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Everto Trucido by Rumpelstiltskin
Chapter 12 : A Sirius Chat
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 3


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General Disclaimer: I don't own any characters, settings, or general scenarios; they belong to J.K. Rowling, in all of her glory.

AN: Hey guys, we're still working on character development, character relationship development, and character introductions, so hang on tight. Also, by the power of AU, I'm perhaps altering the time-line here just a bit. An abridged scene from Deathly Hallows, which will be asterisked and cited in the ending note, probably took place roughly a year prior to the current date. Special thanks to kenpo, for the list of “Better Words” as it has been extremely fun to play with.




September 22nd
7:35 a.m.

It was raining outside.

Sirius and Peter had run the supposed 'intervention' the previous evening, as James claimed that he had absolutely nothing to do with it. Evidently, they- Sirius and Peter -were concerned with the the supposed health of Remus and Grace's developing 'relationship'. They claimed that hiding this from their friends was not only pointless, but harmful to said relationship. Remus had taken their ramblings with a small smirk on his face, as he was apparently getting his way. Grace, on the other hand, was not as pleased. There shouldn't have been an intervention, because there should not have been a relationship in the first place. She realized that she had made a positively irresponsible mistake by not stopping Remus' advances in the beginning. It wasn't entirely his fault; her handbook had plainly stated that, given their connection, the wolf within him may feel some unnecessary attraction to her. He had not allowed her time to sort out her confusion, and she had given into some inappropriate, well-reciprocated emotions. Unfortunately, because she had given into her irrational inhibitions, she now ran the risk of hurting Remus. She briefly considered playing part to their pseudo-relationship to prevent that from happening.

What was worse, he entered the Great Hall with the rest of the Marauders, positively radiating with happiness. Since the intervention, they had, quite literally, come out of the broom closet. People knew about their relationship; people were talking about their relationship. If there was any point in her sixteen years of life that she wished a support beam would fall from the heavens and crush her skull, it was now.

Grace frowned.

As Remus took his usual place at the Gryffindor table, directly next to Grace, he grinned at her. She fought the desire to wrap her arms around him, so he did instead. While her insides churned with varying degrees of complicated emotions, she leaned into him, burying her face in his shoulder. If it hadn't been for the ominous feeling that their newly established friendship was at imminent risk of shattering beneath the weight of what seemed like a few innocent kisses, Grace felt that, in his embrace, she would feel whole. In the cosmic plane, their souls created a union that isolated them from the outside world- an eternal connectedness that even James' unappreciative, purposeful cough could not penetrate -where they could understand one another, heal one another on both an emotional and physical level, and pull each other from the depths of their own suffering.

It was the first time that Grace fully understood the expanse that their connection could reach. They were meant to be a part of one another; they were meant to be together. She understood why many Servators had also played the role as the Everto Trucido's true love, and she understood how Bartholomew's attempt at severing his connection with his werewolf resulted in both their deaths. She realized that she needed him, and that falling into this trap that their connection was creating, the emotional tripwire that sent them down the dangerous path of romantic inclinations, could only possibly result in resentment. She had her true love, and he had his, and then they had each other. Being separated from the rest of the world, in that moment in time, allowed Grace to see the deeper significance and delicate nature of their relationship.

Grace wondered if the reason why she had allowed herself to slip into the ruse of a pseudo-romance with Remus was because she could see his future. The transgression of time revealed only Remus...only Remus; he was alone. Where was Grace? Why would she abandon him? How could she possibly do that to him? She wondered if the reason she wanted to form some sort of romantic bond with him was because she wanted to be with him, in any form. She didn't want him to be alone. She was trying to intervene with fate, subconsciously.

She forced herself away from him, severing the extent of their connection for the moment. Gazing into his eyes, she wondered what he would think of the revelation.

“What's wrong?”

Grace blanched. Hadn't he felt the connection deepen? If he did, then he appeared to be completely unfazed by it. She blinked, attempting to make sense of the world that was reforming around her. She was in the Great Hall, seated between Remus and Peter, across from Sirius and James. Furthermore, she and Remus were generating an enormous amount of spectators, while the other Marauders silently busied themselves in their breakfasts, seemingly the only ones who weren't interested in their lengthy embrace. Grace wondered if Remus hadn't felt the connection because of the spider-webbing crack that was forming in their cosmic connectedness as a result of the maddening emotions spiraling from this relationship. It concerned Grace that the reason Bartholomew attempted to disconnect himself from his Servator had something to do with the consequences of taking a romantic relationship with the person that he knew was not meant to be his in that way. Could their connection be dampened by haphazardly bottle-necking emotions that disrupt the cosmic flow?

Grace decided that this was neither the time nor place to bring up such matters to Remus, because, judging by the look on his face, she had been silent for far too long. “Er- Hogsmeade today,” she murmured unsteadily. What possessed her to say Hogsmeade, she had absolutely no idea.

“You don't have to go to Hogsmeade, Grace,” Sirius said from across the table in a very clipped tone. “It's optional.”

“We're going to Honeydukes and then Zonkos. Remus will probably drag us to Tomes and Scrolls, but we're going to the Three Broomsticks after that,” Peter assisted. “It will be fun!”

“No- I mean-” Grace decided that she wasn't proficient in lying. “Lily! Lily asked me to go- uhm- hang out with her and Marlene and Alice...for some...girl time.”

Remus gave her a calculating look.

“Can I come?” James asked, suddenly fully attentive upon hearing Lily's name.

“Girl time,” Sirius repeated. “It means birds only, mate.”

James shrugged, saying, “That doesn't sound all that exciting.”

Grace sighed and placed her hand on Remus' arm, who had become exceptionally quite and worrisome. “But I'll be around later, yeah?”

“Yeah,” he muttered.

She only hoped that Lily didn't have plans.

~*~

1:11 p.m.

Grace had bid farewell to Lily, Alice, and Marlene shortly before making an excursion to the potion shop, Vitrior and Wiggentree. The rendezvous may have been more enjoyable if the topic of interest hadn't been Grace and Remus. She didn't know why everybody was curious about Remus, asking questions she did not know how to answer. Remus was her Servator. She loved him, but not in the way everyone expected her to. He was supposed to be her best friend; she was supposed to be able to turn to him for anything. Now, she felt as though she could only avoid him. The dizzying kisses had to stop.

Luckily, Grace had managed to fill some of the time by asking questions about Quiddich. It was a less-enthusiastic conversation, but they were able to answer some of her questions. Lily, the book-thieving saint, also pulled Grace into conversations, asking about Grace's time at Hogwarts and how that was panning out, so far. She was eternally grateful that Lily wasn't solely focus on Remus.

Retrieving a vial of powdered porcupine quills from a dusty shelf in the rear of the store, Grace grimaced. She was sure that the allowance Albus had given her would be enough for the few ingredients that she needed; she only wished that she had been paying attention when he had explained wizarding currency to her. Paying was going to be a challenge.

“Gracie!”

Grace nearly dropped the vial in her hands as Sirius' voice berated her senses.

“What are you doing?” he asked.

She held the powdered substance out before her. “Getting potion ingredients.”

“Yeah? Make sure you get Unicorn horn...Pete's been driving us crazy, worrying about the stuff.”

Grace nodded, glancing around Sirius for any sign of the other boys. They weren't there. “What are you doing here?”

Sirius shrugged, saying, “Potion ingredients.”

She moved to step around him, feeling awkward.

“Thought you were doing girly things?” Sirius questioned lightly as he followed her.

“I did; we've finished.” She pulled the powdered horns off of its shelf, the last ingredient she needed. “Aren't you supposed to be...doing something with James, Remus, and Peter?”

“Tomes and Scrolls is an abnormally dull place.” He gestured out of the large window to the small bookshop across the street. “I saw you over here and thought that a little chat would be more interesting.”

Grace stepped around him again, making her way to the front of the store to pay. “And it has been exhilarating,” she mentioned, “but they're leaving.” She nodded at the window again, where the boys were exiting the shop. “Shouldn't you be going with them?” Setting her parcels on the counter, she smiled at the clerk; it was not returned.

“I told them I would meet them at the Three Broomsticks.”

“Four galleons and a knut,” the clerk said sharply.

Grace pulled a handful of coins from her pocket, watching them with uncertainty.

Luckily, Sirius seemed to pick up on her distress. “The big gold ones are galleons,” he said, picking four from pile, “and the small bronze ones are knuts.” He paid for her items.

“Thanks,” Grace murmured, graciously picking up bagged goods from the counter top.

As they exited the shop, Sirius asked, “Can- ah? Can I talk to you for a minute?”

Grace was stricken with a sense of ominous foreboding. “What about?”

He steered himself in front of her, blocking her path and interrupting her gait. “About you and Remus,” he said.

Glancing around at the scarcely scattered students passing by, Grace sighed. “We had this conversation last night.”

No,” he told her, “We had a conversation about sneaking around behind your friends' backs last night.”

“What else do you want to talk about, then?”

“I want to know why you're trying to hurt him...he doesn't deserve that.”

Rage burned Grace's throat as she opened her mouth to try to retort. She was deeply offended. “What are you talking about? I don't want to hurt him!”

“So, you're going to pretend to want this relationship for the rest of your life?”

“Well,” Grace considered, “that did cross my mind but- How do you know that I don't want...this?”

He raised his eyebrows in disbelief. “The way you've been acting! Sneaking around...and frowning whenever he comes into a room- Do you know what you're doing to him? Do you?”

Grace was wrong earlier; she wished the support beam would fall and kill her now. “I don't know what to do,” she admitted, fighting the rising feeling of grief. She wouldn't cry; she'd done far too much of it already. “He's supposed to be my f-friend...we're supposed to- I just wanted- And then with the- He kissed me and- I don't know what to do!” Her emotions were choking her now, and she couldn't look at Sirius. She settled for the cracked stone beneath her feet, continuously telling herself to calm down.

“You're doing a terrible job, if you're trying to be his friend.”

“I know,” she said quietly. She didn't need Sirius to state the obvious, making her feel worse.

“Then fix it!”

“How?”

He groaned loudly. “What is wrong with you?” he shouted.

She sobbed, wishing her legs would come back to life so that she could run. Her destination, she would figure out along the way, but she needed to be somewhere that wasn't near Sirius. Trying to steel herself, continuously telling herself that crying would not solve anything, she finally looked up at Sirius. “I don't know! Apparently I can't do a-anything right...s-so just- F-fuck!” She wiped her eyes fiercely with her sleeve while balancing her bag in the other arm.

He visibly deflated, shoulders sagging and his face becoming softer. “Come on...don't cry,” he sighed, exasperated. “He- He's my friend! I don't want to see him get hurt, Grace, he doesn't deserve it!”

“I k-know!”

“Stop...stop crying!”

“S-stop y-yelling at me!”

With another frustrated groan, he ran a hand through his hair. “Okay, okay,” he conceded, in a much more soothing tone. He glanced around, apparently they were generation a bit of attention. “Here, let's go.” He took her bag from her, leaving her no choice but to follow him with bleary vision.

~*~

By the time they had arrived at Madame Puddifoot's teashop, Grace had managed to calm herself down enough to stop crying. The interior was as uncomfortably warm as it was tacky in décor. The bombardment of red and pink did nothing for Grace's mood. The bench seats were overstuffed to the point of being uncomfortable, and the fabric coating them was course. The waitress's voice was sickeningly sweet, and she only addressed Sirius, who ordered Grace's tea for her. Some of her classmates whispered their inquires of why Remus Lupin's girlfriend was on a date with Sirius Black, too loudly to be justified as whispers.

Grace glared at Sirius, who was awkwardly folding an embroidered Chantilly lace napkin over and again on the table top. “Why are we here?”

“You were crying,” he said impatiently, “and you birds like this place...thought maybe it would get you to stop.”

She didn't understand what he was talking about.

“Look,” he continued, “you can't just toy around with Remus-”

“-I'm not,” she seethed, trying to keep her voice down. “I'm not trying to. I can fix this...I just need to figure out how.”

“Why even start in the first place?” he demanded. “If he's not meant to be your soul mate then why-?”

“-I don't know!” Grace paused for a moment when the waitress set a cup of tea in front of her. “Why do you and Marlene date other people...while still dating each other?”

“What are you on about?”

“If you're trying to make an argument about soul mates, then why are you so reluctant to be with yours?”

“Who?”

Marlene.”

Sirius was silent for a moment. “You think that Marlene is my soul mate?”

“I know that she is.”

He scoffed. “And how could you possibly know that?”

“It's easy to see,” she said, glancing down into her tea. “The way you two act around each other-”

“-You're avoiding my question.”

“How do you feel about Marlene?”

“How do you feel about Remus?”

“I've told you, I fucked up!” Grace's voice seemed to reverberate in the now utterly silent teashop. She buried her face in her hands. “Why are you doing this?”

“I'm not going to let you hurt Remus.”

“I will fix it,” she said.

“You'd better fix it soon...if you still want to be his friend.”

Grace nodded solemnly, knowing that he was right. “I will,” she promised.

The two sat in silence for a moment, as the gentle buzzing of conversation began to fill Madame Puddifoot's again.

“Do you want to talk about Marlene now?”

Sirius turned his teacup around on the table, spinning it gently, despite the fact that it was causing tea to erupt and flow over the edges, spilling onto the tablecloth. “Marlene...what do you think you know about Marlene and I?”

Grace smiled gently, unsure why she was willing to spend more time with him. Perhaps it was a selfish wish that, if things went poorly with Remus, then having common friends may assist in swaying his resentful feelings towards her.

~*~


8:35 p.m.

Severus appeared to be nervous.

His dark eyes were clouded with private thoughts, as though he was struggling with words while rehearsing a silent speech. He was adrift in his own mind, far away from Grace's nugatory rambling, assaying outcome possibilities of the predominant conversation he anticipated having with a certain redhead. He wrung his hands impatiently, as if every droll statement spilling from Grace's mouth was consuming the Slytherin's cherished time. From her perspective, Severus could not care less about Grace's existence, only putting up with her ridiculously bothersome presence for the opportunity to speak with Lily Evans.

Grace stopped speaking mid-sentence, proving her suspicion of Severus' inattentiveness. His gaze was still fixed just over her shoulder, his mind distantly wandering. He had absolutely no idea that Grace was silently staring at him.

“And now Lily and I are dating,” Grace sang nonchalantly, smiling appreciatively when Severus' head snapped toward her. Their eyes locked, and Grace found mild amusement at his panicked, curious, furious gaze. “We're panning on marrying right after-”

“-What?” he nearly growled.

Grace, finding herself unable to continue her charade, loudly chuckled at his agitation. She decided that he deserved it, after ignoring her. “Just wait here,” she giggled. “I'll get Lily.”

“Were you joking?” Severus demanded, evidently not partaking in Grace's humor.

With a wink, she disappeared behind the portrait of the Fat Lady, leaving Severus to fester in the aftermath of her comment. Her pace through the Common Room was perhaps too swift, attracting unwanted attention-even knocking into a boy in her haste to retrieve Lily, and causing him to spill the pile of books he had already been struggling with-but she ignored her onlookers. The door to the room that she shared with the red-haired prefect was, thankfully, the only other obstacle obstructing Grace's path.

When the door slammed open against the wall, Grace was met with another onslaught of eyes. She would be sure to stop being so rough with the door in the future.

“Can I talk to you, Lily?” Grace asked anxiously, neglecting Alice's uncertain wave.

Lily, donning a wool dressing gown, nodded and closed her History of Magic text with an audible thwap. “What's wrong?” she queried.

Grace dropped down onto Lily's bed after yanking the curtains closed around them and casting a silencing charm. “I know you probably won't want to do this,” Grace began, quickly, “but please listen to me for a second.”

Lily's features were etched with concern as she nodded for Grace to continue.

“Severus wants to talk to you-”

“-No,” Lily said immediately, turning her attention back to her book.

“That wasn't listening to me!” Grace cried. “He's outside the entrance to the Gryffindor tower-”

“-No-”

“-He only wants a minute-”

“-No-”

“-Lily, please?”

No!

“Why?”

Lily's eyes lifted from the text, meeting Grace's with a stubborn gaze. “I don't want to talk to him, Grace!” She sighed at Grace's deflated appearance. “This isn't any of your business.”

Despite Lily's attempt to make that phrase soothing, it still caused Grace's temper to flare. “It isn't any of my business?” Grace mimicked. “My business? You're one to talk! Did it ever occur to you that the book you keep stealing from me, the questions you keep asking me, is not your business?”

Lily opened her mouth to retort, but the crimson curtains around the bed flew open, revealing an annoyed-looking Marlene and a disgruntled Mary.

Lily!” Marlene groaned. “Mary said- Tell her, Mary.”

Severus Snape is outside the portrait hole,” Mary tattled. “Says he's going to sleep there, if you don't go speak to him.”

Grace frowned at the small brunette, recalling the way she flirted with Remus. Unwanted jealousy jabbed Grace's insides, but she pushed them aside. This was not about Mary or Remus; this was about convincing Lily to go speak with Severus. Given Lily's defeated physical response to Mary's accusations, Grace determined that she may have just come out victorious in her mission.

“Fine,” Lily sighed, annoyed. “Grace, just stay out of this!”

Frowning, but still feeling accomplished, Grace watched Lily depart from the room. She was still unsure of what exactly sure what happened between Lily and Severus, but it couldn't have been that bad. Could it have been?

“How's Remus?”

Mary's clipped voice brought Grace out of her thoughts. “Remus?”

With her arms folded across her chest, Mary gave her a stiff nod.

“They're dating now,” Marlene remarked giddily, blissfully ignorant of the glare Grace was receiving. She dropped down onto Lily's bed and threw an arm over Grace's shoulder. “They're so cute together!”

Grace blanched, muttering, “We're not that cute.”

If Mary's face could grow any darker shade of vermillion, then she would be glowing. “How dare you!” the girl seethed.

Finally, Marlene's face dropped, and she glanced between the other two girls. “What's going on?”

“She stole my boyfriend!” Mary squealed, pointing an accusatory finger at Grace.

Grace wished that she could hide behind Marlene.

“He wasn't your boyfriend,” Marlene said firmly.

“Yeah!” Grace interjected.

“Well he- We were- He wanted to- If she hadn't-”

“You weren't dating! You've never dated!” Marlene snapped. “And, if I remember correctly, you were after Sirius a month ago. My Sirius! You've been interested in Lupin for what? A week?”

Your Sirius?” Mary scoffed. “Don't get me started on your sordid 'relationship'! Remus would have been with me if she hadn't whored herself out to him! You're both harlots!”

“Hey!” Grace said, indignantly. She did not appreciate being called a whore, or a harlot, for that matter.

Before she could continue, Marlene was standing over the smaller girl, her fists clenched at her side. “Harlot? Harlot?” she shrieked. “We aren't the ones hanging off of other people's boyfriends!”

She stole my-”

Grace frowned, attempting to tune out the sudden uproar in her dorm room. They had attracted the attention of the other girls, and Alice had attempted to intervene. Despite being shorter than the two girls, she did decent job of placing herself between them. Wands were drawn. Grace was not entirely certain if she should attempt to assist Alice's struggle. She could handle demons and monsters; she could kill them. She was unsure how to stop the girls, however; she could not kill them. It would be morally wrong and would compromise her soul. She decided that she would check to see how Lily and Severus were fairing, instead.

The ruckus provided adequate cover for her to throw the bag that was resting on her bed over her shoulder, and slip out of the room unnoticed.

The Common Room, however, was abuzz with its own commotion. A small crowd gathered around the entrance, all exceptionally quiet, including all four Marauders.

Remus turned to her as she approached, annoyance radiating off of him. He gestured to the small group. “Why do I get the feeling that this is your doing?” he asked quietly.

Grace smiled meekly at him, losing herself to distraction when he returned it. She would never make her situation right if he continued to emanate robust affection.

“I thought so,” he murmured, brushing a bit of hair out of her face.

She hated that, or so she told herself. Despite her extreme dislike for it, every time he did so, she felt the desire to kiss him.

Jame's snicker pulled her away from her trance. “This is bloody fantastic!”

Grace frowned. If James thought that Lily and Severus' conversation was 'fantastic', then surely something was going horribly wrong. She pushed through the gathering, listening closely through the portrait.

She could hear Lily's faint voice.

“-to call me Mudblood? But you call everyone of my birth Mudblood, Severus. Why should I be any different?”*

Grace furrowed her brow, knowing she should feel a bit of satisfaction by the possible ending solution to Severus' romantic interest in Lily. Instead, she felt remarkably downtrodden; Lily was hurting Severus. From what she could hear, he had hurt her as well.

While she briefly wondered what the term Mudblood meant, the portrait swung open to reveal the redhead, who didn't appear exceptionally pleased to be greeted by the small, unexpected party.

The crowd almost immediately dispersed and James followed Lily across the Common Room, attempting to engage her in conversation.

Before Grace could leave to chase after Severus, however, she felt Remus' hand on her shoulder.

“Where are you going?” he inquired.

She slowly turned to face him, her stomach falling unpleasantly. “I'm going to make sure that Severus is alright.” The return of emotion from him was equally unpleasant, causing Grace to look away. Unfortunately in doing so, she locked eyes with Sirius, who appeared to have put a few pieces of the puzzle together. The dawning look of realization on his face was replaced by extreme distaste.

Peter coughed uncomfortably from his side. “Remus,” he said quickly, “you said that you were going to help with my Transfigurations homework-”

“-I'm sure he's fine,” Remus interrupted, not turning his attention away from Grace. Jealousy was a terrible emotion, Grace decided, and even worse when coming from somebody she cared about.

“I'll just be gone for a minute-”

“-Really, its due tomorrow and you said that you would help-”

“-I don't see why you feel the need to go after him. It's his fault anyway-”

“-Mate,” Sirius called, “why don't you just come-”

“-I'll be right back!” Grace snapped. “We need to talk, anyway; I'll be right back!”

The gut-wrenching worry that Remus experienced immediately following her statement was unexpected. Grace grimaced, and reached out to touch his arm.

He didn't wrench away from her, as she had expected. Instead, he asked quietly, “What do we need to talk about?”

She sighed heavily, her heart breaking while knowing that she was hurting him. “I'll be right back,” she said softly. “We'll talk then.”

“Why can't we talk now-?” he stopped as Sirius put a hand on his back.

Sirius said, “C'mon, mate. Pete needs help with his homework.”

~*~

Grace rounded a corner, feeling slightly relieved when Severus' form finally came into view. She called his name, but he didn't break his stride or indicate that he had heard her at all. She tore down the corridor, quickly catching up to his stride.

“Severus, wait!” she commanded once she had reached him.

He rolled his eyes, refusing to stop walking. “What do you want?”

“Just- Just stop for a second!”

With a reluctant sigh, he slowed slightly, saying, “If you're concerned with my end of the deal, I'll keep my word. Now leave me alone.”

“Why do you hate me so much?” Grace demanded, stopping in the middle of the corridor.

He did not answer, nor did he stop walking.

She forced herself to turn around and stop her chase. Attempting to rationalize her thought process. Severus was upset, and needed time to work through whatever emotions he was experiencing. If she were to continue to pester him, she surmised that his reaction would be a negative one, as it always was when she pressed him. She also knew that she would have to speak with Remus, as much as she wanted to avoid doing so. Sirius was right, she would have to sort things out if she wanted to be friends with him. She suspected that things weren't going to return to normal, though, at least not right away. The thought terrified her; she spent a great deal of energy trying to figure Remus out in order to build a friendship and she did not want to lose him over something as trivial as a few kisses. She should have put an end to it before it had begun.

In the midst of her thoughts, while creeping slowly back to the Gryffindor tower, she felt a familiar tingling sensation on her wrist. The Cruors were calling for her again. Remus would have to wait a bit longer than expected for their conversation, and perhaps it something positive. It would allow her more time to find the right words, if such words existed.

Sighing, she touched the charm, waiting to feel the familiar pull into another realm. Before that came however, a hand clasped over her shoulder.

The world twisted away, as it always had during her transportation, and a body collided into from behind, knocking her onto the cold, hard ground of Cruor Terra.

“-the hell?”

Grace panicked; it was Severus. The world had completely succumbed to darkness again and Severus' words echoed in the silence surrounding them. Grace could see the the outline of rubble once more from her prostrate position on the ground, where she lay on her stomach, unmoving, despite the fact that Severus had almost immediately pulled himself off of her.

“Potter?” he queried. “Where are you?”

“Why,” she asked in a whisper, finally pushing herself away from the ground, “did you touch me?”

“My apologies,” he scoffed. “It wont happen again!”

The venom in his voice caused Grace to wince. “No, that's not what I mean. You never touch me, Severus! Why then?” Grace fumbled through her bag for one of the torches she had stored, just in case, thanking the gods that the Undetectable Extension Charm held between the dimensions. She only wished that Accio would work in Cruor as well; she would make organizing her bag a priority when she returned to Hogwarts.

“I was trying to tell you- Argh!” He made a frustrated noise and Grace could hear a rustle of clothing. “Lumos...Lumos!

“It won't work here,” Grace said, pulling one of the sticks into the air, victoriously, attempting to make it reach Severus, who was somewhere in front of her. “Hold this.”

She just needed to find matches.

“What to you mean?” he demanded, sounding increasingly frustrated. “Where are we? What did you do?”

Grace thrust the unlit torch at him again, sighing when finally accepted it. “I'll explain later. Just keep your voice down! You'll get the both of us killed!” she hissed.

She pulled both of a pack of matches and her machete from the bag, next. Carefully setting her weapon by her foot, so as not to lose it, she lit one of the matches. Severus came into view, standing stiffly before her and clutching onto the torch's handle with both hands.

Bringing the match to the cloth, she swore, “Dammit! C'mon, light!” The match extinguished. “Fuck!” She lit another match, returning it to the cloth. “C'mon, c'mon, come on!” she urged the flame. Finally, the fire began to spread across the torch-head.

There was a scuttle in the distance, causing Severus to visibly flinch. “Potter-”

“-Shh!” She quickly scooped her weapon into her hand, surveying her surroundings. Similar to her previous vision to Cruor, the Congressional Alliance's building had been demolished, pieces of it scattered around her in every direction. She should be gazing at the building's front, as she'd linked the portal to the building's dooryard for the sake of a quick arrival. For as far as the light allowed her to see, there was twisted metal, rubble, and destruction.

She held the machete out in front of her defensively as she grabbed her back from the ground. She turned back to Severus quickly, causing him to wince again. She needed to return him to Hogwarts, for his own safety, and prayed that this was another one of the Cruor's 'tests'; they would have to wait until Severus was safe.

When she made to wrap her arms around him, however, forgetting about the weapon in her hand, he swiftly backed away, stumbling slightly over pieces of debris in the process.

“What are you-? Stop.” She moved towards him again, only causing him to back further away. He held the torch between them, as if it was her that he had to be fearful of. “C'mon, we have to go- Would come here-”

As the words escaped her lips, several events occurred in swift succession: a loud, gargled, snarl erupted from Grace's left, Severus emitted a startled yelp, and the torch fell to the ground.

Silence became the world once more.

“Severus?” Grace asked, her mind beginning to race. “Sev?” She picked the torch up off of the ground with her free hand, wildly waving it around in hopes to find Severus, who was no longer standing where he was a moment ago. “Severus! Severus? Answer me!”

Her cries weren't being returned, and Grace was becoming slightly hysterical. This had to be a test; it couldn't possibly be real. He couldn't die, not now. It had to be a test. Soon, the Cruors would realize that somebody was here when they weren't meant to be, and they would end the stupid fucking test! He couldn't die, not by her hands. She couldn't kill her soul mate.

Severus!”









AN: Hello again! The asterisked quote is from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, p. 676.


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