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