Chapter 21 : His Old Friend
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Perhaps Cornelius Fudge was on to something. Perhaps there should be limit on what the press could report. Perhaps dictatorial control really was a good idea. How could she think anything else being in the situation she was in? Nine in the morning and a hundred and one people standing outside her door… some armed with pitchforks, some with plaque cards, some with cameras and some with babies held in the air, asking that Severus gave the baby a kiss, like he was some corny politician seeking election.
To say it was a disaster was an understatement. The ability of Rita Skeeter to reach to the inners of her cold heart and pull the most vicious exaggerations and equivocations was unlike any other. The entire conversation she had with Severus in the kitchen was spread out on page three for the entire wizarding community to see. If she knew she was being watched she would have been more eloquent. Perhaps recite a sonnet to him… something that could muster some sort of sympathy for her, to spear her from the world of trouble she was in. Harboring fugitive she called it. The verbiage was so elaborate that for a moment Tonks too was convinced that she and Severus were both Voldemort Sympathizers plotting the rise of another dark lord. The truth was brief and the lies were lengthy and written in the same sentence with something that was the truth.
If there was any hope of easing Teddy into he relationship with Severus it was all out the door. When she first saw the paper she knew what the reaction would be like. She didn’t want her son, and she didn’t want Jane to wake up to find the village at their door. She woke Teddy up early and then Jane and got them ready to leave with Harry to stay at his place until the entire situation had blew over.
The blinds were charmed, silencing charms placed on the walls and most importantly a disguise detector placed on the house. She didn’t know how long they could keep it up, just sitting there… doing nothing, saying nothing.
The clock was ticking by slowly but the crowd didn’t grow tired, instead they grew louder and more comfortable it seemed. Tonks could swear she saw the chief reporter from The Quibbler pitching a tent.
She sighed and she tuned to Severus. His head was in the palm of his hands.
“Are you okay?” she asked?
He looked up at her slowly, almost like he was afraid to show his face. He nodded. He looked through the window and he gave a groan worthy of man who was in complete agony. “I never wanted this,” he said.
“Who would,” she said with a soft smile on her face, more for his benefit than anything else. He had somehow come to the conclusion that it was all his fault.
He shook his head and his hand began to message his temples, slowly in an upward and downward motion. “Do you see now….” He said and his eyes opened slowly to look into hers. They were the darkest she had ever seen them. Usually she could see some hint of brown in them but now, looking into them she could only see black. She supposed it was because he was sad…or angry. It was difficult to tell which… it could have been both. Sometimes when she was angry she felt sad because there was a reason to be angry, and sometimes when she was sad she got angry for being so weak.
She looked into them daringly and tilted her head. “See what?” she said in low murmur.
“That good things always seem to slip right trough my hands. I don’t know why I always destroy…. everything.”
She looked at him, trying to open her mind to him so he could see how dead serious she was. “Severus, it’s not you… you had no way of knowing…. She’s a bloody beetle for god’s sake.”
“If I had been more prudent… I would have been able to sense something was wrong.”
“How… do you have built in animagus detector. She was unregistered… we had no way of knowing that.”
“Potter knew,” he said, clearly still bitter that Harry was the one to provide an answer of how she could know the details of a conversation that was had I private.
“He knew from before…” she said and she walked over to sit next to him. She took his hand and intertwined his fingers with hers. She knew he valued that sort of contact. “It’s okay, you know,” she said.
He looked at her form the corner of his eyes and raised a brow. “You’re optimism is alarming.
She shoved him playfully… “Fine I’ll act like you…” she changed her body posture and slouched. “ We’ll never get through this, this all my fault. I think we should give up.”
“I never said…” he corrected her totally. “Giving up is not close to an option.”
“I thought you said… good things always slip through your hands.”
“They do, but I have a thing with lost causes. I like to fight them…”
“Really?” she said. He nodded and she bit he lips and she looked at him. It felt good to be distracted from the fact that any moment her boss would inevitable call on her to answer some questions that had to answered. She leaned in and kissed him on his cheek. She pulled away knowing what was going on outside. “Do you think she is watching us now?”
She saw a little mischief sparkle in his eyes. “If she only thinks about coming in any crevice in this house…” He smiled at the thought. “I think people forget that I can be everything they accuse me of if I’m pushed far enough.”
She bit her lips, only imagining what he had plan for that unlucky bug that found it’s way though some tiny space. “What was that charm you used?”
“If she tries again, she’ll be stuck in that form?”
“Where did you learn that?” she asked, realizing that there was still so much about him that she didn’t know. He looked at her with an expression that said, can you guess. She sighed and leaned her head on his shoulder. She closed her eyes. She almost forgot in all the commotion that she really didn’t get much sleep the night before.
“You’re tired,” he asked. She nodded. He moved himself so he was resting against the arm of the couch. She laid down and placed her cheek against his heart… so she could hear the beating… the reminder that he was alive and with her. She closed her eyes again and relaxed against him. His hands wrapped around her waist in a protective gesture and his fingers began to run through her hair.
They laid there in their little fortress until someone with authority had the power to infiltrate it.
The time ticked by slowly but it eventually came… that communication she was expecting form her boss. It came in the form of an owl. She knew right away who it was because she could see the seal on the envelope. After the owl came the guards for Severus… then she forced to leave.
She had no explanation for him, she would just free style it. Hope for the best. The absolute worst that could happen was that he would somehow get Severus re-arrested and he couldn’t do that. There was no proof and there never would be proof that Severus was a threat to anyone.
She walked through the offices hearing murmurs behind her back and she walked strait to the door. She didn’t really care anymore... she didn’t café if they approved or not. She knocked on the door at the end of the room with all the office cubicles and waited. She got the call to come in seconds later. She turned the knob and walked in.
She apparated home. She was only able to do that because Severus knew how to block other intruders except the inhabitants. She came to the kitchen and from the time she reached she could hear that the crowd outside her house was getting louder and more insistent that they show their faces. “Come out coward,” was a chant that could be heard from the crowd. “England loves you,” was a little less vocal but mostly it sounded like being in a room with a bunch of people talking at once.
She had a head ache.
She just wanted to get to Severus. She needed to see him as a reminder of why… why it was so important that she go through this torture.
He was probably in the living room. She walked out the kitchen and stopped in her tracks. She could hear voices talking… one was his and the other sounded familiar… not in a good way… it crawled her blood.
“So how long do you intend to keep this up?” the voice asked.
“Keep what up?” Severus returned.
He laughed. “I mean…. You can hardly be serious… Nymphadora Lupin…” he laughed. “Good for a little amusement I suppose.”
“Amusement?” he asked and his tone was filled with disgust from the suggestion.
“Come now Severus… this is between old friends. I hardly believe you could bestow your interest on a more unworthy candidate… who wants seconds… from a werewolf much less.” He laughed at the suggestion.
Severus never returned the answer.
“Although the morphing could be very interesting… I’d be almost tempted myself.”
He was quiet again but the guess juts kept talking. “Once you rid yourself of this awful degrading phase I’ll be able to point you in the right direction… someone more worthy of raising your daughter… you don’t want a pathetic, half-blood, wolf-lover bringing your child up with those dangerous ideas…”
Severus was finally able speak… and when he spoke it was obvious that his anger was on the verge of exploding. “I don’t believe Lucius, that there is a worthier person in this world to raise my daughter.”
He laughed at suggestion. “Severus, seriously… she’s a … half-breed.”
“Then so am I… my daughter is a squib, and her son is half werewolf… so there you have it, a perfect little family of half breeds.”
“Family?” he said… and it annoyed her that Malfoy hadn’t lost his cool yet and Severus was clearly flying off the handle.
“Yes, I WILL have her any day over any pathetic, little, empty-headed, inbreed you know.”
He laughed slightly. “Clearly… she has some hold on you… heavens… a few nights and you want to marry her.” I expect you’ll come out of your senses soon enough. After which, I’ll have to see what all the fuss is about.”
She couldn’t see but she could hear that there was a scuffle at the table… someone made a gagging noise… “Easy now, I have a wand advantage over you.” She heard Malfoy say through a tight breath. It sounded like he was being choked.
“Yes… but I have the will… somehow I think my hands could do the job.”
She knew she should stop him but she wasn’t sure she wanted to.
“Okay,” she heard through a cough. His grip must have loosened because the next time Malfoy spoke it sounded clearer. “Clearly, you no longer value my advice… a pitty.”
“Yes… a pitty I didn’t stop earlier.”
“Well… I can’t say this isn’t a surprise… very disappointing….”
The next sound she heard was a pop and he was gone. Severus let out a heavy sigh.
She walked out of her hiding place and looked at him. His back was facing her. His hands were gripping the chair to the point where his knuckles were chalk white. He seemed like he was trying to gain control of himself. “Severus,” she said softly. He was startled and he turned around quickly to look at her. His eyes were the blackest she had seen them. His face was red and firm… he looked almost possessed.
“When did you get back?” he asked.
“Just now,” she said softly. She walked closer to him. His breath was beginning to get calmer. “Are you okay?” she asked.
He nodded. “I’m fine… you.” He said. “What happened?”
She shook her head. “It doesn’t matter.” She reached him and placed her hand behind his neck and leaned his head in close to her so his forehead was touching hers.
“It doesn’t matter,” he asked and he placed his hand around her waist.
“No,” she whispered and she kissed him lightly on his lips. She could feel his anger cooling down, slowly. She kissed him until she felt all his anger melt away, knowing she was only one who could calm him this way.
“Why doesn’t it matter?” he asked out of the blue.
She didn’t say it but it didn’t matter because at that moment she had never loved him more.
A/N: This was longish wasn’t it.
You guys missed the clue… I mentioned a beetle and no one spotted it. It was on the window when Dora was in the kitchen. That was the clue.
And Yes…he was going to going to ask her to marry him… or tell her he wants to marry her without asking yet.
Did you guys notice something…I’m reminding you guys that Severus still has some… grit in him… and when he is pushed far enough he will be kicking some serious butt.
And once again Thanks for reading and reviewing... you guys are awesome.
Tabitha better watch out.
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