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All you leave behind by BJAuth

Format: Novel
Chapters: 20
Word Count: 93,019
Status: WIP

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

Genres: General, Romance, Angst
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Lupin, McGonagall, Snape, Lucius, OC
Pairings: Other Pairing

First Published: 03/21/2005
Last Chapter: 07/15/2005
Last Updated: 07/30/2005

Summary:

WRITTEN PRE HBP!!! Sullied by a man she hated, banished by a father she loathed, Silvana Snape fled the Wizarding world, leaving behind the brother she adored. Nearly 20 years later she is asked to return to face their past, and shape her brother's future. But can she leave behind the life she has made and face the demons of her history? Can she love the man her brother became, and learn to love herself? Can she swallow her fears and come back to all she left behind?


Chapter 1: Prologue
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A/N A huge thank you to three dear friends of mine for helping formulate this first chapter: Alpha 3760, Madame Snape and Llewellyn McEllis. Please note the name of Silvana was suggested by Llewellyn McEllis, whose input in all my work I am eternally grateful for.

The characters used in this story, apart from Silvana Snape, are owned and formulated by JK Rowling, her publishers and advisors. Ownership is neither claimed nor implied


Prologue



The warm September air blew through the grounds and against her smooth, alabaster skin like a gentle first kiss for the birthday girl. Her long, raven hair shone in the fading sunset and all the guests turned to see the vision of purity before them. Wearing the crisp, white cotton dress her father had bought for her special day, she moved forwards, aware all eyes were upon her now. For a moment she became self conscious of her actions. She had never expected such lavish displays of love and affection as she had witnessed in the confines of her home that day, and the evening gala, with the music and laughter of all around her, was the highlight. Her father had never been known for his generosity before, and his explanations were vague at best, but seeing her family, and her father’s friends and superiors all attend made her so very proud. It was her twenty first birthday and, after the death of her mother four years previously, she had been restricted in her social functions. But now her father was repaying her for all the hard work she had given him without question, and she felt significant, and loved for the first time in her lonely life.


As she approached the bandstand where her father stood, ready to make an announcement, she saw a lone figure out of the corner of her eye. She turned to see her younger brother walk away from the scene, without an acknowledgement or smile towards her. Perhaps he was jealous of all the attention she was getting, she thought. It would be just like him to seek the glory of such an event, but he had to learn from his mistakes. She could not be responsible for him forever. She thought nothing more of it, and joined her father on the stage as he commanded his audience, puffing out his chest like a preening peacock, commanding the respect he craved. He was about to make one of the biggest announcements of his life, and no one was to spoil it for him. Looking down at his daughter, the man scowled and his look told her she must obey. He waved his wand and muttered ‘Sonorous’



“Good evening to you all, and welcome to our humble gathering. As you know, my eldest child here turned 21 on this momentous of days, and it is my pleasure to announce that she will soon be leaving this place for greater and better things.”



The girl looked about her with a frown. Greater things? Her heart quickened as she felt a strange feeling of foreboding wash over her. The warm breeze of before now turned bitter against her perfect face. Did it warn her to take flight? She stared at her father, who was enjoying his moment of glory, ignoring her, as ever. Her opinions were of no significance to a man such as he.



“Today, September the 27th, my daughter is formally betrothed by contract and gentlemen’s agreement to none other than one Lucius Malfoy. Their alliance and marriage will prove a most powerful and respected pureblood connection. One the wizarding world has not seen in many, many years. Their children will be of the utmost purity, and our families will become as one in just three weeks hence. Please join me in a toast to the happy couple. To Lucius and Silvana - our future!”


Silvana tugged at her father‘s shirt sleeve in desperation. “No! I cannot! Father? No, I do not love him! I beg of you, hear me!”


“Be quiet child, and hold your tongue! Do you not see we have honoured guests present? Come, you are in shock. Go indoors and sit down a while. I will deal with you later.”


As the mutters of astonishment and applause filled the air, Silvana buckled from the shock of the announcement. Betrothed to Malfoy? The man she detested beyond all others, and had heard so abhorrent things about? Surely this was some nightmare she would awaken from? She turned this way and that to escape the glares from a hundred glinting eyes but, as she swooned in her confusion, a hand was offered to support her, and, not seeing its owner she took it gladly and was lead away.


How could they not have told her? And how long had this been agreed? she thought, as she walked along with the tall stranger to her left. She had always dreamt of marrying for love and nothing less. Had her mother not warned her of such things as she lay awake at night talking to her while her father slept off the evening meal? Did she not dream herself being swept out of the oppression of her family by a knight in shining armour? A man who would not falter when the going got tough. A man who believed in the equality of all races, not just those who considered themselves pure. A man of strength and intelligence and love beyond all others. Was this her father’s ultimate revenge for her placement at Hogwarts all those years ago, when she was placed in Ravenclaw and not Slytherin? At least her dear brother had held up the family honour.


She had seen and heard how Malfoy was so despicable, and cunning, when he visited her brother, the regularity of which had recently increased. How he used to leer at her across the family dining table at luncheon. How he used to strip her body of the clothes she wore while just looking at her with his frosty, unforgiving glare. His very presence made her feel unchaste and uncomfortable. He was not a man to be trusted. He was not a man that an innocent such as herself should be subjected to, let alone marry. She did not want his vile hands to touch her sacred flesh.


The crowd now behind her, the breeze blew once again as her knight led her indoors. The swell of the air created a whirlwind effect on the doorstep, and she glanced down as the petals from the climbing roses, adorning the front of the house, danced a merry jig at her feet as she placed her foot inside the threshold. It was then she saw him. The flaxen hair was flowing in the breeze and, as it did so, she noticed the cold, icy blue tint of his eyes, and recognised the stranger before her: Lucius. Silvana withdrew her arm from his grasp and he nodded in a mock bow in her direction, an eyebrow raised as he looked her up and down as if able to see beyond the cotton swathes of fabric that covered her. He made her shudder with contempt.


“Are you well, Silvana? Or just a little…overcome, perhaps?”


“How dare you even begin to utter concern to me when you have been colluding with my father behind my back?”


He stepped back a little, aghast at her bitter outburst, though she knew he was only toying with her. She had met him several times before now, and each time her loathing of Malfoy had increased. How she wished her brother would not give him his precious attention.


“My, my, Silvana! We are a little testy today! I thought you would be pleased to be betrothed to me. You will leave here and live the life you so rightly deserve. I will pander to your every whim, once you are mine.”



Silvana straightened her back and glared at the audacity of the arrogant young man before her. “There is nothing either of you could possibly do or say to make me accept this preposterous notion. I will never be yours, Malfoy.”


His sneer caused her heart to beat faster as the adrenalin pumped around her, warning her of his presence. His eyes bore no malice, but they showed much more than that. They showed a man who would not take no for an answer. He reached to touch her cheek with the back of his gloved hand, but she swiftly turned away from him. Using the silver end of his cane, he turned her head to face his once more, enjoying their game of dare more than she could ever realise.


“ I think the rumours you have been hearing about me are grossly over exaggerated. I am not the ogre that everyone makes me to be, and my desire for you has been building over the months and years that I have seen you. I think, at our time of life, it would be prudent if you now gave me what I yearn for, for you will be my wife whether you love me or not. We shall start with a little kiss, perhaps?”



As he reached in to press his lips to hers, she obeyed the warnings of the breeze, and ran with all her might to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her, and leaning against it with all the force she could muster. Malfoy slowly, but surely, walked the sweeping staircase and turned to the bedroom that he knew was hers, removing his leather gloves as he reached for the pewter handle. Her games were having such an effect on him as to confirm to him his own doubts were without warrant. A woman this feisty would make a good Malfoy wife. Hadn’t his own father said so? And anything Lucius Malfoy craved, he acquired, with whatever means necessary to do so. He leant against the bedroom door, fully aware her weight was behind it, but he would allow her this fun, for he did not intend to leave empty-handed. “Come now, Silvana. I just wish to finalise arrangements with you. To talk to you about any concerns you may have. Is that not a reasonable request?”



Silvana felt her heart pounding against the inner walls of her chest, the bile rising into her throat as she answered him. He was not her knight. He was not the one to answer her prayers, she knew he was not. “I will never allow myself to be taken by a man such as you, Malfoy. I have heard of your exploits. Of the women’s reputations you have besmirched; of the families torn apart by your actions. I know where your allegiances lie and I do not care for them.”


“But you will learn to care, Silvana. I will teach you the ways of the world, for I know you are too innocent and pure to fully understand a man such as I. But I am an excellent teacher. I will take the time to show you the world. All I ask in return is for your love and devotion.”


“I would rather sell my soul to the devil himself.”


His patience was wearing thin. “It can be arranged, Silvana. Now open the door and let us talk like the civilised people we are. I am a reasonable man, but I will not degrade myself by talking through this door any longer.”


“Then go away and leave me be. Find yourself a wife who you can mould and shape to your requirements, for she is not here. She will never be here for you, Lucius. I will never submit to you of my own freewill.”



Her words pierced at his heart, and he turned the handle with a fierce anger that was all consuming. Stronger than she could possibly imagine, Malfoy forced the door open, and she ran to the other side of the room to protect herself from her intruder. The vision of white linen contrasted with the raven lengths of hair aroused in him a desire so strong even he was surprised by its strength, but he looked into her eyes and he saw her defiance and fear. She was not lying when she said she would never submit to him willingly, and he knew what he would have to do. She sat, perched on the very edge of her four poster bed, and he did not take his eyes from her gaze as he shut the door behind him.


“Come, Silvana. There is no need for these games of yours. I am aware that you are without experience and I have no wish to hurt you, despite what you may believe. Come, let me sit with you, and we will discuss this matter as adults, not children.”


He made his way over to her bed, and sat down gently beside her, smiling out of the corner of his mouth as she turned her face away from him. Slowly, he raised his hands to sweep back the tendrils of hair that had strayed upon the delicate skin of her shoulders. His hands brushing her soft skin awoke in her a feeling she had never experienced before, but it was tinged with a fear. She knew it was not meant to be this way. His hand caressed her cheek, and brought a finger down towards her chin and gently turned her face towards his, his touch lingering as his cold eyes met with her deep, warm ones that glittered in a haze of darkness.


Lucius drank in her innocence within her eyes, and began to speak. “ ‘With eyes that look’d into the very soul…bright and as black and burning as coal.’ Yes, your eyes are truly exquisite. I had not noticed before how deep and dark they really are. They truly are the windows to your soul. So divinely perfect I could get lost within them. And your hair. Your hair is a frame around such a picture of beauty that I am quite lost for words. You are heavenly, Silvana. I am truly a lucky man.”



He traced his hand down to the ends of her hair, touching her bare shoulders with circling movements that made her shiver. Moving forwards, he lifted the curtain of hair to whisper into her ear. “I know at first this will feel a little awkward, but with time I know that we can truly live as one. You have enchanted me, Silvana. Your scent is such that it intoxicates my very soul. Would a man such as you believe me to be treat you like I am now? I am restraint and decency itself, do you not think?” As he withdrew from her, he stole a kiss upon her reddened lips, and she gasped. Her cheeks and neck flushed as she fought the feelings arising within her.


Smiling wickedly at her naïve reaction, he returned closer to her, and placed a hand upon her thigh. “Perhaps you would like me to tell you some more of my feelings? Yes?”


“They will make no difference.”


“Are you sure? Do you not feel those feelings stirring deep within you as I caress your cheek? Your delicate porcelain skin is so….untouched and pure. Let me just steal a kiss. Just a little kiss, Silvana, and I will leave you alone until three weeks hence.”


As he reached across her, she pulled away and rushed towards the window, praying someone would see her from below. But the party was well underway, and no one could see her. She was alone with him. Closing her eyes to fight back the tears, she started as she felt the warmth of his lips against the cool skin of the back of her neck, and he wrapped his arms around her waist to hold her still. His hands rose upwards and began to slide towards her exposed neck, playing with her untarnished body as only a practised lover could. For a moment she was lost in the affection, but still the nagging doubts returned and she turned to face him, and slapped his astonished face.


“How dare you? Have I not made my intentions very clear, Malfoy?”


Catching the gleam in his eye, she leant back against the cold wall as far as she could to avoid his lips, but he grasped at her protecting arms and pinned her back against the wall. “Hold still, girl. I have a right to kiss my fiancee.”


“I am not your fiancee, and I never will be!”


Roughly, he forced her into a kiss, and she tried her best to purse her lips, but he was far more skilled than she was, and she shuddered as his tongue entered her mouth without consent. She bit down on the flesh inside her hard, and, as he yelped, he struck her across the face, spitting out the mixture of blood and spittle as he stepped back, still towering above her, far too close for comfort. He held his hand to his face, and his eyes flashed with an anger she had never seen before, not even from her father. He struggled to control his emotions as she ran back to the bed and she laid down, wrapping her arms around her knees to protect herself. Looking at the blood now staining his bare hand, he sat upon her bed. Holding his hand out to her, regaining his composure, he stroked her hair as she lay with her back to him in a foetal position. Leaning his body in to hers, he pressed himself against her and whispered in her ear.



“You are mine, and you will surrender. I have had enough of these games you play. Now we will play mine and you will participate, willingly or not. Make it easier on yourself and give in to me, Silvana. It will be a much more pleasurable experience for us both if you could just give yourself to me.”


Crying into the quilt, sobbing as she spoke she whispered, “I will never give in to you. I can never love one such as you. You make take my body, but my soul will never follow. You will never possess me, Lucius Malfoy.”



Taking his wand, Lucius waved a silencing charm across the room and pulled arms around to bring her closer to him. Fighting with all her might, Silvana screamed as he pinned her down against the opulent, velvet covers adorning her quilt, but no one could hear her. Straddling her body, Lucius bent down and kissed the silky skin on her pale neck, caressing the softness with his tongue, leering at her frightened expression. Oh how he enjoyed her fear.


“Come now, my darling. Relax, and learn from the Master. You need not fear me. I do everything for you. This is all for your pleasure.”


He traced a cold finger along her jaw line, then down to where his kisses had been, and slowly he began to remove the layers of fabric that covered her shoulders. He tore at the material, impatient now, and watched as the fear and loathing in her eyes enticed him even further. He bent his lips to her ear, and, as she turned away from him, he grazed her earlobe with his warm lips, and whispered,


“Don’t you like to feel my hands upon your warm skin, Silvana? I promise you I will change your mind. You have such beauty about you that I am powerless to control myself.” His hands reached down into her dress and cupped the soft mound of flesh inside. Her solitary tear fell on to the quilt, but he was only pleasured by her anguish and pain. “ You play my heart strings like an instrument, Silvana. You knew that when you let me in here. You knew what sort of a man I was, and yet still let me in. Why was that, Silvana? It was because you wanted this as much as I do. I excite you. I can feel it. This is your doing. I am merely doing your bidding, Silvana. As I always will when we are married. I am yours…now and forever. You cannot escape me.”




No one heard her pleas as he tore off the white cotton dress she wore that day. Nor did they arrive to save her when he removed the barriers to protect her innocence or stop his hands from caressing her; his lips from kissing her, his teeth from biting her bare, virginal flesh. The red blood spilt upon the white linen dress of the birthday girl and her knight was no where to be seen as she sobbed for mercy and forgiveness.


And, in the room adjacent to hers, while she was defiled by the man whose mere presence she detested, a greasy-haired teenager sat alone in a dark bedroom, pointing his wand at the ceiling, shooting down flies…



























Chapter 2: All she left behind
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All she left behind




All she left behind



“Sylvie! Sylvie! Where are you, my dear? The boys have started to pack the boxes for you. We need to know what you want to keep, and what needs to be thrown.”



Eleanor O'Brien began to search for her daughter-in-law in the vast expanse of woodland that bordered their farm. She knew where she would be. It was a private place that she would turn to when she had been younger and more carefree. The sounds of the running stream would wash away her woes when she visited here, but her worries ran too deep, and, now she was twice Sylvie’s years, her body was weary, though her mind was as sharp as a knife. She walked for a short while towards the clearing, and, as the trees parted from their tangled path, there Sylvie stood.



There had always been an elegance to Sylvie that betrayed the secrets of her heritage to the older woman now behind her. Her body was tall and graceful, her countenance a little superior, but her smile was a joy to behold if, these days, a little rare. Eleanor watched the woman; soon nearing the eve of her fortieth year, and, for a fleeting moment, she envied her young companion. Eleanor had no future in this place, just as Sylvie didn’t, but her reason was time, and time was a cruel enemy. Feeling a little out of sorts from her exertions, she rested a while on a tree stump, and sat, still staring at the woman who had come to her as an innocent girl all those years ago. There was little difference to her visually now as she remembered her then, apart from a few strands of distinguishing grey in her hair, and a few more lines upon her worried face. But then Sylvie O'Brien had always had more than her share of worries. It was inside she had changed, and now she had changed for good.



As the suns rays broke through the immense green canopy of the clearing, Eleanor recalled the vulnerable, frightened child who had entered their lives nearly 19 years ago. It had taken months to gain her trust, but slowly they had, and she had stayed with them ever since. Later on, she grew in confidence, and would help out the local school, being an intelligent woman, or bake for the villagers if they needed her to. She had become just as much a part of the community here than any other O'Brien. And now she was leaving them. The old woman looked at the dark silhouette of her unsuspecting relation, and she knew it was time. She wasn‘t, and never had been, one of them. Their world was one she no longer belonged in.



Turning, sensing the presence of someone, Sylvie smiled to see the woman she had learned to call ‘Mother’ and sighed as she saw how tired she was. Walking forwards, the full length skirt she wore brushed against the carpet of pine needles beneath her feet, and she breathed in the delicious aroma. She joined her mother, and sat cross-legged on the forest floor, looking into the old woman’s weary blue eyes, now glistening with tears. Sylvie took her hand, squeezing it gently.



“You know I have to go, don’t you?”


“I do, but you can always return. We would always welcome you, my child.”


Sylvie nodded, and whispered. “I know. I can never repay you enough for all you have done for me…all you did for me back when I came here.”


Eleanor reached down to brush away the tear on Sylvie’s reddened cheeks, and smiled kindly. “That isn’t true. You can repay me. Be happy, my dear. Learn to love life again, and be all you should have been…all you could be, if you let them help you. Be you, and only you.”


Sylvie closed her eyes to blink back the tears welling in her sorrowful eyes. “I’m not sure I know who that person is any more.”


“Yes you do, or else the wise one would not have come for you again. Think about it, Sylvie. Think about why they want you to return.”



Sylvie shook her head, confused and conflicted inside, her mind torn between what she wished for and what she knew she could never have. She turned her face down towards the forest floor, picking up a handful of the pine needles, letting them slowly run through her fingers, and whispered. “But I leave so much behind when I go.”


Eleanor chuckled and patted her daughter-in-law‘s hand. “An old woman who hinders you, and brothers who mollycoddle you at every opportunity? That would stifle you, girl! You have the chance of a future, but it isn’t here. And I don’t think it ever was.”



A wood pigeon flew overheard, breaking Sylvie’s concentration and cooing in the background. Was Eleanor right? Did she ever really belong here? She had spent nearly half her life here, had learnt to live and love, and yet she always knew. She always felt that there was something missing from her life that she could not buy, or replace. She had tried to hide from it for too long, and now she had to go back to all she had left behind. All she had tried for so long to ignore and fight against would come back to her, and the dread and fear filled her lungs as she sobbed gently into the arms of the one she called Mother. Eleanor smoothed down the silky raven hair of her daughter, and released the tears that had been waiting to come.



“The wise one told me the truth, Sylvie. He said you had to go back for your brother. For your real family. You must go back and face them all. There is nothing for you here but sorrow, and painful memories of what was, and could have been.”


“But they caused it to be like this! He did this! It all started with him!”


“And you need to resolve it. To live a life again, my darling. You need to be loved. They will do that.”



“You do that.”


“Yes. But we are not your kind. They are.”


Sylvie looked up into the green curtains of leaves and boughs, and listened as the wind forced the trees to whisper a loving goodbye as they rustled in the summer breeze. She felt safe here, in the clearing. They were here. They were both here. She had lived such a simple, unassuming life that the thought of town life, or travelling to London panicked her. She stood from her kneeling position and gently tapped her Mother’s hand and kissed her forehead, taking one last look at the clearing. They said goodbye, and she knew Eleanor was right.



“Mum, Sylvie, what’s going on? We need to get this all on if you’re moving at all today!”



Jacob O’Brien trundled down the hill towards them, and they both turned to face the intruder. Sylvie helped her companion up to a standing position and smiled. “We’re coming, Jacob! We’re coming! I just needed to get some fresh air, that‘s all”


The tall, well-built man before her shrugged his shoulders at her and grinned.


“Dunno why you’re even going if it upsets you that much. Didn’t even know you had a brother until last week. I mean, what’s that all about? Did Sean know?”



Eleanor glared at her youngest son, her look full of anger, but Sylvie placed a calming hand upon the elder woman’s shoulder. She looked up at Jacob, and his countenance reminded her of Sean. Yes, he was so like his elder brother, though she had never noticed until now. The way he scowled, the way he laughed, and even the way he stood reminded her of him. Though it pained her, she forced a smile.


“Yes, Jay. He knew about my brother. We have been a little distant up until now, but he needs me, and that is all that matters.”


Jacob exhaled audibly, shuffling his feet, kicking at the ground beneath them. He would miss the woman who was almost the same age as him. “Well, we need you. The farm could do with you around now. It’ll be harvesting time soon an’ all. Bit inconvenient.”



Eleanor had heard enough. “Jacob O'Brien! You will hold your tongue and think before you utter another word. Do you not think poor Sylvie has thought of that? We will cope. And if we can’t we will hire some help.” She turned to the woman standing beside her. “Sylvie, you are not to worry about us. We will cope. Now Jacob, do something right for once in your sorry life and take me back to the house. We shall all help Sylvie with her packing, won‘t we?”



Sylvie watched as the forty year old man turned into a chastised six year old before her very eyes. She smirked as he hung his head in shame. His mother made a crook of her arm, and he took the hint and supported her back up the hill. Watching as Eleanor chastised her adult son some more, Sylvie laughed. But the laughter was tinged with sadness, and, as she turned to leave the clearing, she saw the two mounds that haunted her day and night. The graves: their graves. Slowly, she walked over one last time, and placed a hand on each of the headstones. The cold stone was rough against her skin, but she didn’t care and didn’t notice. The cool breeze whistled its way through to the back of her neck, making her shiver silently, and she bowed her head to acknowledge them. They had come to say goodbye now.


“I have to go, but I will return. I will never forget you…either of you. Look after them for me. I love you.”



The wind ceased to play on her skin, and she rose to stand before them. She looked above her at the mid-morning sun and let it wash over her tear-stained cheeks. The warmth stimulated her senses, and, with heavy heart, she finally left this place, making her way back home. Wherever that was.


The chaotic scenes that greeted her when she entered the cottage, that had been hers for the later part of her life, were everything she had imagined they would be. Boxes strewn across the floor, papers being fanned by an ever increasing wind, blown through the wedged open doors, children dancing around making far too much noise, and parents who had given up in disciplining them. Standing in the doorway, she watched them avidly, a smile planted across her face as she drank in these final moments with her adopted family. The O’Brien family in all its glory. One of the smaller children saw her there and ran across in a frenzied hurry to greet her.



“Auntie, Auntie! Look what we found!”



She was led away by the child to a worn and dusty photograph album perched on the sofa. The burgundy leather was cracked down the spine, and frayed a little at the edges, but it was still full of old photos and memorabilia. Thumbing the leather bound book, she turned the delicate pages and witnessed the memories she had long forgotten. Her first village fete, with Colm still cradled against her hips, barely able to walk. The faded picture of school plays in winter as she helped them with the music, especially being proficient in the piano. And, as she fanned the pages again, she came across her happier times. Her wedding. The cream coloured dress she had worn was long since packed away, but in her memories, as she saw the young girl smiling in the photograph, she re-lived it like it were yesterday.
So many faces that were smiling back at her, and yet so many that were now nowhere to be seen. She closed her eyes, and sighed.


“Auntie, is that you looking like a princess?”


Sylvie awoke from her daydream and smiled down at the little girl beside her: her young niece, Niamh.


“Yes. Yes it is, Niamh. Did I look like a princess?”


“Yes! You were beautiful then. Was it a very long time ago?”


Sylvie chuckled at the twisted flattery emanating from these innocent lips. “It was, Niamh. About 15 years ago now. A very long time.”


The little girl pulled at her sleeve, and whispered to Sylvie.



“Will you be a princess again?”


“Oh now! I’m a bit old to be playing at being a princess now, Niamh. I’m not sure anyone would want to marry me.”


“You could marry Uncle Jacob, and then you’d be able to stay here with us.”


Sylvie laughed out loud. “Goodness child, don’t wish him on me! Your Uncle Jacob is far too much to handle, I’m afraid.”


A pair of arms snaked their way across Sylvie’s shoulders from behind, and Jacob bent down to kiss her on top of her head. “Now there’s an interesting proposition!”


Sylvie blushed, and pulled away from his embrace, turning to face the smiling Jacob, who winked as he saw her blushes. “You’d be the death of me, Jacob O‘Brien! Besides which, I was married to an O'Brien before. Next time perhaps I will wreak havoc on another unsuspecting family.”


Jacob chuckled and then raised his voice so the whole family could hear. “See everyone. I asked her, and she refused me. What’s a man to do? She’s got plans to marry someone else.”


“I said no such thing!” said Sylvie, indignantly.


“Jay, for god’s sake leave her be! She’ll be leaving quicker if you keep leering at her like you are!”


The words of wisdom came from the other brother: Niall. At 51, he had been the eldest of the O'Brien trio, and the most tactful. It was he who had seen the admiration in Sean’s eyes all those years ago. It was he who had told Eleanor that Sean was falling for Sylvie. It was he who Sylvie turned to in the darkest moments when she thought no-one would understand. Niall whose calming words soothed her after so much pain and anguish. He bent down and kissed his younger ‘sister’ on her cheek, looking into her eyes with a glimmer of sadness. He had his own family and a brood of children, but he had closeness with Sylvie that couldn’t be replaced. Niall squeezed her shoulder and she patted his hand as it rested a while on her.


“We’re pretty much done here, Sylvie. The kids and I boxed most of it up. I see you’d had a pretty good go at it all last week.”


“Yeah. No point in hanging about. I need to sift through a lot of the old junk.” Lifting the photograph album, she passed it to Niall to put away in the boxes surrounding them, when two old photographs fell out of the back.


“You dropped these, Auntie Sylvie.”


Niamh picked up the images and, as Sylvie stared at the faces staring back at her she realised they were moving. They were wizards photographs. Niamh tugged at her father’s sleeve and they both looked over Sylvie’s shoulder in amazement. One was of a tired looking woman, not unlike Sylvie, but with the weight of the world upon her shoulders. The girl looked happy and the boy, younger and seemingly superior, a little austere. The girl waved out, as did her mother. The boy stood still, hands firmly by his sides. On the other piece of paper was a group photograph of various students in a school common room. All were smiling and waving as teenagers do.


“Wow! How do they do that?”


Sylvie looked up at Niall and smiled, whispering to them. “Magic.”


Niall smiled hesitantly, while Niamh looked awestruck. Watching the people, Niall finally questioned his sister-in-law.


“Is that your brother?”


Niall pointed to the photograph of the mother and her two children. The girl was about 9 or 10, the serious looking boy a few years younger. Sylvie nodded. “Yes, that’s me, there, and that’s Sev, and the woman is…was… our Mother.”


“And the other one?”


Sylvie swapped the images around and looked more closely at the school photo. She sighed as she recalled happier times and pointed at the assembled group. “Right, well that’s me on the left, and next to me is a friend of mine called Sirius. He died a few months ago, unfortunately. Next to him are his best friend, James, and his eventual wife, Lily. They died in a war just a few years after I left home. Then there’s Peter. I have no idea where he is now. And finally dear Remus. He’s a Professor now. At my old school. At least I believe he was. It’s so long ago since I saw him.”


Niall smiled at her concerned face. “You were how old then?”


“Oh gosh! Erm….about 16 or 17 I think. Yes. So they would have been in the second year or maybe third. I must have been in the 6th year. I was a prefect at school. They, James and Sirius, used to cause me no end of trouble.”


“You said they were killed in a war? Is that why you’re going back now?” said Niall, concern etched across his face.


“Partly, yes.”


“But you won’t get killed, will you Auntie Sylvie?”


“No darling. I’ll try not to.”


Niamh clutched at the photographs and hugged her favourite Aunt, while she stared at the images some more.


“Auntie Sylvie, that man keeps looking at you.”


“Really darling? Which one?”


“The one you said was Remus. He keeps smiling at you, but you’re busy looking at the camera.”


Sylvie watched as the images moved. Sure enough, Niamh was correct. He was trying to grab her attention. She grinned. “I expect he was asking me about something. I really can’t remember now. It was a long time ago. Too long.”





*************************************




Severus Snape strode along the corridors that led to the staircase to Dumbledore’s office, his black robes trailing behind him, fluttering in the breeze behind him. It was a familiar route, and one that was blessed today with tranquillity and peace without the manic footsteps of dunderhead students chatting about nothing in particular. As he made his way up the stone staircase to the office, Snape wondered whether this year was his year. Was this why he had been summoned here? If it was his year, it had been a long time coming. The Dada post was the one he felt he could fill and, in doing so, gain his personal glory. A feeling of power which being the Potions Master could not give. It was a poor second best. They would all learn to respect and revere him then. There would be no question of his loyalties or sniggering as once again he missed out. He would be great. He would get what he so richly deserved, after years of waiting and forced patience.


The office was apparently empty as he entered it, and so he stood and waited for the old man to come down and greet him. This was where he would like to be, when the time was right. This was where he would like to end his career. Here, in the very top of all that was Hogwarts. Professor S Snape, Headmaster of Hogwarts. Yes, there was a certain ring to it; he had to agree with the hungry ambitious voice that entered his thoughts as he pondered over his own future.


“Ah, Severus. Thank you for joining me today. Do please be seated.”


Albus Dumbledore greeted his Potions master like an old friend, and slowly came down to greet him. He looked down at the man before him and felt a little wary today of his task ahead. He knew this had been a long time coming. This could shape the man’s future. It was imperative that he was honest with him now. There was no escaping the inevitable. He walked towards Fawkes, his magnificent phoenix, and fed him a little, stroking the bird while talking to his companion.


“You no doubt understand why you are here again, Severus.”


“I can guess, Headmaster,” he replied, tersely.


“Yes, of course you can. I am afraid the Board of Governors decided against your application to teach the defence against the Dark Arts this year, Severus. The decision was unanimous this year. After consultation with parents and staff, it was decided, in light of recent events within the Wizarding community, to bring back Remus Lupin as our Professor this year. His experience outweighed your own and he was so well received by most of the students when he was here that their children persuaded the parents. He was a popular choice.”



Snape swallowed the bitter pill and grimaced. Lupin? The damn werewolf was chosen over him? But why? The man was a liability and yet he was the chosen one. Why oh why? The rest of Dumbledore’s words seem to fade away as his anger and frustration vented out. He had to challenge him. This was truly outrageous. What was he thinking of? How dare he?


“May I suggest that Lupin is no less of a threat than he was when he was here last?”


Dumbledore peered slowly over the top of his glasses that had edged down to the bottom of his nose. “As I was about to say, Severus, certain precautions have been taken to ensure there is not a repeat performance of the accidents of a few summers ago. The parents have been assured that two days before, during, and two days after his transformations, he will be away from Hogwarts in a place of safety, with a companion to assist his recovery.”


Snape struggled to contain his fury and disgust. Why should this poor excuse of a man have special treatment? Had he not always served Dumbledore well? He folded his arms and turned his head towards the Headmaster so that a lock of his dark hair fell across his face. Irritated he pulled it out of his eyes, and flicked his curtain of hair back. “Companion? And where will this recovery take place?”


Dumbledore walked back over to his desk, and sat in the leather chair, leaning back a little to get a better view of the angry young man before him. This was developing as he had expected. He must prepare for this. Stand his ground. He knew what to expect. “Grimmauld Place. We have agreed with Harry that this is the right course of action. It is better for all concerned in the long term. Harry will feel safe in the knowledge that he has Remus close by and Grimmauld Place will have someone there to keep house now that Kreacher is no longer there. Harry will have no house elves int eh house. He has been adamant about it. The companion I speak of is someone else from your past, Severus. Someone you know well.”


Dumbledore paused as he weighed up his words. How to tell him. This would not be easy. Pausing for a slow intake of breath, which he exhaled steadily, he began to explain what he should have explained to Severus Snape nearly 20 years ago. “ I have to tell you something now, Severus, which, if I had been allowed to do so, I would have told you a very long time ago. I want you to understand, however, that I had no choice but to deceive you. I was sworn to secrecy and I have upheld her wishes for all this time.”


Snape frowned at these words and sat uncomfortably in his chair. Deceived? Dumbledore had deceived him? To hell with this man and his riddles. A thousand thoughts swam around in his confused and worried mind, but he contained them, and stared into the brilliant blue eyes of the old man, waiting for him to reply.


“The person who has agreed to come back to assist us in our time of need is a witch by the name of Sylvie O’Brien. She will be trained in dealing with every eventuality and will be perfectly safe, you understand. There will be no risk to her personal safety. She has spent many years living as a Muggle in the rural areas of Ireland, but has now decided, in light of Voldemort’s return, that it is time to come home.”


Snape swallowed. Surely this was not happening. Surely this was not who he hoped it could be. Could she really still be alive? He needed to know, and yet there was apprehension in his heart. His curiosity got the better of him, and he spoke in a barely audible whisper while avoiding the old man‘s eye contact. “You said I knew her.”


Dumbledore attempted to stare into the dark, expressionless eyes of his companion and tried to anticipate his reaction to what he was about to tell him. He failed. “Yes Severus, you do indeed. But you know her better as Silvana.”


Snape let out a choked gasp and closed his eyes to the inhabitants of the room. Silvana? His sister, Silvana? He hadn’t seen her in all these years, and now, all of a sudden, she was to come back to him. Never any communication or knowledge of her whereabouts. He had asked so many times and he always got a negative reply or a feeble answer spoken in riddles. And there stood this man, this old fool now telling him not only was his sister alive, but well. Well enough to nursemaid a werewolf. The anger welled up inside him again, and his fury was almost too much to bear. Snape felt it inside him, burning in his lungs, choking him, twisting his innards with a sickening pain. He had been cheated and lied to by a man he trusted. He had thought the worst of his sister for all these years and now to discover she was alive and well. It was too much. He opened his eyes and stared at the old wizard, shaking his head in disbelief. “She is alive? And she is to come here?”


“Yes, Severus.”


He was livid now. He should feel joy at this news that he had waited for for so long, but all he felt was resentment and mistrust. Staring down at the desk before him, not bearing to look at Dumbledore for fear of what he would do, he shook visibly and closed his eyes. Silvana was alive. She was coming home to him. His sister was alive. And yet he could hear a voice inside him, a cold, embittered, callous voice that haunted his dreams and made him fear the darkness of sleep. It was his voice. He called to him, taunted him like his father had before. ‘He lied to you, Severus. The old man lied and you believed him.’ Was it him? Was this really the Dark Lord? Or was this his inner voice now? Were they so different anymore? Yes, whoever it was, they were right. He had lied. And Severus Snape was yet again the fool. But no more. No more. He stood up from his chair, and menacingly leaned across the desk, the echoing scrap of the furniture as he stood ringing in his ears, just like the high pitched laughter of his Master.


And there it was. His Master. Was that the truth? He had tried to fight the voices but they were too strong now. Especially now. Now he knew the truth the voices mocked him for all the effort and pain of the last 14 years. How he had suffered at Hogwarts. How he had always suffered here. He felt it was his penance, his duty, but he had been wrong. Snape narrowed his eyes at the weak fool before him, and for the first time in his life he felt nothing but resentment and betrayal when he looked at those piercing blue eyes. He had deceived him. He searched for the question that he longed to ask, and finally the muscles of his throat relaxed to allow him to speak in stilted tones.


“And just how long….just how long have you known?”


And the words he wanted to hear were returned to him in such calm and indifferent tones that he wanted to scream.


“I have always known, Severus. I have always known since the moment she left you all those years ago.”


And with that, Severus Snape turned from the desk and stormed out of the door, leaving the old wizard stood silent and still, with his head bowed in despair.



Chapter 3: The Wise One
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The Wise One




The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool. William Shakespeare, "As You Like It", Act 5 scene 1 …




She is there again, like she has been since she knew she was returning home. Her breathing is quickening as yet again she sees his face against hers, feels his breath against her skin. The smell, the taste of him is unforgettable, even in her deep slumber. She will never be rid of him entirely. But this time it is different. This time she sees a chink of light at the door. This time someone is walking in to save her from her fate. This time she sees a hint of promise, and wave of black robes as the door begins to open. This time they can hear her screams. So near, and yet so far away from her, she reaches out with her hand while pushing him away. All the time she pushed him away. Every time. She calls out to her saviour, but the door begins to close again. He cannot hear her. He must hear her or else all is lost. He must hear her now for she has come for him, to save him. Save him from himself. But the door closes again and she is subjected to the nightmare that she lived so long ago. And then back to the clearing. They are there with her, but they do not hear her either. She knows they are in danger. Why will no one listen to her? Why must they always ignore her pleas? She tried to save them. She tried to save herself. She must save her brother. She must right the wrongs of the past.


“Severus!”



“Sorry Miss. I did knock. I just came in to see if you were alright. I heard voices you see. Sounded like you had trouble. Just thought I‘d bring in your breakfast for you, as you looked a little peaky when you came in last night. A good breakfast is what you‘ll be needing, I said when I saw you.”



Silvana gathered the crumpled sheets around her and sat upright in the unfamiliar bed, blinking in shock at the maid before her. The night had been a restless one throughout, and the arduous journey down to Hogsmeade had not helped in the slightest. Weary from her sleep, irritated by the intrusion, she waved the girl away, though, unlike her brother, she smiled kindly as she did so, and muttered a genuine ‘Thank you‘ as she saw the breakfast tray. The mark of the difference between them. He was their father’s son; she was her mother’s daughter, and yet there was an essence in them that was identical. They had lived the same early life, experienced the same hardships, been dealt the same tribulations, until that day in September. And then they became so very different. And yet the certain similarity was still there.


Silvana rubbed her eyes, and sighed as she ran her hand through her long hair, still matted a little from the night’s slumber. The tea and toast looked unappetising as she bent across to see what the maid had left for her, and instead she rose out of her bed and walked across the room, pulling back the curtains to witness the day ahead. She had a clear view of the main street of Hogsmeade, and the bustling crowd of shopkeepers dealing with their deliveries brought a sense of security to her, which she was grateful for. It had been so long since she had been this close to Wizards in this proximity, and she was wary of their presence. And yet she was a Witch. She bit her lip down, chewing at the inner corner of her mouth as she watched them silently go about their day, unaware of the dark, penetrating stare above them.


Having had her reassuring glance, she returned to the crumpled bed, and decided to begin the breakfast to see if her stomach would settle. The butterflies within had been ceaseless since she had stepped off the train at the station, and nothing seemed to help. The room she was in was a little bare for her tastes, and its blandness reflected the dry toast she now chewed upon, forcing herself to eat, though her stomach begged to differ. Her insides rumbled in protest. In the depths of her mind there was a cry for freedom, and one that she had to ignore. This was her home now, until she moved to the new place, and her visitor would be here soon.


As she chewed and swallowed her final bite of toast, and washed it down with the tea, she pondered as to how Dumbledore would tell her brother of the news of her arrival. Did he already know? She thought he must. Was he angry with her for making Dumbledore lie all these years? Yes, if he were the man the boy implied he would be, he would be furious. Just as her father had been when she left. Oh how her brother must have suffered. How they had both suffered, in their own way.


Placing her tea tray down on the bedside cabinet, she grasped at the robe draped across the wicker chair next to her, and rose to have a shower. Untying her long hair from its clip, she felt the freedom as it fell to her shoulders and tickled the sensitive skin. Turning the shower on to warm she undressed, letting the garments fall to the floor as she tentatively reached into the jet of water to check its warmth. Once it had warmed enough she stepped in, and let the spray caress her face, relaxing a little as it did so. This was not enough. She turned the dial to strengthen the power of the water jets, letting the water pummel her aching muscles. It was only a temporary solution to her stresses and concerns, but for now it would have to do.


Rubbing the lavender scented shampoo into her hair, she massaged her scalp, and the scent reminded her of the garden where she and her brother had once played when they were small. That was such a peaceful time, when their father was away and their mother was in charge of them. There had been a small herb garden that their mother had used to brew all sorts of potions and concoctions for the children, and the smells hit her senses as if she were there. It was laid out in small, even squares, edged with box hedging It was all expertly planted, clipped, weeded and kept in pristine fashion, until her death. And then he had grassed it over, as if it had never existed. She recalled her brother’s cries of joy as he ran around the garden, and then tears of sadness as he fell, and grazed his knee on the pebbled pathway to the house. He always ran to Silvana, even then. Their mother was often too ill to be there for him. A wave of nauseous guilt ran over her body, and she felt a shiver run down her spine. She had left him alone. What chance did he ever have when she left? She had protected him, mothered him, and then she left him. Abandoned him without a seconds thought, and yet she had to. She knew she could not stay, and he had known that too.


Towelling herself off, she began to dress and prepare for her visitor. An elegant, buttoned blouse, cream in colour, never white. She never wore white. A full-length skirt, dark velvet and soft against her skin. She stepped into the skirt, pulling it up to fasten, and buttoned the blouse up to her neck, wincing slightly as the last button constricted her neck a little. She must have gained weight, she thought. Glancing in the mirror, she smoothed down the skirt and straightened her spine, staring at her reflection. This was her now. And she was home. There was one thing missing and that was safely tucked away in a small box, in the office of the man who was to greet her but twenty minutes later.


She had anticipated his arrival in her mind for some time. It had been a while since anyone had visited her by Floo, but she was ready for the familiar sounds, though the magic made her a little nervous now. So, when Silvana heard a knock at the door, she found herself somewhat surprised to see Dumbledore stood in the corridor waiting for her to answer his call. She smiled apprehensively, and bowed her head a little to the great wizard before her in a show of utter respect as she let him in to her room.


Watching him as he moved, she realised he had aged much since her school days, but his elegance remained, and today he looked particularly calm and resplendent in robes of the deepest amethyst colour. His snowy white beard and hair contrasted against the youth in his eyes, and Silvana looked upon him, knowing her fears were unfounded with him. With Dumbledore she always felt safe. She always had.


Waving her hand forwards, she ushered him to sit down in the chair. After the normal pleasantries, and asking him if she should order tea, which she did, Silvana perched herself on the bed, crossing her legs and arms as she did so, still uncomfortable in his presence. He sensed her discomfort and smiled.


“And how does it feel to be home amongst us again, Silvana? A little daunting I suspect.”


She shrugged her shoulders and shuffled her feet, balancing on her hands slightly to tuck her feet underneath the edge of the bed. She felt like the young, shy pupil once again. “ I have to admit it is a little nerve-wracking.”


Dumbledore nodded and sighed. “Yes, I feared as much, which is why I chose not to Floo here. A little difficult in these times too. You cannot be too careful. You never know who is watching and waiting. However, I did not wish to scare you half to death on your first day back. I am sure you have some questions for me.”


The awkwardness of the conversation was interrupted by a knock at the door, and the young maid who had brought Silvana breakfast that morning arrived with a steaming hot pot of tea, which she poured for the guests. Both Dumbledore and Silvana thanked her for her kindness, and she bid a hasty retreat, sensing her intrusion. Silvana cupped the china in her hand and sipped the warm liquid as she began the conversation again.


“You answered many of them for me the last time we met. I am still uncertain as to why my presence is required after all this time. Why must you protect my brother so? Is it because of the Potter boy? Have you seen his fate now…my brother‘s that is?”


“No. Harry will have to face Voldemort whatever path your brother chooses to take. Severus faces choices. He has to make his own decisions, and I cannot spare the time to supervise him as much as I would like to, and indeed have done in the past. He is in need of your guidance now, not mine. He is an important part of the team that I cannot afford to lose.”


Silvana looked across at her old Headmaster and noticed the weary expression driven into his craggy and yet kind face. She didn’t know whether to be angry with him for bringing her back, or whether to thank him wholeheartedly. Only time would tell. She pondered his words, and tried to visualise her brother’s face, wondering how he looked now. Would she still even recognise him? Shy, and uncomfortable, she looked down at her china cup, watching the steam from the tea rise, swirling through the air, and she frowned.


“I have missed so much with Severus. He was but 17 years old when I left him behind, just as old as Harry is now and as old as Colm was back then…when he…”


Witnessing her pain, Dumbledore interrupted her thoughts and spoke in a soothing tone. “Your brother is still, in essence, the boy you left behind. He just thought he was a man all those years ago. Indeed he fought as a man back then, but I watched as the young boy within the façade he created wept for those he had killed, and for his own life that he had forsaken in joining Lucius Malfoy, and Voldemort. He tried to redeem himself, with my guidance, being by my side and following my lead. His choice of career was all my doing. I fear now he has regrets. His bitterness is too much to just ignore.”


Silvana placed the cup into the saucer, her hand shaking a little now on the mention of that man’s name. “Are you saying he is undecided? That he will return to Voldemort?”


Dumbledore sipped his tea, and nodded to Silvana. “There is a conflict within him which has strengthened on Voldemorts return, yes. He lives his life in fear, though his fears are silent. Those who fear can be manipulated. Severus will always obey, just as your father taught him to, and to his leader Severus will be loyal without question but…”


“Which leader will he trust in?”


“Quite.” Dumbledore lowered his face to allow the glasses to slip down his nose, and he peered over at Silvana to gauge her reaction. She was deep in thought for a while, looking towards the window as if the answers all appeared to her there. He smiled as her gaze returned to meet his. She whispered her answer to him.


“I can feel his sorrow, even though we have been apart.”


Her companion nodded in agreement. He understood her. “Yes, I had thought as much. You always had a strong bond, you two. All the years of silent thoughts and secret messages in your childhood made a connection that even now is unbreakable. He became a skilled Occlumens, and I believe a lot of that is down to you, Silvana. You taught him how to cope with your father, and you lived for so long in your own private world. Adversity brings out the most curious strengths in us all. I saw it with you and your brother, with James and the Marauders; at least most of them, and now the bonds between Harry and his friends are just as strong. Binds that tie, and bonds that cannot be broken. That is why you are here, why I asked you to come home.”


“To persuade him to follow you still?” she questioned him, though she thought she already knew the answer.


“To help choose the right path for him. To make his own choices and to ensure history does not repeat itself. To build his own future, while he is still able to have one. Plus there is Remus Lupin to consider.”


The name startled her a little. “Remus? What do I have to do with him? Apart from the transformations, which I still find so shocking. I never knew, until you told me recently.”


The old wizard smiled kindly. “Yes, we all have our secrets, Silvana. It will be shocking at first. Remus is a lonely soul, when by nature he needs friends around him, a group, a pack, if you will. He struggles with Harry, just as he struggled a little with James and Sirius. Discipline is not a strong point of his, but then I am a little soft with the boy myself. He loves Harry, but the boy is an angry young man, frustrated with his life. He is angry with us all. You will understand, I think.”


Silvana frowned, and looked deeper into those bright blue eyes. “ Understand Harry? Because of Severus or Colm?”


“Both. And, of course, you will assist with his transformations as you rightly mentioned. You have read all the literature that Poppy Pomfrey sent you, I trust?”


Silvana nodded with enthusiasm. “Yes. I am amazed there is so much to learn. I knew him, and yet I didn’t. Severus never told me, but I knew he hated him. Well, all of them, actually.” She bit at her lower lip, a little embarrassed on her brother’s behalf, remembering how he used to complain about them, and how she would shake her head at him for not trying harder to get along with them as she did, though she knew deep down it was an impossible task. He would never see them with the same eyes that she did. Dumbledore smiled, recalling the past in his mind.


“Mmm. Your brother was sworn to secrecy later in his school years. There was an unfortunate incident with Sirius Black.”


Silvana giggled at her own memories and glanced over at the Headmaster. “Tell me a time when there wasn’t! I don’t know how many times I covered for those Marauders when I was a prefect.” Her smile faded as she reminded herself of the task ahead this afternoon. Sirius’ memorial. “ Poor Sirius. Such a bright light to fade away so cruelly.”


“Indeed Silvana. The horrors of years in Azkaban may have dimmed the light within, but Sirius was still as vibrant as the star he was named after.”


Pursing her lips together, Silvana shrugged her shoulders and sighed once more. ! I wish I could have seen him.”


“He would probably prefer you to remember him for the boy he was, not the man he became. I seem to recall that you and he had an understanding.” Dumbledore winked suggestively, and Silvana finally relaxed, grinning from ear to ear as she did so.


“Ha! If you mean I turned a blind eye to half of his pranks, then yes! The agreement was that I did that as long as he helped me with my Transfiguration homework. He was always good at that.” Again the old wizard smirked at the woman he was so fond of.


“Yes. More than you can imagine, my dear. I seem to remember he caused a slight scandal by asking you to the Yule Ball one year, too.”


“Only to annoy Severus, and I refused him. He was so cheeky, bless him. And Harry? Is he like James?”


Dumbledore sighed wearily, as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. “Yes, he is though he also has his mother’s temperament and nature too.”


“A curious mix. But I find children often are a mixture. I know Colm was. He had his father’s eyes and temper. Too much like him for my liking.” She swallowed the bitter taste that had risen in her mouth. Even now the memory saddened her. Would it ever fade away? Dumbledore smiled kindly, feeling her grief within.


“It must have been hard for you, when they died.”


“It was, though time heals a little, but never enough.”


Dumbledore slowly rose from his seat and smiled as Silvana rose with him. He took her hand in his own, and raising it to his lips he kissed it with great affection.


“Now I must return. You will come to the service later?” Silvana nodded to confirm her intentions.


“Yes, I will be there. And my brother?” Dumbledore shook his head.


“In the school, but not in the service. I think perhaps it is for the best.”

“Am I to understand they were still enemies, he and Sirius?”


“Yes, and he has made one of young Harry too, I’m afraid.”


Silvana shook her head in disbelief. Was her brother so like their father now? “Unfortunate. I will see what I can do.”


“Thank you, my dear. And now I must do for you what I have waited to do for a very long time.”



He reached into his robes and pulled out a slender wooden box, made of the darkest oak. Handing it to Silvana gently, she looked up at him with a slight smile and took the box tentatively. He knew her hesitation, and smiled at her with a reassuring glance. Opening the box, shaking a little as she did, she removed its contents and the feeling rose within her that she had forgotten all these years. This was her wand. It was still a part of her, and he had kept it for her, though she had discarded it as she left the wizarding world to make her own life. Feeling apprehensive, she looked down at her trembling arm, her hand still holding the slim wand. Her heart pounded so much she felt she would faint.


“I hardly know whether it’s of any use to me now. It feels too strange. And yet I know it is right.” Dumbledore placed his hand upon her shoulder and her breathing calmed a little.



“It is your wand Silvana. However much you deny it to yourself, however much twenty years difference has made to your life, there is one thing that remains. You are a witch. A witch with powers that you cannot forget, or ignore forever. Embrace them, Silvana. They are who you are - a part of you. They are you, Silvana. This is where you belong.”



She looked up as he opened the door to leave her, and she smiled at him, just as he did the same. “Thank you, Dumbledore. I will see you later.”


“Thank you Silvana. And welcome home.”

























Chapter 4: In living memory
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In living memory

To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die.
~Thomas Campbell, Hallowed Ground





He touched the glass pane, tracing the silvery path that the solitary raindrop had left behind. As it made its way down to the windowsill to join the torrent that now fell from the sky, Remus smirked a little, watching the deluge that had not ceased since noon. Typical British summertime, he pondered. The unpredictability of the British weather was a subject that many spoke of in jest and in fury, but Remus Lupin welcomed it today with open arms. The changing four seasons in one day were, in their own unique way, a constant that he needed. Who could tell what the weather would bring? A regular event that his heart felt contented with. And comfort was needed today. He needed some stability in his unstable life.


Today he didn’t feel like socialising. He wished he was back at Grimmauld Place as his finger began to unconsciously trace an ‘S’ shape across the cool glass. He repeated the action time and time again, as if it would take him back in time. Back to the Marauder‘s time. Back to Sirius‘ time. In the beginning, he had faced the unending cups of tea and sympathy that Sirius’ death had brought. The knowing hand upon the shoulder, the deliberate nod or smile as he entered the room. He so wished he was back there, cocooned against this day, with just he and Harry for company. Just as it had been recently since he had been trusted to look after the boy. Just Remus and Harry, and no prying eyes. It was better that way. Safer. No one asked the hard questions; no one smiled as if they understood how he felt. Were they so alone, like he was? No. Of course not. Everybody had somebody.


As he turned around to look in the vacant room before him, he realised it was basically unchanged from when he had been a lad here, growing up. Different faces lived here now, but probably the conversations were just the same. Essays, tutorials, girls, Quidditch, Snape being an insufferable prat. Voldemort. Yes, nothing changed. And yet everything changed in such a short space of time. Where had the years gone? He had no answers, not for him or for Harry. Nothing made sense to either of them anymore, if it ever had. He strained to hear the echoes of a dim and distant past as he looked across the room, whispers from friends long gone. He was sure sometimes he had heard his laugh, or captured his voice trailing on the wind. But, whenever he looked behind him, there was no one there. And there never would be again. He turned back to the windowpane and began to watch the rain falling from the sky. It would soon be time to leave his sanctuary.



He sat in the empty Gryffindor tower and he watched and waited for the guests to arrive. The Minister, the foolish Fudge, arrived fashionably early, looking smug, as if this had all been his idea. Remus didn’t smile when he saw him arrive. Then the Weasleys - all dressed in black, contrasting against the fiery red of their hair. He smiled a little, and hoped they had gone to find Harry and Ron, who had already been there for his friend. A pang of envy mixed with anger swept about him as he thought of Harry and his friends. At least he had them, he thought. At least he can turn to them. I have no one now.


The next two figures in black made him shift a little in his seat. Tonks. Nymphadora Tonks and her mother, Andromeda. Oh, Sirius would be delighted she had come. He often talked of her as a favourite, and Remus finally broke into a smile as she lowered her Shield Charm, which she had used as an umbrella, to enter the entrance and make her way to the Great Hall. They would all come, and he must join them. Reluctantly, he shifted down from the window seat and paced across the room, turning one final time to see if anything had changed to the scene. Nothing had changed. Sirius was still dead. It was all still the same. And the rain still poured from the sky.



Had Remus Lupin stayed at the window for just a minute longer, he would have noticed the woman, dressed in a hooded black robe and high-heeled shoes, whose forthcoming presence he mused over the most. The afternoon rain had not dampened Silvana’s resolve to come here one bit, and she stepped through the grounds, having met Hagrid at the entrance gates. Her graceful stride grew with confidence at every step, as if the sight of the old place gave her strength. If she ever doubted her judgement in coming home, she folded it up into the back of her mind in that moment. She felt alive here: for the first time in many years a little spark of electricity ran through her, though it was the most sombre of days. The hairs on the back of her neck began to stand on end as her black robes billowed elegantly behind her, revealing a long, dark skirt and a hint of the long legs she possessed. She really was home. But such a shame she had to return on this of all days.



The figure just in front of her on the old stone steps turned, lowered her magical umbrella, and stopped dead at the sight of the elegant figure behind her. The redheaded woman squinted a little, as if unable to believe her eyes, and then broke into a welcoming smile. Silvana hesitated too as she did a double take at the face before her, and then she recalled the woman who she had known so well all those years ago.



“Silvana?”

“Andromeda?”


The two women smiled, and to the astonishment of her daughter, Andromeda Tonks ran over to the saturated woman in black and hugged her. Eventually, she walked over to them at the entrance, and Andromeda spun her around elated, like an over-excited child, and then frowned at her elegant and yet soaked appearance.


“What happened to you? You’re soaked!”


“I completely forgot to bring an umbrella!” Silvana laughed, still shaking her head at her old friend.


“Silly! What about your wand? What on earth do you need an umbrella for when you have your wand?” she laughed, astonished at the answer her old school friend had given her. This was sensible Silvana Snape, one of the most gifted and thoughtful witches of her year. Surely she hadn’t changed that much.


“Oh, I’ve changed a lot since we last met, Andromeda!” Silvana muttered with a twinkle in her eye. Andromeda widened her eyes at her friend and hit her playfully on the arm, tilting her head to one side to mock her old companion. “Yeah, but you haven’t changed so much as you can still use that old trick on me, you sly old devil! You were always too damned good at that.”


Ashamed of her childish prank, Silvana blushed. “Sorry. I just couldn’t resist.“


Andromeda tugged at her daughter’s sleeve and the young witch took notice. “Nymphadora, this is Silvana…sorry I don’t know your married name.”


Silvana stepped forwards and held out her gloved hand, still sodden from all the rain. “O’Brien. But please don’t worry about that. You can call me Silvana, Nymphadora.”


Tonks shook her hand in an animated way, taking Silvana a little by surprise as she tripped forwards. “And please, call me Tonks.”


Silvana frowned. “Ok then, Tonks.”


Andromeda crossed her arms and tutted. “I don’t know, you give your child a perfectly good name and she insists on only using her surname!”


Tonks shot her mother a knowing look and hissed at her. “Mum, not now, alright. We need to go in. Leave this for another time, please. Poor Harry doesn’t need us arguing again.”


Silvana smiled at the chastised older woman, and Andromeda nodded at her daughter. “Yes, you are so right, Dora. Dear boy, and poor Sirius. I just wish I could have seen him before…well you know.”


Tonks held her Mum’s arm as Andromeda reached for a handkerchief from inside her top pocket and blew her nose. Her daughter looked a little embarrassed, though from her appearance Silvana could see that Andromeda had not been the only one to shed a tear or two that day. “Come on, Mum. Let’s go and find the rest of them. I promised Remus I’d help out, didn’t I? And I’m on duty here too.”


Silvana baulked a little at these words. “On duty?”


Andromeda broke into a smile. “Oh yes, Silv‘! She’s an Auror. My little girl is an Auror! Ted and I, that’s her Dad…we’re so proud of her. Worried of course, especially now, but very proud.”


Silvana smiled, and as she followed the two women into the hall, and the guests to remember Sirius Black, she muttered, “Yes you must be very proud. She is a beautiful daughter you have there. Take care of her.”



******************************************************




Silvana had intended to stay out of the way of the main throng of guests, and take a discreet view of the proceedings from the rear of the hall. However, with her daughter on duty at the entrance to the Hall, Andromeda would not hear of it, and insisted Silvana sit with her, towards the front. Silvana faced forwards as she took her seat and saw the young visage of Sirius Black, in a photograph, staring back at her. It was a perfect picture, showing his mischievous, and yet haughty, handsome face. She looked intently at it for a moment, but her concentration was broken by the sobs of Andromeda, mixed with a stilted running commentary of the event taking place. Silvana smiled a little from the corner of her mouth. Andromeda had always been able to talk for England, which was just as well as Silvana had been a reserved girl at first. They had complimented each other well. She jumped as her friend prodded her in the leg.


“Look, there’s the Weasleys. That one there…the boy…is Harry’s best friend, Ron. Pretty girl they have too, but those twins of theirs…my! What a handful! But my Dora is fond of them. Oh, I wonder who they are.”


Silvana looked across to where Andromeda had nodded. But her gaze was captured by the sight of all the Gryffindor banners around the edges of the hall being flown at half-mast and wavering in the ghostly breeze. The ominous sight brought a lump to her throat, even though she was a Ravenclaw. The tears began to well in the backs of her brown eyes, and she blinked to suppress them. Perhaps she was too hasty in coming. Perhaps she should have stayed in Ireland. This brought back her own ghosts. They were not yet laid to rest. She could feel them, especially her boy. Yes, he should have been here by now. He would have been a Ravenclaw. But he could have been a Slytherin like his Uncle. Like his father. Like his grandfather before him. She shuddered, and was grateful to hear Andromeda still talking. Her voice pulled her out of the depths.


“Oh, that’s Hermione, I think, and…oh that’s dear Neville Longbottom, Silv. You remember Alice and Frank, don’t you?”


Silvana nodded. “Yes, I do. Frank was a prefect when I was. Alice adored him! Dumbledore told me about them. Gosh, doesn’t he look like Alice?”



“Yes. My Ted's Muggle-born, you know. Someone said you married a Muggle, Silv. Is that right? We have so much to catch up on. Where did you go? What did you do? I want to know it all.” She grabbed at Silvana’s hand and Silvana reciprocated the gesture with a squeeze of her fingertips.


“I’ll talk to you soon, but not now. Oh look! Is that Harry?”


A shudder flew through her body again as she witnessed the boy walking to the front of the hall, all eyes upon him and his companion. Silvana remembered the photograph of all her friends, and could see James and Lily within Harry as soon as she set eyes on him. No wonder Severus hated him. He must stir a curious loathing within her brother even now. He looked across at her unfamiliar face, but bowed his head down, averting his eyes as he did. And her heart reached out to him as only a mother could. She watched silently as Andromeda reached out for the man beside him, and patted his hand. He smiled kindly, and Silvana swallowed the lump in her throat as she saw the exhausted figure of Remus Lupin look across at her. She nodded and smiled, but he was too emotional to respond, and he walked away, head bowed, just as Harry did. She understood his pain only too well.


And then they all rose from their seats as Dumbledore took to the stand at the front of the room, and began to read a eulogy about their friend and relation. She handed another handkerchief to her companion as she struggled to hide her sorrow. But Silvana had shed so many tears these past years she could find none to fall to her reddened cheeks. She heard him speak of Sirius’ bravery, of his courage in adversity, of his spirit, but all she heard were their voices calling to her. They had been brave and courageous too, she thought. But they had not listened to her, and she had to make them listen now.

We loved you. We came to save you.

I told you to stay at home. I told you to never look for him.

But we could not leave things as they were.

You should have stayed at home. Why didn’t you listen to me?

Because we loved you. Because you were in danger.

But I told you to go. I loved you too, and now I have no one.

That isn’t true. You must see the truth, Silvana.

Who will love me? Who will love someone as tainted as me? I am not worthy and I can never tell them. I will never tell him the truth. I cannot tell him, for to tell him would be to admit it happened. Do you not see? Why did you not listen to me?



Her silent inner cries were distracted by events at the front of the hall. There was shouting, and a disturbance that until now she had been unaware of. Harry was up from his seat, and a chubby, older man had taken Dumbledore’s place. Remus was struggling to control the boy, and Dumbledore was looking tired of trying. Andromeda grasped her hand as the scene unfolded before their eyes.


“Oh my, Silv! Do you think we should help them? Fudge should never have come. He disturbs the boy too much, and after all that he has said.”


Fudge, she thought? Oh, the Minister for Magic. Oh dear, he had struck a nerve and now he must pay. She recognised the look of fury on Harry’s face and she remembered the look of fury on Colm’s face when she had told him the truth. He had hated her. Hated her so much that she thought her heart would break. Oh yes, she knew hatred when she saw it. The young man swept from the Hall, chased by his friends and a worried Remus Lupin, and the Minister stood open mouthed and speechless. Silvana felt his eyes upon her as soon as the small party had left the hall. She knew she would be called upon, and she turned to face the old man’s brilliant blue eyes.

Go to him now, Silvana. You of all people will understand his pain. You know which one needs you the most. I will leave the judgement up to you.


Silvana nodded to Dumbledore, and placed a hand upon Andromeda’s shoulder to indicate she must leave.


“Where are you off to, Silv? He doesn’t know you, and the kid will sort him out. He can’t go far. Better to let him have his grief and let it out, I say.”


“I agree, Andromeda. It is not Harry who I wish to speak to.”


“Oh! Well you go then.”



Andromeda shifted to let her pass and Silvana hurriedly made her way out of the entrance, smiling sympathetically at the frustration on Tonk’s face, as she could not leave her sentry position on the door, even for a friend. Silvana whispered to her.


“I’ll try and talk to both of them, if they let me.”



Wandering out of the hall, she felt as if she had never left these hallowed grounds. The cool breeze that threatened Autumn blew against her face, though she was grateful the wind had ceased. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed the three teenagers talking animatedly by the Quidditch pitch, being followed now by the Weasley twins. There were two elder men, who she could only presume from their hair colouring were their brothers. At least Harry was well looked after, she thought. There was nothing more there for her to do yet. She looked around her and scanned the scene for Remus. Perhaps, she pondered, he did not wish to be found. Perhaps he had wished to be left alone. But she could not do that to him. She had to find him, and then she realised just where he was.



The afternoon rain had left a damp blanket of fine mist upon the grass, and the bright sun that now shone made the steam rise from the green carpet as she walked towards the lake. She felt the wetness rise into her shoes as she strode along in the grass, but ignored the sensation as she saw him, gazing across the horizon of the lake. As she neared him, she slowed down, though she knew he had sensed her a long time ago. He did not turn to see her, but spoke aloud as he still stared ahead.


“Beautiful scenery, isn’t it? I used to love coming down here as a boy. Especially in the summer, on an afternoon such as this. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss really, being back here. I didn’t want to hear that fool babbling on about Sirius anymore. What did he know about him? What does anyone know? He was my friend, not theirs.”


Silvana approached him cautiously, and stood beside him, at arms length, watching the horizon with him. The lake was beautiful, and she too used to sit here on lazy summer afternoons and watch the world go by. She smiled, not looking at him.


“Life was simple back then, Remus. It all seemed to be so simple. And as for the Minister, well, he had to do his job, I suppose, but yes, he is an idiot. Or at least from what I can see of him he is. Sirius was a brave man who was dealt a poor hand. He was unique.” She giggled at her recollections. “A sod sometimes, of course! Cheeky too, but a wonderful boy who I can only presume grew up into a fine man, and a dear friend to you, Remus. They all were. I know it is hard to be the one left behind.”


Remus frowned, walked to the edge of the lake and picked up a smooth stone he had spied on the stony ground, throwing it as far as he could to release his frustrations. Silvana laughed.


“Don’t hit the Squid like Sirius did once, or we’ll all be in trouble! Do you remember how I had to cover that one up from McGonagall before she expelled him? I‘d never lied so much before in my life! And I had to bribe half of the onlookers to keep their mouths shut.”


For the first time in weeks, Remus let out a laugh as he recalled the events of that day. He threw his head back and laughed from the pit of his stomach. But the laugh was a mask for his sorrow, and the forced chuckles of mirth soon turned to sobs, and he crouched down to his knees, ashamed to show his face to the woman before him. Silvana stepped to him now, and placed her arms about him, sitting down next to him on the damp grass, pulling his body into hers in a comforting embrace.


“Shssshhh, Remus. It’s ok to cry. Let it out. Harry is safe. He is with his friends now. Just let it all out.”


Between sobs he tried to speak. “I can’t do this. I can’t pretend everything is alright when it isn’t. I’ve lost so much, Silvana. James, Lily, Sirius, Peter, and others. Those who cannot bear to be with a man such as I. I have lost them all. I feel so wretched and alone, but I have to be strong, and yet I can’t. I find it so hard now. There seems to be only darkness. I find it so hard to remember the good times now when all around me is so bad. Why is that? Why? Why did he go to the Ministry, and why did she have to kill him? He was her cousin, for Merlin‘s sake! Did it mean nothing? How could anyone allow it to happen? For a man of such a free spirit to be incarcerated for so long and then suffer. How can it be fair? ”


She pulled him to her closer still, absorbing the violent sobs as he expressed his feelings. She bent her head to his and whispered to him gently like a mother to her child. “It will begin to lessen, Remus. There will be a time when the wounds will begin to heal and you can go on again, but it isn’t now. Do not expect too much of yourself. You are, to all intents and purposes, just a human. We have weaknesses. Even those who are werewolf need to grieve. It will get better, maybe not today, or tomorrow but soon. I promise you it will soon.”


Finally the grey-green eyes looked up to meet hers and his tear-stained face pulled at her heartstrings. He forced a smile and sat up beside her, looking awkward and ashamed of his outburst.

“I’m sorry I am such a fool.”

“I am sorry you think yourself to be a fool, when you clearly are not.”


He stared at her now, looking at her with fresh eyes and a calmer countenance. She had not changed much from the times he remembered her. A little older, perhaps, but still the same calm Silvana he had known. She was still a beautiful woman, he thought, as he stared at her deep brown eyes edged with a kiss of long, black eyelashes, and framed by her long, dark hair. He looked at her lips, so full and tinged with a hint of red that made her pale face come alive. Perfect skin on a perfect face. A sudden whisper of long lost feeling stirred inside him, but he chose to ignore it. Today was not the day. He had had his fingers burnt by a woman before, and now was not the time, if there ever would be a time. He had loved and lost: he would never do it again. To be left by one you loved was all too familiar and painful now. No one could be allowed to enter his heart again.



Startled a little by his sudden interest in her face, Silvana avoided his eye contact and started to rummage around in the deep pockets of her black robe. On reaching what she was looking for, she stopped, pulled out a packet and smiled as she unwrapped it. Remus looked down at her long, nimble fingers and realised what she was doing. He chuckled as she passed him some with a glint in her eye and a smirk on her face.


“Chocolate, Remus?”


He took a square or two of chocolate and gently tapped her outstretched hand.


“A girl after my own heart.”


“Well, I always say it’s the cure-all. Come now. Eat that, and then we must see what damage Harry has done to the world. I fear, if he is anything like the teenager I used to know, that this will be the least of your worries, my dear.”


She brushed off her robe as she rose from the ground, and Remus joined her slowly. Standing next to him, she smiled as he offered her his arm, which she took gratefully. They began to make their way across the grounds, back to the main entrance.


“Feel better now, Remus?”


“Yes. Thank you, Silvana.” he said awkwardly, ashamed she, of all people, should have seen his moment of weakness. As he looked at her familiar face he felt like he was 11 again. “ I must say I am so grateful to hear you’ll be helping me this year. I was surprised to hear you’d be coming back.”


Silvana smiled and squeezed his arm. “I was a little surprised myself Remus. Tell me, I have not seen my brother since he was 17. Is he all that I hear he is? Is he that bad?”


Remus smiled again, and looked at her, stopping in his tracks. “I couldn’t possibly comment, Silvana. Let us just say that I have never understood how on earth you two can be related to one another. And having seen you now, after all this time, I am even more perplexed. But you can ask him yourself, if you like. He is just over there, by the door. I will take you to him, if you wish.”


Silvana looked at Remus, and looked across to the shadowy figure staring out at them from the entrance of Hogwarts, unaccompanied, and dressed in black from head to toe. Her brother. Her darling younger brother. Oh, how she had waited for this day. She looked at Remus, and smiled at his kindly face.


“Yes, Remus. It is time I spoke to him. There is much we have to discuss. I owe him an explanation.”












































Chapter 5: Bitter sweet reunion
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A/N To those of you who have read the series of Shadows stories by Llewellyn McEllis, you may find later on in this story some similarities with Shadows. Llewellyn has kindly allowed me to allude to her series of stories. Therefore the Remus of my story is based on the one featured in those excellent works. Please note, however, that this is not written as a sequel to Shadows, but is merely my thoughts on how I would have Remus live many years later. A huge thank you to Llewellyn for allowing this to happen. BJ






Bitter sweet reunion

"No expectation is more frequently disappointed, than that which naturally arises in the mind from the prospect of meeting an old friend after long separation.”


Johnson: Idler #23 (September 23, 1758)






Remus and Silvana stepped hesitantly along the gravel pathway towards the ominous, shadowy figure that slowly became clearer as they edged closer still. Silvana tried to focus her eyes on the silhouette of the man before her. The face, the body, the physique were all matured and grown, and yet she saw the hint of the boy; the brother she had not seen in nearly twenty years. Without realising, as they came closer, she squeezed Remus’ hand as if frightened of the dark man joined to her by blood. And yet she was not frightened of him at all. She adored him, and always had. She was scared of what he had become, perhaps. Scared of those whose company he sought, and those he confided in. But she was not scared of her little brother, though he looked so like her father to her now. Yes, he was so like father; his eyes so dark and malevolent, that it could almost be him standing there. His presence was enough to scare her; just as her father had the last time she had seen him. But he was dead, and this was not him. She was safe.



Remus smiled sympathetically; leading her to the man she had missed all these years. But he sensed her trepidation. He could smell her fears and, knowing the man she had to confront, he pitied her. He nodded slightly, indicating he would take his leave, and then turned to Severus Snape, and looked at the expression in his colleague’s eyes. He was bewitched. Snape stood motionless; transfixed by the sight of the sister he had yearned for all this time. She was still the same woman: she still had the same poise and elegance he remembered. And beauty. Yes, his sister was so beautiful, unlike him. A gift to her from their mother. She still bore the same smiling eyes, the same long, dark hair of the Snapes, yet she too had changed. Her raven hair was swept up off her face in a ponytail, and her eyes were not as dark as he remembered them to be. She had a more feminine nose than he had and a softer face and countenance. They were alike visually and yet, on closer inspection, very different. There was sadness about her, an innocence lost. She looked weary, and had aged more than he had expected her to. She was still twenty-one in his dreams. He frowned as she came closer, hearing his inner voice chastise him, just as his father used to.


What did you expect? That time stood still, that she would still be young and vibrant? Time stands still for no one, Severus. You of all people should know the effects that the intervening years can take upon a soul you fool. Why should she be untainted by the curse of the Snape family? Wasn‘t it she who began our misfortune? Happiness will never find its way into our family. You are an idiot to think otherwise.

Snape stepped out of the shadowy protection of Hogwarts, and into the harsh daylight. Damn Lupin, he muttered. What had she been thinking of, running to the aid of the werewolf, rather than to seek him? What claim did that insufferable man have over her that he, as her only brother, did not? The Marauder claim. Just thinking of their pompous superiority made him drown in hatred. Years of verbal abuse at home, and then abuse here, at Hogwarts, still irked him to distraction. She used to enjoy their company, rather than his. She wasn’t even a Gryffindor, and yet she still managed to favour them. How could she stoop so low? And even now, here she was, back to help him, to be his nursemaid and servant. It was not to be borne that a Snape should serve a half-breed thing such as he. Why must he always have all that he wanted? Why must they all have possessed what he desired? And Potter too. Young Potter basked in the fame and glory while others toiled in his name. He could not bear it. He would not bear it. His deep-rooted envy did not allow him to.


Hesitantly, Silvana offered an outstretched hand to her brother, trembling a little as she did so. Remus began to step backwards, though still entranced by the reaction of the cold man whose sister was so warm and loving. Surely they were not from the same parents? He was reluctant to leave her in his company alone, though he knew he must return to Harry at some point soon. So it was with relief that he witnessed Snape gently take his sister’s offering and place a gentle kiss upon her pale knuckles, pulling her to him still further, and gazing at her face lovingly. There was no smile though. He would not allow himself such a luxury. At least not here, in front of him Remembering they had company, Severus glanced across at the still retreating Lupin, and glared at him, narrowing his eyes.



“Yes, Lupin. Perhaps it is time you went to find that errant charge of yours. I hear he has been uncontrollable once again. You would think he had learnt his lesson, seeing as last time he actually killed someone with his childish temper-tantrum.”



Fury rose up inside of him, but Remus controlled it well, and bit his lip, saying nothing. However, Silvana stood open-mouthed at her brother’s vitriolic words, and withdrew the hand he had been holding until that tender moment had been crushed. She put a single finger to his chest, and pressed hard, pushing him back slightly. He looked down at his sister, and her face was one of a mother about to scold her child. He swallowed hard. Not now, Silvana. Please, not now, in front of everyone. he thought. Remus was stunned at the change in the gentle woman he knew. Her eyes had darkened and now the resemblance was all too clear. He was astonished. Silvana spoke in fury through gritted teeth and narrowed eyes, her voice still soft and quiet, but now edged with an undeniable fury at the slight to her friend.



“Severus. Kindly apologise to Remus for your callous remarks! Good Lord, the man has just buried his friend. His ‘charge’ as you so call him, has lost a father figure. Does this mean so very little to you? You were brought up better than this. Take back those words of yours, or I swear I will walk away from you again without a moments regret.”


The two men looked at the woman, stunned into silence. Remus Lupin could not believe this compassionate, gentle soul could be so like her acerbic brother at this time. Perhaps they were not so different after all. Her brother was stunned into submission. He had no wish to lose her again and, though it would cause him great pain, he mumbled an apology like the chastised child that he was, with not an ounce of compassion or meaning in the words he spoke. He did this to keep her with him, and that was made abundantly clear in the way he delivered the bitter reply.


“I regret my words to you, Lupin. I shall be more careful in the future.”


Oh yes. More careful that my sister is not within earshot of you when I next see you. Do not think you have gained anything over me for this.


“Apology accepted, Severus,” replied Remus, unable to suppress the delicious urge to smile at the uncomfortable and clearly annoyed man. Bemused, he began to walk away. “I shall go and find Harry, and then meet you in the hall after you have finished, Silvana. Goodbye Severus.”


Severus sneered at the retreating man, and then turned to the still glaring Silvana. “Would you care for a walk in the grounds with me, sister?”


His genuine look of affection warmed her heart, and Silvana relented from her defensive stance. “I would rather see where you teach, if that is at all possible. I was always fascinated to hear you became a Potions Professor. Mother would have been so very proud of you, Severus.”


He nodded in agreement, to both the request and the memory of their mother, and he stepped a little in front of Silvana to show her the way, a swell of pride welling in his heart. She watched him as he swept along the corridor effortlessly, robes billowing behind him in an invisible wind that was of his own creation. Her own steps had to be doubled to keep up with him. She was full of admiration for this man. He seemed to fit so well within these walls, as if he belonged here. She was almost jealous. As she followed him, she looked along the walls at all the portraits, and the various statues dotted about the place, all of which she recalled from her youth. A happy time for her, being away from home, though she lived with the guilt of leaving her brother alone with her parents until he too joined her at this magnificent school. She wondered how her mother must have suffered when both of her children came to this place. She must have been so terribly lonely and frightened without them.



Snape kept glancing behind him on this journey, just in case this had all been a cruel dream, and that his sister was not following him to his sanctuary. But it was real. He could still see her, and she smiled at him to reassure him. How he felt such warmth from that smile. How he wished she had never left him. Perhaps things would have been so different had she not left. He arrived at the entrance to his Potions classroom, and muttered the incantation to release the locks. Once again he turned to his sister, and again she smiled as he turned the handle and stepped inside just enough to hold the door and let her in.



At first glance it looked so like any other classroom, and yet it was clear that it was his. She would have known it was his even if he had not shown her himself. The old wooden desks, accompanied on one side by a black cauldron, made her recall her own Potions lessons. She had been just as proficient as her brother, a legacy from their mother’s wish to be a Healer, if she had not married their father. Mother had encouraged both of them to study, and both of them had always wanted to please their mother. She deserved their attention, for she did not get it otherwise, unless it involved being bullied into submission. Then she received all the attention. Silvana shook her head to suppress the memory.



It was then she noticed all the jars of shrunken forms; pond and plant life, and she were drawn to them like a moth to a flame. Touching the heavy glass jars, delicately running her fingers along them she saw that, even in this sparse light, they shone. They were so orderly and clean; not a jar out of place, or a speck of dust to be seen. She looked at the writing on the labels, his writing, so controlled and neat, the fluid calligraphy of the man before her. He looked first to the jars, and then to his sister, and he could sense her admiration and delight. He had pleased her, and he allowed himself a smile. Silvana walked over to him and took his larger hands in hers, gazing at his face, remembering every part. She reached up and affectionately touched his cheek, sweeping away his hair. She looked deep into his eyes, but resisted the temptation of delving into his mind: that was for another time. But she could sense his thoughts without it. She saw it etched in the lines on his pale face.


“It is very like the old Potions lab we had in the cellar at home, Severus.”


“Some of the specimens come from home.”


“I thought as much. There is a little Dark magic within them, I think.”


“In some, but nothing to be concerned about. Much of that was destroyed upon our father’s death. I made sure of that.”


Silvana sighed and nodded. “Good. Mother would have been proud of your profession, Severus. She would be proud of you, at least this part of you.”


He knew what she meant. He knew that Silvana meant his wayward youth. The arguments, the link to Malfoy, and eventually his allegiance to Voldemort. Mother would not be so proud of him if she had been alive. And neither was Silvana. Hiding his thoughts, growing a little more unsettled by her presence, he changed the subject and avoided what she implied, releasing from her grasp and walking behind one of the desks, away from her again.


“You could have followed this profession too, if you had wanted to.”


Silvana scoffed at this. “Really? Do you think I avoided a profession out of choice, Severus? I would have given the world to have the opportunities that you had. Father made it very clear that once mother died I would be his housekeeper. I had no choices. I was just the brood mare of the family, to be bargained with and sold to the highest bidder. You were the hope, Severus. I was the irksome female: the disappointment of our father. To have sired a girl first was his ultimate failure. I was a constant reminder to those failings. She moved steadily towards him, looking at his face, touching his cheek with great affection. She whispered to him as she pulled him into an embrace that they had both dreamt of for so long.


“Why did you waste your opportunities on a man such as Malfoy, Severus? Why did you join Voldemort? You could have been anything. You had the world at your feet and you joined him, of all people.”



He pulled away from her to hide his shame. He knew she would be angry with him, but to hear this from her lips now was too much to endure. He had let her down. He had failed her, and yet a part of him disagreed. There was an overwhelming belief within him that, deep down, she was somehow to blame for his chosen path. She should have been there for him and not run away. Why did she do that? Was marriage to a wealthy, refined man such as Malfoy really so bad? He had never understood her reasons. In the end he had made suppositions of his own and become bitter against her when he could not find her. That was why he sought the company of Malfoy and listened to others that persuaded him it was the right path to choose. She was not there to guide him. Yes, that was why. He leant upon the desk, his long fingers pressed against the wood forming two large arches to hold his weight as he glared at his sister. This was not how it was meant to be. This was not how the reunion he had dreamt of time and time again was meant to unfold. His anger gained momentum both at his sister and at himself.


“I did it to find you! They made promises that were too enticing to ignore. The Dark Lord said he could find you. He said if I helped him that he would pay me with your company in return. I went willingly, for others and myself. I went because if I did there was a hope that I would find you again. The Dark Lord would provide. But I went to help the Order too, what good it did them.”


Silvana glared at him, horrified by his answer. He blamed her for his mistakes. Had Malfoy tricked him so well? Of course he had. She sneered at the thought of the detestable creature that was Lucius Malfoy. How dare he ruin her brother’s life too? Did he do it to get his revenge on her, or was Severus a willing participant? She stared at her brother. No, he was not a fool, or a helpless weak man by any means. He was the creator of his own destiny. She would not take the blame for his errors. Stepping towards him, she grasped at his shoulders, taking the fabric of his robe within her fingers and shook him, making sure she had his undivided attention.


“Do not drag me into your past, Severus. You were stronger than them. You could have said no. You could have walked away and refused to join. And who were these ‘others’ you speak of that you went for? You are a Slytherin. You do not do things for others without reason. Whatever they offered you could have refused.”

Again he walked away from her, gripping the opposite side of the desk to her in sheer frustration. There were elements of this he could not speak of still. People still to be protected even from his beloved sister. And yet he wanted to tell her. He let the frustration turn to anger and spoke to her.


“Stronger than them was I? Pah! You think life was so simple? After you left who did I have? No one! Father was adamant that the Snapes and the Malfoys would bond, with or without you, and so I became his…apprentice.”


Silvana shuddered, and whispered, “And what, exactly, did you have to do for him, Severus? You were already close when I left you.”


He bowed his head in shame. “Things I cannot begin to tell you. Things that only I should live with.”


“You could still have walked away.”


“Don’t you think I wanted to? I went to Dumbledore but there was no choice. It was too late. It had already gone too far. I could not turn back, and there were other lives to consider. I could not risk other‘s lives, Silvana.” The expression of regret changed to one of bitterness as he raised his face to meet hers. Releasing his grip from the desk, he walked over to her menacingly. She stepped back a little but held her gaze. She would not be intimidated.


“Besides, the Dark Lord did provide, in ways that were more powerful and exquisite than any reunion of siblings. You do not know of his power but I do. It is intoxicating.”

She ignored his insult and continued to question him. “So you do still follow him? Sweet Merlin, Severus! What have you done?”


“I do not follow anyone! I will decide my path on my terms this time. No one will bend me. Not even you, Silvana. I will play them all like I have before and decide my own destiny.”


“But to follow Malfoy again, Severus? To follow that evil?”


“He is not so evil as Voldemort. Weak, perhaps, but he is brooding in Azkaban. He has ambitions of his own.”


“And who will be sacrificed to get what he wants? You? Me? You do not realise that man’s capabilities.”


“Of course I realise! I have seen him kill, devour, destroy, without hesitation. For his own amusement even. I have seen evil and Malfoy is close to it. But he is still a good acquaintance to have, from every perspective. You have been away too long. You do not understand. You never did. Had you married him…”

Oh, had you married him my life may have been so very different.


“I would have lived a life of hell and damnation. Did you really want that for me?”


“You exaggerate. You were mistaken.”


“How can you stand before me and say that? Did I make you hate me so much that you would see me marry a man such as he?”



The sickening feeling of old rose up inside her. Did he know what had happened on that day? Was her brother already a part of Malfoy’s plans even then? She looked deep into his eyes and felt his anger, though he pulled away. Was he right about his past? Did she really have such a part to play in his downfall? She should have told him what happened, and yet even now she could not tell him. She could not admit to him now that his dear friend, Lucius had degraded her and ruined her life. Surely he did not know. But the anger she felt emanating from him, the sheer hatred she knew had coursed through his veins when he had seen her with Remus, made her wonder at his integrity. He was playing a game with everyone, waiting for the victor to become apparent, just like their father. Yes, he was so like their father now, and for that she was sad. She turned away from his stare and blinked back the tears. He stood and watched her in silence. Lips barely moving, bitterness oozing through very pore, she at last spoke.



“I was wrong, Severus. Father would be proud of you, my dear brother. Not our Mother. She would be as horrified as I am about who you have become. Have you thrown away your chances that Dumbledore gave you? He kept his promise to me. He said he would look after you. He never failed us.”


“I am still loyal to Dumbledore, at the moment. I do not betray him. Did he tell you what I became? Did he tell you about my being a Death Eater?”

She winced at his words. “Yes. I asked him to watch over you when I left. He helped me find a place in the world and he is a good man. He gave you those chances and now I am unsure where your loyalties lie. Perhaps Voldemort’s return is just what you have waited for.”


“But he lied to me! Dumbledore lied! Why must I be loyal to a man that lied? Did he ever stop me becoming a Death Eater? No! He used me! How convenient my Slytherin friends were to him. How useful I was to the cause! Did you never wonder why he didn‘t stop me doing all that I did?”


Silvana’s fury built to a crescendo, and she shouted at her brother. “But I told him to lie! I didn’t want you to know where I was because I couldn’t trust you then and, though I love you as much as I did back then, I cannot trust you still. Earn my trust, Severus. Prove me wrong. Prove to me you have not become our father and I will help you be the man you could be.”


He straightened his back, and with a look of hatred he sneered at his sister, forgetting how much he had wanted this reunion. Forgetting how she would haunt his dreams once she left him. It meant nothing to him now. She would never understand the sacrifices he had made. “And now I see why have returned. Perhaps it would have been more prudent for you to have stayed with your Muggle friends. I am sorry to disappoint you so. I am sure Lupin will be a much better hope, the hero that he is. Close the door as you leave Silvana. I will bid you good day. There is nothing more to say.”





She closed the door to his fury, and leant against it as the heavy, wooden object slammed shut with a vengeance. Sighing, she heard the shattering of glass behind her as her brother released his frustration, but she could not go back now. Silvana began to make her way to the hall, when a familiar voice from behind her stopped her in her tracks. Dumbledore.


“A trying day for all concerned, I think. Of course I knew there would be tears and tempers today. Death is a trying time for the heart to cope with, even for our enemies. Too many memories.”


“I think you are right,” said Silvana, with a heavy heart. She looked into those twinkling blue eyes and calmness came about her. In Dumbledore she had always found what she looked for. And today she found hope. “I feel his anger too acutely and yet I am powerless. Must I just sit and watch his mistakes unfold again?”

“Not powerless, my dear, though it may seem that way. Severus is not all bad. I think if we can look a little deeper, then we will find there is hope, even for the most hopeless of cases. Do you not think?”


“Yes. I think there is hope for him yet. He is not lost to me completely, though I fear my presence is pushing him further away.”


Dumbledore looked down his nose, over top of his glasses, and searched Silvana for the truth. He sighed audibly, making her feel ashamed. “I fear this is all my doing, Silvana. I am not blameless in his eyes, and he is right. I did use his talents for the Order’s gain, and he has suffered because of it in ways we can only imagine. His friendship with Lucius is what concerns me. They are close and though Malfoy is in Azkaban, I fear it is only time that holds him there. Severus’ anger at my errors of the past is too strong now. You will have to tell him the truth one day, Silvana. He needs to know to make the choices you wish him to make. Otherwise, with his anger towards me, there is a chance we will lose him to Voldemort forever.”


Silvana closed her eyes to blink back the tears now formed in her dark eyes and, when she opened them again, she looked away from Dumbledore’s prying eyes, and down at the floor. Grudgingly, and full of sadness, she spoke. “But how can I ever tell him something I cannot allow myself to say? How can I ever utter those words of which I am so ashamed? It is not easy for me to admit to.”


Dumbledore came up beside her, and offered his arm for her support in returning to the Great Hall. Smiling as she looped her arm through his, he patted her hand and soothed her with his words. “You will do it when the time is right, and not before. For all will come to those that have patience. The truth will out one day, and you will be ready, Silvana. Ready and able, and strong enough for those you tell. For there is not only Severus to tell. Others will need to know the truth. But, for now, let us get you home. To your new home. To Grimmauld Place.”

Chapter 6: Secrets and Lies.
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Secrets and Lies.


Our siblings. They resemble us just enough to make all their differences confusing, and no matter what we choose to make of this, we are cast in relation to them our whole lives long. ~Susan Scarf Merrell





Dumbledore had taken it upon himself to transfer Silvana to Grimmauld Place personally. They had arranged to meet with the others in the Great Hall, but Remus, Harry, and the Weasleys had already made their way back to the headquarters without them. They had decided it was best for Harry under the circumstances. His volatile nature was in need of familiar surroundings, and though Grimmauld Place was not ideal, and Hogwarts was equally if not more familiar, it was better for him to be away from the crowds that had gathered to say goodbye to Sirius, especially those from the press and Ministry. Dumbledore feared the Daily Prophet would have a joyous day if the boy who lived played right into their hands.



There was also the strong possibility of an outburst directed at Silvana, as Harry was more than aware of her parentage and therefore her sibling. His anger towards Snape had not changed, and Remus in particular was concerned this would carry over to their new guest. Harry had taken much persuasion to allow Silvana to stay at Grimmauld Place. Strictly speaking, Harry did not own Grimmauld Place until his 18th birthday but Remus, being his trustee, had given him carte blanche on decisions and treated him like an adult as much as he could. Frequently though, Harry behaved as anything but. It was only that Silvana was to assist in the transformations that he had agreed with her presence at all. There was no doubt in his mind she was an unwelcome guest and would be tolerated reluctantly. He had no wish to be civil to a Snape, male or female.


The front of the building was hardly an appealing sight to Silvana. After years of living on a farm in a rural community, here she was faced with a filthy, grimy old house, about 20 minutes from King’s Cross station in central London. She watched Dumbledore open the battered black door, and stared as she passed the doorknocker in the shape of twisted serpents. Just looking at them made the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end. On first entering the entrance hall, Silvana absorbed the atmosphere of her surroundings with trepidation. The stench of old magic, dark magic, hit her as soon as she came through the door. It was so familiar to her. Just like home, she thought, as she viewed the entwined serpents of the ornate candelabra. Just like father. She could see that the Order had tried to make some sort of effort in reducing this eerie feeling by cleaning and casting charms around the air and furnishings, but she knew the darkness far too well for it ever to leave her. She wondered if her brother felt the same. The memory of their childhood would never leave them completely. Dumbledore turned and placed a finger to his lips as she went to ask him a question, pointing what she presumed was a painting. It was hard to tell as it was covered by what looked like very old moth-eaten curtains. She decided to heed his advice.


Guided by Dumbledore, she followed him down some steps into the basement kitchen, where the others were now sat around a large table, where a redheaded woman Silvana was unfamiliar with was serving them chicken casserole. The woman smiled kindly and ushered her in while still ladling out the delicious mixture to one and all. The enticing, aromatic smell and the warm atmosphere of the kitchen reminded Silvana of Ireland, and the O’Briens, and she began to relax. This was much more like home.


“Oh Professor Dumbledore. Will you be joining us for dinner? I have made plenty as I thought we may be having guests.”


He smiled at the woman and nodded. “Why of course, Molly dear. I can think of nothing I would like better than one of your casseroles. It smells delicious. Arthur is a very lucky man, you know. Truly he is.”


Silvana watched as the woman blushed, and a grinning, redheaded man wrapped his arm around her waist and kissed her on the cheek.

“That I am, Professor. That I am. And will you introduce us to our new acquaintance?” said Arthur Weasley, with a warm and welcoming look upon his face.


Dumbledore raised his hands in the air in astonishment whilst Remus pulled out a chair next to him for Silvana to sit down. She grinned at his shy face that blushed back at hers. He was still embarrassed that she had witnessed his tears earlier, and mouthed a grateful ‘Thank you’ to him as Dumbledore began to speak.


“I am so sorry! How rude of me. This fine young lady is Silvana O’Brien. She is the one who will be assisting in Remus’ transformations every month while he is here. Silvana, this is Arthur and Molly Weasley, and their children, Fred, George, Ronald and Ginevra. Their friend Hermione Granger, and that…”


Silvana smiled to the person Dumbledore pointed to. “ …is Harry Potter, I presume? Good afternoon, Harry. I was sorry to hear of your loss. Sirius was a fine man.”


Harry flicked the fork around in the casserole, playing with the vegetables and refused to look up at the guest. Silvana felt Remus tense up next to her and she placed a hand upon his to reassure him that nothing needed to be said. She was well aware how teenagers could be. As could Molly Weasley, who broke the silence.


“Silvana, would you care for some casserole, dear?”


“I’d love some, thank you Molly. It’s been a trying day for all concerned today.”


As Molly ladled out the mixture, Remus turned to Silvana between mouthfuls, still keeping an eye on the dark-haired boy opposite them. Harry seemed immersed in his own thoughts, though Ron and Hermione, who were either side of him, seemed to be able to communicate with him on occasion. Harry reminded Silvana so much of her own son her stomach lurched as she saw the anger and frustration etched across his furrowed brow. So different in looks and yet so like Colm in personality, she contemplated. Next to her, Remus smiled nervously and spoke to Silvana.


“How did you get on with Severus? Was he as you expected?”


“Ha! Not well, but as expected. He is a bitter man, Remus. As I know you are only to aware of.”


Remus shrugged. “I saw the look he gave you when he first saw you. I am sure he loves you, in his own way. It must be hard for him to see you again after all these years.”


Silvana sighed audibly. “The man is nearing forty, Remus. I had hoped to find an adult when I returned here, and yet all I found was the petulant boy I left as if time had stood still. I worry my task will be a little more complicated than I first thought.”


The realisation of what Silvana had just said hit Remus at once. “Then you are not only here for me.”


Silvana shook her head, and touched his arm compassionately. “Believe me, Remus, when I say though your condition was a surprise, it is the thing I worry about the least. My dear brother and his friends are quite another story. Let us hope that Dumbledore‘s faith in him has not all been for nought.”


She did not elaborate in what she meant but Remus got the gist of her meaning. She was here to watch her brother too, and see if he was true to the Order. Something Remus had secretly wondered since the Dark Lord had returned. Of course he did not say this to anyone for Dumbledore’s faith was enough for them, but it did not quell his doubts completely. There was an element of uncertainty sometimes. He had seen him before, hadn’t he? At school with the Slytherins and in the last war. Yes, he had many reasons to doubt Severus Snape. He decided to keep his thoughts to himself and listened as Dumbledore spoke to them.


“You know Arthur, you should talk to Silvana about your work sometime. She has spent half her life living with Muggles. I am sure you could find out some very interesting facts.”

Arthur Weasley looked up from his near-overflowing plate of casserole and looked astonished, as did another face amongst the gathered few. Harry Potter placed his cutlery down on the table and stared at the stranger before them with a curious look upon his face. Stopping Arthur’s natural curiosity with his steely gaze, he sat up as tall as he could, not taking his eyes off his victim. Silvana eyed him suspiciously.


“Does he know you lived with Muggles? I bet he was delighted when he found out.”


Sensing the aggression in his voice, and mindful of the fact that half of the people at the table did not know who Silvana was related to, Remus sent a pleading look to Harry. He ignored it obstinately. The look of horror on Remus’ face fuelled the flames of Harry’s temper, and a wicked smile crept across his face. He leaned back, tipping his chair off its front legs, and smiled triumphantly at his houseguest.


“They have no idea, do they? No idea at all. Yet again we all live with secrets and lies.”


Silvana glared at him now, a part of her furious at the audacity of the boy, and yet a large part of her, the maternal part, wanted to hold him, and say all would be well with the world. Pulling her spine up through the vertebrae to improve her posture, Silvana spoke to him in a cold and precise way, as clear-cut as a certain Potions Professor.


“There are no secrets here, Harry. I suspect Dumbledore felt it wiser to let me ease in gently and give me time to get to know you all. However, as you have taken great delight in destroying that option then I bid you to enlighten everyone, if it pleases you to do so. If you feel more of an adult in making me feel uncomfortable then please, be my guest. Or would you like me to announce it for you?”


The numerous faces around the table all stared at Harry and then back to Silvana; their mouths open, wondering which would break first. Her words had goaded him, echoes of her brother too strong to ignore. She was one and the same in his eyes. He pointed to her now, angry and bitter words spewing from his mouth. “She is Snape’s sister. Look at her. Listen to how she speaks and you’ll see it is true. We have another Snape to deal with, as if the first one was not bad enough.”



Silence followed the outburst, though Ginny grabbed Harry’s pointing arm and pulled it down to his side hissing at him, “For goodness sake, Harry!”


“What? Why should I be happy about her being in my home?”


Dumbledore moved his glasses down to below the bridge of his nose and smiled at Silvana by way of an apology. He then turned his attention to Harry and his face was sober, as were his words. “I do not believe that Grimmauld Place is actually yours just yet, Harry. As I understand, that bequest to you came with conditions and until you are 18 then Remus has control of your inheritance. You would be mindful to remember that.”

Harry did not answer but huffed in response. Silvana then stood from the table and looked down at the now fuming Harry. All eyes were upon her as she spoke with the same calm demeanour as before.


“Harry, could I make a suggestion? As you have succeeded in making everyone here as uncomfortable as you possibly can, apart from myself, I would suggest you take yourself upstairs to calm down. Not only are you being disrespectful to your elders, but also you are pouring shame on a day when much dignity should be apparent in your actions to honour the dead. You appear unable to control yourself, and in doing thus all you are doing is proving my dear brother right in his assessment of you. It is up to you, Harry. Perhaps you did not care for Sirius as much as you would have us believe.”


“Silvana, please, there’s no need…” pleaded Remus. It was too late.


“How dare you? What do you know? You weren’t even here! How do you what I feel and what I think? How can any of you really know how I feel right now? I killed him didn’t I? With the help of your precious brother I managed to kill the nearest thing I have ever had to a father. None of you will ever understand what I’m going through!”


“Harry!”



Remus stood to go after Harry as he stormed from the room but was pulled back by Silvana. He turned and searched her face for a reason why she had made him cause such an outburst but she just smiled sympathetically and held him back, whispering “He will not thank you for it in the long run. Let his friends go and he will recover quicker. Trust me, Remus. I do understand him more than he knows.”



A steady voice called from the table, and Dumbledore bid everyone to be seated again, apart from Ron, Hermione and Ginny, who made their way upstairs. “Silvana is right, Remus. Harry needs to get this out of his system before he can move on. You have all been most kind to him, and I’m afraid we have all cosseted him. But harsh reality still awaits him. He must now learn to accept the truth of Sirius’ death. Silvana was also brought here because she, more than most of us, understands his pain.


“But…but he is just a boy!” Molly wailed. “It seems so unfair.”

“I understand all your concerns Molly, but I am afraid that life is unfair. He is nearing adulthood and Harry needs to bear that in mind,” smiled Silvana sympathetically, turning to Remus and squeezing his hands that were clasped in front of him on the table. “If we cocoon Harry, we could only make things a lot worse.”


Tonks, who had been watching the events unfold with the twins at the other end of the table, stood up. “I think she’s right, Molly. He’s not a kid anymore. He’s had to face adult things, especially this last year, and if that doesn’t make you grow up then I don’t know what does, do you?”


“Yeah Mum, and besides which he’s not your son, is he?” exclaimed Fred.


“That’s true, brother,” grinned George, “and none of us are just kids anymore.” The twins followed Tonks up the stairs to find Harry. Molly’s face crumpled under the strain, and she burst into tears.


“Well, I can see my opinions count for nothing as usual. But I am not naïve. I have seen all this happen before, children believing they are adults, growing up far too fast. Just like my brothers, and look…what…happened to …them.”



Clearly upset, her words choked with sobs, Molly ran out from the kitchen. Left with only herself, Remus and Dumbledore and a now retreating Arthur, Silvana looked a little sheepish as Dumbledore patted her hand in a reassuring gesture.


“Sometimes the truth is not always popular, Silvana, but it must still be told.”


Silvana sighed and held her head in her hands, leaning against the table with her elbows. “I know, but I didn’t mean my first day to be quite like this. I seem to have upset just about everyone.”


Remus smiled hesitantly over her hunched shoulders towards Dumbledore, who nodded with a twinkle in his eye. Remus took that as his cue to speak. “You haven’t upset me yet.”


Silvana looked up and smiled as she met Remus’ kind face. “ I made you cry earlier!”


He chuckled. “Yes, but that was therapeutic.”


A worried look came across Silvana’s face. “I should go and find everyone and eat humble pie”


“No need, my dear,” declared Dumbledore. “ I do believe they are on their way down for treacle tart and custard. Molly always makes a fine pudding for us here. I’m sure she would appreciate a hand though, Silvana. After all this will be your domain from now on, and I was led to believe that you are a very fine cook too.”


Silvana blushed and stood up to head towards the oven. “I’m not sure about that, but I’ll make sure not to poison Remus.”


“Ha! I should think not, or we’ll have to ask Severus for a potion!” grinned Remus, winking at the now giggling Silvana.


Molly and Arthur peered around the door to see Silvana take the treacle tart out of the oven and begin to serve it out. Molly rushed over to her in a fluster. “Oh Silvana, dear! You shouldn’t have to do that today. You are the guest.”


“I’d rather be useful, Molly. Besides which I do need to find my feet here. I did wonder if you would be kind enough to give me the guided tour of this kitchen later, Molly. Don’t forget I’m used to Muggle kitchens.”


“Oh, but of course! I’d be delighted to.”


As Molly began to explain the workings of the kitchen, Remus nodded to Arthur and Dumbledore and made his way upstairs to find Harry. The bedroom door was ajar when he got there and the conversation stopped when Remus knocked on the door.


“Hope I’m not interrupting anything but Molly and Silvana were serving pudding when I left them.”


“Oh! wailed Tonks. “I love pudding but you know what they say ‘A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.’”


George turned to her and looked perplexed. “But I thought you could change your shape to whatever you want, can’t you?”


Fred looked at his brother and grinned. “Good point, George. Couldn’t have put it better myself.”


“Oh yeah! So I can. Well, in that case I’ll have your bits too then. Race you down there boys!”



Remus dodged out of the way as the twins tried to beat Tonks down the stairs. Hermione and Ginny looked awkwardly at Ron, trying to make him see that Remus wanted to be alone with Harry now.


“Ron, don’t you want any pudding? You said you’d have double helpings,” stated Ginny, hoping he’d take the hint.


“Yeah I did, but, well…Harry…”


“You don’t mind, do you Harry?” said Hermione, an insistent tone covering her words, and a scowl coming across her face at the redheaded boy beside her.


“Be my guest,” Harry shrugged nonchalantly. Ginny looked awkwardly at Harry and left the room as Hermione grabbed Ron’s hand and followed Ginny down the stairs. Harry sat up against the pillows of his bed and glared at Remus, who sat down at the end of his bed. Harry eyed him suspiciously.


“You can’t make me like her.”


“Why should I want to do that, Harry?”


“Well, you like her, don’t you? Maybe you’re just blind to her ways. She’s just like him. Just like Snape.”


Remus shrugged and looked up to the ceiling for some inspiration. He glanced back down to Harry out of the corner of his eye.



“I admit Silvana is a little like Severus, yes. But if you could get to know her you will find her much more approachable and pleasant than him. She has a much softer nature. I know she was harsh with you back there but you were rude to her, and to Dumbledore.”


Harry grunted and glared back at Remus. “Huh! See she’s got you wrapped around her little finger.”


Exasperated, Remus stood up. “No she hasn’t, actually. I’m just disappointed that you cannot make an effort and I also think that Sirius would be disappointed too.”


“Don’t you dare bring him in to this!”


Remus raised his voice to the boy. “Why not? He adored Silvana when we were at school with her. She understood the hell he had to face at home just for being in the ‘wrong’ house and being the odd one out in the family. She was also a friend to his favourite cousin and she cared too. Silvana took the time to listen to him and I happen to think she would do the same with you, if you would let her.”


Harry crossed his arms and scowled. “But I don’t want to talk to her.”


“Well that’s just fine, Harry. You do what you will, but just think about this. Nearly everyone knows someone who lost someone dear to them in the last war. If Sirius was good at something it was being loyal to those of us on his side. He would have done anything for us, and, if Silvana had been here that would have included her too. This war isn’t going to pass us by without hurting any of us. It’s already begun. I know you’re hurting, Harry but please, just try and be civil at least, for all our sakes.”


He walked out of the door, but turned back just before he left completely. “You never know. You may actually like her.”



On returning downstairs, Remus noticed a change in the atmosphere, and heard laughter emanating from the kitchen. As he entered, he saw Fred and George standing up doing an action replay of the various tricks and pranks they had performed in their last year at Hogwarts. Silvana was laughing along with the rest, though Molly wore a look that was halfway between amused and disgusted. Dumbledore, it seemed had already departed. Silvana walked over and began to dish up the sweet for Remus, smiling as she placed the pudding in front of him on the table. She looked at him hopefully.


“Is he coming down? Should I save him some?”


“I’m not sure. Save him some for later, maybe. Molly, this is delicious, as always.”


Silvana smiled and nodded in agreement. “Yes, it was Molly. Before you go today you really must give me the recipe. I’m so looking forward to cooking again for others.”


Molly turned her attention to Silvana. “Did you come from a large family?”


“Me personally? No. But I married into a large family when I was in Ireland. I had several nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles then. Big extended family.”


Remus stopped chewing his mouthful of treacle tart and swallowed. “You’re married? I had no idea.”


Silvana smiled, but there was sadness about her eyes that didn’t go unnoticed. “I was, Remus. I am a widow.”


Molly gasped and grabbed Arthur’s hand for support. “Oh you poor dear! To be a widow at such a young age is so very tragic.”


“What happened?” asked a curious Ginny, ignoring the horrified glare from her mother.


“There was an accident in the forest near our home two years ago. Both my husband and my son, Colm, died that day. Colm was the same age that Ron and Harry are now. I miss him terribly. I miss them both.”


Molly looked towards her own children and swallowed her fears. She remembered the changing Boggart that she faced last year at Grimmauld Place and immediately her heart went out in sympathy to the younger woman before her. Molly shook her head silently, stunned by what she had heard. Hermione sat at the table and frowned, trying to puzzle things out in her mind.

“Silvana, do you think that’s why Dumbledore said you would understand Harry‘s pain?”


“Yes, I think it probably is, Hermione. Colm was just as fiery and inquisitive as Harry is and…oh, speak of the devil!”


The eyes in the room turned to see Harry leaning against the doorframe listening to their conversation. So, she has been sent to me by Dumbledore to see if she can help me. I doubt if she can, nor do I want her to. Especially not a Snape. Her eyes are less dark than his, and she does seem a little softer, but she is still his sister. I can’t trust her. As Harry turned to glare at her one last time he heard a feminine voice call gently to him. “Truce?” he heard her whisper. Shocked, though he could not understand why, he nodded and made his way slowly back to his place at the table, unnerved by her presence. Molly handed him the pudding and he began to eat, still unsure why the hairs on the back of his neck began to rise as if he should take flight. And then he realised, as Silvana sat there talking to Remus, as if nothing in the world had changed. He watched chatting away like she had always been here, and she wasn’t a stranger to them at all. That’s when he realised that when he heard her say ‘Truce?’ she had not moved her lips. It had all been in his mind, but how had he heard her? Unless she had put the words there. It was possible, surely, if she was just like her brother. There had to be a way. She turned around to meet his wide-eyed gaze and smiled at him.

Yes, he thought, so different and yet so very, very alike. And I trust her just as much as I trust him.










































Chapter 7: Unwelcome recompense
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Unwelcome recompense




"Money: There's nothing in the world so demoralizing as money." Sophocles





It was a good two weeks before Harry actually did more than grunt or huff begrudgingly at Silvana. His disinclination for creating small talk with her was excruciating for Remus, and his own smiles of embarrassment and mutters of apology were all too familiar in the honeymoon period of Silvana’s stay at Grimmauld Place. Just as she thought she was breaking through that heavy barrier Harry had put up between them, so he would put up another in its place. He had also refused to ask her about the Legilimency trick she had used on him that first day. He was still fuming that she had somehow managed to penetrate his mind, and he felt she was a possible spy rather than there to be of assistance. When he’d discussed it with Hermione she had said she didn’t agree but he knew better. What did Hermione know, anyway? This stalemate went on throughout Remus’ first transformation, when Silvana really could have used a little companionship and reassurance, even from this petulant child. That weekend without Remus was a long weekend for both Silvana and Harry. And it would have continued the following week had two surprise visitors not come to thaw the chilly air.


The first visitor was Andromeda Tonks. She came to Grimmauld Place with her daughter, having sworn an oath to keep the location a secret, which she gladly took. Tonks trusted her mother completely and was secretly delighted to be able to show her the old place. Of course, Andromeda vaguely remembered the house from her childhood visits to her dear cousin Sirius. She smiled as she walked in through the door whispering a few choice words at the old woman behind the screen and stuck out her tongue, much to her own daughter‘s amusement. Sirius’ mother was never a great favourite with Andromeda and the feeling was returned to Andromeda ten fold when she had married Ted Tonks. She had really let the side down and muddied the waters with that alliance, at least so her family told her often enough. Thank goodness both her sisters had married well, they commented. Andromeda did not care.


She had giggled like a schoolgirl as soon as she had seen her old friend, and tears of joy were shed as they hugged and kissed. Tonks was always surprised at her mother’s reaction to this woman, but was even more surprised to see Harry’s as he went to walk up the stairs and away from the two women now sipping coffee in the kitchen. Tonks had hoped Harry had been a little better tempered on this visit. It wasn’t that she didn’t like the poor boy, but she was getting a little tired of his moods when she visited and had a deep desire to slap him on occasion. He wasn’t the only one who was upset about Sirus, she mused, but she just got on with life and that was that. She shed plenty of tears in private, or with her mother, but in front of the rest of them she was the same old Tonks. She stopped Harry at the bottom of the stairs, preventing him from ascending.



“Oi! Where do you think you’re going?”


He looked down at the floor, sheepishly.


“Sorry Tonks. I just want to be alone.”


Tonks rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. Her sympathy was in very short supply today. “Well tough. I’m here and we’re going to talk. Mum’s told me a few things about Silvana and I think you should hear what I have to say. In fact you’ve got to, because I’m an Auror and if you don’t I’ll have you arrested. So there. Go in the living room and sit.”


He did as he was told, shoulders lowered and demeanour showing his displeasure at having to endure what he suspected was another chat about how wonderful Silvana was. He had heard it all from Remus when she had first arrived. Why should he care? Tonks carefully closed the door behind them, asking, “Is Remus around?”


Harry shook his head as he sat down on the sofa. “No, he’s gone out for the day. It was full moon a couple of nights ago and I think he was feeling a bit caged up. I know how he feels.”


Tonks sat down in the armchair nearest her with a huff. “I’m sure you do, Harry, and if they’ll let me I shall take you out sometime but until then just listen to what I’ve got to say. I’ve been talking to Mum a lot recently, and she was telling me about her old school days and Silvana. When Sirius was first put in Gryffindor he was really devastated. When he was eleven he just wanted to please his parents and when he wasn’t put in Slytherin he was gutted. More than that he was ashamed and frightened. Well, two people that understood him were my Mum and Silvana. My grandparents were ok about Mum being in Ravenclaw. They knew she was clever so they didn’t mind so much, but Silvana’s dad went ballistic when he found out she was a Ravenclaw.”


Harry shrugged and muttered, “Why? What did it matter where she went?”


“Because her father didn’t even want her to go to Hogwarts. Mum said Silvana only came to Hogwarts because her mother had really fought for her to come and her dad just gave in eventually after her mum said it would look good for him having a daughter at the school. When he found out she wasn’t a Slytherin there was hell to pay. Silvana was really frightened about it all. Frightened for her mum and her brother. Her dad sounded like a right git.”


Harry suddenly had an image appear in his mind. The image he had seen from Snape’s memories of the arguing man with the boy and his mother. Was that what the argument had been about? Silvana? But the curiosity soon died as the indifference took over once again.


“So?”

Tonks rolled her eyes and tutted. “So, when Sirius got there and was in trouble she really understood. Mum said she used to go to him of an evening, even though they were in different houses, and they would chat a lot. She made him feel better, you know, mothered him a bit, I think. He didn’t get much of that at home. Mum said when he was in the third year he even asked Silvana out, but she was never allowed boyfriends and she was in her last year by then anyway. I bet old Snapey loved that! Sirius asking his older sister out, don’t you? Can you imagine what Sirius would have been like? He’d have been unbearable!”


Harry forced a chuckle at the memory of his godfather. Sirius would have been unbearable. He knew it. He imagined the picture in his mind of the young Sirius courting Silvana when she was down by the lake while searching for Severus to see if he was nearby. Yes, he could imagine him in his mind, and he smiled. But the happiness would not stay long and his anger returned as he thought of how Silvana was here, her brother was here, alive, and Sirius was not. Life was so unfair. He looked up at Tonks, with a scowl, and she frowned back at him.


“What is it, Harry? Is it just because she’s Snape’s sister?”


“Well, that helps. She put words in my head, Tonks. That first day she was here I heard her but it was all in the mind. I don’t trust her.”


“What? When did she do that? Are you sure? You realise she’s a Legilimens, right?”


Harry sat open-mouthed at Tonks and shook his head. “How do you know?”


“Mum. Harry, her and Snape learnt it when they were really young because their father was not a nice man. They learnt to communicate with their mother without speaking when he was in one of his moods. They had to do that to survive. Can you imagine having to live like that? In fact, some of the things that Mum told me makes me a lot more sympathetic towards old Snape himself.”


“Huh!” Harry scoffed, “it would take a lot more than that for me to trust him!”


“Harry! I’m not asking you to trust anyone. Just give Silvana a break, will you? She seems nice, she’s a rough time recently and you’re being a bit unfair. She’s lost loved ones too you know. Just try and be a bit civil, for all our sakes. Please. If not for me then for Remus? Pretty please? I‘ll turn into a supermodel for you if you want.”


Harry grinned at her as she pouted and turned into a well-known leggy blonde in front of his eyes. It was still Tonks whoever she turned into, and he couldn’t imagine kissing her at all. “Ok, ok! Give it rest!” With a twitch of her nose, Tonks changed back to her pink hair and normal cheery face. She tilted her head to one side and blinked flirtatiously.


“You’re sure?”


“Yes! For goodness sake!” wailed Harry, his cheeks blushing with embarrassment. “Look, we’ll go into the kitchen where your Mum is and see what they’re up to, ok? But I’m making no promises.”


“That’s fine. Off you go then. I’ll follow you.”


But to Harry and Tonk’s surprise Andromeda met them outside of the door of the kitchen before they got in there. Shutting the door carefully behind her she whispered and pulled a concerned face, “He’s in there with her, so I thought I’d better leave.”


Tonks frowned and leaned in towards her mother to hear her a little better. “Who’s in there?”


“Professor Snape!” Andromeda hissed through gritted teeth. “Severus is in there with Silvana right now. He was most annoyed to find me chatting with her and made it fairly plain that I wasn’t very welcome to stay, so I left. Shall we go shopping now? I’ve said my goodbyes.”


Harry looked up at Tonks willing her to offer to take him out of this prison he was now in with both of the Snapes, but she winced as is she knew what he was asking of her. “Sorry Harry. I know I said I’d take you but with Remus not being here to ask I can’t really. Maybe tomorrow, huh?”


Harry shuffled his feet along the floor and nodded. “Sure. I suppose I could go and listen at the door to be nosey.”


Andromeda looked horrified and turned to him with a scolding look across her face, wagging her long finger at him.


“I think not, young man! That’s private business in there! You mustn’t listen in.” She hesitated for a moment and then grinned. “Besides which the door is far too thick. You can’t hear a damn thing!”


It was Tonk’s turn to scold her mother. “Mum! I can’t believe you sometimes! Did you hear what they were saying before you shut the door?”


“Not a word, no. But he came in holding a white envelope if that’s any help.”


“Not really, is it? Oh well, Harry. You see if you can find out some more and let me know. I’ll see you tomorrow.”


Harry nodded silently and watched as his friend and her mother left the building. He wished Remus were here. At least he wouldn’t be alone with the Snape siblings then. Maybe he should just go upstairs and stay out of their way, he thought. But he was sorely tempted to go and see if he could hear their conversation.


It didn’t take too long before the decision was made for him. In a flurry of black robes, billowing behind him, Severus Snape emerged from the kitchen looking as black and furious as he always did when he laid eyes on his least favourite pupil. Pausing to sneer down his over-sized nose, his black eyes glittered as if amused by his sight, delighted at the prospect of making someone feel worse than he did.


“Well, well Potter. Up to no good here as well as Hogwarts? Listening to other’s conversations are we? How very like you. I should have expected no less.”


Harry narrowed his eyes, full of hatred. “No. Actually I had no idea you were here,” he lied. Snape could see through him, even if Harry had turned away from his gaze.


“As if I can believe that. Do you really think that I can trust that you have changed your foolish ways in just a few weeks? Who are you trying to save this time? Or perhaps your speciality is just the opposite. Your father was somewhat of an expert at trying to get people killed too.”


Silvana, hearing the commotion, rose from her seat at the table and leant against the doorframe, frowning at the two figures before her. “Severus, the difference is he is not at Hogwarts. This is his home, and if Harry chooses to listen to our conversations that is entirely his right.”


Snape turned to his sister, furious at being challenged before this boy. “His right? I see he has worked his charm on you too.” He glared at his sister, whose own steely glare made him realise he would not convince her otherwise. “Very well, I am aware I have no authority here so I will let you deal with this, Silvana. Perhaps you could teach him a little manners while you are here. Just remember, Potter, your meddling has already cost the life of one person.”


Silvana frowned at her brother and tutted aloud. “Harry’s manners are of no concern of yours, Severus, unless he is at Hogwarts. I might remind you to watch yours, however. There was no need for that last remark.”


Shocked and stunned, Harry could not help but snigger at the calm and serene face of Silvana compared to the livid face of her brother. Narrowing his eyes, daring Harry to smile while he was still in front of him, Severus Snape nodded a goodbye to his sister and left the building in more of a fury than he had entered it. Hearing the door slam safely shut, Silvana winked at Harry and nodded towards the kitchen. “I made some shortbread biscuits. Want some?”


Harry remained silent, but followed Silvana into the kitchen and sat down at the table. She passed him the heavily laden plate of biscuits and sat down with a steaming mug of coffee in front of her.


“Can I ask you, Harry? Is my brother always like that with you?”


Chewing a mouthful of the delicious biscuit, Harry nodded, swallowing the mouthful so he could speak. “Normally, yeah. I seem to annoy him more than most.”


Silvana wrapped her long fingers around the mug and sipped her coffee tentatively. “Yes, it doesn’t surprise me. Your father did used to vex him so. James was very naughty sometimes. He and Sirius got me into trouble once or twice just for covering for them. They both had a propensity to charm the birds out of the trees.”


Harry finished his first biscuit and lifted another from the plate. He was amused to hear his father labelled ‘naughty’ by this woman. He looked at her as he started to munch the next biscuit and she smiled a kindly smile at him, asking if he would like a drink of lemonade, which he nodded at. She poured the cloudy liquid into a clear glass and placed it in front of him. “I’m surprised you haven’t asked me yet.”


Harry frowned and stopped eating. “Asked you what?”


“How you heard me say ‘Truce?’ the first day I was here. I’m guessing it concerned you a little.”


“A bit, yes. But Tonks told me you were a Legilimens so I’m guessing you have some other ability.”

Sipping her coffee again, staring at him through the rising steam, Silvana smiled. “ I am a Legilimens and an Occlumens, just like my brother, but I did not ‘put’ the words in your head, Harry. You only read what was in my head yourself.”


Harry frowned. “But I can’t do that. At least not yet.”


“Tell me Harry, I understand you tried to tell my brother the whereabouts of Sirius the day he died, is that right?”


Harry tensed at the memory of that day, but nodded though he desperately wanted to forget. His anger for Snape on that day rose up again, and he could see the shadow of him in the eyes of the woman he now stared at. He looked away from her penetrating eyes. “I tried, both through our minds and verbally. He didn’t want to hear.”


“But I understand he did hear, though in the end it made little difference to the outcome. But regardless of how you feel, you tried to will my brother to read your mind, yes?”


“Well yes, but…”


“And that is just what I did to you the other day. I willed you, persuaded you to peek into the depths of my mind, though in this case I made sure you only heard one word. ‘Truce’. I suspect you did that before, with Severus, too. Your powers are just coming to the fore, Harry. You may have other yet undiscovered powers we know nothing of. That link to Voldemort is unique.”



“But I’ve never used Legilimency before. At least, not as far as I know.”


Silvana smiled and patted his shoulder. “I suspect you have never needed to. Why should you? Sometimes it is much better to not know and to stay ignorant. Legilimency is a blessing but also a curse, Harry. I suspect Dumbledore will teach you to harness that power when you return to Hogwarts just as he did myself and Severus after me.”


Still avoiding her glare, Harry weaved the biscuit in and out of his fingers, taking a small bite and contemplating whether he should continue with his conversation. He decided to risk a conversation.


“Tonks was telling me a little about your upbringing earlier. I hope you don’t mind. She said how you became a Legilimens and Occlumens, and about your dad.”


Silvana sat back in her seat and sighed. “I see. Life for Severus and I was hard back then, Harry. I was my father’s ultimate failure.”


Harry shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. “I don’t understand.”


“You wouldn’t. I was a first-born and a girl, Harry. A terrible failure for a man such as our father. My mother was not a well woman and she suffered time and time again in pregnancy, losing many children until Severus was born just because my father wanted a son and heir. Severus was just as sickly as my mother for many years. Once his son was born our father was only ever interested in him. The pressure on Severus to perform and shine was tremendous. I, on the other hand, was just an insignificant other, until my mother persuaded my father I would be more of a catch to eligible men if I was well educated. There were many rows about my life, I can tell you, Harry. I was lucky to get an education at all. But I understand you are no stranger to a less than ideal upbringing so you will understand what it is like to be brought up with a favoured child.”


Harry hesitated before he spoke. Oh yes, he understood very well. Dearest Dudley was always put above himself and he didn’t deserve it one bit. He thought of all the times he had suffered as a young child and felt so alone, and wondered whether perhaps Silvana really did understand him. Maybe she had felt like an outcast like him. A large part of him still wanted to remain distant from this woman but his natural curiosity was getting the better of his stubborn streak and he was warming to her despite himself.


“So what did you do after school?”


Silvana sighed and looked at Harry with a sad and weary expression across her face. “I agreed to stay at home and become housekeeper to my father. Our mother died when Severus was only thirteen and father needed someone more than a house elf to run the house. He told me it was good practise and I thought I was doing it for the good of the family and so I agreed. I wish I hadn’t but there we are.”


“What would you have done if you had the chance?” asked Harry, sipping the cool lemonade.


Silvana smiled at the question and recalled the ambitions of her youth. “Oh, a Healer, Harry. The whole Potions side of it was a real strength not only for Severus but myself too. Our mother had her own laboratory made for us in which we brewed potions from herbs and plants out of the garden. We learnt a lot from her as kids. She was a wonderful parent when she was allowed to be. She would have been so proud that at least one of us managed to use the skills she taught us.”


Harry smiled awkwardly, unable to agree on that point. He looked at Silvana while she gazed away in her own world. She was so familiar and yet so different and the two things confused Harry so much it hurt his head just to think about it. He felt sorry for this woman and yet she sympathised with a man that he hated beyond reason. He needed to find out more to assist in his judgement.

“Did he bring you anything nice?” Harry asked as he nodded towards the white envelope Silvana had placed in the middle of the table.

“Ha! No, not really. Perhaps I should have been more grateful but this is an unwanted gift.” She picked up the envelope and passed it to Harry, smiling at him. “There. Read it. I have nothing to hide from you.”


Tentatively, Harry opened the envelope and unfurled the parchment contained neatly within. It was a bank statement, in Silvana’s name, from Gringotts. He looked at the balance and widened his eyes. She was incredibly rich. “I don’t understand. Why would your brother bring you this?”


“It’s a share of his inheritance from our father.” She turned away from Harry’s questioning eyes. “Perhaps it eases his conscience, Harry. He was left everything after father died. Now he has divided it up between us.”

“And you’re unhappy about this?”


Silvana laughed. “I shouldn’t be, should I? But I am. I am because things happened that no amount of money could ever compensate for. Nothing can compensate for some of the horrors we have endured, Harry. I will ask you to keep this between us though, if you please. I have no wish to be known as an heir to the Snape fortune. I missed out on friends, boyfriends and all sorts of happiness because of that man. I cannot so easily forgive.”


“But you married eventually. You found happiness without him, didn’t you? I heard what you said about your son. I’m sorry.” Harry looked uncomfortable at his words. Silvana smiled to reassure him.


“So am I, Harry. I wish you could have met him, for he was only a couple of years older than you and you are very much like him. He was my pride and joy, and I miss him.”


She did understand, the voice in his head told him. She was reaching out to him and he did want to reciprocate her gesture but the pain inside him was too much. He felt awkward now, embarrassed, as if he really should say something or tell her something but couldn’t find the words. But what did he want to say? Did he want to shout at her for all the wrongs her brother had done to him, or did he want to embrace her? Almost as if she had read his mind, she patted his hand and rose from her seat, winking at him. “Thank you for the chat, Harry. I’m so glad we were able to talk a while. I should get on with dinner for Remus will be home at any minute.” She glanced over to the door as she rose and laughed as she saw the figure of Remus Lupin leaning against the doorframe.


“This is cosy. Can I join in?” Silvana grinned and put her hands on her hips.


“How long have you been standing there?”


“Just long enough to hear you two having a conversation of sorts. I’m very pleased to hear it too.” He winked at Silvana and she blushed at his friendly gesture.



“You look better than you have in all the time I’ve seen you. Did the fresh air do you good?


Remus Lupin nodded in response and sat down next to Harry, his eyes shining with delight. He watched as Silvana bent down to pick up the vegetables from the rack and began to admire her womanly figure. He watched as the curve of her waist came out to form her ample hips, how her hair hung down the very centre of her back, swept away from her face. He looked as she began to peel the vegetables with her long and elegant hands and it reminded him somehow of happier times. This could have been the life he had dreamed of had his love stayed with him all those years ago. He could have had this: Harry or a son like Harry, and a beautiful wife. It had all been within his grasp and he had let it go. He shook himself out of his dream and felt a pang of guilt shoot through him as Harry muttered something about homework and left him alone with Silvana. He rose to make himself a drink and turned to face Silvana. He witnessed the pure complexion and dark hair, those deep dark eyes and defined cheekbones and her face merged with the one in his mind that he had spent the afternoon with.


They were both so very different. One so dark and tall and one smaller and more fair but for a moment his dream merged them as one. He smiled at Silvana and blushed as his thoughts turned to his afternoon with the other woman in his life. He had made love to her that afternoon and he now felt at peace with the world.


That afternoon, for a brief while, he had been back in the arms of Perpetua.



























Chapter 8: Past, Present and Potter's Potions
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Past, Present, Potions.



We loved with a love that was more than love. ~Edgar Allan Poe



With thanks once again to Llewellyn McEllis for allowing this to happen



Of course Remus hadn’t been with Perpetua at all that afternoon, or any other afternoon for a very long time. Still watching Silvana prepare the dinner, he smiled to himself as he remembered the dim and distant echoes from the happier times he had seen in his life. His glory years - the Marauders, OWL’s, NEWT’s, Hogwarts, but most of all Perpetua. His Perpetua. She had been his one true love, and, eventually, his wife. She was the only woman who he had shared his life with in such an intimate and all encompassing way, and he could never forget her, however hard he tried. He still remembered those eyes, that brown-blonde hair, petit frame, and that voice, so soft and comforting.


And how he had tried to forget. To love someone from afar since the second year of school and then be fortunate enough to have a relationship with her in the fifth year of Hogwarts had been a dream, and one that he had never dared to consider. They had been through so much together. Seldom before then had he allowed himself to imagine a future such as this. Never had he ever thought there would be a possibility of telling a woman who or what he was and for her to comprehend. And she did understand, even when they were still young he knew she was made for him. When they were older she began devoting much time and effort in her work as a Healer into finding a cure for his condition and all the troubles accompanying it. She understood his wants and needs like no one else could. From the moment they had dated at Hogwarts to when they married after graduation, she had been the other half to his soul and he adored her. Their marriage was a time of utter bliss in his rose-tinted eyes that he would never repeat in his lifetime. But time and circumstance tore them apart.


Sometimes he still searched for the moment that had ruined them. It was him, of course. It must have been him, he pondered, because he had made her suffer by being the sole breadwinner and putting such pressure on her all the time they were married. She was so young, and had the added pressure of being a Seer to contend with. That must have been the reason. She couldn’t have fallen out of love with her, could she? Despite what Sirius told him after the event, about the rumours of affairs with Severus Snape, links with Death Eaters and Voldemort, despite the fact he had seen her out with Lucius Malfoy on a raid one night he still believed it was all lies. He had loved her so much he convinced himself there must be another reason, and a large part of him still did. He could never forget his first love.


The cravings for her after she had left were unbearable. He tried many times to make contact with her, sometimes going to St Mungo’s hospital where she worked in the hope of meeting her. At first there was a glimmer of hope within him that they would and could be reconciled. Surely a love as strong as theirs could not just be thrown aside? But as the weeks and months passed, and his friends rallied round, he knew she was lost, and then his world began to crumble around him. The utter emptiness and cold, lonely nights without her chilled him to the bone. His transformations became more frustrating and painful at first, as if even the wolf side of him pined for its mate. There was a sexual tension to the full moon that had always been there, but now it carried an overwhelming frustration that concerned him. They had had a fulfilling and satisfying love life and he missed her so much it hurt. His body, both man and wolf, craved her, and the lack of control made him frightened for the first time in years.


It was Sirius who made the suggestion. He knew of an establishment that Remus could go to for some ‘relief‘, as he had put it. Remus had refused, hating the sordid nature that such an endeavour would bring. Sex came with love, not just a function to be done with and forgotten. He would never treat a woman in that way, he had protested. To do so would be like letting the wolf take over the man, something he had fought against as long as he could remember. No, he would find a way to overcome this.


So it was in a daze that at two o’clock that fine Saturday morning he found himself frequenting this place after the first war had ended, and his friends were all gone. Riding along the wave of his own forced, fake bravado, and a little alcohol, he was determined to rid himself of this feeling he felt inside of pity and loathing. He needed something to fill the void the tragedy of the Marauders had left behind for alcohol alone was ineffective, and rage would not come. Entering the house, he ascended the dark, threadbare staircase, and was shown to the room by one of the older women who worked there with a nod and a knowing smile that showed her blackened teeth. He didn’t look at her painted face or smirking, slightly vile expression. He knocked on black wooden door and swallowed his fears as he heard the feminine voice call ‘Come in.’


There was a roaring fire lit in the hearth as he entered that room. That was the only light that showed him the way forward into the room that evening. He stepped towards it, barely noticing the young girl, scantily clad in a velvet robe and revealing underwear towards the rear of the room. He noticed the stripes of the peeling wallpaper and how the flames caused shadows to dance against it, and thought how gaudy and ridiculous it looked. Ashamed now of being there he began to count the stripes on the wall as he felt her presence coming behind him. One…two… three. He felt lips caress his neck; hands reach to him, travelling down the length of his arm and circling the flesh around his wrists. Four…five…six. He closed his eyes as she nibbled and licked at the outer curves of his ears, and still he did not venture to look at her face. Seven… eight… nine. It was better that way. Slowly, still behind him and out of the fire light, she began to undress him, and he could feel the months of frustration being soothed away by her soft touch. He stopped counting. She didn’t smell the same but her touch was feather-light and skilful and on this he could dream of her. He imagined this was there first night of married bliss. He was still with her as she reached the bare flesh beneath the robes, kissing the curve of his muscular back. This was that special night when he had carried her across the threshold into marital harmony. This was her touch and his Perpetua. His body reacted to his wants and the muscles of his stomach began to contract in anticipation of her warmth.


And then, once he was undressed, she had turned his naked form around and he caught a glimpse of her face. A young face, about his age, perhaps younger, her porcelain skin was taut against her well-defined cheekbones, allowing her chocolate-brown eyes to glimmer in the light of the fire. The eyes were not the same. She did not have the same amber-brown eyes of his love, and why should she, as Perpetua had been a Seer? But in shape, build, smile, hair, in everything else this woman was Perpetua. Once he felt the promise of her naked form, once he felt the soft mounds of flesh beneath her robe and felt the inviting warmth between her legs his body reacted accordingly. He wanted her just like he wanted Perpetua. For that night she was his wife and he would make love to her like they had before.


Except he didn’t. He couldn’t go through with it. Ever the gentleman he pushed her away. Just three minutes later the girl withdrew to a back room, leaving him with a feeling of disgust, frustration and loathing once more.


His world spun as he dressed. How could he have got this far? It wasn’t in his nature to use a woman in this way. He hated himself, abhorred the cursed strength of the sexuality within. He composed himself, still in a trance, not even taking notice at first of the soft cries in the next room. Fastening the zip of his trousers, he heard the cries more clearly and a feeling of panic hit him. This woman had a child. A baby, just as he had yearned for with Perpetua. Perhaps it had been that which had made her leave. He finished dressing and went to move to the door but was pulled back by the hushed sweet sounds of a soothing lullaby being sung by the woman he had just besmirched, for that was how he felt. He walked into the room and found her cradling the baby. In the soft light it could have been Perpetua and the shaking of the sinews and nerves in his body combined with his own self-loathing made him convulse. In front of her, and the baby, Remus Lupin vomited copiously and collapsed on the floor distraught and mortified.


He found out later on that night that her name was Viell and the child, a girl, was named Arlize. The woman had taken pity on the wizard and, once the baby returned to her peaceful slumber, Viell and Remus talked until sunrise, striking up a friendship of sorts. He had paid her when he left, though he could barely afford it, and never expected to see her again. But that was not the case. Her eerie similarity to his wife was too much to ignore, and he was drawn to her like a moth to a flame. He did not pay for her services again, though he enjoyed her company and financed some of the child’s upbringing and food if and when he could. Money as always tight, and it was not easy for him. And so it went on over the years. Viell and Remus became friends, more than friends. She shared his life as no other woman could. And he had been with her that afternoon.


He learnt she was a Squib and her daughter, as she grew, showed signs of a small amount of magical ability that Remus tried to harness and tutor. Viell grew fond of Remus, and enjoyed his company and his generous affection. Their situation was not a love story, more of a mutual arrangement between two lonely people, which, on occasion, brought him to her bed. But not for money for, unlike the other men, he respected her too much. They joined for their own mutual pleasure. She was pleased for her daughter to have such a strong and able ‘father figure’ around, and he still had feelings for the woman who had left him all those years ago. This was his version of the life they could have had. A glimpse of what could have been. If the feelings ran any stronger than that then the couple would never admit to it. They were two ships put at harbour together sharing the same waters and they were happy that way. They understood each other perfectly, and Viell knew that one day some lucky woman who could give Remus the life he desired would replace her. She was shrewd enough to be realistic. She had always been smart.


When he did work, which was rare, Remus funded books and school equipment for the girl, which he himself provided when and if he got to see them. She was a bright and able child, and had an offer from Hogwarts when the time came. But Viell would not hear of it. Arlize’ father had been a wizard, but her mother was a Squib and it was not right for her to mix above her station, she had argued. Remus had tried for the girl, but her mother stayed steadfast and Arlize would never know the pleasure of schooling at Hogwarts.


She had now found herself a small job at the Ministry, courtesy of a few wizarding friends Remus managed to persuade. Viell had made enough money to have her own flat, and independence. She shared the flat with her daughter, and Viell now worked in Madame Malkin’s, renting the flat above. Her life had turned around, but Remus’ had not. He still hankered after his past, never searching for a future, and his first visit after the death of Sirius had made him regress even more so. Viell had offered to ‘become’ Perpetua again that afternoon to soothe him, and he had eagerly accepted, languishing in the world where he was happy once before. She dressed in the way he liked, and let her hair down to remind him of what he once had. She let him call her Perpetua, and she answered to that name only. She gave him the memories that didn‘t trouble, and goodness knows he had so very few of those left. In those sweet moments of lust (for it was not love that afternoon) he reclaimed what should have been his. It was the most comfort he had received since Sirius had died.



His daydreams were abandoned again as Silvana passed him the plate of biscuits she had made. He looked up into her dark eyes and came back to reality with a jolt. She placed her hand gently upon his and smiled.


“ You seem miles away. I made these earlier. Harry seemed to like them. Tell me what you think.”



His sexual exertions had built up his appetite, and he popped a biscuit into his mouth, nodding as the sweet crumpling mixture hit his taste buds. He chewed them until he could offer a reply. “Oh, they are delicious, Silvana. Do you mind if I take another?”
She laughed.


“I made them for you boys. Please take as many as you wish. If I eat them I’ll only feel guilty later.”


Remus stretched his weary muscles and gazed at her silhouette. He watched her bend down to the oven and take out a chocolate sponge cake she had made before he arrived. The combination of the sweet smells and her womanly figure stirred something deep within him, but he repressed his feelings. He could not allow himself that luxury now. He had responsibilities. He found Silvana fascinating, alluring, and always had done to some degree, even at school as a youngster. But the feelings mixed with his memories of Perpetua, making him doubt their worth. There was no time for other thoughts. Turning to the Daily Prophet perched upon the table for his perusal, he spoke aloud as she peeled the carrots and busied herself with dinner once more.


“Is that all for the Order meeting tomorrow or do we get some?”


Silvana turned around with a twinkle in her eyes. “I made you two a cake earlier for supper. Do not fret. Honestly, it’s like being back at home. Nice though, Remus.” She sighed as she continued her work. “I wonder if my brother will be in a better mood tomorrow. He came to see me today.”


Remus leaned back a little in his chair and folded the paper to view Silvana. “Oh?”


“Yes, he came to offer me my inheritance from our father. I’m afraid I wasn’t very welcoming.”


Remus sniggered. He thought of Severus getting a taste of his own medicine and chuckled. Only Silvana could get away with treating Snape as she did. It was a pleasure to see, he had to admit, and he wondered if Harry had witnessed it too.


“Have you accepted?”


“Yes I have, for now. I’d be a fool not to, Remus. What income do I have otherwise? Besides which, I do believe he was genuine in his gesture today. I was perhaps a little hasty with my anger. I will talk to him tomorrow and make amends.”


“I’m sure he will forgive you. I know I would if you were my sister.”


“Ha! If you were my brother things would be so much simpler. At least I can talk to you without arguing.”


Remus looked across at her, watching the fluid slicing motion as the knife in her hand began to slice at the vegetables on the chopping board in quick succession. Such domestic bliss he was now in. He was washed in a wave of contentment. Remus shook his head to clear it. “Oh yes,” he muttered, “Things would be a lot simpler.”




*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-





Remus Lupin was thankful for small mercies. He was thankful that the Order meeting the following day was not the long, drawn out affair he had expected it to be, as he had hardly slept a wink that night, and could not face an in depth discussion about Voldemort however many black coffees Silvana made him. The usual crowd were there. The Weasley family came over en mass, the twins now allowed to say for the meeting, Ron and Ginny banished upstairs with Harry and a visiting Hermione. Kingsley, Moody and Tonks had come, as had Severus, Emmeline and Hestia Jones. Dumbledore chaired the meeting as usual, and Mundungus arrived fashionably late with a flustered Arabella Figg in tow. Silvana was allowed to participate, though she had little to say, and was mainly serving refreshments and listening intently. The agenda and information that came across in the meeting was not too unexpected. Voldemort was getting more daring in his attacks as the days and weeks passed, and it was only a matter of time before the Muggles suspected something was wrong. The Ministry, and the new Minister herself, had done a fine job of allaying their government’s fears so far, but for how long they could not be sure. The Aurors, including Tonks and Kingsley Shacklebolt, were up to their eyes in sightings and attempted raids and arrests but nothing useful, and they were beginning to be disheartened. The luck was all flowing one way and that way was the Dark Lord himself.


Severus had done his normal self-important speech about how he was risking his life for the good of the Order, and Remus noticed that even Silvana stifled a yawn while he had been talking. She grinned at Remus and then choked on her coffee as Mundungus interrupted Severus to ask for more chocolate cake, much to her brother’s disgust. Dumbledore ended the meeting after much discussion from Tonks and Moody about wand safety and the safety of Harry at Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. He lifted the mood and attempted to put all the Order in the right frame of mind, thanking them for all their efforts, but Remus felt some of them were having doubts. It was like waiting for a cat to pounce and not knowing where and when it would strike. Severus was convinced something big was in the pipeline but what he could not be sure of. With Lucius now in Azkaban his sources of information were depleted, and Voldemort was playing his cards close to his chest. They may never know until it was too late.


Dumbledore had beckoned Remus, Silvana and Severus to stay in the kitchen while the others left to go elsewhere. He smiled kindly and waited for Remus to close the door.


“Now I am sure you are aware that the OWL results will be upon us soon. I am also aware of Harry’s wish to become an Auror, especially now since the events of the summer. I wanted to discuss with you all the possibilities of strengthening the boy’s knowledge and skills.”


Severus shifted in his chair uncomfortably and sneered at the mere mention of the boy’s name. “And this involves us how exactly?”

“Firstly, that Remus will need to tutor him on more advanced magic this year as well as his NEWT’s lessons. I have no qualms about his being good enough. He has frequently shown strengths in Defence against the Dark Arts, especially with the correct tutor. However, Potions is a different matter. I fear he will not reach the required grade in his OWL results. Severus, you have always made it clear that you will not accept anyone with an OWL grade less than Outstanding.”

“Indeed,” he interrupted, “and if you are about to try and persuade me otherwise I must prohibit you wasting your time. I will not bend on this matter, even for Potter.”


Dumbledore raised his hands to stop Severus from proceeding any further. “Of course I would never dream of such a thing, Severus. But there is another way if he does not get the correct grade.”


The Potions Master frowned. “I will not teach him privately.”


“I am not asking you to do that either. I am merely asking, as an example, that if he was to fail your exceptional standards that you allow him in your class up until the November retakes. By which time he may have reached the required level with some extra help from someone other than yourself.”


Snape looked thunderstruck, and was lost for words for a moment until his thoughts gathered momentum. “Absolutely not! Are you suggesting that someone else will tutor him at OWL level in a better way than I have in the past five years? And where will you get such an accomplished Potions master to lecture him in all he needs to know? Good Professors do not come past our way every day. I will be interested to hear who you have in mind for such an onerous task.”


Dumbledore smiled and glanced in Silvana’s direction, saying calmly, “She is seated next to you, Severus.”


Silvana had been enthralled by their conversation until she heard her name mentioned, and then her mouth dried up and she stumbled for her words. “Me? But I haven’t even made Potions for years! How on earth am I meant to prepare the boy for November retakes when I am so rusty at the subject myself?”


“But a true proficient never loses their skills, Silvana. I seem to remember you were somewhat of a tutor to your brother.”


“Yes, but that was different. That was years ago when I was still at school myself, not years later when I’ve hardly used magic at all. I couldn’t possibly. I’m not sure I would know where to begin.”


Remus chipped in, excited by the prospect of seeing Silvana use her skills. “But Severus would help you, wouldn’t you Severus? I mean, you must have guidelines and know what core elements come up time and time again in the exams. The main part of the exams is always the same - they just alter three or four sections every year. It would be marvellous to have you both teaching him. Think of how he would benefit.”


Severus glanced at Silvana and was torn in his mind. He wanted desperately to help his sister but not the boy. And why should he agree to something Dumbledore devised after the hurt and pain he had suffered through him? He glared at the audacity of Remus Lupin as he watched him flatter his only sister and it made his flesh creep. How dare he be so informal with her when her own brother never had the opportunity? But then he could not assist her without Potter. It must be done. He would have to swallow his pride and beliefs once again, but only for Silvana‘s sake. “I will have to admit him on the understanding Silvana will make him achieve the correct grade?“

“Yes,” stated Dumbledore, “that is the general idea. I have total faith in her abilities.”


Severus paused, all eyes now upon him. “And if he fails I will be able to reject him as a pupil and never again have him grace my classroom with immediate effect?”


“As you so wish, Severus. You may never have to teach the boy again, though I feel there will be no need to plan ahead.”


“Then I will give Silvana the literature needed to perform the task, and the use of my classroom, but I will not assist in any other way, nor have contact with Potter other than my NEWT‘s classes.” He turned to her, his voice a little softer though his stance rigid and defensive. “We must arrange a mutually convenient time for you to use the Potions room, and also talk about this in depth. I will get the books and notes to you as soon as I return to Hogwarts. We will meet again,” he glanced at Lupin and sneered. “privately.”


Dumbledore noticed the look and coughed, smiling as he caught their attention. “I was actually after a chance to talk to Remus alone so perhaps Severus and Silvana would like a little privacy to discuss a way forward with this endeavour. Remus, would you care to follow me and we will leave the Snape siblings to themselves?”



Remus rose from his seat and patted Silvana sympathetically on the arm as he walked past her. She waited for the door to close and then took her brother’s hands in hers across the table, smiling as she gazed into his dark eyes. “Snape siblings. Can you believe that? It seems so unreal that you and I are together again.”


He didn’t flinch. Gazing back into her own eyes he felt the warmth and comfort that he had missed for so long. Instead he grasped at his sister’s hands and raised them to his mouth, kissing them gently and bowing his head. “Forgive me for all my abruptness. I do not know how to react to you any more. Sometimes we feel like strangers.” Silvana brushed the lock of hair that had fallen across his face like a mother tends to her child.



“I understand, Severus. It has been too long, but we must build bridges and learn to adapt. We must both adapt, Severus. You and I. And to begin that process I want you to talk to me about your thoughts and feelings. Your true thoughts. I want to love you again, to help you like I used to, but unless you let me I can’t. Talk to me, my darling brother. I want you to talk to me about it all.”




*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*





On the other side of the door there were hushed voices. Professor Dumbledore and Remus Lupin were huddled in a deep discussion with only the walls having the honour of hearing the details. Dumbledore was giving the man instructions; instructions for his latest task. He didn’t want to ask him, but recent events had made it necessary, and he wanted someone he could trust. There was so much depending on the success of the Order he dare not make another error of judgement, or the consequences were too great to be imagined. He had always trusted Severus Snape. He knew still waters run deep, and he also knew the man was capable of great love and affection if given the chance. Love was a saviour and Snape had experienced it both from his mother and his sister. But was it enough? Could it be that years of hatred had finally bled the man dry and he was now devoid of affectionate emotion? Dumbledore wasn’t confident any more. His own sworn secrecy of Silvana’s whereabouts had wounded Severus deeper than even he had suspected. And that, combined with his work for the Order this summer, and numerous visits to Voldemort had taken its toll. Perhaps irreversibly.


“I do not ask this of you lightly, Remus. To undertake this is an onerous task. But in view of all that is at stake…”


“I understand. And Silvana? Where will she come into this?”


“Silvana will have her own way of finding out the truth of his loyalties. I trust her judgement completely. She has no reason to join Voldemort. Indeed she has every reason not to.”


Remus shuffled awkwardly, not wanting to ask this but needing to. “And Severus cannot turn her? She would always love her brother no matter what.”


“No, Remus. Silvana has suffered at the hands of Voldemort indirectly already. Though blood is thicker than water, if her brother was to turn against us then Silvana will not follow.”


“Then why ask me? Why not wait for Silvana?”


“Because I fear that Voldemort will use Severus to get to Harry when we are back at Hogwarts, and Silvana will be here at Grimmauld Place. You are discreet enough and loyal enough to watch him without rousing his suspicions. A teacher’s position is one of absolute trust. A trust I must ensure is kept at all times, especially with Harry. I ask you to ensure Harry is protected from Severus. I fear Severus’ anger has reached a point that makes him a danger to us all. He is a man in doubt. A man who, under the right influence, could be made to follow orders that go against all that we hold dear.
He could play us both and come out the victor. And that makes him a very dangerous man indeed.”


“Then should he be going back to Hogwarts at all?”


Dumbledore sighed wearily. “Innocent until proven guilty, Remus. I have faith enough not to condemn the man as yet. I hope that my fears for his future are unfounded and, that with Silvana’s influence, he will remain loyal. But one thing is clear. Whatever it takes, Remus, you must ensure that Harry is protected.”


Remus frowned and looked at the bright blue eyes of his superior nervous with anticipation. “Whatever it takes?” Dumbledore stood tall, staring most intensely at the man before him and nodded, speaking in a grave tone.


“Yes, Remus. Whatever it takes.”




Chapter 9: The Mistress of the Moors
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The Mistress of the Moors



“Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world.” ~Ada Louise Huxtable




Dumbledore returned to his circular office and walked to the leaded glass windows, observing the grounds of Hogwarts. They were bathed in glorious evening sunshine, the sun now drawing to a close in a blaze of crimson and ginger, encased in a darkening sky. ‘Red sky at night’ he muttered to himself and smiled as he recalled that it foretold an equally stunning day to come. How he wished that the future were that simple to predict. He sighed, pondering over the decision he had made to divulge his fears to another. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Remus Lupin, in fact that was far from the truth. If anyone deserved to be his confidant then Remus was surely a fitting contender. No, it was admitting that doubt in the first place. He had told all and sundry over the years that Severus Snape could be trusted, and in his heart he still believed that. The man had been loyal, unswerving in his duty, and yet there was a nagging doubt in his mind now that he could not ignore. He must take precautions to protect all he held dear.


He had watched as Severus followed the flock of Slytherins who all became Death Eaters in his later teenage years. Without Silvana, or his mother, there was no one to stop him taking those fateful steps, and Dumbledore had allowed fate to guide him. Severus had become a follower of Voldemort, obeying the father who ruled him with fear and violence, but also in the hope there he would find a way to locate his beloved sister again, as Lucius promised. Severus Snape had no choice but to follow orders and abide by his rules: it was all he had ever known. And, once his father had died, Dumbledore had seen how Voldemort had replaced his father’s violent rule swiftly with his own, and enticed Severus to his cause completely. Dumbledore knew Snape had been a naive boy easily led by those such as Lucius Malfoy. He was also aware that he still could be, even if the cunning and discerning man said otherwise. But he also knew him to be touched by love in his early, tragic life. He had seen how the glimmer of hope that his dear sister may still be alive had carried him through the hard times. Her love had been his saving grace, but it could also be his downfall, such was her influence on him.


The astuteness of Severus had shone through in the end. His Slytherin ways made him unite with Dumbledore more for self-preservation and hedging his bets than any great scheme at first, and Dumbledore was well aware of this, though it was never discussed. The fact he had never found his sister made him go to the great wizard, and Dumbledore persuaded him to use his numerous skills and spy for him. And he had produced. Had he not been able to inform him of the intelligence on the Potters then they may have been in danger sooner. He had helped the cause at great personal cost, and still did to this day. Physical, mental and personal. But he had no choice but to remain a Death Eater and spy for the Order. You served or you lost your life; there was no middle ground.


Dumbledore now closed his eyes to the beauty of the setting sun. He had used the man and lied to him about his loved one. No wonder the man was now torn with bitterness and fury. All he had ever wanted was recognition and love from his sister, and Dumbledore had been the one who had kept him from that right. He had sworn to Silvana not to tell. No wonder the Headmaster had doubts, for he had felt them before, and this time he could not repeat the mistakes of the past. They had known there was a spy in their midst last time, but they had been so deceived that they were all so blinded to Peter Pettigrew. Many nights Dumbledore had pondered how they could have been so betrayed. He had failed them. He had failed all of the Marauders, and Severus, in some way or another and he could not fail now. And yet he felt as if he already had.


Sitting back down in his chair, Dumbledore heard a familiar cough coming from behind him and turned to see the sneering face of Phineas Nigellus staring back at him. “So, I hear you are doubting our Slytherin Head of House, Dumbledore. How very tiresome of you. May I remind you we have a long tradition of greatness in Slytherin house? It is not as simple as heroes and villains! Why must they always search my house for the answers to their woes? ”


Dumbledore nodded respectfully. “Indeed I do know that, Phineas and indeed you do have much greatness. However, I cannot afford too many errors. I fear my luck may have already run out and I must protect the boy.”


Phineas snorted. “From Snape? Sweet Merlin, what is the world coming to when you have to protect the world from a Snape? I knew his great, great Grandfather you know. He was a two faced so and so as well. A true Slytherin. His grandson has the same traits, but tell me, why is it that you have lost faith?”



Dumbledore felt along the length of his beard and sighed. “Experience and guilt, perhaps. He has always sort approval and glory. I fear that is something I cannot give to him any more. His trust in me is gone and it is absolute.”


“Nothing is absolute for a Slytherin. There is always a plan B, my dear fellow. You cannot mark us the same as the other houses for we are always one step ahead.”


“But what if that plan goes against everything we endeavour to achieve? I cannot allow for the same mistake to happen again.”


Phineas stood from his regal pose and peered down at the Headmaster with a superior air about him. “And can I remind you of something? Who was it that betrayed them all last time? A Gryffindor. I do not think you need to fear Severus Snape. Irked and wounded he may be, but loyal and true he will be still. Especially when he knows the truth. You should force the girl to speak out. Tell him the truth about why she left and he would surely follow like a devoted pet. She is his saviour, not you. She will be the one to keep him on the path to you. She may have been a Ravenclaw but she is as cunning as one of us. Shame she was not sorted our way, perhaps. She could have been great. What does she do? Runs away and marries a Muggle. A Muggle! I ask you! A Hufflepuff would have been better than a Muggle.”


“I will not force her to do that. Silvana has her reasons for privacy and I respect that. No woman should have to tell the horrors she endured. I should have seen what their father had planned. I should have done as their mother asked and helped them. I should have kept them here under my supervision but he was their father. Alas I should have…”


Phineas waved his arms theatrically and frowned. “ Oh woe is you! Should have, would have, could have…blah, blah, blah! And there is your whole problem. Always wanting to please everyone. Saving the world. Always seeing the good and forgiving the bad. It is your one major fault. If you had upset as many people as I did when I was Headmaster you would have achieved so much more! You are looking for something that is not there, or if it is it is buried away deep down within him. Severus Snape is a safe pair of hands. He is a Slytherin, and a fine one at that. He is not his father. It’s those Gryffindors you have to watch I tell you! That Lupin! See! Gryffindor and a werewolf. Terrible combination. I don‘t know what you‘re thinking of, bring him back here. It wouldn‘t have happened in my day.”


Dumbledore shook his head and walked back to the setting sun. “Yes, Phineas,” he sighed. “I remember you said that once before. You were wrong then too.”




*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




The August sunshine was enticing to the majority of England that summer. Record temperatures made for sultry nights and balmy days. Everyone was desperate to leave their employment and make the most of the summer sunshine. The residents of Grimmauld Place were no exception, and Harry in particular was keen to be free of the confines of his house. It was agreed that, as long as he had the constant company of a member of the Order, he could visit Ron and Ginny at the Burrow. This would mean an opportunity to stretch his legs and, more importantly, be like a normal teenager.


Silvana did not accompany him on the first visit since she had arrived, though she was cordially invited. Her recent talk with her brother had made her realise that she needed to spend more time with him to understand the man he had become. Their discussion a few days previously had been a stilted affair and he had not been forthcoming at all. Certainly not about his dealings with Voldemort, or with Harry. Silvana had tried hard to let him open up to her bit every time she felt she was achieving something he closed the doors and put his defences back up once more. She tried again while the first visit to the Burrow took place but again he avoided the subjects she wished to discuss. She was troubled, and slept little due to both her concern for her brother and the prospect of the task Dumbledore had set her in teaching Harry Potions.


Her trepidation at the thought of it played on her mind, as she knew just how important it was for him to focus on his future. She was also well aware of the importance that his future held for many others. Unlike the rest of his friends, Silvana was aware of the Prophecy concerning Harry and Voldemort. Dumbledore had wanted to make sure she was clear on everything that was going to affect her, but she was sworn to secrecy and respected his request at all times. She had spent much of the subsequent days reading the considerable volumes of Potions manuals her brother had sent for her, often falling asleep in front of the fireplace with one resting on her lap, until Remus came in from his Order duties and gently woke her up. He looked upon her affectionately as she dozed, taking the book from her lap and whispering to awaken her. He would always make her a warm, hot chocolate drink and discuss his night’s events, then escort her to her room; such was the routine the last weeks of the summer holidays had evolved into. And it suited them both more than they cared to admit. There was an intimacy to their routine that they found to be a great comfort, as if it was the most natural thing in the world for them to do. It was as if they had always done this and to do anything else would not feel right.


Harry’s next visit to the Burrow was the morning that the OWL results arrived. He wandered down to breakfast that morning to find the envelope waiting for him on the kitchen table, with both Remus and Silvana standing opposite him, side by side, smiling in anticipation. He looked up at their smiling faces and grinned shyly. “Did you want me to open this now?”


Remus laughed and cried out ‘Yes!’ though Silvana looked more worried than Harry did. Slowly he tore at the white envelope and, with a shaking hand, unfurled the parchment within his hands. Remus and Silvana looked at one another as Harry adjusted his spectacles and read down the long list of results. “ I failed Divination with a Dreadful, and got Poor in History of Magic and Astronomy. Herbology was Acceptable, Charms and Care of Magical Creatures was a Exceeds Expectation in each and Defence against the Dark Arts was an Outstanding.” He grinned, leaving Silvana clinging onto Remus’ shirtsleeve, much to his astonishment.


“And?” she asked him. “Potions?”


Harry grinned. “I got an Exceeds Expectations, so I’m afraid you will be helping me out after all.”


The colour drained from Silvana’s face and she sat down. “Oh my! Well, at least it’s only one grade up from your result, and you obviously know an awful lot already.”


“Your other results are to be proud of, Harry. Well done you!”


Remus walked around and gave Harry a friendly hug, shaking his hand and ruffling his hair affectionately. Silvana smiled and walked towards one of the kitchen cupboards, from which she produced a large bottle of champagne. “I guess we may as well crack this open then,” she said with a twinkle in her eye. Remus turned and looked surprised to see her walking back to the table with three glasses and the bottle in her hand. “Where did you get that from?”


“Ah, well you think I just sit here and read away my life with a nose in the Potions book when in fact I went out to Diagon Alley with Severus the last time you went to the Burrow and purchased this, along with one or two other things. See, I can be quite resourceful when I want to be. I get up to all sorts of mischief while you two are away. You have no idea!” she grinned from ear to ear, poking her tongue out at them, much to the boy’s amusement. Remus poked her in the ribs playfully. “Here Harry, it’s your celebration so you can do the honours and open it.”


Harry took the bottle and opened it carefully, releasing the cork with a huge pop. After giving Remus and Silvana some of the drink Remus held his glass up in the air and huddles with Harry and Silvana. “To Harry, and his genius. To exceeding expectations and outstanding achievement. And to skilful teachers. To Harry…and Silvana! Cheers!” Remus grinned at the blanching Silvana, and wrapped a friendly arm around her shoulder as they clinked glasses and laughed at her concerned expression. Remus put down his glass and put him arm around Harry’s shoulders too, bringing both of them closer. “ You know us three make quite a family, don’t we?”


Harry laughed, “Yeah, in fact you two are just like living with a couple of old grandparents, really! Ooh saved by the door!”


“Oi!” shouted Remus and Silvana in union, as Harry shot off to greet Ron and Hermione who had just arrived in the hall. Silvana shook her head and sighed. “ Cheeky boy! Oh goodness, Remus. How am I ever going to help him achieve that grade? So much hangs on that one mark and he so wants to be an Auror and…”


Remus gently pulled Silvana gently towards him and grasped her shoulders so he could look into her eyes. Smiling, staring into those dark eyes of hers, he whispered, “I have faith in you, that’s how. We’ll both be there for him, and for each other. Now, I forbid you to sit here and worry so you can come with us to the Burrow today and get out in the fresh air.” he put a finger to her lips as she went to protest.


“And no arguing! And if I find one of those Potions books tucked under you arm I’ll tell your brother you’ve been pining for him and he can spend tonight with you while I transform.”


Silvana gasped. “Oh! Transformation! I completely forgot. Oh my! I am totally useless. Are you feeling ok, Remus? Can I get you anything?” Remus laughed and gave her a hug.


“I’m totally fine, thank you. We’ll make sure we leave the Burrow in plenty of time tonight and then you can tuck me in with a bedtime story and lock the door.”


Silvana shuddered. “I hate that part…locking the door. It doesn’t feel right. I feel mean.”


Remus smiled sympathetically. “It’s safer, just in case something went wrong. We have to protect Harry at all costs, even from me. Come on, get ready and then we’ll set off to the Burrow. And don’t forget, no Potions books. I‘m not having you fall asleep in the armchair when we‘re there. Besides which, you snore.”


Silvana hit Remus playfully on the arm and laughed. “I do not. And anyway, that’s a bit rich! You nearly take the roof off with yours.” Remus stepped closer and grinned wickedly. “I wouldn’t go saying things like that in front of Molly Weasley. She’ll think we’ve been up to no good,” and he laughed as Silvana went wide-eyed and blushed scarlet at the thought of what Remus was implying. But it wasn’t the first time she’d thought about him in that way.




*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*





The Burrow was always bustling and chaotic, and today was no exception. Moody and Tonks had escorted Harry on the journey, just in case. Moody had taken it upon himself to become some sort of personal bodyguard to Harry, and, though Harry wasn’t ungrateful, he felt stifled and controlled. The visit to the Burrow was his remedy, his treat, and his chance to be ’normal’ again after the events of the summer. It offered him a freedom that Grimmauld Place couldn’t give him, and just an hour back there lifted his spirits and let him dream of a life free of the complications his entailed.


Today the air was filled with discussions about exams and school. Hermione, of course, had passed her exams with flying colours, and her only torment now was if she could fit in all the NEWT’s she wanted to do into her tight schedule and still have room to breathe. Ron had done better than he had expected, though he didn’t achieve any outstanding grades and felt a little disheartened when he learnt the other two had. His mother, however, had lavished praise upon him nevertheless, as she did to all her children. Molly was a proud and encouraging mother, and whatever her children did she was happy as long as they were, though she did not admit that openly, especially in front of her troublesome twins. Fred and George had given themselves the day off from their shop to have a family day with the Weasleys, and had done so well in their first tentative months of business that they now had a member of staff to fill in for them when they went out on business. Molly had to admit to herself that she was wrong about her sons, and her heart swelled with pride at their success, though again she treated them as if they were still at Hogwarts and in need of supervision. However much of an entrepreneur Fred and George became Molly would still treat them as if they were three years old.


And so the melee continued as Ron took it upon himself to teach Hermione the finer points of flying a broom and explained the rules of Quidditch. Hermione of course already knew, but she sportingly played along. She even let him take her up on his broom, riding through the air, Hermione in front holding on for dear life as Ron showed off to her, and held her around the waist with one arm. The pride and affection on his face was noted by all, and for the first time properly by Harry. Something had changed between his two friends in the summer holidays, and though he was pleased he just hoped it wouldn’t change the chemistry between them all as relationships often did.


Out of the corner of his eye he noticed the twins carrying a contraption down to the ditch that was hidden from view in the uppermost corner of the garden. Harry looked around him, but the only adult nearby was Moody, and he was now talking shop with Tonks. Molly, Remus and Silvana were inside. He started to follow the twins, who were now crouched in the ditch, surrounded by the cover of dense shrubbery. As he approached he heard them muttering.


“How do you spell it?”


“I…T.”


“No, you idiot! How do you spell Hermione?”


Harry coughed. “H.E.R.M.I.O.N.E. Why? What are you up to?”


Fred swung around and grabbed Harry by the shirttails, pulling him down to them with a finger upon his lips. “Shhhh! Top-secret mission! It’s our latest invention.”


“Yeah,” sniggered George, “The Weasley Magic Message Maker for those private messages across the sky.”


“What?” questioned Harry. “Why not send a letter?”


Fred rolled his eyes. “Because it spoils the moment, silly. It’s for when two people can’t be together, or they want to communicate privately. All that hassle with Umbridge reading the post last year gave us this idea. You just write a message on to this pad, wave your wand and tell it who you want to see it and then this message gets written near to the person in the sky with this rocket.”


“Yeah,” agreed George, “and the beauty of it is it’s all invisible to other people when the rocket goes up so only the person who the message is for will see it. Good eh? We’re just testing it on those two.”


Harry looked worried. “Don’t you think you ought to warn them?”


“Fred and George looked at each other and laughed. “Warn them? Nah! Thing is, Harry, we don’t want them to know because it’ll be a nice early birthday present for Hermione.”


“And ickle Ronnykins” smirked George.



“What are you going to put?”


“You’ll see. We’ll put it for your eyes too and then you’ll be our tester and so will Hermione…but not Ron. He can just watch the effects of our labour.”



Harry looked from left to right, first to Fred and then to George and wondered whether he should be stopping their scheme right now. George waved his wand and Harry watched with a growing amount of fear as the launcher began to smoke and splutter and a red rocket flew up into the air, making its way for Hermione.


Of course, with Ron doing dives and rolls, and the rocket following, Hermione didn’t know what to scream at first. She shouted at Ron to stop and then screamed as the rocket exploded and the words ‘noR sevol enoimreH’ swam in front of her eyes as Ron brought the broom down for a quick landing. The adults had all run out wondering what all the fuss was about, but Moody was standing in the middle of the garden, wand aloft swearing and shouting ‘Constant vigilance! and ‘Attack!’, searching frantically for Harry. Harry stood up and waved, suddenly realising that Moody thought the Burrow was being bombarded with enchanted rockets. With his magical eye Moody could see the rockets and Tonks flew off on a broom to where he was pointing only to find the twins and Harry in the ditch in hysterics.


She stood in front of them, furious and hands upon her hips. “What the bloody hell do you think you’re doing?”


Fred stood up and brushed the grass off of his jeans. “Testing things. Why? Is there a problem?”


“Yeah! I don’t know what you did but Moody thought we were under attack and I’m presuming from the way steam is coming out of his ears it was down to you two. So what was it this time? I’m guessing it was that.” Tonks pointed to the launcher while the twins and Harry squirmed as Moody came over with an evil glare in his one remaining good eye and Molly, Silvana and Remus followed.


“This it? Offending weapon?” shouted Moody, his mad eye whizzing around in its socket. Molly looked aghast.


“What on earth have you been playing at now? I thought when you got yourself in the Order and a business you’d grow up but oh no! Back to your old tricks. A rocket launcher of all things! What was it meant to achieve?”


Fred lowered his head and George refused to answer but Harry took it upon himself to explain about the message and how it was meant to be a surprise for Hermione but had gone a little wrong. Moody snorted in disdain and Molly chastised them but then the adults stayed silent until Remus finished mulling over his words and spoke aloud as he picked up the launcher in his hands.

“You know this could actually come in useful, given a few modifications, as a means of communication for the Order. It would need to be made smaller and less cumbersome…”


“And,” Silvana chipped in, “the rocket needs to look a little less like a rocket in case Muggles see it, because you can see the shell even if you can’t read the message. A simple Disillusionment Charm should do it.”


“Is its range good?” asked Tonks. “I mean if it can only go a few metres it would be quicker to shout.”


“At the moment it can only go up to 30 miles but we could work on it, if you think it’d be good enough.” George nudged his brother to pay attention, which he dutifully did.


Remus turned to Moody and grinned. “I think it’s a great idea, eh Moody? Voldemort seems to be one step ahead all the time but if we could use this without them knowing, without Floo or Owl or Apparating, and without the Ministry knowing either then we may have a chance of getting a step ahead ourselves.”


“Yep,” agreed Tonks, “surprise is the key and we aren’t all as clever as Dumbledore with communicating.” Moody nodded. “ If they can adapt it then we could have something here. No promises though.”


Relieved they had been let off the hook, the twins made their way over to where Ron and Hermione had landed to apologise for their prank, leaving Harry to chat with Tonks and Moody and Molly to talk to Silvana and Remus. They took their seats in the deck chairs outside, the two women smiling as Remus slid down in his, arms behind his back sunbathing lazily in the sunshine. Molly poured Silvana some lemonade and handed her the glass.


“Have you had much of a chance to get outside, dear? The weather has been kind to us this summer.”


“Not really.” Silvana sipped her lemonade and smiled. “ I went shopping in Diagon Alley the other day but apart from that, no. Is it nice around Ottery St Catchpole?”


Molly sat forward and nodded. “Oh yes! Beautiful scenery. Views from miles around if you go up on the hill. We really are spoilt living here. Such a wonderful place to bring up the children. You’re looking a little peaky, dear. Remus, you should take Silvana out in the fresh air. She’s looking in need of it. Take the poor girl for a walk.” Remus opened one eye and turned to face them.


“I would be delighted to. She’s had her nose such in books for far too long. I could do with a walk in the country myself today. What do you say, Silvana? I’m game if you are.”


Silvana nodded eagerly and grinned. “I’d love to. Shall we go now? You know we have to return on time tonight, Molly, full moon and all.”


Molly looked a little concerned at Remus. “Of course you must. You’d better go out now. It’ll take a good hour or so at least. Take some lemonade in a flask for the journey. It’s so warm today.”



Molly had been quite accurate about the time it took Remus and Silvana to get to the top of the hill. The walk was scenic but tiring, and Silvana gratefully took Remus’ arm for support as the afternoon wore on and the sun shone down on their faces. A good hour later, and Remus reached the summit, turning round to help a flushed Silvana up the final foot to join him. He reached out with his hand and pulled her up to him, catching her in his arms, laughing at her breathless state.


“You all right, old girl?”


“Yes…and not…so much of…the…old…girl, you! Oh! I didn’t realise I was so unfit.” Silvana sat down in a heap on the grass, leaning back into the soft comfort of the long grass, rolling on to one side to observe the view. “Molly was right; it’s beautiful here.”



Remus continued to stand, looking at the adjoining villages that seemed to go on for miles and miles. The sky was azure blue speckled with just a wisp of cloud and the sun beat down on them both to soothe their aching muscles. He sat down beside Silvana and started to play with the grass, picking it absentmindedly while still looking at the horizon. Silvana sighed and sat up. “I’ve missed this.”


“What? Being outside or the countryside?”


“Both,” she replied. “I miss the sounds and smells the most. You know, the birds and bees and all. I’m more at home outside than in. Not that I don’t enjoy Grimmauld Place and you and Harry you understand. It’s just…”


Remus smiled sympathetically. “I understand exactly what you mean. Every so often I go home to recuperate when I can. I have a house on Dartmoor tucked away from view in the shelter of the Moor. It’s private, isolated, safe and full of trees, meadows and wildlife. When I retire I shall live their permanently, but for now it’s my bolt hole.”


“It sounds idyllic,” Silvana sighed. “Isn’t it lonely though? I’m not sure I could live somewhere remote alone.”


Remus shrugged. “It’s not like I ever had a choice in that matter. I’d love nothing more than to share it with someone, and for a while Sirius lived with me, but most of my life I’ve lived alone, apart from when I was married, of course. But other than that…”


Silvana frowned and held her hand over her brow to shield her eyes from the sun. “You were married? I had no idea! When?”


“Years ago, just after we left school, in fact. It didn’t last long. I suppose we were too young and they were difficult times we lived in back then.”


“Indeed they were. After school you say? Would I know her?” Silvana looked at Remus a little awkwardly as she saw his discomfort at talking about the subject. “Sorry. You don’t have to say, Remus.”


“No, it’s fine, honestly. Do you remember Llewelyn McEllis in your year?”


“I do. She caused a bit of a scandal by leaving and getting married before her final exams. But I thought she married someone else.”


Remus laughed and patted Silvana’s hand as he saw the look of confusion on her face. “She did, silly! I married her younger sister, Perpetua.”


He watched as Silvana mulled over the name and tried to recall the face. “Perpetua? Hmmm…oh yes! I remember! Nice girl, I think. I didn’t really know all your year that well. Just you lot and my brother, of course! What happened, if that’s not too much to ask?”


Remus shrugged and pulled up further handfuls of grass, letting them catch the breeze and trail away on the wind. He watched them, not daring to look at Silvana for fear of showing his emotion. “You tell me. We just drifted apart until she left me. I don’t now how we got that far apart but we did. It was hard for her; I wasn’t working and she was working nights. I got down and she got tired, but I still loved her and she said she loved me. Maybe it wasn’t enough. I don’t even know what happened to her. There were rumours but…well, your brother may know more than I.”


“Severus? What did he have to do with it?”


“There were whisperings that Perpetua and Severus knew each other…intimately, but I never believed it. They were friends, that’s all. I don’t think it was ever anything else.”



Silvana thought back to their first meeting. He had been cagey, said that he had stayed loyal to Voldemort to protect others. Was she one of the others? Would he have hated Remus so much he would have taken away his wife from him? Her mind swirled with questions as she watched Remus stand up and look at the views again. “Penny for them, Remus.” He turned around and smiled.


“Just thinking how much I miss them all. It’s been a hard few months.”


Silvana stood and walked to him, placing her arm gently around his shoulder. “I will get better soon. I miss Sean and Colm dreadfully, but slowly the hurt fades. There will be someone else for you out there. You‘re a sweet man, Remus. Most women would jump at the chance.”


“There is someone, but we’re just friends. We have comfort in one another, but that’s all. She has her life and I have mine. That’s really all I want right now. Things are too hectic to be thinking of anything else.”


Silvana looked down at the grass beneath her feet and nodded. “I understand. It’s difficult to think of love when there is so much sadness around you.”


Remus pulled away, looking into her eyes but ashamed of feeling so selfish. “I’m so sorry, Silvana.”


“Oh no! It’s fine, Remus. Hark at us! We’re a right pair of misery guts, aren’t we? Next time you go to your place I’d love to see it, if that’s ok. It sounds wonderful.”


He broke out into a full grin and pulled Silvana into a hug. “I promise you the next time I get to go home I will be honoured to take you with me. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather take.” Leaning back he looked at her astonished face and looked puzzled and she laughed. “What? What did I say?”


“Go home! That’s it! That’s what I have to do with Severus! Go home! Remus Lupin you are a total genius. I need to get Severus back to our old home. Thank you so much!” Silvana threw her arms around a surprised Remus and kissed him on the cheek, shocking both of them. He held her close, wrapping his arms around her waist, smelling the sweet aroma of her hair against his chin, and felt it tickle against his skin. He could feel a tingling sensation where her lips had touched him and it was still there as she stepped back a little and held a hand to her lips. It stirred something in him, and he pulled her close again and gently kissed her forehead, controlling the wolfish feelings running inside now. He dare not kiss her lips.


And then they both felt it, as skin brushed against skin, hands entwined, their breath mingling in the summer breeze. Silvana stepped away, nervous of this newfound feeling. She felt the tingling on her forehead seep through to her inner core and shuddered as she saw his darkening eyes. Was this how it always felt with him? With the Wizard? The only wizard she had ever kissed took advantage and ruined her life. But this felt so different. An electricity both of them felt and desired, but both were too hurt or too frightened to pursue it and discover what it meant. This would have to be forgotten for both their sakes. Remus smiled and looked towards the sun. “I think it’s time we headed home ourselves, don’t you?”


Silvana smiled and squeezed his hand, feeling the energy pass between them. “Yes. I think it’s time we went back to Grimmauld Place and sealed you in, Mr Lupin.” Silvana chuckled and ran down the hill, as free as a bird, watched admiringly behind her by a man she left behind. Remus watched silently as her long hair flowed behind her in a veil of femininity. She was Snape’s sister; it was the wrong time; the wrong place, and possibly they were the wrong people. They both had responsibilities that got in the way. But what ever force was bringing them together, whatever the reasons, the obstacles seemed trivial in that fleeting moment. With the sun beaming down on him, building his confidence, mixed with the ever-rising presence of the wolf, it made Remus Lupin consider the unthinkable and he continued this thought as he came round from his transformation the following morning.


It was the same recurring dream he had every month. He could see the Mistress standing in his garden by the woodland with the sunlight filtering through the leaves behind her. She was the same ethereal, goddess-like creature of old. She had the same hair and it was always Perpetua’s hair. He reached out to touch it as he dozed, to feel the softness as he remembered it, to run it between his fingers. But this morning changed his dream. The Mistress turned around to face him, unlike before, and where Perpetua often stood the smiling face of Silvana replaced her. She startled him into waking and he groaned as the pains of his transformation began to appear. But his mind pulled him back to the dream, and he smiled to recall her face as if her imaginary presence would nurse him back to health and heal the wounds of old.


As the warm, morning sunlight fell across his face, before the reality of the day dawned on him, and the bliss of dreams was still an enjoyment he contemplated the heady prospect that perhaps his house on the Moor could have a mistress one day after all.





































Chapter 10: Dealing with the past
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Dealing with the past.




We need not destroy the past. It is gone. ~John Cage




“Remus.”



There she was, in the dream, walking towards the woodland that backed onto his house on the Moor. She looked radiant in the sunlight, but she was distant, unattainable. He ran to catch up with her but she laughed and scampered away from him, her dark hair trailing behind her like it had the day before on the hill. He ran faster, his breathing quickening, approaching her carefully and it was then he saw her properly and he realised she was unclothed. He felt the pull of his desire as his eyes fell upon her alabaster skin and ample, rounded form. He had always considered her beautiful but now he knew, underneath it all, she actually was. He walked towards her a little more and she stopped, beckoning him with an outstretched hand to stand with her, whispering his name. “Remus.”


She reached to touch his face and his mind and body reacted like only a lover’s could as he felt the trace of her fingertips down the side of his jaw line, touching the hair on the edges of his face. “Remus,” she whispered, tantalisingly close, deepening his desire, making him even more aroused and wanting. “Hmmm, Silvana,” he moaned, “I need you.” He felt a rush of cold air and realised he too was naked now. He was naked and alone with her on the Moor. He had to touch her to release the pain within. If only he could reach her.


“Remus, I have to leave early.”



“No!” he cried, and sat bolt upright in bed, coming around as he saw the astonished face of Silvana. Embarrassed at his situation, all too aware of being naked in front of the woman who had been in his dream, he grabbed at the quilt next to him and covered up his body. Silvana blushed at the hurriedness of it all, and avoided eye contact. Who was the more embarrassed that morning it was hard to say, but they both sat silent for a while before Silvana stood to open the curtains.


In truth she had been in the room for some minutes before she had decided to wake him. He had seemed so peaceful when she had unlocked the door from that night‘s transformation, and his naked form fascinated her, entranced her. She had sat next to him, just hearing him breathe and sigh, watching his chest rise and fall and then he had turned towards her and the covers had revealed the man underneath. It had been some time since she had been next to a man in that way and to watch him dream was to fulfil part of her own secret desire. In the weeks she had been with Remus she had become attracted to him. In fact more than attracted now. Her body betrayed her mind and many times as she sat beside him she raised a hand to touch his skin and feel him underneath her own soft palm. But she knew it was futile. Once he knew the truth about her, once he knew about her past then her fantasy would be shattered. There was no point in taking it any further when she was damaged goods and Remus Lupin deserved so much better. No point at all.


“I’m just about to catch the train to go home, Remus,” she said, still avoiding his eyes as she turned and poured a coffee for him from the breakfast tray she had left for him, busying herself. Remus grabbed his trousers and put them on before going over to where she stood. “Home?” he contemplated. “Ah, back to your old home! Oh you got hold of Severus last night then?” He shifted around her uncomfortably and Silvana handed him the coffee, taking care not to touch his hand as she passed him the cup.



“Yes I did. I’m going to go and see the old place again and talk to him there. I think he may be more comfortable at home. I didn’t even realise he still spent the summer there.”


Remus nodded into his coffee cup and swallowed the warm liquid before he answered her. “I vaguely remember him saying about the place but I wasn’t sure. Will you be ok, going back alone? I could come with you, if you’d rather have company.”



Silvana blushed. ‘Of course I would love you to come’ she mused inwardly, knowing that would be far too selfish. Today was the last full day of the summer holidays and tomorrow Remus and Harry would be back at Hogwarts. They needed some time together again before studies and tutoring got in the way of their relationship. “There’s no need.” she heard herself say, “You have a good day with Harry. I’ll be fine. It’ll be strange going back after all these years but I’ll be fine,” she sighed. It was a lie. She wouldn’t be fine and she knew it. The last time she’d been at Snape Manor was the day she left it: the day Lucius Malfoy ruined her life. Remus looked at her perplexed face and looked concerned. There was something not right about this trip but unless she opened up he couldn’t say what it was that worried him. Perhaps it was just from the transformations and his heightened senses and emotions that morning but he was sure she was holding something back. Putting his coffee back down on the tray, he reached over and put a hand upon her shoulder to reassure her. As she turned to face him she smiled.


“Penny for them.”


“Oh I was just remembering the house, that’s all.” She folded her arms defensively and Remus removed his hand from her shoulder.


“Oh?”


“Yes Remus. Not all happy memories, unfortunately.”



Remus smiled sympathetically. “I was blessed with a happy childhood, well, werewolf aside, of course. My parents were kind, loving people who were exemplary parents. I was extremely lucky.”



“And it shows. You have grown into a kind and loving man. Severus and I had a beautiful, sensitive mother and a brute of a father. He was truly a terrible man.”



Remus moved forwards and peered at her face, looking into her eyes directly to gain her undivided attention. The look of sincerity on his face tugged at her emotions and she uncrossed her arms, biting at her bottom lip in anticipation of who would make the next move. There was silence between them, the air heavy with expectation, until Silvana grew nervous and stepped away a little. “Anyway, I should really get going. Enjoy the breakfast.” Remus looked at the feast of cooked breakfast, toast and jam Silvana had prepared for him and shook his head. “You treat me as if I were a king. You really shouldn’t do this.”


Silvana shrugged. “I enjoy it. It makes me happy to make you happy. Plus you need all the strength you can get for the journey tomorrow. It’s nothing, really. Make sure you take that Wolfsbane and the vitamin tonic I left you, won’t you? It’ll help your body recover. And have a long bath to aide those muscles too.”


Remus laughed as she headed towards the door and he followed her. “Yes Mum!”


Silvana turned back around and shook her head. “Hey! Cheeky! You always talk of me as if I‘m ancient. I‘m only four years older than you!”


“Sorry, but you do spoil me so. I shall miss this when I get back to school. Though my straining trouser belt won‘t!”


Silvana blushed again and looked up at the towering Remus through her dark eyelashes. The mention of his waistline had made her eyes wander to below his navel and she remembered how she had found him that morning as she glanced at the downy hair travelling down the length of his lower stomach and beyond. Reddening once more she changed the subject, ashamed of her behaviour. “At least I can pamper you when you come back for transformations.” Remus looked at her and he could not resist a gentle flirtation with this woman who haunted his dreams now. He winked at Silvana.


“Indeed! It was the only reason I took the job. A chance to have a woman pamper me for once, and one I just couldn‘t refuse. Without you it wouldn‘t be worth it you know.” Remus felt his insides flutter as he saw the reaction his wink created. Silvana giggled and smiled shyly, shouting ’Stop it, you tease!’ and as she did she set his world aflame. They stood still for a moment, each wondering whether the other should make a move. Remus was so tempted to touch her face and pull her to him in a warm and passionate kiss, but before he could she had stepped to the door and opened it. She smiled and said goodbye, with the briefest of pauses to look behind her, and then left Grimmauld Place for the day. Waiting for the door of his room to shut behind her, Remus slammed his head against the door and muttered ‘Sod it!’ under his breath as his frustration begged release, cursing his clumsiness around her. Standing tall, he rubbed his now throbbing forehead and looked back at the laden breakfast tray and sighed. “ What were you thinking, Remus Lupin? A different time and a different place and I could treat you like a Queen, Silvana. But not now. There is just too much at stake.” He sat down with a sigh and shook his head as he held his head in his hands, unaware that Harry had entered the room.


He was also unaware that Harry had heard the conversation between Silvana and Remus and had smiled as he heard their laughter. It was good that she made Remus happy, he pondered, though he still had concerns about her deep down. How could she be so nice and have a brother like Snape? He looked at the father figure before him, his head still resting in his hands and he sympathised with him. He too understood how life got in the way of love, how feelings only complicated matters. Cho had been his love and he had allowed life to get in the way. Now she was lost and his future didn’t allow him the luxury of that kind of relationship. He saw the same feeling of despair in Remus now, and he put a hand on his shoulder, acting the grown up as he sat down beside him. Remus smiled as he looked up.


“I guess from the look on your face that relationships don’t get easier as you get older then,” Harry asked tactfully. “You like her, don’t you? Silvana, that is.”


Remus nodded and sat up. “I do indeed, but it isn’t an option right now, is it? Silvana is a wonderful woman but…well… just ‘but’ really. And no, if anything life gets even more complicated when you leave school, Harry. Enjoy your life and grasp it for all you’re worth. Opportunities rarely happen twice. And love is a real rarity.”


“I think most girls only want to be associated with the ‘famous Harry Potter’ and the ones that don’t would be scared off if they knew the truth. I can‘t win really.”



Remus looked directly at Harry and laughed. “Do you know how much like me you sound? ‘Girls would be scared off if they knew the truth.’ That’s exactly what I used to think, but it’s not necessarily true. I think Ginny and Hermione still like you for being you, and I knew girls who liked me for me too. Love is possible, Harry, if you allow it to be. You should allow yourself a little fun now. Why don’t you relax and see what happens? I’m sure that’s what Sirius would want. I mean Sirius used to be all about fun and all, before Azkaban. I wish he was here now; he’d know what to say to you about women and all that sort of thing.” Harry looked aghast.


“Oh erm…it’s ok, I mean I do know…you know. I’ve already had ‘the chat‘, thanks.”



Remus chuckled. “Sweet Merlin! It wasn’t Sirius who told you, was it? We‘ll all be in trouble this year if it was!” Harry smiled.



“No! Now that would have been interesting. I almost wish he had.”



“It certainly would! What he didn’t know wasn’t worth knowing, trust me! Actually he’d be chatting up Silvana himself. He always had a soft spot for her, and not just because of Severus either. I wonder what he’d say to me if he was here.” Harry frowned and thought for a moment.


“I think he’d tell you life is too short and to go for it. If anyone knew that, it was Sirius. At least, if anyone knows that, if you see what I mean.” He screwed up his face to show his awkwardness.


Remus put his arm around Harry and hugged him in a friendly way. “I know exactly what you mean, Harry. Merlin, I miss him! I’m sure he’s somewhere laughing at my inadequacies right now. Bet he‘s shouting out advice on where I went so wrong in my sad and pitiful attempt to flirt.”


“Yeah,” mused Harry “shouting out his corniest chat up lines for you to use.”


“Talking to your Dad and about us too, I bet.” Harry looked surprised to hear those words.


“Do you think they’re together? Mum, Dad and Sirius.” His face lit up in anticipation and Remus smiled in reply.


“Yes. Yes I do. I think they watch us, Harry, all the time. I’m sure they watch you with great interest and lots of love. Now let’s not lament about love lives or lack of them. Let’s go out today and do something fun. Ice cream in Diagon Alley followed by shopping and meeting the Weasleys sound good?”


Harry grinned. “Sounds good enough to me.”

Remus ruffled his already messy hair. “Good lad. Now, help me finish this feast Silvana made me. She’s a wonderful woman, and an excellent cook.” Harry laughed at Remus’ glazed expression.

“Ah, how sweet.” Harry bit a slice of toast and grinned. “Shame about her brother though, eh? I don‘t think Professor Snape would be too happy if he knew you were flirting with his sister.”


Remus rolled his eyes and chuckled. “No. I don’t think Severus would be very impressed at all! He could make life very interesting.”





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The two-hour journey down to Hampshire was a long and arduous one for Silvana, though not quite as uncomfortable as the one from Ireland. She still preferred to travel the Muggle way and even though Severus had offered to accompany her by Floo she had stood her ground and travelled down on her own terms. Having things in her own terms today was very important to her. She needed to be in control and keep control of she was ever to get through to that obstinate brother of hers she thought as she made her journey on the train. He had a knack of worming his way out of tight situations and she could not allow him to succeed today. She was not about to return to this god-forsaken place and not achieve what she set out to do. She wanted to bring her brother in line, to make him see that Dumbledore’s way was the only way. She wanted to make him see that following Voldemort again was not an option, regardless of how he felt about Harry or Remus or Dumbledore now. And most of all she had to make him see how dubious Lucius Malfoy was. Today she had to tell him the truth about the day she left him.


It would be the hardest thing she had ever had to do because to admit it to her brother was admitting it to herself, and that was something she had never done. Not even her husband had been aware of the full facts surrounding her 21st birthday. Only Dumbledore and Eleanor O’Brien had known the full extend of that fateful September day. Severus knew nothing; not about that day or about the ensuing years of hiding and praying Lucius Malfoy would never find her. But he had found her, and he had decided that she must suffer and pay for her stand against him as all objectors did. None were unscathed that refused Lucius Malfoy.


As the high-rise buildings and chimneystacks filtered out and trees and fields took over from her view out of the window, Silvana breathed in the cleaner air and sighed. A trip to the countryside was normally a treat, but this was a chore, a fixture in her calendar she could do without. The sound of the train against the track and the repetitive noise seemed to call to her and taunt her now. ‘Why did you return?…why did you return?…why did you return?’ She held no answer, only that she tried to right the wrongs of her past. But it was impossible when those wrongs were not yours to correct.


She saw him as soon as she alighted the train and made her way to the front of the station. Severus was dressed in a pair of smart black Muggle trousers and a white linen shirt, buttoned to the neck, even on this warm summers day. She smiled as she saw how stiff and obvious he looked to her. He looked unconventionally handsome, she surmised, and as his sister she was proud of his elegance and grace, even in a place such as this. Silvana wondered why he was unattached, but guessed he was too set in his ways now to find love, even if he wanted to, which she doubted. She felt sorry for him. She knew how hard it must be for him, mixing with Muggles. Silvana saw him glare at passers by from time to time, and inwardly chuckled as a small child bumped into his shins with a suitcase; his frosty glare sending the child packing faster than a speeding Hippogriff. Silvana approached and Severus took her hand and kissed it gently.


“Sister. You are looking well today, despite your questionable judgement over transportation.” Silvana giggled.


“Chastising me already, Severus? We haven’t even got home yet.” He looked a little sheepish and bowed his head down.


“I apologise for that remark. I was only ever thinking of your safety and comfort. You are, of course, entitled to travel however you wish.”


“Apology accepted, Severus. Now, do we have transport home or do we walk?” Severus looked down his sizeable nose and smirked.


“I have taken the liberty of arranging a Portkey to the house, if that is suitable for your requirements. If not you may travel by Muggle taxi, if you prefer. I shall not be joining you, however, should you partake in that particular mode of transport.” Silvana squeezed his arm and smiled.


“Portkey it is then. Lead the way, my darling brother.”



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*





The house was darker than she remembered as she walked down the long gravel drive that approached it and it was even more foreboding than the image etched in the recesses of her memory. Every step she took brought back a flashback of the day that her world turned into a living nightmare. She saw the bandstand where her father made the announcement. She saw the people gathered to hear of her forthcoming nuptials. She saw Severus walking away from her, scowling with jealously at all the unwanted attention she was receiving. And she remembered the white linen dress as she approached the main entrance and glanced at her brother’s white shirt. A white linen dress for the virginal sacrifice. A single tear escaped her and Severus turned to look at her, frowning at her face.


“Silvana? Are you well? Is there anything I can get for you? A drink, perhaps?” She nodded.


“Yes, a drink of water would be fine, thank you, brother. I feel a little fatigued from my journey.” She was astonished with the ease of her lie and felt ashamed. Silvana was not a false person in any other circumstance but today her very being was tested in returning to somewhere that caused her such pain. But she had to do this. She had to return her for Severus and for Harry. Silvana was still caught up in her own emotions as her brother returned with a glass of still mineral water.



“Do you still keep a house elf here, Severus?” He shook his head.


“No. When the last one passed away I did not trouble myself to replace her. I keep the place tidy myself, in the holidays.”


Silvana looked around her. The house was truly immaculate today and she wondered if it was always like this, or whether this was for her benefit only. Her brother beckoned her to follow him into the sitting room and she did as he bid, her eyes surveying the house as she sipped the water slowly. “It looks just the same, Severus. It’s as if I never left. I almost expect him to come flying down the stairs to chastise me.” Severus scoffed at the memory of their harsh and unloving father.



“If he had still been alive I would not have asked you here. He would have hurt you. He threatened to kill you if you ever set foot in this house again, if I recall. Father meant it, Silvana. I knew all the time he was alive I would not see you again.” Silvana smiled sympathetically at her brother and reached over to pat him on the hand.



“I am here now, Severus. That is all that matters. I noticed you managed to extend the library as I walked past just now. Will you take me there so I can see your efforts?” Her brother’s eyes lit up though he kept a cool and calm exterior on show as he led her to the library. Silvana looked around her and saw how carefully and concisely this area had been tended to. This was one of their favourite places as children. Their father had not been a scholarly man, but their mother had been knowledgeable. She had started the library and they had maintained it as children. She was delighted to see her brother had continued this as an adult. It gave him hope. Perhaps this was what Dumbledore meant. “Severus, this is truly magnificent. You have surpassed yourself.” Severus stood proud and allowed himself a smile. He stepped forwards to a row of older, leather-bound books and pulled out a tatty looking old book, handing it to Silvana with a gentle smile playing across his lips. “This may interest you.”



Silvana gently took the book, which looked so fragile she feared it might break in her hands, and looked at the front cover. There, in their mother’s handwriting was the words ‘Garden Year’ and Silvana recognised it instantly. This was the book their mother treasured more than most. This was the evidence of the fruit of her labours after the summer had passed and she was stuck indoors in the cruel winters. Silvana gently turned the pages to witness the pressings and cutting of their mother, each dried flower labelled in the most exquisite handwriting, not unlike her brothers that she had seen on the Potions jars. As the pages turned she could smell the scents of the roses, lavender, and honeysuckle, all enchanted to retain that essence of their childhood. She raised the book to her face and looked at her brother in astonishment. “I thought he burned this.”


Severus shook his head. “I rescued it. After you left he bulldozed the garden and refused to let me plant in it. It was never the same after you left.” Silvana looked horrified.


“He desecrated her garden? Then I hope he faced his judgement. It was all she had, Severus. The only escape she had was that garden…and us.” He nodded and held out his hand to her.


“Come outside with me and see what I did. You may be surprised.” His smile tempted her to follow him, and she put the precious book down on the bureau beside her. Glad to be leaving the oppressive air inside she was hit by the brightness of the gleaming sun as she followed Severus along the familiar gravel path and around to the garden. And there it was. The same sections of fragrant square box hedging encasing roses, herbs, lavender, vegetables and all sorts of green vegetation. Silvana stood still, believing she was lost in a beautiful time warp. She could almost here her mother as the tears fell down her cheek. “You restored it! Oh my goodness Severus, this IS her garden. Mother could appear at any moment. You do remember her! You do care!” Silvana ran to her brother and flung her arms around him, holding him tight. He looked down at her and kissed her forehead.


“I do remember her warmth, yes. This was one of the first things I restored when he died. I wanted to have it just as I recalled. That way I felt closer to her…and to you.” Silvana held his face in her hands.


“Then you do not belong with Voldemort. If you are touched by this you are truly with us, with the Order.” Severus looked into her eyes and stepped away a little.


“I am my own man, Silvana. I will be of assistance to the Order, and you are accurate. I do not believe in the Dark Lord, but I also know Dumbledore is not infallible. I must make my own allegiances to strengthen my standing after the war is over. I will not always be used by both sides again. I wish for more than that. Surely you can comprehend that.” Silvana looked deep into his twinkling eyes and stepped back from him as she saw his thoughts. “Malfoy.” she choked. “You still side with him?”


“He has contacts, Silvana, and beliefs of his own. He has plans.” Silvana looked aghast.


“Plans? What plans? Severus, the man is a dangerous fool. Please listen to me when I say he has done things that you do not know of. He has powers that hurt people, Severus.” Severus scoffed.


“Yes, I am all too aware of the powers of Lucius Malfoy. Do you think me so foolish not to know of his reputation? Believe me I have seen enough of his ways first hand not to trust him completely. But he is ambitious, and so am I.”


“Severus, you must listen to me when I say you must not side with him. He will ruin you. I remember him from the old days.”


“He is a little different from years ago, Silvana. He was a young, reckless know-all then. He is still on occasion, but he did mature. He has schemes; plans that go beyond the Dark Lord. He and Narcissa are powerful allies for me to have if I am to make my mark on the world. Dumbledore and the Dark Lord only ever think of Potter but Malfoy thinks of all of us. He thinks of a bigger picture, way beyond this war.”


“Then you seek attention of the wrong sort. Lucius Malfoy did not change. He carried out punishments and settled old scores through from adolescence to adulthood and he never forgave those who dared to go against him. You will get hurt, Severus. I know this, Severus. I can see how it will be. Please listen to me, brother.” Severus scowled but the worry in his sister’s face softened his expression and he took her hands in his.


“I hear your pleas, Silvana, and I will served Dumbledore to the best of my abilities, but I choose my own acquaintances. You must learn to comprehend that the teenager you left behind grew up. Please allow me some credit for surviving this long without you. You must learn to trust me and my judgement.” Silvana searched his face for a glimmer of hope.


“I do trust you, Severus. It is Malfoy and Voldemort I do not. Malfoy is evil. There are things you should know…things...”


Silvana went to open her mouth and begin her explanation but she watched with alarm as her brother clutched at his arm and doubled in agony. He shuddered violently, forcing himself to disguise the agony of the pain in front of his concerned sister. Silvana reached out to him, desperate to help him, but he shunned her advances. It wasn’t until he pulled back his sleeve to reveal the burn of the Dark Mark that she realised what it meant. Silvana realised that her visit was well and truly over.



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




He scurried down the torch-lit corridors, not wanting to offend or rile his master. He hated this place, the damp smell mingling with the acrid stench of death and smoking flame nearly choking his throat as his paces came quicker, faster now. His heart missed a beat as he approached his final destination. He had summoned him and though this was not unusual there was an urgency to this now that he was not used to. Peter Pettigrew felt uneasy. He gingerly knocked on the door and was led in by a smiling, satisfied Bellatrix Lestrange, who would leave as soon as he arrived. “Good afternoon, Peter,” she purred seductively, though mockingly to a man such as he. He nodded swiftly and moved to the centre of the room, bowing and kneeling to the floor as if hoping the ground would swallow him whole the lower he got.


In the shadows of the light his Master pondered and glanced over at the man who knelt before him. He disgusted him in truth, but he was useful, and, more importantly, loyal. And loyalty was a hard commodity to find amongst a den of vipers. Stepping over to the bowing, pitiful Peter, Voldemort narrowed his eyes and ordered him to stand. “My faithful servant. Tell me what you make of this.” Peter looked at the parchment being handed to him and carefully took the offering.


“It is a photograph, my Lord.” Voldemort sighed, already losing patience. “I am well aware of what it is, I want to confirm who it is, you fool.” Peter studied the photograph more carefully, looking at the elegant woman walking down a village path on a sunny summer afternoon. He looked now at the snake-like eyes of his master and a wave of recognition came over him. “Silvana Snape! This is Silvana Snape, my Lord. And she‘s walking with Remus Lupin! I thought she was dead.” A sly smile crept over Voldemort’s thin lips.


“And then, fool that you are, you would be very much incorrect. Silvana is alive and well and in this country. She has been living in Ireland since she left the Snape household. Ireland, of all the places! No snakes in Ireland, you know. I may have to rectify that one day. But for now this is truly a gift for us, Wormtail. The werewolf being in the picture is just an added bonus. I swear to you if Dumbledore was here I would pat him on the back for giving us this extraordinary gift.” Peter shook his head and bowed as Voldemort came nearer, the sweat dripping down his forehead as his nerves failed to steady. “I do not understand, Master.” Voldemort swept around Peter, the hem of his coat touching the cowering man’s feet like a snake teasing its prey.”


“Of course you do not understand! You are not meant to. But today I will make you understand.” Voldemort summoned a chair from the other side of the room and forced Peter back roughly to make him sit down. He laughed to witness the man’s evident discomfort. “Now, now! Do not worry. I merely wish to tell you a story, Wormtail. There is nothing for you to fear. Relax as I tell you a story of intrigue and cunning; of spies and disparagement, of hatred and love…whatever that may be. Of an over-ambitious young man and a grave mistake he made and of a secret between two people that, if the truth were ever to come out, would surely hurt the ignorant party more than any Curse I could ever throw at him. Oh yes Wormtail. They think I do not know about Silvana Snape, her brother, or the ambitions of Lucius Malfoy, but I know the truth about them all. All the truth, and I fully intend to use it to my advantage. And she is the key to it all.”
























Chapter 11: The Green-eyed Slytherin
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The Green-eyed Slytherin




I've spent most of my life walking under that hovering cloud, jealousy, whose acid raindrops blurred my vision and burned holes in my heart. ~Astrid Alauda



To my dear friend Pru, who is always so helpful and supportive - a little treat by the way of a winking, door leaning Remus. Enjoy!


It wasn’t fear that Severus felt as he apparated into the dark, damp dungeons of the Dark Lord Voldemort. No, Severus Snape had travelled this road far too many times to allow simple fright to control his feelings now. There was, however, another strong emotion he had to temper as he sank to his knees and felt the cold wetness seep through the cloth of his trousers. As he watched the reflections of the burning torches in the puddles upon the floor the overwhelming feeling he had was one of irritation and exasperation. In this anger he was a danger to the Dark Lord, to the Order and he knew full well he was a danger to himself. Voldemort had dared to interrupt the bond he felt was developing again between himself and Silvana, and any man who came between him and his beloved sister would feel his wrath.


Severus took a deep breath to attempt to compose himself and regain control. He was repulsed by the smells in the air of burning cloth mixed with damp and decay. He cleared his mind as best he could, a skill he mastered early on in his life. This interruption had not only been an irritation, but wholly unexpected. A shiver ran through to his very core as he sensed his Master approaching.


“Severus. Walk to the light where I might see you more clearly.”


Still keeping his head bowed and his eyes low, Severus did as he was commanded and walked forwards. Out of the corner of his eye he could see a shaft of light coming through a grate in the ceiling of the dungeon, and he stepped into the light. Voldemort waited until he had moved into a more satisfactory position before he encircled the now highlighted Potions Master. Severus was exposed, alone and vulnerable.


“It has come to my attention, Severus, that the summer holidays have brought you much joy this year. A family reunion, Severus. Of course I have not believed these untruths, for I am presuming that surely a man of your loyalty would tell me of such a significant development. Tell me, is what I have been hearing correct? Has your sister returned to you, and have you failed to keep me updated?”



Severus dare not flinch, though the mere mention of his sister’s name from this vile creature’s lips made him want to tear his heart out. He silently knelt at the hem of Voldemort’s robes and kissed them theatrically, hoping the flattery would gain him favour.


“Forgive my impertinence and selfishness, my Lord, for I was weak and foolish. I should have alerted you to the alteration in my personal circumstances. I will not be so reckless in the future.”


Voldemort sneered at the grovelling man before him and kicked him away. Snape’s body was forced back by the dark forces within his Master, and he landed on his back, hair dishevelled, falling across his pale face, as he feared the wrath of the Dark Lord.


“You are too presumptuous to believe you have a future! Why did you not inform me of this news? Did you not realise I would find out eventually? You can hide nothing from me, Severus. My powers and connections are far superior to yours. Perhaps I should show you exactly how superior they are.”


Severus swallowed hard; burying his fear, knowing the faintest glimmer of weakness across his face could cost him his life today. But Voldemort played with his prey; circling, hovering, waiting, he watched for a chink in the man’s outer armour. Much to his irritation there was none to be found.


“Tell me, Severus, why do you think Dumbledore has asked her to return now, after 20 years away? I am presuming she was summoned rather than this being a social visit.”


“He wished to ensure my loyalty.”


Voldemort bent down so his red eyes came face to face with Severus’ dark ones. He grabbed at Severus’ collar, nearly choking him in the process as his phenomenal, strengthened powers made his body all the more potent. His eyes gazed menacingly into his minion’s eyes.



“Dumbledore is not the only one. Your loyalty is a concern to us both. This year you must prove your worth. You will assist in my plans to slowly bring Potter to me. I have a means of causing emotions and beliefs to rise within him and you are to nurture and attend this transformation. His young mind will be ripe for our ideas and beliefs. By the time I have finished with him there will be no need for confrontation. I will summon him and he will follow, just like the rest of you fools.” Voldemort narrowed his eyes at Snape and let go of his collar, speaking to him in a clear and crisp tone. “You have permission to speak.”


“Dumbledore has been teaching him Occlumency. A connection of that kind will be difficult.” Voldemort scoffed at his worthless interruption.


“I am already aware of that, and, as usual, one step ahead of the old fool. Do not fail me by being so narrow-minded, Severus. You know as well as I do that there are other ways to control young minds. I seem to remember your father was somewhat of an expert in this area. He was an exemplary follower of the Dark Arts.”


Severus tried not to reveal the emotions buried deep within him. “Am I to know of this device?”


“No! Your assignment is to persuade and sympathise. To nurture and attend. You will know when the time is right. Until then let me make things much clearer for you. Failure is not an option for you. Failure, should you be so foolish, will not result in your death, but the slow and painful demise of your dear, beloved sister, Silvana. A death I would take great pleasure in organising myself, should I be required to do so. Such a shame to be separated after such a brief reunion, of course, wouldn’t it, Severus?” Severus closed his eyes and bowed again as the Dark Lord stepped further into the shadows. Clutching the parchment before him, Voldemort threw the photograph of Silvana and Remus onto the wet floor in front of Severus and watched the look of horror creep across the wizards face.



“Yes, Severus. I have already been watching her. It would not be difficult for me to have her…dealt with. Heed my warning if you wish your sister to have a long and prosperous life. Do not be fooled into thinking you have a choice - there is none to be had. Feel free to keep the photograph. I t may soon be all you have left of her. Until then I shall give you a little taster of what could await her, in case you are unaware that my powers had fully returned. I am just as powerful as before, and with the boy I shall be invincible.”


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*



His body screamed against every move he made as he lowered himself into the comforting support of his leather chair, whisky in one hand, and parchment in the other. His hand shook as he moved the glass to his lips and sipped gently. The liquid worked its way into the jagged cut now bleeding bright red on his lower lip, and he swore under his breath as the alcohol mixed with his blood. More pain for a man who had suffered more than enough in his lifetime. Returning the whisky glass to the table beside him, he glanced down at the parchment in his hand and brought it into view. Severus’ face contorted with anger as he saw the couple repeatedly walk down the road on an endless loop. Smiling sweetly at one another, holding hands, their fingers entwined, they drew from his pools of envy, though the jealousy was of a peculiar nature. This was not a potential lover he was watching Remus Lupin court before his very eyes this time around. This was his sister, his only sister, and if anything the feelings deep down were more acute because of it.


Silvana looked happy, too happy, he surmised, and it pained him to see her smile and laugh at this man. Why did she not laugh and smile in his presence? Of course she cooed and nodded in the right places, she made all the right noises when he had shown her the library, that was true. But her eyes did not light with the same fire he saw shining in that damnable photograph. Why must she smile so? He pondered as he sipped whisky in the comfort of his own solitude. Why must she be simpering to a half blood when she had a brother to share her life with? And why him? Of all the men she knew why on earth should she choose to walk in public with Remus Lupin?


Throwing the dark, burning liquid to the back of his throat to avoid his lips, Severus convinced himself that Lupin planned this all along. He had just got to know his sister again after 20 years apart, and the werewolf wanted her for himself. What was it about that man that made the women in his life see him as a lover? He glared at the picture as their hands joined and came apart as the photograph repeated itself. He would make sure that Lupin did not steal away Silvana as he had done with Perpetua. Perpetua had made her choices years ago, and she chose to love and marry Lupin and not him. Severus’ only consolation was that the marriage had failed, and Lupin too cut a solitary figure much like himself. May his loneliness continue to plague the werewolf’s heart, just as it did his.



How dare he make advances out in the open to his sister, he pondered? How could he possibly believe himself to be good enough for someone as educated and fine as Silvana? His hands still clasped together, Severus threw down the photograph in disgust. How dare Remus Lupin endanger his sister’s life? If what he could see with his own two eyes were true then he would have to convince Silvana otherwise. It was bad enough she lowered herself to attend to this man each month for the full moon. He would not, could not allow her to take it any further. Something must be done.


Severus looked towards the clock on the mantle piece and sighed as his head pounded from his thoughts, the Cruciatus and the whisky. He leant back into the comfort of his chair again, resting his head against the cool leather and closed his eyes. It was still only late afternoon, but his body needed to recover and his mind begged to rest. He wouldn’t contact his sister yet. She’d be at Grimmauld Place with him. ‘Let her stew a while,’ he thought. ‘Just a small nap’ he mused, ’especially as I have those dunderhead students to contend with tomorrow. Just five minutes peace is all I ask.’




*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




“Severus! Severus, open the door! I can see you through the window so don’t try and pretend you’re not in!”


Severus opened one eye and glanced at the clock. Three hours had passed since he’d sat back in his chair, and the first person who awoke him was the last person he wanted to see. He considered ignoring him but the infernal knocking at the door only made his head pound in unison so he forced himself to answer the calls. Knowing full well who it was at his front door, Severus Snape still made sure his guest knew of his displeasure before he had stepped over the threshold.


“Lupin. To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?”


“Silvana is sitting in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place worried sick. Couldn’t you have just let her know you’re safe? And how come I couldn’t floo directly into your place? I thought all Order members were meant to have access.”

Severus waved Remus Lupin in theatrically, and Remus headed towards the drawing room, the smell of whisky hitting his sensitive nostrils. Severus grabbed the crystal glass out of Lupin’s sight.


“I was busy. It was not safe or convenient to contact Silvana. And as for whom I allow to floo into my residence, I am very selective. Access for you would be an unnecessary requirement.”


Remus nodded towards the empty whisky glass, ignoring the last comment. “Are you well? Is there anything I can do for you while I am here? Silvana was all for coming back here herself but I persuaded her to stay behind.”


Severus narrowed his eyes and scoffed. “What a pity that you weren’t so thoughtful and chivalrous the other day.”

Remus looked puzzled and frowned at the Potions Master.

“What do you mean?”


“A little stroll in the sunshine with my sister in the countryside? But then perhaps a stroll in the moonlight would have been inappropriate, considering,” he sneered, triumphantly.


The realisation of what Severus knew hit Remus, but he kept his composure. “How do you know about that, Severus?”

Severus reached for the parchment and thrust it into the other mans chest so hard it winded Remus. “This is how I know about your little trip, Lupin. Because you were idiotic enough to be caught by the other side. Because the secret of Silvana’s arrival has been broken by your infantile and irresponsible behaviour. And, because Voldemort discovered my lack of forthcoming information, I was subjected to this!” He waved to the injuries on his neck and face. Remus looked at the dark eyes of the man before him and saw the menacing look within them.


“Severus, surely you don’t hold me responsible for this. Silvana deserved a day off and I was pleased and proud to be the one to take her out. You cannot keep her wrapped up in cotton wool forever. Voldemort was bound to find out sooner or later. Your sister is a wonderful woman and perhaps you should take the time to treat her as such. You are lucky to have such a loving sister.”



His fury had reached breaking point and his patience was non-existent. Severus grasped at his wand and held it to Remus’ throat, pushing him against the nearest wall.


“Do not speak of her as being loving or wonderful! You are not worthy to talk of her in such a way. I saw you holding hands, looking into her eyes. You may have succeeded in taking one woman from me but I shall do everything in my power to ensure Silvana does not follow in the footsteps of Perpetua.”


Remus pushed the wand away from his throat and tilted his head slightly, astonished to hear Snape talk of their ancient history.


“Perpetua? My goodness Severus that was years ago! You really are incredible. I never realised how bitter and twisted you are. Perpetua chose to me back at Hogwarts, yes, but did she stay with me? Is she still with me now? No! I would think that surely made you the victor, if you wish to see things that way. Indeed, if the rumours were true, she went to you anyway, so why are you still bitter? Or is it that you must always persecute the Marauders. First James, then Sirius and then me, even now, still bitter about us all. Silvana and I are friends, nothing more, but, should we chose to take our relationship further than that, then it is no business of yours.”


“It is my business when your actions affect me. You will not have her. She should have married Malfoy - at least then she would have been protected from your filthy advances and not had to consort to relationships with half breeds.” For a few seconds Severus enjoyed the surprised look on Remus’ face. He did not know; she had not told him. Perhaps they were not so close after all.


“Malfoy?” stuttered Remus. “Silvana was engaged to Lucius Malfoy?”


Severus looked uncomfortable and stepped away slightly. “Not as such, no. Father arranged a marriage for her. She was betrothed to Malfoy but refused to marry him and ran away on her 21st birthday.”


“Goodness! I remember her coming to Hogwarts one night in a terrible state. She was taken to the infirmary and I was there recovering from my transformation. That must have been the night she ran away.”

“Quite possibly yes, but what business it is of yours I do not know.”

Remus rolled his eyes and shook his head at the last comment.


“Because I care! Is that really such a hard concept for you to grasp? That a man can care about a woman without something more being implied. I care for her because she cares for me, as a friend.”


Severus narrowed his eyes and glared at Remus as he spat a reply out. “She does not need you when she has me! And can I have your word that it will go no further, not that your word means that much?”



“My relationship with Silvana at present is purely platonic. But I will not give my word to something I cannot guarantee, Severus. Not to you or anyone else.”


“Then I will ensure that I do everything within my power to prevent such a union ever occurring. Tomorrow I shall demand that my sister is taken away from Grimmauld Place. I will not have her attending to your every whim and fancy.”


Remus knew it was time to leave. The man was totally unreasonable and he cursed himself inwardly for being so obliging and kind to come and check on him in the first place. As he stepped towards the door he turned around to face the man, who was still seething.


“You do that Severus, if it makes you feel better. I, on the other hand, will go and inform your sister that you are well enough and she should not worry about you any more. You can try to remove her from Grimmauld Place but in the end you may only lose her again. If that’s what you want to happen then please, go right ahead, but I don’t think you do, do you? I shall leave you to your thoughts and schemes, Severus. Good evening to you. See you back at school tomorrow.”


And with that Remus Lupin gently closed the door behind him, holding his head high, retaining his dignity and composure, while the man he left behind lost his in a wave of fury and anger.



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




The boy trembled as he rose from the dark dungeon floor, his flaxen hair glistening in the limited light as he stood tall in front of this powerful being. He had come to do what he felt was right and necessary. He had come to do the Dark Lord’s bidding and to free his father from the confines of Azkaban. He would do whatever it took. Though he had enjoyed the freedom his father’s imprisonment had given him, he saw the worry and sadness etched on his beloved mother’s face and it tore at his heart. The Dark Lord understood this, and sympathised. Oh yes, the Dark Lord was very sympathetic to this young boy. Parchment in hand, instructions planted firmly in his heart, nerves on their very edge, he turned to leave and closed the wooden door behind him. He ran as soon as it was safe to do so, relieved to be free of the repressive atmosphere surrounding him. As he had closed the door, Voldemort turned to his faithful servant and smiled menacingly.

“Well, well. Wonders will never cease. A subservient Malfoy. Have I at last found one who will be true to me? Send word to Dolohov. Release Lucius and have him come here. I have a little surprise for him. Oh yes, won’t he be pleased to find out his son has followed in his own footsteps and become a Death Eater?”

And the maniacal laughter could be heard throughout the dungeons, echoing through the cavernous area like a howling wind.



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*





“No, Harry! I said flour, not sugar. Oh my goodness, look at you! Here, let me help you with that.”



Remus stood in the doorway and watched the ensuing chaos as Silvana mopped up around Harry. From the smell of things they had decided to do some baking in his absence, though Harry looked as if he was wearing most of the ingredients and Silvana looked even more hassled than when he had left earlier. Remus welcomed the domestic chaos compared to the arduous last hour and he coughed to get himself noticed. “I hope that’s a chocolate cake you‘re making, Harry.”


Silvana swirled around and left Harry as she ran over to Remus. “ There’s a chocolate cake for you in that tin over there. Is Severus ok? Is he hurt? What happened?” Remus gently took Silvana by the shoulders and smiled at her worried face.


“Severus is going to be fine. He is a little injured, but nothing he can’t deal with himself. I left him in high spirits.”


Silvana pulled a suspecting face and frowned. “Which means what? That he was stroppy and argumentative?”


“Got it in one.” Silvana sighed.


“I’m sorry you had to endure him then, but I am very grateful that you took it upon yourself to go to him for me. Thank you.” Remus smiled at her gratitude and shrugged with a smile.



“No need to thank me. You do enough for me as it is. I was glad to be able to return the favour, even if it was a little unpleasant.” Silvana yet again looked uncomfortable.

“I’m so sorry, Remus.”


“Honestly, it’s not a problem. We’re quite used to him being rude and obstreperous, aren’t we, Harry?” Harry smirked from over the other side of the kitchen.


“Yeah, in fact we’d be worried if we didn’t hear his familiar snarling tones.” And with that Harry broke into a solemn frown, scowled and yelled out ‘Potter!’ in his deepest voice, making Remus chuckle.


“That’s very good, Harry! Do you do any others?” Harry shook his head.

“Nah. I can do him, but Seamus and Dean are the ones for impressions. Ask Seamus to do his McGonagall one day. It’s excellent.” Remus laughed out loud.


“I’ll remember that for class!” He walked over to the cooking and found a bowl full of chocolate cake mixture, dipping his finger into the sweet concoction and sucking the mixture off, much to Silvana’s horror.


“Remus Lupin! That isn’t cooked yet! You shouldn’t do that!” He laughed as she flicked his backside with a tea towel, grabbing another one and returning the gesture as he grabbed another mouthful of cake mixture. Harry stopped and looked at the two of them play fighting around the kitchen table, secretly pleased to see them getting on so well, and shouted out ‘Children, children!’ Remus bowed his head in mock shame and muttered ‘Sorry Sir,’ much to Silvana and Harry’s amusement. Silvana looked at both of them and shook her head.


“I’m going to miss you two a lot you know.” Remus gave her a friendly hug.


“Awe, we’ll miss you too, won’t we Harry? But you’ll be in Hogwarts at least one day a week and I’ll see you for five days a month around transformation so we should meet up some time. I’m afraid you don’t get rid of me that easily.” Harry’s face dropped like a stone.


“Oh I’d forgotten Potions with 2 Snapes! How am I meant to cope with that?” Silvana laughed.


“Oi! Cheeky! This Professor Snape is nowhere near as frightening as the other one. Have I moaned at you at all this afternoon?”

“No.”


“Have I complained or chastised you in any way, shape or form?”


Harry shook his head and grinned. “No, but you do look like him.”



Silvana screwed up her face in a deep scowl and raised one eyebrow while crossing her arms and cried in a deep voice, “ POTTER!” Harry and Remus looked astonished, and Harry pointed at Remus and laughed.


“Oh that was so good! Look at his face! I think he thought the real Snape had returned.”

Remus looked aghast at Silvana, who was now laughing so hard she couldn’t stop, and shook his head as he muttered, “That was far too accurate! I shall have nightmares about you tonight.”


Silvana opened her mouth and replied without thinking. “Do you dream of me at night then, Remus? All at once she became all too aware of what she had said and turned to busy herself with the tidying up of the kitchen, praying the ground would swallow her whole. Harry raised his eyebrows at Remus, who was heading for the door way to commence his packing, not knowing what to say to her question. Harry smirked and then avoided both their gazes, continuing to make the cake for his Gryffindor friends magically, though it resembled a mud swamp rather than cake mixture. He had only done it to occupy Silvana while Remus went to her brother. A chef he was not. He stared back at the gloopy mixture. This did not bode well for NEWTs Potions.

Remus pondered whether to offer Silvana a reply. It was true he wouldn’t be seeing so much of her after tomorrow and he was torn as to how to leave things between them. He knew he couldn’t begin a relationship with this woman but he also didn’t want her to think he wasn’t interested. The conversation with Severus had served to stir something within him, a thought that perhaps they could have something, regardless of her brother. Had he been determined to keep their relationship purely platonic he would have told Severus there and then. But there was that hope, that glimmer of hope that made him stop every time she walked near him. Her fragrance, her presence, hit a nerve in him that he had not felt in many years and his body refused to just ignore this chance of something more. He had to let her know. He swallowed, leant against the door frame, with one hand casually placed above his head and cleared his throat before answering in a soft, deep, seductive voice.


“Yes, Silvana, yes I do dream about you, often.”


And with that he winked at her blushing face and walked up the stairs, smiling as he went, as if walking on air.












Chapter 12: Silvana in September
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Silvana in September


September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt,
evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret.
- Alexander Theroux, 1981




A huge thank you to my regular readers who make writing this worthwhile, and to those of you who are silent but still among us, thank you.



At first, the loneliness of her situation hit Silvana hard once Remus and Harry had returned to Hogwarts. The first few days were spent wandering around the house, wondering if she would be able to keep her sanity amongst the four walls that seem to draw in towards her every time she thought about being alone. The first seven days were the hardest, for the Order itself seemed to have gone quiet, and, if members did arrive, they always seemed to do so in the dead of night. Not that this mattered as such, for Silvana would often get up to see who it was, so lightly did she sleep in those first few days of being on her own in the house.


On the third day she took Harry up on the offer of allowing her to begin to spruce up the place. She had agreed with him to make sure Sirius’ room stayed just as it was, but the rest of the house she was allowed to do with as she pleased. Silvana was a woman of conservative tastes, but had an eye for colour and light - she had decided the house needed more light and light she would bring. She asked Mundungus to purchase some magnolia paint to start with, and was delighted when he ‘came across’ some, which wasn’t at all suspect or shoddy. He was slightly vague about where it had come from, but Silvana thought it best not to ask and Mundungus was not about to reveal his sources to Snape’s sister anyway. He was far too shrewd for that.


By the fifth day since the boy’s departure Silvana had completed the living area, and was delighted with the results, though it wasn‘t quite the magnolia that Mundungus had promised and more of a muddy taupe. She had used the Muggle way of painting, far preferring to use a stiff paintbrush and strong elbow grease rather than wave her magic wand. She still had a problem using that wand, for in truth the power of her magic scared her somewhat. Silvana had seen the devastation that magic could wreak and had avoided using the wand for twenty years. To start relying on it now was completely alien to her. There were times when she risked it, but in the main she still used Muggle tools and kept to Muggle ways of doing things, even if they took twice the time. She was comfortable with it that way.



The time spent painting and redecorating gave her moments to reflect on the summer’s events. Her relationship with Severus irked her; he seemed to control her somehow, to wrap her up and protect her when she felt it was unnecessary to do so. He had informed Dumbledore of his visit to Voldemort, and had pleaded with the Headmaster to protect his sister at all costs, and contacted Silvana via a hasty written letter. Silvana had refused to accept the protection her brother offered, stating that she had lived quite happily for twenty years without such protection, and she wasn’t about to change for him. Her beautifully scripted letter had been brief but to the point and Severus could do nothing but begrudgingly accept his sister’s point of view. He, or any other man for that matter would not control her. She had suffered that with their father, and she was not about to make the same error of judgement again. ‘No,’ she muttered as she licked the back of the envelope, ‘I am your elder, Severus, not the other way around. I shall boss you.’


Before the second Thursday of the new term she had formulated her first Potions lesson with Harry, and went through the lesson time and time again in her head. She was both nervous and excited about the prospect of teaching him at Hogwarts and was determined to achieve the results he needed to remain in her brother’s lessons. It wouldn’t be easy, but at least she had the rapport with the boy now that she had developed over the summer, and that, in itself would help. Her easy-going, supportive style may be all it needed to increase that mark up to Outstanding, and she couldn’t help but giggle to herself when she imagined what Severus’ face would look like if she were to achieve it. It was almost worth doing it just for that, she mused.


The other male on her mind was, of course, Remus Lupin. However much she tried to deny it, her mind kept wandering back to the day he told her he dreamt of her, and the look on his face was etched in her mind whether she thought it was advisable to pursue him or not. Reasoning told her that she shouldn’t; that he was, after all was said and done a Wizard. She had vowed never to involve herself with a wizard again, not that she had done properly before. But still she missed Remus more than she would a friend, and she irritated herself for turning into some lovesick teenager when she thought of the possibility of seeing him again on her first Potions lesson. Her heart was all a quiver, and she spent much of her remaining time before returning to Hogwarts reasoning and talking to herself.


Remus had made it clear that he did not want any form of commitment the day they went out in the countryside, and hadn’t he informed her of another woman in his life? He had indeed, and Silvana could only surmise that this was a warning shot for her to take heed. He had other commitments and she was not to pin her hopes on him. And yet there was that seductive voice and mischievous wink of his only a few days ago that remained her hope, should she wish to take it. There was so much he did not know about her, and once he did, well, she could only guess that he would not want to know her in that way any more. She should treat him as a friend and nothing more. She could not risk her brother’s jealousy turning into something more serious, and her main aim was to ensure his loyalty. Taking herself away from him into the arms of Remus, though both tempting and truly desirable, could not happen. He had to look after Harry; she had Severus to contend with - that was the end of that. If only it were that simple.


She made it clear from the offset that her brother was not welcome in the additional Potions lessons she was providing for Harry and on the first day there Silvana practically shooed him out of his own domain. She had arrived laden with the textbooks and helpful hints Severus had provided, and took over the desk her brother normally sat at as soon as she walked in. It was important for her to stamp her authority on these lessons, and having him hovering over her was not an option. She glared at him enough times to get the hint and Severus retreated to the staff room, irritated slightly that his sanctuary was not his own any more. A knock on the door five minutes later made her jump as she had begun preparing the cauldron ready for her student. Thinking it was her brother returning on some feeble excuse she bid them to enter, but was surprised to find a student in front of her. The astonishment was reciprocated in the eyes of Draco Malfoy, who stuttered as he struggled to find his words.


“Oh..I erm…I wanted to leave this for Professor Snape. It’s one of his Potions textbooks. He gave it to Harry Potter but he forgot it earlier, and Professor Snape was keen that he should have it. I was going to return it to the Professor but I didn‘t realise he wasn‘t here.”


Silvana narrowed her eyes, thinking this boy looked so familiar. That same air about him, the same colouring and stance. Oh yes, she had surely seen it all before. She drew in her breath sharply and continued to eye him suspiciously; uncomfortable her presence had already been discovered.


“What is your name? To whom should I be directing thanks at this kind gesture?”


“Malfoy, Ma’am. Draco Malfoy.”


“As I thought. Thank you Draco Malfoy. You may leave it on the side there with the other books on that desk and return to your next lesson.” Draco still stared at her, not moving an inch. Silvana glared back at the intimidating student. “ Well, run along! I am sure you still have much to learn.”


The familiar sneer and sarcastic comment worked, and Draco bid a hasty retreat. He would find out who she was later. Until then his job was done. He stayed long enough to watch to see who was going into the classroom, and was delighted to see the stranger open the door to greet ‘Saint Potter’ himself. He looked down at his own forearm, pulling back his shirtsleeve to reveal the bare flesh. Draco imagined what the Dark Mark would look like on there when the time came, for that was his plan. Perhaps he had appeared too eager and that was why Voldemort had not branded him, or perhaps he had further plans for him. He wasn’t certain. Draco was told to earn the Dark Lord’s respect first, and then the Mark, and all it’s power, would come to him. Whatever the reason for this delay, Draco Malfoy felt important and that was all that mattered to him. His task had gone better than he ever expected it to. Perhaps the Dark Mark was not too far away after all.



“Harry! How are you? You’re looking…dishevelled. Have you been fighting?” Silvana queried.


Harry looked down at his tie, which was all askew, and his untucked, crumpled shirt and grinned, rolling his eyes at the concerned Silvana. “It’s fashionable, and if you’re looking at my hair I can’t help that. It grows that way. I thought you were meant to be teaching me Potions anyway!”


Silvana grinned back and patted him on the back. “Just checking! Take a seat next to the cauldron and we’ll talk about what you want to get from these classes. There’s not much point in me covering all the old ground if you know it already, is there?”


The first half of the lesson was taken up by them discussing why Harry felt he needed more support in his lessons. He told her he felt perhaps it was a confidence thing, plus his mind was frequently on thinking of ways to hex his Professor normally and not necessarily on the finer points of Potions making. Silvana laughed, and told Harry various secrets about her brother to make the lessons a little easier for him. She revealed, as a child, her brother had been quite an actor, and had often entertained both herself and her mother. She told Harry to watch him as if he were an actor on a stage and see if it made things easier. Harry was not convinced it would. The second half of the lesson Silvana showed Harry how the movement of his wand in Potions making was crucial, and for that he concentrated hard, though yet again his mind wandered on occasion as they chatted animatedly about her old school days and Severus. They were both satisfied with the results of Harry’s efforts and spent the last five minutes clearing away before the other Professor Snape came back. Harry smirked as he began to clean the contents of his cauldron.


“So, erm, have you seen Professor Lupin on your travels today?” he asked tentatively. Silvana grinned back and eyed him suspiciously.


“No, but I didn’t really expect to. Why?” Harry shrugged, smirking.


“Oh, no reason. I just wondered whether he’d arranged to meet you for lunch or anything. You know, a date or something.” Silvana looked aghast and shook her head.


“No, Harry, he hasn’t. I don’t really expect him to either. We’re just friends, that’s all. And you should have more respect for your tutors!” Harry laughed.


“Yeah, but it’s only you two! I was just asking. I mean, I expect he’s been dreaming about you anyway.” Silvana folded her arms as if angry.


“Alright, Mr Sarcastic! Don’t push your luck! Just because we care about you doesn’t mean you can tease us like that. Now on your way! Go and terrorise some other poor Professor before I hex you. Oh, and there‘s some books for you to take with you there and work from before I see you next week. Don’t think because it‘s me you can have it easy.” Harry laughed again and shrugged.


“Of course I don’t. And I will go and terrorise my next Professor - It’s Professor Lupin after lunch. I’ll have to ask him if he slept well last night, or if he was dreaming about you.” Silvana couldn’t suppress her laughter and pointed to the door.


“Out! Go on, OUT!!!”



Harry grabbed the books and left hurriedly, just as Severus Snape was about to go into his classroom. Severus peered around the door and frowned at the chuckling Silvana.


“Is everything alright in here? Has Potter been as obnoxious to you as he is to me?”



“No Severus, he was perfectly charming, thank you. Everything went exceptionally well.” Severus sneered.



“Indeed. Give it time and you will change your opinion, I am certain.” Silvana tidied her things and looped her arm into the crook of her brother’s arm.


“I doubt it, Severus. Now, show me where I can get some food and tell me all about your day”


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




The slim, gaunt-looking woman bowed before her Master as he sat like a King on a throne before his subject. The woman remained bowed until it was safe for her to rise, and just one touch from his grey, withering hands meant she could look into her Master’s eyes again. As she did so he saw the look of utter triumph upon her face. She had served him well; she always served him well. He raised an eyebrow and narrowed his eyes.


“You bring me good news, Bellatrix?” The woman nodded.


“My nephew has been successful. I had word from him this morning. Dolohov is gathering his faithful as we speak to free Lucius.” Voldemort rubbed his chin and leaned back in his chair, thoughtfully.


“Excellent. Tell Dolohov to hold fire on Lucius’ release. I have to think of a distraction to busy the Ministry. I do not want any more accidents or mistakes this time. The execution must be perfect.” Bellatrix bowed in agreement.


“As you wish, my Master. Do you have anything in mind?” Voldemort sneered.


“Why of course, dear Bella. When have you not known me be prepared? I have a little spectacular up my sleeve as we speak. A little something to wake up those fools who have dared to forget my power and speak my name like some long forgotten piece of history. We shall make our own history soon, Bella. Very soon.”




*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*/*






Three weeks later, and lessons still progressed well for Silvana. Her sense of achievement flowed through her stride as she walked the hallowed grounds of Hogwarts on her way back to Grimmauld Place. She turned around to take in the magnificent view of the proud building, and sighed. So many memories filled her thoughts, but an emptiness filled her heart. Silvana had still not managed to catch up with Remus and, though she knew she would see him for transformation this weekend, she was still saddened not to see him today to tell him of her triumphs. Something made her feel that she needed his approval, that she needed his praise in relation to Harry. And yet it was more than just searching for approval. There was an underlying reason why she must speak with him and yet even Silvana herself could not say for sure what it was.


She looked down at the beautifully wrapped gift she clutched in her hands and smiled. Perhaps it was the knowledge that her fortieth birthday was just hours away. Severus had not forgotten, but then Silvana knew he would not dare to. The gift looked expensive from the wrapping and she hoped he had not gone to too much trouble. Though it was tempting to open it, he had made her promise not to open it until tomorrow morning and then wear it at the evening meal he had arranged for her back at their old home. She had promised, and she would not break a promise to Severus no matter how tempting it was.



The birthday was a double-edged sword. She wanted to celebrate - turning 40 was no worrisome milestone for Silvana, but then she still had the echoes of her 21st birthday every year to face up and admit to. The images of Lucius still haunted her sometimes, though nowhere near as much as they used to. But when she did have nightmares they were a clear as if it were yesterday. Just recently though they had happened again, mixed with the doubts and fears about Severus. But when she was in her bedroom with Lucius, and she screamed for mercy, this time her voice was heard. And it was heard in the depths of her dreams by Remus Lupin. He was the one who saved her.


Silvana spent another evening alone, lost in memories and thoughts. Tomorrow she would see Remus, though she would only see him briefly as she was spending the evening with her brother. Then it would be a quiet Sunday, if the Order allowed, and Remus’ solitary confinement. The part Silvana hated the most. There would be little time to talk, she surmised while sipping a glass of red wine with her evening meal for one. The mandatory clean up followed, and when the clock turned to 10 pm, Silvana decided it was time to turn in. Her loneliness weighed heavy in her heart as she pulled the quilt around her, feeling the chill of the October month that beckoned. Perhaps tomorrow would be different. After all, tomorrow was her birthday.



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*





“Silvana! Silvana! It’s Remus. Are you decent? Can I come in?”



Silvana heard the voice and at first though she was dreaming. She turned over and looked towards the minimal amount of sunlight coming through the curtains and highlighting the contours of her body under the quilt. Barely dawn and Remus was outside her door. Something must be wrong. Pulling the quilt to her chest, Silvana rearranged the pillows behind her and sat up straight, tidying her hair before she called him in.


At first all she saw peering from around the door was his face. Lined and weary looking, as he always was around full moon, and yet there was more, something kindly and debonair about Remus that made Silvana look beyond the faults For the earliness of the hour, Remus looked surprisingly chirpy and his broad grin was infectious as he stepped into the room holding before him a tray of cooked breakfast for two, flowers and a wrapped gift for the birthday girl. Silvana opened her mouth to give her heartfelt thanks but, as he laid the tray across her lap, he broke into an impromptu chorus of Happy Birthday, and Silvana couldn’t help but laugh as he perched himself on the side of her bed and gave her a peck on the cheek.


“Happy Birthday Silvana! How are you? You look as radiant as ever. And not a day over forty!” Silvana screwed up her face and laughed.


“Yes, yes! Get all the forty jokes out of your system right now, Remus Lupin!” Remus held his hand to his heart in mock astonishment.


“I don’t know what you mean! Here I am, slaving over a hot stove providing warm meals for the elderly and all I get is abuse!” Again he winked at Silvana and her heart melted inside.


“Elderly? I’ll have you know that I look half your age!” Remus frowned and pulled a face.


“Point taken. Anyway,” he chuckled as he patted her thigh through the bedclothes, “ eat up and tell me how you’ve been. I’ve really missed our chats.” Silvana blushed but began to eat.


“Me too. Are you having some of this?” she asked, pointing to the over-sized breakfast before her with her fork.


“I thought you’d never ask! There’s a spare plate under yours. I’ve got cutlery right here.”



Silvana began to divide the breakfast between them while Remus poured the coffee. As he finished he turned to Silvana, who was tucking into the hearty breakfast. “So, how are you and Harry getting on? Is he behaving?” Silvana nodded and swallowed her mouthful.


“Impeccably, actually. Lessons are going very well. I was a bit concerned about him this week though.”



“Oh? exclaimed Remus, sipping coffee from his mug, steaming in front of his eyes. Silvana shrugged.



“Oh, I don’t know. He just seemed a little distant and distracted. Like his mind was elsewhere.”



“Well, I expect it is. He is very pressured.”


“I know that. This just seemed to be more than that. Normally he’s a bit cheeky, especially where you and I are concerned, but he was emotionless, cold, frustrated. He even muttered something derogatory under his breath about Dumbledore.” Remus stopped drinking and sat up, motionless and concerned.


“It almost sounds like he’s reverted back to how he was when Sirius died. We both struggled back then, but he would have dark days and good days, and since you came along he’s been having more good days than bad. We both have, actually,” he whispered with a twinkle in his eye as he checked to see if Silvana had heard anything. The avoidance of his gaze told him she had heard his every word. Remus smiled and sipped his coffee once more.


“I’ll keep an eye out for him when I see him after transformation. He seemed fine in my lesson the other day, but then I didn’t really get the chance to talk to him one to one. I’ll try and make the time to speak with him.”


“Don’t say I said anything or we’ll both be in the dog house.” Remus sighed.


“Ah yes, teenage hormones could be the problem here. I did see him talking with Ginny a couple of days ago. Perhaps it’s a romantic problem. We all have them from time to time.”
Remus smirked at Silvana’s reddening face and patted her hand that was rested on top of her thigh. “Speaking of which, your brother told me a very interesting piece of information about you the other day, Silvana. What’s all this about you and Lucius Malfoy?”


Silvana coughed as her hot coffee hit the back of her throat hard. How could he know? How could either of them know? Her heart pounded in her chest as she panicked, but then reason took over and she realised this may not be what she had always dreaded. Remus would never be this tactless if he knew the truth. Her voice shaking, she stuttered a reply. “Wh…what do you mean, Remus?”


“Your betrothal? Severus said he wished you had married him, and then you wouldn’t have to endure people like me, or words to that effect. You kept that one incredibly quiet!”



Swallowing hard, Silvana forced a false smile and answered him. “Oh, well it was years ago. 19 years today to be precise. I had no idea about it until our father announced the betrothal of his only daughter to the man she despised the most. I had little choice in the matter, Remus. Believe me, he was the last person I wished to marry.” Remus frowned and leaned back to observe the nervous-looking Silvana.


“And obviously you didn’t….oh, wait a minute! This would have been around the same time you came back one night and slept in the infirmary. I remember now. You were very nervous and looked as if you’d been crying. I watched you come in. I thought you knew about me and were nervous of me, because it was the day after full moon. Were you?” Silvana shook her head, and clutched Remus‘ hand.


“Oh no, Remus! I wasn’t frightened of you. No, it was my father and Lucius I ran away from. That was the night I ran away from home. I still had no idea about you, my dear! Lucius made it clear he wouldn’t take no for an answer and …well things happened that made it impossible for me to stay. I escaped in the dead of night, without even my brother knowing. I am sure he must have suffered when our father found out I had left. That’s why I went to Ireland, Remus. To escape them.” Remus shook his head.


“Goodness! Was it really that bad? You poor love.” Silvana smiled at the kindness etched upon his face.


“Yes, yes it was, and one day I shall tell you how bad, Remus. Suffice to say that Lucius did not enjoy looking a fool and made me pay in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine. But enough of this. On to happier things. Tell me more about this mystery woman of yours.” As Silvana swiftly changed the subject it was Remus’ turn to squirm.


“Mystery woman? Oh Viell? No mystery really. She’s a friend, a good friend. But that’s all. She’s a comfort and a great person, but we are not…well it isn’t a grand love affair, if you see what I mean. She and I have a little more than friendship on occasion but that is all. She is, however, a wonderful, kind woman and has a beautiful daughter.” Silvana looked puzzled.


“And she is happy with this…arrangement?” Remus laughed and shook his head.


“It is her idea, Silvana. If she was to say that we were not to see each other again then that would be it, but she is very much her own woman and I admire her for being so. She is my exact opposite. She is earthly, vibrant, and vivacious. She says what she thinks, regardless of what company she is in, and is as honest and trustworthy as they come. I adore her, but not in the way that I adore…would adore someone else. Silvana, there is something I have to say, something I should have said the other day, but…well, to be honest I’ve been avoiding you.”


Silvana pulled the quilt up higher and bit her lip in preparation of what Remus had to say.



“Oh?” Remus took her hands in his and looked deep into her dark eyes.


“You know by now that I have feelings for you. Feelings I never expected to have, and…well… you also know that I have a duty to Harry and to the Order, and …oh I’m really making a complete fool of myself! I’m so sorry.” Silvana smiled and patted his hand reassuringly. “No, go on, Remus. We need to clear the air, I think.”


“Yes. Yes we do. I admire you. I find you attractive, very attractive, Silvana, but my duty, our duty to both Harry and Severus means that it wouldn’t be fair to start a relationship in the middle of this war. Your brother tried to warn me off and in a way he was right to, though I am certainly not frightened off by him. But if…when I do have a relationship with someone, with you, if that is what you want too, then I want to devote 100 per cent of my time to you. Do you understand what I mean?” Silvana nodded and smiled, her heart both saddened and full of joy at his words.


“I do, Remus. It would be foolish to begin anything now, and I am flattered that you feel that way about me. We need time to get to know one another properly, and there are things that you should know about me, about my past, before we move into any form of relationship. But for now, thank you and believe me I will be delighted to have your company when the war is over and we have succeeded. Any man who makes me my first breakfast in bed is surely worth a look!”


“First one? Goodness you need some good old-fashioned pampering! Would a birthday kiss be allowed, after all that I’ve just said?”


“I think it would be right and proper, as long as you don’t go broadcasting to my brother you kissed me and had breakfast in bed with me!” Remus laughed and bent down to kiss Silvana. He had meant to just give her a little peck on the cheek, but his temptation got the better of him and his lips turned to her waiting ones. The sensation from within was immediate for both of them, though their lips barely touched, and Silvana pulled away, surprised by the strength of the emotion between them. Remus put a gentle hand to her cheek and brushed away her hair. “You haven’t opened your presents yet.” Silvana turned to the gift on her tray and began to unwrap it. Inside the brown plain paper was a small, wooden frame, and as she turned it over she could see it was a watercolour painting. It was a painting of the English countryside, with open fields and a copse nearby. The colours of the trees and the clouds and sky felt warm and inviting, and the present was unique. She glanced at Remus’ proud face.



“I was a bit rusty when I painted that, to be honest, but that’s the view from my place on the Moors. I thought you missed outdoors so I brought it in to you instead.” Silvana was shocked and overwhelmed with the sentiment of the gift. A tear rolled down her cheek and she held his hand and smiled as she struggled to find the right words to convey her emotion.


“It’s truly beautiful. I can’t believe you went to all this trouble just for me. It looks just like my old home, Remus. It’s just wonderful. You are such a thoughtful man.” Remus shrugged and brushed off the praise.


“Just pleased you like it. One day I’ll show you that view for real.”


“Oh yes! I’d love to see it someday. I’d better see what Severus has bought me,” said Silvana, her mind desperate to collect her thoughts after the power of their kiss. Her nimble hands made fast work of the exquisitely wrapped gift, which was such a contrast to the way Remus’ had wrapped his. She gasped again as she undid a simple black velvet jewellery box. “Mother’s ring! Oh my goodness, Remus. This was our Mother’s ring. He kept it and saved it for me. I had no idea.” Remus looked at the ornate, Victorian ring, which was made up of three large sapphires surrounded by clusters of diamonds, while Silvana struggled to put it on her finger.



“Wow. Here, if it doesn’t fit I can alter it for you with a little magic.”


Remus tried to enlarge the ring’s band but the spell rebounded and he frowned. “It must have some sort of protection on it. Not to worry though, because there is a jewellers in Diagon Alley that deals in this sort of thing.” Silvana sighed.


“I’ll have to go there before the meal with Severus or he’ll be disappointed I’m not wearing it. I expect Father put a charm on it so no one else could have it. It’s the sort of thing he would do.” Silvana stared at the ring wistfully and Remus began to tidy the breakfast things and clear away.


“I shall leave you to get ready then, my dear. Have a wonderful meal tonight if I don’t see you before.”



“Oh you will. I wont be long. Thank you so much for the gift, Remus and the breakfast. It was a wonderful surprise.”


“It was nothing. Now get ready and have a good rest of the day. While you’re out I’ll put that picture up in your room, if you like.” Silvana got up from her bed and walked over to Remus, giving him a peck on the cheek. “I’d like that very much, Remus. Thank you.”




Remus fought the temptation to throw down the tray and take her in his arms. They had made their feelings clear and they must stick with their resolutions. He had a duty to others before himself and that could not be altered. Instead he cursed his situation a thousand times under his breath and smiled as he turned away from Silvana, carrying the tray and the promise of something more in his heart, regardless of all that had been said.


And had he known what was to come that afternoon he would never have left her alone.

















Chapter 13: Lost
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Lost



In war, there are no unwounded soldiers. ~José Narosky










The day continued as it had begun at first for Silvana. Once she stepped outside the crisp morning air had given way to a warmer hint of a late Indian summer in the breeze. She paused for a moment to turn her face skywards and let the warm rays play across her pale, barely lined face. Life was good. The sun was shining, she would soon be wearing her beloved mother’s ring and, more importantly, Remus Lupin had finally told her of his feelings. She closed her eyes to remember the bliss of the morning so far. He had said she was ‘attractive, very attractive,’ and that it was only his duty that prevented them being together. Once the war was over he wanted to devote ‘one hundred per cent’ of his time to her. She smiled as she recalled him and felt as if she floated in the white clouds above.



They had kissed, on the lips this time, and it had made her feel more sensual and alive than ever before. She had only kissed two other men in her life; one was forced upon her and the other she remembered with affection but not a passion. She had felt kindness and sympathy from her husband, felt his warmth and returned it with hers, but Silvana had never experienced a grand passion in her life. She had heard stories of it from other women in the village; of a raw and all consuming energy between two people that could not be ignored, but that was her only experience. Silvana and Severus’ parents had not been role models for them in the way of relationships, and passion of any kind was forbidden by their strict disciplinarian father. The remotest hint that they may take pleasure from anything other than education or the Dark Arts was frowned upon. That pleasurable pursuit, if discovered, would be taken away, never to be permitted again. As children they had no toys, as teenagers no music or friends to stay in the holidays. They only had one another, and the rare shelter in their beautiful and caring mother; a saviour for them both.



The kiss had stirred feelings within Silvana’s very core that she thought she would never be lucky enough to have. Though their lips had barely touched, their delicate skin brushing together had set off an electricity that she had only dreamt of, and he had even promised her more. Silvana opened her eyes and smiled to herself, lost in her own private world of hopes and dreams. He wanted her, desired her, and for the first time she considered perhaps she could be brave enough to want him too, and to tell him all there was to know about herself, good and bad. She would tell him, and they would visit the house on the Moor and… She stopped herself, embarrassed at her private desires, though no one else could hear her. As if the world had heard her wants she blushed and walked along the road briskly, smiling to herself as she did so. The sun beat down and she felt alive. She wasn’t just living any more, she was desired and she was alive. Nothing could be sweeter than the promise of all to come.


Diagon Alley was busy by the time she arrived there, even though Silvana had made a point of trying to come as early as possible. Weekends were not a good time, she decided, and the hemmed in feelings she experienced as she walked along the pathway to the centre of the alley made her feel a rush of sudden panic. It had been so long since she had been in a crowd that she felt overwhelmingly exposed and vulnerable. ‘Deep breaths’ she muttered to herself as she worked her way through the blur of busy shoppers towards Goldsmith and Littlegem, the Magical Jewellers.


On her journey towards the jewellers she glanced sideways at a curious, brightly coloured shop that caught her eye. It was full of lurid colours and moving displays of curiosities. Stars seemed to explode in the front windows before her very eyes, and the base of the display was covered in a lime green sticky slime, that every so often seemed to smile at her and wink. It was certainly enticing. It was only when Silvana happened to glance above the door that she noticed the proprietor and all became clear. She entered the shop, pushing the door open with a mixture of delight at realising who she would see, and relief that she would be out of the crowds.


“Good morning, you two! Fancy seeing you here.”


Fred and George Weasley spun around in unison, stopping their shelf filling task to view and welcome their visitor. The looks on both their faces showed their genuine delight.


“Silvana! What are you up to? We don’t see you this way very often.” Silvana smiled at her two young friends and picked up a box next to her, looking at the outside with an air of intrigue.


“Severus gave me a ring but it needs a little adjustment, so I’m going to Goldsmith’s to get it looked at.”


“Best place for it. Those two are really good,” grinned George.


“What do you think of this place then?” asked Fred with a huge grin on his face. Silvana glanced around her at the small but well stocked place and nodded.


“Yes, it’s very impressive. Maybe I should get some things for my brother while I’m here. I could leave a few tricks for him in his room when I’m teaching Harry at Hogwarts.” Fred and George looked at each other with a shocked expression upon their faces.


“Wow. You’re braver than us,” exclaimed Fred.


“Yeah, old Snape hasn’t exactly got a sense of humour, has he? No offence, Silvana.” Silvana smirked and put down the box she had been looking at.


“None taken.”


“Oh, we could show her the improvements, Fred.”


“We could, George, we could.”


“Come this way, Madam. Let us show you our alterations,” George lowered his voice, “for the Order.”


Silvana realised what they were talking about and followed the twins out into the back office where, locked away in their safe, was the same communications rocket they had been testing at the Burrow. It was half the size it had been a few weeks ago and George held the device in his hands proudly, truly proud of their achievement. Silvana looked surprised and gladly took the machine in her hands, checking it over carefully. She liked the twins very much, and was glad they were using their initiative to assist the Order.


“It’s less, well, rocket-like now, and much smaller. How have you been getting on with its range?” Fred stood proud and answered her.


“Seventy miles per message now, but we’re having trouble stabilising the motor as we make it smaller.”


“Yes” chipped in George, “we want it hand sized like one of those Muggle mobile bone things.” Silvana laughed and shook her head.



“I think you mean phone, George. Yeah, that’s the sort of size it needs to be. I’m not sure about keeping it stable and all but I’m sure you’ll figure it out. It looks amazing. You wait ‘til I tell Remus about all your efforts. He’ll be really excited.”


Fred and George looked at one another and smirked, giving one another a knowing look. Fred grinned at Silvana.


“We’d heard you and Remus were a bit friendly.”


“Yeah,” chuckled George, “more than friendly if Harry is to be believed. We heard you were playing on poor Professor Lupin’s mind a bit. Quite dreamy you two are.” Silvana blushed and smacked them both playfully on the arm, but their mirth was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell alerting them to a customer, and so they hurriedly put away the message maker into the safe and George went to the shop floor to serve. Silvana stayed in the back with Fred.


“So Harry writes to you two then?”


“When he can. First couple of weeks he and Ron wrote every few days, and Ron still does, but Harry’s have stopped. I guess he’s just busy and all. We write in code, in case of trouble.” Silvana smiled at the youngsters ingenuity.


“And how did you find Harry? Did he seem ok to you?” George peered in from serving his customer and joined in the conversation.


“I should say not! Right down in the dumps he was. Saying how he was fed up with being treated like a kid and how he wished he could leave Hogwarts like we did.” Silvana widened her eyes and looked aghast.


“Leave? He actually said he wants to leave Hogwarts? But he’s not been back a month yet!”

“I know!” nodded Fred in agreement. “We were shocked because if there was one place he loves to be then it’s there.”


“I’m worried about him,” sighed Silvana. “Maybe I should have a chat with Dumbledore about him, or maybe talk to him myself.”


“Talk to him yourself.” cut in Fred. “I think Dumbledore is part of the problem. If you go to him Harry will be writing to us moaning about you too.” Silvana shook her head and frowned.


“And I suppose my brother was mentioned.”


“No.” recalled George, slowly. “Come to think of it, Harry never mentioned Snape at all, which is unusual.”


“I’m sure.” murmured Silvana. “Thanks lads. I’d better go and get this ring looked at, or I’ll be late for my birthday meal with Severus.”


“Birthday?” shouted Fred and George together. “Why didn’t you say so earlier?”


And as Silvana walked through the shop they released some singing birthday balloons which showered the birthday girl with confetti. As she shook the glittering pieces from her hair Silvana laughed and waved at the twins.



“Thank you boys! See you soon.”



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*










“Headmaster! I wasn’t expecting to see you here. Severus? Is something the matter?”


Dumbledore waved to instruct Remus to sit back down in his seat and bid Severus to be seated as he drew up a chair at the end of the table himself. Remus heart began to race as he waited for the wizard to speak, but Dumbledore reassured him with a simple smile, though the scowling face of his other companion counteracted the effect of such reassurance. Remus really hadn’t expected any visitors that morning, and for the two Wizards in front of him to both leave Hogwarts together he knew it was important.


“Do not fret, Remus. Harry is quite safe and well, though it is him we have come to discuss with you. I understand Silvana has already made an observation to you about Harry’s recent behaviour.”


Remus marvelled at the old wizards ability to know such thing, but did not mention this as it was all too familiar to him. For a long time now Remus had known of this other sense that the kindly old man had, and he appreciated it, admiring the skill. Severus did not, nor was he comfortable being there, Remus observed. He was positively squirming in his seat. He turned back to Dumbledore and frowned.


“Yes, she did say something but I was waiting until after my transformation to say anything to Harry myself. Why? Has he done something I should know about?” Dumbledore nodded to Severus to alert him that it was his turn to explain.



“I was approached by Potter this morning while I was marking the first years essays. He asked me whether I had any informative literature on the Dark Arts. When I told him that it was not my concern to supply such literature to the likes of him, he said he had been advised to come to me, and was ‘tired of being treated as a child.’ He said that he wanted to learn things for himself when he wanted to learn, and not when others told him to. Though his lack of respect was not surprising, his method was.” Severus gave Remus a knowing look, feeling important and superior as the bearer of this heavy news. Remus sat back in his seat and thought for a while.


“Well I haven’t told him to come to you. It sounds very odd. He came to you? No warning or anything?” Severus shook his head.


“No, though I had been expecting it.” Remus tilted his head and shot Severus an incredulous look.


“What do you mean you’d been expecting it? What exactly does that mean?” Severus looked towards Dumbledore for support and the Headmaster intervened, as if Severus did not wish to tell.


“Severus discovered the possibility of a link from Voldemort to Harry in his last visit to Voldemort. I was unaware of its existence until this morning, when Severus alerted me to the likelihood of such a thing.” Remus shook his head.


“You knew Voldemort could do something and yet you just let it happen? How could you? I’ve been supporting you, saying you’re genuinely on our side when all the time…” Severus sneered and leaned in closer to the Dark Arts Professor, speaking through gritted teeth..


“You have no idea of his power. You sit here, cocooned in your own world while I have to face his all consuming strength. You and your meddling caused this. If I had not had to protect Silvana because of your foolishness then I would have said something sooner. Silvana could be killed if I do not comply with his wishes! I will not sacrifice my sister for anyone, even the Potter boy. I will protect her at all costs…from anyone.” Remus sighed, and stood up, pacing the floor like a caged animal..


“When are you going to put petty jealousies aside and let me help you? We could have prevented a link and still protected Silvana from harm if we could work together, but no! You have to play everything your way Severus! Just like when we were kids. No wonder…” A glare from Dumbledore made Remus sit down and keep quiet, but Severus stood up and grasped Remus’ shirt.



“Playing at taunting now, just like Black, are we? How like him you have become. Perhaps he possesses you, or perhaps you two became a little too close while you were cooped up in here. They say prison does strange things to a man.”




Dumbledore rose from his seat. “That’s enough, Severus! You will learn to control your temper, and Remus, you must be aware that we do not even know if such a link exists. The likelihood is extremely rare but we must be observant and prepare ourselves. I have taught Harry Occlumency and I do not believe Voldemort will be able to use that method of communications. There are plenty of other ways and all normal methods are being checked as we speak.” Remus and Severus sat down in their seats again, like two chastised children.



“Do you need me to come back to the school, Headmaster?” Severus smirked and leaned forwards, speaking in a whisper only audible to Remus, threateningly.


“And break your curfew? What would the parents say if they were to find out?” Dumbledore had heard him.


“Severus, I said enough. I will not tolerate this atmosphere between two of my staff. Do I make myself clear?” He waited until he received conformation from both of them and then continued. “Where is Silvana at the moment, Remus?”


“She has gone to Diagon Alley to have the ring altered that Severus gave her for her birthday. Apparently it was hexed, so I recommended Goldsmith and Littlegem to her. She wanted to wear it to her birthday meal, just to please you, Severus.” The already pale looking face of Severus Snape paled even more and his eyes glittered angrily as he spat out his words of fury.


“Our Father! It is just the sort of cruel and vindictive thing he would do, just so we couldn‘t have it. She should have waited and I would have accompanied her to the Alley. I cannot believe you have been so foolish as to let her journey there alone and unaccompanied, but then again…” Remus sucked in his cheeks slightly and shook his head as he drew in a long breath to calm himself.


“If I had known she was to be in danger I would not have let her go, though I doubt if it would have done much good. Silvana is as strong willed as other Snape family members.” Remus turned back to Dumbledore, ignoring the furious glare now etched across Severus’ face. “And have you alerted Harry of this new threat?” Dumbledore shook his head.


“No. This could just be Harry reacting to Sirius’ death. If this is his grief rather than anything more sinister then we must let him grieve. In grief we often push away those we love and care for,a dn this is what he seems to be doing. First it was myself and now you, Remus. But we must be vigilant. If Voldemort has found a way of changing him to suit his cause then we could all be in danger. Harry maybe just a boy but he is a powerful and knowledgeable wizard, and becomes more so by each day that passes. Remus, you must watch over Harry when you return and we must do a search of his room soon while he is out. Perhaps we shall ask Silvana to assist as she seems to maintain a good rapport with him. Severus, your sister will be safe here, and I will have an Auror accompany her movements to and from school. It is unlikely they will try to get at her unless Voldemort thinks you are disloyal.”


“And if the Potter boy approaches me again?”


“Then you are to assist him, as Voldemort intended. In fact, perhaps you should approach him on your return and see exactly what it is he wishes to learn, in case this is Voldemort‘s work.” Severus shot Remus a look of superiority and gloated as he spoke.


“Perhaps he requires a higher standard of teaching.” Remus shook his head in despair and watched as Severus rose from his chair, but the fire stopped him in his tracks. The fire in the kitchen began to glow and a head appeared from within the hearth, stopping them all for a moment. Dumbledore rose to greet the face within there, stepping forwards calmly.


“Kingsley? What has happened?”


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*





Zebby Goldsmith and Allegra Littlegem were the two proprietors of the jewellers that Silvana chose to visit in Diagon Alley that day. Zebby was a tall, but well built man with grey to white hair and a mid length white beard with grey flecks in. He had large, oval eyes that made him look a little like an owl, and often wore a magnifying monocle to study the gems and stones that came through his door on a regular basis. He was the worker; sedate and contemplative, he barely spoke unless he needed to. Allegra, his quick-witted wife, was just the opposite, and she dealt with the customers day in, day out, and always with a broad smile upon her attractive, petite face. Her auburn hair was neatly dealt with in a bun fastened behind her head, giving her a matronly, but kind appearance. She kept her maiden name above the door, but only because she thought it sounded better, and she and Zeb were inseparable. It was she who met Silvana at first.



“Hello my dear! How can we help you today?” Silvana smiled and pulled out the ring.


“ I was given this as a birthday present but it seems to be hexed and I cannot remove the spell. I was wondering whether you could help.”


“Course, my dear! That’s what we’re here for. Now let me see.” Allegra took the ring from Silvana and placed it in front of her on the counter. With a single wave of her wand the ring began to glow and a dark mist enveloped the jewellery, making both Allegra and Silvana step back in surprise. “ ‘Ere! Zeb! Come and look at this. We’ve got a good one ‘ere.”


Zeb stepped out from the back office and came to the counter, nodding politely to Silvana to acknowledge her presence. Putting the ring up to his monocle he gazed at it for a moment and then did just the same as Allegra had just moments before, producing the same results. Again, Zeb put the ring back to his monocle and then set it down on the counter, stroking the length of his beard while in deep thought. Silvana grew nervous, but waited for him to reply.


“Cursed.” Silvana frowned.


“I beg your pardon.”


“Cursed. The ring is cursed. Bit like the Egyptians cursed their tombs. This ring was only meant for one person and anyone else will be cursed. Say you got this as a birthday present? Someone doesn‘t like you then.” Silvana stood open-mouthed.


“But my brother gave it to me. He can’t have known about it or he wouldn’t have offered it as a gift.” Zeb nodded.


“It’d be right. Cleverly hidden, it is. Had some protection or else it would have let you wear it and just be cursed. Was it in the family?”


“Yes, it was my mother’s.”


“Ah, well some curses protect family members from the really bad stuff, see. But anyone else and they would suffer. Still, it can be lifted, but it’ll take a while.” Silvana smiled, relieved it could be altered, though nervous at the same time. She wasn’t sure she wanted it back.


“How long is a while?”


“Few days, maybe more.” stated Allegra. “ I’ll go and get the paperwork dear, and Zeb will take it from you.”


Silvana waited in the shop while the couple did as they had suggested. She didn’t know whether the ring had given her chills and thoughts of curses, or the fact it had brought back memories of her father, but for some reason she felt as if she was being watched. She looked around at outside, but it was just the same bustle as before, in fact it was even more crowded now as it was later on in the day. Diagon Alley looked normal, and just as her heart rate began to settle as she let out a sigh.



And then she saw a hint of light out of the corner of her eye. It could have been anything; a mirror; the sun’s reflections of a shop front window, but she knew it wasn’t just ordinary the minute she saw it. And then she saw them, hooded and menacing, like flashbacks from her troubled childhood, all crawling out of the shadows like venomous spiders hunting prey. Not one but two, three, four all beginning to mingle with the crowds. And then the green light; so bright and menacing, and so fast, so very fast that no one before them stood a chance. Silvana screamed as Allegra came out to the front. She knew of this dark power, She had seen this all before. Silvana had been brought up in the ways of the Dark Arts and she knew what to fear. She screamed with all her might to tell Allegra to get down behind the counter as the first round of destructive spells hit their targets. She screamed so hard her throat pulsed with pain and she could scream no more. Allegra pulled her into the back of the shop, and tried to close the door but they were too late. The structure of the building began to crumble under the wave of bombardment inflicted upon it, and the rest of Diagon Alley. Silvana heard screams from women and children outside, shouts from men frantic to protect their families, but it was over all too soon, just as quickly as it had begun. There was no time left.

And then, just as she thought it was all over for her too, just as the silence hit them and the eerie peace of disaster enveloped them in a blanket of calm again, the world turned pitch black for Silvana.




*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




“There was an attack on the public about half an hour ago. 50 dead, possibly more. Men, women, children. The Aurors are down here but it’s a huge task and we’re calling in the whole Ministry to assist. Anyone you have available would be appreciated, Dumbledore.” Dumbledore looked grave and acknowledged Kingsley with a single nod.



“Where, Kingsley?” Dumbledore whispered, though he feared he already knew the answer.



“Diagon Alley. It’s been ripped apart. I don’t thing it’ll ever be the same again. There are people trapped. We need everyone down there to assist.” Dumbledore could only sense the two horrified faces left behind him.



“Thank you Kingsley. I will send all I can.” Dumbledore turned slowly to see the two ashen faces behind him and spoke slowly and calmly to them as they both whispered ‘Silvana’ to him in unison. “Remus, Severus, I will allow you both to leave here to help out, but Remus you must return in good time for your transformation. Send me word as soon as you find her, and in the meantime I will rally the troops. Good luck to you.”


As Remus began to make his way out the door he turned to see the shocked and stunned face of Severus Snape, rooted to the spot where he stood, searching his Headmaster’s face for some sort of answer, but there was none to be had. No one knew the fate of his sister. No one knew why it had happened. His posture was crest-fallen and most unlike that of the proud and regal man Remus knew. If Silvana was harmed his life was nothing and Remus felt his fears for he too would feel her loss if there were one to be had. All Severus could utter as he stood there broken and torn was, ‘Why didn’t he tell me? Why didn’t I know about this? Why was I left in the dark?’


And Dumbledore placed a hand upon his Professor’s broad shoulder and shook his head while he whispered softly to him to offer him a sliver of comfort,


“A question that needs an answer, my friend, and soon. We will find her, and when we do we will search the truth. Until then you must do all you can to help.”


And with that the two men turned together silently in perfect harmony for once, and left to start the task of recovering their loved one.



















Chapter 14: Out of the Woods
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Out of the woods




The power of love to change bodies is legendary, built into folklore, common sense, and everyday experience. Love moves the flesh, it pushes matter around.... Throughout history, "tender loving care" has uniformly been recognized as a valuable element in healing. ~Larry Dossey







The scene of utter devastation that greeted Severus Snape and Remus Lupin upon reaching Diagon Alley stopped them both dead in their tracks. The normally busy shopping street was now a pitiful reminder of what it used to be and resembled a rubble graveyard. The path was littered with stone, brick, glass and wood and, sadly, the occasional desperate sight of a blanket where once a person stood. A casualty of war. Where there was once a neat row of shops standing tall and proud now lay the echo of their glory, and a whisper of what once was. Despite the numerous members of the Ministry, Order and the Aurors that had arrived to help with the much-needed clean up operation, the air was still with an eerie silence. It was marked only by the occasional muffled cry, stifled sniffle or brief shout as another person was found amongst the rubble. Remus heard a lone cry of a child desperate to find its mother. No child should ever have to suffer like this he thought, and the image of Harry entered his mind. Once again Voldemort had destroyed another young family. The smell of burning oil, and stench of dust blowing on the wind was choking to their senses and Severus put a handkerchief up to his mouth and nose and covered them. Remus looked at the tall, dark man beside him. Whether the smell was making his colleagues eyes water or whether it was emotion he could not be sure, but the cold man shed a tear that afternoon, regardless of reason.


Despite their differences, Remus Lupin instinctively laid a hand upon the broad shoulder of his reluctant companion to sympathise with him. It was not a welcomed gesture, and the malevolent glare that flashed back at him made Remus withdraw as soon as he physically could. Remus looked about him, wondering where to begin. Parting company slightly from Severus, Remus edged towards where his memory carried him and noticed the remains of the brightly coloured shop front with Weasl the only clue as to the identity of the place. the twins he gasped, and ran towards the outer shell that now remained of their shop, struggling to keep upright as he did.


“Remus! In here! Help me, please!”


Stepping over the pile of wood and stone that was once their shop door, Remus answered the frantic call of his friend, Arthur Weasley and witnessed both him and George scrabbling to free a trapped Fred, who was somewhere beneath an enormous pile of rubble. Wand at the ready, bare hands if needed, both he and his companions used all they could to dig at the rubble, George’s dirt encrusted face etched with worry.


“Fred was in the shop when it happened. I can hear him but I just can’t get to him. There’s so much rubbish on top of him.”


Remus laid down his wand and began to move the stone with his bare hands, joining Arthur as they worked fast, though the stone was cripplingly heavy. Arthur was a slight man, but the desperation of losing his son increased his strength. A parent searching for his child, and moving heaven and earth to get to them. All he could think of was his wife and the utter despair she would feel if they lost their beloved boy. It could not happen. Arthur couldn’t allow it to. Her face etched in his memory gave him all the strength he needed without magic, and, after removing a particularly large stone he was rewarded for his efforts. First a white and dusty hand emerged, followed by an arm, and then the dirty, but cheeky as ever face of Fred Weasley peered out of its temporary prison.


“Blimey! You lot took your time!”


George looked across at him with tears of joy in his eyes, mixed with sadness as he looked around at the ruined state of their treasured shop. Arthur reached to embrace both boys, full of emotion. Looking at them all, Remus smiled and went to find Severus but was caught off guard by a familiar voice calling from outside of the shop ruins.



“Remus? Uncle Remus? Is that you?” Remus gasped, putting a hand over his mouth as he realised whom else would need his help in Diagon Alley that day. The one person who had always been there for him, and he had been lost in thought for others. There, standing alone and bewildered was Arlize, the daughter of his companion and friend, Viell, and she looked utterly distraught. Her tiny, lean frame shook with raw emotion as she surveyed the chaotic scene, and her tear stained face still ran with tears. As quickly as he could, Remus leapt to her aid and wrapped his arms around her sobbing figure. Between sniffles he tried to talk to her.


“Arlize, are you well? Where is Viell? Where is your mother?”


“I’m ok, and Mum is helping down near the shop. We were just coming back from a day out because Mum got a day off from Madam Malkin’s and we came back to this! I was so frightened but Mum went off to help. They were all screaming and I didn’t know what to do. Our flat is all gone, the shop has gone. What will we do? Where will we go?”


Remus hugged her tight and kissed her on the forehead, looking into her large eyes, smiling kindly to reassure her.


“Now you listen to me, young lady. WE need to get ourselves together to help others to day and worry about the flat and ourselves later, ok? Where is your mother now?” Arlize pointed towards what was Goldsmiths and Littlegems. “She’s helping a lady in there. She’s trapped in the debris and the medics are lifting things with wands trying to free her. Mum was talking to her to take her mind off all the commotion. Being bossy as usual.”

Glancing over the way Arlize pointed, Remus could just make out the sombre black robe of Severus Snape, contrasting with the scarlet red attire of his dearest friend, Viell, who was crouched down at Severus’ feet, cradling something as if her life depended on it. He tried to focus his eyes and then gasped as he realised the implications of the picture before him. Silvana he whispered, and began to run towards the scene. Getting closer, with Arlize following him closely behind, Remus could see that Viell was kneeling down holding the calm, silent face of Silvana as if she held china in her hands. All around them were nurses and healers from St Mungo’s, plus rescue workers lifting the remains of what had once been the jewellers from Silvana’s seemingly lifeless body. Her grey face was a mere shadow of her normal translucent beauty and it struck fear within the very heart of the werewolf. Viell glanced up at the horrified face of Remus and nodded towards Severus.


“Ello, my darlin’. This a friend of yours?” Still transfixed by Silvana’s grey face, Remus nodded, unable to remove his eyes from her pale visage.

“Viell, this is Severus Snape. Severus, this is Viell Wickens and her daughter, Arlize.”


Severus looked behind him at the bewildered Arlize, and then sneered at Viell, who was glaring back at him for good measure. “We have already met. This irritating woman refused to let me near my own flesh and blood.”


“And quite right too,” chirruped a young, attractive-looking Healer, bustling past the distraught Potions Master. “That ‘irritating woman’ there did the right thing in holding her still and supporting her. She may well have saved your sister’s life. Now, the lads here are about to move the biggest piece of the wreckage so I’m going to sedate Silvana because it won’t be pleasant for her and her blood pressure may go through the roof. Once she’s clear we’re off. She‘s in a bad way so I‘d appreciate all the help I can get. And certainly no arguing,” she said sternly, glaring straight at Severus. He stepped back to allow the Healer through, and blanched at her words. Remus also moved, but towards the Healer, standing in between Severus and the Healer just in case Severus reacted badly to his sister being treated by a mere woman.


“Is there anything I can help with?” he asked, hoping to be kept busy and be of some use to the woman lying injured on the floor. The Healer looked up at him and nodded.


“Yes. We’ll have to transport her by Portkey. I want you to organise that. There’s one in my medical bag down there. I just want Silvana, her brother and myself to go. Make sure we’re all touching it at the right time and then off we go when I say. Just get it ready for us.” Severus sneered.


“Sure you can manage that, Lupin?” Remus ignored the remark, forgiving him for being under extreme pressure with his sister in such a bad way. He searched the medical bag but nothing obvious leapt out at him. The Healer called to him.

“The blue syringe - yes, that’s the one.”


Severus glanced down at the young witch, who reminded him far too much of the clumsy and irresponsible Nymphadora Tonks for his liking, and was horrified to see her take out a wand and point it at Silvana’s throat. Swiftly, he grabbed her wrist to stop her from going any further, glaring wildly at her shocked expression.


“Are you actually qualified to perform this?”


Viell and the Healer shook their heads in unison, and the exasperated Healer stood up to come face to face with the irritated Potions Master, shaking her head so her white blonde hair shook from side to side. Remus looked at Severus and groaned his name before the Healer stood up for herself.


“Is four years medical training enough? Is nine years experience enough for you? I appreciate your worry for your sister, but I would thank you to keep out of my way or suffer the consequences.”

“Yeah,” chipped in Viell, “butt out big nose! She‘s only trying to do her job.”


Not for the first time that afternoon Severus shot Viell a look of utter contempt. Unable to lower himself to talk to her, he turned on Remus, who now had the Portkey in his hand ready for them to make the journey to hospital.


“Charming acquaintance of yours, Lupin, but then you always did have such dubious taste in companions. Tell me, which side of the gutter did this one crawl from? And is Silvana aware of you having a ‘lady’ friend? And I say lady in the loosest of terms. ”


“Yes, your sister is well aware of Viell. Now I believe the Healer is ready to go.”


Keeping his glare fixed to Remus a little longer than normal, Severus Snape reluctantly stepped to one side and allowed the Healer to use her wand to sedate Silvana while the final heavy objects were lifted from her body.


“Right, let’s move fast before she drops. On the count of three. One…two…three.”



Viell stood once the three people had vanished, and hooked her arm around Remus’. He stood perfectly still, lost in thought and regret that he had not had a chance to say goodbye, let alone offer a kiss. The bloodied spot where once she had lain tormented him, and he closed his eyes, tears welling as he offered a silent prayer to anyone who would listen that she would pull through. Viell looked up at the concerned face of her dearest friend and smiled, touching his pale face.


“Penny for them, Remus.” Remus opened his eyes and stared ahead wistfully.


“I sent her here. I told her to come here, and this is my entire fault. They always get hurt because of me. James, Lily Sirius and now Silvana. All linked to me. Perhaps I am cursed.”


Viell turned Remus around to face her, clutching his sleeves forcefully.


“Now you listen to me, Remus Lupin. You may stand there enjoying feeling sorry for yourself but others around here need your help. So you told Silvana to come here - so what? Did you tell the Death Eaters to come here too, because I don’t recall you being one of them? No, of course not. So just stop feeling sorry for yourself and get your arse in gear!”


Remus glanced around him and the reality of the situation hit him hard. She’s right. This wasn’t my fault, though it certainly feels like it. I must help the others. There is nothing I can do for Silvana now. He reached across to Viell and touched her shoulder with his hand.

“Thank you. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”


She grinned, though she shook her head. “I don’t think it’s me you can’t live without, is it? She was the one, wasn’t she? The one you mentioned in your letters.” He nodded to confirm Viell’s suspicions.


“How did you realise?” Viell smiled out of the corner of her mouth and pulled back the hair that had fallen into her eyes across her tanned complexion.


“Because you were the only one she called for when she woke up back there. Shame about her brother though. You know, I could quite fancy him, if he curbed the attitude problem and livened up a bit.” Remus laughed. Only Viell could turn the horror around him into a joke.


“Viell! This is hardly the time!” She shook her head and laughed out aloud.


“Remus, I was only joking! Liven up, my friend. I lost everything today - my home, job, some of my friends. If you don’t laugh then you cry. Now come on! There are others who need our help.”


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




The afternoon passed into evening without Remus noticing. It was only when he felt a firm hand upon his dusty shoulder and saw the weary but kindly eyes of Albus Dumbledore that he even paused for thought. Dumbledore shook his head at the devastation surrounding him. Though the rescuers and helpers had done their utmost to clear the majority of the fallen masonry and glass, and the people had all been taken to St Mungo’s or evacuated, the empty, broken shells of the shops served as a ghostly reminder of what had happened only hours before. Wands and magic could only clear so much. Memories would take much longer to be erased. The noble wizard sighed and peered at Remus.


“A terrible day for us all, Remus.” Remus nodded, concerned Dumbledore’s words meant more than the chaos he now stood in.


“Have you had word from Severus yet? Is Silvana still unconscious? Dumbledore smiled.


“She is not out of the woods yet, Remus, but the signs are all positive and the Healers are confident she will recover with time. It was mainly internal damage due to the falling masonry, and simple Skele-gro will not be effective. Her vital signs are strong and stable though and they hope she will come round soon.” The news brought a smile to Remus’ face.


“Then I could visit her tomorrow, perhaps?” Dumbledore shook his head.


“I’m afraid Severus has forbidden all visitors for the present, and the Healers have even insisted that he return to Hogwarts ‘til the morning. He has made it quite clear that no one should see Silvana, especially not…”


“Me.” Remus sighed and shook his head, hunching his broad shoulders. “I don’t blame him. He cannot blame me more than I blame myself.”


“But you should not blame yourself, Remus. You were not to know. And if it is any consolation, Severus is far more frustrated with himself than he is angry with you.” Remus nodded, understanding how the Potions Master must feel.


“He genuinely didn’t know.” Dumbledore widened his blue eyes and gave Remus a single confirming nod.


“Oh yes, of that I am certain. Had Severus known of the imminent attack he would have warned his sister immediately. When he was with us and found out Silvana was in Diagon Alley he did not utter a word of concern. There was no sign that he knew of anything untoward.”


“I agree. If nothing else, he loves his sister.” Dumbledore nodded again and grinned at his Professor, peering over the top of his glasses.


“Indeed. A fact you are all too aware of, I am sure. But the question is, Remus, why did Voldemort fail to inform Severus of his intentions in the first place? Remus frowned, his brow furrowed in contemplation.


“Is it possible he suspects Severus now?”


“It is the only explanation I can think of. Perhaps Severus’ role as a spy has been unearthed. I am sure all will be revealed in the fullness of time. For now, your rightful place is at Grimmauld Place. And as soon as you can. The sun is setting, my friend.”


Remus sighed and glanced about him towards where Arlize and Viell were assisting the clean up operation. Dumbledore frowned.


“Where will they go, Remus? I believe Ms Wickens and her daughter lived above Madam Malkins.”


“Yes, and in answer to your question I have no idea. I believe the Ministry have set up a temporary shelter.”


Dumbledore nodded in agreement. “Mmm, perhaps, under the circumstances a little arrangement could be made. After all, Grimmauld Place has lost a fine Housekeeper for the time being, and Silvana was a great help to the Order. As Ms Wickens has no employment at present she could be a great asset to us.” Remus’ face lit up, his eyes twinkling as he called Viell and Arlize over. At first Viell was uneasy. She had met Dumbledore once before and had stood her ground against him on that occasion, when it came to Arlize’ education. The initial thought of serving witches and wizards made Viell hold back, but when Remus explained she would become a large part of the war effort and Arlize begged her to join the Order, as she wished to join herself, then the cynical Viell relented, and shook hands with Dumbledore. This was on the condition that she did not have to serve ‘that Snape bloke’ unless she saw fit to do so. Remus smiled. Life at Grimmauld Place certainly wouldn’t be quiet with Viell there.



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




She was back in the forest now. The blackness of reality lifted, and she was nestled within the glade, sheltered by the flickering green canopy of boughs and leaves that created a green sky above her. This was her haven, her sanctuary, and her peace. Here her heart rested and her head lightened its load of worry. She had been named after the forest and she remained content within its sheltering arms. The light was warm upon her face as she lie on the forest floor, but the leaves began to part and the wind broke the canopy to let in the blinding glare of the sun’s rays. She could hear voices; their voices. They were calling her. They were laughing at her as she lay down, mocking her, teasing just as they used to, but all in jest. She was loved here. Pain. She could feel pain. She opened her eyes for a moment but quickly closed them again as a bright light shone into her pupils. She wanted to go back, back to the forest. She would go back and leave them behind.


The light subsided and as swiftly as it had come she felt an arm on her shoulder as she sensed a change of scenery. There was still in a glade but it was a different one, darker and more foreboding. There was not so much welcoming light here, and she sensed an element of danger around her. A voice called her name and she found a young girl was standing with a small, toddling boy in the shade of a wooded copse on the edge of a large country estate. The dark shadows from the large oak trees played across his face, distorting his appearance, but she knew it was the girl’s brother. He was barely two, and the girl could only be six or seven in this scene. The boy was holding something in the cup of his hand, something precious to them both, and she felt her heart beat faster and faster as strong, masculine footsteps approached from the house. Father was coming. He must not see; he must not hear. Mother had told them to always be careful not to be found.


The young girl bent down to the boy, her dark hair scraped back from her face, apart from some unruly tendrils that had come loose from all the running and hiding games they had played that afternoon. Her hands grasped her brother’s shoulders purposefully, and she turned him around to meet her steely, and yet kindly, glare. She looked around to ensure she would not be heard, and, safe in the knowledge that she would not, she spoke to the boy, crouching down to meet with him.


“Snakes must go home now, Sev’rus. We’ll play with them again tomorrow. Say goodbye to them now and put them on the ground to find their home.”


The younger child blinked his big brown eyes and began to pout, though dutifully lowered the young snake he had carefully stowed away in his tiny hands as if it were precious cargo. The innocents watched as the creature sits in front of them, its tongue protruding. The young boy whispered to his sister.


“Is gone now. Bye bye snake.”


The girl nodded, and bent down to stroke the creature one last time, her tiny finger touching the length of its back as she said her goodbyes. But this was no ordinary goodbye. Out of her mouth came the gentle, snake-like hisses of one who can communicate with the magnificent creatures. Out of her mouth came a secret that her mother had tried to hide since she could speak. Out of her mouth was a rare and ancient gift that had lain dormant in the family bloodline for many, many years, and her mother would do everything and anything for it to be kept a secret. Her brother stood in awe, and his sister turned back to his surprised face.


“Never tell Daddy, Sev’rus. Our secret. Just you and me. Our little secret. Daddy must never know. Mummy said that Daddy must never ever know.”



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*





His transformation that night was especially troublesome and vivid in his mind when he woke up in his normal, sparse room. Though he had regularly taken his Wolfsbane Potion that month it was as if his wolfish self searched for something, for someone. His normal harmless sleeping wolf had paced the room, circling back and forth, restless and ill at ease. His head pounded as if a constant beating drum played in his ear, and he immediately showered to try and clear his muddled head. The warm water splashed against his tired body and as he began to wash, and the familiar aroma awakened his senses, he began to think to himself.

This is ridiculous. You don’t even know if she’s dead or alive and you’re wasting time moping about in here.

Flicking the temperature dial to cold, Remus let the icy blast of water hit him and then dried and dressed promptly to get downstairs. When he arrived into the kitchen he had completely forgotten about Viell and Arlize staying at Grimmauld Place. He had also forgotten about Tonks being the one who had had to stay to lock him in for his transformation. She looked up from her copy of the Quibbler and grinned.


“Alright? Had a rough night, Remus?” Remus nodded, but managed to smile at the three women all seated around the large table. “Dumbledore said to tell you that there’s been no change with Silvana. No better, but no worse.”


“Thanks.”

Remus waited for the magical cafetiere to pour the coffee into his oversized cup, and then sipped the dark brown liquid slowly, the strong aroma comforting him. Silvana is fine. She’ll be back making you that early morning coffee soon enough and then you must tell her exactly how you feel.

“I thought she wouldn’t have changed. I would dearly love to go and see her but Severus has made it very clear I would not be welcome.” Viell widened her eyes in mock surprise.


“And you’re just going to take that? Have I taught you nothing?” Remus squirmed at her raised voice. Somehow Viell always managed to remind him of his mother at times like these.


“But he is her brother, Viell. I must respect his wishes at this time.” Viell stood open-mouthed, her hands planted firmly on her hips while Tonks shook her head.


“It’s not as if he ever gives you any respect, Remus. If you like Silvana then you’d do anything to see her in her time of need, right Viell?”


Viell nodded. “Right!”


“I DO like her! More than like her, Tonks, but…well…it’s not that simple, is it? With the war on and all.” Viell rolled her eyes.


“I despair of you, Remus John Lupin! I saw how upset you were yesterday. I know how much you care for her, however much you throw obstacles in the way of loving her like any normal man would. I must do my duty, I must wait until the way is over Do you want to lose her to her brother? Because the longer he can keep her away from you there is always that risk. And then he’s won!” Tonks nodded.


“That’s true. He’d do anything to keep you away from her. Snape is such a git sometimes.” Arlize looked up from her silence as she ate her toast and frowned.

“You know, I know someone who works in St Mungo’s. Only a porter, but he’d get you in that room, no problem.” Viell looked across at her daughter, an expression of astonishment written across her face.


“Now she tells us! There you are, Remus my dear! Problem solved! You shall go to the ball!” Remus smiled at the three scheming women, all reminding him of three old Crones around a cauldron at that point.


“Yes, and if Severus ever finds out I’ve visited Silvana, he’ll turn me into a pumpkin!” Tonks grinned and winked at her worried friend.


“Yeah but just think! If he does, you’re going to be in the best place, eh?”


Remus shook his head. Somehow he didn’t feel like it was going to be that easy, but they were right. He had to try and see Silvana. Even though he had told her their love must wait he knew in his heart now that it couldn’t and he had to tell her. He had to tell her that he wanted her, if she would have him. He loved her, and if it meant a confrontation with Severus Snape then he would fight for her.


And he knew he would probably have to at some point in the future.


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*



He entered her room carefully, having followed the instructions from the porter outside. Snape had gone down to get refreshments while his sister still slept. He would have to be quick if he wanted to talk with her. His face and head were covered in a thick woollen robe so his face was partially obscured, protecting his identity in case he was identified. Snape must not see him here. No one must see him here.


Silvana slept peacefully, though her dreams were more vivid as she drifted in and out of consciousness. She hadn’t fully awoken yet, though she occasionally opened her eyes, but closed them again to her heavy slumber. Her body begged her to rest, and rest she did. She didn’t see the cloaked figure come in her room, but as he stepped closer to her and gazed at her face she became aware of his presence. He smelt familiar, though she knew it was not Severus leaning over, looking at her pale, battle worn face. Remus. It had to be him. She knew he would want to see her and she struggled to bring her wits about her as the man sat down beside her and slowly took her hand in his. ‘Remus’ she whispered, her voice still hoarse from all the shouting of the day before. He didn’t answer, choosing to stay silent for fear of being discovered. ‘Remus’ she called, and he slipped his hands around hers and kissed her fingers one by one.


She closed her eyes and smiled, still struggling to regain consciousness Silvana watched as he lowered his hood and revealed his kindly face. She smiled as she opened her eyes to see the light shine down on his hair, and her smile disappeared as soon as it began, replaced by a look of absolute terror.


For the hair that shone so brightly that day was not the brown tones of her beloved Remus Lupin. They were blond; long locks of flaxen hair hidden under the hood.


The unmistakeable mane of Lucius Malfoy.
























Chapter 15: Honesty
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Honesty



With lies you may get ahead in the world - but you can never go back. ~Russian proverb





“Professor Snape! Come quickly please! Your sister is having some kind of hysterical fit. We are having trouble calming her.”


Severus was greeted by one of the trainee healers, and on hearing the news ran down the length of the pristine corridor to his sister’s room. Bursting in through the heavy double doors, he was greeted by three determined medics and a frantic Silvana, who was fighting off any help with all the bodily power she possessed. The noise of the doors opening made them all look around, and Severus’ glare made the medics take a slight step back from Silvana, who shook as she clutched the bedclothes to her chest. Severus frowned and looked questioningly at his disturbed sister as he sat beside her.


“What is the matter, Silvana? What troubles you in this way?” Silvana blinked back her tears and hugged her knees as if she were a frightened child.

“He was here, in this room. While you went out he was here.” Severus shook his head. He had never been that responsive to others feelings and his sister was no exception.

“I do not understand what you mean, Silvana. No one has been in here except myself and the staff.” He turned to the more senior Healer in the room and questioned him. “Is this a normal reaction after a traumatic experience? To awaken with such terror and anguish. This is the first time she has woken since the attack after all.” Silvana clutched Severus’ shirtsleeve before the Healer could answer, desperate for him to take notice of her.


“I am perfectly sane, thank you, Severus! I am talking about Lucius Malfoy. He was here in this room, just as you are now.”


She slumped back into her bed, light headed from the combination of her terrors and pleas for help. With four people now in the room, all of whom looked at Silvana as if she were mad, Silvana let go of the tension in her shoulders and felt the pain of her injuries take over. She winced and clutched her head in her hands, whimpering. Severus looked upon her with a mixture of fear and frustration coursing through his veins. Frustration that Silvana seemed most incoherent, but fearsome that the attack had damaged his beloved sister somehow. As she lowered herself further into the bed and her Healer administered pain relief to her, the more senior Healer beckoned Severus to the corner of the room with a stern, troubled expression on his face. Severus mirrored his expression.


“What is it? What is wrong with her?” The Healer brought his hand up to his chin and rubbed it slowly as if in deep thought.


“The only explanation I can give, Professor Snape, is that your sister is heavily traumatised from the attack on Diagon Alley and feels vulnerable. She fears her surroundings perhaps, and invents a story to portray that. Her internal injuries will be taking all her energy, and she also had a large blow to the head that cannot have assisted her recovery. It is a miracle she is able to fight us off as she did back then.”



Severus looked back at the now restful Silvana, who was now sleeping peacefully.


“Is this a permanent alteration to my sister’s personality? She has always been so strong, ever since we were children. Silvana has always been the one I depended upon.” The Healer sighed, looking over at his patient.


“I cannot honestly tell at this time. I was not expecting her to awaken just yet, let alone awaken with such a violent reaction. I would hope that this is just a temporary adjustment, combined with her acute pain. But…”


“You cannot be certain that there is not some permanent damage.” The Healer eyed Severus cautiously.


“I do not speculate or offer false hope, Professor. Your sister saw someone in this room who was not here. That, for me, is a concern. We are all well aware that Malfoy is safely in Azkaban and it is highly unlikely that he would wish to nonchalantly visit your sister, even if he were a free man, do you not think?” Severus glared at the Healer as his train of thought developed. Yes, Silvana had been through a traumatic ordeal and yet in her eyes he had seen the truth. Through her frightened eyes he had seen that she truly believed Lucius Malfoy had visited her room, for whatever reason. And she was terrified of him. He searched inside himself to discover some semblance of truth. It was possible that Lucius had managed to escape - yes, it had been done before, and Azkaban was hardly the fortress it once was with the Dementors on Voldemort’s side now. But why risk seeing Silvana, and why visit her at all?


Severus watched as one by one the Healers left the room, Silvana now sleeping soundly once again. He was left alone with his thoughts. His silent solitude made him realise he must seek the truth and fast, for Silvana’s sake. If Lucius had come to warn him, or worse still threaten him, then Silvana would be the one they used to get at him. The attack! Of course! A diversion to set Malfoy free. But why oh why did he come here? I need help on this. Dumbledore? No, I refuse to go begging to him. Voldemort? Hardly!



There was only one person to whom he could go to discover the truth, and his reluctance was tangible as he kissed Silvana on the forehead tenderly and said his goodbyes. He would have to visit someone who was always well aware of the scheming of Lucius Malfoy, sometimes even before Lucius was. Someone who was as cunning as Lucius himself. Normally he avoided her presence but he would have to meet with her for Silvana’s sake. Severus would have to visit the one and only Narcissa Malfoy.


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




“You understand my instructions?” Tonks nodded, bored with the endless ream of do’s and don’ts that she had to endure since she arrived for guard duty at St Mungo’s outside Silvana’s room. Severus was taking no chances now. He was still trying to ascertain exactly what Lucius’ plans were, and Narcissa had delayed their meeting with him until later today. He was most uncomfortable with this state of affairs, and even more uncomfortable that, on his first day back at Hogwarts after nursing his sister, the Aurors had left Nymphadora Tonks to protect Silvana. He glared at her.


“You know not to let anyone in unless they are a Healer. Is that perfectly clear?” Tonks smirked, forcing a false smile.

“Crystal clear. I am an Auror you know. You can trust me.” Severus looked Nymphadora Tonks up and down with a disdainful sneer. Dressed in multicoloured knee high socks, short denim skirt and high-heeled boots he doubted he would trust her with a paper bag let alone his sister’s life. But there was no alternative this Wednesday morning. He had to return to Hogwarts and better it were someone than no one at all, even if that someone were Tonks.


“I have yet to see proof of your credentials.” Tonks grinned and flashed Severus a seductive look.


“You can see my credentials any time, Severus. I love it when you talk all superior like that. It melts my heart.” She blew him a kiss, at which Severus looked mortified.


“This is not a time for frivolity, Ms Tonks!”

She stepped towards him, reaching up to his ear while standing on tiptoe, even in her high-heeled boots. Putting on her most seductive voice Tonks whispered.


“Well, you name the time and the place when we can be frivolous and I’ll be there waiting for you, Sssseverusssssss.” Tonks stepped back a pace and watched while her companions face contorted with both rage and shock. Just as she had planned he gave her one of his most livid stares and turned heel with a swish of his robes, pausing at the double doors to glare at her once again. She winked again, just before he turned to leave. Tonks then turned about in the other direction and called out.


“He’s gone at last! You can come out now!” Tonks bellowed, still grinning at the shocked expression she had managed to produce across Snape’s face. From the cleaning cupboard a few feet away came Remus Lupin, dressed in a Healer’s white overcoat, looking about him as he gave up his hiding place. He grinned boyishly at Tonks and shook his head at her.


“I think you’ll have Severus worried. He’ll think you really do fancy him.” Tonks screwed her face up in disgust.



“Oh in his dreams…though with a make over, cleaner hair and less uptight clothing and a bit of colour…nah it still wouldn’t do it for me. Now listen, Remus. Snape’s got NEWT’s Potions for the next ninety minutes, so you’ve got about an hour if you want to play it safe because he comes back at lunchtime. He’s never late and he always comes back to check on Silvana so you’ve been warned, right? Oh, and before you go in, Mum said to tell you to give Silvana a decent kiss this time. Sorry, she just told me to pass it on. I’ll be outside if you need me, and if he turns up early I’ll knock on the wall four times, and divert his attention elsewhere.” Tonks sighed and screwed her face up once more. “I really hope I don’t have to do that. Off you go then, Healer Lupin.”



Remus grinned, straightening his overcoat before knocking on the double doors and peering around them to check on Silvana. Resting her eyes, Silvana laid back on the mountain of pillows propping her upright. She was still suffering from her ordeal, and sleep was hard to come by when she was plagued with visions of Lucius Malfoy running through her mind constantly. Silvana opened her eyes, glancing across at the jug of water sitting to the right of her on the bedside cabinet. Remus watched in silence as she struggled to reach across, dropping the glass she held in her hand as she winced with pain. Remus couldn’t bear to see her suffer and leapt forwards, forgetting he wanted to surprise her. Leaning back on her pillows, Silvana did not see his sympathetic face as he bent down to pick up the glass. She only saw his Healer’s overcoat, and put up her defences as she spoke, an edge to her tone.


“I apologise. You should not have to clear up after me. I am fine, really.”


“It’s ok. I want to,” muttered Remus, his head still facing the floor. Silvana did not recognise him still.


“I tried to do it for myself but…” Remus looked up and stared straight into Silvana’s dark eyes. With a squeal of delight, followed by a wince as she tried to embrace him, Silvana brightened up completely. Remus sat on the edge of the bed and wrapped his long masculine arms gently around her, enjoying the warmth and closeness of their embrace. He nuzzled his face into her long dark hair as if he had always done so. To hold her this close seemed like the most natural thing in the world for him to do. It was only as he pulled away slightly that Remus noticed Silvana’s tears.


“What’s all this for? I know I should have come a lot sooner, but after transformation Severus made it clear I was not to visit and he kept this place to himself, and refused all visitors. I had to wait until he returned to school and I had some free time.” He brushed the hair from her face with his right hand and cupped her chin with his left. Staring into the depths of her dark eyes, just watching her, enjoying the sight of her, he leaned forwards and kissed her tenderly on the lips. “Just know that there hasn’t been a moment since the attack when I haven’t thought about you, about being here by your side.



Silvana looked into his face and saw the absolute honesty of his words behind his welcoming eyes. She smiled and touched his face with great affection, feeling the slight line of stubble growing along his jaw line.



“I wasn’t crying because you stayed away. I was crying because I am so pleased to see you. I knew you would come soon.” She looked down at the bedcovers, blushing at her words and bringing her hands together in front of her shyly. “At least I hoped you would come. Hoped you’d be here. I wish you‘d told me you were coming - I‘d have done my hair and made myself look a little more presentable.” Remus grinned and squeezed her hands between his own.


“And here I am, for at least the next fifty minutes at least, and you look as beautiful as ever to me. So how are you, and no lying please? I want total honesty from you, young lady.” Remus grinned out of the corner of his mouth, his eyes twinkling as he flirted with Silvana. She shrugged.


“As well as can be expected, I guess. I hurt a lot and I can’t get about yet, which means I shall miss a week or two teaching Harry, but I am determined to get out of here as soon as I can. Oh, that and undoubtedly my brother has informed the Order I’ve gone gaga.” Remus looked straight at Silvana and took in a deep breath, sighing it out slowly and looking perplexed.


“You mean the episode with Lucius? Yes, he told Dumbledore and myself but I don’t think you’re going mad, Silvana. Has he not told you what happened?” Silvana shook her head and looked bewildered. “What do you mean, Remus?”


“I mean that Lucius Malfoy escaped from Azkaban the day of the attack on Diagon Alley. The day you were injured. The Ministry covered it up for as long as possible, but Severus was called to the Dark Lord and it was announced then. I think Severus is trying to find out what he is up to from Narcissa. So either you had a premonition or…” Silvana looked aghast at Remus and widened her eyes with fright, panic running through her voice.


“Or he was here right beside me as I thought all along. He didn’t tell me a thing. Severus never said a word. No wonder the guard was put at my door. I thought he had just arranged one to amuse me.” She wandered off on a train of thought, a thousand different thoughts running through the corridors of her mind. He’s escaped and at large. The man who has haunted all my nights and darkened my days is walking around to taunt me once more, just as my heart finds some happiness again. I cannot allow him to destroy me all over again. I want to live. I want my chance of a life again with this man beside me. I want to know how it feels to be loved again.” Remus watched her as she was lost in thought, tears streaming silently down her reddened cheeks.



“Hey, come on you! None of that nonsense. You’re safe in here. Knowing Lucius it was a gesture to annoy your brother rather than anything sinister aimed at you directly. You’re a pure blood Snape, darling. Why would he want to target you?” His questioning brought Silvana around with a jolt and she turned her head sharply, whispering his last words. Why would he want to target me?”


“If only I could explain to you, what passed between us, if only you knew why it would make things so much easier but I can’t tell. I dare not. If Severus were to find out it would kill him, Remus. Please don’t make me tell you because I can’t. I just want it all to go away again. I thought it was all over.” Remus frowned and wrapped his arms around Silvana to comfort her, rubbing her back gently as he whispered to her.


“Whatever it is I’m here for you to tell when you are ready to. I would never force this out of you, whatever it is, and if you don’t want to say then that is fine. I just don’t want to see you upset like this. It breaks my heart to see you so sad and vulnerable because I only want to bring you joy, my darling. That’s part of the reason I came today. To tell you how I feel about you.” Silvana pulled back to look at him, her cheeks damp from tears, and she sniffed a little to compose herself, chewing her bottom lip before she answered him.


“What do you mean, Remus? We’ve already told one another how we feel, at least I thought we had.” Her concerned look made Remus smile and he held her shoulders gently in his hands, his palms touching her bare flesh, his fingers brushing against the thin straps of her silk negligee.


“Perhaps I tried too hard to be a gentleman, too hard to put my feelings behind me, or at least that’s what they told me.” Silvana blinked.

“They?”


“Oh, Tonks, Arlize, Viell and Andromeda. But mainly the first three.” Silvana nodded and waited expectantly for him to continue. “I thought I could bury my feelings for the sake of the war and Harry and Severus, and I probably would have done but for the attack a few days ago, but when Severus forbid me from seeing you I…well I knew I couldn’t do that. Having watched you when you were trapped and I thought you might not make it I knew I needed to see you a lot more. I want to see a lot more of you, Silvana.” Silvana swallowed hard and trembled.


“Then you feel the attraction between us too? Like a bond, almost. A feeling of…”

“Being given a second chance? Of it being meant to be between us? Yes, Silvana. A chance I shouldn’t put off, regardless of how bad things are around me, around us. As long as we are both discreet then I see no reason to wait any longer to at least try and make something of this connection we feel. And we do both feel it, don’t we?” Silvana paused for a moment and then nodded slowly, smiling as her eyes connected with his, lost in their own world.


“Yes, Remus. We both feel the same thing.” Remus leant forward, cupping her face in his hands and planted the most sweet and tender kiss on her lips, only this time, unlike before, Silvana responded, and he deepened the kiss, the feeling within him rising with every second. Mindful she was still a patient, he backed off a little but a deep moan against his lips and a pull from her to bring him closer told him to continue. To his surprise he felt the warmth of her tongue enter his mouth, running along the sides of his own tongue, her moans vibrating against his lips causing a physical reaction to accompany the feelings within. Silvana pulled away from him and blushed, panting a little, brushing the side of his thigh with her hand.


“Sorry. I was a little out of breath then, and out of practise.” Remus grinned.


“If you’re that good when you’re ill I’d better watch out when you’re better.” Silvana turned scarlet. She looked at his soft, kindly face and the pains that had dogged her these past few days seemed to lift from her, though in truth they were still there. But while lost in his arms and his kiss she truly believed she could leave with him there and then. She knew she wanted to, and that for the first time she truly desired someone, and they desired her for herself. She had come back with romance being the last thing on her mind, but it had found her, just as Eleanor had suggested. Eleanor, she smiled. What would she think of her now?


“Penny for them,” muttered Remus, still reeling from the passion of their kiss, his skin still sensitive from her touch.


“Oh, I was thinking of back home, to the woman I was taken in by and how she told me I needed someone of my own kind to love. I think she was right.” Remus bent his head forward and rubbed his nose gently against Silvana’s, still searching her eyes, enjoying the mere sight of her.


“I’m glad she was right. Oh I almost forgot!” he exclaimed, and reached into his pocket to pull out an enormous bar of Honeydukes best chocolate. “Here. This will give you all the nourishment you need to keep your strength up, and as Healer I insist I administer the first dose.” Remus began to break off a small piece from the slab and grinned as he held it between thumb and forefinger. “Now open wide please Miss.”


Silvana opened her mouth and Remus placed the chocolate inside, gently kissing her on the mouth as she closed it and began to chew. “I prefer your method of healing to theirs.” He grinned from ear to ear, proud that he had succeeded in gaining her love, feeling of warmth within.


“You know where I am if you want me. I don’t know when it will be when I can come again,” he said regretfully. Silvana nodded sympathetically.


“Just come if and when you can, but concentrate on poor Harry. Is my brother teaching him while I am away?” Remus shook his head as he stood to leave, laying the chocolate within Silvana‘s grasp.


“No Dumbledore is, but I get the feeling that Harry would prefer your brother. Something certainly isn‘t right with Harry, but we will see to that when you return, my love. Until then you eat chocolate and rest. You are not to worry about us.”


“Thank you, Remus…for everything. I promise one day we will talk about my past. We must if we are to have a proper relationship.” He smiled at her with a warm expression that reassured her.


“I will be here to listen when that day comes because I do want a proper relationship with you. I love you, Silvana.” Silvana thought she would burst with happiness, but her smile said it all to Remus. She was overjoyed.


“I love you too.”



And with one last glance back, Remus left Silvana for Hogwarts. And Severus never knew a thing when he returned just twenty minutes later. A quick visit to his sister before his meeting with Narcissa Malfoy.


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Chapter 16: Bowing to the Master
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Bowing to the Master.



What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches. ~Karl Menninger



Malfoy Manor stood before Severus Snape like a vast, dark monument to all that used to be. The glorious, imposing building stood erect and proud within its acres of land, surrounded by the bending, bowing trees that were subservient to the strong breeze swelling around them. Severus took a moment to digest the sight, from the cold, grey stone façade to the slight softening edges of the Virginia creeper growing rapidly across the outer edges of the far wall. The wide leaves had now turned a true Autumnal red, contrasting with the stone underneath. A vigorous climber, just like the woman inside those walls, he mused. How incredibly apt.


Often Severus had taken the time to think of what could have been had circumstances been different. Before Silvana had come back into his life he used to consider her walking the Malfoy grounds, resplendent and elegant, befitting her own pureblood status, unlike the life she actually chose to live. Malfoy Manor would have been a warm, loving home, had Silvana been its mistress, and he would have been welcomed as a frequent and much loved visitor. Not that Narcissa Malfoy was exactly cold, but her outward demeanour hid her ruthless, ambitious streak, and that was a quality Silvana did not possess in any quantity. Silvana had never had ambitions of social status, or power. If she had, she would be here right now, Mistress of the Manor. Perhaps she was right to refuse him after all.


As he walked slowly towards the front entrance, Severus wondered about Silvana’s violent reaction to Lucius. When she spoke of him, her vitriolic words were more than just mere hatred. Severus was an expert at such emotion - he had lived a lifetime of bitterness and cruel words, but Silvana was not tainted that way; at least he hadn’t thought so until now. He thought of all she had mentioned before; how he should not ally himself with Malfoy, how Lucius did not forget those who had gone against him. Her tone was fearful, not full of hate. But why? Lucius married Narcissa soon after she refused his hand, and they are the perfect couple. Why should Silvana fear Malfoy after all these years?



The door opening broke his train of thought. A timid looking house elf stood blinking at him, and bowed as it ushered him in, closing the door behind Severus, though not before checking the front grounds outside as if searching for something, or someone. Severus puckered his brow and looked questioningly at the tiny creature.

“What was all that for? I made sure I was not followed.” The house elf swallowed nervously and flinched as its eyes met Severus’ dark ones.


“Begging your forgiveness, Sir, but the grounds has eyes. Mistress says we must watch carefully.”


Eyes? Ah, they are being observed. Of course they are. Every Auror in the Wizarding World is looking for Malfoy as we speak.


“Where is your Mistress? I do not have much time to waste.”


“I am here, dearest Severus.”



Narcissa Malfoy appeared like a vision at the other end of the entrance hall. The autumn afternoon sun filtering through the far window to make her look like an apparition from the Gods. Her simpering smile made Severus uneasy, though he followed her long, beckoning finger and stayed behind her as she walked elegantly out through the house to the rear garden. Walking half way down the immaculate green lawn that had been enchanted to remove all of the falling leaves automatically, Narcissa turned around to face Severus again. She stepped up to him, her breath teasing the sensitive nerve endings of the skin on his cheeks she came so close.


“Walls have eyes and ears, Severus. Out here we are safe from them. Lucius and I protected this part of the property so that Draco could play in peace when he was a baby. Such was the interest in our little prince we had to take precautions.”


Severus nodded, though inwardly he winced at the suggestion that the petulant sixteen year old he had the misfortune to teach could possibly be described as their ‘little prince’. Diplomatically, he stayed silent in his thoughts.


“I have had much trouble trying to meet with you, Narcissa. Is this in light of recent events?” Narcissa delicately raised her perfectly groomed eyebrows and blinked slowly, doing her utmost to look coy.


“Perhaps Severus. One cannot be too careful in times such as these. A woman on her own without her husband by her side can be somewhat…vulnerable.” Seveus snorted and shook his head incredulously.


“If there is one thing you have never been, Narcissa, it is vulnerable.” She smiled out of the corner of her mouth and narrowed her eyes at him.


“You know me too well, Severus. Far too well. Which is why, I presume, you are here. You think I know the truth.”


“Indeed. I prefer to discover my information from the higher echelons rather than the sewer rats of society. Where is he, Narcissa? What are your plans now?” Narcissa stepped away from Severus, admiring the view from where she stood. The magnificent oak trees seemed to bow to her effortless beauty as she walked past them. It was almost as if she commanded them to do so. She oozed control as well as poise. She was truly the fire beneath Lucius’ ambitions of power. Without her, Lucius Malfoy would have been just another Death Eater by now; with her he was so much more than that. She adored him for it. Slowly, Narcissa wagged a finger at Severus, as if scolding an errant child, shaking her pretty head and releasing a loud ‘Tsk, tsk.’ from her soft lips that entranced Severus as he looked upon her.


“All good things will come to those that wait, Severus. Come, let us sit on the bench like the civilised people that we are. I am weary for all my efforts and suffer without Lucius by my side.” Severus sat down upon the wrought iron bench that was placed strategically underneath the vast shade of the oldest oak tree while Narcissa perched herself elegantly on the end, her dress flowing slowly to the ground as she sat. “You ask of the plan. The plan is unchanged. It is my belief that the Dark Lord will fall again, and for good this time, at the hands of the Potter boy. All our efforts over the past sixteen years, the social events, the political feuding, the money and enticements will all come to fruition in the end.” Severus narrowed his eyes at her beauty.


“You are confident of this outcome? You have proof?” Narcissa scoffed, laughing at his steely glare.


“Severus, Severus! Always so closed to that you cannot prove. Your scientific mind does you no credit, my darling. You were always the same, and you have not changed a bit. I cannot give you the proof that you seek, but just be confident in my own confidence. We have taken every step to be in this position of power when the Dark Lord is no more than a bad memory. There would be room for you to join us, or are you still tied to Dumbledore’s apron strings?” she teased, mocking him.


“I am tied to no one.” Narcissa turned around sharply and sneered.


“Untrue, Severus! You will always be bound to Dumbledore; even more so now your sister is back in the fold. You lack the strength and ambitions of Lucius. You prefer safety, and you always have, even when we were young. You will continue to bow and scrape to him and find yourself a good, obedient little Pureblood housewife witch, just like Silvana.” Severus glared at her.


“I bow to no one and I serve myself, which is more than you do. I have no romantic notion. That left me many years ago, unlike my dear sister who has chosen to carry on with someone far beneath her standing. The werewolf, no less.” Narcissa looked shocked at this news.


“Remus Lupin? I had no idea. Your sister was always a kind and gentle soul.” Narcissa rose, a wistful expression on her face. She walked a little way forwards, her back to Severus. She looked in front of her, enjoying the endless views on the horizon.


“Lucius told me he was instructed to visit Silvana as a warning to you.” Severus nodded.


“I suspected as much.” Narcissa stepped over to Severus, and with her narrow, manicured fingers, gently lifted his head up to meet her intense gaze.


“Poor Severus. An expendable pawn in a never-ending game of chess. How cruel life has been to you.” Severus eyed Narcissa suspiciously and removed her hand from his face, grasping it with his own firm grip, making her wince.


“Expendable I may be, but Silvana is not.” He released his grip, his anger now evident in his glare. Narcissa pursed her lips.

“And neither is my son, which is why we must all work together to bring about the defeat of the Dark Lord. I want my husband and my son to fulfil their destinies, Severus. You have one too, if you are a man enough to take it.” Severus suddenly thought about what Narcissa had just said and looked into her eyes searchingly.


“Have you told Draco of these ambitions?” Narcissa shook her head.


“No. He has been a little defiant without his father around this summer, spending time with Bellatrix when I have expressly forbidden him to. He has talked of becoming a Death Eater when he wishes to annoy me, but I have told him I will not allow him to serve in that way. He has a headier destiny than servant to a being such as Voldemort. He is merely young and foolish, but he will learn.” Severus leant back and crossed his arms.


“We were all young and foolish once, but wars have a knack of making us grow up far too fast.” Narcissa nodded, blinking back tears, though making sure Severus could not see them.

“Do you see now why we must succeed? I could not bear it if something were to happen to him, though I have made my feelings abundantly clear on this matter time and time again. He must not willingly serve the Dark Lord.”


“And you do not think he would defy you?”


“He would not dare!”


“Narcissa, he is a sixteen year old headstrong adolescent. To defy a parent is to live. Do not be so naive.” Narcissa’s face blanched.


“You believe he may have already done so?” Severus shook his head.


“No, but if his bravado and boasting is to be believed then he is close to doing so.”


“Then I must speak with his father at once.”


Narcissa turned to leave, but Severus caught hold of her shoulder and prevented her from walking away.


“Where is he, Narcissa? Where is Lucius?”


But, before she could answer, Severus heard the drawling tone of a familiar voice, and felt the unmistakeable feeling of a wand being thrust into the small of his back. His senses overloaded with fear and anticipation as he waited for an answer.


“I am here, my friend. It is time we talked.”



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*





Silvana’s recovery came about much quicker than had first been anticipated by the Healers of St Mungo’s, and just two weeks after the attack on Diagon Alley she was mobile again. She managed to return to Hogwarts (though she struggled) to teach Harry his OWL Potions again, much to the consternation of her brother. Harry was less talkative than before, and Silvana felt he looked tired and acted distant from her, though he was polite. He looked like a child with the worry of the world on his shoulders, and she sensed a great conflict between his thoughts. Any mention of Dumbledore was greeted with a sigh or a huff, and yet a mention of Severus brought Harry out of himself a little. Something is not right with this boy, she thought, but I cannot tell what it is.


The first two weeks of her recovery were spent at St Mungo’s, but Silvana soon moved back to Grimmauld Place. Her homecoming could have caused an awkwardness between herself and Viell but for a common subject; Remus Lupin. Silvana being a witch meant Viell felt she would want to be treated as her better. When Silvana made it clear that she considered Viell as her equal, unlike her brother, Viell began to relax in her presence. The two women soon developed a form of intimate friendship that was natural and true. This was cemented by much teasing and talk about Remus from Viell, especially as she liked to tell Silvana of his many good points and watch Silvana blush. After one brief visit from the man himself towards the end of October, Viell began to tease Silvana again as they sat in the kitchen eating dinner.


“So, you two are still at the holding hands stage then?” Silvana blushed. She detested Viell teasing her.


“It’s very early days Viell. It’s difficult for us to have anything more than that, even if we wanted to.” Viell looked surprised and frowned.


“You make it sound like you don’t want anything more serious with him, Silvana. He is a very passionate man. Quiet and unassuming on the outside, but in private…phew!” Silvana looked aghast. This was not what she wanted to hear. Remus as a warm kind man was who she loved, but she found it so hard to disassociate him with the horrors of her 21st birthday when Viell talked of his sexual nature. It was the Wizard she feared, not the man.


“Viell! We shouldn’t be talking like this about him!” Viell leaned back in her chair at the dining table and grinned.


“Oh, pardon me, Little Miss Prude! I hope you’re not as uptight as that pain in the arse brother of yours” Silvana grinned, though she shifted in her chair uncomfortably, not enjoying the topic of conversation. Talks of intimacy between man and woman had never been a favourite topic of conversation.


“No, but neither of us are that…well, relaxed, either. Our parents were not great role models for relationships, or love. Things were never discussed.”Please leave me be, Viell


“Certainly shows in your brother. But you’ve been married before, right? And you had a child, so you must have loved someone once.” Silvana shrugged.


“I suppose so.”


“And what exactly does that mean?” Silvana chewed the inside of her lip and shrugged again. I don’t want to discuss this now.


“I don’t know really. I loved my husband, but there wasn’t that spark between us that some women talk about. Not like I feel when I’m…kissing Remus.” Viell smirked and then laughed aloud.


“How sweet! I can see those hidden feelings between you two even when you’re apart. And Remus adores you, you lucky woman! It’s about time he had a serious relationship. You’ll be in it for the long term with him, my girl. Sneaking into Hogwarts, being his lover. How romantic!”


“But it’s not a serious relationship, Viell. It’s very friendly and all, and maybe one day we’ll…but…” Viell shook her head, scratching at her temple.


“You may not be serious now but you will be if Remus gets his way. Look Silvana, I’ve known Remus for a very long time and I haven’t seen him this happy with anyone for years. He was hurt very badly by that Perpetua, his wife, and I don’t want to see him getting hurt again, so if you’re really not interested…” Silvana looked shocked and hurt.



“Well I don’t want to hurt him either. It’s not that I don’t want to, but a serious relationship makes me a little nervous.”


“But this is Remus we’re talking about. He is the perfect gentleman in all respects. You’ll have a wonderful time, if you let him. Trust me! Just relax about things and see what happens. Let him love you like he wants to. It’s written all over his face, love. He wants you as his lover, in his bed and no mistaking. And I tell you, transformation makes him feelings a lot stronger, so in a couple of days he’ll be all over you like a rash!” Silvana blushed once more, looking horrified.


“But I don’t want him to be, not yet at least. Viell, you don’t understand.” Viell saw the look of horror and shame on Silvana’s face and leant forwards, patting her hand to reassure her. She could see Silvana was uncomfortable with this line of talk. She knew she had gone too far.


“Come on, Silv. I was only joking, darlin’’. Remus is a gentleman and he loves you. Whatever it is, why you are frightened, he’ll take it and be there for you.” Silvana was still not convinced, her worry and shame building up inside her, mixing with her strong, loving feelings for Remus. How will he be able to love me when he knows what happened? When he knows the truth…all the truth he will never see me in the same way again.


“Silvana? Silvana, are you there?” Silvana turned towards the fireplace, secretly relieved to be interrupted. Viell cursed under her breath something about wishing wizards would knock like any other civilised people. In the fireplace was the kindly visage of Professor Dumbledore. Silvana called back to him when was saw him, and stepped forwards from her seat. She began to feel apprehensive and edgy, as if something bad had happened. Despite her nerves she answered his call.


“I am here, Professor.”


“Hello, my dear. Would you mind coming straight to the school for me? Something has happened and we would like you to be involved in our discussion. Please use the Floo network, as it is quicker. We will risk it on this occasion. Your presence is needed urgently.” Silvana looked at Viell and back to Dumbledore, feeling confused and slightly nervous. Something must be very wrong to call me back to Hogwarts.


“I am on my way.”



With a deep breath and a vast amount of apprehension, Silvana took the Floo straight to Dumbledore’s office. She stumbled slightly as she alighted the ornate fireplace and stepped down out of it, but Remus and Severus took a hand each and assisted her. Her brother glaring incredulously as Remus took a handkerchief from his pocket and tenderly wiped a stray piece of soot from Silvana’s pale cheek, as she whispered a quiet ‘thank you’. Looking around her she saw that Professor McGonagall was also in the room, and she welcomed her with a smile as she sat in between her love and her brother, both silently vying for her attention. Dumbledore smiled sympathetically, but she noticed there was a sadness etched behind the smile.



“Thank you for coming at such short notice, Silvana. I would not have called you if this were not of the utmost importance. Only an hour ago there was an incident within these walls that has disturbed me greatly, and I wish to have your input and wisdom in working out how to deal with it. Severus, if you would like to explain our dilemma further.” Severus slowly rose to his audience, checking each and every one was listening before he began his tale.


“In my Potions lesson earlier today Potter and Malfoy started an argument. This is nothing unusual in itself and I attempted to nip it in the bud as usual. I succeeded, or so I thought. As I was attending to another student the argument became heated, and both strong, insignificant words and fists were exchanged. I attempted to break up this coming together when Malfoy foolishly drew his wand on the boy. Potter walked calmly up to Malfoy and threw him against the wall with his bare hands, rendering Malfoy immobile. He then stood on a chair and informed the rest of the class that one day soon they would all bow to him, and then he performed an Unforgivable, the Imperious Curse, on Malfoy, forcing him to bow before Potter.” Severus paused, and glanced at his sister, looking as if he wanted to tell her something but couldn’t. Before she had a chance to connect with him he turned away from her gaze and continued. “I, of course, evacuated the classroom immediately. The boy is still detained in my classroom, which I sealed behind me in case of further outburst.” Silvana stared at her brother, frowning as she felt Remus shift uncomfortably in his seat. His words were the first uttered after Severus’ announcement.



“Then I have to doubt that this is mere grief. Harry in his right state of mind would never abuse a person in this way.”


“Even Malfoy?” sneered Severus, looking at Remus with utter contempt..


“Yes, Severus. There is a world of difference between spats or snide remarks and then taking our wand out and performing physical violence, and an Unforgivable at that. And saying the other pupils will bow before him? No, I fear for poor Harry.” Dumbledore nodded and sighed aloud wearily.



“I agree, Remus. Somehow, despite my best efforts, Voldemort has managed to find a way to communicate with Harry, and worse still, try and draw him to his side, if his threats about the future are true.” Professor McGonagall sat upright and spoke to her companions, concern etched across her already lined face.


“Then we must unearth that link before its affect becomes irreversible.” Dumbledore peered over the top of his glasses.


“Indeed Minerva. I want you and the other Professors to round up the students and take them all to the Great Hall while Severus here conducts a thorough search of the Gryffindor common room. If we tell the children there is a fire practise, or a Doxy infestation or some such event then it does not look so suspicious. Severus, I want you to look in the common room for anything that Voldemort may have used as a communications device. Anything at all, and then report back here.” Severus nodded.



“It is possible Voldemort is communicating through a device. Do we still work on that assumption, rather than just a form of Legilimency in the boy’s sleep like last time?”


“I think so, yes. I am confident in Harry’s ability to close his mind to such penetration. I think another form of dark magic has been used here. Now, if you two could both go about your business.”


Dumbledore waited until the two Professors had closed the door behind them and then seemed to be lost in thought. He was not the only one. Silvana and Remus looked at one another, Silvana taking Remus’ hand as she saw the look of concern in his eyes, though she too feared what her brother had told them. Both were surprised when Dumbledore suddenly called out, seemingly into thin air. “You may come down now.”


Remus and Silvana looked at one another, both equally puzzled. Out from the higher office came the startled figure of Hermione Granger, ashen faced and anxious. She was greeted by the surprised but warm smiles of Silvana and Remus, who stood up to allow her to sit in between himself and Silvana. Hermione forced a smile and muttered a polite ‘Thank you’ as she sat down. Dumbledore smiled reassuringly.


“Now Miss Granger, I want you to tell Professor Lupin, and Silvana exactly what you told me about the end of the Potions lesson today. Tell them what you saw, and do not be fearful.” Hermione took a deep breath and began to recall the events that had lead her to being in Dumbledore‘s office.


“It was just as Professor Snape said, with Harry and Malfoy…Draco, but…he left something out, something that happened at the end.” Hermione looked at Silvana who smiled though she was slightly perturbed.


“Carry on, Hermione.” Hermione sighed, her reluctance to speak evident.


“As I left the classroom…I was the last to leave - I didn’t want to leave Harry alone, but Professor Snape made me. He was shouting at me, and very angry. I turned to go, but something…something made me look back at them. I don’t know why I did but I did and then I saw them.” Silvana looked across at Remus and Dumbledore. Remus, who was listening intently, spoke to Hermione calmly, sensing Silvana’s worry.


“What? What did you see, Hermione? Please tell us.” Hermione looked into Silvana’s apprehensive eyes. She swallowed and took a deep breath. It was no good - she had to tell the truth now.


“He bowed. As I left the room Harry bowed deeply to Professor Snape. And it wasn’t in jest. He meant it, as if…as if he had done as he had been told to, done his duty. As if he had carried out an order.”


Silvana clasped her hands over her mouth in shock. Master and his apprentice, just as before, Just as Severus once was with Lucius. Remus smiled awkwardly at Hermione’s frightened expression, but Dumbledore intervened.


“What you have done today has been very brave and wise, Miss Granger. You were right to inform us and you may leave, though I must insist that what you witnessed, and what you have told us must not go beyond these four walls. We will decide from here what happens. Off you go, my dear.”


Hermione left as quickly as she could, relieved her ordeal was over, and Remus moved back over to Silvana to comfort her from the shock of what she had just heard. Dumbledore moved to her other side as Remus wrapped his arm around her for support. He offered a smile to the concerned Remus.

“Silvana, this may not be as bad as it seems, but I must request your help. Severus may not be involved in this at all, for he told us something like this could happen, but I want you to prepare for the worst. If I have any inkling that he is voluntarily working for Voldemort, against the work of the Order, I will have to remove him permanently from the school, and the Order, and he is dangerously close to that time. I have had it on good authority that he has visited Narcissa Malfoy again this week without informing the Order of his intention to do so. It has also been commented on that Harry’s behaviour is often worse after his Potions lessons with Severus. Now this may be Voldemort, as Severus warned us he would do this, but I cannot rule out the possibility, along with the other information I have received, that this is Severus’ doing. Unless I hear evidence to support his innocence I may have no choice soon but to remove him, for the safety of Harry, and the other pupils.” Silvana looked up, tears streaming down her face. Remus held her closer to him, shaking his head. Silvana looked into Dumbledore’s twinkling blue eyes.


“Please may I speak with Harry? I need to find out the truth of what happened for myself. You have to understand that I cannot give up on my brother. If I give up on him he has no one. If he loses his position here he will turn back to Lucius, and I could not live with myself knowing I had not done everything in my power to stop that happening. I owe him that.” Remus handed her his handkerchief, and she delicately blew her nose, sniffing a little.


“Of course, my dear. Go now. Remus will go with you to see Harry. Talk to him and see what he has to say. In your own heart you will know what you need to hear. Good luck,” he sighed, gazing at out of the window to his right, and then peering over the top of his glasses at Silvana. “ I hope you find what you are looking for.” Silvana nodded as Remus stood, holding his hand out to help her stand up. She slipped her hand into his and he clasped it, leading her out of Dumbledore’s office and down to the main part of the school. Pausing in the corridor, Remus lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly.


“Whatever happens, whatever the outcome of this, I will be here by your side, Silvana.”


She looked into his kind, warm eyes and saw how much he cared for her. Tears slowly travelling down her cheeks again in reaction to his tenderness, Silvana touched his face gently with her hand, caressing his cheek.


“Thank you. Thank you for being here with me when I need you the most. I care for you more than you can possibly imagine, Remus. Let’s go find Harry - he needs us right now.”


And so they stepped along the old familiar corridors, his hand entwined with hers, to attempt to discover the truth, whatever that may be, with heavy hearts, fearing what they may find. But they had to seek the truth. Their futures depended on it.
























Chapter 17: Falling on a sword
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Falling on a sword



Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. ~Napoleon Bonaparte.






“Harry? Harry, are you in there?”



Remus gingerly opened the Potions classroom door that Severus Snape had sealed behind him earlier and slowly entered the classroom, Silvana following closely behind. Remus saw the endless lines of orderly jars and odd shaped materials for the classes on the shelves directly in front of him, but no sign of his wayward pupil, until he looked towards Severus Snape’s desk. There, sitting perched on the edge of the old wooden relic, sat Harry, swinging his legs as if he didn’t have a care in the world. He continued in his childish pursuits until Remus called him again, and he saw both his Professor and Silvana before him. Choosing to ignore Remus, Harry smiled at Silvana knowingly, jumping down from the desk.



“I wondered when he’d send a rescue party.” Remus frowned and peered into Harry’s face from a good few paces away to gain his attention.


“He, Harry?” Harry snorted and rolled his eyes. “Dumbledore. He always comes to my rescue eventually, even when I don’t want him to.” He kicked a piece of imaginary dirt away from him, scuffing his school shoes against the floor deliberately out of sheer frustration.


“That’s because he cares about you, Harry. We all do,” Silvana smiled, trying to catch Harry’s interest. Her kindly face met with his scowling one. She succeeded in gaining his attention; now all she had to do was discover exactly what had happened. She was already torn in two, wanting to comfort Harry but also wanting to prove her brother’s innocence, though she knew this would be hard to do. An ex-Death Eater would never be seen in a favourable light. There would have to be convincing evidence to save him now, she pondered. Harry looked down at the floor, still scuffing his right shoe against it.


“You do, maybe. Or are you here for Snape?” Remus winced and grimaced.


Professor Snape, Harry. Please remain respectful.” Harry shrugged, though as he looked up at Remus he had a glint in his eye.


“As you wish. He doesn’t mind me calling him Snape these days; in fact he seems quite keen on informality. He listens to me too, which is more than you ever do, and a bloody site more than Dumbledore does too.” Remus looked defeated, turning away from Harry deliberately, but Silvana laid a comforting hand on his arm and stepped forward to challenge Harry.



“I think you’ll find, Harry, that everyone cares, not just my brother, though yes, I will admit I am here for his good as well as yours. That being the case, I want to know exactly what happened in your Potions lesson today, and I want the truth. I will know if you lie to me, Harry.” Harry cocked his head to one side and looked at Silvana in a patronising way, shrugging his shoulders.


“And you think Legilimency will work on me, do you?” Silvana fixed her stare on Harry, making sure she didn’t flinch.


“I can assure you, Harry that I have tried it on much stronger wizards than you.” Harry folded his arms sullenly and tutted.


“What is it you want to know?” He glared at Remus, who had pulled up a chair for Silvana and himself and waved at Harry to sit down, which he did, though it was back on the edge of the Potion Master’s desk again. Remus ignored his arrogance and spoke to him softly and calmly.


“What were you fighting with Malfoy over?” Harry rolled his eyes, seemingly already bored with the subject.


“He was insulting me. He always insults me. He insults me by being here and breathing the same air as me. He doesn’t have to say anything in particular, though today it was a Quidditch argument. Pathetic really. But before I could answer back Snape…Professor Snape stopped us. I waited though.” Harry smiled a smug, arrogant sort of smile that Remus had never seen before. He was truly pleased with all that had transpired, or so it seemed. “He, Snape that is, told me to stop, but later on I heard him telling me - no, ordering me to carry on, so I did. It was too good an opportunity to waste. He was helping out Susan Bones, but I knew that he was listening and watching, though he couldn’t see me. I could sense him.” Silvana looked apprehensive.



“How did you know? How could you possibly sense Professor Snape?”



Harry sat down near Silvana looking at her as if he were frightened of saying the wrong thing. He whispered to her as if he didn’t want Remus to hear his words, while she searched deep into his eyes for the truth.



“I hear him. I hear Snape, or someone like Snape talking to me nearly all the time. Just whispers and hints but so clear. They understand. He understands me. He promised me things. Things that you couldn‘t dream about in your wildest dreams.” Remus looked at Silvana, horrified. Who understands? Sweet Merlin, does he mean the Death Eaters, or Snape or…Voldemort.


“Is this Voldemort, Harry? Is this in your head as visions and snapshots like last time?” Harry glared at Remus; furious he had overheard what he had whispered to Silvana. He slammed his fist upon the desk in frustration; though as Silvana looked at the boy she could also read the fear behind his eyes.


“No! This is nothing like last time. They are here; he is here, in this room. A voice outside of my head, telling me to act and react to thing in certain ways and it doesn’t stop. It was this that told me to go to Snape today. This voice persuaded me.” Silvana stopped Remus from interrupting with a curt glance and questioned Harry once again.


“Have you heard this voice come directly from Professor Snape‘s lips, and is it always in this room?” Harry shook his head, now resembling a frightened child even more.


“No to both. Professor Snape has never spoken directly to me, and sometimes it is in my common room, or the library. The voice seems to follow me wherever I am. It won’t stop. I didn’t want to perform an Unforgivable on Malfoy really, but my feelings become so strong under the influence of the voice I can’t control myself. I’m frightened, Silvana. Please can you help me? What if it happens again?”


She looked across at Remus, who looked ashen-faced, rubbing at his temple, and then back to Harry, forcing a smile across her lips to attempt to reassure him.


“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that it doesn’t, Harry, but you will have to let Dumbledore and Professor Lupin help you, do you understand? I can’t do this on my own.” Harry nodded as Remus stood to escort him back to the Gryffindor common room.

“Come along, Harry. Pick up your Potions books and let’s find you something warm to eat. You look as if you need it. A good meal inside you will make things look a lot brighter I am sure.”


Silvana watched as Remus took Harry out of the room and smiled at him as he turned to leave. He sent her an unsure glance, and hesitant smile in return and walked Harry back to the common room, arm firmly around his shoulder. She admired that fatherly quality in Remus that he had, that support that he showed, even when he doubted the circumstances himself. Silvana rose from her seat, searching the endlessly well-stocked supplies as she walked beside the Potions walls, touching the jars as she went.


This is such a conundrum. I find it so hard to believe Severus is involved and yet the evidence all points in his direction, and Harry tells the truth. But I cannot falter in my support. I will help Harry, but my brother will also needs me, and I will back him whatever will come. Why does it feel like I am missing something? Why does it feel like the answer to this is within my grasp and yet I hold nothing in my hands?


She was interrupted several minutes later by Severus standing in the doorway, looking pale, his eyes glittering strangely, though still as black as oil. She looked at him, hoping for an answer.


“Well? Did you find anything?” Severus swished past Silvana purposely, heading for his desk where a flask of malt whisky sat in his locked bottom drawer. He took out the flask and glass for Silvana in a hurry and poured a little for Silvana while he swigged his from the flask, leaning back in his chair as the last gulp hit the back of his throat. He lifted the glass towards Silvana but she held up her hand to refuse the offer. Severus shrugged and slumped his shoulders.



“I found nothing, and now it seems Dumbledore has seen fit to inform the Governors of the developments.” Silvana looked angry and perplexed.



“But he hasn’t heard from me yet! I could have discovered something!” Severus took another shot of whisky.


“Oh, he has your lover boy to inform him that I am as guilty as hell, Silvana! Why on earth would he need your testimony too, unless you don’t believe me?”


“Of course I believe you, and I am sure Remus will put you in a favourable light,” cried Silvana, though the certainty in her tone wavered. Severus heard it and leapt at the chance of putting doubt in her mind.


“And yet you’re not that sure of either of us, are you? You’re trying to read my mind to find out the truth. There is no need. I will be suspended on the evidence of my past anyway. I am only surprised it has not happened a lot sooner. Perhaps they have done me a favour.” Silvana shook her head at her troubled brother and walked over behind him to gently caress the top of his head, turning towards his face, smiling into his tired eyes.


“Don’t say that, my darling. I will stand by you whatever they think. I have faith in you.” Severus looked up at her, his eyes less angered than before, softened by her words.


“That is all the support I need. You by my side, and not by his.” She knew whom he meant. Silvana knew that he was asking her to choose. But was there really a choice to be had if the worst came to it? Severus was her brother, her only sibling who was in dire need of guidance now. Remus was a love, and a distant one at that. One that she could probably never have, at least not in Silvana’s eyes. It was a pipe dream lost in a cloud of emotion. She had to deal with facts. She had to make her choice. Smoothing her long fingers down the curtain of hair that hung down the back of Severus’ head, as if he were her child, pacifying him, Silvana nodded in a silent agreement. She would stay with him. She had to. There was no other way. And though it broke her heart, the guilt of leaving Severus all those years ago made her think there was no other alternative. She had to leave Remus.




*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




“I have been expecting you, Remus. Please be seated.”


Remus Lupin sat down as bid and looked around him, wondering how things had changed so much in the space of a few hours. Harry had implied that Severus was guilty, though there was no proof. By just that hint alone Remus had a duty to the school to protect the pupils, especially Harry, and honour Dumbledore’s request for his teachers to protect Hogwarts at all costs. It was all he could do to report this information, and yet his heart bled for the woman who it would affect. When all he wanted to do was take her in his arms, Remus Lupin had the unenviable task of informing the Headmaster that he thought Silvana’s brother was a traitor, and a very dangerous one at that. As Dumbledore watched the young wizard in front of him, he was well aware of his pain.


“I take it from your contemplative look that Severus has not been proved to be innocent.” Remus shook his head.


“No, but I cannot prove his guilt either, and nor would I want to.” Dumbledore nodded and smiled.


“It is as I expected, and I would not expect you to feel any different, Remus. I have no wish to doubt him either, but I have had the onerous duty of informing the Governors of our problem now. Lemon drop, Remus?” Remus nodded as the Headmaster offered him a sweet, and slowly unwrapped the cellophane wrapper, pausing a while to look around at the silent portraits around him. He felt the staring eyes were upon him though, as the silence and stillness seemed unnerving and unnatural. Dumbledore looked first at the portraits and then at his young Professor.


“You feel their presence? The presence of the past years of wisdom and knowledge, and echoes of the future lay in this room right now, Remus. They are my guides and my comfort.” Remus shook his head slowly, marvelling at the composure of the wizard before him.


“I don’t know how you manage it, to stay sane when all this has happened.” Dumbledore chuckled, a mischievous glint in his eye.


“But I don’t, Remus, at least I cannot do it alone. I have guidance and stability all around me to keep me on the straight and narrow. You think I personally have some other power beyond your own that allows me to do this job? I fear I may have to disappoint you. You are just as qualified to take on this job as I, if not more so. Your patience and kindness are virtues few hold dear. Perhaps one day this will be your office.” Remus shook his head and scoffed.


“You are far more than I could ever be. I would not be worthy of such a position.” Dumbledore peered over his glasses and smiled.


“I will put your melancholy attitude down to affairs of the heart. Have more faith, my friend, in both your ambitions and your love.” Remus sighed, standing to look out of the window. The grounds seemed to be deserted, and the sun was setting across the horizon, a mirror to the feeling he held in his heart for the prospects of his love affair with Silvana.


“I can’t have the faith in Severus that she has, and I fear because of that we will…she has to be with him. The situation is impossible.”


“For now, yes. But the future may prove to be very different. Do not lose hope, Remus. Be there when she needs you to be, and step away when she requires you to, and she will find you again when the time is right. She is a part of your future, I feel.” Remus turned around and gazed at the Headmaster, heading towards the door and out of the office, needing to find her and talk with her to grasp at some chance, any chance they had.



“I hope so. I really hope so.”


He walked out of the door, smiling reluctantly as he did so, just to pass Minerva McGonagall outside the office. Remus smiled and asked her politely, “Minerva, have you seen Silvana on your travels?”


“Yes. She was last seen heading for a walk in the grounds to clear her head. You will catch her if you make haste.”


As it turned out, Remus did not need to make much haste, for Silvana was found perched on the edge of the entrance steps, contemplating and deliberating in silence, watching the sun set on the horizon, just as Remus had just done. She sensed Remus’ presence, and felt his warm hand upon her chilled shoulder, but she did not acknowledge him, though inside she yearned to. Her body craved his touch, but the resolve of her mind prevented that happening. She continued to look across at the sunset as he sat down beside her.


“I thought coming outside would make things somehow better, but it hasn’t made things better at all. Severus said you informed Dumbledore of our talk with Harry.” Remus looked at her face, which still pointed towards the sun, and nodded, following her eyes to the sunset.


“I had no choice but to tell him, Silvana. If there is any doubt about anyone’s agenda as far as Harry is concerned I must report it. I swore I would. You know that.” Silvana looked down into her lap, her head hung and shoulders slouched in resignation.


“I cannot agree. You should have waited for me to talk to Dumbledore. I may have been able to persuade the Governors before my brother is thrown to the wolves...if you pardon the turn of phrase” Remus reached across, touching her jaw line with two fingers and tenderly moving her face around to meet his gaze, desperate for her to see the sincerity on his face. She looked upon his face, seeing the love within.


“Don’t you think I want to believe him? I want to because of you. Because I know how much this pains you and I want to protect you. I want to believe him, but I cannot ignore the facts, Silvana. ” Silvana jerked her face away from Remus’ fingers and gazed at the sunset once more. The redness of the sky entranced her now, especially when contrasted with the enveloping dark clouds beyond. Bitter tears ebbed at the edges of her eyes and she blinked to suppress them. She swallowed hard.


“Perhaps it will be easier if we continue to remain as friends, Remus. Just friends.” Remus’ heart stopped at her cold words and he winced inwardly. He closed his eyes and relaxed his jaw, opening his mouth as if to speak, though the words would not leave his lips. It was too painful. He attempted to regain some composure and forced the words out of his mouth.


“You really want that? To ignore what we both feel? If that is what you want then I will do it, though I must say that I will always love you, regardless of our current situation. I cannot just switch off my feelings for you, and I don’t believe you can either. You can hide them, but I refuse to believe that they will leave you completely. Do not shut me out, Silvana. Please, I beg you, let me into your heart.” Silvana turned sharply, tears streaming down her face.


“I have to choose. I have to make a choice and Severus is blood, Remus. My only family. I left him last time and I cannot do it again. It would be too selfish of me to put my feelings for you over his. To put my happiness before his.” Remus looked horrified, grasping at her hands to hold them to his lips.


“I do not ask you to make a choice between us. I merely ask you to love me like I know you do in your heart. There is room in your heart for both of us.”


“But Severus does ask me to choose, and I must be by his side at this time.” Remus pushed himself back against the stone steps, the air expelled from his lungs audibly as he did so. He could not argue any more, for politeness and personal pride would not let him. He could almost hear Viell’s chastising words haunting him that he should do more to keep Silvana, to fight for her, but when he looked into her dark eyes she did not show the love she had done before. Her determination prevented it. The sun had now set, and the darkness was taking over. And there they sat, both wounded lost souls, so close and yet far apart. Silent and, above all, so very, very lonely.




*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*







“You look tired, Albus. Is there anything I can do for you?”


In all the years Minerva McGonagall had known Albus Dumbledore, she had never seen him look so weary as now. This year she had seen him age before her eyes, and the stress of the day’s events only worsened it. Dumbledore set his glasses on top of his desk and smiled reluctantly at his visitor, reaching for another lemon drop as he did so. He wished the drop could offer him an ounce of comfort as they had done so often in his years of being Headmaster, but now their effect seemed to lessen as the days went on, or perhaps he was just too old to gain the benefit of them. Whatever the reason they didn’t work for him today.


“Not unless you can tell me who is behind all of today’s events, Minerva.” McGonagall sighed and smiled sympathetically.


“Divination has never been my strong point. Perhaps Sybil could tell you.”


“Alas I fear she could not,” Dumbledore countered, a brief chuckle escaping his lips. “What would you do, Minerva, if faced with this situation?”


“Exactly what you are doing now. Inform the Governors and let them decide. You cannot risk Harry’s safety.”


“At the expense of the trust of one of my dearest friends and colleagues, whom I have defended time and time again?” Minerva nodded slowly.


“Yes, Albus. If Severus is innocent then the truth will out, eventually.” Dumbledore shook his head in resignation. He had hoped for another way, another possible beacon of light at the end of a very dark tunnel.


“I fear for him, for Severus. Voldemort will use any weakness against him, or against us, even. He will become a loose cannon beyond these four walls. He has already sought Lucius‘ guidance in this matter, I feel.”


“He has Silvana beside him this time. She will not allow him to falter.” Dumbledore smiled weakly.


“Perhaps she is too late. I fear I have thrown her in as bait for Voldemort. If Severus is found to have been coerced into this affair then I am willing to bet that Silvana was threatened in some way for him to comply with such a thing. And I had such high hopes on another matter that sadly looks lost.” Minerva frowned, thinking of what it could be.


“You mean her and Remus‘ relationship?” Dumbledore nodded.


“Indeed. There is a strong attachment there; one which is very important for the future, perhaps even the future of this very school, Minerva. I had hoped she would stand by his side. He will need her in times to come.” Minerva smiled nervously.


“They still have a chance. Love has a means of finding a way.”


Dumbledore was about to reply when a knock came at his door. He called ‘Enter’ and found the sheepish looking pale face of Draco Malfoy staring up at him.


“Mr Malfoy?” Draco stepped forward with a note in his hand. The Headmaster took the roll of parchment and looked at Draco questioningly. “Where has this come from?”


“Professor Snape, Sir. He gave me the password to get here and told me to hand this to you, personally. He was very insistent.”


Dumbledore unfurled the parchment and drew a deep breath. Sensing the prying eyes of the young man before him he bid Draco goodbye and waited until he was sure Draco Malfoy had left his office until he informed Minerva McGonagall of the contents of the letter. She frowned at him, waiting for him to tell her.


“Is this from the Governors already?” Dumbledore shook his head.



“No, I still await their reply. This is a far sadder piece of news. Fallen on his sword…of course…such pride and honour.” Minerva thought for a moment and then it dawned in her.



“Fallen…you mean Severus has resigned?”



“Indeed, Minerva. That is exactly what he has done. Severus Snape has resigned from his position at Hogwarts, before they could suspend him. A wise decision, perhaps. And yet also a very foolish one.”


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*



Rumours do not take long to circulate with a building such as Hogwarts, and Draco Malfoy had great pleasure in being the bearer of such delicious news to the pupils of the school that day. Perhaps Severus Snape had intended just that when he handed Malfoy the unsealed scroll of parchment, for he knew Draco would read it before he handed it to the Headmaster. Perhaps that was why not only had he put the resignation in the letter, but a specific time of day that he would be leaving the school. Whatever he had intended, the pupils lined the staircases and halls to witness the ceremony.


Some had gathered in pure disbelief, thinking this was a huge prank of Malfoy’s, and others came, half hoping it were true, for he was a most unpopular Professor. The Slytherin’s all lined up, dressed in their house colours, glaring at the Gryffindor contingent like a proud army ready for battle. They would have to think about possible revenge for this later on. Harry, Ron and Hermione pushed themselves forward to the front of the gathered masses to see what was happening, and gulped in surprise. It was a sight to behold.


The Slytherin flags around the school all altered to half-mast as Snape walked along the long corridor towards the entrance doors. Beside him, head held high, eyes to the front, never wavering in her duty to her brother, was Silvana. Straight backs, proud and true, this was the sort of duty and occasion the Snape siblings had been made for. Their training of years of putting on a brave face when confronting adversity came through for them, and Silvana hooked her arm regally in Severus’ as they approached the front door.I am here, dearest brother. We will walk together out of the door and not look back. The only time she looked to the side was when she saw Harry and a polite nod was all that was needed to speak volumes to the boy. I do not blame you, Harry, and I will still care.


The Professors of the school had chosen to stand nearest the door, Dumbledore standing at the door to watch him leave. He looked sad and weary, as did the other Professors, and none more so than Professor Remus Lupin. His kind, soulful eyes ebbed with tears as he saw Silvana and Severus take the last few steps towards the door. He ached to leap in front of them and apologise, to persuade her to stay, but one look at Silvana and he knew it would be futile. She looked towards him briefly, but lifelessly, without reaction or emotion, totally focused on her duty to her brother.I cannot react to you, my love. I dare not. You have to understand this is the only way.


In that one moment, as her dark eyes glittered, and her expression pierced at Remus’ loving heart she showed the haunting echoes of her past. Silvana showed, as her defences surrounded her in a protective wall, that she was just as much a Snape as her brother, on the outside, at least. On the inside she cried a river of tears. She was walking away from a chance of happiness, and the only way Silvana would ever regain that chance was to prove Severus’ innocence. But one thing tore at her more than any other - the thought that there may be no innocence to be found. And, if that were true, she may never be able to love Remus Lupin again.















Chapter 18: Her Last Hope
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Her Last Hope



The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope.
~William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure




Hermione, Ron and Harry all sat in the library, heads down in concentration, though it was not directed on their schoolwork. It was now approaching December, and since Severus Snape and his sister had left Hogwarts the atmosphere within the school had been filled with an uneasy truce. Silvana no longer came for the weekly OWL lessons, as Harry was about to retake his exam, and felt confident of passing with a higher grade, despite all that had happened. She was, however, due to be with him on the day of the examination for moral support. She had written a letter to him promising that. Harry had managed to control any feelings he had against Dumbledore, though they were nowhere near as intense as they had been before Snape had left. Ron had maintained this was proof that Snape had been the culprit, but neither Hermione nor, if the truth were told, Harry believed it.


Potions lessons were not the same. More relaxed, yes, but until a suitable Professor could be found to replace Snape, then various Professors took the lessons, and most of those were reading from a textbook. Snape may have been an ogre, the NEWT’s pupils agreed, but he did know his stuff when it came to his subject. It was almost as if they actually missed him. Hermione had taken to setting herself her own Potions homework, much to the amusement of the ever -in -awe Ron. He watched her burying her head in her Potions textbook night after night in their common room, while he and Harry discussed tactics for their next Quidditch match. She works far too hard on that subject. Something must be done.



Their library discussion was a result of those morning’s events at breakfast, and the dishevelled and worn appearance of Remus Lupin on his first day back after his transformation. He looked beyond tired, as if he had not slept for weeks. His normally enthusiastic demeanour was seriously lacking its sparkle, his skin was sallow, and, as his fellow staff members said a cheery Good Morning, he only nodded in reply. His young friends noticed immediately, and convened in the library for a rare joint free period to discuss his state of health.


“You can tell, can’t you?” whispered Hermione, glancing over at Madame Pince to check she wasn’t watching. Ron shrugged, looking lost.


“Tell what?”


“That Silvana wasn’t at Grimmauld Place for Professor Lupin’s transformation. He hasn’t looked that bad since our third year.” Harry shifted uncomfortably in his seat as Ron nodded.


“Yeah, Tonks told my brothers that he was really restless when he transformed, as if he was pining for her, or something.” Harry winced, and pushed his books away.


“This is all my fault.” His loud voice caught Madame Pince’ attention, and Hermione glared at him.


“Harry!” she whispered forcefully, “No it isn’t. Silvana could have stayed behind but she chose to go with her brother. I think someone wanted to get Snape into trouble.” Ron leaned back in his chair, astonished.


“What?” Hermione glared at his raised voice, which Ron immediately quietened down. “You mean you think he’s an innocent man? Snape? It all happened in the Potions classroom, didn’t it? You saw it! He made Harry bow to him!” Hermione screwed up her face as if his words hurt her.


“Yeah, but…oh I don’t know, it just didn’t seem right.” Harry looked at Hermione, questioningly.


“What do you mean? Do you mean his reaction to me doing it? I’ve been thinking about that.”


“Yes!” exclaimed Hermione. “That’s the thing that just doesn’t fit for me. If he had wanted to command you he would have been pleased that you became all respectful and all, but he wasn’t. He looked horrified when you bowed, embarrassed even. Not exactly the sign of someone who craves power. And another thing. Why did he resign?” Ron frowned.


“Because they were going to sack him anyway?” Harry shook his head.


“But there was always a chance they might not have done. I mean, I didn’t get hurt or anything and I’m sure Dumbledore would have stuck up for him; he always does. They may have just warned him, and if he needed to be with me, to get me to join Voldemort, he would have tried to stay.” Ron looked thoughtful and then yelled.



“Yeah, but maybe he doesn’t have to be here to do the Dark Lords work.” Hermione shrugged.


“The only way we can find out is to find whatever sends you these messages…or whoever. But I think it’s a thing rather than a person.” Ron shook his head.


“You only want Snape back to give you more bloody homework, unless…uurrgghh, you don’t fancy him, do you, Hermione?”


“Don’t be preposterous, Ronald Weasley! As if! No, we need to think about this carefully, because if Snape comes back then Silvana will come back too, and I think Professor Lupin deserves a bit of happiness right now.” Harry sighed aloud.


“Looking at him this morning, that had better be soon. He looked like death. He must really like her.”


“Yeah,” said Ron, wistfully looking at Hermione, who had not failed to notice, and smirked. She looked across at Harry.


“Right, Harry. The next time you hear this voice, I want you to tell us and we can start looking.”


“And what exactly are we looking for?” asked Ron, puzzled. Hermione shrugged again.


“That’s the only problem, Ron. I just don’t know.” Ron looked around him, glaring as Draco Malfoy entered the library with his usual faithful entourage. Harry shook his head as Draco sneered at him threateningly.


“Look at him, lording it up like he owns the place. He thinks he’s so important just because he sent the school that message about Snape.” Hermione nodded in agreement, a sad look across her face.


“Yeah, and I saw him laughing and pointing at Professor Lupin this morning too. I really hope, when something bad happens to him one day, that I’m there to laugh at him.” As Crabbe and Goyle left the confines of the library, leaving Draco alone with Pansy Parkinson, Ron saw his chance.


“Let’s make that time now, shall we Hermione?” and Ron made to stand up and head towards Draco, but was prevented from doing so by a sharp pull on his shirttails. As he looked around he saw Hermione grabbing a hold of his shirt and glaring at him. Draco looked over at the scene and shouted across the library.


“Awe look! Hermione’s got herself a new pet. Good job you’ve got him on a leash, Granger, or he’d make a terrible mess. I don‘t think it‘s house trained yet.” Madam Pince glared over at Malfoy who saw her steely glare and bent his head down in discussion with Pansy.


Ron stepped towards him once again, but this time Hermione grabbed a hold of his arm and stood up to stop him. Harry sat back, not wishing to be involved. He had known for quite some time that if there was to be an argument between Ron and Hermione, it was better to stay out of it.


“Ronald, I said NO!”


“But he insulted you!” Ron exclaimed.


“No he didn’t. He insulted you, but regardless of that you do not allow him to get to you in this way, right?”


“But..but..” Hermione edged closer and glared into Ron’s eyes.



“Right?”


“But I…wanted…” Hermione narrowed her eyes at Ron and shook her head, exasperated at his persistence. She did the first thing that came to mind to stop him going over to Draco Malfoy. She took her hands, placed them tenderly to his cheeks and kissed him on the lips. It worked. When she pulled away Ron stood in stunned silence, ignoring the catcalls and whistles from the other students, his skin glowing a scarlet shade of red. Madam Pince was about to come over, furious her beloved library was being used in this manner.



“Look after him, will you Harry, while I go into the restricted section?” grinned Hermione, nonchalantly. Harry smirked as Ron sat down in a daze, reeling from what had happened.


“She kissed me.” Harry nodded, and grinned.


“Yes she did, Ron”


“With tongues.” Harry stifled a laugh but screwed up his face and held up a hand to stop Ron going any further.


“Too much information, Ron, Just too much!”





*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*






Silvana drew back the long, velvet curtains that adorned the French windows of the study and flinched as daylight hit her eyes. The day was cloudy, rain was falling, but the brightness of outside was still in stark contrast to the darkness of the room behind her. The particles of dust from the curtains were highlighted in the morning light, twirling and dancing about in the delicate breeze emanating from the ill fitting windows.I really must dust in here she pondered, her mind comfortably numbed with duties and chores. They hid her pain, but the smell and sight before her as she turned around did not.


Severus Snape had not coped well these past few weeks. Though he would never admit to it, he missed the authority he held at Hogwarts, and desired the routine of the hectic school schedule, and, perhaps, even the company of the pupils themselves on rare, weak occasions. He had had many of those recently. The lack of trust from Dumbledore and the other Professors had made him resign, and the absence of that important role in his life made him wander aimlessly, becoming bitter and introspective. All his life he had yearned for recognition; from his father, from his fellow students at Hogwarts, from the Death Eaters, and Dumbledore. In Dumbledore, more than anyone else, he had found that rare relationship of trust in his life. Now all of that was shattered, splintered the moment Dumbledore told him he had lied to him years ago about Silvana, and exacerbated by this latest development. Only Silvana stood by him steadfastly, and even then she wavered in her own judgement. If she had the opportunity of a life with the werewolf, would she be by my side right now? I doubt it. She doubts me too.


It was after such thoughts that Severus had fallen asleep in a drunken stupor the previous night, and Silvana had found him, still lying in his favourite armchair, pale and silent. For a moment he was almost too corpse like for her still tired mind to comprehend. Once the panic had ceased, Silvana’s emotions changed to anger. How dare you be so selfish, Severus, when I am doing everything I can for you! When I have sacrificed so much for you, you choose to treat me with this lack of respect. She shook his arm, the smell of the alcohol hitting her nostrils hard, making her insides contract with the stench.


“Severus! Severus, I am about to go to Hogwarts for the exam. I reminded you about this yesterday. Do you remember?” Snape mumbled something incoherent under his breath and shrugged his shoulders.


“Off to join the den of vipers…they will keep you there.” Silvana shook her head and went out to the kitchen to make Severus a black coffee. On returning with the strong, steaming liquid she saw he had fallen back to sleep, so she shook him again, much to his annoyance.


“Severus, drink this coffee and sober up. You will not help yourself by sitting here moping away like this. My patience with you is wearing thin.” He opened one eye and looked over at the coffee.


“Don’t want to wake up.” Silvana rolled her eyes and slapped him around the face, much to his astonishment.


“Do not talk so, Severus, and do not waste my time with your self pity, you selfish child. Drink the coffee, get up and take a bath. You stink. Now make sure you‘ve sorted yourself out by the time I come back from Hogwarts. Perhaps we can spend the rest of the afternoon together if I can come back in time.” Severus turned away from her gaze.


“Have a lovely time, won’t you?” he sneered as she turned to walk out the door. She did not lower herself to answer. Silvana had done her duty to her brother for a month. Now she had had enough.



*-*-*-*-*-*-*




Harry was already taking the examination when Silvana arrived, annoyed and irritated to have been made late by her wayward brother. Hagrid had met her at Hogsmeade, and she had practically run the journey through to the grounds of Hogwarts to keep up with his stride. She was still reluctant to use magical forms of transport unless necessary, and today was no exception. The dungeon classroom had been kept free for Harry to do his exam, and as Silvana approached the doorway she noticed two chairs were placed outside of the door to the Potions room; one for her and the other was filled already by a man she had almost hoped she would not see: Remus Lupin. He was yawning and rubbing his large hand along his temple as she stepped closer, unaware of her presence. She looked at him, studying the lines of fatigue on his weary face and she bit her lip. Some of those are down to me.

He smelt her scent at first, and then saw her shoes as she stood there and sat down on the adjacent chair. He didn’t need to see her face for confirmation of who it was, but he looked just the same and was rewarded for his efforts by a wide, sympathetic smile. He was lost in her eyes the minute he looked into them, and she saw and felt his pain and was overwhelmed with guilt. I did this. I made him so forlorn and weary. I added to his problems, but I would give anything to help him now. Remus smiled gently and looked directly at Silvana as she sat down beside him, waiting like two expectant parents anticipating news of their child.


“How are you?” he asked, hesitantly, as if knowing inside she was hurting. Silvana nodded.


“Yes, good.I’m fine. And you? And how is Viell? I expect she hates me for leaving.” Remus shook his head and smiled a little.


“Not at all. She is angrier with me for letting you go. Arlize is well. She and Viell are working voluntarily at the orphanage where the children of the Diagon Alley disaster were placed in their spare time. I have said I will go there with them later today. And how is Severus?” Silvana shook her head and looked up into Remus’ eyes awkwardly, shying away from such direct contact.


“Not so good. He suffers, Remus. It pains me to see him as he is, but my patience with him wears thin. He is not helping himself at all.” She lowered her voice into a whisper. “He drinks all day until he is not conscious of his words or actions. His self pity makes me angry and yet I know it is my fault.” Remus frowned and edged a little towards Silvana, speaking in soft, soothing words.


“How is it your fault? Do not blame yourself. We are the ones who did not stick by him; you have done more than he could ever ask.” Silvana wrung her hands and it was then that Remus noticed how the skin down the sides of her thumbs was red raw and bleeding. A product of her anguish and self-loathing. She began to run her long fingernails down the skin again as she spoke.



“I resent him. I resent him for taking me away from you, and Harry, for making me feel the guilt I now carry in my heart. And I know I can never forsake him, for if I did who would he have to pick up the pieces? I have forsaken him once before and I must not do it again. But in my heart, though I love him, I also despise him. I must truly be a wicked person, Remus.”

Remus grasped her hands in his, the force of his touch making Silvana gasp. He relaxed his grip a little, and she relaxed under his touch. He looked into her eyes, searching for her. She let him find her there.


“You are the least wicked person I know of, Silvana. You have generosities that most never see in a lifetime. You love him and you care, and it is because you care that you hurt right now. But others care for you too, at least we do, I do. I would, if I had the chance to. With all my heart I would.”


Silvana looked down. She dare not answer him for if she did she thought she would break. Her head told her she must do her duty but her heart…her heart told her to run. Run as far away with this man who holds you so tenderly and never come back. Make a life with him and learn to love again. Have the family you yearn for and live. Above all else live your life.


The voice was not hers. It was Eleanor’s. Silvana blinked back tears and slowly pulled her hands away from Remus‘. Duty She changed the subject and avoided his gaze; intense and so loving she thought he saw her very soul.


“You say you are going to the orphanage?” Remus nodded, desperate to hold her again, but knowing she wanted some air of normality to cope with all that happened around her.


“Yes. They need all the helpers they can get and I have some free time later on this evening.” Silvana smiled.


“I used to help out at a school when I was back in Ireland. I enjoyed that time. You will be good, Remus. They will need a father figure like you. Someone to trust and to love.” Remus ceased the chance and blurted out his request. For once he acted entirely on impulse without deliberation. He asked her what she had hoped he would dare to ask.


“Come with me, with us. You said yourself you enjoyed your time at the school and you are fantastic with children. Come and help us, please. Please come with me.” Silvana stared into his glittering eyes and watched his pupils dilate with longing. Hers reacted the same way, making her eyes seem almost a true black. After all I have said and done he still wants me, to be with me, and I feel the same. She hesitated at her answer, stumbling to find the words that she wanted to say and filter them through the reasoning in her mind. There are a hundred and one reasons why you want to be with this man, and only one reason why you should resist. You must listen to the majority and not the minority, Silvana. Listen to your heart. Eleanor?


Silvana’s mind whirled and before thinking, as if someone or something finally took control she blurted out in an emotional rush, ‘Yes, I will go with you,” and watched as Remus’ face lit up, only to turn around as Minerva McGonagall called out behind them.


“Oh Silvana! You must come up to Dumbledore’s office right away. Something terrible has happened. You must not waste time.”




*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*





Hermione sat down in the common room and sighed. She’d hunted everywhere for her Potions textbook and she had still not found it. Ron! she muttered under her breath. He wasn’t around; out playing Quidditch practise with Harry, but she knew he’d do that sort of thing. Why is he such a child sometimes and yet so mature too…though rarely. Why am I so attracted to him, the irritating little..? Hermione shook her head and made her way towards the sizable pile of books that Harry had left lying around before he went outside.He won’t mind if I borrow his book for a moment, will he? I mean, it’s not as if he’ll be studying tonight. Not after sitting that exam.



She prized the large textbook out from the pile of books and grinned to herself that she had skilfully managed to avoid spilling all the others on the common room floor. Hermione sat at the large desk before her and tentatively turned the pages to the correct chapter. Trying to find the information she needed for her essay, she scanned the pages of the book with her finger, gently pressing it down on the parchment as she followed the lines of the passage on Jobberknoll feathers.


But something made her stop. Hermione paused, uncertain of what she felt. She looked down at the tips of her fingers and shook her head. They look ok. Why do they feel strange? She went back to the passage and began her task once more, following the text again with her fingers. She paused. The intensity of the feeling was growing stronger but she could not identify what was wrong. She tried the same movement again, but this time there was nothing. He was worse after Potions lessons She looked at the book, plain and unassuming. It was just an ordinary textbook. Book…chamber…rare gift Of course! Vibration perhaps? Potions?


And with that Hermione Granger slammed the book shut, tucked it under her arm and ran all the way to Professor McGonagalls office.




*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




Remus Lupin sat down at the familiar table in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place with his head in a whirl. Arlize and Viell were getting ready to leave for the orphanage all around him and he was lost in his thoughts. Today, sitting in Dumbledore’s office, he had seen the woman he loved crumple with tears as the Headmaster informed her that her beloved brother had been arrested. There had been a wave of arrests on people linked with Voldemort, whether there was evidence or not. The ministry was growing fearful of the rising number of attacks on innocent people, and a lack of firm evidence against the perpetrators. They were running blind, fighting an invisible force, and the new Minister of Magic needed to show a firm stand on such attacks on his people. Unfortunately, he had heard of the resignation of Severus Snape on the grapevine and decided to look to him as a shining example of those whom he could not prove were linked, but doubts were raised. Doubt, he decided, was enough. Panic was coming to the people who elected him, and panic must be settled to bring order to the Wizarding World. The people needed to think the villains were being caught. He needed a solution, and Severus Snape was a part of it.



Remus thought of the words Dumbledore had said. ‘Sent to a holding cell, before going to Azkaban.’ ‘Will offer my assistance and support, but the Minister has failed to listen to me so far.’ ‘Reason is not wanted, but supposed justice is.’ ‘A scapegoat.’ Silvana had heard enough and her body crumpled in two, her head on her knees at the weight the words carried. She had doubted Severus, she had abandoned him, irritated at his self pity and annoyed at his methods of comfort. She had complained to Remus and now she was being punished. He remembered her whole body shaking uncontrollably in grief and uncertainty, and he remembered taking her in his arms and just holding her, offering to be with her. But the defences were raised as soon as he touched her. Silvana’s self-preservation took over from her pity, and she shunned his help. She had been polite but so numb, so orderly it had chilled him. Dumbledore offered for Remus to escort her home, but she had claimed there was no need. She needed to think of a plan to help her brother, and to do that she needed to be alone.


And yet she was far from telling the truth. Inside she was yearning for Remus again. She wanted him to be by her side, but her routine of putting on a front was like an automatic pilot device, and anything else was completely alien to her. But Remus saw through her this time. He saw the hurt in her eyes, the truth. He saw that she was in need of him, though the words she uttered said otherwise. He saw that she was utterly alone and needed him, but still he was sat in Grimmauld Place. He cursed himself under his breath. He had let her leave the school and go home alone just because he was too damn weak to defy her words. Always silent, Remus. Never rock the boat, you spineless fool.



“You coming then?” Viell asked, placing a hand gently on his shoulder, squeezing the flesh beneath his cardigan. He looked up and saw her twinkling eyes, and knew he wouldn’t go with them at all. He would have to go to the orphanage another day, perhaps with Silvana. Tonight he must go to find her and support her. Tonight he would break with tradition and seize the day. All his life he had conformed and done his duty, thinking of others words and feelings and reacting accordingly. Never had he put himself first. Tonight, as he shook his head at Viell he knew that had to change. He reached for his coat and made his way outside. He would apparate to the Snape Manor.


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




The figure sat down in the chair where only hours ago Silvana had chastised her brother for being drunk. She looked down on its newest inhabitant, embittered that he sat where Severus once had, but knowing that he may be the only one who could right the wrongs. She loathed him with a passion that consumed her day and night; a never-ending loathing that would continue until her dying day. But desperate times called for desperate measures, and though she had been shocked to see him on her doorstep so soon after she had visited his beautiful wife in hope of answers, she had almost welcomed him with open arms when he had claimed he could help. Almost.



The man before her had aged more than she had anticipated but those eyes, those eyes were still as cold and malevolent as she remembered them to be. She checked herself as she held her wand aloft, aimed at his throat to make sure she showed this time she was in total control. This time he would not over power her. This time she would be the one to use him, not the other way around. She sneered at him, not unlike one of the many sneers her darling brother used from time to time, and glared at her visitor as he raised an eyebrow, looking at her up and down in a seductive and cruel way.


“Still so beautiful, Silvana. It is as if time stands still.”


“Only speak when you are spoken to, Malfoy. I have only let you in for one reason and one reason only. To help my brother. You said you have news that could help me.” Malfoy turned his nose up at the woman before him and shrugged.


“How ironic that I am the only one to come to your aid.” Silvana shook her head, almost gagging at his arrogance.


“How can I trust you after all you have done to me?” Malfoy laughed, glancing around him before catching Silvana’s gaze directly and holding it to send a chill down her spine. His blue eyes narrowed into an evil look.


“Because you have no choice but to trust me, my dear. I am the only one to save your brother’s sorry neck. I know how Potter is being controlled, and I know where the device is. Now will you hear me out, or shall I just walk away?”


Silvana sighed. Fight or flight, her adrenalin pumping she chose to ignore her instincts, or at least quell them until they were needed, and buried them deep down inside her. Against her better judgement, against every voice of reason in her head she slowly sat down in the chair opposite him and widened her eyes.


“This had better be good.”








Chapter 19: The Moment of No Return
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The Moment of No Return.



A/NI am hoping and really trying to get this story to a point where Silvana is settled before submissions stop for HBP. There should be one last chapter before that happens and I will do my utmost to get that chapter written and posted before the 15th. BJ


And in today already walks tomorrow. ~Samuel Taylor Coleridge




Lucius Malfoy leaned back in the armchair and studied his opponent while he thought about his next move. She was yin to his yang in every possible way. He was blond, she was dark. He was blue eyed, she was brown eyed. He was cunning and wicked; she was gentle and kind. And many years ago he had loved her for it. Before Narcissa, before he had found his soul mate, Silvana Snape had been the object of his desire, both in mind and body. When he used to take the trips to Snape Manor with his father to visit the abominable excuse of a father Severus and Silvana had had to endure, he used to watch her play outside. He used to offer her a smile as her long, dark hair caught on the breeze when they were children and he was too young to understand the significance of his feelings. He used to watch her weave in and out of the trees and run like the wind as if she didn’t have a care in the world. Before their fathers became involved theirs could have been an innocent love, but the moment passed Lucius Malfoy by far too quickly, and sins devoured the innocence in more ways than one.


He took her purity but not her heart on her 21st birthday. He wanted her as his possession. Lucius honestly thought that by taking her bodily, against her will, he would experience the innocence of youth that had been lost to him in the years before. He discovered he was wrong. He found he could not gain her love in that way. He found in taking her virginity forcefully, in taking all she had to offer, he felt an emptiness he had not expected to feel. Regret, perhaps. An emotion he had never experienced before and rarely felt again in his lifetime. Not getting what he wanted was an alien concept for this man. A moment’s wicked triumph that left a bitter after taste in his mouth. In that moment after he ruined her, Lucius Malfoy swore he would never sully another Pureblood woman again. Other lesser women, of course, were a different matter.


The regret lasted only hours. His fury at her deception, and the humiliation of the family having to announce her refusal and subsequent disappearance from the Wizarding World made any regrets whittle away into nothing. The rumours that he had killed Silvana grew and he did nothing to disquiet them. He would secretly vow to avenge his hurt pride and dented ego. Lucius Malfoy would not sit by and idly let a mere woman get the better of him. This was not to be borne. Pride and honour came first in the Malfoy household, and soon after Silvana disappeared he was betrothed to the beautiful Narcissa Black. A stunning beauty, exquisite, apparently compliant, and above all, she was the exact opposite in every way of Silvana Snape. Perfect solution to a difficult problem. But he would not forget Silvana. He would deal with her when the time came.


He looked across at Silvana now and tried to see in his eyes the little girl with the long flowing hair from years ago, but he could not find her. The innocence was lost, and there before him sat a woman, not a girl. A woman who despised and resented every breath he took, and yet she needed him in that moment. He held all the cards once more. Malfoy was always in control and his oversized ego loved it. For a fleeting moment he wondered about the woman underneath that austere façade, whether she was still as soft and sensual, but then remembered how she had found him and thought no more. Narcissa; his love and his life; his partner. His everything. The reason he was and the reason he would be. She was everything to him. She still knew so little of his early past, and the one thing she must never know was the truth about this woman before him now and his little ‘indiscretion’. His secret life. Lucius saw the steely glare of his opponent, for in the end that was what she was, and made his move.


“So poor, dear Severus is incarcerated and you come to me for help, Silvana. My, my we must be desperate. Now, what do I claim as a reward if I do you this service?” Silvana shook her head, already irritated by his familiar arrogance.


“ You do not change, Lucius. Cut to the chase. My patience will wear very thin with you. You said you knew Severus was innocent. Explain what you meant by that.” Lucius smirked.


“Isn’t he always? Poor innocent Severus? And yet he is more cunning and devious than all of us put together. For years he has managed to double deal, and squirm his way into our lives and still both Dumbledore and Voldemort treat him as a son. How clever. Oh how I envy him.” Silvana looked uneasy. He knows Severus is a spy and yet he has remained friends with him. This is not the Lucius Malfoy I know. Something is not right here. I do not trust him. I can never trust him. Silvana narrowed her eyes and studied Lucius warily, wondering how to treat him.


“You are irritating me, Lucius. Do not play me for a fool. Tell me the information that you claim to have and then leave me be. We do not have time to waste.”


“It is not that simple,” he said, with a cold, austere expression across his face. Why does that not surprise me? thought Silvana.


“Go on,” commanded Silvana, her voice showing her frustration with his games, her teeth chewing at her lips from inside.


“I need some reassurances before I go ahead with this knowledge.” Silvana sat upright and listened intently, keeping her cool, though despising his every demand.


“Tell me what they are and they will be considered.” Lucius scowled.


“You will do more than consider before I reveal all that I know.”


“I will be the judge of that.” Lucius studied her and saw the same determination that Severus had shown on various occasions over the years. The Snape family had spirit, that was certain. A fortitude of mind that could only be matched by the very best. Lucius paused for a moment and then decided he would not break her down. He started to reveal his demands.


“I want assurances that no information that I give to you tonight will be used in recrimination or attempt to punish the perpetrator.” Silvana shrugged, revealing nothing.


“Continue.”


“I want no record to be kept that I was ever here, and my name will not be mentioned to anyone of authority, or within the Order of the Pheonix, apart from yourself and Severus. I want him to know of my good deed, of course.” Lucius waited for a reaction. Still there was nothing. He laid his final card on the table, keeping his poker face.


“And in helping you with this, and as you are now back in the Wizarding community, I want total immunity from any accusations you may wish to make against me from the events our past. This is my way of apologising for our…misunderstanding. I want a personal assurance from yourself that my wife, your brother and anyone else will never hear about our…coming together.” Silvana finally showed emotion in her face, her lips twitching with rage as she heard him describe not only the event that changed her life, but the death of her husband and son as if it were a mere triviality.How dare he treat this as if he can barter for his own life while Severus suffers? How dare he presume I have not told Severus already?Silvana’s mind whirled with emotion, and she struggled to contain her thoughts. She wanted to help Severus, but these demands were unreasonable. She needed to tell Severus the truth, and her trump card was evident now she had discovered Narcissa had no idea about Lucius’ violent past. She gripped her wand and sneered, though her hands trembled with anger.


“You talk about my life as if it means nothing to you. Why should yours mean anything to me?” Lucius scoffed at her bravado, knowing she was bluffing.


“Mine may not mean anything to you, but your brother’s does.” Silvana shrugged.


“Perhaps sacrifices have to be made in times such as these. You should not go unpunished for ruining my life. I should have come back years ago to wipe that smug expression clean off of your face, Malfoy.” Lucius stood up and turned to get his coat.


“Then I can see I am wasting my time being here, Silvana.” Silvana stood, her eyes blazing with anger holding the wand to his throat, the wood brushing against the sensitive skin, making Lucius swallow when he saw the anger in her eyes.


“Sit down Lucius. I have not given you permission to leave this house. You should remember who has the wand here. Who is in control.” Lucius slowly sat back down, a wicked look across his face.


“Then I have your word on these matters?” Silvana shook her head.


“I did not say that. All these years I have suffered at your hand but I have never understood why you felt the need to twist the knife as you did when you had found your own happiness.” Lucius frowned and glanced at Silvana, wondering what she was talking about.

“I will not be drawn into some charade, Silvana, and time is short. Will you give me your word?” Silvana paused for thought before she answered.Two can play this deception, Lucius.


“I will give you my word, as a Snape, that I will agree to your terms. Now tell me how you can help my brother.”


“Patience is a virtue, Silvana. I suppose your word will have to do.”


“And time is of the essence, Lucius. For all you know Aurors could be on their way here this very minute. It works both ways.” Lucius swallowed hard and nodded, knowing she could well be right. He narrowed his eyes and began to reveal what he knew.


“I have yet to find out exactly why, but it seems the Dark Lord has been less than happy with Severus and I. He has decided to punish us.” Silvana raised an eyebrow, looking curiously at her guest.


“And you are still alive to tell the tale? Perhaps a slow and painful death from me is not needed. How interesting Voldemort will do my work for me,” Silvana mocked, enjoying Lucius’ discomfort, sounding very like her brother.


“Yes, though I fear death by your hand may be the easier option. I have been making plans to…further my position in the world...without the Dark Lord. It seems that this has been discovered, along with Severus’ own deception, and this is the beginning of our punishment. Part of mine is to be forced to live from day to day without the opulence I am used to, and Severus is shunned from the Order, never to be trusted again, and yet also seeming to serve the Dark Lord compliantly. He loses the trust and attention of everyone he values. His own sister is the only one who believes him...or does she, really?” Silvana ignored the comment, though it wounded her. She damned him under her breath for getting far too close to the truth and steered the subject back on course.


“So how do you know about the mysterious communications if Voldemort does not trust you?” Lucius lowered his head and sighed.


“Another of my punishments. While he left me for dead in Azkaban the Dark Lord recruited my son to carry out his deeds.” Silvana gasped at this news and mocked him.


“Draco? I would have thought you would be proud of the boy, Lucius. So like his father, joining the heady ranks of Death Eater. How very sweet.”


“I would not wish him to become subservient to such a creature. He is above that. At least he was, and it breaks Narcissa‘s heart to hear of his plight.” Silvana frowned. Was that compassion she witnessed in his blue eyes or was he feigning it?


“My heart bleeds. How is Draco working for the Dark Lord?”


“Narcissa became suspicious after hearing about Severus’ resignation and she has talked to our son on and off since Severus left. Today she met him in Hogsmeade, and he confessed to assisting in a plot to weaken and control Harry Potter.” Silvana narrowed her eyes, not trusting her companion completely.


“How did he do this?” Lucius smirked and stared straight at Silvana.


“Only the Dark Lord would try something that had been tried before. He asked Draco to plant a book in Harry’s possession. A book he would use day in and day out. This book would be a communication to the Dark Lord but done in such a way that no one would ever know. This was how he has been able to bend Potter into making decisions and plans. This is how he eventually wanted to bring him to our…their side, but then I believe he saw another way. He could punish Severus by losing that trust he has with Dumbledore, and then plant a few rumours about him in the Ministry and ‘Hey Presto’ - Severus incarcerated and the Order lose their spy. Much easier than killing him, of course. He may need to use him later on. This all works to his advantage, Silvana.”


Silvana shook her head, amazed at what she was hearing. Can I trust that he is telling the truth? It all seemed so far fetched and yet so simple it may just be true. But how? How did they do it?”


“Do you know how they have communicated with him? We did not find anything when we searched.” Lucius shook his head.


“Alas, poor Draco was not privy to that level of information. He was merely the delivery boy.”


The delivery boy? When did I first see Draco Malfoy? Silvana’s mind raced back to her first day at Hogwarts. That first day of my Potions lesson with Harry. He left a book! A Potions book. He did it right under my nose. So cunning! So like his father.She glared at Lucius, still not sure how to take him.


“Why do you tell me this now? Why, when after all these years that you have tormented me, and then only a few years ago destroyed all my hope, would you help me now?”


“Destroyed your hope? You have lost me, Silvana. You left and I lived my life. Do not flatter yourself that I cared, or ever gave you a moment‘s thought.” Silvana shook with rage at his insolence.


“You cared enough to kill them. To kill my hope and dreams. Why did you have to kill them Lucius? Why? Did I really dent your ego that much you had to stoop so low?” Lucius frowned, though he grew alarmed at her anger, knowing she still held a wand pointed in his direction.


“You are delirious, woman. I have killed no one connected with you.” Silvana shook with anger, her voice raised and edged with contempt.


“My husband and my son. My child, Lucius. Or have you killed so many that another two on your list that day just fade from your memory.” Lucius looked genuinely shocked.


“I do not understand, Silvana. When? Where? This is really getting us nowhere!”


“Do not play games with me! I saw you there, your hair against the sun. He came to find you, Lucius! I begged him not to and I knew if he did you would try and find us. And so you did. But to kill him?” Lucius’ stunned face made Silvana stop her rant. She stared into his eyes, so cold and yet now flashing with an emotion she could not make out. Silvana delved a little deeper into his mind and as she did so she gasped.


He genuinely doesn’t know. But how can that be true? Is he so accomplished an Occlumens now that he can lie in this way? I saw him from a distance but I would know him as if he were standing as close as he is right now. Silvana lowered her voice to a whisper and watched Lucius’ face carefully.


“Yes, a child, Lucius. Surely you remember that killing? The child that came to search for his father, confused and angry with me for hiding the dreadful truth of his birth. He hated me! He hated me for lying about his background and when I told the truth he hated me more. He came to you hoping to find a father whom he could identify with. How could you? How could you do that? How could you kill your own son?”


Lucius Malfoy sat in his chair and looked at the glittering eyes of the woman before him, who waved her wand precariously. Her words cut him in two like a knife. He thought about all she had just said and it did not seem real.My own son? Surely she lies. I only have Draco. And yet why would she lie to me now? It cannot be true.



“I came here to help your…brother. I do not…a son? Our son? It is not true. I did not kill any relation of yours.” Silvana looked at his uncertain face scornfully.


“Are you sure, Lucius? Is that why you came to my aid tonight? To gloat about what you did? To tell me a pack of lies and then rub salt into my wounds by telling me you know nothing of the son you killed in cold blood? As her wand inched closer to his throat, Lucius stood up sharply and shouted at Silvana.


“No! Your brother is worth more to me alive than dead and it is in my own interests to keep him that way, I admit, but a son? A son of ours? A first born child. I did not know.” Silvana hardened her stance and continued to aim her wand at the now seated Lucius, who held his head in his hands, exasperated and confused.


“That was no excuse to kill him. What harm had he ever done to you? You were the one that did harm, Lucius. That is how he came about!” Lucius raised his head from his hands and shook it slowly.


“I did not kill him, Silvana. Whenever it was, however it may seem I did not kill your son. I swear to you.”


“But I saw you, Lucius! I saw you. Nearly three years ago, Ireland, the sun shining in the forest, you chasing them, our son and my husband, me screaming for mercy. They got to the clearing and you aimed at them. You never gave either of them a chance. He never stood a chance against you! You, his own father! I did everything I could all through his life to protect him from you and you still found us.” Silvana broke down in tears, exhausted from her explanations. Lucius watched the tears fall and closed his eyes.


“I was not there, Silvana. Think of me what you will, and you have every right to hate me for all those years ago, but it was not me who killed your son…our son.” Silvana wiped away her tears and whispered,


“But I saw you.” Lucius stiffened and narrowed his eyes, his tone cold and abrupt.


“You saw who you wanted to see. It was not me.”


Silvana’s mind whirled with emotion. She was confused and disorientated, having lived for so long with one belief, and then receiving this body blow to contradict everything she believed. She tried to regain her composure and focus on all that had happened, but one question raced through her thoughts time and time again. If not him, then who? She looked at the clock ticking slowly on the wall as the seconds passed her by, teasing her, reminding her of the actual task in hand. She had done all she had needed to do. She had to act fast now. She stood up swiftly, still aiming her wand at Lucius, who looked like a crumpled shell of the arrogant man who had entered her home not a few moments ago.


“I must inform Dumbledore and retrieve the book. You will leave now.”


She motioned for Lucius to leave, but as he stood he paused, making her nervous. He looked into her dark eyes, watching and waiting. A child born from such wickedness. A Pureblood heir before my own. Another son. Why could nothing of mine be born from purity? Another child. How Narcissa would have loved another child. Lucius turned around and calmly questioned her.


“What did he look like?”


“I’m sorry?” Silvana looked taken aback, shocked by his questioning.


“Our child. What did he look like? Was he fair or dark?” Silvana shook her head and screwed up her face as if annoyed he had dared to ask her this now. She answered him in short, sharp tones.


“Fair, like you. A constant reminder for me, though thankfully he had my temperament and not yours, at least not until he was older.” Lucius smiled, and nodded, his face softening a little.


“A perfect child, perhaps. His brother was the same.”


“He was my life.” She paused to see Lucius lost in thought and suddenly felt overwhelmed with this bizarre connection she felt to him. A gratitude he could help her, a hatred long borne, and rightly so, and yet also a sudden stir of compassion for him. Silvana swallowed hard, burying her unnatural feelings.


“His name was Colm. And, despite how he came about in this world, I loved him with all my heart. He was a handsome young man when he died.” Lucius stepped forwards, though Silvana’s alarm made him stay back. He took in a deep breath and looked her in the eye, a serious and calm look across his face. Silvana held her wand out in front of her.


“ Colm” he mused. “A good name. I would have liked to have seen him for myself,” he muttered, wistfully, though pulling himself back with a jolt and the normal sneering expression upon his face. “ I will leave you now. Do with this information as you wish, but ensure your brother’s safety at all costs. He may be more of an ally to me now than ever before.” Silvana nodded, her nerve beginning to crumble as the realisation of what she had found out tonight began to strike home.


“There is one more thing. All I say to you is that before my life is through I will find out who killed our child, Silvana, and when I do they will feel the full extent of my wrath. You can be sure of that.”


Silvana nodded mutely, stunned into silence by the man she had always hated, always mistrusted as she led him through the hall and out of her home. Yet now she was more grateful, and more confused than she ever had been in her life. She watched as he stepped out of the house and into the shadows, his hair a faint reminder until that too disappeared from view like a wisp of smoke on the breeze. She looked around her and then firmly closed the door behind her, leaning against the solid oak panelling, closing her weary eyes. Was he telling the truth? Could she really trust him? Silvana took a moment to take stock of all that had happened and steadied her breathing. As she leaned against the door she was disturbed by a sudden knock from the other side and her pulse rate shot up as she panicked. Could he be back? Why? Should she open the door?

She decided she should, slowly turning the ornate brass work of the locks she had just fastened until she heard a click and the door released. She opened the door slightly and her shoulders immediately relaxed as she saw who was standing on the other side. Silvana opened the heavy door and with her body wracked with sobs she wrapped her arms around her lover’s neck and breathed in his comforting scent. He had come for her at last.


Unlike the last time she had spent time alone with Lucius Malfoy, her knight had finally come to take her away. The moment she had waited for all her life had come. Remus Lupin had come to take her with him. She would not return to Snape Manor again.



















Chapter 20: Just the Beginning
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Just the beginning



Let your love be like the misty rains, coming softly, but flooding the river. ~Malagasy Proverb








She looked up at Remus and shuddered as she tried to tell him what had happened only moments before, but the words would not come, and Remus held her closer, smoothing her hair down to comfort her. He was alarmed to see her in such distress, but also concerned that he thought he had just seen Lucius Malfoy leaving the grounds. His protective instinct grew minute by minute inside of him. Something told him she was frightened of Malfoy and if he had given her reason to be, and then he would search for him day and night until he was back in Azkaban.


Silvana began to settle as Remus’ scent soothed her nerves, and his embrace warmed her shivering body. She felt safe with him. Safe from the harm that had visited her moments before, and safe from all that was to come afterwards. She took a deep breath and looking into his concerned face she began to explain all that she had found out that evening.


“Voldemort has control of a book, Remus and that’s why Harry has been as he is. It’s in his Potions book. Harry wouldn’t have a clue if he has been sending him subliminal messages. Lucius came to tell me.” Remus frowned but Silvana interrupted him before he had a chance to ask her. “Let’s just say he owed me a favour. And before you ask, yes, I do trust him. On this at least, anyway. He has no reason to lie, Remus. It was his son who planted the book there. We have to get to Hogwarts straight away. I can prove Severus is innocent, Remus. I can get him out of Azkaban and back with us.”


Remus looked down at the tired but determined look on Silvana’s face and cupped his hands around her cheeks, cradling her face and gently pulling it towards his waiting lips. He kissed her tenderly and rubbed his nose gently against hers with affection.


“Let me go and tell Dumbledore. You look exhausted, sweetheart. Stay here and rest. I can come back and tell you what is happening.” Silvana shook her head, pulling away from him.


“No. I have to sort this out for Severus. You have to understand I am all he has.” Remus saw in her eyes that she would not be swayed. He took a deep breath and sighed, pulling her in gently into his arms.


“If I go with you, do you promise you will get some rest after we have told Dumbledore?”


“If you promise you will rest with me, Remus.” Silvana glanced up at him with a weary grin and a slight twinkle in her eye. Remus kissed the top of her head.


“Of course, my darling. Now, let’s find out exactly what Lucius Malfoy is on about, shall we?”


*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*





They ran up the stairs to Dumbledore’s office, Silvana in front dragging Remus by the hand up the stairs behind her like a woman possessed. Gasping for breath, Silvana pushed the door to the office and didn’t wait for a knock as she shouted out into the cool air.


“I know how he did it! I know…oh. You’re all here.” She came to an abrupt halt.


Remus stumbled in behind her, nearly knocking Silvana over, and witnessed the surprised looks of not only Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall, but Harry, Hermione and Ron, all huddled around an object Remus couldn’t quite see that lie on the wooden desk in the middle of the office. Finally letting go of his hand, Silvana edged her way around to see the object, knowing what it was. Dumbledore nodded to her as she reached over carefully, steadily and picked up the book, slowly turning the pages with her long, elegant fingers. Remus took his place behind Silvana, watching over her protectively, and he frowned at Dumbledore.


“Silvana had a visit from Lucius Malfoy. He told her there was a book that communicated with Harry that Draco had planted in Harry‘s possession at the beginning of term. But is this true? I thought we checked everything.” Dumbledore nodded as Silvana inspected the book from cover to cover, holding it up to the light as if looking for something She stayed silent as she carried out her inspection. Ron muttered something about ‘Bloody Malfoy’ which only Harry and Dumbledore heard, and Dumbledore chose to ignore it.


“Yes, Remus. This is the book. Miss Granger here felt a strange presence while borrowing it for her studies and very sensibly brought it straight to our attention. However, I have a feeling Silvana may be the only one who can tell us for sure what it is, or at the very least how it works.” Silvana listened to his words and put the book carefully down on the desk, gingerly looking it over, her dark eyes twinkling. Hermione looked up at Silvana’s face and smiled hesitantly. Her natural instinct to help came to the fore.


“I felt a vibration when I followed the words. It was a strange feeling. I’m not sure what it was because I couldn’t actually hear anything.” Silvana looked directly at Hermione and then questioningly at Dumbledore, her eyes gazing straight into his vibrant blue ones. He seemed to know what she was asking before she opened her mouth.


“It is possible, Silvana. Perhaps you would try for us.” The others made way for her, pulling out a chair so she could sit down at the desk. Remus was witness to the unspoken communication between his Headmaster and the woman he loved and he grew nervous for her. He had already seen the look of utter exhaustion on her face and worried for her health, thinking nothing of his own fatigue. Dumbledore turned and smiled to reassure his Professor, placing a hand on his shoulder. He was secretly delighted his Defence Professor was by Silvana’s side and so attentive. This was how the future was made.


“Do not worry, Remus. She is quite safe here. No harm will come of her.”


Silvana traced her finger slowly over the page and waited to adjust to the parchment underneath her flesh, turning to Hermione who nodded to reassure her she was doing the right thing. At first she felt nothing, and a wave of frustration hit her, settling in the pit of her stomach. But the second time her finger caressed the page she felt it. It was a faint rippling underneath the sensitive pad of skin that grew with an intensity that she had never felt before. The page itself seemed unaltered but what she was feeling underneath her fingers did not reveal itself on the parchment. It was well concealed, like an invisible Braille hidden away beneath the words. As the ferocity of the feeling grew Silvana appeared to become entranced, her expression glazing over, but her own strength of mind fought it, and she suddenly pulled her hand away, gasping for breath. Remus was straight to her aid for the second time that evening, but she smiled at his concerned expression and held his face in her trembling hands, caressing his cheeks as he knelt before her, his face opposite hers in perfect symmetry. Harry frowned at Ron and Hermione shrugged as they both turned to her for answers. Dumbledore smiled at Silvana, coughing a little to get her attention.


“Is this as I suspected, Silvana? Will this prove his innocence?” Silvana looked at Remus’ smiling and yet uncertain face, and gasped.


“Oh my! I nearly forgot Severus!” She turned back to Dumbledore and nodded. “Yes. There is no way my brother did this. He is clever, but languages and communication of this nature have never been his strong point. I can assure you he cannot speak a word of Parseltongue.” Minerva McGonagall stepped forward and frowned.


“Parseltongue? Oh my! So when Miss Granger mentioned vibrating pages she was correct? I must confess I was in half a mind whether to believe her or not.” Harry swallowed and looked at his Professors and Silvana.


“Can someone tell me what you’re all talking about? This does sort of affect me, you know. How come Silvana can hear this or feel this and no one else can…apart from me that is? Does that make us both weak or odd or what?” Silvana chuckled and beckoned Harry over to her, reaching for his hand, which he gladly offered. A swell of pride rose in Remus as Silvana looked deep into Harry’s eyes and she stood and hugged him to her. She made the embrace brief, sensing his discomfort, and pulled away, smiling at his insecure face. She looked around the room and smiled shyly at her onlookers. It was time to tell them why.



“ We’re not weak at all, Harry. Perhaps a little odd in some eyes. I was about four when my mother and father had Severus. I had always wanted a sibling, and my baby brother was a welcome addition to our little family. Severus was a sickly child, and our mother was sickly after she had him. That summer when our father wasn’t around, she used to sit us out in the sunshine to recover, though she sat Severus in his pram in the shade of the woods that surrounded our home. It was a beautiful, warm summer that year, wonderful.”

“One day, while Severus slept in his pram, I noticed something out of the corner of my eye climb up the framework of the pram and slither into his sheets. It was an adder, the only poisonous snake we actually get over here. Of course I didn’t know that at the time, but our Mother knew they were in the woods and had warned me to be careful. I knew this was not good, but Mother was so soundly asleep, and she had been so ill I was frightened to wake her. So I went up to the pram. But I was four years old - I didn’t want to touch a snake so I did what I felt was right and told the snake to go away. It was then that our Mother woke up.” Silvana glanced over at Dumbledore as if to gain permission to continue. He smiled and nodded.


“I will never forget the look on her face. She was stunned, proud perhaps, but also very frightened. I didn’t understand at the time, but apparently I had talked to the snake in a completely different language.” Harry looked stunned, remembering the time he had talked to a snake and all the fuss it had caused in his second year at Hogwarts. He turned to Silvana and gasped.


“Then you speak Parseltongue too? You’re a Parselmouth!” Silvana patted his hand and nodded.


“Yes, Harry.“ She turned to Remus who stood open-mouthed. “I was sworn to secrecy all my life. I’m not even sure if my brother knows, or remembers, but I am certain he does not have the gift, because our father was severely disappointed that his son did not inherit a talent that his family were synonymous for many generations ago. Our father was desperate for his son to stand out from the crowd, but not his daughter. He did not know I inherited it instead. It hadn’t been passed down the generations for many years. Mother forbid me to tell for fear of what he would do to me. For fear of how he would use it to his advantage.”


“Snakes can hear through vibrations and have sensors to listen for those vibrations. Parselmouths have that too. And this book is communicating in Parseltongue, hence Hermione could feel a strange vibration and you and I can hear words, thought somehow, I’m not sure how, Voldemort is able to block out your reasoning so you don’t realise how it works. I was looking for it so it didn’t affect me so much. You thought it was a normal Potions text book and …”


“Got sucked in. He’s got me again, hasn’t he? Why am I always so weak and pathetic? Why can‘t I just stand face to face with him and let this all be over?” Dumbledore stepped forwards commandingly.


“You are not weak, Harry. This was a dark and cruel way to gain your attention and turn you against us without your knowledge. But we may still have the upper hand in this.” Minerva frowned, concerned for Harry.

“But how Albus? How can we turn this around to our advantage?” Silvana looked deep into Professor Dumbledore’s eyes and saw she had the same idea as he did. He smiled as they schemed and nodded in an unspoken agreement.

“Because we have a substitute. Voldemort may believe he is talking to Harry here, but he will actually be talking to Silvana, with her permission.” Harry looked at Silvana and saw her smile. He was both relieved and concerned. He could not wish her to take his place and yet he knew it was the only way to protect himself. Remus rubbed his forehead as if it ached and looked at Dumbledore, not liking what he had heard.

“There must be another way. The risk is too great. What if he finds out?” Silvana shook her head.

“Darling, how will he find out? No one knows about my gift apart from all of you and possibly Severus, who would never betray me. He has no idea, and I can pretend to be Harry, no problem! I have great experience in petulant teenagers.” She shot Harry a cheeky look and winked. He grinned. He knew she was determined, and glanced at Remus in sympathy. Remus was dumbstruck. He knew only too well she had the obstinacy of her brother at times like these but she had stunned him even more by calling him Darling in front of them all. He had to concede. He would do anything for here. Dumbledore looked around the room at the stunned faces and spoke calmly.


“Then we are agreed. Of course, Silvana, we will have to move you into Hogwarts. I am sure Viell will be more than happy to hold the fort at Headquarters, and we have plenty of room here. You may still travel there for transformation with Remus, of course, but in the main it will be safer if you communicate here. I will have the house elves make you up a room. For now, you are free to dine with Remus until they are ready. Take dinner in your quarters, Remus. You three should go and find yourselves something to eat too. Now, I must go to the Ministry and manage the release of Severus as soon as possible. I can only hope he forgives me and agrees to come back to Hogwarts. Minerva, would you be kind enough to arrange for Narcissa Malfoy to come and collect Draco? I will come back before she leaves with him. I think he has some explaining to do.” Minerva nodded and watched as Dumbledore left the room. She turned to Harry, Ron and Hermione and smiled.


“Well, I think that’s enough excitement for you three for today. Let’s go down and find us some dinner, shall we?”


Silvana stood up and held Harry’s hand. With a series of hisses and snake like sounds she began to give him a message, much to the consternation of Ron, but fascination of Hermione and Remus, who stood transfixed. Harry reacted with a hug and Silvana wrapped her arms around him protectively.


“We’ll be ok, Harry. We’ll be ok.”


He nodded, and under the protective glare of Minerva McGonagall the three teenagers left the room. Remus looked across at the tired but smiling Silvana, and without another word, as the door closed behind him and they were alone, he walked over to her and swept her up in a passionate kiss. He had ached for her, longed for her over the past few weeks and all his emotion came out in that one kiss. Silvana lost herself in his emotions and pulled him closer to him. They were only interrupted by a cough from one of the portraits. It was Phineas Nigellus.


“Is this really the time or place for this frivolity?” Remus blushed and apologised as he took Silvana’s hand and led her out of the room, still gazing at her. He could not believe he was so lucky to have her back again. They walked hand in hand back through a maze of corridors Silvana had never seen before, but Remus promised her he was an expert at finding his way around the old building, and he was true to his word. As they walked along, he turned to her and asked her,


“So what did you say to Harry back there?”


“I just told him everything would be ok, only in Parseltongue.” Remus grinned mischievously and blushed a little.


“I was quite jealous. It has always unnerved me, Parseltongue, but from your lips…”


Silvana stopped him and her eyes glittered as she looked up at him. “Remus Lupin! Are you telling me you find my gift a little…erotic?” He wrapped his arms around her waist and brought his face to her ear, kissing her lobes gently, sending sensations throughout her body. The cool, dark corridor only added to the tension.


“I find you more than a little erotic, my darling. Just being with you is enough. You don’t have to say a word.” Silvana blushed, though she turned her head to nuzzle against his ear and whispered a phrase in Parseltongue, watching as his pupils dilated and he pressed against her, bringing her body into a kiss once more. She pulled away slightly.


“Remus, I love you, and I want to be with you, but there are things you need to know. Things I need to tell you if we are to be honest with one another and have a chance at the relationship I think we both want.” Remus smiled, though he felt a little nervous.


“Of course. Let’s have something to eat and then we can talk then.” Silvana nodded, kissing his cheek, and silently praying he would understand.


And he did understand. As they sat down after dinner she told him everything about her childhood, and her relationship with Severus. How she had been violated so badly by Lucius Malfoy on that fateful day in September and sold to the highest bidder by her own father who had never cared for her. How she had borne Malfoy’s child and how her husband took that child as his own soon after Dumbledore had found her a family to live with when he helped with her escape from the Wizarding World. Silvana explained how she had fallen in love with the O’Brien family, but how she always knew it was never enough, until such time when she realised her marriage was never to be a happy and fulfilling one. And then the ultimate heartbreak of losing that child, and her husband to Malfoy, or at least she had thought it was Malfoy. She explained to Remus that meeting only a few hours ago and how she believed Malfoy when he said it was not him. And then she told him how much she loved him, loved Remus for who he was and what he was, and that her biggest fear was now he knew the truth he would see her differently.


Remus did see her differently. He saw her as more loving, vulnerable and beautiful than he had ever seen her before. Her past made him angry but also protective and he had wrapped his arms around her feeling as if he never wanted to let her go. He was puzzled to learn Severus had no idea about Lucius, but he agreed never to tell him, and he would stick by that promise. Her past explained so much about her future, and it was a future he now knew would include him. In telling him all that she had done, Remus felt needed, honoured and protective. Silvana gave him a purpose and that purpose was to love her, and to look after her. Her past had deepened his love, not prevented it. He felt that he had suffered for her himself, and that they were destined for one another. Perhaps fate had them planned all along, he mused. Perhaps.



After supper, Silvana laid Remus down onto his oversized sofa and they both lie on to top of it, relaxed in each other’s arms. Silvana rolled onto her stomach, lying against Remus’ body and grinned at his smiling, relaxed face. He closed his eyes briefly to control the growing desire he felt for her as her body shifted on top of his, not wishing to worry her. He respected her too much to ruin all that they had now. But she knew. She could see it in his eyes as well as feel it on his body, and as she saw confirmation in his look, she smiled to reassure him. She wanted him too, but not tonight. Tonight was just a beginning - anything else would spoil that. She traced a finger around his hairline, tucking back an imaginary piece of hair and he sighed as she brushed her hands past his ears. Silvana gave him a knowing smile and made a mental note to herself. When the time was right she would kiss those ears and whisper to him how much she cared Perhaps, she smiled to herself, in Parseltongue.

She followed his jaw line and then lazily traced circles in the downy hair protruding from his unbuttoned shirt, undoing a few more buttons and enjoying the feel of his hair against her skin. He stopped her as she came closer to his waistband, smiling wickedly.

“Are you sure you shouldn’t have been put in Slytherin? Parseltongue, wicked tendencies? It‘s all Slytherin. Even your brother is their Head of House!” he winked. Silvana grinned, shrugging her shoulders as if to act coy, though the closeness of their bodies intoxicated her senses.

“The Snape family were nearly all Slytherin. I am unique for my family”

“You’re certainly unique, Silvana.”


Again he closed his eyes, and Silvana gently brushed the skin of his eyelids with her lips and whispered to him.


“You look so tired, Darling.” He opened his eyes and smiled, pulling her body into his embrace, adjusting her slightly to make himself more comfortable.


“I’m fine. I had a rough transformation this month. It doesn’t do me any good.” Silvana sat up a little, looking sheepish.


“I should have been there for you.”


“Nonsense! You did the right thing, and look what happened. Severus will be back where he belongs and you and I are together. How can that be wrong?” Silvana smiled, comforted that Remus was right. He was always right. She nestled back down under his chin and smiled contentedly. She had her knight at last and she felt at peace. Remus mirrored her expression as he looked down to see her relaxed face.


“I dreamt about you though, when I did sleep. The same recurring dream. You tormented my very soul, you Slytherin, you!” Silvana placed her hands on his chest and leaned her chin against them to look into his eyes.


“Tell me about them.” Remus smiled as she settled back down against his body, and he began to stroke her hair, now loosened from its confines and flowing down her back. He kissed the top of her head and began to relay his tale.


“You and I are at my house. On the Moor. It’s a beautiful summers day. The sun is shining and not a cloud in the sky. We’re sitting outside, looking out at the view before us.” He felt Silvana’s smile against the skin of his chest and closed his eyes as she murmured,


“What are we looking at?”


“The view. The towns in the distance and the trees closer by, rustling in the cooling breeze. Our garden is looking beautiful today and the flowers are in full bloom. We‘re watching our…” He hesitated. There were children in his dreams. Always their children. But his dreams of a similar nature had been rejected by Perpetua. Was he brave enough to tell her? Would she run away from his hopes like his wife had before? Silvana sensed he was holding back.


“Remus? What is it? What do you see?” He swallowed. He had to tell her and hope for the best. He hoped it didn’t scare her away.


“I see children, darling. We have children.” Silvana breathed out a sigh and Remus felt relieved as she kissed his chest and whispered,


“How many do we have?” Remus shifted uncomfortably, but looked into her eyes, searching for her reaction. It surprised him.


“It doesn’t worry you? It doesn‘t bother you I feel this so strongly already?” Silvana shook her head.


“Not at all. I mean, it’s very early days and all, but I would love to have more children, Remus. That doesn‘t mean to say it will have to be with you, of course, but it‘s nice to dream. In my dreams we always have children.” As she settled back down against the warmth of his chest, Remus breathed a sigh of relief.


“You share my dreams.” Silvana smiled, kissing his chest, sending a tingling sensation down his spine and warming his heart.


“And your hopes and fears.”


“Five.” Silvana frowned and looked up at Remus’ face, who was looking towards her now, his chin to his chest, trying to get a better view of her as she lie on him.


“I’m sorry?”


“Five. Five children. You asked how many we had in my dream.”


“Five,” she whispered, sleep beginning to take over her senses now. “Five is a good number.” Remus glanced down as she succumbed to her slumber and kissed the top of her head, nuzzling his face into the sweet scent of her hair and wrapping his protective arms around her. His eyelids grew heavy from months of worry, but his heart was light. He had a future. He had hope. He had Silvana. And in his sleep he dared to dream like he had never dreamt before, for she was his and nothing now could change that. At least not in that perfect moment of bliss. For now, Remus Lupin had all he could ever wish for. The promise of a family to fill his house on the Moors.



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*




“He has been released Master.” Voldemort paced up and down the cold, damp room, and glared at his messenger. He paused for thought before he killed the man in front of him. The fool Dumbledore believes him still. Severus the traitor. I will make him pay.


With a flick of his wand he extinguished the life that meant so little to him, and turned to Wormtail who shivered with anticipation, fearing for his own life. Severus Snape being released from Azkaban could not be good.


“Do you have a plan, Master?” Voldemort glanced at his weak servant, his eyes full of disdain.

“Of course. If I cannot reach the man I will use his sister. I will make him beg for my forgiveness and use him still . This is merely a set back. You will find Silvana Snape.” Wormtail frowned, though he tried to hide his confusion. Voldemort could sense his emotions and they irritated him.


“The woman is protected by Dumbledore, yes?” Wormtail nodded.


“I do not know where she is.” Voldemort narrowed his eyes.


“Then think. She is a lover of that werewolf.” Wormtail nodded enthusiastically.


“She was with Remus Lupin, yes. If I could get to him…” Voldemort scoffed.


“Yes, but to lure them out we must think of a plan. She had family in Ireland I believe.” Wormtail smiled a wicked smile and began to turn the wheels inside his mind.


“Yes! If we could get to them, to find out who they are and…she would come, and Lupin would never let her travel alone. They are both ridiculously sentimental. He always was the perfect gentleman.” Voldemort sneered.


“A downfall for all three of them then. Both of the Snapes and Lupin. A hat trick, Wormtail! How delicious!” Wormtail felt warm with pride and was delighted with his plan. Revenge was sweet. Lupin may not have instigated his torment but he stood by and watched. He would make him stand by and watch now as he tormented him and did nothing to help. It was his turn for control.


“But when, Master?”


“Soon. Let them have their pathetic Christmas celebrations. I shall even leave Potter alone for a while. And while they rest we shall scheme and plot their downfall. I will have the boy in my power by Easter, and you, you shall have revenge on Lupin.”


“You are most gracious, Master. Most generous.” Voldemort narrowed his violent red eyes and nodded.


“I know. Now be gone. I have to plan a little Christmas present for the Malfoys. The Snape’s are not the only ones who need to be reminded of my power and their position in life. They will all be on their knees to me and comply with my wishes. And when they do, Hogwarts will be mine.”



End of Part One



A/N As the title of this suggests I have made this the first part of my story. There will be more. Silvana and Remus finally settling together will be just the start of their journey. There are several unanswered questions that need answering. Will Severus return to Hogwarts? Was Malfoy lying and if he was, who did kill Silvana’s family? And what next for the Malfoy family? What will Voldemort do next, and can Remus and Silvana survive the war and have the dream they both desire? And why is Dumbledore so keen to have them together? I have some firm ideas. Whether HBP will change that, I’m not sure, but I wanted to say a big thank you for supporting me and all your feedback. For now, goodbye. BJ






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