AN: For once I'll not ramble on and just let you enjoy the chapter, so enjoy!
DISCLAIMER; Queen Rowling owns all HP related awesomeness. I own the OCs and the plot
CHAPTER FOURTEEN; SPY'S HONOUR
Severus stood outside Eleanor's door. He was frozen and trying to summon the courage to knock. He turned back to see Blinky staring at him.
"Young Miss cannot answer door if Master of Potions does not knock," Blinky said sternly. Severus growled at the house-elf and lightly tapped the door. Severus stood back and waited for the door to open.
Eleanor heard a light knock at her door, she jumped and sat up on the couch. Her hair was a mess, her face was red and tear-streaked.
No answer came from inside and Severus took it as though Eleanor didn't want to speak to him. He turned away, ready to go back to his private quarters when he heard a voice come from inside Eleanor's quarters.
"Come in Professor," Eleanor said softly. Severus slowly opened the door and saw Eleanor sat on her couch.
"Severus, please," he said, his eyes no longer showing fear.
"What are you doing here?" Eleanor asked, her voice weak and ragged from not being used.
"I came to…apologise for my actions," Severus said quietly.
"I think you'd better come in then," Eleanor replied, opening the door wider. Severus walked past her, he sat down awkwardly on one of the settees.
"Would you like a cup of tea?" Eleanor asked as she sat on the opposite couch. She held her hands in a tight vice, she felt uncomfortable and looked down at the floor.
"Yes, yes please," Severus said, clearing his throat. Eleanor stood up, wrapping a cream blanket around her shoulders and summoned a tray of tea. Adding three sugars for herself and leaving the milk out of Severus' cup, Eleanor turned around and went to hand the cup to Severus. She stumbled slightly, still feeling exhausted from earlier and she was swiftly caught in Severus' arms.
"Here's your tea," Eleanor said awkwardly, still refusing to meet his eyes.
"Thank you," Severus said softly, watching her as Eleanor slowly sat back down.
"I shouldn't have been so rash with you earlier. I was concerned," Severus began as he took a sip from his cup and rested it on the coffee table.
Eleanor looked back at him wearily, waiting for him to continue.
"J-James died for you, and I was unhappy to see you acting so defiantly. I don't want to see you perish so soon after your-James," Severus said, whilst trying to carefully formulate his words.
Eleanor's eyes widened and she looked at him in devastation. She had never considered her actions were bringing her closer to death. She knew she hadn't been eating right since James had died, she had lost a lot of weight and she felt weak.
"I-I didn't think about that," she stuttered and frowned. Her eyes lowering to the floor.
"Of course you di-" Severus started, starting to feel irritable. He stopped himself when he realised he shouldn't be arguing with Eleanor. "You need to be more careful. I know it is hard to cope when losing a loved one, but starving yourself is not going to help matters," Severus added more gently.
Eleanor stared back at him. 'Of course he knows what it's like to lose a loved one, he lost Lily' she thought to herself. Severus noticed Eleanor's analysing gaze and raised an eyebrow.
"Is there something you'd like to say?" Severus asked. Eleanor immediately bristled and wondered whether or not she should mention Lily. Realising he would know if she was lying, Eleanor took a deep breath.
"You said that you know what it's like to lose a loved one," Eleanor started, choosing her words carefully.
"Yes," Severus said uneasily.
"Who-who did you lose?" Eleanor asked, even though she already knew the answer. Severus shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Eleanor kept her expression even, although she was desperately wanting to know what Severus was thinking.
"I'd rather not discuss that with you," Severus said eventually after a long and uncomfortable silence. Eleanor felt a wave of disappointment wash over her, but was glad he didn't get angry.
"Of course, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have asked," Eleanor muttered, her eyes once again fell to the floor and she held her cup tightly in her hands.
"No, don't be sorry. I've never discussed my private life with anyone. My position as a spy makes it difficult for me to do so," Severus said admittedly. Eleanor opened her mouth to reply but was stopped when she noticed Severus flinch in his seat.
"What's-" Eleanor started.
"Speaking of being a spy, I need to go," Severus said as he stood up straight, his eyes giving off a modicum of fear. Eleanor's heart stopped.
"You're being summoned? This early?" Eleanor asked. Severus looked at her and nodded gravely. Severus flinched again and he visibly grimaced.
"The Dark Lord knows not of convenience," Severus mumbled.
"Are you okay?" Eleanor asked moving towards him out of instinct. She started to panic, she had seen Severus be summoned before but she had never seen him in pain.
"Yes but-" Severus started, grabbing his arm and wincing.
"Be safe," Eleanor said quietly, she put her hand over his clasping his left arm, her emerald green eyes locking onto his, Eleanor felt the tension ease slightly in his arm.
"I will," Severus replied, he winced in pain again and scoffed. "It seems the Dark Lord requires my presence quite desperately," he drawled, attempting sarcasm.
"Yes- of course. Go, but please come back," Eleanor said taking her hand off his and folding her arms.
"Spy's honour," Severus said, crossing his fingers. He swept his robes behind him and swiftly left Eleanor's private quarters.
Eleanor stood alone for a few minutes, her heart beating hard in her chest. 'I hope you-know-who isn't too hard on him' she thought to herself. Realising that she wouldn't be able to settle until he came back, Eleanor grabbed one of the books she was required to read and slumped into one of the armchairs, hoping that the comforting presence of a book would calm her nerves.
'Watch Where You Put That Unicorn Hair!; The Diary Of A Potions Apprentice by The Half-Blood Prince'
Eleanor smiled at the title and opened the book. Allowing herself to become absorbed into the words.
I became a Potions Master in 1980, studying under one of the greatest Potions Masters of them all. Becoming a Potions Master is by no means an easy feat. Hopefully this guide will help you on your way to becoming a Potions Master, I can only hope you do not make the same mistakes I did along the way. –HBP
"Sounds like Severus," Eleanor muttered to herself after she read the rather brief introduction, unaware of the correct assumption. She continued to read though, taking in all of the rules and regulations along the way.
One must be careful when brewing a potion, now I am aware that that is one of the base rules of Potions, but I learned in a rather catastrophic accident six weeks after beginning my apprenticeship that certain ingredients do NOT react well with others. For example, if you mix 4 clover leaves with 2 fluxweed roots using a bronze cauldron you turn a rather unseemly shade of blue. May I remind you that no matter how much soap you use, you remain blue for several days.
Eleanor chortled to herself as she read that particular passage. She made a mental note to never forget that and turned the next page.
Before too long, Eleanor barely realised that she had read almost 50 pages. Her eyelids began to feel like they were made of lead and fell asleep in her chair, silently hoping to herself that Severus would be okay.
A bony hand on Eleanor's wrist made her jump.
"Severus?" She asked as her eyes opened, she felt her heart sink with disappointment slightly when she noticed Blinky stood in front of her. Her large green eyes staring at Eleanor.
"Oh Blinky, I'm sorry," Eleanor said apologetically, rubbing sleep out of her eyes.
"Blinky knows not why young miss is apologising," Blinky said in confusion.
"It's just that- never mind. Has Severus come back yet?" Eleanor asked hopefully as she sat up in her chair.
"Master of Potions is not back yet. Blinky wanted to keep Young Miss company," Blinky said brightly. Ignoring another pang of disappointment, Eleanor smiled at the little house elf, glad for the distraction.
"I am glad you're here Blinky," Eleanor said politely.
"Would young miss like a cup of tea?" Blinky asked with big green eyes.
"Yes please Blinky. Feel free to make a cup for yourself too," Eleanor replied.
"Young Miss is too kind, too kind Miss," Blinky said in shock. Eleanor continued to look at Blinky in bemusement. Blinky was quite cute in a way, with her large green eyes and squeaky voice. Apart from Severus, Blinky was one of the only friends Eleanor had at Hogwarts.
After two hours or so, Blinky's company was starting to wear thin on Eleanor. At first Blinky served as an effective distraction in taking her mind off of Severus, but she was becoming anxious again.
"Why don't you go to Severus' quarters and when he comes back you tell me straight away?" Eleanor suggested after she could no longer handle her nerve. Blinky curtsied in accord and popped away.
Running a hand through her hair, Eleanor's mind began to race. Severus had been gone for several hours and she was starting to worry. She needed to put her mind at rest, 'But who to talk to?' she thought. She could go see Professor Flitwick, her old Head of Year when she was at Hogwarts but he was most likely teaching. She got along with most of her old teachers but they were most likely teaching too. She could go see Hagrid, but she would probably have to eat one of his horrific rock cakes. That only left one person she could talk to and trust. Professor Dumbledore.
Shutting and warding her door behind her, Eleanor set off towards Professor Dumbledore's office. She was halfway there when she realised she had no idea what the password was to access the stairwell. She paced back and forth past the stairwell, trying to get into the head of her eccentric Headmaster. Remembering that he was partial to one or two lemon drops, Eleanor spun around and in a clear voice said,
"Lemon drops." Nothing happened. Cursing herself slightly she began to rattle off more sweets she remembered buying when she was younger in Honeydukes.
No dice, Eleanor was starting to get slightly irritated.
"Oh balderdash!" Eleanor shouted in annoyance. Oddly, the gargoyle moved and she was able to climb the stairs. Getting to the top of the stairs, Eleanor knocked on the door.
"Come in Miss Leveson-Browne," said Professor Dumbledore from inside the office. Eleanor entered the office and looked around. It was the same as she remembered, the large desk and the headmaster paintings still hanging on the walls.
"Sit," Professor Dumbledore instructed, gesturing to the chair in front of him. Eleanor immediately sat down and tried to steady her breaths.
"What appears to be the matter?" Professor Dumbledore asked as he noticed Eleanor's rapid breaths.
"It's Severus he-"
"Got summoned?" Professor Dumbledore asked by finishing Eleanor's sentence.
"Yes he's been gone for a long time," Eleanor said sadly.
"And you're worried about him?" Professor Dumbledore asked, leaning forward and resting his chin on his interlaced fingers.
"Of course I'm worried," Eleanor said irritably. "I mean, he's been there for me and he saved my life and I suppose he is a large part of my life now," Eleanor said upon reflection.
"Good. I've always wanted someone to come into Severus' life and worry about him as much as I do," Professor Dumbledore said with a twinkle in his blue eyes.
"I was wondering if you had had the opportunity to talk to Severus about me attending James' funeral," Eleanor said after a few moments of silence.
"Ah, I was waiting for you to ask me about that. You are aware of the fact that you will not be able to grieve with your family? Nor will you be able to be seen as it has been made out to look as though you perished alongside James. My gut instinct is to not allow you to go to the funeral. However, if you are disillusioned and attend with another person for protection, I assume Severus will attend with you then I do not see why you cannot go," Professor Dumbledore explained. A wave of relief washed over Eleanor and tears began to prickle in her eyes at her happiness.
"Thank you Professor," Eleanor said happily.
"You no longer attend Hogwarts Miss Leveson-Browne, you can call me Albus," Albus said with a twinge of amusement on his features.
"Then you can call me Eleanor," Eleanor retorted with a minute smirk.
"Lemon drop?" Albus offered.
"Yes please," Eleanor said as she reached into the jar and picked one out. Eleanor used to love lemon drops, but stopped eating them after she left Hogwarts. The memory took her back to the snowy streets of Hogsmeade and how she'd spend most of her money on sweets. Just as Eleanor popped one of the lemon drops into her mouth Blinky appeared beside her. Her eyes looked frantic, and she was breathing more rapidly than Eleanor was just minutes ago.
"Young Miss, Master of Potions is back and sir is hurt."
AN: I promise not to make you wait too long, I've already written the next chapter! Please continue to review, every notification I get makes me so happy :) xo