So I know I said that I was going to put Raphaela on a break for a while because I was out of ideas for her. Well, that's still true, I haven't got any story ideas or plot points, but I missed writing her. So without further ado, here comes a story that will probably go nowhere at all. And by the way, this is my final Raphaela story. Ever. No more. So I'm going to exhaust every single plot point and storyline I've ever casually thought of in this one piece. So it's probably going to be long as all hell. Just a little warning for y'all.

Oh, right, and in case you're new to this series, I'm trying to write this as a fairly stand-alone piece, but I've actually done two other Raphaela/Severus stories and a little fluffy oneshot. So if you dig this, y'know, check out the other ones. If you want. I'm not going to put a hit out on you if you don't. But I might.

I thought that for a bit of a switcheroo I'd write this first chapter from a different point of view. Might be interesting.

Chapter One: Raphaela Who?

It wasn't as though I were missing her. The very notion of such a thing was laughable. It was just quiet. I was in my dungeon quarters, in a green velvet armchair in front of the fire. I was… bored. It was the summer holidays. There wasn't any class. The thought of working on the curriculum was so repulsive to me at that moment that I'd have preferred to do nothing at all. But it was still too silent. Merlin, I'd have even loved for one of those irritating students to have been running past my door shouting bloody murder. What was wrong with me?

I used to love my silence, my solitude. I'd spent most of my life that way, it was natural. Normal. Now that bloody girl had ruined me. She'd spent the last year of my life chattering in my ear like a particularly annoying monkey, without one scrap of relevant or intelligent conversation. She'd always be musing about such banal topics as the benefits of aqua over teal, or if people would notice if she went another day without washing her hair. Then she'd make me inspect her hair at various distances, or judge which was the better shoe, out of the aqua vinyl peep-toe heels or the teal suede ankle boots. (And obviously the answer was the peep-toes, Severus, don't you know anything?) Sweet Merlin's beard, before I met her I only knew one classification of shoe, and that was shoe. She had introduced strange and frightening concepts to me and now I was missing her?

No, of course I wasn't. She could stay gone forever, for all I cared. Well, not forever. Maybe just a few extra months. Or weeks. Damn her! Two months. I'd been alone for most of my adult life, and now I couldn't handle two months without her? Of course, I couldn't blame her for going. Her parents had still been supremely annoyed with her for neglecting to tell them of me until after we were engaged. She'd had to go. After a year spent at a boarding school with few visits, they were feeling the bite of her independence, and she was feeling the bite of their nagging. But she was twenty-eight years old, for Merlin's sake. She shouldn't still have to spend her summers at her parents' house in London. Of course, she'd gone for her cousin's wedding, but that was a mere tool her parents used to get her there. I was invited by proxy, but I'd decided against going. I could tell her father still disliked me. He made no attempts to hide it. Perhaps it was that he was only around fifteen years older than me. Perhaps it was that Raphaela had once been a student of mine. Or perhaps it was simple fatherly dislike. Her mother was nice to a fault, of course, but I wasn't sure if I could have handled two months of her constantly asking why Raphaela wasn't… with child.

Now, I was somewhat regretting my decision. At that moment, I felt like I'd withstand two hundred months of her mother's lewd suggestions and her father's stony glares if it meant I could spend that time with Raphaela.

Sweet Merlin, what had that girl done to me?

A loud crashing noise and several shouted swears wafted gently through the door, and I started. Some sort of commotion was taking place in the corridor. Raphaela? No, it couldn't have been. She wasn't due back for another week, on August thirty-first. The sound of footsteps tapping on the stone floor came closer and closer, and I began to contemplate going out there to inspect what was going on. Then, the footsteps stopped, and I saw the door handle turn. Raphaela! A feeling like a small explosion took place somewhere below my ribcage, and it made my stomach turn.

"Raphaela?" I called out involuntarily, then my searching gaze turned to a steely glare as a child – no more than ten or eleven – came through my door. She had long, light brown plaits, and her features were oddly angular. There was something very familiar about her large, bright eyes though. "Who are you?" I asked sharply. "What makes you think you can enter my private quarters without knocking? Twenty points from – what house are you in?"

The girl squeaked. "Severus?" she said eventually.

"Who are you?"


A larger form almost bowled her over as she tripped into the room. "Bloody hell Ana, I told you not to let him frighten you. He's more scared of you than you are of him."

It was her! Her black hair had grown somewhat since she'd departed, now reaching her collarbone, and she was hopping on one foot, but that didn't stop me from sweeping forward and taking her in my arms. It was entirely uncharacteristic of me, but I couldn't very well help myself. She'd been gone for almost two months, after all. She seemed just as happy to see me though, putting her arms around my neck in a chokingly tight hold.

"I thought you weren't due back for another week?" I asked, once she'd let go and I'd gotten my breath back.

"Well, maybe I missed you," she said, looking up at me with a smile so wide it might've split her cheeks. "Did you miss me?"

I smirked. "Hardly."