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Silent Wedding Bells by the_artful_dodger
Chapter 11 : Matters of the Heart
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 57


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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.

Chapter 11


Camilla followed Severus out of McGonagall’s office.

“Severus?”

He raised his hand. “Don’t. I’m not in the mood.”

“When are you ever?” She reached out to grab his arm. “It could be worse. You could have been sent to Azkaban.”

He scoffed at her. “For beating you? I think not. I assure you, you’re not that special and the world will go on with or without you.”

She frowned. That was what she got for trying to comfort Severus; a scornful remark and a sneer. “I was just trying to put things in a different perspective,” she mumbled irritably.

“There’s nothing wrong with my perspective,” he snapped as he shook his arm from her grasp.

Camilla gave him a glare and changed directions, heading instead for the Hogwarts grounds. She was in no mood to deal with his cross behavior.

She pushed open the large doors and was met with a gust of warm air. The rain clouds that had hung over the school for the past week had finally moved on, leaving the sky a crisp blue.

“Camilla! Over here!” Darcy waved at her from the lake’s edge.

Sighing, Camilla decided that she couldn’t possibly ignore the girl now that she had clearly seen her, so she made her way to Darcy and gave her a polite smile. “Hello. How are you?”

“Well, thanks. And you? How is the engaged life?”

“Erm… dreadful,” Camilla replied, slightly disconcerted by Darcy’s cheerful demeanor.

“Hmm, yes, it does appear that way. I saw you and Severus going into McGonagall’s office earlier. Trouble?”

“She found out that Severus gets a bit violent when he’s angry. She was pretty upset. If it weren’t for Slughorn I’m pretty sure Severus would be packing right now.”

Darcy’s eyes widened. “You-? You told?” she whispered.

“Well, actually-.” Camilla paused. She had been struck by an idea. “Yes,” she continued confidently, “I was tired of it and now all the Professors are keeping a sharp eye out. They wrote to both our parents and said that if any of them hear of it ever again the next owl goes to the ministry.”

Darcy looked at her with a mixture of awe and horror.

“If you want my opinion,” she said, pressing on, “you should go to McGonagall too. I mean, Cain is ten times worse than Severus and he’s not in the Slug Club. I have no doubt they’ll expel him.”

Shaking her head, Darcy mumbled, “I could never do that. He would kill me.”

“He wouldn’t be able to touch you. We can go right now if you want. I’ll come along if you need me to.”

“No, I don’t think-.” She hesitated for a long moment. “I’ll think about it,” she finished, giving Camilla a small smile. “But I’d better go. I’ve got Charms in about ten minutes.”

Camilla gave the girl a small, parting wave. She smiled to herself, feeling immensely proud. She was going free Darcy from a lifetime of pain with Cain and fix her relationship with Severus. The thought carried her blissfully back to the castle.

--


Laughing, Remus carried another stack of books to their table in the back of the library. “I’m just surprised it took her so long to realize it,” he was saying, “We all knew they were perfect for each other.”

“Love can be strange sometimes,” she muttered distractedly.

“Yeah, I suppose… are you alright?”

“Hmm?” She tore her eyes from the window.

“You need to study,” he said, pushing a book towards her, “That is, if you want to graduate.”

“Speaking of graduation… who are you taking to the graduation dinner party?” she asked, teasingly. “I know a certain Ravenclaw who would love it if you escorted her.”

Remus’ eyes widened slightly. “Wouldn’t Severus be upset?”

“Wha-? No! Not me… I meant my old dorm mate. Her name is Kelly, remember? She has a huge crush on you."

He frowned in thought. “I don’t think I’ve ever met her.”

“Yes, you have. I’ve introduced her several times, but you never remember her name. It’s very disappointing for her, Remus.”

“Oh, well, tell her I’m very sorry, but my heart belongs to only one Ravenclaw woman and it’s not her.”

Camilla laughed. “That’s not very kind.”

He shrugged. Then, his tone turned serious. “Would Severus mind, Camilla? If I took you as my date?”

“I… I don’t know. I suppose I can ask him, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up.”

“Because really, he doesn’t seem the sort to enjoy social events in the first place. He’ll only make it miserable for you.” Remus seemed as if he were trying to reason her into going with him. “Not to mention, he’ll get to have you for the rest of his life, but me… well, I’d be a fool to think we could continue a relationship after you’re married.”

“I know, Remus. I would love to go with you, but if Severus doesn’t want me to there isn’t much I can do about it. He would be furious if I did something like that without his permission. You don’t know how strongly he feels about you and me… I honestly think it makes him ill.”

To her surprise, Remus gave a satisfied smirk. “He’s jealous of me,” he stated.

“He might be. I-.” Her words were cut short by a sudden kiss. Remus had leaned across the table so quickly she hadn’t even realized what he was doing.

She pulled away, puzzled. “Remus, we shouldn’t-.”

“I love you, Camilla,” he stated unflinchingly, “If these are my last weeks with you then I want to make them count. I’m going to spend the rest of life jealous of Severus because he got the first girl I ever loved. I think he can stand the jealousy for a week or two.”

Camilla gazed up at him, surprised at his boldness.

Standing, he tugged her from her chair and back behind a bookshelf, away from the prying eyes of Madame Pince, where he kissed her again, this time deeply. She responded to his kiss, unable to put her startled mind into action.

In the back of her mind she sensed that there was something different about the way he held her and kissed her. She felt a slight uneasiness, but could not identify a cause. Perhaps he had changed his technique?

“Excuse me?” a small voice said.

Remus jumped away from her as if he’d received a shock. They both turned to see a tiny second year in a wrinkled Hufflepuff uniform.

“Professor McGonagall sent me to give you this.” With a blush, he held out a scroll of parchment.

Camilla took it and thanked him before he scurried away.

After reading it through twice, she glanced up at Remus who also had a pink tinge to his cheeks. “Something about Severus,” she mumbled as she read it again, “she wants to see me right away. I hope everything is alright.”

“I hope he’s been expelled,” Remus quipped.

After giving Remus a disapproving look, she gathered her things, bid him goodbye and left the library.

The door to McGonagall’s office was ajar when she arrived and she hesitantly pushed it open further. The only person inside was Severus and he looked up when she entered. She smiled. Not only was she genuinely glad to see him, but it also seemed that his mood had lightened considerably. “Did McGonagall send for you too?” she asked, gently closing the door behind her.

“I’ve been here since dinner,” he said with a shrug, “She decided I needed a lecture as part of my punishment.”

“A lecture? About what?” She sat in the seat next to him in front of the professor’s desk.

He gave a small smirk. “Appropriate treatment of women and why I should be grateful that I have you around to make my life miserable.”

“That sounds fascinating,” she replied grinning.

“It was. Then I was supposed to list five things I like about you and five ways I could show you that I care and appreciate you.”

“Must have been difficult considering you dislike me so much.”

“It turned out to be easier than I thought,” he admitted. He paused for a moment and then, speaking slowly, he said, “I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who provokes me into anger as quickly as you do.”

“Not even James?”

“Well… you’re the only female then… but for some reason I still… I’m sorry for hurting you,” he muttered with a sigh. He looked at her and tried to gauge her reaction.

Attempting to keep her emotions from her face she said, “So… you like me against your better judgment?”

“I guess so, yes.”

She sighed to herself. “I suppose that’ll have to do.”

“What is it that you want from me, Camilla?”

I suppose we’re just too different for anything meaningful to come from this…”

“I don’t think we’re all that different,” he said calmly, “We have our own ideas about how to approach issues, but we see the issue itself the same way.”

“So? It’s the approach that matters.”

“Yet again, we disagree… Is my apology accepted or not?”

She shrugged.

“Well, you ought to decide because the door won’t unlock until you do.”

She turned her gaze to the door she had shut behind her upon entering the office. Frowning, Camilla said, “Fine. I forgive you.”

He shook his head. “It doesn’t work like that. You have to mean it.”

“I do mean it,” she snapped.

Leaning back in his chair, he sighed and appeared to be deep in thought.

We could be here all night, she thought angrily to herself. She attempted to talk herself into forgiving him for what seemed like a long time. When she finally felt herself believe that she had, she stood and turned the doorknob. Locked. Groaning, she flopped back into her chair.

“This isn’t going to work, Severus.”

He glanced over at her. “You can’t forgive me?”

“I don’t know. I’ve tried... I feel like I do.”

“I’ve been meaning to give you something. Maybe it will show you how much I-… it will show you that I meant what I’ve said,” he stated standing and sticking a hand into the pocket of his robes, “Close your eyes.”

She looked at him uncertainly, but did as he told her. She heard the sound of his shoes as he walked towards her and when he spoke she was able to determine that he had moved very close to her right side.

“This has been in my mother’s family for centuries. It usually gets passed down to daughters but since I don’t have any sisters my mother gave it to me and told me I’d know who to give it to.”

Camilla felt a slight weight in her hands and the coolness of metal. Without thinking she opened her eyes. She gave a small gasp when she saw what she held. In her hands was an ornately carved silver mirror. Intertwined serpents with minuscule diamonds for eyes decorated the handle. The rim too was adorned with the small stones. She gently turned it over in her hands. A large cursive ‘E’ was engraved into the back of the mirror.

“Severus…”

“I didn’t say you could open your eyes,” he mumbled with a hint of irritation.

“Severus, this-.”

“Now, don’t think I would give you just some plain, old mirror and expect to be forgiven.”

She raised her eyebrows. The words ‘plain’ and ‘old’ had certainly not crossed her mind.

“I has a few magical properties,” he continued. “Once we’re married the letter will change to a ‘C’ since you will officially be a part of the family.”

“Severus, I-.”

“It also, when you say the spell, shows you your one true love… the one person you love more than anyone else. Otherwise, it works as a regular mirror.”

“Severus! I can’t take this,” she said handing it back to him.

He pushed the mirror back towards her. “It’s yours.”

“No, Severus, really, you should save it for… someone else.”

“Someone else?”

“Yes! Someone who… someone who deserves it.”

“You’re going to be my wife, Camilla. It belongs to you. You deserve it.”

She shook her head exasperatedly. “Severus-.”

“Listen to me. You’re the next female in my mother’s family now. Even if I didn’t want to give it to you, it’s still yours. Don’t you think some cheating scum has tried to give this to his mistress instead of his wife? Those other women were cursed. You don’t want me to doom some poor girl because you wouldn’t take it do you?”

She smiled at him. “I don’t know how to thank you Severus… it’s stunning.”

“You could start by forgiving me so we can get out of here.”

“I do. I did before.”

For a moment, a mischievous expression flickered across his face and his eyes danced playfully. Then, he smirked and said, “Prove it.”

Camilla bit her lip. She had never seen him behave in a way that wasn’t serious and she was unsure how to react to this part of him. She had never even considered that he could be playful.

Slowly, she stood from her chair and pulled her school robe from her bag. She gently wrapped the mirror with it, then placed it in her bag. She did not want to risk anything terrible happening to it.

She turned back to him to see that he was watching her carefully. Deciding to match his teasing with her own, she said, “Prove it? Surely you can go and open the door yourself.”

He gave frustrated growl, took her roughly by the hips and pulled her towards him. She laughed lightly as his lips met hers.

Severus kissed her deeply, like it was his last chance to ever do so. He gently pushed her backwards, not allowing their lips to part until she was pressed against the door. “Do you forgive me?” he asked, breathing heavily.

“Yes, of course.” She stood on her toes in an attempt to kiss him again, but she suddenly felt the door behind her move and she lost her balance for a moment.

“Shall we go?” he said as she regained her composure. He had pushed open the door and was strolling out into the corridor.

She snatched up her bag and followed him. “You manipulated me,” she mumbled when she caught up with him.

He shrugged. “Just a little.”

She wasn’t particularly angry, however part of her wondered if he would ever take her seriously… if he would ever truly care about her. “I was wondering… would you mind if Remus took me to the graduation dinner party?”

“Just a little,” he repeated, “Come with me to Slughorn’s party afterward and I won’t make a big deal about the dinner though.”

Camilla smiled. “I didn’t realize you went to those.”

“I don’t. I can usually make an excuse, however, since it will only be seventh year students from the Slug Club and their guests chances are high he’ll notice I’m not there.”

“I would love to come,” she said, taking his hand.

If he was uncomfortable holding hands with her as they walked the dimly lit corridors he didn’t show it. In fact, he seemed fairly relaxed.

“Severus?” she asked hesitantly.

“Hmm?”

“Where did you go that night?”

For a moment, he said nothing. The only sound was the soft echo of their footsteps on the stone floor of the castle.

She had almost given up on an answer when he said, “The Malfoy’s have had a dislike for muggle-borns for as long as I’ve known them. They’ve always thought that You-Know-Who has the right idea, killing them all off.” He paused, but she stayed quiet and waited for him to continue. “When Lucius graduated school he knew he wanted to ‘fight for the cause.’ It wasn’t until a year later that he actually met the Dark Lord.”

They stopped at the portrait that guarded their common room and dormitories and Severus muttered the password. The portrait swung open and Camilla followed him inside, not releasing his hand.

“Then, Lucius thought he’d do me a favor and tell the Dark Lord about me. He told him I was skilled in potions, that I knew a great deal about the dark arts and that I had the same beliefs about muggles and muggle-borns. I’m not sure if Lucius said anything about me being a half-blood. If he did, the Dark Lord didn’t say anything about it.”

“You met him?” she gasped, wide-eyed.

They had reached his room and she was sitting cross-legged on his bed, her shoes abandoned on the floor.

He nodded as he rummaged though his drawers. For a moment, she thought he was going to pull out that terrible mask, but was even more surprised when he uncovered a bottle of firewhiskey. It was about half full. Severus took a long drink and handed it to her. She had never been a huge fan of the drink and simply held it for him while he fell onto the bed next to her.

“Anyway, I met the Dark Lord over the winter break before I knew about you or this marriage. You should have heard him talk about it… you should have heard the promises he made me.” He glanced at the firewhiskey still in her hand. “Do you not drink?”

She shook her head and handed it back to him.

He took another sip. “We arranged to meet again. I started having second thoughts when Lucius sent me the mask and then you came along. I’m not sure what I want anymore… That’s where I was that night. At that second meeting. I was about ten minutes late however, and he wasn’t too interested in weaving visions of power and wealth anymore.”

Camilla gazed at him as he ran his hand through his hair.

“He kept me there for a long time, alternating between punishing me and threatening me. He used Legilimancy in order to determine my weakness, something he could use against me. I held out for a while, but eventually he won. He sensed I was wavering in my decision to join him and that I had plenty of weaknesses that could be exploited in order to get what he wanted from me.” Severus sighed. “I suppose I should work on my Occlumency if I want to get out alive next time,” he said with a wry smile.

“Next time?” she asked, startled, “You can’t go back!”

“I don’t have a choice…”

“Yes, you do. You could leave. Go where he can’t find you.”

He gave a dismissive wave of his hand. “He’ll find me eventually. Besides… if I tried to leave he would come after the people that mean the most to me… my mother, Cain… you.” He brought the firewhiskey bottle to his lips and took a drink. “He’d come for you first.”

Camilla lay back on the bed next to him and draped her arm over his chest. Despite what he had said, she wasn’t frightened for her own safety. She was much more concerned with his. What would she do, if after only a year of marriage, she became a widow? Having to start all over with the death of Severus hanging over her head would be almost unbearable.

“What will you do then?” she whispered.

“Keep going,” he muttered with a shrug, “Not much else I can do. My first responsibility is to you… if something happened to you because of me I’d…” He trailed off, closing his eyes briefly.

“Nothing is going to happen to me,” she replied, pushing herself onto her elbows and hovering over him.

He opened his eyes. “Not if I keep him happy.” He reached up and tucked a stray hair behind her ear. “Will you be able to look past the stuff I’m going to do? Or will you be afraid of me?”

She leaned forward and kissed him. “You don’t scare me anymore, Severus. You couldn’t even if you wanted to.”

He sat up. Watching her carefully, he pulled up the left sleeve of his shirt. His wrist and half his forearm were wrapped in white gauze.

For a moment her breath caught. She knew what he was going to show her.

Slowly, he unwound the gauze. When he had finished he said, “Will you be able to look past this?”

“When did it happen?” she asked softly, not able to tear her eyes from the mark. She found herself fascinated as she traced the black skull gingerly with her thumb. She glanced up at him and saw that he was gritting his teeth. “Sorry,” she mumbled, pulling her hand away.

“It’s fine. It just stings a bit… I got it that night as well. I’ve been trying to hide it, but Cain got a glimpse of the gauze. Now he seems to think I need ‘someone to talk to.’”

She looked back down at his wrist. The mark itself wasn’t unattractive, though it seemed as if it hadn’t healed quite yet; the edges were an angry red. It stood out against his pale skin. Part of her, a terrible part, actually found it arousing. It showed the world that he was dangerous, a bad guy. But here he was revealing himself to her, kissing her, wanting her.

Then, she forced herself to think about what the Dark Mark stood for, the evil it symbolized.

“I would rather you didn’t have it,” she murmured, leaning close to him, “But I know it doesn’t say anything about who you are, Severus.”

He kissed her unexpectedly and deeply. He pressed her onto the bed, one hand cupping her cheek the other slipping beneath her blouse. She wrapped her legs around his waist as if it would prolong the moment. Then, he pulled away as suddenly as he had kissed her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, confused.

“I… that night… it took everything I had to leave you here. But I don’t have anywhere to be now. We have all night.”

She gazed at him, her heart hammering in her chest. His eyes were staring calmly into her own. The expression on his face was unlike any she had seen before. His dark eyes displayed all of his emotions clearly; gratefulness, nervousness, pain, fear, and lust. There were more under the surface but she didn’t need to see them.

Banishing her apprehension, she reached for his tie and pulled him towards her. She gave him a teasing smirk. “Yes, but can you last all night?”

--


Camilla gave a large yawn and raised her arms above her head in a stretch. Finding that there was a great deal of space around her, she opened her eyes. She blinked several times to allow her eyes to become accustomed to the bright sunlight that flooded into Severus’ room and pulled herself into a sitting position on his bed.

She slowly assessed herself. She felt a bit sore and her muscles were tired, but it wasn’t any worse than the time Lily had forced her to go for an early morning run around the Hogwarts grounds. And she didn’t feel much different when it came to her state of mind either.

Just as she began to wonder where he might be, Severus ambled out of his bathroom wearing only his trousers. His eyes immediately caught hers and for a moment they just stared at one another in awkward silence.

Eventually he broke eye contact and went to pull a shirt from a drawer.

“Did you sleep well?” he asked, penetrating the stillness.

“Mmhmm… you?”

“Yes. Better than usual in fact,” he replied with a barely noticeable smirk.

She smiled, glad that they were pushing past the discomfort of facing ‘the morning after.’

“You haven’t had any… romantic encounters with Lupin recently, have you?” Severus inquired suddenly, his voice steady.

Camilla’s heart sped up slightly as she said, “How recent is ‘recently?’”

“Within the past week. Since we decided to…” His eyes flicked to the bed then back to her, meeting her eyes.

“Why would you ask that?” The memory of Remus’ warm breath on her neck the night before rose to the forefront of her mind, but she ignored it.

“Something you said just before you fell asleep…”

“What did I say?” she asked, keeping the anxiousness she felt from creeping into tone.

“Does it matter?”

“It does to you, apparently.”

“No… I was just wondering… you’re sure, aren’t you? Nothing?”

“What? Don’t you trust me?” she said defensively.

“I never trust anyone I’m in love with.”

She stared at him as he pulled on his school robes. Love? She avoided gaping at him, assuming what he had said was a slip of the tongue. Trying her best to keep the shock from her voice she asked, “Why not?”

“You only get hurt,” he replied simply. He seemed willing to let the subject of Remus drop.

Camilla bit her bottom lip gently. She suddenly felt immensely guilty for all the sneaking around she had done and the manipulative tactics she had resorted to. And for what? she asked herself. She wasn’t even sure she felt comfortable around Remus anymore.

“You can’t have a decent relationship with anyone if you don’t trust them,” she mumbled.

He turned to look at her. “And you expect me to trust you, do you? Are you telling me my trust wouldn’t be misplaced?”

She remained quiet.

“If you think I don’t know what you’re up to when you’re with Lupin you’re wrong,” he continued in an undertone. “If I had trusted you… it’s a self-preservation thing.”

Camilla changed the subject deciding not to press the issue any further. “Mum sent me a letter. She says the location we wanted for the wedding is available on the nineteenth of June. It’s this really beautiful castle… fairly small, but big enough to fit all of the guests. It used to belong to my great-great grandfather, but he sold it and now it’s some sort of magical history museum.” He nodded distractedly. She wondered if he was even listening to her. “Are you inviting your parents?” she asked softly, careful that her tone was in no way rude or insensitive.

He was silent for a moment as he methodically knotted his Slytherin tie. “I haven’t really a choice in the matter. Abraxas ‘let it slip’ to my mother that I was getting married and she and my father have taken for granted that they are invited. Abraxas and Tatiana refuse to inform them that they were not on my guest list.”

“Maybe it’s a good thing,” she ventured, “I could meet your family and-.”

“They are not my family,” he snarled suddenly, cutting her off and taking her by surprise.

A great deal of silence followed this angry statement. She watched him as he gathered his textbooks and parchment, unsure of what to say.

When he finally spoke again the harshness in his voiced had ebbed away. “I want you to know,” he began hesitantly. He stood by the door, preparing to leave for his morning potion’s class looking more vulnerable than she had ever seen him. “I want you to know that you’re welcome here whenever you’d like… erm, ‘here’ as in my room, I mean.”

Camilla smiled. For some reason, she found his discomfort endearing. “Even when you aren’t around?” she asked only half-playfully.

He frowned for a moment then nodded. “Fine… as long as you mind your own business,” he replied. Before Camilla could say anything in return Severus had disappeared out the door shutting it gently behind him.

--


The next week passed by uneventfully. Camilla had elected to spend the past few days sleeping in Severus’ bed on the condition that he did not press her for any sexual activities. At first he had seemed annoyed by this, but when she confronted him about it she uncovered an entirely different emotion.

“Yes, but is there a reason? Why after the first time and not the second?”

“Would that bother you less? If I wanted to stop after the second?” she asked with a scowl.

She was beginning to regret her decision to lose her virginity before her wedding. She rather preferred insulting each other all the time to the interrogation she received every time they were alone together.

“Yes it would.”

Camilla rolled her eyes, doubtful. “Why, Severus? It doesn’t matter.”

“Why don’t you want to?”

“I want to wait until after we’re married, okay? It’s only four weeks anyway. This time was more of an experiment.”

“An experiment?”

She detected the rage and even a twinge of hurt in his tone and she rushed to clarify. “I wanted to see if it made anything better, in our relationship, I mean. And I think it has. We don’t fight as much.”

“It’s only been a week,” he snapped.

“So,” she said, picking a copy of Witch Weekly up off of the bedside table she had claimed as hers. “I can see a difference. We both try harder to understand the other and you’re much more respectful of my body. You wouldn’t think of hitting me now.”

“No,” he said, “Why would I damage my own property?”

She glared at him, but recognized it as his sarcastic sense of humor and didn’t take offense. There was a moment of silence, interrupted only by Camilla flipping the page of her magazine.

“So… it’s nothing I did?”

She looked up and upon seeing his face she almost laughed. However, judging by his expression it would only upset him further.

He’s insecure, she thought to herself, I would never have guessed it of him.

She threw aside her magazine and crawled to the end of the bed where he was sitting. Camilla wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered in his ear. “Everything was perfect Severus. You were perfect.”

He pulled away to study her face. “I didn’t hurt you?” he asked uncertainly with a slight frown.

“No. I promise. I can’t think of a time where I’ve felt better. I couldn’t have been that comfortable with anyone else.”

He nodded, but she was certain she heard him mutter “Lupin” under his breath.

“Not even Remus could look at me the way you did that night, Severus,” she murmured quietly.

“What do you mean?”

But she stood. “I’ve got to go to Muggle Studies,” she said with a small yawn, “I’ll see you later.” She gave him a soft kiss, just brushing her lips against his, and departed.


--


Camilla trudged into the Great Hall for a late breakfast the morning of the graduation dinner. It was unusually loud, but she thought nothing of it as she fell into the seat next to her old dorm mate.

“Hey,” Kelly said with a smile, “I haven’t seen you around for a while.”

“I bet you’ve heard a lot about her though, haven’t you?” said a sixth year boy further down the table. He had malicious smirk on his face.

“Shut it, Clark!” Kelly snapped, “Ignore him.” She gave Camilla a comforting smile and began to page through a copy of the daily prophet.

Camilla frowned. “What is he on about?”

“Nothing.”

“No, really,” she pressed, “Tell me.”

Kelly sighed and put the paper down. “It’s just that, well, there have been some rumors about you and Snape. But that’s nothing new is it?”

And she was right. Their arranged marriage had been the big scandal at Hogwarts for two months after the holiday break, however talk had died down after word got out that two sixth-year Hufflepuffs had accidentally switched bodies.

“I thought everyone had moved on,” Camilla replied, taking a sip of pumpkin juice.

“Well… just some new ones have cropped up. Something else will come along sooner or later though, no worries.”

“What sort of new ones?” she asked hesitantly.

Kelly sighed again. “Just that you and Snape are getting on better than anyone thought you would.”

“What? What do you mean?” Camilla had a feeling where this was going and the thought made her sick to her stomach.

“You know what I mean, Camilla. I can see it in your eyes.”

“Who told-? How did anyone find out?”

Kelly’s eyes widened. “You mean it’s true? You and Snape? You two are really,” she lowered her voice to a whisper, “you two are sleeping together?”

“I have to go,” Camilla replied.

She hastily picked up her bag and hoisted it onto her shoulder. She felt extremely uncomfortable walking out the doors to the Great Hall as whispers and laughter erupted around her. She breathed a sigh of relief when she finally escaped all the curious eyes that had been following her. Yet, when she turned the corner she was faced with the group she wanted to see least: the seventh-year Slytherins.

She tried to bypass them, but Cain threw himself in front of her. “Camilla! Just the woman I was aching to see,” he said smoothly with a malicious smirk.

Severus was the only one of the group that did not chuckle as Cain said it and she found herself immensely grateful.

“How are you? Are you feeling well?”

She narrowed her eyes, wondering where this was going. “Fine.”

“That’s good,” he said throwing his arm around her shoulder, “I know how hard it can be for a young witch after her first time. All the emotions can be overwhelming. If you ever need anyone to talk to, Cain is here.”

“WHAT?” Disgusted, Camilla threw his arm off of her. She spun to look at Severus who was glaring fiercely at Cain. “You told them?” she asked accusingly.

“Camilla, I-… it was just dormitory talk,” he supplied wearily.

“Yeah, Camilla, lighten up,” Cain added cheekily, “It’s a male thing. And he didn’t say anything bad about you. Unless you count ‘inexperience’ as bad, that is.”

“Shut up!” Severus snarled, “What’s wrong with you?”

What’s wrong with him? What’s wrong with you, Severus? Now the whole school knows!”

He opened his mouth to say something, but she turned on her heel and stormed off down the corridor. She heard the rest of the Slytherins howling with laughter.

“Camilla!” he shouted as she rounded the corner, “Stop. Don’t walk away from me!”

“What else did you tell them, Severus? Did you tell them the color of my underwear? My bra size? Or maybe you whipped out a pensieve and let them watch!”

“It wasn’t like that,” he called, following close behind. He caught up with her quickly and made a grab for her arm.

“If you touch me I swear I’ll tell McGonagall!” she snapped furiously.

Apparently he did not find this adequate enough reason not to shove her against the stone wall of the castle and trap her between it and his body. It didn’t hurt though and she scowled up at him.

“You tell McGonagall whatever the hell you want,” he retorted, his breath warm on her face. “Don’t walk away when I’m talking to you.”

“You’ll get expelled.”

“I’m sure your parents will be willing to pay me a little extra if I somehow find I can’t get a decent job due to lack of N.E.W.T. scores.”

His veiled threat silenced her immediately.

“I wasn’t trying to embarrass you,” he said after a moment, “It doesn’t matter.”

“It matters to me, Severus! Why would you tell anyone about that?”

“ I just told the guys in my dorm. Cain might have told Darcy but it didn’t go farther than that. No one else knows.”

Camilla rolled her eyes. “Were you not listening to me?” she snapped pushing him away from her. “Everyone knows. And even if they didn’t, I trusted you! I trusted you would be considerate and at least discuss it with me before you went boasting to your friends.”

“Well,” he began coldly, crossing his arms over his chest, “ I guess that was an unfortunate mistake on your part.”

Unable to find any more words to express herself, Camilla gave him a scathing look and stormed away.

--


“He’s such a jerk,” she fumed, flipping the pages of her textbook so violently they seemed close to ripping. “I wish he would die so I never had to see his face again.”

Remus was watching her closely, his brow furrowed as if he were deep in thought. “You don’t mean that, do you?”

She shrugged. “Maybe not… I wouldn’t want him dead. Dementors can suck his soul out instead. Not that there’s much to suck out in the first place.”

Remus turned back to his own textbook without replying. She shut her book, too upset to do any schoolwork. She repeated Remus’ words in her head. You don’t mean that, do you?

“I mean, really,” she continued, though Remus seemed to be concentrating on his textbook, “he’s crazy. I finally started to believe that he was actually decent, you know? After, we slept together it was… nice. He seemed happy and it seemed like he cared about my happiness. Clearly, it was only temporary. Now he’s back to being his selfish, mean, despicable self. I wouldn’t care if he died, let’s put it that way.”

Remus raised his head to glance at her, but returned to his work almost immediately.

You don’t mean that, do you?

She scowled to herself. Remus had fed her conscience with his question. She felt a twinge of guilt at her words.

“I guess it makes him look pretty good, doesn’t it?”

“Having you in his bed?”

She nodded.

“I’m not going to lie, Camilla, I’ve noticed he does get slightly more respect. It’s probably just temporary. No one expects Snivellus to have that kind of luck.”

She raised her eyebrows inviting him to elaborate.

“You’re pretty. You’re a pureblood and your line runs back to some of the earliest witches and wizards. You’re a Ravenclaw, which usually means you have some sense-.”

“Not this time,” she stated, “Not ever. The hat must’ve been wrong.”

“What are you talking about? I hear the hat is never wrong.”

“It must be! Maybe you haven’t noticed, Remus, but I’m a screw up. How could I think this would make anything better? Severus was supposed to love me and I was supposed to screw him over! Not the other way around!”

Remus stared at her for a moment and put down his quill. “We all make mistakes when it comes to matters of the heart,” he said softly. “Perhaps you care for him more than you realize.”

“No, I don’t. You’re the only one for me, Remus.”

He shook his head slowly. “I don’t think so; not anymore. What he did hurt you, Millie. It wouldn’t bother you so much if you hadn’t trusted him in the first place.”

“So what? He betrayed me and I’m upset. I played with fire and got burned. It’s nothing more than that.” She rubbed her eyes, willing the tears away.

“As I said, you just don’t realize how you feel… I don’t think you want to. You feel like you should love me because I’m the one that shows you how much I care; I’m the one your parents didn’t force on you.”

“Remus…” She started to say that he was wrong. She wanted to tell him that Severus meant nothing. She knew his heart was breaking with every word he uttered and she longed to put a stop to it, but she could not bring herself to deny what he had said.

“It’s okay, Camilla. I just want you to stop lying to everyone, especially yourself. I’m sure Severus is not the man you envisioned yourself marrying, but I think… I think he’s good for you. He’s stable and levelheaded, but he can keep up with you as well. I can’t focus you like he can… You two belong with each other and I’m just getting in the way.”

“You’re breaking up with me?” she choked out.

His voice had dwindled to a whisper. “We were never together.”

They sat for a long time, neither of them speaking. Tears had finally broken free and were sliding slowly down her cheeks. She looked into his sad eyes and for the first time truly felt her own confusion. How was she to make a choice between two men so unalike it was impossible to compare them? They were different, but equal in her mind. She could not decide whom she would rather be with. But it seemed that fate had made her choice for her.

“I’m so sorry… for leading you on like this. I never-.”

“I know. It doesn’t matter.” He paused, and then said, “I reckon you should attend the graduation dinner with Severus. I could go with… Kendra?”

“Kelly,” she corrected softly.

He chuckled lightly. “I suppose I had better get her name right if I’m going to ask her, hadn’t I?”

Camilla tried to laugh with him, but it came out as a muffled sob.

He smiled as he stood and began packing away his things.

She picked herself up from her chair as well and went to stand by him. “What happens now?”

“’What happens now?’ Well… we say goodbye, we take some space and time to heal, and when we’re older we can have a good laugh at how foolish we were.” He reached up to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “Know that I’ll always be there for you,” he whispered, “I promise.” His thumb grazed her cheek, sweeping away a tear. Then, he kissed her gently. It was a chaste kiss, simple, but she knew the depths of his love for her and it was anything but meaningless.

“Well, well, well,” murmured a cold voice, “Isn’t this cozy?”

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you to my wonderful reviewers! I'm looking forward to hearing what you all think about this chapter!


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