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.
“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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