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Melted Cauldrons

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The air was unusually warm for the beginning of September. Pushing open the window Melin let out a sigh as a breeze from off the lake flowed in and caressed her with its chill fingers. She had barely had the chance to turn around when a silvery beam appeared in front of her. Quirking an eyebrow she followed the beam out of her office and down to the front hall, where she spotted Dumbledore standing next to a squat looking witch in a pink cardigan. Walking up to the two she smiled politely in greeting. “Is something the matter, Headmaster?”

Dumbledore sighed and gave Melin an ‘I’ll explain everything later’ glance. “Indeed there is Melin, I have just received word from the governors that your qualifications have come into question, and you are to be suspended until they have decided on what to do.” Dumbledore cast a sidelong look at the witch next to him, who had just cleared her throat with a quiet hem hem. “I almost forgot. This is Professor Dolores Umbridge, our new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher.”

“Pleased to meet you, Professor Umbridge. I'm Professor Weichselzopf.” Melin smiled at the woman and held out her hand. A frown appeared on her face as Umbridge gave an appraising look at Melin’s hand but didn’t shake it.

“How is it one of your kind got a job here again?” asked Umbridge in a small and girlish voice.

“Excuse me?” Melin couldn’t believe her ears.

“How-is-it-one-of-your-kind-got-a-job-here?” Umbridge slowed her speech, accenting every word and gesturing between Melin and Hogwarts.

Melin took a deep breath and did her best to remain calm. Even if Umbridge wasn't aiming her question as a slight against her race, it still pushed that little button of hers that made her want to reach out and slap the toadish smile from the woman's face. “I applied like everyone else had to. My qualifications were reviewed, and I was hired.”

“Ah, well things are going to be changing around here, so per the Minister of Magic,” Umbridge fished a letter from her handbag and presented it to Melin. “you are to clear out your office and rooms until such a time as your credentials can be properly reviewed. He has also requested that you and the rest of your kind present yourself to the Ministry for proper cataloging and registration. You have ten days to report to the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. Anything past that date will be viewed as an act of defiance and heavy fines or imprisonment may be levied against you and your kind.”

“You're kidding, right?” asked Melin, her dark eye widening in shock at how she was being treated. She'd worked at Hogwarts for over a decade and had not once had a problem with her credentials or her race. On top of that, her family was already known and registered with the Ministry of Magic, so being forced to report as a magical creature made no sense.

Umbridge's smile widened as Melin took the letter. “Not at all. Things have been run fast and loose for far too long, and we must all take it upon ourselves to be responsible. You and your family registered as a wizard family, yet that is only for humans. You will need to register under the proper department.”

Dumbledore held up a warning hand as Melin took in a deep and exasperated breath. “I will do whatever I can to help you with this, but please make sure to follow the proper guidelines.” he gave her a reassuring smile and patted her shoulder. “It will only be temporary, I'm sure. You'll be back in no time, just think of this as an extended vacation.”

Melin did her best to smile as she bowed her head for a moment in an attempt to hide the look of rage threatening to appear on her face. “Understood, Headmaster. You know where to reach me if news changes.” Casting one last glare at Umbridge Melin strode towards the stairs and headed back to the library. Upon reaching the restricted section she pulled on the book that triggered the door to her office and stepped inside.

With a flick of her wand, all of the books, pictures, trinkets, and papers flew over to an open briefcase. Another flick sent her desk, chairs, and coat rack into a large trunk. Once her office was packed, she moved her way to her bedroom, where another flick of her wand sent her bed, armoire, and dresser into the large truck with the rest of her furniture.

Checking to make sure she had everything she needed she picked up her briefcase and cast a levitation hex on the trunk. A sigh escaped her lips as she gripped the handle of the trunk and walked back into the library, sealing her office and removing the enchantment from the book that would normally trigger the door. Glancing around to make sure no one could see, Melin pulled out a gold pocket watch and pressed the button that would normally pop the top. In a flash of light she disappeared from the library.

 


 

 

It was dark by the time Melin finally made her way to Grimmauld Place. She really hated undoing all the locks and latches to get the door unlocked…but it couldn’t be helped. Sighing heavily she pushed the door to number 12 open and walked into the kitchen, where she found Remus and Sirius crouched in front of the fireplace, Sirius’ head actually in the fire itself. “Having fun?” she asked.

Remus jumped. “Merlin’s beard, Incendi!” Standing up he dusted off his knees. “You scared me into next month!”

Melin smiled playfully. “Then I can let Severus know not to brew the potion for you?” She ducked as Remus took a joking swing at her before pulling her into a friendly hug.

Pulling his head from the fire Sirius glared over at Melin. “Ever think of knocking?” he growled as he pushed past her and out of the kitchen.

“Sorry.” muttered Melin.

“Hey, don’t apologize, Incendi, he’s just cranky right now.” smiling, Remus gestured for Melin to take a seat. “What brings you here? I haven’t seen or heard a word from you since I got fired…wait…you didn’t….”

Melin flopped down into one of the chairs, dropping her bag next to her. “Got sacked…and the day before the new year starts! Oh, and you should meet the new teacher…good friend of both of us I think…Umbridge.” she practically spat out the name. Resting her chin on the table she watched Remus as he moved about straightening up the kitchen. “I hope you aren’t cleaning up on my behalf.”

“I’m not.” Putting the dirty dishes in the sink Remus smiled. “Hungry?”

“As a matter of fact, I am.” Melin’s comment was accented with a growl from her stomach.

“I’ll see if we have anything left over from dinner.” laughed Remus as he rummaged through the fridge. Finding some left over roast and Yorkshire pudding he made his way back to the table. “’Fraid this is all that’s left over.”

Melin sat up and smiled faintly. “No problem, Mooney. I’m really not that picky when it comes to leftovers.”

“So, how did you get sacked?” asked Remus as he heated up the food. Sitting down he listened to Melin as she related what had happened a few hours earlier.

 


 

 

They had just finished dinner when the fire blazed a brilliant green and a letter flew out of the fireplace, landing lightly on the hearth. Raising her eyebrows Melin reached down and picked up the note, her eyebrows coming together as she read.

Little sister,

Please come to Grand Central Station and wait at Platform 13. You will meet up with two people who will bring you to where I am. Please hurry…time is of the essence.

Michea

‘What on earth is going on?’ Melin looked over at the clock, eight o’clock. “I’ll be back in a little bit Mooney…I have to go-um-run an errand.” Without waiting for Remus to respond Melin disapparated from the kitchen, apparating just outside the station. “Platform 13…gotta hurry.” Running forward she slipped into the crowds and arrived, quite out of breath, on the platform in time to see two young men walking towards her, both in long dark coats and hats that were covering their eyes.

“You are Melin, correct?” asked the taller of the two.

“I am.” Cocking her head to one side Melin tried to see under the hat, trying to get a glimpse of who she was talking to. “What’s it matter to you?”

“We are here to escort you to a designated meeting place.” said the shorter one, his voice sounding strained.

“Tell me who you are first.”

The shorter one shook his head. “We can’t say that here…let’s just say we’ve been watching you and Michea for quite some time now.” Taking hold of Melin’s left arm he waited for the other to grab Melin’s right before pulling out a gold pocket watch and pressing the button to pop open the cover. As the cover flew open all three of them disappeared, leaving several sleepy and very confused passengers staring at where they had just been.

 


 

 

“Let-me-GO!” Wrenching herself out of the two men’s grasps Melin whirled around and drew her wand. “I’m warning you…if you don’t tell me what’s going on I’ll blast you right here and now!”

“Put the wand down Melin.” Michea stepped out of the shadows, looking haggard. “They won’t hurt you.”

Melin shook her head. “I’m not putting my wand away until I get some answers. What’s going on?”

Sighing, Michea walked up to the two young men and pulled their hats off, revealing two men in their late teens, the taller with long black hair and eyes much like Melin’s, the shorter with dazzling grey eyes and short golden brown hair. “These two wanted to play out a grand entrance like they'd seen in one of the muggle movies they watched, like the idiots they are.” The taller one blushed slightly and looked down at his feet, while the other beamed happily and waved. “Meet Annanahrion and Aranel…our brothers.” His eyes widened as Melin collapsed to the ground, her wand hanging limply in her hand. “Melin!”

“I’m fine…it’s just a bit of a shock.” She looked up at her other brothers. “Why haven’t you let us know you’ve been alive?”

“We weren’t allowed to.” said Annanahrion, the taller of the two.

Michea shrugged. “Apparently Aranel here started that whole uprising back then, but we had gone in to hiding and they couldn’t find us until it was too late.”

Aranel, the shorter one, nodded. “And Kale got this wonderful idea to use you guys as an experiment…to see if you could survive with humans.” His smile widened on his freckled face. “You guys made her eat her words over and over again.”

Melin blinked. “Wait…you mean everyone is still alive? Where are they? Where’s mother? Where’s father?”

Aranel’s smile disappeared. “They’re…busy.”

“What Aranel means is we’ve kind of gone off without permission.” Annanahrion gave Melin a half smile before continuing. “You see, after the little uprising Kale took control…she and Camthalion that is. And they have enforced strict laws on us, as well as everyone else, the main one being that if any of us leaves to interact with humans we are banned until such time as we can go before the council to see if we are still untainted. If they decide we’ve become too tainted we are cast away, made to live here forever. They’ve already decided that you two are beyond saving.”

“I don’t understand…then why are you two here?” Getting to her feet Melin stowed her wand away and looked at her three older brothers.

Aranel’s grin quickly reappeared. “We wanted to get out and enjoy life for once…and what better way than to live with you guys? Besides, we had to bring Michea’s daughter back to him.”

Jaw dropping, Melin looked over to see a young woman step out from the shadows. She had long coal black hair, and her father’s gold eyes, not to mention his blue skin. She was dressed in wizard robes, under which she had on jeans and a button up blouse, and her hair was tied back with a bright blue ribbon. “Michea’s…WHAT?”

Michea shrugged. “I’m just as confused as you are sis. When I left Mitsuki she wasn’t pregnant…as far as I knew.” He blinked as his sister began to laugh maniacally. “What’s so funny?”

“You-you who cast me out-you who said that all humans were evil” Doubling over with mirthless laughter Melin wiped the tears from her eyes. “You actually fell in love with one! And had a child!” Her laughter stopped as suddenly as it had begun and she looked up at Michea, her face contorted with a sudden onset of anger. “You hypocrite! You made me feel like I betrayed you! You made me almost rethink my love for Grifon! And all the while you were out cavorting with some human woman!” Her body shook slightly, her skin beginning to glow.

“Oh shit…you guys had better get back.” Michea’s eyes widened in fear as his sister advanced on him, her entire body wreathed in an unearthly glow. He let out a gasp as cold trembling hands clasped around his neck, squeezing as if to crush his windpipe. A gurgle escaped his throat as Melin lifted him completely off the ground, his legs dangling more than three inches from the grass. “Melin…I…can’t breathe!” he choked.

Melin wasn’t about to let go, all the anger that she had held inside, all the self doubt, all the pain, it had all suddenly rushed to the surface upon seeing this girl who was supposed to be her brother’s daughter. With an animalistic howl she flung Michea away from her and drew her wand. Her moves were being completely controlled by her rage, she couldn't even hear the others screaming at her to stop. Pointing her wand at Michea an evil smile spread across her face. “Crucio!” She watched with sick pleasure as Michea writhed in pain from the spell, his screams filling her ears, screaming the screams that she had felt inside her so long ago.

As she watched her brother curl into a ball she became faintly aware of someone pulling out a wand and pointing it at her. “Do you really think that will stop me?” She growled, her voice almost unrecognizable from the rage. Whirling around she blocked the stunning spell that had been aimed at her and cast one of her own, watching as a jet of red light flew from her wand and hit the other person square in the chest. “Don’t interfere.” She pointed her wand at Michea once more and was about to cast the Cruciatus curse once again when something hit her wrist, forcing her to drop her wand with a howl of pain. Looking around for where the attack had come from her eyes widened to see her son Jehan standing over next to her brothers, his wand in his hand. “Jehan….”

Jehan's eyes were filled with pain as he aimed his wand at his mother, his blue hair falling from its ponytail. “I can’t let you do this mother, you don’t know what you are doing.” he muttered a quick spell and thin ropes flew from his wand, winding themselves around Melin, binding her.

“No…Jehan…you don’t understand!” Struggling against her bonds Melin felt her anger draining away, leaving her feeling empty inside. Sinking to the ground she began to sob quietly as the last of her anger left her. “You don’t understand….”

Sighing, Jehan cast a reviving spell on Michea’s daughter before going over and kneeling next to his mother, wrapping his arms protectively around her. “I understand more than you know…but you shouldn’t take your anger out on Michea. He has his faults…just like we all do. He doesn’t deserve the Cruciatus curse mother, no one does.”

“But…he…” Melin’s voice was choked with sobs and she was unable to continue. Leaning against her son she felt the ropes fade away. She sobbed on his shoulder until her throat felt like it was going to collapse and her eyes burned.

“Shall we explain now?” asked Aranel. He caught Michea’s trembling nod and sat down next to Melin and Jehan. “Your brother went off on a quest to find out if he could find any of our kind left alive, and fell in love with a young witch named Mitsuki Yakamoto. But he was called back to you when the war in France broke out, leaving behind his young wife, all the while not knowing that she was carrying his child. By the time he was able to return to Mitsuki she had passed away, and Delena had been sent to off to study. I noticed that Delena had no where to go after she completed her training, so I risked a trip to this world. I took Delena and trained her, much to Kale’s annoyance, teaching her how to use her latent Märchenlander powers. She's been wishing to return and be with her father for a while now, so we figured we would bring her along with us when we came here, though we didn’t figure we would see you go off the hinge at the news.”

Delena made her way over to Michea and hugged him, tears in her eyes. “Are you all right?”

Smiling, Michea hugged his daughter back, tears forming in his own eyes. Looking over at Melin he sighed. “We’ve both lost our mates, Melin, but at least we still have our children. I would have considered Grifon my brother if I had been able to get to know him better…but he died before I could. That’s why I sealed his soul in that crystal I put around your neck. The one you gave to Jehan. I couldn’t stand to see you so alone.”

Jehan blinked and pulled a long crystal pendant out from under his robes. “You mean this?” At Michea’s nod he looked at it quizzically. “I always wondered why I felt his presence around me….almost like a guardian angel.”

Annanahrion cleared his throat. “We should head out. Perhaps go back to your place?”

Nodding Melin got to her feet and fished a piece of paper from her pocket. “Memorize this.” She showed the paper to her two brothers and to Delena, destroying it after each had had time enough to put the contents to memory. “I guess we’ll all go by portkey.” She raised an eyebrow as Jehan groaned. “I know you hate them…you can head on back on your own if you’d like Jehan.” Taking Aranel’s hat into her hand she picked up her wand and tapped it to the hat. “Portus.” The hat glowed for a second. “Ok, everyone grab hold.” She watched as Aranel, Annanahrion, Delena, and Michea took hold of the hat. “On three now…one…two…”

The familiar hook behind the navel feeling appeared as Melin disappeared, whirling along with the portkey, only to land in a heap back at Grimmauld. She let out a groan as her brothers landed right on top of her. Pushing her brothers off of her she got to her feet and dusted off. “That was fun. You guys can have the joy of explaining all this to Padfoot and Mooney…I’m going up to bed.” Hurrying from the room Melin made her way to her bedroom and stripped out of her clothes, leaving just her camisole, socks, and panties on. With a small sigh she took a vial of sleeping potion from her bag and downed its contents, falling backward onto her bed and drifting off into a dreamless sleep.

 


 

 

Melin awoke the next morning to Sirius staring down at her. Letting out a small yelp she quickly covered herself, realizing that she had merely tossed her clothes to the side when she had gone to bed and was in fact, lying on the bed in just her camisole and panties. “And you got on me for not knocking!”

Sirius gave a bark-like laugh and sat down on the bed next to Melin, who was hurriedly getting dressed. “Mooney tells me you got fired.” He raised his eyebrows as Melin made an irritated noise. “Did you try to poison Snivellus again Incendi?” He raised his arm as Melin hit him with a pillow. “Right, forgot that you and Snivellus have to be on good terms.”

“You like teasing me don’t you, Padfoot?” Standing up Melin smoothed out the wrinkles in her outfit before sitting down again.

“Can never pass up an opportunity, you know that.” Grinning Sirius poked Melin in the side. “So how long are you going to be my guest?”

Shrugging Melin pulled on her shoes. “Who knows. Could be a few days, could be a few months. Knowing the Hogwarts governors it will probably be a few months.”

Sirius leaned back on his hands and smiled faintly. “Well you always know you can stay here if ya want. The more the merrier, seeing as how I’m now boarding your two brothers here. Michea said that he’s going to keep Delena at Fae’s Hollow, since she wants to go back to school…I must say that you have a very um…unique family.”

“I don’t want to intrude on you, Padfoot….”

Patting Melin on the shoulder, he laughed. “By all means, stay as long as you like, Incendi. Heck, you can move in if ya want, at least you don’t sprout fur every full moon!”

The door burst open and Michea came storming into the room, followed closely by Jehan, both of them covered head to foot in ashes. “She’s going to have to…for now at least. Someone burnt down Fae’s Hollow.” He tossed his bag down and opened it up, revealing several small suitcases. “I got what I could salvage.”

“Did they get the library? Did they hurt my books?” Ignoring Sirius’ laughter at her asking about her book first, Melin stood up and dusted her son off and looked him over for any burns. “Are you two all right?”

Jehan smiled slightly. “The only room to not burn down was your library.” Hugging his mother, he could hear her crying. “I’m all right mother. Neither of us were in the fire.”

Melin took a step back and wiped away her tears. “Do you know who did it?”

Michea gave a sharp laugh. “The people who leave a giant green skull and snake as a calling card.” He watched as his sister paled. “Sit down Melin, you’re about to faint.”

“I’m fine.” Pulling out her wand Melin tapped both Jehan and Michea on the nose and uttered a quick cleaning spell. As the soot and ash disappeared she smiled and sank down onto the bed, leaning against Sirius. “But…why would they do that? And so near to Hogwarts?”

“I’m sure they have their reasons. Though I already know that what happened is going to be quickly hushed up. News of Death Eaters in Hogsmeade would cause panic. By the time we got there the fire was already put out, and several aurors were combing through the debris. Shacklebolt was heading the whole thing, so it should be ok…aside from the one auror who was blasted backwards 5 meters when he tried to open the door to your library.” Michea’s gold eyes flashed in the light as he turned towards Melin. “Though it is rather fishy that this would happen the night you got fired. Could they have perhaps thought that you would be there? Maybe knock off a member or two of the Order?”

Melin shook her head. “They should know already that I am not privy to anything that goes on here…” She shuddered slightly and rubbed the many scars on her arms. “Perhaps it was a warning to us, to tell us to watch out step.” She smiled faintly as Sirius put a protective arm around her shoulders.

Suddenly there came a loud crash from downstairs, waking up the portrait of Mrs. Black, who began screaming. Jumping up, Melin looked over at Michea and Jehan as Sirius ran from the room. Jerking her head towards the door Melin followed after Sirius, her son and brother close behind her. As she reached the foot of the steps she froze. Snape was standing there, a huge gash on his forehead, and a look on his face so foul that it could have rotted fresh fruit in seconds. Michea ran over and caught Snape as he fell, leaving Melin standing there, not sure what to do. “What happened?” She shouted over the continued screams of “FILTH! BLOOD TRAITORS! SCUM OF THE EARTH! FOUL INSECTS! FREAKS!” that were coming from the portrait. She watched Jehan hurry over to help Michea move Snape into the drawing room, the portrait still slinging insults and curses.

“Incendi! Help me shut this hag up!” Roared Sirius over his mother’s screaming portrait. Grabbing one of the curtains he jerked it towards the curtain Melin was holding, struggling to pull it shut. With one last grunt he pulled the curtain shut, barely missing Melin as she fell forward from her own momentum. He caught her and helped her stand back up, smiling weakly. “Let’s go see what ol’ Snivelly did to himself shall we?” he whispered.

Nodding, Melin followed after Sirius into the drawing room, where she saw Jehan and Michea struggling to keep Snape on the couch. Her brow furrowing in concern, Melin walked over to Snape, her hand in her pocket. Fishing out a small vial she pressed her knee against Snape’s chest to help hold him down and tipped the contents of the vial into Snape’s mouth. Almost instantly Snape stopped struggling and a strange tranquil look appeared on his face. Smiling triumphantly Melin stepped back and put the vial back into her pocket. “Calming draft.” she said as Sirius raised an eyebrow at her.

Michea smirked and looked down at Snape. “So what happened to you, Severus?”

Snape looked up, the calm look still on his face. “Injury in the line of duty.”

“I’ll get him upstairs and get that wound taken care of.” Bending down Melin helped Snape up and headed over to the door. “After that I’ll see if I can’t find out what happened to him.” With Snape’s weight leaning on her she struggled up the stairs and into her bedroom, where she had him sit down on the bed. Cracking her back in relief she walked over to the bag she had brought with her the night before and opened it, pulling out a swab, a small jar of wound-cleaning potion, and a bottle of healing salve. Looking over at Snape, a worried expression on her face, she crossed back over to the bed and sat down next to him. “This will sting.” she warned as she put some of the purple wound-cleaning potion on the swab and dabbed it on the gash, where it proceeded to smoke slightly. Her worried look intensified as Snape winced, but as soon as the potion had stopped smoking she applied a generous amount of the healing salve to the wound and watched the gash close up and disappear. “Didn’t even leave a scar.” She pronounced with a smile.

Looking over at Melin Snape shrugged slightly, still under the effects of the calming draught. He watched as Melin wiped off the excess healing salve onto her skirt before pulling out her wand. “What are you going to do with that?”

“Detoxify you.” Tapping Snape on the top of his head Melin smiled and uttered a simple detox spell.

A huge shiver racked Snape’s body. Standing up, the effects of the potion having been removed, he glared down on Melin. “I am warning you now Melin…do what you did in the front room again and I will slip poison into your tea.” he growled.

“Try it.” snarled Melin as she stood up, glaring up at Snape. She really hated being shorter than him, always having to look up when she wanted to look him in the eyes. Her glare seemed to lose some of its effect from having to travel the distance.

“Don’t give me the option.” Still glaring down at Melin, Snape put his hand on his forehead to check the now nonexistent wound. “You should remember that it is not your place to administer potions like that.”

“My-my place?” Melin’s left eye was twitching. Reaching up she grasped hold of the collar of Snape’s robes and jerked him down to her level. “Listen you, I am obligated to help you in times of need, and also to keep members of the Order from doing harm to themselves…which you were in the process of doing. Believe me, I would have turned my back on you and let you bleed yourself to death right there if I could have.”

Caught off guard for a split second Snape quickly regained his composure and sneered at Melin. “So you’re being forced to do it are you? And here I thought you were doing it out of compassion…if your kind is even capable of such a thing.” Wrapping his fingers around Melin’s wrists he broke her hold on his collar and straightened up, pushing Melin back against the wall and pinning her arms down. “You always were weak weren’t you? I can shove you around and overpower you whenever I feel like it! You don’t even fight back! Look at you! Letting yourself be bossed around by everyone. I bet it gets you off doesn’t it? Admit it! You actually enjoy being a servant to everyone here. ”

“I-don’t!” gasped Melin, fighting to break out of Snape’s grasp. “I am no servant!” Her body crackled with electricity, forcing Snape to let her go. By the time Snape had figured out what had happened she had whipped out her wand and had it trained on him. “Give me a reason! Go ahead! I’ll blast you right here!” She began to walk forward, moving Snape into a corner.

Snape smirked and disapparated, reapparating behind Melin and ripping the wand from her hand. Tossing it away he spun Melin to face him and held her close to his body, pinning her against him so she couldn’t struggle. “You never could keep that temper of yours under control could you?” he whispered into her ear, mocking her as she tried to get away from him. “Stop struggling, you’ll only tire yourself out.” Looking down into Melin’s face he smirked. “Though I must say that your anger only makes you even more beautiful…”

“Liar!” Melin let out a growl, almost like one a trapped animal would make while trying to escape. She tried using defensive magic against Snape again, but his grip on her merely tightened. With on last growl she stopped fighting against him and leaned her head against his chest, her anger having worn her out. “Why do we do this to each other every time we meet?”

“Only you can answer that, Melin.” Loosening his grip slightly Snape shrugged. “Maybe it’s that we were in different houses, maybe because you like to be around them, or maybe it’s because of something that happened while we were in school.” His face saddened slightly as he thought back, but the smirk quickly reappeared.

With a heavy sigh Melin shook her head. “The house thing has nothing to do with it, the Slytherins and Ravenclaws have always been able to work together when the need arose…neither does the fact that I hang around with Sirius and Remus…something happened back then, but for the life of me I can’t remember it. I had actually had feelings for you back then,” she looked up for a moment and met Snape’s eyes, quickly averting them again, “the feelings are still here…no matter how I try to destroy them.”

Raising an eyebrow Snape let go of Melin and lifted her face up to look at him. “And why would you want to destroy those feelings? Are you really that ashamed of them?”

Melin shook her head again. “No! That’s not what I meant! It’s just-it’s just…I’ve hated you for so long, how can I go back to those feelings? They feel foreign now…almost like they aren’t mine anymore.” Tears began to fill her eyes as she looked up at Snape. “I don’t want to hate you! I want to know why I hate you! I’m tired of hating you!” She sobbed. “I don’t like the feeling I get when you are around! The confusion is painful! I want it to stop! I don’t like hating you! I can’t even remember what started it!”

Snape’s brow furrowed slightly. He didn’t want to see Melin cry, but he couldn’t tell her that the reason she hated him so much was all because of a misunderstanding, a misunderstanding that had caused a twenty year wide rift between them. He had been content to just let her hate him, after all he was used to people hating him…it felt natural now. He wanted to take away her pain though, she was the only person still alive he could not stand to see cry, the only person who was able to sway his decisions. With a sigh he wiped the tears away from Melin’s eyes. “Then stop dwelling on it you moron. Really, you spend all this time trying to remember something, and yet you still can’t figure it out? If you’ve spent twenty years on it and still can’t remember, then maybe you aren’t meant to remember it.” Not sure what else to do he wrapped his arms back around Melin, holding her until her sobs subsided a little.

Melin sniffed. “I’m not a moron.” It was somehow comforting to have Snape wiping away her tears.

“Then stop acting like one…really sometimes I can’t understand you at all.”

“Don’t make me repeat what you just told me Severus.” Smiling sadly Melin wormed a hand free and touched Snape’s cheek. “Maybe you’re right…maybe I should just put it behind me…to instead remember the Yule Ball….”

Snape froze at Melin’s touch, half expecting it to turn into a scratch. Looking into her eyes he released his hold on her and touched his own hand to Melin’s cheek. “I-it would make things much easier.”

“Severus….”

‘This has got to be a dream.’ thought Snape as he looked into Melin’s pleading eyes, eyes that were begging him to hold her, to kiss her. ‘Either that or she’s been dared to do this…she’s never been like this before…not without everything turning to hell…not since….’ he sighed. ‘Besides, there’s no way that she could be doing this out of compassion, after all, what’s there to like about me? Even Lilly came to hate me because of my actions. Why can’t Melin just keep hating me? Why does she have to act like this?’

Feeling Melin lean into his caress his eyes widened. ‘She’s doing a damn good job if this is a ruse…oh to hell with it!’ Grabbing Melin’s chin with his fingers he pulled her face to his and pressed his lips against hers, his other arm wrapping around her waist and holding her against him. ‘If this is a dream I may as well enjoy it.’ To his surprise he felt Melin’s arms wrap around his shoulders, and could feel her kissing him back.

The kiss was fierce, almost possessive, and somewhat painful. Melin closed her eyes and clung to Snape, her body pressed up against his, distinctly aware that Snape’s hand was practically clawing at her back, as if he was trying to claim her for his own. Her own hands began to grasp at him, to hold him to her, each second flushing away her hatred. ‘What’s happening? Am I…how can I?’ Melin kissed Snape back, her own ferocity lifting up to meet his. ‘I’m falling in love again…after I swore I never would…will I have to watch him die as well?’ When Snape broke away from the kiss she could feel her lips throbbing, the blood rushing back to them. Leaning against him she closed her eyes as Snape began to run his fingers through her hair, not knowing that two floors below Aranel was looking up through the ceiling at them, a wicked grin on his face.