Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or anything what you can recognize from the books. I do however own the plot of this story but I don't have profits because of it unless you count improving my English as a profit.
Thanks to omega13a for beta-reading and helpful suggestions, as well as double check over the chapter.
Enjoy! I did. Happy Christmas
Chapter dedicated to all my faithful reviewers.
Chapter seventeen: The Day of Winterborns.
She cracked one eye open and glared at the clock on her bedside table. It was half past eight.
'Sirius I love you,' she thought to herself.
There was nothing that demanded her attention at the moment. Nothing at all and no one woke her up. There was no sound on the whole floor as if the others were still sleeping or had gone elsewhere.
She sat up on the bed and rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand. When she lowered her hand she spotted a cup of coffee, made in her favourite way. In front of the cup was laying two pieces of parchment. She picked them up and read them. The first read:
Took Lily and the kids to the village, your employee called, needed white roses. The car is with me. I promised to take them to the seaside after that. We should come back before afternoon tea or before dinner depending on the kids' behaviour. Sirius prepared your breakfast. It's in the kitchen.
The second note read:
I hope that you enjoyed your sleep Mimi. I left your breakfast in the kitchen, your coffee is on your nightstand. Snape is still sleeping and Remus promised to busy Lily and the rest of the kids. Harry is with me and we should come back by lunch or earlier because I don't want to stay at Grimmauld Place longer than I actually have to.
Love you Sleepyhead,
She sipped her coffee lazily, enjoying its taste and the fact that it didn't smell like vanilla at all. After downing her coffee, without haste she took a shower and got dressed. Barefoot and dressed in her favourite white sleeveless shirt and low-ridding jeans, she went upstairs to check on Severus who was still snoring.
She decided to eat something before dealing with whatever caused him to descend into madness. Skipping two steps at times she went downstairs and ate the breakfast that Sirius prepared for her (yummy sweet toast with sweetened cheese – thankfully not the vanilla one) in front of TV watching the news and weather forecast.
When it ended and she finished eating, her thoughts went to the laundry which she hadn't done yesterday. Perhaps she could plug the washing machine in before dealing with Severus. From what Sirius told her it didn't seem that she would have time to do it later.
Thankfully everything which needed to be washed was in the basket in the bathroom downstairs so it only took her a moment to start the washer. She left the bathroom and was about to head upstairs when someone pounded at the door.
"Come in, it's unlocked," she called out.
"I would, if I could," Sirius' voice answered her. "I hope that I didn't wake you up."
"If you can't open the door then how did you manage to knock?" she snickered as she approached the door.
"I kicked it," Sirius answered through the door.
She opened the door widely and gapped.
Sirius had his arms wrapped around an infant with curly jet-black hair.
"Where is Harry?" she asked in shock. "Whose baby you kidnapped?"
"Mirzam," Sirius said nervously. "I love you. I'm going to kill the bastard who had did it. But 12 Grimmauld Place wasn't the best place to take Harry. Please don't kill me yet because actually I want to kill myself right after I kill the bastard who did this to our son."
"That's Harry?" she mumbled as she pointed at the infant in Sirius's arms.
Sirius shifted uncomfortably in his place.
Enough, her mind said and everything around her went black.
When she woke up she was lying on the couch, with her legs propped out on the arm. The smell of ammonia was tickling her nose and she grimaced.
"What happened?" she mumbled slowly as she tried to prop herself up on her elbows.
"You fainted," Sirius said apologetically. "I should have remembered not to stress you but I couldn't exactly skip that part no matter how much I wanted to."
"Meaning?" she tried to glare at him but failed miserably.
"Meaning lie down before you faint again. Please." Sirius pleaded.
"Harry?" she asked pointedly.
"Is sleeping in the armchair, sucking on his thumb and at this moment doesn't appear interested in anything other than sleeping," Sirius said nervously.
"Fourteen is way beyond sucking on your thumb," she commented ironically.
"Years of course," Sirius nodded eagerly. "Months, I rather doubt so," he shifted nervously.
"WHAT?" she hissed.
"Sh, you will wake him," Sirius flinched. "He managed to fall asleep on the Knight Bus so he can sleep through my dressing down. Though how anyone could fall asleep and stay asleep on that bus is beyond me..."
"What happened?" she sat up quickly, her head spun dangerously but when Sirius made a move to catch her she glared at him angrily. "I give you a minute to explain whatever madness you got our son into and if you aren't done by that time I'm hexing off your Quidditch equipment."
"Short story?" Sirius sighed. "We had gone to Grimmauld Place. Got inside, insulted my mother. Gone upstairs to remove the hex from the family tree, and looked at it. Harry yelped and then poof! He turned into an infant. I made Reg and Polly look for whatever might have caused it. Long story? The same except that it involves Harry getting extremely insecure and threatened by David, from which I managed to talk him out at the moment, shortly before he turned into a little baby."
"David?" she mouthed. "I don't know any David. Certainly not one about whom Harry should feel insecure," she hissed.
"Well…" Sirius said nervously. "David is hiding at the moment, quite well but not well enough for Padfoot's nose and Black family tree to not find him. Plus at best he is few days old."
She gapped at him in shock.
"Yes, Mimi, you are pregnant," Sirius said quickly. "That's why you can't stand vanilla at the moment and are about to bite my head off, which you would do anyway if you weren't pregnant but at least if you weren't you wouldn't faint."
"Pregnant?" she mumbled. "But the doctors… They told me that I wouldn't be able to have any more children after Ruthie, unless a miracle occurred and I started ovulating again…"
"Then the miracle occurred because you are pregnant, with a boy, whom our older son decided to name David Remus shortly before he turned into an infant himself," Sirius said patiently.
"I will kill you," she mumbled. "Right after I will find some calming potion which doesn't have vanilla as an ingredient."
Sirius was out of the room before she even finished saying that. Moment later he was back with the potion.
She gulped it down greedily and then pressed her palms to her temples. How she found herself in this madness…
'Think rationally, she told herself. 'One nervous breakdown during a fortnight is enough, even for you. Take a deep breath,' she did so, 'let it out. In and out. In and out. Don't kill Sirius. He is already on the edge of hysteria. In and out. In and out. Rationally. Harry is an infant… You are pregnant … Think rationally … Fuck…'
"What the hell you have been thinking for fuck's sake?" she growled. "I told you that it was incredibly bad idea to take Harry with you! But no of course, Reggie says…"
"Mirzam please…" Sirius mumbled.
Fuck you, Sirius.
"You fucking dimwit!" she bellowed as she stood up quickly, making her head spin dangerously. "You imbecilic flea-ridden fur-ball! I don't know which one of you is a bigger cretin! Regulus for dragging you there or you for listening to him. Perhaps next time both of you will go on your own. Then at least I wouldn't need to worry about you getting our son killed by a stray whatever was used on him…"
"Mi…" Sirius started.
"It's official!" she sneered. "I should have know that inbreeding will one day catch up with you and rob what was left of your mind. Actually I expected that it would happen someday but I was considering far more distant, geriatric, period of time! Seriously, what kind of family did I get into? Dumb, Dumber and the Dumbest…"
Child's cries. Harry! Harry first. Stuttering fool later. Fume outside before the whole house will be brought down with your anger.
Within five seconds she collected the mewling Harry from the armchair and left the living-room without giving a backward glance to the incredibly silent puppy in a cage on the coffee-table … More of a fool he was if he expected that she will remain calm…
Being outside was by heaps better than being inside with thick-headed cretin of a fiancé. Dim-witted dunderhead with no ounce of self-preservation towards his own blood… ARGH!
She sat down on the nearest chair and kept rocking to calm down the mewling infant. It always worked on Ruthie… Well, perhaps the fact that she was practically oozing with rage didn't help to calm Harry down. Kids had a six sense about that.
Control yourself woman. You have a right to be furious but it won't help you fix it. It took her a few minutes to gather her wits and push her anger to the back of her mind. As she calmed herself down, Harry calmed himself a bit and was only sniffling softly.
"Don't worry, Harry," she said gently. "I will fix it."
She looked down and encountered a violet-eyed glare which was saying 'Yeah, sure, as if you just didn't turn dad into a puppy.'
"Don't scowl at me, young man," she snickered. "At your age pouting only makes you look cuter."
The scowl only deepened.
"I'm not angry at you, Harry," she said softly. "Only at the idiot who was supposed to protect you or rather the three idiots with whom you were supposed to be safe."
Harry looked pointedly at her as if he understood what she was talking about.
"That doesn't mean that either of them will get out of this unscratched," she shook her head. "Seriously I don't know which one of them is the bigger idiot."
Harry rolled his eyes.
"Come on. We are off to see Madam Pomfrey," she sighed. "Severus could help you too but at the moment he is too mentally unstable to deal even with his own issues let alone whatever madness resides in that damned hole."
Few minutes later she was walking through the school grounds. Harry was settled in her arms and he seemed to enjoy himself.
She made it up to the Hospital Wing but found the door locked. Just as she had started to contemplate between scaring Severus into helping her deal with Harry's condition or flooing to St Mungo she heard familiar squeak behind her back.
"Ms Verascez!" Flitwick's voice reached her and she whirled around to face her former Head of the House far too quickly for her own head to be comfortable with it. For a moment the world spun around until she found herself seated on a plush armchair, "Easy there, my girl. What brings you here?"
She closed her eyes, counted to ten before she opened them again and said as she patted Harry's back, "Harry, Professor."
"That is…" it was rather easy to render Flitwick speechless for a moment.
"Harry," she confirmed. "Idiot number one and idiot number two with idiot number three had taken him to their ancestral house in normal shape. About half an hour ago, maybe more because I had a temporary loss of consciousness, Harry came back with idiot number one in this shape."
"Oh…" Fliwtick mumbled. "That's why you are here. But Poppy isn't at Hogwarts at the moment. She is visiting her family in Vienna and she won't be back for a week. Her grandniece is expecting a child and the delivery is going to be any day now."
Now it was her turn to say, "Oh."
"If spell work was involved I can help you my dear but we need to run some tests," Flitwick continued. "Does he appears to just regress in physical age or totally?"
"It seems to me that the change reflects only on physical age, Professor. Though I might be wrong," she said slowly and then looked down at her son as she asked, "Who is your mommy?"
Harry looked at her quizzically before he pointed at her.
"The change is physical, Professor," she said with a nod.
"Regress of physical age," Flitwick hummed. "You are a Potion Maker, aren't you?" he asked pensively.
"Second class Potion Mistress," she confirmed. "I didn't have enough time to study for first class, Professor."
"So you might be familiar with various trends in potions?" Flitwick asked. "Late sixties, early seventieths?"
"Potions for infertile witches?" she asked pensively as she tried to recall older editions of Potions magazines. She was sure that once she read about a potion which seemed to turn practically everything into a little child. "Janus Nonagenus's Potion? But how come?"
"The accident had occurred at the Blacks' mansion?" Flitwick asked simply.
"Walburga," she muttered. "The potion didn't make the list of banned potions until 1984 … of course and considering that she had lost two sons and wasn't exactly the most stable person around…"
"Severus can help you with antidote, if you wish. But at the moment he is gone…" Flitwick started.
"I know," she said briskly. "He is at my place in no shape to help actually. But unless the potion requires months to prepare, I can most likely do it on my own. Thank you for your assistance, Professor."
"No problem, I'm happy to see around old students of mine. Contact me about any new developments," Flitwick beamed.
"I will," she nodded.
Flitwick walked away and she sighed.
"Time to pay a long overdue visit to Sluggy."
Slughorn chose the place of his retirement rather well. Ruthin was indeed a very beautiful town. Mirzam was thankful that the old man chose to reside here and not in , though he threatened his former students he would move there as he considered it as a very beautiful village and nice place to live.
Slughorn's house was located on the outskirts of the town itself. It was surrounded by many trees and bushes.
The man himself was seated at a table in the garden. A steaming cup of tea was standing within his reach next to a stack of books.
"Professor!" she called from the road and waved at the man.
Torn away from his job, Slughorn approached them. He was within twenty feet away from them when he recognised her.
"Mimi Verascez," he beamed. "What a nice surprise, my dear. How is your new stasis potion working on your plants?" he added jovially as he got closer.
"So well that I had to find a weaker one after a month of having no clients," she answered truthfully. "How are you Professor? Am I interrupting something?"
"Oh, not really my dear. I asked Severus about his opinion of Mr Clewage's work. He sent me a very detailed list of what he considers as a waste of perfectly good ingredients. So I decided to check Severus' complaints by myself," Slughorn answered. "Anyway my research won't run away. Really. It's just something which retired Potions Masters do when they have too much free time on their hands. Come in, my dear. You wouldn't mind staying in the garden?"
"Not at all. At this time of the year my guests mostly stay at my porch too," she nodded.
"Tea, coffee, or something stronger?" Slughorn asked as he took her by her free arm.
"I won't say no to cold pumpkin juice, Professor," she smiled. "At this time of the year Romney Marsh is hotter than the sixth ring of hell
Slughorn left her at the table and went to the kitchen to bring drinks. He emerged from the confines of the house two minutes later with a tray in his hands.
It was general rule that any visits at Slughorn's, no matter how short, were small feasts. Along with juice, he brought a teapot and clean cup for it, milk, sugar, lemon and of course pastries.
He settled himself at the table in front of her and took a sip of tea before he asked, "So my dear Mimi, what brings you here? A social visit or a 'I encountered a problem Professor' visit?"
"The later," she said sheepishly. "Not that I don't enjoy visiting you, Professor, because I do. But if it was the former I would send an owl beforehand."
"And Severus can't help you?" Slughorn asked surprised. "You are close acquaintances."
"He would if he could," she sighed heavily. "At the moment he has problems bigger than mine."
"So what seems to be the problem, Mimi?" Slughorn asked curiously.
"Do you remember something about Janus Nonagenus's Potion?" she asked nervously.
"Ah, the prank potion, indeed I do," Slughorn hummed. "Quite popular one when your generation was a bunch of little kids. But I'm afraid that I cannot help you much other than that," he sighed. "The name of the potion comes from the date on which it was finished, the 9th of January, and the word has it that it was invented in mid forties."
"Is there a way to reserve its effects?" she asked quickly.
"There are two," Slughorn sighed. "One is to wait until the potion wears off. It's not exactly permanent because it's effect lasts about a year. The other is to owl Mr Nonagenus himself."
"Do you know how much it costs?" she sighed.
"That depends," Slughorn hummed. "Mr Nonagenus is a very curious inventor. The price would vary depending from the person who contacts him. For instance he can charge the annual income of a wizard for the antidote. For some he does it for free. Others he asks for favours."
"And those favours…" she said impatiently.
"Also vary," Slughorn nodded. "A box of expensive chocolates, tickets to various events, opera, theatre, cinema. Rare books. Jewels. Donating money to a charity. You won't know until you ask for his help."
"There isn't a recipe for antidote?" she sighed.
"There is, on Mr Nonagenus. I'm sorry my dear," Slughorn sighed and he patted her hand.
"Is there a special way I should address the letter to him?" she asked.
"Just send the letter to Janus Nonagenus. Or if you have that muggle thing which rings…"
"Telephone," she finished.
"I'll write down his number for you," Slughorn said.
"I'll be in your debt Professor," she sighed.
"Not a problem, but perhaps you could pay me a visit in less distressing times for you," Slughorn winked.
She didn't apparate home straight after getting Nonagenus' number. She found the nearest phone box and dialled the number.
"What kind of a number is that?" she commented to a rather curious Harry who was settled on her left hip.
She waited through three rings and started considering dialling the number once again when she heard that the phone was picked up on the other end.
"Hello," spoke soft voice.
"Mr Janus Nonagenus?" she asked. "My name is Mirzam Verascez and I'm calling you because I have a problem which only your antidote will fix."
"Antidote," the voice whispered. "What antidote?"
"For the potion which turned my nearly fourteen year old son into one year old," she clarified, probably too harshly.
"That's not much," said the voice. "Can you give me more details?"
"I'm afraid that I don't know more than I learned from my fiancé. He and his brothers had taken our son into his ancestral house. In normal shape. He came back in a compacted one," she answered. "Which is exactly our problem because we would be glad to have our son back in normal shape. Certainly before the first of September but actually we would prefer to have him back the way he used to be before the 13th of July. I have Muggle relatives who know our son in his normal size and I would hate to explain how it is possible that week ago he was normal and for our wedding he is not."
"Wedding?" the voice on the other end of the line sounded surprised. "I mean congratulations. Who is the lucky man?"
"My fiancé," she answered. "So can you help us or do we need to postpone the wedding?" she asked not very kindly.
"I will help you," the voice said slowly. "But not without a price."
"How much? Galleons or do you prefer pounds?" she asked quickly.
There was long pause and then the voice spoke, "I wish to attend your wedding, Ms Verascez, with four guests of my choosing."
Fuck you, Nonagenus, she thought.
"I would be honoured," she said instead. "Can you tell me to which address I should send your invitation, Mr Nonagenus?"
"Send the invitation with the owl which will deliver the potion," Nonagenus said. "It should be done in a week time, eight days at the most. My owl will reach you by your surname."
"Thank yo…" the line went dead.
"Fuck it," she snorted. "At least we know that you will come back to your normal size at some point of time."
Harry looked at her with an expression which said, 'It's not much, you know.'
"But at the moment, it's the best we have. Come, there is a canary which wants to be let out of its cage at home as well as a mentally unstable sleeping beauty and apparently no matter how hard I try I just can't take a break," she snorted.
She looked around to check how many people she had around and when she was satisfied that none of them was looking in her direction she disapparated.
He knew that what was ahead of him was the hardest month in last decade, not even Dementors or Voldemort could compare to a pregnant Mirzam. Not that she was wholly responsible for her reactions. It was just his luck to piss her off at the most unstable moment of the pregnancy.
Magical pregnancies had major difficulties, more specifically: two of them. It was the first and third month. Witches were very prone to miscarriages during the third month and while nothing like that ever happened to Mirzam there was still a big possibility that it might happen. But nothing couldn't beat the first month of pregnancy.
The conception of magical child always made the woman carrying the child extremely emotionally unstable. It happened because of the amount of magic which was embedding itself into the child, a mix of its parents magic as well as the magic which implanted the child into the uterus.
Last time he was lucky to survive. This time… not even Voldemort will be as scary as Mirzam.
He had to hope that Mirzam would come back relatively quickly but she wasn't quick enough for him to not figure out that she was out of the house. Because this form was utterly humiliating, for Merlin's sake he was grown man … and a damned puppy. Since he kept his mind Mirzam had to force him into his Animagus form and deaged it at the same time. Yippee.
Thankfully she quickly restored him back to normal before she said sweetly, "Harry will come back into normal size in a week. You can call off your brothers from searching for the cure. Tell them that today and for the rest of the week the three of you are on kitchen duty. Now, please take Harry because I need to check whatever or not our sleeping beauty upstairs qualifies for closed ward in St Mungo or is there some hope for him."
"How did you…" he started curiously.
"Later," she shrugged. "For the record your son has teeth. Take that into account when you will give him lunch. I'm sure that you will find plenty of things to do together which will be much more interesting than Severus."
"What about you? Will you eat with us?" he asked nervously.
"I suspect that I might not have that strong a stomach to eat something now and keep it, or afterwards… We'll see," she sighed.
She left the living-room and he found himself thinking that he didn't envy Snape, not at all.
"Want to go for a walk Harry?" he asked nervously. "There might be screams for mercy and they won't belong to your mother."
Two minutes later they were outside the door on their way to New Romney.
He felt incredibly dizzy as if his head was wrapped in layers upon layers of wool. There was a light in the room. An almost blinding light at that and gentle breeze which told him that the window was open. The gentleness under his back felt very much like a proper bed.
Almost subconsciously he was aware of someone's else presence in the room. That thought was confirmed when he heard the sound of a lighter being lit and then the distinct sound of a cigarette being lit. There was a deep breath and then a deeper exhale.
"You can't stop pretending to be dead," came a not very kind snort. "I know that you are awake."
The voice seemed to belong to Mirzam but for the life of him he couldn't recall what could upset her so much to talk to him like that.
He sat up on the bed and saw her seated on a chair right under the door, she was leaning heavily on the left arm of the chair, with her left hand propped under her head, in her right hand she was holding a lit cigarette.
She looked disappointed, extremely disappointed and rather tired.
"What happened?" he asked cautiously.
"You tell me," she shrugged. "It's bad enough that you woke up whole house yesterday, then you had to scare the crap out of Sirius and trust me he isn't very easy to scare."
Oh, bugger. The memory of last night dawned on him with its full force. It was a miracle that he wasn't hexed out of the house hours ago and that Mirzam was still willing to sit by his side.
"Explain it to me," she hissed like an angry cat. "Make me understand what the hell had happened that night because I can't wrap my mind around the fact that you raped Lily and then you left her to fend for herself," she snarled.
It wasn't a question, it was an order and one he should obey if he wanted to live long enough to make it past the door.
"I don't know," he mumbled.
"You don't know?" Mirzam snapped. "Of course you do, you blithering imbecile. Stop playing with me because I'm not in mood for games and I actually have bigger problems on my head."
That was it, the time when she was going to say, 'Disappear from our lives and never come back.'
He didn't suspect that rejection would hurt so much. The avalanche of guilt and shame was practically crushing him.
"Make me understand," she said quietly. "I cannot help you if you won't tell me the truth."
"You can't help me," he mumbled. "I'm beyond redemption."
"You know the difference between a brave man and a coward?" she asked with a snort. "They are both human beings, they make mistakes. But only a coward runs away from his responsibilities … The Severus Snape I knew was not a coward."
"He always was and always will be," Severus muttered and turned his face away just to not look at her face.
"This is the same man who would give anything to keep Lily and her family safe. This is Dumbledore's spy. This is the man who fooled Voldemort. This is the man who loved Lily Evans with all his heart. The man who cannot look into her eyes without seeing his own mistakes," Mirzam said bitterly. "Severus Snape, you disgust me."
"You aren't the first and you won't be the last person to say this words," he mumbled.
"Show it to me," she hissed. "Show it to me that you never gave a damn about Lily and that I was wrong about you then. Show it. Show me your Patronus!"
The air felt heavy with magic surging through it.
His wand was pressed against his fingers and thinking about the day he became Ruthie's godfather, one of his happiest memories, he cracked out, "Expecto Patronum."
He hid his face in his hands but through the gap he saw a silver doe standing in the middle of the room.
He knew that trying to fool Mirzam won't work. It was like trying to fool himself. But he loved her as much as Lily. A different kind of love but just as strong. He loved them both enough to not burden their lives with his presence, to let them live their lives while he…
Long arms wrapped around his shoulders and he found his head pressed to the crook between her neck and shoulder. He heard the steady rhythm of her heart and felt her hand running through his hair.
The avalanche of guilt, shame, despair and years of misery finally crushed him and without any dignity he sobbed in her arms, clinging to her like a child to its mother.
"I don't want to lose you," he whispered through tears. "You were the first person who accepted me the way I was without trying to change me, with all my sins. You accepted all my bitterness and brought the light into my life when I thought I will never see it again. You wormed your way through all my shields and you claimed part of my heart before I knew that it happened. You made yourself the sister I never had and no matter what you always accepted me… It sounds absurd but I love you and I don't want you to be angry with me but I know that you are and that you will be even more angry."
"I'm …" she mumbled. "Flattered, Severus." Small pause, "Certainly I didn't expect that." He started pulling away to spare her embarrassment. "Sit, for Merlin's sake," she muttered and hugged him even tighter. "I didn't say that I was repulsed, just surprised. Though you made your stand quite obvious several times before." After a long pause, she continued, "That's why I cannot understand what happened."
"Drugs," he mumbled. "Dragon's Happiness. Ever heard about it?"
"Bits and pieces," she sighed. "You had a trip."
"You have no idea," he shook his head. "I have holes in my memory of that day big enough to drive a fist through. It's incredibly embarrassing," he sighed. "I remember being turned on by the feeling of my underwear for Merlin's sake and it was only just the beginning," he whined pitifully. "I had an orgasm when flipping through the Daily Prophet and for your information, both of my hands were fixed on the paper and it's not as if it had any smut in it unless you count Fudge's speech as smut."
He paused to take a deep breath. She was amazingly calm, had it been any other person What he was going to said next was horribly embarrassing thought it wasn't as if he had any dignity left.
"I told Dumbledore to come out of the closet," he squeaked. "There is a reason why teachers shouldn't be indulging in too a strong liquor during the term you know. Slughorn is awfully talkative while drunk. The look on Dumbledore's face… Merlin. Damned by-product… as if THE talk afterwards wasn't enough… Wait a minute… you knew that Dumbledore was homosexual?"
"You remember whose girlfriend I was back then?" she snorted. "It was one of Sirius' ways to not get himself expelled after trying to turn you into Remus' dinner. Paragraph 13 point 1013 in Hogwarts' Code of Punishments: Expelling homosexual students is against the rules where said homosexuality is strongly connected to the reason of expelling. Apparently your comments concerning Sirius' fierce protectiveness towards Remus fell into that category," she muttered.
"But Black was heterosexual," Severus chocked out.
"If you are talking about Sirius…" Mirzam muttered. "Yes he is, not that Dumbledore needed to know that at that point of time. And since we reached the subject of knowing you still didn't tell me what happened that day when Lily was raped," she added after a moment.
"I stopped at Dumbledore?" he mumbled. "So, shortly after that I realised that if I still want to have a job I need to remove myself from the castle. So I went to Spinner's End. I bathed myself in a cauldron full of pepper up potion and then thought that it would be funny to wank in Felix Felicis. It only gets more embarrassing…"
"You drank Felix Felicis?" she asked simply.
"How did you know that?" he squeaked nervously.
"The after-party of my wedding party. You and Alan cracked the crate of champagne between yourself … needed to pee. You peed into the bottles and then you claimed that you were thirsty and you downed two bottles in a row before anyone noticed what was wrong. You are horrible when drunk and I assume that you are even worse drugged."
"I drank Felix Felicis," he confirmed pitifully. "Then I found myself without any good liquor at hand and decided to buy some. Then my memory gets a bit more hazy. I didn't know whether or not I left my house but I seemed to have had an incredibly erotic dream about Lily. One that I knew that will never happen. Of utter dominance and force… in public. I didn't know from where it came from because I would never … never in my life treat her like that."
She sighed heavily but hadn't said anything.
"I know what you are thinking," he mumbled. "But I did. I raped her and left her alone while I hared away Merlin only knows where because I cannot remember what happened after that dream. If it was any other man… they would never find the body. I killed for her, Mirzam. I would die for her. I would sacrifice everything for hers safety. I worshipped the ground on which she walked. I hated James Potter with every fibre of my being for having her love and I would sign a pact with the devil just for one moment when she looked at me like that… I lost her once when I let my foolish mouth speak those words… and then my own actions."
Somewhere in the house the door slammed shut.
She knew that. She knew of his love to Lily. He didn't have to tell her. But to finally come clean.
"Come clean, Severus," she whispered.
"I did," he whispered.
"With me," she said quietly. "Not with Lily. Come clean with her and I'm not promising… but perhaps there will be something to salvage."
"What I'm supposed to do?" he mumbled.
"Everything, anything," she said softly.
From the corner of his eye he saw an empty bottle in her hand. He knew what he was supposed to do and he poured everything which was left of him into that bottle.
He fell asleep in Mirzam's warm embrace, feeling her steady heartbeat under his ear.
The kids persuaded Remus to take them to the swings in New Romney but she didn't feel like it. So after ensuring that Remus wouldn't lose the whole bunch in the playground she came back to the farm on her own.
Approaching the house felt like coming home. Finally after years of not having home at all she a place to go to. They were safe here, safe and happier than they have been for a very long time.
If only she could see Severus.
For some reason after he collapsed last night everybody tried to keep them apart. She didn't know why but as much as she owed Mirzam and Sirius, she wanted to see Severus and finally talk to him.
She entered the house and very quietly started searching the rooms for him. It wasn't until she got upstairs to the attic when she spotted that the door to one of the rooms was ajar and slowly she approached it.
Mirzam was seated on the bed with her arms wrapped around Severus' shoulders. Severus himself was huddled as tightly as he could.
She listened to their conversation and to her utter shock she learned that Severus was the one who raped her. It was bizarre that Mirzam could be in the same room with him without hexing him into the next Millennium.
She couldn't have stand it. She tried to wipe away all memories of being raped and erased the memory of the voice she heard…
She ran. She didn't know to where. But the darkness around her felt reassuring and it didn't hurt. The numbness embraced her and she allowed herself to not feel.
How much time had passed she didn't know. But suddenly the darkness around her parted in the gentle glow coming from a wand and a long fingered hand was extended in front of her face.
"I know that you heard us," Mirzam said softly. "You owe me nothing, Lily, but I will still ask."
"I will never forgive him," Lily spat. "He raped me."
"He did," Mirzam nodded calmly.
She was so irrationally calm that Lily wanted to hurt her.
"My husband spent twelve years in a top security cell in Azkaban Prison for a crime he didn't commit where he was sent without a trial," Mirzam said quietly. "All I ask of you before you condemn Severus is to hear him out."
"I don't want to be within twenty feet of him," Lily snarled and she huddled even tighter.
"You won't be," Mirzam said calmly. "Be his judge. Be his jury. Be his executioner but for seven years of your friendship hear him out before you condemn him. That's all I ask of you."
How she found herself in a room filled with books washed in light with a stone basin placed on the desk. Maybe she apparated or maybe Mirzam walked her upstairs.
"You…" Lily mumbled. "Won't come?"
"I saw most of them," Mirzam said simply. Then she paused and added quietly, "And those I didn't see were not meant for my eyes."
Lily looked at the basin nervously and took the plunge.
Memories of a childhood. Merlin, how young they were back then. Why Severus had given those memories for her to watch? She knew them all, remembered the words, places, and things. So maybe it wasn't what she was supposed to look at, not places, not words, not things they had done.
She kept looking. The children they had been once grew up into teenagers and teenagers into adults.
'Anything.' The anguish on Severus' face the price which he was willing to pay…
The memories of Severus' adulthood blurred from one to another and she wasn't sure where one ended and the other begun. She withstood the memory of her humiliation with a stone face mentally preparing herself for condemning Severus for his crime.
Until she saw Severus and Sirius on the corridor upstairs. The open anguish, shame and hate on Severus' face and the relief when Sirius raised his wand.
"No!" she yelped when the memory ended.
She was back in the library again. The sun was shining through the windows and stone basin was still standing on the desk.
Mirzam was seated in one of the armchairs, lost in a book and really not paying attention to her.
"A wise man told me once; there is no greater love nor greater sacrifice than killing or dying for your loved ones," Mirzam said without tearing her eyes from the book. "And since we are talking about death sentences," she finally lowered her book and looked at Lily. "In your hands you hold the life of Severus Snape. Bear that in mind when you deliver your judgement."
The door to the library opened slowly and a hunched figure walked inside. It seemed as if between last night from which the last memory she saw and now Severus aged at least ten years.
In his hunched position he seemed smaller than he really was and completely vulnerable. Scared, resigned, defeated.
Only once he raised his eyes to look at her and she couldn't bear the pain and shame she saw in them.
She approached him slowly, hating herself when she saw that his anguish increased with every step she took in his direction but he didn't back off.
She stopped just a step away from him and raised her left hand very slowly. Even without touching his face she knew that he was trembling.
Some people say that a man can withstand hours of torture from the hand of a man without as much as a blink but the same man would fall apart in front of a woman because of a simple caress.
Severus Snape, the man who was fooling Lord Voldemort on daily basics and lead the hardest and most stubborn house at Hogwarts had crumbled under the weight of her gentle touch to his knees with his eyes full of tears.
And somehow Lily couldn't bring herself to blame him any longer for raping her. It happened, it was awful and it almost destroyed her but she came through it stronger than she ever was while Severus was left under an avalanche of grief over a friendship long lost. She owed him forgiveness which she didn't give before he strayed to the dark side.
Besides Ryan and Rose needed a father and that wasn't something she wouldn't take from her children.
Outside the door of the library Mirzam breathed in relief. It seemed that those two wouldn't need her help for a while and finally she was free to just be lazy for few minutes before the rest showed up.
'It would seem that I won a prize in 'Can your week get any weirder?' lottery," she snorted inwardly. 'Screw that, I need ice-cream.'
Awaiting criticism - like always. I'm replying as long as you leave me your email or you log in while reviewing. Bring my ego down ;)
Funny chapter, huh? Very Mirzamish but Harry at the moment would be less attentive to essential parts of the chapter. Speaking about attention: the person who will figure out true identity of Mr Nonagenus will receive dedication in next chapter, the clue is in the number, have fun.
This chapter was funnier than the next which will be much more sombre and much more darker and longer. Hopefully I will be able to post it before New Year and if not then I'm afraid that I won't post anything until the end of January or middle of February because I have exams at University, eight of them and all of them require my undivided attention.