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Equilibrium by apondinabluebox
Chapter 1 : Prologue
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 9

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Author's Note: As mentioned in the summary, this short story was written for my fabulous friend, Rachel (aka TenthWeasley). I just wanted to say thank you, Rachel, for being so amazing ever since I joined HPFF. You were my first non-requested reviewer to gush about Sheer Abandon when the original version was up (in fact, for any of my stories); you've supported me throughout the year with your essay-length PMs and endless cheerleadering; and not just that, but your stories have been an immense inspiration to me. (I'm not kidding, her one-shot A Multitude of Sins, which you should totally check out, inspired an entire novella with a short story collection spin-off, EEEP) So this is my way of saying thank you so much, and I hope you like this! ♥

Perfect CI by Ande @ TDA!

You're sitting in the corner of this Muggle café, nursing an overly large mug of coffee in one hand while the fingers of your other hand hold down the pages of the book you're reading. Your blonde hair is tied in a ponytail, although a few stray wisps have gotten loose; one of them is millimetres away from your coffee and is curling as the steam emitting from the hot liquid heats it, but you appear to be so engrossed in your book that you haven't noticed. I take a deep breath and slide into the empty seat opposite you, marvelling at how it's possible for tacky red plastic chairs attached to sickly-coloured Formica to be all the rage in the twenty-first century. I remember when visiting a café used to guarantee a comfortable seat made of good quality wood and tables covered with pristine tablecloths with well-mannered young ladies waitressing upon you, not skinny little chits like this sullen-faced teenager barking at me for my order of a cup of tea even though I haven't picked up the menu yet - but you'll forgive an old woman for missing the way her life used to be, won't you? We're stuck in our ways, I suppose you could say, except that it's much easier to stick with what we know at the time of our lives when our years have taken their toll upon us. Every so often, our lives come crashing down around us like a gust of wind scattering a house of cards, and when you've picked up the pieces too many times to count you lose the desire to do it all over again voluntarily - and here I am, letting my mind run away again while you're sitting here with a confused expression, your light blue eyes staring at me suspiciously.

I don't blame you; for all you know, I could be some madwoman with questionable sanity, and so I take a deep breath before explaining that I want you to write a book about my husband. You're about to say something, but I raise my hand in a silent request for you to wait and continue to speak. You're probably wondering why I'm asking you to do this, out of all the journalists and authors and aspiring writers there are in the world, and the answer is quite simple: once upon a time, you were very closely acquainted with my son.

His name was Severus Snape.

This is enough to make you fall silent; all of the words you had planned to expel from your lips have been banished because you understand now; you're the one who wrote my son's autobiography in the years after his death, and provided a much more factual and honest version of the story than that of Rita Skeeter's. Her copy I burned halfway through the first chapter - it was that bad - but yours holds pride of place on my bookshelf, and your cheeks are flushing a deep tomato red as I tell you this. I've even got your autograph; you're staring at me open-mouthed as I open my copy of your book and show the words scrawled across the title page: Dear Eileen, glad you liked the book! with your name scrawled beneath, and I know what you're thinking. You tried so hard to contact me with requests for an interview while you were writing the book, and I always refused - but I suppose you can tell why now, with my bald head covered with a bandanna - you're a Muggle-born, so you've got Muggle family and friends and you've probably met someone suffering from cancer before. Cancer. It's ironic, isn't it, that of all the diseases a pure-blood witch could suffer from, I'm recovering from a Muggle illness I happen to share a star sign with? But that doesn't matter; it's not why I'm here today.

You see, I was nervous that day in Flourish and Blotts when I got your autograph; I'd planned to ask you then what I'm asking now, but I didn't have the courage to. I'm here now, though, and I'm willing to give you as much information as you want about Severus' early years so that you can add a few more chapters to the book before its re-release next month as long as you agree to tell Tobias' story, because it's one that ought to be told too. You're nodding emphatically while one-handedly scrambling underneath the assortment of napkins and sugar sachets upon the table in search for your bookmark. When I suggest simply turning the corner of the page to mark your place, your head jerks up abruptly and you're looking at me as if I've just confessed to harbouring a secret desire to resurrect Voldemort - but then you find your bookmark, set the book aside and pick up the lined notepad and blue biro resting on the table. For a moment I wonder why you're not using ink and parchment, and then I realize that you're more conscious of your surroundings than you appear; using such old-fashioned stationery in the Muggle world brings unwanted attention these days, especially if you can wield a quill with ease.

Tell me about your husband, Mrs Snape, you say.

I shake my head, instructing you to call me Eileen instead before pausing to drink some of the tea that the waitress brought earlier, and the warm liquid sates my thirst pleasantly.

And then finally, I begin.

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