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Disclaimer: As much as I would love to own Severus, I don't. I own nothing except my OCs. The rest belongs to the great JK Rowling. I'm not making any money off this fic either.

This chapter has not yet been beta'd. Please excuse any spelling/grammar mistakes.

Chapter 14


After getting better acquainted with the small beach house they were staying in, Camilla decided she liked it quite a bit. She hadn't been sure when they had first arrived in the dark of night the previous evening. But now that the sun streamed through the windows and she realized she had a perfect view of the beach from the bedroom window, she found the place much more inviting.

She woke early the day after her wedding and discovered that the kitchen was equipped with muggle utilities. Intrigued, she decided to begin her first foray into the art of muggle cooking.

Forty-five minutes later, after consulting a very large volume of recipes and determining how exactly an oven heated the food, she heard Severus get out of bed to find her.

"If you were hungry you could have simply called for a house elf…" he muttered groggily, watching her warily.

"A house elf?" She was barely listening as she carefully maneuvered the eggs onto a plate.

"This is one of the Malfoy's vacation homes," he explained. "All you have to do is call… You don't have to do all this…"

Camilla pursed her lips trying not to be distracted as she arranged the food. "This seems a bit average compared to the Malfoy manor."

"It previously belonged to muggles, I believe. They haven't had the chance to fix it up yet. Do you not like it? We can go somewhere else. "

"I love it. In case you haven't noticed, I'm a rather average kind of girl, Severus."

He muttered in a disapproving sort of way, his voice trailing off as he watched her hover over the cooking food. "Are you sure you know what you're doing? You left your wand in the bedroom. Are you cooking the muggle way?"

"Severus! Please! I'm trying to concentrate!"

He gave an indignant huff and disappeared back into the bedroom.

The next several minutes were crucial to success. To the dismay of her mother, Camilla's cooking skills, even with a wand, had never been much to brag about. But this time was different, she could feel it. She was going make a spectacular meal and even Severus wouldn't be able to find anything wrong with it.

She felt a rush of exhilaration as she shut the book of recipes. She had finally been able to put all of her years of Muggle Studies to work and the results looked better than expected. She snatched the plate off the counter and bounded after Severus into the bedroom.

"Sev-er-us!" she called in a sing-song voice.

He looked up from a sheet of parchment he was reading, perched stiffly on the edge of the bed and Camilla caught sight of an owl getting smaller and smaller in the distance as she glanced out the window.

"Did you get a letter?" She couldn't help but steal a piece of toast off the plate. She nibbled cautiously. Then, she grinned. It tasted fantastic!

He nodded, but did not elaborate further.

"Who from?" she asked, chewing exuberantly.

"Are you quite sure that isn't going to poison you?"

She nodded fervently, her wonderful mood not affected by his ridicule. "It's good! Are you hungry?"

"Not particularly."

She thrust the plate towards him. "Please try it."

He looked skeptical. "I'd rather not."

"Severus," she whined, her lips forming a pout, "I made it for you."

"You've eaten half already, why not just finish?"

"Do you think I'm a bad cook?" she accused, her eyebrows arching.

He did not answer and continued to stare at her.

"I'll have you know that I made nearly all the food when I was home for the holidays." She didn't mention that she ruined it all and her mother was forced to perform a miracle in order for them to eat at a reasonable hour on Christmas Day.

"The muggle way?"

"No… but I took Muggle Studies for five years. Please try it… for me?"

He took the plate from her outstretched hands and looked at it uneasily. Then, he slowly took a bite. And another.

She watched him anxiously. "Well?"

"Not bad," he conceded.

She let out a loud "HA!"

Severus attempted to hand the plate back to her, but she shook her head. "It's for you," she said jovially.

"Oh… well…" For a moment he looked slightly uncomfortable.

"No need to thank me," she said, winking at him teasingly.

A brief flicker of relief crossed his face, then he grew pensive. "You're in that mood again."

"Huh?"

"The same one you were in last night… Are you certain you haven't taken anything? A potion perhaps?"

"No… I just… I'm just happy."

"I do not understand."

She frowned. "I knew you were emotionally stunted, Severus, but really! Not understanding happiness?"

"That's not what I meant," he snapped, scowling deeply at her. "I don't understand exactly why you're happy."

"It's just that… I've had visions about being married; about weddings and honeymoons. And this," she waved her hand around her, "It feels like one of my dreams." A blush crept into her cheeks. " I just want to enjoy it before it's over."

He blinked. "This is the sort of marriage you dreamed of?"

"I dunno..." she replied with a shrug. "It's not so bad."

He shook his head wordlessly and returned to the food she had made. It was clear he still did not quite understand.

--


Camilla was humming to herself as they exited the theater. After a great deal of pleading, she had finally managed to convince Severus to leave the comfort of the cottage and see a Spanish play showing at the Teatro Español, one of Madrid's oldest theaters.

"Did you like it?"

"Oh, I had tears in my eyes the whole time!" she gushed.

"I know what you mean. That was the worst show I've ever seen; even I was ready to cry."

She glared at him. "I meant that it was beautiful and moving, Severus. Is there not one romantic bone in your body?"

"Come on, even you have to admit it was absurd," he said with a smirk. "All that 'soul mates,' 'true love,' and 'happily ever after' is a load of rubbish."

"What?" Her mouth dropped open in shock. "It's not rubbish!"

His eyebrows shot up. "Oh really? Look at us, Camilla. We're married and I certainly hope you don't expect me to twirl you around and throw flowers at your feet."

"Well, of course not. We're obviously not meant to be together. Unfortunately, love seems to have come after money, society, and familial obligations."

"'Meant to be?' And who do you think you're meant to be with?"

Her eyes shifted towards him as they walked side by side, arms folded across their chests. "It's none of your business," she replied curtly.

He laughed. "It's Lupin, isn't it? I doubt he could ever match you, beast or not."

She stopped and placed her hands on her hips. "I thought we weren’t going to discuss him anymore," she replied testily.

"What's he got that I don't have?"

"I don't want to talk about-."

"Is it the animal thing? Does that turn you on?"

"You're ridiculous!"

"That must be it. That's very taboo, Camilla."

"That's sick," she hissed, peering around to ensure no muggles had heard their conversation. "What the hell is wrong with you?" She began walking briskly again, hoping Severus would have to strain to keep up with her. The pace, however, seemed almost leisurely for him.

"I'm just trying to get into that pretty little head of yours," he replied with a shrug and a smirk.

"Hmm… well, I guess it's a good thing you're not trying to get into my trousers because that kind of talk will get you nowhere."

Severus chuckled a bit to himself. "Oh, I doubt anything I do will get you back in bed with me, so why try?"

"You did tell me I could keep the sex."

"I knew you hadn't forgiven me for that."

"I have," she said slowly, "I just haven't forgotten."

"I believe I also said that if you were going to keep the sex, I could get it elsewhere," he replied, watching her face carefully.

She kept her voice cool and her expression calm. "Yes, I believe you did say that."

"Now wait a minute," he said, stopping and grabbing her arm gently. "Are you telling me that you would rather I go out and have an affair than have sex with me?"

She pulled her arm away and continued walking. "Today I would."

"Oh really? Today? What about yesterday? What about tomorrow?" he snapped, throwing up his hands. "Is this a game to you? Do I have to guess which days I'll be in your good graces?"

"No, Severus!" She threw open the door to their seaside cottage. "Today you've been a jerk. Yesterday you were a tyrant. If anyone is guessing anything, it's me! I have to guess whether or not you're going to treat me like a person or a plaything. As for tomorrow, that is completely up to you."

Severus slammed the door behind them. "Don't walk away from me!" he shouted at her as she began to make her way into the bedroom. "We aren't done talking."

"You mean you aren't done verbally abusing me? Oh, well then, go right on ahead!"

"Verbally abusing you? You don't know what abuse is! You- SHIT!"

Suddenly, he was on his knees, clutching his left forearm. He frantically pulled his shirt sleeve to examine the mark that stained his skin. It looked unchanged.

"Severus?" she queried hesitantly, watching as she leaned against the doorframe. She was still furious with him and it was easy to push aside her concern.

He looked up at her, his face paler than normal. "It's burning," he replied, his voice wavering.

Camilla frowned. "Is it supposed to do that?"

"Yeah… Yeah, it is. I have to go." He got to his feet. It was evident he was still shaken up, but he pushed past her and into the bedroom. After a moment of hurriedly digging through his trunk, he removed a black cloak and a silver mask.

She shivered. That horrid mask still made her nervous.

"Don't wait up for me," he said, preparing to leave.

"I wasn't going to," she intoned coldly.

He stared at her and for fleeting moment looked as if he might reply. But then he apparated and was gone.

--


When Camilla woke up the next morning, her husband had his arms wound tightly around her waist and was sleeping soundly. She was careful not to wake him as she eased out of his grasp and made her way to her trunk, looking for something to wear for the day. She was trying to decide what to wear for the day when she heard a tapping at the window.

Looking up, she spotted a large tawny owl observing her from behind the glass. She quickly went to the window and pushed it open. The owl fluttered in, gracefully landing on the desk.

"What have you got there?" she whispered, reaching to remove the owl's burden. It was a rolled-up copy of the day's Daily Prophet.

Camilla had never been one to read the news. She didn't like hearing about the victims of this terrible war.

The owl hooted at her softly.

"I know, I know… how much?" she asked, though she did not really expect the small animal to answer her.

"Four Knuts," Severus grumbled back, his face buried in his pillow.

"You're awake," she said, turning in surprise.

"Barely... Check the pockets of my trousers," he said, indicating the pair of trousers lying on the floor next to the bed. "I should have some change…"

Camilla did as he said and counted out four Knuts. She put the rest back in his trouser pocket and put the payment in the pouch tied to the owl's leg. It hooted once more and flew out the open window.

She closed the window and turned to look at her husband whose eyes were still closed. Then, her gaze shifted to the empty bottle of firewhiskey perched on his bedside table. "Rough night?"

"Something like that."

"Does You-Know-Who party too hard for poor Severus?" she mocked.

He opened his eyes to glare at her. "Don't start."

She gave an irritated huff and rolled her eyes. Shaking her head, she turned her attention to the Daily Prophet.

DEATH EATER ATTACK KILLS 37: MINISTRY IN CHAOS

Camilla's eyes darted urgently across the page, her heart rising in her throat. Phrases like "three Aurors dead" and "children screaming" seemed to jump off the parchment at her.

"Is this what you were doing last night? Is this what he called you for?" she asked shakily, her gaze drifting from the newspaper to Severus.

He sat up, yawning. "What are you on about?"

"This!" Angrily she threw the paper at him. It soared past his head, hitting the wall and dropping to the bed.

He coolly raised an eyebrow at her. "Don't be so dramatic. You know I had no choice."

"I can't believe you have the nerve to come back her and… and… I can't believe I let you touch me…"

Her statement seemed to strike a chord in him. His gaze sharpened. "You said you would be able to look past it. You said it didn't say anything about who I was. I didn't want this, Camilla."

"That was before you had the blood of innocent people on your hands!"

"He would have killed me!"

"So?"

"'So?' That's what you'd think if I died, isn't it? 'So what? Who cares?'" he seethed, his eyes flashing with anger.

Her mean retort caught in her throat as she watched the pain flicker across his features. "That's not what I meant," she replied quietly.

"If I had done something to save even one of those people I would have died. I would have died thinking you would always hate me. I would have died without telling you how much I love you. And I couldn't leave you. I just…" His voice trailed into silence as his eyes pleaded with her to understand.

"You love me?"

"What?"

"Do you really love me?" Camilla swore silently to herself. She sounded so desperate. She'd tried so hard to keep herself from caring too much, in case he didn't feel the same way; so that when he said or did something cruel it wouldn't hurt so badly. But she knew that she wanted him to say that he loved her, just once.

He opened his mouth to respond, then paused, his dark eyes studying her. "I do care about you," he said finally. "I know that's not what you want to hear, but I'm not going to pretend to feel something I don't."

She bit her lip. "But you just said…"

"I just..." He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed. "I just don't know, alright? It's... complicated."

"It really isn't, actually…" She stared at him, though he did not look back. The floor appeared to have captured all of his attention. "You're such a coward."

His head snapped up. "What?"

"You heard me, Severus."

His eyes glinted cruelly. "Yes, I did. I'm just wondering if you have the audacity to repeat yourself."

She was shaking with anger, hurt, and unshed tears. She shot him the most venomous expression she could muster. "I'm leaving," she spat at him.

"Really?" He seemed unfazed and skeptical of her statement.

Fuming, she bent over her trunk and haphazardly threw her clothes and other possessions into it. She slammed the trunk closed. She scanned the room for her wand and frowned when she realized she would have to pass Severus to get to it. "Excuse me," she snarled, trying to push past him. Unfortunately, he was bigger than her and much more quick on his feet; he blocked her easily.

"You can't just leave." His calm tone was a sharp contrast to her enraged one.

"GET OUT OF MY WAY!"

He sighed. "Whatever I've done to upset you, I am truly sorry."

She shook her head vigorously. "You're so full of shit. You can take all of your stupid apologies to hell, Severus Snape. I can't stand to be around you a moment longer. You… you just…" She was so furious she was unable to put her whirling thoughts into words. And his tranquil demeanor just seemed to fuel her rage.

"You're going to have suck it up then, aren't you? We're married. Bonded for life, remember?"

"I HATE YOU! I hate you more than I have hated anyone before."

"But Camilla," he said with a mock tone of hurt, "I thought you loved me." He smirked. "Impassioned declarations of hate and empty threats will get you nowhere.

Seething, she marched forward, again trying to get to her wand. "Just leave me alone!" she shouted, throwing her fist into his chest as hard as she possibly could.

The corners of his mouth turned upward slightly at her futile go at hurting him, which only served to infuriate her further.

"You are a selfish and arrogant bastard! I can't believe how you treat me, especially considering the fact that your future is in my hands."

"Your hands?" he chuckled. "How so?"

"My father is giving you ten times more money than you could ever deserve to do with what you want. It's my ability to act appropriate in public that will decide whether you're respectable. It's my inheritance that you'll be living off of when you're too old or lazy to work!"

"That may be so for now, but in one or two short years I'll have made a name for myself and everyone will forget about you. You'll just be Severus Snape's wife; no one important."

"One or two years is plenty of time to ruin you forever," she replied, blinking back tears.

"You don't know me at all." His eyes glinted coldly. "If you did, you would know better than to threaten me."

Camilla leaned against the wall and crossed her arms defiantly. "I know you well enough to realize you're all talk and no bite," she replied, hoping she appeared more confident than she felt.

"Oh?" He raised an eyebrow. "Would you like to test that little theory? Or perhaps you've forgotten…" Severus tugged roughly at his left sleeve.

Camilla kept her eyes focused on her husband's face, knowing what she would see if she looked at his arm. He sauntered towards her, like a predator stalking its prey. There was no denying that he was intimidating, yet she refused to let him bully her.

He placed the palms of his hands against the wall at either side of her head supporting himself as leaned close to her. They were so close now that she could smell him. He still smelled of potion ingredients though it was a much lighter scent than she remembered. How long had it been since she'd paid any attention to what he smelled like? It seemed as though she was always too occupied being angry with her husband to take notice of anything but his faults.

"I've seen things that nightmares are made of," he hissed into her ear.

She bit her lip. How long had it been since his breath had caressed her skin like that?

"The Dark Lord's power is growing, as is the power of his followers." His arm flexed and she caught a glimpse of the mark burned into his skin.

How long had it been since his hands had roamed her body. It seemed like such a long time ago though they had managed to get a fair share of touching done the morning of their wedding. How far would they have gone if her mother didn't have the worst possible timing?

"Why don't you tell the people who stare up at me knowing their life is about to end that I've got… What was it? 'No bite,'" he sneered.

She inwardly berated herself for the turn her thoughts had taken. He was attempting to provoke her into fear by confessing the worst of his sins and all she could do was stare at him with a glassy-eyed expression while her mind replayed their most intimate moments.

"You don't know what it's like. Any of it. You know nothing about me or what I've done.

"Stop it! I've heard enough!" She threw herself against him in a last attempt to escape him and he staggered backwards just slightly, but it was sufficient. As she tried to run, his hand shot out to grab her arm. By instinct, she spun curling her free hand into a fist. She didn't know what her fist hit but it was enough to shock him into letting her loose. Without looking back she bolted into the bathroom slamming the door behind her.

She had only just finished fumbling with the lock when the doorknob shook violently. "Open the door!"

She knew that if he truly wanted to he could easily use magic to force his way in, but she sincerely hoped he would simply give the fight up and leave her alone. "Go away! You're a murderer and I don't want anything to with you."

There was a loud thump that made her think he'd thrown his fists against the door and then there was silence.

Only when she was sure she would not be interrupted did she finally let her tears fall.

--


He analyzed his reflection in the shine of the Malfoy's best silver, the deepest of frowns forming on his lips. Severus prodded the bruised skin around his eye, wincing. His first black eye and it had been his wife who had given it to him.

He had contemplated storming into the bathroom and shouting himself hoarse just so he didn't have to endure his rage alone, but he found his pride wouldn't allow him to let her see the damage she had done.

"She really got you, didn't she?"

Severus continued to scowl as Lucius entered the room grinning. "I didn't come just so you could have a laugh at my expense."

"Then why did you?" the blonde asked, his eyes still dancing with laughter.

"Something for this." Severus pointed at his eye. "Unfortunately I don't carry bruise-healing paste around with me."

Lucius maintained his infuriating smile. "Now you know better."

"Indeed," Severus replied dryly.

Finally, Lucius managed to put aside his amusement and had a house elf fetch the needed remedy. When the elf disappeared from the room he tugged the silver goblet from Severus' hand, filling it with an expensive elf-made wine.

Severus took the now full goblet back without thanks, still in a sour mood.

"So Narcissa tells me your tiny little wife did this to you…"

Severus remembered the look of shock on the blonde woman's face when he had first entered her home that morning and admitted what had happened between him and his wife. "Camilla is the most headstrong, stubborn, arrogant girl I have ever had the misfortune to meet, tiny or not," he replied irritably.

"I am sure…" The older man seated himself in a velvet armchair and motioned for his friend to sit as well. "What did you do when she hit you?"

"What would you have done?"

"Don't be evasive with me. Surely you did not let this go without punishment?"

"I couldn't find it in me to upset her more than I already had…"

"Severus!" Lucius cried in admonishment. "You speak as if she is in control and has done nothing wrong."

"I pushed her too far. We argue all the time but I think I really hurt her feelings… or something..." He trailed off somewhat lamely upon seeing his friend's face painted with a mixture horror and disgust.

"Do you hear how ridiculously pathetic you sound?" Lucius snapped harshly. "You are her husband and yet you act the part of a lovesick whelp. If you behaved appropriately she would follow your lead and fall in line; they always do."

Severus' dark eyes flashed angrily. "You don't know what she's like," he argued, "Some days she's perfectly fine and content with me as I am. Other days it is as if I can do nothing right."

Lucius gazed at his dispassionately. "Don't waste your energy trying to please her. Please yourself and she will learn to find happiness in your own."

Severus was saved the effort of responding by the house elf returning with a generous amount of the bruise-healing paste. He took it and waved the creature away. He quickly applied the cream wanting to be rid of the ring around his eye.

"Have you consummated?" Lucius asked, refilling his goblet.

While Severus would have certainly welcomed a change of subject, the consummation of his marriage was not a topic he was particularly eager to discuss with any of the Malfoy's. "As I said, we argue quite a bit. There isn't time for much else."

Lucius gave an irritated sigh.

"She didn't want to!" he snarled in frustration. "What would you have me do short of forcing myself on her?"

"You must do it soon. Everyone is expecting an announcement about your first within the year."

"My first? My first what? Child? We haven't been married more than a week and already you want children?" His voice was full of indignation. He knew his relationship with his wife was nowhere near stable enough to bring a child into the mix. The idea that her family and the Malfoys wanted her to conceive in the next six months seemed completely unreasonable.

"I don't know why that surprises you. It is, of course, a very significant reason for your marriage to the girl. I thought cleaning up your line was important to you."

Severus sighed. "It is, but things between us… there's a lot to work through, Lucius."

"Listen to me. Women want to feel emotionally connected to the men they shag, especially if the man in question is her husband. Seduce her. Give her flowers. Tell her you love her, need her, can't live without her by your side. You'll have her in bed with you by next week."

"I don't want to deceive her."

"Are you a Slytherin or not?" the blonde demanded. "Besides, did she not try the same thing on you?"

Severus raked his hands through his hair in frustration.

"The sooner she is carrying your child the sooner we will all be rewarded. Remember that."

--


Camilla stuck her head out of the bathroom door and called out her husband's name. When he did not appear, she wrapped herself in a towel and strolled over to her trunk, satisfied that he had left the house in his anger. After picking her clothes for the day, she dropped the towel, beginning to dress.

She was adjusting her shirt when she heard a low clearing of the throat break her comfortable silence.

She yelped in fright and spun around.

Her husband was standing in the doorway, a slight smirk forming at his lips.

"Merlin, Severus! Are you trying to give me a heart attack?"

"My apologies."

She didn't think he looked very apologetic. "You were watching me dress," she accused with narrowed eyes.

He gave a slight roll of his eyes. "I'm your husband. I share a bed with you every night. I've seen you in various states of undress several times before. We've had sex, Camilla."

She felt her cheeks burn. "I know we've had sex," she snarled. "You don't have to keep reminding me!"

"Then stop being such a prude."

"I'm not a prude." She turned away from him and began roughly tugging a comb through her damp hair. She mercilessly ripped into the knots that had formed as she fumed.

"You're going to pull all your hair out if you continue like that," she heard him say.

"Go to hell," she snapped.

"My, what a witty Ravenclaw you are."

She spun around to face him. "Did you come back just to harass me?"

"No," he sighed. "I… It's not supposed to be this hard."

She narrowed her eyes, thinking he was going to try and manipulate her. "What isn't?"

"Everything. Something needs to change between us… Surely you realize that?"

Camilla folded her arms across her chest. She knew he was right. How long could they keep up with these horrible arguments? Where would they be a year from now? "What brought you to this conclusion?"

"We've been at each other's throats for the past six months and I'm sick of it. I went to see Lucius after our… dispute. He told me that our families expect you to be with child before the end of the year," he said gently.

"No." She took an involuntary step away from him. "We're not ready for that."

"The only way we can be ready is if we work together."

"I told you no. I won't have children with you."

"You don't want children?"

"Not with you," she replied.

He visibly flinched at her bluntness. "Camilla," he began with determined calm. "I am the only husband you will ever have. I am the only man you will ever have sex with. Therefore you will either have children with me or not at all."

"I guess I won't have them then!" she snapped bitterly. "You'd make the worst father in the world. You don't even know how to be a decent husband."

"Perhaps I don't always treat you like I should. I'll admit to that. But I'm willing to-."

"It's too late for that, Severus." She heard him sigh as she coolly examined her nails.

" You're not perfect either."

She fixed him with a challenging stare. "Remus thought I was."

"He clearly didn't know you very well, then, did he?" he hissed. "If he did, he would also know that you are spoiled, selfish, and naïve. You act like a child. Grow up." He turned away from her and left the bedroom, slamming the door behind him.

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