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Chapter 2

Lain awoke early the next morning, dawn to be precise. Little sleep had found its way to her, but she had not expected much else. Rubbing the sleep from her eyes she stretched her sleepy limbs and silently wondered what she was to do now, the day after the most horrific events that have ever occurred in her life, even if she had not witnessed it first hand.

Her father was undoubtedly with Voldemort; her eye twitched angrily at the mere thought of the name. That was something her father had found slightly unnerving and Albus had thought amusing. She, unlike a vast majority of people, including her father, was not bothered by the Dark Lord's name as other people were. Everyone twitched in fright, fainting or did something else seemingly ridiculous in her mind whenever they heard his name, yet she merely narrowed her eyes or gave an agitated twitch of her eye because she hated him with a passion.

She had not been deprived of tales of Voldemort's past or present actions. In fact she knew more about what he had done better then anyone who wasn't a Death Eater.

With a sigh she looked down at her hands. She felt both annoyed and deeply troubled by the fact that her father hadn't told her about Voldemort's plan to kill Dumbledore. He had dropped in at her school, in a rather agitated mood, Christmas Day, something he normally didn't do.

She, of course, hadn't thought much of it, only been thrilled to see her father. Mentally she berated herself for not catching a hidden message he had given her on that day.

vvvv

A smiling Lain sat in a chair that belonged to the Headmistress's office in Salem Academy. Severus sat facing her with a frown his students at Hogwarts knew all to well. He was a man with pale skin, dark eyes and dead strait black hair that came to his jaw line and held a sheen that made it appear unwashed.

A merrily burning fire lay not far to their side in a delicately carved marble fireplace. Above it were several gold and silver trinkets whose meanings were lost to many. Several portraits hung on the walls, but no where near as many as at Hogwarts, due in part to the latter school being older. Currently, however, none of the paintings were being occupied due to Headmistress requesting them to leave so Lain and Severus could speak in private.

The desk near the back of the room had few papers on it and would have easily been looked over if it weren't for the two golden dragon statues that sat at the outer most ends of the desk. Anyone who knew anything about the Academy knew that it was the only magical school to have four dragons of campus, or rather it had gateways leading to them on campus.

"I wasn't expecting to see you over break," Lain said with a smile.

Severus's face did not falter, but a glint of happiness could be seen within his eyes by only those who searched deep enough. "Am I unwanted?"

"Of course not," Lain said in a tone that mocked being insulted. She gave a hearty laugh before speaking again. "If I'd known you were coming I'd have kept your gift here."

Still keeping his face calm the Potions Master replied with, "I hadn't exactly planned this trip either, which is why you got your gift through the post as well."

"And a very lovely gift indeed," Lain smiled. "It'll help add to how many times I can barely evade a wall or the ground in Quidditch," she laughed; she had received a state of the art broom.

"Not exactly what I had intended when I bought it," smirked Severus. It wasn't a smirk that his students knew and shivered at, it was one he reserved only for his daughter.

Lain gave a sheepish smile. It was a bad habit of hers to be a bit- odd- when playing her position as Seeker on her team; the Silver Dragons. She had, on several occasions, nearly done face plants into solid objects just to catch the little golden ball with wings known as the snitch (she had actually nearly broken her neck in her third year; she'd been in the hospital wing for two and a half weeks because of the collision with the unrelenting wall).

"Thank what ever lucky stars watch over you that you're not paralyzed or –"

"Dead," Lain filled in when her father had hesitated.

Severus nodded and rested his chin on his knuckles when he had rested his elbows on his legs. The thought of losing the only thing that kept him sane with everything else going insane around him was unbearable.

"I could stop playing if you want me to," Lain said, though she didn't sound all to pleased with the idea.

For the first time since he had arrived he chuckled, "If I wanted that I wouldn't have sent you a broom." He sat up and leaned back against the chair's back, crossing his arms over his chest, "Besides you're the Captain of your team and, unless I've heard wrong, the American Quidditch team wants you to join their ranks once you're out of school."

Lain shrugged, it was as if it was no big deal that a professional Quidditch team wanted to enlist her. "What they want and what they get are two different things."

Severus raised a brow on his otherwise passive face, "You aren't going to join them?"

"What I really want to do when I graduate dad, is not to do join a flying cup contest," Severus smirked at her nickname for the game she loved, "Or to go right away to the Ministry to enlist as an auror." She looked his squared in the eyes, "I want to come home to Britain and stay for more than three months where I have to be careful to be been seen with you by the Death Eaters."

The smirk fell from Severus's face immediately. "A very unwise decision given the present state of things."

"Perhaps," Lain said with a sigh, "But my home is under attack by Vol- the Dark Lord," she quickly corrected herself seeing her father's brows come together unhappily, "And my father is being dragged along a path that could kill him."

Severus sighed and bowed his head, arms still crossed over his chest. "You really are that worried about me?"

"Of course!" Lain exclaimed, "Why else do you think I picked the gift I did this year. I'm terrified!"

Absentmindedly Severus placed a hand to just under his collarbone. His daughters Christmas gift had been most touching, a necklace that would camouflage itself when worn with a black ring with golden engraving on the inside of it that gave silent command for a series of spells that had been placed on it, one of which was for luck to the one it was gifted to.

"It's extremely difficult to put so many spells on that single ring you know," Lain said slightly put out by her father's latest question. "I had to ask m v,ng5lo95y Dark Arts and Charms professors to help me out on several occasions."

"I don't doubt you," Severus said as he pulled the ring out from under his shirt and looked to her. "I am, in fact, extremely proud of you for making me such a complex thing at your age." For the first time since his arrival he smiled, a true smile very few had ever been able to see.

As he replaced the ring he found himself saying, "It'll come in handy, that's for sure."

"What do you mean?" Lain asked. "Is the Dark Lord planning to do something?"

Severus froze for a moment, mentally cursing himself for having said what he had. He always seemed to be too open with his daughter and with the times as chaotic as they were he knew it could only get her in trouble.

"Its nothing for you to fret over," he told her, but her look, one that mimicked his own when he used it, revealed she did not like that answer in the slightest. He cursed his mind as he felt himself giving in; she was, in all honesty, his greatest weakness. "The Dark Lord has no hand of his own in it."

"Another words his Death Eaters have to do his dirty work again," Lain muttered in slight annoyance as she twirled a strand of hair on her left side that outlined her face when she wasn't playing with it.

"Yes," Severus said softly, "And I am entangled through a vow."

Lain frowned, "I remember hearing you make an Unbreakable Vow when those two women came in summer. It was to a Malfoy wasn't it? What was her name? Narcissa?"

"Yes," her father responded. "She was most concerned for her son."

"Like you are for me," Lain said with a sigh. "What was it that Lord- Darkness wanted her son to do?" she asked, faltering only for a fraction of a second to prevent herself from saying the name her father had forbade her to- at least in his presence as she saw through a loophole.

"Something I told you that same day I would not tell you," he said with sigh before rubbing his eyes and doing his best not to let his soft spot get the best of him as it normally did.

Lain made the same face she had before when she was not happy with an answer, "Why ever not?"

"Because," Severus said with agitation, a side affect of not giving into his softer side, "I don't want you sticking your nose somewhere it'll be lopped off."

Instantly he regretted getting aggravated with her, a feeling he had felt too often in the last two years. Her face had become calm, but her eyes revealed her to be deeply upset about being yelled at for asking a question that was, in fact, very important. He sighed and put his head in his hands, "I'm sorry Lain. I'm just-"

"A grumpy old man," Lain cut in, though her tone wasn't angry, it was slightly amused.

Severus chuckled and looked to his daughter who had her mother's beauty, but his eyes, hair and complexion, not to mention his rather stubborn attitude when she deemed it necessary. "I am aren't I?"

"Only as much as you want to be dear father," she wagging her finger at him as she mocked being stern, something that did have the rightful effect since she was smiling.

The Potions Master shook his head with a faint smile, "What would I ever do with you if you were found out."

"Erm-" she thought a moment, "Bash the three C's and two S's into my head. Calm, Cool, Collected like Severus Snape," she put her arms out as if trying to charm someone, giving her an overall humorous look.

Severus laughed a genuine laugh, something rarer than his pleasant chuckles. It was exceedingly hard for him to be mad at her because of her simple ways, and, for reasons he didn't understand, she felt the same as she couldn't ever remain mad at him for more than few minutes.

"It could work," she laughed along with him, "Goodness knows I've been taught to be excellent at Occlumency." She rubbed her head, "Which, might I add, was rather rough on my poor brain."

"You have to have one for anything to be rough on it," Snape chuckled.

Lain scrunched up her face in childish disgust and crossed her arms, "I don't like you any more."

Severus had seen this act one too many times to fall for it again. "Keep scrunching your face up like that Lain and it might become permanent."

"That'd be humorous," Lain said after letting her face come back to normal.

Severus merely held back a chuckle as he stood, "I should be on my way."

With a sigh Lain stood as well, "Guess so." She hugged her father, who was a head taller than her, tightly. "Will that rat be gone by this summer dad? It's really a nuisance to have to hide from him within my own house."

No laugh or chuckle was emitted from the potions master as he embraced his only child. "You won't have to worry about him," he murmured. "You just take care of yourself."

vvv

Lain shook her head angrily, an emotion directed only at herself, not her father. She really couldn't have expected him to give her crystal clear messages all the time, he'd given her hints in the past about other things, granted most were before the second rise of Voldemort, so they didn't hold any kind of peril in them.

'Well,' she thought, 'I'll stick around long enough to get a bit more information and to see the funeral, but after than I have to get my tail in gear.'

She couldn't help but wonder what danger she was putting herself into.


So, what's Lain going to do to get what information she needs? Will she find out the reason behind her father's actions? Or will she die trying?

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Thanks!