This is a off-shoot to my fic Living With What's Done, but can be read on its own.
"I told you," said Selena. "I want to work on my Charms essay."
"It's a Friday night, Selena," said Melissa Cooper, rolling her eyes. "There are no classes tomorrow."
"So?" said Selena, bending her head and scribbling some words onto the parchment.
"We never just have fun anymore," Melissa whined.
"Go have fun, then," said Selena dismissingly, waving a hand vaguely at the other Slytherins in the Common Room.
Melissa leaned back in her chair, sulking. She sat sullenly for some time, then she called over Antonin Dolohov's cat and pulled him into her lap.
Selena, without distractions, made progress much quicker than before. She was just finishing up when out of the corner of her eye she saw a dark shape heading towards the exit. She glanced up.
"Where are you going, Severus?"
Her brother turned around to face her. "Out," he said coolly.
She raised one eyebrow, standing from her chair. "It's nearly midnight."
"I can read a clock," said Severus wryly, "but thank you anyway."
"Just checking," said Selena casually. Severus never went anywhere when it was after hours to be roaming. Often he would gather late at night with a cluster of Slytherins in some corner or other in the Common Room, but aside from that…what could he be doing? "And you never answered my first question. Where are you going?"
"I told you. Out."
"Out of the castle?"
"Out of your presence."
"Ouch," said Selena sarcastically. "You're sharp tonight."
"Sharp as a knife," said Severus in a bored voice. Then he turned and made to leave again. Selena opened her mouth again but she felt a hand on her shoulder. It was Melissa.
"He can take care of himself, Selena," she said teasingly, using a line that Severus always threw in his little sister's face. "Just let him do what he wants. And is it really that late?" She glanced at her watch. "It is, wow, eleven fifty three. Well, I'm off to bed. You coming?"
Selena shook her head and sat back down.
"You're not?" Melissa raised her eyebrows in disbelief.
"I still have to finish this," said Selena, tapping her essay.
"You need about five more words," said Melissa, putting her hands on her hips.
"Five more sentences," Selena corrected her.
"Sure, whatever," said Melissa. "Basically, nothing." Suddenly her eyes widened. "You're waiting for him to get back, aren't you?"
"What?" said Selena absently, pretending to be absorbed in reading what she had written.
"You heard me," said Melissa sharply. "Selena, your brother can do what he wants, why can't you just let him – "
"I'd like to see you try that if you were me," said Selena irritably, glaring up at her friend.
"Selena, he's not going to join You-Know-Who right now, doubtibly ever, so – "
"Good night, Melissa," said Selena forcefully, focusing her attention on her essay.
Melissa seemed to try and say something else, but then she gave up and huffed up the girl's staircase.
Even though Selena did not have a lot left on her essay, she found it hard to finish. Her eyes kept fluttering shut, and her head would repeatedly fall onto her shoulder. Several times she smacked herself on the cheek, a few times she poked herself with her quill hard. She would not fall asleep…she would not fall asleep…
But suddenly, she heard a loud slamming noise. Her head snapped up.
He turned around, and Selena gasped.
"I went out," he muttered darkly, starting to stalk towards the boy's staircase.
She wasn't sleepy anymore. She darted up from her chair and grabbed her brother's shoulders, whirling him around to face her. "Oh my God!" she whispered. "What did you do?"
Severus' robes were tattered, ripped, and had twigs and leaves sticking out in several places. His pale complexion was even paler than normal, and his thin frame was shaking slightly. He looked very tired, very angry, and almost a little – scared.
"I didn't do anything," he mumbled sourly, immediately jerking away from her grasp. "I just went out."
"You don't really except me to believe that, do you?" she asked quietly.
He shrugged, his eyes on his shoes. "No, but I hoped it would be enough to let you leave me be. Why are you still up, anyway?"
"That's not important," Selena informed him, attempting to steer him towards a chair. "I want to know what happened."
Severus resisted. "I'm tired," he protested, and it was clear this wasn't a lie. "I just want to go to bed, if that's alright with you."
"No, that's not alright with me," said Selena, grabbing his shoulders again. This time though, she did manage to push him into a armchair, then she sat across from him. "Tell me everything, starting from when you left the Common Room."
He glowered at her. "What if I don't?"
"Then we'll be here 'til death do us part," said Selena sardonically. She crossed her arms across her chest. "So you'd better start quickly."
Severus folded his arms as well, raising one eyebrow. "Do you really think I'm going to tell you?"
"Quite honestly, I do. I'm very persuasive."
"I'm very stubborn," he countered.
She smiled. "And I'm not?"
But it soon became clear that they both were. They sat in stony silence for what seemed like eternity, arms crossed and eyes challenging.
"Damn it, Severus!" Selena finally burst out. "What happened?!"
He just stared at her, one eyebrow cocked. Then he suddenly seemed to deflate, slinking low in the chair and letting out a slow breath. He remained silent for a minute, then he said, "The Marauders."
Selena pressed her lips together in annoyance. "You got in a fight," she said flatly.
"No – well, sort of, but there is more to it than that."
Selena rolled her eyes. "Let's hear it."
So Severus started in with some tale about how earlier that day Sirius Black had told him about how to stun the Whomping Willow and enter inside. Sirius said that there would be a surprise awaiting. When Severus inquired for more information, Sirius only said that he could find out what Lupin disappeared to do every once in awhile.
"Honestly, Severus!" Selena interrupted at this point, placing one hand on her forehead in exasperation. "It was a trap! Obviously! To lure you out and beat you up!"
"He swore only Lupin would be there," said Severus.
"And you believed him," said Selena flatly.
"No, but I was curious," Severus admitted. "He said to go there a little before midnight. So I did what he had told me to do to freeze the tree, and entered." He suddenly tensed a little.
"Go on," Selena urged quietly.
"At first…I couldn't really hear anything. Then it sounded as though something was…howling."
"Oh my God…"
"I kept going, and suddenly I heard yells coming from behind me. It was Potter, screaming that I need to get out of there now. I ignored the fool and continued on."
"He's a werewolf, isn't he?" said Selena quietly.
" – we went – what?"
"Remus Lupin," said Selena in a low voice, her eyes fixed on her brother's. "He's a werewolf, am I right?"
"Where did you get the notion that – "
"I saw that book you checked out two years ago. I thought you were looking into the situation a little too much, but…. So, am I right?"
Hesitantly, Severus nodded slowly.
Selena wasn't totally surprised at this, it did seem to fit…. But suddenly, her blood began to boil. Fresh, overwhelming anger as she had never known before was seizing a tight hold on her. The Marauders had lured Severus out when Remus Lupin was transformed as a werewolf…
"I got a glimpse of him," said Severus quietly. "And he saw me at the same time. I was never so happy to have legs to get me the hell out of there…. And bloody Potter even – "
But Selena didn't wait to hear about bloody Potter. She leaped up from her chair and dived towards the door.
"Selena, don't you dare make it worse – " Severus began, springing up after her. "There's more to it – "
Selena spun around, a wild look in her eye. "Stupefy!" Caught off guard, Severus fell over. Selena stepped over to him, looking down at his angry frozen expression. "Sorry," she said hurriedly, "but it's for the best." Then she rushed out the door and into the hallway, blood pounding in her ears. Her thoughts weren't clear anymore, there had been so many that they all seemed to have blurred together in a hazy fog. All she knew was that she had to find the Marauders. She wanted nothing more than revenge, sweet revenge. She had stood and watched from the sidelines during all their other pranks, but not now. They had gone too far this time. They had tried to murder her brother.
There was going to be hell to pay.
She ran towards the front doors, making sure in her anger not to bang them loudly on her way out. To her great surprise, and amazing luck, she could see Sirius Black and James Potter in plain view, standing on the grass a good way away from the tree and talking in blaring tones. She didn't trouble herself with what was being said, she simply slinked along slowly, keeping close to the grass. Both boys were too absorbed in their conversation to notice as she slipped across the ground and behind James. They didn't notice her until her fist connected solidly with the side of James' face, that is.
James swore loudly, clapping a hand to his face and barely catching his glasses from falling to the ground. Sirius, meanwhile, lunged out at Selena and grabbed her arms, twisting them behind her back, to stop her from giving his friend another blow.
"Who is it now?" James asked Sirius, eyes still shut, his hand remaining on his face.
"Snape," said Sirius, attempting to keep his hold on Selena, who was struggling frantically. "Well, a Snape. It's Snivilly's sister."
James opened one eye in mild surprise at this, to confirm what Sirius had told him.
"Listen," he began, seeming to be speaking to her, "I had nothing to do with it. It was completely that jackass – "
"I don't care what the hell you chose to call my brother," Selena snarled, fighting against Sirius' grasp, "but when you cross the line like this – "
"I wasn't referring to him!" said James jerkily, removing his hand in aggravation. Selena was filled with vindictive pleasure at the sight of his swollen temple and cheek. "I meant the damn idiot who's restraining you!"
"And do you really expect me to believe that you had nothing to do with this?" Selena yelled. "All four of you bastards planned this, I'm not that thick! And you, Potter, you hate him more than anyone!" she added, attempting to kick him.
He dodged her swinging leg. "Do you really think I hate him enough to kill him?" James roared.
Breathing heavily, she stared into his face in silence. But now Sirius spoke. "For God's sake, James, I've told you a million times that I didn't mean to murder him!"
"Maybe you didn't," said James furiously, "but you sure as hell nearly did!"
"If you hadn't run in after him trying to be some sort of noble prat, maybe he would have turned around before Moony saw him! Did you really think that if you were screaming 'turn around' he would listen to you?"
"I was trying to save his bloody life!" shouted James. "The one that you so carelessly gambled!"
"It was just a joke! Nothing more than a prank!"
"Since when do pranks turn people into murderers?" James demanded. "What is wrong with you?"
"You are – oof!"
Having been focused on his intense argument with James, Sirius had not been paying much attention to Selena, who had suddenly jerked her elbow backwards. Judging by the fact that the area her elbow had made contact with something semi-soft, she guessed she had aimed well and gotten his stomach. James looked almost satisfied with what she had done as he said, "I'm sorry I didn't do that earlier. Sirius, do you even have the slightest idea – "
He stopped abruptly. Selena glanced over where he was looking and saw Severus approaching. He walked over until he was standing diagonal left from James, and diagonal right from Sirius and Selena. The four now formed a sort of triangle. Severus' face was emotionless (typical, Selena thought irritably), but as he looked at Selena and Sirius his eyes began to blaze. He spoke very calmly though, his tone not matching the words at all.
"Get your hands off her."
Never had Selena been so happy to call Severus her brother, as she felt a rush of affection surge through her body. It weren't as though she needed anyone to rescue her, but the gesture touched her none the less.
"I was making sure she didn't attack anyone else, if that's fine with you – "
"Clearly it's not fine with me," said Severus coolly, raising his wand.
"Merlin, Sirius," said James, "let her go."
Sirius dropped his hands to his sides, and Selena quickly spun round and swung. But it was Severus who caught her wrist.
"Selena," he said, now showing a hint of anger, "don't."
"You should talk," she responded, glancing pointedly at the deep cut on Sirius' cheek. She didn't even need to see Severus clutching his wand firmly to put two and two together. But she dropped her arm and stepped back so she was standing beside her brother.
"If that's everything then," Severus drawled lazily, "we'll be on our way. Besides, your friend may be needing a little help," he added, a malicious glint in his eyes.
"One more thing," said Sirius, eyeing him. "If you tell anyone about what you saw when you were in there – "
"That should be the least of your worries, Black," Severus interrupted in a low voice. He smirked. "Though it certainly should be a worry." Then he took Selena's upper arm firmly, and with a sarcastic 'have a nice evening' he walked away, dragging her along.
"What the hell was that?" Selena demanded in a hissing voice. "You're just going to walk away? After what he did to you? I – "
"Shut up!" Severus spat.
" – all I wanted was to give a good punch to his face, and after what he did that doesn't seem like much – "
"Leave it," said Severus through a clenched jaw.
" – and Potter tried to save you?" she ranted on. "You happened to leave out that minor detail, Severus, did you realize – "
"I had told you," said Severus slowly, as though he were speaking to a young child, "I hadn't finished my story – "
" – I don't believe you sometimes, you are just so – and would you please – let – go?" She jerked her arm with every word.
"Don't make me use magic," Severus threatened.
"Well now I'm scared!" said Selena, her voice raising slightly. "I'm shaking in my shoes – and I'm going to go back there and show that vile pureblood if it's the last thing I damn well do – " She yanked out her wand with her free hand, but Severus was one step ahead and blocked her with ease.
"When will you learn to control yourself?" Severus asked her, his tone quite calm and casual, continuing to pull her along to the castle. "When you let your emotions take the reins like this…"
"Maybe you should try it sometime!" said Selena, her volume continuing to rise. "Instead of just standing by like a shadow and watching everything pass you by!"
Her words did not seem to faze him at all, which she should have known, but this only fueled her anger. Her arm slashed around violently as she said again, "Let me go!"
"Are you trying to wake up the whole castle?" Severus inquired. "Or are you just trying to be a dunderhead? You're pulling off both very nicely, either way."
"Fine!" she snarled, not listening to her brother. "If you're not going to do a damn thing about this, then – I – will!" In one swift move she whacked him in the stomach, then pulled her arm away and ran back towards the still fighting boys. Severus was not hit hard, but the surprise was enough for him to slacken his grip. Selena didn't waste a second for him to realize she was free, she bolted away as fast as was humanely possible. And for several elated, wonderfully joyous moments, she was sprinting across the grass, about to get exactly what she wanted. But then something pushed her down, and she tumbled. She hit the ground with a painful thud, the side of her face slamming into the earth.
"That's – enough," said Severus, breathing hard. It was his hands that had pushed her, she realized now. Said hands were now holding her arms, pinning them to her back in case she tried to get up again. "This is – over. Do – do you understand that? It's done. We can't change what has happened, and revenge – revenge won't change it either. Alright?"
She squirmed, trying somehow to break away.
She kept struggling for several moments, then suddenly she went limp against the ground, unreleased sobs shaking her body. And it wasn't because of her sudden hard impact against the earth.
It took a few heartbeats for her brother to realize why she had suddenly stopped trying to get away. "Selena, come on…it's fine…"
She didn't respond. Severus pulled her up so she was sitting on the grass beside him but offered no comforting words or gestures, clearly not accustomed to dealing with someone on the verge of crying. Trembling, she glared up at the beautiful full moon, blinking away furiously at the tears that were threatening to escape her eyes. So the Snape siblings sat in silence for some time, neither sure of what to say or do, looking up at the moon.
"Can't I just sock him in the face once?" Selena asked very quietly, still watching the bright orb in the sky.
Severus let out a sigh. "They're heading back inside now. And Selena, it's over." His tone was different than normal, it was quieter and not as guarded. "For tonight, at least. And if it's not over, what happens next is not going to be up to you. So just…" He trailed off into silence, but she knew what he meant.
She shook her head sadly. "I'll try, but that's all I'm promising."
They stayed for several more minutes, then Severus inquired, "Shall we be heading back?" Selena nodded, and they stood up. The two walked back to the Common Room in silence.
"Good night," said Severus; his voice had resumed its usual lazy, bored drawl. It were as though nothing mere minutes before had happened; as though mere minutes before she had not been about to beat the tar out of James and Sirius, as though minutes before both of them had done things the other wished desperately they had not, as though minutes before there had not been a brief moment when the siblings had reached some sort of silent understanding.
"Good night, Severus."