Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or the characters within this fanfic, but I do own Eileen Pierce and her kneazle Mephistopheles so don't steal them! That is all, you may continue...

Chapter Nineteen

The next few days went by like a blur, Eileen rarely saw Snape as he was constantly dashing off with the teachers to address a new issue. Rumors spread like wildfire that the whole school was in danger of being turned into statues and Eileen's studies began to suffer from her constant reminders of that day in the library. She was just returning from a considerably bad session of transfiguration when she saw a pair of red headed adults hurrying through the hallway past the great hall.

"Excuse me, young lady!" The man said quickly, rushing around her and continuing on with the fretful woman in the direction of the hospital wing.

Blinking in surprise, Eileen wondered if they were related to the Weasley children just before seeing the twins rush out of the great hall.

"Mum, dad!" Fred and George yelled in unison, causing the adults to stop in their tracks.

"Boys, where are your brothers? Have you heard?" Mr. Weasley doubled back quickly and looked worried.

"Heard what? What's going on?" George asked, frowning in concern.

"Ginny, she's been taken! Oh, my baby girl!" Mrs. Weasley howled, looking wild with fear.

"What? No way! Why weren't we told!" Fred exclaimed, glancing in the direction of the great hall with resentment.

"We were just informed ourselves, hurry and find Ron and Percy!" Mr. Weasley commanded.

"Ron's with Harry, sir." Eileen suddenly spoke and the family turned their attention to her.

"Blimey, how long have you been there, Eileen?" Fred looked surprised.

"Nevermind that, where are they now?" Mr. Weasley asked her desperately.

"I saw them heading upstairs, I'm not sure why but all the teachers went up there after class." Eileen explained blankly.

"This was just before we were contacted! Oh, what if they're in trouble too?" Mrs. Weasley gasped.

"Perhaps you should continue on to your predetermined location, you may find some answers there." Eileen reasoned and they seemed to remember what they were doing.

"She's right, hurry everyone, to the hospital wing!" Mr. Weasley motioned to the twins and they started off toward the stairs.

"Eileen, can you get our brother Percy? He's the Prefect at the Gryffindor table with the curly red hair!" Fred called over his shoulder and she nodded.

Entering the great hall, she made her way to the table on the far left of the room and searched for the boy he described. She found him sulking at the front of the table, obviously distraught over something and not wishing to be bothered.

"Um...excuse me, are you Percy Weasley?" She asked him timidly and he glanced up, noticing she was from Slytherin and snarling, "Go away, I want to be alone!"

"But I was sent to - " She tried to explain but he jumped to his feet, saying, "What, give me some snarky message from your house? Some witty remark about my girlfriend being petrified? Well you can tell them to mind their own business or I'll report them to the headmaster!"

Without letting her speak, he stalked off and left the room.

Frowning, she ran after him but he had disappeared, leaving her no choice but to find the rest of the family and report his lack of courtesy toward her retrieval. Entering the hospital wing, she was greeted by the twins who had been hovering around the room eager to hear news about their sister.

"Did you find him?" Fred asked promptly.

"Yes...but he's not coming." She said quietly so their parents wouldn't hear, but they made their disapproval known.

"That prat, what's more important than supporting his mum?" George exclaimed furiously.

"Let's go kick his bum all the way up here!" Fred suggested to his brother before they started for the door.

"No, wait! I never got to give him your message!" Eileen looked worried that they might start a fight over a misunderstanding and they whirled around, looking confused.

"Why not?"

"He thought I was acting on my houses behalf and..." She looked away and they exchanged glares, saying together, "Yep, he's a prat."

"It's fine, honestly, I...I don't mind. He seemed upset about his girlfriend..." She waved her hands in an attempt to change their minds when Mrs. Weasley jumped to her feet, exclaiming in a shrill tone, "His what? Where! I'll have to have a talk with that girl..."

"Calm down, Molly, he was bound to fancy someone some day...what's happened to her?" Mr. Weasley took his wife's hand and eased her back into a chair next to Hermione's bed.

"Um...he said she was petrified, she's probably one of the victims in this room. And since Hermione's the only other girl here..."

They all looked over at the other girl that was present in the library and Fred exclaimed, "I knew it! I'd seen Percy and Penelope in the halls together but I didn't think she'd actually like him!"

"How disgusting, they probably snog too..." George added.

"Now that's enough, you two! I'm sure she's a very nice girl..." Mr. Weasley reasoned, feeling a little hurt that he had been hiding it from him all this time.

"This is a good excuse to tease him about something." Fred grinned at his brother.

"Yeah, blackmail's brilliant, isn't it?" George smirked mischievously.

"Definitely." Fred turned to Eileen and said, "Which way did he go? We'll find the bugger and drag him here if we have to."

"I don't know, please...don't tell him I told you about Penelope." She looked worried and they smiled at her, both clapping her on the shoulders and saying, "No worries, little birdie!"

They threw her a wink before dashing out of the room and setting out to find their brother, leaving Eileen alone with the Weasleys and feeling a bit nervous under Molly's gaze.

"So...are you a friend of Fred and George's?" Mr. Weasley tried to strike up a conversation with her to break the tension.

"I...I guess so, but I'm not from Gryffindor." She looked slightly ashamed as they noticed her uniform colors.

"Ah, I see...you seem like an exceptionally kind young girl, you would have made a fine Gryffindor." Mr. Weasley made an effort to smile so she returned the favor.

"Thank you, sir." Eileen replied.

The room fell into an awkward silence for a few minutes before the headmaster entered the room, saying loudly, "Ah, Arthur, Molly, you've arrived. I'm happy to announce that your daughter is safe and sound, thanks to the efforts of your son Ron and Mr. Potter. I'll leave you to catch up then..." He stepped aside and Ginny walked into the room, breaking into a run as she leapt into her mother's arms.

Ron came in after her followed shortly by Harry who looked slightly upset about something as he glanced at the headmaster.

"Eileen, what are you doing here?" Ron asked, blinking curiously as she smiled at them.

"Apparently congratulating you two on the rescue, did you find the culprit behind the attacks?" She asked with equal curiosity.

"Yeah, it was a basilisk, but it's dead now." Harry answered simply without much drama or explanation.

"A basilisk? That explains it...oh, Professor Lockhart!" She turned her attention to the bewildered man being slowly led into the room by Snape, who looked surprisingly amused.

"The good professor's lost his memory, it's a real shame..." Snape announced, but his eyes told her that he couldn't be happier about the ordeal.

"Professor? Oh, do you mean me? How fascinating, what did I teach?" Lockhart looked thrilled to be there but completely lost.

"A plethora of fairy tales." Snape replied and Eileen couldn't help giggling.

"Ah, brilliant, I wish I could remember but I haven't the foggiest idea who I am...who are you, by the by?" Lockhart looked at Snape and he said, "No one to concern yourself with."

"I see...splendid! Where are we going?" Lockhart seemed quite excited to be led around by Snape, he probably wouldn't have cared if he led him right out of the tallest tower window.

"To see the nurse, now stop asking questions." Snape barked and Lockhart said happily, "Right-o!"

Setting him down on a bed and calling to Pomfrey, Snape explained the situation and turned his attention to Eileen.

Smiling up at him, she said, "So I suppose Mr. Lockhart won't be teaching next year, having lost his memory."

"It would seem so. Are you disappointed?" Snape asked but could tell before she answered that she was as thrilled as he was.

"Not terribly, sir." Eileen replied.

Leaning closer, Snape whispered, "Before you leave tomorrow, I would like to speak with you. Meet me in my office before you head out, if you can."

"Okay..." She whispered back and watched him leave with a curious sparkle in her eyes. Wondering what he had planned for her, she wandered over to the group around Ginny to pass the time until it was bedtime.

OoOoOoOo

The Slytherin common room was filled with students filtering in and out, saying their good-byes and making sure they had everything packed up. Eileen wandered out of the dormitory with Mephistopheles perched on her shoulder, carrying his traveling basket under one arm and draping her other arm over her shoulder bag which contained snacks for the ride home. She had packed up the night before and had nothing further to do until the train came so she headed straight to Snape's office as requested.

Knocking lightly on the door, she heard him call out and entered, smiling at him as she said, "You wanted to see me?"

"Yes, come in..." Snape said, finishing his cleaning of his desk and coming around it to greet her. There was no desk for her to sit in so she stood in the middle of the room with Mephistopheles eyeing Snape suspiciously.

Returning the look, Snape said, "Are you packed and ready to go?"

"Yes, sir." She said automatically before saying, "Oh...I mean...yes, Severus."

"Good, then I have something for you." He handed her an envelope, "Read it on the train."

"I can't read it now?" She looked confused and he glanced at his shelves of jars distractedly, muttering, "I'd rather you didn't."

"Oh...Severus?"

"Yes?" He looked back and she stared at him for a long moment before saying, "I'm going to miss you."

Snape's expression softened and he said softly, "I...will miss you as well."

"Will you?" She inched closer and he smiled kindly, whispering, "Yes, I think so."

"Will you write to me?" Her eyes begged him.

"How about one better, I'll come and visit you." He smiled and her eyes lit up instantly.

"Really? You mean it? When!"

"When I can. I'll tell you in my letters when I can come."

Eileen could barely contain her joy as she flung her arms around him, forgetting that her cat was clinging desperately to her shoulder all the while before deciding it would be safer to jump down and avoid being crushed. Snape held her in return as she exclaimed with a note of ecstasy in her voice, "I can hardly wait! I'll have to clean house, it's so dusty and the floors could use some polishing and I'll have to prepare the guestroom! You will stay the night, won't you?"

"If it is not too much trouble, I had a plan that would keep you safe from your father...without causing pain to him, of course. It would take me a little while to put it into effect but it would ensure your safety for as long as you remained in your current residence. Are you interested?"

"Do you mean..." She gasped, "But what about you, you'll be in danger if you keep my secret!"

"What have I told you about worrying about me?" He smiled and she buried her face in his robes, mumbling, "Not to."

"Exactly. Now, I do believe you have a train to catch and I wouldn't want you to be late boarding. Don't forget not to use magic while you're away from the school unless you have no choice! Until then..." He gave her a quick hug before letting go and stepping over to the door to escort her out. "Until then." She smiled, gathering her kneazle and stepping out the door, walking together to the entrance hall.

They stopped at the front doors and gave one last fleeting glance before parting ways, Eileen climbing into a carriage awaiting passengers and watching out the rear window as Snape slowly faded into the distance. The carriage came to a stop a few minutes later by the waiting train, allowing the students to disembark and make their way through the crowds.

She paused to pet one of the thestrals pulling the carriage before hurrying to the whistling train, boarding and weaving through the throngs of students trying to find seats and lulling about to chat with friends. A little ways down the corridor, she passed a door and soon heard her name shouted from it, turning to see Fred poking his face out happily.

"Come and sit with us, we've got a seat left!" Fred said as she approached him.

"Thank you!" She smiled and stepped in to see his brother chatting lividly with a black boy who seemed to be arguing something involving Quidditch.

Upon seeing Eileen enter, George ceased his arguing and beamed up at her, saying, "Eileen, come sit next to me, I want you to meet my best friend Lee Jordan! Lee, this is the girl I was telling you about."

"Nice to finally meet ya, Eileen!" Lee smiled as he shook her hand boisterously.

"The pleasure's all mine." She replied and the boys laughed.

Fred took her basket full of pet and stowed it carefully in an empty spot on the luggage rack before taking a seat next to her, saying, "Lee usually does the commentary at our Quidditch matches, you may have heard him."

"Most likely..." She smiled and they started talking amongst themselves again.

The train was an hour into its journey when the trolley lady came along heralding her arrival.

"Want anything, guys?" Fred asked as he stood to get something for himself.

They all started busying themselves with buying snacks when Eileen remembered the letter Snape had given her. Taking the downtime to chance a glance at it, she opened the envelope and unfolded the paper carefully. Reading quickly, it said,

Dear Eileen, I don't know when I will be able to write to you but I promise I will.

Don't worry about whether I'll find you or not, owls are quite good at seeking out their destinations.

I just want you to know that I'll be watching over you.

Though you might feel alone for the next few months, know in your heart that I am there for you.

Stay safe.

At your disposal,

Severus Snape.

"Whatcha readin?" Fred asked around a mouthful of pumpkin pasties. Blinking fervently, she smiled and said, "Just a bit of hope for the future, that's all."

The end.

Writer's Notes: Hey, thanks for getting through the story, what a trooper! I know, you're wondering, "what'll happen next!", but you can find that out easily by going to the sequel: Father Figure. Eileen's entering her second year at Hogwarts and more excitement and heartache awaits her, poor thing! So hop on over to the next installment in this dramedy and keep on truckin'! Another note, if you've noticed that this current story got longer, it did indeed! I edited it to better suit the plot and characters in a more canon manner, I hope you all enjoy it!