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.
“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.
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