Disclaimer: All characters belong to J. K. Rowling. None of them belong to me. The only thing that is mine is the original character and plot idea.
The wind was cold on her tear soaked face. She ran frantically through the Forbidden Forest, barely able to see what may lie ahead. Growing further behind her was Hogwarts, but it was nothing like she remembered. The castle had been set ablaze by followers of Lord Voldemort in their search for Harry and Dumbledore.
When they suddenly arrived she had been minding her own business gathering herbs for the next Advanced Potions class. Not knowing exactly how they penetrated the castle's defenses, she didn't feel much like staying to find out. "Fight or flight" had kicked in, and it was obvious which one surfaced first.
If you didn't know her well enough, you would think she was cowardly for running away. This girl was a Slytherin, so there should be no reason why any Death Eater would harm her, right? Wrong. The Sorting Hat may have placed her in Salazar's house, but her blood was far from pure. Not even Half Bloods were happily welcomed. All through her years at Hogwarts she tried to keep it a secret, but just months ago it was revealed. Even her closest friend, Draco Malfoy, shunned her. She couldn't say she was surprised at that though.
She thought she heard footsteps and rustling behind her, so she quickly changed directions, darting to the right. With it being pitch black in the forest, she did not notice the gnarled tree root emerging from the ground. Falling face-down into the dirt, her left ankle began pulsing wildly. "Oh no…" she cried, fearing the noises she thought she heard earlier.
Struggling to stand she collapsed a second time. "Lumos!" she whispered, hoping it was safe enough to examine herself. As soon as the wand illuminated the area around her, she saw what looked like a human figure rush behind a near tree. She swallowed hard and hurried to look at her ankle.
Other than her legs being covered in dirt, there were superficial cuts on both knees. The ankle was swollen, and to her shock, there appeared to be a tarsal bone protruding out of the skin. "How the hell did I manage this? I only tripped!" she nearly screamed in a mixture of anger, fear and pain. Trying hard to recall a spell for this, her peripheral caught the same shadow figure again.
"Put out your light." A man's voice ordered. She blindly followed his direction, yet she swore she knew the voice. "Don't move." There was a flash of green light and she could feel her ankle bones being reformed. She cried out in pain, clawing at the ground in agony.
"If you're going to kill me, don't spit in my face by healing me first!"
"Shut up you stupid girl and just listen to me!" he hissed. She now knew who this was.
"I said stop. I didn't expect you to flee so quickly – I had to stop you somehow." Severus explained, still covered partly by the foliage. "I was ordered to come and get you."
She was extremely confused now. "Harry and Professor Dumbledore are more important than I am! Who gives a shit about me? I'd rather die than continue to be ashamed of my blood!" she stood slowly.
Severus rubbed his temples. "We don't have time for this right now. My main objective is getting you out of here. And if you keep talking like that, remember I still have the authority to punish you." He added sternly.
"Sorry." She grumbled. Suddenly they heard the collapsing of one of the castle towers in the distance. Her heart broke even further with every destroyed piece of stone.
"Lets go." Severus grabbed her arm and apparated into the night.
Her vision was terribly distorted and all of her senses interrupted. She had only traveled this way a few times, and every time left her sick to her stomach. She barely noticed Severus walk past her and disappear into another room.
Slowly inching towards what seemed to be a chair, she sat down and closed her eyes. Why is this happening? She waited for the nausea and dizziness to subside. Soon she regained control of her body and her eyes fluttered open. She sat in a dimly lit room, barely furnished. A fireplace was visible to her right.
"Where am I?" she muttered. Severus reappeared just then, still looking bothered by all this.
"Unfortunately, my home." He answered. She straightened up quickly in the armchair, growing alarmed. This fact made her uncomfortable to no end.
"I'm afraid to ask why…"
The cold man rolled his eyes and took a seat opposite of her, but not before igniting the fireplace. He was rarely home and the room was freezing during the fall. Winter would sure be intense this year. "Like I said before, I was ordered to help you."
"That doesn't tell me anything though, Professor. Why is my safety suddenly an issue? Who ordered you to find me? Other than the obvious, why do I need help so badly?" she blurted out, searching his face for a useful answer.
There was silence for awhile. The only sound came from the crackling of the wood. "You said that you shouldn't be ashamed of your blood – and you're right," he began.
"I'm a stupid half breed. Just ask the other Slytherins." She sounded hurt.
"No!" Severus snapped, now glaring at her with his dark brown eyes. "That is because they do not know the full story. You may not be a Pureblood, but you have something in your veins they would kill for. And it's already begun." He leaned forward, lowering his voice. "Marie… You are a descendent of Salazar Slytherin himself."
Marie's face turned paler than it already was. "I don't understand… the descendents are pure… what's left of them at least."
"No one has known until recently. Apparently when Slytherin was alive he took on a mistress. That was not the surprise, however, the mistress' history was – she was a Muggle." Marie gasped loudly.
"Sir, even insinuating this about Slytherin could be enough to start rioting among the Pureblood community. Are you positive?"
Severus nodded. "Sadly, yes. Dumbledore has his sources, and if he trusts them, then I have no choice but to trust them as well. The woman had been a family servant, before the common practice of House Elves gained popularity. When her pregnancy was too much to hide, he sent her away, yet periodically checked in on his new son and once lover. From there the rest is history… that now sits staring at me in my living room with her jaw on the ground."
Marie was floored by this. She didn't know what to say. Was she supposed to be proud of herself now? "So then explain why I may be in trouble… please."
"You won't like it. Are you sure you wish to know everything?" he asked cautiously. Marie kept nodding.
Severus shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Other than his obvious hunt of Potter, Voldemort and the Death Eaters seek you for something, in my opinion, much more cruel." He paused and looked away, hating every second of this. He didn't think Marie deserved such a fate; she was a good person, even for a Slytherin.
"Sir, please, I have to know now." She begged.
He cleared his throat, realizing there was no getting around it. "We have evidence to suggest that Voldemort wants the Malfoy men to, shall we say, keep you for themselves to create more heirs." He felt disgusting for finishing his statement. He looked back at Marie who now had her head buried in her hands.
"Tell me that's not true…" she began hyperventilating, pulling at her hair. She was beside herself.
"I'm sorry." Was all he could keep repeating. He really was remorseful, for the first time in a long while.
Suddenly she lifted her head, sweeping her long brown hair out of her now red, irritated eyes. What he remembered as being a happy blue pair now seemed very lost and depressed. Marie pulled out her wand. "I'll be damned if I let them turn me into some sort of baby machine. No need to help me any further Professor. It ends here..." she held the point under her chin, preparing to commit the unthinkable.
Severus flew from his chair immediately and grabbed her wrists. "What are you doing? Let it go! Drop it!" he yelled, now wrestling her for the wand. Marie even tried kicking the man out of desperation.
"The only way I know I'm safe is if I'm in the ground! Don't make me go through this! Let me die!" she pleaded, losing the battle.
Finally Severus stole the wand and put it on his person. He held on tight to her shoulders and continued to yell. "You do not give up this easily! Do you understand? We will make sure this ends and that you live a full life, and if you decide to make an heir, it is on your terms!" his face was inches from hers, the passion in his voice ringing in her ears.
"Why do you care so much?" Marie whispered through more tears.
"Because," he backed up. "I too am a Half Blood. I wish I could be as lucky as you are. You may not realize it now due to these circumstances, but you truly are a rare breed. The most noble there is…" he returned to his own chair, calming down.
Marie wiped her eyes and thought for a moment. What's the point of being so special when everyone just wants to use you…?
"Until I think it's called for, I'll hold onto your wand. I don't need you checking out on my watch." He rubbed his temples again, not realizing just what he signed up for. Then again, this wasn't a voluntary mission.
"If even Hogwarts was attacked, what makes you think I'll be safe here?" she still didn't receive an answer for that.
"Dumbledore said so. I trust him. End of story." He snapped. Marie didn't need to know of his double life – yet.
Marie attempted to lighten the mood instead. "Well If I wasn't afraid of you before, now I really am." Bad idea. And an even worse joke. I'm an idiot.
Severus shot her a nasty look. "I'm going to pretend that was just a bad attempt at… humor."
"I didn't mean it like that, honest," Marie lowered her head. "I guess what I mean is, it will be a big adjustment, that's all. Between this news and relocating… it's a lot to handle." She really did not mean to offend her Head of House.
He softened a bit. "As long as it is my duty to protect you, I will also try to make this more bearable."
Just then the fire roared and the mantle shook. A Hogwarts school trunk flew out of the fireplace and onto the coffee table. Dumbledore's face appeared as well. "Severus?" he called out. It was comforting for Marie to know the Headmaster was still alive.
"Yes, I'm here." Severus crouched near the fire to speak. "I've done as you asked and informed her of everything. Are you and Potter safe?"
"We're fine, thank you. The Order is taking good care of this end. We escaped and left protection for the rest of the castle. Thankfully they backed off once they realized the three of us were missing," explained Dumbledore. "Clean up is already underway and students are being sent home."
Severus was relieved. "What else can I do now?"
"Do not leave her unattended. It may be difficult due to your other orders, but you're a smart man, Severus. Hopefully this will be resolved soon." He sighed heavily. "Oh, and Severus?"
"Yes Albus?" he perked back up.
"Try not to scare the poor girl. She has been through enough already, and I'm afraid there's worse on the way. Liven up a bit please?" and with that he was gone. Marie had to stop from smirking, but was rather worried about what Dumbledore meant. She didn't expect her and Severus to be friends now, but she didn't want to be completely ignored either. He was probably going to be the only person she got to see from now on.
Severus stood and picked up her trunk. "It's been a long night. Let me show you the room we prepared." He motioned for her to follow out of the living room, up the stairs and down a long hallway. Neither of them spoke the whole way up. Marie found it to be awkward. Once reaching said room, he waved his hand and the candles inside illuminated the contents.
This had to be all Dumbledore's idea. The room looked like a miniature version of the Slytherin dorms. Ebony furniture was found everywhere with deep green blankets and sheets draped neatly on the four poster bed. There was even an attached bathroom for more privacy. He set her trunk in a corner and began to leave.
"Professor…" Marie stopped him.
Marie impulsively hugged him from behind before he could turn around. Severus was taken aback and fought the urge to be incredibly rude. It pained him. "Thank you. Really. You're risking your own life for mine. I owe you everything but I can offer nothing." She almost began tearing once more.
He broke free and turned his head slightly. "… you're welcome…" Severus then left and she watched him rush down the hall to his own quarters. She… hugged… me… He didn't know how to take this.
Marie closed the door, still shocked that she acted in such a way. "Stupid…" she muttered while quickly changing into her night clothes. "I still can't believe that I'm an heiress to Slytherin, however 'muddy' the blood may be. Just… me…" she lightly ran a finger over the Slytherin crest on her Hogwarts robe. A pang of satisfaction rushed over her, and she smiled. I just hope I get to choose who carries it on…