Plot and new characters are my intellectual property. JK Rowlings' characters and Wizarding Universe are all uniquely hers. The musical and cinematic inspirations are from the French legends that are Mylène Farmer and Laurent Boutonnât.
Summary: Some years after the defeat of Voldemort, Severus Snape falls for a woman with a dark past of her own and must battle a greater threat than the Dark Lord. In the midst of this, he struggles with his own conflictedness and the complexities between the persona he has so cleverly crafted, his own personal demons and who he really is. He must also face battles with Harry Potter and Remus Lupin, but for very different reasons
The Sleepers Awake
Authors Notes: REPOST: This is the fanfic that started it all. I discovered fanfiction when I become homeless a few years ago. Working on this got me through many a dark moment. Its an epic that wasn't finished – but its also the one that I think the most about and which still inspires me. Its still up at Fiction Alley under this same PenName and its time to work on it again here. Some things will change simply because I hope that I have improved as a writer in all this time. Still, I hope my dear readers will like it 8).Chapter 1: The Crossroads
'Your problems are yours; I leave them with you,' she said quietly. To the amazement of her dinner companion, Erszhebet Bathory did not endure his latest vitriolic litany of complaints and accusations against her. She got up from the dinner table, collected her coat and left the stuffy, expensive restaurant which she had grown to loathe departing amidst a dignified silence.
More than one set of eyes followed her walk to the cloakroom. Hers was an imposing presence – just as she intended so that she could leave with her dignity intact. Living in a city of fashionistas was never easy when such preoccupations were not a part of one's character. However, Erszhebet always liked to look her best regardless of her circumstances and so she tended to look as though she spend more time and money than she actually did on herself even though she could have easily afforded to do so. She was 38, but did not look a day over 25. It was all in the genes with a healthy dose of luck, she would say whenever anyone complimented her. Despite this, she did not regard herself as particularly beautiful and was unaware of the charisma, for lack of a better word, that radiated from her innermost being.
'I have been so desperate for love', Erszhebet thought, 'that I have put up with anything and everything from someone who does not love me and does not want to love me.'
To her surprise she felt no pain, no tears, no remorse at the realization that once again she was a loser in love; only a sense of relief that was a long time coming. For Patrick she was not beautiful enough, intelligent enough or even rich enough. With him, the mind games were plentiful; he seemed to take a perverse pleasure in throwing her innermost secrets revealed to him back at her; secrets which had been revealed to him from a point of absolute trust and love. But nothing she thought or did was ever right or enough.
As she made her way through the late night crowds on Central Park West to the Subway, Erszhebet contemplated her newfound freedom and all of the possibilities she previously denied herself which now lay before her. 'I won't make that mistake again – the next one will have to work hard to deserve me,' she told herself. She had always been free; she simply denied the obvious until it was no longer possible to do so. It had always been like this for much of her adult life, these admonitions that 'next time' things would be different. And despite her best intentions it seemed that somehow she tended to end up as someone's doormat. Still she was convinced that love which was great and true should not bring so much pain. And if you really and truly loved, you didn't get over it in an instant. She believed that now more than ever.
Erszhebet stood on the platform and contemplated her life so far. She was never entirely happy in New York City, in spite of being a successful singer and songwriter. On the surface it would seem she had most of the things that one would want: she had a good career doing what she loved best, enough money invested wisely such that the routine of a 9 to 5 job was behind her and a comfortable loft in the West Village from which to base herself when she had to be in the city for work. She was always judged as one of those who 'had it all' by people who did not have a clue that material success and all the trappings that go with it will not erase emotional pain.
She took her seat on the subway car when it finally arrived and lost herself in her thoughts. She was grateful for her talent and success, as it had taken over 10 years to achieve what she had in a business not known these days for longevity in any sense of the word. This was particularly true for anyone above the age of 25. Her videos and live performances were the stuff of legend in some European markets, Asia and French-speaking Canada. Indeed, her videos were shown in cinemas long before anyone saw them on music television.
Erszhebet preferred her duplex in Paris, where her father had moved the family when she was a young girl from harsh winters of Quebec City. She had suffered a lot of pain in City of Light, but that did not mean she did not love it nonetheless. Despite this, she still had the sense that she had not found 'home' yet. America certainly was not home for her. She had no interest in 'cracking' America and to be honest, most of America would have no interest in her, as she did not sing in English. However, singing in English was not high on her list of things to do to the chagrin of her record company. But she had made them a lot of money writing and producing for others, and her musical instincts were spot on so they left her alone, for the most part, to just do her thing. 'If it's not broke don't try to fix it,' she scolded more than one hotshot trying to make a name for himself at her expense at the company.
Erszhebet was getting to the point where she needed to have her own studio, she thought, perhaps at her country place in the Loire. No, it should be someplace altogether different – a place to go and immerse herself fully in the act of creation. New York City served a purpose when she wanted 'a normal life' of total anonymity. But really, she had only spent as much time there as she did recently because of the 'Patrick situation' as she called it; though she would never admit it to anyone else. She had been determined to find something good in that liaison; he was not all bad surely. But, now she had to let him go. Mentally she had left him ages ago; now she had the courage to follow through.
Erszhebet was so lost in her thoughts that she failed to notice the man seated opposite her.
The man could not help but notice her especially due to the fact that she was obviously lost in a reverie. His long dark hair, which tended towards greasiness sometimes, was tied back underneath a black Fedora hat. His nose was rather prominent, but he was not unattractive. The stranger was dressed in black from head to toe; nothing unusual in New York City and certainly not in the Downtown arts circles Erszhebet moved in - when she chose.
The man had a malevolent look and feel about him, not a bad thing in mean streets of the Big Apple. You'd be a dunderhead to mess him, regardless of whether you valued your life or not. He did not suffer fools. Ever. Many had found that out to their detriment over the years. 'Someone like that would never be interested in someone like me,' he thought and not for the first time in his life. He tended to be quite loathsome. But this young woman; there was something exceptional about this young woman. He tried, but could not see inside her mind
'This is not right,' he thought to himself, 'This is not right at all.'
It should be impossible for him to not be able to pick up something, anything from her. He was quite captivated by her without a doubt, but that should not make a difference. So he was now faced with two very interesting, albeit highly disturbing dilemmas: Not only was he falling in love at first sight with someone he would never see again (and wanted to), but his advanced skills as a Legilimens clearly were no longer reliable.
It was very unnerving indeed.
He cursed under his breath. He once told someone that it was a skill not to be used haphazardly and certainly not for pleasure. 'This is different,' he told himself. He was not new to hypocrisy.
These dilemmas added to the intrigue.
He wanted to talk to her but what would he say? Whatever he said, it would come out all wrong.
His tendency towards sarcasm and dark moods had not won him any friends. He had colleagues and acquaintances. Only two he could say with any absolute certainty, albeit reluctantly, were perhaps friends. But his natural distrust meant that he was always pushing this to its limits. Sooner or later they were bound to disappoint him. Loyalty was not something he inspired.
For her part, Erszhebet was completely unaware that the man opposite her had attempted to 'get in her air space.'
'West Fawth Street!' screeched the conductor over the antiquated speaker system in a rather heavy NYC accent as the train approached the station, 'Stan cleahuhda daws'. Erszhebet, startled, stood up adjusting her shoulder bag and smoothing her raincoat. When she finally glanced at the man opposite her, it crossed her mind only briefly that he looked like a character straight out of 'The Matrix' films as she made her way to the nearest set of doors.
Erszhebet starting singing softly to herself; inspired by what had just happened in the restaurant and the truth of the situation between her and Patrick. She would have to work on this later, she thought. She did not care if anyone else heard her or what they thought about it. Moreover, this was New York City after all - no one takes any notice anyway. Nothing is more inspirational to an artist than affairs of the heart.
She leaned against the partition just by the right door. Her gaze wandered to the young couple making out further down the subway car oblivious to all around them. The young man was totally focused on the pleasure of his companion and his companion was responding in kind. New York being New York the fact that they were in public just made them even more uninhibited. 'Nothing like that would ever happen to someone like me,' she thought and not for the first time in her life.
She had not always been so pessimistic about love and relationships. Indeed, she'd had a love that was the stuff of which dreams were made of. She was lucky enough to have had it the once, she thought, most people never had it all in their lifetime. However, that was another time and she was a lot younger and different then. It was best to leave those memories in the shadows where they belonged.
The train came to a stop and she made her way off towards the stairs. To his surprise, the man in black jumped up impulsively - captivated by the haunting beauty and darkness of her impromptu song but was too late. 'Stancleahuhdaclosindaws!' boomed the conductor. The doors closed just as he reached them, needing to touch her, wanting her. The man could only stand at the doors watching her ascend the stairs, lost in thought.
'It's time for some changes, new experiences, a more authentic life,' Erszhebet thought to herself.
She broke suddenly from her reverie, feeling someone's supernatural attention directed at her, probing gently at her thoughts. The familiar dull ache asserted itself between her eyebrows and she impulsively rubbed at the spot. Erszhebet turned awkwardly on the stairs looking across the station platforms, her gaze falling fleetingly upon a thunderstruck Severus Snape, as a rush of her energy washing over him as he stood at the doors of the departing train.