Chapter 4 : A Discovery
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Camilla looked around. It was a large, circular room. The walls were covered in portraits, which she guessed to be previous headmasters and headmistresses of Hogwarts. At first, she thought that even they were shaking their heads with sympathy. Camilla erased this thought from her head. “Welcome, please take a seat,” the headmaster said kindly, indicating two comfy-looking chairs placed in front of a large, highly polished, wood desk.
Camilla and Severus sat down across from the headmaster. “May I offer you some licorice wands?” he asked.
Camilla leaned forward to take the headmaster up on this offer. Her stomach was growling intensely. She took quite a few of the sweets and Severus gave her a disgusted look. “Thank you, Professor. You have a lovely office,” she said politely.
“Thank you my dear, I like it.” His blue eyes twinkled over his spectacles and Camilla smiled. She found that when his eyes twinkled like that she felt a strange sense of comfort and warmth. “I have just had the pleasure of speaking with your parents Ms. Portman and they have informed me that I am to be invited to your wedding.”
Camilla glanced at Severus, then back at the headmaster. “Oh?” was all she could think of to say.
Professor Dumbledore nodded. “They also requested that the faculty and I do our best to ensure that you both get adequate chances to get to know one another before the end of term.” Both students quietly waited for him to continue. “We thought that perhaps it would be a good idea to arrange private living quarters for you to share.” Camilla choked violently on the last bit of licorice, staring at the headmaster wide-eyed. “Of course, you would have separate bedrooms. It would be rather like the arrangement our Head Boy and Girl have.”
Camilla turned to Severus in alarm. Surely he would have something to say about this. “If that is what you believe to be best, Professor,” Snape said calmly. Camilla opened her mouth and then closed it again. She didn’t want to argue or refuse the headmaster, but really! Shared quarters? It was ridiculous. She did not want to spend any more with Snape than she had to.
“What do you think, Ms. Portman?” Dumbledore looked at her expectantly.
“Well, I… I think that… It’s a marvelous idea, Professor. It will give Snape-Severus and me plenty of opportunities to… erm… talk and get to know each other,” she spluttered. Snape’s name sounded so odd on her tongue. She repeated his name in her head. Severus. Severus. Severus. It would take some getting used to.
The headmaster gave a small smile. “Very well, then. That’s settled. Your things will be moved there shortly. Do you have any questions or concerns perhaps?”
“No, headmaster. Thank you for your time,” Snape said, rising from the chair.
“Actually, I do.” Snape sat down with an irritated sigh. “I was curious,” Camilla continued, “Does this happen often? I mean, arranged marriages.”
Dumbledore thought for a moment. “Well, I believe they happen more than one might expect. Just last year, in fact there was one. They were seventh years and shared the quarters you two will be sharing.”
“I see.” Severus moved to get up again, but Camilla had another question. “And what do you think of it Professor? All these arranged marriages?”
She could tell without looking at him that Snape was growing impatient. “Many concern me and I fear for the welfare of those involved, but others I believe to be very advantageous. An interesting tidbit I learned a while back was that arranged marriages tend to last much longer than average.”
Camilla bit her lip. She wanted to ask what sort of marriage he thought she and Severus would have, but she didn’t feel as if she could ask the Headmaster that in front of Snape. The headmaster looked over his spectacles at her and she felt like she knew what his answer would be anyway. Very advantageous indeed.
“You don’t understand Professor! He plans to violently smother me until-!” she began pleadingly.
“Thank you,” Severus interjected forcefully, “for your time Professor. I’m sure we’ll be fine.” Camilla glared up at him from her chair. She couldn’t possibly imagine how they were going to spend the next few months living in such close proximity, let alone being married.
“These were expensive!” Camilla shouted at him, dangling a pair of pink, lace knickers in front of him. He pushed her hand out of his face.
“You deserved it!” he shouted back, “You dumped ink over all my essays.”
“That is easily reparable. I can’t wash this crap out Severus! I’m going to have to buy all new underwear. You got it over every bra and every pair of knickers. Besides, the ink on your essays was an accident!” He snorted in disbelief. “How am I supposed to go out in public without underwear?!?”
“Well, since the public shouldn’t be seeing your underwear, I hardly think it’s that pressing of a problem. Besides if you’re so concerned about it you shouldn’t leave your bras everywhere, it’s disgusting.”
“I’m sorry I’m too disorganized for you!”
“You’re not disorganized, you’re a slob.”
Fuming, Camilla pounded up the stairs to her dormitory. So much had changed in the past two weeks. She had moved from the comfort of the Ravenclaw dorm to her own private one, with a large bed and an enormous armoire for her clothes. Severus’ dorm was on the opposite side of the common room they shared. Since the move, the painfully true rumor that Camilla Portman (most knew her as “Lily’s friend”) was betrothed to Severus Snape (“Cain’s friend”) had been circulating ferociously. Remus and Lily had been amazingly supportive, warding off any would-be questioners and making themselves available whenever she needed them. However, Camilla and Severus had not made any progress in their relationship, if anything, things had gotten worse.
Severus and Camilla fought every evening. It was always about small, meaningless things, like how books were arranged or whether the carpet was dark blue or black (“Who would want black carpet?” she had snapped angrily). This was morning, though. And mornings were reserved for fighting about the mean-spirited things they had done to each other’s possessions when the other’s back was turned. Camilla had spilt ink over Severus’ essays (which had truly been an accident) and Severus had gotten back at her by spraying doxycide onto all her underwear.
She pulled her robe over her head. She didn’t usually wear her school robes on the weekends but the fact that she had no bras made it necessary. She stomped back down the stairs and without saying anything to Snape, exited through the portrait hole.
“I hate him! He’s rude all the time and he never has something nice to say about anything or anyone.” Camilla and Remus sat in the shade of a large tree near the lake on Hogwarts grounds.
“On a positive note, another Hogsmeade visit next weekend. You can buy some new knickers,” Remus said teasingly.
“That’s good, I guess,” she replied quietly. Remus sighed, knowing she probably wasn’t in the mood for silly banter. Her head was resting on his shoulder and he could just smell the wonderful, flowery scent of her hair. He found himself wondering how Snape could treat her like he did. Camilla, who was far more beautiful, kind, and lovely than any woman Snape could have possibly gotten for himself, had practically been handed to him on a platter and he was treating her like dirt.
“You deserve so much more than this,” he said quietly to himself. Camilla raised her head to look at him.
“What did you say?”
“I just said that…that you…” Remus leaned slowly towards her. She didn’t back away from him. “You deserve so much more than him.” He cupped her cheeks and stroked a stray hair from her face with his thumb. She was staring at him slightly wide-eyed. Gathering up his courage he kissed her gently. At first, she didn’t move and he expected her to push him away, but she didn’t. She began kissing him back. A huge weight seemed to be lifted from his shoulders. Apparently, his feelings weren’t one-sided.
After a few moments they pulled apart. He gave her a small smile. Her cheeks were flushed and she returned his smile. Her eyes glanced over his shoulder. Suddenly an expression of concern clouded her face. He turned around. Cain Holden was standing at the entrance of Hogwarts watching them. Cain gave them a cocky wave and turned into Hogwarts. Camilla jumped up. “I have to get to Severus before he does. We’ll talk later okay?” she said frantically. Before Remus could respond she was sprinting across the grounds toward the school.
Camilla ran down several corridors, trying to find the quickest route back to the common room she and Severus shared. Finally, she arrived and practically shouted the password at the portrait of a young woman in a field of sunflowers. She bounced anxiously on her toes waiting for the portrait to open. It seemed to take an eternity. When it open she bounded in. The common room was empty. She glanced up the stairs to Severus’ dormitory. She listened carefully for any sort of sign that indicated that Severus was in his room. She couldn’t hear anything. She slowly crept up the stairs and turned the doorknob. With just one look she could tell that Severus had not been in his room since the morning.
She stepped into his room. She knew it was probably too late to seek out Severus before Cain did; she would have to deal with him later. Now, her curiosity motivated her. Biting her lip, she moved into the center of the room. Immediately, something bright and yellow poking out from one of his dresser drawers caught her eye. She picked it up, examining it. It was a birthday gift bag. She peered nosily into it. Pushing the paper aside, she found several chocolate frogs and a small vial of a golden liquid. She pulled the card out. She recognized Lily’s hand writing at once.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SEVERUS!
I brewed this just for you… well, actually, Slughorn wanted a bit as well, but I started with wonderful intentions of making this solely for you. I’m sure you don’t mind. Have an awesome birthday!
She put the card back in the bag. Lily always gave chocolate frogs along with birthday gifts. Scanning over the rest of the gifts, Camilla spotted a black bag with green paper. It looked quite out of place among all the other bright, birthday themed gift wrappings. She reached in and pulled out a simple, silver mask. She flipped it over, confused. She was puzzled as to who would give a mask as a birthday gift, especially to someone as bad humored as Severus. Peering back into the bag, she pulled out a white piece of paper the size of a business card.
The time to act is now.
Camilla frowned. She had no clue what to make of this odd gift. She put the mask to her face, thinking that maybe the mask had some sort of magical property. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. Nothing had changed, however, she did feel like she had seen someone in a mask like this. She racked her mind for a moment. Finally, she decided to give up. She placed the mask and the slip of paper back in the drawer. She tried her best to arrange everything the way it had been. Thinking it was probably a good idea to head out of his room before he returned.
On her way out, she glanced at a newspaper on Severus’ nightstand. It wasn’t until she was halfway over the threshold of his door did the picture in the paper register with her. She slowly walked backwards. She analyzed the picture. Death Eaters were throwing curses at a group of aurors. The headline shouted, “Twenty dead in Death Eater attack!” Camilla swallowed as she realized what the mask had reminded her of. She snatched up the paper and rushed to the drawer. Pulling out the mask, she compared it to those worn by the Death Eaters. She closed her eyes. She was marrying a Death Eater. “Oh, Merlin. This can’t be happening,” she whispered to herself.
“What are you doing?” a strong voice barked.
Camilla spun around.
Severus was standing in the doorway.
Camilla forced a smile. “Happy Birthday!” she yelled happily, trying to distract him from the mask and newspaper in her hands.
“My birthday was a week and half ago,” he replied coldly.
“Oh? You should have told me. I would have gotten you something.”
“I highly doubt that. Now,” he said taking a few steps toward her, “what do you think you’re doing?”
She remained silent. She searched his face for some sort of hint of what his reaction would be. He was advancing toward her slowly. His face was calm, but it was a scary, disturbing sort of calm. Something told her that despite his emotionless features, he was very angry.
A/N: The end of another chapter! I love hearing from readers so drop me a review and tell me what you’re liking (and not liking) so far. I'll try to answer everyone's reviews, but I can't promise that I'll get to it in a certain amount of time. I hope that's okay. Thanks!
Revised: March 3 2008
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