|The Safe House
Author: cylobaby PM
Melissa is a Muggle who is brought under the protection of the Order. She has to live in the Order safe house with the prickly Severus Snape. Can Severus learn to trust or will his one chance at happiness slip past him? Snape/OCRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Severus S. & OC - Chapters: 6 - Words: 19,425 - Reviews: 80 - Favs: 39 - Follows: 53 - Updated: 07-16-09 - Published: 05-26-09 - id: 5089324
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Melissa gaped at the vast array of bookshelves around the large room. As Melissa expected from Severus's crisp outfits, the library was classy. The walls were a warm neutral shade that complimented the polished dark wood of the bookcases. A glowing fire crackled at the edge of the room, placed far enough from the books to prevent cinders from touching the books, and a plush armchair rested by the fire.
"My section on animals is over there," Severus said, gesturing to a corner bookshelf.
"Thank you," Melissa said. Severus nodded, seeming to understand that she was thanking him for the book and for him trusting her with his library. Melissa was amazed by the amount of books that Severus had on every subject. She picked out a book that looked informative enough called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. She had realized she needed a broader understanding of the creatures in general before she could fully comprehend the more detailed books.
Book in hand, she approached Severus. He was leaned back in the armchair, face solemn as he read. "Here's what I'm borrowing, just to let you know," Melissa said. He looked up from his book and nodded. "It won't eat me?" she verified.
"None of my books will hurt you—at least, none in the animal section. Just avoid The Monster Book of Monsters. We had several students injured by that particular book," he said wryly.
"I'll keep that in mind," Melissa replied. She hugged the book close. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"If you want to read tonight, I can conjure a chair here for you," Severus said quietly. He looked down at his book as he spoke as though uninterested in her answer, but his eyes met hers once the words were out. His eyes were captivating.
"I do like reading by a fire," Melissa said.
They read in companionable silence for several hours. The only sounds in the room were the quiet crackling of the fire and the steady turning of pages.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was concise and extremely informative. Fascinated by the stories and information, Melissa hardly noticed as time flew by. When she stifled her third yawn in two minutes, Severus looked over at her. "I can't read with that incessant yawning." Melissa shrugged, and quickly bit down on another yawn. "It's past midnight," he said more calmly, putting a ribbon in his book to mark his page. "I can walk you to your room."
Melissa nodded, memorized the page she was on, and stood up. "You don't have to walk me back," she said.
"I've got to double-check the wards anyways," Severus said, standing up also. "If you don't mind," he added.
"I'd enjoy the company. Besides, I wanted to ask you about something I read in here," she said, holding up her book. As they walked, they discussed the intelligence of centaurs.
Melissa had learned in her time at the safe house that Severus had a broad understanding of everything in the wizarding world, which Melissa was increasingly grateful for. It would have been awful cooped in the house with an idiot. When she told Severus her last thought, he replied, "I concur. It is a good thing, then, that neither of us are idiots."
Finally, they reached her door. Melissa stood outside, hands by her sides. "Well, I guess I'll see you in the morning," she said.
"Breakfast is at—"
"Seven. Yeah, I got it," Melissa said, smiling at their predictability after only a few weeks together. "You know, I'm really glad it was you I ended up being here with."
His black eyes searched her face. His eyes finally landed on hers and Melissa was suddenly extremely aware of how close they were in the dark hallway. All he had to do was lean in… The moment was broken when Severus stepped back briskly from her. "Yes... I see you in the morning." He cast one more look at her and then walked away. Melissa smiled at his back, though it was quickly indistinguishable in the dark hallway.
As she got ready for bed, Melissa looked at herself in the mirror as she brushed her hair. What had he seen in her face that made him look so closely? Did he feel what she was feeling? She sighed, brushed her teeth, and went to bed.
Melissa had barely laid down when a crash and shout surprised her into sitting up. She waited to hear any more noises, such Severus had just fallen, but to her surprise there were more shouts.
This was obviously not good. She was sure anyone breaking into this house would be a wizard. How could she stand up to magic? Despite the danger, Melissa was already out of her bedroom by the time she had finished the thought.
Bright lights drew her attention to the end of the hallway next to the front door. Severus was only distinguishable from the other wizards by his lack of a mask. Two bundles of black robes were collapsed by the door to the first hallway and Melissa sidestepped the wizards cautiously. One was unconscious and the other was groaning quietly.
Severus was still up against three wizards, but his proficiency at dueling was obviously not limited to the harmless jinxes he had cast on the twins earlier. A streak of light hit Severus, leaving a gash in his arm wide enough for her to see the blood from far away. She hurried forward to help him, but he pushed past the pain to continue fighting, though he was pale and shaking.
Melissa knew Severus was too outnumbered to win so she jumped on the back of the tall wizard closest to her, locking him in a chokehold that was strong enough to surprise herself. His other two companions ignored his trouble, focusing on Severus. The man she held on to turned wildly, trying to dislodge her. His wand appeared over his shoulder, close to Melissa's face. She grabbed at it and tried to take it from him, but his grip was too strong. A flash of pale light hit Melissa and she was burned everywhere she was touching him. With a yelp, she fell backwards, hitting the wood floor hard enough to knock the breath from her.
Panting, Melissa looked up just in time to roll out of the way of a sinister cloud of blue smoke roiling towards her. She scrambled to her feet and the wizard pointed his wand at her. Another wizards dueling Severus fell, coughing blood. Severus turned and saw Melissa under attack. He raced forward, limping, and grabbed her arm. The wizard attacking her changed his focus to Severus. A blob of white formed over Severus and dropped solidly on his head, a disturbingly loud thud the only noise it made.
Melissa felt the same sensation she had when Tonks had grabbed and teleported her. Suddenly, she and Severus were away from the battle and were alone outside a door in a long dark hallway Melissa didn't recognize. Severus fell to the floor, completing the action begun during the battle.
Melissa panted, trying to get a hold of her bearings. The silence of the hallway made her jittery after the fighting earlier. She checked Severus's pulse, not realizing how worried she was until she nearly cried with relief when she found his stable heartbeat.
Looking down at his bleeding arm, she knew that having a pulse now did not necessarily mean that he would be okay. She tore the fabric away from his arm, which didn't take much effort because it was already ripped. His pale arm was bleeding profusely. The gash looked clean Melissa realized gratefully. She wound the sleeve tightly around his arm and tied it off. The make-shift bandage staunched the flow of blood. She allowed a small smile. Muggle methods may be primitive to a wizard like Severus, but they may have saved his life.
Once the pride that she had successfully bound his arm faded, she realized she was in a unknown location with an unconscious man she probably could not carry at 1 o'clock in the morning. Surely he had chosen this place for a reason. She looked up at the door they were in front of. Before her nerve could fail her, she stood—a little unsteadily from the teleportation—and knocked on the door.
There was no response. She sighed and looked back down at Severus. Now what to do? Could she call the police? She'd have to come up with a solid reason why they were both beat up and in strange robes without mentioning wizards or teleportation. The door opened suddenly, startling Melissa. A man around her and Severus's age stood there. He had reading glasses on and seemed quite awake for so early in the morning. "Hello?" he said, smiling at Melissa.
Melissa wordlessly gestured to Severus. "Do you know him?" she asked hopelessly.
The man's eyes sharpened. "Snape?" he breathed. He looked back up at Melissa. "Come in quickly.
With the man's help, Melissa got Severus safely into the small flat. They set him on the shabby couch and the man sat with Melissa at his kitchen table. He went around the kitchen, making a pot of tea. Melissa was unsure if he was a wizard despite him knowing Severus and being comfortable with their sudden appearance and strange wardrobe until he started the fire on the stove with a wand.
"First of all, who are you?" he asked her.
She looked suspiciously from his wand to his face. She had not seen him at the safe house. What if he was one of Voldemort's men? "Who are you?" she asked.
"Remus Lupin," he answered promptly. "If you were at headquarters—which you must have been, to know Snape—you're one of us. I just haven't met you. Unless…. Well, there's an easy way to sort this out. What is Royal's Patronus?"
"Who's what?" Melissa asked.
There was soft groan from the couch. Remus and Melissa both went to Severus's side. His dark eyes fluttered open. He spotted Remus. "Oh God, am I in hell?"
Remus chuckled, apparently used to Severus's venom. "Not yet,' he said. "You look like you got into a fight with a bear…and lost." Remus gestured to the bandage on his arm and bruised head.
"You didn't think to heal me?" Severus asked. "Maybe I should have Apparated to St. Mungo's… Melissa?" he said suddenly. "Is she here?"
Melissa leaned into his line of vision. "I'm here," she said. "You teleported us here."
"It's called Apparation," Severus corrected. Melissa rolled her eyes—he was teacher to the core to correct her directly after waking from unconsciousness. "I know I did. I was worried I might have let go of you when I got hit on the head. Lupin, tell Shacklebolt that headquarters has been compromised."
"Now, please," Severus snapped.
Remus pulled out his wand and cast a spell that created a large silver wolf which bound from the room through a wall. "So, what happened?"
"I was checking the wards when they came in. The wards were all functioning, so I wasn't expecting them. There were five Death Eaters. I got three of them, but had to get Melissa out," he told Lupin mechanically before turning to Melissa. "Are you okay?" he asked her.
"I'm fine," she said. "Are you feeling dizzy, tired, or nauseous?"
"I don't have a concussion," he told her. "What hit me was a white cloud, correct?" Melissa nodded. "The spell induces temporary unconsciousness. I'm sure they were just trying to take me out of commission long enough to achieve their goal, whatever that was."
"So, Melissa, are you a new Order member?" Remus asked.
"You could say that," Severus said. He looked down at his arm and said, "If it's not too much of a hassle, Lupin, I did sustain a gaping wound."
"You lost a lot of blood, but I got it closed off quickly," Melissa said.
"Do you have a Blood-Replenishing Potion?" Severus asked Lupin. "But heal it first."
Lupin pulled out his wand. He tapped the make-shift bandage and a pale blue light covered his arm. Lupin unwrapped the bandage to reveal the healed wound. A thin line of scarring shone pale pink, but other than that small mark the cut had vanished. "Melissa, can you get the potion? They're in the cabinet by the sink."
Melissa looked nervously at Severus, remembering the captivating Unicorn Dust. Severus nodded reassuringly to her so she got up and went to the kitchen. Behind her, Remus and Severus continued softly talking, obviously freer to talk with her gone.
The cabinet contained a varied array of bottles and potions. Most were in a limited amount, but one large flask that emitted heat made Melissa avoid the middle of the shelf. Melissa looked at the small vials first, careful not to touch them any more than absolutely necessary. Finally she found a dark red vial labeled 'Blood Rep.' She took it carefully between two fingers and returned to the small living room, keeping her steps steady so she wouldn't drop it.
"…given away our location." Remus stopped talking when he spotted Melissa.
"Instead of dancing around, let me tell you this," Severus said. He was now seated and looking better than he had earlier, though conscious was a big improvement anyway. "We can trust Melissa with anything we have to say. She was in headquarters without leaving for the past month. She never sent any messages."
"The wards were down for who knows how long without our knowing," Remus argued. "She could easily have been our leak." He eyed Melissa cautiously, as though expecting her to shout her allegiance to Voldemort and attack them.
"I'm a Muggle," Melissa said bluntly. "So unless Voldemort and I were texting each other, I wouldn't have been able to contact. Besides, my cell shorted out in your headquarters."
Remus gaped at her and then turned to Severus and gestured wordlessly. "Oh, close your mouth," Severus snapped. "It makes you look more of an idiot than usual. Actually, I don't see how you couldn't tell."
Melissa turned on Severus. "It's not like I have a sign on my head that says 'Warning: Muggle' on it," she said.
"You didn't know what a Patronus was and you tied my wound with my sleeve instead of healing it," Severus listed.
"It's three in the morning," Remus argued. "And I wasn't expecting you and a Muggle to show up on my doorstep." He suddenly switched gears, saying, "Three a.m. and I have just been keeping you awake. You need sleep—both of you. I can set up the couch and conjure a cot. Melissa can take my bed, of course."
"No way," Melissa argued. "I'm not going to impose."
"True," Severus said. "In case you are being slower than even I expected, you realize Miss Blackmore and I are targets of the Dark Lord. Your flat doesn't have sufficient wards and we will not put you or ourselves in unnecessary danger."
"You're staying here until we find somewhere better," Remus argued. "What else would you do, hide in the woods?"
"I'll leave that to Potter," Severus said.
Remus ignored him. "My flat is well-enough warded to protect you two for a few nights," Remus said. "You can add some of your own spells on top if you're really worried."
"I frankly don't have the slightest trust in your ability to—"
"Do we have a better option?" Melissa asked, feeling that Severus was arguing just so he wouldn't have to agree with Remus. "Because 'frankly' I just got attacked by evil wizards and am completely exhausted. Surely they'll be too busy raiding the safe house to chase us tonight, right?"
Severus did not answer. Remus nodded. "Decided by Melissa, you are staying here. Melissa, I'll show you my room. Luckily, you're already in your pajamas," he said.
"I really can't have your room. You've only just met me and it'd be beyond rude to kick you out of your bed."
"Melissa, Lupin is a Gryffindor," Severus said.
Melissa sighed. "Am I supposed to understand that?"
"It means he's chivalrous to the point of stupidity," Severus said. "There's no way he'll make you sleep on the couch, so you might as well stop arguing."
"It's true," Remus shrugged.
"Then thank you very much," Melissa said, smiling.