Camilla felt a large hand grasp her shoulder and shake her violently awake. Her eyes flew open and she gasped.
Hagrid smiled. “Sorry. Didn’ mean teh scare yeh.”
Camilla sat up and rubbed her eyes. Suddenly, the horrible memories of the previous night came flooding back to her and she felt her chest contract with pain.
“What are yeh doin’ out here?” Hagrid asked, pulling her to her feet.
Camilla just shook her head and bit her lip to stop the tears from flowing. She couldn’t begin to tell Hagrid why she was there, nor did she want to.
“Does Professor Snape know yer here?” he asked, studying her face. “He’s probably worried about yeh.”
“He’s not,” Camilla answered softly. A single tear escaped her eye and rolled down her cheek. She turned away and stared blankly out at the black lake.
“Well,” Hagrid said, looking confused, “let’s get yer inside. Yeh can come to my house. I’ll get yeh somethin’ to eat.”
Camilla nodded dumbly and followed Hagrid to his hut. Fang jumped on her as she entered and licked her face. She hardly noticed.
“Fang! Git back!” Hagrid warned. Turning to Camilla, he muttered, “Sorry ‘bout that.”
He motioned for her to sit. He grabbed a pink umbrella and pointed it at the fireplace. Soon, a roaring fire was burning, on which Hagrid placed a stone cauldron. “I’ll make yeh some tea,” he offered.
Camilla nodded blankly and stared at the table. What was she going to do? She had nowhere to go. She didn’t have any clothes or money and there was no way she would go back to their—his rooms to get her things.
Hagrid sat down at the table and stared at her. “What happened?” he asked.
She stared up into his kind face and broke down. She laid her head on the table and sobbed. What am I going to do now?
She could hardly remember what life was like before Severus. She had built a life with him, a future, and now it was gone. And it was all her fault.
“Do yeh want me ter get Professor Snape?” Hagrid asked nervously. He obviously had no idea what to do with her.
“No!” she said sharply. “You can’t. I’m—I’m fine.”
He looked puzzled. “Did Professor Snape do somethin’ to yer? Are you all right?”
Camilla bit her lip and stared down at her lap. “He…it’s over, Hagrid. He doesn’t want to see me. He doesn’t love me. He never did.”
“That’s codswallop!” Hagrid declared. Camilla looked up in surprise. “I seen the way Professor Snape looks at yeh—like he can’t believe yer with him. I never heard him say a word against yeh.”
“Hagrid, you don’t understand. I…I can’t talk about this anymore,” she sobbed, jumping up from the table. “I’ve got to go.”
“Where are yeh going?”
“I don’t know. But I’ve got to get away from this place.” She started toward the door, but Hagrid blocked her path.
“Yer not in any shape ter be leavin’ right now. Let me get Dumbledore for yeh.”
“I’m fine, Hagrid!” she insisted, eyeing the door in desperation.
“No, yer not. Stay here. I’ll be righ’ back.”
“Please, Hagrid! Let me go!”
“Now, Mrs. Snape,” he said gruffly. “Yeh sit righ’ there and wait for me.”
Camilla conceded defeat and sat back down at the table as Hagrid exited the hut. From the window, she could see him running up to the castle.
She thought about slipping out while Hagrid was gone, but she had no idea where she would go. She felt her stomach twist into a knot when she thought about the only place she could go; it was the last place she wanted to be.
In what seemed like an instant, Dumbledore entered the hut and sat down across from her.
Camilla crossed her arms and stared out the window.
“Hagrid told me he found you down by the lake this morning. What has happened?” he asked in a maddeningly calm tone.
“Leave me alone, Dumbledore,” she said dully.
“You don’t have to tell me, Mrs. Snape,” he said kindly. “I only wish to know if you are all right.”
“Don’t call me that,” Camilla begged, her eyes filling with tears as she turned them on the old wizard. The dull ache in her chest had become a sharp knife, piercing her over and over again with the pain of losing him.
“Whatever has happened, you and Severus will get through it,” Dumbledore said; his blue eyes full of concern.
“No, we won’t,” Camilla said cynically. “There is no more Severus and me. It’s over.”
Dumbledore stared at her for a moment. “I do not think it is over, Camilla. Severus loves you and you love him. There is still hope.”
Camilla laughed bitterly. “If you knew, you wouldn’t say that. Please, just leave me alone.” She turned back to the window as tears began to stream down her face.
Dumbledore reached out and squeezed her hand. “Do not give up. Severus needs you. He may not realize it right now, but he does.”
“Just stop, Dumbledore!” she cried. “You’re not helping! Just…stop!”
“I apologize. What is it that you need? What can we do to help you?”
Camilla wiped her face with the back of her hand. “I’ll be fine. I’m…I’m going to go stay with my parents,” she said, feeling her stomach start to churn.
“You do not have to leave,” Dumbledore said softly. “This is your home, too. You are welcome here. There are plenty of extra rooms.”
“I can’t stay here. I have to go. I have to get away from him,” Camilla said, her voice shaking.
Dumbledore sighed. “Well, do what you feel is best. Know that we will all miss you.”
“Thank you, Dumbledore. That’s…that’s very kind of you.”
“I will send you an owl in a few days to see how you are doing. Do take care of yourself,” he said seriously.
“I’ll be fine, Dumbledore,” she assured him with a weak smile. She wished she believed it.
Severus awoke and turned over to find Camilla’s side of the bed empty. With a dull ache in the pit of his stomach, he realized that she was gone. He sat up and glanced at the clock. Half a bottle of Firewhisky and a sleeping potion had failed to afford him much sleep. He had sat up for most of the night raging against the world, against her, against himself.
Severus rose and stumbled into the kitchen to make himself some coffee. His quarters bore witness to his anguish. The kitchen table was overturned; picture frames lay shattered on the sitting room floor; most of the books from his bookshelves now lay scattered across the room. Apparently, at some point that night, he had ripped all her robes from the closet and thrown them on the sofa.
He picked up the kitchen table and pulled up a chair to it. He hid his face in his hands and tried to forget. How could he have been so stupid? He had trusted her wholeheartedly and she had betrayed him. All this time, she knew. All this time, she was the cause of this nightmare of a life he was forced to live every day.
His mother’s words echoed in his head, tormenting him with the gravity of his wife’s deceit:
“She was desperate to save you, Severus. She didn’t want you to die. She thought this would work. I tried to tell her that it was unlikely. Even if you forgot the Vow, you would still be bound to it. But she wouldn’t listen.
The potion was only supposed to remove the memory of the Unbreakable Vow. It certainly wasn’t designed to deprive you of your entire memory. Something went wrong. Please try to understand…”
Understand? How could he understand this—this betrayal? He accepted none of these excuses. There was no reason for Camilla to deceive him like this. He would never forgive her.
Severus decided he didn’t have the energy to make coffee. He doubted if he could even taste anything now. He rose and entered the bedroom.
He felt an agonizing tug on his heart as his eyes fell on their bed. How many times had he laid there with her; stroking her hair, kissing her, making love to her? How many times had he held her and listened to her stories or watched her sleep? It had all been a lie. Their marriage was nothing more than a joke and she was gone now. Gone forever.
He reached inside his dresser drawer and pulled out a vial containing a silvery potion. He took the vial with him and sat on the edge of the bed.
The antidote. His mother had been working on this for months. She said it would restore his memory, piece by piece. It would be a slow process, but within a few weeks, he would regain all his memories.
He stared down at the vial and pondered his options. Would there be any point in remembering now? For so long, he had longed for his memories and now that he had the opportunity to have them back, he wasn’t sure he wanted them anymore. Ironically, all he wanted now was to forget.
His musings were interrupted by a loud knock on the door. Severus cursed under his breath and stalked to the door.
“I do not wish to be disturbed. Go away!” he shouted.
“Severus, open the door. I’m quite sure I could get past your wards if I so desired.”
Dumbledore. Next to the Dark Lord, Dumbledore was probably the last person he wanted to see at that moment.
Severus flung the door open and glared at the old wizard. “What do you want?’ he hissed.
“Thank you, I do believe I will come in,” Dumbledore said with a smile, walking through the door.
Severus slammed the door shut. “I’m not in the mood, Dumbledore.”
“I won’t be long, Severus. I just came to check on you. To see if you were all right.”
Severus crossed his arms. “I’m perfect, thank you.”
“Indeed,” Dumbledore mused, looking around at the state of Severus’ quarters. “House-elf on holiday?” he asked, his eyes twinkling.
“Did you come here to discuss the condition of my home or do you actually have something of importance to tell me?” Severus spat.
“I have just come from speaking with your wife,” Dumbledore said casually.
Severus’ stomach lurched, but he said nothing.
“She was very upset, Severus. She would not tell me what happened, but I have never seen her so distraught. Would you care to tell me why your wife is in such a state?”
“That is none of your concern, Dumbledore,” Severus said through clenched teeth. The last thing he wanted was to discuss this; least of all with Dumbledore.
“Of course. I am merely concerned about you both.”
“Is…is she all right?” Severus asked, not meeting Dumbledore’s eyes.
“She is fine, physically. Emotionally, she is not doing very well. She seems to think her marriage is over.”
Severus squared his jaw. “She is correct.”
“I’m very sorry to hear that.” Dumbledore sighed, picking up a broken picture frame.
Severus felt his stomach clench as he realized which picture it was. It was Camilla’s favorite; the only picture she had in which Severus was smiling.
Dumbledore waved his wand and instantly the pieces of glass mended. He gently placed the frame on the bookcase and said, “Well, I should be off. Let me know if you need anything,” he looked around at the debris covering the floor, “such as a house-elf, perhaps?”
“Very well, send one up if you wish,” Severus answered dismissively. Anything to get him to leave, Severus thought.
“Take care of yourself, Severus.” He paused as he reached the door. “Incidentally, Camilla has gone to stay with her parents,” he added, eyes twinkling.
“Goodbye, Dumbledore,” Severus hissed, opening the door and ushering him out.
A few minutes later, two trembling house-elves arrived.
“Professor Snape, sir…” the smallest said in a squeaky voice. His eyes swept over Severus’ quarters; a look of dismay on his face. “Is Sir angry with Pipsy? Is Sir unhappy with Pipsy’s work? Is that why Sir destroys his rooms?”
Severus fought the urge to kick the annoying creature. “Just do your job and leave me alone,” he ordered. “Clean up this mess. Then, I want you to take all of Mrs. Snape’s belongings and place them in her trunk.”
The house-elves now looked extremely distressed at these new orders, but they set to work immediately.
Severus reached over them and pulled out the leather bound album Camilla had made for him. He ran his fingers over the cover briefly before handing it to the house-elf named Pipsy. “Put this in the trunk as well.”
He turned and stalked to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him. He pulled out the vial containing the silvery antidote and studied it. He decided to take it, if for no other reason than to prove to himself that she had not won. He would get his memory back. Then he could go back to his life, this time with no distractions to get in his way.
Severus removed the stopper and swallowed the contents of the vial quickly. He lay back on the bed and stared at the ceiling, willing himself not to think of her. If only it were that simple...
A/N: Okay, I know this is sad. I didn't want to do it, but it had to happen. Poor Severus. He seems so lost without her, doesn't he? Anyway, up next you will get to meet Camilla's parents and find out why she is dreading going back home. Thanks so much for reading and for all the nice reviews I have received. Keep 'em coming; the muses must be fed! : )
Write a Review Innocence Found: Chapter Twenty-Six