THROUGH HER EYES
Written by Em Conway
Dedicated to Michael Chance who’s love of fanfic brings us all together. Thanks for giving me place and a reason for writing. I hope you enjoy the story.
Written for the Master and the Wolf, incorporating the following challenges: 45) Sirius Black cannot "move on" or so to speak before he fixes the mess he made when he was alive. One of them is ruining Remus’ chance with Severus. To make matter worse, no one can see or hear him but Harry. How will the two of them cooperate to play matchmaker? <Modified> 140) Lupin accuses Snape of holding a grudge for a "silly schoolboy prank" once too often. Snape decides to show Lupin just how awful the Marauders really were”
A/N a few things to know before reading.
All mistakes are mine and mine alone. I This is the longest story I have ever written. It also holds the most characters I have ever written at one time. So yeah, I had some problems finding its voice. Then, when I found the voice, it seemed to pull me in some slightly different directions. So I apologize if the characters appear at times OOC. Please feel free to review. I love them all, the good the bad and the flaming. The sick and twisted part of me wants to write a sequel to this story, let me know if you think it is worth it.
E-mail : email@example.com
I had to suffer one last time
To grieve for her and say goodbye
Relive the anguish of my past
To find out who I was at last
The door has opened wide
I’m turning with the tide
Looking through her eyes
THROUGH HER EYES
At first the pain was all he knew. Exquisite in its completeness, sharp and unrelenting. It numbed his mind and blurred his vision. He’s heart, so full of love, stopped its beating as his breaths slowed to a gentle murmur. All of this was in respect to the pain. His eyes watered. For while he, as a whole did not understand, a cell somewhere deep inside him, so deep that the pain could not penetrate, understood. He was dying.
As quickly as it started, it ended. The pain was severed away from his body. He expected emptiness to fill the new void, or perhaps even one of pain’s friends, ache and sorrow. It was no surprise, however, when a feeling of completeness filled his pores. Nor was it a shock to notice he was no longer needing of breath. It just seemed natural. Peace entered his mind. His heart was at home.
He realized his eyes were closed. After a moment of wondering if he should bother opening them, he did so, purely out of novelty. A warm mist settled around him, embracing him as a mother would be her wayward son. The room, if you could call it that, for it seemed to hold no walls, was doused in an evening blue. Speckles of stars illuminated out of the mist, dancing around him. The lights grew bolder in their movement, growing closer and closer together until suddenly they were growing and glowing together as one.
The old living instinct to shield his eyes from the brightness of the stars was gone. Instead all he could do was watch as the brightness turned into something smoother and delicate. He reached out to touch the surface. It responded as water, rippling until he saw his reflection.
He wasn’t sure if he his ears heard the message or if it was his heart.
“It doesn’t matter here.” The voice said with a light chuckle.
“Who are you?” He said.
“You, them, everyone and no one.” The voice sensed the confusion in its friend. The lights danced on the surface again changing his face and form. “Does this help?”
“James” He said wistfully, reaching to touch the surface again. “Is it you?”
The form of James shock his head and said, “Not James, but a part of James, the part he left you.”
“The part he left me?”
“Yes. The memories he gave you. The ones that live in your heart. They are reflected here. They are what you need now. They will help you on your path.”
“Chose?” He asked.
“Yes, this is the interim. The place of passing. There are many places that you can go to from here.”
“I want to be rejoined . . . ”
James held up a hand, “I know, I am your soul’s heart, remember? That path will be difficult. There is a wrong you must right.”
“James, you of all people know I was no saint. Which wrong needs the fixing?”
“Look inside Sirius, let it tell you which one needs the correcting. Let it show you which one will yield the greatest happiness.”
He closed his eyes. For a moment, the comforting warmth of the mist turned into bitter sorrow. And while he had no need to speak the word with his lips, he did so.
“Yes” James said, “you do not have much time. The place of passing is just that passing.”
“James, how do I fix this?”
James smiled sweetly, “Just follow your heart. I will not lie and say that it will be easy. For things of the heart rarely are. You will not be seen by those you love. Nor is it possible to leave your destination. But it is possible to correct this wrong. Never forget that.”
The lights were beginning to fade. He knew his time here was fading.
“But if no one can see me how can I do this.”
“There are always those that can see beyond the living. Let them help you.”
The mist began to fold in the dimming lights. “Just remember, “James said before completely vanishing, “Always follow your heart Sirius.”
Sirius could not believe what he was seeing. He was at Hogwarts, and from the look of things, it was Christmas. How much time had passed? The hallways were quiet, and he found himself straining to hear a mumble of life held within the castle. His feet remembering the way of things lead him to the great hall, letting his mind revel at the sight before him. Oh how he had forgotten how truly magical it was here, Christmas trees were everywhere. Enlarged snowflakes fell from an imagined sky, and a warming smell of cinnamon wafted through the air.
He moved closer to a particularly bright Christmas tree. Candles lit the tree shining pure white light on small ornaments held tightly to the tree by fine pieces of red, green, yellow and blue ribbon. Looking closer he saw that the ornaments were small portraits of men, women and a few children. Some of them looked familiar, but not enough so to recall their names.
Looking around the tree hoping to spy a portrait of Harry, he was caught off guard of a rather odd shaped picture of the great squid. Underneath the picture, fine writing declared, “fought valiantly to spare the first years the ravages of war.” His mind at once attempted to process the words ‘ravages of war’. Had the war finally come? Had the light won or was it still being fought? It was then he took a step back from the tree. It was there, written so plainly, gold on purple ribbon, that he felt stupid for missing it at first glance, ‘The Hogwarts Memorial Christmas Tree’.
“Oh Sweet Merlin,” He prayed, “don’t let Harry be here.”
“Of course Harry isn’t here. I think he is packing, or maybe he is flying his broom. I’m not really sure to be honest.”
Sirius jumped when he heard the girls voice. He wasn’t too sure which was the greater shock, the fact that Harry was safe or the fact that she saw him.
“You can see me?”
“Did you think Harry wouldn’t survive?”
With that Sirius Black turned to look behind him, seeing nothing he looked on both sides.
“What are you looking for?” she asked.
“Who you are talking to?”
“You’re silly,” she laughed rather loudly, and Sirius couldn’t help noticing how the students that were now filling in the hall were looking at her rather oddly.
As suddenly as she started laughing, she stopped and with her silvery eyes she stared intently at the tree. “It’s pretty, isn’t it? I just wished they had displayed Herman a little better, after everything he did, I would have made him a tree topper.”
“Who is Herman?”
“The giant squid that use to live in the lake. What he did was quite courageous if you ask me. I bet if they let squid into this school he would have been a Gryffindor. That is why I try to keep his ornament polished.”
“If you don’t mind my asking, how did he save the first years from the ‘ravages of war’?”
“Well you see, they attacked the very first day of term. We were all getting off the train, and heading to the carriages, but the first years had already made it out to the boats and were sailing to the castle proper. Death Eaters were everywhere. There were so many lights and colors and smells. That was the worst of it, the smells.”
Sirius noted her eyes becoming more and more distant as her voice became softer. He found himself closing his eyes imagining the chaos of so many children running around in the mist of so much dark magic. It was a wonder that they only had one tree.
“Well, some of the Death Eaters they saw the boats and started to attack them. I think they got one boat before Herman rose up in the water. He started hitting them with his tentacles. Before you knew what was going on, he puffed himself up, kinda like a balloon and stretched out over the boats. He was rather like a large squid tent. They all started to aim at him, throwing hexes and curses, but he never gave up. They ended up killing him, but not before the merpeople grabbed the first years and took them to a safe place. Its amazing really that only one first year died. His picture is right there.” She said pointing to an ornament held in place with yellow ribbon. “His name was Stan Stubby. Weird huh? You share his name.”
Sirius looked at her rather puzzled, “I am sorry, I don’t think I understand?”
“It’s okay, you can trust me. You don’t have to pretend. I know who you are.”
Sirius felt an odd sense of fear, “Who am I?”
That got her laughing again. “You’re Stubby Boardman of course.”
“There has been some kind of mistake, you see I am...”
“I never made it to one of your shows, but my father did give me one of your albums. I rather enjoyed it.”
“Luna, who are you talking to?”
Sirius knew that voice, turning his around slightly he came face to face with Hermione Granger.
“Mr. Stubby Boardman.” Luna said quite proudly.
“Ron!” Sirius exclaimed. If it was one thing he knew, it was that wherever those two went ....
“Who is that?” Hermione asked Ron under her breath.
“Um Luna there is no one here.” Ron said with a tainted note of concern.
“Hi Luna, how is Herman’s Ornament?” Harry asked quietly.
“Nice and shiny Harry.”
“Oh Merlin Harry, I have missed you.” He said as he threw his arms around Harry, only to have them vanish into his godson. Quickly he pulled his arms away. Harry let the smallest shiver show.
“I don’t think you should do that Mr. Boardman.” Luna said quietly.
“Well, we have to get going or we will miss the train. Happy Christmas Luna.” Hermione said.
“Yeah Happy Christmas Luna.” Ron seconded.
“Happy Christmas Hermione, happy Christmas Ron.” Luna sang back.
“You two go on ahead, I will catch up with you.”
“All right mate.” Ron said wearily, “Don’t be too long or you’ll miss the Weasley Christmas.”
“I’ll just be a minute.” Harry replied cheerfully.
“Harry is going to spend Christmas with the Weasleys?” Sirius asked.
“Yes, since Voldemort is no longer a threat the Headmaster told him he could go for Christmas.” Luna replied.
“That is wonderful. He deserves a real Christmas.”
“Uh, Luna, who are you talking to?”
“I told you Harry, Mr. Boardman.”
“Yes well,” Harry started “Luna, I was wondering, if you don’t mind, would you keep an eye on another ornament for me?”
“Of course not Harry, which one?” she asked
“This one, here.” Harry said and pointed to an ornament hanging on a tree next to the memorial tree. Sirius took a step closer to see the decoration clearer. When he did, he drew a deep breath. Hanging on the tree was a small black dog covered with stars. “It would mean a lot to me.”
“I will make sure it sparkles brightly Harry.” Luna said dreamily.
“It means a lot to me as well.” Sirius said softly, “Happy Christmas Harry”
“Well Harry, you better get going or you will miss your train.”
“I suppose you’re right. It’s a shame really, you having to stay here. I think you are the only student left.”
“Yeah well. My dad is on a special assignment tracking down Frosty the snowman.”
After doing a double take on what the girl had just said, Sirius stood in front of her, “Tell him I am here. Tell him it’s me, Snuffles.”
“Maybe I could ask Mrs. Weasley if you could spend Christmas with us. ”Harry offered.
“That’s all right Harry,” She said delicately looking around Mr. Boardman. “Besides I won’t be alone, there are three other students here and most of the teachers are staying to do repairs. And then there is Mr. Boardman of course.” She said “I think he likes you. He wanted to wish you a Happy Christmas.”
“Luna, are you sure your ok?” Harry asked.
“Of course Harry. Why wouldn’t I be?” She responded airily.
“Right then, well, Happy Christmas Luna,” he paused and cleared his throat, “And you too, Mr. Broodman.”
“Boardman.” Luna corrected.
“Right, Boardman. Well, I am off.” He said turning and taking his leave, looking at the dog ornament one last time he whispered, “Happy Christmas Sirius.”
Harry hurried out the front door and raced off to get board the Hogwarts express. He did not want to miss his first real Christmas. He smiled at the idea. His smile grew even more when he caught sight of Hermione and Ron waiting rather impatiently outside one of the trains doors.
“What took you so long mate?” Ron asked as they boarded the train. “Did Luna’s imaginary friend talk your ear off?”
“It’s not funny Ron, I am kinda worried about her. She has been acting strange ever since the battle.”
“Mate she has been acting strange since we met her.”
Harry felt he had to agree with that, but still something was off.
“Talking to a dead singer really,” Hermione groaned “Next thing you know she will be introducing us to Elvis.”
With that Harry had to laugh.
“So its Christmas time huh?” He asked the young girl.
“Yes, the first Christmas since the fall of the Dark lord . . . or at least for our generation.”
“And Harry survived.” He said quite proudly, “I knew he would, but it’s wonderful to know nonetheless.” Saying that out loud he realized, a long list of names came to him, without thinking he blurted them out. “What about, Remus, Dumbledore, Neville, Tonks? The Weasleys are they all alive, what about the Malfoys, did they die as well.”
Luna’s eyes went quite large. “Well Sir,” she said, “Professor Lupin is teaching DADA, he is escorting the students on the train. Professor Dumbledore is still the Headmaster, although Professor McGonagall is no longer Deputy Headmistress,”
“Did she die?”
“No, she said she just needs a rest of sorts. Professor Flitwick took over for her.”
“I bet Snape was mad about that one. That is if he survived the war.”
“He survived.” She affirmed, “but I don’t think he was too upset over it. I think he needed a rest too.”
“Tell me more.”
“Let me see,” she said trying to remember the list he had given her. “Draco Malfoy died, he was hit by a killing curse his father aimed at Harry, Surprised all of us, his ornament is right here. His father was sent to Azkaban after that, received the Dementors Kiss shortly after.” She said pointing. “And the Weasleys all survived.”
Sirius moved to look at the picture of Draco, and noted it was placed rather proudly on the front of the tree right next to a picture of Hagrid.
“Hagrid” he gasped
“Yes he died.” She said clinically, “We in Ravenclaw didn’t think he was a great teacher, but he was a rather nice man. He died trying to save Herman. I thought they should put their ornaments closer together but no one really ever listens to me.”
“The battle was a fairly quick one really, although at the time it seemed to last all night. I reckon the Order was already on alert, that’s how they could respond so fast. I don’t think the Death Eaters realized how many students would come to the aid of Hogwarts. Probably figured we would all go running into the scrambling arms of the Professors.”
“But you didn’t.”
“No we held our own. The older years mainly. Harry’s defense classes really helped. Well, not according to Professor Snape. He wanted us locked up in the castle. He was furious with us, ‘trying to play heros’” she said in her best Snape impersonation.
“Afraid you would show him up more like it.”
“As much as I would relish the idea of having to teach fewer dunderheads,” Said the silky smooth voice “I do have the responsibility to the Headmaster of keeping you all relatively safe.”
“Hello Professor Snape.” Luna said brightly, “I was just telling Mr. Boardman here how you helped save Harry during the great battle.”
“Indeed.” He said incredulously looking into the thin air. “Tell me, will you be staying through Christmas break.”
“Well then, two things” he said “Try to stay away from trouble, not that you will be able to resist. And second, stay out of my way.” With a ruffle of black robes he strode away.
“Yes Sir” she said softly to empty air before turning back to Mr. Boardman, “I am afraid he doesn’t like me very much.”
“It’s not you Luna. He doesn’t like anyone.”
“He has to like someone” Luna said with a dreamy look upon her face, “no one is that alone.”
“Luna,” he started to say, “your name is Luna right” seeing her nod he continued “I have a feeling you are the perfect person for a job a need help with. Is there somewhere less public we can go talk in?”
“My dorm room. I am the only Ravenclaw student left at Hogwarts. I have the whole tower to myself.”
“Excellent Luna, lets go.”
Once they had settled into the Ravenclaw common room, Mr. Boardman bombarded Luna with questions about the final battle. To the best of her ability Luna answered them all. She explained at least three times how Harry had, rather defiantly, walked up to Voldemort Wand ready and blasted him into obviation.
“Why didn’t you tell him it was me?” he asked
“This morning, in front of the tree, why didn’t you tell him it was me?”
“I did.” She said rather perplexed. “Besides don’t you think it might have disturbed him a little bit to realize I was talking to his Godfather’s ghost several months after he had died.”
Sirius felt he could understand, it would be rather upsetting, and he did look so happy.
“Don’t worry, Mr. Boardman, he’ll remember you.”
“I suppose so, he did make a rather nice Christmas tree charm for me.”
“I think that was for Fluffy.” She corrected him.
“You are mistaken my friend that ointment was for me. Stars and all.”
Luna giggled, “whatever you say Mr. Boardman.”
“That is another thing, My name is not Stubby Boardman, it is Sirius Black.”
Just then Luna’s stomach growled. Sirius realized it must have been well past dinner time.
“Are you hungry Luna? I know a way to the kitchens.” He offered.
“Its all right, I am not really that hungry.” She said
“Nonsense Luna, if you are going to help me, you are going to need your strength.” He commanded “No get up and follow me.”
They left the common room and turned down several hallways. Mr. Boardman talked about a map he use to have and how handy it was. She let him do most of the talking since it was after curfew and she didn’t want to get into trouble. When they approached a statue, Luna abided Mr. Boardman direction although she had thought it was rather silly to tickle a pear. She was rewarded with an entrance to the kitchens.
Dobby appeared instantly asking what he could do to assist a good friend of Harry Potter’s. She asked for a sandwich and a glass of butterbeer. Dobby pointed to a table and asked to be given a moment to prepare the food.
“So” she asked, “What do you need my help doing?”
“Well, I need, um I mean I want to.”
“What do you have to fix before you move on?” She questioned rather pointedly.
“How do you know about that?”
“Well, sometimes people need to fix something before they can move on. Trust me. I have done this before.”
“You have?” he asked amazed.
“Of course,” she said piercing him with her silvery eyes. “Everyone needs some help sometimes.”
Just then Dobby reappeared with a tray heaping with food. Not only had he brought a wonderful looking sandwich, but chips, fruit salad, pickles, a pitcher of butterbeer and a decadent piece of chocolate cake.
“Thank you Dobby, but this is too much.”
“No problem Miss Lovegood, nothing is too much for Harry Potter’s good friend.” Dobby said before disappearing back into the kitchens.
“So.” Luna prompted picking up a sandwich.
“Yes,” Sirius said staring at the food. Boy did he wish he was still alive. “I need to fix a problem I caused between Professor Lupin and Professor Snape.”
Luna couldn’t help but notice that the tone of distaste in which Mr. Boardman had said Professor Snape.
“What was the problem?”
“I fear I drove them apart.” Sirius paused, “I . . . well this is not something I would usually tell a student, but I believe they fancied each other in school.”
“So you want to play cupid with them?”
“Yes.” He sighed, “Oh Merlin it’s hopeless.”
“It’s not hopeless Mr. Boardman.” Luna replied again, but this time her eyes seemed very far away. “All you need is love.”
With that Sirius chuckled, “Beatle fan Luna?”
“No I’ve always fancied bottle eye slugs.”
Luna had finished eating her sandwich and had moved the slice of cake closer. Picking up the fork, she took a bite. Sirius remembered how much Remus loved Hogwarts double chocolate cake. Instantly a plan formed in his mind.
“Luna, this is brilliant,” he started excitedly, “We will send them a slice of cake.”
“A slice of cake? That your plan to get them together?”
“Simple yet perfect, don’t you think?” he said with a huge smile, “Call Dobby back and ask for two slices.”
“Yes, we will send one to each of them.”
Luna shrugged her shoulders and did as she was told.
Dobby appeared with two slices. He had displayed them rather decoratively on fine plates. She then asked him to deliver one slice to each of the professors and . . .
“If they ask Dobby, you must tell them, they came from the other professor, understood?”
“Dobby understands. Dobby not fail you miss.” He said very happily. With a pop, the house elf was on his way.
Once Dobby disappeared, she filled up her glass with butterbeer and stood up from the table.
“I suppose we should be getting back.” She said tiredly before turning to leave.
Sirius Thought it was a little off that she seemed so unmoved by the turn of events. He asked her about it on the trek back to Ravenclaw Tower, but she simply told him, not here. Once they were nestled in the tower, she turned to him and said, “Sorry, but it is after curfew and I don’t want to get into trouble.”
“Of course,” he said. “But why aren’t you happy for me? I will be leaving soon.”
“Well Sir, to be honest I don’t think you understand the gravity of the situation.”
“Luna” he countered, “I of all people understand how this needs to work.”
“But Sir that the thing, you need to fix what you broke. Don’t you think if all it took was a piece of cake, you wouldn’t need to be here?”
“That is what I am doing Luna, fixing it. They never were together when I was alive because I drove them apart. “
“If that is the case Mr. Boardman, then your death alone would have fixed the problem.”
“But it didn’t. See your logic is faulty. What they need is someone to push them together. That is all. I think you underestimated the power of the cake,” he finished lightly.
“Well then, I am going to sleep. See you in the morning.”
The next morning came early for Luna. She quickly got dressed and headed into the common room. She wasn’t hungry, but she knew if she missed to many meals the headmaster would be calling for her. She was surprised to find that Mr. Boardman was not waiting for her.
She made it down to the great hall, wondering if in fact the cake had worked some magic. It was when she saw the single table, she realized she had been right.
Mr. Boardman was sitting next to Professor Lupin, who had a rather large smile on his face. That was until Professor Snape walked in holding a slice of chocolate cake.
“Lupin, while you may think it considerate to send me a piece of cake, I do not appreciate house elves popping into my chambers at all times of night. That thing . . . Dobby ruined a perfect batch of Wolfsbane.” He dropped the cake on the table, and moved gracefully to the other end of the table. “I do hope,” he sneered sarcastically, “That I will be able to finish a batch for you before the next full moon.”
“Severus, I am sorry. I believe there has been a mistake.” Lupin said, “Last night I received a piece of cake from Dobby as well. He told me you sent it. I was about to thank you for it.”
“Ah Miss Lovegood, please have a seat.” The Headmaster said from his seat in the middle of the table. “We missed you at dinner last night. Won’t do to skip meals.”
“Yes Sir.” Luna said taking the nearest seat possible.
“Tell me, did you receive a mysterious piece of chocolate cake last night as well?” He asked with twinkling eyes.
“No, Sir, I didn’t.” Luna answered watching Professor Snape reach over and take a muffin.
“Shame. Me neither.” The Headmaster said almost to himself, looking intently at Remus’s cake. “I will have to talk with Dobby. If in fact he is passing out cake, I want him to know my door is always open.”
Professor Snape’s gaze quickly found Luna’s and she timidly turned her head and caught the angry look of Mr. Boardman. She heard Professor Snape’s chair scratch the stone floor, and in the corner of her eye she saw the flurry of black robes swish about him as he left.
“Don’t say it Luna.” Mr. Boardman threatened.
A moment later the Headmaster pointed to the slice of cake and asked Professor Lupin, “Are you going to eat that my boy?”
The next few days passed in a blur. Mr. Boardman would come up with an idea to get the two together, and it would fail.
Luna was happy so far that none of the plans left her exposed to the teachers, and thus free from any sort of reprimand. That was however the only thing she was happy about. She was starting to wonder if in fact Mr. Boardman had any clue as to how to match two people up. So far his ideas seemed rather childish. Besides sending the cake, she had sent her professors invitations to play chess, flowers, and some very bad poetry. Nothing was working. In fact she was starting to think that Professor Snape was secretly starting to loath Professor Lupin.
On the fifth day, Mr. Boardman had approached her with an unusual gleam in his eye. Inwardly she wanted to cry.
“Okay Luna, I think we found the problem.”
“You mean it’s not the bad ideas you are coming up with?” She asked honestly.
“Luna. This is serious, the problem is that they are not staying in each others company long enough to strike up a conversation.”
“True” Luna granted, “But how do you recommend we get them talking.”
“Its easy Luna, all we need to do is get them into the same room and lock the door.”
“I don’t think it will be quite that easy Mr. Boardman.”
“Luna my name is Black, Sirius Black. You can call me by my first name, my last name, hell you can even call me Padfoot or Snuffles.” He said with exasperation.
“You don’t have to get upset with me Mr. Boardman. I am still going to help you. I just don’t think it is going to be that easy.”
Sirius sighed, “Trust me Luna when I say it will. We will use the room of requirement. Now all we need is an eavesdropping spell placed on an innocent object. So we can listen” he said with a pathetic wink ”Like a picture and Walla! They will be in love, and I will move on.”
Luna shrugged her shoulders in defeat and walked further down the hallway.
“Luna where are you going?”
“To the room of requirement Mr. Boardman.” She said evenly.
“Good girl Luna.”
The spent the rest of the afternoon decorating and redecorating the room of requirement. It appeared to Luna that Mr. Boardman was taken by moments of pure romantic ideology and then once remembering who it was for, would quickly change his mind. Finally they seem to come to some sort of truce. The room resembled a comfortable and cozy living room. It had first been suggested that it be a bedroom, but Sirius said there was only so far he was willing to go. Doused in dark shades of burgundy and smoke grey, the room would have seemed uninviting was it not for the flickering flames and russet glow of the fire. It was Luna’s idea to have a hot tea service waiting for them on the table. “It might help to break the mood.” She said and Mr. Boardman agreed.
“So,” Luna asked wearily, “how do we get them in here together?”
“Yeah, well,” Sirius replied, absentmindedly scratching his head, “I suppose we will have to trick them.”
Luna’s eyes opened wide as she nodded her head, “I got that part Sir,” she said slowly “I was wondering how?”
“Don’t call me Sir, I am not a Sir, I am Sirius.”
“Well” Luna said impatiently.
“Its easy” he said although Luna had a sneaking suspicion he was still thinking. “A student emergency, yes that will get them both in one place at the same time.”
“All right, but don’t forget Mr. Boardman we are talking about the DADA teacher, and Professor Snape. I just mean they are both quite cleaver. Don’t you think that once they figure out I lied to them they will just find a way out?”
“Ah yes,” he said looking at Luna “There is a spell I know a little something about that they don’t quite teach here at Hogwarts. It’s perfect for keeping some people where they need to be.”
With that, Luna just rolled her eyes.
“Professor Lupin!” Luna screamed out.
Remus turned around and faced the girl running quickly toward him. “Hey there Miss Lovegood slow down, take a deep breath and tell me what is wrong.”
“There has been an accident . . . a student.”She gasped for air, ”they were in the room of requirement.”
“It is ok Miss Lovegood. I will go right away. Go fetch the Headmaster for me.”
Luna nodded and watched her professor run toward the room of requirement, before turning and running straight for the dungeons.
“Professor Snape,” She cried as she pounded on the potion master’s office door.
“What is the meaning of this?” Snape sneered, pulling open the door wide.
“Professor . . . ”
“Calm yourself at once child,” He commanded.
Luna took a few steading breaths. When her composure regained some control, he nodded at her to continue.
“Professor Snape sir, there has been an accident in the room of requirement. Professor Lupin is there and asked for your help.”
“Ignorant fool. Is it not amazing that a DADA professor cannot manage a few unruly students?” He said with a flourish as he slammed the office door shut. With a few long strides he turned the corner and vanished.
“Perfect Luna” Mr. Boardman said clapping his hands, “just like catching mice in a trap.”
Luna chose to ignore the overly blissful grin on Mr. Boardman face as she hurried back to the room of requirement. This was bound to backfire. She just didn’t know how to explain that to Mr. Boardman.
Before trapping the teachers together, they had fixed a nearby room to serve, as Mr. Boardman liked to call, “Mission Control’. From their secret room they would be able to hear everything that was going on inside the room. Her newly acquired friend had taken to rubbing his hands together in glee as Luna sat back and awaited disaster.
Snape stormed into the room of requirement ready to bellow at any unruly child he came into contact with. However, the sight of Remus Lupin sitting on a sofa sipping tea caught him off guard.
“What is the meaning of this Lupin?” he growled.
Lupin however seemed far more preoccupied with the door behind him. Rising to his feet he spilled his tea and with an outstretched arm he promptly dropped his cup. “Don’t let it shut Severus.”
“What the blast are you talking about?”
Remus Lupin closed his eyes in defeat as the door clicked shut. “The door Severus, we are now locked into the room.”
“What do you mean locked in?” Severus said as he turned to open the door. After four failed attempts he pulled out his wand and tried several spells, all beautiful in their delivery and successful in their failure.
“Idiot fool, how could you have allowed this to happen?” Snape sneered.
“I didn’t Severus.” Remus replied calmly “I was told students were in trouble and entered in. I found the room like this, empty of said students.”
Remus could see aggravation growing on the other mans face, “don’t worry,” he continued “Albus will be here soon.”
“And how pray tell do you know that Lupin?”
“I sent Miss Lovegood to fetch him.”
“Indeed,” Snape hissed. “She was the one to send me here.” When Snape saw Lupin close his eyes and shake his head he let out an undignified snort. “Prey tell Lupin, what is it about Gryffindor House and the inane need for pranks.”
“Not all Gryffindors feel the need for prank playing, and mind you Severus, It is not an inane need only my house feels. Miss Lovegood happens to be in Ravenclaw. “He responded in a low growl. How many more times would they go through this.
“While that may be true Lupin, I must say that it is your house in particular that has set its designs for humiliation so very high.”
“Are you capable Severus of just letting go of a stupid grudge match? In case you have not noticed, we are the only ones left alive. We were young and in school. It was a stupid prank, more malicious than the others but a stupid one nonetheless.” Remus could hear his voice raising but he was just so tired of this constant conversation he had with this man. “ Black was no saint, not by any means, and he could be incredibly stupid. I will be the first one to admit that. He didn’t think you could die, just as he underestimated my ability to control the wolf. How many times Severus do you wish me to apologize for that. Just tell me and then I will do it. But so help me this needs to end.”
“You have no right Lupin,” Severus seethed. “No right to lecture me after what you did.”
“For the love of Merlin Severus, I will only say this one more time. The shrieking shack was not my idea. I NEVER wanted nor have a desire to see you dead.”
“No you would prefer me to be in constant pain. How humanitarian of you Lupin. Yes, I must say a constant burning pain is so much more tolerable than death.” He said sarcastically, “Should I bow when I thank you.”
Remus looked puzzled. The look drove Severus off the edge.
“Don’t look at me like that. You know what you did. You Marauders” he spat the word “should be so very proud, Lord Voldemort’s most trusted follower couldn’t lift the spell. I even went to a curse breaker once. It would appear you have bested him as well.”
“Severus, what are you talking about?” Remus asked softly. Oh sweet Merlin, what had they done to him.
“Really Lupin you should have been in Slytherin, with all those feigned innocent looks.”
“Please Severus, tell me what they did to you.” Remus begged.
With a striking motion of slightly trembling hands Severus slowly began to undo the buttons of his shirt. When the last button was undone, Severus bared his chest to the Defense teacher. “Please don’t tell me you don’t remember this.” He hollered, instantly berating himself for this display of weakness. How long had he kept this all inside? He swore that night when they did this, he would not beg them to remove the curse. He would die with it before he asked them for help. And yet here he was reminding Remus Lupin of his own handiwork.
Remus’s eyes went wide as he stared at the irritated red circle that seemed imbedded on the Potion Master’s chest. He drew a quick breath and stepped forward. The mark instantly turned an angry deep red. A low hiss of pain betrayed Severus’ lips.
“Who did this?” Remus demanded.
Unconsciously Snape took a step back, the red lessened slightly. Black eyes poured hate deep into Remus’s soul as he spat “Potter, Black and you.”
Remus moved closer to Severus, never faltering in his eye contact, “Severus I never did this, you must have been mistaken.”
Severus needed to get away from Lupin. He hated the appearance of cowardice, but he was so close, and the mark was bringing him to new levels of pain. So lost in the experience of knives stabbing his chest that he didn’t see Lupin raise a hand and place it on his shoulder until it was too late.
Piercing unrelenting crushing pain surged through Severus’ body. He crumbled under its weight and fell to the floor.
“Don’t touch me.” Severus screamed drawing his arms around his chest. If only he could control some small part. Just enough to keep him from writhing on the floor in a most undignified manner. He needed Lupin farther away from him. He would concede to the cowardice motion of taking a step back himself if only he could gain some small control over the pain.
Remus stepped back instantly, unnerved by the raw pain the man was in. He had never seen Severus like this before. “Severus, what is going on? What is happening to you?”
Severus felt the pain abate just a bit, but still not enough to gain some control over his body. He heard Lupin’s concerned words and laughed bitterly. Was he so much of a nothing, so worthless a person that Remus Lupin could forget something as life changing as this?
“Severus tell me how to help you?”
Remove the bloody spell came to mind, but he was too proud to ask for such things. He would endure. He was good at enduring other people’s cruelties.
“Severus?” Remus questioned stepping forward again, encouraging the pain to conquer Severus body with a renewed interest.
A guttural moan exposed Severus’ agony. Throwing his head back he cried out “Get away from me.”
Trapped between his hearts desire to help Severus and the haunting sensation that it was his very presence that promoted the torment, Remus finally decided to move away. He stopped only as his back hit the opposite wall. He was rewarded for his movements by a sigh of tainted relief from the other man’s mouth.
Questions flooded Remus’s mind, but he held them tight until Severus regained some composure. It was disturbing really to see the formidable Potion Master in such a state of duress. He watched in horrid fascination as the man across from him shakily redid his buttons. Once the almost insurmountable task was accomplished, he saw Severus run a hand through his inky black hair giving Remus a brief glimpse of tears. Severus then stood quickly, perhaps a little too quickly for what had just transpired and turned to find the support of a nearby table. Remus squashed the desire to help him, after all it would only hurt him more. He could see Severus swaying regardless of the tables help.
“Perhaps it would be best if you sat for a bit.” Remus said softly with a tint of guilt. “I wish there was something I could do to help you.”
Severus laughed again only this time it was more bitter and crueler than before. “What a hypocrite you turned out to be Lupin. Wanting to help fix what you yourself caused. I suppose all these years wasn’t enough for you. Did you think I would beg for help? For relief? I didn’t then Lupin, and I sure as hell wont now.”
“Severus please believe me when I say I did not do this to you. I had no idea.”
“Oh so now I am a liar. What is the matter Lupin, too ashamed to remember what you did to a fellow student? You might be able to lie about it to the Headmaster or even Potter and his little friends about your part in all the ‘harmless pranks’ Lupin. But I remember. I remember you standing over me cursing me into the ground. Such courage Lupin, three to one, was I such a threat to you.”
“Severus I would never have done something like that.”
“Forgive me please if I fail to believe your innocent rambles Lupin. I have tried to abide your wishes,” he said sarcastically “I have endeavored to stay as far away from you as you decreed that night. But imagine my surprise when you decided two years ago to teach and seek me out for company. Was it a special treat for me Lupin, your repeat performance this year Lupin? Are you such a masochist? Or perhaps it is as you said, ‘we are the only ones left alive’? What a fall from grace that must be, openly trying to consort with your once declared enemy. Did you honestly think I would forgive you the moment you asked for a ‘nice game of chess’? Did you think I would suddenly forget all the pain you have caused?”
Remus felt lost. He could feel the anger and rage of Severus’ voice drip off him as if it were water. What the hell was going on. For a moment his mind believed this must be some sort of prank the other man was playing on him. Payment due for the shrieking shack. That was dissolved as soon as it began. Severus wouldn’t stoop so low. Besides he was a defense teacher. He knew real magic, and real curses when he saw them. What was it that Padfoot, Prongs and Wormtail curse this man with? It was true that they were friends, close friends throughout school, but they were always divided over this issue. He hated the pranks they plotted and played on Severus, Just as they never quite understood why it was that Remus took a fancy to the boy. Wait, Remus’s brain kicked in, he said three.
“Severus,” Remus said with some urgency, “Who was there that night, the night of the curse?”
“As if you don’t remember, Potter Black and yourself.”
“Peter wasn’t there. Don’t you see Severus. I didn’t do it. It must have been Peter.”
“Enough,” Snape bellowed, “I know what I saw.”
“How can I prove it to you Severus? What will it take for you to believe I had nothing to do with it?”
“I am tired of this game Lupin.”
Remus cut him off and continued “Veritaserum, I’ll take the potion gladly, you can ask me whatever you like.”
“Tell me did you have your precious friends erase your memory? So that you might prove innocent to the Headmaster if I turned you in? Was that your plan?”
“No Severus, I am trying to tell you I had nothing to do with this. Occlumency? Wouldn’t that tell you if I did it or not? It would also show a potential erased memory. I’ll do it Severus. Just tell me when.”
“Trying to kill me Lupin? If just being near you causes excruciating pain, I could only imagine what being in your mind would feel like.”
Just then the door opened. Immediately Severus was on his feet and making his way toward the door.
“Severus,” Remus called out, but it was to no avail, Severus Snape just kept walking.
Sirius Black knew he was not what one would call a bleeding heart. He knew that in his day, he had pulled of some of the most elaborate scams and pranks Hogwarts had ever seen. The professors recognized his part in some of them, and detentions were swiftly assigned. Others however, so many others went unnoticed by the faculty. Out of sight out of mind, had been his trouble maker’s motto. There were so many pranks that he couldn’t even remember them all. So many hexes and curses simply unaccounted for. Slowly he covered his hands in his face. He had forgotten about that prank, that night even. No wonder Snape was such a bastard. He had been in pain. Snape to proud to ask for help had lived in pain the marauders created. Bloody Hell.
And by Merlin there was Remus, begging for forgiveness. Innocently pleading over a prank, they played in his name only.
“Unlock the door Luna.” Mumbled Sirius.
“What did you say Mr. Boardman?” Luna asked looking rather distracted by the conversation.
“Unlock the door.” He growled.
Luna quickly stood up and went to the door. Opening it just enough to peer outside she aimed her wand and softly spoke the counter charm. The door, holding the two professors, magically popped open. She then quickly shut the door, being as quiet as she could. Stepping back she cast a spell at the room the way Mr. Boardman had shown her, with a modified disillusionment charm. Supposedly, it would keep people from seeing and hearing them. He claimed it was something they did before the use of some map.
When she turned to face her apparition, she saw he was sitting on the teacher’s desk.
“Well, that went rather badly.” He said ending on a light chuckle.
“Do you think Professor Lupin did it?” She asked.
“Of course he didn’t do it Luna.” He replied brokenly. “It was a full moon that night.”
It unnerved him to no end the way she intently stared at him with her almost inhuman silvery eyes. He couldn’t do this now. He couldn’t answer her questions on what made him such a monster.
“Perhaps we should give them a bit of the matchmaking rest huh? What do you think Luna, maybe try again in two days time?”
She folded her arms in front of her chest.
“It’s not like I have to hurry or anything, I do have the rest of eternity to fix this small snag of a problem.”
“What did you do to him?” She asked sharply.
“It was a small curse. Nothing that was suppose be painful, I think. I’m surprised really it has lasted this long, I had forgotten we even did that.“ Seeing how Luna was growing more and more angry, he continued, “Look, if you had known him in school you would understand. He was a jerk, always hanging around us and Remus. Wanting to be cool, like us, and well Snape just wasn’t. He was Snivellus. Nothing more than a git, a greasy git, he had it coming.”
“No one has that coming.” She said slowly, turning away and walking toward the door.
“Luna wait. Don’t leave. I am here aren’t I. I am trying to fix this. You just don’t understand what it was like back then.”
Luna turned sharply and faced Mr. Boardman. “No perhaps I don’t know what it was like back them, and maybe he was nasty to you, but that doesn’t excuse what you did to him. What was he guilty of anyway, wanting to be friends with Professor Lupin?”
Just then an owl came flying into the room dropping a rolled piece of parchment in Luna’s hand. After breaking a seal that bared the Hogwarts crest and reading the parchment she looked up and smiled ruefully.
“It appears I am to have tea with the Headmaster, at once.”
“Luna, I’m sorry, really.” Sirius said pleadingly.
“For what exactly Mr. Boardman, getting your only key in this world into trouble, or for having me find out what you did to Professor Snape?” She said challenging before turning slowly to the door.
“Luna,” but Luna didn’t stop, she just kept waking toward the door. Halting a moment before leaving the room she said distantly, “Perhaps you should call me Loony, that is after all, what the cool kids call me.”
Luna had always hated the small feeling that filled her when he stood in front of the giant phoenix. It wasn’t fair she decided that she should get into trouble for helping a Spirit move forward. She was quite certain if she had been Harry she wouldn’t be getting into trouble at all.
But she had no such luck. She was Luna Lovegood, bane of Ravenclaw. Even her father didn’t want to spend time with her.
“Butterfingers” she said softly.
She watched as the phoenix moved slowly showing her the magic stairway. Steeling herself for whatever was about to be dished her way, she tried to lighten her appearance and cast on her dreamy facade. Step by step she felt herself gain control over nerves. All to quickly she was in the Headmaster’s office.
“Ah Miss Lovegood,” the Headmaster called out, “So good of you to join me.”
“Well you did sort of imply I had to come.” She replied, but noticed the Headmaster waved it off.
“Would you care for a spot of tea Luna? I believe the house elves out did themselves with the array of sweets they have provided us.”
Luna took the offered cup of tea noting it was mint. She also helped herself to a maple scone.
“Miss Lovegood how has your Christmas Break been so far?” He asked with a twinkle in his eye.
“Good, I have been quite busy lately.”
“Ah yes,” he said peering over his moon shaped spectacles at her. “I hear you have met a friend.”
Luna simply nodded her head. Playing with a bit of her scone, she knew where this was headed.
“I have a few friends,” he said carefully, “Healers from St. Mungo’s who have been helping us out as of late.”
“You want me to talk with them.” Luna stated cutting him off. “You think I am crazy.”
“No Luna,” Dumbledore countered swiftly, “I most certainly do not believe that.”
She looked up to meet his eyes. They appeared to be telling the truth.
Seeing he had gained some of her trust, he continued. “There has been a lot going on my child. Far too much of late that . . . that . . . I simply do not think is fitting for any child, or young lady, I should say, to have to deal with alone. My friends can help put some of the things you have seen into perspective.”
Luna nodded her head in defeat.
“Well, Luna, I think that is a splendid idea. I will have you meet with them shortly after the holidays. Now.” He said clearing his throat, “I have just had a most exciting conversation with Professor Snape. It appears you locked him in the room of requirement with Professor Lupin.”
“Yes Sir.” Luna admitted.
A silence followed, and with it Luna knew she was expected to expand.
“I was just trying to get them to become friends.” She said in a low voice.
“A good reason, Miss Lovegood, but unfortunately a bad idea. Since that was your true motive, I will not be expelling you, but Professor Snape was rather adamant that you serve a detention. I believe you interrupted and ruined a very important potion.”
“Sorry Headmaster.” She said apologetically.
“Not to worry, wont have you crying over spilt potions.” He chuckled softly at himself. “You will have to go see Professor Snape and set up the detention.”
“Yes Sir” she said as she moved her uneaten scone off of her lap and onto the nearby table. “I will do it right away.”
“Yes, yes, no time like the present.”
He watched as she stood up and moved toward the door before calling out to her again, “Happy Christmas Luna. Hope to see you tomorrow at the Christmas banquet.”
“I will be there Sir,” where else will I be, she wanted to add, but refrained. “Happy Christmas to you too.”
Luna stoically climbed the steps leading to Ravenclaw Tower. Her mind was still ruminating on the idea of detention on Christmas. Only Snape would do something like that. Well at least now she would have something to do come Christmas day.
She didn’t remember uttering the password that lead her into her room, but she must have because right in front of her was her bed. In the most unladylike manner she flopped right on it.
“How did it go Luna?”
“Very well actually.” She said giving a sad laugh, “The headmaster believes I am crazy, or at least crazy enough to see a healer about it after break. Oh and Professor Snape sentenced me to detention, tomorrow.”
“But tomorrow is Christmas.”
“Yes, yes well no time like the present.” She said laughing even louder.
“Luna, I am sorry. This is all my fault.” He said rather dismayed at the turn of events.
“Not quite Sir. I should have just ignored you, pretended you were not there.”
“Why didn’t you Luna?”
“Because you needed help. And I don’t think anyone else could help you. I felt sort of obligated.”
“You’re a fine person Luna. Thank you for helping me.” He said earnestly but she didn’t move. “I am sorry I got you into trouble.”
“I know” she said turning to face him a little better.
“And” he started with an uneasy voice, “I am sorry for what I did to Snape.” He saw her face lighten a little bit. “I think that is what I was really sent here to fix. It’s hard to fully understand why you are not permitted to the hereafter right way. And then realizing it was because you were so cruel.”
“I think it was a rotten thing you did to him,” Luna whispered, “Did you mean to cause him all that pain?”
“No.” He said with conviction, “It was only suppose to make him itch when he got close to Remus. It was also supposed to dissipate over time.”
Luna raised herself on her elbows looking at him intently with her silvery eyes. After a moment she asked, “you don’t sound to certain of the spell, which one did you use?”
“A homemade one. Peter helped design it. He was slightly better when it came to curses than I was. Looking back, I should have known.”
“He would join Voldemort.”
“So what are we going to do Mr. Boardman?”
“You are still willing to help me Luna?” He asked. Seeing her nodding her head he continued, “There is really one thing we need to do. And your detention is perfect.”
The next morning Luna walked slowly down to the dungeons. Mr. Boardman accompanied her nagging her about her part of the plan. The fifth time he asked if she remembered everything, she finally snapped.
“Mr. Boardman, I remember. Honestly.” She sighed. Shaking her head Luna realized she was starting to sound just like Hermione.
“Sorry, I just want everything to go smoothly.” He commented before seeing Luna rolled her eyes. “Tell me, why didn’t you open your presents before coming down here.”
Luna faced Mr. Boardman and said simply “I wanted to have something fun to take my mind of my expulsion.”
“It won’t be that bad Luna.” He countered as she knocked on the potion classroom. “At least I hope not.” He mumbled to himself.
“Enter” Snape bellowed.
“Well here goes nothing.” Sirius said.
“Miss Lovegood, how very prompt of you, I see you are two minutes late.”
“Indeed” he said not believing her, “You will sit here.”
He pointed to a work area situated in the middle of the classroom. Luna nodded her head and solemnly took the seat.
”Okay Luna, are you ready?”
“I don’t think this is a good time.”She said softly.
“Its Snape Luna, there isn’t a good time.”
“Well that is the point of the teacher assigning detentions. If we let you decide when the right time is they would never be served.” Snape sneered. “Now Miss Lovegood, you will be working here, skinning these.” He said as he dropped a bucket on the desk. Luna looked inside to find it full of black eels.
“Luna we have been over this a dozen times, just cast the counter curse. He will kill you before you get half way through explaining what you are doing. Trust me.”
“Mr. Boardman, I can’t simply go around casting spells on people.”
“Quite right you are Miss Lovegood. It would be considered rude. Now cease talking to make believe people and get to work.”
“Professor Lupin had nothing to do with it, honestly Sir, he didn’t”
“What in Merlins name are you talking about girl?”
“The curse,” Luna said solemnly. “If you look at a calender, you will plainly see that on the night in question was a full moon.”
“Why you eavesdropping little brat.”
“Somehow they got a hold of some Polyjuice potion.” Luna continued, trying her best to ignore the look of pure rage coming from her teacher’s face. “Originally I believe they were going to turn themselves into girls and sneak into the showers. That night however, Black was going on and on about how Lupin fancied you and he just knew you would hurt him because of it. He heard you were researching potions to help werewolves or something. He was so mad. So Wormtail came up with this great idea, he decided to turn himself into Lupin and scare you into leaving them alone. Black and Potter, I mean Harry’s dad, they thought it was a good idea and Peter and Black came up with the idea of the curse. It was supposed to make you itchy, not be painful.”
“Silence!” Snape roared. “I will not listen to your pathetic rambling.”
“Luna this is pointless, just cast the spell.” Sirius said with exasperation.
Luna frowned and returned to skinning black eels.
“Sorry Sir” she said to both men.
“I said to be quiet, Miss Lovegood, unless you wish to serve more detentions.”
“I don’t Sir, but with all do respect, I just don’t think you understand. It was only suppose to make you itchy, I think it was time released, that’s why it still bothers you. The spell didn’t derail you from what you wanted.”
“Of course Luna, your right that is why the curse has lasted this long. By Merlin, he is still in love with ole Moony”
“Do you have a death wish Miss Lovegood? If that is the case, I can have it arranged.” He seethed. “Fifty points from Ravenclaw for disrespect to a teacher.”
Luna looked down at the eel in her hand, and quietly she added, “I can help, remove the curse I mean.”
“Miss Lovegood, I said that is enough!” he yelled. “Detention, every night for the remainder of your break.”
“Why you overgrown bat, she is trying to help you.” Sirius yelled moving closer to Snape. “Just let her remove the bloody curse.”
“Now, you will. Skin. The. Eels.” Snape said biting out each word.
“Luna, I know it is wrong to spell people without their consent, however, he is in pain. Do this for him and he will understand. You would cast a spell on Harry if he was hurting and not able to ask for help. Right?”
“Right” Luna said nodding her head.
“You have to be brave, Luna, he isn’t going to like it, but you have to help him, just be brave. Think Godric Gryffindor.” Sirius said looking into her eyes.
“I am not a Gryffindor Mr. Boardman.” Luna said steeling her nerves, “I am Ravenclaw. I will do it. It is the logical thing to do.”
“Miss Lovegood.” Snape screamed, but the words or tone of his voice did little to intimidate his young charge.
“Snivellus Snape has got his way” Luna shouted timidly looking at her potions master.
“That’s right Luna you have to yell it three more times.”
“What is the meaning of THIS?” Snape bellowed, “you just earned yourself a month of detentions.”
“Snivellus Snape has got his way!” She yelled again, her body beginning to tremble. Professor Snape face was a pure fury of anger and malice.
“One hundred points from Ravenclaw you little imbecilic dunderhead.”
“Don’t stop Luna, your half way there.”
Taking a deep breath she cried out again “Snivellus Snape has got his way!”
That brought Snape close to her, she could see his face flushing in anger, his nose flaring with each breath. “So my little brainless whelp, you want to be expelled? I will see to it personally.”
Luna’s eyes began to water as she shook her head no. He was so close to her now, looking down his long nose at her. “Oh yes, while I might not be able to expel you from Hogwarts, I will kick you out of my class.” He spoke with a clear venom in his tone, “and no one ever graduates without potions. Do you understand you stupid motherless moron?”
“It is ok Luna, touch him and say it again. You can do it.”
“Oh wait,” he said evilly, “you are Loony Luna Lovegood, hearer of voices, a seer of visions. I wonder, do you see you mother?” The expression on her face told him his answer. “Yes I could see why you wouldn’t. Why would the dead visit the disappointing? Perhaps I will have you committed to St. Mungo’s. Maybe they will be able to unscramble your brain.”
“Don’t listen to him Luna. He doesn’t understand. Touch him and say it again Luna, it will set him free.” Siris said and then added “please” when he saw her hesitation.
With all of her might she launched herself at her professor, her hands finding his chest as she screamed out “Snivellus Snape has got his way!”
The force knocked them both down hard onto the dungeons stone floor. Tears were falling freely now from her eyes. The magic was so strong she could see it threw her saline stained eyes. A bright orange orb hovered around Professor Snape’s body. Quickly Luna squirmed away from the teacher. Snape looked at the orb with eyes wide.
“What have you done to me girl?” He demanded.
Before other words could be spoken, the orb sank down hard into Professor Snape’s chest. The action caused his body to illuminate, and levitate slightly off the floor. The potion master appeared to have loss consciousness.
“Finish it Luna,”
With a shaky voice and trembling lips, she spoke the final words, “Wormtail, Moony, Padfoot and Prongs, sincerely say they were wrong.”
The body fell to the floor and the orange light ended at once.
Sirius glided over to Snape’s body, and smiled. “You did it Luna, you set him free, you set me free as well, Thank you.” But when he turned to look at his young savior, she was gone.
Sirius quickly moved to the door and made his way out to the hallway. “Luna.” He cried out, but there was no answer.
“She went that way.”
Sirius froze. Slowly turning around he saw no one around. Thinking he was imagining it, he continued walking.
“Sirius, you are going the wrong way.”
Stopping again, he turned to look at who was calling him. The hallway was empty. Shaking his head he asked, “Who is talking?”
Sirius followed the sound of the voice and found it hanging on the wall. A portrait. But that didn’t make sense, he thought to himself, none of the other portraits had talked to him before. Just then the oils began to swirl and run together, changing the picture to that of himself. Sirius found himself taking a step back.
“Don’t be afraid, it’s me . . . or rather you . . . here will this help?” He asked before the colors swirled again this time turning into the picture of James.
“Time is passing.” The Picture of James said softly, “You have accomplished what you set out to fix.”
“James, I can’t leave yet. Luna, the girl that has been helping me, I have to find her.”
“You cannot put off destiny Sirius, your path cannot be guarantied if you wait too much longer.”
“I have to see her before I leave, please help me.”
“Very well, but you know the risk,” James said with a small smile, “concentrate on the girl and you will be lead there.”
Remus was having Christmas tea with the Headmaster an alarm sounded.
“Sir, what is it?”
The Headmaster reached around Remus and looked into a mirror that hung across from his desk. The normal reflection of the room changed into a picture of a steaming cauldron.
“Albus, what type of mirror is that?”
“Oh dear,” Albus said with concern. “That is the teacher alarm. It appears that a student has attacked Severus. I must go at once. Would you accompany me?”
When Remus made no answer, the older man continued, “I may need my DADA teacher there to lift whatever dark hex Severus placed on the student.”
“Very well Sir.”
“Good, good, then follow me and we will go by Floo.”
The classroom was dim when they arrived, and Severus was no where to be found.
“Headmaster, he doesn’t appear to be here.”
“I am sure he is, the symbol was very exact. When it comes to dear Severus, I am afraid I must have extra precautions.”
As the Headmaster was talking, a dark object on the floor caught Remus’s eye. Moving closer, he recognized it as Severus.
“Headmaster” he called to the older man while kneeling down by Severus’s side.
“Enervate” Albus spoke forcefully with his wand pointed at Severus. He then pocketed his wand and pulled out a talisman from under his robes. Shaking his head he mumbled, “I only wish Poppy was closer.”
Severus eyes were fluttering open and a soft moan escaped his lips. Through his throbbing head, he tried to remember what had happened to leave him sprawled out on the floor.
“Severus, my dear boy, are you all right?” Albus asked in a concerned voice.
“Of course I am all right, why in heaven’s name would I not be.” He snarled at the two cloudy figures in front of him. Blinking his eyes rapidly he forced himself to focus.
“Quite right my dear boy, quite right.” Albus chuckled.
“Lupin” Severus questioned. Seeing the werewolf standing so close, he instinctively grabbed his chest. But there was no pain. Not even an ache.
“Severus, what happened?”
“The girl was serving detention . . . ” Severus started as he rose to his feet.
“A detention on Christmas Day?” The Headmaster questioned.
Severus noticed Lupin was slowly backing away from him, trying to look nonchalant. But even at this distance he should be feeling some pain. Puzzled he reached up and felt his chest. Nothing. Taking sharp quick strides, Severus approached Lupin, causing the other man to walk back up into a table. Still nothing his mind noted. Not believing his fortune however Severus reached up a hand and touched Lupin. Nothing.
“Severus are you sure you are all right?” Remus asked softly.
“Yes, Lupin I assure you I am fine.” He replied, wanted to laugh out, but found he was incapable of such a display. “Lovegood. Where is she?”
“There was no one else here Severus when we found you.” Remus answered.
The potion Master turned and took a quick scan of the room. Seeing what they were saying was true, he moved quickly to the door and went off to find the blasted girl. He hurried down the corridor until he had reached the main stairway. Not seeing any sign of her, he took out his wand and cast one of the strongest (and slightly dark) locating spell. His wand jumped into life pointing the way.
When he reached the main doors, he found himself almost tripping over a student robe. Picking the wretched thing up he was about to curse the idiot student who had left it out, when he noticed the house emblem. Ravenclaw. The blasted girl ran out into this weather without her robe.
Flinging the door open he recast the spell once more and set out to find her.
Luna ran. She ran as fast as she could, and even faster. The hallways were a blur. She never noticed the movement of the stairs. She just ran.
When finally she came to the castle doors she stopped for a moment, heaving in her breaths. Her fingers shaking with intent, tore the Hogwarts student robe off. She then quickly removed her Ravenclaw tie. Dropping them to the floor, she went out into the winter snow. A cold breeze filtered through her, telling her that her skirt and blouse were not enough to keep her warm. But it didn’t matter. She was no longer a student and didn’t deserve to carry their emblems. She was nobody. Shutting the doors once more, she turned to run again. Her feet carrying her to the only place that she felt at home.
She came to the edge of the thicket. Her face was burning with cold and her tears felt hot against her skin. Her body was numb, as numb as she hoped her soul would soon be. She fell to her knees and called for them. Called for them to come to her. But they didn’t. She tried to reach for her wand, but realized it was in her school robes. Shaking her head, she realized that was exactly where it belonged.
Looking around she saw a thorn bush. That would do. Not as well as a pen knife, but it would work. With a great struggle she broke off a small branch. She placed the thorned wood in her left hand and closed it tightly. Quickly she pulled it roughly through her clenched fist. Immediately a warm sensation filled her hand. She did the same to her right hand. The blood would call to them louder than she ever could, she needed her friends. She needed the ones who understood.
And slowly they came to her. Finding her cold and trembling, watching as her tears slowed to a stop and her lips fading into blue. She offered up her hands to them, and they licked them clean, allowing for more blood to flow. They continued the tender care of her palms, as she became weaker and weaker, falling completely into the snow-covered ground. She never heard the snow crunching sounds of footfalls. The sound did not scare away the thestrals, instead their white eyes looked into the dark figure, as if they were reading his soul. Seeing the purity of his motives, they stepped away from their friend and allowed for his actions.
“Where am I?” Luna asked herself. She remembered she had been amongst the Thestrals but now she was lying in a strange bed. Did she die?
“Hagrid’s Hut I am afraid. You are too sick to be moved to the castle proper, as the blizzard has picked up strength.”
Luna immediately froze when she heard his voice. Snape.
“Mrs. Lovegood” he said in a tone that demanded her attention “I require that you drink this potion.”
She expected to find his eyes hard and hateful, but instead they were soft. She found it rather discomforting.
“Why?” She whispered hoarsely. A hand went up to her throat surprised to find her voice rough.
“It is a warming potion. It will work more efficiently than the spell I placed on you, since its properties will work naturally from the inside out.”
“Why” she croaked again and winced at the pain.
“So you will not die a miserable death leaving me to explain the demise of a student under my care to the headmaster” he said with a note of aggravation. He knew the real question she was asking and once again he wished to himself that the other houses of Hogwarts would exhibit a little less emotional neediness.
Noting that she made no move to drink the potion, he wondered if it was illegal to preform an unforgivable on a student if it would in the end save her life. Figuring he would have no such luck, he rolled his eyes and sighed.
“Because you helped me even when I was demeaning you. A deed few would have continued to do.” She looked away from him then but his hand quickly caught her chin and drew it back to face him. “Drink the potion.”
She nodded her head and moved to take it from his hand, but her hands shook and suddenly she knew she would never be able to hold it on her own. Gently as if she was a rare ingredient to be added at a precise time, Professor Snape held the glass to her lips.
It was foul. He must have known because he gave her pause to re-swallow. No matter how disgusting it was, she could not deny the swelling of warmth that was radiating through her body. Another gulp and the potion was taken. A wave of nausea and weakness surged her and her shaking grew worst. Professor Snape aided her again, lowering her back down on the bed.
“Easy there,” he chided softly. “The shaking is just your body readjusting to the temperature change. When it passes you may have to take another dose.” When he saw her eyelids flutter, he continued “Miss Lovegood you need to stay awake.”
She nodded her head.
“I want you to talk Miss Lovegood. It will help you to stay awake. The warming potion also should have aided in your sore throat.”
“Yes Sir.” She said “it doesn’t hurt so much anymore. Thank you.”
“How much did you know about that spell?” He asked.
“I was told it gave you discomfort when you were near to Professor Lupin Sir.” After a moment of uncomfortable silence she continued. “Did it work Sir?”
“Yes, Most effectively I might add. One would wonder where a girl such as your self would find the counter spell to an original spell?”
“I had a little help” she said sheepishly.
“I gathered as much Miss Lovegood, perhaps from a Mr. Boardman?”
She simply nodded, trying to turn the conversation from where it was about to go.
“Um, Sir, . . . ah how did you find me?”
“Another simple yet highly effective spell called the locator. Perhaps you have heard of it?”
She didn’t respond, he knew she wouldn’t. It did however, give him an entrance into the other issue they needed to discuss.
“Let me look at your hands.” He stated sounding more blunt than he wanted to.
Timidly she held out her hands for him to inspect. The wounds were still deep although the bleeding had almost stopped. Running his calloused hand over the palms of hers he noticed other thin scars.
“Were you aware Miss Lovegood that there is an anticoagulation chemical that is excreted through the saliva of a Thestral?”
“No Sir.” She whispered.
“It allows them to exact all the blood from their prey,” he said in his classroom voice, “Thus if their prey does get away from them, it will soon bleed to death, if of course the inflicted wound was deep enough. Surprisingly enough, magic cannot heal a wound of this nature. Do you by chance know Miss Lovegood, how a minor wound stops its bleeding after being exposed to the saliva of a thestral?”
“Do not lie to me child. You have stopped it before.” He said with a dark look in his eyes.
“Cleaning the wound with water, rinsing it well,” she said feeling betrayed by her voice and her natural instinct to obey Snape’s tone. “Then applying direct pressure to the area.”
“Correct Miss Lovegood. Ten points to Ravenclaw.” When he saw her smile slightly he added “and ten points from Ravenclaw for not answering the question directly.”
And for some reason that made her giggle, despite the situation she found herself in. After all, what was ten points added or lost after a hundred and fifty.
“It is a dangerous game Miss Lovegood.” He said, becoming her stern professor once again. “Deadly in fact. One I hope not to find you playing again.”
“I understand Sir.” She said and he noted her absence of agreeing.
“There are better ways to find the dead Miss Lovegood other than through the act of joining them. Such as divination, seances and the lot.” He said rather distastefully.
“I take it Sir that you don’t believe in all of that.”
“On the contrary I do believe in some of it. Not the likes of which you have been taught here by that Instructor of Rubbish. I have found, in my life that the dead are always very much with us, seeing a loved one,” he continued cautiously, trying to keep the tone in his voice right, “Is all in the remembering of their spirit. Seeing things through their eyes.”
She smiled softly and accepted what he was trying to say.
“I must insist however that the next time you wish to see those beasts, you feed them some meat, instead of your flesh.”
“Tell me, why do you fancy the Thestrals such?”
“Because I have always seen them, and they me,” Luna replied dreamily, ”they pull carriages”
“I don’t think they pull carriages anywhere else but Hogwarts.”
“They pull Death’s carriage.” Her tone struck Snape, it was as if she had become an old woman and was remembering her first friendship, “Although,” she continued “those are a little different, more of a brighter silver, than silver gray.”
“And you have seen Death?” He whispered.
She turned to face him then, her eyes meeting his, “He isn’t that bad. Kinda quite in fact. But I imagine I would be too if that is what I had to do all day. I would imagine it is like driving the Knight Bus. Pick ups and drop offs all day. Most people are afraid of him, so I don’t think he has too many friends.”
“Is he your friend Luna?”
“I think Death is my friend, although we have only talked a few times,” She stopped to look at her butterbeer cap necklace and counted. “Thirteen times actually, he is always giving me one.” She said with a smile.
“Death gives you butterbeer caps to wear as a necklace?” Snape asked incredulously.
Luna’s face appeared surprised, her silvery eyes grew wide then settled back down into a dreamy facade. “I suppose he misses drinking the stuff.”
Severus Snape had lived far too long in the land of double agents and masked truths. He knew she was lying. And to his own disbelief he knew she was only lying now. The rest had been spoken in truth. The real question was, did he really want to know the truth. It all seemed too incredible, that this little girl with frazzled hair would really know death.
“I don’t think,” He said slowly, “that is why he gives you the caps.”
Her eyes watered a bit and she shifted in the bed. Turning her head to face the window she closing her eyes and resigned, “No, I don’t think it is.”
“Why then?” He tried.
“So I wouldn’t forget.” She stifled, “I am tired, can I sleep?”
“No,” Snape said, noting her desire to change the topic “not yet. You have to try to stay awake. How are you feeling?”
“My head hurts and I am a little thirsty. ”
“I will fetch you a potion to help with the pain, and some hot tea, but you must stay awake Luna.” Then in his best teachers voice he said, ”I want to hear you talk, while I am away from you. Understood?”
“Very well then,” Snape stood up and moved to the kitchen, “Talk Luna,”
Luna sighed loudly and began, “A is for apparitions, B is for butterbeer . . . ”
“Or for Boardman, depends I guess on whether you count it as M for Mr. Boardman.”
“Mr. Boardman, why are you here?” Luna said sitting up a little in bed before the pain in her head pulled her back down. “It didn’t work?”
“Easy there Luna, you gave us a fright disappearing like that. You could have hurt yourself.”
“But did it work?” She asked eagerly.
“Yes Luna it did. It worked wonderfully. Thanks to you.”
“So why then are you still here?” She countered.
“ I had to make sure you were all right.” When she didn’t respond he prompted her again, “are you all right Luna?”
“Take me with you Mr. Boardman, please.” She begged.
“Oh no Luna, you shouldn’t say that. You need to be here and live your life. There are great things destined for you. And you need to be here for them to happen.”
“But I miss her,” she said quietly.
“I know, but she is in your memories to think upon whenever you miss her. No one ever really dies. Their voices are always with the living. Isn’t that what you told Harry once?”
“Yes,” she agreed resigned
“Miss Lovegood to whom are you talking to?” Snape inquired.
“Mr. Boardman.” She replied not turning to look at her potion’s professor.
“Snape is taking care of you?” Sirius asked with surprise.
“Yes, Madam Pomfrey is on holiday, and he is qualified. You would be surprised how much potions and mediwizardry are interconnected.”
“I guess that makes sense. But do you feel safe with him, after what he said to you?”
“Miss Lovegood, thank you for your support of me to invisible people, but I need you to drink this, it will taste bad, however it will help with your headache.”
“Yes sir,” she said sitting up. Taking the goblet, she downed the nasty tasting potion in one gulp. Her face grimaced. She swallowed repeatedly in an attempt to keep the foul stuff down.
“Here drink this.” Snape barked and handed her a mug.
Luna swallowed the honey like substance which helped clear her mouth and seemed to settle her stomach a little.
“Thank you professor. I am starting to feel better already.”
“Of course you are, silly girl. I brewed this potion myself.” Snape retorted, but part of the bite was obviously missing.
“Typical Snape.” Sirius mussed with a smile.
“He was helping me Mr. Boardman, and even a first year knows that potions cannot simply be made to taste good and work efficiently.”
Sirius laughed outright. “Ah Luna, I meant typical he is so proud of his work and that it is efficient. And I do know that about potions, believe it or not I did graduate from Hogwarts.”
“Does your apparition believe I have designs to do your persons harm?” Snape asked.
“Well he should be worried.” Snape said darkly, with a smirk in his eyes.
This caused Sirius to laugh even harder, “and to think ole Mooney loves HIM. But I shouldn’t complain, I loved Wormtail.”
“You were in love with PETER?” Luna yelled.
That sobered Sirius up quickly. “I would appreciate it if you did not tell that to anyone that Luna. Especially him.”
“Peter Pettigrew? Who was in love with that rat Miss Lovegood?” Snape asked deliciously.
“How did you even know who Wormtail was?”
“I am a Ravenclaw. We figure things out.”
A movement outside the window caught Luna’s eyes. Quickly she raised her head up to peer out the window. Dizziness hit her at hard, but she fought to remain sitting.
“The carriage” She said in a near whisper, “oh it is beautiful Mr. Boardman. Look.”
Sirius Black looked out the window and drew a breath. The carriage was whiter than the snow. It was illuminated against the harsh coldness that surrounded it. He could make out people moving about inside. “Fellow travelers” he wondered, not realizing he had said it out loud.
Luna turned to face him then and spoke softly “No, greeters.”
Before he could turn to face her, the carriage door opened up and a head of unruly hair poked out before the man lifted his head and peered through gold rim glasses into the window. After a brief moment he turned to help a lovely red-haired woman out.
“James. Lilly.” Sirius stuttered.
“They have come to take you home Sirius.”
Sirius Black suddenly turned to look at Luna, he was unsure if it was her calling him by his name or if it was simply the longing in her voice but suddenly he felt the need to hug her. In doing so, he felt her body gently trembling, cold and clammy he realized how sick she really was. He withdrew to face her, finding it unnaturally pale.
“Thank you Luna, thank you for all of your help. I will be waiting to see you again. However,” his voice grew stern, “I expect to be waiting a very long time.”
A weak smile showed on her lips as she nodded in agreement.
“You better get going,” she said softly “they can’t wait for you long.”
He looked out the window briefly and smiled. Looking back he asked once more, “Are you sure you will be all right?”
“Yes.” She said and he found she sounded so sure of herself. ”Professor Snape wont let me die.”
“I most certainly will not let you die. Does that dog have ideas that I would let such a thing happen?”
Sirius Laughed, “You know Luna, I kinda think I am gonna miss him.”
**Padfoot come on! Its bloody cold out here**
Sirius smiled so big Luna was surprised it could fit on his face. “I am coming Prongs.” He responded with joy. Turning to Luna, he softly kissed her forehead. “Goodbye my friend” he whispered gently to her before tuning and meeting his friends outside.
Luna fought against her body to remain sitting. She watched as her Mr. Boardman was enveloped into tight hugs of friendship. With a shaking hand she waved goodbye.
Snape could not help but notice how her fingers were a light shade of blue. She was exerting too much energy. He was about to tell her so when a gust of wind blew though the hut and forced the door open. Instinctively he rose up and went to the door, when a wisp of wind cut through him. The coldness cut to his bones, but beyond that he felt a sudden ageing, it was as if the life had been sucked out of him. As quickly as it began, it ended leaving a momentary disorientation.
Once his wits were about him he turned to check on his charge. She was talking again, after a moment he realized she was not talking to him.
“I’ve missed you” she said with a soft smile. “I want to go . . . ”
“Luna who are you talking to” Snape asked. She did not answer him.
“I know I promised him.” She replied dejectedly.
Snape was worried, who could she be talking to now? She said she saw Thestrals, and she saw the dead. Somehow Sirius had contacted her, but she had said goodbye to him already. Besides he thought to himself, she was speaking to this person differently, the tone was off. She mentioned the carriage, and greeters. Who would be traveling with death? His mind stopped, she had said she missed him. Her words suddenly flashed through his mind.
He saw her slowly, uneasily rise up to a sitting position. Concentrating with all his might he strained his eyes, willing himself to see the unseen. She threw her arms open into what appeared to be empty air, before bringing them into a circle before her. And then, in a muted shimmer he saw a dull light. Telling his mind to accept the sight, he was granted more of a vision, an expanse of shoulders, broad and strong, a head of dark hair. The light flickered and a skull shone through the skin. Death was here, his mind told him. Death was here and embracing the girl.
Actions were demanded of his limbs and before his mind knew of their intents he was at his charges bedside. No, scrapped his throat raw finding its escape out of his dry mouth.
Death slowly turned to look at him, a thin smile played at his lips. Snape froze. Helpless he watched as the Skeleton, masked as a man, lowered Luna slowly on the bed. Her lips tainted blue and her breath shallow. All the while, Death held his gaze true to Snape. The Reapers right hand took hold of the girls and brought it to his lips. Death took a deep breath.
No Snape vomited up the word, reaching out grabbing Luna’s hand from the Death. But he was too slow, Death Quickly caught Snape’s hand tight in his left. Deaths icy grip coursed through Snape. Weakened by the sensation, he stood helpless as Death brought his up to his mouth next to Luna’s. Slowly he exhaled with a force that was not to be rivaled by the wind.
Snape fell to the floor in a heap. Luna sighed. Death left and returned to his carriage.
Harry Potter knew it was pointless leaving Hogwarts for any reason, he thought mystified. Something out of the ordinary, even by magic folks standards was always beaconing him back. He thought Christmas with the Weasley’s would be fun. It would give him an idea of what a normal family did on holidays spent together. After all, Sirius had told him once that family wasn’t necessarily the blood you shared but the friendships you forged. But sitting there, in the warmth of the living room, surrounded by his ‘adoptive family’ and his two best friends, the full frontal realization of the situation hit.
Well, to be honest, it had hit when he had opened Luna’s gift, a year subscription to the Quibbler. He remembered the first time he had seen her, on the train, reading the paper upside down. Then he remembered some of her more quirky ideas, like how she thought Sirius Black was a lounge singer named Stubby Boardman.
Ok so maybe the realization wasn’t as quick as it should have been, he thought to himself. But hey, it wasn’t like he was as cleaver as Hermione.
As soon as he knew, he looked at Ron and explained all of this to him. He was slightly gratified when it took Ron even longer than himself to see the point. The point being that right before Christmas break, when they had made fun of their friend for seeing an invisible friend, she had actually seen his godfather.
“Bloody Hell!” Was all Ron was able to say, and Harry felt it fit the situation perfectly.
After a moment, both boys sensing the gravity of the situation turned to look silently at Hermione.
“Don’t look at me, I hardly listened to her, “ she replied defensively holding up her hands “We are wasting time, we need to get to Hogwarts immediately.”
In that they were all agreed.
Snape opened his eyes wearily. He had faced death a number of times but in all of those times, he had never seen the creature’s face. He saw a ceiling high, holding back a number of cages and imprisonments, in a delightful arrangement of every size and shape. His back rested against a cold stone. There was a stench of beasts he suddenly found quite nauseating. Yes, he quietly thought to himself he was in hell.
Slowly entering his vision was a pair of silvery eyes attached to a young face. She was a student. Oh Merlin have mercy, he thought to himself, Hell was a lot worst than he thought it to be.
And it was getting worse.
“Sir, can you hear me.”
“Don’t be a fool, of course I can hear you, you dunderhead.” He bit out.
“Sorry Sir,” she replied quietly, “You had a nasty fall.”
“Fall?” He asked.
“I am afraid so. Here let me help you sit up.”
He felt her snake her hand under his head and attempt to lift him up to a sitting position. He in turn pushed himself up with his hands.
“It appears Miss Lovegood that being in your presence, I find myself spending an incredible amount of time on the floor. How long have I been without my wits?”
“Just a few minutes. You didn’t relax. You fought him.”
“Don’t be absurd, of course I fought Death. He was trying to kill you.”
“Not kill me” She chuckled, a little too loudly for his head, “Heal me. And you too, Sir.”
He took a moment to ponder her statement. She did look restored. The tint of blue that her flesh had been wearing was in fact gone.
As if reading his mind, she held up her palms to show him the healed cuts. She took a seat next to him on the floor and made delicate move for his left arm.
“What in blazes are you going on about” Snape complained. This was all beginning to be too much.
“Your mark Sir, I think Death took it away.” She said softly, “It shouldn’t hurt any more.”
Snape rolled up his left forearm and drew a quick breath. She was right. It was gone. The only reminder of the Dark Mark was a pencil thin white scar.
“Miss Lovegood, if you are indeed feeling better, I think it is best if we return to the castle now,” he said sternly before adding to himself, “and before I disappear completely.”
He stood up quickly and found she followed suit. Rolling down his sleeve he moved over to the door and grabbed his winter’s cloak. He handed Luna her robe and with a gentlemanly flare helped her put it on. After a scrutinizing glare he threw his cloak around her shoulders.
“But Sir, won’t you be cold?”
Her concern was met with a mumbled response that sounded a lot like “not wanting to have to do further nursing of silly students who couldn’t handle a bit of cold weather.”
A flick of the wand and two warming spells designed for outside use were placed. Severus opened the door and the two headed back to the castle.
“Headmaster, we have to find Luna immediately” Harry stated urgently. “Do you know where she is Sir?”
“I am afraid not Harry. Why might I ask, is the urgency of finding your friend, have you had a vision?”
“No Sir, it is just that, well, she can see Sirius.”
At that Remus stood and moved toward Harry.
“How do you mean?”
“Well before Christmas break, she was going on about seeing a person, she called him Mr. Boardman.”
“Yes, I remember that, “ the Headmaster confirmed.
“Well you see Sir, her father works for the Quibbler, and last year they placed a story about how Sirius Black was a lounge singer named “
“Boardman” Remus finished suddenly feeling a deep need to sit down.
For those that had assembled in the infirmary would say much later in life, they had never seen the twinkle in the Headmaster’s eyes shine so bright, or hear his chuckle sound so merry. In fact, the only words he was able to produce for quite a while afterward were “indeed” and an attempted “special award for service to the school.”
The golden trio thought he may have finally lost it.
Remus however, took the nearest seat he could find and pondered the implications.
The lost and found girl followed the Potion Master back to the castle. Several times the winds threatened to knock her over, but there was always a strong hand to keep her from falling. Each time she tied to say thank you, and each time she failed. There was a look in his eyes, however, hidden far beneath the standard sneer that made her feel that he knew. And it was all right.
When the castle doors were thrown wide. Neither were expecting the welcome they got. Harry, Hermione, Ron, and The Headmaster were all eager to talk with Luna. At once they started asking questions, all except Professor Lupin, who was standing off by himself in the corner.
“What is this nonsense?” Snape bellowed, instantly silencing the bombardment of questions. “This student has been near death and needs you lot to stop hampering her way to the infirmary.”
“We will come with you Luna.” Harry offered.
Mr. Potter, are you able to imagine, just for one moment, that your presence is not requested nor required at the present time.”
Luna saw Harry fall silent just before a strong hand grabbed her shoulder and pushed her forward.
Finding her voice, she softly asked “Can Professor Lupin come as well?”
“Miss Lovegood, I thought we had already established that I was not going to kill you, but very well. He may join us if he stays out of my way.”
It seemed like a longer more silent walk to the infirmary than it had been from Hagrid’s hut to the castle. Luna noticed that Professor Lupin had followed them, although he kept his distance from Professor Snape.
Once they were inside, Professor Snape instructed her behind a screen and ordered her to change into pajamas. When she was finished, she found the Potion Master near a hospital bed with several vials ready.
“Lay down.” He ordered.
She started to protest, but he held up his left hand and cut her off, “Miss Lovegood, I do not care what you ‘friend’ did, you have been in cold weather too many times today, and I refuse to let Pomfrey lecture me on how I could not prevent a simple student from catching a cold. Now drink this and go to sleep.”
Luna swallowed the foul potions, noting that this time there were no delicate touches. When she was sure she would not be revisited by the medicine, she laid down and felt instantly warm and drowsy. Happily she let her eyelids flutter shut.
“Miss Lovegood?” Snape asked softly, when she made no move he continued “One hundred fifty . . . no, One hundred sixty points to Ravenclaw.”
“That is sad Severus,” Remus said quietly moving more into the room.
“What prey tell, do you find sad?”
“The fact that your personal comfort is only allotted ten points. I would have assigned it a great many more.”
“Yes well that is the typical downfall of Gryffindors, their incisive need for comforts.” Severus said sarcastically.
“If that is true, I have wondered what the downfall of a Slytherin’s is?” Remus spoke lightly, “would it be having a heart you feel the need to hide?”
“You are wrong. Our downfall is following homicidal maniacs.” He said bitterly
“That is not necessarily something your house has a majority on.” Remus delicately countered.
“Perhaps.” Snape mumbled.
“Severus, earlier today, did she remove the curse?”
“Amongst other things it would appear.” He said subconsciously rubbing his left forearm. “I will need to speak to the Headmaster. She has a very interesting gift, one that should not be allowed to ruin.”
“Indeed.” Remus agreed before continuing gently, “I know you are not a trusting man Severus, but if she did in fact lift the curse, then, well, I want you to know that the offer for Occlumency still stands. I want you to know I had nothing to do with it.”
“You are correct, Lupin.” Severus said abruptly, “I am not a trusting man, nor a forgiving one.” Seeing the other mans face fall, he added “Fortunate really, that you have nothing to forgive. Well, except perhaps poor choices when it comes to friends. Perhaps we do have something in common after all.”
“Thank you Severus,” Remus said rather astonished, “I would like to become your friend.”
“I do not find I want a friend Remus, but perhaps something a little bit more?” Severus questioned so softly Remus was not entirely sure he heard it.
“I was trying to be covert about it Severus,” Remus replied walking toward the other man.
“Something you had best leave to my house.” Snape smirked.
The two men found themselves looking into the other’s eyes. Worry flashed briefly only to be changed into fear that this was not quite what the other one wanted. Finally, the lion took charge, as lions often do, and kissed the snake.
A bird, across the room giggled slightly before being told, once more to go to sleep.