The walk to the Slytherin dungeon was a silent one. Alina and Ginny were still wrapped in their respective companions as they entered. With an imperial wave of his hand, Lucius dismissed all students in the common room elsewhere, ensuring absolute privacy. Lucius sat on the large couch across from the fireplace while Severus and Ginny took the wingback chair they occupied the previous night. Ginny curled herself on Severus's lap, turning her head into his chest and crying silently.
Alina's head lay in Narcissa's lap while her feet lay on Lucius's. Narcissa gently stroked her slender hairs through Alina's dark hair. Alina had remained silent since she screamed for Lucius in the hall and her tears had already dried. Lucius sighed and rubbed Alina's legs soothingly.
Alina shook her head. "It doesn't matter."
Lucius's mouth turned down at the corners. Narcissa stopped stroking Alina's hair and nudged her back to gain her attention. Alina turned so she lay almost on her back and could look up at the blonde girl.
"Ali," the softness of Lucius's voice startled Alina into sitting up. "We share a connection unlike any I have ever felt before."
Alina's eyes widened and darted to Ginny and then Narcissa. Ginny perked up to better hear. Narcissa simply nodded and tucked a stray hair behind Alina's ear while speaking softly as she would a child,
"You have to feel it. I can see it plain as day. It's like the old adage, 'when the student is ready the teacher will appear.'"
"And it just so happens that you appear at my school." Lucius leaned forward toward Alina. "I understand your fear. But you are hiding from the things you feel. I can help strengthen your powers, you will be untouchable. Fear will be a word with no meaning. But you have to trust me. You must open yourself to me, even a little."
Alina took a breath and held it. There was so much she felt, so much she didn't understand. A huge weight seemed to lift from her as she spoke.
" Remus betrayed me trust. He-" she hesitated mentioning the map. "he is too jealous. It infects everything he does and says with me. He wants to own me and I will never heel to his insecurities."
Lucius nodded, "try to understand. He has never met anyone more beautiful or intelligent. Never met anyone with so much power and for some unknown reason you are attracted to him."
"Just because he's worried he doesn't deserve me doesn't mean he can treat me that way!"
"I can't believe you're defending him," Ginny shook her head. "I thought you hated him."
Lucius barked a laugh. "I don't hate him, I care nothing for him. But you do," he gestured to Alina "and I do care about your happiness."
Lucius gave Alina a small smile, "because dear, just because."
Alina swallowed the emotion that rose in her throat like a hard lump. Snape sighed.
"Well so long as we're all being honest I do hate him. Though admittedly, I feel the least amount of enmity for Remus than anyone else in that group."
"You misunderstand him," Narcissa explained. "Remus knows he doesn't deserve you. But he's terrified of losing you."
"Because he doesn't trust me." Alina crossed her arms across her chest.
"Have you given him reason to?" Lucius asked with a knowing glint in his eyes.
"What do you mean?"
"I know you as I know myself. I would not doubt that you've done nothing to tell or show Remus how much he means to you."
"Why do you say it like that?" Alina jumped from the couch and sat with her back to the fire gathering in the heat.
"Of all people in this room, who do you think would understand the best?" Lucius raised his brow and gave Alina a hard look. It made her feel as though she was being chastised.
"Well…I mean…I guess I like him well enough." Alina's voice was barely above a whisper.
"I know you don't want to give him that power over you. But unless you do, you can't have him. You can't have anyone. Ever."
Narcissa smiled and moved to sit next to Lucius. "We know how much he means to you and you do too. Otherwise you would never have become so upset. If he feels anything like the way you do you wont have to say anything. Just let him know."
Lucius and Narcissa shared a look. Something clearly had transpired between the two of them that allowed them to be so close and comfortable. Ginny had the grace to blush as she looked at them and turned away. Snape smirked. Alina cocked her head as understanding dawned.
"You think I should….you think Remus and I…?"
Snape huffed in annoyance, "Sex! Yes! Sex with either fix what you have or make you realize you had nothing to begin with. It's the Slytherin cure all."
Ginny giggled and tried to hide it behind her hand. "I can't imagine Gryffindors doing anything so scandalous!"
Lucius rested his arm around Narcissa's shoulders and smirked, "It's only scandalous to Gryffindors because of how holier-than-thou you all are. We in Slytherin are more aware of the baser acts of wizards and witches and embrace the pleasure they bring, you should try it."
"How about we just focus on the matters at hand before anything else. Huh?" Alina could not believe that their suggestion was sex! Ridiculous.
"I'm so tired," Alina punctuated this with a yawn. "I don't want to have to go all the way back to the dorms."
"then don't." Snape offered.
"Where would we sleep?" Ginny asked with a raised brow. With the look Snape gave her she adamantly shook her head. "There's no way I'm crashing in here. I'll go back, Alina you can stay."
Lucius turned and stared at Ginny in confusion. Her tone was harsh and unyielding.
"Don't take offense," Alina explained standing up and stretching. "she has this thing with snakes."
Snape smacked his hand against his forehead and apologized. "I forgot, I understand. No worries, but I will walk you to your room."
"What?" Narcissa sat up and crossed her arms in a pout, "What do you know that we don't?"
Severus shook his head, "never you mind. Show Ali to my room while I'm gone and I'll return shortly."
"your room?" Alina smiled, "I hope you don't think you're getting lucky tonight. I said I'd go to the ball with you not play hide-and-get-naked."
Lucius laughed and Snape glared, "must you be so incorrigible?"
"Would you really want me any other way?"
"You don't have to walk me to the room it's ok." Ginny laughed.
"Nonsense. I would go," Lucius offered "but if I see Sirius or Remus right now I'm more apt to hex them into next year than see you safely to bed."
Ginny blushed again and nodded in silent thanks. Severus held out his arms which Ginny unhesitatingly took. She waved good-night to Alina and even hugged Narcissa and Lucius before Severus walked her out.
The halls were barren even though the hour wasn't late. Ginny unconsciously moved closer to Snape. He looked at her but said nothing. Comforting and consoling weren't really his areas of expertise. He was having a hard enough time allowing her to sit on his lap. He liked Kat-or Ginny rather, and Alina. At first he thought perhaps romantically. But though he could see they were attractive he wasn't attracted to them. He figured somewhere within himself he knew he was their professor. He was meant to guide them back to their time.
"Are you alright?"
Ginny nodded. "I just can't sleep in the dungeons."
"I imagine it was horrible. The chamber, I mean."
"You have no idea. And every year around the same time I start to hear things again, and I think, what if it isn't dead?"
"What isn't dead?"
Ginny shuddered, "The Basilisk."
Snape almost stopped entirely. "you've seen a basilisk?"
"a full grown, king of snakes, yes."
Snape walked in silence the rest of the way to the Gryffindor tower. Once outside the portrait Ginny hugged him and placed a small kiss on his cheek.
"Thank you for everything."
"You're going back to him aren't you?"
Ginny shrugged, "I don't know. I'm faster to forgive than Alina is, but I'm not going to forget this."
"You don't seem nearly as upset about this as Alina."
"Yes well, Alina may be powerful but she's absolute no social aptitude. She's completely out of her element. I handle emotions better. Besides, I really don't have time for this right now."
Snape smirked, "I thought all you had was time."
"Ha! There's the cosmic joke, I have so much time I can't escape the memories."
Snape nodded and again felt uncomfortable. He knew there was something he should say or do but wasn't sure what. So he clapped her on the shoulder and bid her a hasty good-night. Ginny shook her head and rolled her eyes to the ceiling muttering
"How can I be the only one who knows how to deal with people."
If Tom taught me anything it was how to deal with people. She thought bitterly as she entered the portrait. The fire had gone out in the common room and the only light was from the moon streaming through the windows. Ginny shivered and rubbed her arms with her hands. In the dark the Gryffindor red seemed dark, too dark, like ink. Like the blood-ink that sprayed from the journal. Ginny wrapped her arms tighter around herself. Even if she made up her mind to go the chamber now and save Harry the trouble she didn't think she could kill the Basilisk. She avoided that particular bathroom even years later. No one seemed to understand just what Ginny had been forced to experience, no one but –
Ginny yelped and jumped spinning toward the voice from the dark. She grabbed her racing heart and tried to breath passed the urge to scream. The hearth suddenly erupted in flames of warmth and light illuminating her late night companion.
"Sirius!" relief unlike any Ginny had ever known flooded her system.
"What's wrong?" Sirius ran toward her. Even though he had upset her he knew that look of terror. Ginny's face was pale, her lips white, her whole body shaking.
He immediately wrapped his arms around her and tucked her head beneath his chin. He held her so tight she had to have trouble breathing. But she burrowed her head deeper into his chest. His whole body was rock hard and tense, he didn't know what had frightened her so but he would be ready to protect her.
"Come, let's go by the fire, it'll be warm and scare away the shadows."
Ginny silently nodded. She would follow him anywhere right now. She desperately needed him and didn't care of the repercussions for the future or even her own well being in the long run. Sirius sat her down on the couch and conjured a thick blanket. He wrapped himself in the blanket and then wrapped himself around Ginny. He rubbed her arms and nuzzled her hair. He knew it was selfish, she was upset and didn't need him behaving lecherously but Merlin help him, he loved the way she smelled. Her hair was so soft and her skin, like cream, seemed to emit the smell like a perfume he was addicted to.
"Where is everyone?"
"Hmm? Oh!" Sirius sighed into the back of her shoulder. "The Hogsmeade trip was moved up. Everyone is sleeping now to get ready for it tomorrow."
"oh…" Ginny sighed. "what are you doing down here?"
"I was reading, and waiting."
"what were you wa-" ginny stopped herself, she knew he was waiting for her and if she asked it was an open invitation to have a talk she would rather put off. She wasn't ready to end the moment yet. "what were you reading?"
Sirius sighed knowing full well she changed her mind mid sentence about she wanted to ask him. He reached past her and lifted his book so she could see.
"I've never heard of it."
"It was actually written by a wizard. He even wrote one of the characters after himself. He wrote about some of this history that happened in the wizarding world."
"Really? Here in England?" Ginny tilted her head up to better see Sirius.
He smiled and shook his head. "No, all this happened on an island a world away."
Ginny made an 'O' shape with her mouth.
"is it interesting?"
"Would you like to find out?"
Ginny shrugged and nodded.
"Here, get comfortable." He pulled her against his body so her back was to his chest and wrapped his arms around her. He picked up the book so that he could read it clearly and thumbed to the page he left off on. He cleared his throat and began,
"…a clear voice as young and as ancient as spring, like the song of a glad water flowing down into the night from a bright morning in the hills, came falling like silver to meet them…"
Ginny nestled into Sirius and closed her eyes letting his voice comfort her and dispel her demons. She didn't think she could love anyone the way she loved Sirius. But she still didn't know if she would forgive him. Sirius was her one pure thing, her safety net in the dark. And when he tainted that, in the moment she looked at him and saw Tom-her heart shattered. She didn't know if she could explain that to him, or if he would understand.
This night she would take what she could and when tomorrow came she would deal with the rest.
A/N: Go ahead everyone, try to guess what book Sirius is reading. when you find out I think you will giggle, I did when I wrote it.
And no cheating! Don't just google it...at least dont while I'm watching. But I'm turning my back now sooo...
I will reveal the truth at the beginning of the next chapter. d^_^b