Chapter 27 : Into The Unknown Again
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Valora's heels clicked steadily along the marble corridor as she made her way to the Hospital Wing. she had to find Harry, that was the first and foremost thing on her list. As she came closer to the door she saw someone else coming from a different direction. Shaggy brown hair and big brown eyes caught her attention. The previous incident forgotten they both let out a sigh of relief to see the other. Valora walked forward and was immediatley swept up into a bone-crushing hug.
"I'm so glad you're alright." He said a little breathlessly. Valora patted his back gently until he realeased her.
"Yeah, you alright?" she asked leaning back a buit to check for bood or scratches anywhere but he appeared to be unscathed. He hugged her again, but not as long this time for which Valora was thankful.
"Harry?" she asked as she took a step back from him. sirius put a hand on the small of her back and guided her through the doors. There was a small group gathered around one of the beds and Valora spotted a head of messy, jet-black hair among them.
"Harry." She breathed rushing forward catching him in a hug just as he turned around. She kissed his forehead and then, as she had done with Sirius, inspected him for any injuries, all the while muttering that she was so lucky he was alright. Harry couldn't help but comforted by her attitude. He looke dover her head at Sirius and smiled. Valora moved aside and let Sirius hug him as well. She squeezed Remus's shoulder gently and he pulled her into a one-armed hug and for the first time she noticed who was lying in the bed. Bill Weasley, looking like his face had gotten into a fight with a blender. Valora had been thinking quietly to herself and only perked up her ears when she heard Harry begin to speak.
"Snape killed Dumbledore." harry was telling them. Valora tried to ignore the shocked expressions and murmured outrage by keeping her eyes trained on the floor. As the rest of the Weasleys came in to see Bill everyone who wasn't family filed out into the hall to make room. Valora wrapped her arms around Harry again once they were outside, wanting him to stay close to her. she wasn't losing anyone esle she loved tonight. Sirius rested his hands on her shoulders, trying to comfort her and reassure her that eevrything would be all right.
McGonagall set off getting students back into bed and she wasn't taking arguments from anybody, not even Valora when she tried to persuade Minerva to let Harry stay with her and Sirius. Harry gave them both a weary wave goodbye before walking away with Hermione. Valora and Sirius walked in the opposite direction, towards Valora's rooms. Sirius shoved his hands in his pockets and glanced sideways at her.
"You look like you're about to fall over 'Lora." He noted as they walked.
"I am." She admitted. Sirius wrapped his arm about her shoulders and allowed her to lean on him as they walked. She had been asleep a few hours ago but now she felt completely drained. As they reached the portrait Valora gave the password and they climbed in.
"I feel like I should have seen this coming. I've been here all year and I didn't once think Voldemort would attack the school." She admitted as she sat on the edge of her bed and pulled her shoes off. Sirius leaned in the doorway.
"Nobody saw this coming, Valora. Not even Dumbledore." He told her in what was meant to be a reassuring voice but in just made Valora's stomach turn. She looked up at Sirius and motioned for him to turn around as she changed into her bedclothes.
"How did you get here so fast?" She asked as she wriggled out of the leather pants that Severus had previously helped her out of. Sirius cleared his throat nervously.
"I'd actually been here before the fight happened. I came to see you." He admitted. Valora froze for a moent and then finished pulling on her black slip, the same thing she always wore to bed.
"What?" She asked.
You can turn around now." She said, climbing into bed. Sirius did turn around and gave a tiny smile of thanks.
"I came to talk to you." He clarified. Actually he had come to scream and accuse her of being with Snivellus but after seeing what happened tonight it couldn't possibly have ever been true. Maybe she and Snape had flirted twenty years ago, but that was when they had all been young and foolish. she was far too smart to fall for that greasy git...that murderer now. The Valora he knew could never love someone who killed a great man like Dumbledore, so he decided to amend his intentions.
"Talk about what?" She asked, holding back the covers so he could slide in beside her. Sirius removed his own shoes and climbed in.
"I'm sorry about what happened." He said quietly. Valora leaned up onto her elbows to get a better look at him. He was her best and oldest friend. They could get past this. They had to.
"I'm sorry too. I do love you Sirius, but like a brother." She told him softly.
"I know and I love you too. I can love you as a friend...as a sister. It'll just take some getting used to." He admitted. Valora suddenly looked nervous and began to re-think the sleeping arrangements when Sirius beat her to the punch.
"I think it's time I started taking the couch, Pardus." He said sadly before standing. Valora felt terrible but then Sirius reached over and squeezed her hand. "If you have a nightmare, just shout for me." He instructed. Valora smiled and watched him walk into the sitting room, making sure he closed her bedroom tightly.
Valora sat in a chair beside Harry, with Sirius on the other side of her. The white tomb before them was practically blinding in the light. Valora sniffled slightyl as she thought about how much she was going to miss the old man. He had always watched out for her well-being, and he had been the only person she could talk to about Severus, the only one who knew their secret. Sirius reached over and squeezed her hand gently but she couldn't return the gesture. She was trying to sort through this jumble of things going on her mind. Severus had murdered their only confidant, but he had always been loyal to the Order, and Valora knew he would never have done anything to endanger her. Then again he had made an Unbreakable Vow to keep Malfoy safe. There had probably been more to that vow than he had told her, but that was the large portion of it, at least thats what she had assumed. It was as though she was missing a key piece of the puzzle. If only she had learned her Occlumency faster! she was sure the secret between Severus and Dumbledore would have cleared her confusion. Still, Dumbledore's last words were playing on a loop inside her mind.
"Severus is a good man, Valora. Trust him. No matter what may happen. Trust him."
It was as though he knew a time would come when Valora would question Severus. Maybe he had known. She didn't care anymore. She trusted Severus with her life and the lives of everyone esle she loved, even if she would never be able to admit it. Then she began to wonder if she'd ever be able to tell evryone the truth. Valora had always imagined the victorious ending to the war, and then the amazing feeling of running freely into Severus's arms, in plain sight of everyone. Let them all stare, but with the war over and Severus's true allegiance revealed the only reason they would have to truly dislike him would be a pitiful childhood vendetta. They could get a little cottage, and Valora would spend her free time reading, maybe she would take a muggle course in Shakespearian literature, and Severus would of course keep his job at Hogwarts, he had always wanted to teach, and he could floo home on weekends.
That fantasy was gone now. It died with Albus and it would never be resurrected.
As the funeral ended Valora and sirius walked away from Harry who told them he needed to talk with Ginny. Valora had a feeling he was to going to pull the old 'I'm breaking up with you for your own good' thing that Severus had attempted on her so many times when they had first gotten together. Valora was so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she didn't notice Sirius was steering her away from the large crowd of mourners. They were both quiet for a while until sirius finally broke the ever so slightly tense silence.
"We can't go back to Headquarters." He said numbly. Valora looked curiously at him.
"I beg your pardon?" She asked. He shrugged.
"With Dumbledore dead and Snivellus doing what he's always done we can't-"
"I know why we can't go back to Grimmauld Place, I'm just wondering how on earth you can care about something like that in a situation like this." She said flatly.
"It's something we need to think about. Where will we stay? That would have been a place to hide you over the summer, keep you safe and Harry too, now it's gone. We don't exactly have many options, our family has got to be the most endangered in history. an escaped ex-convict from Azkaban, the boy destined to kill the Dark Lord, and a renegade Death Eater who is being personally hunted by You-Know-Who himself."
"Stop it Sirius, you're making me blush." She joked, putting a hand to her cheek. Sirius didn't smile.
"I'm serious Valora." He told her and she rolled her eyes.
"He's more concerned with Harry than me. Please keep in mind I wasn't bothered by him at all outside Hogwarts." She said.
"That's just it, though. You're not going to be able to come back here. with Dumbledore gone it's only a matter of time before he takes control of the school. Do you think he'd just turn the other cheek and let you teach here?"
"Probably not." She admitted. "So what will we do?" she asked.
"Go into hiding. "he replied calmly.
"He'll come with us." Sirius said, as if it was obvious. Valora nodded slowly.
"So, you, me and Harry. One big, happy family. That's what you want?" She asked with a skeptical tone. Sirius looked at her and smiled.
"Yea. That's what I want."
They continued to walk in silence while Valora thought. She knew the safety of going into hiding wouldn't last long with the way Voldemort was gaining power, but it was still their safest option. Severus would never be able to find her if she hid from him. Then again, he did trace her practically across the continent on a thriteen year old trail with only the name of a dead woman to help him. On second thought, he'd probabaly be able to find her.
Sirius studied Valora carefully out of the corner of his eye. she was chewing on her lip and frowning, obviously in thought., but about about what? Could she be thinking of Snivelly's latest stunt? He had originally decided not to ask about her and that got but then the thoughts became too much to handle. The idea of him speaking to her, touching her, kissing her-
"Valora, I think it's time for the truth. "He said, abruptly stooping. Valora turned around and raised an eyebrow.
"I disagree. I think it's time to focus on our godson." she said plainly. she had a feeling where this was going: her romantic life. She wasn't sure if he was going to refer to himself or someone esle but feelings were the last thing she wanted to discuss whilst her secret, now murderous lover was on the run.
"Isn't it the same thing? Telling me and Harry the truth? About everything?" He asked with an almost pleading look in his eyes. Valora spine stiffened and suddenly she felt angry. There was a reason to want to question her, sure. A reason to be curious, but that didn't mean that everyone suddenly had the right to demand answers for everything in her life.
"No, Sirius, it isn't the same thing. Not everything in my life has revolved around you and Harry. In time both he and you will learn about me but I'm not about to spill my guts just to appease you. I have secrets. Is that what you wanted to know? I have secrets, things that are mine and things I don't feel the need to share and things I absolutely will not tell anyone, so get damn used to being in the dark!"
"Calm down and lower your voice for Merlin's sake." he whispered angrily. Valora glared at him but shut her mouth promptly. Maybe he didn't deserve to be yelled at but hopefulyl she got the message acrossa nd he would stop being so damn nosy. There was a side of her that was saying he was only asking out of concern, but at the same time they both knew she could handle herself. This wasn't concern, it was curiousity and possibly jealousy. Who knew?
It was a little while before Sirius spoke again. He still looked angry but at least hisv voice was steadier than it had been.
"Harry needs to go back to the Dursley's for a little while. We can use that time to find another safe-house and prepare everything. If we're lucky some of the other enchantments they put on HQ will keep Snivellus out long enough for us to go in and grab a few things, but other than that I'll have Kingsley settle the legalities of it all-"
Valora cut him off with a hug. Sirius was confused for a minute by her sudden change in mood but couldn't help from wrapping his arms around her.
"Thank you." She said quietly.
"For?" He asked, still startled by her sudden burst of affection.
"For being the same old Padfoot I know and love." she said. He hadn't continued the argument, simply told her what they needed to do for Harry. He had lsitened to her, as he almsot always had, not including when he refused to follow her advice when it came to his half-baked prank ideas. She hoped there friendship would last through this war, because there really was no better brother than Sirius Black.
Valora didn't stay at Hogwarts after the funeral. She and Sirius gave Harry a hurried goodbye (well, not so hurried on Valora's part. she spent a good fifteen minutes hugging him and promising him everything would turn out just fine.) before going to off to find a safehouse. Valora wasn't looking forward to the idea of being cooped up again during a war, but then she remembered that if things worked out, this was the last time she'd ever have to do this. She wasn't sure if she'd live to see the end of the war but she hoped she would.
Valora was finding it difficult to concentrate on anything. she felt slightly empty and despite having Sirius and other Order members around she felt very alone. Still, she kept her one dream alive and it pushed her to smile, to laugh and to pretend as though nothing else mattered but Harry, sirius and the war. The dream of her and Severus, living in their little cottage with the entire world knowing that her heart had always and would always belong to him.