LL Chapter 9

Chapter 9

A chilled wind snuck down the collar of his jacket and stopped Severus in his tracks. He shivered and closed his eyes, wondering at what point he’d gained warmth in order to feel this temperature difference. Images of his night in the hammock flickered behind his lids and reminded him of his golden companion.

He snorted and opened his dark eyes, glaring at the over and under wooden door set so snugly back into the brick. His eyes shuffled a bit from side to side, unexpectedly quickly, and that made the door seem that much farther away. Was it…pulling away?

He blinked, lurched his head to the sky, up to the branches above him dripping leaves in the autumn morning upon him as another wind pulled through their boughs. It smelled…musty. Full. Rich. He remembered the smell of loam, identifying different types from different locales simply by smell. The memory both comforted him and angered him at the same time.

Would he always be like this? Remembering shards of his past?

He carefully stepped a few paces down the path, remembering all too well the burrs from last night should he leave it. The pea gravel and dead leaves gathered between his toes, crunched, and just as he was about to press fully down for the next step, he felt something sharp and lost balance, tipping to the nearest tree.

His hand reached out to the bark, fingers shifting across the rivulets of wood as he leaned over and examined the sole of his foot. Nothing. He also found nothing on the path. I need shoes. Perhaps this halfway house can offer something other than irritation and fear?

Even knowing the surface of his thoughts were true, he chastised himself…slightly. He had to admit freedom from that insane asylum was something good that came from this place.

A very small and tiny voice in his head protested that wasn’t all, but he quashed it ruthlessly.

He wondered at Hermione leaving him so quickly after the Weasley made such a scene this morning. She’d been quiet. Any other time since his rescue that someone had accosted him or made so much as a trifling effort to mock him, she’d been there, roaring to his defense. The Weasley throws him to the floor and makes a few exclusionary remarks about breakfast and she’d forgotten all about Severus.

Bah.

What was it worth worrying about it, anyway? He was only here on their good graces, obviously until he could return to real life.

Hmph. He shouldn’t even be here.

He should be dead.

He should very well be dead. He remembered that snake…that bite…that war…something plucked inside his brain, spinning his senses. He watched a flock of sweeps flitter into view and settle into the branches above him.

What an odd thing for them to do. [1]

His eyes trailed down the branches that grew larger and closer, saw where they joined as if the branches were arms instead of limbs. Sliding his hand up the bark, he stepped closer, regarding the great Sessile Oak before him as a thing of beauty.

His head twitched to the left as he remembered his empty tree in his safe place and scoured the dark amber leaves of this one for any semblance. The only likeness he could find was the beauty of it, the grandeur. It was full of its own life instead of his memories…

What would he find when Hermione put the pensieve before him? He stopped fooling himself and admitted that the memories had to be his. If he thought back far enough in their conversation, she’d said he’d shoved memories at Harry as he died…but what memories?

What would be there in the silvering liquid-not-liquid that fascimilated his recollections? All those eyes? Would they be there?

He knew three of them. Green Eyes with Black Hair was Harry. Apparently they had a connection through the Dark Lord. Alright. Blue Eyes…Ah, but that ached and he didn’t know why. There had to be more than what he’d seen so far for this amount of pain and sense of betrayal, there just had to.

And then there was Brown Eyes. Hermione. He inhaled. She…she linked them all somehow. Why would his mind link her to them if she’d been just a student to him?

A small voice whispered ‘know-it-all‘ in his brain and he wondered if perhaps he’d simply latched onto her as the only possible and close source of intelligence now that Albus was dead. That…was strange, but he could work with that.

That only left…hers. Green Eyes with Red Hair and Bitterness.

His breathing quickened, his gut tightened in anticipation. Wrapping his arms around himself, he dropped his head to the oak for…something…appeal, perhaps. What…what would he find? How much would he find?

Would the pensieve tell him about her?

Did he want it to?

Didn’t his nerves on the subject say enough?

Dammit, if only he’d not given the memories away in the first place. Why did he do so? What purpose could he possibly have to divulge so much of himself…

He stopped and stared at the gray crags of bark in front of his nose.

How much of himself?

He tightened his grip on his torso and licked his dry, chapped lips. Could that be why he remembered nothing of himself? He’d given it all away? Somehow that didn’t feel right, but what if?

Could one give too much of themselves into memories, so much that they couldn’t recollect who they were anymore? What if he had? He blinked. The logical, devil’s advocate within made him ask: well, what if he hadn’t?

He sneered at himself and tapped his forehead against the bark. What a ridiculous question. What if? What if the sky was falling in?

Ridiculous.

He turned and rested his shoulder against the bark of the oak with a soft thud. Ridiculous! He was…there was no other possible explanation for this.

No one came back from the dead. Hermione kept stating that he and the Lupins had died that day.

NO ONE came back from the dead.

Except perhaps—

Well—

Two things were therefore possible.

One: none had died in the first place. That was the most logical conclusion as they were all here, living, breathing, functioning human beings.

Two, and this was highly unlikely: they’d all been Resurrected.

He pursed his lips as he thought about this. It really was…easier…if they’d never died, but Hermione insisted—Hell, HE’D insisted—he’d died. She said she watched him.

It would be physically possible to die and come back after a few minutes.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, remembering Arthur Weasley all too well. Snake bites like that bled out all too quickly and the ante-venin he’d helped create only worked if administered after the strike.

If Potter, Weasley and Hermione had thought he was dead…and they were the last to see him…no one administered the potion. He should have died, bled out within minutes.

He reached up to touch the ragged scar on his neck, fingering the odd places that felt numb and the other places that sent little zaps of sensation deep beneath the skin into the muscle. There were places that the skin actually felt too thin, then too thick. He cupped the side of his neck and sighed.

The facts did seem a bit stilted. Hmm. Something Hermione said last night came back to him:

I watched you die, but here you are! I don’t know how, but here you are! And so is Tonks and Remus! They think their child has wild magic that brought them back but now I’m not so sure. Why would Teddy bring you back, too?”

Why, indeed?

Why would a child want to bring his parents back from the dead? An infant, at that? Would a child know that their parents were missing at such a young age?

Stranger things have happened in his lifetime. Potter included.

Back to the issue at hand, Hermione had also said something earlier, something he’d not paid much heed to but was now something that needed to be threaded with the same string:

“I watched Tonks and Remus float through their lives for the first few months and then just snap-to when Teddy threw his trainer cup at them. If your situation was anything like theirs, I was terrified of what I would find when I came to you…”

Terrified. Terrified why? Because she might find him drifting? She’d found that and not been terrified. So what was so damned scary? Unless—

Unless she was thinking the same thing. She’d been thinking along the same lines he was now.

That plucking happened again and the birds raised a raucous, causing him to jerk his head upwards, nearly tipping him backwards.

Thankfully the tree was there, but he felt so dizzy. He braced his hands behind him and gripped the bark, feeling the roughness dig into his time-softened palms.

Something wriggled in the back of his brain, something from childhood and impressed upon him later, something to do with this…something…explaining the Resurrected.

His mother’s voice floated back through his ears, making him sick with disdain and remorse, “she was sad and cold, separated…by a veil. Though she had returned, she did not belong there and suffered. Finally the second brother, driven mad with hopeless longing, killed himself to join her.” [2]

He felt the blood leech from his face as he fumbled behind him for the oak’s strength. Bloody HELL.

They’d been Resurrected.

It fit! It Bloody Fucking FIT. They’d all died, they’d all lived as if through a veil with no connection to the real world until the greatest connection…a reason to live came along…

For the Lupins, their child.

What did he have? No one. Not one person. His parents were long since gone and good riddance, he was surely to be denied his home at Spinner’s End since he’d been declared dead for two years, so what had lifted the veil for him? What was strong enough to pull him back through the ether and give him reason to connect?

What—or who—had he connected with?

Well, there really was only one answer to that, wasn’t there? Hermione. Brown Eyes. But why?

Why her?

What the hell could she do for him that he couldn’t do for himself?

He gritted his teeth and cracked his head back against the tree’s trunk. He’d already figured out that she’s the connector, but why? Why her? Why did he need a connector at all? What did he need to do with all these Eyes and connections?

And they’d been Resurrected! What idiot had dared do such a thing? How dare any witch or wizard go against the very laws of nature! It made him sick! There were two constants in life: Death and Change. He was certain he should have been dead. He growled and pounded his fist to the trunk—that had changed.

Anger peeled up his spine as he delved through all the possibilities, wracking his body with indignation and injustice…Who could have done this? Why?

A roil of sickness washed up from his gut and felled him to his knees against the tree, quaking from his arse, all the way up his throat as he realized the possibility of another Lord and Master.

What if someone had brought him back to be another puppet? Was that what he’d been doomed to be?

He wretched as if ridding himself of something evil and felt an answering pulse from his magic trying to purge something within. It knocked him flat to the ground, head to the lichen and knees in toadstools.

Merlin! He coughed and shook again, not sure exactly why he was reacting this way except it was UNNATURAL! Who dared bring him back? Who used the stone? Potter? Albus swore the boy would use the Hallows only as he needed to, that his heart was pure unlike the murdered—

No. His heart stopped for a moment and he quailed, brayed, finally realizing in a full word what had passed between himself and the old man. He’d killed him. Albus had both asked him to save and murder him in the same breath. Severus knew that he’d killed over and over in his career under the Dark Lord, he knew that now, finally and again, but nothing…oh, nothing was as wrong as this!

He choked on snot, trying to breathe in and not wretch again, but it was useless. Every breath made his diaphragm reject more bodily fluid and it was now nothing but dark yellow bile that felt as if it were from the bowels of hell, but it just kept coming until he finally succumbed to unconsciousness. Blessedly dark and unfeeling unconsciousness…

/

Footsteps rained through his brain like dropped books on a stone floor. He pried open an eye to see Hermione staring at him in some kind of mixture of revulsion, fear and worry. He couldn’t bring himself to care. It hurt too much. His head, his eyes, his tongue, his brain, his nose, his gut, every muscle and tendon felt as if it were squeezed dry. Just as he tried to swallow and shift his position, he felt a great heave inside, as if that squeeze was about to start in the other direction, or a spring that had been tightened beyond its point of control was about to burst outward. He braced his hand against the root beneath him and looked out at the group assembling before him, tried to speak, warn them to get away…

Nothing would come!

No words, just this great pressure, building and building in his spine, through his nerves, tearing along his skin, pressing down on his brain—

“Stupefy!”

He cast a grateful smirk at Harry for thinking quickly and felt the spell hit his body, knocking him into oblivion again.

/

Hermione reared, spun on her heel to stand between Severus’ prone body and Harry with her wand out to attack if necessary, backing slowly towards him, “Harry! How could—what did you just do!”

He held up his hands in supplication, looked to Remus and Ronald for help, “No. Hermione, trust me, I’ve seen this before.”

What? “Excuse me, but I don’t know how you could have.”

He slowly shifted backwards, closer to Ronald. “Dudley. One of his friends went through drug rehab. Snape was showing signs of withdrawal and you, yourself, pointed out to us how that could affect his magic.” He looked at her determinedly and dropped his hands to fist at his side. “I had to. Otherwise, we’d be having a bloody mess to explain to the Ministry.”

They stared at each other, Hermione fuming at the implication that she didn’t have this under control, that Harry knew more about this than she did, that she’d—

“Hermione?”

She nearly spat out ‘What’ but a glance over at Tonks set her manners straight, “Yes, Tonks?”

“You two didn’t eat much last night and there was hardly anything missing from Sev’s plate when I retrieved it this morning.”

Oh, oops. She’d completely forgotten about leaving that in the park. “Oh. Um, Sorry about that.”

She waved her hand free for a moment from Teddy’s bum, then back to brace him up. “Not really a problem, but Remus mentioned that neither of you have eaten anything this morning, either. Or at lunch yesterday…”

Not this again. But then, Severus…The look on…well, everyone’s face was…Dammit, she’d NOT done this on purpose! Didn’t they understand how rude it was to harp on someone to eat when they just didn’t want to? Why did they all have to look at her as if she’d…disappointed them? “I—”

Tonks’ disappointed sigh hurt. It really did. She watched the woman shift the baby on her hip and kiss Remus, then turn back to the house. “I’ll go set up a stew. Even I can’t screw that up. Come on Teddy, let’s go find Kreacher.”

“Keesher!”

“Yep! And you can play with his ears. I know he’ll love that…”

Harry was the first of the group left to speak up. “I think…it’s time you went to the library.”

Something in his tone grated on her nerves. “Excuse me?”

“You were going to go anyway, right?”

“Well, yes, but-”

“Then take the chance to read up on this,” he pointed to Severus, “and get it through your head that you can’t stay here and forget to eat!” He ended by pointing to her rather rudely.

Who the hell gave him the right to stand up and be Head of House? “Pardon me, but I had a lot on my mind yesterday!”

He gestured again to the slumped man on the ground. “And what about Snape, eh? Because of your full-mindedness, he could’ve brought down the block! You brought him back, he’s your responsibility! You know the rules, Hermione! Hell, you bloody wrote them!” He threw his hand back over to her at the end, then dropped it at his side in exasperation.

Why did they all look so disappointed? It wasn’t all her! “I didn’t—Harry, I wouldn’t—you know me, I—”

“Save it. Just…go to the library and do what you need to do. Get your head on straight. We’ll take care of Snape while you’re out.”

He motioned for Ronald and Remus to help him lift Severus off the ground. When they were murmuring about where to take him, she spoke up,

“Don’t…don’t take him inside. He’s afraid of the house.”

Harry strained over his shoulder, “Fine, whatever. Just go.”

She saw his feet and remembered, “And find him some shoes.”

All three of them reproached her, “Hermione!”

Cheeks stinging in embarrassment, she slunked off towards the house, “Okay, okay. I’m going.”

/

Oh. Oh, God. Why didn’t she look this up before? Why did she rush into this so blindly? She knew better! She’d always known better!

Hermione stared at the books laying on the table before her, all open to damning pages researching withdrawal symptoms and treatments of stopping anti-psychotic medication…if that was even what Severus had been on.

She slipped her head into her hand and her fingers into her hair, letting loose a small whine. She was horrible! She was evil! The only thing she could think of to try and make things right was to Apparate back to Hestry’s and break into his records to try and find out exactly what medication Severus had been on, perhaps even steal some of the medication itself, then wean him off of it slowly, but the right way to do that would be to clear it through Remus or Harry first.

Everything else she was reading was saying he could have damning health problems otherwise.

And it was all her fault! She’d been turning it around on Harry and then on Ron, but it was really her own fault. All of it. It had been her fault Harry had upset Severus with Voldemort, her fault Severus had been left alone in the garden this morning, her fault he’d not eaten since God-knows-when!

Aaugh!

She slammed the book shut before her, then the rest of them, stacking them into a pile on the returns cart for the librarian to put away later. Normally, she’d take the time to put them back where she’d found them, but today was just…one of those days. The librarian could do it for once. As she stomped down the stairs and towards the Apparation point in St. James Square, she started to get nervous about what she’d find back home at Grimmauld Place.

She’d left them there several hours ago. Severus was probably awake by now and surrounded by people he probably disliked. She couldn’t even fathom how she came into the ‘like’ category but was rather pleased that she was. It was nearly enough to overshadow the sickening feeling that she’d already failed him by letting him fall so far behind in his recovery.

This was rather serious, she couldn’t deny that. If he didn’t start eating, regularly and soon, as well as including physical activity, his body would shut down completely. No amount of magic could hold him together and no amount of his own magic could stay inside of him.

She needed to go to Hogwarts’ library to see if they had any information, but she needed to get back home more urgently, if only to re-establish that yes, Severus was her charge and that she was fully responsible for him.

She let out a little sigh at that. When did her fascination with him turn into garden-variety responsibility? Moving to sit on a park bench before Apparating, she pondered the question. Yes, he was fascinating. Yes, he still had the most amazing snark in Britain and YES she loved it that he focused so much on her, but…

She sighed again. It felt wrong to be attracted to someone so unhealthy. Like…like he needed a chance to be himself before she could throw herself at him. She smiled at that and remembered the straddling affair from last night. It would have been different, back in his prime, if she’d done that…

She huffed herself back to reality. She was being silly. He really wasn’t that much different now. So why did she feel like he was?

Perhaps…perhaps if she helped him get his memories back and a few more pounds on his bones…then of course, there was the hair. She smiled to herself and stood up. He absolutely had to grow his hair back. He just wasn’t Severus Snape without it.

Apparating from one park to another, she made a promise to herself that she’d take mealtimes more seriously, both for Severus’ sake and for her own.

Stalking down the hallway and into the kitchen, she found Teddy giggling madly on the floor with Kreacher babbling down to him in his scratchy voice. She tried to remain quiet, but the house elf noticed her almost immediately and bowed.

“Kreacher is sorry for the uncivilized display. Can Kreacher get Miss something to eat?” [3]

She smiled softly to him. “No, Kreacher, you were doing a fine job with Teddy. If you don’t mind, I’m just going to raid the fridge[4] for something quick.”

“As the Miss wishes.”

He bowed again, very solemnly, and pattered back to his charge with suspicious eyes, picking up randomly strewn toys as he went. Hermione smiled at him again and opened the door built into the wall, looking for some fruit and milk.

Finding what she needed, she thanked Kreacher, balanced the bowl and jug, then exited the kitchen through the dutch door to the rear garden.

“Hello?”

Everything was so quiet…

She approached the oak tree, the pergola…nothing.

Surely they hadn’t taken him inside, had they? She looked back to the house, but could determine nothing from the sky reflecting innocently back at her off the glazed panes.

Shaking her head, she delved deeper into the garden, realizing that there was a bit of a path beaten down in the overgrowth. She followed it for quite some ways, wondering just how far back the garden went, when finally, amazingly, she came across a pond.

“I had no idea we had one of these.”

“Neither did I.”

“Oh!” She nearly dropped her lunch, but Harry helped her balance everything, smiling at her when he realized she’d taken his suggestion to heart. He really was so easy to please, especially when it was only that he cared about them all.

“Alright, then?”

“I think so.” She shifted the jug a bit into her elbow and nodded to the pond. “So what brought along the excursion?”

“Snape seemed better once we got some stew in him and he wanted to…well, we all wanted to see how far back it went. I’d not realized we’d never really bothered since—”

Sirius. It was his garden, so it would make sense that Harry would want to both see it and not see it.

“Are you okay?”

“Eh? Oh, yeah. Fine.” He nodded in a way that Hermione knew meant she should leave it alone. He redirected with a thumb over his shoulder. “Snape found a folly.”

She blinked. “Pardon?”

“Yeah! It’s great! Come and see, you brought lunch just in time, too.”

She smiled and followed him through big leafy plants and tall tails that had long since puffed their pods, wilted old flowers and vines that had been hacked away, around the pond and through an entire grove of willows—

“How—”

He looked back at her over his shoulder and laughed. “I have no idea, so don’t even ask. Snape and Remus think it’s something like what they did with the Forbidden Forest. How Sirius learned about that, we’ll never know.”

He continued on and she smiled at his back. “I guess not…but we can try and find out how to do it, ourselves, if you wish.”

Harry stopped. “Yeah, we could.” He motioned ahead, then dropped his hands. “Here. There it is.” He looked at her expectantly.

She looked to where he pointed and stood, shocked. Gracefully erected in the middle of a perfect clearing next to the narrowest point of the pond was a beautiful cupola folly. It had Corinthian columns and a domed ceiling, steps raising up to a stone floor and, “My goodness, this is huge!” Her voice rang up and over the the dome as she stepped forward.

She placed her goods on the floor behind the first column, looking up at the thirty-foot-tall ceiling in wonder. The columns swept around her in a nearly twenty foot circle [5] and as her gaze ran the circumference, she found her charge watching them, alone.

Hermione looked to Harry. “Did Remus already go inside?”

He glanced between them, “Yeah. The moon rises early this month.”

So he was going to leave Severus alone this far out? “Where were you going?”

“Well, if you weren’t back, I was going to get lunch.”

She sighed through her nose and blinked, not sure if he was censuring her or praising her. She just let it be. “Well, here I am.”

Harry looked down at the floor to her little luncheon and must have noted how small it actually was. “On second thought, I think now that you’re here, I’ll go scare up Kreacher for some sandwiches. You two have fun.”

“Harry?”

He stopped at the bottom of the steps and turned back to her, hands stuffed in the pockets of his jacket. “Yeah?”

“Thanks.”

He smiled his winning, boyish smile and jogged down the path, disappearing into the overgrowth.

A scuff on stone turned her attention to the floor behind her. “So they did find you shoes.”

“For now.”

She looked up to him in question.

“They pinch.”

“No one here has large enough feet?”

“Not even the Weasley, which is surprising.”

Her mind went directly into the gutter and her eyebrows into her hair, so she stifled a giggle and dropped to retrieve their lunch. “Hungry?”

“So I’m told.”

“Well, I know how that feels, but we both need to buck up and eat, so I brought us some fruit and milk. It’s at least light and pure, so there are no spices to muck it up.”

“That should be…adequate.”

She paused and looked at him, judging to see if there was something wrong. His tone had changed from yesterday.

“Have I done something wrong?” God knows everyone else thought so, why not him?

His face remained impassive, but his tone was sarcastic perfection, “Heaven forbid. What could you have possibly done wrong?”

She swallowed and looked down, pulling a few leaves closer to transfigure into cups for the milk. “Oh, I don’t know. You seem…a bit off from yesterday, that’s all.”

There went his eyebrow. “I don’t suppose it might have something to do with my ever changing circumstances that my mood does the same?”

“Oh. Oh, I suppose.”

She looked at him, starting to lose confidence in her position with him. He had been nearly…warm to her yesterday. Now he was so cold. Very like his old self and while it was wonderful that he was remembering things—she changed the leaves into cups with a swish and flick—what did that mean for her? Was he growing tired of her already?

She poured the milk into the cups and stood up, handing him one. “To your health.”

“And yours.”

They tipped the edge of their cups together and sipped the refreshing liquid while looking around the folly, avoiding each other. She sighed. This was silly. They were adults and could carry on as before, no matter what happened while she was out. “So…this is an interesting place you’ve found here.”

“Indeed.”

“Are you going to stay, then?”

“I didn’t realize I had a choice at the moment.”

“Um…well…there is the small detail of your being dead.”

Never in all her life did she think she’d see Severus spit his milk, but he did. Thankfully, it was away from her, but he did and glared darkly at her. “Kindly do not mention that to me for the time being.”

She blinked, still shocked that he’d had such a human reaction, but also that he’d had such an about face from last night. They’d talked about him being dead several times without reaction and now this? “Did you remember something? Or did one of the boys say something to upset you? Do you need me to say something to them, because I’d be glad to—”

“Lay off, guardian, I merely do not wish to speak of…it. The boys, as you so quaintly put it, have done nothing to upset me. In fact,” he paced away from her towards the other side of the cupola, “Harry suggested I work the garden to regain some physical activity and earn my keep while I am here.”

“Oh?” She watched him. He stood stock-still, obviously waiting for her judgment on the suggestion. “Well, I think that’s a marvelous idea.”

She bent down and opened the bowl at her feet, then brought it up to offer it to him, “Fruit?”

He stayed perfectly still, except for his head, which turned ever-so-slightly to his left so that his voice would carry over his shoulder. “How long have you known that I’d been Resurrected? Who else have you told?”

It was all she could do not to drop the pottery bowl she held in her hands.

“P-pardon?” She blinked. Where did this come from? How on earth did he come to that conclusion? Well, either conclusion? That he’d been Resurrected and not simply revived, and that she knew about it, or at least had figured it out.

He turned to face her fully and she was met with oubliette eyes she could easily be forgotten in. “I don’t generally believe in repeating myself and I do believe you heard me.”

“Ye—um. Well. You sort of brought up a very disturbing subject. What makes you think I think you’re Resurrected? I’d have to report it to the Ministry and if I didn’t, I’d be thrown into Azkaban if you were found and it were revealed I knew about it, now wouldn’t I? So, I’d say that I didn’t know anything of the sort.”

Right, Hermione. Very Slytherin of you. Hmph. Try pulling the other one. The only reason you wanted to find him first was to prove that he had been Resurrected and therefore needed protection from the Ministry. Nevermind that you’re halfway out of your mind for him—

His eyebrow shot up. “You would say you know nothing of it.”

She paused and realized he’d actually caught the exact part of her rambling that was the most important. She’d lie to keep him safe. Honestly, after watching Remus and Tonks, then his own miraculous revival, there were just too many things pointing to them being Resurrected.

She’d once asked Harry if he still had the Stone and he admitted that he didn’t know where it was. Said it was safer that way. She asked him how he’d used it in battle, and he said he saw shades of his loved ones, even Remus, and they walked him—protected him—through the Forest.

There was still no good explanation for that, except that Remus had actually been dead at that time, and that Harry didn’t really want to bring them back, he’d just wanted their presence. He’d not asked for their complete return and that was all she had to go on.

She shrugged and looked Severus in the eye again.

He asked another question, “Who else knows?”

“Possibly Harry. He knows about Remus and Tonks, but he’s trying to subscribe to the ‘Teddy having wild magic’ theory. It helps him bond with the little tyke.”

“And the Weasley? The Lupins?”

“Ronald is easily distracted in anything but quidditch and chess. I doubt he’s taken the time to notice. His current theory is that you’ve been a vampire living off of rats in the south all this time.”

Severus snorted.

“The Lupins…I’m not sure. Remus, as you know, is very intuitive and…knows me well enough that I’ve had to be careful around him. Harry and I are also very careful about not mentioning anything involving their deaths or yours. Tonks is blithe about it. She’s completely taken up with Teddy and Remus, but has her moments. She can be very perceptive when she wants to be.”

He looked up a column, traced it visually to the dome, then dropped his gaze back to her. “Where does that leave me and my…situation?”

She blinked. “Nowhere new. I’m really the only one who knows and we’ll keep it that way unless you want to research something?” She ended it on a question, wondering if this was why he’d connected the dots. Did he wonder who or why? She did, but wouldn’t push unless he wanted to.

He looked hard at her, watched her, seemed to be making a decision. “Not yet.” At that, he walked forward and peered into her bowl, selected a piece of cantaloupe and bit down on the chunk of melon, showing the tips of his teeth from between his pale, thin lips.

She reached for the honeydew and did the same.

Really, what else was there to do?


Author’s Note(with corrected numbers):

[1]Chimney Sweeps (or Chimney Swifts) are American Birds primary to the Eastern Seaboard. I know this. Severus knows this (somewhere in that mind of his). Sweeps are also not seen in England in October for any reason. Severus would ‘normally’ also know this. Know now that there is a reason for him seeing Sweeps in England in October. It has to do with that nasty plucking sensation I’ve added in, too ;)

[2]This is a paraphrase from DH pg.409, as I don’t believe Severus would remember this word for word, only the important bits.

[3]I always view Kreacher as from the movies (and yes, as he was in the book), very serious, very scratchy voice, very properly spoken. I just can’t write him with the silly elf speak! (It has since been brought to my attention that silly elf speak is an invention of fanfiction. I really hadn’t caught that before)

[4]http : / coventrycrest. Com/ slideshow/ images/ slide31. Jpg (remove spaces) This will show you what I mean by their fridge (I’m using the concept that Grimmauld Place is a non-modified Victorian household, so the kitchen would have an actual ice-box, or cold cabinet, instead of a refrigerator. One could charm the cabinet or box to cool or freeze accordingly instead of importing ice like the neighbors did.) Also, I would like to mention they are witches and wizards. They do not have the same food processing that we do, so their milk is not homogenized or pasteurized as ours is. Severus is getting raw milk (and before you gag, this is good for him at this dietary stage and Tonk’s stew from before really would have been something very simple, more like a broth with things thrown in he could pick around) I didn’t mention this in my previous edit because I felt I’d get a lot of protest, but I’m going for it and trusting that you guys are a rather smart bunch ;)

[5]If this were done in a true Greek style, then it would be done in a two-thirds, or a three-fifths rule of scale. I chose two-thirds. Therefore, if it is thirty feet tall, it is twenty feet wide. Plenty big enough for a bedroom, eh? (snerk) Also, by my calculations and research, the sun rose around 7:20-7:30am at that time of year in London, and Hermione had been gone for HOURS, so there had been plenty of time for Severus to recover from cascading all over the oak tree and decide to take a walk. I’m estimating she’s returning around 2pm. (therefore she’d been gone nearly six hours)

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