Plot and new characters are my intellectual property
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 3: His Dark Materials
Erszhebet wiped the tears from her eyes; she would not spend any more time dwelling on those particular dark days of her past nor the events of last night. It was Saturday, the city was quiet and she was due for some quality time by herself; something which had not been in abundance recently.
After a hot bath she threw on an old pair of jeans and her favorite T- shirt; the one with the sepia imprint of three toddlers: two little girls in cute little dresses and a boy in a sun suit. They are seated on the top step of a staircase, probably a tenement similar to where she had one lived. One little girl sits in a corner scowling at the other giving the little boy a smooch. She felt an affinity with the little girl in the corner; she could feel isolated even in a large group of people and it always seemed that other people had the life that she wanted for herself. She had bought the shirt for 12 at Limited Express in the mid 90's and was pleased that it still fit.
Erszhebet pulled her long hair into a ponytail at the nape of her neck and decided to go bare faced. 'God, I look like I death warmed over' she scowled as she looked at herself in the mirror. She topped off her casual wear with a pair of rather expensive penny loafers without socks as she distained having to wear them let alone shoes. She loved roaming around her house barefoot and love summer days when she could slip on some cooling and comfortable sandals or flip-flops.
Normally, she would have phoned Patrick by now, trying to smooth things over even she had no reason to do so. It was easier for her to take the high road, she had thought, as he really was acting and reacting from insecurity. As she recognised his issues using her perceptiveness, she felt she had a moral responsibility not to lower herself to his depths in defense of herself.
Now she realized that that may be true, but all she was doing was encouraging disrespect and even more abusive behavior. To be fair, her relationship with Patrick was the only relationship that had been as negative as this. Still, she always seemed to attract more than her fair share of men who had considerable emotional or psychological blocks of some sort. 'A therapist would have a field day with me,' she thought.
Today was to be a day of her favorite pastime; shopping for books, art supplies and music. She left her loft on Christopher Street and headed towards West Broadway making her way towards Pearl Paints on Canal. Usually Erszhebet would have taken the time to fix her own breakfast; she was a reasonable cook and did not mind it. It was the cleaning up that she could do without.So making an inspired choice, she would instead having some breakky at one of her favorite eateries along the way. If she made an early start then she could be back within a few hours with the rest of her day to herself. 'That is if I don't get too comfortable in Borders bookstore,' she chuckled to herself.
Still on the kick of breaking out of her set routines she had a luxurious breakfast of thick Buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, scambled eggs and bacon washed down with a pot of Green tea and some orange juice. Erszhebet took a different route than usual to get to West Broadway and headed towards Washington Square just off West 4th Street. It was a 15-minute walk at the most but the exercise would her good.
Professor Severus Snape, Potions Master and Head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, not only could not get his mind off the events of the previous evening; he also couldn't get over the fact that he just could not get over it and move on. This just was not like him and he did not like it. He sat in his hotel suite overlooking Central Park West on the 38th floor, looking at the rain. 'Some holiday, I may as well be in bloody Britain,' he muttered under his breath, trying to remember just why in the hell had he chosen this place.
Snape had barely slept last night and was tired. The accidental trip to Brooklyn hadn't helped. There was not a mind that he could not penetrate fully; until now. This young woman not only felt the Legilimens technique when Severus finally broke through, but then she had turned it back on him and a wave of... what?...almost overpowered him - through closed doors. That was not supposed to happen. It was impossible. Or did she? Severus was not entirely too sure just what had happened. She was not from the Wizarding world, of that he was certain. A fact that made this episode even more disturbing. 'Something is not right here,' he thought.
He needed some guidance on this. It was not often that Severus Snape conceded that he needed anyone's help. Now was one of those rare times. There was only one person who could help, who always helped; but they were on the other side of the Atlantic and anyway, Severus was to leave New York City for home tomorrow. The Potions Master reviewed his options. First, he would be back in the UK before an Owl got there, rested and and returned to him with an answer if there was one. Second, he didn't know anyone in the American Wizarding Community and had not taken care to note the equivalent of Diagon Alley here before leaving Hogwarts; as dangerous as that was in these times, so couldn't get an Owl anyway. Third, there were no fireplaces here so Floo Powder was also out of the question. Besides he would need the right type of International Floo Powder which he also didn't have. As it was, he was using a special Portkey from Central Park to get himself back to London and would Apparate from there to Hogsmead, the only entirely wizard community in the British Isles, not very far from the school but a serious walk nonetheless.
Still, there was no denying he was enchanted with the young woman from the train. Merlin's Beard, he had lost her anyway. All his queries and theories didn't mean anything without the subject to hand.
'Fucking pathetic and useless,' he thought, angry with himself. This was completely out of character for him when it came to the opposite sex. His admonitions to himself were not. Snape usually would not dare to be bothered. He had never really had so much as a one-night stand let alone a girlfriend. No, correct that; he'd had no intimate contact of his own free will.
The dark memories of those frightening times always threatened to break him; best to leave them buried deeply where they were. He had only managed it with the Headmaster' help. Now was not the time to have a nervous breakdown.
There had been only one time in his life that a young woman showed him attention and was good to him. Snape had ruined it, as he ruined everything else about his life. Severus' mind wandered back to his years as a student at Hogwarts and a lovely red-haired girl with brilliant green eyes.
Lily Evans, though she was in Gryffindor and not Slytherin as he was, had always treated him kindly. But, he refused to accept her kindness and instead insulted her, calling her one of the filthiest names you could call someone in the Wizarding world. He insulted her over her non-Wizarding lineage and called her a Mudblood. Racism was not exclusive to the Muggle world.
Lily was not born of proper wizarding stock as he was and as such was nowhere near to being a Pureblood as all Slytherins were thought to be. Then again, all pureblood families were related to each other by blood through any number of connections. There were so few pureblood families left that it was the only way to keep the lines going. But, all of that inbreeding made for some, ah, interesting quirks in some families; like the Malfoys, for instance. Lucious Malfoy was a sociopath and a sadist if there ever was one. And Malfoy's son Draco, a former student of Snapes, was definitely his father's son. The so-called 'pureblood' of most of these wizards in reality left a lot to be desired.
Lily had been worth ten of them but hindsight is always 20-20. Snape had been abusive towards her, her kindness and her Gryffindor-ness. He would not allow himself to believe that anyone could care about him; that there could be anything about him or within him worth loving. He'd thought she was winding him up, setting him up. In retrospect, she had tried very hard to reach him. Lily had the singular gift of being able to see the goodness and love in everyone; even those who refused steadfastly to see it and believe in it in themselves. Remus Lupin, a great friend to Lily and the man she had married, had said that once - during a remembrance ceremony for Lily; how true it was. But Severus would not accept it from her.
Lily gave up on Severus and Severus had given up on himself. She ended up going out with and then marrying James Potter, his arch-rival. Ironic, as there had been a time when Lily could not stand James; fellow Gryffindor or not. She had detested his arrogance and bullying ways. No matter; Severus had realized too late that he carried a torch for her, even after she married.
Despite what most people thought, James Potter and his friends could be nasty pieces of work when they wanted to be. Even Lily had seen that. There was an arrogance and foolhardiness that Potter, Sirius Black and their friends would never admit to and that the teachers of their day did not want to see. To this day, no one would say a bad thing about the man; James Potter was the equivalent of a Saint in the Wizarding world outside the circles of the Dark Lord Voldemort. But, Potter and his friends went out of their way to make Snape miserable at Hogwarts, as they did anyone they decided they didn't like. Being called 'Snivellus' by them had been the least of it.
However, Severus gave as much and as good as he had to endure. Everyone knew Snape was a master when it came to the dark arts, even when he started Hogwarts. James Potter and his friends certainly had learned it. It was no small miracle that they had not all managed to kill each other, or at least be committed for life to St. Mungos Hospital or Azkaban Prison with all of the hexes and curses thrown; including the Unforgivables.
Deep down, when Lily took up with James Potter Severus was hurt; he felt betrayed. A completely irrational response, but that was what it was for Severus. When Severus found out about her death at the hands of the dark wizard Voldemort, he was devastated. He had been too late in finding out what Voldemort had in store for the Potters to save her. More than that; any essence of hope died that day with Lily Potter. Regardless, Snape blamed her husband for her death; Potter, his never-ending arrogance and his devil-may-care attitude.
Severus was not jealous of James' popularity as such nor was he jealous because of his prowess at Quidditch. Everyone made the same mistake with those excuses when evaluating the rivalry between Snape and Potter, but they were wrong. James had Lily, her love and her child and Severus did not. Potter had the life that Snape wanted to have. Only once, after Lily's death, had Severus allowed himself to wonder about what might have been had he been a different kind of person.
No one ever knew about his feelings for Lily. A highly skilled Occlumens, Snape had buried those so deep that even he had difficulty with his own memories. Indeed, no one knew very much about him on a personal level. It was just as well. In the dark circles that Snape had traveled in under Voldemort, and still needed to for the Order of the Phoenix, that would have been dangerous; far too dangerous.
Potter and Black had always said that the only way Snape would get a woman is if she was deaf, dumb and blind or he had to pay for it. The truth closer to home was that Severus Snape would not allow himself the seeming luxury or inevitable pain of caring about or loving any one; nothing good would ever come of it. He could not love and he was not worthy of being loved. The more he told himself that the more he believed it and the more it became truth.
He willed it into being.
Snape never got over any of it. Whenever he looked now at James and Lily's son Harry, all the resentment, humiliation and rage came back to him. Harry looked like his father but had the same brilliant green eyes as his mother. Harry Potter reminded Snape of the many things he would rather leave hidden and unreachable in the shadows of his mind.
Had Severus been honest with himself, whenever he looked at Harry he saw the child that he never had with the only woman that had ever meant something to him.
In disposition, young Mr. Potter was more like his father than his mother and this did not endear him to Severus in any way. Snape was not apologetic; He felt that he was justified. Harry Potter, a.k.a. The Boy Who Lived, had survived Voldemort's attack while Lily had died.
Snape had a fearsome reputation that his harsh, unforgiving attitude and dark misdeeds had earned him. He made it impossible for anyone to know him or care about him. How could they, when he only revealed the darker aspects of his personality self to the world.
Besides, there really was not any opportunity at Hogwarts. The other Professors were either paired off with each other or someone from Hogsmeade. Snape was the exception. Everyone gave him a wide berth and he preferred it like that. None of the other staff interested him and a relationship with a student was out of the question. Deep down he did have a longing for something else; that something he knew instinctively was not going to be found in his immediate environment nor the circles he traveled in. He dared not give a name to that something.
There had not ever really been anyone else that he found interesting enough to want to get involved with, aside from Lily. But then, a lot had happened in his adult life that did not make the facilitation of a relationship easy or possible. He had been one of Voldemort's Death Eaters; not the kind of role that brings the women flocking in droves, mind, but a certain type of woman nonetheless. The kind he would not have touched willingly even if he had been paid to.
Consequently, at the age of 42 Severus Snape was inexperienced in true love, intimacy and affection.
Snape's mind drifted back to the young woman from the restaurant.
He had noticed her last night as she arrived with her companion at the restaurant where he had been dining. She had literally taken his breathe away. He was connecting with something deep inside her; what that was he did not understand.
Ironically, the Maitre'D sat them at the table next to his. Mercifully he was hidden by some tall potted plants which were between the tables and could eavesdrop undetected. He had been shocked to see her choice of dinner companion. Tall, but bald on top; what hair the man had was so very fine; he may as well not have any. He wore glasses, thick old man's glasses and had a rather large beer belly. Judging the amount of alchohol the man was drinking he obviously loved his drink. He was not even what one would call cute let alone attractive. Some men were more attractive without hair than with. This was not an attractive man, hair or no hair.
Snape listened to the conversation. The man droned on and on about himself, Muggle technology and then Muggle politics and throughout it all the conversation was always about him more than anything else. The man was obviously intelligent; but in an anorak-y, geeky sort of way. Snape detected an accent. Ah, he was Irish; filled to overflowing with blarney. 'He needs a blarney stone up his self-righteous, self-centred ass,' Snape had thought. The man was clearly at best a liar, at worst a fantasist. Snape was filled with loathing.
The young lady offered up very intelligent and considered responses - when she was allowed to speak. All of which were dismissed by her companion. Her companion dismissed her as much as anything she'd had to say. She was obviously well read and liked a good discussion; there was a keen intelligence despite her choice of dinner companion.
Snape could not for the life of him figure out what the attraction was and shuddered at the possibility that this woman had been intimately involved with this fool. There was something strange, something wrong about that relationship. Interestingly, she addressed her dinner companion as Patrick, but this Patrick never addressed her by name. Not once. 'The bald git,' Snape thought. He hated people like Patrick. 'A hemorrhoid up the ass of humanity,' Snape felt a sneer rising on his lips.
Snape could not understand what a woman like her saw in a man like that. Snape perked up at the sound of her voice. Thankfully, she was not American, she was French. He thought of the loud American tourists that plagued Leicester Square in London with unnecessary noise, ignorance and litter. They seemed to take over the city during the summer months. Tourists; he could not stand them, but could not avoid them if he had business in the Capital. Then again, he could not stand most people; or so he told himself and everyone else. He always had what he thought were valid reasons why for anything and everything.
Then the moron had turned abusive, banging the table, raising his voice. Had they not been in a Muggle establishment, Snape would have let that asshole feel the end of his wand for good measure. But good on her, Snape had thought, good on her for not having any of it and leaving him. This was a bit rich coming from him given the situation with Lily (Snape being Snape, he failed to register the hypocrisy of that thought). The young lady had done it with such finesse. At least she had some self-respect and dignity. Besides she could do better, of that he had no doubts.
'But where would that leave you anyway then, eh Severus, you wouldn't stand a chance! She would do better with anyone but you,' said the small voice deep inside him.
His conscious was a right bastard.
Snape sat on the sofa wearily and sighed.
'Once a dark wizard always a dark wizard,' said the small voice inside him. 'No, no I'm not,' answered another.
'I. AM. NOT!' snaoe shouted as he lashed out and knocked a glass off of the coffee table. A battle raged inside him as it always had since he'd left Voldemort. Severus knew what he knew and he was not going to feel guilty about it. He had seen the error of his ways with Voldemort; but still had a rather keen interest in the Dark Arts. It was common knowledge at Hogwarts. In the Wizarding world, it was dangerous not to know the Dark Arts. One had to for self-defense. The Headmaster once told him that it was not the knowledge one had, but rather the choices one makes that was the mark of dark or light. There was something to be said for that, Severus had conceded, after defecting from Voldemort. It was not what you knew; it was how you used it.
'I need to get out of here,' he thought to himself. His hotel suite felt oppressive and he opted to go for a walk. The Subway was around the corner from where his hotel was and without thinking about it, Severus Snape found himself on the same platform as last night, but on the opposite side. In taking the express train rather than the local service of last night it wouldn't be more than a 10 minute journey. He didn't know why, but he was headed downtown.
By the time Severus Snape ascended from the station at West 4th Street the rain had stopped. The sky was a bit overcast, but there was a hint of the sun. There seemed to be a lot more people about here in the Village than the Upper West Side. He started walking, not sure where he should go. He did not know it, but he was headed in the right direction. He was about to catch up with destiny, only 5 minutes away.
An arch loomed ahead. It reminded Severus of the Arch de Triomphe in Paris. As he drew closer he realised that that it was a small sort of park in the middle of a square. Different groups were here and there. Some were singing, some were debating. There were skateboarders and rollerbladers, Goths, Punks, Trustafarians (though he did not know that that is what they were); even the wealthy, the only ones outside of New York University who could afford Washington Square, were here. You name it, it was here; all types of people mixing and interacting. People were seated on the ground and on the walls of the large fountain in the middle of the park. There was not a park bench that was not completely filled. The place was one teeming mass of humanity.
Severus was so distracted by the sites and sounds on the square and in the park, that he was not minding where he was going.
BUMP! He had collided with someone and a bag had fallen.
Severus apologized in a distracted sort of way, without looking right away to see whom he was saying sorry to, he should have been looking where he was going.
A distinctive French-accented soft voice answered him back, apologizing in kind as she picked up her shoulder bag, bringing Severus down to earth with a stomach and heart-wrenching lurch. She had not been mindful either, distracted by the goings on in the park.
Having caught only the briefest glimpse of that beautiful face, Severus Snape was looking at the retreating figure of Erszhebet Bathory.