Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Harry Potter. My stories are purely for entertainment value. I do not make profit out of them in any way.
A/N I hope you all enjoy the last chapter of Framed! Thank you all for reading and reviewing! More reviews are more than welcome. :D
The Essence of Love
Jasona had been sitting in front of Severus's chamber for most of the night and she couldn't remember ever sleeping less comfortable; Leaning to the doorpost, resting her head to his door. It was her way of making sure he wouldn't sneak out without her knowing. But it came with a price. She had hardly slept and every muscle in her body hurt. She checked her watch. It was seven AM. Would she dare going off to the bathroom for just two minutes? Before she could decide, the door opened behind her and she tumbled backwards. She let out a surprised screech. She was trying to compose herself when his silky voice made her smile up at him.
"I'm glad to see the evidence of your trust, miss Donova."
She laughed. The lack of sleep made his comment seem terribly funny. "Yes, I do show it, don't I?"
He raised an eyebrow and she could see her response was not what he had expected. She picked up her bag and gave him another radiant smile. "Let's go!" He searched her face with a sulky expression before he moved. He took up a pace.
"Where are we going? What's the plan?" She decided not to be annoyed when he didn't answer. After all, who knew how long they'd be stuck with each other? She'd better try and keep a positive attitude! As always, he walked in front of her, assuming she'd follow. His robes were flaring and she felt herself dreaming away at the constant tread. When she looked back up again, she found herself standing in the Shrieking Shack. She wondered why he had brought her here.
He didn't look comfortable, but she could tell he was trying to cover it up by pacing the floor. She waited for him to talk. Suddenly he turned to her, in his trademark way. His face was shut.
"We will bring him here. I'll make sure he won't be able to apparate. You will cast a patronus." He slightly shifted his head. "You do know how to cast one, don't you?" He continued after her nod.
"His father will come, I'll get the information I need. You keep out of the way. Understood?"
She nodded again, though she had no clue how he thought all that would ever happen. He turned away from her and stared at the wall, his hands clutched behind his back.
"Find him for me."
She almost started to laugh. How was she supposed to do that! Did he think she could just close her eyes and picture him?
"Close your eyes and concentrate."
Apparently he did. She sighed. She might as well give it a go then. Closing her eyes, she couldn't resist asking. "And why exactly do you think I can find him?" She heard him turn back to her. He waited so long before he answered, she almost thought he would ignore her question. "Because you have a connection that I don't have."
Her eyes flew open and she spat. "I don't .."
He cut her off. "Concentrate!" She angrily shut her eyes again. 'Severus the Professor' was an arrogant pig and she hated that his tone had such an obedient effect on her. But fine, she would concentrate. She thought of Leon and an image of him sleeping in a hotel room appeared in her head. He didn't seem at ease, she thought with a smile.
"What do you see?"
He sounded tensed. She shrugged. "Him being asleep." She realised that her picturing this, might convince him more that she and Blair had dated. But before she could say anything he had taken her in his arms. "Keep concentrating," he said in a silky tone. That was much easier said than done. She tried not to think of his warmth, of his touch, but kept the picture of Blair inside her mind instead. It was hard not to shiver when he spoke again.
"Take us there," he whispered in her ear. She nodded, half convinced they were not going to end up anywhere.
As soon as they had apparated, Severus took a step back from her. Her confused look told him she had not expected them to actually get there. He saw the boy sleeping as Jasona had told him. Without wasting another moment, he took her hand and walked to the bed. He stunned the boy, grabbed him by the arm and apparated back to the shack.
It was almost ironic that this was the place he had chosen to wrap up the pieces of his life. He had noticed a memorial plaque on the wall when he had told her to make a connection with Blair. Strangely enough, it had not moved him at all. It was like reading about someone he had never even met, a stranger.
They staggered on the floor and Severus almost lost his balance. He put Blair on a chair and cast a Body Binding spell on him. Now that the first part of his plan had gone so smoothly, he had to stop himself from assuming the rest would go just as easily. It was potentially dangerous and he wasn't prepared to be made a fool of again.
His first priority was to make sure they would not be surprised by anyone so he set up a number of protective charms. He noticed that Jasona had not moved since they had come back. Walking towards her, he saw that she had turned pale. Worried, he took her chin in his hand and checked her pupils for reaction.
"Did you get hurt?"
She slowly shook her head, staring at him as if she had never seen him before. Well, if she wasn't hurt then what was she wasting his time for!
"Then pull yourself back together!" he snapped at her. At least this gave her back some of her spirit, he thought with a slight smile, for she tore herself away from him and started a rant about him knowing things he kept from her and demanding he would clarify what had just happened to her – how she had been able to find a person by just picturing them.
"Not a person. Blair," he answered, sitting down at a shabby table. He noticed that the interior hadn't changed at all.
She crossed her arms and looked angry. "And that's it? That's all you're telling me? Listen, if you're not going to trust me soon, we will have a huge problem when Mr. Blair arrives," she sighed. "You have to tell me everything."
His insides were burning to share his thoughts and experiences, but it was too great a risk. The less people knew, the better.
"Cast a patronus," he said blankly.
He rose from the chair. "Don't act so childish. We have no time to get into a discussion. Just do what I've asked."
She checked if Blair's robes weren't too tight before she looked back at him. "Do it yourself." Her concern for the boy didn't improve his mood. He took her wrist and turned her towards him. She looked up at him in surprise and for a brief moment he recognised fear in her eyes.
"I can't," he hissed at her. He wasn't prepared to witness what form his patronus would take, now he had such strong feelings for the girl that was pulling herself out of his grip. He let go of her and she stared at him angrily.
Behind her, Blair was waking up. His heavy lid eyes looked around in wonder. "Where am I .. Jasona?"
She turned back to the boy and he hated that he couldn't see the expression on her face. In a flash of frustration he cast the spell and saw a silver figure find a way out of his wand. He could not hide the shock on his face.
She smiled when she heard him cast the spell. At least she won this battle. Blair's eyes grew big as he looked over her shoulder. "The Silver Doe.. it really is you .." he whispered.
Jasona turned back with a start. She couldn't believe her eyes. She looked up at Severus in disbelief.
"That's my patronus .." He slowly turned towards her, obviously confused.
At that moment it hit Blair that he'd been captured and he started yelling. "Hey! Let me go!" He tried to loosen the robes. "I didn't have anything to do with it!" Severus pointed his wand at Blair without taking his eyes off her.
Even though there were still sounds of Blair struggling to break free, his yells were inaudible.
He repeated his question, this time more tensed. She hesitated. He wasn't telling her anything, so why should she? It wasn't his business after all that her fathers' patronus had been a doe and her most happy memories were those of him.
"Since the first time I cast one," she decided to say. He searched her face for more, but he didn't find what he was looking for. In a moment of weakness she reached out to him, showing him her own doe.
Emotions she could not understand flashed upon his face. She looked at the two does and realised they were identical. She didn't understand, and the look on his face told her he didn't have the answer. How could they share identical Patronuses before they even met!
He brusquely turned away from her and focussed on Leon, who had stopped twisting and turning. He stared at them with an open mouth.
"And now Blair, we are going to send your daddy a message."
Two days had passed since they had watched the does disappear. The first hours had been of anticipation. Every sound had made them draw their wands. But the wait was long and the hours passed slowly. Blair had complained that the robes cut off his circulation and after a quiet discussion, Severus agreed to remove the robes and put Leon under a Leg Locker Curse.
They took short naps while the other held guard. To her frustration, she noticed that Severus was avoiding her as much as was possible in the little shack. He made sure he was only at the same side of the room when it was unavoidable and it seemed to take him great effort to talk to her, let alone to keep up a conversation. So she resolved in the company of Blair.
To her surprise, he had been very nice to her. His apology was heart-felt and he really was interested in her. He wanted to know how she had coped in the painting for so long. It was a strange comfort to know he knew what it was like to be trapped in a painting. He had opened up and told her about his own childhood. She was amazed to find they had so much in common. All the while she and Blair talked, she could feel Severus's eyes pierce in her back. She ignored it. If he didn't want to talk to her, so be it.
Christmas day arrived and they still had not heard from Blair Sr.
Food became a necessity. She suggested that she could visit Hogsmeade to buy some food. Severus didn't need much persuasion, she wasn't sure though if he agreed because of his own hunger or because of Blair's whining for food. Either way, she was glad to get out of the self-made prison for a moment.
The temperature inside had been below zero – and that had nothing to do with the snow outside. She was tired and hungry, and she felt like having a good cry. The evening before, Severus had abruptly interrupted a conversation between her and Blair. He had demanded to know why his father hadn't come for him yet. Leon was so scared of the black explosion that nothing more than stuttered phrases had come out of him.
This had angered Severus even more and he had turned his scowls towards her. "You're not a great help, are you! Why don't you keep guard and be useful for once, instead of cuddling with our hostage."
She didn't think it worth the effort to go against him so she had done what he'd asked. This seemed to cool him down a bit.
In their many talks, Blair had expressed his curiosity about Severus. How was it possible for a dead man to be here. What was his obsession with the purple ball. And of course, what was Jasona's relationship with him.
She never answered those questions. Partly because she couldn't. Especially his last question bothered her. All right, they had slept together. But that seemed a very long time ago! And he had never tried to show affection afterwards .. well except for when he was delirious and that didn't count.
Even though he had hurt her with his words, in the last few days she had started to suspect that they were uttered in some kind of jealousy. Could it be the explanation for his strange behaviour of the last few days as well? Her heart skipped a beat. She had to admit to herself that her feelings for Severus had not changed at all. He had to stop hiding himself from her though! Once this was all over, they had to sit down and she would force him to talk. She smiled cheekily. She might know how to get him to open up.
She turned a corner and before she realised what happened, someone had grabbed her from behind.
Severus was pacing the room. He sent a weary glare at the boy in the corner. He knew he was being a jealous git, but it gave him some pleasure at least, every time Blair looked at him in fright.
He had gone over all the facts these last couple of days and he could not add them up. What triggered him the most, were their matching Patronuses. That could only imply pure love, but how could she have loved him before they even met! Maybe she was right, maybe he should tell her more. Maybe, just maybe there was a chance that she would tell him what he so desperately wanted to hear. He made a decision. Right after they'd eaten – Merlin he was hungry! – he'd sit her down for that talk. He now wanted to know what he could expect, rather sooner than later!
Of course he'd have to put a Muffliato spell on the boy. His feelings were none of his business! Suddenly he felt much better than he'd felt for weeks.
He must have fallen asleep, he realised with a start. He looked around to see what had woken him up. He noticed the boy looking rather smug with himself.
The voice was loud and came from outside. "I've got something you want and you've got something I want. Let's trade!"
Jasona! The bastard got his hands on her! Without thinking twice, he grabbed the boy and pushed him out of the door in front of him. He lay his wand on the boys' throat so he would not play a trick on him. When he opened the door, he saw them standing at the other side of the field.
Six men in masks, one of them holding Jasona, the way he was holding Blair. As far as he could see, she was fine. The men shouldn't know he was worried though. He pulled his face in a mask and talked without a trace of emotion.
"Give me the girl. If she's unharmed I might give you your son."
The men laughed. Blair Sr. tightened his hold on Jasona.
"You can keep Leon. Let's do this on my terms."
Severus wasn't sure if he heard this correctly. He felt the boy tighten in his arms, he was obviously not as comfortable as he had been a minute ago.
"I don't think you are in a position for demands Blair!" he sneered.
"My son means nothing." Blair Sr.'s voice sounded disgusted as he pronounced the last word. "Let's cut the crap Snape," He let out a hollow laugh. "Give me back the Animus."
Severus felt a chill pass through him. He tried to stay calm. "Not so fast. Just out of interest, I'd like to know how it got into your possession in the first place."
Senior signed his men and they crept towards him, wands ready to strike. To his relief, Blair senior took the bait and elaborated.
"You don't remember my mother Snape? She was a big fan of yours. That is, when she thought you were a Death Eater. She used to work for you in the laboratory."
Severus squeezed his eyes. "Rosencrantz?"
"Good guess! She had the annoying habit of keeping backups of her works at home and every now and then she took a specimen with her as well. She took that Animus, the day you decided to wipe her memory!"
Blair's men now stood in a circle around him and young Blair.
"Dad?" The boy whimpered softly.
"Shut up!" His father responded. "Give me what I want Snape. If not, I will have to see if this girl might be more useful to the Order than her father was."
Thousands of questions swam through his mind, but he choose the most pressing one.
At the same time, Jasona requested to know what Senior knew about her father. The man laughed evilly. "The Order of the Animus! We seek the secret that makes the purple Animus so powerful!"
He looked down at the girl he was holding captive. "We found the only witch that had been in the laboratory that day Professor Snape changed the experiment." He looked back up at Severus, whose stomach had turned at these words.
"She said she didn't know anything and she killed herself before we could push her harder."
Severus swallowed with difficulty but kept his face straight.
Blair Sr.'s voice hardened. "Unfortunately she took my mother with her. Ever since, I've been looking for her descendent and there he was .." He pulled Jasona's head back so she had to look at him.
"Your dear father."
Severus forced himself to laugh, although part of him knew this was the truth. "And even if what you are saying is true, why bother with this family line!"
Senior wasn't amused. "Genetics! There must be something in their genes that protects them from blowing up!" The man seemed to have lost his patience. Jasona was in distress, he felt her pain.
He felt her pain? How could he? He grimaced.
Meanwhile Jasona demanded an answer from Senior. "My family was in Africa during the war! You've been killing the wrong people!"
"Yes, miss Hoover was hard to find, and I have to admit that her identity change was thoroughly well done. But she made the mistake of sending her son to Hogwarts when the invitation letter came."
Severus found it hard to keep focussing with all the feelings swimming through his body. Miss Hoover?" Was all he could think of to say.
Blair Sr. let out a merciless laughter. "Let's get to business. You tell me what you know and I won't harm this girl. Or you for that matter."
Severus felt too much right now.
Realising that Jasona was Polly's grand daughter .. this meant that his essence possessed her in the third line! That was why he felt so attracted to her! Her father must have left some of his own essence during the experiments, which must have mixed with his. The intrusion would have transformed the texture.
This must have been why he had never felt the unbearable intensity with Jasona that he had felt in those few minutes alone with Polly.
The air was pregnant with electricity.
He was a strategist. He always knew what to do, was one step in front of his enemy. Except for two occasions, one of which was now.
Blair Sr. slowly came towards him, tugging Jasona along.
"And while you're talking, I'd be very interested to hear how it's possible for you to come back from the grave. Were you fed up with the after life?" He smirked. "Did Lily Potter still have eyes for her husband only?"
It was strange to notice that this sneer didn't touch him at all. All he could feel was worry for Jasona and it was maddening that Senior still kept her head in such an angle that it made it impossible for him to see her eyes.
He knew she wasn't hurt, just very confused. And he could feel something else too. A different kind of worry. A worry about him! He was intrigued by it. An old memory surfaced. Big blue eyes looking into his, begging him to open his heart. Is that what he had done? Was that the reason why he could feel Jasona's .. love?
He had to close his heart again, this wasn't the place or the time to have those feelings. He had to concentrate on this man who was coming closer in a menacing way. He had to make sure the woman he loved wasn't hurt.
"You and your Order," He looked at the men that surrounded him in a condescending way. "have been searching in the wrong places." It became very quiet. "You see, the essence," he smirked quietly, "isn't miss Donova's genes, but something completely different. Something that you could never grasp."
Severus felt Blair jr. moving under his hold, uttering another plead.
Clearly the boy did not know how to choose his moments. If looks could kill, the boy would not have survived.
"I said 'shut up'!" The suspense was turning into madness. "You've been a moron all your life, a waste of space! I'm disgusted to have a son like you!"
This must have been the straw for Leon Blair. He grabbed the wand out of the unsuspecting hand of his captivator and cast a powerful stunning spell. All the Order members around them fell down at once. The father lost his mind and ran towards his son, leaving Jasona behind.
"Idiot! I could kill you!" Severus let go of the boy and look a step aside. It seemed better to let father and son fight this one alone.
His eyes found Jasona's. She stood there, uncertain what to do. He concentrated on her. "Whatever happens, keep yourself safe!" Her surprised look told him she got his message. She slowly nodded her head.
The screaming father had reached his defiant son. "Don't you dare aim that wand at your father!"
Leon hesitated and that was enough to get stunned. The next moment Severus felt Senior's wand pointing in the flesh of his throat.
"I wouldn't do that, if I were you." He said calm. Blair Sr. put his face closer and hissed. "I won't, if you just tell me what I want to know!"
Severus smirked when he felt the wand pulling away. "You are pathetic."
"Let go of him!" His heart froze when he heard her shaky voice. Didn't he tell her to save herself? Didn't she confirm that she would?
Senior turned his head and Severus saw Jasona aiming his own wand at the man. Blair Sr. turned towards her, laughing. "What's this?" he inquired. "A heroic performance from the fat girl?" He feigned an attack on Severus but turned and snapped the wand out of her fingers. He pushed her towards Severus, who was keeping his face straight under all the emotions he was feeling.
Blair shook his head at her and clacked his tongue. "Got the hots for the historical hero, darling?" He pointed his wand at Severus. "Crucio!"
The pain went through his every vain. He cringed and fell on the ground, moving his body parts, hoping it would release him of the pain. He could hear his own screams. The pain stopped all of the sudden.
Senior had angrily put his attention on Jasona, who was lying on the ground beside him, her face covered in tears of pain.
"What are you playing at, you stupid girl!" The man kicked her. Severus met her eyes and knew she understood what had happened between them, even though she couldn't.
He knew he could not let her get hurt anymore. He knew this had to come to a stop. Even if it meant the end of all. He raised himself to his arms and looked up at the angry man.
"Blair," he whispered. Senior looked back in anticipation. "I'm taking the Animus out of my robe now, you get what you want."
Senior didn't move, so Severus felt under his black cloak for the small purple ball and pulled it out. A mad smile appeared on the other man's face.
"Give it to me." He said quietly.
Severus got up on his feet, carefully holding the Animus. He held his hand out for Jasona, who needed his support. His eyes locked with hers. He knew what he had to do and he wished he didn't have to. He could feel her love for him and wanted to hold her close. One last time. He knew she would be save, his essence would protect them both.
He pulled her in his arms and smiled at her. She hesitantly smiled back. He could feel her insecurity, she did not foresee what was to happen. She must feel his emotional pain though, for she was trying to sooth him. His lips met hers in a burning passion. The kiss was beyond desire, it was a kiss of pure love.
He did not hear the angry, confused cries of the man witnessing their embrace. She filled his senses and he knew that he was on the verge of losing his grasp on reality. He took everything she offered him greedily, in the knowledge that this was all he would have.
He gave her all the love he possessed. With great strength he made himself pull back a little. He felt her resistance, she tried to pull him back. She had forgotten the world around them.
He felt the Animus, still in his hand. His arm sped through the air until it crashed to her back. Her eyes flew open, wondering what had happened. He saw the purple cloud surrounding them and he felt his own essence penetrating a way back inside of him.
He felt her get scared and pinched her hand as he took a step back. He vaguely noticed an angry scream and a green flash trying to enter their purple cloud. He didn't see the flash backfire on it's caster, nor did he care.
As the essence found it's way inside, he felt himself fading away. Finally she understood what was happening. She wasn't prepared to let him go. She desperately threw herself at him and the last thing he felt were her warm lips on his.
Jasona sat on a bench, staring at the statue in front of her. The last five months of her school year she had spent a lot of her time on this bench. This would be the last time though, she thought with a faint smile. Tomorrow she would step on the Hogwarts express, never to return.
She still did not understand all that had happened that Christmas morning. She knew what she had felt though! His love had filled her up, let her float and left her so empty, she knew no one else could ever fill her being, like he had.
She didn't even have to close her eyes to visualise those last few seconds. Everything had gone so fast. One moment she had laid on the ground, experiencing excruciating pains, the next she lay in his arms, experiencing unearthly feelings of love. Then he had broken the ball. On purpose.
She had been overwhelmed with feelings that had not been hers, from the moment she had learned that Severus had known her grandmother.
She had not understood what was happening to her at first. She'd thought that Blair Sr. had put a hex on her but when her eyes had met Severus's and his concerned message had reached her, she knew. In her understanding that they shared their love, she had nodded. She could not however, follow his instruction. You did not just abandon the one you loved, because you could be in danger! Others might accuse her of being Gryffindor, but she knew it was the right thing to do. So she had tried to rescue him from the tight spot he was in.
Thinking back, she did not regret that choice. What would have happened if she'd left? Without a wand, he could not do much.
In the months following the events, she had studied the brilliant Professor Severus Snape, and learned that in his past life he would have been able to do just that. She had guessed that, whatever had brought him alive, must have brought back only part of him, the man Severus and that his magical abilities were limited to those of ordinary witches and wizards.
She remembered those last seconds before he had faded. The connection between them had been most intense and she knew she would lose him forever. She had thrown herself in his arms and given him her all.
Her desperate kiss had been answered with an equal desperation and she had wanted the moment to last forever. But suddenly there had been just air.
When she had composed herself enough to take in what had happened, she noticed Blair Sr.'s lifeless body lying on the ground, beside his son's stunned body.
She had started to run back to Hogwarts with one hope in her mind. Maybe, just maybe ...
Muse had been waiting for her by the door of his office. He let her in without a word and left.
Her eyes found his at once. She rushed towards him and stood there, looking at him, unable to utter a single word to express her feelings. Her lips were shivering, but she refused to cry. She reached out to touch his face.
"No," He had whispered.
She saw the pain in his eyes. Her hand touched the canvas in which his face was imprisoned. He closed his eyes. "Severus .." She'd felt the tears running down her face. She had never felt this lost before. He opened his eyes at her plea and tried to smile, but she could see he was close to tears as well.
She had stood there for a long time, watching him, touching him, leaning her head to the painting. They did not need words to talk, they finally understood.
She never saw him again after that intense afternoon.
Seeing him would break her and she knew he felt the same. There were times though, when she was in class, studying, or laughing with her friends, when she could feel his presence. She never searched for his eyes, knowing that he would be gone the moment she'd search the paintings on the wall.
Jasona raised from the bench, taking one last look at the statue of the man she would never forget. His black eyes looked down at her, frozen in granite, captured in the pose he used when he wanted to show his authority. She smiled and touched her belly.
He was part of her body and soul.
Severus gazed around the empty office. All the other inhabitants had gone downstairs to see the sorting, but he had not done so for years. Time passed, students came and went, so what was the use of House Pride if you had nothing to look forward to but eternity? He sighed.
Not a day went by that he didn't think of her. Not in an obsessive way though, not like with Lily. He knew the feelings he'd had – still had – were answered. The memory of their moments together was what dragged him through this second rate existence.
He had never liked being a painting, but somehow it felt like a bitter-sweet blessing now. He would not want not to have known her. Besides the fact that if he wouldn't have been a painting, the secret of the Animus Reprehendo might have been discovered! Thank Merlin, Leon Blair had no memories of that day. At least, he claimed to. He had woken up from the stunning spell to find his father dead, surrounded by confused Order members. The men were sent to Azkaban for using the Killing Curse on Blair Sr. and supposedly Blair jr. was living somewhere in Ireland with his wife and kids.
The office door opened and he heard Muse's voice. "Just go inside. I will see you later."
A little boy with clean-cut black hair, entered the office, curiously looking around. Severus smirked when he noticed the Ravenclaw badge on his school uniform. He used to always hate kids like this: Well taken care of, oblivious to the bad world outside their bedroom.
But somehow this boy seemed different. He was scanning the walls as if he was looking for something. When their gazes met, the boy smiled.
He looked into his own eyes.
- the End -