Disclaimer: All Harry Potter people, places, and things, (all Harry Potter nouns) belong to J. K. Rowlings.
A Lesson in Trust
Chapter 1: An unexpected meeting.
Professor Remus Lupin watched as the students he would be teaching boarded the train to Hogwarts. He spotted the Boy Who Lived, knowing that he would be entering his third year. Remus was about to board the train himself when his sensitive hearing picked up a struggle in the alley. His luggage already on board, he scurried over to the alley and pulled his wand out. He found a woman lying on the ground, her lips and nose bleeding, her handbag torn with its contents strewn about.
He was staring at her black eye when her cracked lips began to move. "Please, please take me to Hogwarts. I must find Professor Snape," she whispered.
Without a second thought he scooped the woman into his arms after performing a diagnostic spell to see that she was not too seriously injured, and boarded the train. He had collected the contents of her handbag and placed them with her. He noticed that her wand was broken and repaired it as best he could. He left her in his private cabin to rest, giving her his pillow and his good blanket. He took his extra blanket as well as his suitcase and walked to another cabin.
When he heard other people coming, he pulled the blanket up over his head and pretended to be asleep. He listened to their chatter and realized that one of them was the Boy Who Lived. The girl had read his suitcase and informed the others. He was surprised to hear them discussing Sirius Black and his escape, but then Remus dozed off. Suddenly the train stopped and they grew very quiet. He woke knowing that a dementor had entered the cabin and flung the blanket off, stopping the dementor as the Boy Who Lived feinted.
When the boy came to, Remus offered him some chocolate specifically for warding off the effects of what he had just experiences. Taking a good look at the boy, Remus noticed how much he looked like James, yet he had Lily's eyes. "I'm Professor Lupin, and you're Harry Potter," he deduced.
The copper-haired girl and the red-headed boy introduced themselves as Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. Remus nodded. "It was nice meeting all of you, but we will be nearing Hogwarts soon and I have some important things to check on and I need a word with the conductor," he mentioned before dashing to his cabin.
He found her asleep and gently woke her. "We'll be at Hogwarts shortly. I will personally escort you to the infirmary. It looked as though you had been mugged. How are you feeling?"
She dealt him a half-smile. "You should have seen the other guy. I managed to turn him into a goat before he broke my wand, which I noticed that someone repaired. If that was you, I don't know how you did it, but it works fine. I'm actually much better, thank you. I inspected my purse before I fell asleep. Thank goodness they didn't find anything important. Never keep your money in your purse," she stated as she patted an inner pocket on her light blue muggle dress.
"I promise I shall return immediately. There is another matter to attend to with the conductor," he stated as he quickly left the cabin.
"Did you have luggage on the train?" Remus asked when he returned and the train had stopped.
She thought for a moment as he offered her his arm. "I think it's being delivered to my room," she paused and met his compassionate chocolate-brown eyes. "I'm sorry, I have yet to thank you for helping me and I don't even know your name. Thank you for finding me."
"It was no trouble, really. I'm Professor Remus J. Lupin, Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. What are you doing here, if I may ask?" he questioned. Observing her, he realized how petite she was, just barely 5'2'' by the American measuring system, and very slim.
She inhaled sharply as dizziness passed through her and put her full weight on him for a moment. "My head is still not what it should be. I'm Desiree Camille Snape, teaching assistant. I'm training to become a professor, but I don't know who I'll be helping yet."
It was then that he realized she did not have a British accent. "Are you an American?" he inquired.
She nodded. "I've lived in several places, but most of my time's been spent in America. I was born there and lived in Globe, Arizona until I was ten, coming to England for birthdays and family reunions. Then my parents sent me to Hogwarts for three years. Then they put me in the American Magic Academy in Connecticut for the rest of my education."
Remus watched as she once again put her full weight on him. "I don't want to embarrass you, but under the circumstances, I think it would be better if I were to carry you," he suggested.
She nodded and he carried her to the infirmary. When Poppy opened the door, she stared at the two, wide-eyed. "Remus, who is this poor girl and what happened to her?" the medwitch interrogated.
"My name is Desiree Snape and I was mugged before being helped onto the train by this gentleman. And I am not a girl. I need to tell Professor Snape that I'm here," she stated.
"Well then, I suppose you can set her down on that bed and I'll see what I can do. While I help her, you can owl Professor Snape and tell him to come to the infirmary," Poppy instructed.
Severus sat in his office, rereading the letter he had received a month ago. I cannot believe she's coming here to learn teaching skills. And she's bringing her daughter to attend Hogwarts, beginning in her third year as a transfer from that American school. I'm not sure which one of them will be a bigger handful for me, he thought to himself as he noticed a familiar reddish barn owl at his window.
"Ah, Macduff, what do you have for me?" he asked, carefully untying the string around the note the owl carried on his leg.
He read the message and had to reread it again. She had arrived, but she was injured and Lupin had saved her. The day had just gone from mildly annoying with the arrival of the students to worse. He checked his silver pocket watch, noting that it was not yet time for the sorting ceremony. Arriving at the infirmary in record time, he looked around to see both Remus and Poppy next to a bed.
Hearing Severus clear his throat, Poppy and Remus turned around in surprise. "Ah, Severus, glad you could come so quickly. She's right here," the nurse told him.
Severus glared at Remus before facing the woman on the bed. "Desiree, are you alright?" he asked with concern.
Desiree gave him a half-smile, her face not nearly as bloody or bruised as it had been. "I'm alright, but you dear cousin, owe this man here a thank you for finding me and getting me on the train."
With great reserve, he turned to Remus. "Thank you, Lupin," he uttered.
It took effort on both parts, but the two shook hands. "You're quite welcome, Snape," Remus replied. Then he turned back to Desiree. "I shall leave you two alone, milady."
She let him kiss her hand before he left. Severus stared after Remus with disgust as he exited the infirmary. "Don't get too friendly with that one; he's trouble."
Desiree scoffed. "And you're not?"
He sighed. "Alright, forgetting about Lupin for a moment, what happened to you?"
"My luggage was already on the train and I walked into the alley because my remembrall had fallen out of my purse and was rolling away. Then I was mugged and minutes later, the man you refer so eloquently to as Lupin found me and put me on the train. Apparently he had his own cabin. I stayed there and fell asleep while he sat somewhere else on the train. The nurse says I should look half-way decent by dinnertime," Desiree explained.
Severus scrutinized her face. "If you look this bad, what did you do to the other person involved?" he asked with sardonic humor.
She laughed softly. "As I told Professor Lupin, I turned the man into a goat before he broke my wand. Apparently the professor fixed it for me."
"Well, now that we've settled that part, I was surprised by your letter. I must say that I never expected you to drop in like this, nor was I expecting that you'd bring your daughter," he commented, sitting next to her on the bed.
Draping her arm across his shoulders, she pulled him into a hug that he was obligated to return. "The truth is that you're glad to see me even thought you didn't expect to and you hope that Nora ends up in Slytherin," Desiree surmised.
He raised an eyebrow and wryly asked, "When did you become a Legillimens?"
"Cousin, you know you're the only person I can read like a book. I've been able to do that since I was five. For all your studies in Occulmency, you are very predictable to someone who knows you better than you know yourself," she teased.
Severus could not help feeling young again around Desiree. Though there was a ten-year age difference between the two, they had always gotten along well, playing odd mind games with each other. "If you think you're so smart, then what am I thinking now?"
To his surprise, after looking into his eyes, she giggled. "You don't want me to say that aloud, do you? Honestly Severus, sometimes I worry about what goes on in that filthy mind of yours."
"You didn't see anything, did you?" he questioned with a wry grin. She shook her head and then he pulled her into a close hug after making sure that Poppy was not watching. "However, you were right about one thing: I am glad to see you. I've missed talking with you; only writing letters is not the same. You've always been my favourite second cousin."
"That's because I'm your only second cousin. And Nora is your only third cousin," Desiree remarked.
They parted and he began to head for the door. "I need to be on time for the sorting ceremony. We'll talk more after dinner."
She nodded. "That's fine. In case I don't get there any sooner, do you mind telling me where Nora ends up?"
"I'll do that," he promised as he left the infirmary.