly in her chair and waited for her mother to finish her rant.

“You are quickly becoming the shame of this family! This marriage was supposed to put us back in the good graces of the community, but you won’t have that, will you? I don’t know how I raised such a selfish, ungrateful child,” her mother sniffed. “We gave you everything! Good home, nice things, loving parents… does all that mean nothing to you? What will your father say when he hears? One hundred and fifty galleons a month! How do you expect your father to retire now, hmm?”

Camilla furrowed her brow in confusion. “What’s a hundred and fifty galleons a month?”

“He was quite adamant on getting rid of you. But I managed to convince him you’d be worth his while, thank heavens. As long as this little hiccup is dealt with quietly, things will go according to plan. However, instead of our original agreement of a thousand per year he wants one hundred and fifty per month. That’s eight hundred more per year than originally planned! You’re going to bankrupt your father and me!” Her mother, who had always been one for dramatics, dabbed at her eyes.

“But I thought-.”

“You thought you would get out of the arrangement by sleeping with some half-breed, didn’t you?” her mother shrieked. A few of the other customers looked their way. “Well, you’d better hope you don’t get pregnant. How would you feel then, adding another monster to the population?”

Camilla sat in a stunned, angry silence. Severus hadn’t said anything about this new arrangement to her. He had simply let her walk in there with the beautiful expectation of being freed from her horrid future.

“You will go to him and ask forgiveness for your behavior, including any disrespect you have displayed towards him.”

“I will not! He’s horrid and cruel! He hit me!” she shouted, outraged.

Now, it seemed the entire pub was staring at them, including several students from school. Camilla blushed with embarrassment.

“You deserved to be hit long before he even met you,” her mother snapped quietly, “He’s just the only one who’s man enough to do it.”

Her mother straightened up and gazed around the pub, giving people polite smiles. She had regained her composure and was back to being a decent, good-mannered pureblood wife and mother. “Now,” she said cheerfully, “Have you given any thought to the color scheme? I was thinking pastel green…”

--


Camilla stomped angrily into the small bookstore in Hogsmeade. The place was fairly crowded and it was difficult trying to pick out familiar faces in the large mass of people. But she saw him. He was in the section of books farthest away from the door. As she made her way towards him, she had to push through the crowd, making her even more frustrated and angry.

“Have a good time, visiting with your mum?” he asked, looking up from a book he was flipping through.

She stared at him, livid. “You evil, awful bastard! You had me go on about friendship and… and you kissed me all nice like you actually cared when you knew you had just gone in there and… I was forced to take my mother’s constant nagging about color schemes and flowers,” she sputtered. “You made me think… oh, I hate you! I really do. I hope you know that.”

“Trust me, I do,” he said, glancing wearily at her sparking wand.

“You’re going to turn my parents into middle-class citizens! Do you know how devastating that would be for them? We’ve never been poor!”

“Oh, Merlin, what a shame,” he replied mockingly.

“Listen, I have a confession to make. I didn’t really sleep with Remus. We just did a lot of really heated snogging. I was just saying that so that we could get out of this marriage.”

He smirked. “Well, that wasn’t very smart was it?”

Camilla sighed deeply, trying to control her growing anger. “I thought you would want out of this as much as I do.”

He closed his book and slid it back onto the shelf. “I do… but I’m much more disciplined than you. I understand the necessity of spending a few, admittedly horrible, years of my life married to you. And despite the fact that I detest everything about you, I’m forcing myself to look at the benefits of this arrangement.”

“Benefits? What benefits?”

“My benefits would not be benefits to you,” he replied with a smirk, “however, the only reason your parents are doing this is to preserve and restore their dignity as purebloods. The best they can do is force you into a somewhat respectable marriage.”

“I don’t know how they could see this as even somewhat respectable,” she sneered, knowing she was toeing the line, “with you being a half-blood and all.”

A slight smirk played on his lips. “I thought we had an understanding.”

“About what?” she asked hesitantly, confused.

“When I asked you if you understood you weren’t to insult my blood, what did you say?”

“Yes,” she answered with a scowl.

He raised his eyebrows, waiting.

“Yes, sir.” She gave him a resentful look. He was reminding her of something she had tried desperately to forget; that horrible memory of one of her weakest moments, where she had been forced to submit to him. It was a memory she didn’t wish to repeat. “I don’t even know what to do anymore! You make me so angry and I cannot spend the rest of my life you!” she said loudly, gaining attention from the other shoppers.

Severus quickly grabbed her arm and pulled her back behind one of the bookcases, where they were hidden from view. “One,” he hissed at her, still holding her arm painfully tight, “do not raise your voice to me, especially in public. Two, you will spend as much time with me as I say you will, without complaint. Three, during the time you are with me you will do exactly what say, when I say to do it. You belong to me whether you like it or not.” He paused for a moment, waiting for her to answer him. When she didn’t respond, he smirked. “Nothing to say?”

She gazed up at him, her arm throbbing painfully in his grasp, and shook her head. His statement had left her speechless.

“Good,” he said, finally releasing her arm. “Because that’s the way it should be.” He gave her a disapproving look and stalked off to browse another bookshelf.

Sighing, Camilla leaned back into the bookcase. She wondered if her own mother was behind Severus’ new insistence on being in control.

Watching him choose a book off the shelf, she mentally went over her options. She could run away, but even if Remus agreed to go with her they wouldn’t have enough money between them to get very far. Not to mention, her parents would probably never speak to her again. She rejected that idea.

Perhaps, she thought to herself, she could make Severus see reason if she chose her words carefully and approached him without putting him on the defense. But she knew, even as the thought went through her mind, that she was trapped in this ridiculous sham of a marriage with a man who seemed to hate her, perhaps even more than she hated him. There was nothing she could do anymore. She had run out of ideas and, to be honest, she was running out of energy. Her will power and determination to stand up to him and make life difficult for her future husband were dwindling. In fact, the angrier he got, the more she found herself fearing the repercussions of her combative actions.

With a reluctant sigh and a heavy heart she decided to take Remus’ advice. She approached Severus, gently placing a hand on his shoulder as she came up behind him. He turned and fixed her with an icy glare.

“I don’t like it,” she said, her voice shaking slightly, “But I’ve realized that there is no way I can get out… I belong to you.”

There, she thought, she had admitted defeat. Not only had she admitted it to him, but to herself. The pain of her own words struck her and she felt the tears gathering, but she pushed them away. She was not going to let him make her cry again, at least not in his presence.

With a deep breath, she continued, “I just want to start over and… I’ll be better, okay? The old, argumentative Camilla will be gone. Just tell me what you want me to do and I will do it, Severus… sir… I promise.”

After her speech, he regarded her steadily and carefully as if he had never truly seen her before that moment. But just as he opened his mouth to respond, they were interrupted by a strong, smooth voice.

“Severus! We’ve been looking all over for you. Surely you haven’t forgotten that you agreed to meet us for drinks.”

“Of course not,” Severus replied, “I was going to make my way to the pub as soon as I finished my discussion with Camilla.”

The man smirked. “Ah, so you are the illustrious Ms. Portman? I’ve been told so much about you,” he said to her.

She gave him a polite smile, but didn’t say anything. He was a handsome man with blonde hair and a refined, dignified air about him.

“Camilla,” Severus said, placing a hand on her back, “this is Lucius. I believe I mentioned him to you at one point.”

“How could I forget,” she replied. It had just been that morning that they had talked about the man, almost like friends. She extended her hand to him and he took it, placing a gentle kiss on her fingers.

“You will be joining us, surely?” Camilla was about to answer, but she saw with a mixture of confusion and resentment that Lucius was looking to Severus and not her for confirmation of this. Then she remembered the society that she had just resigned herself to. The male-dominated society in which females were seen as the inferior.

“Of course.” Severus’ answer interrupted her thoughts. He had just doomed her to a good hour of his company. She groaned inwardly. Her day could not get worse.

--


Camilla glanced around the Hog’s Head with distaste. In all her years of coming to Hogsmeade, she had never set foot in the pub and now, she knew why. It was dirty and filled with all sorts of shady people. The Three Broomsticks was much more welcoming.

As they reached the table, her dislike for the place increased; for there, sitting at the table with an arrogant, smug look on his face was Cain. He was seated next to Darcy who was engaged in conversation with a young, blonde woman. Camilla stiffened and cast a dark look towards Severus.

He returned her look with a scowl. He pulled out a chair and nudged her toward it. She sat carefully, not able to shake the feeling that he might yank the chair out from under her. He didn’t. Even more surprising to her, was that he gently eased her cloak from her shoulders and draped it over the back of the chair.

She glanced up at him, confused at this display of courtesy. He didn’t acknowledge it however, and took the seat between her and Cain for which she was grateful.

“So you’re Camilla? Severus has told Lucius so much about you.” Camilla looked up and smiled at the woman. Lucius had gone to get drinks after introducing her as his wife.

“Nothing good, I’m sure. Severus and I don’t get on very well,” she replied kindly.

Despite the fact that she truly hated the lofty attitude the pureblood, upper class held, she was very capable of mimicking their mannerisms accurately, a talent she was sure would come in handy in her future married to Severus.

“Oh, on the contrary, Camilla. He has been very complimentary of you.”

“He has?” she said, slightly surprised.

“I think he’s especially taken with those stunning eyes of yours and I can understand why. They’re quite beautiful. I wish I could have had eyes like that.”

“Oh,” Camilla said, blushing lightly, “thank you. However, I was under the impression that Severus found my eyes to be about as attractive as dishwater.”

Narcissa laughed lightly. “What would give you that idea?”

But just as Camilla was about to respond, Lucius returned with drinks and the topic was changed. She glanced at Severus who seemed to purposely avoid her gaze.

Camilla was surprised at how fast the time seemed to pass. She found herself actually enjoying the company of these people who she would have, at one point in time, regarded as enemies. Not that her opinion of Cain had changed much, but she found that he was much more polite to her when in the presence of Lucius and Narcissa.

She also found herself admiring the older couple in a way. Over the course of conversation, they had mentioned that they themselves had had an arranged marriage. Camilla wondered if she and Severus would ever relate with the same ease and comfort that Narcissa and Lucius seemed to.

After an hour or so of pleasant conversation, Camilla began thinking up ways to excuse herself politely. She had promised to meet Lily, James, Remus, Sirius and Peter at the Three Broomsticks for Butterbeers. And though she had had quite enough to drink already, she didn’t want to miss her friends.

She cleared her throat, gaining the group’s attention. “I don’t mean to be rude, but I really must go. I promised to meet a friend and I don’t want to be late.”

“Of course,” Narcissa said, smiling, “Don’t let us keep you.” Camilla stood, pulling on her cloak. Narcissa stood as well and, to Camilla’s surprise, gently embraced her. “It was so nice to have met you, Camilla. I hope that we will see much more of each other.” Strangely enough, Camilla found herself hoping the same thing.

As she left the table and headed for the door she heard Lucius’ voice ringing with sarcasm, “How kind of you to walk your fiancé to the door, Severus. I’m sure that with you walking beside her, the disgusting vermin that come around this filthy pub won’t dare stare at her like she was a piece of meat.”

Camilla smiled to herself, her back to the group. Yet, looking around, several ragged looking men were gazing at her lustily. One unshaven, wrinkled man licked his lips as she passed. She shivered and hurried out into the street.

--


“So… you think things will be better then? Despite what he said…?” Remus made a face, “That you belong to him?”

She sighed. “I hope so. We both agreed on it,” she lied. Severus had made no such agreement and was likely to continue acting as he always did, but she didn’t think that would be very reassuring to her friend.

“I wish I could do something, Camilla. Everyday it gets harder.”

“What do you mean?” she responded, although she was fairly sure what he meant. He stopped suddenly and she turned to look at him. His eyes scanned her face. Stepping closer to her, she could feel the warmth from his body. She looked up at him, knowing what he was about to do. As he leaned toward her, Camilla put her hands on his shoulders to stop him. “I can’t, Remus. I’m sorry.” His eyes flickered with hurt. “It’s not that I don’t want to. You know that… but Severus will know.”

“There’s no one around. He wouldn’t find out unless you told him.”

Camilla shook her head. “No, you don’t understand. He always knows where I’ve been and what I’ve done. I don’t know how he does it, but he knows, Remus. I mean, I’ve just promised him complete control. I can’t start out by defying him.”

He nodded silently.

Camilla sighed. “Maybe…” she began, trying to give him some kind of hope, “maybe after he trusts me a bit more. You know, when he’s not so alert. I’ll lure him into a sense of security and then we can risk more, okay?”

He nodded again, this time with a bit more optimism in his eyes.

A/N: Thank you to everyone who has supported me so far both by reading and reviewing! It means more to me than you know. It really inspires me to continue Camilla and Severus's story.

Revised: March 4 2008


Chapter 9: Conflicted Feelings
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Chapter 9


Camilla stood at the edge of Severus’ bed after knocking and waiting patiently for him to allow her to come in. “Are you busy?”

“Depends,” he muttered distractedly. He was stretched out on his bed (which Camilla noted, was bigger than hers) reading a book.

“You read an awful lot,” she said, trying to make conversation.

“You talk an awful lot,” he mocked.

She frowned. It had been a week since the visit to Hogsmeade and since then they hadn’t really spoken to each other at all. They had just gone about their own business. However, Camilla’s mother had sent a letter demanding to know the final color scheme as well as whether or not Severus had placed an order for Camilla’s wedding ring.

Wedding arrangements were one of the things she least wanted to talk about with Severus, but it had to be done. “My mum wants to know some of your opinions on the wedding ceremony.”

“I don’t care,” he answered immediately.

“It’s just basic things. You don’t have to get all feminine about it, just tell me what you want.”

“I want you to go away.”

She paused. She was supposed to do as he said. She needed to be as submissive as possible so he would trust her. Yet, her mother would be upset if she didn’t get answers from him.

“I know and I’m sorry,” she said, “But it’ll only take a few minutes.”

He didn’t say anything, so she continued. “Umm… color. We agreed on pink. Is that okay?”

“No.”

“No? Why not? It’s a common color. Besides, it would be pastel pink, you know? Not-.”

“No pink,” he interrupted.

“Okay fine. What about a pale yellow?”

“No.”

Camilla shifted. She had just expected him to agree with everything and send her away. “You said you didn’t care.”

“Well, you asked me didn’t you? Do you want my opinion or not?”

“What about blue?”

“Dark blue.”

“What? Severus! That’s depressing!”

“It’ll fit well then.”

“Fine,” she snapped, frowning. Not sure how best to approach the next subject, she tried to remain unfazed by her next statement. “She also wants to make sure that you’ve placed an order for my ring. She says it can take longer depending on the type of charms or enchantments you want on it so she says if you haven’t-.”

“I did that already,” he said, not looking up from his book.

“Oh, okay… good. I’m not supposed to see it so you need to send it to her as soon you get it.”

“I know.”

“Okay… well, the last thing… she just wanted you to start thinking about your guest list. Lily’s my maid of honor so you don’t need to add her on yours. I’ve already done mine, but I don’t think we would have similar people. I told her you would want Lucius as your best man… that’s okay, right?”

“I was actually thinking Cain.”

“I don’t want Cain in my wedding,” she said fiercely. He looked up from his book.

“Pardon?” The tone of his voice indicated that she’d better backtrack quickly.

“I… I just-.” She forced herself to think about Remus and how he was counting on her. It was bound to be hard in the beginning. “Sorry. I’ll tell my mother Cain.”

He sighed. “Forget it, Lucius is fine.”

“Are you sure? I can tell her-.”

“I said it was fine,” he replied harshly.

“Okay… sorry. I’ll leave you alone now.”

She turned to go, silently congratulating herself for holding her cool.

“By the way,” he said, standing, “I have something for you.”

Camilla turned around and watched him go to the drawers he had once cornered her against. He opened a drawer and shifted some items, clearly looking for something. While he was busy doing that, she glanced around the room. The title of his book, now laying face down on the bed, caught her eye. It read: Moste Potente Potions.

She raised her eyebrows and looked back at him. “Moste Potente Potions? What’s that about?”

“Well, judging from the title, some might gather it’s about… potions,” he replied with a smirk, shutting the drawer. “Here.”

He held out his hand. Resting in his palm was a blue, velvet box. Her heart skipped a beat. Hesitantly, she reached out. Pausing with her hand hovering over the small box, she glanced at him. He rolled his eyes. “What’s wrong with you?” he snapped, shoving the box into her outstretched hand.

She watched him warily as he threw himself onto the bed and picked up his book. Opening the box, she couldn’t help the smile that came to her face. “An engagement ring?” she asked looking at him.

“Narcissa thought it was about time I bought one for you. It’s nothing extravagant.”

Camilla thought that was an understatement. While the design was fairly simple, one diamond set upon a white gold band, it was definitely a diamond of decent size. It was clearly expensive.

“Are you going to put it on for me?” she asked, seating herself on the edge of the bed next to him He looked up from his book with a quickly fleeting look of bewilderment. She smiled back at him. All her animosity towards him had quickly been replaced by happiness of receiving such a gift, at least for the moment.

He took the box from her and removed the ring. Placing it aside, he gently took her hand. Slowly, he slipped the ring onto her finger. She admired it, tilting her hand from side to side, watching the diamond catch the light. She looked at him. He was watching her carefully.

Camilla looked back at him, unsure of how she could show him that she really did appreciate it. If the circumstances were any different, she thought, she would kiss him. But how could she? After everything he had said and done… and yet, it would certainly nudge things along, she thought to herself. "Thank you, Severus," she said softly, "It's really, really beautiful." Decided, she leaned in and kissed him softly. When she pulled away he gazed at her evenly. His expression was unreadable. "Goodnight, Severus." He was silent as she stood and walked out of his room, shutting the door quietly behind her.

--


For the next few weeks, things were quiet. Camilla had made a conscious effort to stay out of Severus’ way. She had also gone out of her way to do him favors, such as bringing him breakfast on the weekends, tidying his side of their common room, and copying an extra set of his notes for the boy he tutored on Wednesdays so he didn’t have to do it himself. She had even cleaned his room for him once while he was in class, however he yelled at her, claiming it gave her a chance to peer through his things unsupervised. Otherwise, he hadn’t seemed to notice her efforts.

“How are things going with Severus?” Remus asked after breakfast one morning. Camilla bit her lip, unsure of what to say. She couldn’t blame him for asking. It had been almost three weeks and he had avoided the topic of their odd love triangle until that point. Of course he expected some sort of progress… Camilla shrugged.

“Well, you know Severus, I mean, I guess you don’t really know him, but… I just have to wait him out. It’ll take some time to for him to relax again, that’s all.” Remus frowned. “Don’t worry,” she said hurriedly, “Things are going great.” She gave a forced smile, hoping it would reassure him.

--


Camilla listened carefully to Professor Mitchell’s lecture, taking as detailed notes as she possibly could. Having failed her last essay, she desperately needed to do better on the next one. She was scratching out a mistake when a folded piece of parchment flew onto her desk. She quickly glanced at the professor assuring that she hadn’t seen, then unfolded it, expecting the note to be from Lily.

When she spread it out, however, she found that instead, it was from Darcy.

Meet me after class? I want to talk with you.
-Darcy


She frowned. What could Darcy Rodman possibly want to talk with her about? She looked up and saw Darcy watching her. Camilla nodded to her.

After DADA, Camilla walked out of the room and bid Remus and Lily goodbye. Seconds later, Darcy approached her. “Hey… you wanted to talk?”

Darcy nodded. “Let’s walk,” she said, “What class do you have next?” Darcy’s voice was kind and conversational. It was enough to make Camilla quite uncomfortable.

“Muggle Studies,” she replied, “It’s upstairs.”

Darcy raised her eyebrows, but said nothing. They began to climb the marble staircase together, along with the rest of the students making their way to various classes. The silence between them dragged on and Camilla wasn’t sure whether Darcy was expecting her to continue. “You wanted something?” she pressed.

After a moment more of silence, Darcy asked, “How are you and Severus getting along?”

Camilla glanced at her, slightly confused. “Why?”

She shrugged. “I’m just curious. I mean we’re going to be around each other a lot from now on aren’t we? I was simply thinking we could be friends. Not to mention, I heard you talking with that homely boy… what’s his name? Lupus?”

Camilla scowled. “It’s Lupin, actually. His name is Remus Lupin and our conversations are absolutely none of your business.”

The other girl laughed. “Whoa, sorry, but you weren’t exactly whispering. Besides, I don’t care. In fact, I support you. I think it’s great that you have someone you trust who will stand by you even if you have to sneak around in the dead of night to see him.”

Camilla raised her eyebrows. “Oh… well, thanks.”

“Yeah, you’re welcome. So… I know one of your little secrets. I promise I will never repeat it.” Camilla nodded, giving Darcy a hesitant, slightly confused smile. “I guess it’s only fair that I tell you one of mine, hmm?”

Now, Darcy had Camilla’s full attention. “I understand you more than you think and I truly think that maybe we can help each other. You know, of course, that Cain can be violent.”

“I’ve had the pleasure of being on the receiving end of his violence,” Camilla replied, unconsciously reaching up to the side of her head, her fingers grazing the small scar that, with the help of the healing paste Severus had used, was slowly disappearing.

Darcy smiled a small smile that didn’t reach her eyes. “Yes, well, so have I,” she said, avoiding Camilla’s gaze. “But I’ve learned to manage him and his moods and you can manage Severus.”

--


When Camilla entered their shared common room late that evening, Severus was scribbling in his potions textbook. She raised her eyebrows. “You realize that you are destroying that book? You can’t even read the original writing on some pages.” She had skimmed through book once when she had accidentally picked it up, thinking it was hers. Most pages had instructions marked out, replaced with Severus’ own writings.

He looked up at her. “Actually, I’m improving it, but I wouldn’t expect you to understand that.”

Camilla didn’t respond. Having endured his sarcasm for more than two months, it had lost some of its sting. Instead, she dropped her bag on the ground, crossed the room, and seated herself on the floor next to him. He gave her a peculiar look as if their close proximity made him uncomfortable.

“Darcy came and talked to me,” she said conversationally, eyeing him carefully for a reaction. He gave none. “She says she wants to be my friend. Do you think she? I mean… what do you-?”

Camilla suddenly realized how difficult it seemed to hold a civil conversation with Severus. She wasn’t her normal confident self.

“She’s being honest,” he said bluntly.

“How do you know?”

“If she were trying to be fake or manipulate you, you would know. Subtlety is not her forte.”

Camilla laughed lightly. “No, I guess not… But why would she want to be my friend?”

“Darcy used to be just like you,” he said. “She doesn’t have very many friends anymore though. She probably reckons that in the next few months, you won’t have all that many either.”

“Why won’t I have friends? Why would she think that?” Camilla asked slightly alarmed.

He smirked at her naiveté. “She assumes that I’m slowly tightening my grip on you and will eventually isolate you from your current friends.”

“Like Cain did to her,” she said softly. He nodded slowly. Camilla looked at him intently. He didn’t look at her, however. He was still deep in thought, scribbling in the margins of his textbook. While she watched him, she thought back on all their arguments. He never demonstrated any sort of controlling tendencies unless she purposely tried to make him angry, usually by insinuating he was inferior to her because of his heritage.

Maybe he didn’t want to control her after all? Maybe he-?

“What are you staring at?” he asked finally, jolting her from her thoughts.

“Nothing,” she replied quickly, “Just do your… thing.”

He gave a small laugh. “Alright… I will.”

Camilla smiled. She realized that she loved his laugh. She had only heard it twice now, but it seemed to make her feel so much better. She remembered the last time he had laughed in front of her. It was just before their first kiss.

Making up her mind quickly, before she could chicken out, she leaned closer to him and placed her head on his shoulder. It was an action that most engaged couples would think nothing about, but they weren’t like most engaged couples. Camilla’s mind was frantic with worry as she did this and Severus immediately stiffened. She bit her lip, waiting for him to push her off of him, but he relaxed quickly and only shifted slightly, pulling her closer as he did so. She sighed deeply releasing the breath she’d been holding.

“What are you working on?” she murmured in his ear.

“We’re supposed to research and write an essay on our favorite potion and how it contributes to society. Then, make a sample of it. However, I can’t get much done with you practically sitting in my lap.”

“I can leave… go upstairs…”

But he put an arm around her waist and the matter was decided.

Then, Camilla was suddenly hit with an idea. It came to her so easily and quickly, it was as if Merlin himself had appeared and proposed it. She knew of a way she could get Severus to trust her. She smiled to herself. She didn’t need Darcy’s advice after all.

A/N: Thank you all for reading and leaving such kind reviews! I really appreciate it!


Chapter 10: The Art of Seduction
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Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Chapter 10


Camilla blinked as the sun’s bright rays filtered in through the window of their common room. She took in her surroundings slowly. They were still seated on the floor, Camilla in Severus’ lap, with his arms wrapped around her. She realized they had been there all night. Her muscles were stiff from the awkward position, but it gave her satisfaction to know that Severus would rather spend the night on the floor with her on top of him (possibly suffocating him in the process) than wake her and force her to drag herself all the way upstairs.

She gently maneuvered out of Severus’ grasp, trying desperately not to wake him.

--

She was quickly able to find Lily in one of the student potion’s labs.

“Hey!” she called cheerfully as she sauntered through the open door.

Lily looked up and smiled. “Hey! I haven’t seen you in awhile,” she replied. She gave sly smile. “Severus keeping you too busy?”

Camilla scowled. “Ha ha.”

“Speaking of Severus, have you seen him lately?”

“Yeah, he’s asleep.”

“That’s weird,” Lily said, “He usually doesn’t sleep late on the weekends.”

Camilla simply shrugged in response. She wasn’t going to tell Lily about the odd sleeping arrangement that had occurred the night before.

“Lily? Have you ever brewed a contraceptive potion?” She blurted the question quickly, getting it out of her mouth as fast as she could.

Lily paused, slowly looking up from the potion she was working on. “No. Why?”

“I dunno I was just…” Camilla trailed off upon seeing the look on Lily’s face.

“I hadn’t realized you and Severus were so close already,” Lily replied, choosing her words carefully.

“Well… we aren’t really. That’s why I need it. You see, I had this idea-.”

Lily held her hands up in the air. “No. I don’t to want to hear it. No more ideas, Camilla. Your ideas always end… well, they end badly.”

Camilla frowned. “They do not! Not all the time at least.”

“You can’t afford to have anything else go wrong when it comes to your relationship with Severus. I mean, he’s told me about some of the things you get up to and I don’t-.”

“What’s he been telling you? A pack of lies, no doubt! You can’t believe everything he says, Lily.”

Lily gave a small smile. “Severus may be a lot of things, but he isn’t a liar.”

Camilla scoffed. “Sure… Listen, will you make it for me or not? Because-.”

“Having… it… will not make you closer, if that’s what you’re thinking, Camilla.”

“It’s called sex, Lily. We’re seventeen and of-age, I think we can all say the word.”

Lily scowled back at her. “I’m just saying that you should be in love before you make that kind of decision.”

Camilla rolled her eyes. “Spare me the lecture, please, and actually think about what you’re saying. You’re suggesting that sometime between now and our wedding night we should be in love. Trust me, I will never love him… just make it for me?”

Sighing, Lily said, “Fine, but only because I don’t want you to have any more problems.”

Camilla smiled. “Thank you and you’ll see. Afterwards, everything will be fantastic. Boys respond very well to physical affection… my mother told me so. I mean, I can pull off the ‘seductive girl’ act for a bit. He’ll trust me and Remus and I will be free to do whatever we please.”

Lily rolled her eyes, but said nothing.

--

She placed the plate down on the coffee table and took a seat next to Severus, who was still sleeping. She nudged him gently. “Severus… wake up.” He shifted slightly, but didn’t open his eyes. With a little smirk, she kissed him lightly. He pulled away from her and opened his eyes. “Hey,” she said as he gazed at her, somewhat disoriented, “Are you usually this heavy of a sleeper?”

“No,” he replied groggily. “I don’t usually sleep this late either.”

“Maybe you just needed someone to keep you company, hmm?” She paused letting the suggestion hang in the air. His expression changed so subtlety that the untrained eye would have missed it. He was now watching her carefully, his lips forming that small frown he got when he was trying to figure something out. She turned away, hiding her smile, and rearranged the utensils on the plate she had taken from the Great Hall. “I brought breakfast,” she said turning back to him and handing him the plate of food.

He took it from her without saying anything as if he expected it. They sat in silence while he ate, occasionally shooting curious glances at each other.

She wondered if he had noticed the extra affection she had been giving him lately. She wondered a lot about him, for that matter. He never seemed to show very much emotion… unless of course he was angry. It was hard to tell what he thought about anything.

“Severus,” she said, “Why did Lucius give you that deatheater mask?”

He was silent for a moment, the replied tensely, “It’s nothing you need to worry about.”

“Because James thinks you want to be a deatheater.”

“You told Potter?” he snarled angrily, abandoning his fork and letting it crash onto the plate.

“What? No!”

“Then you told Lupin!”

“No! No, listen… just relax.” She placed her hands on his shoulders and began kneading her thumbs into his shoulder blades. “Relax,” she repeated, her words softer this time.

“I am relaxed,” he snapped harshly.

“Your tone says otherwise.”

In the silence that followed, she continued to massage his shoulders until she felt the muscles that had tightened during their conversation begin to loosen. He tilted his head to the left slightly. She smiled at this and granted his silent request by moving her hands up to rub his neck gently.

Seeing that he was in a vulnerable state, she decided to take advantage. She lowered her head to his neck and began to trail light kisses from the back of his ear down to his collarbone. She moved her hands from his shoulders and ran them down his chest. As she drew them back up, she let her left stop over his heart. It was racing. She tilted her head to look at him. “Relax,” she repeated with a small smirk.

He stiffened and pulled away from her. He moved to the opposite side of the coffee table and glared.

“What are you playing at?” he demanded, his eyes narrowed.

“Don’t be silly, Severus,” she replied, stretching out on the sofa, “Games are for children.”

He continued to scowl at her silently.

“So,” she continued in a conversational tone, “I don’t get it. Why the mask? I mean… if you’re not interested in being a deatheater.”

“Who says I’m not?”

Camilla paused. “Surely… surely you don’t want to-.”

“Why does it even matter to you?”

“I’m going to marry you, I should know these things!”

“It’s better that you don’t know. You don’t want to know.”

She stood, placing her hands on her hips. “So you are!” she shouted accusingly. “You are joining the deatheaters!”

“I didn’t say that,” he replied, his voice tight and controlled.

“You don’t have to! I may not be as smart as you, Severus, but I can put two and two together.”

“So you admit I’m more intelligent than you, do you?”

She rolled her eyes. “I don’t understand,” she continued on, as if he had said nothing. “Why in the world would you want to join a psychotic freak in his quest to kill off the muggle race when you yourself-?”

“Stop!” he interrupted, “Stop now… that’s enough. Let’s just stop and forget this conversation happened.”

“You shouldn’t be ashamed of-.”

“Camilla!” he shouted, now standing himself. “What is wrong with you? I don’t want have this conversation right now.”

In the back of her mind, she knew that if she continued she would cross the line. He’d clearly marked his boundaries and warned her that she was getting to close. But she was Camilla Portman, and Camilla Portman did not like to back down in an argument.

“It’s just that you own father is a muggle and-.”

Severus reacted quickly and violently

“And he’s the most vile, disgusting, evil man I’ve ever met. Not to mention he’s weak. Just like the rest of them! Weak, idiotic, fools.”

“What makes him weak?” she asked coldly, ignoring the painful throbbing in her arm.

“The way he treats me… the way he treats my mother…”

“Yeah? I’m going to take a guess and say he beats her. Probably treats her exactly like you treat me. Like rubbish. You’re just as cruel and evil as him. You’re just like him!”

“SHUT UP!” She felt the pain in her forearm increase considerably and she could barely stand it. She continued to hold her ground, glaring up at him, but she could not help the tears that slid down her cheeks as the pain intensified. “I am nothing like him. My mother is amazing and doesn’t deserve to be treated the way she is, but you… you are senseless and inconsiderate. You’re an obnoxious, pretentious, whore and you are exactly the kind of wench that deserves the treatment my mother gets at home.”

Unable to bear the pain any longer, Camilla blurted, “Severus, please, you’re hurting me.”

He immediately released her arm. As he backed away from her she was sure she could see the panic rising in his eyes. He turned away from her and she heard him take a deep breath.

She approached him and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Severus?” she said quietly.

He turned back to face her. Without hesitation, she lifted her foot off the ground and slammed her knee between his legs.

“Fuck!” he shouted as he bent over in pain, holding himself. After a moment, he sank to his knees as if mortally wounded and placed his head on the floor.

She looked on in smug satisfaction. “And you deserve that.”

He didn’t say anything and remained unmoving.

“Come on now, Severus, it can’t have hurt that badly,” she said after a few seconds, crossing her arms over her chest. “You’re faking.”

He rolled over onto his back and looked at her. She stared down at him.

“Are you okay?” she asked, biting her lip nervously.

“Fine,” he replied stiffly.

“Sorry,” she mumbled, extending her hand to help pull him to his feet.

He hit her hand away and stood without her help. “I’m going to the library,” he muttered irritably. As he left, Camilla was quite sure she heard him mutter “bitch” under his breath.

--

She surveyed herself in the mirror doing her best to suck in her stomach. It was moments like these she wished she were as thin as the pretty girls that graced the pages of Witch Weekly. Giving one last tug at the pink, lacy shorts she was wearing, she left the bathroom and rummaged through Severus’ trunk. Camilla pushed away her curiosity when her hand brushed against what she was sure was the cold, shiny, silver mask and moved on pulling out one of his shirts and then a green Slytherin tie.

Back in front of Severus’ bathroom mirror, she smiled approvingly at her reflection. She thought everything had come together well. The entire effect was feminine and seductive, yet not exaggerated. It even brought back memories of a previous encounter they had had.

With of wave of her wand she eliminated the lights. She placed her wand on the bedside table and picked up a small vial of deep, crimson liquid. She swirled it around and examined it with distaste. It reminded her vaguely of blood. She uncorked it and put the vial to her lips. She downed it quickly, making sure to get every last little drop, just as Lily had said. She felt a wave of warmth come over her and then it was gone. She placed the empty vial back down. Now, all she had to do was wait.

Severus hadn’t been back to their dormitory since earlier that morning and she had expected him back no more than two hours after dinner had ended, but as midnight slowly approached Camilla began to wonder if he hadn’t perhaps decided to spend the night in the Slytherin dorm. She was stretched out across his bed willing herself not to fall asleep when a flash of lightning lit the room. She raised herself up and sauntered over to the window, peering out at the raging storm. While the sky was dark, a small sliver of moonlight was visible through the clouds illuminating the grounds enough for her to see the trees in the Forbidden Forest thrashing about in the fierce wind. Rain pounded heavily against the window and Camilla stared out, entranced.

“You know, I’m quite sure there is a perfectly fine view from your room as well.”

She spun around quickly. “Severus… what are you are you doing here?” she said, startled. After midnight had come and gone she had assumed that he would not be back until the next day.

“This is my room,” he replied calmly, “I believe it is I who should be asking you what you’re doing here.”

He stood over her, his arms against the wall supporting him and trapping her. “Well…” she began, her apprehension returning, “I happen to think you’re a clever boy, surely I don’t have to spell it out for you.”

He stepped back and looked at her. His eyes searched hers for a moment then traveled downwards. He spent quite a bit of time staring at her body and she felt herself begin to grow uncomfortable. Finally, he said, “Games are for children?”

The words came out more like a question than a statement. She smiled and nodded. “Games are for children and we’re aren’t children anymore. I’m not playing games with you. I promise.” She stepped forward and grabbed his shirt, pulling him towards her. She kissed him gently and he was quick to respond. Suddenly, everything seemed to be a whirlwind and a tangle of clothing and hands. He was whispering something in her ear, but her panicked mind couldn’t decipher it. Then she abruptly pushed him away. She didn’t know why she did it, but judging by the expression on his face she was sure he was going to make her leave. “Sorry,” she blurted, before he could say anything.

“Are you okay?” Severus asked evenly.

“Y-yes, just… can we go a little slower… please?”

He raised an eyebrow. “Is this your first time?” He sounded surprised.

“Yes, I thought you knew I’d never… you said that you didn’t want anything to do with me if I wasn’t!”

He smirked. “I didn’t honestly think you were, I was being-.”

“A git?” she supplied.

“ Are you sure this is what you want?”

She steeled herself and nodded. He gave a rare, genuine smile. “Slower it is then,” he murmured softly. She placed her hand on his now bare chest as he kissed her again, much more gently this time. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how long I’ve wanted this,” he mumbled. She smiled against his lips feeling much more comfortable with the pace. Camilla could smell and taste firewhiskey and she wondered vaguely if he was only saying that because he was somewhat drunk. She didn’t ask him though; it would only ruin the mood.

After a few moments, he pulled away. “You’re absolutely sure you don’t want to stop?”

“I’m sure.”

He nodded and reached down to undo his belt.

“Wait,” she said, “I can get it.”

Her heart pounding, Camilla gathered her nerve. She told herself that it would have happened eventually; better sooner rather than later. Hands shaking, she fumbled with his belt buckle. It seemed to take her forever, but finally, she was able to control her trembling fingers enough to undo it. Then they were kissing again with passionate intensity. She ran her hands over his chest again, her fingers tracing his muscles, memorizing them. Suddenly, there was a flash of lightning followed by the sound of rocking thunder. Severus froze. She looked at him questioningly, though it was so dark she couldn't make out his expression.

"What time is it?" he asked finally, his voice hoarse.

"I don't- " she began, but he had already climbed out the bed and was pulling on his shirt. Picking up his watch from the bedside table, he looked at it and cursed. "Severus? What are you doing?"

He didn't reply. He quickly did up his belt and grabbed a dark cloak from the drawer.

"Merlin, Severus, you're not going outside are you? It's raining!"

"I have to. You can stay here if you want to," he nodded towards the bed, "but I won't be back for a bit. I wouldn't recommend waiting up for me."

"So that's it? You're just leaving?"

Without speaking he kissed her on the forehead and left, shutting the door behind him.

--

Camilla stabbed at her food angrily. She had decided to eat breakfast at the Gryffindor table with Lily. That way she could sit far, far away from Severus and he wouldn’t attempt to catch her eye or talk to her. She had purposely avoided him that morning, mainly because she was irritated at the disappearing act he had pulled the night before. He hadn’t even apologized to her when he came back, three hours later.

The boys all watched her with raised eyebrows. “Camilla?” Peter asked finally, “Is everything okay?”

“Yes,” she snapped irritably, “Severus and I… we just had an argument.”

“Oh…” Peter didn’t seem to know what else to say, so he simply trailed off.

Lily, however, gave her a look. Camilla scowled back at her. She knew what she was thinking. She probably thought her plan had gone wrong. And it had, but Camilla certainly did not want her to have the opportunity to say, “I told you so.”

After having endured Lily’s expression long enough, Camilla said a quick goodbye to her friends and left the Great Hall. She walked past Severus, Cain and a group of Slytherins she didn’t recognize and she heard him call her name, but she refused to acknowledge him. She continued walking and climbed the marble staircase, deciding to go to class a bit early.

She had just turned into an empty corridor when she heard footsteps behind her. She looked back and rolled her eyes. He was following her. She increased her speed, but he caught up quickly and fell into pace next to her. “So you’re ignoring me now, are you?”

“Yes.”

“Camilla, I had something to do.”

"Oh yeah? Something to do? Probably something you don't want me to know, right? That's not surprising."

"Camilla... just forget it. It doesn't concern you."

“Of course,” she snapped.

He took her arm, preventing her from walking off. “What do you want me to say?”

“You could start with an apology, seeing as you abandoned me right in the middle of-.”

“I would hardly consider it the middle. It was more like the beginning…”

And,” she continued, “you could tell me what you’re doing, leaving school grounds at midnight.”

“How do you know I’m leaving the grounds?” he asked with a smirk.

“Is this a joke to you?” she said angrily, wrenching her arm from his grasp.

“No…” He sighed. “Fine, I’m… sorry.” Camilla smiled remembering how difficult it was for him to apologize to people. “But I can’t tell you where I went last night. You just have to trust me.”

Camilla looked at him. “Maybe you should trust me.”

“I don’t trust easily…”

“I’ve noticed. But Severus, how are we going to be married if we can’t be honest with each other?”

She wrapped her arms around his neck. Pulling herself up on her tiptoes, she kissed him softly. “You can tell me anything,” she whispered against his lips.

He placed his hands on her hips, his thumbs rubbing small circles just above the waistband of her skirt. He seemed to thinking, his eyes searching hers. Finally, he said, “You won’t like it.” His voice was hesitant and Camilla could barely contain herself. This was it. He was going to confess one of his secrets. He trusted her.

“I’m still stuck with you,” she replied with a smile.

“Yeah,” he agreed with a light laugh, “I guess you are…” He took a deep breath. “You know that-.”

Suddenly, a loud shout rang out through the corridor, interrupting him. "Oy! Snivellus! You get your filthy paws off of her!" James and Sirius were approaching them, their wands drawn. Remus and Peter followed a few paces behind.
Severus had had his own wand out, it seemed, the moment James opened his mouth. They were exchanging venomous glares. Camilla groaned inwardly.

“Why don’t you mind your own business, Potter?” Severus said with a sneer.

“You manhandling my friend is my business!”

Camilla gave a giggle that was clearly unappreciated, because both James and Sirius scowled at her. “He wasn’t… ‘manhandling’ me. Can we all just calm down?”

“He’s really got you brainwashed hasn’t he? Standing up for him like that…”

“I can take care of myself, Camilla,” Severus said, frowning at her.

She ignored him and instead continued talking to James. “We were just making up… I told you we had had an argument. Everything’s fine.”

“Then why was he touching you?”

“Because I can, Potter, deal with it.”

James raised his wand and in a flash a spell was jetting towards her. “James!” she shrieked. But Severus waved his wand almost lazily and blocked the spell, sending it shooting back towards them, forcing Peter to jump out of the way. “That’s not fair! I didn’t even have my wand out!” she said furiously, “If you’re going to try and hex me then-.”

“I wasn’t trying to hex you! It went a little wide,” he replied, casting Severus a fierce glare.

Severus raised his wand and was about to send a spell at James when a stern voice rang out, echoing in the corridor. “We do not duel between classes! Mr. Potter, lower your wand! That goes for you two as well, Black, Snape.” Professor McGonagall surveyed them all with a stern, angry expression etched across her features. “Will someone please enlighten as to why it is always this group of students who seem inclined to curse each other whenever the opportunity arises?”

Sirius quickly began to speak. “It wasn’t our fault, Professor. Camilla was upset at breakfast earlier and we came to check on her. When we found her, he,” Sirius pointed to Severus, “was hurting her. Professor, I’m sure you would agree, that it was our duty to put a stop to it.”

“That is not what was going on,” Camilla said, giving Sirius a scowl, “They are jumping to conclusions, Professor.”

“So you deny that he was touching you?” James snapped, crossing his arms across his chest.

“No, I don’t. He had his hands on my waist… we were kissing, James.”

James opened his mouth, then shut it, seemingly speechless. She caught Remus shifting uncomfortably and running his hands through his hair and she felt slightly guilty, as if she had been caught cheating on him. She carefully avoided meeting his eyes.

“Fine! But that is irrelevant,” Sirius said with a wave of his arm, “We know he’s been abusing her Professor, so we naturally thought-.”

“He has not!” she shouted back at him.

“Oh yeah? Remus told us what you said!” Sirius pointed at Remus, who looked as if he would like to disappear into the floor. “He told us about the time Snape hit you! And then he said you belonged to him! You don’t have to stand up for him!”

“That is enough!” McGonagall raised her hand in the air. “I don’t want to hear another word from you three. Mr. Lupin… is that indeed what Ms. Portman confessed to you?”

Camilla gave Remus a desperate look, pleading with him not to say anything. If Severus got in trouble, it would most definitely take a toll on his newly gained trust in her.

He looked at her and gave her a small, regretful shrug. “Yes, Professor.” Professor McGonagall looked sternly at Severus and Camilla.

“They’re lying, Professor,” was all Camilla could think to say, “I never said those things.”

“What did you expect her to say?” Sirius snapped quietly.

“I said enough! Mr. Snape… do you have anything to add? Did you hit Ms. Portman?”

Severus was silent for a moment. She turned to look at him. Deny, deny, deny! She screamed at him in her head.

“Yes, Professor.”

Camilla let out a frustrated sigh.

“Very well, Mr. Snape, you need to come with me. I believe a visit to the Headmaster is in order. Ms. Portman be prepared to be called to the Headmaster’s office in due time yourself.”

Severus picked up his bag and hoisted it onto his shoulder. “Severus…” she mumbled taking a hold of his arm before he could follow the Professor. “I’m-.”

But he kissed her, interrupting her apology. “It’s fine,” he said softly.

James’ eyes were so wide they looked as if they might pop out of his head and Severus couldn’t seem to resist giving him a satisfied smirk as he left.

--

Clutching the note from Professor McGonagall, Camilla walked briskly to the transfiguration professor’s office. She stopped as she reached the door. Severus was sitting outside the room on the stone floor. He stood as she approached, watching her with his arms folded across his chest.

“Are you alright?” she asked before knocking on the door, “You aren’t in trouble?”

“Trouble? McGonagall wants me expelled.” The tone of his voice was cold and accusing.

“Are you angry with me or something, Severus? Because it sounds like you’re blaming me.”

She watched him grind his teeth in frustration. “Why, Camilla? Tell me why you feel the desperate need to run to Lupin every time we fight.”

“He’s my friend, Severus.”

“Why not Lily, then?”

“Lily doesn’t understand. She-.”

He held up a hand to stop her. “No. You know what I think? I think you run slutting to Lupin, tearing off your clothes and throwing yourself at him because your shut in with me most of the time and I’m so damn cruel to you that at the end of the day you need someone to reassure you that you’re loved.” He spat the word as if were disgusting and foul.

“That’s not true,” she replied softly, staring back at him.

“Yes, it is,” he snarled back at her, “You need his hands all over you so you can feel like someone wants you.”

She began to feel her anger rise up in her. What right did he have to judge her? He was the one who couldn’t control himself. He was the one was embittered and hateful.

“Fine, Severus! Fine!” she said angrily, throwing her hands in the air, “Maybe you’re right. Maybe I do want to feel as if someone cares about me. So what? Remus loves me and you don’t. He’s kind to me and you’re not. He’s gentle and you… you’re clearly not.”

She paused, letting her words hang in the air for a moment. He said nothing so she continued. “I’m not going to stop seeing him because for some selfish reason it irritates you. And you know what? If I want to take my clothes off when I’m with him, it’s none of your business,” she said with malice.

“None of my-? You’re my fiancée, not his! And it more than irritates me. It makes me sick. The thought of his hands, touching you, makes me sick.” His expression was almost pained, as if the thought truly did make him nauseous.

She blinked. “Are you telling me that you’re jealous?”

“If I am?” he asked.

Camilla opened her mouth to answer, when the office door swung open. “Heavens, Ms. Portman. We didn’t realize you were out here. You ought to have knocked.”

The professor ushered them both into the office with a wave of her hand. Camilla glanced at Severus. His distraught, sickened expression had disappeared and had been replaced by a mask of indifference.

“Take a seat,” McGonagall said, “We won’t stand for violence at this school and the appropriate measures need to be taken to ensure that this does not happen again.”

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to review! I promise I will get around to responding to every review, however it might take a bit since updating the story is first priority (I'm sure you all agree).


Chapter 11: Matters of the Heart
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Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Chapter 11


Camilla followed Severus out of McGonagall’s office.

“Severus?”

He raised his hand. “Don’t. I’m not in the mood.”

“When are you ever?” She reached out to grab his arm. “It could be worse. You could have been sent to Azkaban.”

He scoffed at her. “For beating you? I think not. I assure you, you’re not that special and the world will go on with or without you.”

She frowned. That was what she got for trying to comfort Severus; a scornful remark and a sneer. “I was just trying to put things in a different perspective,” she mumbled irritably.

“There’s nothing wrong with my perspective,” he snapped as he shook his arm from her grasp.

Camilla gave him a glare and changed directions, heading instead for the Hogwarts grounds. She was in no mood to deal with his cross behavior.

She pushed open the large doors and was met with a gust of warm air. The rain clouds that had hung over the school for the past week had finally moved on, leaving the sky a crisp blue.

“Camilla! Over here!” Darcy waved at her from the lake’s edge.

Sighing, Camilla decided that she couldn’t possibly ignore the girl now that she had clearly seen her, so she made her way to Darcy and gave her a polite smile. “Hello. How are you?”

“Well, thanks. And you? How is the engaged life?”

“Erm… dreadful,” Camilla replied, slightly disconcerted by Darcy’s cheerful demeanor.

“Hmm, yes, it does appear that way. I saw you and Severus going into McGonagall’s office earlier. Trouble?”

“She found out that Severus gets a bit violent when he’s angry. She was pretty upset. If it weren’t for Slughorn I’m pretty sure Severus would be packing right now.”

Darcy’s eyes widened. “You-? You told?” she whispered.

“Well, actually-.” Camilla paused. She had been struck by an idea. “Yes,” she continued confidently, “I was tired of it and now all the Professors are keeping a sharp eye out. They wrote to both our parents and said that if any of them hear of it ever again the next owl goes to the ministry.”

Darcy looked at her with a mixture of awe and horror.

“If you want my opinion,” she said, pressing on, “you should go to McGonagall too. I mean, Cain is ten times worse than Severus and he’s not in the Slug Club. I have no doubt they’ll expel him.”

Shaking her head, Darcy mumbled, “I could never do that. He would kill me.”

“He wouldn’t be able to touch you. We can go right now if you want. I’ll come along if you need me to.”

“No, I don’t think-.” She hesitated for a long moment. “I’ll think about it,” she finished, giving Camilla a small smile. “But I’d better go. I’ve got Charms in about ten minutes.”

Camilla gave the girl a small, parting wave. She smiled to herself, feeling immensely proud. She was going free Darcy from a lifetime of pain with Cain and fix her relationship with Severus. The thought carried her blissfully back to the castle.

--


Laughing, Remus carried another stack of books to their table in the back of the library. “I’m just surprised it took her so long to realize it,” he was saying, “We all knew they were perfect for each other.”

“Love can be strange sometimes,” she muttered distractedly.

“Yeah, I suppose… are you alright?”

“Hmm?” She tore her eyes from the window.

“You need to study,” he said, pushing a book towards her, “That is, if you want to graduate.”

“Speaking of graduation… who are you taking to the graduation dinner party?” she asked, teasingly. “I know a certain Ravenclaw who would love it if you escorted her.”

Remus’ eyes widened slightly. “Wouldn’t Severus be upset?”

“Wha-? No! Not me… I meant my old dorm mate. Her name is Kelly, remember? She has a huge crush on you."

He frowned in thought. “I don’t think I’ve ever met her.”

“Yes, you have. I’ve introduced her several times, but you never remember her name. It’s very disappointing for her, Remus.”

“Oh, well, tell her I’m very sorry, but my heart belongs to only one Ravenclaw woman and it’s not her.”

Camilla laughed. “That’s not very kind.”

He shrugged. Then, his tone turned serious. “Would Severus mind, Camilla? If I took you as my date?”

“I… I don’t know. I suppose I can ask him, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up.”

“Because really, he doesn’t seem the sort to enjoy social events in the first place. He’ll only make it miserable for you.” Remus seemed as if he were trying to reason her into going with him. “Not to mention, he’ll get to have you for the rest of his life, but me… well, I’d be a fool to think we could continue a relationship after you’re married.”

“I know, Remus. I would love to go with you, but if Severus doesn’t want me to there isn’t much I can do about it. He would be furious if I did something like that without his permission. You don’t know how strongly he feels about you and me… I honestly think it makes him ill.”

To her surprise, Remus gave a satisfied smirk. “He’s jealous of me,” he stated.

“He might be. I-.” Her words were cut short by a sudden kiss. Remus had leaned across the table so quickly she hadn’t even realized what he was doing.

She pulled away, puzzled. “Remus, we shouldn’t-.”

“I love you, Camilla,” he stated unflinchingly, “If these are my last weeks with you then I want to make them count. I’m going to spend the rest of life jealous of Severus because he got the first girl I ever loved. I think he can stand the jealousy for a week or two.”

Camilla gazed up at him, surprised at his boldness.

Standing, he tugged her from her chair and back behind a bookshelf, away from the prying eyes of Madame Pince, where he kissed her again, this time deeply. She responded to his kiss, unable to put her startled mind into action.

In the back of her mind she sensed that there was something different about the way he held her and kissed her. She felt a slight uneasiness, but could not identify a cause. Perhaps he had changed his technique?

“Excuse me?” a small voice said.

Remus jumped away from her as if he’d received a shock. They both turned to see a tiny second year in a wrinkled Hufflepuff uniform.

“Professor McGonagall sent me to give you this.” With a blush, he held out a scroll of parchment.

Camilla took it and thanked him before he scurried away.

After reading it through twice, she glanced up at Remus who also had a pink tinge to his cheeks. “Something about Severus,” she mumbled as she read it again, “she wants to see me right away. I hope everything is alright.”

“I hope he’s been expelled,” Remus quipped.

After giving Remus a disapproving look, she gathered her things, bid him goodbye and left the library.

The door to McGonagall’s office was ajar when she arrived and she hesitantly pushed it open further. The only person inside was Severus and he looked up when she entered. She smiled. Not only was she genuinely glad to see him, but it also seemed that his mood had lightened considerably. “Did McGonagall send for you too?” she asked, gently closing the door behind her.

“I’ve been here since dinner,” he said with a shrug, “She decided I needed a lecture as part of my punishment.”

“A lecture? About what?” She sat in the seat next to him in front of the professor’s desk.

He gave a small smirk. “Appropriate treatment of women and why I should be grateful that I have you around to make my life miserable.”

“That sounds fascinating,” she replied grinning.

“It was. Then I was supposed to list five things I like about you and five ways I could show you that I care and appreciate you.”

“Must have been difficult considering you dislike me so much.”

“It turned out to be easier than I thought,” he admitted. He paused for a moment and then, speaking slowly, he said, “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who provokes me into anger as quickly as you do.”

“Not even James?”

“Well… you’re the only female then… but for some reason I still… I’m sorry for hurting you,” he muttered with a sigh. He looked at her and tried to gauge her reaction.

Attempting to keep her emotions from her face she said, “So… you like me against your better judgment?”

“I guess so, yes.”

She sighed to herself. “I suppose that’ll have to do.”

“What is it that you want from me, Camilla?”

I suppose we’re just too different for anything meaningful to come from this…”

“I don’t think we’re all that different,” he said calmly, “We have our own ideas about how to approach issues, but we see the issue itself the same way.”

“So? It’s the approach that matters.”

“Yet again, we disagree… Is my apology accepted or not?”

She shrugged.

“Well, you ought to decide because the door won’t unlock until you do.”

She turned her gaze to the door she had shut behind her upon entering the office. Frowning, Camilla said, “Fine. I forgive you.”

He shook his head. “It doesn’t work like that. You have to mean it.”

“I do mean it,” she snapped.

Leaning back in his chair, he sighed and appeared to be deep in thought.

We could be here all night, she thought angrily to herself. She attempted to talk herself into forgiving him for what seemed like a long time. When she finally felt herself believe that she had, she stood and turned the doorknob. Locked. Groaning, she flopped back into her chair.

“This isn’t going to work, Severus.”

He glanced over at her. “You can’t forgive me?”

“I don’t know. I’ve tried... I feel like I do.”

“I’ve been meaning to give you something. Maybe it will show you how much I-… it will show you that I meant what I’ve said,” he stated standing and sticking a hand into the pocket of his robes, “Close your eyes.”

She looked at him uncertainly, but did as he told her. She heard the sound of his shoes as he walked towards her and when he spoke she was able to determine that he had moved very close to her right side.

“This has been in my mother’s family for centuries. It usually gets passed down to daughters but since I don’t have any sisters my mother gave it to me and told me I’d know who to give it to.”

Camilla felt a slight weight in her hands and the coolness of metal. Without thinking she opened her eyes. She gave a small gasp when she saw what she held. In her hands was an ornately carved silver mirror. Intertwined serpents with minuscule diamonds for eyes decorated the handle. The rim too was adorned with the small stones. She gently turned it over in her hands. A large cursive ‘E’ was engraved into the back of the mirror.

“Severus…”

“I didn’t say you could open your eyes,” he mumbled with a hint of irritation.

“Severus, this-.”

“Now, don’t think I would give you just some plain, old mirror and expect to be forgiven.”

She raised her eyebrows. The words ‘plain’ and ‘old’ had certainly not crossed her mind.

“I has a few magical properties,” he continued. “Once we’re married the letter will change to a ‘C’ since you will officially be a part of the family.”

“Severus, I-.”

“It also, when you say the spell, shows you your one true love… the one person you love more than anyone else. Otherwise, it works as a regular mirror.”

“Severus! I can’t take this,” she said handing it back to him.

He pushed the mirror back towards her. “It’s yours.”

“No, Severus, really, you should save it for… someone else.”

“Someone else?”

“Yes! Someone who… someone who deserves it.”

“You’re going to be my wife, Camilla. It belongs to you. You deserve it.”

She shook her head exasperatedly. “Severus-.”

“Listen to me. You’re the next female in my mother’s family now. Even if I didn’t want to give it to you, it’s still yours. Don’t you think some cheating scum has tried to give this to his mistress instead of his wife? Those other women were cursed. You don’t want me to doom some poor girl because you wouldn’t take it do you?”

She smiled at him. “I don’t know how to thank you Severus… it’s stunning.”

“You could start by forgiving me so we can get out of here.”

“I do. I did before.”

For a moment, a mischievous expression flickered across his face and his eyes danced playfully. Then, he smirked and said, “Prove it.”

Camilla bit her lip. She had never seen him behave in a way that wasn’t serious and she was unsure how to react to this part of him. She had never even considered that he could be playful.

Slowly, she stood from her chair and pulled her school robe from her bag. She gently wrapped the mirror with it, then placed it in her bag. She did not want to risk anything terrible happening to it.

She turned back to him to see that he was watching her carefully. Deciding to match his teasing with her own, she said, “Prove it? Surely you can go and open the door yourself.”

He gave frustrated growl, took her roughly by the hips and pulled her towards him. She laughed lightly as his lips met hers.

Severus kissed her deeply, like it was his last chance to ever do so. He gently pushed her backwards, not allowing their lips to part until she was pressed against the door. “Do you forgive me?” he asked, breathing heavily.

“Yes, of course.” She stood on her toes in an attempt to kiss him again, but she suddenly felt the door behind her move and she lost her balance for a moment.

“Shall we go?” he said as she regained her composure. He had pushed open the door and was strolling out into the corridor.

She snatched up her bag and followed him. “You manipulated me,” she mumbled when she caught up with him.

He shrugged. “Just a little.”

She wasn’t particularly angry, however part of her wondered if he would ever take her seriously… if he would ever truly care about her. “I was wondering… would you mind if Remus took me to the graduation dinner party?”

“Just a little,” he repeated, “Come with me to Slughorn’s party afterward and I won’t make a big deal about the dinner though.”

Camilla smiled. “I didn’t realize you went to those.”

“I don’t. I can usually make an excuse, however, since it will only be seventh year students from the Slug Club and their guests chances are high he’ll notice I’m not there.”

“I would love to come,” she said, taking his hand.

If he was uncomfortable holding hands with her as they walked the dimly lit corridors he didn’t show it. In fact, he seemed fairly relaxed.

“Severus?” she asked hesitantly.

“Hmm?”

“Where did you go that night?”

For a moment, he said nothing. The only sound was the soft echo of their footsteps on the stone floor of the castle.

She had almost given up on an answer when he said, “The Malfoy’s have had a dislike for muggle-borns for as long as I’ve known them. They’ve always thought that You-Know-Who has the right idea, killing them all off.” He paused, but she stayed quiet and waited for him to continue. “When Lucius graduated school he knew he wanted to ‘fight for the cause.’ It wasn’t until a year later that he actually met the Dark Lord.”

They stopped at the portrait that guarded their common room and dormitories and Severus muttered the password. The portrait swung open and Camilla followed him inside, not releasing his hand.

“Then, Lucius thought he’d do me a favor and tell the Dark Lord about me. He told him I was skilled in potions, that I knew a great deal about the dark arts and that I had the same beliefs about muggles and muggle-borns. I’m not sure if Lucius said anything about me being a half-blood. If he did, the Dark Lord didn’t say anything about it.”

“You met him?” she gasped, wide-eyed.

They had reached his room and she was sitting cross-legged on his bed, her shoes abandoned on the floor.

He nodded as he rummaged though his drawers. For a moment, she thought he was going to pull out that terrible mask, but was even more surprised when he uncovered a bottle of firewhiskey. It was about half full. Severus took a long drink and handed it to her. She had never been a huge fan of the drink and simply held it for him while he fell onto the bed next to her.

“Anyway, I met the Dark Lord over the winter break before I knew about you or this marriage. You should have heard him talk about it… you should have heard the promises he made me.” He glanced at the firewhiskey still in her hand. “Do you not drink?”

She shook her head and handed it back to him.

He took another sip. “We arranged to meet again. I started having second thoughts when Lucius sent me the mask and then you came along. I’m not sure what I want anymore… That’s where I was that night. At that second meeting. I was about ten minutes late however, and he wasn’t too interested in weaving visions of power and wealth anymore.”

Camilla gazed at him as he ran his hand through his hair.

“He kept me there for a long time, alternating between punishing me and threatening me. He used Legilimancy in order to determine my weakness, something he could use against me. I held out for a while, but eventually he won. He sensed I was wavering in my decision to join him and that I had plenty of weaknesses that could be exploited in order to get what he wanted from me.” Severus sighed. “I suppose I should work on my Occlumency if I want to get out alive next time,” he said with a wry smile.

“Next time?” she asked, startled, “You can’t go back!”

“I don’t have a choice…”

“Yes, you do. You could leave. Go where he can’t find you.”

He gave a dismissive wave of his hand. “He’ll find me eventually. Besides… if I tried to leave he would come after the people that mean the most to me… my mother, Cain… you.” He brought the firewhiskey bottle to his lips and took a drink. “He’d come for you first.”

Camilla lay back on the bed next to him and draped her arm over his chest. Despite what he had said, she wasn’t frightened for her own safety. She was much more concerned with his. What would she do, if after only a year of marriage, she became a widow? Having to start all over with the death of Severus hanging over her head would be almost unbearable.

“What will you do then?” she whispered.

“Keep going,” he muttered with a shrug, “Not much else I can do. My first responsibility is to you… if something happened to you because of me I’d…” He trailed off, closing his eyes briefly.

“Nothing is going to happen to me,” she replied, pushing herself onto her elbows and hovering over him.

He opened his eyes. “Not if I keep him happy.” He reached up and tucked a stray hair behind her ear. “Will you be able to look past the stuff I’m going to do? Or will you be afraid of me?”

She leaned forward and kissed him. “You don’t scare me anymore, Severus. You couldn’t even if you wanted to.”

He sat up. Watching her carefully, he pulled up the left sleeve of his shirt. His wrist and half his forearm were wrapped in white gauze.

For a moment her breath caught. She knew what he was going to show her.

Slowly, he unwound the gauze. When he had finished he said, “Will you be able to look past this?”

“When did it happen?” she asked softly, not able to tear her eyes from the mark. She found herself fascinated as she traced the black skull gingerly with her thumb. She glanced up at him and saw that he was gritting his teeth. “Sorry,” she mumbled, pulling her hand away.

“It’s fine. It just stings a bit… I got it that night as well. I’ve been trying to hide it, but Cain got a glimpse of the gauze. Now he seems to think I need ‘someone to talk to.’”

She looked back down at his wrist. The mark itself wasn’t unattractive, though it seemed as if it hadn’t healed quite yet; the edges were an angry red. It stood out against his pale skin. Part of her, a terrible part, actually found it arousing. It showed the world that he was dangerous, a bad guy. But here he was revealing himself to her, kissing her, wanting her.

Then, she forced herself to think about what the Dark Mark stood for, the evil it symbolized.

“I would rather you didn’t have it,” she murmured, leaning close to him, “But I know it doesn’t say anything about who you are, Severus.”

He kissed her unexpectedly and deeply. He pressed her onto the bed, one hand cupping her cheek the other slipping beneath her blouse. She wrapped her legs around his waist as if it would prolong the moment. Then, he pulled away as suddenly as he had kissed her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, confused.

“I… that night… it took everything I had to leave you here. But I don’t have anywhere to be now. We have all night.”

She gazed at him, her heart hammering in her chest. His eyes were staring calmly into her own. The expression on his face was unlike any she had seen before. His dark eyes displayed all of his emotions clearly; gratefulness, nervousness, pain, fear, and lust. There were more under the surface but she didn’t need to see them.

Banishing her apprehension, she reached for his tie and pulled him towards her. She gave him a teasing smirk. “Yes, but can you last all night?”

--


Camilla gave a large yawn and raised her arms above her head in a stretch. Finding that there was a great deal of space around her, she opened her eyes. She blinked several times to allow her eyes to become accustomed to the bright sunlight that flooded into Severus’ room and pulled herself into a sitting position on his bed.

She slowly assessed herself. She felt a bit sore and her muscles were tired, but it wasn’t any worse than the time Lily had forced her to go for an early morning run around the Hogwarts grounds. And she didn’t feel much different when it came to her state of mind either.

Just as she began to wonder where he might be, Severus ambled out of his bathroom wearing only his trousers. His eyes immediately caught hers and for a moment they just stared at one another in awkward silence.

Eventually he broke eye contact and went to pull a shirt from a drawer.

“Did you sleep well?” he asked, penetrating the stillness.

“Mmhmm… you?”

“Yes. Better than usual in fact,” he replied with a barely noticeable smirk.

She smiled, glad that they were pushing past the discomfort of facing ‘the morning after.’

“You haven’t had any… romantic encounters with Lupin recently, have you?” Severus inquired suddenly, his voice steady.

Camilla’s heart sped up slightly as she said, “How recent is ‘recently?’”

“Within the past week. Since we decided to…” His eyes flicked to the bed then back to her, meeting her eyes.

“Why would you ask that?” The memory of Remus’ warm breath on her neck the night before rose to the forefront of her mind, but she ignored it.

“Something you said just before you fell asleep…”

“What did I say?” she asked, keeping the anxiousness she felt from creeping into tone.

“Does it matter?”

“It does to you, apparently.”

“No… I was just wondering… you’re sure, aren’t you? Nothing?”

“What? Don’t you trust me?” she said defensively.

“I never trust anyone I’m in love with.”

She stared at him as he pulled on his school robes. Love? She avoided gaping at him, assuming what he had said was a slip of the tongue. Trying her best to keep the shock from her voice she asked, “Why not?”

“You only get hurt,” he replied simply. He seemed willing to let the subject of Remus drop.

Camilla bit her bottom lip gently. She suddenly felt immensely guilty for all the sneaking around she had done and the manipulative tactics she had resorted to. And for what? she asked herself. She wasn’t even sure she felt comfortable around Remus anymore.

“You can’t have a decent relationship with anyone if you don’t trust them,” she mumbled.

He turned to look at her. “And you expect me to trust you, do you? Are you telling me my trust wouldn’t be misplaced?”

She remained quiet.

“If you think I don’t know what you’re up to when you’re with Lupin you’re wrong,” he continued in an undertone. “If I had trusted you… it’s a self-preservation thing.”

Camilla changed the subject deciding not to press the issue any further. “Mum sent me a letter. She says the location we wanted for the wedding is available on the nineteenth of June. It’s this really beautiful castle… fairly small, but big enough to fit all of the guests. It used to belong to my great-great grandfather, but he sold it and now it’s some sort of magical history museum.” He nodded distractedly. She wondered if he was even listening to her. “Are you inviting your parents?” she asked softly, careful that her tone was in no way rude or insensitive.

He was silent for a moment as he methodically knotted his Slytherin tie. “I haven’t really a choice in the matter. Abraxas ‘let it slip’ to my mother that I was getting married and she and my father have taken for granted that they are invited. Abraxas and Tatiana refuse to inform them that they were not on my guest list.”

“Maybe it’s a good thing,” she ventured, “I could meet your family and-.”

“They are not my family,” he snarled suddenly, cutting her off and taking her by surprise.

A great deal of silence followed this angry statement. She watched him as he gathered his textbooks and parchment, unsure of what to say.

When he finally spoke again the harshness in his voiced had ebbed away. “I want you to know,” he began hesitantly. He stood by the door, preparing to leave for his morning potion’s class looking more vulnerable than she had ever seen him. “I want you to know that you’re welcome here whenever you’d like… erm, ‘here’ as in my room, I mean.”

Camilla smiled. For some reason, she found his discomfort endearing. “Even when you aren’t around?” she asked only half-playfully.

He frowned for a moment then nodded. “Fine… as long as you mind your own business,” he replied. Before Camilla could say anything in return Severus had disappeared out the door shutting it gently behind him.

--


The next week passed by uneventfully. Camilla had elected to spend the past few days sleeping in Severus’ bed on the condition that he did not press her for any sexual activities. At first he had seemed annoyed by this, but when she confronted him about it she uncovered an entirely different emotion.

“Yes, but is there a reason? Why after the first time and not the second?”

“Would that bother you less? If I wanted to stop after the second?” she asked with a scowl.

She was beginning to regret her decision to lose her virginity before her wedding. She rather preferred insulting each other all the time to the interrogation she received every time they were alone together.

“Yes it would.”

Camilla rolled her eyes, doubtful. “Why, Severus? It doesn’t matter.”

“Why don’t you want to?”

“I want to wait until after we’re married, okay? It’s only four weeks anyway. This time was more of an experiment.”

“An experiment?”

She detected the rage and even a twinge of hurt in his tone and she rushed to clarify. “I wanted to see if it made anything better, in our relationship, I mean. And I think it has. We don’t fight as much.”

“It’s only been a week,” he snapped.

“So,” she said, picking a copy of Witch Weekly up off of the bedside table she had claimed as hers. “I can see a difference. We both try harder to understand the other and you’re much more respectful of my body. You wouldn’t think of hitting me now.”

“No,” he said, “Why would I damage my own property?”

She glared at him, but recognized it as his sarcastic sense of humor and didn’t take offense. There was a moment of silence, interrupted only by Camilla flipping the page of her magazine.

“So… it’s nothing I did?”

She looked up and upon seeing his face she almost laughed. However, judging by his expression it would only upset him further.

He’s insecure, she thought to herself, I would never have guessed it of him.

She threw aside her magazine and crawled to the end of the bed where he was sitting. Camilla wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered in his ear. “Everything was perfect Severus. You were perfect.”

He pulled away to study her face. “I didn’t hurt you?” he asked uncertainly with a slight frown.

“No. I promise. I can’t think of a time where I’ve felt better. I couldn’t have been that comfortable with anyone else.”

He nodded, but she was certain she heard him mutter “Lupin” under his breath.

“Not even Remus could look at me the way you did that night, Severus,” she murmured quietly.

“What do you mean?”

But she stood. “I’ve got to go to Muggle Studies,” she said with a small yawn, “I’ll see you later.” She gave him a soft kiss, just brushing her lips against his, and departed.


--


Camilla trudged into the Great Hall for a late breakfast the morning of the graduation dinner. It was unusually loud, but she thought nothing of it as she fell into the seat next to her old dorm mate.

“Hey,” Kelly said with a smile, “I haven’t seen you around for a while.”

“I bet you’ve heard a lot about her though, haven’t you?” said a sixth year boy further down the table. He had malicious smirk on his face.

“Shut it, Clark!” Kelly snapped, “Ignore him.” She gave Camilla a comforting smile and began to page through a copy of the daily prophet.

Camilla frowned. “What is he on about?”

“Nothing.”

“No, really,” she pressed, “Tell me.”

Kelly sighed and put the paper down. “It’s just that, well, there have been some rumors about you and Snape. But that’s nothing new is it?”

And she was right. Their arranged marriage had been the big scandal at Hogwarts for two months after the holiday break, however talk had died down after word got out that two sixth-year Hufflepuffs had accidentally switched bodies.

“I thought everyone had moved on,” Camilla replied, taking a sip of pumpkin juice.

“Well… just some new ones have cropped up. Something else will come along sooner or later though, no worries.”

“What sort of new ones?” she asked hesitantly.

Kelly sighed again. “Just that you and Snape are getting on better than anyone thought you would.”

“What? What do you mean?” Camilla had a feeling where this was going and the thought made her sick to her stomach.

“You know what I mean, Camilla. I can see it in your eyes.”

“Who told-? How did anyone find out?”

Kelly’s eyes widened. “You mean it’s true? You and Snape? You two are really,” she lowered her voice to a whisper, “you two are sleeping together?”

“I have to go,” Camilla replied.

She hastily picked up her bag and hoisted it onto her shoulder. She felt extremely uncomfortable walking out the doors to the Great Hall as whispers and laughter erupted around her. She breathed a sigh of relief when she finally escaped all the curious eyes that had been following her. Yet, when she turned the corner she was faced with the group she wanted to see least: the seventh-year Slytherins.

She tried to bypass them, but Cain threw himself in front of her. “Camilla! Just the woman I was aching to see,” he said smoothly with a malicious smirk.

Severus was the only one of the group that did not chuckle as Cain said it and she found herself immensely grateful.

“How are you? Are you feeling well?”

She narrowed her eyes, wondering where this was going. “Fine.”

“That’s good,” he said throwing his arm around her shoulder, “I know how hard it can be for a young witch after her first time. All the emotions can be overwhelming. If you ever need anyone to talk to, Cain is here.”

“WHAT?” Disgusted, Camilla threw his arm off of her. She spun to look at Severus who was glaring fiercely at Cain. “You told them?” she asked accusingly.

“Camilla, I-… it was just dormitory talk,” he supplied wearily.

“Yeah, Camilla, lighten up,” Cain added cheekily, “It’s a male thing. And he didn’t say anything bad about you. Unless you count ‘inexperience’ as bad, that is.”

“Shut up!” Severus snarled, “What’s wrong with you?”

What’s wrong with him? What’s wrong with you, Severus? Now the whole school knows!”

He opened his mouth to say something, but she turned on her heel and stormed off down the corridor. She heard the rest of the Slytherins howling with laughter.

“Camilla!” he shouted as she rounded the corner, “Stop. Don’t walk away from me!”

“What else did you tell them, Severus? Did you tell them the color of my underwear? My bra size? Or maybe you whipped out a pensieve and let them watch!”

“It wasn’t like that,” he called, following close behind. He caught up with her quickly and made a grab for her arm.

“If you touch me I swear I’ll tell McGonagall!” she snapped furiously.

Apparently he did not find this adequate enough reason not to shove her against the stone wall of the castle and trap her between it and his body. It didn’t hurt though and she scowled up at him.

“You tell McGonagall whatever the hell you want,” he retorted, his breath warm on her face. “Don’t walk away when I’m talking to you.”

“You’ll get expelled.”

“I’m sure your parents will be willing to pay me a little extra if I somehow find I can’t get a decent job due to lack of N.E.W.T. scores.”

His veiled threat silenced her immediately.

“I wasn’t trying to embarrass you,” he said after a moment, “It doesn’t matter.”

“It matters to me, Severus! Why would you tell anyone about that?”

“ I just told the guys in my dorm. Cain might have told Darcy but it didn’t go farther than that. No one else knows.”

Camilla rolled her eyes. “Were you not listening to me?” she snapped pushing him away from her. “Everyone knows. And even if they didn’t, I trusted you! I trusted you would be considerate and at least discuss it with me before you went boasting to your friends.”

“Well,” he began coldly, crossing his arms over his chest, “ I guess that was an unfortunate mistake on your part.”

Unable to find any more words to express herself, Camilla gave him a scathing look and stormed away.

--


“He’s such a jerk,” she fumed, flipping the pages of her textbook so violently they seemed close to ripping. “I wish he would die so I never had to see his face again.”

Remus was watching her closely, his brow furrowed as if he were deep in thought. “You don’t mean that, do you?”

She shrugged. “Maybe not… I wouldn’t want him dead. Dementors can suck his soul out instead. Not that there’s much to suck out in the first place.”

Remus turned back to his own textbook without replying. She shut her book, too upset to do any schoolwork. She repeated Remus’ words in her head. You don’t mean that, do you?

“I mean, really,” she continued, though Remus seemed to be concentrating on his textbook, “he’s crazy. I finally started to believe that he was actually decent, you know? After, we slept together it was… nice. He seemed happy and it seemed like he cared about my happiness. Clearly, it was only temporary. Now he’s back to being his selfish, mean, despicable self. I wouldn’t care if he died, let’s put it that way.”

Remus raised his head to glance at her, but returned to his work almost immediately.

You don’t mean that, do you?

She scowled to herself. Remus had fed her conscience with his question. She felt a twinge of guilt at her words.

“I guess it makes him look pretty good, doesn’t it?”

“Having you in his bed?”

She nodded.

“I’m not going to lie, Camilla, I’ve noticed he does get slightly more respect. It’s probably just temporary. No one expects Snivellus to have that kind of luck.”

She raised her eyebrows inviting him to elaborate.

“You’re pretty. You’re a pureblood and your line runs back to some of the earliest witches and wizards. You’re a Ravenclaw, which usually means you have some sense-.”

“Not this time,” she stated, “Not ever. The hat must’ve been wrong.”

“What are you talking about? I hear the hat is never wrong.”

“It must be! Maybe you haven’t noticed, Remus, but I’m a screw up. How could I think this would make anything better? Severus was supposed to love me and I was supposed to screw him over! Not the other way around!”

Remus stared at her for a moment and put down his quill. “We all make mistakes when it comes to matters of the heart,” he said softly. “Perhaps you care for him more than you realize.”

“No, I don’t. You’re the only one for me, Remus.”

He shook his head slowly. “I don’t think so; not anymore. What he did hurt you, Millie. It wouldn’t bother you so much if you hadn’t trusted him in the first place.”

“So what? He betrayed me and I’m upset. I played with fire and got burned. It’s nothing more than that.” She rubbed her eyes, willing the tears away.

“As I said, you just don’t realize how you feel… I don’t think you want to. You feel like you should love me because I’m the one that shows you how much I care; I’m the one your parents didn’t force on you.”

“Remus…” She started to say that he was wrong. She wanted to tell him that Severus meant nothing. She knew his heart was breaking with every word he uttered and she longed to put a stop to it, but she could not bring herself to deny what he had said.

“It’s okay, Camilla. I just want you to stop lying to everyone, especially yourself. I’m sure Severus is not the man you envisioned yourself marrying, but I think… I think he’s good for you. He’s stable and levelheaded, but he can keep up with you as well. I can’t focus you like he can… You two belong with each other and I’m just getting in the way.”

“You’re breaking up with me?” she choked out.

His voice had dwindled to a whisper. “We were never together.”

They sat for a long time, neither of them speaking. Tears had finally broken free and were sliding slowly down her cheeks. She looked into his sad eyes and for the first time truly felt her own confusion. How was she to make a choice between two men so unalike it was impossible to compare them? They were different, but equal in her mind. She could not decide whom she would rather be with. But it seemed that fate had made her choice for her.

“I’m so sorry… for leading you on like this. I never-.”

“I know. It doesn’t matter.” He paused, and then said, “I reckon you should attend the graduation dinner with Severus. I could go with… Kendra?”

“Kelly,” she corrected softly.

He chuckled lightly. “I suppose I had better get her name right if I’m going to ask her, hadn’t I?”

Camilla tried to laugh with him, but it came out as a muffled sob.

He smiled as he stood and began packing away his things.

She picked herself up from her chair as well and went to stand by him. “What happens now?”

“’What happens now?’ Well… we say goodbye, we take some space and time to heal, and when we’re older we can have a good laugh at how foolish we were.” He reached up to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “Know that I’ll always be there for you,” he whispered, “I promise.” His thumb grazed her cheek, sweeping away a tear. Then, he kissed her gently. It was a chaste kiss, simple, but she knew the depths of his love for her and it was anything but meaningless.

“Well, well, well,” murmured a cold voice, “Isn’t this cozy?”

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to my wonderful reviewers! I'm looking forward to hearing what you all think about this chapter!


Chapter 12: The Concept of Love
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Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

Chapter 12


“Well, well, well,” murmured a cold voice, “Isn’t this cozy?”

Camilla started and jumped away from Remus. “Severus, this… I can explain,” she said, trembling with the shock of seeing him there and the raw emotion of her conversation with Remus.

“Don’t bother as I am neither blind nor unintelligent. Clearly I have interrupted something.” His arms were crossed over his chest and his facial features were set into a cool mask of indifference.

“We… we were…” She shook her head, unable to articulate the exact reason why Remus would kiss her. “We were ending it, I promise,” she blurted.

He raised an eyebrow. “I can see that.”

His response was sarcastic. He couldn’t see. Camilla knew that he couldn’t possibly understand her when she didn’t even understand herself.

“Severus… I’m sorry.” She cursed the fresh tears that began streaming down her cheeks. She cursed the fact that she had become so childish seemingly overnight. Before meeting Severus, she cried only when no one could see.

“Yeah, I’ll bet.”

She sighed and opened her mouth to say more.

“No, it’s fine,” he interrupted. “You two… carry on. Forget about it.” He turned around, stuffing his hands in his pockets. He began to walk away but, at the last moment, Remus made a grab for Severus’ arm.

Severus recoiled as if disgusted. “Don’t touch me,” he hissed.

“Can’t you see that she cares about you?” Remus said, equally as angry as Severus. “Do you know how lucky you are to have her? Merlin knows you certainly don’t deserve her.”

“Whether I deserve her or not is irrelevant, Lupin. The fact is, she is my fiancée. That means she’s mine and you shouldn’t be touching her.” Severus glared at Remus, daring him to challenge the idea that Camilla belonged to him.

“She’s not property, Snape. She’s a person with feelings. I know it may be difficult for you to understand the concept of love, but surely you realize it can’t just be turned on and off at will. Camilla and I… we love each other.”

Severus gave a barely visible cringe. “I don’t need this,” he snapped.

“And she’s had a hell of a time trying to figure out whether pursuing a relationship with me was worth it considering this ridiculous sham of a marriage you and her parents have trapped her in,” Remus continued. He glanced at her and sighed. Then, he turned back to Severus. “You ought to be thankful that it’s not going to be just you and your hand for the rest of your life.”

Camilla laughed, despite her tears and despite the murderous expression on Severus’ face.

His eyes shifted to her. “I’m glad you find Lupin’s witty remarks so amusing.” He gave them both a furious scowl and left the library.

After Severus disappeared from view Remus turned to look at her. “Will you be okay?” he asked softly.

“Yeah, I think so… Severus is going to be in a mood though.” She smiled. “I can’t believe you said that to him.”

“I only told him the truth,” he replied with a shrug. “Someone had to do it.”

--


Camilla stared into the fire, her eyes glazing over as she thought. After much deliberation, she had decided not to attend the graduation dinner. She didn’t have anyone to go with. Everyone would stare at her. She preferred to wallow in her self-pity alone, in the silence of the common room.

Severus had left six hours before, at seven. He purposely ignored her on his way out, not taking the time to ask her if she was going or if she would be meeting Remus. For someone who supposedly disliked parties, he was staying out quite late.

Although Camilla did not want to admit it to herself, she was waiting for him. Waiting to find out if she was still welcome to sleep in his bed. Waiting to see if he was still angry or if he had forgiven her. Waiting to confess, in her own words, that she cared about him.

“What are you doing up so late?”

His voice shook her from her reverie.

“I… I was waiting for you.”

“Why?” His voice was hollow and weary. He sounded exhausted.

Camilla stood, squinting to get a better look at him in the dim light of the slowly dying fire. “Are you alright?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?” he asked, running a hand through his hair.

She moved closer to him. “Because your lip is bleeding.” And that wasn’t all. He was disheveled and even in the failing light of the fire he was deathly pale. The hand that wasn’t holding his wand was trembling slightly at his side.

“Why weren’t you at the dinner? You had Lupin, Black, Potter, and Pettigrew thinking I had done you in.”

“Did they do this to you?” she asked, alarmed.

He sighed. “Goodnight, Camilla,” he said softly and turned to climb the stairs to his room.

“Wait, Severus!” she said, reaching out and grabbing his shoulder. “What’s wrong? What happened?”

He shook her off. “I’m fine.”

“But-.”

“Leave me alone.”

--


“Severus,” she said, knocking on his door the next morning, “I know you’re in there. Can I come in?”

It had been a sleepless night. She couldn’t sleep knowing someone, possibly her own friends, had hurt Severus and she hadn’t been there to stop it.

She had summoned all of her determination and decided she would find out exactly what happened to him.

She heard nothing. She pressed her ear to the door. Then, she knocked again.

With a sigh of frustration, she abandoned etiquette and pushed open the door.

She looked about the room and saw that nothing seemed out of place.

“Severus…?”

A moment later she heard him retch violently from within the adjoining bathroom. Her eyes drifted to his bedside table where three empty bottles of Ogden’s Firewhiskey lay.

She sighed again and pushed open the door to the bathroom.

He was kneeling on the floor in front of the toilet, holding his head in his hands. The vomit had already disappeared from the porcelain basin.

“Hey,” Camilla mumbled hesitantly, unsure if he was still angry with her. “How are you feeling?”

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “Better than I did last night. Let me tell you, yesterday was the epitome of a perfect day. First, you rage at me for telling a friend something that I didn’t even know was a secret. Then, you spend an hour in the library snogging Lupin and somehow I’m still the one who is in the wrong. And let’s not forget the amusing time I spent trying to convince, not just your miserable friends, but McGonagall and Dumbledore that I had nothing to do with your absence at the dinner party.”

“I know and I’m sorry. You have every right to be furious with me, but it doesn’t help to drown your problems in firewhiskey.”

“How would you know?” he said with a roll of his eyes. “You don’t drink. In fact, you’re perfect aren’t you?” He stood and staggered past her to collapse on his bed.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked, turning towards him with her hands on her hips.

He mumbled something into his pillow, and then looked at her with an appraising gaze. “Perfect blood. Perfect body. Perfect friends. Perfect relationship with perfect Lupin. I would be upset too if I were in your position; forced to marry someone who would destroy all of that.”

She sighed. “No one is perfect Severus. Not Remus. Not you. And certainly not me, okay? I could list a million things wrong with myself.”

He finally looked away from her with a shrug, letting his head fall back onto the pillow.

“But part of what you said is true,” she admitted, trying to choose her words carefully, “I didn’t want to give up my relationship with Remus… I thought we were meant for each other. I didn’t think that I could ever have such a strong connection with anyone else.”

Severus’ face remained buried in his pillow.

Camilla scowled. “I don’t admit this very often, so you’d better pay attention,” she snapped.

He lifted his head and gazed at her.

“I was wrong.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Wrong about what?”

“I have a connection with you,” she said, moving to sit on the bed next to him. “I should’ve been with you trying to build on that instead of clinging to Remus like I did, but-.”

“Let’s just forget about it,” he said, interrupting her.

She bit her bottom lip. “Then we can start over?”

He shrugged. “I suppose.”

“You don’t sound very sure,” she mumbled, somewhat petulantly.

“I’m tired and I don’t feel good. Will you just leave me alone?”

She folded her arms across her chest. “No. We’re a team from now on and there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.’ I’ll let you sleep for two hours and then we’re going to the library to study for our NEWTs.”

“You want me to study with you? Why? Lupin not working out?”

Camilla gave a frustrated sigh and threw her hands in the air. “You’re impossible!”

“Well forgive me for not suddenly wanting to be your best friend after you have continuously attempted disobey me.”

“Disobey’? Seriously? You’re not my father, Severus.”

He sneered at her and turned away from her. “Just get out…”

--


Camilla emerged from the Great Hall feeling extremely relieved. She had just completed her final NEWT exam and now all she had to worry about was the fact that she would be married in less than two weeks. Just the thought of it made her ill.

Severus still refused to speak to her, responding to anything she said with only grunts, sighs, scowls. He had even banished her back to her own room.

Part of her wished she didn’t care, but she’d already admitted to herself that she had feelings for Severus, which made every cruel thing he did sting all that much more.

“Hey, how do you think you did?” Lily asked falling in step with her. “I just know I missed the question about the breeding habits of dementors.”

“I don’t even want to think about it,” Camilla replied, “I’m just glad I never have to take Defense Against the Dark Arts ever again.”

“Not like you’ll ever use it,” Sirius said, coming up behind them. “I’m sure Snivellus will just-.”

Camilla spun around angrily. “Stop calling him that! Instead reinforcing the idea that I’m going to be completely miserable for the rest of my life, it would be nice if you could try saying something positive, even if you don’t mean it, just to make me feel better.”

“Everyone will always credit your kids’ good attributes to you,” Peter volunteered as he approached with James and Remus.

She rolled her eyes, but couldn’t help smiling at the tiny truth in the statement.

“Speaking of Severus, how are you two doing now?” Remus whispered to her as the group began to walk toward the Hogwarts’ grounds. “Now that I’m out of the picture, that is.”

Camilla shrugged. “Worse, I suppose. He’s… he’s just stressed, I guess.” She hated to tell him his sacrifice hadn’t helped matters.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure…” he trailed off as something to their right caught his eye. “We’ll talk later.” He moved away and immediately engaged himself in James and Lily’s discussion of the exam.

She didn’t have to turn and look to know what, or rather who, had unnerved Remus. With a scowl on her face, she broke from her friends and strode purposefully toward Severus. “What are you doing?” she snapped, stopping in front of him. “I know you don’t trust me, but stalking me is going a bit far.”

“I haven’t done anything,” he said calmly, leaning against the castle wall. “I was waiting for someone and you and your idiot friends just happened to stroll into my field of vision. While I wasn’t stalking you, perhaps it’s a good thing Lupin saw me. He obviously needed a reminder that you happen to be engaged.”

“What are you talking about?” she asked with a roll of her eyes.

His eyes drifted towards Remus and the others who were lingering at the door, waiting for her. “He was standing too close.”

“He’s still my friend…”

“Friends,” he said as he pushed himself off the wall and approached her, “don’t stand this close.” He was so close to her now that their bodies were touching.

Camilla felt her heart rate begin to speed up.

“He wasn’t-.”

But a rough, demanding kiss, silenced her protest. Despite her surprise she was quick to respond to him, pressing herself closer to his chest and wrapping her arms around his neck. The small part of her that could still think was amazed at how well he knew what her response to every small touch would be. For a moment, she was completely distracted.

She was sure that, to the outsider, it appeared to be a passionate, lustful, public display of affection. Unfortunately, Camilla knew Severus better than any outsider and she was the only one who saw the coldness in his eyes as he pulled away from her and watched Lily usher an outraged group of boys out the door with a satisfied smirk.

When they had disappeared, he leaned down and murmured something about going back to his room into her ear. He led her back to their common room talking the entire way about the expression on James Potter’s face.

She followed him numbly as strange feelings of confusion and despair found their way into her heart. All she could think about was the way he had kissed her; the way he had touched her. In that moment, she had forgotten everything.

“Camilla?”

She realized she was crying. Again.

They were only one corridor away from their common room, but he stopped anyway.

“Are you okay?”

She nodded and rubbed her eyes, trying to make the tears stop. “I’m fine. I’m tired and stressed, that’s all.”

“Oh… well, we don’t… you can go back to Evans then… if that’s what you want.”

Camilla gave him a scathing glare. “You’d like that wouldn’t you?”

“What?”

“That way you wouldn’t have to deal with me right? You only want me around when I’m useful to you?”

For a moment, he didn’t seem to know whether or not to take her seriously. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

“You! You are what’s wrong with me!” Suddenly, she found herself shouting at him. “You don’t care about me at all!”

“You know that’s not true.”

“When was the last time you showed any sort of feelings for me?” she demanded.

“I just kissed you. Surely that counts?”

She shook her head. “No, it doesn’t, because that wasn’t for me. That was for James, and Sirius, and Remus and Peter. It was a show, Severus.”

“What about that night we had sex?” he said, lowering his voice slightly, “I kissed you a million times and no one was watching.”

“Maybe not, but they might as well have, you told everyone about it. Yet again, I got used.”

“I’ve told you over and over again that I didn’t-.”

“Even if you didn’t,” she snapped, “it benefited you in more ways than one. Not only did you get to satisfy your carnal desires but you also got significantly more respect from the rest of the male population. Congratulations.”

Finally, it seemed that he was fed up with her. “Just shut-up, Camilla,” he muttered with a roll of his eyes.

“I’ve given you everything now and you still-.”

“You’ve given me everything except the one thing I ever asked of you!” he yelled, startling her slightly. “I asked you for obedience and I still haven’t gotten it. You’re an embarrassment to me. I hate myself every time I find myself hurting you, but it’s the only way I can ever get you to respect me. It’s about time you realized that in the pureblood community appearances mean everything and…” He lowered his voice down to a whisper as a small group of second year Hufflepuffs turned into the corridor, “and if I have to beat you to make you behave in public, I will. You can keep the sex because I can get it elsewhere and you can keep the love and caring because I’ve gone my whole life without it and I don’t need it from you.”

His words stung her more than anything else he had ever said; they hurt more than the times he had grabbed her or slapped her.

She waited until the Hufflepuffs had left the corridor before she spoke again. “Good. I’m glad you don’t need love or caring.” She gathered the little courage she had and looked defiantly into his eyes. “I hate you.”

--


“Camilla! Camilla, come out and let me see.”

She ignored her mother and continued to analyze her reflection in the mirror. The young woman staring back at her was a completely different person than the girl she remembered. She still looked, overall, the same as she had five months before, however there was an unexplainable difference in the expression behind her eyes.

“Camilla!” her mother screeched again.

With an irritated sigh she emerged from the dressing room and modeled the wedding gown for her mother.

“That one is not right,” she said immediately, “It makes you look heavy. Why do they all make you look heavy?” Her mother turned to the elderly seamstress. “Do you have any corset tops? It seems as if my daughter has put on a bit of weight.”

Camilla felt her face grow hot with anger and embarrassment. She swept back into the fitting room to remove the dress before her mother could come up with any thing more to say about it’s fit.

“I don’t understand how this could happen. Those are the same sizes that were used for your graduation dinner dress,” her mother continued on the other side of the dressing room door. “And that fit perfectly didn’t it?”

Camilla hadn’t bothered to mention that she had skipped the graduation dinner.

“Here,” her mother said as she slipped the new dress to her, “Hurry up and get it on so I can tie up the back.”

She rolled her eyes. There was no way she would be wearing a gown with a corset top. It was archaic. Camilla pulled the dress on and stepped out of the fitting room determined to hate it.

Her mother immediately forced her to spin around so that she could lace up the back, using her wand to ensure a tight fit.

This time when Camilla modeled the dress, her mother gazed at her with a critical eye. After a long moment appraising every inch of her, she smiled. “This is one. It looks beautiful on you.”

“Unfortunately, this is the one I don’t want,” Camilla replied matter-of-factly.

Her mother raised her eyebrows. “What are you talking about? You look perfect in it. It even gives you a nice boost in the chest area,” she commented, flashing the seamstress a elegant smile. “I’m sure Severus would appreciate it.”

“I don’t care whether Severus appreciates it or not,” Camilla snapped bitterly, stomping back into the fitting room. She used her wand to loosen the dress and gave a sigh of relief when she was able to breath freely.

“Speaking of Severus,” her mother was saying as Camilla exited the fitting room for the final time in her own clothes. “How are things between you two?” Her mother took out her bag and deposited a great deal of coins into the seamtress’ wrinkled hand.

The seamstress took the dress from Camilla and began to fit it into a pink dress box.

“Fine… and I said I don’t want that dress.”

“Fine?’ What sort of answer is that? And it’s the only one that fits properly. Perhaps if you were like normal women who lost weight before their wedding then you may have had more choices. You’re just lucky we were able to get something nice on such short notice. Needless to say, you haven’t been very helpful during the planning process, Camilla. Now, have you and Severus been, ah… intimate?”

For a moment, Camilla was sure her heart had stopped. Then she remembered that in her mother’s time being ‘intimate’ with a boy was holding hands and kissing. Camilla shrugged. “A bit.”

Her mother gave a long-suffering sigh. “Why must you be so vague? Have you-?”

“Mum, I don’t want to talk about this with you!”

“Why not? I’m your mother. You can tell me these things.”

“I don’t want to. Thanks though.”

Rolling her eyes, her mother hurried her out of the shop and down the cobbled streets.

“So much to do and so little time,” her mother mumbled to herself. “The florist says he’ll be at the venue by nine in the morning and the cake should arrive no later than ten.”

“What time does the wedding actually start?” Camilla asked.

The expression on her mother’s face made her wish she hadn’t asked.

“If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you. Brides should know these things!” her mother snapped. “Instead of behaving so childishly and ignoring my owls you should’ve been more involved in the planning stages of the most important day of your life.”

Her mother continued to complain about her lack of cooperation all the way to the Malfoy Manor where they had been invited for “a lovely meal to celebrate the joining of their two families.”


--


“Don’t forget to smile. Be polite and pleasant, but don’t overdo it. Make sure to-.”

“At this rate we’ll never make it into the house,” Camilla’s father intoned calmly. “Just knock, Leila. Camilla knows how to handle herself appropriately.”

With an exasperated glance at her husband, Camilla’s mother gave three quick raps on the wood of the ornately carved door. She couldn’t help but give her daughter one last bit of counsel: “And please remember to be respectful of Severus. He’s doing this family a large favor by marrying you.”

Camilla was fuming with anger by the time a small house elf led them into the Malfoy’s sitting room. Everyone made it seem as if marrying her were some sort of death sentence. It seemed that Remus was still the only man out there that might actually enjoy being around her. She forced herself to push the thoughts of Remus from her mind. It’s over. You’re getting married in two days. It’s over. She repeated this mantra in her head as Tatiana Malfoy sailed into the room and greeted them.

When she had finished shaking hands and making small talk with her parents, Mrs. Malfoy turned her attention to Camilla. The woman flashed her a sparkling smile. “And you must be Camilla. Severus has told Abraxas and I so much about you.”

Camilla smiled politely in response and shook Tatiana Malfoy’s hand.

“He should be around here somewhere,” she continued, “I’m sure you two are eager to see each other again. I remember when Abraxas and I got engaged. Even a week apart seemed like an eternity.” She gave a reminiscent laugh.

“Ava can show you up to his room,” she said, indicating the small house elf that had ushered them into manor.

Reluctantly, Camilla left her parents to talk with Mrs. Malfoy. She was hesitant to see him again after what had happened during that last few days of school. After she had announced her hatred of him they had said nothing to each other, not even bothering to say goodbye once at the train station.

The house elf guided her into a large room with dark hardwood floors and two grand staircases that curved upwards towards a balcony.

Camilla followed Ava the house elf up the right hand staircase and, when they reached the balcony, to the right into a long hallway.

Then, the house elf stopped and looked up at her. “Master’s room is the fifth door to Miss’ right. The Masters is not liking Ava near their private quarters.”

Camilla nodded. “Thank you, Ava.”

The house elf disappeared without another word and Camilla slowly approached Severus’ door. Without thinking she simply turned the doorknob and walked in.

The first thing she noticed was his bed which was about as large as both their beds at Hogwarts put together. The room was, however, was large enough to accommodate it and then some.

Then she noticed Severus sitting at a desk placed against the opposite wall, books and parchment spread out in front of him.

“What have I told you about bothering me when I’m studying, Dru? And if I have to go over the concept of knocking with you one more time, I swear, I’ll-.”

“Why are you studying?” Camilla interjected, “We’ve graduated, Severus.”

He spun around in his chair and for a short moment a smile graced his features. “I thought you were Drusilla… one of Lucius’ sisters,” he clarified.

She nodded and remained silent.

“So… how’s your week been? It’s strange to think we’ll never go back to Hogwarts isn’t it?”

She stared at him. Had he simply forgotten their earlier argument? Had the words they’d exchanged not been replayed constantly in his head like they had hers?

“Well, first I was dragged to a healer to make sure I had the blessed ability to have children. Then, I was stuffed into a too-tight wedding dress and my mother accused me of being fat. Now, I’m here. With you. I’d say my week has been pretty terrible thus far.”

Each word she uttered was said with scorn and his apparent happiness to see her diminished slightly.

He sighed. “Listen…” he began, “That day… I said some things I shouldn’t have said-.”

“No, it’s fine. I needed to hear them. Everything you said was true.”

“Camilla…”

“I was completely delusional to think that maybe I could be happy with you-,” she began, her arms folded across her chest.

“Give me another chance.”

She shrugged. “Sure. Whatever. Take as many chances as you need. You’ve got a hundred years or more of them.”

“I’ve missed you this past week,” he said with another sigh.

“I wish I could say the same of you.”

He took her hand gently. “I… I’m not going to lie to you. A lot of what I said was true. I’ll do what’s necessary to ensure I don’t end up as a joke, but… being away from you has made me realize that maybe I do like having you around and maybe it’s nice having someone to wake up next to. I care about you Camilla, okay?”

“That’s fine with me,” she muttered with a nonchalant shrug, “Doesn’t mean I have to return the feelings.”

“No, you don’t have to… but it might make the next few days easier.”

“I tried caring about you, Severus! You threw back it in my face!” she shouted, taking her hand away from him.

“Lower your voice.” he hissed, “They can hear you downstairs. I’m sorry, alright? But it’s the truth. I’ve never had the sort of relationship you want; I’ve never even thought about having such a relationship.”

“Liar. You’ve obviously had sex before; surely you entertained the idea of committing to her,” Camilla said. Part of her was uncomfortable mentioning Severus’ past relationships, however she was fairly certain he’d at least had them.

“The first her was a Slytherin girl in our year and we’d both done it on a dare. It was a diaster. The second her was Darcy Rodman and unless I’m mistaken she’s already set to marry someone else. Not to mention, I never imagined I’d be settling down at age eighteen. Also, in case you haven’t noticed Camilla, I’m very much a realist and I have no reservations in mentioning that no woman would want to spend the rest of their life with someone like me.”

She stared at him. Darcy Rodman? As in his best friend’s girlfriend?

“They just don’t know you,” Camilla found herself saying, “You have a lot of good things going for you, Severus.”

He rolled his eyes. “Save your inspirational speech for someone who needs it. I’m just saying Lupin was right. I don’t really understand…”

Camilla frowned. “Don’t understand what? Love?”

He shrugged. “You don’t miss what you’ve never had.”

In that moment, Camilla felt her perspective change. Yes, Severus could be cruel and cold and heartless, but he could also be considerate and gentle as well. And they were going to be married. There was no reason she couldn’t be the one to show him what love was and how it felt. It would take time, but, again, they were going to be married and she had plenty of it.

Thanks to everyone taking the time to review. It's much appreciated!



Chapter 13: A Fantasy Wedding
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This chapter is dedicated to all of my readers who have been reading this since the very beginning and have been waiting for this chapter for over a year. I love you guys!


Chapter 13


Camilla swore angrily as she stared out the window at the gray, overcast sky and the drizzling rain waiting for her mother to return with her dress.

“Of all the days…” she muttered to herself, “It has to rain on my wedding day.”

“An unfortunate turn of events, however, I was watching them set up tables in the downstairs ballroom and I think you’ll be pleased with the results despite the slight change in location,” came a smooth voice from behind her.

Camilla whirled around. “You startled me,” she gasped, though she couldn’t keep the smile from her face as she faced her fiancé.

He responded by taking her arm and pulling her into a kiss.

“You shouldn’t be here, Severus,” she murmured against his lips. “You aren’t supposed to see the bride before the wedding.”

“I had to. I’ll admit that I’m finding it difficult to collect my thoughts this morning.”

“Hmm… Could that be why you’re so… affectionate?”

He pulled away from her, though his dark eyes did not leave her blue ones. “I thought you might like it if, today, I played the role of a caring future husband. You always seemed the sort to want a fantasy wedding.”

She furrowed her brow. “I don’t think I understand…”

“For one day we can both pretend we are happy,” he responded simply.

“Don’t tell me this isn’t what you wanted.”

He gently stroked a stray hair from her cheek. “It is true that by walking down that aisle you are securing my social status as well my financial future. It is also true that I will do everything in my power to get you there. It is my choice. However, I am not happy.”

His words seemed straightforward enough to her. They would get married. The benefits far outweighed any aspect of the arrangement that he found disagreeable. He was not unhappy with their union, but he was not happy either. His life was, in general, unpleasant.

It did not take long for Camilla to decide. It was her wedding. Her future with Severus was bound to be tolerable at best. It was possible that the memory of a perfect wedding would help her through the particularly miserable moments.

She took a small step towards him and wrapped her arms around his neck. Pressing her body against his, she kissed him deeply.

His response was calm and gentle. She found herself uncertain as to whether she was even enjoying the kiss.

She pulled away, eyeing him carefully. “You know, Severus,” she began, a mischievous smirk playing on her lips, “Some loving husbands actually want to kiss their wives.”

He gave her a puzzled expression.

“If I wanted to kiss Remus I would go find him, you understand?” It was a cruel thing to say about her friend and she regretted it the moment the words slipped from her mouth. But she had said them and, despite their unkindness, they had the desired effect.

Severus gave low growl and pressed her against the wall, pinning her arms above her head. Then, he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her once more. This time however, the kiss was hungry and possessive; it was filled with raw passion as opposed to the pleasant, understated affection that was often exhibited by Remus' kiss.

He ran his tongue along her bottom lip, then, without waiting for her to comply, his tongue thrust into her mouth, tasting her.

A few moments later he asked "Is that better?" as he pulled away slightly, releasing her hands, his voice husky and his eyes clouded with lust.

She nodded, her face flushed.

He slid his hand beneath her shirt. "I'm glad you approve," he said with a smirk.

His hand on her stomach was cool and she shied from his touch slightly, though she had nowhere to go. Slowly, he removed her shirt and tossed it aside. As he lowered his mouth to the curve where her shoulder and throat met, he murmured, "If we weren't getting married in two hours I'd take you right now…"

"What makes you think I'd let you?" Her voice didn't contain the spite she had intended.

"You can't resist me," he replied haughtily.

"Really? It seems as if you're the one who can't resist me, Severus.

He gave a small groan and glanced up at her. "You." He paused to kiss her just above the swell of her breasts. "Are." He kissed her again on the neck. "The. Most." He captured her lips with his, cupping her cheek with one hand, the other tracing small circles on the small of her back.

“CAMILLA!”

Camilla gave a yelp of shock and tore away from Severus with surprising speed. “Mother! Don’t you know how to knock?” She desperately tried to find her shirt but found that Severus had been careless in where he’d thrown it. Finally she ducked behind him so that he could at least shield her from her mother’s furious gaze.

“I didn’t think I’d be having any need to knock!” Leila Portman cried indignantly as she stood in the doorway, staring at the couple in horror. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a wanton display in my life! And from my own daughter! I raised you to be a lady not a-!”

“Mrs. Portman,” Severus said, raising his hand to interrupt her. His chest was rising and falling quickly, but otherwise, he gave no sign of being flustered by the inconvenient arrival. “It wasn’t anything of Camilla’s doing. She told me it wasn’t acceptable but I insisted. She was only doing as I asked.”

Camilla sighed with relief as she watched her mother’s anger begin to abate.

“Oh, of course. I never meant to say that you-… Well, in that case, I’ll be back in fifteen minutes time to help Camilla get ready, if that is agreeable?”

Severus nodded and Camilla’s mother hurried from the room, closing the door behind her.

“I’ve never seen my mother knocked down so quickly,” Camilla said, giving him an appreciative smile, “Not even my father-.”

He frowned. “I’d prefer you didn’t see it as ‘knocking her down.’

When she had tugged her shirt back over her head, she gave him a doubtful look. “If I had known being married to you would take away my mother’s ability to lord over me then-.”

“Yes, well, you’ll find being married to me has more advantages than you may have previously thought.”

“Oh yeah?” She raised an eyebrow. “Like what?”

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” he said with a smirk.

She rolled her eyes, but once again could not keep the silly grin from her face. She was going to be a married woman in less than two hours. The thought that she had been dreading this day seemed foreign. She couldn’t imagine feeling unhappy on a day when every person she saw beamed at her and offered nothing but praise and congratulations.

“I guess I’ll see you then,” Severus said, his hand on the doorknob.

She nodded shyly. “I guess so.”

He gave her one last smile and left, leaving the door of the room partially ajar.

Then, Camilla flung herself into a chair, twisting a lock of hair nervously as she waited for her mother to return.

--


What if she tripped?!? Just toppled right over in front of everyone?

Camilla’s heart pounded even faster at the thought.

She began wring her hands together as she rapidly grew more anxious by the second. She tried to take deep breaths, which proved to be quite difficult, as she had been stuffed into a far too tight wedding gown.

What if she passed out? What if-?

“Ready, precious?”

Camilla started upon hearing her father’s voice interrupting her thoughts.

“You look stunning. No one will be able to take their eyes off of you,” he said, smiling proudly. “I never thought this day would come. I always imagined my daughter would stay a little girl forever.”

Camilla watched as her father’s blue eyes began to glisten with tears.

It was him who she resembled when it came to appearances. She had his dark hair and his intriguing eyes.

“Dad…”

He brushed his black curls away from his face with a wave of his hand. “Just an old man’s fantasy, I suppose.” He brandished his wand. “Here,” he said handing her the bouquet of flowers he had just conjured, “I hope your mother will find those suitable enough. She didn’t say… She’s very fussy about the details you know…”

“I’m sure they’ll be fine,” she said quietly. Her nerves seemed to quell her voice.

“If it makes you feel any better, I caught sight of Severus just a few moments ago and he looks tense as well. I tried to comfort him a bit but it just seemed to work him up even more… It’ll all be over rather quickly. The ceremony is very short…”

She nodded distractedly, his words doing nothing to eradicate the stirrings in her stomach.

“Unless… you aren’t worried about after the wedding, are you? The wedding night?”

Camilla opened her mouth to reply, but then shut it as a whole new series of fears began to plague her. While she and Severus had already done what her father was referring to, she couldn’t help but feel anxious about it. She wasn’t yet entirely used to sharing so much of herself with someone even if that someone was going to be her husband.

Her father watched her with an expression of sympathetic understanding. “I doubt Severus will expect too much, precious. He seems like a nice enough young man. I’m sure he’ll make you feel comfortable.”

She managed to nod in reply, realizing how far removed he was from the entire arrangement. He clearly hadn’t been privy to the many arguments she and her mother had had through owl post.

Suddenly, she heard the elegant sounds of classical music from somewhere beyond.

Her father clapped his hands together. “That would be the signal! Your bridal party will be heading down the aisle! Shall we?” he said jovially offering her his arm.

Taking a deep, steadying breath, she placed her hand in the crook of his arm.
With that, he led her from the room and down a long hall.

She could barely think. It was all she could do to remind herself to breath.

They rounded a corner and went down a small flight of stairs.

Camilla was heartened by the fact that she did not stumble on the steps.

Then, they reached a pair of double doors that were just closing. Her father took care to keep her from getting to close so as to avoid anyone gazing in that direction. “Don’t want anyone to get an early look,” her father mumbled. “It’ll ruin the fun.”

Fun. Camilla could think of several things that were fun. Walking down the aisle, on her way to get married, was certainly not at the top of the list.

When the doors had shut, her father hurried her forward so that they were standing right in front of them.

“Now, once the last of them reaches the end…” As he spoke, the music changed seamlessly into the familiar Wedding March. “There’s your tune! The big moment’s here.” Even her father’s voice held a note of boyish anxiety now.

He waved his wand in a high arc and the doors creaked as they slowly began to open. Stowing his wand away in his expensive dress robes, he murmured one last bit of advice to her. “Don’t forget to walk slowly. It’s not a race, alright?”

She gave a stiff nod. She knew it would be difficult, especially considering she already had the overwhelming urge to dash down the aisle.

Finally, they began to walk.

As they entered, Camilla was immediately stunned. It seemed every single pair of eyes was upon her. And her mother had clearly invited no small amount of guests. Then, she watched in awe as the entire group of them rose from their chairs to watch her.

She suppressed a small whimper of fear that threatened to escape her. She tried to keep her eyes forward, seeking out a familiar face. Her gaze settled on Severus.

He was dressed similar to her father: black dress robes with the unexplainable air of being very expensive. It was his expression, however that caused a tinge of pink to appear on her cheeks. His eyes were bright as he followed her slow procession down the aisle; his lips parted slightly as he took in the sight of her.

She cast him a hesitant smile, which he returned easily as if there were no question as to whom it was meant for.

Lucius was standing next to him, his hand on Severus’ shoulder, looking pleased.

Despite her nerves, Camilla was able to note that her mother had done wonders with no help from herself.

Even the color Severus had insisted upon, a deep navy, had turned out well. The entire room, having no windows, was lit with only candles, casting a pleasant golden glow. The floor was a dark wood, though she was walking on a long, blue carpet.

It seemed as if they had walked for a very long time when she and her father finally reached Severus.

Her father stepped forward and extended a hand. The two shook as a silent agreement was formed between them.

Then, with a few last minute words of happiness and love, her father took her hand and held it out to Severus, who, with a surprisingly apprehensive expression, took it gently.

Severus gave her another nervous smile and whispered, “You look-… You’re beautiful, Camilla.”

She managed to smile back and she felt him squeeze her hand reassuringly.

With her back to the wedding guests, she stared in bewilderment as the Headmaster of Hogwarts stood in front of them.

Why is he here? she thought blankly.

“Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen!” His voice rang in the silence. “We gather here today to bear witness and celebrate the forming of a union between Severus Antony Septimius Snape and Camilla Anne Marie Portman.”

It took her a moment to remember that her parents had invited him. Of course, she hadn’t realized they had asked him to officiate, though, now that she thought about it, it seemed perfectly reasonable, as she was sure he had the title and power to do so.

“It is not every day that one attends a wedding such as this. For, as I’m sure you all know, this union is not one of love.”

Camilla gaped at the old man in horror. Was he trying to ruin her wedding? Was he purposefully tearing apart the illusion she had been hiding in all morning?

“And yet,” the Headmaster continued, “there is always the hope, the possibility, of something more. Something more than duty or convenience. Something more than simple tolerance. Something more than money…”

Camilla felt Severus’ hand tense in hers as Dumbledore’s gaze lingered on him.

“For it is not a lack of love that makes unhappy marriages,” he proclaimed, “It is a lack of friendship. A lack of understanding. A lack of respect for one another. All will make living together day after day an unpleasant task; something to dread. I speak only to Severus and Camilla when I say that it is my hope that they will strive for something more. And now, Severus and Camilla, I ask that you turn to face one another.”

She bit her lip in uneasy anticipation as she turned to face her fiancé.

Severus faced her as well, not releasing her hand.

“Do you have your rings?”

Camilla nodded and turned to Lily with whom she exchanged her bouquet for a simple platinum wedding band. Lily gave her an encouraging smile, but Camilla could not manage one in return.

Returning her gaze to Severus, she shifted restlessly while waiting for Dumbledore to go on.

“And now, before we continue, I ask all those present: Is there any here who objects to this union? If there is, speak now or forever hold your peace.”

Severus’ hand gripped hers tighter, as if anticipating an objection. But none came.

“Very well,” Dumbledore continued, “Severus, as you place this ring on Camilla, I ask you: Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife? Do you promise Camilla and all of us here that, from this point forward, you will support her and nourish her, respect and honor her for the rest of your days on earth? If so, please answer ‘I do.’”

She stared in to Severus’ dark eyes, fearfully waiting for him to say those fateful words.

Gingerly, he slipped a three stone ring onto Camilla’s finger.

She stared at it, slightly breathless and unprepared for the intensity of the emotions that threatened to overwhelm her. The middle stone was a bright sapphire and it was framed by two stunningly clear diamonds.

“Camilla…” he began with a determined calm, “I have never found anything difficult… I have excelled in anything and everything I have ever attempted in school. And what I had initially assumed would be the simplest thing I’d ever do, stirred up complications that I hadn’t anticipated.” Severus paused to take a deep breath. “Something I’ve realized in the past few months is that emotions… life can’t be studied; can’t be analyzed. I’ve realized that emotions don’t make sense. Love doesn’t make sense. This realization has changed me… perhaps more than I’d like to admit. I want you to know that despite everything we’ve been through; despite everything we will no doubt go through in the future, I do care for you… more than anything,” he added gently, his eyes willing her to believe him. He turned to Dumbledore. “I do.”

Camilla gazed up at him in shock and awe. This speech was such a contrast to the one he had given her in the cold corridor of Hogwarts that she immediately dismissed his words as part of their “fantasy wedding.” But that didn’t change the fact that she had not prepared something equally as touching. She cast a panicked glance at Dumbledore, but he was too busy gazing at Severus with glittering blue eyes of approval.

“Camilla, as you place this ring on Severus…”

While Dumbledore spoke, she began frantically trying to compose a similar oration in her head but she hadn’t gotten very far when the Headmaster said, “If so, please answer ‘I do.’”

“Um…”

Severus raised an eyebrow at her.

She groaned softly, just loud enough for the two of them to hear.

He nodded his head in discreet encouragement.

“Severus…” she began tentatively. “Perhaps… perhaps our courtship wasn’t exactly the most conventional. In fact, it may not even qualify to be called a courtship. But I think… I think it was something more important. I think these past months have been a journey for the both of us. We have fought our way towards understanding and we still haven’t quite reached it yet. But I want to believe we’ll get there eventually…” She paused searching for an appropriate way to end. Finally, she blurted, “I love you, Severus.”

His eyes widened slightly, but she turned her gaze away from him and turned to Dumbledore. “I do.” Then, she hurriedly placed the ring on Severus’ finger.

The Headmaster beamed at them. “Severus and Camilla, in the presence of your family and friends,” he said, “It is my legal right as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards as well as my greatest joy and privilege to declare you bonded for life.”

Camilla absorbed these words with a terrible lump in her throat. She choked out a quiet sob as tears began to run down her cheeks.

Severus watched her, his eyes reflecting concern.

“Severus, you may now kiss the bride.”

He moved closer to her, a hand reaching out to cup her cheek. He wiped a tear away with his thumb. He leaned in towards her as she drew a shaky breath.

“Are you okay?” he murmured before meeting her lips.

She gave a small nod and placed her hands on his chest. It seemed that everything had led to this moment.

Finally, he pressed his lips to hers and she was overcome with the familiar sensations that often accompanied his kisses: a strange calm came over her as she leaned into him, her worries disappearing. And yet she seemed very aware of every nerve on her body.

There was a small burst of applause as they pulled apart and she felt her face flush with embarrassment.

Camilla heard her mother ushering the guests out the door and to the ballroom where the reception would take place.

"We did it." She gave a hesitant smile. "We're really married."

He glanced at her with weary smirk. "It would seem so."

--


Camilla and Severus walked the halls of the castle where they had been married silently, hand in hand.

When the couple reached the doors to the room that had served as Camilla’s chambers for the day, she went in and made to shut the door behind her but found that Severus was following too closely.

“You’re not going to watch me change are you?”

He blinked. “Why not?”

She stared back at him. “Well, there is something called privacy,” she replied, her hands on her hips.

“I didn’t realize that mattered all that much anymore. It’s nothing I haven’t seen.” He smirked. “It’s something I hope to be seeing quite a bit more of in the very near future as well, now that I think about it.”

Camilla gave a derisive snort. “Like you haven’t been thinking about it since that night…”

He gave her a guilty grin, but said nothing.

Relenting, she allowed him to enter behind her and he shut the door.

“That turned out better than I thought it would,” he said, calmly leaning against the wall.

“Agreed.” She began to loosen the ties on back of her dress with her wand, sighing in relief when she was free to breathe normally.

She and her mother had reached a sort of compromise when it came to wedding gowns and the older woman had decided to allow her daughter to change into a simpler, less formal dress for the reception as long as she wore the other without any further complaint.

“Need any help?”

She shook her head. It would be asking for trouble if she let him help undress her; there was no time for distractions. When she had finally rid herself of the wedding gown she was left standing clad only in the underwear she had bought specifically for her wedding night. She was certain she could feel his gaze on her.

Embarrassed, she tried to engage him in conversation while she looked about for the dress she intended to change into. “Severus…? Everything you said up there… that was part of the fantasy?”

His eyes met hers for a moment then returned to their task of considering the rest of her body. “Was it not to your liking?”

“It was lovely… and unexpected.”

“Obviously,” he replied, giving her a small smile.

“Yes, well, I don’t think I like this fantasy thing after all. It just makes everything so much harder.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you’re a brilliant actor,” she said shortly. Finally, she found the dress she was looking for and quickly stepped into it. It was a simple, knee-length, white satin dress that thankfully didn’t constrict her breathing.

He brushed a bit of lint from his shoulder. “You’re not a terrible actress either, you know.”

“Actually, I am. Everything I said up there… I wasn’t acting, Severus.” She avoided looking at him by making her way to the mirror and touching up her hair and make-up.

There was a long silence as the room filled with awkward tension.

“I’ll be downstairs at the reception… come find me when you’re done here?” he muttered suddenly.

“Yeah,” she replied softly, “Of course.”

Camilla silently berated herself as she heard the door click shut behind him.

--


“And that,” he muttered as he took a sip of his wine, “is my father.”

“Where?” she asked, attempting to follow his gaze, but seeing no one that reminded her of Severus.

“There.”

“The one with the ugly violet tie?”

He rolled his eyes in frustration. “The one talking with your Dad.”

Camilla instantly focused in on her father who was talking animatedly to tall, middle-aged man in what looked to be a very expensive muggle suit.

“Are you going to introduce me?” she asked, straining her neck to get a better look.

“I’m actually doing my best to avoid him. I’m hoping he’ll just stay for the wine and leave.”

“He doesn’t look that bad, Severus. If he’s getting on with my father-.”

“Oh yes,” Severus snapped with a sneer, “If he gets along with a man who forced his daughter into a marriage with someone she hates, well then, he must not be too horrible.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m just saying that you shouldn’t be surprised that two rotten fathers would get along.”

Camilla glared at him as the urge to toss her wine in his face overcame her. “Don’t talk about my father that way,” she hissed. “You don’t know anything about him.”

Severus turned to gaze evenly at her. “I know he thinks he’s dumping you into an abusive relationship and doesn’t care. And I know he promised me your inheritance. He may not be as awful as my father, but he isn’t a bloody saint, Camilla.”

Camilla glanced from her father back to Severus as she took in his words. “I know he’s not a saint but… He’s a good person. And he loves my mother and I.”

Severus shrugged not realizing or not caring that he was upsetting his new wife. “I can’t make you see what you don’t want to.”

She scowled back at him preferring to sit in silence rather than argue.

They sat for a long time, guests approaching their table every few minutes to congratulate them on their marriage.

“Of all the days you could have chosen to be a jerk,” she mumbled.

He sighed. “We’re both stressed. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“But you did and-.”

“I’m sorry, alright? How many times am I going to have to apologize for every stupid thing? I care about you, isn’t that enough?”

“Sometimes I’m actually delusional enough to believe you, Severus…” She stood ignoring his protests and made her way over to her friends leaving Severus alone at the table.

“Where’s Remus?” she asked after greeting them with a weary smile.

“He’s not feeling too well.” Sirius mumbled in an undertone. “He said he’d try to stop in, but, well, you know…”

Camilla nodded with disappointment, but determinedly pushed aside her sadness and said teasingly, “I noticed none of you objected to my marrying Severus when Dumbledore asked.”

James grimaced. “It took a surprising amount of strength, let me tell you.”

"You were stunning though," Lily gushed, "Severus couldn't take his eyes off you. And, oh, he was so nervous beforehand. It was really cute actually."

Camilla grinned at the idea of Severus being adorably nervous and thanked Lily for the compliment.

"Speaking of Snivellus… " Peter said in a none too quiet voice.

She felt a slight pressure where Severus had taken her arm. "Come on, I have to introduce you to a few people."

Sirius looked outraged. "We were talking to her Snivelly! You can't just come up-!"

But Severus had drawn his wand. "My wedding. My wife. You'll find I can do whatever the hell I want, Black."

"Sirius, no," she said as she watched her friend reach for his wand as well. "Don't do this. Not today… please. It's fine."

Sirius narrowed his eyes. "Only because she asked, Snivellus."

"His name is Severus!" Camilla and Lily snapped in unison.

A smug smirk crept onto Severus' face as both James' and Sirius' eyes widened in surprise. Then, he tugged on her arm, guiding her away from the group and leaving Lily to explain why she had come to his defense.

"Who am I meeting then?"

He gave an irritated sigh. "My dear father."

"I'm sure he's not half as terrible as you make him out to be," she said, partially in an effort to ease her own nerves. After everything Severus had told her about the man she couldn't help being a bit anxious.

"We'll see…"

"Ah! You found her Severus!" Camilla's father exclaimed as they approached the two. "Tobias, my friend, this is my daughter... and your new daughter in-law I suppose."

Camilla's first thought was that Tobias Snape was actually quite handsome. He had a strong jaw and was unshaven, giving him a slightly rugged look. She noted that he had the same nose as Severus, however, somehow, it seemed to fit him better than it fit his son. Though, when he smiled, it didn't quite reach his eyes.

"Well, aren't you just a picture of loveliness?" Tobias said smoothly, "When Eileen told me Severus was getting married I never expected such a beautiful young lady to come walking down that aisle. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. But of course, this was arranged without your prior knowledge, correct?"

She couldn't help but blush and smile as he complimented her. "Yes, but we're learning to get along, I think," she replied.

He smiled again.

Merlin, he's good looking! she thought to herself as he ran his hand through his hair.

"I'm afraid I don't know much about you. Severus wouldn't say a word about this whole thing when he dropped by a few days ago." He glanced quickly at Severus, a cold smirk gracing his features for a mere fraction of a second. "He never stays long."

"Oh well, what would you like to know?" she asked, shifting on her feet. She felt like an infatuated schoolgirl.

"Shall we sit?" he said, gesturing towards a table.

Camilla nodded enthusiastically and allowed him to place his hand on the small of her back and lead her to a table.

--


"He was undressing you in his mind!" he raged as soon as he had dragged her away into the hall.

"Oh, Severus," Camilla scoffed. "You are being positively ridiculous. He was doing no such thing."

"And he touched you! He only did it because he knew it would infuriate me."

"Both your parents seemed wonderful. I don't understand how you could say all those things about your father when-."

"You think I'm lying?" he hissed, his face contorted in a mask of rage.

"Severus…"

He swore loudly and kicked the wall.

"Calm down," she said firmly, "It-… it doesn't matter, alright? The reception's almost over. People are starting to leave. Let's just go back out there and finish this thing, okay? It doesn't matter."

"Fine, but I want you to stay away from him. If he tries to lure you in with his talk about muggle living and other such rubbish-."

"'Lure me in?' Honestly..."

"I'm serious! Promise me!"

"I'll stay away from him, I promise," she said gently.

They made their way back into the ballroom, Severus' hand clasping hers rather tightly. The minutes seemed to drag on while they bid their guests goodbye.

"So what exotic and romantic location are you whisking me away to once we're allowed to leave?" Camilla whispered to her new husband as her mother said her parting words to Eileen Prince.

He raised an eyebrow. "Romantic and exotic?"

"You didn't intend to spend our wedding night at the Leaky Cauldron or something did you?" A slight frown began to form on her lips.

"The Leaky Cauldron is a fine establishment," he said defensively.

Her eyes widened in shock and the beginnings of anger. "Wha-?"

Then, he scowled. "Do you honestly believe I would take you to the Leaky Cauldron?" he hissed. "Obviously you have no confidence in my idea of a decent honeymoon."

"That has nothing to do with it! Don't put words in my mouth!"

"Lower your voice. Is Spain exotic enough? Or did you want to go on a jungle expedition in Africa?"

She grinned, completely missing his sarcastic comment. "Spain? Really?"

"Yes, really."

Camilla could barely contain her enthusiasm. It seemed to take hours for the ballroom to empty.

Finally, Camilla's parents approached them. "Well, darling, " her mother said, "You two can probably go on ahead. Your father and I will thank everyone else."

Camilla had no reservations and was anxious to leave. She threw her arms around her father, giving him one last hug.

"Be good precious, " he said, struggling to contain his emotions, "And be sure to come visit your old man the moment you get home."

"Of course, Daddy. I love you."

When her father released her he looked to Severus who was standing to the side looking like an awkward intruder. "I trust you'll keep in mind everything we've discussed?"

Severus nodded. "Of course, sir."

"Go on then," her mother said, shooing them towards the door. "I've sent your things ahead already, Camilla. Remember to behave yourself. And do try not to eat too much. I put that new diet book in your bag so you could-."

"That's enough, Leila," her father intoned calmly.

Camilla gave her father a grateful look before turning to Severus so that he could apparate them to their destination.

--


“I just want to take another look,” she said, holding the book out of his reach. “’Property of the Half-Blood Prince’” she recited, catching a glimpse of the back cover. “That’s a very clever play on words, Severus.” She smiled cheekily at him. “I rather like it.”

“Give it here, NOW,” he snarled back at her.

“If you’re the Half-Blood Prince, does that make me a princess?” She batted her eyelashes at him.

He glared at her apparently unfazed by her attempt at a flirtatious expression. “Hardly.”

She shook her head. “Say I’m a princess,” she demanded with a grin.

“No,” he replied firmly, though he seemed to be having difficulty maintaining his scowl.

“Yes.”

“Absolutely not. I will not be engaged in such idiotic banter.”

“Severus! Say it, or the book…” She held her wand up to it threateningly.

“Very well,” he snapped, “You’re a princess.”

“Who’s princess?”

He glowered at her. “You’re my princess, you annoying chit. Now give me my book back.”

At this Camilla dissolved into a fit of laughter, falling back onto the bed. She never imagined such words coming from a man like Severus.

“You are easily amused,” he drawled, watching her scornfully. “If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were inebriated.”

She simply beamed back at him and he rolled his eyes.

After composing herself, she began to flip through the pages of the book a bit more leisurely now that he didn’t seem quite as agitated that she was looking at it. She had once picked up the book by accident, but hadn't bothered to take a proper look. “Severus?”

“Hmm?” he responded petulantly as he picked at the wrapping of one of their wedding gifts.

“Have you actually made corrections to the textbook?”

“Of course I have. That Libatius Borage bloke was an imbecile. He didn’t know a thing about the finer details that go into potion-making. I’m surprised they even let him publish a textbook, let alone teach the material at Hogwarts.”

Camilla turned the pages, glancing at his notes. She stared at the margins. “Severus?”

“What?”

“Can you invent spells?” she asked, unable to keep the awe from her voice.

He turned his attention from and ugly brass picture frame he had just unwrapped to look at her. “Yes,” he replied simply, “I started in my second year. I had quite a bit of spare time.”

“I’m impressed,” she said honestly, closing the book, standing and depositing it on a table, “As a Ravenclaw, I can’t help but be immensely attracted to that sort of intellect.”

He raised his eyebrows quizzically, but said nothing.

“How long does it take to create a spell?” she pressed. “Could you teach me how?”

He eyed her hesitantly. “It’s not something that can really be taught or explained.”

Camilla’s face fell a bit.

“I would tell you if I could.” He sounded apologetic about it and Camilla believed him. At least he wasn’t keeping her in the dark in order to somehow seem superior to her.

“No matter.” She gave a shrug. “I probably wouldn’t be any good at it anyway.”

Camilla made her way over to the satisfyingly large pile of wedding gifts, eyeing some of the bigger packages. “What do you think Lucius and Narcissa got us?”

“Something expensive, no doubt.” He began to open one of the bottles of elf made wine that had been delivered to their room prior to their arrival. “Do you want any?” he asked offering her a glass.

She shook her head, as she tugged a card from one of the larger gift bags. Then, she felt a firm hand on her waist as Severus approached her from behind.

“You’re certain? A bit of liquid courage never hurt anyone,” he murmured gently in her ear. He began to trail light kisses along her bare shoulder.

Biting her lip hesitantly, she purposely kept her back to him and said, “I don’t know, Severus. I’m rather tired. Could it maybe wait until tomorrow?”

He pulled away from her with an irritated sigh. “It’s our wedding night. Will you please be reasonable?”

Camilla frowned deeply and spun around to scowl at him, her hands on her hips. “I. Don’t. Feel. Well. This has been the most dreadful day of my life! You be reasonable!”

Swearing fiercely, he threw himself onto the bed and drained his glass of wine in one swift movement.

They both glared at each other in oppressive silence. She tried to match his cross expression with one of her own, though she could already feel her anger ebbing away to be replaced by exhaustion.

She made her way towards the bed and fell onto the space next to him.

He did not make any move to look at her.

“Severus?”

He didn’t reply.

They had been on their honeymoon for only two hours and her husband was already angry with her.

“You’re acting like a child,” she huffed.

“You act like you’re the only one who’s had a hard time of it,” he muttered bitterly. “If it weren’t for you, I would have left this bloody country and made the most of my final years in France or something.”

“Go then! Maybe I’ll still have a chance to do something worthwhile with my life!”

He twisted his wineglass in his hand, staring hard at it as though he could make it refill through sheer will power. “I’m sure you and Lupin might find the time to shack up before the Dark Lord finds you.”

“Don’t ever mention him again,” she snapped.

He glanced at her. “Who? Lupin or the Dark Lord?”

“Remus is just my friend and I don’t ever want to hear you mention his name again.” And, feeling particularly vindictive, she added, “He’s more of a man than you will ever be.”

Severus visibly stiffened. “At least I’m not half beast.”

“You behave like a beast, so I see very little difference.”

Incensed, he stood and snatched a pillow from the bed and left the bedroom, slamming the door behind him.

--


Severus Snape had always been a fitful sleeper. The nightmares he’d experienced as a small boy had followed him into his early adulthood. He never had the same one twice. The dreams changed every night, as if to keep him guessing as to what horrors he would have to face in his sleep.

“I can make it stop, Severus,” the Dark Lord hissed, “Just give me your word.”

Her screaming rang in his ears as he tried to make his decision.

“I…can’t…”

Voldemort’s lips curled into a terrible grin. “Very well… perhaps you ought not to have married then… AVADA KEDAVRA!”

Severus screamed.

Lupin was watching from the sidelines, his wand held uselessly at his side. “Why didn’t you just leave her alone?” he said sadly. “Now look what you’ve done.”


Severus awoke, his heart pounding. The darkness pressed in against him. “Camilla?” he called out sharply.

He stumbled from the sofa. Extremely unfamiliar with his surroundings, Severus found himself tripping over seemingly every piece of furniture in the room.

When he finally reached the bedroom, he carelessly threw open the door and strode to the bed. He needed to make sure...

He gave a sigh of relief as his hand rested on her sleeping form.

“It was a nightmare,” he breathed to himself.

“Oh, good,” she said with a soft giggle, “Professor Dumbledore just doesn’t look decent in a wedding gown does he, Sev?”

“What?”

The harsh tone in his voice caused her to start. “What?” she mumbled in response.

“What are you talking about?”

She curled up to him, wrapping her arms around his neck so that she was nearly on top of him. “Dumbledore marrying your father. He's so handsome.” She nipped affectionately at his ear.

“Camilla, are you awake?”

She mumbled something into his neck that sounded like an affirmative.

“I’m sorry, Camilla-.”

“No I’m sorry,” she replied in hazy voice, “The day wasn’t dreadful and you don’t always behave like a beast. And we can do whatever you want in the morning.”

“I like being here with you,” he admitted, “I’d probably be miserable in France, just waiting to die like that.”

“You aren’t going to die, Severus,” she chided sleepily.

He recognized that she was starting to fall back to sleep, but he found that once he’d started confessing his feelings it was difficult for him to stop.

“Maybe not yet. But what happens when I have to kill someone? Do I do it? Or do I let the Dark Lord kill me? …Camilla?”

She gave a sigh of contentment; her warm breath danced across the skin of his throat and Severus knew he had lost his audience.

--

A special THANK YOU to Misty_Rey and all the other great people on the HPFF forums who were amazingly helpful when it came to writing Severus and Camilla's vows / speeches!

Another big thanks to all my wonderful readers and those fantasic people who take the time to review! I promise I will get around to answering everyone as soon as I can.



Chapter 14: All We Know Is Falling
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Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

This chapter has not yet been beta'd. Please excuse any spelling/grammar mistakes.

Chapter 14


After getting better acquainted with the small beach house they were staying in, Camilla decided she liked it quite a bit. She hadn't been sure when they had first arrived in the dark of night the previous evening. But now that the sun streamed through the windows and she realized she had a perfect view of the beach from the bedroom window, she found the place much more inviting.

She woke early the day after her wedding and discovered that the kitchen was equipped with muggle utilities. Intrigued, she decided to begin her first foray into the art of muggle cooking.

Forty-five minutes later, after consulting a very large volume of recipes and determining how exactly an oven heated the food, she heard Severus get out of bed to find her.

"If you were hungry you could have simply called for a house elf…" he muttered groggily, watching her warily.

"A house elf?" She was barely listening as she carefully maneuvered the eggs onto a plate.

"This is one of the Malfoy's vacation homes," he explained. "All you have to do is call… You don't have to do all this…"

Camilla pursed her lips trying not to be distracted as she arranged the food. "This seems a bit average compared to the Malfoy manor."

"It previously belonged to muggles, I believe. They haven't had the chance to fix it up yet. Do you not like it? We can go somewhere else. "

"I love it. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a rather average kind of girl, Severus."

He muttered in a disapproving sort of way, his voice trailing off as he watched her hover over the cooking food. "Are you sure you know what you're doing? You left your wand in the bedroom. Are you cooking the muggle way?"

"Severus! Please! I'm trying to concentrate!"

He gave an indignant huff and disappeared back into the bedroom.

The next several minutes were crucial to success. To the dismay of her mother, Camilla's cooking skills, even with a wand, had never been much to brag about. But this time was different, she could feel it. She was going make a spectacular meal and even Severus wouldn't be able to find anything wrong with it.

She felt a rush of exhilaration as she shut the book of recipes. She had finally been able to put all of her years of Muggle Studies to work and the results looked better than expected. She snatched the plate off the counter and bounded after Severus into the bedroom.

"Sev-er-us!" she called in a sing-song voice.

He looked up from a sheet of parchment he was reading, perched stiffly on the edge of the bed and Camilla caught sight of an owl getting smaller and smaller in the distance as she glanced out the window.

"Did you get a letter?" She couldn't help but steal a piece of toast off the plate. She nibbled cautiously. Then, she grinned. It tasted fantastic!

He nodded, but did not elaborate further.

"Who from?" she asked, chewing exuberantly.

"Are you quite sure that isn't going to poison you?"

She nodded fervently, her wonderful mood not affected by his ridicule. "It's good! Are you hungry?"

"Not particularly."

She thrust the plate towards him. "Please try it."

He looked skeptical. "I'd rather not."

"Severus," she whined, her lips forming a pout, "I made it for you."

"You've eaten half already, why not just finish?"

"Do you think I'm a bad cook?" she accused, her eyebrows arching.

He did not answer and continued to stare at her.

"I'll have you know that I made nearly all the food when I was home for the holidays." She didn't mention that she ruined it all and her mother was forced to perform a miracle in order for them to eat at a reasonable hour on Christmas Day.

"The muggle way?"

"No… but I took Muggle Studies for five years. Please try it… for me?"

He took the plate from her outstretched hands and looked at it uneasily. Then, he slowly took a bite. And another.

She watched him anxiously. "Well?"

"Not bad," he conceded.

She let out a loud "HA!"

Severus attempted to hand the plate back to her, but she shook her head. "It's for you," she said jovially.

"Oh… well…" For a moment he looked slightly uncomfortable.

"No need to thank me," she said, winking at him teasingly.

A brief flicker of relief crossed his face, then he grew pensive. "You're in that mood again."

"Huh?"

"The same one you were in last night… Are you certain you haven't taken anything? A potion perhaps?"

"No… I just… I'm just happy."

"I do not understand."

She frowned. "I knew you were emotionally stunted, Severus, but really! Not understanding happiness?"

"That's not what I meant," he snapped, scowling deeply at her. "I don't understand exactly why you're happy."

"It's just that… I've had visions about being married; about weddings and honeymoons. And this," she waved her hand around her, "It feels like one of my dreams." A blush crept into her cheeks. " I just want to enjoy it before it's over."

He blinked. "This is the sort of marriage you dreamed of?"

"I dunno..." she replied with a shrug. "It's not so bad."

He shook his head wordlessly and returned to the food she had made. It was clear he still did not quite understand.

--


Camilla was humming to herself as they exited the theater. After a great deal of pleading, she had finally managed to convince Severus to leave the comfort of the cottage and see a Spanish play showing at the Teatro Español, one of Madrid's oldest theaters.

"Did you like it?"

"Oh, I had tears in my eyes the whole time!" she gushed.

"I know what you mean. That was the worst show I've ever seen; even I was ready to cry."

She glared at him. "I meant that it was beautiful and moving, Severus. Is there not one romantic bone in your body?"

"Come on, even you have to admit it was absurd," he said with a smirk. "All that 'soul mates,' 'true love,' and 'happily ever after' is a load of rubbish."

"What?" Her mouth dropped open in shock. "It's not rubbish!"

His eyebrows shot up. "Oh really? Look at us, Camilla. We're married and I certainly hope you don't expect me to twirl you around and throw flowers at your feet."

"Well, of course not. We're obviously not meant to be together. Unfortunately, love seems to have come after money, society, and familial obligations."

"'Meant to be?' And who do you think you're meant to be with?"

Her eyes shifted towards him as they walked side by side, arms folded across their chests. "It's none of your business," she replied curtly.

He laughed. "It's Lupin, isn't it? I doubt he could ever match you, beast or not."

She stopped and placed her hands on her hips. "I thought we weren’t going to discuss him anymore," she replied testily.

"What's he got that I don't have?"

"I don't want to talk about-."

"Is it the animal thing? Does that turn you on?"

"You're ridiculous!"

"That must be it. That's very taboo, Camilla."

"That's sick," she hissed, peering around to ensure no muggles had heard their conversation. "What the hell is wrong with you?" She began walking briskly again, hoping Severus would have to strain to keep up with her. The pace, however, seemed almost leisurely for him.

"I'm just trying to get into that pretty little head of yours," he replied with a shrug and a smirk.

"Hmm… well, I guess it's a good thing you're not trying to get into my trousers because that kind of talk will get you nowhere."

Severus chuckled a bit to himself. "Oh, I doubt anything I do will get you back in bed with me, so why try?"

"You did tell me I could keep the sex."

"I knew you hadn't forgiven me for that."

"I have," she said slowly, "I just haven't forgotten."

"I believe I also said that if you were going to keep the sex, I could get it elsewhere," he replied, watching her face carefully.

She kept her voice cool and her expression calm. "Yes, I believe you did say that."

"Now wait a minute," he said, stopping and grabbing her arm gently. "Are you telling me that you would rather I go out and have an affair than have sex with me?"

She pulled her arm away and continued walking. "Today I would."

"Oh really? Today? What about yesterday? What about tomorrow?" he snapped, throwing up his hands. "Is this a game to you? Do I have to guess which days I'll be in your good graces?"

"No, Severus!" She threw open the door to their seaside cottage. "Today you've been a jerk. Yesterday you were a tyrant. If anyone is guessing anything, it's me! I have to guess whether or not you're going to treat me like a person or a plaything. As for tomorrow, that is completely up to you."

Severus slammed the door behind them. "Don't walk away from me!" he shouted at her as she began to make her way into the bedroom. "We aren't done talking."

"You mean you aren't done verbally abusing me? Oh, well then, go right on ahead!"

"Verbally abusing you? You don't know what abuse is! You- SHIT!"

Suddenly, he was on his knees, clutching his left forearm. He frantically pulled his shirt sleeve to examine the mark that stained his skin. It looked unchanged.

"Severus?" she queried hesitantly, watching as she leaned against the doorframe. She was still furious with him and it was easy to push aside her concern.

He looked up at her, his face paler than normal. "It's burning," he replied, his voice wavering.

Camilla frowned. "Is it supposed to do that?"

"Yeah… Yeah, it is. I have to go." He got to his feet. It was evident he was still shaken up, but he pushed past her and into the bedroom. After a moment of hurriedly digging through his trunk, he removed a black cloak and a silver mask.

She shivered. That horrid mask still made her nervous.

"Don't wait up for me," he said, preparing to leave.

"I wasn't going to," she intoned coldly.

He stared at her and for fleeting moment looked as if he might reply. But then he apparated and was gone.

--


When Camilla woke up the next morning, her husband had his arms wound tightly around her waist and was sleeping soundly. She was careful not to wake him as she eased out of his grasp and made her way to her trunk, looking for something to wear for the day. She was trying to decide what to wear for the day when she heard a tapping at the window.

Looking up, she spotted a large tawny owl observing her from behind the glass. She quickly went to the window and pushed it open. The owl fluttered in, gracefully landing on the desk.

"What have you got there?" she whispered, reaching to remove the owl's burden. It was a rolled-up copy of the day's Daily Prophet.

Camilla had never been one to read the news. She didn't like hearing about the victims of this terrible war.

The owl hooted at her softly.

"I know, I know… how much?" she asked, though she did not really expect the small animal to answer her.

"Four Knuts," Severus grumbled back, his face buried in his pillow.

"You're awake," she said, turning in surprise.

"Barely... Check the pockets of my trousers," he said, indicating the pair of trousers lying on the floor next to the bed. "I should have some change…"

Camilla did as he said and counted out four Knuts. She put the rest back in his trouser pocket and put the payment in the pouch tied to the owl's leg. It hooted once more and flew out the open window.

She closed the window and turned to look at her husband whose eyes were still closed. Then, her gaze shifted to the empty bottle of firewhiskey perched on his bedside table. "Rough night?"

"Something like that."

"Does You-Know-Who party too hard for poor Severus?" she mocked.

He opened his eyes to glare at her. "Don't start."

She gave an irritated huff and rolled her eyes. Shaking her head, she turned her attention to the Daily Prophet.

DEATH EATER ATTACK KILLS 37: MINISTRY IN CHAOS

Camilla's eyes darted urgently across the page, her heart rising in her throat. Phrases like "three Aurors dead" and "children screaming" seemed to jump off the parchment at her.

"Is this what you were doing last night? Is this what he called you for?" she asked shakily, her gaze drifting from the newspaper to Severus.

He sat up, yawning. "What are you on about?"

"This!" Angrily she threw the paper at him. It soared past his head, hitting the wall and dropping to the bed.

He coolly raised an eyebrow at her. "Don't be so dramatic. You know I had no choice."

"I can't believe you have the nerve to come back her and… and… I can't believe I let you touch me…"

Her statement seemed to strike a chord in him. His gaze sharpened. "You said you would be able to look past it. You said it didn't say anything about who I was. I didn't want this, Camilla."

"That was before you had the blood of innocent people on your hands!"

"He would have killed me!"

"So?"

"'So?' That's what you'd think if I died, isn't it? 'So what? Who cares?'" he seethed, his eyes flashing with anger.

Her mean retort caught in her throat as she watched the pain flicker across his features. "That's not what I meant," she replied quietly.

"If I had done something to save even one of those people I would have died. I would have died thinking you would always hate me. I would have died without telling you how much I love you. And I couldn't leave you. I just…" His voice trailed into silence as his eyes pleaded with her to understand.

"You love me?"

"What?"

"Do you really love me?" Camilla swore silently to herself. She sounded so desperate. She'd tried so hard to keep herself from caring too much, in case he didn't feel the same way; so that when he said or did something cruel it wouldn't hurt so badly. But she knew that she wanted him to say that he loved her, just once.

He opened his mouth to respond, then paused, his dark eyes studying her. "I do care about you," he said finally. "I know that's not what you want to hear, but I'm not going to pretend to feel something I don't."

She bit her lip. "But you just said…"

"I just..." He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "I just don't know, alright? It's... complicated."

"It really isn't, actually…" She stared at him, though he did not look back. The floor appeared to have captured all of his attention. "You're such a coward."

His head snapped up. "What?"

"You heard me, Severus."

His eyes glinted cruelly. "Yes, I did. I'm just wondering if you have the audacity to repeat yourself."

She was shaking with anger, hurt, and unshed tears. She shot him the most venomous expression she could muster. "I'm leaving," she spat at him.

"Really?" He seemed unfazed and skeptical of her statement.

Fuming, she bent over her trunk and haphazardly threw her clothes and other possessions into it. She slammed the trunk closed. She scanned the room for her wand and frowned when she realized she would have to pass Severus to get to it. "Excuse me," she snarled, trying to push past him. Unfortunately, he was bigger than her and much more quick on his feet; he blocked her easily.

"You can't just leave." His calm tone was a sharp contrast to her enraged one.

"GET OUT OF MY WAY!"

He sighed. "Whatever I've done to upset you, I am truly sorry."

She shook her head vigorously. "You're so full of shit. You can take all of your stupid apologies to hell, Severus Snape. I can't stand to be around you a moment longer. You… you just…" She was so furious she was unable to put her whirling thoughts into words. And his tranquil demeanor just seemed to fuel her rage.

"You're going to have suck it up then, aren't you? We're married. Bonded for life, remember?"

"I HATE YOU! I hate you more than I have hated anyone before."

"But Camilla," he said with a mock tone of hurt, "I thought you loved me." He smirked. "Impassioned declarations of hate and empty threats will get you nowhere.

Seething, she marched forward, again trying to get to her wand. "Just leave me alone!" she shouted, throwing her fist into his chest as hard as she possibly could.

The corners of his mouth turned upward slightly at her futile go at hurting him, which only served to infuriate her further.

"You are a selfish and arrogant bastard! I can't believe how you treat me, especially considering the fact that your future is in my hands."

"Your hands?" he chuckled. "How so?"

"My father is giving you ten times more money than you could ever deserve to do with what you want. It's my ability to act appropriate in public that will decide whether you're respectable. It's my inheritance that you'll be living off of when you're too old or lazy to work!"

"That may be so for now, but in one or two short years I'll have made a name for myself and everyone will forget about you. You'll just be Severus Snape's wife; no one important."

"One or two years is plenty of time to ruin you forever," she replied, blinking back tears.

"You don't know me at all." His eyes glinted coldly. "If you did, you would know better than to threaten me."

Camilla leaned against the wall and crossed her arms defiantly. "I know you well enough to realize you're all talk and no bite," she replied, hoping she appeared more confident than she felt.

"Oh?" He raised an eyebrow. "Would you like to test that little theory? Or perhaps you've forgotten…" Severus tugged roughly at his left sleeve.

Camilla kept her eyes focused on her husband's face, knowing what she would see if she looked at his arm. He sauntered towards her, like a predator stalking its prey. There was no denying that he was intimidating, yet she refused to let him bully her.

He placed the palms of his hands against the wall at either side of her head supporting himself as leaned close to her. They were so close now that she could smell him. He still smelled of potion ingredients though it was a much lighter scent than she remembered. How long had it been since she'd paid any attention to what he smelled like? It seemed as though she was always too occupied being angry with her husband to take notice of anything but his faults.

"I've seen things that nightmares are made of," he hissed into her ear.

She bit her lip. How long had it been since his breath had caressed her skin like that?

"The Dark Lord's power is growing, as is the power of his followers." His arm flexed and she caught a glimpse of the mark burned into his skin.

How long had it been since his hands had roamed her body. It seemed like such a long time ago though they had managed to get a fair share of touching done the morning of their wedding. How far would they have gone if her mother didn't have the worst possible timing?

"Why don't you tell the people who stare up at me knowing their life is about to end that I've got… What was it? 'No bite,'" he sneered.

She inwardly berated herself for the turn her thoughts had taken. He was attempting to provoke her into fear by confessing the worst of his sins and all she could do was stare at him with a glassy-eyed expression while her mind replayed their most intimate moments.

"You don't know what it's like. Any of it. You know nothing about me or what I've done.

"Stop it! I've heard enough!" She threw herself against him in a last attempt to escape him and he staggered backwards just slightly, but it was sufficient. As she tried to run, his hand shot out to grab her arm. By instinct, she spun curling her free hand into a fist. She didn't know what her fist hit but it was enough to shock him into letting her loose. Without looking back she bolted into the bathroom slamming the door behind her.

She had only just finished fumbling with the lock when the doorknob shook violently. "Open the door!"

She knew that if he truly wanted to he could easily use magic to force his way in, but she sincerely hoped he would simply give the fight up and leave her alone. "Go away! You're a murderer and I don't want anything to with you."

There was a loud thump that made her think he'd thrown his fists against the door and then there was silence.

Only when she was sure she would not be interrupted did she finally let her tears fall.

--


He analyzed his reflection in the shine of the Malfoy's best silver, the deepest of frowns forming on his lips. Severus prodded the bruised skin around his eye, wincing. His first black eye and it had been his wife who had given it to him.

He had contemplated storming into the bathroom and shouting himself hoarse just so he didn't have to endure his rage alone, but he found his pride wouldn't allow him to let her see the damage she had done.

"She really got you, didn't she?"

Severus continued to scowl as Lucius entered the room grinning. "I didn't come just so you could have a laugh at my expense."

"Then why did you?" the blonde asked, his eyes still dancing with laughter.

"Something for this." Severus pointed at his eye. "Unfortunately I don't carry bruise-healing paste around with me."

Lucius maintained his infuriating smile. "Now you know better."

"Indeed," Severus replied dryly.

Finally, Lucius managed to put aside his amusement and had a house elf fetch the needed remedy. When the elf disappeared from the room he tugged the silver goblet from Severus' hand, filling it with an expensive elf-made wine.

Severus took the now full goblet back without thanks, still in a sour mood.

"So Narcissa tells me your tiny little wife did this to you…"

Severus remembered the look of shock on the blonde woman's face when he had first entered her home that morning and admitted what had happened between him and his wife. "Camilla is the most headstrong, stubborn, arrogant girl I have ever had the misfortune to meet, tiny or not," he replied irritably.

"I am sure…" The older man seated himself in a velvet armchair and motioned for his friend to sit as well. "What did you do when she hit you?"

"What would you have done?"

"Don't be evasive with me. Surely you did not let this go without punishment?"

"I couldn't find it in me to upset her more than I already had…"

"Severus!" Lucius cried in admonishment. "You speak as if she is in control and has done nothing wrong."

"I pushed her too far. We argue all the time but I think I really hurt her feelings… or something..." He trailed off somewhat lamely upon seeing his friend's face painted with a mixture horror and disgust.

"Do you hear how ridiculously pathetic you sound?" Lucius snapped harshly. "You are her husband and yet you act the part of a lovesick whelp. If you behaved appropriately she would follow your lead and fall in line; they always do."

Severus' dark eyes flashed angrily. "You don't know what she's like," he argued, "Some days she's perfectly fine and content with me as I am. Other days it is as if I can do nothing right."

Lucius gazed at his dispassionately. "Don't waste your energy trying to please her. Please yourself and she will learn to find happiness in your own."

Severus was saved the effort of responding by the house elf returning with a generous amount of the bruise-healing paste. He took it and waved the creature away. He quickly applied the cream wanting to be rid of the ring around his eye.

"Have you consummated?" Lucius asked, refilling his goblet.

While Severus would have certainly welcomed a change of subject, the consummation of his marriage was not a topic he was particularly eager to discuss with any of the Malfoy's. "As I said, we argue quite a bit. There isn't time for much else."

Lucius gave an irritated sigh.

"She didn't want to!" he snarled in frustration. "What would you have me do short of forcing myself on her?"

"You must do it soon. Everyone is expecting an announcement about your first within the year."

"My first? My first what? Child? We haven't been married more than a week and already you want children?" His voice was full of indignation. He knew his relationship with his wife was nowhere near stable enough to bring a child into the mix. The idea that her family and the Malfoys wanted her to conceive in the next six months seemed completely unreasonable.

"I don't know why that surprises you. It is, of course, a very significant reason for your marriage to the girl. I thought cleaning up your line was important to you."

Severus sighed. "It is, but things between us… there's a lot to work through, Lucius."

"Listen to me. Women want to feel emotionally connected to the men they shag, especially if the man in question is her husband. Seduce her. Give her flowers. Tell her you love her, need her, can't live without her by your side. You'll have her in bed with you by next week."

"I don't want to deceive her."

"Are you a Slytherin or not?" the blonde demanded. "Besides, did she not try the same thing on you?"

Severus raked his hands through his hair in frustration.

"The sooner she is carrying your child the sooner we will all be rewarded. Remember that."

--


Camilla stuck her head out of the bathroom door and called out her husband's name. When he did not appear, she wrapped herself in a towel and strolled over to her trunk, satisfied that he had left the house in his anger. After picking her clothes for the day, she dropped the towel, beginning to dress.

She was adjusting her shirt when she heard a low clearing of the throat break her comfortable silence.

She yelped in fright and spun around.

Her husband was standing in the doorway, a slight smirk forming at his lips.

"Merlin, Severus! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?"

"My apologies."

She didn't think he looked very apologetic. "You were watching me dress," she accused with narrowed eyes.

He gave a slight roll of his eyes. "I'm your husband. I share a bed with you every night. I've seen you in various states of undress several times before. We've had sex, Camilla."

She felt her cheeks burn. "I know we've had sex," she snarled. "You don't have to keep reminding me!"

"Then stop being such a prude."

"I'm not a prude." She turned away from him and began roughly tugging a comb through her damp hair. She mercilessly ripped into the knots that had formed as she fumed.

"You're going to pull all your hair out if you continue like that," she heard him say.

"Go to hell," she snapped.

"My, what a witty Ravenclaw you are."

She spun around to face him. "Did you come back just to harass me?"

"No," he sighed. "I… It's not supposed to be this hard."

She narrowed her eyes, thinking he was going to try and manipulate her. "What isn't?"

"Everything. Something needs to change between us… Surely you realize that?"

Camilla folded her arms across her chest. She knew he was right. How long could they keep up with these horrible arguments? Where would they be a year from now? "What brought you to this conclusion?"

"We've been at each other's throats for the past six months and I'm sick of it. I went to see Lucius after our… dispute. He told me that our families expect you to be with child before the end of the year," he said gently.

"No." She took an involuntary step away from him. "We're not ready for that."

"The only way we can be ready is if we work together."

"I told you no. I won't have children with you."

"You don't want children?"

"Not with you," she replied.

He visibly flinched at her bluntness. "Camilla," he began with determined calm. "I am the only husband you will ever have. I am the only man you will ever have sex with. Therefore you will either have children with me or not at all."

"I guess I won't have them then!" she snapped bitterly. "You'd make the worst father in the world. You don't even know how to be a decent husband."

"Perhaps I don't always treat you like I should. I'll admit to that. But I'm willing to-."

"It's too late for that, Severus." She heard him sigh as she coolly examined her nails.

" You're not perfect either."

She fixed him with a challenging stare. "Remus thought I was."

"He clearly didn't know you very well, then, did he?" he hissed. "If he did, he would also know that you are spoiled, selfish, and naïve. You act like a child. Grow up." He turned away from her and left the bedroom, slamming the door behind him.



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