It was a beautiful sunny morning only weeks after her arrival to the small town on the South Island of New Zealand. Emmeline Vance opened the Daily Prophet; seconds later the paper fell to the floor. "I don't believe it," she mumbled to the small owl sitting on the perch next to her chair. He simply ruffled his feathers in response.
Albus Dumbledore was dead, but that was not the surprising thing. She had known of his "affliction;" It was only a matter of time before he succumbed to it, but to think his fate was dealt by the hand of Severus Snape. She refused to believe it. He was on their side, wasn't he? She sighed as she wiped a tear from her face.
She reached for her quill and parchment sitting at the table below the owl. She was unsure of the proper words so instead she simply wrote:
Someday I hope to hear your side of the story. ~E
Evelyn sighed again as she sealed the short message in an envelope and scrawled the recipient's name across it before attaching it to the awaiting owl. "Sorry, Asphodel. I know how much you hate this flight." She gave him a treat as she opened the window. She watched solemnly as the bird flew away.
She never received a response, but she never expected one.
It was difficult, but somehow Emmeline Vance had slowly morphed into Evelyn Woods. It had been nearly a year and she had finally accepted that her role in the fight against The Dark Lord had ended. With Dumbledore gone, she had no further contact to her old life. She no longer received the Daily Prophet, and Asphodel no longer made the exhausting journey he dreaded so much.
Evelyn worked at the Perfumery and Herbal shop. It was a quaint existence devoid of drama, and that was exactly the way she preferred it. Dumbledore had the foresight to hide her in a location where Muggle and Magical existed together, (although unbeknownst to the Muggles) so Evelyn needn't give up everything she had known. She spent her days blending various fragrant concoctions and grinding down fresh herbs and spices; many of which she grew herself. She spent her evenings with a bottle of wine and the latest Muggle literary craze. She had no complaints.
She rarely thought of the World she left behind. It was better that way. If she allowed herself to indulge in such thoughts, it eventually evolved into a battle to convince herself not to return. By this time, she had told herself so many times that she did not care what happened, she believed her own lie. Fortunately, the one person that could challenge her lie had long since forgotten of her existence.
For those of you wanting to keep in cannon, this is for you:
...Or so she thought.
Her morning began the same as most mornings so Evelyn had no reason to suspect this day would progress any differently than most. In fact, things were relatively mundane until it came time for her to begin closing up the shop.
As she was locking the shop door, one her neighbors stopped her. "Evelyn, I am not sure if anyone was told you this, but there is a strange man in town asking about you."
Evelyn swallowed hard. Her first thoughts were of Death Eaters. "Did he say what he wanted?" Her old instincts took over, and her voice remained calm and friendly despite her building anxiety.
"Only that you were old friends..." the woman responded in an equally unconcerned tone and a shrug.
"What was so strange about him," Evelyn probed further.
"Well you know how small towns are, we know everyone and everyone's relatives. I've never seen this gentleman before and judging from his dress and accent... well let's just say I am willing to bet he came from the same place you did..." she laughed.
Evelyn laughed in return, but it was not genuine. Her friend's words were not easing her fears in the least.
"Well thank you for the information. I will be sure to look out for this mysterious stranger," her tone was sweet, but her meaning was less so. She would have her wand at the ready until this man's intentions were known.
"Good night," Evelyn nodded and headed off towards her home. Her fingers twisted around her wand which was safely tucked up her left sleeve as she took the long way towards her home. Her senses were on high alert as she moved through the small town watching for signs of anything unusual as she spoke with friends and neighbors.
Apparently the stranger had made his way through most of the town already, as everyone she spoke with felt the need to tell her of his presence. Unfortunately, no one seemed to have any information that helped her identify the man or his intentions. Stranger still was that her neighbors were so willing to provide this individual with information about her without gathering any information about him in return.
Finally, she arrived at her small cottage near the edge of town with no more idea about her seeker than when she started. With a heavy sigh she moved to unlock the door. As she did so her eyes caught a sudden movement in her periphery. Someone stood in the shadows.
Within a moment Evelyn's wand was aimed at the movement as her eyes struggled unsuccessfully to make out the features of her target. "What do you want with me?"
"Just keeping a promise," a deep, scratchy voice replied from the darkness. Her heart raced. There was something strangely familiar and yet unfamiliar about the voice, as though it had been damaged and not quite healed. She knew this man, she was sure of it. She was also sure that something was different about him or else she would not have so much difficulty retrieving his identity from her memories.
"A promise?" She stepped closer to the shadows and the stranger stepped back. Her curiosity was overcoming her fear.
"Yes, but first I must determine if you kept yours." His words were haunting.
Evelyn swallowed hard. "I've made many promises in my time...all have been kept." Her thoughts raced out of her control. The pieces started to fit together in her head, but she refused to believe what they revealed.
"The War is over. The Dark Lord has been defeated and I've come to tell you my story."
She could take the mystery no longer. "Lumos," she whispered and the shadows were illuminated by the light of her wand. That same wand then fell to the ground as her suspicions were confirmed. "Severus...?" she breathed.
"Actually, I am going by Soren Smith these days," he replied with a wicked grin.
Evelyn let out a sound of excitement as she raced to take the man in her arms. "I do not believe it!"
His arms snaked around her body and pulled her tightly. "I've missed you, as promised."
"And I've remembered you, as promised." she smiled as their lips met.
AN: Thank you for sticking with me to the end and especially for all the wonderful reviews. Help me improve - keep them coming! I love constructive criticism too, so if you have any, let me know.