“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?”
“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.
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