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Chapter 21: Autumn Anger
*the plot and the OC's belong to me, the rest belongs to J.K.
“Remus! It’s been forever!” Shay exclaimed as she saw Remus sitting at a booth in the Three Broomsticks.
“Shay, it’s great to see you,” Remus said with a large smile and stood, waiting for Shay to reach him.
Shay hugged him tightly and then gave him a once over.
“You look good, Rem,” Shay complimented as the pair sat down.
“The same to you, Shay. I’ve been missing your company at headquarters.”
“How is everything there? I obviously haven’t had much time to go,” Shay asked and her eyes filled with concern.
“It’s not good, Shay. There aren’t too many of us left. Did you hear about Gideon and Fabian?” Remus asked sadly.
“Minerva told me. It’s awful. She did tell me that they took a few of those bastards with them,” Shay said with a proud grin.
“It took five Death Eaters to take them down. I was with Albus when he broke the news to their family. Their poor sister just had a baby girl not too long ago and then she gets horrific news like that,” Remus said solemnly.
“Another? I believe that’s seven now. That woman is either a saint or insane. I can’t decide,” Shay said with a small chuckle.
Remus smiled back at her.
“How’s the teaching coming along? Albus informed me that he gave you a special project.”
“A project, indeed. I’m attempting to teach a 7th year Gryffindor occluemcy. It’s starting to come along. He’s beginning to work hard at it now that he got his first taste of success. And teaching has really been great. It feels right. At least for now it does.”
“You seem happy,” Remus stated and took a sip of his drink.
“I am. How about you? Have you met anyone? Not that you have a lot of time to at the moment.”
“I’m not particularly on the market at the present. I’m not exactly on a streak,” Remus finished with a hint of bitterness.
“Any girl would be lucky to have you,” Shay said and placed her hand on his own.
Remus glanced down at Shay’s hand and saw a sparkle coming off her finger.
“There’s a rumor around headquarters that this happened. Supposedly Sirius told Frank and Alice. So I figured it must have been true,” Remus blankly stated.
“I wanted to tell you in person,” Shay replied softly.
She took her hand away from Remus, not wanting to flaunt what was obviously upsetting him.
“When did it happen?”
“The beginning on October. I actually proposed to him in the booth behind us,” Shay explained and motioned back with her thumb.
“That information stings a little,” Remus grimaced.
“I’m sorry. You know that it’s not my intention to ever hurt you.”
“Don’t be sorry. I’m happy that you’re happy. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I’m not going to, Remus. It feels right this time around. I wouldn’t have proposed if it didn’t. Once when the war is over, Sirius will come around to realize that he’s been a raging arse to you. James, Lily and Harry will come out of hiding and Peter won’t be stuck in the middle of things anymore. Things will start to return to the way they used to be,” Shay said hopefully.
“Your delusions of granger are amusing,” Remus said with a half-hearted smile, “Speaking of Peter, has he been in touch with you lately? I haven’t seen him around headquarters in about a week. I still worry about him after he lost Alana.”
“No. I owled him a week or two ago and now that I think about it I never got a response. That’s not like Peter. I hope he’s feeling all right. I’ll ask Sirius. Peter’s always been close with him,” Shay said with a furrowed brow.
“I’ve been thinking about our school days a lot lately. I’m not one for living in the past but I can’t help to think about how different our lives used to be,” Remus reminisced.
“I’ll be the first one to admit that I miss being that young and carefree. We got away with a lot of stuff back then. My students can’t get anything past me,” Shay smiled.
“I think sixth year was my favorite. I think it’s the only time that Sirius and James were envious of me. I had finally snagged the girl I’d been after and she loved me. Those two hadn’t succeeded yet,” Remus said with a fond smile.
“Sixth year was great. Lily finally found it somewhat bearable to hang out with James so it was so much easier spending time with everyone. Niki and I were finally friends again and sixth year is such a knock off year anyways. I hate to admit it but we all ruled that school. I had anything I wanted while I was there. Life was so easy. I think of the students I have now and I feel sad because they’re going to lose that security and enter this harsh world that just seems to take everything away.”
“It’ll change eventually. It may not seem like we’re winning right now but I can’t foresee You-Know-Who taking over while Albus Dumbledore is still around,” Remus assured.
“Cheers to Albus Dumbledore, to those who have fallen, and those who still fight,” Shay said and lifted her glass.
It was unusually warm for a late October day and Hogwarts was soaking in the sun. Most students ate lunch as fast as possible to enjoy as much of the weather as possible. This left only a few dawdling students and most of the teaching staff in the Great Hall.
“Brilliant day, isn’t it?” Shay asked Severus who was sitting to her left.
“It just makes the students think that they can get away with no good,” Severus replied, scowling at his candied yams.
“Merlin, Sev. You act like a 100 year old sour puss,” Shay said and shook her head with semi-annoyance.
Severus clenched his fist a little and continued his staring contest with his food.
“What’s eating you? You’re not your chipper self.”
“Her,” Severus growled and glared at Sybil Trelawney.
“Oh,” Shay said and looked between Severus and Sybil, “Did she do something to you, besides being her crazy loon self?”
“Every time I pass her, she starts muttering about that Grim rubbish.”
“She does the same to me. I’m glad we finally see eye to eye on one person,” Shay said and helped Severus glare at her.
Shay didn’t like Trelawney because she told the prophecy that put Lily, James and Harry in danger.
“I still can’t believe that Dumbledore gave her a job. All because of one prophecy and some luck timing,” Severus admitted.
Shay was about to reply when she realized what Severus had revealed to her.
“What did you just say?” Shay asked slowly.
Severus looked like there was a chance he might run for it before the storm could approach. He decided to be a man about it.
“Can we talk somewhere private?”
Shay and Severus entered her office and she shut the door and quickly turned on him.
“How do you know? Do you know who the spy is?”
“No, how many times do I have to tell you I don’t know who the spy in the Order is? It’s something else. I wanted to tell you weeks ago but then Black interrupted it,” Severus explained and started a nervous sweat.
“Just tell me,” Shay said dangerously.
“Dumbledore was holding interviews for open teaching positions at the Leaky Cauldron. Trelawney was before me and I was waiting outside the door when she told the prophecy. I…I didn’t mean to,” Severus stammered and was incessantly wringing his hands.
Shay had never seen him act like this and it only made her more upset.
“What did you do?” Shay demanded to know.
“Shay, you have to believe me when I tell you that I had no idea who the prophecy was about. At the time, I thought it was my duty to inform the Dark Lord. When he targeted Lily, I went to Dumbledore. I begged for him to save her. Shay, the last thing I would want is for anything to hurt Lily.”
“And what about James and Harry? Did you think that Lily would love you because you convinced Voldemort to spare her?” Shay fired at him.
“They’re all safe right now,” Severus argued.
“I have nightmares about receiving that owl that tells me my friends are dead. And you’re to blame?! Is that why you saved me? To rid yourself of guilt?” Shay interrogated, tears now steadily streaming down her face.
“No, it wasn’t like that,” Severus tried to explain but Shay wasn’t having it.
“Don’t lie to me! You hate me, you hate James. You hate a one year old child because of his parentage. You only love yourself and Lily Potter. Well, news flash Severus, she hates you. Lily hasn’t spoken a word about you since 5th year. You are NOTHING to her. Yet you still manage to put her life at risk.”
Shay was shouting at this point. Half of the castle would have heard if Shay didn’t always have the Muffliato spell on her office.
“All I can do is apologize,” Severus spoke in almost a whisper.
“And that will never be enough. Don’t think that helping Courtlyn save me makes you any better of a person. I’d rather be rotting in that dungeon than grant you any relief from the guilt I hope you carry around for the rest of your days.”
Shay was shaking with anger and her stomach was churning wildly. Severus couldn’t look at Shay, let alone defend himself.
“Get out! I can’t even look at you anymore,” Shay yelled with disgust.
Shay literally slapped the words out of Severus’s mouth. The stinging noise echoed in the room.
“You don’t get to apologize. Get out! Get out of my sight!” Shay screamed and started pushing him out of the room.
Severus went without much of a fight. Shay was so hasty about getting Severus out that she nearly slammed his nose in the door.
Shay completely lost it as soon as she was by herself. She had genuinely believed that Severus was trying to make a better life for himself and he learned from his mistakes. But Shay was wrong about him. He was no better than the rest of her family. He was no better than Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange or Voldemort himself. Shay was now convinced of what she always suspected. Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater. There’s no going back when you sell your soul to the devil.
“How could you?” Shay let out as soon as she entered Dumbledore’s office.
“I see that you’re upset,” Dumbledore commented.
“How could you stand by and let Snape endanger the lives of the Potters?”
“What could I have done, Shay?” Dumbledore asked calmly.
“You know everything. You had to have known that Snape overheard the prophecy. You had to have known,” Shay cried and paced around the office.
“The Potters are safe for the time being. I cannot fix everything, Shay. Many people seem to think I can.”
Dumbledore’s tranquility was infuriating Shay even more.
“And then you go and employ him. Reward him for terrible behavior. It’s insane!” Shay yelled.
“Severus Snape is risking his life to help the Order. Severus came to me in order to help save Lily and in exchange he is now a spy for us.”
Shay stopped pacing and stared daggers at the man she admired so much.
“Don’t you ever get sick of using people?”
Dumbledore didn’t say anything and waited for Shay to air her grievances.
“You’re using the Potters as bait, Severus as a rat, you’re using the entire Order as toy soldiers and half the Order is dead now. And you’re just using me as a tool. I follow you blindly because in my eyes, you have never been wrong before. Unfortunately, I think I was wrong,” Shay said and said in front of her boss.
“I understand why you are upset, Shay. I completely do. The Potters are your family and naturally, you are worried about them. Maybe I should have handled the situation differently but everything is going to happen for a reason Shay. You shouldn’t worry about what has already happened. You are finally moving on in your own life and believe it or not, I am very pleased for you. You make me so proud in how far you have come since you first walked through the doors of Hogwarts. You are one of the most powerful witches I have ever met in my long life and I’m thankful to have you as a colleague and I couldn’t be happier to have you in my corner,” Dumbledore spoke with a peaceful admiration.
“Don’t butter me up, Albus. I have every right to be mad at you.”
Shay couldn’t help but be calmed by Dumbledore’s words.
“I’m fine with you being mad at me. I feel that not enough people are. It’s quite refreshing,” Dumbledore responded with a small smile.
“You have a gift, Albus. You should bottle up that magic and make a profit off it. People would pay galleons to get out of sticky situations. I do want to make it clear that I don’t want to be associated with Snape anymore though.”
“Shay, you are a forgiving person. You will forgive Severus one day. You may not want to but you know as well as I do, that you can’t help yourself.”
“I tried giving Severus a chance. He is family after all. But he’s proven himself time and time again to be a terrible person,” Shay stated.
“Even though he risked his own life to save yours?”
“He did it for purely selfish reasons,” Shay answered quickly.
“Does he not get the chance to redeem himself?” Dumbledore questioned.
“What he did could get them killed. Why can’t you understand that?”
Dumbledore could only see anguish in Shay’s eyes at the moment.
“If the Potters die, we cannot blame anyone but the man who did it himself. They are being protected by people that love them and that’s the best that I could offer. These are trying times, Shay. We must stand united and that now includes Severus.”
“But what if they die, Albus? I can’t help but think about what happens if they die.”
“If the unthinkable happens, then we mourn them but still carry on. Shay, I don’t mean to be insensitive but you’ve lost a brother and a son. Does it get any harder to bear than that?” Dumbledore asked cautiously.
Shay was silent. She rested her hand gently on the side of her face and stared out the window.
“I have over stepped my bounds,” Dumbledore said apologetically.
“No,” Shay replied and waved her hand at him, “Death has never gotten easier. Haven’t you ever lost someone you irrevocably cared about?”
Dumbledore didn’t answer but Shay took his silence as a confirmation.
“Then you know that you never fully move on. It’s just that some days hurt more than others. I don’t want anymore of that pain. I don’t want the Potters to be casualties of this war.”
“It doesn’t do to dwell on things we can’t control. There’s a quote I like to remember when we lose someone. ‘Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.’”
Shay rested her head on her fist and smirked at him.
“You didn’t come up with that yourself?”
“I picked it up from a muggle play I saw about 70 years ago. Absolutely fascinating how imaginative muggles can be. I’ve always meant to see another one but it’s quite hard for me to go into the muggle world unnoticed,” Albus said with a smile and a glimmer in his blue eyes.
“Thank you for talking me down, Albus. I hate to admit it but I just get overwhelmingly frightened sometimes. I’ll let you get on with your day now,” Shay said and got up from her chair.
“We all get frightened sometimes. I hope to see you tomorrow at the Halloween Fest. My costume is going to be spectacular.”
Shay turned and smiled before exiting the room.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”