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Her Last Hope



The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope.
~William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure




Hermione, Ron and Harry all sat in the library, heads down in concentration, though it was not directed on their schoolwork. It was now approaching December, and since Severus Snape and his sister had left Hogwarts the atmosphere within the school had been filled with an uneasy truce. Silvana no longer came for the weekly OWL lessons, as Harry was about to retake his exam, and felt confident of passing with a higher grade, despite all that had happened. She was, however, due to be with him on the day of the examination for moral support. She had written a letter to him promising that. Harry had managed to control any feelings he had against Dumbledore, though they were nowhere near as intense as they had been before Snape had left. Ron had maintained this was proof that Snape had been the culprit, but neither Hermione nor, if the truth were told, Harry believed it.


Potions lessons were not the same. More relaxed, yes, but until a suitable Professor could be found to replace Snape, then various Professors took the lessons, and most of those were reading from a textbook. Snape may have been an ogre, the NEWT’s pupils agreed, but he did know his stuff when it came to his subject. It was almost as if they actually missed him. Hermione had taken to setting herself her own Potions homework, much to the amusement of the ever -in -awe Ron. He watched her burying her head in her Potions textbook night after night in their common room, while he and Harry discussed tactics for their next Quidditch match. She works far too hard on that subject. Something must be done.



Their library discussion was a result of those morning’s events at breakfast, and the dishevelled and worn appearance of Remus Lupin on his first day back after his transformation. He looked beyond tired, as if he had not slept for weeks. His normally enthusiastic demeanour was seriously lacking its sparkle, his skin was sallow, and, as his fellow staff members said a cheery Good Morning, he only nodded in reply. His young friends noticed immediately, and convened in the library for a rare joint free period to discuss his state of health.


“You can tell, can’t you?” whispered Hermione, glancing over at Madame Pince to check she wasn’t watching. Ron shrugged, looking lost.


“Tell what?”


“That Silvana wasn’t at Grimmauld Place for Professor Lupin’s transformation. He hasn’t looked that bad since our third year.” Harry shifted uncomfortably in his seat as Ron nodded.


“Yeah, Tonks told my brothers that he was really restless when he transformed, as if he was pining for her, or something.” Harry winced, and pushed his books away.


“This is all my fault.” His loud voice caught Madame Pince’ attention, and Hermione glared at him.


“Harry!” she whispered forcefully, “No it isn’t. Silvana could have stayed behind but she chose to go with her brother. I think someone wanted to get Snape into trouble.” Ron leaned back in his chair, astonished.


“What?” Hermione glared at his raised voice, which Ron immediately quietened down. “You mean you think he’s an innocent man? Snape? It all happened in the Potions classroom, didn’t it? You saw it! He made Harry bow to him!” Hermione screwed up her face as if his words hurt her.


“Yeah, but…oh I don’t know, it just didn’t seem right.” Harry looked at Hermione, questioningly.


“What do you mean? Do you mean his reaction to me doing it? I’ve been thinking about that.”


“Yes!” exclaimed Hermione. “That’s the thing that just doesn’t fit for me. If he had wanted to command you he would have been pleased that you became all respectful and all, but he wasn’t. He looked horrified when you bowed, embarrassed even. Not exactly the sign of someone who craves power. And another thing. Why did he resign?” Ron frowned.


“Because they were going to sack him anyway?” Harry shook his head.


“But there was always a chance they might not have done. I mean, I didn’t get hurt or anything and I’m sure Dumbledore would have stuck up for him; he always does. They may have just warned him, and if he needed to be with me, to get me to join Voldemort, he would have tried to stay.” Ron looked thoughtful and then yelled.



“Yeah, but maybe he doesn’t have to be here to do the Dark Lords work.” Hermione shrugged.


“The only way we can find out is to find whatever sends you these messages…or whoever. But I think it’s a thing rather than a person.” Ron shook his head.


“You only want Snape back to give you more bloody homework, unless…uurrgghh, you don’t fancy him, do you, Hermione?”


“Don’t be preposterous, Ronald Weasley! As if! No, we need to think about this carefully, because if Snape comes back then Silvana will come back too, and I think Professor Lupin deserves a bit of happiness right now.” Harry sighed aloud.


“Looking at him this morning, that had better be soon. He looked like death. He must really like her.”


“Yeah,” said Ron, wistfully looking at Hermione, who had not failed to notice, and smirked. She looked across at Harry.


“Right, Harry. The next time you hear this voice, I want you to tell us and we can start looking.”


“And what exactly are we looking for?” asked Ron, puzzled. Hermione shrugged again.


“That’s the only problem, Ron. I just don’t know.” Ron looked around him, glaring as Draco Malfoy entered the library with his usual faithful entourage. Harry shook his head as Draco sneered at him threateningly.


“Look at him, lording it up like he owns the place. He thinks he’s so important just because he sent the school that message about Snape.” Hermione nodded in agreement, a sad look across her face.


“Yeah, and I saw him laughing and pointing at Professor Lupin this morning too. I really hope, when something bad happens to him one day, that I’m there to laugh at him.” As Crabbe and Goyle left the confines of the library, leaving Draco alone with Pansy Parkinson, Ron saw his chance.


“Let’s make that time now, shall we Hermione?” and Ron made to stand up and head towards Draco, but was prevented from doing so by a sharp pull on his shirttails. As he looked around he saw Hermione grabbing a hold of his shirt and glaring at him. Draco looked over at the scene and shouted across the library.


“Awe look! Hermione’s got herself a new pet. Good job you’ve got him on a leash, Granger, or he’d make a terrible mess. I don‘t think it‘s house trained yet.” Madam Pince glared over at Malfoy who saw her steely glare and bent his head down in discussion with Pansy.


Ron stepped towards him once again, but this time Hermione grabbed a hold of his arm and stood up to stop him. Harry sat back, not wishing to be involved. He had known for quite some time that if there was to be an argument between Ron and Hermione, it was better to stay out of it.


“Ronald, I said NO!”


“But he insulted you!” Ron exclaimed.


“No he didn’t. He insulted you, but regardless of that you do not allow him to get to you in this way, right?”


“But..but..” Hermione edged closer and glared into Ron’s eyes.



“Right?”


“But I…wanted…” Hermione narrowed her eyes at Ron and shook her head, exasperated at his persistence. She did the first thing that came to mind to stop him going over to Draco Malfoy. She took her hands, placed them tenderly to his cheeks and kissed him on the lips. It worked. When she pulled away Ron stood in stunned silence, ignoring the catcalls and whistles from the other students, his skin glowing a scarlet shade of red. Madam Pince was about to come over, furious her beloved library was being used in this manner.



“Look after him, will you Harry, while I go into the restricted section?” grinned Hermione, nonchalantly. Harry smirked as Ron sat down in a daze, reeling from what had happened.


“She kissed me.” Harry nodded, and grinned.


“Yes she did, Ron”


“With tongues.” Harry stifled a laugh but screwed up his face and held up a hand to stop Ron going any further.


“Too much information, Ron, Just too much!”





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






Silvana drew back the long, velvet curtains that adorned the French windows of the study and flinched as daylight hit her eyes. The day was cloudy, rain was falling, but the brightness of outside was still in stark contrast to the darkness of the room behind her. The particles of dust from the curtains were highlighted in the morning light, twirling and dancing about in the delicate breeze emanating from the ill fitting windows.I really must dust in here she pondered, her mind comfortably numbed with duties and chores. They hid her pain, but the smell and sight before her as she turned around did not.


Severus Snape had not coped well these past few weeks. Though he would never admit to it, he missed the authority he held at Hogwarts, and desired the routine of the hectic school schedule, and, perhaps, even the company of the pupils themselves on rare, weak occasions. He had had many of those recently. The lack of trust from Dumbledore and the other Professors had made him resign, and the absence of that important role in his life made him wander aimlessly, becoming bitter and introspective. All his life he had yearned for recognition; from his father, from his fellow students at Hogwarts, from the Death Eaters, and Dumbledore. In Dumbledore, more than anyone else, he had found that rare relationship of trust in his life. Now all of that was shattered, splintered the moment Dumbledore told him he had lied to him years ago about Silvana, and exacerbated by this latest development. Only Silvana stood by him steadfastly, and even then she wavered in her own judgement. If she had the opportunity of a life with the werewolf, would she be by my side right now? I doubt it. She doubts me too.


It was after such thoughts that Severus had fallen asleep in a drunken stupor the previous night, and Silvana had found him, still lying in his favourite armchair, pale and silent. For a moment he was almost too corpse like for her still tired mind to comprehend. Once the panic had ceased, Silvana’s emotions changed to anger. How dare you be so selfish, Severus, when I am doing everything I can for you! When I have sacrificed so much for you, you choose to treat me with this lack of respect. She shook his arm, the smell of the alcohol hitting her nostrils hard, making her insides contract with the stench.


“Severus! Severus, I am about to go to Hogwarts for the exam. I reminded you about this yesterday. Do you remember?” Snape mumbled something incoherent under his breath and shrugged his shoulders.


“Off to join the den of vipers…they will keep you there.” Silvana shook her head and went out to the kitchen to make Severus a black coffee. On returning with the strong, steaming liquid she saw he had fallen back to sleep, so she shook him again, much to his annoyance.


“Severus, drink this coffee and sober up. You will not help yourself by sitting here moping away like this. My patience with you is wearing thin.” He opened one eye and looked over at the coffee.


“Don’t want to wake up.” Silvana rolled her eyes and slapped him around the face, much to his astonishment.


“Do not talk so, Severus, and do not waste my time with your self pity, you selfish child. Drink the coffee, get up and take a bath. You stink. Now make sure you‘ve sorted yourself out by the time I come back from Hogwarts. Perhaps we can spend the rest of the afternoon together if I can come back in time.” Severus turned away from her gaze.


“Have a lovely time, won’t you?” he sneered as she turned to walk out the door. She did not lower herself to answer. Silvana had done her duty to her brother for a month. Now she had had enough.



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




Harry was already taking the examination when Silvana arrived, annoyed and irritated to have been made late by her wayward brother. Hagrid had met her at Hogsmeade, and she had practically run the journey through to the grounds of Hogwarts to keep up with his stride. She was still reluctant to use magical forms of transport unless necessary, and today was no exception. The dungeon classroom had been kept free for Harry to do his exam, and as Silvana approached the doorway she noticed two chairs were placed outside of the door to the Potions room; one for her and the other was filled already by a man she had almost hoped she would not see: Remus Lupin. He was yawning and rubbing his large hand along his temple as she stepped closer, unaware of her presence. She looked at him, studying the lines of fatigue on his weary face and she bit her lip. Some of those are down to me.

He smelt her scent at first, and then saw her shoes as she stood there and sat down on the adjacent chair. He didn’t need to see her face for confirmation of who it was, but he looked just the same and was rewarded for his efforts by a wide, sympathetic smile. He was lost in her eyes the minute he looked into them, and she saw and felt his pain and was overwhelmed with guilt. I did this. I made him so forlorn and weary. I added to his problems, but I would give anything to help him now. Remus smiled gently and looked directly at Silvana as she sat down beside him, waiting like two expectant parents anticipating news of their child.


“How are you?” he asked, hesitantly, as if knowing inside she was hurting. Silvana nodded.


“Yes, good.I’m fine. And you? And how is Viell? I expect she hates me for leaving.” Remus shook his head and smiled a little.


“Not at all. She is angrier with me for letting you go. Arlize is well. She and Viell are working voluntarily at the orphanage where the children of the Diagon Alley disaster were placed in their spare time. I have said I will go there with them later today. And how is Severus?” Silvana shook her head and looked up into Remus’ eyes awkwardly, shying away from such direct contact.


“Not so good. He suffers, Remus. It pains me to see him as he is, but my patience with him wears thin. He is not helping himself at all.” She lowered her voice into a whisper. “He drinks all day until he is not conscious of his words or actions. His self pity makes me angry and yet I know it is my fault.” Remus frowned and edged a little towards Silvana, speaking in soft, soothing words.


“How is it your fault? Do not blame yourself. We are the ones who did not stick by him; you have done more than he could ever ask.” Silvana wrung her hands and it was then that Remus noticed how the skin down the sides of her thumbs was red raw and bleeding. A product of her anguish and self-loathing. She began to run her long fingernails down the skin again as she spoke.



“I resent him. I resent him for taking me away from you, and Harry, for making me feel the guilt I now carry in my heart. And I know I can never forsake him, for if I did who would he have to pick up the pieces? I have forsaken him once before and I must not do it again. But in my heart, though I love him, I also despise him. I must truly be a wicked person, Remus.”

Remus grasped her hands in his, the force of his touch making Silvana gasp. He relaxed his grip a little, and she relaxed under his touch. He looked into her eyes, searching for her. She let him find her there.


“You are the least wicked person I know of, Silvana. You have generosities that most never see in a lifetime. You love him and you care, and it is because you care that you hurt right now. But others care for you too, at least we do, I do. I would, if I had the chance to. With all my heart I would.”


Silvana looked down. She dare not answer him for if she did she thought she would break. Her head told her she must do her duty but her heart…her heart told her to run. Run as far away with this man who holds you so tenderly and never come back. Make a life with him and learn to love again. Have the family you yearn for and live. Above all else live your life.


The voice was not hers. It was Eleanor’s. Silvana blinked back tears and slowly pulled her hands away from Remus‘. Duty She changed the subject and avoided his gaze; intense and so loving she thought he saw her very soul.


“You say you are going to the orphanage?” Remus nodded, desperate to hold her again, but knowing she wanted some air of normality to cope with all that happened around her.


“Yes. They need all the helpers they can get and I have some free time later on this evening.” Silvana smiled.


“I used to help out at a school when I was back in Ireland. I enjoyed that time. You will be good, Remus. They will need a father figure like you. Someone to trust and to love.” Remus ceased the chance and blurted out his request. For once he acted entirely on impulse without deliberation. He asked her what she had hoped he would dare to ask.


“Come with me, with us. You said yourself you enjoyed your time at the school and you are fantastic with children. Come and help us, please. Please come with me.” Silvana stared into his glittering eyes and watched his pupils dilate with longing. Hers reacted the same way, making her eyes seem almost a true black. After all I have said and done he still wants me, to be with me, and I feel the same. She hesitated at her answer, stumbling to find the words that she wanted to say and filter them through the reasoning in her mind. There are a hundred and one reasons why you want to be with this man, and only one reason why you should resist. You must listen to the majority and not the minority, Silvana. Listen to your heart. Eleanor?


Silvana’s mind whirled and before thinking, as if someone or something finally took control she blurted out in an emotional rush, ‘Yes, I will go with you,” and watched as Remus’ face lit up, only to turn around as Minerva McGonagall called out behind them.


“Oh Silvana! You must come up to Dumbledore’s office right away. Something terrible has happened. You must not waste time.”




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





Hermione sat down in the common room and sighed. She’d hunted everywhere for her Potions textbook and she had still not found it. Ron! she muttered under her breath. He wasn’t around; out playing Quidditch practise with Harry, but she knew he’d do that sort of thing. Why is he such a child sometimes and yet so mature too…though rarely. Why am I so attracted to him, the irritating little..? Hermione shook her head and made her way towards the sizable pile of books that Harry had left lying around before he went outside.He won’t mind if I borrow his book for a moment, will he? I mean, it’s not as if he’ll be studying tonight. Not after sitting that exam.



She prized the large textbook out from the pile of books and grinned to herself that she had skilfully managed to avoid spilling all the others on the common room floor. Hermione sat at the large desk before her and tentatively turned the pages to the correct chapter. Trying to find the information she needed for her essay, she scanned the pages of the book with her finger, gently pressing it down on the parchment as she followed the lines of the passage on Jobberknoll feathers.


But something made her stop. Hermione paused, uncertain of what she felt. She looked down at the tips of her fingers and shook her head. They look ok. Why do they feel strange? She went back to the passage and began her task once more, following the text again with her fingers. She paused. The intensity of the feeling was growing stronger but she could not identify what was wrong. She tried the same movement again, but this time there was nothing. He was worse after Potions lessons She looked at the book, plain and unassuming. It was just an ordinary textbook. Book…chamber…rare gift Of course! Vibration perhaps? Potions?


And with that Hermione Granger slammed the book shut, tucked it under her arm and ran all the way to Professor McGonagalls office.




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




Remus Lupin sat down at the familiar table in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place with his head in a whirl. Arlize and Viell were getting ready to leave for the orphanage all around him and he was lost in his thoughts. Today, sitting in Dumbledore’s office, he had seen the woman he loved crumple with tears as the Headmaster informed her that her beloved brother had been arrested. There had been a wave of arrests on people linked with Voldemort, whether there was evidence or not. The ministry was growing fearful of the rising number of attacks on innocent people, and a lack of firm evidence against the perpetrators. They were running blind, fighting an invisible force, and the new Minister of Magic needed to show a firm stand on such attacks on his people. Unfortunately, he had heard of the resignation of Severus Snape on the grapevine and decided to look to him as a shining example of those whom he could not prove were linked, but doubts were raised. Doubt, he decided, was enough. Panic was coming to the people who elected him, and panic must be settled to bring order to the Wizarding World. The people needed to think the villains were being caught. He needed a solution, and Severus Snape was a part of it.



Remus thought of the words Dumbledore had said. ‘Sent to a holding cell, before going to Azkaban.’ ‘Will offer my assistance and support, but the Minister has failed to listen to me so far.’ ‘Reason is not wanted, but supposed justice is.’ ‘A scapegoat.’ Silvana had heard enough and her body crumpled in two, her head on her knees at the weight the words carried. She had doubted Severus, she had abandoned him, irritated at his self pity and annoyed at his methods of comfort. She had complained to Remus and now she was being punished. He remembered her whole body shaking uncontrollably in grief and uncertainty, and he remembered taking her in his arms and just holding her, offering to be with her. But the defences were raised as soon as he touched her. Silvana’s self-preservation took over from her pity, and she shunned his help. She had been polite but so numb, so orderly it had chilled him. Dumbledore offered for Remus to escort her home, but she had claimed there was no need. She needed to think of a plan to help her brother, and to do that she needed to be alone.


And yet she was far from telling the truth. Inside she was yearning for Remus again. She wanted him to be by her side, but her routine of putting on a front was like an automatic pilot device, and anything else was completely alien to her. But Remus saw through her this time. He saw the hurt in her eyes, the truth. He saw that she was in need of him, though the words she uttered said otherwise. He saw that she was utterly alone and needed him, but still he was sat in Grimmauld Place. He cursed himself under his breath. He had let her leave the school and go home alone just because he was too damn weak to defy her words. Always silent, Remus. Never rock the boat, you spineless fool.



“You coming then?” Viell asked, placing a hand gently on his shoulder, squeezing the flesh beneath his cardigan. He looked up and saw her twinkling eyes, and knew he wouldn’t go with them at all. He would have to go to the orphanage another day, perhaps with Silvana. Tonight he must go to find her and support her. Tonight he would break with tradition and seize the day. All his life he had conformed and done his duty, thinking of others words and feelings and reacting accordingly. Never had he put himself first. Tonight, as he shook his head at Viell he knew that had to change. He reached for his coat and made his way outside. He would apparate to the Snape Manor.


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




The figure sat down in the chair where only hours ago Silvana had chastised her brother for being drunk. She looked down on its newest inhabitant, embittered that he sat where Severus once had, but knowing that he may be the only one who could right the wrongs. She loathed him with a passion that consumed her day and night; a never-ending loathing that would continue until her dying day. But desperate times called for desperate measures, and though she had been shocked to see him on her doorstep so soon after she had visited his beautiful wife in hope of answers, she had almost welcomed him with open arms when he had claimed he could help. Almost.



The man before her had aged more than she had anticipated but those eyes, those eyes were still as cold and malevolent as she remembered them to be. She checked herself as she held her wand aloft, aimed at his throat to make sure she showed this time she was in total control. This time he would not over power her. This time she would be the one to use him, not the other way around. She sneered at him, not unlike one of the many sneers her darling brother used from time to time, and glared at her visitor as he raised an eyebrow, looking at her up and down in a seductive and cruel way.


“Still so beautiful, Silvana. It is as if time stands still.”


“Only speak when you are spoken to, Malfoy. I have only let you in for one reason and one reason only. To help my brother. You said you have news that could help me.” Malfoy turned his nose up at the woman before him and shrugged.


“How ironic that I am the only one to come to your aid.” Silvana shook her head, almost gagging at his arrogance.


“How can I trust you after all you have done to me?” Malfoy laughed, glancing around him before catching Silvana’s gaze directly and holding it to send a chill down her spine. His blue eyes narrowed into an evil look.


“Because you have no choice but to trust me, my dear. I am the only one to save your brother’s sorry neck. I know how Potter is being controlled, and I know where the device is. Now will you hear me out, or shall I just walk away?”


Silvana sighed. Fight or flight, her adrenalin pumping she chose to ignore her instincts, or at least quell them until they were needed, and buried them deep down inside her. Against her better judgement, against every voice of reason in her head she slowly sat down in the chair opposite him and widened her eyes.


“This had better be good.”






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