Disclaimer: I don't own the characters from the Harry Potter books, JKR does, and if she doesn't publish the fifth book soon I'll go mad. Anyway, if you spot anything else in there which isn't mine, then I officially disclaim it here.
by Sarah Black
It was nearly the end of the year, and neither she nor Severus had mentioned the night of the day she returned. She was pretty sure Severus had been talking in his sleep when he said... what he said. Hermione and Ron hadn't gotten into much trouble... only lost fifty points each. She didn't get how the point system continued to work well. Why did the kids care? Were they going to use the fact that they won the House cup in third year in the future? She sighed and started looking for Louis; she kept losing him. Speaking of Louis... he was being a very good boy and he was surprisingly easy to handle. Poppy, who often came to see him, or baby sit, or whatever, kept saying he was abnormally good. He always did what he was told. If she asked him to go play, he did that, if she asked him to go to sleep, he did that. She wasn't complaining, though.
She and Severus were on very friendly terms again, although no one else would notice that. Severus as a friend was pretty much the same as Severus as someone you hardly knew. But comfortable silences had replaced the uncomfortable ones, and that was good enough for her. Although she did catch him staring at her sometimes. He always claimed he had just been staring into oblivion and she had been in the way. She thought that was funny.
"Severus... where's Louis?" She asked, giving up the search. Severus seemed to always know where Louis was, anyway.
"Poppy's cooing over him again. I think Minerva joined her. Honestly, why do women start acting like idiots around babies?" Severus complained sourly, more to himself than to her. She was used to his whining by now, and felt he was a bit of a hypocrite for accusing her of whining, when he did nothing else all day. Well, maybe not. Anyway, she wanted to know where her baby was at all times, and it was difficult in a castle like Hogwarts. How Severus managed it was beyond her.
"How do you always know where Louis is?" She asked distractedly, trying not to seem too interested.
He glared at her for a moment before telling her he didn't always know where Louis was.
"Whatever." She sighed and plopped herself down on his sofa, which she had grown increasingly familiar to. Even if she did have her old room back, with all her stuff, (her dress was fine, thank God) but Louis seemed to be very fond of the makeshift cradle Severus had made for him. He wouldn't sleep peacefully anywhere else. So, as she was supposed to sleep in the same room as her son, according to some book, so she stayed on the sofa. It was giving her back hell, but she didn't really think much of the pain after childbirth and all that stuff.
An owl flew in and dropped a piece of parchment at her feet. The owl then flew off immediately. She watched it go and then bent to pick the parchment up.
I was just informed of what the huge plot the Dark Lord's been planning for a month is.
He's going to attack Hogwarts, at the End of Year feast.
She didn't really understand it properly, and she figured it was for Severus, as she wasn't magical. Or something...
"Severus." She spoke loudly, hoping he'd hear her. He sometimes went deaf when he entered his potions lab and became engrossed with some potion or other. Completely annoying.
"Don't say more if there's no blood involved." A snappish voice answered in annoyance.
"No blood yet, but it has the 'Dark Lord' in it..." She replied in a similar tone.
"What?" She could hear his footsteps approaching fast, it was unlike him to walk that loudly she noted and felt weird hearing him walk.
He appeared in front of her suddenly and ripped the parchment out of her unsuspecting hands faster than a Falcon in full dive.
"Merlin's beard!" He then exclaimed and hurried out the door, no explanation. No nothing. She sat down on the sofa and pouted. He never told her anything! Why did he keep treating her like a child? She was an adult; she was a mother! Right. Louis. Better go save him from Poppy and Minerva...
She walked along the corridors, thinking about the past month. People had been rather surprised to see her alive at first, but now they were all right with it. She was staying at Hogwarts as she had no other place to stay, but she wasn't working because she had to take care of Louis. Money wasn't a problem. She still had that fortune she had inherited from Damien. Damien... -how she had loved him; a sick sort of twisted love. But love all the same. She closed her eyes and saw his face in front of her. He looked sad. A pang of regret passed through the pieces that were here heart.
"I don't know... it's unnatural, Minerva, children aren't supposed to be this meek and obedient. It's wrong." It was Poppy's voice; it came through the heavy old door as if she were speaking under water. A tingling sensation passed through her when she caught wind of the atmosphere that surrounded the room. This necklace was really awesome... How did she not feel this before? She shook her head at her own ignorance and self involvement and pressed her ear up to the heavy wooden door, hoping to hear some more of the conversation taking place within the confines of the room.
"Well, look at the mother, meek as I don't know what, no will of her own. And I suspect Severus is the father, despite what Albus has been trying to stuff down out throats. I went to get Severus for a staff meeting, and Christine answered the door" Minerva paused and she allowed a couple of angry thoughts to pass through her head before the Deputy Headmistress continued with her gossip. "Wearing Severus's shirt... nothing else. She fed me some nonsense about falling asleep the previous evening and having been about to have a shower. It was a better story than her usual ones, and she said it without stuttering or faltering once. It was almost as if someone were speaking through her." She rolled her eyes at the two witches who had nothing better to do with their time, but gossip about her. Her! Of all people...
"Do you really think Severus is the father?" Poppy's voice asked with interest and awe. She rolled her eyes again.
"Well, the boy's got black hair, that man... Damien, he had sandy colored hair." Minerva stated, as if it were foolproof evidence.
"I never did get to see that Damien person, what did he look like?" Poppy asked excitedly, and she started feeling numb, standing in a bent position for that long, she relocated to a standing position, wishing she weren't so curious.
"Oh... he was very handsome, but there was something sinister... almost sadistic about him. It sent chills down my spine. And Christine herself, as a Vampire. -She was dangerously beautiful looking. Severus had stars in his eyes." Both witches giggled and she rolled her eyes once more.
"I wish I had been there..." Poppy admitted wistfully. She decided this was a good time to enter the room.
"You wish to have been where?" She asked as she entered, satisfied at their surprised and maybe a bit hostile expressions.
"Oh, nowhere." Poppy said and sniffed. "I presume you came to collect your son." She than added, directing the conversation to a different direction.
"I think I'll stay here and chat a bit first. Now, you were gossiping about my private affairs and me. Don't let me stop you, I find it rather amusing, to tell you the truth." She felt good; she hadn't had an outlet like this since Sirius came by the last time. She smiled viciously at their awkward manner.
"We were just kidding, it's all in good humor... right, Minerva?" Poppy muttered and stared at her lap.
"Of course." Minerva replied shortly." There was an uncomfortable silence, which she enjoyed quite a bit.
"So, Gryffindor not in the lead anymore, eh?" Poppy finally asked, directing the question towards a very stern-looking Minerva. Minerva frowned a bit before muttering something like: 'it'll be fine'
"What is the big deal about the points?" She blurted out, never really trusting herself to ask Severus. Both witches stared at her as if she were a two-headed alien.
"I mean, are the kids going to use the fact that they won the house cup in seventh year in the future? Will it make it any easier for them to get jobs?" She looked at them, trying her best to look serious and questioning at the same time.
"Well..." Minerva started, but she was cut off by Poppy starting to talk about what wonderful Quidditch weather there was. She shook her head, resigning to the fate of never knowing what the deal with the points was.
Finally, Minerva seemed she couldn't contain her questions any longer. Minerva stared into her gray eyes and cleared her throat.
"So, is Severus Louis' father?" She asked, very nearly looking as if she were holding her breath.
"I don't know. I can't remember." She told them truthfully enough. "But I suspect that's about right. Damien was dead, so he's not a possibility... but I just don't remember." She confessed, feeling strangely lighter after she'd gotten the weight off her chest. The two witch's eyes were round as saucers and Minerva's mouth was hanging agape.
"I knew it! I was right!" She finally hissed happily. She smirked at her and raised an eyebrow.
"Severus is going to kill me." She then told them and shook her head. "I told him, but he seems to have decided not to believe, -but not to not believe. Confusing, I know... I still don't get it." She sighed and Poppy conjured some tea for the Muggle girl.
"We won't tell anyway, after all you don't know if it's true." Poppy then said in a comforting way. She smiled at the nurse and received a warm grin back. Minerva remained stern looking. She wondered if Minerva had any other facial expression. She finished her tea and was surprised when she saw the distinct shape of a dog in the remains of the brown liquid. When she told the other two, Minerva let out a small disapproving noise.
She, herself, thought nothing of the dog in her cup.
The last week of the school year passed with a horrible silence and horrible tension. Everyone seemed to be trying to walk quietly; everyone spoke in whispers. And every remaining student had fear in his/her eyes. And the rumors... the terrible rumors. About 'You Know Who'. She closed her ears, she closed her eyes, and she tried not to be so aware of all this. Most people would think her ignorant and stupid. But a few wise would see that closing oneself off was the only way to breathe normally.
It was the day of the End of Year Feast. If you closed your eyes and really listened you'd hear a thousand hearts beating in the same horrible rhythm. Fear, despair. Horror. But with some exceptions... a few Slytherins walked around with insane grins plastered onto their faces. But no one knew whether the smiles showed true feelings... or pretense.
The day passed extremely slowly and she felt that the hands of time had completely stopped turning. She knew something would happen tonight. The teachers had been preparing. Albus had been talking to Harry Potter so frequently that rumors about distant relations had started flying around the school. So far Albus had been Harry's long lost grandfather, his great uncle, his father's twin who had traveled through time... she would have giggled if the atmosphere had not been so morbid.
"Severus, what's going to happen?" She asked timidly. Severus had been pacing around the room for the past fifteen minutes and looked deeply sunken into thought.
"Christine, please shut up, I'm trying to think." He snapped at her meanly. She felt hurt, like she always did when he snapped at her, but she could feel regret in the air, so she had something like an apology coming.
"I don't know what will happen." He said, his tone softer, and she knew that was the closest she'd get to an apology.
"I'm scared." She admitted, looking at him with her best expression of fear and tearfulness. He glared at her, seeing through the act, which she dropped and glared back at him.
"Well, I am." She insisted and thought of poor Louis, too young to understand what was going on, but old enough to understand something was indeed happening.
"Everyone is." He snapped irritably rubbing his face with his hands. She stood up and walked right up to him, she wondered if he'd push her away. He didn't. They shared a brief embrace, which was ended suddenly by Severus and his leaving and slamming the door behind him, making her flinch. She felt calmer somehow. Prepared... but she didn't know for what she was prepared.
She hadn't gone up for the feast, as Severus had strictly forbidden her to go. He told her it was definitely not safe for her. She had very good food with her and was sitting quietly in front of the fireplace, watching the flames lick the wood lazily. Her heart was pounding and she was painfully aware of the lack of noise coming from the Great Hall. It was much more terrifying than screams. At least with screams you know what's going on. For now she was doomed to sit and wait, wait for the bomb to drop.
Suddenly Louis did something odd. He crawled towards the door and put both his palm flat up against it. She went to pick him up and before she did there was a sharp knock at the door. Her insides froze. No one was supposed to come here. Severus had said so. But maybe it was just a house elf. She opened the door slowly, only to meet the empty corridor. She closed the door and turned around. What she saw made her scream.
Lysander stood there, not just his image, his real self. He looked around twenty or thirty, but his eyes, black pits of wisdom and age, proved that looks weren't everything. He was holding Louis in his arms, and Louis seemed perfectly content. He was sleeping, in fact. Looking very happy, with a small smile on his tiny little lips.
"Hello Triss, I've come to take what's mine." Lysander told her honestly, with a silky voice that melted her insides and her knees. She slid to the ground and became completely still. This was not happening to her. This couldn't be happening to her. Why was this happening to her?
"You own nothing here." She told him, her voice shaking and weak. Barely audible, but she knew from experience that her words would sound like screams to his ears.
"But I do. You refuse to return to me, and if you refuse to return to me I have no way of resurrecting my dear Damien. So I will take this son of yours as my next heir. I must pass on the Dark Gift through my family. Louis Dupre... Soul... perdu. Lost Soul." Lysander spoke the first part of the sentence to her, but the rest of it was more of a mutter to himself.
"You're taking Louis?" She asked, suddenly feeling very free of emotion. She felt faint and as if the world wasn't real around her. Her little baby... he wanted to take it? Take her little Louis... how cruel.
"Yes, I've allowed you to keep him for a while. Allowed him to be around his real father. I am no monster, you see. I just want the best for the little boy. I don't want him to go through what poor Tom went through. This time, I'm raising him myself. This time I will influence him from birth... this time, I will not fail." Lysander had that insane glint in his eyes and his head went slack for a moment before jerking up again. She thought nothing of it, feeling rather used to it. It only meant he was doing magic for someone far away. She knew that much.
"I'm afraid I don't understand... who is Tom? Has this happened before?" She asked, feeling bewildered. What was going on now?
"There was a little girl... she came to me when her heart had been broken. I promised her eternal life and beauty in exchange for the son she carried. She said yes, but changed her mind later. You see, a Muggle man she loved, and had loved her, until she told him she was a witch, had broken her heart. At first she craved vengeance, but she couldn't go through with it, she still loved the Muggle. After she gave birth, I killed her and placed the child in an orphanage where he'd be safe until he got his Hogwarts letter. I sent him subtle letters, letting him know of who he was, who his ancestor was, what he was destined to do. He did as I told him... was my loyal son, but only at first." Lysander paused to breathe, and perhaps check if she was following. She wasn't. He continued anyway.
"He came up with his own goals and started chasing his own dreams. I lost track of him. But one day, he came back, demanding to know the secrets of immortality. He was deformed, wretched, an excuse for a human being. I told him all I knew, thinking it was the best way to gain his trust, to gain some sort of power over him again. But he betrayed me and set off again, foolishly trying to take over the world, or something like that, and at the same time, his main goal was to gain immortality. And he did... he did. But he lost it. And now I'm counting on Albus... the old fool and young Mister Potter, to dispose of that failed experiment for me." He smiled insanely, and rather sadistically, "But never fear, I have my new lab rat right here... and this one will bend to my will without question." He stroked Louis' hair calmly and looked at her, as if daring her to threaten him, to question him.
"How do you know he will do that?" She finally asked, looking at him in wonder. She still hadn't fully registered the fact that he was taking her son away from her. For good. But maybe that was just as well. Who knows how she might have reacted if she had the chance?
"How, indeed. My dear Triss." He sighed and looked at the boy in his hands. "One of my children injected a serum into this boy's blood. There is no antidote, and no way back. It has the tiniest hint of the Imperius in it, but mostly it makes his brain accept information readily" She cut him off before he could continue to what he had been about to say.
"You turned my baby's brain into a sponge?" Her voice was completely void of emotion, and sounded rather impersonal. Her heart seemed to have slowed down, but her ears suddenly registered all the noise that was coming from the Great Hall. There was screaming, shouts of words that definitely weren't English and an insane sounding cackle...
"As I was saying..." Lysander began frostily, pointedly ignoring her comment. "The serum also has a side affect, in precisely eighteen years from the serum being injected to the person's system, he will turn into a Vampire, the pain will be stretched over all those years and the body slowly transform into one of a Vampire. But the need for blood will be there, and that's why I'll be taking some of yours with me tonight." He smiled his wolfish grin and it made her shudder, she watched disinterested as he did some spell that slowly began to fill a plastic bag with her blood, she saw her skin turning even paler than usual. But just before she thought she would faint, it stopped. She sat on the floor, not able to move.
But a question occurred to her suddenly. Did Lysander know who Louis' father was? She decided to ask. And so she did. Lysander smiled at her again, making her shudder all over again.
"Well, I was going to let you and Severus develop the relationship the normal way, I don't like getting involved in people's personal lives, but you were taking rather long, and my patience ran out. So a few spells here and there... made your hormones go mad and your minds a tad befuddled, and afterwards, you wouldn't remember a thing. Genius, if I do say so myself." The smug look on his face made her want to punch him. But she felt lifting her arm up would be too much for her to handle.
"Well, I feel this is the time for me to leave. Thank you for the heir, and the second chance." His eyes bored into hers and the black/purple haze started appearing in front of her very eyes.
"Wait... what is it that you want? Do you want to take over the world?" She asked, feeling sort of silly and was suddenly reminded of a cartoon about two lab rats that kept trying to take over the world and fail.
"That's for me to know, and for you to never find out." His voice sounded far away and distant and the sphere of purple and black was complete around her son and the Vampire. She watched as the sphere faded again and then it disappeared, leaving everything the way it was before Lysander's arrival, except one human was missing from the room. Her little Louis.
She woke up to a high-pitched scream that sounded so unreal... so unearthly that she thought it had to be the sound of an alien. But then she really woke up and realized something horrible had happened. Lysander had taken her child! Her son! Her son that was also Severus' son! She had to find Severus and tell him. Screw staying where he had told her to stay. She had to tell someone. The emotion she had missed before came flooding through her body, making her weep in pain, misery and sorrow.
She stumbled through the corridors and had nearly reached the Entrance Hall when a figure cloaked in black and masked in white stumbled across her. All she could see were wild gray eyes before she heard the words: "Avada Kedavra!" And her world went black.Epilogue
Severus stumbled over variously injured and dead bodies lying around the Entrance Hall. Only one thought was in his mind. Voldemort was gone. They were free! He quite possibly had a son who had a future ahead of him, free of Voldemort's shadow. And he could have Christine. If he wanted. He was oblivious to the sounds around him, some shouts of victory, some cries of mourning. He didn't care; he wanted to see Louis. He wanted to see if he was all right. He nearly fell as he stumbled over a body in the way of the passage from the Entrance Hall to the dungeons. He looked down and his mind froze.
This couldn't be. He had told her to stay in his chambers. Why hadn't she listened? Please... Not her, not like this. Where was Louis? He looked around calmly, making sure no one was paying attention to his actions and then he charmed her body to follow him. The walk to his chambers had never seemed as long. There were no people in the dungeon corridor. And if there had been, he wouldn't have seen them. All he could see was Louis. He wouldn't be able to bare it of he were gone.
The door to his chambers was in sight. It was ajar and the flickering of firelight painted the decaying wooden door violently red and orange.
He put her body down on the sofa and looked around. He called Louis' name… but to no avail. His son simply wasn't there. He closed his eyes and wondered what this burning sensation in his eyes could be. Surely… he wasn't weeping? What did it matter? He hadn't deserved the chance anyway. But he couldn't help thinking, 'I'm the one who should be dead.'
"I should be dead." He said aloud. Looking at her cold body, it would never be warm again. It would never move again. He would never get to hold her again.
He hadn't loved her anyway.
A single tear escaped from the corner of his eye. Bewildering the skin of his cheeks, for they had not tasted salty water for a long time.
"I didn't love you anyway." He repeated out loud. He had never spoken such a lie.
Author note: Okay, don't yell at me for the ending. Please. I like it, if you think Severus was out of character, blame Mephisto... she's the one who though he should cry. Anyway, thank you so much! Everyone who's supported me through this fic. I couldn't have done it without you!
Mephy speaking: I don't want it to be over. *sniff*