A/N: SO sorry for taking forever to get this done. I was forever busy with college work and upcoming Halloween. (getting my costume done). Hope you guys had a great Halloween btw! :D I went to a haunted graveyard in Santa Cruz. According to legend, myth, or whatever, a few years back some kids went to the graveyard and conjured up a demon. The demon ripped the arm off one of the kids, but the rest got away. It was pretty creepy walking in the pitch blackness between all those tombstones; our flashlights had failed the moment we stepped through the gate into the graveyard. o.O*

Full Circle part I

Draco yawned and stretched his lanky body, causing the fur to raise along his spine. He jumped down from the couch and padded towards Harry's bed. It was eight o'clock, about time to get up for breakfast, and Draco was hungry.

Draco leapt up onto the bed, and Harry mumbled something about Quidditch practice and rolled over. "Mreow," Draco demanded, batting Harry's ears with one of his paws to wake the boy up. Harry was Draco's charm-speaker; mainly the one who would change him back to human form when they got out of the Gryffindor quarters.

Harry groaned and opened one eye after a few more seconds of Draco's insistent meowing.

"Five more minutes, Malfoy."

Draco picked Harry's glasses up from the bedside table with his teeth and imperiously presented them to Harry.

"Good for you, but I'm not getting up just yet."

Draco blinked his gray eyes in irritation and sat on Harry's chest.

"Malfoy. Off. Now. I'll get up when I'm ready."

If cats could sigh, Draco would have. He jumped off Harry's bed and walked back to the Common Room. He stopped in surprise when he saw Neville sitting on the couch, frantically looking through his bookbag.

"Where did I put my Potions essay?! It was in here last night!" he fretted.

Draco sat on his haunches, and twitched his tail. He could help Neville look, but he was hungry and didn't want to waste any more energy than necessary. And besides, he had no idea what Neville's parchment could be or even where to begin to look, and -- what was that?! Draco caught sight of something poking out from underneath the chair Neville was sitting in. A piece of string . . . Draco watched it with interest. Neville, giving up hope, slumped back in the chair. Draco stiffened - the string moved! Without even knowing why or what he was doing, Draco pounced.

After a few moments of batting and tugging, he proudly dragged the defeated string halfway out from its hiding place. I caught the string! I caught the string! I . . . WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING?!

"Oh!" he heard Neville cry in surprise. "You found it!" Neville picked the string up and gave it a tug. Out from under the chair slid Neville's parchment roll. Neville sighed in relief and happily began retying the string around it.

"What a smart cat!" Neville said, admiringly, and before Draco could dart away, he stroked a hand along Draco's furry back.

Draco, as surprised as he was, arched his back under Neville's hand in pleasure. Neville praised him some more in amazement and continued to pet him. Draco didn't realize he was purring until he heard Potter and Weasley laughing in the doorway.

"I barely have the heart to turn him back now. Did you enjoy that, kitty?" Harry teased.

Draco stared at him, horrified. Ron cracked up. "Would you look at his face! Priceless!"

Embarrassed, he slunk over to the exit and waited to be let out of the portrait. Neville was confused.

"What was that all about?" he asked, getting the rest of his things together.

"Er, nothing, Neville. Usually that cat's not so friendly, that's all."

"Well, he certainly saved my skin! My Potions essay was under the chair. I never would have found it if he hadn't been playing with the end of the string."

"He was playing with string? Harry, do you think we ought to get him a ball of yarn for Christmas?"

Draco wanted to die right then and there. He scratched impatiently at the back of the portrait. The Fat Lady's indignant voice yelled at him from the other side to stop it immediately.

"Allright, Ron, that's enough. Come on, let's go to breakfast."

Neville said the password, walked through the entrance, and headed down the hall to get breakfast. Draco slipped out, where he waited furiously for Harry and Ron to follow, tapping the end of his tail on the floor.

"Lookit, Harry, he's giving us the cold shoulder," said Ron, coming out first.

"Ron, really, leave off. Ready Draco?" Draco finally turned and stared up at Harry, telling him with his eyes to perform the spell. Harry took out his wand while Ron kept a lookout for anyone coming.

"Anthropos." Harry muttered under his breath and Draco's small body shimmered, growing back into human form.

"You," he growled at Weasley. "Had better knock it off."

Ron returned the glare. "Someone's just a little too sensitive. I was only joking."

"Right, whatever. Sorry for snapping, I'm still getting used to this and you weren't making it any easier by that crack about Mrs. Norris."

Ron grinned. "Still seething about that, are we Malfoy?"

"Only because it was too easy for you."

"Yeah, well I had to get my ankle bandaged. Does that satisfy you?"

Malfoy sighed. "Let's make a deal. No more cat jokes and I'll keep my claws and teeth to myself, agreed, Weasley?"

"Agreed. And call me Ron. I hate the way you say my last name."

"Same here. It's Draco, allright? See you two in class."

"What? You're not sitting with us?" Harry asked in surprise.

"You mean, the others in your house will let me?" Draco asked, daring to sound hopeful.

"We will, right Ron?"

Ron nodded. "And so will Hermione. She should be up and well by now."

Draco smiled back at him, although uneasily. An uneasiness that grew with each step the trio took toward the dining hall. Harry noticed Malfoy's uncomfort and anxiety and stopped just before they opened the doors.

"Stick close to us, Draco, whatever happens. Don't look anyone in the face at the Slytherin table if you can help it."

"Right." Draco said and taking a deep breath, stepped through the doors with Harry.

He forced himself not to look at the Slytherin table, but he could feel their eyes on him. The Ravenclaws, Hufflepuffs, and Gryffindors, however, were looking at him in a mixture of bewilderment and admiration that Draco appreciated, but still felt unnerving. What were they going to expect of him now? More heroic defiance of his own house members?

Boos and hisses came from the Slytherin table as Draco sat with Harry, Ron and Hermione, who was there before they came in. "How are you feeling, Grang- I mean Hermione?"

"Much better, thank you," Hermione said, trying to sound bright and cheerful over the overpowering voices of the Slytherins. Draco swallowed hard, and suddenly realized he had lost his appetite. Nerves, he thought glumly. How can I eat when everyone's looking at me?

Harry put a hand on his shoulder. "You allright?"

"No. But I'll be fine," Draco answered in a small voice.

Draco did his best to give Harry, Ron, and Hermione his full attention as they talked about a variety of things. But not even Quidditch could distract him from the cold glares of his fellow Slytherins; the coldest of all belonging to Marcus Flint.

* * *

"Congratulations, all of you, on your test results. The lowest score was a C-minus. I'll go over the questions that most of you got wrong so you can take note of them for the midterm exams," Karylie said while she passed out corrected tests. "But first, we're going to move on to the subject of zombies."

"Bet Draco was the one with the C-minus," Flint said, casually. Draco felt his face burn.

"No actually," Karylie said coolly, "He wasn't." She dropped Marcus' test on his desk and his eyes widened when he saw the red C-minus circled by his name. He spent the rest of class in silence, glaring at Karylie whenever her back was turned.

"Now, about zombies. You all remember how I restored that plant on the first day of class?"

Almost everybody nodded, with the exception of Flint and a few other Slytherins who seemed determined not to participate in order to get at Draco.

"You, um, sort of muttered it under your breath, Professor Karylie. So we couldn't hear you," said Neville.

"Thank you, Neville. I didn't speak it loud enough for the rest of you to hear, because I hadn't yet explained the spell's true purpose. Today, I will." Karylie reached into her bag and pulled out a small bundle wrapped in a cloth. She carefully undid the bundle and revealed a large, dead crow. "I found him in the fields. It appears a cat got him and didn't bother to eat much of him."

She took out her wand and poised it over the crow. "Lazarusim," She chanted, and the effect was immediate. The crow's empty eye-sockets were suddenly holding two very bright eyes, it's feathers were growing back, and any ant-eaten flesh was being reproduced rapidly. The crow flapped akwardly and got to its feet. Karylie slid her hand before it and it obligingly stepped onto her fingers.

"Could any of you tell this was a corpse of a crow, if you saw him sitting on a fencepost or just outside the window, doing what crows normally do?"

This time everyone started talking at once, even Flint and the other Slytherins, and Karylie raised her hand for silence. "Miss Karylie," Hermione cried, raising her hand. She appeared agitated, as Karylie noted with concern.

"Yes Hermione?"

"Surely there must be a way to tell a zombie from the real thing. I mean, dark wizards like You-Know-Who could use this charm to get at a lot of people!"

"Yes. He could, Hermione. And worse yet, a zombie is under the wizard's complete control. Much like the Imperius curse." Karylie turned to the crow. "Fly twice in a circle and then return to me." The crow flapped its wings and circled the class room two times before coming back to rest on Karylie's hand. "If the Dark Lord brought back someone close to you and ordered them to kill you, they wouldn't hesitate. You would probably hesitate, for fear of hurting your family member. And that's the purpose of this spell. To weaken you in combat through your emotions."

"How . . . how do you put a zombie back to rest?" asked Harry. "Without harming the bodies?"

Karylie looked away for a moment, then turned back. "It is the wizard alone who can put the body back to its state of death. There is a counter-curse, but if the zombie's controller is strong enough, it will not work for you. You might even have to destroy the body completely."

Harry felt a weird feeling in the pit of his stomach. He looked down, biting his lip. If Voldemort got to his parents . . . made them attack him . . . no . . . no, he wouldn't. Would he?

He was aware of Ron's hand on his shoulder and gave him a small smile in gratitude.

"I realize this is hard for many of you. You've probably lost family members and friends at some point in your life, and the prospect of having to hurt them, even though they're already dead, is far from pleasant. But at least you're prepared now. Magic cannot bring people back to life, as you know, but it can make people appear to live. It can melt away rot and the stench of death, and give the body a wholesome healthy glow. But the one thing it can't do, is bring back a person's personality. The personality rests within the soul, and the soul is already gone. That's what makes it so easy to control a zombie; nothing is within the body to fight the curse. A person will look whole again, but vacant and empty of any intelligence or emotion. That's how you can tell a zombie from the real thing."

"What about with animals?" asked Dean Thomas.

"It's harder to tell with animals. If you observe them for long enough, you'll begin to notice something funny. They won't eat anything you offer them, they won't be afraid when you approach them, and they won't urinate or leave feces."

Most of the class erupted into giggles. "But at first glance, you won't be able to tell. Some the afore-mentioned signs will show if you stare at an animal for an hour or more, but that's too long and there are way too many animals out there to make sure they're not all zombies. It's zombie people you have to worry about the most. Especially zombies who were once wizards.

"Now, I'm going to teach you the countercurse," Karylie said, putting the crow down to stand on the cloth. She pointed the wand at the crow's heart. "Eternilysian"

The crow fell over as if dead and slowly, the new feathers, flesh and eyes melted away to reveal the dead crow's true appearance. "Not only does this put the zombie to rest; it insures that its body will never be magically tampered with again. The first part of the counter-curse begins with 'Eterni' derived from the word eternal. The second part; 'lysian', comes from the word 'Elysian' in reference to the Elysian Field, the place it is believed mortals go when they die."

To prove her point, Karylie pointed her wand again at the crow, and said "Lazarusim." This time, nothing happened and the crow remained where it lay. She wrapped the cloth around the creature, tied it with twine, and put the bundle back into her bag. "I'll bury him later. Are there any more questions?"

"No," the rest of the class answered glumly.

Karylie noted looks of fear and worry on at least half the students in the room. "You all know not to let your guard down for anything now. I'm sorry this lesson bothered you, but you had to know," she said, gently.

"That spell should be made an Unforgivable Curse," muttered Ron.

"It should, Ron. And it would, but as it's done on people who are dead already, it's not worthy of a lifetime in Azkaban."

"But the emotional strain on a living person . . . it's not right people should get away with it," fretted Hermione.

"Oh they don't. Wizards caught using the spell on a human are now sentenced to at least twenty years in Azkaban."

"Only twenty!" cried Seamus. "It should be at least fifty!"

"Do you want to know why it's not an Unforgivable Curse? The real reason that's been covered up til now?" Karylie's silver eyes had a very shifty look about them and the rest of the students knew she was about to tell them something that shouldn't be told. They leaned forward eagerly. "Allright. The reason is, before it was outlawed, the Ministry of Magic commonly used the spell."

"WHAT?!" cried the class as a whole.

"That can't be true! My dad would've told me!" cried Ron.

"Your father doesn't work in that particular area. It's most likely, he never knew. This was covered up even to other members of the Ministry."

"How'd you find out then?" challenged Marcus.

"Oh, Mr. Malfoy' tongue may have slipped once or twice while I was still living at the Manor. But anyway," Karylie changed the subject hurriedly, seeing Draco grimace at the mention of their father, "The Aurors used the spell to identify Death-Eaters."

"What? How?" asked Pansy.

"They would find the latest victim of Death-Eaters and bring them back. Now I said a zombie was empty of a soul, but if the brain was fresh, they could explore the person's memory banks in search of the killer's face. This certainly couldn't be used as evidence in court because they wanted this technique kept secret. A lot of protest would be raised if the families of the zombies found out what the Ministry Aurors were doing. However, the evidence the Aurors gained kept them watching named killers until they found something to pin on them in court.

"So the spell wasn't made an Unforgivable Curse because otherwise, the Aurors would get in trouble," Karylie continued. "There are laws in progress to protect the Aurors and punish dark wizards and Death Eaters who used the Lazarusim spell with equal ferocity as they'd be punished for using an Unforgivable Curse, but so far, none have been passed. Fudge keeps vetoing them. He doesn't approve of these laws because he's afraid they'll be abused by the Aurors."

After a few more questions and answers, Karylie went over the questions commonly missed on the test then let the students pack up for their next class. Everyone got up, talking excitedly when the bell rang. Draco got up and was almost knocked down when Flint shoved past him.

"Watch it, Malfoy," growled Flint.

"Is there a problem?" Karylie asked, frowning.

"No, ma'am." Huffily, Flint walked out the door, letting it slam behind him. Draco glared after him.

"Draco, you coming?" asked Harry, about to head out the door himself. Ron and Hermione had already gone ahead.

"Yeah, wait for me outside, would you?"

"No, stay please. I'd like to talk with you for a minute, Draco," Karylie said, putting a hand on her brother's shoulder.

"Very well," Draco replied, sitting down again. Harry mouthed 'see you later' and walked to class. Draco gulped at the thought of having to walk to Charms alone.

"Are you allright?" Karylie asked gently. "This isn't getting to you too much, is it?"

Draco was about to ask what, but he knew what his sister was talking about. "Not terribly," he told her. "They weren't really good friends in the first place. The problem is . . . well, I did a favor for Hermione. Am . . . are they going to look down on me if . . . oh I don't know," Draco snapped, angry at himself for not being able to get the words right.

"It's okay, Draco. Take your time."

"No, I can't. I'll be late for class."

"I'll write you an note. Or if you like, we can talk during lunch."

Draco smiled at that. He hadn't felt very welcome at the Gryffindor table either this morning, despite Harry, Ron, and Hermione's acceptance. He had the trust of three Gryffindors. Draco doubted he'd gain much more than that, unless he miraculously accomplished a feat of courage as great as Harry Potter had the previous four years. The prospect of sitting with Karylie and apart from the either gawking or glaring students was quite pleasant.

"I'll see you at lunch then," he told her, picking up his books.

"Okay then." Karylie kissed his cheek. "Take that for luck," she said and Draco blushed.

"Karylie . . ." he moaned embarrassed. She burst out laughing and shooed him out the door to class.

* * *

"I was wondering if you'd like to go somewhere with me; help me gather some supplies for Snape's office. He needs jewelflower, arrowroot, and gray moss. He's been feeling under the weather lately and Ireland's cold this time of year."

"Ireland?!" Draco exclaimed, almost dropping his forkful of baked potato.

"Yep. It'll be a little dangerous, though," Karylie warned, reaching for a napkin. She wiped some spilled sour cream off the table. "The Unseelie Court's been acting up ever since Voldemort came back into power," she confided in a low voice. "They may cause us trouble."

"We should be allright, as long as we're not out after nightfall."

"They're still creatures of the night, but we're going to have to travel into the heart of the Black Loch for those plants, Draco. And there's worse things in there than Dark Faerie."

"I promise I'll be careful, Karylie. Are you sure Dumbledore will allow it?"

"Certainly. In fact it was his idea."

"Really? I always thought he liked Harry better."

"Draco," Karylie admonished gently. "Dumbledore doesn't choose favorites. He understands people's character and he has a very open mind. I think the reason he likes Harry so much is because he's been through so much and he's not broken. That's admirable, don't you think?"

"Yes. I did quite get sick of people making such a fuss over him though. And don't say I'm just jealous. I'm not."

"Good, because I bet he's sick of it too."

"Well, I'll say this for him. He certainly doesn't know how to deal with all the publicity he gets. For one thing, you never act shy. Shyness is very endearing to the public and just attracts more reporters and admirers."

Karylie surveyed Draco with an amused look on her face. "Who told you all that?"

"The king of smarm and publicity himself; Father," Draco answered bitterly. "Anyway, I told Harry to really ham it up the next time he's flocked by reporters and they'll get disgusted enough to turn away. He'll get a few less-than-flattering articles about him, but at least they'll give him a little more space."

"Do you think he'll take that advice?"

"No. Ron said I was just trying to get Harry unpopular. Hermione said I was just trying to be funny. Harry believed Hermione, fortunately. Otherwise I'd still be a cat and probably stuffed in Ron's trunk."

Karylie shook her head, laughing. "Well, anyway, I need three other people to come with us. Safety in numbers. Tell them Snape will give points to their Houses if they come."

"You don't want me to ask any Slytherins, do you?" Draco asked, worriedly.

"Snape will announce it to your other house-members, I'm sure. Although I don't think they'll be too keen on coming with me. That Marcus Flint was a total sourpuss today."

"They're angry at me," Draco said. "I wish they'd leave you out of this."

"It doesn't bother me. I'm a teacher; I'll keep teaching no matter how popular or unpopular I am." Karylie finished her potato and moved on to her turkey leg. "Want the skin?" She offered Draco.

"Sure," Draco said, peeling it off. "I've always loved the skin."

"You sure have. I honestly don't know why."

"Just the texture of it. It's tough and chewy and it's got flavor. Mother never approved of eating the skin by itself. Thought it looked disgusting."

"Well, it kinda does, if you think about it."

They ate in silence for a while. Down the table, Severus Snape was talking to McGonagall. He snuck a glance toward them, gave a curt nod to Draco, and glanced at Karylie for a lingering moment before turning back to McGonagall. Draco looked down at his plate, feeling as if he'd intruded on something. He coughed softly and hoped he wasn't being too cheeky by asking the question in his mind. "Karylie, do you . . . er . . . I know this is a personal question . . . but . . ."


Draco lowered his voice to a whisper. "Do you think Professor Snape has a crush on you?" Karylie almost choked on her next bite.

"Wherever did you get that idea?" she asked, blushing.

"Oh, I don't know. It's just . . . um. You seem to be close. As friends. And of course I had to go and be stereotypical of what's probably an innocent friendship just because you're of the opposite sex. I'm sorry."

"No, no, it's quite allright. Snape and I go a long ways back. For the three years I went here, I was in Slytherin. Snape and I were good friends. Well, until that dreadful row I had with him about my . . . my boyfriend."

"Who?" asked Draco.

Karylie was a deeper shade of pink and she took a sip from her goblet to stall having to answer the question.

"Come on, Karylie. Who?"

"Remus Lupin."

Draco made a disgusted face and Karylie gave him a withering look. "I take it you don't approve either?"

"Well, certainly not. And Snape hates Lupin. It's no wonder you had a fight."

"I know. Couldn't ever see why, until I ran into Snape a few years ago at the Leaky Cauldron. We made up and Snape told me all about Lupin and why he didn't want me hanging around him. I doubt even half of it was true; he always was the false rumor-spreader of Hogwarts. When he had a grudge, he really held a grudge."

"You did believe Snape about Lupin being a werewolf, didn't you?"

"To tell you the truth, Draco, I didn't then, while I was still going to Hogwarts. I thought he was just making it up because Lupin was in Gryffindor and we were all supposed to hate Gryffindors. I got mad at his insistent pettyness and told him I never wanted to talk to him again. I didn't believe him; didn't want to. Lupin was romantic, brave, kind-hearted, handsome --"

"Karylie, I'm about to lose my lunch."

"Allright, enough on that, then. The point is, Snape was trying to protect me from getting hurt or killed. Snape had found out Lupin was a werewolf almost at the cost of his life and Dumbledore had sworn him to secrecy so Lupin could have a fair chance at education. I never knew that. Lupin never told me what a danger he was to me. And for that, I haven't even attempted to write to him after I learned the truth from Fa -- Lucius. In fact, I never want to see Lupin again."

"That's a relief. But wait, he couldn't tell you because --"

"Because he was afraid that I'd betray him. That hurt me most of all, more than Father hurt me by trying to control who my friends were. I would have kept his secret. He sure told his other friends, like Pettigrew, James Potter, and Sirius Black. I'd hate to think it, but I'm afraid the reason Lupin didn't tell me was because I was in Slytherin," Karylie finished bitterly. She sighed, and pushed her empty plate away.

"I'm sorry he did that to you."

"Oh, he didn't do anything to me. It doesn't make him a bad person. Just a bad boyfriend."

"Do you think Snape was angry because he wanted you to be his girlfriend?" Draco whispered, slyly.

Karylie had to grin. "Don't breathe this to a soul," she whispered back, "But I've toyed around with the idea and I think it's possible he did."

"Would you be his girlfriend if you asked?"

"Draco Jared Malfoy, if you even dare think of playing matchmaker --"

"I won't get involved, I swear it. You have my word of honor," Draco promised.

"Nevertheless, I won't tell. That question's a little too personal."

"Allright, then. One more question. How old is Father? Really?"

Karylie coughed into her napkin, trying not to laugh. "How old has he told you he is?"

"He says and looks thirty-two. But I can do arithmancy fairly well, and I know that can't be true because you're twenty-three and you were fourteen by the end of your third year at Hogwarts while I was only eight."

"Thirty-two? Ha! He was thirty when he had me."

"Then if you're twenty-three now and he was thirty when he had you, that would make him . . . fifty-three years old?!"


"That's one hell of a wrinkle-free charm he uses!"

Karylie and Draco looked at one another and burst out laughing, drawing a few curious stares from the surrounding teachers.

"Well," said Karylie, wiping the tears from her eyes. "We sure went off on a tangent, didn't we?"

"Yes. I suppose. I'll ask Potter -- I mean Harry, Ron, and Hermione if they want to come. They're pretty much the only people I can ask at the moment. I'm sort of uneasy to talk to anyone else."

"I'm sorry for that, Draco," Karylie said, wrapping and arm around her younger brother's shoulders. "You did a good thing and you were brave enough to do it in the face of controversy. Nobody could ask more of you."

Draco felt comforted. He knew his sister would always be beside him, even if some of their views were different, but he was relieved she wasn't expecting him to act like a goody-two-shoes from now on.

The bell signalling the end of lunch rang out, and the table was cleared magically of food, dirty plates, and goblets. Students got up and began filing out the doors to lunch. Harry caught Draco's eye and motioned towards the door, indicating that he was going to wait for him outside. Draco nodded back, and looked through his backpack to make sure he had everything for Potions class.

"You know, it's kind of strange," he mused aloud, after retying his Potions essay.

"What is?"

"I never thought Harry would accept me unless I did something heroic and got myself half-killed in the process."

"Really? That's why you hated him so much?"

"Well no . . . guess I was a little indignant at the fact Potter has a female fanclub, even if he doesn't want it let alone know about it. He's even got a few girls in Slytherin falling all over themselves whenever somebody speaks his name. But I don't suppose they count. They're probably only after his fame."

"Jealous, Draco?" Karylie teased, getting up and tucking her chair underneath the table.

"Don't bet your life on it," Draco replied, a bit too hastily. "Gotta go to class, see you!"

Draco dashed toward the door, weaving his way through students, chairs, and tables. Karylie watched him and turned to see Snape standing beside her.

"Hello, Karylie," he said, smiling benignly. "I heard you created quite a stir in your class today."

"Still talking about the crow, are they?"

"I saw Longbottom watching a crow out the window for at least ten minutes before he would move along to lunch."

Karylie sighed. "I know they usually reserve lessons like that for the sixth years, but Voldemort's back and --"

Snape shuddered violently and his face grew pale. "Don't say his name right now. Please." His hand moved to his arm and he grimaced in pain.

"Sorry. But they really need to be ready. Vol -- You-Know-Who --"

"Just don't mention him at all." Severus snapped. "I've had enough of him to last me a lifetime."

"I'm sorry, Severus." Karylie said, trying not to sound offended, though she was indeed a little hurt. "You look ill . . ."

"I feel ill. My arm is burning - nevermind," he said, pulling away when Karylie reached for him. "I believe I will lay down for a while. Can you take over my class for the day?"


"I'm sorry, Karylie. I didn't mean . . . when you collect the essays, put them on the desk in my office. Accept no excuses from any student. If it's not in by the end of class, they get an F. Good day, Karylie. Perhaps we can speak later," Snape brushed past her to leave the Dining Hall, still clutching his arm.

Karylie watched him leave, worried for him. She knew exactly what was wrong with him; Snape had confided that he had been a Death Eater before deciding to work for Dumbledore. Meaning that the mark on his arm must be causing him a world of agony. "At least he's being reasonable enough to step down from teaching for today." She thought wryly. "In the mood he's in, he'd probably spend the entire class period screaming at Longbottom or some other poor Gryffindor."

Snape was - had always been - stubborn and he dealt with his own pain, never letting anyone pity him. Perhaps he saw weakness in sympathy. Perhaps his father was like Lucius had been to both her and Draco. Karylie's heart ached for him, but she truly didn't know how she could help him. Or whether or not he'd let her.

To Be Continued . . .

Disclaimer: All characters besides Karylie Malfoy belong to J.K Rowling. Karylie belongs to me. (and in the future, maybe Snape . . . or Lupin . . . Let's take a vote, what do you guys think? I'm not planning on making things mushy, I promise.)