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Chapter 18 : Lullabye
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Valora closed the door to her classroom before she left for lunch. Out of the corner of her eye she saw a tall boy with messy black hair rush past her. Harry hadn't spoken to her since they came back to school, two weeks ago. Personally she thought it was overkill, and Severus agreed, though he was a little angrier about it. Severus had been acting a little strange since the night in the pensieve, more protective. It was comforting, but borderline annoying. In the past day or so he'd taken to clearing his throat if she didn't eat enough. That earned him nothing but an icy glare and an argument later. Still, she agreed with him about Harry's behavior, maybe she should do what Severus had said to do and confront him about it.
She wove her way through the crowds until she was walking beside him. Harry didn't even glance at her and that just further infuriated her.
"Hello, Harry." she said cheerfully. He didn't respond and Valora sighed heavily.
"Still ignoring me, I see. How very mature of you." He threw a glare in her direction before picking up speed and walking away. Valora rolled her eyes and bit her cheek as she entered the great hall and walked up to her place at the teacher's bench. She saw Severus raise an eyebrow and threw him a look that quite clearly said 'don't ask'.
After her other classes of that day Valora went to the library. Since her own school days, the library had been more than a place to read. It was her sanctuary, where the world couldn't touch her. She settled into a worn leather armchair by one of the large windows and opened her own, battered copy of Hamlet. The library was empty right now, or so she thought. Valora was only still on Act I when she heard a whispered argument coming from behind the shelves to her left. Although she strained to hear what they were saying the words were indiscernable, and right now it seemed to be a one-sided argument. The voice that was speaking was obviously male and spoke in very succinct, agigtated tones. Valora's eyes widened when she heard the second voice, a voice she would have recognized anywhere - Severus. Valora leaned in the seat, trying to make out the argument. The first voice was speaking again
"-don't need you interfering." The voice said angrily, and Valora heard footsteps so she quickly buried her nose back in her book, pretending to have been oblivious to the whole thing. She glanced upward as the owner of the voice stepped out from behind the shelves and for one dark moment she and Draco Malfoy glared at eachother. Valora watched as he stormed out of the library then she felt a hand on her shoulder and jumped.
"Spying on me?" Severus whispered. Valora glared up at him and snapped her book shut angrily.
"Don't scare me." She said, standing from her seat before glancing around to make sure they were alone. Severus reached forward to see what she was reading and made a face of disapproval.
"What?" Valora asked, slightly offended.
"You've already read that at least fifty times." He said.
"It's my favorite. Hamlet and Ophelia are so romantic." She said with a wistful sigh. Severus scoffed.
"It's fiction, Valora." Severus reminded her.
"Fiction is based on truth."
"They never actually say that Hamlet and Ophelia are together, merely that he loved her." Snape said very matter-of-factly. Valora rolled her eyes at his attitude.
"Well, I think they had a secret affair nobody knew about." Valora said simply. Severus raised an eyebrow.
"Just a bit." Valora admitted with a small smile.
"It doesn't end well for them though." He said, searching her eyes. Valora raised an eyebrow.
"It's just fiction, Sev." She said reassuringly. Severus gave a smug smile.
"Fiction is based on truth." He mimicked. Valora's eyes narrowed.
"You just said it!" He accused, slightly annoyed. Valora shrugged in a non-commital fashion.
"I changed my mind."
Severus let out a small groan. "Frailty thy name is woman." He quoted before planting a gentle kiss on her forehead.
"I'll see you tonight?" She asked. Severus nodded.
"After nine." He told her. Valora gave him a smile and walked out of the library with her book clutched tightly to her chest, hoping nobody could hear how loud her heart was pounding.
Valora was sitting up in Severus's bed, the blankets tucked securely around her scantily clad form. She had a candle lit beside her as she greedily tore through Hamlet for the millionth time. Severus was snoring lightly beside her. As she reached the part of Hamlet's death she began to cry, muffling her sobs with the hand that wasn't holding the book. Severus woke and immediatley thought something was wrong.
"What's wrong? What's happened?" He asked nervously. Valora took a shaky breath and held up her book pitifully while her eyes brimmed with tears. Severus groaned and laid back down.
"You're absolutely ridiculous." He muttered. Valora slapped him on his bare arm with the book.
"You're just insensitive. You can't appreciate the subtle artistry of Shakespeare's words." Valora said, putting the book down and standing up from the bed. Severus just stared at her for a moment before speaking.
"'The subtle artistry'? Perhaps you should ask the Headmaster to institute a Shakespearian Literature class." He teased. Valora stuck her tongue out at him before turning back to the mirror where she was attempting to remove the tangles from her hair.
"Sev?" she asked thoughtfully. Severus moaned into his pillow as a response.
"Sev, what were you and Malfoy arguing about earlier?" She asked, not bothering to turn around. Severus was quiet for a moment before answering.
"Liar." She said, now turning to face him. Severus stared up at the stone ceiling and Valora let out an aggravated sigh. "You're not going to explain it to me are you?" she asked. Silence answered her, and she turned back to brushing her hair, this time with increased determination, every stroke punctuating her anger.
"This isn't fair you know." She said quietly. "You get to know everything about me and give me nothing in return."
"Give me time, Valora. I...can't tell you yet. You'll know soon enough." He said, sitting up a bit and running a hand through his hair before tying it back from his face. Valora put the brush down and looked at him. He was frowning and staring into space. She could see his jaw working, no doubt grinding his teeth as he thought. Valora crossed the room and sat beside him, tucking her legs beneath her. She brushed a stray hair back behind his ear before turning his face so that he was looking her in the eye.
"Just don't leave me in the dark forever." She said calmly. Severus nodded and put his hand over hers, squeezing it gently. His eyes quickly took in the sight of her; pale skin illuminated in the dim candlelight, chocolate tresses that looked soft as silk at the moment, not to mention the slip she was wearing. It was black, as was most of her wardrobe, and had lace edging. The thing barely reached mid-thigh. He looked back at her eyes, like liquid topaz, framed with thick dark lashes.
"That mandated spring holiday is coming up soon." He said, in an effort to steer his thoughts to a purer place. Valora shook her head in agreement.
"In March. It's a month and a half away. Why?" she asked.
"Are you staying here?" He asked. Valora averted her eyes from his face, instead focusing on counting the threads in the bedsheets.
"No, I'm not." She mumbled guiltily.
"Oh." Severus said softly. "Where will you be?"
"I promised Sirius I'd stay with him and Harry again at Headquarters." Valora admitted.
"Ah." was all Severus said and Valora could tell from his tone that he was annoyed. She laughed a little at him and he threw her playfully onto her back before lying back next to her, keeping one arm secured around her waist. A memory popped into Severus' head at that moment and Valora could see the thought behind his eyes.
"What?" she asked and Severus smiled at her.
There was a meeting at Grimmauld Place and Severus was sitting at the end of the table, trying to avoid looking at Valora who sat beside Sirius. Lily Potter was back and had brought her infant son with her - Harry. The baby was fussing and interrupting the meeting. Severus himself was getting quite annoyed and the child's mother looked too exhausted to do anything but 'shh' him half-heartedly. Valora turned to the woman and gently touched her shoulder.
"Let me take him, Lily." She said quietly. Lily handed over the tiny baby, barely six months old, and Valora stood and walked with him into the other room.
When the meeting was over Severus was the first out of the room and as he walked down the hall he paused when he heard a sweet, soft voice coming from the parlor. Peeking around the doorframe he saw Valora smiling and rocking the baby, singing softly.
"Look, look, look to the rainbow
Follow it over the hill and stream
Look, look, look to the rainbow
Follow the fellow who follows a dream"
Valora sang. She had a natural singing voice that was low but still completely feminine. Severus watched, entranced, as she soothed the previosuly fussy baby. He actually seemed to be asleep now. As she sang Severus didn't notice Sirius enter the room, taking a seat beside Valora, until he wrapped his arm around her. Valora smiled at him warmly and Sirius smiled back.
"You gonna sing like that to our kids, Pardus?" He joked. Valora rolled her eyes and continued rocking the baby. Severus felt his fists tighten naturally and he quickly left the house, feeling Valora's eyes on him the whole time.
Severus twisted his goblet of wine absentmindedly as he stared into space, thinking of Sirius and Valora. A tiny pop brought him out of his reverie as Valora apparated into the living room.
"Hello, darling." she said, leaning over his shoulder and planting a sweet kiss on his cheek. When he didn't respond she poured herself a glass of wine and took the open seat across from him, propping her feet on the automan. "Are you going to tell me what's wrong or do I have to guess?" she asked with a small smile.
Severus shot her a look and she raised her eyebrows in response before taking a sip of her wine, never taking her gaze from his.
"Black." Severus whispered hotly before standing and walking into the kitchen. Valora picked up the now empty bottle of wine and her glass and followed him.
"I figured that was what was bothering you." She said as she deposited the bottle into the recycling bin and the glass in the sink, still half full. "He was only joking, Sev. He's not actually thinking seriously about our children." she said, reaching up and squeezing his shoulder gently.
"You don't know that." he whispered bitterly. "The way he acts around you is infuriating. Then you just smile and go along with it, acting completely oblivious."
"Oblivious to what?" She asked angrily. Severus looked out the window and didn't answer. Valora slowly spun him around to face her. "Severus, YOU are the love of my life. You are who I choose to be with. If the day comes where I decide I want children they're going to be yours and no one elses. Okay?" She asked, rubbing his arms reassuringly. Severus kissed her on the cheek chastely.
"I'm sorry." He said quietly, hugging her to him. He knew he was overreacting. Valora loved him and had proved that twenty times over by staying by him these past 5 years. He couldn't help but imagine their possible future. Valora sitting in their living room, with his son or daughter in her arms, singing a lullaby while Severus sat beside her.
"I wish we could have had children." Valora said wistfully, remembering that day as well. Severus glanced over at her and smiled.
"Why can't we?" He asked seriously.
"Well, besides the fact that I'm number two on the Dark Lord's most wanted list, and ignoring the fact that we are in the middle of a war, it's difficult for a woman my age to even get pregnant." Valora said sadly, twisting the sheets in her hands. Severus stilled her hands and she glanced over in time to see him raise an eyebrow playfully.
"That doesn't mean we can't practice." He said, easily climbing on top of her. Valora laughed and reached up to kiss him as he pulled the blanket over them once more.
When Harry returned to the common room it was dark and completely empty. The fire, however, was still going strong. He glanced at the clock and realized he had made it back just in time. He slipped onto the floor in front of the fireplace just as Sirius's head appeared.
"Harry, how are you?' Sirius asked with a smile. Harry smiled tiredly back.
"I'm good, how are you?"
"Good, good. Have you spoken to your godmother?" He asked. Harry groaned inwardly.
"She's not my godmother." He said defiantly. Sirius's face hardened.
"She is, Harry. The three of us, you, Valora and I, we're a family. The sooner you accept that the better it will be for all of us."
"Maybe when she starts telling the truth." Harry said bitterly. Sirius raised an eyebrow.
"Have you even spoken to her since King's Cross?" he asked. Harry paused a moment before answering.
"Well how is she supposed to tell you something if you won't talk to her?" Sirius asked. Harry didn't respond, instead focusing on the snoring portrait of Septumus Deviatus. "Harry?" Sirius said softly. The young man looked into his godfather's eyes.
"I'm not asking you to forgive her, just to talk with her. For me, please. Remember you tried to kill me before I had the chance to explain myself." Sirius said. Reluctantly, Harry nodded. No matter how angry he got, he was going to listen to Sirius. Sirius was his family, and the closest thing to a father he had.
"I'm glad that's settled. So, what's next on the list of topics?" Sirius asked, immediatley back to his smiling self.
"Sirius?" Harry asked quietly.
"What do you know about horcruxes?"
A.N.: This chapter served almost no purpose, but I wanted you guys to see what Valora and Sev do on a normal basis, how they interact when they're being themselves. The lullabye Valora sings is the same one my mom sang to me and I'll sing to my kids if I ever have them. It's 'Look To The Rainbow' from the broadway show/movie Finian's Rainbow, which is very good so I suggest you look into it. Also, in this sirius does know about the horcruxes to a degree. You won't really get into how much he knows until book 2, cause, well thats when horcruxes really come into play, don't they? Be sure to R&R and thanks so much to my faithful readers!
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