Chapter 156: The Mistress Of Willow House

Upon their entrance into the house the mood and atmosphere of the place had changed dramatically from when they'd left it. It was bright, the kettle was already on the stove and bubbling away, the window coverings were pulled back and the small of fresh flowers permeated all through the halls. It was clear that the magic that brought about the storminess of before had passed away, and that the magic of the spirits and ghosts within the house had taken over. The deafening silence that had been with them before was no long as complete, but rather it was broken by the sounds of ticking clocks and busy beings as the sun shown brightly in through all the windows cast light and energy into the once darkness.

"Even as ghosts Seymour and Milo have everything well under control," Severus said in awe as he and Gloria entered the great hall. "What a difference a few minutes can make. They are very productive."

"A great heaviness has been lifted. It's like a sigh of relief," Gloria commented. "And yes, even in their living they were incredibly proud of their work here."

"Yes, I agree, it is and we are very lucky to have two such men to help us through this transition. I trust that you will be well to order them about, in preparation for the family to return? I am going back to the river's edge to fetch Remus. We must settle him into a guest room for the rest of his recovery and our family can't be that much longer in their return either," he added to get down to the business at hand. "I leave the house to you."

"Tea is already well on its way but I suppose I should be ready to feed everyone when they arrive," Gloria commented. "Don't look at me like that's. I'll not give up my kitchen to anyone. I will permit Seymour and Milo into it, but they have other things to be busy with," she added when he looked like he would protest. "If anyone should bring calm to the travellers it is I, because I was the one that caused all the anxiety to begin with. Yes, you can leave the house to me."

"Very well. I am sure they will be comforted to see you are recovered. We left them all in quite a state and I'm sure that will be with them until they find that you are all right once more," he added. "You are, aren't you?"

"I am," she said and forced a smile. "Though perhaps still a bit shaken by everything. I have never been as open as I was these past few days, and perhaps, I got ahead of myself. Life will always give you signs that you've done too much. I only hope that it was for the better."

"I agree, things have moved so fast for us these past few days. I hope that we may settle into the idea of change and that we can come to be more open with one another. There is so much that neither of us know, and yet, we are going to move forward together. I look forward to it, truly," he said and smiled.

"I'm sorry to have caused such trouble," She said sadly. "I didn't mean to, I simply can't control it sometimes. I don't really understand it myself and for a long time I wondered if others went through these things in the same way. When I realized that it wasn't normal I tried so desperately to suppress it but that cannot always be the case. People will find out our secrets and, speaking from experience, they will use them against us."

"You have nothing to apologize for," Severus said. "We, all of us, will be just fine once we have all settled back into Willow House and had a good cup of tea to fortify ourselves for what is to come. We are very protected here, and open to one another. We will learn what we can together, and suppress whatever we must to keep the peace."

"And what about the trial?" She asked.

"I'll go on your behalf tomorrow," Severus said and turned to leave. "You've been through quite enough at the hands of many and I need your steadiness. You don't need to go to prove the terrible things that Hannibal has done to you. I have the means to do that now, to protect you from those terrible things, and so I will go and I will return to you before the end of the day."

She bowed her head in response, unwilling to protest. She had set her resolve not to go back to London and would have undertaken the discussion for her staying whether it turned into an argument or not, but Severus already knew and saw her distress at the idea and he would not have it any other way.

"I'll meet the family, you set the table," he added and exited the front doors once more.

"The guest room is ready for Mr Lupin," Seymour spoke as he appeared at her side, with his brother to her left.

"Very good Seymour. You and Milo have done a fantastic job. Please clear out the attic, none of us will be returning to that place at present and once the family has settled you will tell them to come and join me in the dining room," Gloria said and forced a smile.

"Yes Mistress," Seymour and Milo responded in unison as they bowed to her.

"I am not that lady just yet," she commented as the address of the ghost had changed and caught her off guard.

"Yes, I'm afraid that you are, for the Master has willed it and so you have been elevated," Seymour said with another bow and then disappeared.

"He is right, the magic here has heard the wishes of your soon to be spouse. You are the mistress of this place and very much in control of the magic here," Milo added wistfully. "As much as he is, I presume, or perhaps more-so."

"That will take some getting used to," she said and it was clear in her features that there was fear and trepidation at the prospect of the connection with the deep magic.

"The magic has always been with you. You were born here on this estate. The magic that is so strong in you comes from a primordial place, as you well know."

"Yes, I suppose that I do, but I wish for it to stay as secret as possible as I don't really understand it," she said.

"Yes my lady," Milo said and bowed before he disappeared as well.

"Lady of this house," she said with a sigh to herself. "You are the lady of this house."