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Two introverted souls.



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Old June 13th, 2011, 12:48 am
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Two introverted souls.

The world and the characters (expcept Katia) belong to JK Rowling.
Here goes the first of around 15 chapters. Enjoy and leave feedback when you feel necessary.

This chapter has been beta-read by DementedDreameater on Fanfiction.net.



Two Introverted Souls.



Awkward introductions


As he was walking towards the manor, Snape could see only a small group of people was already there. This satisfied and troubled him in equal parts. He didn't want to be the last one, but arriving too soon meant he would have to socialize with the people at the entrance door. He searched for a friendly face and was relieved when he saw Lucius Malfoy. Severus headed towards him.

"Good evening."

"I hope it will be, Severus. Mission assignments are always a challenge. Not that I have the slightest doubt I will obtain one according to my category, but you know my expectations are high."

"I don't think you need to worry. The Dark Lord is surely aware of your expectations, and of your skills as well. "
Severus had barely spoken these words when a tall good-looking wizard approached them.

"Good evening, Lucius. Have you heard the news? Evan Rosier has been caught by the Aurors."

"Evening, Marius. Yes, I know. I guess today's mission assignments will have something to do with that. Now, let me introduce you to Severus Snape."

"Ah, we already met. Hello, Snape."

To this, Severus just gave a short nod. He and Marius Wilkes knew each other for a long time; after all, Wilkes was a Slytherin student a few years older than him. However, he just didn't bother to salute the half-blood bookworm, thought Snape bitterly while noticing Wilkes's perfect brunette hair, or the quality of his robes. He glanced around trying to dissipate his anger; it would not do to allow Marius to upset him. Once he demonstrated his superior skills in front of his master, he would be rewarded and then the entire crowd that was now concentrating in the hall of the manor would have to line up just for a single word with him.


The tone of the conversation suddenly lowered and this told Severus that the Dark Lord had arrived. He bowed his head in respect and saw, in the corner of his eye, Lucius and the other DeathEaters do the same. Voldemort advanced to the entrance door, spoke a word in Parseltongue and it opened. But as Severus could see, his master was not alone. A tall young woman tailed him. While they proceed to the living room, Snape could study the woman in more detail. She was wearing a plait surrounding her head, a white blouse and over it, a simple red dress that marked no waist or breast. Even he could tell that she was out of fashion. She sat in a corner of the room, far from where the DeathEaters were gathered.

When people hurried to be as near to Voldemort as possible or to assemble with their friends, Severus was inevitably left in a corner. He barely managed to stay near Avery and Mulciber, who had arrived later. Malfoy was, of course, surrounded by a multitude who sought his approval nearly as much as they sought Voldermort's himself. While he heard Mulciber and Avery excitedly whispering about the upcoming task delivery, he looked around. He was the nearest person to the tall girl. She seemed tense and was sitting very stiff. She caught his eye and leaned forward to speak.

"Excuse me. Do you know the purpose of this meeting? My Master only said he was going to tell me today what I can do for him."

Severus frowned when he heard her. She had a very strong eastern European accent; it was difficult to understand what she was saying. He looked at her and focused on her outfit. She must be Russian. And she didn't know why she was there? Well, if she didn't know, then she was not worthy of the place she occupied and of course it was not his job to instruct her.

"Oh, to organize a fox-hunting. That's what British like to do during social events" he said, expecting her to understand she had been totally dismissed and had better not ask again. Amused he saw her frowning, as if she was wondering about the fox-game. But surely no one could be that stupid to take his snark for truth.
In that moment Voldemort spoke and Severus focused his attention fully on him.

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. As you very well know, we have a lot of things to discuss today. But first of all, let's hear the latest reports. Nott, how are things in St. Mungo’s?"

"I am afraid that we can't count on reaching the Auror, Mad-eye Moody, my Lord. He was not taken to the hospital, but cared for in another location. This leads me to think they suspect someone in the staff after the last inexplicable deaths. The other blood traitors of the list, however, have already been dealt with and are expected to die sooner or later within a period of two weeks." said Nott, and from his expression, it was easy to tell he wanted Voldemort to be happy with the later news and to forget the notice about Moody.

"Very well, but make sure you are subtle enough. We don't want you to get caught. Finishing off the injured or the non-followers is too important to mess up. Regarding Moody, we will address that issue later."

The meeting went on with more reports, some rewards and some punishments. The new missions were also assigned. Malfoy was in command for the very important attack on the radio stations. Now, the Dark Lord was instructing Avery on how to defraud Gringotts in order to obtain gold for the support of their organization when there was a whispering. It came from Severus' right and he saw it was the Russian woman talking to Voldemort, and she was doing it in Parseltongue. The Dark Lord frowned, eyed the woman and then half-smirked.

"Well, well. Here we have something curious, you see. Not all of us have a clear idea as to why we are here today. This lady by my side, for example, thinks we are here for a fox-hunting game."

This was received first with astonished silence and then with laughs that grew louder in just moments. The only one who was not laughing was Severus, who wondered how long it would take before that girl told Voldemort that he was the author of the joke. He gulped and his protruding Adam's apple moved up and down his throat.

"Tell me dear," asked Voldemort now in English. "Who told you such a thing?"

Severus looked down at the floor. He felt cold sweat in his armpits.

"Him." The woman answered pointing at Severus.

"Severus, our smart speaker." Frozen silence followed his words and Severus forced himself to raise his eyes from the floor. "Did you think I forgot to give you a mission? Well I had one in mind for you. But your clever interaction with my assistant has given me a new idea. Let me introduce her: Yekaterina Bulanova here is an extremely talented witch I recruited and trained for our cause. She will help us with the problem of Moody's location as well as with the rescue of Evan Rosier. Her exceptional talents will get the job done quite successfully, I expect. However, she faces a disadvantage: she is a foreigner and so she will need a local guide. That will be your honour, Severus."

"Now Katia," Voldemort continued. "Let me introduce to you Severus Snape. No one knows as many dark spells as him and no one can brew a potion better than him."

Severus could not believe the Dark Lord had complimented him that way, especially not after his misbehaviour. He started to blush.

"Something," Voldemort continued. "That compensates for his less than recommendable blood status."

It was like a cold shower for Snape. The crowd laughed and he blushed deeper, but not with delight this time.
"Katia, you may want to go with him to arrange the preparations for your mission, which is of course finding the location of Mad-eye Moody and Evan Rosier. You are in charge of the mission. Make sure it is a success."

Snape felt his legs trembling as he stood up from his chair. He looked straight at the wall and followed Katia, who seemed to be as tall as himself. The laughs still continued when they reached the door.

"Do you know how to move around this country well without drawing attention?" asked Katia in a soft, polite whisper when they were near the door. At the same time, she stopped so Severus could walk by her side.

But Voldemort heard her.

"Oh, don't worry Katia, he can show you even the lowest district. After all, he was raised in one."

Laughers were louder than ever when they finally closed the door behind them.



END OF CHAPTER 1.


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  #2  
Old June 14th, 2011, 1:38 am
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Re: Two introverted souls.

Chapter 2:


Not such an easy job.

Severus Snape was bored, so had he been for the last three days. Camping in the outskirts of Hogsmeade was not what he would call his favourite kind of job. He was not alone, but this only made things worse. In fact, he was overly accompained: by Katia, and her pack of dogs, or wolves, because that’s what they looked like. Big, with a lot of fur, triangular ears, and many of them grey and with sharp blue eyes. There was one in particular that Severus hated more than any other, a grey male with curled tail; a huge animal that every single day, when he was making his breakfast, managed to steal some of his food, if not all. Till the date Severus hadn’t been able to retrieve nothing the dog had stolen from him. And the Russian woman was not much better. Actually she looked like her dogs, those icy blue eyes so sharp, but so often focused in things only she could see, as if she didn’t completely belong to the human race. As far as Severus was concerned they did belong to different species, so difficult was to communicate with her. Her strong accent, her difficulty to understand him, her weird behaviour. By his third day, Severus had gotten used to many things, like speaking loudly , and slowly as if to a child, or her grammar mistakes and her strong accent. But he didn’t think he could get used to the horde of dogs around him, or to the way the animals obeyed her, there was something creepy about that. And all for what? Because he was not sure she was even working, in Snape’s opinion sitting in a sofa for hours with your eyes staring into your own skull was not sure to be working. She hadn’t reached any conclusion about the whereabouts of Moody or Rosier yet. How many more days will they be like that?.


He remembered Lily, how she had worked with him in spells and potions so often. They got along so well, they barely need to speak, and when they did, they surely understood each other. That was until adolescence, when that damned Potter had set his eyes on her, she was too popular for her own good and she ended up in the hands of all that Gryffindor scum. Hah! Who did he wanted to fool? She went with the Gryffindor gang very happy on her own, she had enjoyed every single bit of her popularity and dismissed the troublesome Slytherin friend. She had claimed to be his best friend, but turned her back on him at the first opportunity that…. No, but he couldn’t insult her, not when he had loved her so much. Now she was part of the past, Severus only remembered her from time to time, during his lonely nights or his difficult moments, he remembered her and warmth spread across his chest, loneliness didn’t feel so empty and darkness didn’t seem so terrible.

Movement among the dogs informed him Katia was coming out of the tent. She was pale and her gait was unsteady, whatever she did while she stared to her own skull might took a price on her. She sat by him.

“Where is Godric’s Hollow?” she demanded without preamble.

“Far from here, to the south. Why?”

“Some people seem to be visiting that place and there they obtain news about Madeye Moody”.

“How do you know that?” Asked Severus with curiosity.

She looked at him like evaluating him.

“I have extraordinary powers, even for a witch” She said flatly.

“Which powers are those?”

“It is complicated to explain” stated Katia with a kind smile.

That annoyed Severus. The fact that she treated him like a stupid schoolboy who knew nothing about adult magic, he knew more Dark Arts than anybody at school, he had investigated every single branch of magic and of course he was perfectly able to understand whatever this girl was doing.

“As you want” he answered, standing up and starting to walk without any defined goal. He glanced back at her, she was sitting there looking unnerved but he did not apologize. The sole sight of her upset him, she was not only as tall as him, but also squarer than he was, not fat, he had to admit it, but with stronger bones. That made the already complexed Severus feel even less at ease in his own body. He prolonged the walk and didn’t come until lunchtime.


Katia was already having her meal, when she saw Snape coming back through the eyes of Northernfist, her Alaskan Malamute. The boy had something in his gait that spoke of self defence, perhaps it was the way he leaned his back, or the big steps he took. He was so slim and yet so full of personality. But he didn’t like her. Even she could tell. He considered her an annoyance, a punishment for his smart mouth at the meeting. He had listened while she told him they needed to camp near the most crowded magical population and followed all her instructions without complaining. But he hadn’t stopped frowning for one single minute, and never gave the impression of enjoying the least what he was doing. It was a pity, she wanted to have a friend in that foreign country and Severus Snape seemed like a smart, capable boy. She wanted him to like her.

Northernfist waited for Snape to start cooking his food, and when he layed the chicken on the table, he quickly located between the boy and the food. Snape was expecting something like this but the dog was faster than him and have grabbed one breast before he could do anything. He summoned the other two breasts, but the dog swallowed the one he had caught quickly and growled to Snape, demanding another one. The boy backed, the dog advanced and took the second breast from Snape’s hand. With this, Severus summoned the rest of the ingredients, and runned to his room to cook the remaining breast the best he could. If it was up to him the wolf-like creature would be in the shelter long ago.

Katia felt sorry for Snape, but there was not much she could do; he would have to gain the dog’s respect by himself. Nevertheless she approached Snape’s closed door and tried to advise him.

“You are scared, that’s why he always wins”

“He belongs to you, that’s why he is not yet in the shelter” was the answer. “ Why can’t you chain him?”

“Because he is my mate, not my servant, anyway, chaining a dog is abusive and unnecessary”

“It is necessary for me to eat in peace”

“You have to face him, to gain his respect, to show him you are stronger than him and not afraid” tried to explain Katia.

“Are you calling me a coward? Because you don’t know me, you have no idea of what I am capable of. If it wasn’t because of the mission that mutt would be long gone in the most painful way”

“I am only trying to help you” said Katia, defeat in her voice. She could hear him growling as a kind of answer. She left to continue her job and the rest of the day went out that way.



Next morning, however brought changes. Mia Selwyn, a Death Eater collaborator arrived to the small camp. She had orders to supervise the mission and take to Voldemort any information, if available. Severus cheered up the very same moment he saw her approaching the tent. He knew her, of course, like the rest of the Slytherins of his age. Mia, was the popular girl in Slytherin, she had been girlfriend of several boys during her student years and would have been dismissed as “everybody’s girl” if it wasn’t for her natural charm. Voluptuous, with a loud laugher and a broad smile the extroverted red-haired was a priced trophy for every Hogwarts guy.

And Severus had her all for himself. Not that he thought he was getting anything from her, but the perspective of being alone with such a beauty both excited and scared him. After all he hadn’t any experience in that field, and theory was not of much use.

“So you’ve been living in the wild?” said Mia glancing around and noticing the dogs spread on the kitchen’s floor. Katia was not there and Severus didn’t bother to call her, he would report.

“Well, a camping tent near Hogsmeade is not what I would call “the wild”” Where were all those ingenious retorts of him? Wondered Snape.

“And there are no results yet?” Mia was sitting relaxed in her chair.

“The results are, indeed, contradictory.” He didn’t seem aware that he was leaning towards her from his side of the table.

“What does that girl exactly do?”

“She searches for the target with her mind” Severus didn’t want to admit that he had no idea what was Katia exactly doing.

“Interesting” said Mia without really paying attention; she seemed to be starting to get bored “ So your job is?”

“Oh, she’s like a child, she may have a couple of rare skills, but otherwise I am in charge for everything here” This was his opportunity to impress her. “Everything you see is my doing” he said making an arm gesture that covered all around.

“You are the house-elf” stated Mia smiling with superiority.

“No, not at all” Severus hated the begging tone in his voice “taking care of our security, the provisions, choosing the allocation for the tent…” she was still smirking and his voice faded.

“Do you want something to drink or eat?” He asked to regain some dignity.

“I want tea, house-elf” said Mia scornfully.



Yekaterina didn’t like that girl. She had never liked those kind of women who knew themselves attractive and used it to take advantage of men and, through them, other women. And Mia Selwyn totally fitted the description. Katia had stopped working the moment they both entered the kitchen speaking so loud, and after some time listening to the conversation she was about to vomit. To think she had considered Severus Snape a clever companion. She would never understand what made intelligent men become so foolish in front of a beautiful woman. Decided to cut all that, she entered the kitchen.

“Hello” she said simply.

“Hi” answered Mia in surprise.

“I am afraid there is not many news. We will be moving to a place called Goodrich’s Hollow or something like that tomorrow.” Explained Katia bluntly, thinking that the sooner she gave her the report the sooner she would be off.

“You told me nothing about moving” Mia demanded Snape.

“I- I was in it when we were interrupted” said he defensively.

He wasn’t, thought Katia, she had decided it this morning and hadn’t told him yet, he only knew she was interested in the place; but as she disliked the girl more than Snape, she added nothing and waited for Mia to leave.
“Why Godric’s Hollow? What have you learned about it?” wanted to know Mia.

“I will report directly to my Master, he will understand better than you.” She didn’t like to be bossed around by her.

“Answer her question,” Ordered Snape.

“My Lord told me to report directly to him.” Katia couldn’t believe such a betrayal, she came, saved him from being made a fool by the arrogant red-haired, and he undermined her authority like that.

“Mia is a long term supporter of the cause”

“That’s right Severus, now tell her about my family.” Purred Mia. She was looking at Katia like a cat to a mouse.
“The Selwyn family is a very reputable…”

“I don’t care what they are! I have my orders and I will attain to them.”

“OK, I am looking forward to see you handle the Dark Lord.” Said Mia as she was leaving the tent.

“ Come on, she’s just a weird foreigner, just don’t pay attention, Mia. Listen, you will come back, won’t you? To report and so…”

“Sorry Snape, but I don’t fancy fixing the minds of a couple of freaks.” With this she disapparated leaving Severus staring to the empty space she had been seconds before.


END OF CHAPTER 2. THIS STORY WILL HAVE AROUND 15 CHAPTERS.

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  #3  
Old June 15th, 2011, 3:27 am
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Re: Two introverted souls.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all the fantastic characters belong to J.K. Rowling. Only Katia is my invention.

This chapter has been beta-read by DementedDreamEater.

CHAPTER 3:

The report.




The rest of the morning passed, and so did the afternoon, but none of the inhabitants of the tent profited much from the time. Katia was so upset; she just couldn't concentrate on her work. Severus, on the other hand, didn't have much to do apart from lamenting the loss of Mia's company and blaming Yekaterina for it.
It was early for dinner, however, Severus started cooking more for the sake of being busy than for being really hungry. Working made him forget the nagging feeling that Mia didn't value or even care to consider any of his talents. He didn't want to mull over the fact that she had decided to consider him more like a zoo attraction than a person even before she set foot in the camp, and that he had disgraced himself in front of a woman who, not only was not attracted to him as a man, but also disrespected him as a person. He especially didn't want to consider the role his own behaviour had played in the way people treated him. To openly admit that, in some moment of his life, he had set his self-respect aside to gain what other people, but not necessarily what he, valued, was too destructive for a soul such as his that had gone through so much suffering. Severus Snape had wanted so much to fit in, to belong, that he silenced what his heart knew was true, and adopted what his mind told him was the belief of the majority. He learned to want the same things other boys wanted. Since he had lost Lily, he had worked hard at repressing the voice that told him how wrong his new path was. So he just kept complaining about Katia's attitude to himself while he prepared dinner.


Katia, though sitting still in her room, was restless inside. Was it possible that Snape considered that woman better than her? That was what it seemed, judging by the way he behaved. Maybe she didn’t have flaming red hair, but she had been respectful to him since they met. She never belittled him, despite the ridicule from all the other Death Eaters. It turned out he wasn't the kind who paid kindness with kindness. He was the opposite. He had paid her kindness with despise. Well, a person like that surely deserved to be treated the way Mia Selwyn had treated him. She would put him in his place.

During dinner, neither of the two looked at each other. After a while though, Snape started:

"You really have no idea how things work here. The girl you have offended today was an important person."

"She has no right to treat me as if I was her subordinate. You yourself were present when our Master told me to report directly to him. Why didn't you tell her?"

"I didn't want to offend her."

"But you didn't mind offending me."

"Don't compare. You are not like her," replied Snape, half-laughing. "Comparing you two is like comparing two different species. Mia is so amazing."

"Is she really?"

"Of course! She is very intelligent, elegant, with a sense of humour…"

"Intelligent? Where have you seen evidence of that? The only thing her head has in abundance is hair, and by sense of humour do you mean when she insults you?"

"She didn't insult me!" Severus protested quickly.

"Yes, she did, but you don't notice it because you are too blinded by her hair and her figure to pay attention to anything else, not even your dignity. Don't kid yourself. She will never pay attention to a guy like you, unless you serve her as an entertainment like today." Katia finally released what she had been longing to say the whole day.

"What do you know? Your problem is that no boy has ever paid any attention to you. It’s easy to guess why. Not even in your wildest dreams could you be half the beauty she is. So learn your place and leave adults to their business." Snape knew he had hit the bull’s-eye judging by the expression on the girl's face. He stretched himself his full height and smirked.

"Girls like that only consider rich, pureblood, handsome…"

"So that's why you entered the kitchen all of a sudden, isn't it?" interrupted Severus. He knew he had the upper hand and didn't want to lose the chance. "You didn't want to miss the opportunity to be near the only boy who has stood by your side more than five minutes. Sorry to disappoint you, but you are aiming too high. Let’s get one thing clear." He leaned forward as he spoke and lowered the tone of his voice, speaking slowly so every word was engraved in Katia's mind. "No boy in all of Great Britain would set his eye on you unless they were really drunk or desperate. I’m telling you this so you can have realistic expectations. Don't say I don't care for my comrade." He was smirking now.

Katia just stood up and went back to her room as stiffly as she could. Once there, she silently cursed Severus Snape and his whole ancestry as much as she could. This was not going to end like that. Yekaterina Bulanova barely slept that night, but the next morning she had a plan for making Snape regret his treatment of her.

Breakfast passed without any exceptional incident. Snape losing his toast at the paws of Northernfist was not extraordinary at all. Otherwise, the silence was nearly reverential.

"Today we are moving to Godric's Hollow." Katia announced confidently. "My job here is over. I expect you to take care of all the preparations for moving, and I want you to do it better than the last time. You didn't inform me about the location in study. It took me two days just to understand that Hogwarts school is within few kilometres of the village or that there is a railway service which connects the population with London. The mission was delayed because of you, not to mention the deficient care my dogs got while in your charge.

Things like these will have to be mentioned in my report to our Master." She ended with the expression of someone who knew she had cornered an enemy.

Severus Snape stared at her and said nothing, but understood everything. She was mad at him, and used the best weapon she had: the authority the Dark Lord had conferred upon her. The only thing he needed to worry about now was what he could do to secure his position. He knew very well how Lord Voldemort “rewarded” the useless, the incompetent or generally those who disturbed missions. Severus remembered vividly their screams while tortured at the feet of their Master.


Snape wanted to tell her to go to the Dark Lord with whatever she wanted to as long as she didn't interfere with him trying to get the favours of more pleasant females, but his long in use self-preservation instinct told him that such an action would surely take him to the receiving end of a Cruciatus curse from Voldemort.

Instead, he swallowed his pride and started to undo their camp with Katia watching him without moving a finger. She didn't remain silent though. She spoke to order him around with her strong accent and her lack of vocabulary that made Severus beg mentally for a translator.

By the time the new camp was set under some thick oaks in a forest near Godric's Hollow, Snape was sweating and had a slight headache from having been working for several hours under Katia's confusing orders and the pack of wolf-dogs who seemed to have the time of their life in causing as much havoc as they could. When he finally sat for a brief lunch after having to give some bits to the big grey dog named Northernfist, he wanted desperately to lose sight of all that. However, he had made the decision to fix what he had done, not because he cared at all for the feelings of the strange Russian, but because he did care a lot, for his own wellbeing, that is. So he went to sit by her side and started to explain all he knew about "the new location of study".


Katia was surprised. She hadn't expected him to go talk to her on his own initiative. Even more surprising was the deep extension of Snape's knowledge or the grave, melodic voice in which he narrated the rich history of the Hollow. She listened with interest and started to feel more and more relaxed. From time to time, she lost track of the meaning of his words as the soft British accent of his was difficult to understand for her. Instead, she enjoyed the musicality of his speech, and admired his expression and the love for knowledge she saw in it.
Severus evaluated his comrade at the same time he was speaking. She listened to him with attention although he had the impression that sometimes she got lost. Nevertheless, all doubts about Katia’s sagacity were dissipated when she inquired.

"Maybe it is my perception, but it seems to me as if there are some Gryffindor benefits. I mean, Gryffindor League's members went and stopped the revolts among the confronted goblins causing many deaths, but no one seems to blame them for that. Gryffindor house members made a law that banned the study of anything considered as Dark Arts without bothering to check if the results of those investigations could have any positive aftermath for the Wizarding World. As if being Gryffindor made you be in possession of the absolute truth." She had said frowning.


From then on, the task of getting in her good books was easier for Severus. He flattered her, asking about her country, about her dogs, listening to all her boring explanations about being the leader for your dog, and how that did not mean any abuse for the animal. Snape didn't care at all about that. He only wanted to make her feel important, in order for Katia to like him and make a decent report to his Master. He even made lunch for her so that her only job was to get the information on Mad-eye and Rosier's whereabouts. And when she finished working, and got to the kitchen looking exhausted, he would ask softly about her skills, and compliment her abundantly for her powers.

At the beginning, Katia had liked the new Severus Snape. It had been nice to be flattered and cared for.
However, as the days passed, it became more and more evident that he was seeking only her favourable references for the Dark Lord. It was obvious in the way his attention drifted away when she was explaining him something he had asked, or how he took his compliments to ridiculous levels. The more she had told him to drop the flattery the more he had insisted on his sincerity. After five days like that, she couldn't bear it any more.

"Every person who knows a bit about dogs will make them sit on command. It is not that extraordinary." She cut him.

"I have never seen this degree of control." He answered softly.

"Look! You don't have to go around complimenting me for everything I do! I'll tell my Master it wasn't your fault that we didn't catch Mad-eye in a couple of days if that's what you want but stop crawling after my skirts or I will vomit!" Katia watched the shocked look on Snape's face and wondered if she had been too rude. He seemed taken aback. He entered the tent cursing under his breath and she felt suddenly sorry for him. After all, the boy had only been trying to fix things and she had dismissed his attempts.

The damned grey dog was in the kitchen when Severus stormed in. It was lunchtime and he started to put the ingredients out of the cupboards in anger. "Crawl after her skirts"? How dare she? He had tried to get along with that freak. It was probably the most human contact she had ever had, and she treated him like scum. Severus Snape wouldn't tolerate it. From now on, it was strictly business between them. No more kindness. She could report the worst on him to the Dark Lord. He had his pride and no one was going to step on it. If he were to be punished, he would face it in due time. After all, he had faced pain in the past. And the furry creature that was now approaching him in order to steal his food again wouldn't be an exception.

"Want to bite me?" Severus shouted as he pulled up his sleeve showing his sinewy forearm. "Come on! Do it now! I don't care; at least I will have you near to kick your furry ***! Come!" But the dog didn't come. He stayed there, staring fixedly at Snape and keeping with him a distance of one metre. When the boy advanced to get the food on the table the animal backed. Severus noted a movement at the door and saw Katia watching the scene.

"What?" he called out loud.

"You have done it." Katia was smiling sincerely. Severus frowned and looked at her sideways. "You won his respect. Now you are not afraid and he won't invade your space." She looked shy as she was trying to explain herself. "You have done it very good, advanced a lot in a short time."

"You don't need to compliment me for everything I do,” he replied coldly. The girl stared at the floor.

A few more days passed until Katia announced that she had found out where Mad-eye was and the possible location of Evan Rosier as well. During those days the situation was awkward on both sides. There hadn't been more flattery, however, all the conversation they had had made an impact on the relationship. Now they coordinated extremely well, with Severus as an excellent logistic, and with Katia's diligent work leading to satisfactory results in just a short time. A routine was established. They got familiar with each other's gestures, and unnoticed by both of them, they acknowledge their mutual efficiency.

With the end of the mission, the moment of the report came. Severus Snape found himself again in the lugubrious manor contemplating on the woods of the same floor in the room where he had first met Katia. He was standing in front of the Dark Lord, just like in his nightmares. Katia was by Voldermort's side. They were talking in Parseltongue, so Severus had no chance of preparing any argument to counter whatever Katia was telling the old wizard about him. In his mind, he saw himself and Lily under the trees again, dreaming of the day they would be sent to Hogwarts and the man in his early twenties wished he could be lost in that memory forever.

There was silence. The deliberations had stopped. Severus heightened himself and got ready to face whatever may come.

"Congratulations," said Voldemort softly. Severus would not allow himself to be fooled by his words this time. He remained silent.

"Miss Bulanova tells me you have done an excellent job providing her with information and taking care of the camp, which facilitated her job enormously."

Snape didn't know what to say.

"You say nothing. Well, according to her, you have potential for much more delicate missions and it is a waste of talent to have you in supporting roles."

Now the boy looked at Katia. She was staring at him with the same kindness she reserved for her beloved dogs.
"What do you say Severus? Are you ready for the challenge?"

"My Lord," replied Snape. "You know my credentials, and you can taste my skills whenever you want. My only goal is to serve you."

"You will, Severus, you will." With this he waved his hand indicating that both could leave.

Severus stayed at the manor overnight; there were guest rooms for that purpose. Once the first relief was over, he stopped to consider the sudden twist of the events. He never expected the weird Russian…no, Katia – she deserved to be called by her name – to intercede for him in that way.He was surprised, glad and felt something more he could not fully grasp. The boy decided a person who had been so decent with him deserved at least being thanked. As he was walking through the corridor to her, room he understood what the other emotion he could not recognize at first was: respect.

"Yes, please come in," answered her voice when he had knocked at her door. Now the accent didn't annoy him that much.

Severus entered the room. She was in the middle of the chamber wearing a woolen, light blue night gown. Katia stared at him blankly waiting for Snape to start speaking.

"Err…thank you for the favourable report," he said simply.

"I told my Master that you were intelligent, hard working, and that you have done your part very well." Her expression remained serious. "I also told him –" Now she was speaking slowly, with intention. "– that you had integrity and work ethics."

This made Severus blush. He hadn't shown integrity or work ethics at all; on the contrary, he had done what he had felt was necessary to achieve the desired result without caring if it was correct or not.

"We both know I was anything but that with you." He looked her in the eye but quickly broke their eye contact.

"You faced Northernfist bravely, and you teamed with me quite efficiently." Katia smiled encouragingly. It was not the first time Snape noticed how sincere and kind her smile could be, however this was the first time he noticed her elegant demeanor.

"Yeah," said Severus still embarrassed. "Maybe I am not that bad after all." He hadn't meant to say it aloud, however, the moment he had pronounced the words he realized that was exactly how he felt so many times; as if he was good for nothing.

"I never lie to my Master, you know?" Her expression was very stern now. "I have told him your worth as a person. Don't turn it into a lie."

It took a few seconds for Severus to get what she meant. When he did, he proudly stretched himself his full height.

"It is not a lie and it won't become a lie. What you saw was the real me. I am that person and it will be true, mark my words. I will make it true." The pride in Severus words was evident, as was the new light in his eyes. Katia had never seen him like this before and had only imagined how he could be. She hoped he would be like that. She smiled as they bid goodnight to each other.

Walking back to his bedroom, Severus Snape hadn't felt like that in years. Yes, he had ethics, integrity, bravery, talent and much more. He could be that person, deep inside he had always been. When had he given up? Was it that night in front of Gryffindor tower? Severus didn't know for sure, but he was certain that in some moment, he had allowed his difficult situation in life to get the best of him. But no more, not if he could avoid it.


END OF THIS CHAPTER.

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  #4  
Old June 16th, 2011, 1:03 am
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Re: Two introverted souls.

Remember I am not a native English speaker, if you find any mistake please let me know.

CHAPTER 4.

An experience for Severus.

As the days passed, Severus and Katia became good comrades, one could say they were nearly friends. Katia didn’t know any of the British collaborators, Snape, on the other hand knew them all but whished he hadn’t met some of them. Severus tried to introduce her in their circles. Not that they were very successful, on one side Snape was not the most popular boy so being introduced by him wasn’t top recommendation. On the other, Katia had always had trouble socialising, and after being introduced, she often found herself at a loss of words or unable to understand the fast talk of various young Britons. The fact that she was a woman was not of any help either; boys didn’t pay attention to her because she was not attractive, and girls dismissed her for being weird or out of fashion.

But the fact that she hadn’t managed to make friends yet didn’t mean she hadn’t manage to make anything at all. She procured herself an enemy, not a casual or second class foe, this was an adversary that would cause the most hardened man tremble. Katia had gained the animosity of Bellatrix Black, the brand-new fiancÚ of Rodolphus Lestrange. Yekaterina suspected that her closeness to the Dark Lord and her extraordinary skills had a lot to do in the absolute loath the Black witch looked at her with. Severus had warned her against Bellatrix but she was not scared, Katia was an extremely powerful witch herself.



Life as a Death Eater had different facets, Severus Snape preferred the fighting parts and the spying missions; nevertheless, he couldn’t neglect the social aspect. He glanced around Malfoy Manor’s opulent ballroom and saw satisfied that only the highest ranking Death Eaters were present. This meant he was included in such selected group. Katia was not present but Severus supposed it was due to her lack of connections within the British Death Eater circle.

“Nah, she is not good enough for me, don’t you see she’s overweight?” Was saying Octavius Avery in that moment. Severus thought it was funny that the short, red-haired boy said that, when he was the one who needed his robes fixed so he could place his prominent belly inside.

“She has other qualities.” Replied James Mulciber.

“Don’t tell me you are considering her intelligence and stuff.” Avery said scornfully.

“Of course, I’m not! An impressive Transfiguration research is not what I want to get from her.” Mulciber pretended to be offended. “I meant a little extra weight makes a woman more voluptuous.”

Severus drank from his expensive champagne courtesy of Lucius Malfoy. He always tried to pass unnoticed when they started talking about women. It was the only method he knew to conceal his lack of experience. Not that it was a very effective one, Avery and Mulciber had been his roommates in Slytherin house for seven years and his friends and comrades in arms for four years more. They knew him too well.

“Well, you have a point there.” Conceded Avery. “We could make a survey on the topic.” He added with the air of an erudite in the matter.

With that, both wizards parted in search of candidates for their survey without bothering to ask Severus. He couldn’t blame them, not when he usually avoided direct questions about women. He just didn’t want to give away his ignorance or worse, his feelings for Lily. None of them knew how desperately Snape wanted to change that situation. He hated to be prisoner of his love for Lily, he needed the acceptance of girl to be able to like the physical appearance he felt so ashamed of, to fit in with his friends and society and, on a more practical basis, to calm the need every healthy boy in his twenties had, no matter how disadvantaged by nature he had been. And those situations only served to remind him of what he lacked.

Taking another glass of champagne he arrived to where Lucius was surrounded by people.

“Ah, Severus, we were talking about your girlfriend.”

When Snape raised an eyebrow Malfoy explained further.

“We meant that Russian girl, the Dark Lord’s new acquisition. You know her well, don’t you?”

“I’ve dealt with her a bit.” Snape conceded. Bellatrix and Rodolphus were among the integrants of the group and he wouldn’t give too much information on Katia. Bellatrix had great expertise in using every tiny detail as a weapon. “And she is not my girlfriend.”

“Oh, man, you should have seized that opportunity; you haven’t got a lot of them, after all.” The author of such rudeness had been Avery. Apparently he and Mulciber had reached Malfoy’s group in their survey detour.

“And others should be more selective, or one would think they have something to demonstrate.” Countered Snape raising his chin. Avery was well known for bedding whoever that could be called a woman, despite of his big talk about who was good enough for him. It was not difficult to guess the ugly man wanted to show he could be as popular as the most attractive man.

“They say men who don’t boast are the better lovers.” Intervened an elegant dressed girl whom Severus recognised as Silvia Chesney. She usually stood in second place but she had common sense. Anyways Snape was glad to her in that moment.

“Now that I remember, there is an issue I want to discuss with you, Severus. Excuse us, Ladies and Gentlemen.” Said suddenly Lucius, taking Snape by his arm and going with him away from the group.

“What is the nature of that issue?” Enquired Severus as he was dragged to Lucius private office.

“None.” Answered Lucius. “I just wanted to avoid a confrontation between you and Octavius.”

“I couldn’t allow him to make fun of me, if that’s what you intended me to do.”

“You should relax a bit, you know? Maybe even get yourself a woman.” Said Lucius as he sat in a comfortable armchair by the chimney and indicated his companion to sit in the other.

“You make it sound as if it was as easy as taking a book from the library.” Grumbled Snape. “For some of us it is a bit more complicated.”

“Is it?”

“Yes, it is. I don’t own a manor, neither I am extensively acclaimed by my Quidditch merits.” The champagne had loosened Severus tongue and he spoke what he had in his heart. “My profile doesn’t seem to convince the Ladies either.” He added cynically.

“Nothing that can’t be solved with a helping hand.” Malfoy’s voice sounded bored. “My dear friend, you were so concentrated with your books that I never realized you were in need of female company. It seems so obvious now.” He leant forward. “Tell me, how much experience do you have?”

“Cero could describe the amount of my experience quite nicely.” Severus avoided his stare, pink in the face.

“Then we’ll have to start by the beginning. That is something easy, without complications.” Lucius served him the third or fourth glass of champagne. “And for that, it is priority to choose the appropriate girl.”

“I’m not bedding Katia.” Snape cut him off.

“Of course not, my friend! Come with me.” Laughed the blond man as he stood up and walked towards the door, back to the party.

“Look,” said Lucius as they were climbing down the stairs. “Can you see that girl over there, by the window?”

“The one with short curly hair?”

“Yes, that will be the one you will be having your first experience with.”

“She’s wearing a big cleavage.” Commented Severus observing her breast, pushed up by what looked like an old style corset.

Malfoy was heading towards her.

“Hello, Darlene.” He said when they arrived. “I’d like to introduce you a very dear friend of mine.” The girl looked at Malfoy with interest.

To Snape’s critical eye it was instantly obvious that she didn’t posses a sharp mind, but he quickly scolded himself, he was not interested in her conversation. Apart from that, she was more than acceptable, big eyes and voluptuous figure, enhanced by a pink corset-like dress with a long tailed skirt, tight enough to show that her lovely female attributes were not restricted to what her cleavage revealed.

“Darlene Sheridan; Severus Snape.” Her broad smile didn’t trouble Severus too much as he forced a smile of his own.

“Mr. Snape is a very reputable Death Eater, as well as an extremely capable wizard, Darlene.”

“Oh, a Death Eater. That’s great. I don’t understand why the ministry forbids Death Eater’s activities, they should be rewarded. You are promoting our culture and saving it from corruption. Who knows what all those muggles could do.” Stated Darlene very convinced.

Severus had a couple of sardonic answers to that, but remembered what his goal was and remained polite.

“The action won’t happen today. Just make sure she knows you will be attending my next reception. OK?” Whispered Lucius, grabbing Severus shoulder as he left.

“OK.”And so, Snape spent the rest of the evening chatting Darlene up. It was easier than he had though. Darlene just took in all his comments without considering them too much. When the time to leave arrived he made sure she knew they were meeting again in the next party.



Severus Snape had never anticipated any party, but this one was different and it was easy to guess why. He wondered if he would finally be with a woman. Sometimes he surprised himself fantasizing with the possibilities in his spare time, and felt lighthearted in advance. Other times he worried about screwing up. Decided to avoid the former he ask Lucius for advice.

“Just follow your instincts.” Lucius had told him with a wicked smile. “It’s pretty easy, really.”



Severus was still trying to find his instincts when he entered Malfoy Manor dressed with his best robes, which were black as usual, but with emerald green embroidery. The moment he found Darlene waving at him from the middle of the ballroom, he smiled as charmingly as he was able to, and checked quietly that the vial with the counter-conceptive potion was in his pocket.

The first part of the evening passed in a similar way the previous party had, he waved between the people with Darlene by his side listening to whatever he had to say. By the corner of his eye he could see Avery and Mulciber glancing at him from the other corner of the room, and commenting among them, joined from time to time by Bellatrix or even Lucius. This troubled him and in an attempt to escape their scrutiny he suggested to go upstairs, to the more private parts of the house. Severus was afraid she would refuse, but his worrying was quickly dissipated by Darlene’s enthusiastic exclamation.

“Oh, yes, it is full of people here. What a good idea, Severus.” She clung herself from his arm and he dragged her to the second floor.

Malfoy Manor was like a museum, in every wall there were rich old paintings, sculptures here and there, expensive china vessels decorated every corner. Today, however, Snape didn’t pay any attention to the surroundings. Darlene’s body pressed against his occupied all his thoughts. Her dress today was similar in style to the one she was wearing days ago, only this was of the softest shade of gold, decorated with tulle and lace. The pearl necklace completed the outfit that drove Severus mad. On impulse he passed his arm around her slim waist; immediately she surrounded his waist too. Her hand in his hip, burned him across the fabric of his trousers, it was near his belt, and Severus’s imagination run out of control imagining she undid the buckle.
Inadvertently, they had reached the end of the corridor, when they stopped walking they stood facing each other. He searched for something to tell, but could find nothing. Darlene, on the other hand seemed to be in her element, she placed her free hand on the other side of Snape’s hip and raised her chin. It was the moment. Severus enclosed her waist too, moved closer to her and before he could realize it, his lips had touched hers.

That night Severus Snape learnt that some people had some talents and others had different type of skills. Darlene Sheridan handled dormitory situations the same way he handled his potions and books, with delicate strength and expert knowledge. However, as one step gave place to the next, Severus missed something. He could not tell what he was, and as the task at hand was near the end, he made an effort to hide the unpleasant feeling that something was not totally right.




Only a small number of guests remained at Malfoy Manor, people had left through the course of the last hour. Severus kissed Darlene goodbye and went to say goodbye to his host.

“I think it is time for me to leave.” He said simply.

“Did you have a pleasant evening?” Inquired Lucius with a glint in his eyes.

“The most.” Answered Severus trying not to smile.

“So how far did you two get.” Wanted to know Avery.

“That’s private.”

“No, no, man. We helped you, so we have the right to know.” Insisted Octavius.

“As far as possible.” Said Snape finally.

“Was it worthy? We want to know all the dirty details.” Mulciber, Avery and Lucius were questioning him.

“No details. The only one I recall helping me was Lucius, and even him, only showed the way. The rest was my job.”

“Liar, you didn’t do it, that’s why you won’t tell.” Teased Mulciber.

“If that’s what you think. Good night, Gentlemen.” Said Snape leaving.



Katia caressed Northernfist’s soft fur. Petting the dog avoided her having to deal directly with the other witches. It was obvious that they were uncomfortable in her presence. She wasn’t happy with them either. Narcissa Malfoy, who seemed to have married recently, couldn’t stop boasting about her husband, her sister, Bellatrix bossed everybody around. Alecto Carrow, constantly gossiped with whoever was near her in that moment. Others were simply foolish, like that Darlene Sheridan or dull like Silvia Chesney. Katia passed by their side without making eye contact in her way inside his Master’s Manor.

“Hey Darlene, how is Snape in bed? I heard you had an adventure with him.” Said Bellatrix loudly as Katia was passing by.

“Oh, he is great, really Bella, an unpolished diamond. Not easy to find lately.” Answered Darlene, very happy to tell her intimacies.

“That’s a surprise. While at school, he was very unpopular. Had I known he hide such talents I would have given him a try myself.” Replied Bellatrix, glancing at Katia through the corner of her eye.



Once in her room, Katia felt depressed without knowing why. She didn’t like to hear that about Snape, she had started to consider him a friend, the notice of his adventure with that cow annoyed her. She wanted him to tell her in person or even better, she wanted him not to go with such a simple woman, she didn’t deserve him. Not that Yekaterina had any interest in the matter, after all he was a guy she barely knew. Despite all that, she felt depressed.

END OF CHAPTER 4.

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  #5  
Old June 20th, 2011, 3:41 pm
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Re: Two introverted souls.

CHAPTER 5:


This chapter has been kindly beta-read by DementedDreamEater, thank you very much for your work, it has helped me a lot.

There's Something About Him.


All eyes were fixed upon Katia. Thanks to a couple more missions, they had learned not only Mad-eye's whereabouts, but also Evan Rosier's. Now they were planning their offensive and the most prominent Death Eaters were gathered around the table, at the centre of which, Katia was seated. Voldemort was next to her, in the most luxurious chair. On her other side was Snape, who had volunteered to assist her in the last two missions.

"The abandoned building in which they have him is watched by Aurors and members of the Order of the Phoenix. Aurors are strong, but Order members have unequal strength. We have information on which ones are the weakest. The plan is to attack when one of them is in charge,” explained Katia.

"What about the muggles? We will have to kill some of them before we can reach Rosier and his guardians." Bellatrix was as blood-thirsty as always.

"There will be no muggles," explained Severus. "They have chosen an old industrial area that is now completely abandoned. Dumbledore seems to have done it on purpose."

"The old fox. Always keeps a sharp attention to the details," Voldemort said to no one in particular. Then his voice became colder. "We will proceed as follows." And he explained the mission thoroughly.

The following days were busy. The Dark Lord directed the arrangements while Katia was consulted often for in-depth information. If she were not present, Snape took care of any concern. He had been with her all the time. She had told him everything, so he was very well-informed. Both Katia and Severus enjoyed this time. They were tapping their full potential, they were credited for what they did, and more importantly, they were comfortable working with each other. Without any doubt, they were now friends and addressed each other by their names. Severus still found it funny though when Katia pronounced his name, with the stress on the second syllable.

"All the camouflage trousers are ready," said Silvia Chesney to Snape.

"Camouflage trousers?" Severus was caught off guard.

"Yes, we were asked to wear muggle clothes. I thought those would be appropriate because I read in a book that they were used by the army and also in the city."

"I'm afraid, Sherry-" Everyone called her by that nickname. "-that a squad of people fully dressed in camouflage clothes will be as flashy as wearing robes. No, some of them may dress camouflage, but not all," explained Snape. She looked taken aback. His appreciation seemed to mean a lot to her. Moved by the sad look in her big brown eyes, he added, "Your research was very good, but this is one of those things you need to experience yourself."

"Severus, you have experienced so many things. I am always surrounded by the same people," stated Sherry.
He didn't know how to take that. Sherry's comment reminded him of Darlene's.

"Well, yeah…" answered Snape, confused.

One afternoon, Katia found Severus in the Manor's library, surrounded by papers he was revising. He removed a seat for her.


The day finally arrived. Severus was going to be part of the offensive group, ten young Death Eaters who would attack the location by surprise, rescue Evan Rosier, and cause as much havoc as possible. Katia also formed part of the group, but she would stay in the rear. Her assignment would be to make sure the weakest guard was on duty.

Katia stood in Riddle Manor's hallway surrounded by the group of Death Eaters who were participating in the mission. All dressed in muggle clothes and carried a first-aid kit in case they were injured. According to Katia's information the McKinnons were on duty that day. The couple was well-known by Death Eaters and though capable wizards, they were not as dangerous as trained Aurors. Some collaborators wandered around them helping with last minute details.

"Have you got everything with you, Severus?" Sherry Chesney was asking.

"I think so."

"Be careful, will you?" she insisted, coming closer to him.

"Sure," answered Severus, uncomfortable.

Katia frowned at the scene. She didn't like the proximity Sherry was allowing herself with him. “Didn't she see he was uncomfortable?” Not even she dared to be so close to him even though she was more friends with him than Sherry. “But he didn't back away either, maybe he likes it,” said an annoying voice in her head. Katia approached the pair.

"Do you need something?" she said, positioning herself brusquely between Sherry and Snape.

"No, thank you. I can take care of myself," he answered, annoyed.

That disturbed Katia. She just tried the same thing Sherry did a couple of seconds ago. Worse than that, Yekaterina saw a look of triumph in the other woman's face. Confused, she gestured to the door.

"Shall we go?"

"Great idea. Good bye, Sherry." Snape walked hastily towards the door, relieved.

Severus Snape and Yekaterina Bulanova may not be social creatures, but without any shadow of a doubt, they were made for the battlefield. All of Katia's information was correct; the offensive went on smoothly in the quiet night.

Snape could not avoid thinking ten on two was not fair. He tried not to look at the McKinnons bodies on the ground. He didn't want to know if they were dead or alive. Rosier himself was not in very good condition. They had been rough with him and the man barely managed to walk outside the old factory building.

Severus, at the rear of the team, glanced back one last time to make sure everything was in order and that they were not attacked from behind. Suddenly, he heard a noise. It sounded like several explosions and all the Death Eaters knew what it meant. Some members of the Order of the Phoenix apparated behind them.

Death Eaters were trained to face unexpected dangers, however, this time, the characteristic Slytherin self-preservation instinct got the best of them. The members at the front of the team dropped Rosier, who tried to keep up with them unsuccessfully, and fled. This left only eight Death Eaters to fight the increasing number of Order members. Severus didn't think twice. He positioned himself between the Order members and his teammates so that the protection he gave them was the maximum. In such a place, the risk for him was at its highest but he didn't mind. Enraged, he saw Potter and his cronies coming towards him, and Severus Snape allowed all the years of ostracism, pain and humiliation flow outside his persona, speaking the language of wand-waving and Dark Arts.

His considerable talents made an impact in the Order rows. Severus rejoiced when he saw Black's body hitting the floor after receiving a spell from him.

But numbers were against Death Eaters. Figures wearing the Auror's red robes had overtaken him and were now aiming their spells at his comrades. With desperation, Snape saw Mulciber scream in pain on the floor, however, there was nothing he could do, stuck in combat with Potter and Lupin as he was.

"I'll get the one by the door and you curse him!" shouted Black who was recovering. The mask prevented them from knowing who they were really fighting.

As Severus magically prepared a chain for the dog he knew Black was going to transfigure into, a cold voice reached him across the chaos.

"Leave the injured and retreat from battlefield." Voldemort commanded.

Snape couldn't believe he was giving such an order. The men on the ground, screaming, were in that situation because of serving the Dark Lord, and now they were going to be abandoned in the act of service. Glancing around, he saw all his teammates running away, and caught a glimpse of the desperate look on Mulciber's face. Severus himself was forced to back away from his friends.

Only Bellatrix and himself were still fighting. It was the oportunity for him to leave. He saw the terror in Mulciber's eyes and Rosier hiding behind a pile of tin. In that moment something burned inside him. Severus shot a levicorpus spell at Potter, and then, made him collide against Black. That bought him time to run towards Mulciber grab his hand and make a side-along apparition.

Once in Riddle Manor he left the man on the floor, Katia was already coming in his aid.

"Stop!" shouted Voldemort.

Severus pretended not to hear. He disapparated again. When he apparated in the middle of the battlefield, Order members were not expecting him, so he had a slight advantage. He quickly searched for Rosier, who was trying to get to him.

All of a sudden, an impact threw him onto the ground. It hurt but he was still able to move. Snape stood on his feet and resumed running towards Evan while shooting spells without really aiming. Another spell was sent forward and it disarmed him this time. He lost sight of his wand in the night, but there was no time to retrieve it. Rosier was near. They managed to hold hands and together, they dissaparated.

Severus was glad to see the lights of Riddle Manor's hall. He took a deep breath. Unlike the previous, no one came to assist him this time. Instead of that, the Dark Lord was approaching. Snape could see people in the corners of the room. They looked troubled.

"Severus Snape. What exactly is your excuse for blatantly disobeying me?" snapped Voldemort, his voice like a scalpel.

"Disobey? You told us to rescue Ros…"

"I told you to leave battlefield!"

Severus did not know what to answer. He was about to beg for his Master's understanding when he suddenly felt terrible pains all over his body. It was then that he knew the Cruciatus Curse was being cast upon him. But just as suddenly, it stopped.

"When I give an order you are to obey. Inmediately." More Cruciatus. This time it lasted longer.

"But, my Lord," panted Snape when the pain stopped. "My friend, your servant, was going to be imprisoned or killed."

"If they were foolish enough to let themselves be caught, or to fail in running away even after being rescued, they are of no use to me," decreed Voldemort.

"So," he tapped his foot on the floor, as if he were reprimanding a child. "What are you going to do next time?"

The same burning sensation allocated itself in the young man's chest. Now he recognised it. He had felt it when he was leaving Katia's room after she had spoken in his favour.

"I'm sorry, my Lord," A wretched smile appeared on the old wizard's face. "But leaving a friend behind just doesn't do for me." The pain returned. This time it didn't stop.

Snape woke up in a bed. Every inch of his body ached, but it didn't look to be permanently damaged. He felt a movement next to the bed and turned expecting, for some reason, to find Katia. It was not Katia. It was Silvia.
"You have woken up," said Sherry, relieved.

"Where am I?"

"At my home, in my guest’s room." She put her hand on his forehead, clearing away his black locks.
Her touch felt good. Severus liked to be cared for that way. During the next days, Sherry looked after him as a mother would to her child. As the time passed, they acquired some kind of intimacy. Sherry had helped him change his night shirts. He had leaned on her for his visits to the toilet, and his back had been gently massaged by her delicate hands in an attempt to calm the tension in his muscles.

Sherry and he never argued. She always understood the reason of his arguments and explanations. Being with her was balsam for his damaged ego. No holiday could have been better. Katia owled him repeatedly asking about his health, but he assured her that he was in the best hands, and talked only about superficial things when she insisted on visiting. Severus wanted her to leave as soon as possible so he could spend dinner contemplating Sherry's delicate figure wrapped in her black silky night gown.

Sometimes their hands touched, and Snape felt something more intense than what he had felt with Darlene. He wanted to explore that, toying in his imagination with the possibility of having Sherry in his arms as he had had Darlene. Sherry was keen to explore that sensation too and the physical contact became more and more frequent until one day, a glass of wine, a cozy fire, and the open front of Sherry's gown all combined to thaw Severus' cold walls. He smelled her soft brown locks and felt like a gentleman when he traced with his lips the way to her expecting mouth.

Weather had never looked so bright to Severus Snape, when after finishing his job as an assistant apothecary, he went everyday to meet Silvia Chesney at her home and both went out to dinner, to the park, or any place really, so long as they could be together.

The news, of course, was soon on the lips of every Death Eater and collaborator who prided in calling themselves so. Inevitably, Katia knew about it too. This time, her reaction was different. She ran to her bedroom, closed the door and cried silent tears for her dreams about the man who challenged the Dark Lord and the Order of the Phoenix, and about the one who wouldn't abandon his friend. Because Yekaterina had been daydreaming of Severus Snape for the last few weeks, in her dreams, he was her boyfriend.


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Old June 21st, 2011, 8:16 pm
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Re: Two introverted souls.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter’s wonderful world and characters belong to JKRowling, not to me.

Reviews are very important to me, if you read my story, please leave me one, even if it is to say you didn’t like it (don’t forget to say why, if that’s the case). They will encourage me to keep writing and help me do it better.

CHAPTER 6.

Bravery Takes Many Shapes.

There weren’t many things to do, while not in missions, for someone who didn’t have a job on her own in the country; thought Katia, walking with her pack around the gardens of Riddle Manor. Not even if she was able to look through the eyes of every living animal, or had the special connection to Northernfist mind that allowed her to use the dog’s acute senses.

Katia would have loved to go outside and explore the country on her own, but her Master didn’t permit her to. This clashed with the Dark Lord previous behaviour; while in training, he had encouraged her to do whatever she wanted to, to explore and fully develop all her potential, but here, he seem to prefer to keep a close eye on her. It reminded her of the incident with Severus Snape; the way Voldemort wanted to extricate all individual initiative from the young man, was suspicious, as if what the Dark Lord really feared was not losing some men in action, but his underlings having a mind on their own.


Disappointed, Katia gazed over the walls, to the countryside and the near village; she would never have guessed her Master would turn out like that. She remembered the old times, when she was a teenager and believed the Dark Lord was the ideal man, she had been foolishly infatuated with the mentor who had saved her from the ignorance, protected her from the muggles who had killed her mother. Now, that knight prohibited his servants any spark of independence and tyrannically decided the fate of those who put their lives in the line for him. Katia looked at her dogs, Northernfist was the pack leader, he showed the way for the other dogs, both when in the sled, and in daily life; but he would never punish them merciless for not following his commands blindly, on the contrary, initiative was encouraged, it led to survival. A dictatorial leader was never to be tolerated. Katia gazed over the walls again. On impulse, she went towards the garden’s edge, a nearby tree bent itself to allow her to step on it and pass over the walls, so did her pack.





Severus Snape leant back in his seat and contemplated his companions. Their table was the noisiest in the restaurant, as the already drunken Avery was telling about his last female conquer, Rodolphus Lestrange laughed at every joke Octavius would come up with, while his fiancÚ evaluated him like she would evaluate a horse she was considering to buy. The rest of the diners listened to the short fat man half amused, half annoyed. He passed his arm around Sherry’s waist, it was so easy now. He remembered how listening to Avery’s boasting had annoyed him and frustrated, now he just enjoyed the warmth of Silvia’s flesh, and the softly dizzy sensation of the alcohol in his head. James Mulciber was near, fully recovered from his injures and grateful to the man who had saved his life risking his own. Since Severus had made public his relationship with Sherry all had gone so smooth. He was very respected among Death Eaters now, certainly, the acquisition of a pure-blood girlfriend made them forget all doubt about his ancestry.
Later, he walked Sherry home, enjoying her perfume, the feminine movement of her hips, her chatting about other women’s dresses.

“Bellatrix, shouldn’t choose black as her colour, it’s ironic that it matches her surname, but really, it makes her look so pale that it is creepy.”

Severus kissed her. He wanted to be at her home, and quickly.

At Silvia’s home, Severus let his head rest in Sherry’s delicate back. She was comfortably sleepy in her bed, and he was even more at ease. He nearly managed to forget Lily, while in Sherry’s arms. But Snape couldn’t stop thinking even in these utopian moments.

“What do you think of the Ministry’s new attitude? It is strange that they are not taking any offensive. Maybe they are plotting something big.” He said.

“Malfoy thinks there’s nothing to worry about and that they must be nearly defeated.”

“I don’t agree, just make numbers, we haven’t taken down enough of them to think we have won.”

“Do we have to talk about this now? If they say it’s not a problem, then it isn’t. Plus, if they are wrong, we will fight in due time.”

We will fight in due time?Thought Severus.You mean I will fight in due time, and if the situation wasn’t addressed now that we can take them by surprise, I will probably perish or be captured. Lately, Silvia’s simple way of thinking was starting to irritate him. Maybe she could live relying on others, but that was never a solution for someone who grew up at Spinner’s End. He wondered what would have said Katia. Sure she had a view on her own and perhaps a solution too.


Weeks passed one after another, and monotony installed in Severus’s life. Sherry seemed to be aware of every celebration in the whole country. He must admit that she did really well in that environment, complimenting everybody, remembering every detail and asking politely about the health of every relative. Sherry never gave a false compliment, never criticised anybody or had a rude comment. Sometimes, however, Severus wished she walked out of the path. For a person as unique, for the lack of a better word, as himself, to be utterly normal was strange and even stressing. Unbelievably, he missed his arguments with Katia, at least he always felt refreshed and awake after a good row.


Only one thing worried Severus. Katia was absent of all those meetings. Finally, he couldn’t stand it one second more and reunited courage enough to ask the Dark Lord.

“Well, perhaps you can pay her a visit. She has been… confined, lately.” He said, after meditating for a moment.

Severus wondered what had his Master meant while he walked towards Katia’s room. He found her fully dressed, wearing one of her sac-like outfits, grey and maroon, this time, her usual plait surrounding her head.

“Severus!” she said, surprised.

“You weren’t expecting visits, I understand.”

“I am under arrest! This is not my will.”

“Explain yourself.” He demanded.

“I walked away from the Manor when my Master had prohibited me to. He caught me and got me back. He was about to punish me! But instead he put me under domiciliary arrest. Can you believe it?”

“Well, it is difficult to believe you managed to get away without being punished.”
Answered Snape after a while.

“So you are saying he is right in restraining me here against my will?”

“No, I am saying you were na´ve going outside against his will.”

They gazed at each other in silence for a minute. Finally Katia spoke.

“He is nothing but a tyrant who uses us to achieve personal glory. I think he doesn’t even care about his own ideology, only about his power.” She said. Her cheeks were red with rage, there was fire in her eyes.

“Hold your tongue, Katia, that is near to betrayal, and traitors are to be killed.”

“Men who protect their comrades are tortured to sickness.” She retorted. “But I’ll close my mouth.”

“You do well.” He pointed to a chair next to a desk. “Can I sit?”

“Yes, of course.” Said Katia, sitting in another chair by his side. The desk was too small, and not at all prepared to have two persons around. Snape felt uncomfortable because of Katia’s proximity, although he couldn’t understand why a woman dressed in a sac had such an effect on him. He asked about the strange lack of offensive actions by the Ministry people. Katia was worried too, however, despite they spend the whole afternoon debating that, they couldn’t reach any solutions. Dinner time arrived and Severus had agreed to go to Sherry’s so he said goodbye to Katia.

“That Sherry, she must be…” . Started Katia. “Your girlfriend.” Finished the young woman sadly.

“Yes she is, I thought you knew.” For some reason, having to explain Katia about Sherry made him extremely uncomfortable. They have never talked about that. “Good bye, Katia. I’ll be visiting often.”



“Cheer up, sweetheart.” Said Sherry smiling tenderly when he arrived at her place. “you look troubled.”

“I have been seeing Katia. She is under arrest. I told her about my suspicious, she agrees.” He explained curtly.

“That woman, she doesn’t even know how to make herself look beauty, wearing those sacs she calls dresses.” Answered Sherry frowning. “She understands nothing about Britain. Really, darling, Malfoy said there is nothing to worry about. You should stop brooding about that.”

“And you should start thinking by yourself instead of repeating what Lucius said. He could be wrong, it won’t be the first time. But if you like Malfoy so much maybe you should try to become his lover instead of mine!” Severus was really angry. He didn’t think he could stand Silvia’s passive attitude towards life one second more.

He ate his dinner in silence and then, he went to her bed forgetting he was not in his house. Only when he turned off the lights Severus realized he was in another’s persons home. Stubbornly, he waited for her to come and send him to his own house, after all, he thought he had put up with all her nonsense.

Not long later, Sherry came to her bedroom, however, she didn’t send Severus to his home. Instead of that, she looked for intimacy with him.


Before falling asleep, Snape thought he was surely right in being mad at her, Sherry herself had acknowledge it and that is why she had encouraged him to make love.

In this relative calm a social event arrived, it was one that even Snape knew about in advance. Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange’s wedding. Grudgingly, he let Sherry take him to the best robe shops and dress him with a soft golden robe, full of embroidery, which he thought made him look like a curtain.

The announced day arrived and Severus found himself navigating among brightly dressed people with dull conversations, dragged along by Sherry, who didn’t seem to find them uninteresting at all. The hot weather, plus the alcoholic drinks and the conversation were producing Snape a headache.

At last, he could find Lucius Malfoy and talk to him quietly for a while. Lucius shared in part Severus view of the deceiving calm, nevertheless he was confident in the Death Eater’s forces to stop the Ministry in case of attack. Severus was going to ask him, what made him think that way when they were interrupted by Sherry, who, accompanied by Narcissa and other women started chatting about the wedding’s decoration. Frustrated, Snape found an excuse to leave after a while. Sherry followed him worried.

“Why did you leave so suddenly, sweetheart?” She said when they reached a lonely corner.

“What do you care? You better go with all your friends and chat about decoration.”

Sherry opened her big brown eyes; he had been absent recently, but he had never been this mad at her.

“I didn’t know it upset you that much. I won’t do it again” She reasoned, trying to calm him.

“It’s not that I don’t like decoration. It’s that I am concerned about our survival, I cannot rely on others as you do.”

“What can I do?”

The more she tried to come to terms with him, the angrier he got. He was stressed, worried for real events in real life, and that woman, who had been overprotected since she was born treated him like a stupid child who needed his mother to console him. Apart from sex, and social status, he had won no real company with her. She was a total burden to him.

“Just leave me alone and come back when you can figure it out by yourself.” He snapped.


The reception was finally over, it was time to go back home. Severus waited for Sherry to say goodbye to her friends. She had been anxious and knowing her as he did, Snape knew she had told about their fight to all her friends and asked advice from whoever would care to give an opinion.

“Let’s talk things out.” She proposed when they were alone in front of her flat.

Snape didn’t want to talk at all, he only wanted to be alone without her as soon as possible.

“Look, you have to stop treating me like a child. I don’t need your constant spoiling.” He said mercilessly, turning to leave.

“No, please don’t leave me that way!” Sherry ran to him and grabbed his arm.

Anger suddenly filled Snape. It was a rage he did not know where it came from. He pushed that human being he couldn’t respect towards the wall. With a noise she hit the stone and fell down. Her head must have crashed the hard surface and now she was in the ground without much conscience.

Severus Snape was instantly terrified. Now he knew where did that rage come from. A clear picture of his father stamping his mother against the wall of Spinner’s End kitchen flashed in front of his eyes; only this was not his father, it was his, mistreating an innocent woman like Sherry. He remembered all the times he had swore he wouldn’t be like his father, when he had promised he rather be alone all his life than make a woman unhappy. And there he was, doing exactly what he promised he would never do. How long had it take for him to become his father? Two months, that’s the time he had been in a relationship with Silvia Chesney. Enough to reduce an elegant, polite, refined, and caring woman to a body trembling on the floor. But he wouldn’t become his father, not when he could still do something about it.

Hastily Severus kneeled on the floor and, with the maximum gentleness, he took Sherry in his arms, caressing softly her head where it had hit the wall.

“I’m sorry, my darling, I am so sorry.” He whispered in her ear. A knot formed in his throat when she came closer to him, surprised she still trusted him so much despite how worthless of that trust he had showed to be.

“I always manage to ruin everything, to offend the one I love. I swore once I would never have to apologize to the woman I love and still, here you have me. Making the same mistake once and another, I never learn.” He didn’t pay much attention to what he was saying as he took her to her home.

Once there, he led her to her room. Lying by her in bed, he kissed her tenderly all over her face, drying her tears with his lips. That night, respectfully, nearly with reverence, he made love to Silvia Chesney, the woman who had appreciated him for who he was for first time in his life.

It was morning already. Severus, fully dressed deposited the trail with breakfast for one in Sherry’s night table. The noise woke her up. She smiled.

“Breakfast.” She said, sleepy. “Why did you cook only for one.”

“We need to talk.” He answered softly, sitting on the corner of the bed.

“Listen, Sherry, you and me cannot be together.”

“What!” She sat upright in the bed. “We can fix it, yesterday we did.”

“No. What we did yesterday was to start walking the path that would lead to your utter destruction as a person.”

“And after that we made love and it was just perfect.”

“I wanted to leave you a good memory of this man who is lost in life, because thanks to you I am starting to find my way.” It was true. He had no selfish intention of allowing himself pleasure for last time, what he had wanted was to give her the best of him.

“I did nothing.” She replied, confused.

“You were there for me, that was the most important.” He explained.

Severus told her about his family, his father beating his mother, the terrible experiences he had lived as a child. Perhaps Sherry was not cut out to take decisions or to be a fighter, but she understood life and people, in some ways even better than Snape himself did. When he had finished, she realized that was the end of their relationship.
Silvia Chesney was terribly sad when she accompanied Severus to the entrance door. She, however, had understood something about Severus and about herself too.

“You know,” she said smiling through her tears as she kissed him goodbye for last time, “you won’t be like your father. It takes bravery to acknowledge your flaws and take steps to improve yourself. There is a woman for you, I’m convince of it, I hope with all my heart that you find her one day.”


Snape felt more man than he had felt in his whole life, when he walked away from Sherry’s home under the first rays of the rising sun.




Reviews are very important to me, if you read my story, please leave me one, even if it is to say you didn’t like it (don’t forget to say why, if that’s the case). They will encourage me to keep writing and help me do it better.

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  #7  
Old June 24th, 2011, 8:33 pm
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Joined: 3073 days
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Posts: 397
Re: Two introverted souls.

Disclaimer: The amazing Harry Potter world and characters belong to JKRowling.Note of the Author: I enjoyed very much writing this chapter. The previous was very difficult one, but this practically wrote on its own. However I still need reviews, telling me things like this:
Is the narration fast paced enough? Is it interesting?
The description paragraphs, are enough to understand the text, or are they excessive?
Is Snape in canon?
And Katia: I tried to make her a flawed and realistic character. Did I succeed? Can you spot her flaws?
Is she believable? And likeable?
Or simply telling me whatever you want to, even if it is to say you don’t like it. I know my story is followed, so please, help me improve it.



CHAPTER 7:





Seduction:

The sun set slowly over Riddle’s manor in that summer evening. Katia changed her position in her hammock to be more comfortable and continued reading her book. The romantic novel she was reading was her favourite, it seemed even better now that Severus Snape had broken with Silvia Chesney. He had made no comment about the issue, Katia had learnt it from other people, however, when she asked, he had explained him that they were not meant for each other, mentioning their different personalities, goals in life and his difficult past. It was so rare for Severus to explain himself, that Katia considered it a sign of his increasing confidence in her. Different goals and personalities, he had said; Katia thought hopeful that such things would never be a barrier for her, she knew hers and Severus’s personalities and goals matched very good.

The concern about the apparent lack of activity of the Ministry wizards had reached Lord Voldemort too. In order to address possible surprise attacks, another exploratory mission had been arranged, Katia was to camp next to Hogsmeade and other locations with abundant magical population. Her mission was to overhear through the senses of the animals, any information about new attacks on Death Eaters or intelligence in whatever they were planning now.

This time, like the previous, Severus Snape volunteered to accompany her. She was happy to spend time with him, both of them alone, her imagination raced picturing lots of different and very attractive scenarios.

Daydreaming of Snape nearly made Yekaterina forget about the consequences of what they were going to do. She feared their Master’s reaction if the information was not satisfactory, but she was also scared of the practical results their mission will have if they gathered truly useful data. Through her spying she had learnt a bit about those who were supposed to be their enemies. The terrible, muggle-lovers who would have them massacred by muggles without second thoughts, the dirty sub-human who lived a depraved life without any kind of principles. To her dismay, it turned out that they were pretty similar to the pureblood wizards. Katia didn’t know what to think, she couldn’t believe the tales Death Eaters told any more, but she couldn’t bring herself to sympathize with those who constantly attacked them. By the moment, she decided, she would carry out the mission and when she was the amount of information gathered, she would decide what amount to pass to her Master.


Severus Snape felt renewed after breaking up with Sherry. He was free to be himself again, and now he knew he could be attractive to the opposite gender. Not that he had become shallow, or arrogant, that suited Potter and Black, not him. However, he paid attention to the reaction females had to him, he was amazed to see they liked his voice, or that they were far more impressed when he put a self-confident fašade than by all the compliments he may come up with. Strange these women, Snape said to himself, when he noticed how Ladies followed his billowing robes as he was walking to his Master’s chamber.

“The Dark Lord had called me.” He said, bowing in front of Voldemort.

“Yes, I did. I’ve got a mission for you.”

Observing Snape’s confused look, he added.

“You are not to withdraw from your actual mission. His is an assignment you will fulfil once you have finished your actual duty.”

“And it is.”

“Dumbledore is searching for new staff at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft; your mission will consist in offering your services to him, and, once you are inside the school, provide me with first hand information on him.”

“In other words, you want me to spy on Dumbledore.”

“And on the rest of Hogwarts stuff if you have the opportunity.”

“I reckon it would be easy for me to get a Defence against the Dark Arts position. There will be hardly better choice than me.” Commented Snape, more to himself than to the older wizard.

“I am sorry to disappoint you.” Voldemort was now smirking. “But you wouldn’t last long as a DADA teacher. The post has been cursed.”

“Cursed? By who?” Snape said, perplexed.

“By me.”He was now smiling scornfully. “You are to apply to the Potions teacher job, I think you are very suited for that too.”

Damn, he didn’t want to go to teach Potions to the stupid muggle born brats. Voldemort seemed to realize his deception.

“I want to make this clear, Severus.” He stated, leaning forward. “I am not providing Dumbledore with one of my cleverest Death Eaters to use to instruct all his beloved muggle scum; I am providing myself with a capable spy who will keep me inform on Dumbledore’s actions first hand. I wouldn’t trust this task to anyone but you, understood?”

Snape raised his head to look at his Master’s face.

“You, Severus, despite of your origins, have proven to be far more resourceful than most of your comrades. Just repress that autonomous vein of yours, be my eyes and my ears, and you’ll be rewarded.”

Severus calmed down and promised to carry on his duty with the best of his talent. Bowing again he left the room.

He didn’t know if he should be happy or not. Certainly, teaching at Hogwarts was a risk-free task, without other Death Eaters to compete with, the glory would be entirely his. Despite all that, Severus could not suppress the feeling that he was been relegated to a second place, or most accurately, a place where the Dark Lord could take advantage of his extensive knowledge without having to worry about his attitude to inspire other people to disobey his Master. How long would the task take? It could take years, of spying on Dumbledore. Many would kill for his current position, Snape knew it, however, he wanted glory, and he wanted it soon. That was the problem, people kept telling him he was better suited for behind the scenes action, while he wanted to shine in front of everybody.



Living again with Katia had a calming effect on Severus, he enjoyed the routine with her, that was never boring as it had been with Sherry. Katia had always some interesting topic up her sleeve. It was not as she made any effort to spark his interest, it was more like every topic Katia came up with resulted interesting to him.

The second morning of his stance with Katia, Severus witnessed a scene nothing could have prepared him for. As he was entering the kitchen for breakfast, it was not there, instead, there was a parquet floor and a bar, leaning on her was Katia, in a ballet mesh, moving her legs swiftly. Snape stood by the door for some minutes, mesmerized. He had never imagined that those sac-like dresses in flashy colours could hide that figure. Watching her move gracefully, it was difficult to remember she was that tall and square.
Katia finally spotted him and stopped dancing.

“Hello, good morning.” She said with a broad smile and her foreign accent.

“Err, morning.” Answered Snape, cohabited. “So you dance ballet.” He added to break the tension, while she was undoing the charms she had put upon the kitchen to make it suitable for practicing.

“Yes I do,” replied Katia, oblivious to the effect her attire had on him. “in Russia it is common for young kids to practice ballet both as a sport and as a way to achieve graceful movements. The best of them follow a career in ballet, I didn’t take it as a career, but I still practice for recreational purposes.”

“I see.” Commented Snape, starting to set the table. Katia left and reappeared moments later wearing a purple sac-like dress with pink needlework, and a white shirt under it.

Severus contemplated with dismay how different she looked. There wasn’t one single flirtatious detail in her attire, not even her fair hair, tightly tied in the plait around her head, he wondered how long would it be if she let it free. Probably waist length he guessed.


There was not much to do except get the camp ready and lively so that Katia was comfortable in her rare spare moments. That meant plenty of time for Snape to brood about his situation. Soon, he would find himself back at Hogwarts, where he had swore not to set a foot on again. Angrily, he reflected over the fact that he had chosen Death Eaters as his main career path, and now, it turned out that such a decision meant not having a career of his own at all, but to carry on preposterous errands for a man who claimed to hate muggles and muggle-borns. Because Severus Snape was not foolish, after some years of servitude he had realized the Dark Lord’s main concern was his own personal glory, more than any other thing. He had not forgot how his Master had no problem in murdering purebloods if they didn’t bend to his commands and hiring whoever, no matter his ancestry, as long as he served his purposes well.

Hogwarts: being trapped among kids and old people like the staff members. McGonagall would be the nearest thing to an attractive, available woman he would find there. Frustrating; specially considering how he had recently discovered the way to deal with the opposite sex. There wouldn’t be sex at all once he was there. An image of Katia in ballet mesh crossed his mind. She had a good body, beautiful legs. Certainly she was cold, but the more he knew her, the more he realized it was only a fašade. A scene started forming in his mind, in it, he taught Katia all he had learnt and she accepted willingly, admiring his expertise.

They had been camping and spying for around a week, Katia found nothing special about the Ministry plans, all aimed at the fact that they were really waiting for the Death Eaters to make the first move.

As he observed the woman next to him smile relaxed after a good dinner, Severus thought it was time for him to make his move. He felt as if he was about to jump to a cold sea; she was truly imposing, so tall, her movements were full of a simple elegance, different from the one Narcissa or Sherry had, Katia’s was more like a natural grace. Worthy woman, indeed, he wondered why she was still single. Probably she was picky when choosing - thought Snape- I’d better make sure she knows I am a good catch.

“You know? Sherry has been owling me recently, she wants the two of us to be a couple again.” He stated in the silence. It was a lie, but Katia wouldn’t know.

“Did she?” Asked Katia. She didn’t really care, actually she had always hated when women went around boasting of their conquers, and now she was not thrilled to listen to the man she was interested in, doing the same.

“Of course, she knows about the special mission the Dark Lord required of me, she probably has realized by now I am among the top ranking Death Eaters, and she doesn’t want to lose such a catch. Obviously I am not interested in her anymore, plenty of women compete for my attentions lately. Easy to understand why though, my skills as a lover might have spread by now.”He finished, very self-satisfied.

Katia was astonished, had they not been alone for a week now, she would have thought Avery was impersonating Severus, she had never heard, nor suspected she would hear such a speech from Snape’s lips. She said nothing; none of the things she had in mind were appropriate.

“You haven’t got any partner, I recall?” Continued Snape, pompously. “Well, you are very focused in your job, and don’t pay attention to your image. Women like that don’t usually result attractive. However,” he added condescendingly, “I know you, and I am aware you are more than just a brain and rare skills. I see a woman in you and, if you want, we can explore together the most feminine side of you.”

She eyed him without saying anything, bewildered.

“I mean, that we can have sex, if you want.” He added quietly.

“For such a required man, with such an comprehensive expertise, what a waste of time and skill will it be to lay with a woman who doesn’t even have time to find her feminine side, won’t it?” Katia’s voice was loud, cold and remarked scornfully his very same words. “No, I think you’d better reserve your incredible talent for a woman of your same rank. You won’t have problems finding one, after all, you are a big catch right now.” She finished, hoping her words would make him feel as unwanted as she was feeling right then.

Severus, taken aback by her words, searched for something to say.

“Fine.” He hissed. “If you don’t want it is your decision. A decision,” He added contemptuously “that you will regret, alone in your room when you see other women with their happy family, and you find yourself old, alone, and untouched.” He smirked. “Mark my words.” He stood and left the room.


Katia was frozen in her seat. Had he read her mind he couldn’t have found a most accurate depiction of her deepest fears. It is not as if she wanted a lot of children and take care of a husband who would regard her as another of his properties, as were the majority of men she had met. What Katia desired was a person who was a companion in her life, someone to support and be supported by, and perhaps, one kid or two. That wasn’t asking too much, she reflected. But apparently it was, families were for women like Silvia Chesney, or Narcissa Black, who invested all their energies in a man, without having a career on their own. It wasn’t fair, she thought and tears she didn’t mind to whip dropped on her cheeks. All she wanted was someone to walk along with.
Hours passed and tears continued flowing from Katia’s eyes, she remembered all the other times she had cried in similar situations, when she saw other girls with their boys, as a teenager, and told herself somewhere there was a man for her. Years passed and she learnt to focus in her tasks and talents whenever she needed to forget she was invisible to the other gender. However, no matter how hard she tried, the pain never completely disappeared and now, she was sobbing uncontrollably in that tent, fearing what Snape had said would become true. Alone, without no one friendly to talk to, she didn’t even care if he heard her or not.


Severus Snape couldn’t understand what had he done wrong. He had seen Avery and Mulciber show off in front of girls so many times, women giggled, smiled and finally did whatever they wanted them to do. So what was different with him? All the years of been humiliated by the Marauders came to answer in his place. Slimball, greasy, Snivellus, your nose is the longer part of you, laughed Potter and Black behind his closed eyes. Darlene and Sherry had surely been with him for ulterior motives, he reflected. The first, as a favour to Lucius (maybe he even paid her), the former, who knows, perhaps she was deceived somehow. All his past merits were now an illusion for Snape, as an illusion seemed to be the noises he was hearing now. They came from the kitchen, and they were definitively real. Severus rose from his bed fearing someone had infiltrated their camping.


From the kitchen’s door he discovered the source of the noise. Katia was still sitting in the same chair where he had left her, her body bent forward, her back convulsing with every sob. Moved, he walked towards her, a part of him was starting to understand what had happened, perhaps that part always knew. Gently, he put his hands over her shoulders, she looked at him, startled. She stood up. Face to face, she was his same height, but when he hugged her, she seemed so frail, he cursed himself one million times for not realizing what he had in front of him. In his arms Katia was warm without any trace of ice, he felt her head leaning on his shoulder, and noticed the humidity of her tears through the thin fabric of his nightshirt. Her body, still shaken by sobs, pressed against his, despite of her ugly dress, he could feel her breast, place one hand in his small waist. Before he could realize it himself, he was caressing lightly her swan-like neck, feeling the softness of the few hairs which weren’t trapped in her around the head plait. Severus felt her arm touching his back,.


Katia had never felt that way before. Held by Severus’s arms, she thought this wasn’t happening to her, it was too good. However, it felt so natural; his arm around her waist, strong and protective at the same time; his hand in her neck sent waves of pleasure through her spine. She wondered if she should turn her head a bit and kiss his neck, but afraid that would break the charm, she did nothing but continue caressing his back. She felt his bony shoulder blades and wanted to hug him even closer. Concentrating in other matters, she raised one of her hands, and touched the back of his head, she wanted to caress that jet black hair she dreamt with at night in her country it was so rare. Feeling his soft locks she tried to be as gentle as he was being with her neck, she noticed him breathing hard. They just let the time go away, together as they were.


After who knows how long, they started to walk towards their rooms. Embraced, without words. When they reached their doors, they separated at last, looking in their eyes, and with a shy smile. Words were not needed.

Next morning both of them overslept.

END OF THE CHAPTER.



Note of the Author: I enjoyed very much writing this chapter. The previous was very difficult one, but this practically wrote on its own. However I still need reviews, telling me things like this:
Is the narration fast paced enough? Is it interesting?
The description paragraphs, are enough to understand the text, or are they excessive?
Is Snape in canon?
And Katia: I tried to make her a flawed and realistic character. Did I succeed? Can you spot her flaws?
Is she believable? And likeable?
Or simply telling me whatever you want to, even if it is to say you don’t like it. I know my story is followed, so please, help me improve it.


Feedback is welcomed at:http://www.cosforums.com/forumdisplay.php?f=20


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  #8  
Old June 28th, 2011, 12:59 am
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Re: Two introverted souls.

CHAPTER 8.


The oath at the hilltop.

Hog’s Head was as dirty as Snape remembered it from his student times. He was embarrassed to realize he was now one of those freaks who frequented the pub, no more than a young man with a bit of talent hoping to earn a life from it. At least that was what they wanted Dumbledore to believe.

The barman, came to take note. Severus wondered if asking for something softer than firewhiskey would mean his immediate expulsion from the pub. Glancing around the place he realized a young skinny woman drinking butterbeer. He ordered one too, he didn’t want to be drunken for the interview.

Bored, Severus looked around the pub, the woman and him were the youngest clients, the rest consisted in middle aged people, with strange looks, probably smugglers and a couple of Death Eaters in the making. Suddenly a thought broke in Snape’s mind, that the woman was there to apply for the same job he was applying. With the Dark Lord failure was not an option, if she was a rival she would have to put her out of the way. He studied her, he had seen her at Hogwarts, belonging to Hufflepuff house, her name was Trelawney or something like that, and he had always considered her useless. Nevertheless, some additional information wouldn’t be bad, he decided.

Dumbledore finally arrived, talked with the barman, and he pointed him to the second floor. After that, Hogwarts headmaster went to say hello to the woman and then to him.
“Please, Mr. Snape, wait here while I interview Ms. Trelawney.” Dumbledore told him.
So he was right, the woman was also seeking a job for herself. Severus waited until they went up the stairs and started the action. Going to the toilet, he put a disillusioning charm upon himself, once out, he swiftly walked to the stairs, in a moment when guests were not paying attention to him, and climbed to the second floor. There were few rooms there, and all had their doors closed. But he could hear voices from only one of them.
“You will be in great danger of poisoning yourself if you go into the venomous plants greenhouse.” Was saying Trelawney.

“Fine. Anything else?” Asked Dumbledore, and Snape noticed he was not impressed at all.
“Ah… yes! There will be injures, yes, students will be injured and sick this year. Not grave though but you should be prevented.” Added Trelawney, relieved now she had “predicted” at least two things.

“All right.” Dumbledore sounded even more bored than ever. Suddenly a third voice was heard.

“The only one with power to kill the Dark Lord is approaching.” Snape forgot about everything, including the disillusioning charm, an pressed his ear against the door. “He will be born at the end of the seventh month, from those who trice defied him….”

“Hey, what are you doing?” It was the rough barman. However Snape couldn’t miss that, it was too important, he continued to listen through the door.

The barman grabbed him by his arm and opened the door.

“I found this one spying.” He told Dumbledore.

“…. And none of them will live while the other is still alive.” Finished the voice, which belonged to Trelawney.

Albus Dumbledore found himself dividing his attention between the seer and the intruder. When it was clear that Trelawney had finished, the old wizard said.

“I don’t think an interview will be needed, don’t you think so Mr. Snape?” He was as near as anger as Severus had ever seen him. “Overhearing is not a quality appreciated in a Hogwarts staff member.”

“I don’t think it will be needed, indeed.” Replied Snape, straightening himself and attempting to disguise with arrogance his embarrassment at being caught. “I already have what I want.” With that he fled through the stairs towards the entrance door and the street, where he dissapparated.




He had done it; thought Snape walking fast towards Voldemort’s chambers. His ticket to glory, his master move. That was the worth of the piece of information he had collected that night. His life would never be the same after this night. He would be the first among the Death Eaters, his words would be orders, Snape thought euphoric, fame, recognition, all that would be his, the Dark Lord would grant it for the servant who told him how to defeat the Ministry’s last card. All his Slytherin ambitions would be fulfilled, a blur of newspapers with his photo in the first page crossed his mind as he bowed in front of Voldemort and told him what he had heard less than an hour ago.

When Snape finished, Voldemort was half risen from his chair, emotion gave his face a feverish look.

“So that’s it. There will be a ‘hero’ who will put an end to my age of power. Very well, Severus, you will be rewarded far from any other. Now all I have to think is to find which woman is pregnant, the group will be reduced, because they have to have fought me trice. I’ll thwart their hopes before they have started!”

With that, Severus was dismissed.



Few days later, the world broke apart for young Severus Snape.

“Lily Potter is the one. I will be killing her.”

Snape was about to faint, the whole world started losing its meaning to him. Before thinking he spoke.

“No you can’t!” He shouted.

“I can’t what?” Asked Voldemort startled.

“Kill her.”

“Ah, no? Why is that?”

“She, is… mine.” Snape wanted to say how much he loved Lily, How he hasn’t been able to forget her, how his love for her was coming back to him stronger than ever. But he couldn’t. All he managed was to repeat incoherently. “You can’t kill her, she is mine.”

“No one dares to tell the Dark Lord what he can or cannot do!”

Snape run at Voldemort and seized the front of his robes.

“She’s mine! Mine! I won’t allow you!” He was now shaking Voldemort himself, desperation had given him strength and his Master was being shaken violently. “Over my dead body, you hear me?!” Shouted Snape, deranged.

He barely heard other people running towards him to separate him from Voldemort, but the old wizard needed no help. Suddenly Snape fell backwards, and hit the ground. Before he had started to feel pain from the falling, another kind of pain joined. He was being crucioed. Severus welcomed the unconsciousness the curse brought in the end.
He woke up in a cold humid room, feeling the stone ground under his aching body. Snape understood this time he hadn’t been lucky to end being cared for by Sherry. By the terrible state of his body he understood he had been severely punished this time. Severus wondered if he was going to be let die there. If Lily was dying, then it didn’t matter any more, he’d welcome death gladly.

No, he didn’t want to think about it, Lily dying was too terrible even to consider. But she was going to die if he didn’t do anything, the Dark Lord had made her his target, and nothing could dissuade him. And all for what? For the baby she carried, Potter’s brat. To hell with Potter and the creature he had created in her, possessing her precious body. As far as Snape was concerned both could disappear if only Lily saved her precious life in the trade. He was even willing to give his own life along with the Potter and his baby if that mended his mistake. He didn’t want his life, without her it meant nothing. Now he knew, deep inside Severus had never lost the hope of recovering Lily, in Darlene’s arms, in Sherry’s kiss, he looked for her, always for her. He even saw traces of her in Katia.
Little by little, an idea started forming in Severus’s confused mind. Voldemort wanted the child, not the mother, and had promised him a reward. Perhaps Snape had something to trade with after all.

It took more than twenty four hours before someone approached the cell. By the rhythm of the steps Severus could tell it was Voldemort approaching before he could see him.
“You are not dead yet, I see.” Said the Dark Lord’s cruel voice.

Snape was still in the ground dehydrated, injured and weak. He tried to incorporate, slowly he managed to the sitting position. He stared at Voldemort’s face. It was inhuman. Severus doubted if his plan would work.

“My Lord.”

“My Lord? You are not going to attack me? Or you want but you can’t?” Voldemort mocked him.

“I don’t know what happened to me, my Master.”

“What does that woman have that you are so attached to?”

It was his chance.

“I, I want her. I want her in my bed.”

“In your bed, really” Voldemort arched an eyebrow. “Curious, very curious. Because I have made my research and it seems you were pretty close to that Mudblood during your Hogwarts years.”

Severus swallowed, not only was it painful to hear Lily insulted that way, but the Dark Lord was so well informed it would be very difficult to deceive him.

“Yes, I was a teenager, I had her by my side, she was pretty, very pretty, and I desired her all along. Lily, was the model of a woman I wanted to bed, the sweetest liquor. And she was mine. That Potter stole her from me. He stole her and now I want her back, the Potter prat won’t win. That’s what I want as a reward, Lily Evans in my bed, begging for my masculinity.” He ended, hoping the old man would fall for it. The lie sounded ridiculous even to him. No one would ever believe a man would risk his life for having a woman in his bed, no matter how beautiful she was. Not a sane man anyways.

Voldemort lowered his body and Severus knew he was going to perform Legilimency, no one ever had managed to deceive the Dark Lord, the best Legilimens ever. But, hoping against all hope, Snape closed his mind, hiding the love he felt for Lily, her smile, her warm words, her wit, and her friendship. Allowing only her body and beautiful face to emerge to the front of his mind, showing the man in front of him, scene after scene of his dreams about her, his jealousy every time she received other boy’s attention. After a while, Voldemort withdrawn from his mind. Snape waited for his verdict.
“Who would tell?” Reflected Voldermort scornfully. “ A man so consumed by books like you would have such a low passions. A woman, if that’s all you aspire to, I might let you have her.”
The Dark Lord left, but the cell’s door remained opened.
Slowly, crawling more than walking Severus Snape went out. He reminded the times his father had beaten him, how he had went to his room, waited until his mother was free and then she had fixed him with magic. Now, his mother was not there, there was no one to go to. No one except…
It was late at night when he knocked at Katia’s door. She received him with open arms, and worried gesture.

“Oh, my God.” She repeated once an another. “I begged him to let go of you, but he pushed me aside, finally I managed to make him release you, or perhaps he got tired. I wanted to take care of you, but he took you to the dungeon instead.” Explained Katia as she took him to her bed.

She had her potions ready, and had reviewed the most useful healing spells, in order to use them in the first opportunity. She worked silently and efficiently. Glad when she saw how he was slowly improving. Katia wanted to prove herself, naively she thought if she could take care of him better than Sherry had done, he would fall in love with her. After all, she would be the worthier and most useful female around. That’s how it worked with animals, why not with humans?


Snape observed her in silence, welcoming her attentions, however, his obfuscated mind could not register, specially not in his current state, so worried by Lily’s fate; what was obvious to any other human being. Her love for him.


But Snape could not rest, not when his Lily was in mortal peril. He couldn’t trust Voldemort, he decided, not when the man had punished him for saving his friends, fellow Death Eaters themselves. He had to do something more. Something to stop that monster who wanted to consume every single bit of humanity in general and every single bit of what made Severus a person in particular. Severus was well aware that he was no match for Voldemort, he needed help, someone strong. The only one the Dark Lord ever feared, because there, lying in Katia’s bed Snape decided he will go to Dumbledore, even if he paid with his own life, he will warn Lily. Strangely enough, as this resolve implanted itself in his mind, another part of him, something that was asleep and only woke momentarily when Katia was around, appeared in that instant, allowing him to register, that there was something more about that woman who healed him. Something that went further from mere friendship, the same way, his attentions with Lily had gone further from mere friendship.



With his own decision and desperation leading his steps, with the remaining of Katia’s attention reminding him how it was to be a human; Severus faced his fears, throw away selflessly all his Slytherin self preservation, and made an oath to Albus Dumbledore in a windswept hill, near Hogwarts. A vow that would change his life, the lives of many others, and history itself, when Severus Snape promised to give “anything” in exchange not only for the woman he loved, but also for the man he loathed, and the child who was the proof of his failure to gain her love for himself.


END OF CHAPTER 8.

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  #9  
Old June 30th, 2011, 9:29 pm
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Re: Two introverted souls.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter world and characters belong to JK. Rowling.
English is not my native language, so you will probably notice many weird grammar mistakes. This fic is in process of being beta-read, so please forgive my mistakes, and tell me about them. It will help me improve.
if you read this story, it would be very appreciated if you leave a review. It will help me improve and encourage me to keep writing, it is only some seconds to you and a big help for me.
For this chapter I have these questions: Are the situations described at Hogwarts humorous? Does the insight I give in Snape’s thoughts help you understand the character and his motivations? Do you think the Snape-Katia relationship has chemistry?
Thanks for reading. Here goes the chapter.



CHAPTER 9.

Professor Severus Snape. Potions Master.

“There are some people who consider healing potions as a branch on their own;” was explaining Severus to the silent classroom, “however, I locate them in the altering human’s body group, and so do Libatius Borage, Sean Prince and the latest research of…
Yes?”

“Professor. Can I go toilet?” Asked a blond eleven years old girl, her arm pointing to the ceiling, and innocence in her eyes.

Snape stopped dead, that’s what you got when you teach a bunch of brats, they can’t even focus their attention in the important classification of potions.

“No, you can’t.” He tried to return to his lecture.

“But I’m peeing.”

“Ok, go!”

It was his second day as Potions Master, and he thought he couldn’t last a week. For sure he was not as stupid when he was eleven. Actually, he reflected, he couldn’t remember being such a dunderhead in his whole life.

“Professor, what are we going to do with these cauldrons? Cooking?”

God helped him! Watching out for Lily was being far more complicated than he had expected. After the hilltop meeting, Dumbledore had granted him a post as part of Hogwarts staff. In part, so that Snape could apparently fulfil the role Voldemort had assigned him. In other part, and this was the most important one, to have a connection with the Dark Lord, someone who would be able to provide first hand information on Death Eaters movements, and pass the convenient information on Dumbledore and the order. In other words, spying. That’s what Severus Snape had become for Lily’s shake, a traitor to his comrades, a spy of the worst class. And yet, despite of his mean little job, he felt completed, his actions provided some relief for his guilty heart. Sometimes he would think back on the friends he was betraying by working for Dumbledore, however, it was difficult to find in his heart such friends. Surely there was Lucius, who had helped him so much, but Malfoy had his own ways of protecting himself, it was not that easy to condemn a Malfoy, money served for something after all. And thinking twice he knew Lucius would have done the same if he was in Severus’ place. Aside from Malfoy, the images of Avery and Mulciber become vague in his mind, blurred by all the times they had thought in themselves first, and let Severus down.

And then it was Katia. Her memory perturbed him and didn’t allow Severus to sleep at night. She was strong and wise in some aspects, but tremendously innocent in others, undoubtedly she would be one of the first to fall, in the case his job was successful and led to the Dark Lord falling. The image of the two of them hugging in the tent appeared before his closed eyes, and made him feel nearly as bad as he felt when he realized he had put Lily in danger. Wasn’t something he could do to prevent Yekaterina from being harmed?

Walking through the corridors of that school, which had been the centre of all his hopes, and all his despair, made it look as if the Dark Lord was nothing but a distant menace, like in the times previous to him joining the Death Eaters, something he would have to face in the future. Only this time it didn’t seem to him like the best option. Teenager Severus Snape had been so sure of where his loyalties belonged. Pushed forward by the Marauder’s bullying, the way ahead had looked immensely clear. Now, twenty something Severus Snape realized his way had been layered with several options, ones better others worse, but not only an archetypal glory or hell he had contemplated when younger.

He stared at the kids before him. Most of them were muggle-borns, and thus, had no idea what a potion was, the same way Lily didn’t know much about magic when they met. Thinking of her, he started explaining them what they were here, with similar words as the ones he has used with Lily so many years before.

Lunchtime finally arrived, and Snape headed for the staff room. McGonagall was in the entrance, and Severus hesitated.

“Come in Severus, it won’t take long, just a couple of schedules to arrange and we’ll go for lunch.”

“Yes, professor.”

“Don’t call me professor, we are colleges now, just address me as Minerva.” She replied with a warm smile.

“Ok, err… Minerva.” What she couldn’t understand was that just a couple of months earlier, she was the enemy and he was supposed to shoot death if confronted with her in a duel.
The meeting was brief, but for Snape it seemed to take an eternity, he still couldn’t get used to be surrounded by his former teachers, and not being given detention or evaluated somehow. He seated stiff in his chair, guarding as if he bewared an attack. The same happened at mealtimes he had to make a conscious effort to direct his steps away from the Slytherin table, and go sitting with the teachers. Severus eat his meals in a permanent state of tension, knowing himself an easy target for the Marauders due to be higher than the students and was startled when the attack never come.

Walking through the corridors was not easier. Severus kept searching among Gryffindors for Lily’s dark red hair, and cursed interiorly when he didn’t find her. In those moments he would hear the comments from the students.

“He looks like a Death Eater.”

“I heard he is a Death Eater.”

“Don’t be stupid, Dumbledore would never hire a real one.”

“Have you seen his robes?”

Well, it was true. He wore the main part of his Death Eater robes, but just because they were comfortable, the belt for the wand was really handy, and the breastplate was really protective. Although protective of what Severus could not tell.

A couple more of lectures in the afternoon and he would be free to retire to his chamber. Being the Head of Slytherin house had its advantages. His quarters, with a private entrance trough the second floor and after a big tunnel were a big room, with an enormous sumptuous four posted bed with silver decoration and emerald green curtains, illuminated by the trademark Slytherin green light coming from skylights on the ceiling. His private bathroom was equally luxurious, with big crystal panels that gave the user the impression of being in a small hot water swimming-pool inside and aquarium. From one corner of the room he could enter, through a tapestry to Slytherin’s common room.
There he managed the students under his charge, he was proud of them, but this task had unexpected difficulty. He still remembered the first time he had addressed his students.

“Come on, Sev, don’t be like that, rolling joints in the common room is not that bad, we know you were very fond of it yourself.” Had told him the seven years. Snape couldn’t avoid blushing in that occasion. It was true, as these boys knew very well, as they have met him as a student when they were in their first years.

“Yes, you can overlook it, you know, we are mates and so.” Continued another.

“No, we are not mates, I am your teacher, and the Head of Slytherin house, and from now on, you’ll follow my rules or attain to the results. Did I make myself clear?”

Severus knew Slytherin people, he had won the battle, but that didn’t mean he won the war. They would try to get him another day. That was all.

Gryffindors were different but not better. Boisterous, arrogant and stubborn they resisted his authority, disregarded his rules and thought nothing of his intellect and his many academic merits. But they paid for it, of course they did. Severus Snape saw a Potters and Blacks in every active Gryffindor student, he spotted Lupins in silent kids, and Pettigrews in many inepts. And he punished them all. He was a man now, and wouldn’t tolerate any insubordination, those brats would know who Severus Snape was, he would extricate all the Lupins, Potters and Blacks, even the Pettigrews of the pupils under his charge. Points fled to the lower part of Gryffindor sand clock as quick and frequently as snark comments left the potions master’s lips. Embittered, Severus would make them pay for the hopes of a better future he had lost, for his years of solitude and unhappiness. His wrath had no limits and extended to Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff as well in an attempt to fill in the hollow within him.



A couple of weeks had passed and Severus found himself at the headmaster’s office, sitting in front of Dumbledore. The old wizard was questioning him about the information he had on the Death Eaters plans. Unfortunately he had no new for Dumbledore, and the man seemed suspicious, as if he thought the young wizard he had given a second chance to, was deliberately keeping information from him. Troubled, Snape left the room with only the promise to use all his contacts to gather as much information as he could. The only problem with this, was that Voldemort usually forbid his Death Eaters to give intelligence on what they were doing. Asking anybody about his mission was taboo, and they used to avoid the topic when in social events because it would mean either being rude, or being exposed to accusations of treachery. The one who asked could also find his own persona in danger, as he will be suspected of spying.

Now, Severus would have to endanger some of his comrades and himself for his new mission and loyalties. Alone in his luxurious room, he scrutinized all his contacts and got to the painful conclusion that the easiest to get information from were also his dearest.
Those fatal thoughts still accompanied him when he arrived to the next Death Eater social evening. This time, he noticed, it had took an effort for him to be invited, the Dark Lord, didn’t liked a man with such a vital position wandering among less qualified fellows.
Katia’s presence at the party ironically contributed to calm his nerves, clearing his mind for the task at hand. With decision, he joined Avery and Mulciber in the cocktail, after the usual formalities he inquired.

“So, how is the Dark Lord doing with his new goal?”

“Sorry, what do you mean?” Asked Avery. Severus was quite sure he should have understood the question.

“I mean how is he making use of the information I provided him with.” Snape pressed on.

“You know he never explains himself.” Avery answered evasively.

“Fine, if you are that poorly informed I may address someone else.” Retorted Snape hoping to spoil Avery’s self-important personality.

“Look, the Dark Lord is very private about that issue in particular. It seems he values very much the information you gave him. He has dismissed the ones who volunteered to help him, and in confidence I will tell you that he doesn’t want you bringing the topic to conversations either.”

“Has he stated that personally?” Said Snape troubled, abandoning pretenses.

“Not with that words, but he refused all suggestions to go to you in search of more information about the prophecy.” This time it was Katia who spoke.

“ I see.” It was the moment to drop the matter, realized Snape. “I’m hungry, perhaps some cocktail?”

“Sure, you have to try this.” Said Katia, dragging him away from Avery and Mulciber. “Tell me if it is not the best thing you have ever tasted.” She put something like black eggs on a piece of toast and tried to introduce it in his half opened mouth. Her eyes were sparkling with illusion.

Snape grabbed the piece of toast the best he could, trying to avoid the black eggs which were leaking from the toast, to dirty his robe more than they had already done.

“Caviar, I suppose?” Asked Severus rising an eyebrow.

“Correct, there is even better quality ones, but this one is not bad.” She said nodding. Then she could not stop herself from adding proudly. “One of the many treasures my country has to offer.”

Severus ate in silence, looking at her over the toast, with a smile in his eyes.

“Not too bad.” He conceded smirking.

“Hmm, it is more than that. You just don’t want to acknowledge something your country lacks.”

The sudden moment of relax, made Severus feel guilty, he shouldn’t be enjoying himself, when Lily was in danger. He turned to her decided to say goodbye for the moment, and head to another people to resume his job.

“Being a Death Eater must be difficult.” Stated Katia, suddenly stern. “Always following commands, many times blindly, fearing the Aurors, fearing the Dark Lord.” She looked at him inquisitively. “Who do you fear most, Severus? The men who protect their lives, or the wizard who has no limit in his hunger for power?”

Severus did not know what to answer, it was a very strange and direct question, and Katia was piercing him with her icy blue eyes. Severus wondered if she was a Legilimens. Panic got hold of him, thinking she had discovered his new allegiances. His many years of hiding his emotions and controlling his demeanor came in his aid.

“That depends, on the Dark Lord’s mood and the quality of the Auror.” He said with a touch of humour.

She frowned, still eyeing him.

“I think,” she spoke slowly “people defending what is dear to them is a pretty human reaction, easier to deal with. A solitary man wanting all, is a bit scary, you never know how much will be enough. Black holes absorb everything, including what is nearer, actually the nearest go first…”

Severus was utterly unnerved. Those were big words, worthy of big punishment if heard, and Katia was pronouncing them in a ballroom full of people. He glanced around and noticed the grey dog, Northernfist, standing by Katia. He swallowed and tried to speak but he didn’t know what to say.

“Is… Is he… up to something.” Finally managed to whisper.

She took a couple of toasts with caviar.

“He likes to know the terrain beforehand. Has been making contacts, a weak piece in the chain.” She muttered hastily before eating her toast.

Snape could barely swallow the toast, his mouth was dessert dry.

Severus made it to the party the best he could. Katia stayed with him most of the time, speaking politely but with as few real interest in the party as Snape himself. Northernfist stayed with them much to the discomfort of the guests. Katia caressed his soft head, and so did Snape to his own surprise finding the presence of the animal comforting.

When he finally returned to Hogwarts, he went straight to tell the Dumbledore.

“ah, I knew it!” Said the old man, looking at the same time triumphant and defeated.

“You knew it?”

“We have known for some time now that there is a spy among our lines.”

“What are you going to do?”

“First of all warn them. We believed something close to them had been filtrating information. Now our suspicions proved true, there is a spy, and it is probably some of Potter’s friends.”

Snape thought for some minutes.

“Lupin, he is a werewolf, always distant in the shadow, he has a mind of his own.”

“He is a likely candidate, but we shouldn’t close any possibility.”

Dumbledore stared at the young man in front of him. He looked deeply anguished.

“Stay calm Severus. This is the last bad new I give you, I promise. The next will be better.”


But it wasn’t. On Halloween that year, Dumbledore was forced to give Snape a new that killed a part of the young man. Forever.

END OF THIS CHAPTER.

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  #10  
Old July 2nd, 2011, 9:07 pm
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Re: Two introverted souls.

Disclaimer. Harry Potter or its characters belong to JK. Rowling.
Remember English is not my native language so there may be a lot or grammar mistakes. Please, forgive them and give me a review telling me of any mistakes.


CHAPTER 10.

Dead Alive.

“I hope he’s got his evaluation ready.” Said Professor Sprout.

“He’s been through bad times.” Reminded her Professor McGonagall.

“It was three months ago. You’d think he would have recovered by now.” Insisted Sprout.

“ Let’s just hope he will do it from now on.” Answered Minerva unconvinced.

But she was no lucky. When they entered the staff room, they found Severus Snape, thinner and more haggard than ever, collapsed on a chair, looking absent minded. Slowly, he nodded to acknowledge the two women presence. Pomona looked at Minerva with an raised eyebrow, indicating she already expected to find him in that state.

“Severus, have you got your student’s grades?”

“Sure.” He answered.

Minerva was not sure at all. The last time he did have the grades, only they were not that year he was expected to have graded. She sighted.

The meeting proceeded and that time Snape got everything right. However, it was still worrying, lately his lectures seemed to go better, probably thanks to Dumbledore’s many private chats with the young man. In spite of that his persona was as bad as always.
Professor Binns looked more alive than Severus Snape. McGonagall studied him intensely, he was a bag of bones lost inside many layers of robes, nevertheless, his papers were as neat as she remembered from the times when he was a student. Except, perhaps for the letters among them. McGonagall as not nosy, but this time she couldn’t avoid trying to read the sender’s name. She couldn’t, the letters were illegible, and soon she realised they were Cyrillic words. One envelope thought, was opened and she realized the letter itself was written in English by the owner of the same handwriting of the sender.

When the meeting was finally over, Severus headed for his quarters, not wanting to share the dinner with the rest of the teachers. He took a look at the letter he had just received from Katia, he got glimpses of “very worried for you” “you’ll feel better if you talk to someone” and things like that. Snape didn’t want to talk to anyone, he didn’t want to do anything at all, he only breathed because it was necessary for surviving in order to protect Lily’s boy, the only remain of her. Slowly, he rolled himself another joint. Only under the effects of the drugs could he endure daily living, drugs avoided him contact with reality, a sleeping calm in which he could just exist.

Days passed by one after another, and Severus Snape spent all of them drugged, imparting lectures which level he wouldn’t have approved had he been in his right state of mind. Students got used to him liying in his chair, while they chatted loudly and, from time to time, made some potion that was passable in the best case.

Equally, letters from Katia, all of them with the same concern about him piled in his room, some of them he wrote back a few empty lines for her to calm down, but no more. Until one day, he was called to Dumbledore’s office. Expecting to find himself reprimanded again, Severus headed to the chamber with lazy steps. Dumbledore was standing there waiting for him, but there was someone else in the room. Someone with a bright purple sac-like dress and a headdress matching her outfit.

“You’ve got a visit, Severus.” Said Dumbledore without being needed.

“So this is your school.” Stated Katia softly.

Severus couldn’t believe he was there. In his mind she belonged to another world, a Death Eater one, and she just didn’t match at Hogwarts.

“Severus, mind if I ask who this Lady is?” Intervened Dumbledore.

Snape didn’t know how to explain himself. What could he tell the headmaster? That she was a Death Eater?.

“Severus and I met when we both collaborated with the Dark Lord. I am to understand, Severus started working for another master when he realized Lily Potter was targeted. I was his source then.” She explained.

And suddenly Severus understood the reason behind Katia’s free information on the man who was spying the Potters; she had seen through him and knew he was working for another master, so she helped him by passing the intelligence he needed. That meant she was a traitor as well as himself.

“You knew it!” He spoke in surprise. “How could you…”

“You were as disappointed as I was, plus you never asked direct questions, when you started asking around, I knew you had taken steps against the Dark Lord. Plus you were under pressure because of Lily’s issue, so it was easy to guess that was the time for you to rebel. I think that’s why the Dark Lord tried to isolate you.” Explained Katia.

“So two disenchanted Death Eaters. It seems Voldemort pushed their men too far.”
Spoke Dumbledore, placing himself between the two of them. “Unfortunately I have to receive Minerva here within minutes, so may I suggest you end this conversation somewhere else? Perhaps Severus’ quarters?"

Snape didn’t want to talk to Katia in front of the headmaster, so he took the chance and preceded Katia through the fireplace to his rooms. As he did so a thought crossed Severus’ mind: that Dumbledore misinterpreted their relationship and wanted to give the couple some intimacy. Suddenly he felt uncomfortable, alone with Katia in his private chamber.

Without knowing what to say, he observed the woman glancing around his room, it was really neat, and she seemed to appreciate it. Finally he offered her a seat by the fireplace. He wanted to give her something to drink but all his elf made bottles were empty or half empty, so he just sat in front of her.

“So, what do I own the pleasure of your visit?” Started Snape, trying to carry the conversation in a polite and safe way.

“To know about your health and wellbeing, of course, as I couldn’t knew about it by owl since you have barely wrote to me in all these months.” Katia liked to hit target at the first shot.

“Well, I have been busy.” Said Snape elusively.

“Me too, but I still had time to write you.” She pressed on.

“Look, these have been though times for me.” He was cornered, his only option was to give her what she wanted as soon as possible.

“Because Lily's death?”

A moment of silence, then he said looking away from her.

“Yes.”

“Look, you didn’t know it was her the Dark Lord would target. You did as much as you could, warning her and if she didn’t know how to protect herself…”

“Don’t blame her! Don’t you dare to blame her!” He shouted suddenly.

“They did a wrong move! You can’t deny that!”

“It was not her fault, but Potter’s!”

“And she had nothing to say? She contributed to her death with her poor judgement as much as her husband. Idealizing a person that way is for stupid people.”

“I love her!” He didn’t want to let out that piece of information, but it was the only way to make her shut up.

Katia had dreaded those words for long. She was not an idiot, and supposed a big bond must have existed between Severus and that woman for him to act that way. However, she hadn’t want to listen to her intuition, so she had come to Hogwarts decided to put all eggs in one basket. She had to prove she was the woman for Severus Snape, the one who would support him, care for him, and live by his side.

“You love a woman who had disowned you to marry and have kids with other man? A woman who never came to know if you were dead or alive?”

In that very same moment, Severus wanted to push her out of his rooms by brute force, for insulting Lily’s name and memory. Katia didn’t know anything about her, how sweet, caring, smart and funny Lily had been. She knew nothing about her beautiful hair, her delicate features, or her incredible green eyes. That she had turned her back on him had been entirely his fault.

He decided to give Katia some of her own medicine and explain her why Lily was over any other woman.

“We were friends,” he started “we use to live in the same city, and I introduced myself to her in the children’s park, at the age of nine or so…” Slowly, he told her his and Lily’s story, from childhood to Hogwarts years. Severus, had never talked to anybody about Lily and his relationship with her. He made a big effort to convey how their friendship had worked, how wonderful Lily had been, caring for such a lousy boy. Snape even talked about the Marauders, about their rows and the four on one confrontations. Despite of all his struggle, he had the impression that she was seeing the story from another point of view, as if she had the upper hand, and he had, from the beginning, had the lower one. All his decisions were difficult and all of hers were not so hard. Or was it that voicing it aloud forced him to regard things from a different and more neutral point of view? He didn’t want to consider that possibility. After all, even Katia must have understood, because she had stopped frowning in disapproval, and was now staring blankly to the fireplace, a sad look upon her face.


Katia felt fire and ice revolting together inside her. Burning jealousy for the woman who had stole Severus’ heart so absolutely. Icy contempt for the girl who had turned her back on a boy who needed her. Terrible sorrow for the person who had been able to see the best in Severus despite his many defects and stood by him all those time, bearing the increasing pressure. Slight disillusion for the boy who had fallen in love so blindly for a girl who was out of his reach from nearly the beginning. Sadness for two persons who had been forced to live such hard times, in which a small mistake, a difference in background, went bigger and bigger until it ended up killing an innocent woman and her husband, and making another great man forever guilty. But, overall, a selfish feeling of anger at the situation in which she was in love with a man who couldn’t love any more prevailed.

“You should try to forget her and find a yourself a life.” Said Katia in a last attempt, her voice broken.

“I can’t.”

She closed her eyes. What sense would it make to tell him her feelings now? Suddenly her eyes filled with tears. She didn’t want him to see her cry, at least she wanted to keep their friendship, just as he had wanted to keep Lily as a friend before losing her totally. Thought Katia with irony.

“Sorry, Severus, I have to leave.”

“Fine then, good bye Katia.”

She stepped hastily into the fireplace.

Severus remained seated, watching the fire, buried in his own memories.





Months passed, and when Katia managed to reunite strength enough to write Severus again, she kept her topics strictly friendly. Severus replied to her, awkwardly at the beginning and more explicit as the time passed. And so Christmas postcards went for and back from Russia, year after year. Long letters month after month, two old friends giving advice one each other her, about how to deal with Potions students. Him, on how to build a wizardry school. Severus being a postal witness of Yekaterina Bulanova’s great projects. Katia being a dedicated counsellor on Severus Snape going through a life he didn’t want.


END OF CHAPTER.

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  #11  
Old July 5th, 2011, 2:11 am
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Re: Two introverted souls.

Disclaimer: I am not JKR, so I don’t own Harry Potter or its world.
Remember English is not my native language so I might have some grammar mistakes. Please tell me when you find one. This fic is in process of being beta-read.
. PLEASE LEAVE REVIEWS. If you follow this story, or you have it among your favourites, or you simply liked a chapter (or disliked it for instance) leave me a review telling your opinion, it will help me a lot to improve my writing and encourage me to go on with the story.
This chapter is very AU, it has a lot of description too. I wonder if you like it or prefer me to go straight into the action. The thing is, I had all this information about Katia and her life, and I think it is important for the story that you know her. Let me know in reviews if it is very annoying to you.
Actually this was going to be only one chapter, but due to the length of it I decided to split it into two.




CHAPTER 11:

Katia's big dreams:

Severus Snape walked towards the headmaster’s office wondering what the old wizard wanted now from him, but at the same time he was relieved to leave Gilderoy Lockhart’s presence. Severus was fairly sure that, if someone had asked him what qualities annoyed him most in a person and put them together, an exact replica of Lockhart would appear.

“Hello, Severus. Please, come in.” Dumbledore greeted him as he entered his office.

At least this time he seemed to be in good mood. Probably it was nothing too serious, unlike the re-opening of the Chamber of Secrets.

“You wanted to see me.” Said Snape sitting in front of him.

“Cerainly,” the old man was holding a letter, some words were in normal letters, but Severus could recognize Cyrillic as well, “I have received this letter, it comes from a Russian wizardry school, recently opened, and our colleges want our approval in order to be able to send and receive exchange students from our school, or even participate in the Triwizard Tournament.”

Severus was not surprised, he knew of Katia’s efforts to create a school in a country where young witches and wizards where educated fully at home. However he was impressed to see how fast she had progressed knowing she had begun with virtually nothing.

“The least we could do is to send someone there in order to take a look at their school as well as to offer advice if required.” Dumbledore went on. “So I wonder you would like to spend this summer holydays in Russia.”

He continued with a glint in his eyes. “After all are you already in contact with a colleague from that country, aren’t you?”

Snape didn’t know if he liked the twinkle in the other man’s eyes or not. They had become very close to each other, however Severus didn’t like that attitude in Dumbledore, as if he knew Snape better than he knew himself. He decided to answer with the truth.

“Actually, headmaster, you know the responsible of this as well. It is the same woman who keeps in touch with me, the same you met at this very same office so many years ago.”

For some reason Dumbledore didn’t seem relieved.

“An ex-Death Eater is behind this?” He said, concerned.

“Katia has as much of Death Eater as myself.” Assured Severus.

“I rely on your judgement, Severus, however, make sure all her staff is like that too, when you go there."

“I didn’t say I would go.”

“You didn’t say you weren’t either.” Answered Dumbledore, smiling.

When they mentioned Siberia, they always made up a picture of ice and snow landscapes, polar bears, and Siberian huskies. The image Severus had in front of him could not be more different. Tall conifers surrounded him, in a landscape of small mountains and wide valleys. All was green and gave an impression of cleanness, even the cold air was empty of any pollution. It was summer, but the temperature was equivalent of that of March in Scotland, and Severus was glad he brought so many clothes. The woman in front of him, though, didn’t need a lot of layers, she was wearing a bright purple sac-like dress with golden embroidery, now Snape could put a name to that dress: sarafan, that’s what Yekaterina Bulanova had been wearing all those years, a typical Russian dress. However Severus was more interested in the person than in the clothes. As tall, and square shouldered as always, Katia still moved with that animal grace as they walked through the forest, towards the near building. Her broad smile was a bit nervous and shy, Snape’s critical eye could perceive some wrinkles in the pale skin around her eyes and mouth, product of the years and concerns that had taken her to build that small school. He contemplated her dark blond hair and the plait surrounding her head when she preceded him in the small path. A snowy white fluffy dog accompanied her. Catching Severus’ glare Katia patted the dogs head at the time she told Snape.

“I introduce you Milkyway. Northernfist sadly left me a couple of years ago after a long fructiferous life.” She looked saddened at the thought of her old mate. “She is a Samoyed and a natural leader and warrior. Come, let her smell you.”

Severus grudgingly allowed the dog to sniff his hand, hoping she was better mannered than her predecessor. Katia started walking again.

“Sorry we have the translator station here. People are starting to build their houses near the school and this way we both can use it.” She said, glancing back to look at him. It was easy to tell she was excited with his presence there.

“Don’t worry, after the long trip, a bit of walk will be good, I can’t remember how many translators I had to take.” Severus felt himself stiff and awkward in her presence. All those years of the rigid Hogwarts monotony had taken a toll on him.

“Our country is not as small as yours.” There was laugher in her voice, she was exulting. “So, what do you think?” Katia said coming to a halt in a place where they could see the whole castle. “Be sincere, I am open to criticism.”

To call it castle was a bit of an overstatement. The school consisted in four buildings, forming a square surrounding what looked like a central yard. The Great Hall, alongside its adjacent yard in Hogwarts, was as big as the whole castle, if not more.

“It’s really small. I expected something bigger, this will only host a bunch of kids.” He said simply.
“It’s been built out of nothing, with the sweat of our foreheads, you know? It wasn’t given to us by four magnificent founders.” She answered immediately, spoiled. “And my students are more than a bunch of kids.”

“Weren’t you opened to criticism?” Scoffed Snape.

“To constructive criticism.” Pointed Katia, apparently oblivious to the fact that her pride wasn’t allowing her to be objective. Severus decided to keep his criticism to himself from then on.

They arrived to the building, and entered directly to the Great Hall, well, it was not as great as Hogwarts, thought Snape, but on the other hand, Hogwarts’ was not covered in white marble with golden trims in the corners and ceiling. Katia seemed to notice Severus’ surprise at the marble, because she straightened herself, satisfied. On the second and third floors of that building were the classrooms, equally covered in marble. They crossed to the adjacent building, more classrooms and a library. The next one, with rooms for practicing in the highest floor.

“For sports, like chess and ballet.” Explained Katia, her eyes bright when she looked around.

First and second floors of the same building left Severus astonished: lots of boxes for dogs all of them belonging to the Nordic breeds. There were some owls and other animals, but they were few if compared with the amount of canines.

Katia easily read Snape’s face.

“Each student can have up to seven sled dogs, they need them as a mean of transport. Flying by broom is impractical here because of the cold weather. Dogs also help us hunting.”

More classrooms, kitchen and staff room, completed the remaining building. In the corners of the buildings, there were four towers, all of them topped by a glass panelled domes. Katia told Severus they were student’s dorms and staff dorm as well. As she saw the interest in him, she offered to show Severus one of the towers.

They crossed the yard, which contained a small garden, some students were walking around, girls wearing an orange sarafan with black embroidery, and boys black trousers and orange shirts with black embroidery all of them Russian style.

“There is no sorting here.” Said Katia. “We saw the damage it caused in Great Britain the sorting of students, so here, all the houses are the same and are communicated by magical underground tunnels.”

When they arrived to one, it seemed pretty similar to Gryffindor tower, except for the fact that the common room was under the dome.

“I took inspiration from Hogwarts too.” Stated Katia.

That bewildered Snape, nothing could look more different from Hogwarts, with its marble walls and small individual rooms.

“The crystal panels, you see? They are the four Hogwarts colours. Plus, you told me there were green glasses in the ceiling of Slytherin house.”

Snape nodded to that and reminded himself to explain better next time.

Dinner with the teachers was all and nothing. The majority were old witches and wizards, all of them in purple, Russian style outfit, none of them spoke a word in English, so he understood nothing . Certainly they didn’t look like Death Eaters at all, on the contrary they appeared glad to have a place where to stay and teach, Severus supposed they hadn’t been very valued for their knowledge. Among them, Katia drew attention, with her commanding skills, she led her teachers with an authority that extended further than the one Voldemort had imposed at wand point, and more approachable than the distant kindness Dumbledore usually exhibited. Severus had to admit he was impressed and at the same time, a bit envious of what she had achieved. But he was tired, and starting to have a headache, Katia perceived this, because she excused him from dinner soon.

“Milkyway will show you your room, just follow her.”

Severus doubted a dog could show him anything, but the Samoyed stood up and walked towards a door, looking back, expecting Severus to follow her.

The female dog led him to one of the towers, and stopped in front of a cozy room, fully decorated, in warm colours, nearly feminine. Snape observed, bewildered, that there were photos on the sideboard: a couple of old Slavic grandparents, several photos of a young good looking fair haired man, a teenage girl who reminded him of Katia… Spoiled the natural curiosity of the man, he saw a photo album and took it to see who this room belonged to, because it was clear that the chamber used to have an owner. After all he was supposed to look beyond the appearances, to see if the school was safe to associate with Hogwarts.

More pictures, of the same people on the sideboard, to his surprise some of them were made by muggle cameras. The grandparents, the teenage girl, the boy, who evolved into a young man. Severus heart stopped that one was Katia, standing next to the young man, now he couldn’t stop and went quickly through the rest of the pictures. He stopped when he found one of himself, he didn’t remember Katia taking a photo of him, thought Severus frowning. There were more pictures of the Death Eaters, group photos in which he appeared.

“Severus?”

Startled, Snape jump in his place and turned around. Katia was in the middle of the chamber, he looked around, the Samoyed, was by sitting on the bed, smiling derisively at him. Or so thought Severus.

“Katia; this room,” he realized how delicate his situation was, nosing in another’s room, moreover, he had no way to prove he was there by accident. “The dog brought me here. I thought this room was for me to sleep in.”

“And that’s why you were looking at private documents?” Inquired her sarcastically. She had him cornered.

“Do you call private documents a photo of me?” Severus stroke back. “You’ve got several of them.”

“Err…” Katia seemed to be at a loss for words “we were comrades, and we are friends.” But she had turned bright red.

“Don’t worry,” smirked Snape cruelly, “you can ask me for one whenever you want, if you are a good girl, I might sign it too. Lockhart may be jealous.”

“I’ll show you your room.” She interrupted, trying to disguise her embarrassment. She was annoyed, she had discovered him being snooping in her bedroom, and he had managed to turn things against her thanks to his extreme glibness. When they arrived to his room she said.

“Next time you want to take enter my chamber to look at my stuff, just ask my permission, ok.”

He turned to complain about the mischievous dog, but she was already walking towards her room.



Neither of them mentioned the incident next morning during breakfast. Snape had been brooding about what he saw in the photo album. Who was the tall man? He didn’t even know him, but he liked him less and less, for some reason he didn’t fancy the scene of Katia and her boyfriend –judging by the way they hold each other in the picture they were a couple- sitting together by the fire. Severus liked her company and didn’t want to share. As a college and friend, of course, he corrected himself mentally, although the picture that formed itself in his mind; of he and Katia by the fire, seemed nicer than the one of the tall man. He also wondered about the meaning of his picture in Katia’s album. Did she appreciate him that much? Well, that was good, he certainly had something the tall handsome man didn’t.

There were no lectures during summer, however many students stayed at the school, for they were orphans or their homes were too far away, they walked in the inside yard and observed Severus as he was enjoying the summer day with Katia by his side. He wanted to ask about the pictures, and found that moment appropriate since they were never alone in that castle.

“Katia, I didn’t want to look at your photos without your permission,” he started to soften her, “I didn’t know it was your room and curiosity took the best of me.”

“All right, it is forgiven.”

“May I ask you who those people were? The young man for example?”

His attitude immediately reminded her of the one at Riddle’s manor, when he wanted to get information about Voldemort’s plans. Katia suddenly decided to bluff.

“My boyfriend.” She said watching him carefully for his reaction. The change was nearly imperceptible and she would have missed it if she hadn’t been waiting for it: he tightened slightly the corners of his mouth.

“I didn’t know you had a sister, though.” He said, looking away from her.

Severus never changed the topic of the conversation so suddenly. The issue of Katia’s “boyfriend” must have disgusted him, Katia wanted to jump cheerfully. Half laughing she answered.

“He is my brother! The man you saw, is my brother Fiodor!”

“Why did you lie to me, then.” He eyed her frowning.

Katia shrugged.

“The girl was my mother, not my sister.” She added quickly to avoid him getting angry.

“She looked really young.” He said, interested.

“She died when she was sixteen. My brother and I never knew who our father was. Mum, Galina, was a powerful witch, very stubborn. My grandmother told Fiodor and me, that she appeared pregnant when she was fifteen, without any known boyfriend. It was a scandal in the village. Not happy with it, one year later she got pregnant again. My granny was never able to make her tell who the father of the creatures was.”

“She died while giving birth?” Inquired Severus tactfully.

“No, she was very strong. She died at the hands of a muggle soldier. They use to raid our kind and my mum was a fighter against the repression.” After a while she added. “That’s why I joined the Dark Lord, he seemed to me like the one who would protect us against muggles.”

“I don’t know what to say.” Mumbled Snape. “It must have been difficult, growing without a mother.” He used to think he was the only one with a difficult upbringing, now it turned out he had misjudged Katia; probably her courage had made him forget she was human too.

“I had my grandparents, but yes, it wasn’t easy. Grandparents are not the same as parents, and being the daughter of a single mother is not easy in a traditional small village.” She said sternly. “Specially not when you have rare skills no one else shares.”

“I see, my childhood was not easy either, I had parents, but they were not what we could call, ‘parental figures’.” Severus never talked about his childhood. Even if it hadn’t been his fault, he felt strangely ashamed of what daily life at his home was. Following an impulse he added. “My father used to beat my mum and me.”
He decided to paraphrase her. “That’s why I joined the Dark Lord, he seemed to me like the one who would protect me against evil muggles like my father.” The sentence won a sad little laugh from her.

Katia knew Severus’ life hadn’t been easy, but he didn’t know it had been so though since so early. Finding herself at a loss of words, she started to chat randomly about the topic.

“I have seen kids like that, they are unfriendly, selfish, and sometimes, aggressive. I am not saying you are, of course not…” She stopped when he raised his palm. She was worried he might be mad at her.

“Ok, ok.” He said attempting to dissipate her tension. “I have never talked to anyone about it. The topic is difficult to me. Just… now you know that about me, all right.” He was smiling kindly, his cheeks a bit blushed. “If there is something I can do for you…”

Katia thought for a moment.

“As a matter of fact, there is.”

“Just tell me.”

“There are some kids I have been told about. Notice is that they are magical too, and I would like to offer them assistance to my school. They are problematic teenagers, and are kept by the authorities in Moskow. I will go to get in contact with them, but it would be better if I had some help. Will you lend me a hand in that task?”
Severus nodded and looked at her in the eye.

“I will.”


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  #12  
Old July 9th, 2011, 12:46 am
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Re: Two introverted souls.

CHAPTER 12:

Bedmates, Friends, Fighters.

Every country had its own building style, at least Russia certainly did. However Snape could not find himself at ease in that place. To start with, because it was a muggle district they were walking, to go on, because of the big concrete towers, too grey, too separated from ones each others. The gardens between them were barely cared for; overgrown grass, and some trees combined with distant bushes were those people’s idea of garden. Well, perhaps the snow that covered it for the most part of the year had a say in its aspect too.

“Don’t show your wand, Severus, this is a muggle area and we are supposed to mix with them.” Katia reminded him.

That was another con for him. After lots of years of long robes he was utterly uncomfortable with muggle jeans and blue shirt. He hadn’t worn a tie since his student times, and the waist length jacket he was wearing on top of that didn’t protect him from the weather, which was turning cold at nearly ten o’clock in the evening.

“It’s too late. Are you sure they will receive us?” Wondered Severus.

Katia walked by his side. Not all was bad about disguising as a muggle, she was wearing jeans as well, and they outlined her figure in a way much more evoking than the sarafans she used to wear. Damn –thought Snape.

“Of course they will, it’s only ten” Certainly it was still daylight but in Great Britain it was an extremely impolite time to arrive to a home. If they wanted to spend the night there, as was the case, that would have granted them a bad welcoming.

“Severus, the people we are meeting are muggles, even though they are aware of the fact that my students have special talents, for their security, I keep them ignorant of what magic really is.” She said with a warning look at him.

“Fine.”

“That means no magic at their home.” Her admonitory stare was more evident now.

“What do they think we are doing, exactly?” Asked Severus, slightly annoyed.

“They know my school hostess kids with special skills. Anastasia, uses her connections as a department of Education worker to search for suitable persons. Many of the children she points me out are people with extremely high intelligence, but no magic at all. However this time all looks like she has discovered a small family of wizards.”

“Will they allow the dog?” Severus pointed at the white dog, trotting unleashed by them.

He had preferred the animal to stay at the school. He still remembered the mischief she had played on him, and judging by the looks she was giving him, she remembered as well.

“Yes, they will. Milkyway is an old friend of the family.” She said smiling tenderly to the *****. “Ah, it’s over there.” She pointed to a tower that looked similar to all the others.

The portal was made of grey stucco, they called for a lifter. When it arrived a middle aged man came out, he was carrying several bottles and smelled to alcohol, he stared at them, but didn’t salute, and passed between the couple, pushing them aside.

“What a rude man!” Protested Severus when they were finally in the lifter.

“He was probably an alcoholic. Did you see those bottles? He most likely collects them and gives to the authorities, he will be given a few money for that, he’ll invest it in something useful, like more alcohol.” Katia explained sadly.

The lifter finally stopped at the seventh floor and they went out. A middle age couple was waiting for them in the doorway of one of the apartments. Blond, and blue eyed, the woman had long hair she wore in a bun. They hugged Katia, and Severus stoically allowed them to hug him too.

“Nastya, Tolya!” Katia shouted, and she started to talk with them in Russian.

Severus entered the house which looked small, without knowing what to do or say. Suddenly she felt a touch in the back. A couple of elders were in the corridor, looking at him with curiosity, further, a young boy stood, watching him too. Katia and the couple were caressing Milkyway and had forgotten him.

Finally they all entered the house, still chatting. The marriage didn’t speak a word of English but smiled at him warmly and, to his surprise, offered them both dinner. Severus was not very hungry, but took a bit. It was strangely flavoured and strong, however it was good overall. When he couldn’t take more, the lady, Anastasia, took the plate from him. He thanked her the best he could. Then, the man, Tolya brought him to the living room and invited him to vodka. Severus, not wanting to be impolite took a bit, but he wasn’t used to such strong spirits and refused the best he could the second glass, his partner looked surprised but Katia appeared and after some chatting he told Severus that they were going to be shown their room.

Severus was considering the fact that she had said ‘room’ in singular, when his suspicious were confirmed. They were led to a chamber at the bottom of the corridor, and left there. The two of them. There was only one battered bed.

“Err… Where’s my room?” Asked Snape, although he knew the answer.

“You see,” she rubbed her hands together, “there is only one room…. I can sleep in the armchair.” She offered.

“No way. We’ll produce another bed with magic.”

“We can’t use magic here. I told you.”

“They won’t notice if we are behind closed door. After all, they must have thought we were a couple if they left us together to share a room.” Severus rose an eyebrow.

“What if they suddenly enter?”

“I bet they know what couple privacy is. Real couples could be… busy.” He said smirking.

“Something tells me the granny will feel… curious” Katia added reluctantly “Well, Nastya told me, actually.” She rolled her eyes. “Plus I put a charm upon the house to prevent accidental magic, it wouldn’t work and it would raise the alarms.”

Severus considered the situation for some minutes, then, he began to undress.

Katia couldn’t believe he was undressing in front of her. She was in one side of the bed, pretending to rummage in her bag, when she was really glancing at him through the corner of her eye. He loosened his tie with one hand and undid the first button of his shirt, she had never seen him so informally dressed, he had slim neck and his Adam’s apple protruded, while he looked inside his bag. After taking something he threw it on the bed and then undid the tie, the rest of the buttons followed; Katia expected to see his chest, but what she saw was his underwear, yellowish, so worn it was. He finished removing his shirt and tie placing them upon a chair, the woman contemplated his skinny but broad shoulders, his sinewy arms. He didn’t remove his undershirt though, instead he started unbuttoning his trousers with those typical masculine movements. Katia panicked a bit; was he going to be in his pants in front of her? But he grabbed the white thing on top of the bed, it was a long cotton nightshirt, he threw it over his head and, once covered he finished removing his trousers and laid them next to the shirt and tie. He looked at her, who had resuming her rummaging in the bag.

“Do you need me to go out of the room so you can change?” His voice was tactful.

“Yes, please.”

Severus went out of the room. He’d better find himself the toilet and wash a bit; not everyday he slept with a woman, even if nothing was supposed to happen. This thought perturbed him, what was he going to do? Katia might have been a friend, but she was also a female.


Katia was embarrassed, she hadn’t thought of the possibility that Anastasia made her sleep with Severus, so she took the most comfortable pyjamas she had. Unfortunately it wasn’t the most elegant, pink and purple, with teddy bears on it. She looked at herself in the mirror and thought she was the least desirable woman in the whole world. Well, it would have to do like that. She called Severus back but he lasted a bit before coming back. When he opened the door, she saw the lovely granny looking at them from the bottom of the corridor with sparkly blue eyes, and a roguish smile. Katia closed the door properly.

“Which side would my Lady like?” asked Severus smirking.

Katia chose the opposite to where he had placed his things. She sat at the border and grabbed the bed covers, Severus was already lying. The woman did the same. A space separated both bodies since they were very near the border. However the odds had another plans, and the old mattress did its job, their bodies slowly slipped towards the centre of the bed. At the same time both moved to regain their places in the borders, but it was useless, slowly but surely they slipped again to the centre.

Severus hoped his demeanor didn’t betray how he felt, because he was really excited, the little remedy of the toilet hadn’t had any effect. Katia’s body, despite the horrible pyjamas, was warm and curvy, he had felt her hips when they touched, and now they were side by side again. He didn’t dare to move a finger, nor did she. He could hear her breath deep and fast, and supposed his sounded the same. There was no way he could sleep in that situation. Images of him surrounding with his arm Katia’s shoulders, turning to her and embracing her, kissing her, removing that damned pyjamas, and doing her lots of things in a most unfriendly way, crossed his mind. Only the white dog slept relaxed in her corner.

But Milkyway wasn’t as relaxed as she looked like, the fine dog’s smell, caught the scent of Severus’ situation, and through her shared mind with her owner informed Katia of the effect her presence had in the man next to her. She had never been so sure of a man’s arousal by her. And she didn’t know what to do.

Severus couldn’t stand the tension, he had to do something, and as usual, his glibness came in his aid.

“Do you think the granny will be disappointed? I mean, if she opens the door she will find a rather boring scene, poor old woman, nothing to gossip about.”

Katia wasn’t expecting him to talk, she jumped in her place.

“Yes, probably.” She said with her mouth dry.

She was so tense it made him even more nervous.

“Maybe we should invite the dog with us, that will add to the picture. If granny opened the door, she would have something to wonder about.”

“It’s strange, she usually jumps to my bed at the first opportunity.”

“Ah, but you taught her well. Don’t go in the bed when I share it with a man. Good girl.”
Katia finally laugh, tense, but laugher all the same. The little shaking of her body made Severus feel warmer.

“Oh, no, that’s not it. The trick consists in leading men to my rooms, for the rest, I am on charge.” She continued the joke, this time her voice was much more relaxed.

This was Severus’ time to laugh, the tension in his muscles went away with it. He was still aroused, but the atmosphere was much more comfortable now. For both. The combination of sexual attraction, and confidence in each other presence earned by years of friendship developed in a rather pleasant situation. Jokes intercalated with the enjoying of the contact of the partner’s body. The evening hours passed lightly until they fell happily asleep.



Loud voices in the middle of the night, Severus felt Katia leave the bed and go to the corridor. Voices were clearer now, through the door. Alarmed, he realized there were new voices, they belonged to men and were commanding. He stood up and started to dress. When he had barely put his trousers he heard a distinctive noise, a half-blood like him knew without doubt that it was shot. He ran to the corridor.

The granny was on the floor, bleeding, the woman hugged her and cried something in Russian, in front of them a soldier aimed at her with his weapon while the husband tried desperately to deviate the weapon barrel from his wife. Severus produced his wand and started healing the elder on the floor. He glanced around for Katia, but he could see her nowhere. In front of him there stood only the terrified kid in the protective arms of his grandfather, who was silently crying as he looked at his wife.

The old lady was nearly healed but no sign of Katia, Severus glanced around asking for her, the man, Tolya, spoke something pointing at the door. Snape left what he was doing and run down the stairs. He was worried about the woman who he had left half-healed, and about the friend he could not prevent from being arrested. It was his fault, always his fault, that people surrounding him were dying.

Desperately, he ran down the stairs, finally he could hear voices before him, going through the entrance door. Severus run as fast as he could, but they were already introducing Katia inside a car. Milkyway was there too, biting and fighting savagely to free her owner.

“Hold on!” He shouted, aiming at one of the soldiers. But he heard another shot before he could curse him and Katia bent over herself and stopped any resistance.

“No!” He slashed the air with is wand. A gash appeared in one of the soldiers and the car glass broke.

“Halt!” Snape heard behind him, the soldier he left back in the flat had come out.

Unconcerned, Severus turned around to disarm him, but the young soldier was faster and hit him with the butt of his rifle. Snape fell to the ground, but still managed to shoot him a stunning spell. Despite the pain he staggered to his feet to go and save Katia, but she had been pushed inside the car and they were now leaving. All he could do was to look at the car get lost in the distance.

“Damn!” He cursed.

He heard a soft whine near him, staring around, he saw Milkyway, lying on the ground, blood flowing from her hind leg. It was her, who had been shot, not Katia. Severus bent over her and started to cure the animal’s wound in a similar way he had done with the old lady minutes ago. The street was empty, except for the drunken man, who, from a distant corner, contemplated the scene while counting money. Where had he got such a big amount of money?

Anastasia and Anatoly came out of the tower, she was holding something in her hand. To Severus’ dismay it was Katia’s wand. They stood there, by their gesture Sape knew the granny was still alive, however they didn’t invite him back to their house. He couldn’t blame them.

Standing on the street, with Milkyway testing her recently restored leg by his side, Severus considered his options. He had to find Katia, she was defenceless, the fastest he found her the best. He hold his wand in the palm of his hand.

“Katia cuspis.” He said. The wand pointed like a compass to a place slightly to the left of the end of the road. He disapparated carrying the Samoyed side-along, and apparated again at the end of the road; where he repeated the incantation. With this method, he followed the car through half of the city. Finally he arrived to an Army headquarters. In a different occasion, Severus would have taken all sort of cautions in order to remain unnoticed, but his concern for Katia, and the fact that those muggles knew perfectly what they were looking for, made him throw away all caution and enter the headquarters at wand point. With Milkyway by his side co cause even more havoc, he entered the building stunning people right and left between screams of panic and commands from the lieutenants. It reminded him of his old days as a Death Eater, only this time he was not causing any permanent damage.


He had finished everybody around when he heard noise in an adjacent room. Severus advanced towards it with his wand high, ready to protect Katia. Then, silence filled the place and the door opened. There stood Yekaterina, with an air of business-like concentration. Severus lowered his wand.

“If this is your idea of ‘good night’ I’m afraid I must disagree.” He said, while contemplating how Milkyway welcomed her owner.

“I couldn’t get free from them.” She explained, ignoring his sarcasm. “They knew very well what they were doing, because they kept me grabbed so that I couldn’t dissaparate, removed my wand, and I couldn’t use my special talents because there were no appropriate wildlife in the surroundings.” Continued Katia, staring around.

“Do you think someone of the family betrayed us?”

“No, I don’t think so, they have suffered too, granny was shot. Plus, I totally trust them. No, they must have been tailing me for sometime.” She crossed her arms, Severus thought she looked quite inoffensive, wearing her pink and purple pyjamas, nobody would believe she had knocked out the three men in the room behind her, on her own and without wand.

“You’d better change and we go back to the school. It is not safe here.”

“We have to find the kids first.”

“Forget about the kids, go to your school, protect yours, and you may have time for unknown kids in another occasion.”

“No way. I have a mission. Otherwise all our efforts would be in vain.” She said stubbornly. “Listen, I know the address, Anastasia gave it to me today. We’ll go there, get the kids and head back to the school.”

Severus thought she was a worthy lieutenant, so adept at commanding she was. Unable to find a consistent reason to stop her, he started oblivating the people around.

“You’d better dress yourself. Why not take that woman’s uniform?” He said, smirking to himself at the irony. Katia, would then be dressing her ideal suit.

Katia eyed him, wearing jeans with undershirt on top was not the most adequate, but with malice, she avoided suggesting him to take a shirt. She enjoyed watching that slim body without all those cloth layers.

When they finally apparated in front of an old institutional building Severus wondered if they would have to fight again. They entered to find a lonely night watchman half asleep; he was confounded by Katia before he could even awake completely.

She spoke in Russian with the man but he just shrugged. Katia insisted, and he showed her a list. She took it from his hand and read the names.

“Fine.” She said. “Third floor, seventh room. They live all together.”

“How many are they?”

“Three.”


Pacing up and down the corridor while Katia talked to the children was boring, and Severus was tired and nervous. He glanced at the three kids from time to time. A teenage girl, another girl, around eleven and a younger boy. The three of them had dark skin and Asian features, Severus supposed they belonged to one of the ancient Siberian tribes. He didn’t know if they would be believe Katia all of a sudden, the revelations she had for them were too amazing, however they certainly liked Milkyway, and that contributed to them following Katia meekly.


Sun was starting to rise when they reached Katia’s school. They had travelled all night apparating and disapparating, with the kids, and both adults were exhausted.


“Good night, Katia.” Severus bid the tired woman as he headed to his room looking forward to a good sleep himself.

“Sweet dreams.” She smiled back.



There was a letter for Severus when he arrived to his room. He instantly recognized Dumbledore’s handwriting. The headmaster wanted to know his impressions on the school, and, reflected Snape, probably wanted to check his teacher was ok. Severus had already formed an answer about Katia’s school, and was glad to see the old wizard’s interest in his wellbeing. However, he allowed himself a little selfishness when he wrote “I have found nothing suspicious until the date, nevertheless I need more time to be completely sure in my evaluations.”


He deserved some holydays, thought Severus smirking to himself, and what better place to spend them than in the friendly and amusing company of Katia?


END OF CHAPTER


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  #13  
Old July 13th, 2011, 2:12 am
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Re: Two introverted souls.

Disclaimer: JKR owns Harry Potter world and characters. Katia is mine though.
Remember English is not my native language so please excuse my grammar mistakes.

Thanks to SadiraSnape for her advice on horses.
Please LEAVE FEEDBACK. They are extremely important to me. Try to give me as much constructive criticism as possible.
Text will be fixed as soon as possible.



CHAPTER 13:

Recruiting:

“Did you have to do it?” Asked Dumbledore sadly, from the door of Snape’s office.
Severus knew perfectly well what the headmaster meant, but he pretended not to understand and continued arranging papers.
“Depriving from his job a man who needed it so much.” Dumbledore continued. “What did he do to you?”
“Nearly killing me is not enough?” Shouted Snape, who could not restrain himself any longer. “Or murder attempts only count when it is your beloved Potter who is in danger?”
“Yesterday night no one attempted to murder you, and what happened when you were sixteen was not Lupin’s fault.”
“Ah, no?”
“No, it wasn’t, he couldn’t avoid it, he is a werewolf, I thought you had understood that.” Answered Dumbledore, tired of this discussion, they have maintained so many times. “On the other hand, a man nearly died because of your actions of yesterday night.”
“A murderer, nearly died, which would have been his fair punishment.” Corrected Snape.
“Didn’t you listen to anything of what was said yesterday? Sirius Black is not a murderer, there was a mistake, and the real murderer is free, it was Peter Pettigrew.”
“I listened to everything, but it happens that explanations came only after I had made my move. On the other hand, even now, it seems highly unlikely, for anyone who met Pettigrew, to think he was able to do all those things. Actually it seems nearly impossible that he had managed even to survive the war.” Snape explained himself.
“It does, indeed,” sighted Dumbledore, “however, people turn to hide the most unsuspected feelings, you are a good example of that.”
Severus straightened his full height, he considered that a low blow.
“Did you come here with some purpose? Or just to scold me?”
“Both, I am afraid. Having dealt with the first issue, let’s turn to the next topic.” Said Dumbledore, transfiguring an armchair from some broken tweezers. “Today morning I have had notice of a prophecy.”
Snape’s expression changed into a very tense one.
“It spoke,” Dumbledore continued, “about a servant who will look for his master to help him rise again. I have reasons to believe it referred to Pettigrew searching for Voldemort.”
Severus twitched when he heard the name but asked:
“What are we going to do?”
“I am glad you are ready for action. There isn’t much we can do here yet. However I think it would be prudent to strengthen our bonds with other magical communities. In case we cannot control the war by ourselves they must be on alert, and they could even lend us some help.”
“Are you thinking in someone in particular?”
“I recently received an offer from a colleague of mine, inviting me to visit Canada, where a convention of different magical personalities. I think it is time to accept.”
“And you want me to… accompany you?”
“Precisely. Maybe we can invite our Russian friend too? After all we agreed to collaborate with her, and this will be an excellent opportunity to show her our good disposition despite the fact that her students are not yet ready for the Triwizard Tournament.”
“You never lose a chance to be diplomatic, don’t you?”
“I never lose a chance to do what is right, there are a lot of people who never lose the opportunity to do what is wrong.” Stated Dumbledore who had rose from his sit and walked towards the door to leave.


Severus was eagerly waiting to meet Katia again. He would have never admit it, however. It was a strange feeling, for him, that warm and expecting sensation he had while waiting for her in the Ontario traslator centre. Finally, he saw the familiar tall silouette, waking towards them in the crowded Hall. She was much more on spot for her clothes, than Severus was, instead of the usual billowing black robes that Snape was wearing, she was in jeans and a blue tight shirt, muggle clothes suited her and she looked less out of place. The plait, though was in its place betraying her Slavic origins. Milkyway walked by her side.
“Hello.” She said loud and clear.
“Hi,” Answered Snape. “You know Albus Dumbledore, don’t you?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Pleased to see you again Ms.Bulanova.” Dumbledore intervened. “You look splendid.”
That made Katia smile even broader. Severus envied the Headmaster’s skill to be liked by people.
“Such a nice dog, it’s a Samoyed, isn’t it? What’s its name?” Dumbledore lowered himself to stroke the animal, who was wagging her tail, and Katia started a dissertation about dogs in general and Samoyed’s in particular.
“Shall, we leave?” Said Severus trying to stick to the schedule.
“Of course,” answered Dumbledore. “Ms. Bulanova, do you know the planning?”
“Not in depth.” She admitted. “I am to understand that we are staying in an old fashion typical pioneers village along with people from other places of the American continent. And there is something about a horse trip to a native American population too.”
“Basically that’s correct.” Answered Dumbledore. While they headed to the next traslator, which would take them to the Pioneer’s Village.

Such a nice place, thought Katia, looking around in the village. All houses where made of wood, with porches under the shadow. Other guests were already there, talking and laughing, or simply admiring the surroundings like Katia did. She followed Severus and Dumbledore towards a yellow painted house which was going to be their place.
“According to this,” said Dumbledore picking up a paper with the timetable on it, “we have a meeting at 11 and meal will be served at one o’clock.”
“At eleven, that’s in half an hour, however it doesn’t seem very interesting, the main topic will be “Regulation of magic in America” I don’t think we have much to say in that.” Commented Severus, looking at the paper too.
“Nevertheless, it would be impolite not to assist.” Argued Katia.
Both men agreed and by lunchtime, they had spent nearly two hours listening to such topics like “Regulation for flights on Condor in the Andes”, the only good thing was that they had opportunity to have a look at the rest of the audience; there seem to be representation from every American country, from Argentineans discussing about the bet Quidditch seeker, to Cubans or north Americans. Katia was a curiosity there due to her nationality, and Severus observed how popular she became among wizards, the natural shyness she displayed while in male company only increased the attention she received.
When lunch was finally over, everybody set for a horse ride to a nearby native American houses.
Severus had been taught to mount by Lucius Malfoy, and used to practice every time he visited their manor, he considered himself an average to good rider. He decided to mount a white horse with a flashy spotted pattern, an Appaloosa mare. Tall, and slim but strong. He chose a British saddle though, he got used to it in Great Britain, and wanted to feel at home there.
While getting out of the barns he searched for Katia, he suddenly heard a gallop behind him, and she was approaching, riding a Mustang stallion, she seemed to be wildly enjoying it.
“Isn’t it too hot blooded for you?” Asked Severus pointing his chin at the horse.
“Don’t worry, I have him under control.” She smiled confidently. “Did you know the breed you are riding comes from the Russian mountains?”
“Bred with Lithuanian horses too.” He whispered, lowering towars her.
“Ok, I won’t play the know-it-all.”
“Let’s go.” He said with a slight smile.
Severus found it more difficult than he had though to lead his mare. She seemed to have a mind on her own; she liked to cross herself in front of other riders, it went too slow no matter how much he hurried it, and then started trotting all of a sudden. Snape was starting to get really angry at the animal, it was making him look like an amateur.
From time to time he had glimpses of Katia, riding effortlessly the fiery Mustang, she was gaining applauses from nearly everybody there.
“Diplomacy is sometimes difficult, isn’t it?” Said Dumbledore’s voice by his side. “Agreeing treatments and informing my American counter parts while riding is not for everyone.”
When Severus turned to look at him he was puzzled. Somehow the old wizard had managed to fit himself into jeans and cowboy shirt, his long beard and hair all over the denim shirt, made him look even taller and slimmer than he was. His back was still held straight, but his hands were those of an old man, perhaps too weakened to stir the Arabian horse he was riding. But Albus handled him quite well.
“Shall we advance? There is a lot of people here, we will be better in the front.”
Snape followed the Hogwarts’ headmaster in jeans to the front lines. The mare might have been waited for that, because he obeyed him dutifully from the moment he allowed her higher speed. Katia soon joined them and the three enjoyed the ride. Until the Indian settlement.
Severus dismounted and went to Katia, where he extended a hand to help her down.
“Thank you!” She said, pleased and surprised at the same time.
“It’s the least I can do.” He said curtly.
He was now very near her, Katia didn’t know what to say. She started walking towards the houses.
“I expected to see a tent, like in western movies.” Commented Katia to break the tension.
“So did I.”
They were in front of a large wooden construction, pretty high and solid. Katia hadn’t been alone with Severus since they have met for this trip, and she was not in a hurry to meet the rest of the people. They wandered around the settlement on their own, enjoying each other’s company. When time to come back arrived, they headed towards the horses and left before any other.
“I challenge you to a race!” Exclaimed Katia when they were in a large plain.
Severus was not competitive, but he couldn’t say no to the proposal, he suddenly felt urged to show his skills. He had managed to handle the mare and knew the Appaloosa was fast.
“Challenge accepted.”
Soon both of them sped across the green landscape, sweating and receiving the wind in the face. Severus looked at Katia through the corner of his eye. Her plait was not around her head, but fell free over her back, and she rode with a natural easiness. He slowly put distance between the two, the Appaloosa demonstrating a big advantage over the Mustang. When it was clear that he had won, he slowed the animal. He wondered how good loser would Katia be.
“You’re good!” She said cleaning the sweat on her forehead with her sleeve. Some hairs had escaped the plait and surrounded her face getting stack at her face. She was red from the effort.
“Not bad eh?” He smiled shyly, Severus was not used to be praised. They continued slowly towards the village. Silence with Katia wasn’t uncomfortable at all, in fact, they enjoyed their mutual company without words. Something inside him awakened. Suddenly he didn’t want to get to the village where they would be forced to join others.

Worst than that; when they arrived they found out a party was awaiting all the guests. Severus had never liked parties, however under Dumbledore’s insistence he attended, dressed as always with his black robes, which he expected wouldn’t be as flashy as Dumbledore’s jeans. Katia arrived soon, with a flowery pink dress which enhanced her waist and had a broad but cast cleavage, her long plait, redone after the riding, descended over her back. Severus was surprised; for some reason, he had never imagined Katia could wear such clothes. Absurd idea, he thought, after all she was a woman just like the rest. It was just that those clothes were so not like hers.
They spent dinner among strange dishes, trying to convince the Americans that Voldemort was a very real treat to the world, which the rest of the people only contemplated with polite interest but not real concern. Commensals however, found Katia extremely interesting, and Severus suspected the fancy dress, and the fact that she tolerated beer after beer without major consequences for her state of mind had a part in it. Snape soon found himself sitting in a corner with Dumbledore and other older wizards and witches debating boring topics and trying not to look sleepy while he watched Katia, at the bar drinking firewhiskey after firewhiskey and dancing one piece after another in company of other people, most of them men.
“Would you like to dance?” A woman asked Snape in one moment of the night. He turned her down without even glancing at her. In certain moment, Katia went toilet, and he used that chance to go and talk to her.
“Being every drunken man’s girl, are you?” He snapped poisonously.
Katia turned around in surprise.
“What are you saying?”
“I am saying that they are having the time of their life with their little Russian pet. Touching and watching. Don’t you have any shame?”
“Touching and watching?” she said raising an eyebrow. “No one touched anything he shouldn’t, and the only one ‘watching’ are you, but you aren’t doing it very well if that’s what you see.” And with that she went back to her table, leaving Severus angry and without knowing if he was taking things too seriously or not.
“You seem troubled.”Whispered Dumbledore when there was a break in conversation.
“Katia is making a fool of herself.” Commented Snape, his arms folded.
“Why? I only see her having great time.”
“She’s allowing them to drunk her.”
“I think she resists alcohol pretty good.” Reasoned Dumbledore.
“They only do it because she is a girl and they want take advantage of her.” Insisted Snape stubbornly.
“I they wanted that, they have plenty of women around, or hadn’t you see there is as much females as males in that group?”
It was true, now that Dumbledore had pointed it, Severus noticed other women, including the one who had asked him to dance. Snape knew the old wizard had caught him off-guard so he tried to leave the conversation in that.
But the headmaster had other ideas in mind.
“You have had eyes only for her during the whole night, Severus.”
Snape, taken by surprise turned to face Dumbledore.
“Of course not! I just… had nothing better to do, as these people are as interested in knowing about Voldemort, as they are in Rita Skeeter’s last gossip.”
In that moment someone spoke to Dumbledore and the conversation was over. Severus waited there for a while, mourning Dumbledore’s words and the incident with Katia. Finally he couldn’t stand it, excused himself and left. He didn’t go to their dorm though, he stayed in the Hall’s porch.
Katia wasn’t enjoying as much as she pretended to be. Her discussion with Severus, although apparently had had no effect on her, let the woman worried. Was she being too loud? Where the men taking advantage on her? And if they were, what’s the problem with that? She was an adult woman after all. She looked around, many women had gone there with their partners, and the ones who hadn’t were already in company. Only she was surrounded by drunken men, who at this stage couldn’t tell the difference between her and an awful mermaid taken out of the waters. Realizing that, and the alcohol that was starting to make effect on her, made Katia depressed. Slowly, with unsteady gait, she walked towards the door.
“Hey, pretty… we haven’t finished yet.” Told her a man with his front shirt dirty from spirits and food. She didn’t turn back and reached the porch. Producing a rocking chair with her wand, she curled on it, and allowed self-compassion to flow from her in tears.
“Are you all right?” Asked Severus voice from the shadows. He hadn’t gone to the dorm.
Katia sat upright, startled. Precisely, the person who she wanted less to meet in that very same moment.
“What are you doing here?” She noticed her voice was thickly from the alcohol.
“The same of you, it seems. I am glad you decided to leave.” He intended to amend from his previous rude comments.
Katia wasn’t perhaps in her best moment, but she wasn’t going to tolerate to be berated any more.
“I’m just taking some minutes to decide which one of the men inside will ‘take advantage’ of me tonight.” Firewhiskey in her veins gave her the value to play smart without any remorse.
Taken aback for the sudden attack, Severus took a breath and advanced towards the porch so that she could see his expression when he scolded her.
“You disappoint me, I who thought you were someone to trust, and you just throw yourself in the arms of the first one who happens to be there.”
“You thought I was someone to trust? And what has that to be with been with someone?” Firewhisky made her immune to his speech.
“I thought you were cleverer.”
“According to you what makes me so ‘not clever’?” She insisted, she wanted hear everything to be able to get fully angry with him.
“The fact that you are behaving like a fool who goes with the first who tells her a couple of nice sounding words.”
“He told me he wasn’t interested in sex at all, only in my company, and that he wanted a relationship with me!” she lied as convincingly as she could. “I wonder how would you call him.”
Snape stretched to his full height.
“A liar.”
Despite of herself, Katia laughed. Had it been true she would have been acting really fool. She looked at him. Severus stared back confused.
“It was a lie, ok?” She explained. “A big fat lie because I was sad and a bit mad at you for what you said me earlier.” She sat in the edge of the porch. “No one proposed me nothing tonight… As always.”
Severus crossed his arms and leant on a post, staring at her. He was so familiar with that sensation. Katia would never guess how often he had felt he was the only one left aside, when he contemplated his friends getting all the girls and himself alone in a corner. Later Lily died and he shut himself in Hogwarts, and let the years pass, remembering he was a man only from time to time, mainly when he was with her. He heard Dumbledore’s words in his mind, ‘you had eyes only for her’. What did the old man know? Lily was dead, and he owed her, he had devoted his life to avenge her and protect her son. Sometimes he was weak and allowed himself determined attitudes towards her… but that was very different from what the headmaster had insinuated. No, they were friends, nothing more.
“Let’s go back to the dorm, Katia. You are drunken and tired; you need to sleep. We both need it.” He said starting to walk back to the yellow house they had being assigned to.
Katia stood up with heavy steps, her arms wrapped around her, it was late at night and she wore only her sundress.
Severus walked silently by her side, witnessing her misery unable to do anything. Finally his desire to comfort was stronger than his reticence and he passed his arm around her shoulders; ‘out of politeness, nothing more’- he told to himself.
The change in Katia was immediate. She stretched herself and half smiled. She felt his hand in her shoulder, it spread through her body a kind of warmth that no firewhiskey could achieve.
Snape had fallen for his own trap, because he couldn’t help but perceive the soft skin of the woman under his fingers, her movements by her side trapped in that ‘friendly’ embrace as he was. He continued walking, matching his step with hers and set aside all of his concerns enjoying the walk towards the dorm.
Dumbledore was already in the living-room of the dorm house, and he couldn’t avoid seeing the couple approaching. It was so obvious what they felt for each other. Why couldn’t Snape acknowledge it? He went to his room and waited discretely until the younger bid good night each other. Then, he knocked in Snape’s room when he knew he wasn’t yet in bed.
“I am glad you have fixed things with Katia.” He said gingerly. “You make such a good couple.”
Severus was nearly offended by the straight approach of the old wizard. His private life was not a matter for the headmaster to discuss anyway.
“We are friends, that’s all.” He snapped.
“And what a gallant and observant friend you are, Severus, helping her dismount today morning, joining her for a walk, and then riding back alone the two of you.” The old wizard enumerated.
“We are very good friends, I told you.” He was speaking really low, now.
“You don’t seem to be such a good friend of mine, since you don’t spend the night staring at me.” Dumbledore retorted humorously.
Severus wasn’t amused at all.
“That is over for me.” He decided to go straight to the point as he saw no other thing would make the headmaster leave his room. “Lily is dead.”
“But you are not. And Katia isn’t either.”
“Katia has better men to care for.” Snape was so unconvinced of that sentence that his voice betrayed it.
“She doesn’t seem to think so. She cares only for you.”
The young man stared at Dumbledore, bewildered.
“Why should she?”
“Why shouldn’t she.” Insisted the old man. “A talented, brave young man who shares so much with her.”
“You surely got it wrong. She doesn’t regard me that way.” He couldn’t believe that, he would have noticed, he was not that obnoxious.
“The only question is how you feel about her.” Dumbledore raised a hand to cut Snape from retorting and continued. “How you really feel, not how you think you should feel.”
The tall figure opened the door to leave.
“But what do I know? I am just an old single man.” Dumbledore’s sad voice spoke Snape’s thoughts.

Severus couldn’t sleep that night. He didn’t manage much sleep in the next nights either until the end of their holidays. Every night he evaluated Katia, comparing her with other women, searching for defects he couldn’t find.She was an outstanding woman no matter how he looked at it. Even her defects, like her lack of tact and her blunt psychology for people were endearing for Snape at late hours of night. Unable to see her defects he tried to find reasons not to be with her. He found only two impairments for their relationship: his own reluctance to let go of the past and the enormous distance that separated them for the most part of the year.

END OF THIS CHAPTER.


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Old July 20th, 2011, 3:26 am
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Re: Two introverted souls.



Disclaimer: HP and its world belong to JKR, not to me. Only Katia is my own.
I am sorry for the delay in this chapter. My life has kept me busy recently. I will update as soon as possible, because the story is slowly approaching its end. I have learnt a lot while writing it, and I hope you are enjoying so far. Please don’t forget to leave REVIEWS.
I love Egypt and I hope I have done the country justice in this chapter. I also like Canada and, although I have never been to Russia itself, I lived near it for 8 months. It is never my intention to give a bad image of any nation.
Remember English is not my native language, so please excuse the possible grammar mistakes. And inform me in reviews of everything you find it suitable to criticise.


The text will be fixed as soon as possible.


CHAPTER 14


Naturally in love.


There were three people in the room that summer night. Albus Dumbledore, Yekaterina Bulanova and Severus Snape. The former was lying in the green covered bed, his eyes closed, exhausted.
“Perhaps you shouldn’t meet the Dark Lord; maybe if you delay your attendance he will forget it for the moment.” Suggested Dubledore unconvinced. “After all you are not a Death Eater yourself.”
“No, I must go, otherwise he will come and search me. If I attend, he may be satisfied with that and don’t pursue me anymore.” Answered Katia. She was sitting next to the big bed. Staring worried at Snape, who had his eyes closed.
“Let him rest, Ms. Bulanova, I had given him an Dreamless sleep potion so he will be Ok until tomorrow.” Dumbledore assured.
“And then, what?”
“Then, a long battle will start, and Harry Potter will have to fight his best in order to defeat the Voldemort once and for all; with the support of us all, of course.” The old man sat, he looked tired. “One Hogwarts student is dead, and the Dark Lord has risen again. This is the worst possible result to the Triwizard Tournament. I shouldn’t have allowed this event.”
“It’s not your fault, Dumbledore, you did what you thought was the best for students all around Europe in times you thought were peaceful.”
“Still I should have known better.” After a minute of silence the old man added. “I have a task for you two, that is, if Severus accepts it too. I hope you have some free days and I will ask you to retrieve an old Potions and Medical treatment. It is very valuable and I don’t want Voldemort to use its knowledge to strengthen his Death Eaters.”
“The Cannon. Written by Ibn Sina or Avicena as he was known in the western countries, during Muslim stance in Spain. It was revised by the best Healers since then and is now in Egypt. I want you two to go there and retrieve it.” Explained the headmaster.
“Let’s wait and hear Severus’ opinion. Meanwhile, you can count on me.”
However, as Katia expected, Severus agreed to search for it when he woke up.


Severus Snape was sweating like he had never done before, the bottle of water next to him was already half empty and it had been bought an hour ago. So much he and Katia needed to drink.
They were in Aswan, in the south of Egypt, and July sun was hitting merciless, no matter they were under the shadow of an acacia with its orange flowers. They were still sweating while they waited to talk with librarian of the city. The street was empty, it was afternoon and the muezzin had just called for prayer. The owners of the multiple shops didn’t even close their business, no one stole there. Now the pocket-sized mummies which wandered around on their own, were walking inside one shop, next to it, some wizard tourists were enjoying a maroon beverage. The scene was so peaceful that what had happened less than a couple of weeks before seemed mostly unreal; the Dark Lord had returned, and with him, the torture sessions, the fear and the pain, the long minutes of being legilimensed in search of a treachery that he had been so adept at hiding until now. He looked at Katia, sitting by his side at close hand of the bottle of water. No one would have guessed this woman had presented herself in front of the greatest dark wizard ever and survived. The pale pink-nude of her long wide skirt and sleeveless shirt gave her an air of tranquillity; she moved and the shell belt that surrounded her waist made a tiny noise. Her head rested on the wall and she checked that the plait which always surrounded it was in its place; she didn’t wear any veil, Muslims were very understanding of other religions and used to see Coptic Christians’ hair.
Finally, a witch surrounded by well combined colourful veils, invited them to pass.
“Hello, Mr. Snape and Ms. Bulanova. Please, sit and take some lemonade.” She said, leading them into the building. Inside it was much cooler, and darker, surrounded by old furniture, made of a dark wood, the high ceilings had charmed fans that delivered a soft breeze while they enjoyed their fresh lemonade.
“Hello, my name is Manzuma, and I am the chief librarian in Aswan. I am to understand you are searching for the Canon of Avicenna?” She inquired.
“Yes, we are. You know in my country a dark wizard is causing trouble, and we need the book to prevent him from taking it and use its information to strengthen his troops. As well of course to avoid an attack towards your country. Albus Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts had provided me with a treatment that assures the book will be back to Egypt as soon as the war is over.” Explained Snape, and he went to search inside his robe for the treatment, only there wasn’t robe, he was wearing his fresher black trousers and a shirt without the cravat, the neck of it opened.
“You don’t need to show me anything, Mr. Snape, I trust you. However I cannot provide you with the Canon as it is not in my power. I have been working here for the last ten years and I know every single book here.” She told them.
Severus and Katia felt disappointed.
“But we asked in Alexadria’s library, our first stop, and their experts told us the Canon had been moved to the inside, to a less famous library in order to protect it better.” Katia assured.
“I know it was moved, I think it was during the Roman invasion of Egypt, but it’s not here. However I will help you. I’ll do my research and I will send you a letter with the actual whereabouts of the Canon. Meanwhile,” she smiled kindly “I suggest you enjoy our wonderful country.” She made a gesture with her hand.
“Will you owl us with the result of your investigations?” Inquired Severus.
“Owl?” Asked Manzuma, bewildered. “We don’t use owls here.” She stood up and went to a nearby room, only to come back within seconds with a Pilgrim Falcon perched on her arm. “Falcons are faster and much more effective here. I’ll send you Horus.” She pointed at the bird.
With that, they were free to explore the country. They didn’t waste time getting bored, Egypt had so much to see.

Before they could even realize it, days passed, among impressive monuments, and they enjoyed their time together between the old stones of Ramses Aswan monument, surrounded by muggle tourists who were too busy with the wonders around them to notice their unusual outfit.
Severus was as avid for knowledge as Katia. He studied the hieroglyphics carefully, and form time to time, she allowed herself to watch him, his hands in his pockets, his shirt, opened in his neck, she contemplated his profile, frowning in concentration while looking at the rocks, the shape of his chest easy to guess under the sweaty shirt.
Little by little they had the pleasure of going up the Nile, sometimes by felucca, others side by side on a flying carpet; they would lay face down, contemplating the quick pass of the countryside under them, and in those situations it was only normal that Severus passed his arm over Katia’s shoulders.
Sooner than they had imagined they found themselves in Cairo after days under the sun had made Snape relegate his black robes to the bottom of his trunk and renewed his wardrobe with a comfortable and fresh short robe or cotton trousers and shirt. Katia, on the other hand, enjoyed every single minute of their time together as if it was the last, getting to love that country more and more every day. And so, in a sunny afternoon they found themselves in the entrance of Cairo’s biggest souvenir market, Khan el Khalili, still tired after their camel rode around the pyramids, they set to search for their hotel.
It was supposed to be located in the depths of the village-sized market. Easily hidden from muggles and tourists. The sellers however were an unforeseen contingence, neither of the teachers had count on Egyptian’s marketing skills. A wooden backgammon, several figures, a jasmine essence flask, a new shirt, a couple of sandals and two long earrings later, they arrived to their destination. A yard with tilled walls gave entrance to a small but cosy guest house. The fountain in the middle of the yard was enchanted to produce, not only water, but music as well. Some people smoked in short chairs lying over comfortable carpets inside the building. It was already evening, and cantles inside brass lamps flew around the place while the landlord led them to their rooms, which were one in front of the other.
“Let’s get ready for dinner. We can meet down and the restaurant.” Katia suggested.
Dressing for dinner took Severus less than fifteen minutes, after those he found himself sitting on a carpet while having a look at small lotus in front of him. It suddenly sprouted revealing a papyrus inside it which contained dinner menu. Severus was still wondering what kind of magic had produced such effect when a movement beside him informed the wizard that Katia had arrived. She was dressing in black gauze from dress to neck, allowing only her hands out, however she didn’t lack in femininity because from her chest up, the gauze had nothing under it so her skin could be guessed through the transparent fabric. The outfit was tight enough to mark her curves and Severus could see she was wearing the newly acquired earrings and the jasmine essence.
“Do you like the menu?” Asked him, passing her the papyrus with a smirk.
“It’s very original.” She agreed. “Fouls with tehina for me, please.” She said to the waiter, when he arrived.
It was easy to keep a pleasant conversation with her, Severus never stopped admiring how simple was to be with Katia, as he was usually clumsy around attractive women.
And Katia was attractive that night, no doubt of it, Snape was fully aware of how the men in nearby tables glanced back at her from time to time. She finally excused herself for toilet as they were having tea. Severus delighted himself in her elegance as she walked away from him.
“Very pretty woman.” Said a man, smoking his hookah on a nearby chair.
“She is, indeed.” Severus surprised himself by answering.
The evening went on its course, and that night, alone in bed, Severus Snape regretted for first time being only a friend to the woman who slept in the room in front of his.

By the next morning, still no owl or falcon had arrived. Both, Severus and Katia were tired, and the former wanted to buy some gemstone in the big market that was Khan el Khalili; so they spent the morning wandering around in the magical part of the market, among enchanted miniature pyramids, more wandering mummies, and flying carpet sellers.
Katia stopped in a perfume shop and bought some kohl, after a few attempts, she managed to apply it to her eyes without dirtying her whole face.
“Do I look Egyptian?” She asked, looking at herself in the mirror, while the seller counted his money happily.
“No.” Answered Severus sincerely. “But you look pretty.” He added when he saw the deception in her face. It was true, the black pigment made her eyes brighter. Or perhaps they had always been like that?
Katia blushed and lowered her eyes. It was easy to tell she was not used to be praised that way. How ironic, - Snape thought- to be a gentleman was so unlike him. My Slytherin friends would probably laugh at it, not to mention Hogwarts staff and students reaction. He felt embarrassed just with the thought.
They continued their walk, Katia truly enjoyed the sellers, to Severus they were mainly annoying.
“You only buy a flying carpet once in your life, Madame.” Was tellining a man to Katia, who looked at the carpet with vague interest.
Severus turned to have a look at a nearby shop.
“You have a beautiful girlfriend.” The shop assistant told him. Snape didn’t bother to explain him the true nature of their relationship. “Buy her something special.” The man continued. Severus was about to turn his back on him when he showed the teacher something that caught his attention: it was a turquoise, carved in the shape of a scarab, Severus immediately imagined it hanging from Katia’s neck. She wanted to get herself a gemstone, why not present her with one?
“How much?” Snape asked, and suddenly he was bargaining heatedly with the seller.
“That turquoise is too small, it’s not worth the money you ask me for.” It was true, the gem was a little small, if he was going to make a gift, he wanted something decent.
“I have bigger ones.” Answered the seller.
“Show me.”
“Ok, Ok, come with me.” The man told him going to the back of his shop. Severus didn’t like to separate from Katia, but he wanted his gift to be a surprise for him so he interrupted her chat with the flying carpet seller to tell her he was going to have a look at something.
“We’ll meet back at the hotel.” He agreed with her.
“All right, Severus.” She promised, distractedly. “How fast can this one fly?” Katia inquired the seller.
Snape left her there and crossed the small room in the back of the gemstone shop. He expected to make the bargain in the back shop, however, he was lead through another door at the back of the shadowy room, and crossed a shiny path under the sun. Then they climbed a narrow stair, and were in the roof of one of the houses, passed a tapestry and were in a house, more doors, tapestries, corridors and shadowy rooms. Severus had totally lost his sense of orientation, the effort to keep the man’s pace and to register where he was, took a toll on him in the form of an incipient headache.
Finally they arrived to what looked like a small factory. There, big turquoises were being carved by different wizards. A cup of tea came flying to him and he took a couple of sips, it was too sweet and extremely hot, it felt like a stone in his stomach. He, then, was shown different turquoises which matched his standards. Bargaining for the price was even more difficult as the men in the factory seemed to enjoy the sport of interrupting him when he was doing so. After a while, they agreed on a price that was slightly higher than what Severus would have called a good bargain, but he wanted that stone and wanted to get to rest in the hotel.
The way back was just as crazy as the previous, and his headache was now double. Katia was not in the place where he had left her, so he headed for the hotel. The midday sun, the noise and the heat, were getting him seriously sick, when he arrived at the guest house Katia wasn’t already there. Severus strode to his room without bothering to shut the door, and had to visit the toilet to vomit his tea. He could barely see when he collapsed on the bed.

Katia was worried, she had distracted herself with the sellers and now it was a bit late for lunch, Severus had English punctuality and she knew he wouldn’t eat without her, she didn’t want to keep him waiting. However, when she arrived to the restaurant he wasn’t there. Surprised, he went to his room. The door was opened, but she knocked anyway.
“Katia…” His voice sounded weak.
“Are you OK.”
“Just… eat without me. I’m not feeling right.”
“Can I enter?”
“Yes…” He hadn’t added any form of politeness, as was usual in him. He might be really bad, Katia worried.
Indeed, he was lying across the bed, his black trousers on the floor, his white cotton shirt opened. Katia looked away from the man wearing only his pants. But seconds later, she stared at him again, wondering why the hell had Severus worn black trousers with that weather. She would have been sick also with so many clothes on.
“How do you feel?” The woman inquired worried.
“I have a terrible headache.” He panted.
“Since when do you have it.” Her knowledge was coming in her aid now.
“A couple of hours ago, when we separated.”
“Severus, we separated four hours ago.” Katia was really worried now. “What else do you feel.”
“I see lights, my sight is also distorted.”
It was suffering a really bad migraine, reflected Katia. She lowered herself to touch his face, it was sweating and feverish.
“Your hand,” he said “ I can’t feel it. My face is numb.”
Remedies for migraine where already forming in Katia’s practical mind. He would need a potion or two, and cold showers with rosemary alcohol to low his temperature. Katia went to her room, and rummaged in her first aid kit to see if she had all she needed. Nearly all was there, and the rest of the ingredients were in Severus’ own first aid kit. She asked for some hot water and boiled the potion in the furthest corner from Snape’s lying from.
Severus turned around in bed constantly under the terrible pain. Katia observed him while the potion was brewing. His pale complexion and his skinny body gave an impression of weakness that Katia knew was false, his iron will usually overpowered what his body lacked. She lost herself in the contemplation of a body she had never seen this way. His legs, long and thin, but straight, had black hair, that considered very manly, so was the small amount of hair on his chest, and – Katia could not look at this directly- the fine line that started in his belly button and descended his belly to get lost under his pants. His chest was moving quickly as he panted, Katia hurried with the potion.
“Here, this will get you better.” She said, helping him to drink it little by little. He was gaping, but behaved as a good patient and with great effort, took it all.
Then, Katia damped a piece of clothe in the rosemary alcohol and started rubbing his body in an attempt to lower its temperature. She was embarrassed, but at the same time she couldn’t avoid being excited for the opportunity to touch the man she loved at her will. Immediately after she realized this thought she felt guilty. Nevertheless, she took the damped clothe and started rubbing Severus’ shoulders with it. He winced, the alcohol was cold. Katia carefully removed his shirt totally only to discover what he evidently had tried to hide even in his pain: the Dark Mark in his left arm. The woman simply covered it with a piece of cloth and continued rubbing his sinewy arms, his veins easily visible through his pale skin in the inside of his forearms. Later she passed the damped clothe through his chest, she cheated herself pretending to grab the cloth loosely when in reality she caressed the man’s bare chest. His skin was soft and she could feel the ribs under it, she felt a sudden outburst of tender love for this weak but strong person. She didn’t dare, however, to caress his belly, specially not where the line of hair went to hide under his pants. His legs, had the same black hairs he had in his chest, not very thik though but Katia found them oddly attractive.
Done this, Katia produced a small bed in a corner to pass the night by him. She woke up from time to time to give him potion, and saw, relieved how he improved along the night. It was nearly morning when she fell in a deep sleep and nearly midday when they both woke up.
Severus, embarrassed for being in his pants in front of a woman, got himself his fresh new robes as soon as he woke. Katia heard him and started turning around in bed until she opened her eyes.
“Sorry, I woke you up.” He apologized.
“You are much better I see.”
“Thanks to you. You didn’t have to sleep by my side.” He stated politely, although it was easy to tell that he was glad she had done so.
“Yesterday you didn’t say that.” She smiled standing to her feet. She had slept with her day clothes on.
Without knowing what to answer Snape collected his trousers from a chair and started to put them back in his trunk. A small package dropped from its pocket. Severus immediately realized what it was. He had to give it to her. It was now or never. He felt suddenly embarrassed; the day before, when he had taken the decision of buying the turquoise, it looked only natural to give her, now it was like asking a hypogriff to dance ballet.
“Erm, this… yesterday, when I got my headache, I was buying something.”
“ah, what did you buy?” Katia asked with interest.
“This.” He showed her the package. “It is for you.” He added simply gazing away from her. It had sounded childish to his ears, but the young woman by his side took it with interest.
When he looked back at her, he saw the delighted shine in her eyes, and blush in her cheeks and he, himself, felt in his chest something he hadn’t felt in years.
“Thank you.” She didn’t know what else to add, but it wasn’t necessary to add anything.
Severus nodded nervous as he hadn’t been for a long time, Suddenly he didn’t know what to do with his long arms.
“Let’s go to eat something.” He muttered.
Down, in the hotel’s restaurant, there was a wizard with a clean white robe. He approached the couple as soon as he saw them.
“Mr. Snape, and Ms. Bulanova?”
“Yes, it’s us.” Answered Katia, still holding the turquoise.
“We need to talk about the Canon.”
END OF THE CHAPTER.


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  #15  
Old July 27th, 2011, 5:09 pm
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Re: Two introverted souls.

Remember English is not my native language so please excuse grammar mistakes.
Feedback will help me improve my story, it will be very much welcomed.


CHAPTER 15:


Aproaching:

“My name is Ahmed Rasheed, I am the curator of the library here in Cairo.” Stated the man in front of them, at the restaurant of their hotel in Cairo.

“Did you find the book?” Snape asked directly.

“Yes.”He answered nodding. “It is not in the library, though.”

“And where is it, then?” Continued Severus. Katia, by his side stared at Mr. Rasheed.

“At my home.” He said curtly. “Or to be more exact, at the home the wizarding authority disposes for the chief curator in Cairo. It is outside the city.”

“And… will we be able to take it?” Inquired Katia, frowning.

“Once I have examined all your accreditations, and filled in all the documents, yes.” The man assured them with a smile.

“When can we arrange the papers?” Snape wanted to settle that as soon as possible.

“Why don’t you come to my home for dinner tonight? What about at eight o’clock?” Mr. Rasheed purposed.

Neither Katia nor Severus could find any reason not to accept, so that night, after resting the whole afternoon, they met Mr. Rasheed in the hotel’s hall, and flooed to his home.

“Welcome to our little house!” Mr. Rasheed exclaimed when they managed to get out of a little chimney in the middle of a field.

“We use this public chimney, we don’t have one at home, it is too hot for chimneys here.” He explained while he introduced them to a wide number of neighbours and family who were going to have dinner with them at his home.

To call it a home was a bit of an understatement. It was more like a little villa adjacent to an oasis. Other villas encircled the oasis too. They had dinner in a balcony, under the stars in the warm night, surrounded by cheerful Egyptians. After the meal, Mr. Rasheed, led them apart to examine their credentials, all of which were satisfactory. Documents where signed in which they compromised to use the Canon for good purposes. Once done this, they were lead to a small chamber; over a table, enveloped in a velvet sac, was an enormous book. When Katia had taken it they could see it was bounded in wood panels, with several layers inside, as if different sheets and even books were added to the original one.

“It has been revised and made additions by nearly every one of the best potioners and healers from Aviccena to our days.” Explained Mr. Rasheed as if he had read Severus’ mind.

“I see.” Said Snape curtly. He couldn’t wait to have a look at the book.

“Thank you very much, Mr.Rasheed. You have our gratitude.” Intervened Katia, who knew of Snape’s tendency to get abstracted in matters he was interested in and forget about social formalities. “We’ll come for the book later, when we leave. Now, perhaps you can show us that magical cactus garden of yours? Your wife told me it is very impressive.”

Mr. Rasheed was immediately pleased and soon they found themselves walking among unbelievable cactus, ones able to change their colours, others could hide their terns to deceive the confident wizard.

“And this one blossoms only in the solstice night.” Was saying Mr. Rasheed, who contemplated fascinated the plant.

“Katia, what are we going to do now?” Asked Severus in low voice. He was more into practical matters.

“What do you mean? We already have the Canon.” She whispered.

“Yes, and that ends our stance here. Do you want to go back to your country or stay here some time. I do not have pressing matters back in Britain right now, however no one knows when will the Dark Lord call me into action.”

Katia hadn’t looked at it that way. It was true, they were having a time of peace at the doors of a war. She wondered about going back to Russia, but quickly disregarded the idea. Severus had put it quite clear: they had all very well tied in their countries and no one was expecting them to come that soon, it would be pointless. So really there was no decision to make.


“I think we ought to stay here for some time, there’s nothing awaiting us in our countries.” She told Severus as they walked back towards the floo network point. He was clutching the Canon in his arms.

“Agree.” He said and walked silently for some minutes as if he was wondering if adding something or not. “I think it would be interesting to visit the Red Sea.” Severus commented finally.

“Yeah, why not?” It was truly the only part of Egypt they hadn’t visited so far.



The morning Sun two days later, found them side by side on a flying carpet, heading towards the Sinai peninsula, they both couldn’t blink at the exotic landscape that extended before their eyes. Not one single straw of grass in their sight, only the pink rock the tall mountains and some cottage from time to time. And then, they were there. A thin line of white houses by the sea where the only buildings. In the back line there were still some camels next to the houses which indicated their shepherding activities, the front houses, however were small guest houses and restaurants. With surprise, Severus realized there were no beach, instead of that, the reef touched the coast.

When they landed they saw it was even more beautiful, wizarding tourists sailed by the seaside in charmed paper ships, sunbathing and enjoying cold drinks. Others, laid on the carpets and cushions of the Arabic style cafes, being refreshed by charmed fans, and small fountains, covered from the sun by charmed palm trees. The small guest house was equally nice, with its white painted walls and its small candles. Katia was absolutely delighted.

“You don’t seem pleased, Severus. What’s wrong?” She turned around in the bedroom watching his expression.

“We asked for two beds, and we were given two beds. But they are in the same room.” He pointed.

It was true, they were big and well separated, but they were still in the same room.

“We have slept in the same bed back in Russia, this won’t be a problem.” Katia stated.

That was correct as well, noticed Severus while leaving the small package with his things on the floor. They had brought with themselves only the most necessary things leaving the rest in Cairo.


Weather was always sunny and snorkelling was one of the main attractions there, neither of them wanted to miss swimming surrounded by colourful fishes. There was only one problem: Katia hadn’t got any swimsuit.

“I didn’t think I would have much chance to swim around the pyramids.” She told Severus as she headed to one of the shops to buy one.

“Well, you will make your debut now.” He smirked.

“Speaking of debuts. I can’t swim.”

Severus stopped to look at her, bewildered. Katia was very athletic, he couldn’t believe there was something as common as swimming she couldn’t do. Even he, raised in a mill town could swim.

“You can’t swim?” He scoffed.

“No, I can’t.” She answered uncomfortable. “Where do you want me to learn, in the icy lakes of Siberia?”

“Ok, Ok.” He repressed a sneer. “I’ll teach you.”

To his surprise she didn’t deny.

“Is it that difficult?” Suddenly she looked anxious.

“No, it isn’t.” Severus stated flatly. “Even I can swim.”

Snape, tried his best to keep his face straight, but he was expectant as they headed towards the shop that contained swimsuits; he wondered how would Katia look in such cloth. He had seen her legs only once, when she had been practicing ballet in their tent, all those years ago. Katia’s face had wrinkled since then, but she was still athletic and he suspected it would be worth watching.

While he waited for her to try different models he imagined the possibilities that teaching her to swim offered. He was picturing her in bikini when Katia finally appeared.

“I have decided myself.” She told him heading towards the seller, to pay. She was holding a swimsuit, not a bikini to Severus’ deception.


Katia was a bit nervous, she had chosen the most discrete swimsuit she could find, a bright blue and green coloured one which didn’t reveal very much of her, however she still felt uncovered, as she walked towards the sea wearing only a loose robe over her swimsuit. She also wondered about the swimming lessons. She was probably going to be held by him, she was delighted and scared at the same time.

“Let’s go over there!” Suggested Katia.

She had pointed at a terrace that was a bit separated from the others. If she was going to look ridiculous trying to swim and embarrassed being touched by Severus, at least she wanted some intimacy.

Katia shyly left her towel and clothes over a deck chair looking askance at Severus. But she was not prepared for what she saw, she was just so worried for her own attire that she hadn’t wondered what would he wear. Severus Snape was by her side, on a swimsuit so small and tight he left nothing for imagination; a speedo she remembered was its name. She felt herself blushing, she could barely look at him. Not only she could see him in bare chest and legs, the speedo outlined every shape of what made him a man and a wild part of her told Katia he was quite manly, actually.

Severus, on the other hand hadn’t given a second thought to his own attire, he just chose something comfortable, he was totally oblivious of the effect his wardrobe choice had on Katia. Actually he was too busy trying to control the effect she had on him, very well aware that the speedo won’t hide anything of his reaction.

“Shall we enter the water?” Purposed Katia, thinking that way she would be less embarrassed.

“Fine.” Severus let her go first, he followed her feasting on her body, she was still firm and her skin had a silky quality.

Charmed mini paper ships allowed them to pass the rocky part of the reef. And jump to the water in the place where they could swim freely. Severus soon realized the high salt level in the water that made it very easy to float. Katia, however was clutching the ship looking tense.

“Come here, Katia, the water is very salty, you won’t have any problem. Just get impulse and move your arms like this.” He showed how.

“Hold me, please.” She didn’t want to say that, but she felt defenceless.

Severus lent her a hand. With this support, which was psychological more than anything, Katia released the ship, which accelerated towards its next user.

Damned Severus, he was holding her hand so lightly, that was not enough support. Thought Katia. And without thinking she just grabbed him by his shoulders, nearly sinking him.

“Calm, calm, I won’t let you drown if that’s what you fear.” He enjoyed the touch of her. She was soft and warm, how long had it been since he had touched something like that? His instincts took the best of him, and he held her with both arms. They were now face to face. Waiting for her to relax, he felt the soft skin of her back and the shape of her waist. Finally her breaths lowered a bit and he put his arms under her horizontal body to help her keep floating, feeling in the process the occasional brush of her breasts on his forearms.

When lunch time came they were both exhausted and happy, from then on physical contact become something common among them. Lending a hand here, touching a shoulder there, letting their bodies touch when they eat side by side. No paradise could have been better.

Well, except for some practical details.

“Even shower water is salty.” complained Snape.

It was true, the water there was brackish as if they weren’t able to free it totally from its salt. Severus beard had been growing day after day, for some reason he didn’t shave himself and now he was scratching his face, clearly uncomfortable, with the salt that accumulated there and the lack of hydration.

“Why don’t you shave?” Asked Katia.

“Because I forgot my shaving stuff back in Cairo.” He grumbled.

He looked different, with the black beard covering his face, and his cheeks red for the Sun, the moody Potions Master had transformed into another tourist dressing light robes. Katia liked this new Severus, that was only for her, she thought while she rummaged in her bag.

“Here. Apply this.” She handed him a spall pot.

“Cream?” He said scornfully. “I don’t use that, it is for women.”

“It is for whoever that needs it.” She stated firmly. And damping her hand in it, she cornered Snape and applied it to his face.

At first he turned his head, but the moment Katia’s hand made contact with his face he relaxed and allowed her to continue. She applied the cream over the beard, causing him to look awfully but surely calming his itching. His face was as bony as it looked and his skin was soft and dry. She abandoned his cheeks and applied cram to his forehead too, and later, to his hooked nose. During all the process he didn’t move, and his relaxed expression told her he was enjoying her touch as much as she was enjoying his. Only when she touched his nose did the man stiffened.

“Better?” Katia’s voice was nearly a whisper.

“Yes… a lot better. Thank you.” His voice was low and broken, it felt like a caress.

They stood in silence for a moment and then they went out. That day, Katia was for first time sure, that she had seduced a man.




Why not? Katia reassured herself a couple of days later. She was alone in their room, Severus had gone for a walk and would meet her later at the restaurant. The woman wondered what dress to wear that evening, she had one she had never used before in front of Severus; a short sundress of red floral print. Something told her it was the appropriate day to use it and her hair, why not? She had always wore it in the plate around her head, today her long hair down her back would complement the dress.
Entertaining herself by applying some touches of the make-up she had bought in Cairo, she contemplated herself in the mirror and thought she didn’t look that bad after all.
Staying alone in a restaurant packed with loving couples was not nice at all. Katia didn’t know where to look, and opted to keep her eyes on her table, hoping for Severus to arrive soon.

Severus approached the restaurant by the sea. There were people sitting at every table, but he saw no trace of Katia. The customers were usually couples, only a table was occupied by a single person, a beautiful girl with long hair. He continued searching for Katia, looking closely at the people, until he focused on the face of the girl with long hair. It was Katia. All he could see of her was her profile, proud and elegant, she was wearing a dress he had never seen before. Without any doubts she was an extraordinary woman. Severus had a look at himself, he had grabbed the most comfortable robe, a cotton white blouse that made him look even paler, his thin legs seemed even clumsier without being covered by fabric. Not to mention his nose and face. Surely people around him would make jokes at his expenses, the ugly man having dinner with the beautiful lady. Brooding all this, he headed towards the table.

“Hi! I am glad you had come. It felt awkward to be alone here.” Katia greeted him.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to keep you waiting.” He mumbled.

“No problem. Here, choose your meal.”

Severus decided quickly, and then, sat there with nothing to do or say. He had never felt that uncomfortable in Katia’s presence, suddenly he was very self-conscious.

“He was nice, don’t you think so?” Stated Katia suddenly.

Severus knew she was meaning the man at the reception of their guest house, a young good looking bloke Snape had hated from the first time he had seen him. He entertained himself by joking with every tourist, specially if they were females, with a natural grace Severus would never dream.

“He just did his job.” He said dismissively.

“He could do it without being so amusing.” Katia insisted. “But he was.”

“He is a jerk.” He cut her off. “A presumptuous.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Because he was.” Severus argued simply.

“Only you regard things that way, the rest of the people around think their jokes were really smart.” She reasoned.

“The rest of the people around me were too busy admiring his looks to really listen to what he was saying.” He replied angrily.

“Have you got any problem with his looks” Inquired Katia, bewildered.

“I do have it with people who wander around shirtless only to show off.”

“He happens to be a sports-man, he told us. They competes in flying carpet racing, he told us before you arrived.” She explained.

“Ah, so that fixes everything, he is a sports-man so he can be a jerk whenever you want and he’ll be forgiven, because he rides a stupid carpet.” Snape retorted viciously.

“What problem have you got with him being a sports-man?”

“My problem is mainly with the people who values popularity over intelligence and hard work.” He snap.

Katia felt offended at this comment.

“I never said I valued popularity and looks over intelligence, I am not that shallow. And by the way, if that’s your case you may be in slight conflict with yourself.” She said the later in the heat of the moment.

“What’s the exact meaning of that?” Severus voice was now a cold whisper.

“It means that you run after the skirts of certain women only because they were pretty and popular.” Katia had kept that very well buried in her soul, but now, it had unexpectedly surfaced.

Severus’ face was livid. At first he thought back of Lily, but then he realized Darlene and perhaps Sherry, fitted the description as well.

“By that you are referring to…” He raised an eyebrow.

“Darlene… and Sherry.” Katia admitted, very stiff.

“That happened many years ago.” Said Severus, stern.

“And yet, you don’t seem to have changed that much.” She pressed the matter, after getting there, she wanted to pull out everything she had been keeping for herself.
He merely raised his eyebrow even more.

“I haven’t heard you praise women’s intellect one single time.” Katia went on. “Tell me Severus, had the reception man been a woman, would she had been a jerk too?” She sneered. “Or would she had been an important person, let’s say like Mia. You do remember Mia, don’t you?” The woman finished aggressively.

“I admit that she would have attracted my attention in certain ways.” Severus acknowledged politely, trying this way for Katia to calm. She was grabbing the knife so tightly she looked as if she was going to stab him with it.

“I see.” There was victory and disappointment in equal parts in her voice.

Severus couldn’t let things go on like that, he didn’t want to be the defeated part.

“Tell me, Katia; given the choice between a problematic teenage with great intellect and inventive but few friends and income and a rich, Quidditch star who is the popular guy in the class; who would have you chosen?” Severus had said it. The choice between him and Potter. It had been in the back of his head for nearly all his life, since Lily chose James over him. Subconsciously he had always feared that Katia might prefer a better looking, most popular guy over him. In a way, he was scared of advance further in his relationship with her, he couldn’t stand being let down again.

Katia was furious, utterly furious.

“The Quidditch star, of course!” She nearly shouted.

Severus opened his mouth but said nothing. He was deadly pale, and his eyes were cold, staring distantly at her. He nodded to himself imperceptibly. When he took his fork to resume eating, his hand was trembling with rage.

The rest of the dinner passed in icy silence. They didn’t eat much anyway, and soon they retreated to their room in silence.

Katia was walking before Severus, very straight her back to make clear how proud of herself she was. Inside she was burning with a lot of feelings and she only wanted to be alone to clarify them.

Severus was too busy with his self-depreciation to pay attention at Katia’s attitude.
Without words they climbed the stairs to their room.

Suddenly Katia twisted her leg and fell forwards.

“Are you OK?” Severus inquired, coldly.

“More or less.” Her voice was broken. She stood again and continued walking.

But it was obvious that she wasn’t OK. Katia didn’t complain for nothing and now she could barely walk. Grudgingly, she accepted his help, and so they entered the room and turned the candles on.

Katia was bleeding on one ankle, but it was the other leg she couldn’t lean on.
“How did you manage to injure both legs?” Asked Severus frowning.

“I … twisted one foot, and fell forwards… and hit the other ankle on the corner of the step.” She walked towards the bathroom, the blood was quite a lot and was dripping on the floor.

Severus observed how she reached for her wand with trembling hands. It was in her handbag and it was difficult to get. The blood was abundant and she gesture denoted pain.

“Want me to help you?” He asked tentatively.

“Yes, please.”

He kneeled in front of her, wand in hand. From that position she could look at her legs, they were gorgeous, and the dress and gone up and revealed more of them. Not only that, but he could also guess the space between them. Unwillingly, he started to arouse. Severus didn’t like it. He didn’t like been shown what he knew it wouldn’t be his, it was cruel, he thought.

He started with the healing charms. First of all he cleaned the zone with a damp towel. He held her leg in the right angle, her skin was soft, and recently tanned by the Sun.
Katia stared at the man knelling in front of her. His hands had started to tremble. She looked at him closer, his eyes were low, but from time to time he glanced at the shadowy spot between her legs, hidden by her dress. So it was that, he was uncomfortable in front of her because she was a woman. That contradicted his words at the restaurant. She didn’t know what to think. Suddenly a long buried instinct told her what to do: she separated her legs some centimetres. The result was immediate, Severus sighed, and looked even more nervous, his hands started shaking badly. He was vulnerable in that moment, so different from the incisive man moments ago. Despite the pain Katia could appreciate his soft touch.

“Thank you.” She said softly.

Severus eyed her. There was a painful expression in her eyes, mixed with curiosity. He undid the knot that had formed in his throat before answering.

“Don’t mention.”

They stood there in silence for some moments, without doing anything. Then he stood up.

“I can’t do anything for your other leg, you just need to rest.” He stated flatly.

“Understood.”

Katia tried to stand, it was difficult, her injured foot still ached.

“Here, lean on me.” He offered.

She passed her arm around his shoulders; recently they had got used to touch each other, nevertheless, she was still surprised by how bony he was, bony but strong on his own way. They reached her bed, the tension of their row had been replaced by a different one. They were now a man and a woman alone in a room, wanting the other to heal their injures.

By the bed they stopped, very near side by side. They gazed at each other. For no reason Katia smiled at him, warmly. Severus knew without thinking or reasoning it was his chance. He had to do something, to advance. But what? He was slightly behind her. Perhaps kiss her neck?
Katia wanted him to act; on impulse she let her strap fall from her shoulder.
He laid his hand on her arm, softly touching her, up to her shoulder, grabbing the strap and replacing it. It was more like a caress. Her skin was slightly reddened from the Sun. He wanted to kiss it, lick it. He leant forward…

“Auch!” Katia screamed grasping her foot. Inadvertently she had put all her weight in that foot, and it had complained.

“Are… are you OK.” Severus asked, confused.

“Yes, it’s this damned foot.” She sat on the bed and stared at him apologetically.

“I’m sorry.” She said simply. They both know what she was talking about.

“Just rest.” There was understanding in his eyes when he said it.

Without more, they went bed. None of them slept very well that night, however it was not their argument what prevented them to do so.


When morning came it found Katia, turning around and around in bed. She hadn’t have a good night.

“My foot has been aching. I can’t go swimming or any place today.” She told Severus. “You will have to go on your own.”

“Wait here.” He answered simply. He left, but came half an hour later. He was carrying a try, with breakfast for two, and some potion’s ingredients to calm her pain.

They spent the rest of their few days that way. They were starting to be aware of each others’ feelings, and of what nearly happened the night they had argued. Both strongly suspected the answer they had given at the restaurant was not what really laid in the bottom their hearts. They could have accelerated the process probably, but it was so nice this new intimacy, the confidence in themselves and the partner. They felt at ease as they hadn’t felt in years.

Nothing lasts forever. Time to go back to Cairo, and to their countries arrived. They were now standing in the crowed traslator Hall.

“Promise me you will find a way for us to meet. I don’t want to say goodbye to you and not to see you till the next year.” Katia told him facing Severus.

“Promised.” He meant it.

She leant forwards, and slowly, kissed him on his cheek. To her surprise, he kissed her back, surrounding her with his arm.

“See you soon, Katia.”

“See you.”

END OF THE CHAPTER.

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  #16  
Old July 30th, 2011, 1:18 am
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
Third Year
 
Joined: 3073 days
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Age: 35
Posts: 397
Re: Two introverted souls.

This chapter contains a plot twist. I hope you like it and please LEAVE ME FEEDBACK. I want to know your opinions in the matter.
I wanted to write Katia as a multi dimensional character with an storyline on her own, not a damsel in distress waiting for her man to come and rescue her. She has power to decide and to seek her own happiness.
I would like to hear your opinions about my writing of Sirius and the new twist.

CHAPTER 16.

The Lord of number 12, Grimmauld place.


The snowy owl approached Katia’s window, she opened it and the bird landed on a perch. She quickly undid the knot on its leg, eager to read news from Severus. It had been only a week since they departed, but she had made her goal to keep in contact with him. Indeed, he was well and at Hogwarts, the Dark Lord hadn’t made a move yet. Katia was relieved. It was then when she noticed the other letter. She did not know the elegant handwriting. With curiosity she opened it.
“Dear Ms. Bulanova:
I, Albus P.W. B. Dumbledore, would like to invite you to celebrate Harry Potter’s birthday with us at Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. If you will attend, please kindly send me the response at the back of this owl.
Best regards:
A.P.W.B.D”
It took Katia only a second to understand that the headmaster was requiring her to join forces with him in order to stop the Dark Lord. Whether to go or not was not even in question. She gave food and water to the owl and let her to rest while she arranged things with her staff to be able to leave her school for an unknown period of time.

It was late already night when she walked out of the fireplace in Dumbledore’s office at Hogwarts followed, this time by Milkyway, her white Samoyed with whom she had the power of sharing her thoughts. She had decided on that hour because she wanted to meet the headmaster alone. She hoped for the man not to take it as a sign of rudeness.
“Ah! Ms. Bulanova!” The old man exclaimed, looking at her from behind some papers. “Welcome.” His words sounded sincere and Katia was relieved he didn’t consider her impolite.
“Hello, Mr. Dumbledore, sorry for arriving this late, I just thought this way there would be less chance being interrupted by anybody.” She explained herself.
“Very good idea. However, this time I had planned you to meet other people. That is, if you agree, of course.” Dumbledore told her.
“Other people?” Katia repeated with suspicion.
“A selected group of people who work close with me to defeat Lord Voldemort – oh, don’t tell me you are scared of the name- they are called the Order of the Phoenix. Severus belongs to it too.” He informed her.
“I suppose there is no point in saying ‘no’. If I came here it means I want to help.”
“I’m glad to hear that. We will meet tomorrow at lunchtime at the headquarters, you will come with me. Till then, I’ll provide you with a bedroom.” He stood and headed to the door.
They walked in silence through the lonely corridors, Milkyway smelled everything, and by sharing her smell, Katia knew there were barely inhabitants at the castle.
“Sadly Severus is not here today, but you will see him at the Order sooner or later.” Dumbledore told her as if he had read her mind, when they stopped in front of a door.
“All right. Just tell him I have arrived. Good night, headmaster.”
“Good night.” He smiled back.

Katia felt unsure, as she followed Dumbledore out of the fireplace into a dark room. There were other people in the place, sitting or standing around a living-room table.
“Hello, Dumbledore.” Said a short red-haired woman. Then she spotted Katia. “And she is…” The woman narrowed her eyes with suspicion.
“Hello, Molly. This is another collaborator of ours, I introduce you Yekaterina Bulanova.” He moved aside to let everyone have a look at her.
Katia, embarrassed, looked down and caressed Milkyway’s head, the female dog had come with her and her senses were informing her there was food being cooked some floors down.
The red-haired woman advanced and shook her hand, now she was smiling warmly.
“Hello dear, and welcome. I am Molly Weasley.”
Katia introduced herself and smiled as kindly as she could. After Molly, a whole lot of people approached the Russian to introduce themselves. Katia could only remember a few of them, although she relied on Milkyway’s senses to be able to recognize them all in the future. The dog was quite popular as well, being petted by some of the Order members. Particularly a couple of men in a corner were very fond of the dog. Katia approached them.
One was sitting, he stood up. He had a nice smile and bright eyes, despite his old appearance with lots of white hairs in his head.
“Remus Lupin.” He said outstretching his hand. “Pleased to meet you.”
The name ringed a bell in Katia’s mind, but she couldn’t pinpoint it. Perhaps, because she was distracted by what Milkyway was feeling: a distinctive wolfish scent.
Now the other man came to her. Tall, with long black hair, he looked proud, even arrogant, despite his gaunt face.
“Sirius Black.” This time Katia could finally trace the familiar feeling; she had heard those names before, from Severus’ mouth. Those where the guys, along with James Potter, who made his life a living hell while at school.
She didn’t want to shake hands with such a man, but on the other hand she didn’t know what else to do. Katia hadn’t anything personal against Sirius Black herself. Hesitantly, she outstretched her own hand.
Black had noticed her hesitancy and was now looking at her with curiosity.
“So, how did you know about Dumbledore and what we do here? You come from very far away.” He wanted to know.
“I met Dumbledore long time ago.” She answered evasively.
“How did you meet him?” He leant on the table, taking a comfortable position, decided apparently to satisfy his curiosity.
“I am an ex-collaborator of the Dark Lord.” Katia told him briefly, and advanced to Dumbledore’s side.
The meeting started and they talked about Voldemort’s plans, about guarding something in the Ministry of Magic, and others. When it was over, they had lunch and Katia had the opportunity to meet other Order members, like the ex-Auror Mad-eye Moody, or Mr. Weasley. They were a nice group, so different from the Death Eaters. Here no one tried to gain Dumbledore’s favour, on the contrary, they all worked together to achieve one single goal.
However, Katia avoided mentioning that her initial connection with Dumbledore was Snape. She wanted to know more about them before giving too much information on herself, she also wanted to see Severus in this new environment. Plus there were those two; Lupin and Black, they stayed in a corner of the table, often speaking among them, as the old friends Katia knew they were. She remembered more information on them now. Severus had told her Lupin lacked in backbone, he was a werewolf, and let himself be covered by Black and Potter, never facing them. The other, Black, was an arrogant man who entertained himself by making everyone around miserable, always strutting around, showing off of his money and looks. Those had been Severus’ words.
Katia observed them now: Lupin had an easy smile, warm and kind, and judging by the interest the people around him put in his conversation, he must be brilliant at it. Black was tall and slim, and carried himself with a natural easy grace, but she still couldn’t appreciate his good looks, he was gaunter than Severus, and his clothes, were untidy and scruffy. His eyes, on the other hand were alert, and he whole man had a vivacious air. Milkyway didn’t separate from his side, she liked him, and Katia knew, the dog normally appreciated things human were blind too. The animal was now talking to her master of loyalty and friendship.

When the meal was over Dumbledore took Katia apart.
“Dear, I strongly recommend you to reside here for the time of your stance in England. It is not that I don’t welcome you at Hogwarts, please don’t misunderstand me. But you will be safer here Hogwarts is a public place after all, and someone loyal to Voldemort can spot you there. This house, on the other hand, is private, and has been given all the possible protection. You will be safe and comfortable here.” He had told her.
After that Katia had no other option than to stay at the house, the number 12 of Grimmauld Place.
She wasn’t alone though, after unpacking, and going down to explore the house, she discovered Sirius Black sitting alone in the living-room.
“What are you doing here?”She snapped.
“Resting.” He answered as if it was obvious. He had a book in his hand but he was not paying much attention to it.
“You are also staying at the house?” She inquired.
“This is my house.” He said after a minute of surprise.
“Your house?”
“Yes, Ms. Bulanova.” Sirius smiled at her surprise. “You are my guest, so are the rest of the Order members.”
Katia just stared in silence.
“Not very pleased as I see.” He guessed.
“Just surprised.” She tried to excuse herself. “This house looks as it hasn’t been inhabited for long.”
“Yes, for as long as I was in Azkaban or in the run.” The man explained briskly.
“You have been in Azkaban…” Katia repeated.
“Come! Sit here, let’s chat like host and guest.” He pulled off a chair for her and straightened himself in his.
Not wanting to be rude, she acceded, although she was feeling embarrassed, having to converse this way with an utter unknown, Severus enemy on top of that.
“Yes, I have been to Azkaban. Sentence to life condemn for betraying my best friend and killing twelve muggles. A crime I didn’t commit.” Bitterness leaked in every word. “I would have rather die than betray James!” He rose his voice, staring at the ceiling and leaning back in his chair again.
“What James is that you were accused of betraying?” She felt curious for the temperamental man.
“James Potter, of course. Harry’s father, he was more than a brother to me.” He spoke flatly and sincerely.
“So that’s why you protect Harry.” Katia wanted to know more.
“Harry is my Godson. I escape Azkaban to protect him. As soon as I clean my name I will have him living with me.” His voice had turned dreamy now.
“You seem to believe in my innocence, otherwise you wouldn’t be that relaxed.” He observed.
“Unfortunately the Ministry is not that easy to convince.” He tossed his hair away from his face. It was black and shiny, Katia could obserb he was clean despite his scruffy look.
He stared at her, like evaluating the person in front of him. He also glanced at Milkyway, resting on the floor by Katia’s side.
“But stop talking about me. What about I serve us some firewhiskey and you tell me how a Russian teacher working for Voldemort met Dumbledore?” He said vivaciously.
Katia had to admit she liked his straightforward attitude, and she liked firewhiskey even more.
“All right, then.” She conceded needlessly, for he was already pouring the liquid in two glasses.
“I met Dumbledore through Severus Snape. We are friends.” She said abruptly watching him for his reaction. He stopped pouring the firewhiskey deadly.
“Snape is a ****.” He stated as if he was telling a universal truth.
“No he isn’t.” Katia was stern now. “He is a great man.”
“The only thing Snivellus is great at, is sneaking behind the skirts of powerful people trying to cause trouble to his fellows. That, and introducing his overlong nose in Dark Arts.”Sirius assured her.
“Maybe the opinion of the person who tried to have him killed at age sixteen is not the most impartial one.” Katia confronted him.
“He told you that, eh?” He nodded, more to himself. “Look, I was an arrogant brat when young. But that does not make Snape innocent at all, OK?”
Katia was surprised by his comment, she had expected him to defend the right in his action.
“What did he do to deserve that?” She wanted to know.
“If you know the incident, you may know as well, Remus is a werewolf. He has no job, he lives in poverty because of his condition. Snape used to follow us around, trying to get us expelled, to get people to know of Remus condition. Ultimately he managed it, Remus lost his job as a DADA teacher in Hogwarts two years ago, because Snape leaked his condition.” Sirius waited for the revelation to make impact. “But you still defend him.” He took a sip of his drink.
Katia meditated for some minutes. She knew Severus could be mean at times.
“Still, that doesn’t justify persecuting a child from the very same moment he set foot at school, only because he is in Slytherin, and because you don’t like him.”
“We lacked maturity or knowledge, I admit it.” He said in grave voice.
Katia wanted to be angry with that man, but she couldn’t. Not when he admitted his mistakes and his guilt. She decided to change the topic.
“Have you seen him lately? We were together in Egypt two weeks ago, then I came here on Dumbldore’s orders, but he is not around.”
“I see him from time to time. They are guarding a door at the Ministry, you heard of it in the meeting.” He answered vaguely.
“And you never coincide with him in your guards?” Katia inquired.
This time Black laughed, a sarcastic laugher full of bitterness.
“I don’t make guards. I am on the run, remember? So if I got caught, I will have two enemies, Death Eaters and Ministry people alike.” He finished his firewhiskey and served himself another one. “No, I stay here, and welcome people to my house.”
“Eventually you will clean your name.” Katia said empathetically, she felt sorry for the man.
“Eventually I will get old while waiting.” He retorted, but smiled after some seconds.
The conversation drifted to other matters, and Sirius found himself telling Katia funny stories about his family. She was surprised to know Bellatrix and Narcissa were close relatives of him, and even more surprised when she knew of the mischievousness his cousin Andromeda and he played on the two arrogant Black sisters. Katia, on turn, shared with him some of her and her brother’s childhood adventures.
Time passed, and before Katia knew, it was late at night, both were yawning, and a bit drunken.
“Good night, Russian lady.” Black told her with a sparkle in his hypnotic eyes.
“Good night, Mr. Black.”
“Call me Sirius. Seriusly.” He laughed all the way to his room. Staggering along the corridor.
Katia was still laughing when she closed her door.

Next morning, the sound of Milkyway scratching the door woke Katia up.
“Let’s go with Black.”The dog told her. Milkyway was easy to conquer, although, to tell the truth, she rarely misjudged a person.

“Good morning.” Sirius smiled groggily at her in the kitchen. He was giving instructions to an old house elf. “This is Kreacher, the family house elf. He will obey your commands, won’t you Kreacher?” He told the elf threateningly.
“As long as she is better than my Master, which she doesn’t look like.” Was the elf reply. Katia thought they made a strange couple.
“By the way; I have something for you. I’ll show you after breakfast.” He said.
Katia thought it would be uncomfortable to eat with someone looking at her, because he had already eaten by the time she arrived, but Sirius filled the silence with smart comments here and there.
After the meal, she followed him towards the upper floors, where he led her into an old but luxurious chamber. On the bed there were a lot of ornamented dresses.
“My mother’s clothes. Kreacher was treasuring them, I discovered and thought you could make better use of those dresses.” Sirius said, pointing with his chin at the clothes spread across the bed.
Kreacher, was babbling something under his breath, however Katia didn’t pay attention to it. The dresses where amazing, old fashion, but very elegant. She was not vane, nevertheless, she was able to admire a good piece when she saw it.
“They are wonderful, but I can’t accept them, sorry, Sirius, they were your mother’s, they are very expensive.” It was true, she wanted them, but it was not Ok to accept.
“My mother is dead, I am her only heir and I don’t like crossdressing. Why wouldn’t you accept? They are your size. It is you or the waste bin they will end up.” He had crossed his arms over his chest and was now contemplating the dresses.
“I have plenty of clothes…” Katia protested a bit more.
“Do you mean those sacs you wear? The ones which blind you with their colours?” By the tone of his voice it was easy to tell he was joking, teasing her.
“They are traditional in my country.” She answered simply.
“And in mine they should be in a museum.” He cut her across. “Come on, a woman should be able to wear clothes that highlight her figure.” Sirius was smiling broadly at her. For first time, Katia realized why Severus was all the time mentioning Sirius’ looks. Despite the years in Azkaban, he was still handsome.
With an air of imprudence she accepted the present.

Katia spent great part of the day having a look at their dresses and fixing them when necessary. After lunch, she sat in the living-room with Sirius, each one absorbed in his own book. At dinner time, she wanted to wear one of the dresses and at the same time show Sirius appreciation for his present so she wore one of the dresses. It was one of the simplest, and yet it was still luxurious, with corset and a wide skirt, it remind her of the ones Bellatrix used to wear.
Sirius saw her come, he was already in the kitchen. He smiled and stood up to welcome her. Katia did not expect such a welcome, suddenly she felt embarrassed.
“I appreciate a change in you. A change for the best.”
“Thank you for the dresses, Sirius.” Katia answered, blushing.
He noted her embarrassment and soon commented something about Kreacher skills at cooking and joked with Milkyway. Nevertheless, Katia found it hard to relax, and swallowed the food with difficulty; the Samoyed’s sharp senses informed her that her attire had produced a change in the man. A man, Katia realized now, who had been deprived of a woman for fourteen years. Now she understood she shoudn’t have accepted the dresses.
After dinner she wanted to hurry to her room, change her clothes and not use them in front of Sirius ever. However, after dinner it was clear that he needed her company.
“Err… it’s so boring, here, with only Kreacher’s company. I don’t want to impose my company upon you but… I would really appreciate yours.” He had said, staring at the floor.
“Of course, it will be a pleasure.”
And he had smiled in gratitude. While she was telling about hers and Snape’s adventures in Egypt an idea started to form in Katia’s mind. It wasn’t until late at night that she had time to reflect about it.
She was starting to understand that Sirius and Severus were like odd images on a mirror. They had so many things in common, and yet they were so very different. How strange, life was, that those very equal people were able to hurt each other so much.

END OF THE CHAPTER.

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what will happen from now on. What are Sirius' true feelings? does he really care for Katia? And Katia's feelings? What will Severus do when he finds out? More in the next chapter. DON'T FORGET THE FEEDBACK


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Old August 9th, 2011, 10:58 pm
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sekhmetlion  Female.gif sekhmetlion is offline
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Re: Two introverted souls.

.English is not my native language, but not only that. This time I am abroad and I couldn't use the google grammar revision, so probably my grammar and ortographyc mistakes would be more than usual. I apologize in advance.

Thanks to Elliot Anne, Fanny, Toby and Lemondropswoolsocks for their reviews, they spoiled me to write this chapter sooner.

KATIA'S DILEMA:

Milkyway was scratching the door again. Katia woke up, the second day at number 12 Grimmauld Place. She walked towards the door and opened it: another dog jumped at her. A Black dog with long hair and light eyes. Katia, however, didn't let it fool her, the Samoyed's senses were telling her the animal had Sirius' Black's scent.

"I know how to distinguish an animagus."
The black dog transfigured back into a person by the name of Black.
"This was one of my best. The whole ministry didn't figure this out." He said with admiration.
"Well, I had some help." Katia admited. "Severus told me about your greatest achievements at school."
"'Severus'" he imitated her accent, "seems to have told you many things."
"He did; we have had plenty of time to chat." By the way, she added. "Have you had any notice of his whereabouts?"
"Luckily I don't." He said looking at the ceiling.
"Luckily?" Said Katia bewildered.
"If I knew and he had come alone we would be arguing by this time." He told her as if it was the most normal thing. "Besides, he doesn't report to me, I only let my house be used, remember? He reports to Dumbledore; when we have news it will be through him."
"I hope we have news soon." She reflected aloud. "I don't like being here without doing nothing." And she thought she heard Sirius muttering something like "You're not the only one."

They didn't have to wait a lot though, after getting bored half of the morning they received a brief visit from Dumbledore. He asked her to relieve Severus at watching that something at the Ministry.
"It's a prophecy the one that will give Voldemort clues about how to destroy Harry Potter. You will wear an invisivility cloak, your mission is not to allow anybody in. No matter what he or she tells you." The old wizard instucted her.

She had already one foot in the fireplace acompanied by Milkyway when she heard a voice behind her.
"Katia... take care... and forgive me for not being there fighting myself." It was Sirius. He was staring at the floor, embarassed.
"You are here only because you are on the run, Sirius, not because you lack bravery." Dumbledore reminded him.
"As if that solved something." The young wizard retorted.
"Thank you." Said Katia simply. "I'll take care."
The guard however was pretty boring, the worst enemy Katia had to defeat was sleep and boredom. After a complete night, she went back to Grimmauld Place.

Sirius was still moody although this time she had someone to vent his moodines with: Remus Lupin was there.
"I am the next in charge, after Tonks, who is guarding right now." He explained Katia.
"I haven't had any complications." She said.
"But you could have had. Death Eaters are tought, so are some of the Aurors, and you are just an autodidact teacher." Sirius seemed truly worried, but Katia felt slightly understimated.
"You make it sound as if I was half illiterate." The woman protested.
"It's not that. I only mean that you need to be top fighter to achieve these missions, no matter how easy they look like." It was close to an apologize.
"What's makes you think I am not a top fighter?"
"You are too warm hearted." Sirius stated, very sure of himself. Even Lupin was bewildered by his attitude.
"If we had a place to duel I would challenge you. Just as a sport." Katia sneered.
"You can duel wherever you want. I don't think Sirius is very worried about the furniture." Lupin interjected.
"I am certainly not worried." Sirius was already brandishing his wand. "Ready?"
Katia looked at Lupin, who seemed to be the most mature of the pair.
"Sirius needs some action." The werewolf encouraged her. Katia had the impression that Lupin understood Sirius very well and knew how to give him exactly what he needed.
After the ritual bowings and votes, the duel started. To Sirius surprise Katia won the first match easily. In the second one Sirius fought harder, but eventually lose. After losing for third time he throw himself on an armchair and panting he admited she was better duelist, than he was.
"I was even able to win Severus." She confided them as modestly as she could.
"You dueled with Severus?" Asked Lupin in surprise.
"Oh, yes, they are very good friends, Snape and her." Said Sirius scornfully.
Lupin raised an eyebrow without knowing very well what to say.
"We have been friends for long time. Since his years as a Death Eater." Katia explained. She didn't like the way Sirius made the word 'friends' sound.
"Katia;" Sirius spoke, suddenly stern."I respect good rivals and you are one of them. You have my respect." He stood and shook her hand. "I just don't approve on Snape." He added.

Time until dinner passed quickly and easlily, Remus as as pleasant conversator as Sirius, although with different personalities. Katia enjoyed her time with them. After dinner Lupin departed for his mission. Katia could tell Sirius was worried for his friend, but didnn't say nothing, probably not to injure Lupin's proud. Such good friends they were. Once in bed, Katia reflected re-living the best moments, specially those in which Sirius praised her and her skills. She wanted to be appreciated by a man she had came to appreciate as well.

Next morning Katia started to wonder if Severus was informed of her stance there. When she asked Sirius told her he didn┤t know and she would have to ask Dumbledore.

Milkyway was as restless as Katia herself, and Sirius was always restless. They joked, they drunk, but couldn┤t get rid of the boredom. They even tried to listen to music. It was then when it happened. They danced together. At the begining, Sirius and her were just pacing around or sitting for some minutes, later the music became more lively and he started dancing crazily and laughing, later the music went slower and they grabbed their hands, without knowing how Katia found herself dancing with Sirius Black. He was taller than she, and that was a big change for her as usually men were her stature at best. He was a good dancer, she felt herself being led gently but firmly, suddenly she was very aware of her whole body. The song finished but they continued dancing the next one, little by little they approached their bodies, and now Katia could Sirius┤ breath on her hair, he was breathing heavily. His hand on her back slowly moved up and down, caressing her. She didn┤t know what to do; on one side she liked it, on the other she was suppossed to love Severus.. Confused, Katia just let time pass, dancing stiffly. Finally they separated. There was a strange look in Sirius eyes when they did, between tender and sad.

He sighed. Katia looked at him.

"I didn't know you could get a muggle radio station in a Magical house." Said Katia to break the tension.

"This is not a muggle radio station, it is magical. Only it specialices in muggle music." His voice was still sad.

"ah, Severus didn't tell me there was such a thing in UK. Probably he doesn't care either, when he wants muggle music he just uses a muggle wireless." She commented.

"Severus is everywhere for you, isn't he?" Sirius spoke without any accusation.

"eh?" Katia had been taken off guard.

Sirius smiled at her reaction.

"You fancy him, don't you?"

"No, why do you say that?" Katia said childlishly.

"It is obvious. So obvious. How you mention him every two sentences. How you worry for him. Hoy you trust and defend him."

"Hm." Katia opened her mouth to protest, but even she knew that would only confirm Sirius words. Relying in their enemy for Sirius not to tell Severus, he nodded, embarrassed.

"What have you seen in such a jerk? Explain me because I just can't understand it." Now there was exasperation in his speech.

"He's not a jerk."

"Really? My first notice." He sneered.

"Actually he is quite similar to you." She tried to explain.

Sirius' eyes were round with astonishement.

"I am aware that I lost my beauty in Azkaban, but I never thought I have descended to such places. I haven't got greasy hair!"

Katia didn't know if to take it as an insult to Severus or not she decided not to, for the welbeing of the conversation.

"I mean inside."

"I am not a Dark Arts freak either!"

"You are intelligent, funny, brave, with stong personality and have had a difficult life, you still endure difficult circumstances."She pointed out.

Sirius stared at her in silence, pondering her words.

"Does he feel the same for you?" He said sternly.

"How do you want me to know." Katia replied bewildered.

"The same way I know you love him: by his attitude." Answered Sirius simply.

Katia thought for a minute.

"Sometimes it looks like he does, but he never steps forward." She spoke slowly, frowning.

"I like you." The man spoke abruptly.

Katia raised her head and stared at him, without knowing what to do. He, on the other hand, had a better idea.

"I am a man alone, and you are a woman alone, I like your company and your looks. We could give each other great comfort, both physically and mentally." He explained simply, as if he were talking about business or something like that. Katia had never thought you could talk about feelings that way.

"I... I don't know." She was too confused to think.

"Take your time. I don't mean you have to forget him. You understand?"

Katia was now even more confused. She frowned.

Sirius, seeing her confusion explained further.

"You and I could have only an advernture, he doesn't have to know."

That would feel like cheating, thought Katia, and so she told him.

Sirius considered that for some minutes. She thought he was going to tell her she was in no compromise with Severus, but what he said was very different.

"Are you sure he is not in the same case?" He spoke tentatively.

"Do you think he has another?"

"No, I think Snape is stupid enough to hold feelings for someone long ago dead. I have always suspected that his rivalry with James had something to do with his relationship with Lily, so did James. Actually we are quite sure. If you tell me he hesitates, it gives me things to think of." The man stared at her carefully.

Katia felt cold inside all of a sudden. After a while she said.

"He... told me something along that line many years before..."

Sirius made a gesture showing his palms.

"What I offer you is comfort and the experience of being with a man, which I think you lack." He told her. "Without tricks or second thougts."

With that, he left her. Katia spent the whole night analizing what had happened. She was immensely pleased by Sirius offer. At the same time she was totally scared by his words, because she knew deep inside, that was true, and it was what had been holding Severus back all those years, pehaps even now. If she were pretty like Lily, thought Katia sadly, he would desire her, and it would be easier for him to forget Lily. In Katia's arms, her memory would fade away faster. But she had only what she had and she could only hope for it to be enough.

On the other hand, it was Sirius. What he said was true, she had no compromise with Severus, and Sirius was smart, and loyal. Tall and still handsome he would make an amazing companion. Perhaps it was time for her to have her experience.

END OF THE CHAPTER.


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