This is unimaginably late, and for that I apologise.
Last chapter Severus overheard Sarah name the man she had come to visit; Vincent Malfoy. He's understandably furious, believing Sarah to have been deceitful in her original claims to him about why and how she was at the Malfoy estate, but there is more to her story, of course, and the revelations will have them all reeling.
Read below to discover, The Truth...
Please Review when you are finsihed.
Chapter 9 – The Truth
Severus stood rigid and glaring at the woman, tearing his eyes away from hers only long enough to share a furious glance with the Headmaster before returning his accusing glower to Sarah once again.
"Severus," the Headmaster began, "this is not anything you need involve yourself with… and you need your rest, my boy."
"Like hell it doesn't," the dark man countered with a furious hiss, his stance becoming even more furious and rigid when he recognised Dumbledore's attempt to evict and exclude him.
Dumbledore eyed him up and down. "Calm yourself… how much did you overhear?" he asked steadily.
Severus whipped his gaze back to the Headmaster. "What does it matter?" he asked bluntly. He did not wish to make that fact relevant despite only genuinely hearing the last several seconds of the woman's testimony – he clearly felt he'd heard enough anyway. He turned back to Sarah.
"Well, which is it, Vincent or Malfoy?" he then demanded of the woman who was looking rather alarmed and ready to flee from the bed before him. She appeared shocked and confused at his question, but Severus did not buy into the act.
Sarah glanced in surprise to the Headmaster, wanting to confirm what she'd just garnered from Severus' somewhat illogical question. "You know who I'm talking about… I had the right house?"
"Don't play the fool," Severus accused with a growl, "you know full well you had the right estate. What was your objective!?" he demanded.
"Severus! That's enough!" Dumbledore reprimanded, rising to his feet and angrily glaring at the accusatory wizard. Beside him Sarah slipped her legs from the covers to sit on the edge of the bed, perhaps too alarmed at the dark man's show of anger and therefore reluctant to remain within his easy reach. He reached out hand to Sarah, both to halt any intention to flee, and to reassure her that he would protect her if need be.
The rebuke made Severus cease his attack. As much as he'd intended to cause Sarah to feel intimidated, the Headmaster's shielding of the woman made him realise he'd probably gone too far in his show of aggression. Sarah was a Muggle, he reminded himself; she was effectively at their mercy already. Not to mention Dumbledore still commanded ultimate authority over him whether he liked to admit it or not; he really had no choice but to comply.
"It matters, Severus, because you have not heard the full details… and nor have I yet."
Severus conceded the point; he knew the Headmaster sought answers from the woman as much as he himself did, so he bit his tongue and blew a long breath through his nostrils in an attempt to control himself.
Now that Severus had appeared to calm Dumbledore addressed him again. "There is more to Sarah's story than you perhaps overheard… and it is foolish in itself to assume anything of her motive unless you have heard the lot," he said pointedly, throwing some the accusatory language back into his spy's face.
Dumbledore's attempt to embarrass him worked, Severus hated being proven wrong and turned his angry glare away from his target; staring at the rumpled sheets instead. "And the story would be?" he asked with some impatience, obviously still not necessarily expecting a revelation.
There was silence for a couple of moments, and then Dumbledore answered curtly. "If you would care to take a seat and calmly hear it out, I believe Miss Evans will be happy to continue."
Severus' head snapped up so quickly it was amazing he hadn't jarred his neck. "Evans?" he queried, glancing back and forth between the Headmaster and Sarah.
She nodded, confirming the Headmaster's information and assertion, but it was clear she had no idea as to the shock and turmoil the disclosure of her surname had generated within him, let alone why. Dumbledore on the other hand was now gazing at him interestedly. Severus did not like it and steeled himself to avoid further scrutiny. He might enquire further of the detail later, but for now he let it go.
Albus deftly conjured him a chair, and gave him an expectant look to make use of it. Severus rolled his eyes slightly and gave in; taking the seat in the chair as directed, wrapping an arm around his bandaged middle bracingly as he lowered himself into it.
Dumbledore ushered Sarah to resume her place in the bed, but Severus was still wearing a glare as his expression, so she somewhat reluctantly lifted her legs onto the mattress but sidled over to the edge closest to the old man as he re-took his seat beside her.
For Severus' benefit the Headmaster recapped Sarah's tale so far of how she'd gone in search of a man she'd met a few months ago, who had given her a vague description of his home, and how Sarah had searched in vain until her car had coincidentally broken down in front of an estate that resembled the description the most so far. It explained how Sarah had come to be where Severus had first knocked into her, but not yet why. He was a little curious in his own right, but above all wondered what piece of the puzzle was missing that would render it all relevant to their circumstances. In particular, what connected this man to the Malfoy estate and what business Sarah may have had with him?
"I think you should describe the man you sought, Miss Evans… for, you may not yet have gathered, but he could be one of two possibilities. Only one of the names you mentioned is directly connected to that estate you entered. The other name may or may not belong to the other possibility that is an acquaintance of a member of the family of that estate," Dumbledore directed Sarah. Severus frowned, averse to giving the woman more information lest she attempt to use it to deceive them.
Sarah nodded, finally comprehending their position. "Oh…well… he was quite young… a fair bit younger than me. Maybe late teens, at most early twenties or something," she began.
Severus was instantly thrown; he'd not been expecting that. He had assumed Sarah's contact might have possibly been Lucius himself… or at least someone of similar age and status; particularly as Sarah had mentioned the Malfoy name specifically and she'd been entering Lucius' estate at the time. However, given the clues left at his disposal a bad feeling was beginning to dawn upon him about the identity of this 'man'.
"Describe his complexion, his hair, his height," Severus commanded, eager to work out the mystery. Had he missed another crucial induction into the Death Eaters? He glanced briefly at Dumbledore and the old wizard's expression suggested he was having similar thoughts.
Sarah complied. "He was a bit taller than me… his hair was blonde, I think… um…"
"What shade?" Severus prompted further with greater impatience, knowing it was impossible to mischaracterise the particular suspect's features he had in mind.
"Er… sandy… dark blonde," she supplied after thinking on the detail a little.
Severus sighed lightly and caught Dumbledore's gaze. "It's not Draco," he stated, and Albus agreed with a shake of his own head.
Sarah glanced between the two questioningly; wishing she understood their exchange.
"If we can assume that at least one of the names was genuine, and the name Malfoy was not, then perhaps Vincent… Crabbe?" Albus suggested, with an eyebrow raised in question at Severus.
Severus frowned back, the possibility flitting around his mind.
Albus furthered an idea already circulating his own mind. "Vincent embellished, he used the Malfoy name like a status badge as a means to an end," he proposed evenly. Severus did not yet make the correlation; his mind instead trying to understand how or why Sarah could ever have even encountered the pure-blood teen, let alone any reason for Sarah to have sought him out.
"Sarah, would you be so kind as to relay the events of the evening at your work function a few months ago," Dumbledore asked, evidently formulating his theory even further with the information Seveus had yet to hear.
Severus was surprised. "Work function?" he queried, looking to the Headmaster.
Albus nodded, and turned himself to Sarah, which Severus then imitated to gain the details.
She looked uncomfortable, but nodded in agreement all the same. "He approached me… I'd never met or seen him before at any fashion event; obviously now I see that he didn't belong, he shouldn't have been there at all. Anyway, I tried to brush him off at first, not to be rude, but I had been trying all evening to catch a certain reporter for a word. Vincent, if that really was his name, introduced himself and was quite insistent… he turned on the charm and convinced me to have just one drink with him… I couldn't see the reporter I'd been looking for, and didn't want to be outwardly rude, and just one drink with the kid wouldn't hurt… so I humoured him, I guess. And after that I- I don't know what I was thinking, but he seemed suddenly at the time so funny and interesting, and it was like he was bragging about who he was, what he owned, and all of it mattered, except it didn't… no matter what he said…"
Sarah sighed, she was finding it difficult to explain what had gone on that night, it was such an awkward assortment of her having felt one way and recollecting giving her consent to what had happened, and yet alternately knowing what was actually said and being unable to reconcile her reactions to everything at the time. Like she wasn't herself… like it had been someone else who'd made her decisions for her (ones that she was sure she would never have ordinarily made), but they were made inside her own mind. This was precisely why she'd not said anything to anyone the next day. She couldn't even make sense of what had happened herself.
She abruptly hid her face in her hands and massaged her temples with her index fingers; the whole incident was doing her head in. She couldn't explain it, couldn't justify anything.
The dark man was still not making the connection. He looked to Dumbledore with his head tilted slightly in question, seeking a greater hint.
"You told me Vincent was involved in his first meeting since his indoctrination," the old man guided softly.
Severus was immediately taken aback, however he was also instantly and incredibly convinced of the possibility. Had this been the Muggle function the Dark Lord's newest Death Eaters had raided in celebration? He returned his attention immediately to Sarah, her head still bent in frustrated confusion, and leaned in interestedly.
"I don't know what happened… at the time it all seemed different, but the same… oh God I can't explain it. I did everything that I wouldn't have done. It doesn't make sense," Sarah expounded.
Now that the potential for the involvement of a Wizard was more likely in Severus' mind, he was considering Sarah's tale from a different mindset and he was instantly suspicious. What Sarah was describing, her symptoms, he'd recognised as possibly potion induced. The Divinitus Draught could cause such sensations. It was not an illegal potion, because its flavour was easily recognisable and detectable by almost any wizard, Severus routinely discussed the brew's qualities in his 4th year Potions classes as part of the curriculum though it was never actually prepared by the students. However Muggles, on the other hand, would never know nor recognise the characteristics of this potion; therefore it was forbidden to administer it to Muggles without special permission, as it was for most potions.
"You had something to drink…what was it… what did it look like?" he asked, eager to explore his own theory now forming in his mind. Out of the corner of his eye Dumbledore appeared satisfied that Severus had caught up and had taken on the mantle.
The qualities of the Divinitus Draught could not be disguised; Severus would be able to tell immediately if it had been used.
Sarah lifted her chin to look up at the man questioning her; a little surprised Severus seemed to be taking her seriously. She rather expected more fury, or perhaps even ridicule. She had no idea why he asked about the drink, but maybe it would turn out to be relevant.
"Um… it was some sort of cocktail… maybe vodka and orange juice, or a tequila sunrise or something… it was orange with red grenadine or something floating on top. I don't really know; I don't drink cocktails, or actually any alcohol at all, very often," Sarah explained.
'Grenadine? Doubtful,' Severus thought assuredly. 'No, unlikely; the floating, bright red syrup was more than likely the Divinitus Draught,' he decided quite confidently. Still, one more quality would make it undeniable and Sarah's admission regarding her unfamiliarity with alcohol wouldn't matter.
"The flavour… can you remember it?" Severus pressed, with intense interest.
Sarah creased her forehead as she attempted to recall. "Um… it kinda… well, it sort of… it's kind of weird, but it tasted… white," she stated, shaking her head. She was quite unsure of her description, as though it was unlike anything she considered logical, but it was the only way she could describe it.
However it was the clincher for Severus; it was utterly indisputable that Sarah had ingested the Divinitus Draught.
Albus's slightly disturbed expression told that he had possibly come to the same conclusion.
"Divinitus?" he suggested to the old man softly.
Dumbledore confirmed his same thoughts by returning a light, troubled nod.
Severus closed his eyes momentarily perturbed. Sarah did not yet understand it, but the truth was that she'd been deliberately dosed with a variety of a Compelling or Influencing Potion.
"What happened after?" he asked, slightly hesitant to discover exactly what the idiotic boy had intended for his innocent, Muggle victim. Another glance at Dumbledore and Severus knew the answer was not going to be good… the old man now looked positively irate.
Sarah's chin dropped back down a little, her expression coloured with shame and embarrassment; her own reluctance unmistakable. Her reaction furthered Severus' trepidation.
"I slept with him… I can't believe I did, but he suggested we go upstairs... and I just did," she confessed with quiet horror and confusion.
Severus could not prevent the soft, astounded gasp that exited his mouth. He was stunned and horrified himself. Sarah still did not comprehend, but this teenager, who Severus still largely identified as a child, had essentially raped her with the aid of a Compelling Potion.
It also became clear to Severus now why the Dark Lord might have dished out punishment for the new inductees' behaviour. The celebratory raid was inappropriate on two counts. One, the Dark Lord was still trying to keep a low profile at this point; such a public fashion event, with media involvement no less, was not the wisest choice to dally with Muggles, and two, sexual encounters with Muggles was considered distasteful in the least by true believers in blood purity. The new Death Eaters had foolishly jeopardised the movement's success and aims, all in their first day – the idiots!
In front of him Sarah dipped her head even further, evidently interpreting his sounds of astonishment as judgement.
His eyes took in her entire form, her head hanging and her shoulders drooping with humiliation, but it was when Severus' gaze swept lower over her midsection that he recalled her recent loss and he finally laid the final piece of the puzzle into place.
Vincent Crabbe had deceived, assaulted… and impregnated Sarah. And, completely ignorant to the malevolence of the circumstances, Sarah had come looking for him to share news of the impending infant! And straight to the Malfoy estate too; which currently was serving as the headquarters for the Wizarding world's greatest Muggle haters! Unthinkably; Crabbe had led an innocent Muggle woman straight to the devil's lair!
Utterly furious now himself, Severus pushed as swiftly as he could from his chair and glared at Dumbledore. "When are they back? What day is it?"
"When's who back?" Sarah uttered, lifting her chin again, a little alarmed at Severus' sudden movement and the abrupt onset of his fury. She was, however, roundly ignored.
Dumbledore stood alongside her, seemingly to attempt to calm the irate man, who was supporting his arm around his injured middle still, by ushering him back into his seat. He didn't comply.
"Monday… it's Monday," Albus informed promptly, but left the other question unanswered.
Severus seemed to work it out for himself though. "Tonight?" he queried rather stunned at how much time must have passed since he'd been at the castle last.
Dumbledore reluctantly confirmed his question with a nod.
"Good…I'll pull the little vermin aside-" he spat, before Dumbledore cut him off, halting his tirade.
"That's enough, Severus… I'll discuss this further with you later," Dumbledore suddenly instructed firmly with a warning look. Severus frowned, not fully comprehending the caution, but he complied with the Headmaster's command.
"He's coming here?" Sarah asked with startled surprise.
Assuming Sarah meant Crabbe, Severus answered. "Yes, unfortunately," he sneered.
"Why? Why's he coming here?" Sarah wanted to know, looking to either man for the answer. The old wizard first gestured for the dark man to retake his seat, before taking his own again, and then he answered her question.
"The young man we suspect you met that night a few months ago is Vincent Crabbe. His father is an associate of the man who owns the estate you entered, Lucius Malfoy… and their sons, Draco and Vincent are friends. Vincent is also a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry… this school. He is currently fifteen years old and will tonight be returning for his fifth year."
At the information Sarah's jaw dropped open several millimetres. "Fifteen?" she voiced, aghast.
"And that is not the worst of it," Severus illuminated at a mutter for her.
Dumbledore creased his brow at his spy. "Gently, Severus," he advised again softly.
Now comprehending the Headmaster's desire for Severus to treat the conversation with more delicacy, Severus nodded lightly in agreement.
Why…what's so bad? I don't understand," Sarah asked, knowing they were keeping something significant from her.
"Miss Evans… Sarah," Dumbledore began softly. "We suspect Vincent has slipped you a potion. It is against our laws to administer this particular potion to Muggles at all, but certainly it is even more nefarious without your consent."
Sarah seemed to become even more aghast.
"What… well, what did he give me? He put it in the drink, didn't he?"
Severus nodded at the probability, "Yes… I believe it was a Compelling Potion of sorts, called the Divinitus Draught."
"Compelling… what…?" she started, thinking hard, recalling the details of that night and slipping each one in with what she had just been told. "Oh, my God… you mean…"
"He has effectually raped you, yes" Severus announced; not quite as delicately as Albus would have liked.
They could both see her thinking over the consequences of what she had learned, and it was clear to see her shock and dismay build stronger by the second until she came to the ultimate understanding.
Sarah covered her face with her hands, strange emotions coming upon her all of a sudden; vulnerability, shame, a sense of having been used… sullied; and she instantly felt sick.
Her two concerned companions were eyeing her closely, but she couldn't take the scrutiny.
"I have to go to the bathroom," she announced, dropping her hands and pushing herself from the bed quickly.
"Sarah… I am so sorry," the older man offered gently, the care and concern in his tone strong.
"Please," she replied on her way past him, "I just need to go… I'm can't..."
Snape leapt from his seat and was standing next to the opening in the curtain by the time she got there.
"Sarah… it's alright" he whispered softly… more concern in his tone than she thought him capable of since meeting him and noting his ordinarily brusque manner. His hand came forward slightly to halt her departure.
Sarah paused next to him briefly, but her distress was building to crisis point. She needed to be alone.
"Let me go… please," she practically begged, and Severus retracted his hand immediately.
Once out of the curtained cubicle Sarah made a decision to retreat out into the hall through the double doors, and made her way swiftly to the loos Arthur had shown her on her arrival into the castle.
There, as she opened the door, painful memories of her recent miscarriage bombarded her, adding monstrously to her distress, and suddenly bile rose from her stomach. She only just made it to the basin before she lost the contents of her stomach into the shallow bowl.
The water flushed the mess down the plug hole, but Sarah was coming to another vile conclusion and she groaned in anguish. Her baby… the innocent creature that had briefly taken up all her careful consideration and joyful deliberation in her life before she lost it… had been the nefariously conceived rape child fathered by a fifteen year old boy!
She felt such a fool!
Misery, degradation and grief pushed through, broke her restraints and flowed powerfully from her, and echoed resoundingly around the room in despairing cries and sobs.