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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.

 

Chapter Text

The trip to register herself at the Ministry was the only break she had, and after she'd finished she had wished she'd just taken the fines and risked the jail time. The clerk treated her like an animal, and they'd forced her and her family to undergo insanely detailed physical exams to ensure that they had the anatomy of her race correct. Thinking back on that exam, Melin shuddered and quickly forced the memory from her mind. She couldn't even tell Snape what had happened in that room, what they'd done to her...what those men had done to her. The bruises between her legs were still purple and tender, and she was afraid to come forward now that she was listed as a magical creature, and not a full member of the wizarding world. From the look in Jehan's eyes, he'd not fared much better, and Delena had withdrawn in on herself to the point of only speaking with her family when prompted. Michea, Aranel, and Annanahrion all refused to meet her gaze, and it didn't take an auror to understand that they'd all been violated in some way or another.

After the first week of being stuck in Grimmauld Place the days began to run together for Melin. She was ready to tear her hair out, wanting to get out of the house but being told to stay put, it was as if she was a prisoner. She could see the same feelings in Sirius’ eyes whenever she passed him in the house, both of them afraid to meet each other’s eyes for fear that they would see themselves in the other’s eyes. Melin began to pace the halls, stopping only when meetings were held, but even then she was constantly sent away to brew potions, not being allowed to hear the gist of the meetings. Her only form of sanity was Snape, who would stop in to see her late at night. But even he had to keep leaving her behind.

Then, one grey and rainy morning, Melin awoke to find Tonks looking down at her, her bubblegum pink hair falling into her face. “What?”

Tonks straightened up as Melin sat up and smiled politely. “I came up to tell you breakfast is ready…and to deliver this.” She handed Melin a bright gold envelope. “I told the governors that I would be seeing you before an owl would have reached you so they let me take it to you. Your hearing’s gonna be tomorrow at eight.”

“Wonderful…just what I need…to go in front of those old bats and say “Please sirs…please give me my job back.” What do I have going for me that they haven’t been paid to discredit?” Laughing mirthlessly Melin got up and threw on a pair of old blue jeans and a black T-shirt with the words “I have gone to go find myself, if I get back before I return, keep me here” scrawled on it. She ran a brush through her long hair, giving up after the brush snapped for the 5th time. “I should just cut it…”

Tonks shrugged. “What about a detangling spell?”

“Thanks, hadn’t thought about that.” Pulling out her wand Melin cast the spell, her hair falling perfectly into place, all the knots gone. “So how’re my brothers getting along?”

“Well Aranel seems to enjoy mischief, could prolly put Sirius through his paces.” she smiled as Melin laughed. “Though Rio-”

“Rio?”

“I gave him a nickname. Got tired of that super long name of his. Anyway, I am beginning to wonder about him. He seems to get all shy and nutters when he sees me.” She raised an eyebrow as Melin burst out laughing. “What?”

Melin wiped a tear from her eye. “It’s a schoolboy crush if I ever heard one. He’s got the hots for you Tonks!” Crossing the room she dodged out of the way of a family of puffiskiens before opening her door. “Oh…I was wondering, Rio needs some new clothes, something that won’t make him stand out like a sore thumb. Think you could help him pick-I have no clue why I’m asking you this, you enjoy sticking out.” she gestured to Tonks’ bright pink hair. “Anywho…maybe you could help him find some decent clothes? I’ve already given him the money, but since I can’t leave, Michea already has his hands full with Delena and Aranel, and you have a better fashion sense than anyone else here…well you get the idea.”

Tonks shrugged. “Sure, it’s my weekend. I’ll take him with me when I go to the shops.”

Smiling her first real smile in over a week Melin thanked Tonks and hurried downstairs, just barely missing the troll foot umbrella stand, and into the kitchen.

 


 

 

“And you want me to go with you to the hearing?” Snape looked at the letter he was holding with an air of disbelief. “What, do you need me to hold your hand?”

Melin smirked and punched Snape on the arm. “I need someone to vouch for me. You have seen me work, you can tell them that I am qualified to work there. And besides, if Lucius is there…well…you do have connections.”

With a shrug Snape tossed the letter to the side and pulled Melin to him. “You do realize that you will owe me for this?” he said, laughing quietly as Melin tried her best to look offended. “I’ll see you at the hearing in twenty minutes.” Kissing her gently on the forehead he muttered something under his breath and disapparated.

Melin sighed, collected her notes, manuscript for her book, as well as other forms that documented her credentials, and placed them all neatly in her briefcase. Changing out of her usual attire she pulled on a skirt that stopped just above the knees, a white blouse, and a deep blue robe that was trimmed with silver. Putting her hair up in an elegant bun she cast a cleaning spell on herself to get rid of the old book smell that tended to linger around her. “Here’s to hoping.” she said to herself as she picked up her briefcase and disapparated.

 


 

Snape stood near the fountain of magical brethren and looked over at the large ornate clock hanging over the visitor’s check in. He was about to look around for Melin when he heard someone come up behind him. Turning around he raised a single eyebrow at Lucius Malfoy. “I was wondering if you were going to be here today Lucius.”

“I’m here everyday, Severus.” returned Lucius. “I believe it should be me asking why you are here today.” Lucius looked over as a young woman made her way over to the visitor’s check in and smirked. “Are you here to see if Melin will be rehired?”

“You could say that.” sneered Snape. “Her getting fired has been a massive inconvenience to me. Now I have to do all the lesser tasks, the ones I would normally delegate to her.”

Lucius returned the sneer. “A yes, I had forgotten that she was your assistant. Tell me, is she useful for things other than potions?” he asked, jabbing Snape in the ribs with his elbow. “From what I hear over at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, she's got an astounding body that responds quite nicely to the proper...propmting.”

“I'm not one to spread rumors, but yes, she is useful for things other than potions.” Snape made a mental note to speak with Melin about what Lucius had said, especially after how distant and frightened she'd been after her trip to the Ministry. His attention was drawn to the movement of blue and silver robes out of the corner of his eye, and his eyebrows shot up as the young woman who had been over at the check in turned around and began walking towards them.

Melin walked up to Snape and Lucius and smiled politely. “Severus, Lucius, it is good to see you both.” 

Lucius regarded Melin with an air of cold indifference as he looked her up and down. “Miss Weichselzopf, I trust you know that your hearing has been moved?”

"No, I hadn't been notified. The clerk told me it was in the room on my letter." The color drained from Melin’s face. “Where did it move to?”

“Courtroom ten. Don’t be late.” Turning on his heel Lucius cast one last look at Melin, a sneer on his lips, before gliding off down the halls.

Snape looked over at Melin and gave her hand a quick reassuring squeeze before making his way over to the lifts. Holding the doors open for Melin he stepped in after her and pressed the button to close the doors. “Any idea why you have to go to Courtroom ten?” he asked quietly.

Melin shook her head, her face still completely white.

Snape sighed and gave Melin’s hand another reassuring squeeze, hoping that Melin would be able to stop shaking by the time they got to the courtroom.

 


 

 

Melin looked at the large foreboding doors and shivered. “Are you sure you can’t come in with me?” she asked in a quiet voice.

Snape shook his head. “I have to wait until I’m called for.” He pulled Melin close for a quick hug and kiss. “Good luck.” he whispered as he let her go.

“I’ll need it.” whispered Melin as she pulled open the heavy doors and made her way inside.

“Sit.” came a voice from above her.

Seeing that the only chair available was the one in the center of the room Melin walked over to it and merely set her briefcase upon it. “I prefer to stand.”

“Very well. Then stand. Do you know why you are here?”

Melin’s eyebrows raised as she suddenly recognized the voice to be Lucius’. “I am here to prove my qualifications and be rehired onto the Hogwarts staff. Though I do not know why I am down in this court room instead of the originally designated place.” she said, struggling as hard as she could to prevent her voice from breaking out of nervousness.

Lucius leaned forward from his perch and sneered. “We felt this place would be more roomy. State your name, race, and anything else you feel is important."

Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, Melin smiled politely up at the shadowy figures above her. "My name Melin Weichselzopf, I am a Märchenlander registered with the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures and a graduate from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I worked as a potions professor for over ten years before agreeing to step down to focus on my research projects while still providing my assistance to the school."

Lucious gave a small snort and waved a dismissive hand. "That's enough. Now then, will you present your first piece of evidence as to why we should consider rehiring you?”

‘How did this guy get back on the Governors?’ thought Melin. “Yes.” She opened her briefcase and pulled out the manuscript for her book. “I have a copy of the manuscript that I have recently sent in to be published.” She handed the papers to a young pockmarked wizard who hurriedly took the papers to Lucius. “I have spent a good deal of time researching and writing about the mistakes, both common and uncommon, that are made in ingredient collecting, potion brewing, storing, and administering.”

Lucius thumbed through the papers. “Any sixth year could write this.” he drawled, accompanied with the laughter of several of the governors.

Melin’s face turned red. “Oh really? Then perhaps you could tell me just two of the 20 differences between the Lily of the Valley and the Common Albino Mountain Lily?” From the confused muttering above her she knew she had made her point.

Lucius silenced those around him. ‘Damn that girl! She is making this more difficult than I had planned!’ Handing the manuscript to the clerk he sneered down at Melin. “We are not here to quiz the governors, Miss Weichselzopf, we are here to discuss your qualifications as teacher. You have a substantial record against you when it comes to potions, you know. Couple that with your standing as a magical creature, and there could be some problems with how you've come to acquire your ingredients.” He held up a large stack of papers, which were completely blank, but Melin didn’t have to know that. “Would you care to explain them? Or perhaps you have brought someone who can vouch for you?” He quieted several of the governors, most of whom had begun to put their papers away, feeling that the case was a wash. “Because I doubt any of your-papers will clear away this mess.”

Melin looked up at Lucius defiantly. “As a matter of fact I do.” As several of the governors began to whisper amongst themselves, she smiled in triumph. “He’s standing outside right now. Shall I go get him?”

Lucius looked taken aback for a split second. Regaining his composure he motioned for the clerk to summon whoever it was outside the room. As the doors opened his eyes widened as Snape strode into the courtroom, his cloak billowing behind him. “You are the one who is to vouch for Miss Weichselzopf?”

Snape nodded. “I am.”

“Very well. Please state your name and title please.” Drawled Lucius.

“Severus Snape, Potions Master and Head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts.”

Lucius leaned over to get a better look at Snape. “Why are you vouching for her?”

Snape looked Lucius square in the eye as he spoke. “She is a useful worker, and it would be in the governors', as well as the ministry’s best interest to employ her at Hogwarts once again. She knows where her loyalties lie and will not be swayed by those who would try to spread lies through the school.” He could hear Melin take a breath, almost as if she had forgotten to for the past few minutes. “She has proven to me, beyond a doubt that she is fully qualified for the job, and she also has other talents that could be of use at Hogwarts.”

Thinking it over for a while Lucius finally smirked to himself. He'd originally planned on refusing to give Melin her position back, but Snape's last sentence gave him an idea. “Very well. If Severus is willing to vouch for her then I believe that is good for us?” There was a murmured agreement from the other governors. ‘Perhaps this girl could be of use to the Dark Lord….’ he thought at he stared down at Melin, slightly surprised that Melin was staring right back at him. “Very well. Melin Weichselzopf is hereby reinstated as the Assistant Potions Professor. You will begin work starting Monday.” Standing up he smoothed out his robes and picked up his cane. “You may go now.” he said coldly.

Melin’s heart leapt for joy at the news of her reinstatement. The moment everyone had filed from the room she turned around and flung herself into Snape’s arms. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” she whispered happily. “I don’t know how I can repay you!”

Snape blinked a couple of times as Melin practically choked him with her hug. “This is not the time to discuss this Melin.” he whispered. “Come, gather your things and let’s head out.”

“You mean back to Grimmauld?” Melin’s face suddenly drained of color as she realized what she had said. Clapping both hands over her mouth she looked up, horror stricken, into Snape’s face.

“Idiot woman!” hissed Snape. Grabbing Melin by the arm he pulled her out of the courtroom and practically flung her down the hall.

Melin stumbled and hit the wall. Luckily she had had sense enough to put her briefcase in front of her before she hit, but as she turned around she gasped at the fury in Snape’s eyes. “Severus…”

“Just don’t even talk right now. Hopefully no one was in the room to hear your blunder.” Storming over to the lift Snape looked back to see Melin following him, almost servant like, with her head down.

Melin felt absolutely horrible. True, if there had been someone there they would not have been able to know that she was talking about number 12 thanks to the Fidelius charm, but still she had made a major blunder. Perhaps that was why she was always kept out of the loop when it came to business in the order. As the lift doors opened on the Atrium floor she followed after Snape, not even looking where she was going.

“Let’s just hope that if someone did hear they will think you are talking about your son’s flat.” sneered Snape.

Melin felt her anger rise. Reaching out she grabbed hold of Snape’s robes as he turned to leave and jerked him bodily so that he was down at her level. “Listen Severus.” she growled. “I am glad that you came and vouched for me. But I will not tolerate you treating me like this! I have not slept lately, and have been under considerable stress! And even if someone did hear my little slip up, there is no way that anything can come from it now is there?”

Snape’s eyes widened for a split second. This was a side of Melin he had never seen before. He raised his hands and tried to break Melin’s grasp from his robes, but was surprised to find that she had a grip like iron. “You will release me this instant Melin.” he said coldly.

“Fine.” Letting go of Snape’s robes Melin stalked over to one of the apparating points and disapparated.

Snape adjusted his robes and looked around, checking to see if anyone had seen what had just happened. Finding that no one had, he shook his head and disapparated.

 

Chapter Text

Melin stood in front of the Potions class and smiled faintly. She was so nervous she wanted to bolt from the classroom. ‘Its been 16 years since I’ve stood up here to teach.’ She thought to herself. As the students pulled out their quills and parchment she stood up a little straighter and called for the students attention. “If you will all take your seats please, we will begin today’s lesson.” Melin took her wand out and tapped the black board. “Professor Snape has graciously allowed me to take over your lessons today. Since your potions still need a week to age we will be studying some common, though often deadly mistakes in potions. Now before you ask why you should have to study this I will tell you that a lot of this will be on the O.W.L.S.. Also if any of you plan on taking jobs requiring potion brewing you will need to know what you will learn today. If you will open the copy of Melted Cauldrons that you have in front you and turn to page 198 we will begin.” She raised an eyebrow as a quiet hem hem came from the corner of the dungeon. “Now here you see a picture of The Lily of the Valley, a common ingredient used in potions, often in sleeping draughts-can I get you something Professor Umbridge?”

Umbridge smiled her sickeningly sweet smile. “I’m sure I sent-“

“Yes I received the letter that you were going to sit in on the class today Professor. I don’t think anyone can miss the violent pink that you like so much. May I please continue with my lesson?” said Melin. Seeing Umbridge give her a permissive nod she sighed and tapped her wand on the blackboard again. A sketch of the Lily of the Valley appeared and labeled itself on the board. “As I said, the Lily of the Valley is often used in sleeping draughts and Professor Snape has already taught you the proper techniques for handling, cleaning, and using this potentially deadly herb. Now next to it you will see the Common Albino Mountain Lily, which is normally harmless-are you sure you don’t need something for that cough Professor? Last I checked, a persistent cough like that is the sign of something nasty.” Glaring over at Umbridge she kept her voice controlled and steady, this woman was really starting to get on her nerves.

“Oh no, I’m all right, I was just wishing to ask why Professor Snape was not teaching the class today?” said Umbridge in a sickeningly sweet tone.

Looking up from his desk Snape raised a single eyebrow at Umbridge. “The students must learn theory as well as practical application in potions, and since Professor Weichselzopf has devoted her life to the study, along with the fact thatyour letter stated that you wished to see her teach the class, I think she is more than qualified to take care of the simple task of teaching the children in today’s lesson.” He cast a sidelong look at Melin before returning to the papers he was grading.

“I see.” Umbridge frowned and began scribbling something on her clipboard.

Melin looked over at Snape with raised eyebrows before clearing her throat. “Now the Common Albino Mountain Lily looks almost identical to the Lily of the Valley and it is common for novice potion brewers to mistake the two when collecting their own ingredients. I have here before me,” She gestured to two potted plants resting on the table in front of her. “A Lily of the Valley and a Common Albino Mountain Lily. Who can tell me how you tell the two apart?” She noticed Hermione’s hand shot up almost instantly. “I am glad you have put so much devotion into your studies Miss Granger, but I believe that you need to give the other students a chance to answer a few questions.” She looked around the room and was surprised to see Neville’s hand creeping up. “Mr. Longbottom, do you know how to distinguish these two plants?” At Neville’s nervous nod she smiled. “Very well, could you please come up here and point the differences out to the class?”

“Y-y-yes Professor.” Neville stood up and slowly made his way to the front of the class to stand next to the two plants. He cast a nervous glance at Snape and then at Melin. “Th-the Lily of the-Valley has waxy flat l-leaves and it’s flowers line-line up along a single stem.” Gaining more confidence from Melin’s nods he continued a bit more steadily. “The Common Albino Mountain Lily has three stems with flowers and small sharp edged leaves. It also has blood red roots.”

Melin smiled and nodded. “Very good Mr. Longbottom. 5 points to Gryffindor for Mr. Longbottom’s wonderful description of the subtle differences in these two plants, and another 5 points for his knowledge of the differences in the roots. You may take your seat now.” Turning to the rest of the class she smiled. “Though the Common Albino Mountain Lily is harmless on its own, in fact it can be eaten if one is stuck out in the wilderness, if it is used in place of the Lily of the Valley in a potion, well-let’s just say that they haven’t exactly come up with an antidote for death yet.” Her smile widened a little as the class snickered. “And so for today you will be working with partners to find similar plants where one is harmless and the other is not when used in potions and write how to tell the difference between the two of them. I want each of you to find 6 different examples. I will be coming around from time to time to answer questions and check on your progress. You will find everything you will need for today’s assignment in chapters 7 through 16.”

Snape smiled faintly as he graded papers at his desk. He knew Melin was more than a little nervous at having her class audited, especially so soon after getting her job back. He looked up for a split second when he heard Melin step down from her spot beside the blackboard and begin to walk between the tables, closely followed by Umbridge. ‘What an irritating woman.’ He thought as he watched Umbridge badgering Melin with questions.

Umbridge leaned in as close as she could to see what Melin was correcting on one of the Gryffindor students paper. “Is there a problem Professor? It seems that this student has made a mistake.”

Melin stiffened a little and pushed her glasses up on her nose. “It is a common mistake, nothing to worry about.” Straightening she began to move back towards the front of the room to clear the blackboard. She wasn’t sure how long Umbridge was going to follow her, or what questions she was going to be asked. Reaching the blackboard she tapped it with her wand and watched as her homework assignment began to write itself across the board.

“Tell me, how long have you worked as the Assistant Potions Professor?” Asked Umbridge.

“14 years.” answered Melin in a flat tone.

“And what did you do before that?”

“I was the potions teacher.”

“Why did you take the demotion?” asked Umbridge in a voice that Melin found to be rather unnerving.

“Professor Dumbledore asked me to. And besides, it gave me more time to devote to my research.” Moving over to the two plants she looked at the Lily of the Valley for a moment and then proceeded to move both plants over to the small window for a little sunlight. “I don’t see why it is necessary to pry into why I took the demotion.”

“I want to find out as much as I can about the teachers here. Now it’s true that you aren’t human correct?” At Melin’s nod Umbridge scribbled something on her clipboard and smiled her frog smile. “Do you have any idea why Dumbledore demoted you? Did he perhaps doubted your abilities? I do recall that there was something about you causing a rather large explosion during your O.W.L.S. and injuring several students.”

“That was not because of my abilities, that was because of a stupid prank.” answered Melin, her ears beginning to turn red. “And everyone came out of it none the worse for wear, the student who pulled the prank was punished, and that is the end of the story. But if you believe there is some other reason, by all means go and ask Professor Dumbledore his reason for asking me to step down. I’m sure he’d love to speak with you over it.” Melin suddenly realized that she was gripping the blackboard so tightly that her knuckles were turning white.

“You were fired at the beginning of the year correct? I believe there was a doubt in your ability to continue teaching. Why did you come back?”

“Because I was told I could appeal the dismissal since it was done by the ministry and I provided more than enough proof to show that I was qualified for the job.”

More notes were scribbled on the clipboard. “Any other reason? A hidden interest in something here at the school?” Another note as Melin shook her head. “Are you trying to say that you just like teaching?”

“No,” she smirked as Umbridge looked up with a look of pure shock. “I love teaching, it’s my life.” Releasing the blackboard she smirked and walked past Umbridge to go and check on a student who had their hand up.

“I see.” said Umbridge as she scribbled furiously on her clipboard. “Well I shall finish this report later. You will have your results by the end of the week.”

“I can’t wait.” sneered Melin. “Here’s your problem,” she said, her voice changing as she spoke with the Slytherin boy who had his hand up. “You misread this passage. It is the root that is poisonous, not the flowers….”

 


 

 

Melin slumped down in her chair and rested her head on her desk. She still wasn’t sure how she had made it through the day, but she had a sneaking suspicion that Snape had probably slipped her something in her morning tea. Her results had come back with a satisfactory rating, though she knew Umbridge probably wished that she had been able to find something wrong with how Melin taught so she could put her on probation and then fire her. With a small laugh she raised her head up a little before resting it again against the cool wooden surface of her desk. ‘At least all I had to deal with was that bloody woman’s incessant questioning.’ She thought as she watched the fire flicker happily in the fireplace.

The snow was piling up outside the windows, and the fire was crackling cheerfully in its grate, leaving Melin feeling extremely drowsy. It was almost Christmas, and she still had no idea what she was planning on doing for the remainder of the holidays. Initially she had planned on visiting everyone at the house on Grimmauld Place, but she quickly shot that idea down, remembering how coldly Sirius had been treating her ever since Aranel “let slip” his sister’s feelings for Snape. The resulting fight between Sirius and Snape had been one for the record books, resulting in both beating on each other to the point where Remus and Melin had to spend the next two hours patching them back up. Melin had never seen a bone broken in so many places before. ‘I still can’t believe Severus agreed to duke it out with Sirius like a muggle.’ she thought with a small laugh. Closing her eyes she listened to the steady crackle of the pine logs as she slowly drifted off to sleep.

Melin awoke some time later to find someone standing over her. Leaping up with a start she was about to reach for her wand when she noticed Snape standing there in the darkness with a look of mild amusement on his face. Frowning Melin adjusted her robes and did her best to regain some semblance of dignity. “What is it Severus?”

Pulling out his wand Snape lit the lamp on Melin’s desk and shrugged. “You slept through dinner, I came up to see if something was wrong. Its not like you to miss a dinner date.” answered Snape in a cool and collected voice.

“I just fell asleep that’s all. Though its so nice that you’re worried about me.” Melin smiled and walked around her desk to stand in front of Snape. Draping her arms over his shoulders she kissed him softly on the lips and smiled. “You know, we haven’t had any time alone since I got my job back.”

Snape wrapped his arms around Melin’s waist and nodded. “It seems that we are both kept on our toes so much we-“ Raising his eyebrows he suddenly let go of Melin and yanked the sleeve of his robe up. There, on his left forearm the dark mark which had been burned onto his arm so long ago was staring back at him vividly. “Of all nights.” he growled. He pulled Melin close to him and kissed her quickly before letting her go and walking over to one of the many bookshelves in Melin’s office where he pushed on an old and battered book. “I will be back as soon as I can.” As the door swung open he turned back to look at Melin one last time before walking out of the office, the door swinging shut behind him.

“Be careful.” whispered Melin as the door shut, leaving her alone in the dimly lit office. Shivering a little she turned around and walked quietly over to the large fireplace in front of her desk and knelt down before it. She had barely gotten her wand out when a green fire sprang to life and Michea’s head appeared in the flames. “Need something brother?” she asked, doing her best to act as if his sudden appearance had not surprised her.

“House-now.” growled Michea before disappearing from the fireplace.

With him gone the green fire suddenly disappeared leaving Melin to sit in the dark. “Hello to you too.” grumbled Melin as she pulled herself to her feet and walked over to another bookcase where she pulled on a thin green book which opened up a passage that slowly tilted down as if it were heading for the bowels of the castle. “Lumos.” The tip of her wand glowed with a bright white light which illuminated the hallway just enough for her to see her path as she made her way towards Hogsmeade.

After what seemed like hours the tunnel began to tilt upward again and suddenly Melin let out a yelp as she ran into something in the passage. Whatever it was, it was warm and felt almost human, but she couldn’t see anything in the passage. “Who’s there?” she demanded, her wand extinguishing as she prepared to use it to defend herself. To her surprise she was answered with…laughter? Growling she thrust out her hand and grabbed hold of a soft and silky fabric. Ripping away the invisibility cloak she leapt back and pointed her wand at the dark figure before her. “Petrificus totalus!” A jet of electric blue light shot from her wand and her opponent square in the chest. “Lumos.” Her wand lit up again and cast a faint glow on the prostrate figure of her brother Aranel. “You jerk! You scared me half to death!” shouted Melin. “I should just leave you here you know.” she growled as she cast the counter curse.

“But you never would.” smirked Aranel as he sat up and cracked his neck. “Remind me not to get hit with that curse again will ya? Puts a huge crick in my neck.” He took hold of Melin’s outstretched hand and pulled himself up into a stooped position, the ceiling of the tunnel being too low for him to stand up all the way. “Michea told me to wait for you down here to make sure you made it safely.”

Raising her eyebrows Melin held her wand a little higher so it cast its light on both herself and her brother. “Why would he do that? Is something wrong?”

“Naw, he just wanted to make sure you didn’t come into any trouble.” Aranel smiled, collected up his invisibility cloak, and pulled a gold pocket watch from his robes. “See you at the house.” He said with a grin as he disappeared.

“Jerk.” Shaking her head Melin extinguished her wand and, with a loud *CRACK*, disapparated. Another loud *CRACK*, almost like the sound of a car backfiring, sounded as she apparated in the kitchen of number 12 Grimmauld Place. Blinking at the sudden change in light she looked around the room to see practically everyone from the order either sitting or standing in the room. ‘This is odd.’ She thought as she spotted Sirius sitting off to the side scowling at her. He hadn’t really taken too well to finding out about Melin’s feelings towards Snape, but Melin hadn’t been too surprised. After all she had told him that she had feelings for him, but Sirius seemed to preoccupied with other stuff to really do much about it.

She still wasn’t sure what had happened that day. She remembered Snape showing up a horrible wound on his forehead, calming him with a calming draft, then she helped him upstairs to where she kept her store of healing salves…and then, next thing she had known she was wrapped in Snape’s arms and they were kissing with a passion that she had never known. The weirdest part was that less than two hours before she had been convinced that she hated Snape, though for what reason she was unable to remember. Blinking she snapped out of her thoughts and looked at the group assembled there. “Um…what’s going on?”

“We’re merely waiting for Snivellus to return and tell us what’s going on with Voldemort.” snorted Sirius. “Unless you can tell us what’s going on, since you seem to be so close to him. Or did he break it off with you?” The last sentence ended in mirthless laughter and a sharp glare at Melin.

“Grow up would you?” snapped Melin, her temper flaring. “No he hasn’t told me anything, and if he did it would only make me a liability wouldn’t it?”

Michea cleared his throat and pulled his sister down into one of the few free chairs. “Cool it Melin, you can’t let your temper get the best of you.”

“Look who’s talking Mr. I’m going to disown you for loving a human. And what did you do? You went and found yourself a human mate!” sneered Melin.

“That was in the past. The present is what matters right now.” Dumbledore’s voice was soft but it still managed to cut through the tension in the room and quiet everyone down. “Now that we are all here I might as well discuss the other reason for calling you here. As I am sure you all already know, the Ministry is putting a tight grip on Hogwarts, as well as the rest of Britain. We all need to be extra careful with what we say and do.” He looked over his half moon spectacles at Melin for a moment before continuing. “Many of you are on edge I am sure, especially since so many of you are new to the Order. But I cannot say this enough, keep your tempers in check, the time will come.”

Melin turned bright red at Dumbledore’s look and quickly became interested in the hem of her sleeve. Was he talking about her and Snape? Or her comments directed at Umbridge?

Leaning against the wall Aranel yawned and looked at the gold pocket watch in his hand. It didn’t tell the time like normal watches did, it merely showed himself, Michea, Melin, Annanahrion, Jehan, and Delena at different positions such as “Home”, “School”, “Work”, “Danger”, “Sleeping”, “Order”, “Out”, and “Mortal Peril”. Popping it open he noted that Delena was asleep and everyone else was pointing to “Order”. He looked up for a moment as a chill breeze flitted through the room and made him shiver. Almost on cue the fire dimmed and a piece of paper flew from the fireplace and landed on the table in front of Dumbledore.

“It looks like our news is here.” said Dumbledore. Picking up the piece of paper he read it over and looked up at Melin for a moment before looking back at the note. “You had better get some healing potions prepared Melin.”

The color drained from Melin’s face. “What’s it say? What’s going on Dumbledore?”

“Nothing the order cannot handle Melin. Please go and start preparing the potions, we will probably need them in abundance pretty soon.” Dumbledore tried to smile reassuringly at Melin as he watched her get up and leave the room. He waited a couple of minutes after she had left and let out a long sigh. He looked around the room. “It appears that Voldemort is planning something big, far bigger than the attack on Arthur.” He looked over at Molly Weasley and gave her a comforting smile. “I’m sure he will be out any day now Molly, best not to worry about it. He appears to have all of his former Death-eaters gathered, save those still in Azkaban. From what Severus has gleaned from the meeting they are still trying to secretly gather followers, but their sights are also set on the prison. I have a feeling that they may try a break out soon, especially since the dementors do not care who they follow, as long as they can keep themselves fed.”

Tonks raised her eyebrows and looked over at Dumbledore. “Why did you send Melin out of the room?”

“She is under a lot of stress right now, and I didn’t want her to have anything else to worry about. And besides,” he added with a smile, “she is one of the best and most efficient potion makers in the order. But if you really must know….”

 


 

 

Melin remained at Grimmauld Place throughout Christmas, often staying to herself in the study where she would spend hours pouring over the dusty old tomes that Sirius hadn’t thrown out. A couple of times Sirius had come in to try and speak to her, but for some reason only known to him he would stand in the doorway for a couple of minutes before shoving his hands in his pockets and leaving the room again. Melin wondered what was on everyone’s minds, it seemed to her that everyone was giving her odd looks when they thought she wasn’t paying attention. At dinner two days before the end of the Christmas holidays Melin could have sworn that people were talking about her under their breath.

As she sat there pouring over an ancient copy of Misconceptions in Herbal Remedies she became aware of the fact that she could no longer hear the sounds of Harry and Ron’s chess game above her, and Harry’s voice now seemed to be coming from the kitchen. Intrigued she left the study and walked into the kitchen to find Ron, Hermione, and Ginny staring at the door that led to the kitchen. “What’s going on?” she asked.

“Professor Snape is here and he wanted to see Harry in the kitchen.” whispered Hermione. “Professor Melin, do you have any idea why he would want to see Harry?” she asked as she turned to look at Melin.

“Not a clue.” Shrugging Melin put her ear against the door to the kitchen. Listening closely she could clearly make out Snape’s deep tenor voice, which was countered often by Sirius’ baritone. Raising her eyebrows she decided to listen a little more closely.

“I’ll get to the point then.” came Sirius’ voice through the door, along with the sound of a chair scraping on the floor, giving Melin the impression that someone had just stood up. “If I hear you’re using those Occlumency lessons to give Harry a hard time, you’ll have me to deal with.”

‘Occlumency?’ Thought Melin as she leaned a little closer against the door, one hand gripping the wand in her pocket, the other on the door handle. The sound of a chair being pushed out of the way and Harry’s cry of “Sirius!” pushed Melin into action. She opened the door and rushed in to find Sirius and Snape squaring off in the kitchen, both with their wands pointed at each other and looking like they would love to skin their opponent. Slamming the door shut behind her to keep the kids in the dinning room out she let go of her wand and made a grab for Snape, who stepped out of the way and stopped her with a single glance.

“I’ve warned you, Snivellus,” said Sirius, his face barely a foot from Snape’s, “I don’t care if Dumbledore and Melin think you’ve reformed, I know better--”

“Oh, but why don’t you tell him so?” whispered Snape. “Or are you afraid he might not take the advice of a man who has been hiding inside his mother’s house for six months very seriously? Or maybe he’ll listen to you just like Melin did.”

Melin’s face went completely white as she stood there, watching what she guessed would soon erupt into a duel. “Severus-Sirius! Please, let’s try to act like adults here!”

“Stay out of it Melin!” growled Snape. “I’m not backing down this time.”

“Tell me, how is Lucius Malfoy these days? I expect he’s delighted his lapdog’s working at Hogwarts, isn’t he?”

“Speaking of dogs,” said Snape softly, “did you know that Lucius Malfoy recognized you last time you righted a little jaunt outside? Clever idea, Black, getting yourself seen on a safe station platform…gave you a cast-iron excuse not to leave your hidey-hole in the future didn’t it?”

Sirius raised his wand, fully intent on blasting Snape to a pile of dust right there and then.

“NO!” shouted Harry as he vaulted over the table and tried to get in between them. It was a small relief when he saw Melin struggling to pacify Snape, though Snape looked like he was about to hit her. “Sirius, don’t-”

“Are you calling me a coward?” roared Sirius, trying to push Harry out of the way, but Harry wouldn’t budge.

“Why, yes, I suppose I am.” said Snape as he struggled to break away from Melin’s grasp and get a clean shot at Sirius. “Let me go Melin!” His anger began to rise and before he knew it he had raised his hand, intent on hitting the woman who was just barely holding him at bay.

Tightening her grip on Snape’s wand arm Melin looked over Snape’s other arm as it swept down, apparently intent on hitting her if she didn’t let go. Gritting her teeth she threw her weight against Snape and pushed him back a few feet so that he was now pressed up against the wall. A sharp pain on the right side of her face told her that Snape had indeed hit her, but the blow did not phase her determination to keep the bloodshed to a minimum.

“Harry-Melin-get-out-of-it!” snarled Sirius, pushing Harry out of the way with his free hand.

“NO!”

Melin breathed a sigh of relief when the kitchen door burst open and the entire Weasley family, as well as Hermione, came inside.

“Cured!” announced Arthur. “Completely cured!” The joyous grin disappeared from his face as he realized what he had just stepped into. “Oh my, what is going on here?”

Melin let out a sigh as both Sirius and Snape lowered their wands. Releasing Snape’s arm she reached up to rub the bruise that was spreading across her cheek. “Think you hit hard enough?” she growled quietly.

Snape pocketed his wand, cast a single sidelong glance at Melin, and turned on his heel as he swept across the kitchen and past the shocked Weasleys. “Six o’clock Monday evening Potter.” Looking back he looked over at Melin, his expression softening ever so slightly. “You should get some ice on that.” And then, he was gone.

“What’s going on?” asked Arthur once again.

“Nothing, Arthur,” said Sirius, “Just a friendly chat between old friends.” He looked over at Melin with a worried look before putting away his wand and forcing a smile to play across his face. “You’re cured? That’s great news, really great….” He listened to Arthur and Molly talk about the wondrous cure and how Arthur would never again try muggle means to cure anything with only half an ear, the rest of his attention on Melin, who had taken the opportunity to conjure up an ice bag and was busy leaning against the wall while holding the bag to her cheek. As everyone gathered around Arthur to offer their congratulations he made his way over to Melin and moved the ice pack out of the way. He couldn’t help but grimace at the bruise that covered almost the entire right side of her face. “Why did you let him do that to you?” he asked quietly.

“I couldn’t let either of you blow each other to smithereens could I?” asked Melin with a quiet smile as she took the ice pack back and placed it once again against her face.

“But-he didn’t even stop to see if you were-he didn’t-he hit you! Doesn’t that mean anything Incendi? What happens if he does it again? What will you do then?” Sirius couldn’t believe how calm Melin was being about this. He wanted to kill Snape for striking Melin, yet she was acting as if it were merely an injury in the line of duty.

“Severus probably didn’t realize what he was doing.” Sighing she shook her head. “He’s just trying to keep up his image, Padfoot, nothing more than that. I can assure you that if he had meant to hit me out of spite I would have done something about it.”

“I still don’t see why you chose him over me.” whispered Sirius as he led Melin out of the noisy kitchen and back into the study.

Sitting down on the dusty old couch Melin leaned back against the cushions and closed her eyes. “I still don’t know myself. Except, well you seemed so distant to me…like I wasn’t worth a second of your attention.” With a sigh she ran her hand through her hair and pulled out her ponytail. “Padfoot, have you ever done something, something that just-felt right?” Opening her eyes she looked over at Sirius as he flopped down next to her.

“Yeah, I felt that way when I became an animagus, and again when I left Azkaban. Why do you ask?”

“I felt that way when Severus kissed me. For once, everything felt right, like it was supposed to be that way.” She lowered the ice pack and leaned against Sirius’ shoulder. “I don’t know why, but for some reason I’ve always felt a different closeness with you. Like a brother almost. I can joke with you and not worry about hurting your feelings, we can play games, play pranks on each other. I would never want to ruin what we already have Padfoot. I mean, if things ever go sour with Severus, he and I will probably no longer be friends,” she looked up into Sirius’ eyes, “I would never be willing to risk your friendship like that.”

Nodding slightly Sirius wrapped a protective arm around Melin’s shoulders. “I think I can understand, but I’m telling you now-if I ever find out Snivellus is mistreating you in any way-no force in the world is going to be able to stop me from killing him.” He smiled faintly as he noticed Melin’s breathing even out and her head grow heavy. ‘You know, I think this is the first time I have ever seen Melin sleep!’ he thought as he laughed quietly. He lifted Melin up gently and climbed up from the couch, laying Melin on the cushions and covering her with an old afghan blanket. “Sleep tight.”

Chapter Text

~HOGWARTS 1976~

 Melin sat at her desk scribbling answers down on the piece of parchment before her. The Defense Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. was proving easier than she thought. She stole a moment to look up the large hourglass at the front of the room. ‘Plenty of time.’ she thought to herself as she returned to the test.

She had just finished answering the extra credit question when she heard Professor Flitwick call, “Times up!” With a sigh of relief she put her quill down and stood up to stretch. Looking over to her left she spotted Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter heading out of the great hall, followed closely by Snape. Raising an eyebrow she collected her belongings and headed off toward the Ravenclaw dormitory to put her stuff away before going out to enjoy the rest of the day.

She had barely set her bag on her bed when shouts filtered up through the open window beside her, causing her to turn around. Down below her she could see Sirius and James doing what they did best, tormenting Snape. She laughed quietly to herself as she watched the boys flip Snape upside down. “I wonder if they will ever grow up.” Her eyebrows raised in interest as a Gryffindor girl she knew as Lily Evans rushed up and appeared to break up the boy’s fun. It didn’t surprise her one bit that the moment Lily left Sirius and James had Snape hovering upside down again. “Typical.” she said as James vanished Snape’s underwear. Her grin evaporated as they turned Snape right side up again and James asked who wanted to get a hit in on Snape. “This has gone on too long, I’d better put a stop to it, seeing as how the other prefects seem more interested in getting their punches in.”

Rushing from the dormitory she turned a corner and grabbed a hold of a candle stick that jutted out of the wall. A door opened in the wall and she hurried down the stairs in the passage and emerged, rather out of breath, next to an empty classroom near the front hall. ‘Almost there.’ she told herself as she gasped for air and began running the final stretch to where a throng of students had formed around James, Sirius, and Snape. “All right, break it up!” she pushed her way through the crowd and leaped in the way of a burly seventh year who was making to punch Snape’s midsection. The punch barely missed her, mainly due to the fact that Snape’s midsection happened to be at the same height as her shoulders, but then again, he was hovering in the air. “This-has gone-from-foolish prank-to assault.” she gasped for air as the sprinting finally caught up with her. Taking a moment to catch her breath she glared at the other prefects who were trying to slink away. “Everyone had better head out before I start taking down names-especially the prefects.” Finally regaining her breath she stood up, wand pointed at James and growled. “Take the spell off of him this instant James.”

“If you say so Miss Prefect.” Smirking James waved his wand and laughed as Snape flopped unceremoniously to the ground. “So you’re going to give us detention for this right? You should know by now that it doesn’t work on us Melin. How about you agree to go on a date with Sirius and we’ll stop bothering Snivellus. Is it a deal?”

“Like that would stop you guys.” sneered Melin. “Tormenting Severus is like breathing air to you guys. I’m convinced you would die before you stopped your pranks.” Her wand was still pointed at James, and she didn’t really have any intention of lowering it any time soon. “What’s your beef with him anyways?”

“He’s a greasy git?” ventured Sirius. “He was born? He’s a Slytherin?” His smile widened with each suggestion he threw out.

“So you instantly hate anyone who is in Slytherin….wonderful. I’m going to report this to the head of your house after I help Severus to the hospital wing. You’d better get a good story formulated to explain this one.” Kneeling down Melin slipped herself under Snape’s arm and pulled him up.

“I can walk on my own!” growled Snape as he tried to break the grip Melin had on his arm. “and I don’t need you to protect me.”

“That wasn’t what it looked like a few minutes ago.” said Melin as she let go of Snape and watched him take a single faltering step before falling down again. With an exasperated sigh she knelt down and helped him up again. “If you don’t accept my help I’ll carry you there. Which would you prefer?” As Snape leaned against her she smiled and began to walk up to the castle. “That’s better.”

“Why are you helping me?”

Melin shrugged and walked into the great hall, where she made her way slowly to a large tapestry and pushed it aside. “I think it’s because I want to.” she said with a small smile on her face. “Come on, this is a shortcut to the hospital wing.”

Snape couldn’t understand this girl. Normally she spent most of her free time in the library, absorbed in some giant book, or writing in the large leather bound journal she always carried with her. They were often partners in Double Potions, but this was the first time he had ever seen her really go out of the way to help him. Normally she would just break up the pranks and be done with it, leaving him to get to the hospital wing to have whatever jinx was cast on him removed. Though there were those few times when they had hung out together….and that kiss at Valentines Day. He was wrenched out of his thoughts when he felt something jab him in the back. Turning around he saw James grinning at him. ‘What did he just do? It’d better not be another “Curse Me” sign.’

They had been walking for a few minutes when Melin felt Snape’s weight lighten against her a little. “Are you feeling better Severus? Severus?” Her eyes widened as Snape grabbed hold of both her arms and pushed her back against the cold stone wall. “What are you doing?” she gasped as his hands began groping at her chest, searching to undo her blouse. “Severus please stop!” She tried to push him away but he proved too strong for her. Frozen in fear she could only stand there as Snape bruised her neck with his kisses.

Snape wasn’t sure what was going on. He wanted to stop what he was doing, he didn’t want to hurt Melin, but his body had taken on a life of its own. His hands ripped open Melin’s shirt and began to grab at the soft flesh of her breasts as his lips pressed themselves against hers in a hard and painful kiss. ‘No-this isn’t right.’ Trying to stop he let out a low moan as his hormones took complete control of him and he began to fondle Melin in an exceptionally rough manner, leaving bruises all over her body.

Melin let out a whimper of fear as Snape’s hands lifted up her skirt and grabbed at her panties. She tried to cry out, but her cry was blocked by Snape’s lustful kiss. A faint ray of hope appeared when she heard footsteps running down the corridor towards her, and suddenly Snape’s weight was no longer pressing against her and she found herself being held by protective arms. Daring to open her eyes she looked up to see Sirius glaring over at Snape, who was being pinned down by James. With a happy sigh of relief she rested her head against Sirius’ chest. “You saved me.” she whispered.

Sirius looked down at Melin and did his best to smile. He had never thought that the spell could have caused this much damage, but then again he had also been expecting Melin to have beaten the tar out of Snape the moment he touched her in the wrong way. What could have gone so wrong that Melin was now quivering in her arms, half clad and badly bruised? “Shhhh…it’s all right now.” he said as he stroked his fingers through Melin’s hair.

Snape struggled to regain his feet and reach Melin, he wanted to tell her that he had not meant to do anything to hurt her, that someone must have jinxed him, but whenever he tried to speak all that came out was either a growl or a groan. To add to his embarrassment he could feel the groin area of his underpants straining against his erection. ‘Could this get any worse?’ he wondered. To his horror he realized that yes it could, and it was about to go from bad to all hell breaking loose. Several sets of footsteps were sounding in the passageway and he could barely make out the shape of Remus leading one of the professors down the passage towards them.

“Over here professor! We’re over here!” James shouted, his grin of triumph barely masked in the darkness.

“What happened here?” breathed Professor Mangdegel as she held up her wand to survey who all was in the passage.

“I was taking Severus to the hospital wing, he was hurt, and I was worried that some of his injuries might be serious…” Melin’s voice broke with sobs. “So I took the shortcut. But suddenly-he-he-” Sobbing heavily Melin buried her face in Sirius’ robes.

“We heard sounds of a scuffle and came to check it out, and we found Snivellus attacking Melin in the passage.” Sirius kept his arms wrapped protectively around Melin as he looked over at Professor Mangdegel. “It looked like he was about to just shag her right here.”

Professor Mangdegel nodded as she listened to Sirius’ explanation and looked down at Snape. Her eyebrows raised as she noticed that he was trying to still get at Melin. “Take Miss Weichselzopf to the hospital wing Mr. Black, Mr. Potter and I will be along shortly with Mr. Snape here.” Her voice was one of extreme calm, though she was still unable to figure out what could have caused Snape to act in a way that was so unlike him. “Mr. Lupin, please go and fetch the head of Slytherin and have him meet me in the hospital wing.”

 


 

News of what happened in the passageway spread like wild fire through the school, and before she knew what was happening Melin was being constantly asked if she needed anyone to walk with her, no matter where she went. It still didn’t make sense to her that Snape would have begun acting like that, she had actually thought that they were slowly becoming friends, but she guessed that one could never predict how a teenage boy would act one moment to the next. It bothered her to think that she actually had feelings for him, and in some dark way, she wished that their little struggle had been on different circumstances.

Snape on the other hand was in need of a bodyguard, though no one, not even his fellow Slytherins, seemed willing to provide it. The news about his apparent attempt to have his way Melin preceded him everywhere he went, gathering from at best nasty looks and rude comments, to the worst and probably most common, full out attacks. Looking up from his dinner he spotted Melin and made to go and speak to her, only to be blocked off by several seventh year Ravenclaws. With a sigh he sat back down on the bench and finished his dinner as quickly as he could so that he could hopefully get a head start and place a note for Melin along the way he knew she took back to the dormitory. As he pushed his plate away he gathered his stuff and hurried, followed by shouts and insults, from the great hall and up the stairs towards the Ravenclaw dorms.

When he was about half way there he pushed aside a tapestry and stuck a small note for Melin against the wall where he knew she would see it. ‘Now all I have to do is wait.’ he thought with a sigh as he made his way to the empty classroom that the note would ask Melin to meet him in.

 


 


The next morning dawned as Snape sat impatiently in the classroom. He had waited all night and she had not shown up. Grumbling angrily he slunk down to his dorm and gathered his things for his potions O.W.L.. ‘What does it matter if the teachers know it wasn’t my fault if I can’t tell Melin what really happened?’

Melin stood outside the entrance to the great hall, surrounded by several Ravenclaws. It made her a little uneasy that they were doing this for her, but they assured her that it was completely necessary. She felt her heart quicken as she spotted Snape coming up the stairs. How was she going to be able to explain to him why she hadn’t shown up last night? How could she tell him that she had wanted to hear what he had to say, but everyone had made sure that she stayed in the dorms that night? Adjusting the strap on her bag she took a step towards Snape only to find her way blocked by several students. With a sigh of defeat she turned back to face the doors and waited for Professor McGonagall to call her name.

By some stroke of luck her name was called along with Snape’s, it seemed that they were mixing up the alphabet a little to break up the usual groups of students. Making her way to the empty cauldron next to Snape she set out her ingredients and was about to explain what had happened the night before, but she was cut off as Professor McGonagall announced the potion they were to make. Sighing again she poured in the initial ingredients and lit the fire under her cauldron.

Snape did his best to keep his attention on his potion, but every now and then he chanced a glance over to look at Melin. A few of the times Melin met his gaze and rewarded him with a small smile, almost as if she were telling him that she wanted to hear his side of the story. Feeling a large weight leave his shoulders he turned back to his potion, smiling to himself for once.

A thin silvery smoke was rising from Melin’s cauldron, informing her that she needed to add her next ingredient. Pushing her glasses up she picked up the vial that she had put her next ingredient in and poured the contents in.

The resulting explosion rocked the foundations and sent Melin flying backwards about 100 feet. She hit the wall of the great hall and slumped to the ground with a low moan. She suddenly realized that there was a terrible pain coming from her stomach and she looked down to see that part of the cauldron had slashed her as it exploded. The world around her turned black with smoke and Melin remembered nothing more.

 


 


Snape awoke in the hospital wing along with several other students who had been near the epicenter of the blast. Sitting up he rubbed his head with a bandaged hand and looked around the room. Spotting Melin in a bed at the far end of the room he stood up and limped over. She was lying there, her face completely relaxed as she slept off the potion Madame Pomfrey had given her to heal her wounds. He was about to brush a strand of hair from her face when his eyes drifted to a large white scar on her shoulder. ‘No-no-it can’t be.’ Taking a closer look at the scar he suddenly realized that the scar was a werewolf bite. ‘She can’t be…’

Melin opened her eyes slowly and groaned. She could barely make out someone standing over her and blinked a few times to clear the haze from her vision. “Severus? Is that you?”

“You’re-you’re a-werewolf!” gasped Snape.

Struggling to sit up Melin looked at Snape’s shocked gaze and suddenly realized that nothing was covering her shoulders. “Please, could you help me up?” She held out her hand to Snape who looked at it doubtfully and backed away. With a defeated sigh she managed to sit up on her own. “No, I’m not werewolf, hell, you have to be human to be a werewolf.”

“Then what are you?” asked Snape in disbelief.

“A Märchenlander.” Melin closed her eyes and let herself change back to her blue skinned long eared form. Opening her eyes again she couldn’t help but notice the look of complete horror on Snape’s face. Her features once again resumed their human appearance and she sighed. “I never wanted anyone to know.”

“But-but your kind-I thought your kind only existed in fairytales!” Looking down at Melin in amazement Snape blinked at her several times, almost as if he was trying to remove the image from his mind. ‘This can’t be happening!’ Snape quickly took control of his emotions and did his best to flatten the tone of his voice. Hoping to find answers he quickly changed the subject. “Why didn’t you meet up with me last night?”

Melin sighed and rubbed her eyes. “I was confined to my dorm room. I tried to get out, but no one would let me leave.” She looked up at Snape. “What really happened in the passage?”

“I don’t know-but right now-I’m not sure I should even be talking with you. Why should I tell you anything when you weren’t even willing to tell me what you really were?” Snape growled. “You’ve been deceiving me this entire time! What else are you hiding?”

“Deceiving you?” Now it was Melin’s time to get upset. The ensuing argument was a heated one, and by the end of it Melin was convinced that Snape had cast a lust charm on himself, and Snape was convinced that Melin had cast the charm on him, or, if she hadn’t, she had gotten someone else to do it. “You know,” she growled, “I am almost hoping that James and the others skin you alive next year. Maybe if I’m lucky I won’t have to deal with breaking you guys apart then.”

“Oh, you’re the one protecting me is it?” Snape sneered. “Who was it that was helpless against the charm she cast? Perhaps you were hoping for some sort of snogfest in the corridor?”

I cast? How dare you accuse me of such a thing!” Melin could feel tears streaming down her face. “I can’t believe I ever thought I liked you! I hate you Severus! I will never forgive you! I hope you die!”

Suddenly the world around Melin swirled and vanished, leaving her hovering in a great black void. Looking down at herself she realized that she had retaken her true form once again, and was at this time dressed in a simple blue robe. “What’s going on here?” She looked up to see a faint pinpoint of light growing larger and brighter as she floated there. Could it be getting closer? Or was she traveling towards the light? In a flash the light had disappeared and Melin found herself floating over a dark and foreboding castle out in the middle of a vast lake. “Azkaban?” Blinking she flew closer and was about to touch her hand to the door when she heard the shrill cries of the dementors sound above her. She looked up just in time to see no less that 100 dementors flying above her, accompanied, to her horror, by several wizards on broomsticks. “No-no-it’s a breakout!”

 


 

~GRIMMAULD PLACE PRESENT DAY~

“NO! They’re escaping! They’re escaping Azkaban!” Melin awoke from her slumber and screamed. Covering her mouth she took in several quick breaths and looked around the dark room. The door burst open and Sirius and Remus’ silhouettes filled the doorframe. Leaping up from the couch Melin rushed over to them, shaking Sirius so roughly that he looked like he was going to throw up. “We need to contact Dumbledore! They’re escaping!”

Remus rescued his friend from Melin’s violent shaking and walked her into the kitchen where he made her sit down at the table. “Calm down Incendi,” He pulled out his wand and conjured up a cup of pumpkin juice and pushed it towards Melin, who had started to tremble. “Take a sip of this and tell us what’s happening.”

Melin took the cup and downed it in one gulp. The familiar relaxing buzz flowed over her and she set the cup down. “I saw it just now-”

“What did you see?” asked Sirius as he took a chair across from her. ‘What could have scared her so bad that we had to get her partially drunk to get it out of her?’ he wondered. He looked over at Melin to see that she was almost as pale as the white blouse she had on, and that she was soaked in sweat. “Did you have a nightmare?”

“I wish.” Melin said with a small, frightened laugh. “Voldemort is going to break out the remaining Death Eaters from Azkaban. I just saw it, the dementors are going to go with him too.” She looked down at the hand that was holding on to the cup and realized that it was shaking hard enough to create a rattling sound as the cup hit the table.

“We have already figured that out Incendi, Severus gave us that information before Christmas.” Remus patted Melin’s shoulder as he tried to reassure her, all the while trying to figure out how she had seen it. “Tell me, has Severus told you anything of what he does when Voldemort calls him?”

Shaking her head Melin pulled out her wand and refilled her cup. “No, he never tells me, and he shouldn’t either.” She looked up at Remus and then at Sirius. “It would only make me a liability, I told you that already.”

“Then how did you see this breakout? Dumbledore sent you from the room before he told us about it. Were you there in a dream?”

“Yeah, something like that.” Taking a sip of the pumpkin juice she proceeded to tell Remus and Sirius about her dream, about what had happened during fifth year, and then about witnessing the breakout of the Death Eaters. By the time she finished both Sirius and Remus were staring at her in disbelief.

Remus looked over at Sirius and raised his eyebrows. “Do you have any idea who hit Severus with that little lust jinx?”

“Yeah, Prongs did it. He figured that it would make Snivellus make a move on Incendi, she would slap him, and then we would rush in, beat up Snivellus and save the day. I don’t think he ever expected the jinx to work as well as it did…or for Incendi to be harmed.” He looked over at Melin apologetically. “You know that none of us would have ever wanted to hurt you right?”

Melin nodded and took another sip of her drink. “But what about the other part of the dream?”

“I’m getting to that.” said Remus. “First I want to ask why you haven’t remembered any of that until now.”

“I-I guess I blocked it out. I could remember parts, but the corridor…and the argument…they just came as gaps that I couldn’t explain.” She looked up and yelped as if she had just been stung by a bee. “That’s it!” she exclaimed.

“What?” asked Sirius as he jumped slightly from Melin’s sudden action.

“That’s why I hated him! I could never remember why I hated Severus so much! I hated him because of that argument, but apparently I blocked it out, for whatever reason, and just continued to hate him thinking that there obviously was a good reason to do so.” She laughed a little and took another sip. “I can’t believe a silly argument is to blame for over twenty years of hatred.”

Smiling faintly Remus sat down next to Melin and summoned three bottles of butterbeer over to the table. Reaching over he took away Melin’s cup and handed her a butterbeer. “Now then, about that last bit of the dream.” he said, his voice becoming very serious as he opened his butterbeer. “Do you have any idea as to when it will happen?”

“I can’t be sure, I never can get the exact date on things like that. But I will wager a guess that it will be sometime within the next two days.” Shrugging Melin popped open her bottle and watched the butterbeer fizz out of the bottle and onto the table. After the fizzing had stopped she mopped up the mess with a napkin and took a sip of the liquid.

Sirius set his bottle down a little harder than expected and stared over at Melin. “What do you mean by ‘on things like that’? Have you had other dreams?”

Nodding Melin took another sip before setting down her bottle. “Every time I sleep.” At Sirius’ look of distrust she sighed. “Look, I’m not human, remember? Everyone of my race has some sort of…curse…I think that is a fitting word, and mine just happens to be prophetic dreams. It’s Jehan’s curse too…I passed it on to him.” She shook her head and raised a finger to stop anyone from asking a question. “Now before you ask anything I will tell you that these dreams arenever positive-and they always come true.” She put special stress on the words and took another sip. “Hence why it is considered a curse.”

Remus nodded. “I see. So then every night you have-” He blinked as Melin shook her head. “Then how can you say every time you-” Suddenly he put two and two together. “You don’t sleep do you?”

Melin raised her bottle in the air in salute. “Bingo! Haven’t slept since the early 1900s…let me rephrase that, since the 1900s the only times I’ve slept are potion induced.” Laughing she took another sip as Sirius and Remus’ jaws dropped. “In fact, the last time I slept where I had a dream was probably oh…in the mid 1600s-right before my husband was killed, I’m sure you can guess what the dream was about.” she added with a bitter laugh as she downed what was left in her bottle and summoned another one to her.

“You never told us about your husband Incendi, why don’t you?”

Melin shook her head and looked down at the ground. “There isn’t much to tell. He was a gypsy, he was kind, witty, funny, loving, he was perfect in my eyes. He didn’t even care that I wasn’t human.” She laughed a little as tears began to stream down her cheeks and splash against the fabric of her robes. “He was-or should have been a wizard, he was expelled apparently, never told me why, and heck, he never even told me he had wizard blood in him. We were together for less than ten years before he was killed, and he died saving me.” Her shoulders began to shake as she began remembering the life she had lived before reawakening in the twentieth century.

Leaning forward Remus rested his hands on Melin’s shoulders as he tried to comfort her. “I know this sounds like an odd request, but why don’t you tell us about what it was like back then, I’ll send a letter off to Dumbledore while you do that letting him know about your dream.”

“Where to begin?” laughed Melin. “Well-I guess I can begin with how I met him….” As the night wore on Melin told her friends all about her adventures in medieval Paris.

Remus nodded silently as Melin finished her tale. Looking up at the clock on the wall he realized that it was now six o’clock in the morning, they had spent the entire night listening to Melin retell her life in the 1600s. Yawning loudly he set down his empty butterbeer bottle next to the other discarded bottles that littered the table and smiled. “Well, it looks like we’ve managed to kill about 10 hours. You should get back to the school Incendi, the semester starts today.”

Nodding Melin stood up and stretched, her spine popping a few times as she leaned over backwards to get a crick out of her back. “I’ll see you guys later then. Thanks for hearing me out, for some reason I feel better now that I’ve told someone what happened back then.”

“No problem Incendi.” smiled Remus. A quiet snore made him turn his attention to Sirius, who had apparently fallen asleep with his eyes open. “You know, it always creeps me out when he does that.”

“Creeps me out too.” Taking a handful of floo powder from the canister on the mantle she tossed it into the fireplace. “Melin’s office.” Waving goodbye she stepped into the flames and was whisked off back to her office at Hogwarts.

  


 

 

Snape was a nervous wreck as he paced back and forth in Melin’s office. He had expected her to return soon after his leaving from Grimmauld Place. ‘Why hasn’t she come back yet?’ It didn’t bother him that there was going to be a mass breakout in less than 24 hours, nor did it bother him that Umbridge had stalked into his office and announced to him that she needed to watch Melin teach a class where they were actually brewing a potion instead of just teaching theory. What was eating at his insides was that he had hit Melin.

He had just sat down in the chair behind Melin’s desk when the fireplace filled with a green flame and Melin came spinning out from it. “Where have you been?” he asked in a cold voice.

Melin dusted herself off and glared over at Snape. “I don’t ask where you disappear to all the time do I?” Catching the look of hurt that crossed Snape’s face she looked over at the window and shook her head. “Let’s just say I had an unsettling vision.”

Snape raised his eyebrows and stood up. “What sort of vision?” he asked as he moved around the desk and took Melin in his arms. The sight of the bruise made him wince, he was pretty sure that it was rather painful for Melin by the way she kept rubbing it.

“Fifth year Defense Against the Dark Arts O.W.L.,” she felt Snape go rigid, “Followed by watching a breakout at Azkaban.” She rested her head against his chest and closed her eyes. “It’s going to happen tonight isn’t it?”

“How-how do you know?”

“I see things when I sleep.” The clock on the mantle above the fireplace chimed the quarter hour as she stood there. Classes would be starting in less than an 2 hours and she still wanted to go downstairs to get something to eat, but for the moment all she wanted to do was stand there.

“What about the other bit?”

Melin shrugged. “No clue why the memory finally decided to come back to me.” She looked up and kissed Snape gently on the neck. “I’m sorry for what I said back then, hell, I’m sorry for the way I treated you for the twenty odd years after that.”

Running his hand through Melin’s raven black hair Snape let out a small laugh. “Don’t apologize, we both acted like idiots all those years. Let’s just put that behind us shall we?” He tilted Melin’s head back and pressed his lips against hers in a firm but gentle kiss.

“Hem hem.”

Snape jumped and whirled around to see Umbridge standing near the bookshelf that hid the door from the library to Melin’s office, her face plastered with a wide toad-like grin. Dropping his arms from around Melin he cleared his throat and made his way over to Umbridge and past her, pulling on the book that opened the passage and disappearing from sight.

Melin stood there, a look that was a mix of anger and annoyance on her face as Umbridge walked around her office, inspecting every little detail and jotting notes down on her clipboard. “Is there something I can do for you Dolores?” she asked in a voice that was the very epitome of control. She wanted to toss the woman out the window, but good breeding made sure she wouldn’t.

“I merely came to inspect your office, I’m sure you already knew that I was doing this over the holidays, however,” she looked over at Melin and her grin widened, “your office was dreadfully hard to find, do you mind telling me why your office is hidden behind the restricted section in the library?”

“Because I wanted to be close to the books. I spend a lot of time in the library doing research, as I am sure you are already well aware, and I don’t like the thought of having to travel half way across the castle to get a book.” Sweeping over to her chair she brushed Umbridge’s hand away from a stack of papers on her desk. “Please don’t touch my notes.”

The smile disappeared from Umbridge’s face and she scribbled something on the clipboard. “You know, as high inquisitor I have the right to inspect those notes.”

“I am well aware of that, but still, I would prefer if you didn’t. It’s a personal thing, nothing against you, I just don’t like anybody touching my notes.” She sat down in her dark blue wingback chair and began to organize the contents of her desk. Looking up she could see Umbridge scribbling furiously on her clipboard. With raised eyebrows she collected the papers together and slipped them into a thin black briefcase before she stood up again. “If there is nothing else you need from me I will be heading down to have some breakfast.”

“Just one or two more things, they won’t take more than a minute.” Said Umbridge as she looked up from her clipboard, the toad smile reappearing. “First, how did you get that bruise on your face? It looks like someone hit you.”

Melin raised her hand to the bruise and shook her head with a laugh. “No, I fell out of bed last night, I took the Knight Bus back from visiting my family in Somerset-and, well you know how violent the ride can be.”

Umbridge looked at Melin with a look of distrust on her face and scribbled another note on her board. “I see, now, number two. How long has your relationship with Professor Snape been-intimate?” Her grin widened and gave Melin the impression of a frog that was mulling over the taste of a particularly savory insect.

Shrugging Melin walked over to the bookcase and pulled on a book, revealing the passage back to the library. “I don’t know, about a day before I was rehired, whenever that was.” She looked over at Umbridge impatiently. Why wasn’t this woman taking the hint and leaving already? “I would really like to get down to breakfast now, and I must lock my office before I can leave.” She watched Umbridge write a final note on her board and walk past her out of the office. Sighing she followed after and sealed the door with a spell before making her way out of the library and down towards the great hall.

 


 

 

The day passed with little incident. Just before six o’clock rolled around Melin headed down the stairs to the dungeons in hopes of waylaying Harry before his meeting with Snape. She found him dragging his feet as he moved along the corridor and hurried to catch up with him. “Mr. Potter, may I have a word with you?”

Harry froze in his tracks and turned around to face Melin. This was the first time she had ever spoken to him outside of class and the thought of that was rather unnerving to him. “Is something wrong Professor?” He tried to think if he had done something wrong, if his latest essay had gotten a “T” perhaps. Unable to find any reason for Melin to have stopped him he stood there defensively. “I have to go meet Professor Snape, I have-remedial potions.” He finished the last part as quietly as he could and looked up in surprise to see Melin laughing. “What?”

Smiling Melin reached into her pocket and pulled out a folded up piece of parchment. Leaning close she said in a voice that was just above a whisper, “You don’t have to use that story with me Mr. Potter, I know as well as you do why you are going to meet with Professor Snape.” Winking she stood back up and handed the piece of parchment to Harry who accepted it with a puzzled look on his face. “It’s directions to my office, I would like to meet with you some time this weekend to discuss how you are progressing in class.”

“Thanks.” Pocketing the slip Harry was about to walk away when he looked back at Melin who was standing in the hallway still smiling at him. “Um-how’s your face?”

“It’s fine, you’d better hurry up, Professor Snape doesn’t like people to be late for appointments.” Turning on her heel she waved goodbye to Harry and headed up the steps. She had just made it to the top of the steps when she spotted Umbridge walking towards her, a wide grin plastered on her toad-like face. There was just something about that grin that made Melin’s insides feel like caving in. “Is there something you need Dolores?” she asked in a dangerously quiet voice.

Umbridge came up to stop before Melin and fished a letter out of her flowered bag. “I just needed to give you a letter. I am going to need to inspect you once again, this time I need to see you teach a class without Professor Snape in the room. Oh, and you need to be teaching something other than theory.” she added with a little giggle. “Theory is all well and good, but it will do little to help them in potions.”

‘And yet this toad is making her students learn nothing but backwards theory in class….’ Melin bit back a snide comment and smiled benignly, good breeding once again saving the day. “So you want me to teach them how to make a potion is that what you are saying?” Melin skimmed over the letter and shoved it in the pocket of her robe. “Then I shall see you next Monday.” she said in a tone that reeked of false cheeriness. “Maybe we will work on a potion to help you with that little cough you have.” she added before turning and hurrying off towards her office.

Melin whiled away the next hour grading papers on the students latest essay for Snape’s class, which turned out to be an appallingly boring task. It seemed to her that half the students either didn’t care, or were just plain stupid. As she graded the final paper she looked up as one of her bookcases slid to the side and Snape strode into the room, his face completely expressionless. “When did you get such idiots for students?” she asked as she gestured to the pile of papers on her desk.

“I ask myself that question all the time.” answered Snape, a thin smile appearing on his face. “I was wondering if you felt up to going somewhere this evening? Perhaps the Three Broomsticks for dinner?”

“Sounds wonderful. Let me get changed, I spent part of the day helping Pomona replant some of her daisies.” said Melin as she stood up and walked into the small room that was her bedroom. Opening the antique armoire in the corner she pulled off the skirt and blouse that she was wearing and stood there, in just a simple pair of white cotton panties and bra, looking for something clean to wear. She was about to select a pair of black slacks and a light blue blouse when she felt Snape’s fingers close gently around her shoulders and turn her around. Looking up into his eyes she smiled as she watched him close and seal the door back to her office. “Are we calling off dinner?” she asked with a playful grin.

“Just delaying it a little.” whispered Snape as he brushed his lips across Melin’s cheek, his hands moving over her slender shoulders and down to her small pert breasts. He smiled as Melin shivered and began kissing down her neck as he reached for the clasp on the front of Melin’s bra and undid it with a single motion. Seeing her breasts exposed he let out a quiet moan and maneuvered Melin over to the bed across the room and gently lowered her down onto the soft covers. His whole body was yearning to just shag her senseless, but as he forced himself to move slowly and deliberately he told himself that he wanted to savor his first time with the woman he loved. Having slid Melin’s bra completely off he cupped one of her small breasts in his hand and gently rubbed the nipple between two fingers.

Melin let out a quiet gasp and pulled Snape’s face to hers to kiss him, her lips parting slightly as she did so. She could feel his weight against her and moaned a little as she felt his hands move down across her stomach and begin to pull off her panties. Her entire body felt like it was on fire as Snape’s hands traced along her hips and back up to her breasts where he continued to gently fondle them, his lips moving across her cheek and over to her ear. She gasped in pleasure as he began to nibble and suck on her earlobe, the fire within her intensifying. Her hands moved across Snape’s body and began to unbutton the front of his shirt, revealing a thin but well muscled chest. She slid his shirt off of him and brushed her fingers across his chest as she felt his lips begin to kiss down her neck and her chest.

“I just want to take you right now.” whispered Snape as he gently kissed Melin’s breasts, his hands straying down her body and slowly parting her legs. He could feel his erection straining against his pants and stopped his caresses momentarily to stand up and undo them, letting them fall to the ground. Slipping his feet out of them he looked down at Melin as she lay there and climbed onto bed next to her. Propping himself up on one elbow he traced his fingers down from her neck and along her body until they found the soft hair between Melin’s legs. With his hand moving entirely on instinct he parted her lower lips and began to gently massage the area, smiling as Melin gasped with pleasure. Leaning closer he pressed his lips against hers, this time slipping his tongue into her mouth as his hands slid lower and into the soft and warm inner regions of her being. He could feel her tense for a split second and froze, worried that he might be moving too quickly. To his surprise he felt Melin wrap her arms around his waist and pull him closer to her body, so that he was practically lying on top of her. Moving his hand away he maneuvered himself so that he was in between her legs and looked down on her with a genuine smile spreading across his face.

Looking up into Snape’s dark eyes Melin pulled herself up just enough to kiss him briefly on the neck before pulling him closer to her. Nuzzling into the nape of his neck she ran her hands up his sides and back down before gently nipping him on the neck, making him take in a quick breath. With a smile she kissed him slowly as she moved her way up his neck and over to his ear. “What are you waiting for?” she whispered, her lips brushing against Snape’s ear as she talked.

“I merely wanted to savor the moment.” returned Snape in a hoarse whisper as he slowly slid himself inside. The sensation was electrifying, making him moan out in pleasure. He could feel his hips thrusting against Melin’s as his lips sought hungrily for hers. As the sensation in his body grew he broke away from the kiss and looked down into Melin’s eyes, his whole body feeling like it was going to explode with passion.

Melin smiled back up at Snape and pulled him back down to kiss her once again as she watched him shiver with pleasure. ‘If only this moment could last forever.’ she thought to herself. Running her hands down his back she began to move her hips against his, the sensation sending shivers through her own body.

With a final moan Severus arched his back as he felt himself cum, his body releasing every ounce of pent up emotion along with it. Suddenly he pulled Melin up and bit down hard on her shoulder, almost as if he was claiming her for his. He could hear her gasp from both the pain and her orgasm, his own breath practically coming out like a growl. After about a minute of holding her up he kissed the red bite mark gingerly and lay her back down on the sheets. Feeling spent he kissed Melin once more before rolling himself over and pulling Melin on top of him. He could feel her breath coming in short gasps and could feel the softness of her skin against his as she rested her head on his chest. Closing his eyes he let out a happy sigh and ran his fingers through Melin’s hair.

Melin waited for her breathing to return to normal and finally lifted her head from Snape’s chest to look at him lying there on her bed, his eyes closed, and a look of pure happiness on his face. With a soft smile she kissed him on the cheek before getting up and walking over to the small bathroom that was attached to her room. Closing the door behind her she moved over to the shower and turned on the faucets, the sound of the water running reminding her of the rain outside her window during the spring. When the water was finally warm enough she stepped under the stream and let out a contented sigh.

Chapter Text

Snape opened his eyes to a strange thumping noise outside the door to the bedroom. Raising an eyebrow he stood up and silently made his way over to the door and peered through the enchanted peephole that let people in the bedroom look through, but anyone on the other side could not look through to see the bedroom. What he saw made him growl angrily. There, in Melin’s office, was Umbridge, pink cardigan and all. “What the bloody hell is she doing in there?” he growled to himself as he watched Umbridge shuffle around the room, tearing it apart like she was trying to find some hidden item in Melin’s office. He turned away from the keyhole to see Melin step out of the small bathroom and motioned for her to move over and take a look. “That blasted woman is tearing the place apart.” he whispered as Melin knelt down to take a look for herself.

Melin swore under her breath as Umbridge finished making a mess of the papers on her desk and moved to the shelves to pull and push on each book, intent it appeared in finding some secret hidden passage. If the book didn’t open a passage Umbridge merely tossed it over her shoulder and moved on to the next. As Umbridge neared the shelf that hid Melin’s bedroom she stood up and grabbed up Snape’s clothes, which she thrust into his arms as she pushed him into the bathroom. “Get dressed quickly!” she hissed as she closed the door. Hurrying over to the armoire she threw on some undergarments and her bathrobe, and turned to look at her bed. She pulled out her wand and quickly uttered a cleaning charm, watching with relief as the bed cleaned and made itself.

She had just put her wand away when Umbridge pulled on the book that opened the door. Grumbling to herself she lit the lights in the room and unsealed the door. “What?” she snarled, her wet hair falling into her eyes. “You interrupted my shower.”

Umbridge jumped and took a few steps back, apparently shocked that there was someone in the room. With a girlish giggle she watched Melin leave the bedroom and walk into the office. “I was merely inspecting your office, it appears that there are several hidden passages leading from this room. Would you mind telling me where they all lead?” she asked in a voice so thick with false sweetness that Melin felt she would gag if it continued much longer.

“One to the library, one down to the front hall, one to my house in Hogsmeade, though that way is now sealed due to the escape of Sirius Black, one that leads outside towards the lake...also sealed, and one that leads to my personal store of potion ingredients and my cauldron.” growled Melin as she surveyed the damage Umbridge had caused in tearing apart her office. “You mind telling me why you did this?” Her answer came in the way of a rolled up piece of parchment being shoved in her face. “What the bloody hell is this?” Unrolling the parchment she read the letter aloud, her voice growing angrier with each word. “The minister of magic, Cornelius Fudge, gives full permission to Dolores Umbridge, High Inquisitor of Hogwarts, to inspect and if need be, dismantle the office of Melin Weichselzopf on the grounds that it is believed she is hiding important information that may be used against the Ministry of Magic. What the hell could have given you that impression?” she shouted as she finished the letter.

“You refused to let me see your notes earlier in the day.” answered Umbridge. If Melin’s outburst had frightened her, she was doing a very good job of hiding it behind her toad-like smile. “I have taken the liberty of confiscating your notes and the contents of your desk, you will receive it back when I am done examining it.” She patted her flowered bag and her smile widened. “I am quite sure that many of the potions you have been working on aren’t legal. I will have to send your notes to the Ministry to have them checked out. You will kindly deliver your notebook to my office so it can be sent out for inspection. Now if you will excuse me I must return to my office to look over my findings.” Waving cheerily she pulled the only remaining book on the bookshelf and left the office.

Melin sealed her office and looked around in disbelief. Books were strewn everywhere, some with pages hanging loosely from broken spines. The entire contents of her desk had been emptied onto the floor and her favorite set of quills lay in a mangled heap by the fireplace. The only thing still left intact seemed to be the fireplace, though the clock was lying on its face and the jar of floo powder lay cracked on the hearth.

“Oh for the love of-” Snape walked into the office and looked around with utter disbelief. “All this over your little pet peeve of people looking at your notes.” he said with a small laugh.

Melin whirled around to face him, her face streaming with tears of anger. “Tell me that this is just a dream Severus! Tell me that I’m lying back there with you and my office isn’t in shambles! Please! Tell me she didn’t harm my books!” She rushed over and flung herself into his arms and sobbed hysterically into his robes.

Snape had to fight back a laugh at Melin’s personification of her books. Patting Melin’s back gently Snape was at a loss for words. What could he say that wouldn’t make everything worse? With a sigh he placed his hands on Melin’s shoulders and pulled her back a little so he could look into her face. “Look, you know I can’t tell you that any more that I can deny what is on my left arm. But what I can do is offer to help you clean this up and then take you out to dinner like I promised.” He looked into her eyes and smiled a thin smile. “We can have your office put back together in no time.”

With a small nod Melin controlled her sobs and pulled her out her wand. “But where should we start? The room is a total disaster!”

“Let’s start with the books.” Pulling out his own wand he walked over to one side of the office and began moving the books back into their places, repairing those in need of mending.

Melin sighed and took another wall. After she and Snape had moved all the books back to their respective places, she walked over to her desk and shook her head. “Organize.” The desk gave a small shudder and suddenly everything that had been strewn about flew back into its respective drawer. With a sad moan she picked up her now crumpled quills and tossed them into the trash. “I really liked those quills too, they were off of Buckbeak.” She cleaned up the ink stains on her bare desk and recapped the now empty ink well. Looking around her reconstructed office she flopped down in her chair and shook her head. “I swear, this is one of the few times I would be willing to put poison in that woman’s drink.” she growled.

“And no one would blame you for it.” smirked Snape as he took one of the seats on the other side of the desk. “You should finish getting dressed Melin, it’s started snowing again.”

Looking up she blinked a couple of times and noticed that there was indeed snow falling outside her window. She was about to stand up when the clock on the mantle chimed the hour. As the eleventh chime died away Melin sighed and looked over at Snape. “Looks like we will have to call that dinner off until tomorrow, Severus.”

“Well then,” Snape stood up and lit a fire in the fireplace. “How about we just spend the night in here?” He watched as Melin walked around her desk with a smile, her supple figure moving effortlessly towards him with a gentle elfin grace. Catching the grin on her face he raised an eyebrow. “Or do you have something else planned?”

Still grinning Melin took a hold of Snape’s hand and pulled him back into her bedroom. “Oh, I can think of a couple of things.” she said as she pulled him down onto the bed with her.

 


 

 

Melin had just poured herself a cup of coffee when a large barn owl landed in front of her at the staff table, a copy of the Daily Prophet in its beak. She calmly deposited a Knut into the pouch on its leg and watched it fly off. She unrolled the paper and took a sip of her coffee, which she promptly spit all over Snape as she read the front page.

Snape had been in the process of buttering a piece of toast when Melin spit hot coffee on him. Wiping it from his face he glared over at her. “What the bloody hell was that for, Melin?” Leaning over his eyes skimmed the article on the front page. “Mass Breakout From Azkaban, Ministry Fears Black is “Rallying Point” For Old Death Eaters.” He raised an eyebrow and looked up at Melin for she had uttered a small squeak of terror as she looked at the pictures of the ten escaped Death Eaters. “Is there something wrong?”

“Hi-him.” stammered Melin as she pointed a shaking finger at a particularly sallow looking man staring back at her. “I remember him, he’s one of the ones who-” Cutting off her sentence she looked down at the other end of the table to see Umbridge glaring angrily at each of the other teachers in turn. She quickly lowered her voice. “You know….” she whispered.

Thinking back to the night before Snape recalled the crisscrossing scars that covered Melin’s body with a shudder. He wished he could just magic them away, get rid of them and their horrible memory from Melin’s mind. Pulling his chair over so he could read the article better he felt Melin slip her hand into his under the table and raised an eyebrow. This was the first time he could remember her ever doing anything that could be considered a public display of affection. His face darkened as he looked at the picture of Bellatrix Lestrange wink up at him for a second. Even though he had known the breakout was to occur it still rattled his nerves a little, and he didn’t like it.

 


 

 

Melin spent the remainder of the week locked in her office, her nose buried in books, save when she came out during meal times. She really didn’t feel like dealing with anyone and she felt her nerves grate every time she left the quiet of her office. As the weekend rolled around she was nothing but a bundle of nerves. Pacing in front of her fireplace she stopped only momentarily to look at Snape, who had been watching her walk back and forth in front of him for the past hour. “What the hell am I supposed to teach those kids on Monday that will only take a class period to complete?” she asked as she tugged at the hair tie that was holding her hair out of her face.

Snape shrugged nonchalantly and looked over at Melin’s desk, which was a bigger mess than usual. “What about, oh I don’t know, that one hair potion you used to like to slip into my drinks? I seem to remember that no matter how poorly it was made it still had remarkable results.” he remarked with a smirk.

“The hair dying potion?” Melin stopped in the middle of pulling out her ponytail and a thin smile broke out on her face. “Well it only takes an hour to prepare and ten minutes to cool.…” She walked over to Snape and bent down to kiss him on the lips. “Thank you so much love, you just saved my career! How can I thank you?”

“How about you go to dinner with me like we agreed to do earlier?” ventured Snape as he pulled Melin down on to his lap and gently caressed Melin’s cheek. “We both need to escape from here for a little bit, how about-oh let’s say-” His words were cut off as the fire before them turned bright green and McGonagall came spinning out of the fireplace. Forgetting Melin was sitting in his lap Snape shot out of the chair as if someone had just jabbed him with a cattle prod. He looked down to see Melin sitting on the ground rubbing her behind.

“Go ahead and pick her up Severus, you don’t need to try and hide your little relationship from me. Heaven knows Dolores has already blasted it in the teacher’s lounge enough.” said McGonagall with a slight smirk on her face. After Snape had helped Melin up she got right down to business. “Albus wishes for you to go to London for a few days Severus, Melin is already scheduled to take over your classes on Monday, so there should be no problem in you taking an extra long weekend.”

Snape raised an eyebrow at McGonagall. “Is there any reason for this little…venture?”

“He will explain it all to you when you get there. That is all I can say on the matter Severus.”

With a curt nod Snape strode over to the bookcase that hid the passage to Melin’s house in Hogsmeade and pushed it open. “Then I will see you all on Tuesday.”

As he left Melin looked over at McGonagall with a questioning look on her face. “Is something wrong?”

“If I could I would let you know Melin, but as it stands you should just concentrate on your class on Monday.”

Melin gave a sigh of defeat and slunk over to her chair as McGonagall left. She hated being kept out of the loop, but, she reminded herself, that was a good thing sometimes. The Death Eaters had already burned down her house at the beginning of the year, and she didn’t exactly want them to have any reason to come looking for her. She looked at the mess on her desk and simply swept everything onto the floor.

 


  

She had just completed her lesson plans when the panel behind her slid open and shut. Looking around the back of her chair her grim expression softened into a smile. “Ah Harry, wonderful timing, please come and take a seat.”

Harry walked across the room, noting the mess on the floor around the desk and took a seat in the only empty chair, the other being occupied by several large books. “You wished to see me, Professor?”

Melin smiled and summoned at teapot and a couple of cups over to her with a flick of her wand. “Can I interest you in a cup of tea while we talk?” She tapped the teapot once and almost immediately steam poured from its spout.

“Um-sure I guess.” answered Harry.

With a nod Melin poured the elderberry tea into two blue china tea cups. “I’m sure you’re wondering why I asked you to meet me.” She said as she took a sip of her tea. “I am concerned about the marks you are getting in potions, you have more zeros than any other student in school right now. Even those two boys that always hang around young Mr. Malfoy are doing better than you…and one of them supposedly can’t read. Do you have any idea why? Or where your samples keep disappearing to? I can hardly ever find them when Professor Snape gives me the samples to grade.”

“Does Snape know you’re meeting with me about this?” asked Harry as he took a sip of the tea and set his cup down.

“No, and quite frankly he doesn’t need to Harry.” said Melin.

Harry nodded. It struck him as odd that Melin hadn’t told him to say “Professor Snape” like everyone else did. Taking a sip of tea he looked around the room at the countless books that adorned the shelves. “I know Snape keeps vanishing my potion the second I make a minute mistake, other than that-” He looked back at Melin with a start as she laughed quietly. “Is there something funny about that?”

“I had figured that was what was going on.” smiled Melin as she set down her teacup. “Well I can assure you that on Monday you won’t have to worry about him vanishing your potion.”

“Why is that?”

“I’m teaching on Monday.” She raised her eyebrows as Harry choked on his tea. “Is there something wrong?”

Harry coughed a few times and looked up at Melin. “Why are you teaching tomorrow?”

“The wonderful and illustrious Professor Umbridge commands it.” said Melin with a hint of hostility in her words. “I just finished drawing up the lesson plans before you came in.” She gestured over to a thin black notebook. “She wants me to show that I can teach you students how to make a potion.”

“Why?”

Melin shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine.” She waved her wand and magiked her teacup and the teapot to their usual places on the shelf and smiled slightly. “I was wondering though, I offer an after school session for students who feel they could use some extra help in potions…I usually only offer it to N.E.W.T. level students, but I’m going to be offering it to you guys as well on Monday. Would you be interested in signing-now don’t get me wrong here Harry, I’m not trying to say that you are a bad potion maker, I was suggesting it to you as a means of…extra credit so to speak, to help make up for the zeros.”

Harry shook his head. “I don’t have the time to, I’m waist deep in homework already.” He looked behind him and spotted some pictures up on the mantle. “Is it all right if I take a look at the pictures over there?”

“Go right ahead.” Nodding Melin stood up and followed Harry over to the pictures. “Those are mostly pictures from when I went to school here.”

Picking up the closest picture Harry gasped. “You played quidditch?”

“Yeah, I was the Ravenclaw keeper. Let me just say that your father liked to put me through my paces during matches.” said Melin with a small smile. “He was a remarkable chaser, was one of the few who could get the quaffle past me.” She picked up a picture of her sandwiched in between the Marauders and smiled faintly as everyone in the picture waved back at her. “We got to be really good friends by the end of school. Even stayed in touch afterward.”

“What was he like back then?” asked Harry as he took the photo from Melin and blinked as everyone in the portrait blew a huge raspberry at him.

Melin laughed. “I think the picture just summed it up for you. He liked to play pranks, often putting him at odds with a few of the prefects, which I must say, was at least once a week. The other prefects either didn’t care about what he did-or they goaded him on.”

Replacing the picture on the mantle Harry moved over to one where Melin and Remus were waving back at him, their prefect pins shining on the lapels of their Hogwarts robes. “Lemme guess, you were one of the prefects that goaded…” he blinked in surprise as Melin shook her head. “You were one of the ones to break up their pranks?”

“Yeah, when my nose wasn’t buried in some book. I remember I broke up a particularly bad one during the end of our fifth year…but it's all in the past.” Melin laughed as she looked at one of the newest additions to the pictures up on the mantle. It showed her and Snape standing behind a cauldron with Melin pointing to something in a book while Snape pointed to something else. She had pulled it out of an album last week and decided to place it up on the mantle in a proper frame. “And of course, we had Professor Snape with us. As you can see…we didn’t always get along.” she said as she pointed at the picture where the figures had begun to argue. “That was taken in our seventh year. Your father shot it, he liked getting pictures of people, said he was making a scrapbook. I think Severus and I were arguing over how many lacewings to add to the potion or something.”

“You two look like you hated each other.” said Harry as he watched the miniature Melin and Snape turn their backs on each other in a huff. Next to the picture though was a picture of a grown Melin and Snape standing together in the potions classroom, Melin smiling and waving and Snape looking uneasy. “What changed that?”

Melin shrugged. “I haven’t a clue. We went from barely tolerating each other one day to liking each other the next.” The clock on the mantle chimed and Melin looked over to see it was 8:45. “You had better head back to your dorms, Harry. Oh, and if you ever have a question on any assignment, or anything in particular, you can always come and ask me, got it?”

Harry nodded and walked over to the shelf and waited for the panel to slide to the side. “I guess I’ll see you in class Monday then?”

“You bet, and go ahead and tell the other Gryffindors I’ll be teaching Monday, give you guys a little leg up on the Slytherins.” Melin said with a laugh as Harry left.

  


 

 

“I wonder what Professor Weichselzopf will be teaching us.” whispered Ron as he looked around the room for signs of Melin. “For that matter where is she? The only one in here is Umbridge.”

“She must have gotten hung up somewhere.” whispered Hermione. She looked up, along with the rest of the class as Melin strode into the classroom and up to the front of the class. Almost immediately several of the Slytherin students began talking amongst themselves and casting glares at Melin. “I don’t think they knew, why wouldn’t Professor Snape tell them?” She didn’t have to wait long for her answer.

Melin pulled out her wand and waved it, closing the door with a loud bang that quieted the entire room. A small smirk played across her face as she heard Umbridge begin to scribble on her clipboard. “Welcome back class, I trust you all had a good weekend?” A murmur rose from the students.

“Where’s Professor Snape?” shouted a Slytherin boy from the back of the class.

“Obviously he isn’t here is he? I am teaching the class for today.” answered Melin in a cool voice. “And I would prefer if you would refrain from such outbursts in my class. If you have a question I would like you to raise your hand.” She raised her eyebrows as Malfoy’s hand shot up. “Yes Mr. Malfoy?”

“Why’s Professor Umbridge here?”

Melin gave a false smile in Umbridge’s direction. “Professor Umbridge wished to see me teach you today. She will be coming around and asking you questions I am sure, so please answer them as truthfully as you can.” Moving over to the blackboard she tapped her wand against it and the words “Disguise Potions” appeared. “Disguise potions are most often used by aurors, actors, people who don’t like their appearances, and of course conmen.” She raised an eyebrow as a few of the students began to chuckle. “Though they are not commonly used it is always good to know how to whip one up in a hurry. I already know Professor Snape had you researching the Polyjuice potion, a prime example of a disguise potion, and so I feel we should go down that avenue in our lesson today.” More snickering from the Slytherins. “Any of you who are planning on working in almost any job nowadays will need to have at the very least, basic knowledge of these simple yet effective potions.” Her eye twitched slightly as a small group of Slytherin girls began to giggle. Pointing her wand in the air she smirked as it emitted a loud bang, startling all the students to attention. “Much better, I will not tolerate such acts of disrespect in my class.” She stepped down from the front of the class and walked over to the group of Slytherin girls, all of whom were staring at Melin with wide eyed horror now. Leaning close to them she looked at each in turn. “If you girls wish to make fun of my teaching, do so on your own time, not on my time. Five points from Slytherin for each of you.” she said quietly. Straightening she turned on her heel and went back to the front of the class. “Today we will be working on a potion that will no doubt get a few laughs out of all of you.” She looked over at Umbridge, her smile becoming dangerous. “If you could please come up here Professor Umbridge? I could use your assistance for a moment.”

“I do not see why the children would need to learn how to make disguise potions in this class, Professor Weichselzopf.” protested Umbridge as she stood up and made her way to stand next to Melin. “I do not believe the ministry would approve.”

“You wanted to see me teach, and the potion they will be working on will only take one class period to complete. Now then, if you could please drink this.” She fished a small vial out of her pocket and handed it to Umbridge who took it in her stubby fingers and looked at it. “Don’t worry, if it was poison I would have already slipped it into your tea.” Several giggles rose from the students.

Umbridge looked at the vial for another second before uncorking it and tipping back the contents. Almost instantly her hair changed from its usual tight curls to bright red and frizzy. “What on earth did you do to me?” she screamed.

“Oh don’t worry, it will wear off in two minutes.” said Melin nonchalantly. “As you can see class, we will be working on a potion that changes your hair.” She looked around the room to see the student’s faces light up. “The best part of this potion is that no matter how poorly you do, you will still get some sort of result. I will grade accordingly on how well your potion works. Now of course if you do not wish to try your potion at the end of class, and by all means you are not going to be forced to take it, then I will want you to fill a vial, clearly labeled with your name, and bring it up to me for grading. Instructions-” she tapped the board again, the instructions appearing instantly. “Are on the board. You will find everything you need in your own collections. If you are out of something, which you shouldn’t be, please come up front and get it from the store cupboards. You have one hour to complete it, go.”

 


 

 

Melin watched as the students filed out of the classroom, each with differently colored hair. To her surprise not a single student had chosen not to test their own potion. As she collected her belongings and cleared the board she straightened as Umbridge cleared her throat. “Yes?”

Umbridge walked over to Melin and stood before her, making Melin seem tall and imposing at her height of 5 foot 8 inches. “Yes, I do not believe that it is a common task to ask students to test their own potion, the ministry would-” she was cut off as Melin waved her hand in a dismissive air. “Do you disagree with me?”

“Oh I’m sure the ministry thinks what it thinks Dolores, but rest assured, the potion I had them make could in no way, shape, or form poison any of them anymore than drinking a glass of soda would.” Melin placed her papers into her briefcase and snapped it shut.

“Did any of the students fail?”

Shaking her head Melin smiled. “A few of them made mistakes, and I will grade them accordingly, but over all they all did quite well.” She raised an eyebrow as she watched Umbridge was scribbling furiously on her clipboard. “So when will I get my results back? Or my papers for that matter? Most of the papers on my desk were essays that I had graded…the students need them back.”

“You will get them along with your results at the end of the week. You still haven’t handed over your notebook though, I will need to see it before the end of the day.”

“I lost it somewhere.” Melin looked over to see Neville still sitting quietly at his desk, his hair a violent shade of orange. “Is there something wrong, Mr. Longbottom?”

Neville flushed bright red. “I just needed to talk with you, Professor.”

“I see.” Melin picked up her briefcase and walked over to Neville’s desk. “Well then why don’t you accompany me to the great hall, we can talk on the way.”

“Thank you, Professor.” Collecting his books Neville slung his bag over his shoulder and followed after Melin, only stopping to wait with Melin for Umbridge to leave the classroom.

Melin watched Umbridge hurry off and shook her head. Replacing her frown with a smile she began walking. “What is it you needed to ask me, Mr. Longbottom?”

“I was-I was wondering it you could maybe help me-with my potions work. My Gran says that if I don’t pull off an A on my O.W.L. she will skin me alive.”

“Sure, I offer sessions after school for students who need help. How does Monday after dinner sound?” Melin smiled as Neville nodded. “Very well, I will see you tonight in my office after seven. You will find my office by pushing on Moste Potente Poisons in the restricted section of the library, just tell Madame Pince you’re there to see me and she’ll let you into the restricted section. Now go off and have lunch.” She watched Neville hurry off and was about to ascend the stairs when she thought she heard something behind her, but when she looked the passage was empty. “I need to get more rest, soon I’m going to be seeing things that aren’t there too.” she said aloud to herself as she made her way up the stairs and over to the staff table to help herself to some hot chicken stew.

 


 

 

The rest of the day progressed smoothly, with only a small snag when Professor Trelawney accidentally stumbled across Melin’s office when she tried to take the copy of Moste Potente Poisons from the shelf. It had been a strange few minutes, Melin staring awestruck at an even more confused Trelawney, her shawls askew. Finally Trelawney made a muttered excuse and shuffled off back to her tower, leaving Melin to stare after her in dumb amazement.

Her session with Neville went off better than she had expected. The boy seemed to gain more confidence when Snape wasn’t around. Making a mental note of that Melin sent Neville off after an hour and went about cleaning up her office.


As midnight rolled around Melin looked up from her work at the clock and rubbed her eyes. ‘Where the bloody hell is Severus?’ she asked herself as she stood up and stretched. Walking over to her bedroom she slipped out of her clothes and into a long blue nightshirt. She looked in the mirror as she brushed her hair and braided it (which was a task in itself since it was now almost down to her knees), wondering what the outcome of her inspection would bring. On a sudden whim she slipped into her slippers and hurried from her office and down towards Snape’s office. ‘Maybe he hasn’t had a chance to let me know he’s back yet.’ she thought as she silently descended the steps to the dungeons.

 


 

 

Snape had indeed not had a chance to let anyone know he was back. He had arrived back at his office just before midnight and had barely had a chance to remove his cloak when he noticed that he had a visitor. Whipping out his wand he gave it a single wave to light all the candles in the room and held it at the ready, in case he had to defend himself. To his surprise and horror a thin and disheveled looking woman looked over at him from under heavily lidded eyes. “Bellatrix!” he hissed, still keeping his wand pointed at her. “What in the name of Merlin’s beard are you doing here?”

Bellatrix let out a small laugh and sauntered over to Snape, whom she proceeded to push gently, if not somewhat forcefully, into the large chair behind his desk. “I came to see you. You know, you always were my favorite among the Dark Lord’s inner circle.” she whispered as she wound her fingers through his hair and straddled him, her body pressed up against his and her fingers holding his head still. “And Azkaban was such a lonely place.”

Raising his eyebrows Snape turned his face away as Bellatrix made to kiss him. “What about your husband?”

“What about him? He’s turned worthless after his stay in Azkaban, can’t keep anything up, if you get what I’m saying. But you,” she released one side of Snape’s head and snaked her fingers down to the top button of his shirt, “you’re fit, and quite desirable after 15 years on that blasted rock.”

Regaining his composure Snape pushed Bellatrix away and made to re-button his shirt. “Now see here, I do not believe that it is wise for you to tarry here, there are…forces that ensure the safety of the students, and they will more than likely find you if you stay here to long.” His eyes widened as Bellatrix seized his face and pulled it to hers. He was in the middle of trying to pull away when a section of his office wall slid to the side and Melin stepped into his office. Panic hit and he began trying to push Bellatrix off of him.

Melin froze at the sight of Bellatrix on top of Snape, not sure if she should be furious or frightened. Her hand started to steal to her pocket when she realized to her horror that her wand was still up in her bedroom. Instantly her mind told her to turn and run, but she knew she wouldn’t make it two steps. Her own magic would be useless since all Bellatrix would have to do would be to cast a simple defensive spell and thus completely cancel out Melin’s magic. Dozens of plans flew through her mind as she stood there. She let out a yelp as the secret door slid shut behind her, catching one of her slippers and the back of her nightshirt. Struggling to pull her shirt from the crack she glared over at Bellatrix, her anger taking precedence over her fear. “Why are you here?” she growled.

Bellatrix released Snape and glided over to Melin. “What have we here? Why if it isn’t little Melin!” She seized Melin’s chin between her finger and thumb and forced her to look into her eyes. “I haven’t seen you in 15 years, when did we last see each other? Oh yes, I believe it was right before we proceeded to try to extract information from you. Pity you were telling the truth about not knowing anything wasn’t it? All that wasted effort. I believe Severus remembers it too, don’t you Severus?” Catching the hurt look that appeared in Melin’s eyes she laughed and released her pincer-like hold. “I believe I just hit a nerve with you!” Grabbing a hold of Melin’s arm she yanked her forward, ripping the night shirt, and tossed her in front of Snape. “Looks like we have someone who’s hurt by your actions Severus, what should we do?”

Snape stood up, his face impassive, and drew his wand. “We will do what we need to. She knows too much.” Inside his guts were twisting with nausea. Was he going to have to kill her? Looking down into her frightened face he wished he could tell her that he didn’t want to have to harm her. Raising his wand he quickly cast a silencing charm on the room to make sure no sound escaped from his office before looking back down at Melin, his heart feeling like it was about to tear in two. “We should show her her place.”

“Perhaps a good beating is in order. When a servant is impudent you beat them right?”

“Perhaps….” Lifting Melin up he turned her to face the desk and looked over to Bellatrix, who gleefully pinned Melin’s hands down. He raised his wand above his head and brought it down with a whip like motion. Magically the fabric of Melin’s nightshirt split and a large red welt appeared on her fair skin. Ignoring Melin’s gasps of pain he raised his wand and brought it down, another red welt appearing on her back. Again and again he brought his wand down, and again and again the shirt tore and welts appeared. After about fifty such lashes he heard Melin begin to cry and lowered his wand.

“Wonderful!” Releasing Melin’s hands Bellatrix clapped and pulled out her wand. “Now then, what should I do to her first? Oh! Let’s use-Crucio!”

Letting out a scream Melin felt like all of her scars were being torn anew, their fire ripping through her like jagged blades. Her legs collapsed, unable to hold her up any longer. Lying on the cold stone floor she instinctively drew her legs up to her chest and lay there, twitching and screaming. After several agonizing seconds she felt the immense pain lift a little and lay there, still in a ball, sobbing quietly.

Bellatrix laughed quietly and listened for any sign of someone hearing Melin’s screams. It appeared that the silencing charm Snape had placed on the room was working. “Wonderful Severus, I shall tell the Dark Lord how wonderfully you helped me tonight. Now,” she looked down at Melin’s trembling figure and kicked her with her shoe, “let’s see what you know…Cruc-” She looked up angrily as Snape grabbed her arm and stopped her spell.

“She doesn’t know anything, I’ve already interrogated her with Veritaserum last Monday.” Snape knelt down and lifted the still trembling Melin to her feet. “They apparently don’t trust her enough to let her in on any…pertinent information. I’ve gotten the distinct feeling that they merely allowed her in so they could have someone to brew potions for them…other than that she is completely useless. Even house elves are more useful than she is to them.”

Narrowing her eyes Bellatrix lowered her wand and grabbed hold of Melin. Pulling her over to her she looked Melin over, ripped away the remains of her nightgown, and tossed her off to the side, where she heard Melin collapse into a crumpled heap. “I’ll believe you this time Severus, but next time, I will torture her until she cracks.”

“I look forward to watching that when it happens.” sneered Snape as he watched Melin stagger to a kneeling position.

“Let’s see you whip her until she bleeds.” goaded Bellatrix as she pushed Snape forward. “Show me that this is not a show you’re putting on, prove to me your loyalty to the Dark Lord.”

Feeling like he was going to throw up, Snape raised his wand and brought it down, over and over again, Bellatrix’s laughter ringing in his ears. He didn’t stop until he began to see blood trickling down Melin’s sides. He was about to lower his wand when Bellatrix prodded him to continue. Shaking his head he put his wand away. “The charm will wear off soon, and more than likely if you stay any longer they will discover you. You’d better get going, I’ll take the liberty of silencing her…I need to-pay her back for some things she did to me while in school.”

“Very well, just make sure she never forgets who’s boss.” Bellatrix grabbed hold of a quill on Snape’s desk and, tapping it with her wand, disappeared.

The moment Bellatrix was gone Snape made to kneel down next to Melin, to try to comfort her, but before he could she stood and staggered, naked, over to the secret door that she had come in from. “Melin-” He took a step forward but froze as Melin whirled around, her dark blue, almost black eyes glaring at him from under raven black hair. “Believe me-it was not how it looked. I never wanted-”

Melin didn’t even feel like dignifying him with an answer. Pushing in the brick that triggered the door to open she picked up her discarded slipper and staggered off down the passageway, the heavy stone door slamming shut behind her. She didn’t care where she went, and before long she found herself walking down the path towards the lake, her eyes drawn to the eerie stillness of it in the moonlight. She had almost reached the water’s edge when her strength finally gave out. Falling to her knees she looked up at the moon for a second before falling backwards into the soft snow, her blood turning everything around her red.

Chapter Text

Melin awoke three days later to find herself lying in her bed. Brushing a damp washcloth off from her forehead she opened her eyes and looked over to see her brother Michea dozing in a chair next to her. “How long have I been out?” she croaked, her throat feeling painfully dry.

Michea woke with a start and looked over at his sister. “Three days, Severus told me what happened and asked me to look over you. Are you all right?” He blinked his golden eyes when he saw Melin’s face fall at the mention of Snape’s name. “Did-something happen?”

Shaking her head Melin sat up and rubbed the bite scar on her shoulder. What had happened after she had walked out of the office? She remembered looking up at a nearly complete white circle, the moon she guessed, and then…nothing. Throwing the covers off of her she stood up and took a few faltering steps over to the bedroom door and peered into her office. Everything was as she had left it, save for a huge bouquet of multi-colored roses on her desk. “Where did those come from?” She asked, pointing at the bouquet.

“Those are from Severus, he’s been coming in here and checking on you between classes and just brought those an hour ago.” Michea stood up and draped a bathrobe over Melin’s shoulders. “You really shouldn’t be out of bed.” He tried to lead her back to her bed but she pushed away from him and stumbled over to the desk.

“He-he left these? After what he did?” She made to push the roses away but could barely even lift her arm, the fresh scars still hurt too much.

Michea hurried over to his sister and caught her as she started to fall. He carried her over to the bed and lay her back down. “Listen, I cannot make excuses for him, but you know as well as I do that he has to keep up the appearance that he is still a Death Eater. I’m sure if he could have avoided it he would have.”

Melin rolled onto her side and pulled the covers over her head. “Just leave me alone for right now, Michea, I need to be alone.”

“Go ahead and head out, Michea, I need to talk with Melin alone.” came a soft voice from near the door.

Peeking out from under the covers Melin sighed as she recognized Dumbledore standing there, a look of concern on his face. She was about to protest, to beg Michea to stay with her, but he was gone before she could utter the first syllable. With a sigh she sat up and watched as Dumbledore walked into the room and took a seat on the chair beside the bed. “What do you need to talk to me about?”

“Severus told me the whole story, including what had happened before you came into the room. He-”

“Bellatrix was kissing him so hard it looked like she was trying to discover what he had eaten for dinner!” snapped Melin.

“I understand how you must feel Melin, but let me assure you that Severus was trying to fend her off when you arrived.” Dumbledore patted Melin gingerly on the hand and pulled out his wand. With a wave he lit the crystal balls hanging from the ceiling and smiled down at Melin, who had begun sobbing into her pillow. “You know in your heart Severus never wanted to hurt you, you know that he merely did what he had to…just like the rest of us, and the thought of that is tearing you apart.”

Melin looked up for a moment and wiped the tears from her face. “I want to-I want to believe that. But there was just something about the look in his eyes, it was almost like he wanted to do what he did. Like he enjoyed it.”

“And do you believe that?” asked Dumbledore.

Shaking her head Melin lay her face back down on her pillow and shivered. “I’m not sure what to believe right now, I think I just need time alone to think.” She felt Dumbledore pat her gently on the head and sighed. Listening to him get up and leave she slowly got out of bed, picked up her wand, and moved with slow deliberate steps over to her desk, where she conjured up a beautiful crystal vase to put the roses in. With a sigh she picked up the first flower, a deep blue rose, and placed it in the vase. After several minutes she looked at the finished work with a faint smile and sunk down in her chair. “I wish I knew what to believe.” she whispered quietly as she gazed at the roses.

“Why not believe what’s in your heart?”

Jerking up Melin stared at her fireplace as it turned green and Snape came spinning out. A low growl escaped her lips and she quickly looked away, trying to find something else to occupy her attention. “Right now my heart is telling me nothing, Severus.”

Snape looked hurt for a split second and then reached into the folds of his robes. Pulling out a medium sized hip flask he walked over to Melin’s desk and set it down before her. “Drink this, it will help…”

“Help to do what? Make me think that this was all just a bad dream? Make me think that you didn’t actually do what you did? That you didn’t stand there and watch her-” Her voice cracked and she covered her face with her hands.

“No…it will help heal your wounds, and remove all those scars from your beautiful body.” Snape moved around the desk and placed his fingers under Melin’s chin. Lifting her face to look at his he gave her a small smile. “You should not have to bear those marks, nor should you have had to experience what you did.” His eyes widened in surprise as Melin stood up and flung herself into his arms, sobbing. Resting his head gently on top of hers he stroked her soft hair and waited for the sobbing to subside. Outside the last rays of sunlight disappeared behind the mountains, leaving the room lit only by the fire crackling quietly in the fireplace. After several minutes Snape lifted Melin into his arms, picked up the flask off the desk, and made his way over to Melin’s bed. Laying her down he sat next to her and handed her the flask. “I don’t have an apology for you…I can’t seem to put it in words. It tore me up inside to see you lying there in pain, it was something that I had hoped never to witness again.” He leaned down and kissed Melin on the forehead. “I wish I could take away all your pain, but I can’t, all I can do is be there for you…if not in body then in spirit.”

Melin gave a small laugh. “Can’t put it into words my ass.” Looking the flask over Melin unscrewed the cap and sniffed the contents. Making a face she put the flask to her lips and drank the contents. Straight away she could feel the potion take effect. Her body suddenly felt like it was being pricked by millions of needles, and the pain from the fresh scars ebbed. Lifting up her shirt she watched as the scars on her sides faded from view. “How did you make this potion Severus?” she asked in an astonished voice.

“I found your notebook hidden under some papers on my desk. I merely made the finishing modifications and brewed it for you.” Reaching out his hand Snape gently caressed Melin’s cheek. The potion had almost run its course, and as far as he could see it was working on the werewolf bite as well, for the scar was slowly fading from sight. He chuckled quietly as Melin hiccoughed. “Looks like the potion is finished working.”

“Looks like it.” Melin smiled faintly and picked up the brush that was on the table next to her. Running the brush through her hair she looked over at Snape. “Do you think you could teach me to…to mask my thoughts and emotions?”

Snape raised an eyebrow at Melin but smiled. “You mean Occlumency?”

Melin nodded. “Yeah, I was thinking about it while I was arranging the flowers, thinking about how easy it was for Bellatrix to see into my mind, to read me just by how I moved. I don’t want to be read like a book…to be…weak.” She stopped for a moment and looked down at her hands. “I used to be a whiz at masking my thoughts, but never my emotions. Subterfuge became one of my specialties long ago.” Shaking he head she sighed. “But now a days….Everyone in the order treats me like a child, like I can’t handle anything…it infuriates me every time they call a meeting only to send me out of the room to make some…potion.” She started brushing her hair again, fighting with a large knot. “They don’t let me know anything, and then what happens? I get tortured for information I don’t know!”

“Did you ever think they do that to protect you?” ventured Snape. Both his eyebrows shot up as Melin heaved the brush across the room, where it hit the wall and snapped in two. “I see what you mean about controlling emotions.” he sneered.

Melin ignored him, her eyes flashing. “What are they protecting me from? Last I checked I still got tortured even though I didn’t know anything!” shouted Melin. “I’m an adult, I’m more than capable of protecting myself! All my life someone has protected me, sheltered me. First it was Michea, then Grifon, then Michea again, and now the order seems to think I need protecting! Even my son thinks he needs to protect me!” She looked over at Snape, her expression a mixture of rage and something Snape couldn’t quite discern. “Am I really that weak?”

Snape’s inner voice was shouting at him not to answer that question. With a small shrug he stood up and walked over to where the brush lay broken on the floor. “Define weak.” he said as he bent down to pick up the brush. “Then I’ll try to answer.”

“You know full well what I mean, Severus.”

Standing back up Snape held the brush pieces in his hand and looked back over at Melin. “Sometimes…yes I do think you are weak. But, before you get upset let me add to that. There are times when you appear weak to me, often when it comes to your feelings, you wear them out on your sleeve, but there are also times when I think that even the most formidable of foes would flee in terror from you. I constantly get the impression that the you I know isn’t really who you are.” He shrugged and moved back over to place the brush pieces on the nightstand. “It really matters on what you show people. Do you think people would think of me the same if I acted like I act with you all the time? No, they would think of me as some…” Stopping in mid-sentence Snape smirked as Melin began to laugh. “I see your sense of humor has returned.”

Melin nodded. “It has.” Getting out of bed she made her way over to the desk and picked up her wand. “This has been nothing but a hassle…” she grumbled as she took her hair in her hands. “Maybe its finally time I cut it.”

Snape made to stop Melin, his eyes wide. “No! Not the…” his face fell as Melin cast a severing charm on her hair, cutting it to just below her shoulder blades, “hair.”

Tossing the extra hair in the waste bin Melin raised her eyes at Snape’s reaction. “Why not the hair? It’s always been nothing but trouble for me.”

“You looked so beautiful with it long…”

Melin laughed and brushed her bangs from her eyes. “And so now I’m ugly?”

“No…that’s….” Snape straightened up and tried to look offended. “You know that’s not what I meant!”

 


 

Melin’s inspection results came back better than she had expected, she still hadn’t been put on probation, but she could feel the underlying hostility in the letter as she read it aloud to Snape. Along with the letter had come the essays that the students had written, but her notes were still missing. Pushing her hair behind her ear she tossed the letter into the fireplace and smiled over at Snape, who was rubbing his left arm. “Summons?”

Snape shook his head. “Arm itches.” A thin smile spread across his lips as Melin laughed.

Sitting down on the chair on the other side of Snape’s desk Melin stretched and smoothed her skirt. “So what’s the plan for tonight?”

“How about we begin your training?” ventured Snape.

Melin blushed. “I guess…it’s not going to hurt is it? I’ve watched Harry leave from your lessons looking rather dazed a few times.”

A smirk crossed Snape’s face as he stood up and walked over to a large cupboard on the far side of the room. “Mr. Potter seems to enjoy his “visions” too much to bother practicing, and so he has to endure much more than most people do during his lessons. But then again Mr. Potter does like people paying attention to him.” Retrieving the pensieve from the cupboard Snape moved back to the desk and set the large basin on top of some papers. “I would suggest you stand up and move that chair out of the way.” He said as he took out his wand and placed the tip of it against his temple, drawing out a few silvery strands and depositing them into the pensieve. “After that I want you to clear your mind of all emotion, make it a blank slate.”

“All right.” Getting up Melin moved the chair to the side of the room and stood in front of the desk. Standing there she did her best to clear her mind, but she found it more difficult that she had expected. Several old memories kept fighting their way to the front, memories that she had kept forced away for many years.

“Take out your wand. You’ll use it to defend yourself.” Said Snape, his tone entirely professional now. He watched Melin retrieve her wand and nodded. “Now, on the count of three I will cast the spell, don’t defend yourself the first time, I want to see how much work we’re going to need with you.” Raising his wand he smirked as Melin flushed. “Clear your mind, you can’t get angry so easily, it can be used against you. Now then, one…two…Legilimens!” Instantly his mind was flooded with images of Melin’s past, a burning castle…Melin fleeing from two armed guards…Melin being whipped in a dark dungeon…medieval Paris on fire. Suddenly the images became garbled and faded completely. Raising his eyebrows he looked at Melin with an appraising look. Moving his wand away he motioned for her to get up. “You have quite a ways to go, but at least you were able to shake me off after a while.”

Melin shook her head and staggered to her feet, her face pale and sweat appearing on her forehead. “You…you saw all of that?” she asked in a quivering voice.

Snape nodded. “Yes, would you care to tell me about the burning castle?”

“That was my home, I was five when it was sacked and Michea took me and fled. We lived up until last year thinking that we were the last of our kind.” Leaning against the desk to steady herself Melin wiped her brow and raised her eyes to Snape’s. “I want to try again, I want to try without using my wand again.” She smiled faintly as Snape smirked. “Please?”

“Let’s wait until you have some color in your cheeks.” Conjuring up two glasses he filled them with water from the jug beside his desk. “Take a drink.”

Shaking her head Melin straightened. “No, I can’t wait. I need to try again.”

The smirk on Snape’s face faded and he raised his wand again. “Very well. Legilimens!”

Melin gasped. Now she could see herself being thrown into a prison cell, a guard tearing off her clothes. “NO! You can’t see this!” she cried out.

Raising his wand Snape looked at Melin with mild concern. “You need to clear you mind, otherwise I’ll keep seeing what you do not want me to see.”

“I’m trying!” growled Melin. “I really am trying to clear my mind of all this!” She felt like crying right there, crying out of frustration, crying because of her memories, crying because of her weakness. Shaking her head to clear the thoughts of self doubt she raised her eyes to look up at Snape.

Running a hand through his hair Snape sighed as he looked down at Melin. What was it that he had just seen? He knew it wasn’t what had happened at school, but…what was it? “Let’s try with you defending yourself this time shall we? Maybe you’ll do better?”

With a nod Melin took a few steps back and held her wand at the ready.

Legilimens!”

Before the Snape had even finished his spell Melin flung her wand out, casting a silent shield charm. Almost instantly her mind was flooded with memories that weren’t her own, memories of a young black haired boy being beaten by his hook-nosed father…the same young boy being shoved around on a train…now the boy was a teenager, and he was staring hungrily at a young woman who had turned her back on him…then she saw Voldemort’s face…. Crying out she dropped her wand and sank to her knees. “What…what happened?” she stammered.

Snape clutched his forehead in pain. “Your shield charm let you see into my….”

“Those were your memories.” Melin looked down at the ground in shame. “I’m sorry….”

“Let’s just end it for tonight shall we? I think you and I have both pried further than we wanted to tonight.” mumbled Snape as he scooped his memories out of the pensieve and placed them back in his head. “At least we know that if you have your wand you can defend yourself from the curse…though a shield charm may not be the best way to go.” He looked up to see Melin get to her feet and put her wand away. There was just something about the look on her face, something that bothered him more than he expected. Did she look…disappointed? “Look, you can’t expect to master occlumency in one go Melin, you did better than most do, you were able to shake it off after the second go, that has to be something.”

“That’s not it Severus…I wasn’t strong enough to hide those memories, they kept coming to the front, no matter what I tried.” Melin was still looking at the ground, unwilling to look Snape in the eyes.

Unsure of what to say Snape put the pensieve away and strode over to Melin, taking her in his arms. His head still hurt from Melin’s shield charm making his spell backfire, and as he stood there he became aware of a quiet sobbing noise. “Melin? Are you…are you crying?”

“No! No…I don’t want to cry anymore…it’s all I seem to do…I can’t stop crying!” Pushing Snape away from her she backed away into a corner of the room and sank down. “Why can’t I stop?” she cried.

“I don’t know, I really do not know Melin.” Crossing his arms Snape thought back on the memories he had witnessed, his mind trying to figure out why they would be making Melin cry. “Have…have you ever told anyone about those memories?”

Melin shook her head. “I’ve kept those memories secret, buried away where no one could find them! But you…you just ripped them from my head like they were pages of a book!”

“I did no such thing Melin. Your mind is not a book, to be read at will, something inside you wanted those memories to come to the front.” Shaking his head Snape took a step forward. “They are your worst memories aren’t they?”

Hiccoughing Melin nodded and buried her face in her hands. She was angry at herself, angry that she couldn’t stop crying, angry that she was angry at herself. “I watched my home burn down, was attacked for telling the truth, beaten because I was different, was forced to stand by and watch as people around me died because of a madman’s lust…” Her voice trailed off as she recalled her memories.

Closing in the remaining few steps Snape knelt down in front of Melin and put his hands on her shoulders. “What about that last one? The one of you in the prison cell?”

Melin let out a cry and shook her head violently. “No! No don’t make me remember!”

“It may help.” whispered Snape. “Tell me what happened.” he grumbled as Melin shook her head again. “Would it help if you put it in the pensieve?”

Melin nodded and stood up, covering the distance between her and the cabinet holding the pensieve in only a few steps. Opening the doors she took out her wand and placed it up to her hairline. As the pulled her wand away she saw that she took with it a silvery strand, which snapped off and fell lazily into the swirling grey inside the pensieve. She turned as Snape strode up beside her and stepped away, allowing him to get a better view as she pulled up the memory.

 

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“We’re in the Halls of Rectitude, awaiting trial.” Melin helped her husband Grifon sit up and undid the bonds on his wrists. "The guards have been walking by here every two hours to check on us. Apparently we are the only ones they took alive...well except for the women." She shuddered and tugged at the iron manacles on her wrists. "Michea told them I'm a young man, so they put me in here. I can't bear to think of what they are doing to the women right now. Every now and then you can hear one of them screaming in terror." Tugging against the manacles she let out a growl and lunged away from the wall, but the chains attached to the manacles held fast, and only helped in flinging Melin back against the wall. "They're using magically laced iron and it's canceling out my magic. I'm stuck."

 

Grifon pulled Melin close to him and picked the locks on the manacles with ease. Smiling he wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly. "I want you to take the first chance and escape. If I can I will follow you."

Melin shook her head. "No, I will not leave unless I can guarantee you will get out as well." She tried to say more but her words were cut off as Grifon leaned down and pressed his lips tightly against hers. Closing her eyes she surrendered to his embrace and found herself clinging fiercely to him. As Grifon made to break their kiss she reached her hands up and pulled him back into it, silently praying that she had magic enough to transport them both to safety, all she needed was a few more seconds....

"What's going on in there?" A stout guard unlocked the cell door and stamped inside. Reaching out he grabbed hold of Melin and wrenched her from Grifon's grasp. "Well now, what have we here?" He reached out a chubby hand and grabbed the fabric of Melin's tunic. With a swift tug he ripped the tunic wide open, exposing Melin's chest. "A woman! How did we miss you in our little round up?" Leering he grabbed one of Melin's breasts and squeezed it, his grin widening as Melin gasped and cried out in pain. "What's the matter wench? Never been touched by a real man?" He hefted her over his shoulder and walked out of the cell, slamming the iron bars behind him. Satisfied at the sound of the lock clicking he opened the cell across the way, tossed the struggling Melin inside, and followed after. "We'll have to change that." A chubby hand shot out and grabbed Melin's arm, the other ripping apart the rest of her tunic and tearing off her hose. "Now lie down on that bed."

Melin did the best to stand defiantly as she stood there naked. "Never." She let out a gasp as a gloved hand slapped her across the face and sent her stumbling backwards. Raising a hand up to the large bruise that was forming she glared at her captor as he calmly undressed himself. "If you think you will EVER be able to get near me-"

"You'll what? Hit me?" The guard laughed and threw Melin down on the stone bed. "Now just lie still like a good girl and I won't hurt you too much."

Melin cringed at the thought of that flabby pale flesh touching her. Lying perfectly still she channeled what little magic she had been able to muster and used it to unlock the cell holding Grifon. She gasped as the guard neared her. Clammy hands grasped at her breasts, while the man's face came ever closer to hers. Closing her eyes she prayed that the man was too distracted by her to notice Grifon emerging from his cell and creeping up behind him.

The guard laughed as he looked down on Melin's frightened face. "Just the way I like them too, not to firm...not too soft."

Grifon couldn't stand it, he could not let this man handle Melin that way. With a roar of rage he lunged forward and tackled the guard, sending both of them tumbling to the floor and out of the cell. He was quicker than the guard and was up on his feet before the guard had a chance to figure out what was going on. Lunging forward again he was about to reach for the guard's neck when he felt a sharp pain in his back. Gasping for air he turned his head to see another guard standing a few yards away. He reached up behind him and felt the handle of a throwing axe. His rage finally overcame him and the pain died away. With a yell he leapt on the stout guard and knocked him to the ground. The world was beginning to grow blurry and he knew he did not have much time left, but if he was to die, he was going to take the guard with him. "I hope you've cleansed yourself of your sins." he snarled, a wicked grin spreading across his face as he took hold of the axe behind him, wrenching it free and bringing it down on the guard's neck with a sickening sound. "See you in Hell, you bastard."

Melin watched the entire scene with an odd detached sense of terror. She quickly did her best to cover herself and leapt up from the stone bed. Rushing forward she caught Grifon as he collapsed. "No, my love, don't leave me!" She held him against her and kissed his forehead, her eyes brimming with tears. "Please, don't leave me! Hang on for just a little while longer and I can heal you!" Brushing the hair from Grifon's eyes she sobbed as she felt his body growing limp. She completely ignored the guard behind her and she leaned down and placed her forehead against her husband's. "Grifon!"

"Save your magic Melin, there's no way I can last long enough, please take care of Jehan."Grifon  raised his hand and stroked Melin's cheek. "I'll try to keep an eye on you two from the other side."

"No you can't go!" Melin took hold of Grifon's hand and shook her head, tears streaming down her face.

"I love you, Melin." Grifon sighed as his world began to fade to black. "Remember that." Closing his eyes he smiled faintly as the world slipped away.

"Grifon?" Panic began to take over Melin as Grifon's body went limp and began to grow cold. “GRIFON!”

 

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Snape’s jaw dropped as he watched the scene unfurl before him. ‘So this is what Melin’s worst memory is…could this be why she became the way she is?’ He looked over at Melin, and to his shock saw that her face was completely dry. ‘She’s not crying….’ Closing his mouth he walked away from the cabinet and sat down behind his desk.

Placing the memory back in her head Melin looked down into the pensieve and watched the other memories swirl about lazily. “After that…I became more timid, more afraid…I preferred to run away than to deal with danger. Severus…am I-am I weak for letting that memory change my whole life?” Melin’s voice was barely above a whisper as she turned away from the pensieve to look over at Snape. “Am I?”

Snape shook his head and beckoned Melin over to him. Taking her in his arms he pulled her into his lap and gently caressed her cheek. “Stop saying you’re weak would you? You couldn’t stop what happened, it’s no use crying over a spilt potion right? Learn from what happened.”

Melin raised her hand to Snape's and leaned into his caress. “But…I’m afraid the same thing is going to happen to you….”

Chuckling, Snape unbuttoned Melin’s vest and slipped it off. “Oh come on, you’ve heard the students say it plenty of times, I’m too mean to die.” Running his hands over the soft cotton of Melin’s blouse he smiled and looked into her eyes. “Besides, I can think of other things that can keep your mind occupied.” His hands slowly unbuttoned Melin’s blouse, exposing the fair skin underneath. He could see Melin’s breath catch as he traced his fingers along her collar bone and down along the outline of her bra.

“Are you trying to seduce me Severus?” asked Melin as she leaned close to Snape, her lips brushing against his cheek as she spoke.

“I am.” answered Snape, his hands snaking down to the clasp on Melin’s bra, which he undid with a flick of his fingers.

Melin gasped as Snape took her breasts in his hands, her hands undoing the buttons on Snape’s robes as she shifted so that she was straddling him. She could feel him growing hard and smiled playfully, her fingers trailing down his now bare chest.

As the fire crackled and slowly died Melin and Snape made love, their bodies twining together in the firelight, their moans harmonizing as they approached their climaxes. As the last ember died out Melin rested her head against Snape’s shoulder, a happy sigh escaping her lips. She could still feel his fingers tracing along her back as they sat there in the darkness, could still feel the shivers they caused. Closing her eyes she felt Snape shift and lift her up, and then felt as he walked across the office and into the adjoining bedroom, where he lay her upon a soft bed and lay down next to her. She rested her head against his chest as Snape pulled the covers over them, and for the first time in a long while she felt completely at peace.

Chapter Text

The chill winter gave way to a blustery spring, its winds pulling Melin’s hood off as she walked across the grounds towards the greenhouses. Pushing open the door to greenhouse number three she pulled out her wand and lit the floating baubles that hung near the ceiling, filling the greenhouse with a pale yellow glow. She had come out here to check on the lavender seedlings she had planted last fall, and she hoped that they would be mature enough to harvest the flowers so she could begin working on a potion to help her with her meditation. Though she was still unable to sleep without having nightmares, she could at least clear her mind and settle herself into a meditative state during the night.

With a smile she noticed the seedlings had grown into full plants and were in bloom, their purple flowers giving off a calming aroma. She took out a pair of garden clippers and proceeded to cut several of the lavender stalks, which she collected together and tied with a piece of twine which she had fished out of her pocket. As she turned to leave the door to the greenhouse blew open as a particularly strong gust of wind hit it, sending a chill breeze into the greenhouse. Melin hurried over to the door and, with a wave of her wand to turn out the lights, pulled the door shut and locked it before heading back up towards the castle.

 


 

 

Melin sighed as she opened the door to the potions classroom. Snape had been summoned away again, leaving her in charge of the class. Without notes as to what his lesson plans were she had decided to have the class study theory to prepare for their O.W.L.s. As the students filed in she noted several angry looks cast at her by the Slytherins. Once the last student had taken their seat she closed the door and made her way to the front of the class. “I hope you all had a good weekend.”

“Where’s Professor Snape?” demanded Malfoy.

Melin turned around to face Malfoy, her eyes narrowing at the boy. “I will not tolerate such outbursts in my class Mr. Malfoy, five points from Slytherin.”

“It’s not your class. You’re only here because Professor Snape isn’t here!” snarled Malfoy, his face red from having points taken away from him.

Raising her eyebrows Melin turned around and walked over to the blackboard. “Ten more points from Slytherin.” Tapping the blackboard she turned around as Malfoy was about to make another comment. “Shall we make it an even 50 and a week of detention?” she asked icily. Not a single emotion showed on her face as Malfoy shook his head. Looking around at the shocked faces of the students she crossed her arms. “I do not know where Professor Snape is, and it is not up to me, or to any of you, to concern yourselves with knowing. If he wishes to tell you when he returns he will. But until then, I am your teacher.” At the shocked silence from the students she gave another small smile. “Very well then. Since Professor Snape forgot to leave me lesson plans, and your potions will not be ready until Friday, we shall spend the day working on theory.” Pointing to the blackboard she smiled. “Earlier we studied plants that are often mistaken in ingredient gathering. I am pleased to say that all of you managed at least an Acceptable on your assignments that day. Today you will be breaking off in groups of threes and researching one of the topics up here on the board. Now then, please take out your books and break off into groups. I will be coming around with copies of Melted Cauldrons for you as well.”

As she walked around the classroom she stopped momentarily at Malfoy’s desk as he muttered a curse and something about his father under his breath. Setting a copy ofMelted Cauldrons on his desk Melin leaned close to him. “I would watch your tongue, Mr. Malfoy.” she said calmly. Straightening up she handed out the remainder of the books, handing the last one to Harry, Hermione, and Ron. She was about to return to the front of the class when Hermione tapped her on the arm. Turning around she smiled politely. “Yes, Miss Granger?”

Hermione passed the book over to Ron and looked up at Melin. “Is it true you used to be the potions teacher before Professor Snape?” she asked quietly.

Melin raised her eyebrows. “Yes I was.”

“Well, why did you let Professor Snape take the job?” asked Ron. “You’re a much better teacher than he is!” His voice was hushed to make sure no one else except those at the table could hear.

“I was asked to by Dumbledore.” stated Melin. “But now is not the time to discuss this. If you wish to ask me more you can meet with me after classes are over for the day in my office.” Smiling she straightened. “Which topic have you chosen by the way?”

Harry and Ron looked over at Hermione, who gave them each in turn an exasperated look. Looking over at the board she shrugged. “Um…we hadn’t really decided yet.”

Shrugging Melin looked up at the board. “Then take the topic on….” Shrugging again she turned back to the students. “Do the one on the reasons behind the various folk names for plants. I don’t think anyone else is doing it. Chapters 5 and 26 will help you.”

 


 

 

The spring holidays passed by almost unnoticed to Melin and before she knew it she was helping students prepare for their O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s. The night before the fifth years were to take their first O.W.L. Melin flopped down into her chair and stretched luxuriously. Having just finished her last tutoring session she looked around the room and yawned, feeling genuinely tired. She was about to get up to go to bed when the bookcase behind her slid open and Snape strode into the room. “Good timing Severus, you caught me just as I was about to get ready to go to sleep.” smiled Melin.

“Then I guess you won’t need me around.” mocked Snape. Taking Melin into his arms he kissed her on the top of her head and rested his forehead against hers. “Or do you need any…“pointers” before you go to bed?”

Melin snickered and shrugged. “It all depends on how fast you can get out of my bedroom in the morning, Severus.”

“I think I’ll go for a new record.”

 


 

 

“Bring her to me.”

Snape whirled around, trying to find the source of the voice, his wand at the ready. “Bring who to you?” A quiet hiss-like laugh rang in his ears. “Who am I supposed to bring?” he shouted into the darkness.

“Your assistant. Bring her to me, bring her to her fate.” hissed the voice.

“Take her where?” All of the sudden Snape found himself standing at the edge of a massive cliff overlooking the sea. Stepping back from the edge he tried to make out where he was, but all he could see was a dark forest outlined by millions of stars behind him and the ocean before him. “Where do you want me to take her?”

“You will know.”

A burning pain erupted on his left forearm, making him cry out momentarily. Lifting the sleeve of his robe he could see the mark burning on his skin and emitting an eerie green glow. Before him arose a giant snake, its hood spread and blocking out the starlight. Raising his arm in a futile defense he screamed as the snake bit down on his arm, ripping open the mark.

“Bring her to me….”

 


 

 

“Severus? Severus please wake up!” Melin shook Snape violently as she dodged his thrashing arms, her face pale with fear. She had snapped out of her meditation to the sound of his screams, screams of pure terror, screams that made her blood run cold and her hair stand on end. Giving him one more shake she lost her balance and went toppling over him, pulling both Snape and herself off of the bed and onto the floor.

Snape’s eyes flew open as his body hit the cold stone. Pushing himself up he looked around dazedly for a moment before spotting Melin sitting next to him, a frightened look on her face. He wasn’t quite sure what to think, or even if it was a good idea to ask why they were both on the floor, his mind was completely focused on the dream he had just had.

It had been years, 18 to be exact, since he had last had any sort of dream. Why had he suddenly had one now? Why was his arm burning so badly? Looking down at his left arm he frowned as the dark mark stared back at him, taunting him. Was the dream caused by a summons? Who was this assistant he was to bring? For that matter who was he to bring her to? How did he instinctively know that the person he was to bring was a woman? His frown deepened as he stood up and threw on his clothes. He had almost finished pulling on his boots when he realized that Melin was speaking to him. Snapping back to reality he looked over at her and tried to smile. “What were you saying?”

Melin sighed and flopped down on the bed beside him. “I was asking why you were screaming in your sleep.”

“Oh, just a bad dream.” Standing up Snape made to take a step when he felt something catch on the back of his robes. He turned around and looked down at Melin, who was holding on with an iron grip. “I’m being summoned, let me go.”

Shaking her head Melin stood up, her hand still holding onto the fabric of Snape’s robes. “You don’t dream. You told me that, you told me that when you started teaching me how to protect my mind.” She looked up into Snape’s expressionless face and frowned. “What’s going on?”

The frown reappeared on Snape’s face. “If I knew I would tell you.” Pulling his robes out from Melin’s fingers he kissed her gently on the forehead and was about to leave when the mark on his forearm throbbed and the hissing voice from his dream sounded inside his head. “Bring her to me.” Snape’s eyes widened in fear as he turned to look at Melin. ‘My assistant.’ The color drained from his face upon the sudden realization. “Melin, get dressed, we’re going out.”

“Out? But I thought-”

“Plans change. Just get dressed. And hurry.” he growled as he threw on his cloak.

Slipping out of her nightshirt Melin grabbed the clothes she had worn earlier in the evening and pulled them on, getting dressed in record time. As she slipped on her shoes she watched as Snape pulled his hood up. Her heart began beating at a double pace as she watched him pulled the hood the rest of the way over his face, hiding it completely. She had barely had the chance to throw her own cloak on when Snape grabbed her around the waist and pulled her to him. With a gasp she looked up at his masked face, hardly able to see his black eyes shining back at her through the slits in his hood. ‘What’s going on?’ she thought to herself as Snape touched the mark on his arm and the two of them vanished from the bedroom.

  


 

 

Melin opened her eyes as a chill breeze tore the hood of her cloak from her head. She could still feel Snape’s arms around her, but for some reason they didn’t feel like his, they felt…foreign somehow. The sound of a twig snapping behind her made her twist in his arms to see what had made the sound, and instantly she wished she hadn’t. At least twenty masked people stared at her, some of them laughing quietly behind their hoods. “S-Severus?” she whispered. “What’s going on?”

“Just shut up and clear your mind.” hissed Snape. He bodily lifted Melin and carried her forward, dumping her unceremoniously at the feet of the nearest hooded person. He stepped back with a bow and was about to take his place among the ranks when the masked figure shook its head and beckoned him to come forward again.

“Come now,” came a soft voice, just barely audible above the crash of the waves below, “pick her up and hold her still.”

Bowing, Snape grabbed Melin by both wrists and jerked her into a standing position. He tightened his grip on her wrists as she began to struggle and finally had to pin her arms down at her side to keep her from moving. He could hear her breath coming in ragged gasps as he held her there. Pulling her back so she was pressed against his body he tightened his grip. “Stop struggling.” he growled. To his surprise, Melin obeyed.

“Very good, now then,” the figure removed his hood to reveal the pale snake-like face of Voldemort, his red slit-pupil eyes glowing faintly in the starlight. Reaching out a clawed hand he gripped Melin’s chin and forced her to look into his eyes, “do you know why I’ve had you brought here?”

Melin let out a quiet whimper and shook her head. No matter how much she had trained, no matter how much she told herself she would be brave if she had ever come face to face with Voldemort, now that she was there she felt like she was frozen in place, unable to move a muscle. Her wits seemed to abandon her as she stood there staring into those glowing red eyes. ‘Clear your mind, fear is the mind-killer, clear your mind, fear is the mind-killer…’ she chanted to herself as she slowly regained use of her limbs. Struggling against Snape’s grasp she fought to look away from Voldemort, but his fingers merely dug deeper into her skin holding her head still. “Let…me…go…” she gasped, finally finding her voice. ‘Clear your mind…’

“You’re quite good at cloaking your mind…though you still seem unable to hide your thoughts.” Voldemort gave a cold snake-like laugh and moved closer, until he was mere inches away from Melin’s face. “Fear is the mind killer?” he whispered. “Nay, fear is what will keep you alive, fear and your allegiance to me.”

“N-n-never.” stammered Melin.

Releasing his grip on Melin’s face Voldemort took a step back and drew his wand. Waving it in the air he conjured up several piles of ancient tomes. “Swear allegiance to me and you will get what your heart desires most…knowledge, power, and status. You can put those who have destroyed your family's worth in the ground...” His eyes narrowed as Melin shook her head again. “It seems I will have to…persuade you.” With another wave of his wand the books vanished. “Release her.”

Snape dropped his arms to his waist and moved away from Melin, assuming his place among the ranks. He could feel the apprehension amongst the other Death Eaters, his mingling with theirs. He knew full well that they were waiting to see what would happen, if Melin would join…or die. Inwardly he prayed that Melin would do the smart thing and join, if only to save her life.

“We tried the easy way.” said Voldemort, his wand pointed at Melin’s face. “Why do you resist? You are nothing to Dumbledore, he merely uses you…doesn’t let you know anything. He sends you from the room when he wishes to discuss something important, sending you off to brew some sort of potion. I can see it all in your eyes. If you join me you will not be left out of the loop like a small child. You will not be considered…weak.” He added extra emphasis to the last word, seeing Melin straighten a little. “You will gain power, knowledge, strength….You will be able to be by your loved one’s side at all times.” He caught Melin’s gasp and sneered. “Your love for Severus is already well known amongst us, and here we won’t look down on you for your love.” A growl escaped his lips as Melin once again shook her head. “Imperio!

Melin felt the spell hit her like a ton of bricks. Almost instantly she could hear Voldemort’s voice inside her head. “Join me…beg for forgiveness and join me…you will only meet death if you don’t.” She felt herself start to open her mouth but a small voice inside her, a voice that she so often thought a nuisance, muttered the single word ‘Why?’ “Don’t you fear death girl?” ‘No…not anymore…my death will only bring me peace’ “Peace?...Do you really think that if you do not serve me in life you will be free in death?...Foolish girl!...Everyone else thinks you’re useless!...Thinks you’re weak!” Something inside Melin snapped. ‘No! I am not weak!’ Shutting her mouth she closed her eyes and shook her head throwing off the curse. “No…I’m useful to them…they need me…”

“So you’ve learned to shake off the spell? I’m not sure if I should find that irritating, infuriating, or amusing. But either way…” Voldemort raised his wand once more and pointed it at Melin’s chest. “Crucio!” A smile spread across his thin lips as the woman in front of him began to scream. “You will join me...or you will die.”

The pain was unbearable. Collapsing to the ground Melin fought to stay alert, to reach her wand, but as she moved the pain only tripled. Another scream was ripped from her body and this time she could do nothing but curl into a ball and lie there, screaming and begging for the pain to stop. The pain ebbed, leaving her lying on the ground crying like a lost child. She could hear the laughter of the Death Eaters, she could hear Snape’s laughter, she could hear the laughter of all the people she had ever called friends, her family, everyone…it was so loud it was maddening. They were all laughing at her…laughing at how useless she was…laughing at how weak she was. Then, as if someone had cast a silencing spell on their laughter, it died away. ‘No…I’m not weak…I’m not weak…I can’t be weak!’ Opening her eyes she struggled to her knees and glared up defiantly at Voldemort. “I am not weak!” she shouted.

Snape’s eyebrows shot up behind his hood. This was the first time he had ever seen the fire that was burning now in Melin’s eyes anywhere other than when he had watched her memory in the pensieve. There was something about it that almost frightened him, something surreal. The human guise she wore melted away to reveal her Märchenlander form. Long thin ears protruded from her hair, her skin darkening as it shifted from pale flesh tone to teal blue. Even her posture changed as her form shifted. He could feel the other Death Eaters pushing in closer, hoping to get a full view of what was going to happen next.

Staggering to her feet, Melin straightened herself to her full height and repeated, “I’m not weak!”

“You’ve said that before.” sneered Voldemort. “I can see that it will take more than pain to convince you.” He snapped his fingers and beckoned Snape forward. “Torture her.” he commanded. “Put this creature in its place. She will serve us like a house elf if she will not join us willingly.”

Melin's ears drooped as she saw Snape draw his wand. The courage and strength that she had just mustered vanished. She closed her eyes and let her arms drop limply to her sides, her face falling in defeat. “Do it.” she whispered.

Snape was about to raise his wand when he saw Melin’s arm twitch, her wand dropping into her open hand. “Impedimenta!” he shouted.

Protego!” Melin opened her eyes to see the jet of light that had been about to hit her rebound off an invisible barrier and fly back at Snape, who narrowly dodged it. It hit one of the Death Eaters behind him with a burst of light, flinging the black robed figure backwards. “Stu-.” She didn’t even get the chance to finish her spell before her world erupted in pain again. Forcing her eyes open she looked in horror to see Snape pointing his wand at her. Scream upon scream escaped from her lips, her body convulsing in pain.

Lifting his wand, Snape negated his curse. Looking down at the trembling form of his love he pointed his wand once more at her. “Just swear your allegiance, Melin and all this pain will end.” His resolve faltered for a moment as Melin looked up at him, her face filled with pain, and the fire burning in her near black eyes had disappeared. “You leave me no choice…Cru-”

“Wait!” cried Melin. Standing with the determined slowness of one who was in immense pain she took a few faltering steps towards Snape, her wand hanging limply in her left hand. The world around her was completely black, she couldn’t see Snape standing before her, but she could hear him standing in front of her, could hear him shift into what she guessed was a defensive position. She could barely feel her left side, and knew that there was no way she could defend herself if he cast another spell. Her only hope was to somehow buy herself time. She stood in front of Snape and let her wand drop, leaving her completely defenseless in the eyes of those around her. With her good arm she reached up and slowly removed the hood that hid Snape’s face. She feel Snape trembling and almost smiled, so far her plan was working. As the arm dropped back to her side she closed the final few inches between them and placed both of her hands against his chest. “Kiss me one more time.” she whispered. “Then I will stop fighting.”

A smile spread across Snape’s face and he leaned down to kiss Melin gingerly on the lips. Maybe she had seen that this was the only way. As his lips touched hers he felt a slight tingle, almost like someone had rubbed their feet on a carpet and then touched him. Realizing too late what it meant his body went flying backwards as Melin blasted him with one of her race’s spells, sending him flying into the Death Eaters behind him. He looked up just in time to see Melin disappear from sight, leaving her wand behind.

“How did she do that?” screamed Bellatrix’s voice from somewhere at the bottom of the pile of Death Eaters.

“She’s not human you foolish woman!” hissed Voldemort. “Do you really think I would want her if she were a mere human?”

Snape felt the other Death Eaters scramble away from him and looked up to see Voldemort staring down at him.

“You will find her…and you will break her.” Voldemort’s voice came out raggedly, as if he was barely able to contain the anger brewing inside of him. “Then you will bring her to me.” Reaching out with lightning quick speed he seized the front of Snape’s robe and pulled him bodily up. “If you don’t…you will suffer my wrath…”

Gulping, Snape nodded. As Voldemort released him he put his wand away and moved over to where Melin’s wand lay discarded on the ground. With one swift movement he bent down and snatched it up. Bowing once more he disapparated.

 


 

 

Remus jumped to his feet as a door above him slammed shut. “Who’s there?” He drew his wand and slowly pushed the kitchen door open. “Padfoot? Tonks? Someone answer me.” He let out a gasp as Melin stepped into the light above the landing above him, her face ghastly pale. “Incendi! What happened?” Putting away his wand he rushed up the stairs, taking them two at a time, and froze as Melin looked over at him, an unearthly dull glow in her eyes. “What’s happened to you?”

Melin closed her eyes and shook her head. “He…I…” Opening her eyes again she leaned back against the wall and slid down until she was sitting on the floor. “Cruciatus…pain…Voldemort…Severus…” She looked up to where she knew Remus was standing, but everything around her was dark, so dark that she couldn’t even see her hand when she held it mere inches from her face. “Mooney, can you turn on the light?”

“But the light is on, Incendi, you’re sitting right underneath it.” Kneeling down next to Melin, Remus waved his hand in front of her face, the worried look on his own intensifying. “Can’t you see anything?”

Shaking her head Melin reached out tentatively. “Everything is black, I can hear you, I know you are right here,” she touched Remus’ face with her fingers, brushing them across the familiar scar on his cheek, “just as I can hear Padfoot moving about upstairs.” She turned her face in the direction of the second stairwell as someone began to walk down the stairs. “Padfoot?”

“Yeah, it’s me.” Walking over to where Melin was sitting he sat down next to her and wrapped a protective arm around her shoulders. “I heard everything from upstairs.” He brushed Melin’s bangs away from her eyes and looked deeply into her eyes. “How did this happen?”

“I…I can’t say just yet.” She jumped at the sound of a car backfiring and stood up like a shot. “He’s here!” she whispered.

Sirius stood up and wrapped his arms around Melin as the door to the kitchen opened and Snape walked into the hallway, a look that could have turned milk sour in seconds on his face. “How dare you come here, Snivellus!” He roared as Snape began to ascend the stairs. Pulling Melin back away from the stairs he turned his body to shield her from Snape, who had just stepped onto the landing and was standing there, the look on his face intensifying as he saw Melin shrink away from him.

“How dare I? I can’t believe you even have the gall to ask me that dog boy! Do you think I wanted to hurt her? Is that what you think? Of course it is, you always want to find some way to play the hero…and what better way to do that when you’re stuck here than to protect Melin from her abusive lover!” Snape went to take another step forward but froze as Remus stepped in front of him. “Step aside Remus, this has nothing to do with you.”

“No Severus, I will not step out of the way this time. You hurt Melin once before and we looked the other way because she begged us to, but this time…this time,” words failed Remus as he stood there, his body shaking with the rage he was holding at bay.

Snape pulled out his wand and pointed it at Remus’ face. “I told you, move aside. I need to see Melin.”

Sirius growled and released Melin, but kept her behind him, his hand reaching for his wand. “You can see her when I’m done with you! If you’re still alive that is!” He stopped and turned slightly as Melin tugged on his sleeve. “Do you have any idea what he did to you, Incendi? He blinded you!”

The look on Snape’s face evaporated. “Blinded? Melin…is…is this true?”

“Oh don’t look so surprised, Snivellus! You know what you did! You probably cast it on her so she couldn’t see where you took her!” snarled Sirius.

Snape put his wand away and raised his hands in the air in a gesture of amity, his tone once again becoming hostile though. “I swear I didn’t, please let me see her.” He moved to take a step forward, but quickly found that that was the wrong move.

Sirius gave a low growl and launched himself at Snape. The two of them collided and tumbled backwards, almost falling down the stairs. Sirius was the first on his feet, grabbing Snape and lifting him bodily from the ground. “I warned you before Snivellus….but you just didn’t listen!” Slamming Snape up against the wall, Sirius bared his teeth at him. Releasing Snape he drew his right arm back and rammed his fist into Snape’s stomach, knocking the air out of his opponent. He could hear Melin pleading with him to stop, but that only proceeded to anger him more. Punching Snape again, this time in the face, Sirius heard something crack. A sadistic grin crossed his face and he drew his arm back again, fully intent on hitting Snape again, but before he could he felt Melin’s hands grip his wrist. Turning his head to look down at Melin he didn’t see Snape draw his wand. Before he knew what hit him he had been blasted back a good 15 feet.

“Stop! Both of you please stop!” cried Melin. Stepping in between the two men she grabbed hold of Snape’s arms, not sure how she was able to tell exactly where they were. “Severus, please stop.” she pleaded. She could hear Remus restraining Sirius behind her.

Snape broke Melin’s grasp on him and wiped the blood from his face. Putting away his wand he looked down at Melin, surprised that she was looking right back at him. When he finally managed to find his voice it came out barely above a whisper. “Please believe me, I never wanted to bring you into this. But…Melin why didn’t you just surrender? Why did you make me do this to you?” He grabbed Melin’s arms and pulled her close. “Tell me!”

“I couldn’t.” Melin shook her head as she heard Sirius draw his wand. “He’s not hurting me, Sirius, not this time and never again.” She felt Snape go rigid. “Never thought a thing about my own magic did you? Forgot about it, huh? Or did you merely think that it wouldn’t work?” Laughing quietly she placed her hands on Snape’s chest. “It’s only canceled out when it goes against wizard magic…other than that…it works wonderfully. You’re lucky I don’t have the training Rio or Aranel has, I could have vaporized all of you on the spot if it did.” Leaning against Snape’s body she stopped laughing suddenly, the scent of his robes sobering her up. “Tell me Severus, would you have surrendered yourself if you were in my place? Or would you have chosen to fight?”

Sirius was twitching in anger as he watched Melin rest against Snape. “Surrender to who? Don’t tell me you took her to…” His eyes widened. “You took her to Voldemort!” He began to struggle against Remus’ grip, trying to get around his friend so that he could rip Snape’s face off. “I’ll kill you for that!”

Snape dropped his arms to his side and winced at the name. “I was commanded to, but…” he looked down at Melin, “she did something I never could…she resisted…even as she was tortured…she still resisted…she was strong….”

“But why would he want her? He would have been able to get much more information for anyone else in the order.” Remus pushed Sirius back and pinned him against the wall.

“The Dark Lord never divulged his reasons, but I can venture a guess that Melin has…special…talents that he wants. I believe the quote was ‘She’s not human’.” Snape shook his head and wrapped his cloak around Melin. “He sent me to bring her to him, but…” he closed his eyes and rested his forehead against Melin’s, “I don’t think I can obey him this time.”

Sirius laughed. “You weren’t supposed to obey Voldemort at all you moron! You’re a spy! You aren’t supposed to have gone back into Voldemort’s fold!” His laughter intensified as Snape shuddered at the mention of Voldemort’s name. “What’s the matter? Afraid of your master’s name? Afraid of…Voldemort?”

“Stop saying his name!” growled Snape.

“Voldemort! Voldemort! Voooldemort!” taunted Sirius.

“Please stop!” Melin shut her eyes tightly and buried her face in Snape’s robes. “Just stop!”

Sirius stopped laughing and narrowed his eyes. “Next time…I swear I will kill him, Incendi…not you, nor Mooney will be able to stop me.” he growled as he turned on his heel and stormed up the stairs and into his room, slamming the door.

“And there goes the portrait again.” sighed Remus as the portrait of Mrs. Black began screaming. Brushing past Melin and Snape he hurried down the stairs to pull the curtains over the portrait.

Now alone on the second floor landing, Snape lifted his head and placed a finger gently under Melin’s chin, lifting her face up to look at him. The brightness of his love’s eyes appeared dull and lifeless, as if the fire within had been doused with water. A sigh escaped his lips and he shook his head. “I swear to you…” His eyes widened as Melin stood on the tips of her toes and pressed her lips against his. A tiny voice appeared in his mind, gnawing at his self resolve. ‘Why does she keep forgiving me? After what I’ve done to her?’ Breaking away from the kiss he took a deep breath. “Melin…I thought you couldn’t see?”

Smiling Melin traced her finger along Snape’s lips. “I can’t.”

“Then how…”

“I just can.” whispered Melin. Tiredness began to set in and she leaned her head once again against Snape’s chest. “I’m starting to feel tired though…”

Smiling for the first time since he had arrived at Grimmauld Place, Snape picked Melin up and held her close as he walked into the bedroom that Melin had used to occupy and set her gingerly upon the bed.

“You should take one of the vials over there.” said Melin as she began to unbutton her shirt. “It’ll heal you right up.”

Snape walked over to the cabinet in the corner of the room and pulled out a healing elixir. Tipping back the contents he grimaced at the bitter taste and turned around to look at Melin as his body healed. He watched her as she undressed, his heart speeding up at the sight of her fair blue skin. “I know this is a lot to ask, especially after what I did, but…”

Melin smiled faintly and scooted over on the bed. “I would have asked you to anyway, Severus.” She could feel the bed move slightly as Snape sat down and could hear the rustle of him removing his robes. There were two quiet thumps as she listened to Snape remove his boots and the rustle of him reaching down and pulling the quilt up and over them. Closing her eyes Melin nuzzled her body against Snape’s and drifted off.

Chapter Text

“Incendi? You awake?”

Stretching, Melin tossed the covers off and sat up. She was alone in the bed, but that didn’t surprise her, Snape would have had to return to school to teach. “Yeah, I’m awake, Mooney.” she stated calmly, her body resuming its human form. The door opened with a slight creak and she could hear Remus’ footsteps as he neared her bed.

Remus set a bundle down on the bed next to Melin and sat down next to her. “Dumbledore’ll be here later in the day to talk to you…unless you’re too tired that is.” He watched with raised eyebrows as Melin reached over and undid the bundle. “Is your eyesight returning?”

“Nope.” Feeling the neatly folded shirt, sweater, slacks, and socks Melin smirked. “Muggle clothes…must be from Rio.” Slipping on the shirt and sweater she started to stand up but lost her balance as she stepped on one of her discarded shoes. Falling back onto the bed she sighed. “Thought I was doing OK for a second.”

“Just be careful will you?” muttered Remus. “Don't be so proud as to not ask for help.”

Melin smirked and pulled off the boxers she had slipped into before going to bed and put on the slacks. “You live in dark catacombs for multiple years…you start to find other ways to see. Doesn't mean I don't still trip over my own feet, but I can get around just fine.” She fumbled for a moment as she put on her socks. “And you're one to talk about being too proud to ask for help.”

Raising his eyebrows again Remus took a moment to study his friend. In all the years he had known her he had never seen the air of confidence that was lingering around her, even her scent was somehow different. It was like she had cast away a huge chunk of her fear, like she was a new person…or perhaps this was how she was back before he had met her? He bent down and picked up Melin’s shoes, slipping them on for her with a small smile. “Need any help getting down to the kitchen? I think Sirius is working out his aggression by cooking.” he laughed as Melin grimaced. “Yes…Padfoot and muggle style cooking….”

“No good can come from this.” finished Melin, laughing quietly. Standing up she kept her hand on the bed as she walked towards the door, her hand moving over to the wall as she walked away from the bed. “Just let me know when I’m getting close to the stairs.”

Nodding, Remus followed after Melin, watching with interest as Melin walked down the hall, it was as if she was counting her steps as she walked. “Two more steps and you’ll be at the stairs.” he warned. To his surprise Melin didn’t stop when she reached the stairs, instead she merely slowed her pace and as she stepped down she pressed the back of her leg against the stair, like she was using it as a guide. Upon reaching the bottom of the stairs he watched Melin stand there for a few moments, a look of concentration on her face. About to offer his help he stopped as Melin took off towards the kitchen, her hand once again trailing along the wall.

“I heard you were in here cooking.” shouted Melin over the clatter of cook pots and other objects banging about. Ducking as something went whizzing above her head she laughed. “And once again breakfast gains it’s freedom.”

Sirius looked up from his chopping block, his hand devoid of a knife since he had just lost his grip on it, which had caused it to go sailing out the kitchen door barely missing Melin’s head. “No that was the knife.”

With a nod, Melin smirked and felt her way over to the table. “I see…trying to off the breakfast critic.”

“No…that’s Snivellus’ job….” growled Sirius. Giving up on the disaster that was supposed to be breakfast he slunk over to the table and flopped down into his chair. “Feel like telling me what happened last night?”

Melin sighed and leaned forward, resting her head on her arms. “Severus and I fell asleep….” she sneered as Sirius snorted. “Yes we sleep in the same bed sometimes Sirius…we’ve even had…sex.” Laughing she raised her head as Sirius spit whatever he had been about to drink. “Put a nice mental image in your head, Padfoot?”

Choking slightly, Sirius stared at Melin in disbelief. “But…Snivellus…naked…sex…him…Snivellus naked….” Shuddering he summoned over several bottles of butterbeer and a dusty bottle of firewhiskey. “That’s it…I’m hitting the bottle early.” Popping the cork off the firewhiskey Sirius tipped the bottle back and swallowed a large gulp of the fiery liquid.

Still laughing, Melin reached out and wrapped her fingers around one of the bottles of butterbeer. “Couldn’t resist…but getting back to what I was saying, in the middle of the night Severus began screaming. One would have thought he was being attacked. I tried to wake him, but it merely resulted in both of us toppling off the bed and on to the floor. He woke up, sat there for a while and then got up and threw on his clothes. I asked him what he was screaming about and he told me it was a bad dream.”

“But Severus has told us that he doesn’t dream, it was brought up at the last….” Remus cut himself off as Melin narrowed her eyes. “Anyways, please continue.”

“I tried to get a real answer out of him but instead he suddenly told me to get dressed. Admittedly I was confused, I mean, he was being summoned! But I got dressed anyways and we disappeared when he touched the mark on his arm. Next thing I knew we were on a cliff overlooking the ocean.” Melin’s voice wavered a little and she took a sip of her butterbeer. “There were a bunch of Death Eaters there…and Voldemort too. Snape dropped me in front of him…but Voldemort told him to pick me up and hold me still….” Shuddering Melin took another drink before continuing. “Voldemort offered me hundreds of ancient books, ones I had thought lost back when they burned all the libraries in the 1700s…but I couldn’t take them….”

Sirius raised his eyebrows. “You? Turning down the offer of books? You, the girl who was known to chase someone down and tackle them if they took a book she wanted.” He caught a nasty look from both Melin and Remus. “Hey, only kidding there.”

Melin shook her head. “You had every right to take that jab at me. I admit in the past that I would do anything for books…hell, Severus once got away from one of our duels by holding up a book and tossing it down the hall…I still can’t believe I went chasing after it like a dog after a stick.” She turned pink for a moment before taking another sip of her drink. “But times change. He offered me power, status, even the ability to hurt the people who had taken everything from me. After I turned him down he said I needed…persuasion. He told me that you guys thought I was weak, that I was a joke to the order, that I couldn’t even be trusted with the simplest task, always being sent from the room to make some potion.” The bottle in her hand began to crack as she tightened her grip on it, the anger inside her rising. “And he was right wasn’t he? You guys won’t trust me with anything! I’ve been tortured twice for nothing! Dumbledore doesn’t even want me in the room when you guys meet, yet I’m always called here, and for what? To make potions! I could heal the wizarding community thrice over with what I have stored up in my bedroom!” The bottle shattered, sending butterbeer all over the table. She could feel the broken glass pierce her skin and could smell her blood as it mixed with the butterbeer. Letting go of the broken bottle she pulled the pieces of glass from her hand and wrapped the wound with a handkerchief.

Remus regained his voice first. “We’ve never thought of you like that! We were just worried that….” Words failed him. Was she telling the truth and he was just afraid to admit it? Did they really think she was too weak to handle the meetings?

Waving her uninjured hand in a dismissive air Melin shook her head. “Don’t even bother trying to justify it, Mooney. What’s done is done. I can’t undo the past anymore than you can.” She looked up as the door behind her opened. “Shall I restart from the beginning, sir?”

“No need, Severus told me what happened already. Go ahead and finish your tale though, I would like to hear it from your own mouth.” Dumbledore looked at the mess of blood and broken bottle and shook his head. “Merlin’s beard, Melin.” With a wave of his wand the mess vanished. “Please go on.”

Raising an eyebrow Melin shrugged, her anger having gone down slightly after cutting her hand. “After I still refused he cast the Imperius curse on me. I don’t know what happened, I was ready to give up…but when he said that everyone thought I was weak…something inside me just snapped. I fought against the curse and shook it off, and then he used the Cruciatus curse.” She shivered a little as she remembered the laughter. “But I still couldn’t surrender, I could hear everyone laughing at me, I felt like I was just some little kid that everyone pushed around, I had to prove myself.

“I remember shouting that I wasn’t weak, and then he had Severus come forward…he told Severus to torture me.” Her body slumped in her chair. “All my self confidence went out the door, I was ready to give up. I tried to defend myself, but he was quicker than I was. He used the Cruciatus curse, but it wasn’t at full force like Voldemort’s was, like he couldn’t bring himself to go all the way with it. After he lifted the curse I remember that everything was black, I couldn’t see. He begged me to just give up, but I couldn’t, I got up and tried to think of a way to escape, and it hit me that I could use my own magic, no one would expect me to use it right? I asked for Severus to kiss me, using it as a ruse, and then blasted him into the other Death Eaters. Then I disapparated back to here.” She looked up as everyone at the table shifted a little. “But…why can’t I see? I mean, I’ve been hit by that curse multiple times before and it hasn’t blinded me…what was different this time?”

Dumbledore leaned forward, his face grave. “Someone else cursed you while Severus used the Cruciatus curse. I have Severus working on a sight restoring potion as we speak, seeing as how his classes are all taking their final exams.”

Remus opened a new bottle of butterbeer and took a drink. “But why blind her? I don’t see any reason for it.”

“In the small chance she escaped.” answered Dumbledore. “She would be much easier to find if she couldn’t see wouldn’t she? Couldn’t defend herself as well.”

“Still don’t see why they couldn’t have just used an Anti-Disapparation jinx.”

“I don’t think he believed that you would try to escape.”

“Figures.” Melin nodded and reached out to pick up another bottle of butterbeer. Not finding one in her reach she frowned slightly and pulled out her wand. “Accio butterbeer.” Holding out her hand she caught the bottle as it flew at her and popped it open. “They were right, it’s a bitch getting around. Luckily they didn’t know I spent a good several years traveling through the catacombs under Paris…not exactly a well lit place down there.” With a small laugh she set her wand down on the table and took a drink. “One gets used to finding their way around in the dark.”

“Understandable. Though I must ask you something Melin, why do you think we never told you anything? Why do you think we kept sending you from the room?”

“You thought I was unable to handle what you guys were discussing.” answered Melin, her voice about as flat as a day old soda.

Dumbledore shook his head, an effect that was lost on Melin. “Not in the slightest. I needed you to start doubting your current self, make you like you were long ago, like how Michea described you. He told me that you were once a headstrong woman, someone who would not take no for an answer, who got what she wanted. But the death of your husband changed that in you, you hid that part of yourself away and adopted the meeker image, still stubborn, but someone who would rather go with the flow than deal with trouble. Now of course there were exceptions to that, mainly when you were dealing with Severus. I had you step down and made him potions master in hopes of getting you to try to fight for your position, to get your old job back. But you merely took it in stride and went along with it. I was at a loss as how to get you to your old state, so I started leaving you out of things, trying to make you feel like the little child who isn’t allowed in on “grownup” things.” He gave a tired smile as Melin glared over at him.

“You’re telling me that all this time I had to sit by, feeling like an idiot, just so I would go back to how I used to be?” Standing up, Melin slammed her bottle on the table. “Do you really think that I wanted to become what I had?” she shouted. “Do you think I liked being meek? That I liked having to constantly bite my tongue? That half the time I had to go back to my office and blow something up just to calm down?” Her voice rose shrilly as she gripped the table. “I hated myself! I hated being what I had become! I almost joined Voldemort! But instead, I let myself be tortured! I did it just to prove I wasn’t weak!” The portrait above her began screaming, almost drowning out Melin’s voice. “I became that way because being myself had only gotten me into trouble!”

Sirius backed his chair away from Melin, he wasn’t quite sure what to think of this new side of her. Looking over he saw Remus scoot away. Looking back at Melin he raised his eyebrows as he realized that she had shifted back to her true form. There was just something intimidating about the sea blue skin, the raven black hair, and the dark eyes. Perhaps it was the fact that she was glowing slightly….

“I was tortured! My husband killed! My family separated!” Grabbing the butterbeer bottle she hurled it from her with all her might. “You want the old me? I killed people back then!” screamed Melin. She could hear the bottles on the table rattle. “Is that what you want? Do you want me to be able to kill people again? I killed people and didn’t even think twice! I tainted my hands with the blood of innocent people back then!”

Dumbledore had been the only person to not move away from Melin. Crossing his hands calmly over his beard he looked over his half-moon spectacles at her, his face practically emotionless. “I was never asking you to kill people.”

“Certainly seems like it!”

“I was merely wanting you to fight back. I wanted you to realize that you had the power to fight back against things. That you didn’t have to pretend to be someone you weren’t.”

“Well it looks like you failed! I had to have Voldemort practically shout it in my head before it finally clicked! Wanna take a guess what that feels like?” growled Melin. She heard several pops, and knew that her anger had caused the bottles of butterbeer to explode, her own magic shielding her from the flying glass. A sneer crossed her face as she heard Sirius and Remus scramble for cover, the portrait of Mrs. Black screaming at the top of her painted lungs. “Want to know why London caught fire back in the 1500s? That was me! I got angry and blew up several buildings! And all because a guy tried to lift my skirt!”

“Well times change, Melin. I believe the phrase you like to use is ‘no use crying over a spilt potion’?” Standing up, Dumbledore brushed the shards of glass from his robes and picked some of the bigger pieces from his beard. “I do not wish to guess what it feels like to be tortured, and I wish you never had to feel it either.”

Sinking down in her chair, her anger spent, Melin put her face in her hands and shivered. “I couldn’t stand feeling weak, feeling useless…but I was afraid if I fought against it I would only be cast further away. It took Severus prying into my memories to finally get me to realize I had been living with my fears controlling me. But last night…I finally snapped. I was actually wishing I had my brother’s abilities! I wanted to kill every last one of those bastards!”

“But you didn’t. You showed self control, something that you had to learn. You learned self control while pretending to be meek, and that is what makes you different from who you used to be. You will come to see that in time, but for now I have a mission for you.” Dumbledore walked over and placed his hands on Melin’s shoulders. “This is probably the worst thing I have ever asked anyone, but please hear me out before you decide.”

Melin raised her face too look at Dumbledore, her sightless eyes staring into his. “What?”

“You keep telling me that you don’t want to be left out of the loop, well now I am asking you to jump fully into it. I want you to become a spy for me.”

Sirius shot out from under the table like a bullet. “You can’t be serious! You want her to become one of them?”

“Voldemort already wants her, and I have kept enough information back from her so that there is no way he could use her against us.” Dumbledore’s tone was one of complete control now.

“Does Severus know about this?” asked Melin.

“He doesn’t, and he won’t. He has been told to report back to Voldemort, saying he can’t find you, that you have been hidden away. For all he knows that is what I came here to do. He will be sending along the potion to restore your sight this evening. I will need you to be elsewhere when he arrives.” Dumbledore saw Melin nod, her face ashen white. “Severus has told me that you have come a long way in disguising your feelings, and from what Michea told me you used to be excellent at only giving what information you wanted people to know, keeping the rest hidden. You don’t have to agree with my request. I will understand if you don’t want to do this.”

Melin stood up and picked up her wand from the table. Stowing it back in her sleeve she walked out of the kitchen and felt her way up the stairs. “Tell me when and where and I’ll do it…once my sight’s back of course. Oh shut up you stupid old hag!”

 


 

 

Sitting in the darkness of her bedroom Melin turned a flask over and over in her hands. She had hidden under Moody’s invisibility cloak when Snape dropped by to deliver the potion. Thinking back on the fight between Sirius and Snape she shuddered, it had been the first time she had seen Sirius actually try to harm Snape. All the other times it had just been minor injuries, but this time it looked like Sirius was actually trying for permanent damage. Shaking her head Melin unscrewed the cap on the flask and drank down the bitter potion inside.

It took a few minutes for the potion to take effect, but eventually Melin became aware of a burning feeling in the back of her eyes. The sensation spread throughout both of her eyes, until she was wanting to tear them out to stop the pain. Then, as soon as it started, the pain disappeared, leaving Melin looking around the room in confusion. True, her sight was back, but everything seemed…blurry. Reaching over to the nightstand for her glasses she tapped both of the lenses, which up until this time had just been regular glass, and slipped them on. Almost instantly everything was crystal clear. “Looks like the potion has a lasting side effect…” muttered Melin. Standing up she walked slowly over to the door and opened it, blinking against the sudden change in light. She had never noticed how bright the lights were before, and she guessed that after her little stint with blindness, she would notice for the rest of her life. A small smile appeared on her face as she walked down the stairs and into the kitchen.

Remus looked up from his book as Melin opened the door and smiled. “So, did it work?”

“Better than expected. World gets a little fuzzy without these.” She tapped her glasses and smirked. “Guess the potion still has a few glitches.” Walking over to the table she slid into her usual chair and summoned over a bottle of pumpkin juice. “Where’s Padfoot?”

“Sulking. Severus came by earlier and I didn’t let them kill each other.” A sad laugh escaped Remus’ lips as he turned the page. “You did have flowers waiting for you…but they kind of exploded.” He pointed over to a pile of ashes on the table. “Padfoot didn’t take too kindly to Severus trying to leave flowers for you. He still thinks you’re hidden away somewhere.”

Melin took a drink of her pumpkin juice and shrugged. “It’s only temporary right?” She turned around as the door behind her opened and a figure in a black traveling cloak stormed into the room. “Never mind….” she muttered as she took another drink.

Snape stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of Melin. “Why are you here?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper as he moved over and grabbed a hold of her arm. “Dumbledore told me you were hidden safely away! And now I find you here?”

“This place isn’t safe?” asked Melin, there was a slight mocking tone her voice even though Snape was applying an unusual amount of pressure on her arm.

“Why haven’t I seen you here before? Where were you then?”

Shrugging Melin set her pumpkin juice down and pried Snape’s fingers from her arm. “I was told to be…elsewhere.” Standing up she tilted her head back slightly so she could look Snape in the face. “You seem tense.” she said as she looked him over.

“Tense! I’m furious! I just spent the last two hours being yelled at, punished, and blasted by random curses!” Snape’s face was practically white now. “I’m told to go to the Dark Lord and tell him I can’t find you? Wonderful plan! All the while you’re sitting here happily sipping pumpkin juice!”

“Now hold on Severus, this isn’t Melin’s fault.” Closing his book, Remus stood up and moved over to Melin’s side. “And she hasn’t exactly been 'sitting here happily sipping pumpkin juice' as you so eloquently put it. She’s been up in her room all day, on strict orders not to come out until well after midnight.”

Melin crossed her arms over her chest and nodded, her glasses slipping down slightly and making half the room blurry. She could smell something like burnt flesh and looked at Snape’s arm, noticing a large burn going from the shoulder to the wrist. “You should have that looked at.” Stepping forward she took Snape’s arm gingerly in her hands and pulled away the torn pieces of his sleeve. “Come on upstairs, thanks to Dumbledore I have a stock pile of healing potions.” Without waiting for Snape to protest she pulled him out of the kitchen and up the stairs to her room. As soon as the door closed she strode over to the cupboard and pulled out a jar marked “Burn Salve”. “This is going to sting.” she said as she opened the jar and took some of the brown colored cream onto her fingers. As she applied the salve she could feel Snape tense. With a sigh she finished up and wiped her hands on the hem of her robe. “Look, it wasn’t my choice to hide away. Dumbledore still seems to think I’m too weak to deal with all of this. Told me I might not be able to handle the thought of you being punished for not finding me. Said I would probably try to find Voldemort,” she raised her eyebrows as Snape flinched, “sorry, I’ll try to stop saying his name around you. Anyways, he said I would probably go seek Vol-the Dark Lord out to stop you from being punished.” Shaking her head she returned the salve to its place on in the cupboard and turned around to look back at Snape. “He really doesn’t hold much faith in me….” A slight smile crossed her face as she watched the burn disappear. “There, all better now. Now if only I had something that worked like that on people’s minds I’d be rich.”

Snape pulled out his wand and mended his sleeve. “I wouldn’t doubt that for a minute.” he growled.

“Are you mad at me?” asked Melin.

Shaking his head, Snape took Melin into his arms and kissed her on the forehead. “Angry at the circumstances, not at you.” He started to take off Melin’s glasses, but stopped when Melin shook her head. “Why do you wear them? You can see fine.”

“The potion has a few bugs in it…no pun intended there. Sure I can see again, but without these,” she tapped her glasses, “everything’s blurry.” A mischievous grin spread across her face as she placed her hands against Snape’s chest and pushed him backwards until he fell onto the bed. Pulling out her wand she locked the door and lowered the light in the room. “Think you have time for…oh what is the phrase the students keep using? Oh right! Feel up for a bit of a snogfest? I promise you’ll get back to the school in time for the final exam this morning.”

Snape’s eyebrows disappeared underneath his bangs as Melin straddled him. “I believe this is the first time you’ve taken the initiative. What brought this on?” He wrapped his arms around Melin’s waist and kissed along Melin’s cheek and up to her ear.

“I’ll figure it out later.” whispered Melin as she ran her hands through Snape’s hair. She had been about to kiss him when there was a knock on the door. Highly irritated Melin got up and walked over to the door. “This had better be good.” she growled.

“Dumbledore’s here and he wants to talk with you, he says also that he needs Snape back at the school.” Remus’ voice was slightly muffled through the door and it sounded strained, like he was expecting to be killed for being the messenger.

“I’ll be down in a moment, I have healing salve on my robe.” Turning away from the door Melin sighed and looked over at Snape. “Rain check?”

Smirking, Snape stood up and adjusted his robes. “I’ll add it to the dinner you owe me.” Walking over to Melin he pressed his lips against hers in a promising kiss and disapparated.

Sighing, Melin cleaned the healing salve from her robes and unlocked the door. “Does he really want to see me?” she asked as she walked past Remus.

“Yes, he said it was urgent.”

Another sigh escaped Melin’s lips as she hurried down the stair. “I was planning on getting some sleep.” Pushing open the kitchen door she raised an eyebrow to find not only Dumbledore sitting in the kitchen, but also her three older brothers, all of whom looked like they could use a cheering charm or two. “What’s wrong?”

Dumbledore patted the chair next to him and waited for Melin to sit down before beginning. “Your brothers wanted to be here to hear this first hand. I have to ask you once again if you are willing to become my second spy. We want to make sure you didn’t agree out of anger.”

“I already told you, I’ll do it. I didn’t exactly go through a nervous breakdown just to go back to my meek little life. You brought the old Melin back, and she is here to stay. Though I will warn you now you might not like who I will become.” Looking over at Michea she smiled faintly as the color drained from her brother’s face. “I’m able to take care of myself now Michea, to make my own decisions, to finally try to live my own life.”

“I’m not doubting that Melin, I never doubted that, I just needed to hear it with my own two ears.” Patting his sister’s hand, Michea smiled ruefully and gave a long suffering sigh. “You’ve always been too headstrong for me to keep under control. Even at the age of five you were hell-bent on making my life interesting.”

Laughing, Melin pushed her glasses up and looked over at Rio and Aranel, both of whom were doing everything they could to look anywhere but at her. “And what about you guys?”

Blushing, Rio nudged Aranel. “We’ve got a present for you, to help…to help protect you.”

“Two presents actually.” piped in Aranel as he produced two bulky looking packages from under the table. “One’s from me and the other’s from Rio.”

“Lovely.” said Melin as she removed the wrapping from the first package, revealing a silvery grey cloak that felt almost like it had been woven from water. “An invisibility cloak? How the heck did you get this?”

“Ask that after you open the second gift.” smiled Aranel.

Melin removed the wrapping from the second gift and looked at it with raised eyebrows. “What is it?” she asked as she held up a pitch black cloak. “It looks like an ordinary cloak…but it’s heavier.”

Leaning back in his chair Aranel smirked and fished a piece of paper from his robes. “It’s a cloak with Graphorn hide sewn in. We figured that if we couldn’t protect our little sister outright, we might as well give her something that would help deflect the spells that would be blasted at her later.”

Melin shook her head but smiled. “You two….” Pulling out her wand she pointed it at Aranel and grinned as her brother toppled over backwards onto the hearth, his head just barely missing the fireplace. “Though you still haven’t told me where you got these.”

Rio looked over at his fallen brother and then back to Melin. “Your son has some surprising connections. He was the one who got those for us. Said he had to pull a few strings to get them across customs.”

Standing up, Melin slipped on the black cloak, surprised that it fit her perfectly. The only difference between it and her usual cloak was the weight, but luckily there wasn’t too much of a difference, otherwise she would have worried about tiring out too quickly. “Remind me to give him a huge hug when he returns from China with Delena and Alanna.” she muttered as she sat back down, the cloak still about her shoulders. “By the way,” she turned to look at Dumbledore, “any idea as to when I’m heading out?”

Dumbledore nodded slightly and pulled out a small map. “I’m sure you already know that Lucius Malfoy is part of Voldemort’s inner circle, I figure that he will be the easiest to go through to find Voldemort.” He raised his eyebrows as Melin shook her head. “Do you have a better idea Melin?”

“Lucius would become suspicious if I just showed up on his doorstep and asked to be taken to his master. I think we already have someone who can take me to him.”

“You mean Severus.”

Melin nodded. “He has already been commanded to bring me to him, and what better way to get Severus back on Voldemort’s good side and back into the circle than to have Severus “capture” me?”

“That sounds like it would work. Though Voldemort might find it odd if the two of you show up at his front door.”

“Then we’ll just have to make it look believable.” Looking up at the clock on the wall she sighed. “Man…it’s already seven in the morning?”

“Time for breakfast then.” muttered Sirius as he stalked into the room. He was massaging a large bruise on his arm and it looked like he had just finished rubbing some healing salve on his cheek. “What does everyone want?”

A chorus of “eggs, toast, kippers, bacon” rose up from everyone at the table. Laughing, Melin got up and removed her new cloak, draping it carefully over the back of her chair before walking over to help Sirius prepare breakfast. “Here, let me help.”

“Go sit down Melin. I’ve got this.” Waving his wand several plates appeared from the pantry and filled themselves with heaps of eggs, toast, bacon, hash browns, fruit, and kippers. Shrugging, Sirius moved the plates over to the table and spread them out so everyone could help themselves. “You’d better get your stuff off the table Melin.”

“Sorry. Um…look, I’m not really that hungry right now, I think I’ll skip breakfast.” Picking up her invisibility cloak Melin moved out of the way so Sirius could put down the last plate. With a small smile she picked up her black cloak and took them upstairs. She truly wasn’t feeling hungry, she was too nervous to eat. After hanging up her black cloak she set the invisibility cloak on top of her dresser and then flopped down on her bed. “Could this day get any weirder?” she asked the mirror above her dresser.

“Define weird deary. Last I checked you were the epitome of weird.” scoffed the mirror.

 


 

 

“If you’re going I’m going too!”

Sirius glared over at Melin. “You’re going to stay put! It’s too dangerous for you to go!”

Melin drew her wand and pointed it at Sirius. “Stop saying it’s too dangerous! I’m not some weak little child!”

Snape slammed his hand down on the table, silencing both Melin and Sirius. “There isn’t time for this stupid bickering! Potter is probably already at the Ministry! Both of you stay put! Dumbledore is going to be here soon and he will need someone to tell him what’s going on!”

Sirius flicked his thumb at Snape and turned on his heel. “Harry is my godson, I’m not staying behind.” Storming out of the room he joined up with the others and hurried off to the Ministry of Magic.

“This always happens!” screamed Melin as Snape disappeared, leaving her alone. Storming out of the kitchen she made her way to the drawing room and threw herself down on the couch. “Of all the stupid…Sirius is a wanted man! And what does he do? Goes strolling off to the Ministry of all places!”

 


 

 

A single candle burned in the drawing room as Melin finished what seemed like her 80th game of poker against an enchanted floor rug. “If you were more than a rug I’d probably say you were cheating.” she growled as she tossed her hand down onto the pile. “I’m being beaten by a damn rug.” Dumbledore had already come and gone, and she still had not heard a single word about what was happening. The clock nearby told her it was past five o’clock, and the sun was just beginning to rise outside. With a sigh Melin stood up and disapparated to her room. Inside she took her black cloak down from its peg and had barely managed to fasten the clasp when the door burst open and Snape stormed inside. “What’s wrong?”

“You’re coming with me…now!”

Melin raised her eyebrows. “On what reason?” Her answer came in the form of several ropes shooting from Snape’s wand. Struggling against her bonds she looked over at Snape, actual fear showing in her eyes. “What are you doing?”

Snape didn’t answer her as he closed the distance between them. Grabbing a hold of the ropes binding Melin he touched the mark on his arm, causing both of them to disappear.

 


 

 

Melin’s eyes widened in wonder as she looked around the sparsely decorated room she had just appeared in. In one corner stood Bellatrix, who appeared to be tending to a wound, and in the other stood Pettigrew, looking more miserable than ever. Directly in the center of the room was a large chair, its back towards Melin. At a loss for words Melin stumbled as Snape pushed her towards the chair. She almost wished that she hadn’t wondered what was in the chair. There, staring at her with his red eyes, was Voldemort.

“Well at least this day wasn’t a total bust.” growled Voldemort. Looking Melin over an evil smile spread slowly across his thin lips. “At least I can still claim one prize.”

Struggling against the ropes Melin jerked away from Snape’s grip. “Prize?” she asked. “I am not some prize to be claimed by the highest bidder!”

“That’s not what it looks like from here!” mocked Bellatrix.

“Silence Bella! I will be dealing with your incompetence soon enough! But first,” standing up in such a fluid way that Melin was reminded of watching a rearing snake, Voldemort rose from his chair and pointed his wand at Snape. “You brought her here, but you took over a week to find her. You should know by now that I do not like to be kept waiting….” came his cold voice. “You will be punished for making me wait…as well as for not breaking her before bringing her to me, as I commanded you to! Crucio!”

Snape fell to the floor with an agonizing scream. He could just barely hear Melin shouting something over his own screams, and suddenly the curse was lifted. Pushing himself up with shaking arms his eyes widened as he saw the ropes binding Melin disappear. ‘She couldn’t….’

“What did you say, girl?”

Melin stood there before Voldemort, her hands shaking slightly. She was determined not to back down from what she knew she had to do, and now that she had just shouted it out, she knew there was only one course of action. “I said I want to join you.”

Voldemort moved his wand away from Snape and pointed it at Melin. “Those are not words to be thrown around lightly girl. To join me is to devote your life to my cause, to serve me unquestioningly.”

“I know.” Melin’s voice was quiet but controlled.

“Tell me, why do you wish to join me? Is it to protect this man here? To stop his punishment?” Voldemort gestured to Snape with his free hand. As Melin shook her head a sneer appeared on his face. “You are fed up of being considered weak. You want to prove to the world that you are not weak. Yes, I can see it in your eyes, you want to prove yourself, but you also want power, strength, forbidden knowledge.”

“Yes sir. I finally realized it last night. When I was told to stay put when everyone else left to go and fight, I was told to stay there and act as messenger girl. And my message wasn’t even needed, for Dumbledore already knew what I was to tell him when I found him! I realized that they never really cared that I was there, I was just an extra body to make potions and carry messages. Even after delivering my message I was forced to stay away put. And yet I was expected to protect…to protect muggles who would never even know that I was saving them.” Her voice changed suddenly to a growl. “Muggles that punished me for who I was, hated me because I was different! Tortured me because I didn’t agree with them! Muggles that destroyed my childhood home just because they didn’t like that they had to serve my family!”

Snape’s eyebrows had disappeared under his bangs as he watched the woman he had known for over 20 years change before his eyes into a completely different person. Could her anger finally have caused her to snap? Was she really willing to join Voldemort?

Voldemort’s sneer widened. “You’re hatred for muggles seems to run deeper than I had thought. Severus has already informed us about the burning of your home, but we had no idea that you despised them to this day for it.” Moving forward he seized Melin’s left arm and pulled the sleeve back. “You have made a wise choice, Melin Weichselzopf. The wisest choice you will probably ever make.” And with that he touched his wand against the skin of Melin’s forearm. Instantaneously the dark mark began to draw itself upon her arm.

Melin winced at the pain but bit her tongue to keep from making any noise. The mark turned black for a second as it finished before fading slightly. “I am here to serve you, my lord.”

“Then prove that to me.” said Voldemort. “Torture him.” He pointed to Snape. “Show me your loyalty by finishing my punishment on him. I will tell you when you are to stop, and if you stop any time before then I will be very…displeased.”

“Yes, my lord.” Turning to face Snape, Melin pulled her wand from her sleeve and pointed it at his chest. “Crucio!” A thin smile appeared on Melin’s face as Snape writhed before her in pain. All the anger she had put aside, all the hatred, the pain from the times he'd struck her out of anger, the hurt from when he'd yelled at her over the years for things she'd had no part in, it all fueled her curse now, and it felt…wonderful. She could see Snape struggling to get up and merely smiled more.

“Enough!”

“Yes Lord.” Raising her wand Melin looked down at Snape and then to Voldemort.

Voldemort gave Melin an appraising look. “I have a job for you. It is already apparent that you will never be able to be a spy against Dumbledore’s little order, they keep you in the dark too much. So instead you will become my eyes and ears at the school. Everyone will be watching him,” he pointed to Snape, “But you, you who have been seen by everyone else as a meek little girl, you will be able to move about and still stay above suspicion. You who have spent your time learning the secrets of the castle, you will become the fly on the wall for me.” Crossing back over to his chair he sat back down and touched his fingers together. “I will expect information when I call you next. Now both of you, get back to the school. The arrest of my best Death Eaters will raise questions, and both of you will need alibis, some way to get yourself above question.”

Melin nodded. “Yes sir.”

“Now both of you, get going.”

Chapter Text

Snape was fuming by the time he found Melin, who had apparated to Hogsmeade instead of Grimmauld Place. Finding her in her office he stormed over and grabbed hold of her arm, jerking her violently out of her chair. “How could you?” he bellowed.

Melin narrowed her eyes and tried to pull out of Snape’s grasp. “How could I what?”

“You know full well what I am talking about!” Snape flung Melin away from him and drew his wand. He watched Melin stumble slightly, her glasses sliding off from the force of the throw. “Tell me!”

Straightening, Melin pushed her glasses back up and drew her own wand. Standing ready she sneered. “What? Cast the Cruciatus curse? Want me to do it again?” She pointed her wand at Snape's chest, almost as if she were trying to find the best place to blast him. “Or is this about joining his side? Either way I’ve got answers…though you will have to ask nicely.”

“Like hell I will!” roared Snape. Holding his own wand at the ready he glared over at Melin, only the Melin standing before him was no longer the one he knew, he couldn’t see any sign of the Melin he had gone to school with in this new woman. The woman standing there had an air of confidence about her that he had not seen before, in fact she even seemed to stand differently from how Melin usually stood. This woman seemed almost majestic. “What have you done to yourself? Where is the old Melin?”

The sneer on Melin’s face changed to a smirk as she slowly lowered her wand. “This is the old Melin, the one you knew was just a mask. I warned Dumbledore that people wouldn’t like it if I threw the mask away. This is the Melin of 500 years ago, the Melin who never took no for an answer, the Melin who would kill a human without a second thought if they happened to cross her. The weak Melin is gone!”

“Prove it.” snarled Snape.

Lepusco!” A jet of white light shot from Melin’s wand.

Protego!” Deflecting the spell Snape smirked. “That the best you got?” His eyebrows shot up as Melin sent a flurry of hexes at him. Deflecting each one he threw several of his own hexes back at her, until the room was filled with so much smoke that he couldn’t see a thing. Feeling around he thought he heard a noise behind him and whirled around in time to take a spell square in the chest. Snape’s ears suddenly felt like they were being stretched above his head, almost as if they were growing longer. At the same time he felt something like a pom-pom sprout from his backside. As the smoke cleared away Snape spotted Melin crouched behind her desk, and it appeared that she was laughing. “I fail to see what’s so funny.” he growled.

Standing up Melin pointed at Snape. “You-you’ve grown-I can’t believe it!” Doubling over with laughter Melin was about to conjure up a mirror when several spells collided with her cloak, smoke rising from the black cloth. “This was a present from my brothers, Severus! You want to know what I’m laughing at? Go take a look in the mirror!” Melin looked down at the damage done to her cloak and grumbled angrily.

Snape conjured up a mirror and gasped at his reflection. “You gave me rabbit ears?”

“And a powder puff tail too…if I did the spell right.” Casting a repair spell on her cloak Melin raised an eyebrow as Snape checked his backside. “It there?”

“Yes.” growled Snape. “Care to cast the counter curse?”

“Promise you’ll be nice.”

“You first.”

“Git.”

“Freak.”

Melin strode over to Snape and tapped him on the nose with her wand. Almost instantly the bunny ears disappeared. “Moron.” she smirked.

Snape tangled his fingers in Melin’s hair. “Just shut up.”

Melin pulled Snape’s face close to hers. “Make me.” she whispered.

“Gladly.” Snape pressed his lips against Melin’s, hard. He could feel Melin gasp at the ferocity of his kiss, his free arm wrapping tightly against her waist, holding her against him in a fierce embrace. A noise off to his right made him look up from the kiss, his eyes narrowing as the panel that hid the passage down to the front hall slid open. Releasing his hold on Melin he quickly straightened his robes as Dumbledore entered the room, his face looking more haggard than Snape had ever seen him. “Is there something the matter, Dumbledore?” He raised an eyebrow as he watched Melin sit down behind her desk.

Dumbledore shook his head. “Nothing that you need to worry about Severus. It’s just been a trying day.” He shrugged slightly and looked over at Melin. “Melin, I would suggest that you get a hold of Remus as soon as possible.”

Melin looked up with a confused look on her face. “Why? What’s wrong?”

“I will leave it to Remus to let you know.” Dumbledore shook his head and left again, leaving Melin and Snape sitting alone in the office.

Lowering her head again Melin yawned again. “What the heck could be going on at Grimmauld? Could-” Her head jerked up and she shot up out of her chair. “No-it couldn’t!” Rushing over to her storage closet she grabbed her Nimbus 2001. “I’ll be back later.”

“Something wrong?” Asked Snape as he sat down in one of the chairs.

“A hunch that I am hoping isn’t true.” Pushing some books out of the way she opened the window and stepped onto the ledge. Mounting her broom she kicked off, flying as fast as she could for a safe apparition point. Upon finding one she stopped and disapparated.

 


 

 

Landing outside Grimmauld Melin hurried over to the front door and pushed it open, not even questioning why the front door wasn’t locked. “Mooney?” she whispered as she set her broom down in the entry. She could hear a noise coming from the kitchen and hurried forward. Pushing open the door she gasped. The kitchen had been completely torn apart. Dishes lay shattered on the floor, food was tossed out of the pantry, chairs broken, the table a good foot from where it normally stood, and there, over in the corner, sitting on the only remaining chair was Remus. He looked like he had just walked through hell. His clothes were torn, his hair a mess, and his face wet from tears.

Melin rushed forward, stopping dead in her tracks as Remus raised his eyes to look at her. There was a mad light shining in his eyes, a light she had seen often enough before in Michea’s eyes when he was first dealing with the loss of everyone he had held dear. “Oh Mooney.” Moving forward Melin wrapped her arms around Remus and held on to him, feeling his body shaking. She stood there until both her legs were asleep. Finally straightening up she shook both her legs and helped Remus to his feet. “What happened?” she asked quietly, begging that her gut instinct was wrong.

Remus shook his head. Wiping his face he looked over at the fire and shook his head again, unable to speak for fear that he would start crying again.

Melin sighed and pulled out her wand. Giving it several quick waves she repaired the chairs and dishes. With a flick she vanished all the spoiled and spilt food. That done she turned back to Remus, who looked like he was still unable to speak. “Did they-did they capture Sirius?” she asked in a frightened voice.

Remus shook his head.

“Then where is he?”

“Gone.” croaked Remus. “Fell…veil…gone….”

Melin’s face turned white. “Gone? They…no…” She sank down on to her knees. “Padfoot….”

Standing alone Remus shook his head. “Bellatrix got him…with a spell in the chest…not a lethal spell…but he fell….” his voice broke and he buried his face in his hands. “He fell through the veil.”

Melin got to her own feet and hugged Remus tightly, crying on his shoulder. “I’m so sorry Moony…”

After several silent minutes, the only sounds being their crying, Melin and Remus finally broke apart, their throats sore and their eyes red. “The reading of the will is going to be tomorrow.” Remus was the first to regain his voice. “But we need to vacate the house as soon as possible. Your brothers are already moved out and set up in Michea’s house, and all your stuff has gone with them.” he said quietly. “Dumbledore has given me new orders…I don’t think I’ll be seeing or talking to you again any time soon.”

Melin gave a small nod, her arm still throbbing from the mark. She knew that something like this would happen, but she prayed that she wouldn’t be asked why she herself wouldn’t be seeing him either. “I know Moony…we’re both going to be really busy.” She gave a small helpless smile as Remus raised an eyebrow at her. She knew he wouldn’t ask questions, the bond between them made each trust the other. Giving him one last hug she was about to leave when she thought of something. “What of the others?”

“They’re fine…Sirius is the only one who died.” whispered Remus. As Melin turned to leave he caught her by the left arm, ignoring her yelp of pain as he pulled her back and yanked up her sleeve. Seeing the mark he sighed quietly and pulled Melin close for another hug. “I’ve already lost James and Sirius…I don’t want to lose you either.” He could feel Melin give a small sob. “Promise me you will keep yourself safe.”

“I promise.” whispered Melin. She was amazed that Remus was speaking of her like he was, but a small part of her wondered why she was surprised. They had been friends since school, and they had even dated for a short time during their 6th year. “You take care of yourself as well….I think I’ve worked out something to help you with your transformations…I’ll send a bottle along to you as soon as I get it done.” Giving Remus one last hug she started to turn away, only to turn back around and give Remus a kiss on the cheek before hurrying from the kitchen.

 


 

 

Snape was still sitting in a chair in front of Melin's desk when Melin returned. Raising an eyebrow at her red eyes he stood up and started to walk over to her. Both his eyebrows shot up when Melin shook her head, took off her cloak, and made her way over to her chair, where she flopped down and lowered her head onto her desk. “May I ask what in the name of Merlin happened?”

Melin raised her head to look at him, tears falling down her cheeks once again. “Sirius was…killed.” she let out a small sob and covered her face. “He fell through the veil in the death room.” She looked up at the sound of Snape scoffing, a horrified look on her face.

“Well I can’t say as I didn’t warn him.” sneered Snape. “The idiot should have stayed in the safety of his home instead of rushing out to save Potter.” A cold laugh escaped his throat as he looked out the window. “Its his own fault he’s dead.” Turning around he realized that he had said the wrong thing.

Melin stood up slowly from her chair, her face red with rage and her entire body shaking. She ignored the rattling noise of the objects on her desk as she advanced on Snape, her body quickly reverting back to its true form. Stopping less than a foot away from him she raised her hand and slapped him, hard. “Don’t you dare insult Sirius around me!” she shrieked. The objects on her desk began to rise up and wobble ominously as she stood there, her body now once again glowing with that mysterious blue glow, her eyes flashing in anger.

A look of shock appeared on Snape’s face as he slowly raised his hand to his cheek, feeling the stinging heat from where Melin had slapped him. Anger quickly washed away the shock and he glared down at her. “The man should have listened. And if you touch me one more time like that….and I will make you regret it.” he hissed the last part as he stared into her eyes. Acting more out of instinct than anything else his arm shot out and grabbed hold of Melin’s wrist as she made to slap him again. “I warned you not to do that….” The objects that had been floating in the air sped at him, most of them being quills and sharp objects. Ducking just in time he felt a letter opener whiz right above his head. “That was a humongous mistake on your part, Melin.” Grabbing hold of her other wrist he dragged her over to one of the passages and down to his office, only having to stop once to pick her up bodily and carry her the rest of the way.

Upon reaching his office he threw her away from him and sealed the room, also making sure to cast a silencing charm as he did so. “I do not take kindly to being treated like that.” he growled as he advanced on Melin, who was now standing defiantly over by his desk.

Pulling out her wand Melin stood ready as Snape came towards her, her mind going a mile a minute. “And I don’t take kindly to being treated like that either…but if you care to remember that when you hit me I didn’t start acting like a complete prat!” her voice had a shrill edge to it as she spoke, her wand ready to fend Snape off if he did anything.

Snape stopped in his advance and laughed as Melin drew her wand. “First you dare to strike me for telling the truth, and now you are going to curse me?” Moving quickly he closed the distance between himself and Melin before she even had a chance to move. With quick hands he grabbed hold of her wrists and pried her wand from her hands, flinging it to the other side of the room. He could hear her breath coming in ragged gasps, could see the panic forming in her eyes. With a low chuckle he pushed her back against the wall, pinning her there. “I believe it’s time I let you in on a little secret my dear.” He grasped both of Melin’s slender wrists in one hand while he pulled out his wand with the other. With flick of his wand iron chains appeared and bound Melin to the wall. “You are a wonderful little thing to shag, and have been very good for softening my image around the rest of the order, but that is all you are to me.” He sneered as Melin’s eyes filled with tears. “But of course I have one advantage over you. I don’t love you, but due to that nice little love curse your race has, you will always love me!” His voice rang with triumph as he spoke to her, watching tears fall down Melin’s face. “Did you honestly think that after being scorned by you for over 20 years that I could love you?” Leaning closer he took Melin’s chin between his finger and his thumb and forced her face up to look at him. He could see pain in her eyes, and even a look of fear…but burning under all that was a look of pure defiance. Holding her face still he pressed his lips against hers in a hard and painful kiss.

Melin struggled to break away from Snape’s kiss, but the iron chains had her bound tight, and Snape’s hand was holding Melin’s head completely immobile. Tears began flowing faster as she closed her eyes, begging for all this to be a dream. But inside she knew that even if it was a dream it would only mean that this would happen later. Finally, Snape broke off the kiss and released her now bruised chin. Still crying, Melin struggled against her bonds and let out a long stream of curses and swear words in French, English and her own language.

Snape shook a finger at Melin and raised his wand again. “It appears that I will have to teach you obedience.” An evil smile crossed his face as he vanished Melin’s clothes, leaving her standing there, chained and naked. “Now whipping you won’t do anything, but I think I know what will….” He let his voice trail off as he gave his wand a twitch.

Letting out a blood curdling scream Melin began struggling harder against her bonds as nightmare upon nightmare was ripped from her memory and replayed over and over in her mind at top speed. With each nightmare came a searing lash from Snape’s wand, and she could smell her blood mixing as it touched the iron chains. The blood began to hiss as it came into contact with the iron, letting off a green smoke which burned Melin’s throat and lungs as she gasped for air. “Please…please stop, Severus!” she begged, but her words apparently fell on deaf ears.

“Sirius isn't here to protect you any more.”

As another nightmare ripped through her, she began to feel woozy, her body was beginning to shut down, and she recognized it as iron poisoning, one of the few things that could quickly kill her race. “Severus…please…I’m going to die if you….don’t stop.” she gasped. The nightmares continued, but she felt the lashes stop. Opening her eyes slightly she saw why. The fireplace still had green flames in it and stepping out of it, wand raised, was her son.

Snape’s composure slipped for a second as Jehan burst from the fireplace. “I had forgotten about those damned watches of yours.” he growled as he dodged a curse from Jehan. “Come to protect your mother, boy?” With his wand moving almost too fast to see he began hurling curses at Jehan, becoming more and more enraged as Jehan blocked or dodged them. There was a flash of white light and suddenly Snape’s vision became blurred by blood flowing from a cut on his head down into his eyes. Snarling he rushed forward, fully intent on killing Jehan now, but he was stopped by a well aimed stunner to his chest.

Jehan breathed a sigh of relief as Snape crumpled to the ground. Wiping the sweat from his brow he looked over to see Melin staring at him in disbelief. “I don’t know how I do that either, Mother.” he said, his voice sounding tired and strained. Rushing over to Melin he quickly undid her chains and lowered her to the ground, pulling out a small jar as he did so. “Give me just a little bit and I’ll get these wounds cleaned.” Opening the jar he began to rub a blue jelly-like salve on Melin’s wounds. The wounds began to hiss and let off a red smoke as the salve began to extract the iron. His brow furrowed he did his best to ignore his mother’s screams as he worked. “Just a little longer, Mother, please believe me.”

Melin closed her eyes and bit her lip against the pain, hoping that Jehan was right. Opening her eyes for a moment she looked over at Snape, her eyes filling again with tears. ‘Why did he do that? Did he really mean those words?’ Slowly the pain disappeared and she turned her head to see Jehan give his wand a small wave. She could feel her wounds closing, the blood replenishing quickly as it always did with her race.

With a small smile Jehan conjured up a long nightgown and helped his mother slip it on. “Let’s get you out of here before anything else happens.” he said as he helped Melin to her feet.

“I-I need to get my wand.”

Jehan looked around the room and spied the wand over in the corner. “Accio wand.” The wand zoomed into his hand and he stowed it in his pocket. “I’ll take you back to my flat. We’ll sort everything out after you get some rest.” Before he could take a step he felt Melin’s body go limp and had to quickly maneuver her so that he was holding her in his arms. “Sleep well, Mother.” he whispered as he walked over to the fireplace and tossed some floo powder down. Just as he was stepping into the flames he turned around and cast an awakening spell on Snape.

 


 

 

The sun was well on its way to setting by the time Melin awoke in an unfamiliar bed. Rolling over she closed her eyes again, wondering where she was and why the scent of the sheets seemed so familiar. The scent reminded her of Grifon, but her mind told her that he had been dead for half a millennia now. With a sigh she opened her eyes and slipped on her glasses. There was an old looking dresser off in one corner of the room, its top covered in books and papers. A violin case and a music stand stood next to it, a piece of sheet music clipped to the stand. Posters of various quidditch teams adorned the walls, and clashed horribly with several beautiful hand painted portraits, one of which Melin recognized as a portrait of herself and Grifon.

The room was very well kept, but it was obvious that the person living here lived alone. An old but well polished desk stood near the bed, its chair filled with a large stack of papers. There was a small cauldron bubbling away on the desk, silver vapors emitting from the liquid inside. As she swung her legs over the edge of the bed Melin became aware of the sounds of a shower running in another room. After a few moments the water stopped and the sound of a curtain being moved aside could be heard. “Hello?” she asked, not sure who would respond.

“I’ll be right out in just a moment, Mother.” called Jehan. Quickly drying off he pulled on a pair of black boxers, over which he pulled a loose pair of faded blue jeans. Slipping on an old faded sweater he grabbed his glasses and wand from the counter and headed into his bedroom, giving his mom a faint smile as he slipped his glasses on, bringing the world into focus again. “Are you feeling better now?” he asked.

“Yeah, I think so. Are we at your flat?”

Jehan nodded and sat down on the bed, running his fingers through his damp teal blue hair. “What happened with Snape?”

Melin’s eyes teared up and she looked away, concentrating on the bubbling cauldron. “I really don’t want to talk about it.” In truth she had no idea herself as to why Snape’s attitude had changed like it had. Could it really be possible that he had been using her all this time? Was this all fated to happen from the beginning? Shaking the thoughts from her head she sighed and looked over at Jehan, a new question popping into her head. “How were you able to dodge all of those curses like that? It was almost like I was watching your father again.”

Jehan shrugged and got up to check on the potion brewing in the cauldron. A faint smile appeared on his face and he lowered the flame as he added a mysterious blue powder. The potion let off a hiss and the steam turned purple. Apparently that was what it was supposed to do, for Jehan gave a small nod and sat back down on the bed. “Maybe I inherited it from him?” he looked over to see Melin smile and beamed back.

 


 

*A month and a couple of weeks later*

Melin wiped the sweat from her brow as she worked on her latest potion. She had not heard a word from the school, let alone anyone else for that matter in over a month, and it was starting to worry her. With a sigh she closed the huge leather bound book she was working in and stretched. In the midst of her stretch she felt hands close around her wrists, causing her to cry out in alarm. The cry was short lived though, for one of the hands on her wrists moved quickly to cover her mouth.

“Just shut up and listen to me.” hissed a voice behind her as the owner of the voice lifted Melin from her chair and spun her around.

Trying to break away from the iron grip of her captor’s hands Melin looked up into the black eyes of Snape. Instantly she began to struggle even harder, trying to get away for all she was worth.

“Look, stop struggling will you? I don’t feel like going through the old routine all over again.” Snape gave a thin smile as Melin stopped struggling and stood perfectly still. “That’s better. Now then, if I remove my hand will you promise not to scream?” As Melin nodded he lowered his hand. “Why have you not returned to the school? Or better yet why have you not contacted anyone?” he asked in what could only be defined as a calm voice.

Melin looked up defiantly at Snape and crossed her arms. “Oh I don’t know….perhaps it has something to do with our little….” she raised an eyebrow as Snape suddenly moved his gaze away from her and off to somewhere else. “Did I strike a nerve?”

Snape slowly turned his gaze back to look at Melin and sighed. “I was angry. The Dark Lord was breathing down my neck on one side, and Dumbledore on the other. My anger got the better of me…I did not mean what I said…I am not proud of what I did.” His eyebrows shot up as Melin rushed forward and clung to him, crying. “Melin?”

Sobbing loudly Melin buried her face in Snape’s robes. She wanted to do nothing more than believe that everything had been a lie. Deep in her heart she knew that she should not be forgiving Snape for his actions, that to do so would be a terrible mistake. But she couldn’t help herself. Crying harder she felt Snape pat her gingerly on the shoulder before taking her in his arms.

“Mother I brought-” Jehan froze in mid stride as he saw Snape holding his mother. “What in Merlin’s name are you doing here?” he snarled.

Snape looked up and sneered over at Jehan. “Apparently your mother and I are working on making up.” He raised an eyebrow as Jehan pulled out his wand and aimed it at Snape. “And just where do you plan on going with this?”

“Jehan….please, just let me find out why.” came Melin’s voice. Lifting her head away from Snape’s robes she wiped her eyes and looked over at her son. “There has to be a logical reason to it.”

Glaring at Snape, Jehan stowed his wand back in the folds of his robes and left the room in a huff, leaving Melin standing there, torn between her son and the man she would love until the end of time, even if he didn't love her back. Snape had been correct, the curse of her race deemed that until his death, she would love him, and possibly beyond.

 


 

 

Jehan sat at the small dining room table in his flat and sighed. It had been several minutes since he had stormed out of the room, and still the door was shut. Looking up his eyes narrowed as Snape opened the door and stepped into the living room. With fluid aristocratic grace Jehan rose from his chair and strode over to Snape, blocking the other man’s path. “Look, I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m warning you Snape, if you hurt my mother again….” he glared at Snape through his blue tinted glasses. “Mother may not be able to see what you really are, but remember, not all of us are clouded by the curse. You tortured my mother, and I already know that it is not the first time you have done so. And I bear the scars of one who has been tortured by the Death Eaters as well.” He ran his finger along a long thin scar on his cheek. “So I have a little score to settle…and I would be more than happy to use you to settle it.”

Snape merely crossed his arms and quirked an eyebrow. “What Lucius Malfoy and his friends do to you is none of my concern. But let me tell you this boy.” He jabbed a long thin finger at Jehan’s chest. He was about to open his mouth and say something when the door opened again and Melin stepped into the room. “We’ll talk later.” he scowled before striding out, slamming the door behind him.

“What was that for?” asked Melin.

“It’s nothing Mother.” Jehan walked over to the kitchen, pulled a pot down from above the sink, and set it a little harder than normal on the stove. Tapping the pot with his wand he wiped his eyes, angry that tears were forming, even if they were tears of frustration. “Ha…he calls me boy? I’m several hundred years older!”

“Jehan, you’re burning the soup.”

Letting out a yelp Jehan whirled in time to watch Melin point her wand at the pot of soup, vanishing the contents, and replacing it with fresh piping hot cassoulet soup. “Um…sorry, Mother.” he said, his face flushing with embarrassment. “I have a lot on my mind.”

Melin gave her son a small smile and nodded. “I know…we all do…” She patted Jehan’s arm gingerly and motioned for him to go sit down, that she would dish up the soup. “But…what goes on between Severus and me…you needn’t concern yourself with.” Carrying two steaming bowls over to the table she set one in front of Jehan before taking a seat and setting the other in front of herself. “Severus was under orders to do what he did to me.” She waved her wand and summoned over the loaf of bread that had been sitting on the counter. “At least that's what he tells me,” she gave a small cough, “even through the curse I can see that he's not telling me everything.” At Jehan’s laugh she smiled. “He still thinks that he is a better occlumens than I…which he is right about. But he hasn’t taken into account our races own abilities, including the ability to shield our minds better than the most skilled occlumens…though it is never suggested that we use it…only in matters of great need of course.” she added with a small laugh.

“But, where did you find out about it? And why didn’t you tell me?” asked Jehan.

“Would you have believed me if I contacted you and told you that Lord Voldemort had instructed Severus to do what he did? That the reason was to make me fear him? Or that he was supposed to do it to show that Voldemort was the top on his list?” Melin shrugged. “And even if you did believe me, would you have been able to make it believable?” She continued as Jehan shook his head. 

Jehan took a sip of his soup. “But how did you find out?” 

Chuckling Melin dipped a piece of bread in her soup. “I have my little secrets.”

Jehan raised an eyebrow at his mother but said nothing. Finishing off his soup he stood up and took his bowl to the kitchen. “I need to go out for a little while tonight. Uncle Aranel asked me to pick him up some clothes from one of the Muggle shops nearby.” Smiling he closed his eyes and his hair changed from deep blue to a medium brown. “Can’t turn too many heads now can I?” he said as Melin blinked at him. “Will you be alright here?”

Melin nodded and picked up her empty soup bowl. “Go and run whatever errands you need to kiddo. I’ll be here.” Putting the bowl in the sink she smiled at Jehan and pushed him gently towards the door. “Really, I’ll be fine. Go and do what you need to do.”  

Chapter Text

Mirella sat sipping her iced pumpkin ale in a recessed corner of the Leaky Cauldron; idly watching the patrons come and go. Many were dressed in odd outfits, most seemingly to prefer robes of sorts. She looked up as the back door to the pub opened, an odd thing in itself since she knew that the only thing back there was a large brick wall. The man who had just entered the pub looked to be in his late 20s, perhaps early 30s. He had long brown hair and his eyes were hidden behind blue tinted glasses, and he carried his body with a strange aristocratic grace.

Jehan walked over to Tom and ordered a glass of pumpkin juice. Scanning the room his eyes met Mirella’s for a split second before Mirella looked away. Leaning against the counter he pretended to take a sip of his drink. “Who is she, Tom?”

Tom shrugged. “I have no clue. From the looks of it I’d say she was a muggle…but if she was she wouldn’t be able to find this place.” He cleaned one of the bar glasses with a damp towel and looked over at Mirella again. “She likes some interesting drinks. Yesterday she asked for Stolichnaya Vanil, and the day before that she asked for a Dawson’s Watchman Special. A very odd girl if you ask me.” Slapping Jehan on the back a smile spread across her face. “Just your type my boy! Go and talk to her! I see how you are staring at her.”

Jehan gave Tom a weak smile and took up his glass of pumpkin juice. Striding over to Mirella he took his time to study her as well. She had dark skin, much like the skin he remembered his father having. Her hair was dark and curly, and even though it was hot she was wearing long sleeves, pants, and gloves. Coming up to her table he smiled and gestured to the empty chair across from the one she was sitting in. “Taken?”

Mirella gave a polite smile and shook her head. “It is not taken.” Her voice still retained her Romanian accent, though it was not as heavy as it had been when she first arrived in England. She still struggled with pronouncing specific words, and hated that she sounded foreign to those she spoke with. People either loved her accent, thinking she was exotic, or they told her to get back to her own country. “Please join me.”

Jehan sat down and set his glass on the table in front of him. “I haven’t seen you in here before. Are you new in town?” He really didn’t know the subtle art of talking to women, and so decided to just be himself and ask what was on his mind.

Mirella shrugged. “I am not new in town…no, but I have never been able to find this place until two days ago. One day…poof…out of thin air.” As she spoke she moved her hands, emphasizing her words.

Jehan nodded. “The Leaky Cauldron is a hard place to find. Most people…well most muggles at least…” he was going out on a limb here. “can’t see it because we hide if from them. Though I am sure that with everything that has happened recently this place is now free of most of its enchantments so as to be a safe haven to everyone.” Noting the look of confusion on Mirella’s face he guessed that she was in fact a muggle. “Oh, I almost forgot to introduce myself.” He extended his hand out towards her. “My name is Jehan Fray.”

Mirella shrank back from the offered hand. “I am…Mirella Herne.” She looked Jehan over, taking in his features, features that held a hint of Romany heritage in them. “You-you are French are you not?” A small smile appeared on her face as Jehan looked at her in awe. “You have a faint accent. Also, name is giveaway.”

Smiling Jehan nodded. “Yeah, I was born and raised in France.” Taking a sip of his pumpkin juice he shrugged. “Moved here a while ago for work. What about you? You sound like you’re from Eastern Europe.”

Blushing, Mirella played with her bottle of pumpkin ale. “I only come here recently. My parents were Romany and….” she looked away. “I should not speak of it.”

Jehan took another sip of his drink. ‘So I was right, she is Romany.’ Setting his glass down he gave a small shrug. “You don’t need to talk about it if you don’t want to. I was merely curious.”

Looking back at Jehan, Mirella raised an eyebrow. “You merely curious? You look like you contain Romany blood. You are not perhaps a spy?”

Now it was Jehan’s turn to blush. “No I’m not a spy….” He looked over his shoulder to see that everyone in the pub was watching him and Mirella. “Let’s continue this elsewhere. Too many people are staring.”

With a small nod Mirella got up and made her way over to the door. “We can go to my home. No staring people there.” she said with a small smile.

Jehan’s face turned a little redder as he followed Mirella out of the pub. “Uh…sure.”

 


 

 

“You want me to do what?”

Dumbledore looked over his half-moon spectacles at Melin. “Voldemort knows where your race is hidden now, and how to get there. It would be prudent to get to your family before he does.”

A smirk spread across Melin’s face. “Sir, no offense…but any human who goes there will never even get past the front gates.”

“But remember, you yourself said that wizard magic cancels out Märchenlander magic. And if that is true-“

Melin sighed and lowered her head. “I know sir….they could easily do what wasn’t accomplished during the first rebellion.” She knew that no matter what she said she was going to have to go and face her family again. “I’ll go and get my belongings packed.” Standing up she removed her glasses and polished them. “I should only need a few minutes…”

Nodding, Dumbledore stood up. “Perhaps we should send someone with you, a human representative.” He smiled at Melin’s confused look. “Someone who can demonstrate wizard powers.”

“What about you?” Melin blinked as Dumbledore shook his head. “Then who should I take?”

“Perhaps you should take Severus.”

“Um….yeah….I’ll make sure to ask him about that after I get back.” Melin gave a polite wave goodbye and disapparated.

 


 

 

Apparating outside the school Melin hurried up the walk and into her office. There she pushed the book to open the door to her room and rushed over to her dresser. Flinging the doors open she rifled through her sock drawer, pulling out a small key on a thin silver chain. “Will they even remember me?” She asked herself as she slipped out of her clothes. Rifling through her dresser she pulled out a long flowing robe made of a strange substance that moved almost like water flowing in a river. Melin smiled as the colors shifted as the robe moved in the light, going from a deep wintry blue to a dark silvery green. She had only worn it once, and that had been at the Yule ball two years ago. Slipping it on she took a second to admire her reflection in the mirror.

“You know, last time I saw you dressed like that I wanted to kiss you.” came a voice from over by the door.

Melin whirled around, her jaw dropping at the sight of Snape. She quickly regained her composure and smirked. “Well at least you being here saves me the time of having to hunt you down.”

Returning the smirk Snape leaned against the wall, studying Melin. “Dumbledore already told me. So what do you want me to wear? A soiled loincloth? Perhaps nothing at all?”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Severus.” Reverting to her true form Melin picked up her wand and cast a spell on her hair to braid it. “If it was my decision I wouldn’t take you along….” She shrugged as Snape snorted. “Well only because you will probably be taken down to the servant’s quarters instantly, thus negating your reason for being with me.” Checking her reflection one more time to make sure everything looked all right she strode over to Snape and tapped him on the chest with her wand, turning his black robes into ones of emerald and silver. “Now your hair….” She tapped him on the head, a little harder than necessary, and watched as Snape’s hair lost some of its greasiness and tied itself back into a ponytail. “Looks like your hair is naturally greasy….”

Snape smirked down at Melin. “I could have told you that.” Pulling Melin close he traced his finger along her cheek and up to her ear, his smirk widening as Melin shivered. “How much longer do you need to get ready?”

“I just need to get a couple of things from Michea’s house, then we can leave.” whispered Melin.

“Well then let’s get over there and then off to meet your parents.” Keeping his arm around Melin’s waist, Snape led Melin from the office and down towards the front gate. He didn’t speak as he and Melin walked down the road, his eyes scanning everything around him, checking for any sign of them being watched. Reaching the house he waited outside as Melin hurried to get what she needed. It was several minutes later before Melin finally came back out. “Took long enough?”

Melin adjusted a couple of things in a small bag and stuck her tongue out at Snape. “I could go back in and talk with Michea…that can always kill a few years.” Taking hold of his hand she pulled him close and took out her pocket watch. “This is going to feel odd….Rio says that you can have up to three people travel at once…..”

A look of fear spread across Snape’s face. “You have done this before right?”

“Nope.” said Melin as she wound the dial on her watch and pressed the button to pop the cover open. The next thing she knew she was standing in an open field. “Well…that was painless.”

“Speak for yourself.” groaned Snape as he sat down in the grass and put his head between his knees. “I could have sworn that I was being ripped in half. It was like being splinced.”

Melin put her watch away and looked down at Snape with concern. “Perhaps it only happens to humans.” Reaching into her bag she pulled out several small bangles and a tiny silver circlet. “I should probably make these larger….” Muttering something under her breath she smiled as the circlet and bangles grew in size. “Are you feeling any better?” she asked as she slipped the bangles on to her wrists.

Snape looked up in time to see Melin place the circlet on her forehead. “Give me one second.” Standing up he took Melin in his arms and kissed her passionately, not quite sure what had come over him. Coming up for air he looked down at her and smiled faintly. “I don’t know what it is about how you look makes me want to take you right here and now.”

Smiling back Melin kissed him once on the cheek before pulling away from him and looking around. “I don’t recognize anything here, but I’m quite sure that our arrival will have been noticed. Aranel says that this is the only entry point to our realm and it is closely watched.” She turned around and spotted a group of seven armored men on what looked like horses riding towards them. “Listen, let me do that talking for the moment, and we’ll sort it out as we go.” she whispered to Snape as the men drew near.

“Whatever you say…your highness.” smirked Snape.

The leader of the men on horseback stopped a few feet from where Snape and Melin were standing and dismounted. “(Speak your names and your business.)” he commanded.

Straightening up to her full height Melin looked fully put out. “(How dare you speak to me in that tone! Do you know who you are speaking to?)”

The man took a step back, apparently caught off guard by Melin’s reaction. His eyes traveled from the bangles on Melin’s wrists to the circlet on her forehead. Eyes widening in comprehension he bowed low. “(I apologize milady. But you are so far out, and with a human no less, that we had to make sure you were not an imposter.)” Straightening he removed his helmet to reveal a young looking man with light reddish brown hair and flame colored eyes. “(May I get milady’s name so as to send it ahead to the castle?)”

‘There’s something familiar about him.’ Thought Melin. Nodding her head slightly she smiled. “(I am Melin Weichselzopf, youngest daughter of Pallanen and Larien Weichselzopf.)”

Snape’s eyebrows shot up at Melin’s actions, especially at the recitation of her name. Watching the men standing near their horses he waited to see how they would react.

The young fire eyed man stepped forward and placed his hand over Melin’s heart. “(Recite to me your true name.)” he said quietly, his eyes searching for any hint that Melin was not telling the truth.

“(If I were to tell you that it would mean that I have tortured the name from the true Melin. I am only permitted to reveal my true name to my family and the royal record keepers.)” stated Melin, her dark eyes meeting in stark contrast to the young man’s fire ones.

Nodding the young man removed his hand and sank down on one knee. “(Welcome home, my princess.)” As the other men fell onto one knee he stood back up and embraced Melin in a tight hug. “(I had almost given up hope of ever seeing you again!)”

Melin’s eyes widened in surprise. “(You had?)” she asked, her voice sounding just as confused as she was.

“(Don’t you remember me? It’s me, Círdan.)” Círdan released Melin and looked at her expectantly. “(You and I were betrothed…don’t you remember?)”

Comprehension dawned in Melin’s eyes. “(But we were both so young, I would have thought that everyone had given me up for lost by now.)”

Shaking his head Círdan led Melin over to his horse and helped her up. “(Some of us did, but there were still some who held out hope.)” Smiling happily he motioned one of the men to take Snape up behind them before mounting his own horse. “(Normally I would have your servant walk, but it is a far distance and humans do not seem to have the stamina to make the trek.)” Slipping his helm back on he took the reigns and clicked his tongue three times.

Melin blushed at the mention of Snape being her servant. “(I-I understand. You know…he really isn’t-)“ She was unable to finish her sentence for at that moment the horse-like creatures leapt forward, their speed rivaling that of a Firebolt. As the scenery whizzed past Melin leaned back into Círdan’s arms for protection.

“(Don’t worry.)” smiled Círdan. “(You’re perfectly safe.)” Wrapping his free arm around Melin’s stomach he steered his mount towards the horizon, where a large castle was coming into view. “(I’ll take you up to one of the guest quarters to let you relax while I inform your parents of your return. Would you like me to have someone show your servant to the servant’s quarters?)”

“(Severus isn’t my servant, Círdan….he’s a friend.)” Melin could only mumble the last part of her sentence.

“(Friend? With a human?)” Círdan held Melin a little tighter as he slowed his mount down to a brisk trot. “(What did they do to you?)”

 


 

 

Snape crossed his arms as he watched Melin brush her hair. “And you didn’t think to tell them that we were a couple why?” he snarled.

With a sigh Melin re-braided her hair and turned to look at Snape. “Think about it Severus. Here humans are treated worse than any muggle could possibly be treated by a pure-blood.” she sighed and stood up. “And what was I supposed to say to Círdan? He’s….he’s my…”

“He’s your what?” sneered Snape. “Your old boyfriend?”

Melin’s face turned red. “I was five when Michea took me away! How in the name of Merlin could he have been my bloody boyfriend?” Grabbing hold of Snape’s robes she jerked him down to her level and got right in his face. “Círdan and I were betrothed! Our parents arranged it to keep the bloodline pure.” she snarled. “Did you ever even stop to think for a second that the reason I didn’t speak of our relationship was the simple fact that if I had you would have been killed on the spot? Did you?”

With a growl Snape pushed Melin away from him, watching as she lost her grip on his clothes and fell to the floor. “Blast it woman! Of course I thought of that! But did you ever think that with all the years that had passed that the laws might have changed?”

“Did you see any sign of the laws changing? Hmm?” a sneer spread across her face. “Thought not. They still instantly considered you a servant despite your robes.” The sneer vanished from her face as someone knocked on the door.

“(Is everything all right in there Melin? I heard shouting.)” came Círdan’s voice.

“Oh for the love of….” whispered Melin. Getting to her feet she fixed her gown and smoothed her hair. “(I’m all right Círdan. You can come in if you wish.)” She cast Snape a quick look that told him their discussion wasn’t over as the door opened and Círdan strode in. He had taken off his armor and changed into a blood red tunic, white pants, and a black cape. His tunic was embroidered with a simple pattern, marking his rank, along the edges and the cuffs. Melin actually felt her heart skip a beat as she looked at him. Círdan had tied his hair back with a black tie, his hair falling to his waist. “(I’m still a little of kilter from my trip. I lost my balance and fell.)” She smiled politely at him and strode forward, taking his hand in customary greeting and giving him a kiss on the cheek. “(We have much to catch up on, Círdan.)”

Círdan smiled and returned the gesture. “(Yes, but our catching up will have to wait. Your mother and father wish to see you.)” His eyes traveled over to Snape. “(What should we do with your servant? You really should not have a human male alone with you in your chambers.)” He raised an eyebrow as Snape looked as if he was about to reach for something in his robes. “(Does your human understand our language?)”

“(He understands our basic language…no more than a child would know.)” muttered Melin. Looking over at Snape she shook her head. “Put it away Severus. You’re coming along with me to meet with my parents.” Seeing Snape’s arms drop to his sides she smiled faintly and looked back to Círdan. “(He will come with me. As I said Círdan, he is not my servant. Severus has come with me to represent the human wizards on Earth.)” Her voice lost all of its cheerfulness. “(I did not return to stay Círdan…I was sent to give a message of great importance to my parents. There….)”

Círdan touched a finger to Melin’s lips and shook his head. “(What you have to say is for your parents’ ears. If they wish for me to know I will be told.)” Leaning forward he kissed Melin on the forehead. “(Let’s go see your parents.)” Looking back to Snape he motioned for him to follow.

Melin took Círdan’s arm and walked down the hall, her eyes wide as she took in everything. Everything looked so much smaller now that she was full grown. “(I never thought I would see these halls again.)” Stopping before a golden door she watched Círdan make a gesture to the guards, who quickly moved out of the way.

“(Your parents are right inside. I’ll wait out here.)” Smiling, Círdan squeezed Melin’s hand before opening the door for her.

Striding through the doors Melin heard Snape following behind her. After taking a deep breath she made her way to the two thrones at the end of the great hall, her heart beating through her chest. As she reached the foot of the dais she sank in to a low curtsey. “(I hope this day finds you well.)” she said quietly.

Snape sank down on one knee, his head bowed. Remembering what Melin had told him to say he raised his head slowly. “(Your most illustrious highnesses, I kneel before your power.)”

Larien smiled and stood up. Stepping down from the dais she held out her hands and pulled Melin up to her feet. “(You do not need to kneel little Melin, please, come up here and embrace your parents.)”

“(Mother.)” Hugging her mother tightly, tears streaming down her face, she finally felt like she was where she belonged. “(I’ve missed you so.)” She looked up to see her father come down and hold out his arms to her. Moving from her mother’s arms to her father’s she felt almost giddy with joy. As her father released her she wiped her eyes and motioned to Snape. “(I come bringing tidings from the human realm, and I also bring a representative from the wizarding community. His name is Severus Snape, he is one of the many wonderful professors that the wizarding world has to offer.)”

Nodding Pallanen walked over to Snape. “(Rise Severus Snape.)” Looking Snape up and down he put on a smile that did not extend up to his eyes. “(I am Pallanen, and this is my wife Larien. Welcome to Inglamis.)”

“(You honor me your majesties.)” Snape bowed to both Pallanen and Larien. He hated having to bow and scrape to people, but like all the other times, he bit back his pride and followed Dumbledore's orders.

Larien looked over at her daughter. “(Will he need a translator? His words seem…elementary.)”

Melin shook her head. “(I will translate for him. I doubt any of the humans here would speak his language.)”

“(He seems to know our etiquette quite well. Did you teach him?)”

Nodding Melin looked over at Snape. “(Crash course….)”

Larien nodded. “(How did he learn our language?)”

Melin blushed. “(Um…I actually taught it to him…well the basics at least…so we could speak without being understood when we needed to talk about something private.)” She blinked as he mother laughed quietly.

Turning to Melin and Larien with a grim look on his face, Pallanen motioned for them to follow him. Leading Melin, Larien, and Snape to a side door he showed them into a small conference room and motioned for them all to sit down. “(It appears that your reason for returning is not a happy one daughter.)”

Melin nodded. “(I come bearing grim tidings and also to alert you of a possible infiltration of the realm.)”

“(Indeed.)” Pallanen folded his hands on the table. “(Please tell me.)”

Melin did her best to explain what had been happening in the last 50 years, trying to stress the war and its resurgence. As she got to the part about how Voldemort had learned travel between realms she saw her mother pale considerably. “(Normally I know you wouldn’t worry yourselves with this, but the wizarding community has come a long way from the uprising all those years ago….)”

Snape leaned forward, his voice steady. “My lord and lady, you will surely be able to…dispatch any intruder…that comes to your realm. We came here to offer our services in our own realm to try and keep the intruders from coming here.” He waited for Melin to translate for him before continuing. “The Dark Lord committed an atrocity in capturing and torturing your eldest son. We are doing everything in our power to keep his evil influence from your beautiful realm.” Again he waited for Melin to translate his words.

As Pallanen listened to Melin’s translation of Snape’s words his expression became grim. “(This Dark Lord that you speak of…he sounds like a formidable foe.)” He placed his hand over Melin’s. “(I would prefer that you would not return to the human realm…but I can understand the need for our powers over there. My only fear is that you and Michea never completed your training. Aranel and Annanahrion have completed their training…but they lack the knowledge that you possess of human customs.)” He smiled at Melin’s look of absolute shock. “(Your mother and I have learned that humans are necessary, Michea’s daughter showed us a side of them that we had never known. But we do keep that secret.)” He let Melin translate for him. “(We were the ones who sent your brothers, but made them promise to merely say that they had run off. Kale and Camthalion still have their strict laws in place, but we have final say on what happens.)”

“(Kale and Camthalion gained much support after the uprising, and they were elected to rule, with us being merely advisors to them.)” explained Larien. “(The people believed that we had lost touch with what was necessary.)”

Standing, Pallanen gave Melin a small smile. “(We shall speak of all this later. For now go and get some rest. Your friend Severus may stay in the guest bedroom that you are in, and you will be moved up to your old room, which should by this point be cleaned and ready for you. I am sure you wish to get caught up with your betrothed, and tomorrow night there shall be a ball in honor of your return.)” As everyone else stood he pulled on a chord and gave a signal to an old servant who appeared. “(Akemu will show Severus to his room, and Círdan is no doubt waiting for you.)”

 


 

 

Melin spent the remainder of the day and most of the night sitting in her room, speaking with Círdan of what had happened over the years. She had changed into a teal colored tunic style dress and a royal blue jerkin, and had taken the time to examine all of the books on the shelves as Círdan spoke. Turning to look at Círdan she smiled happily. “(It sounds like you have led an interesting life.)”

“(Not nearly as interesting a life as you have led.)” Standing up Círdan stretched and looked out the window, smiling as the first rays of light appeared. “(No matter how many times I see it, the dawn is always magical.)” His eyebrows shot up as the door opened.

“(I thought I smelled filth in here.)” came a female voice.

Círdan quickly moved over to stand protectively before Melin. “(The king and queen have already accepted Melin back, Kale. They do not feel that she is tainted.)”

Kale sneered and strode into the room, pushing Círdan aside and standing less than six inches away from Melin. She had pale skin, which was in sharp contrast to her black hair and eyes. Her skin showed just the finest signs of age, with only a couple of fine wrinkles near the mouth and eyes. Standing a good three inches shorter than Melin she still gave off an air of haughtiness, much like a small dog challenging a larger one. “(You reek of human.)”

“(And you reek of pumpkin juice. We all have our choice scents.)” replied Melin, her face impassive. “(Is there anything constructive that you wish to say to me or did you only come in to attempt to insult me?)”

Looking Melin over Kale took a step back. “(You think you’ve been accepted back because our parents are happy to see you? Well I have some news for you little sister…our parents don’t hold much power now. In fact, if you mess up it will be either Camthalion or myself who decides your fate, not our parents.)” Still sneering she started to turn to leave. “(By the way, I had that human sent down to the servants quarters, and the room is to be fumigated and the bedclothes burned.)”

“(Severus was told he could stay there by our parents, you shrew!)” snarled Melin.

Kale stopped and turned around. “(Remember little sister, I have final say.)” She gave an evil smile to Melin. “(I have already had two guards set on your room, and you are not to leave your room without an escort. Just because you can pass yourself off as a princess doesn’t mean you deserve to be treated as one…especially after you whored yourself to filth.)”

Melin let out a growl and pulled out her wand. “(Take that back Kale….or so help me…)”

“(I’ll take it back when you succeed in proving you aren’t taint-)”

Lepusco!” A smile appeared on Melin’s face as Kale was blasted off her feet.

Kale quickly regained her feet and rushed from the room, her face red with rage, slamming the door behind her.

“(Bitch….)” snarled Melin as she put her wand away. Raising an eyebrow she looked over at Círdan, who had plastered himself up against the wall with a look of shock on his face. “(What?)”

Círdan shook his head and regained his composure. “(It is merely shocking to see human magic used by one of our kind. The rabbit ears were a nice touch though.)” A smile reappeared on his face he strode back over to Melin and took her hand. “(May I take you on a tour of the castle?)”

Melin blinked confusedly. “(But…I thought I couldn’t leave without an escort.)” she blinked again as Círdan laughed. “(What’s so funny?)”

“(Melin, I’m the commander of the castle’s forces, I think I qualify for an escort. Now come on, let me show you around.)” Leading Melin to the door he opened it and made a signal to the two guards, who immediately snapped to attention. “(Where would you like to start?)”

“(Could we go to check on Severus? I really would like to apologize to him for what happened….)” Melin eyed the guards, almost sizing them up, as she walked past. Following after Círdan, her eyes still wide as she took in everything, Melin began to draw a mental map of the castle. She wasn’t about to spend the day locked in her room, she was planning on exploring every part of the castle if she could. As they reached the door to the servant’s quarters she pulled Círdan aside and over to one of the corners. “(Círdan…I’m going to have to leave after tomorrow night…I need to return Severus to his realm…and I need to go back there.)” She looked down at the ground. “(I also….also….I need to get back to my…)” She just couldn’t complete her sentence, she just couldn’t tell him that she had broken the betrothal laws and married.

“(Your son?)” asked Círdan. He smiled as Melin gasped. “(Your loving sister Kale has done everything in her power to sully your image, including informing everyone in the realm, as well as my family’s realm, of your little tryst with a human male. Personally I can’t blame you, you were alone in a world of humans and were desperate to fit in.)” He pulled Melin close and wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug. “(I would love you no matter what Melin, and I would be glad to call your son my own.)”

Melin wrapped her arms around Círdan and smiled. “(I’m glad. I was afraid that…well…)”

“(I would call you a harlot and cast you away?)” Círdan pulled them deeper into the shadows as a servant walked through the door carrying a large stack of plates. “(We will continue this later, let us go and get your friend Severus. I’m sure he would love to get out of that room.)” Smiling, he released Melin and led her through the door and into the servant’s quarters.

 


 

 

Snape was reaching the end of his patience…which wasn’t much of a task seeing as how he had had quite a short fuse lately. He had cornered a young servant girl and had been trying to ask her a simple question for the past half hour. “I will ask you one last time…how the bloody hell can I find Melin?” The young servant girl cowered down and began babbling in a language Snape didn’t understand. She looked even more frightened than his first year students. “Great…you don’t understand me and I don’t understand you. How bloody wonderful.” Pushing the girl out of the way he strode over to the door and made to open it, only to have the door open on its own. “Wha-“ Stepping back he realized the reason the door had opened was that that new guy…oh what was his name again…Cir-something…had opened it and was leading Melin in. Rushing forward he grabbed hold of Melin’s hands. “You and I are leaving now! We gave your parents the warning they needed, and there is no reason to stay.” He raised an eyebrow as Melin looked away from him. “You actually want to stay here don’t you? What, do you actually think you’re finally home?” At Melin’s nod he let out an exasperated sigh. “Oh for the love of Merlin!” He pushed Melin away from himself, causing all of the servants to gasp and Círdan to step in front of Melin, his eyes glowing. “(Oh look, the other boyfriend is being protective.)” he sneered as Círdan looked at him as if he was completely bonkers. “(Didn’t Melin tell you?)”

“(Melin…is…is this true?)” Círdan turned to Melin and took her hands in his. “(Is this man your…mate?)”

Melin sighed and looked down at the ground. “(It's...complicated. I don't know anymore.)” Pulling her hands out of Círdan’s she hurried from the room, shame spreading in a blush over her skin.

Turning on Snape, Círdan backed the other man into the corner. “(I knew there was something about you the moment I first saw you. She loves you…I can see it plain as day now…though I tried to deny it when I first saw it, but you, you I can not tell. You appear to have another motive for being with her.)” he stepped even closer. “(I will tell you right now, if you so much as harm a hair on her head I will not hesitate to kill you. Now get out.)” He stepped aside so that Snape could get past. “(I’m going to ask for you to be sent back tonight. Melin will return tomorrow night if she so chooses.)” Watching as Snape strode past him with an air of hurt dignity he crossed his arms and glared at the other man. ‘(Melin is under the love curse…I have to find a way to save her from it….)’

Chapter Text

Círdan found Melin four hours later out in the stables. Stepping up behind her he watched for a while as Melin brushed one of the horse-creatures. “(They’re lovely aren’t they?)” He walked forward and placed his hand on the creature’s flanks. “(These hippocerfs are some of the best beasts we could find. When we ride them our magic channels into them, giving them the ability of super speed, and sometimes even flight.)” He smiled at Melin as she continued brushing the hippocerf. Seeing that Melin wasn’t reacting he sighed and turned her to look at him. “(Listen to me Melin, I don’t know what happened in there…I only know that that man doesn’t seem to have your love in mind. The way he treated you back there was intolerable.)” He raised his eyebrows as Melin looked away. “(Have I said something wrong?)”

“(No, you are right, he was…is treating me horribly. But…I just can’t stop him. No matter what I try…I keep telling myself that he needed to do what he had to do, or that he really doesn’t mean what he’s doing.)” Melin rested her head against Círdan’s chest and began to cry quietly. “(And now after finally seeing you again my mind is torn in two different directions…as is my heart.)” She felt Círdan’s strong arms wrap around her body, holding her protectively. “(I wish I could see all of this with a clear mind.)”

Círdan tightened his hold on Melin, almost as if letting go would mean she would turn to smoke and disappear. “(Oh Melin…I wish I could help you…but you know as well as I do that our race falls in love for life.)” He placed two fingers under Melin’s chin and raised her face to look up at him. “(Melin…I love you. I will love you ‘til my dying day…and I want to help you any way I can. Please stay for a few days longer than planned…I might be able to find a way to help you break your bonds against that man.)”

Melin looked up into Círdan’s flame colored eyes and nodded. “(I will stay…just let me return Severus to his own realm.)”

“(Of course.)” Círdan smiled. “(If you wish you can take him back now. I can take you two back to the transfer point, and I will wait for your return.)” As Melin nodded again his smile widened. “(Then let us head back. I’m sure that Severus is roaming the halls looking for you by this point. Especially after his little stunt in the servant’s quarters. I doubt any of the servants will let him back in.)” He moved to let go of Melin, but instead gasped in surprise as Melin stood on her tiptoes and kissed him. Wrapping both of his arms around her he kissed her back in a gentle and passionate kiss.

 


 

 

After returning Snape to his home down on Spinner’s end (with a minor scuffle resulting in Snape sporting several bruised ribs and Melin sporting a black eye) Melin made a quick stop at her brother’s house to let him know she would be gone a few days longer than planned and to pick up a few items, including several small vials of her detox potion. She wasn’t quite sure why she was getting them, only that something told her she would need them. With one last check of the items in her bag, she hugged her brothers, Jehan, and Michea's daughter Delena goodbye and made to leave. Just before she reached the door she felt long aristocratic fingers close around her wrist. “Is something wrong, Jehan?”

“I want to come with you, Mother.” Jehan moved so he was standing next to Melin, his face set with determination.

Melin sighed and shook her head, even though she was smiling. “Well I guess you can come along. But we will need to take you into town to get you some suitable clothes. Go get what you need. I’ll wait here until you get back from your apartment.” She raised her eyebrows as Jehan shook his head. “You don’t need anything?”

“Already packed.” Smiling, Jehan reached down and picked up a well worn traveling bag. His smile widened into a silly grin as his mother began to laugh. “Hey, I’ve got father’s stubbornness and your stubbornness.”

“I know. Now let’s get going.” Pulling out her watch she made the necessary adjustments before taking hold of her son’s arm and pressing the release on her watch.

Once again she felt the lack of sensation as she traveled between the realms. In mere seconds she found herself back on the grassy hill. Looking around she noticed that Jehan had placed a charm on his glasses just as she had done, but she couldn’t for the life of her find Círdan. “(Círdan? Are you still here?)”

“(Over here, Melin.)” Círdan held up his hand to show her that he was lying down in the long grass. “(Did everything go all right?)” Sitting up he raised an eyebrow at Jehan. “(You must be Jehan.)” He stood up, strode over to Jehan, and embraced him. “(Welcome to Inglamis.)”

Jehan smiled politely. “(Thank you for the welcome, Círdan. I have been waiting all my life to meet others of my mother’s race.)”

Nodding, Círdan turned to embrace Melin but froze at the sight of her black eye. “(What happened? Did that man do this to you?)” He raised his hand and gently touched the bruise, muttering a healing spell as he did so.

“(Yes he did…but don’t worry, I did far more damage to him than he did to me.)” Melin felt the pain from the black eye disappear and knew the bruise was gone. “(Thank you, Círdan.)”

“(We should get going. Even though the ball doesn’t begin for another few hours I did promise to take you into the city. And it also looks like Jehan could use some different clothes.)” He raised an eyebrow as Jehan pulled out his wand and transfigured his clothes to match Círdan’s…but whereas Círdan’s were red and black, Jehan’s were green and silver. “(Well let us head into town anyway. Melin would you like to ride with me?)” As Melin nodded he led her over to his hippocerf and helped her up. “(Do you know how to ride one of these beasts, Jehan?)”

“(What exactly is it?)” asked Jehan, eying the hippocerf.

“(It’s a hippocerf, half horse and half deer. Really intriguing creatures.)”

“(Ah.)” Jehan looked at the hippocerf and shrugged. “(If it rides like a horse I can ride it.)” Climbing up he adjusted his hands on the reigns. “(Yeah I can ride this one.)”

Círdan nodded and climbed up behind Melin, taking the reigns from her and spurring his mount forward. As the two hippocerfs trotted down to the road he looked over at Jehan. “(Do you know how to channel your magic into animals?)”

“(Uncle Aranel taught me.)”

“(Good, then channel your magic to help your mount speed up, then click your tongue three times. Then be prepared for a large lurch as the hippocerf takes off.)” He laughed quietly as he watched Jehan follow his instructions, quickly following suit. Catching up to Jehan he matched the younger man’s pace and pointed to the castle. “(You’ll want to slow down pretty soon, then follow me through the gate.)” He smiled as Melin leaned back against him. Leaning slightly forward he kissed her gently on the cheek. “(I have the best researchers in the castle working on finding a way to break the spell, Melin.)” he whispered. Looking up he slowed his mount, noting that Jehan had followed suit. “(Your son is very talented. Most people wouldn’t be able to even climb on a hippocerf without wearing body armor the first several times.)” He signaled to the guards and made his way through the gates and over towards the stables. “(We’ll drop off your belongings and your son’s belongings then head into town.)”

 


 

 

The trip into the city was mostly uneventful. Aside from several people staring at Melin and whispering to each other there wasn’t much in the way of excitement. Melin had stopped at a couple of shops to look at the various herbs, and practically had to be pulled out of the book shop by Jehan. “(Everything is so wonderful here.)” she said quietly to Círdan as she looked in the window of one shop.

Smiling, Círdan steered Melin over to one of the shops and held the door open for her and Jehan. “(We should head back soon.)” he said as Melin peered through the glass cases at several beautifully made pieces of jewelry. Walking over to the shopkeeper he muttered a few words to the man and smiled as the shopkeeper nodded and disappeared into the back room, emerging minutes later with two small boxes and a medium sized round box. He had just finished paying for the three items when he heard Melin walk up behind him. “(Are you ready to head back?)”

“(I think so. Would it be possible to return to the bookshop tomorrow? There was a book in there that I could find most useful.)” Melin looked at the boxes and raised an eyebrow. “(What are those for?)”

“(Well one of them is for you, and the other two are for your son.)” Placing the three boxes in a bag he had slung over his shoulder he held the door open and began to lead Melin and Jehan back up towards the castle. “(I had one of your mother’s gowns refitted for you for the ball tonight.)” He looked over at Jehan, who seemed to be lost in thought. “(Is everything all right?)”

Jehan shook himself out of his thoughts and looked over at Círdan. “(I was just wondering about something.)”

Círdan looked mildly confused. “(And what would that be?)”

“(Well, I saw a few humans down in the city, but I didn’t see any that showed signs of having wizarding powers.)” Jehan’s brow furrowed as Círdan looked away and cleared his throat. “(I would have thought to have seen at least one human with powers.)”

“(You won’t see them in this kingdom. Kale made a law that every human was checked at a certain age, and if they exhibited signs of having magical powers….)” He jerked his finger across his neck. “(She figured it would destroy the magical population within a couple of generations…but for some reason new ones keep popping up.)” He looked over in alarm as Melin began to laugh. “(I fail to see what is so funny.)”

Melin wiped a tear from her eye and shook her head. “(She won’t be able to destroy that population no matter how hard she tries. Even if all those with magical powers are killed off there is some sort of variable that will create a young wizard or witch from non-magical parents.)”

“(We call them muggle-borns.)” stated Jehan. As they approached the castle he noticed a dark haired woman striding towards them with the most foul of looks on her face. “(Who is that?)”

“(That would be Kale.)” sighed Círdan. “(We should probably see what she wants.)” As Kale approached he bowed his head. “(Greetings Kale, I trust the day finds you well?)” He couldn’t help snickering at the large floppy hat Kale was wearing, knowing full well she was wearing it to cover the rabbit ears Melin had given her earlier.

“(I have nothing to do with you Commander. My business is with my little sister and this…filth that she has brought with her. It was bad enough she had brought a human wizard with her last time, but now she brings a half-breed?)” She looked Jehan over and wrinkled her nose, almost as if she had just gotten a whiff of something really foul. “(You must have been really desperate for sex if you bedded down with a human gypsy, little sister. Or perhaps the love curse took control?)” As Jehan bristled with anger she turned to Melin and sneered. “(In any case he will have to be quarantined until we can decide if he needs to be killed or-)” she raised her eyebrows as both Melin and Jehan went for their wands. “(Oh yes…your wands will be confiscated as well. We can’t have you going around giving people rabbit ears now can we?)”

Melin’s expression became a sneer as she released her grip on her wand, letting it nestle back in the hidden pocket in her sleeve. “(Don’t forget the powder puff tail.)”

Kale straightened up and placed her hands on her hips. “(Círdan, please confiscate their wands. And if they have them…their watches as well. Just make sure the watches are wrapped in something that belongs to them and escort this half-breed to quarantine. I’ll take Melin back to her room.)” She narrowed her eyes as Círdan shook his head. “(Are you disobeying me?)”

“(I cannot allow you to take Jehan, nor will I take away anything that belongs to either Melin or her son.)” Taking Melin and Jehan’s arms he steered them around Kale and began walking once again towards the castle. “(If you need us we will be speaking with your parents.)” Ignoring Kale’s threats he ushered Melin and Jehan into the castle and towards the king’s chambers.

“(You really didn’t need to do that Círdan. We could have given up our wands.)” whispered Melin. She watched as Círdan muttered something to an old and slightly overweight chamberlain.

“(And give up the main source of your powers? You and Jehan only have at best a quarter of your abilities, and would easily be floored by any young Märchenlander. Besides…I quite like the look of Kale with rabbit ears.)” He patted Melin’s hand and followed the chamberlain into the room, bowing low as he approached the king and queen. “(I am sorry to disturb you so soon before the ball my lord and lady. But I felt it necessary to have someone come and make their presence known.)”

Pallanen raised an eyebrow but nodded. He looked over at Jehan, his face stern. “(Very well. As I don’t feel much for formal introductions at the moment please just state your name and whose house you belong to.)”

Jehan knelt down on one knee, his head bowed. “(My name is Jehan Fray, son of Griffon Fray and Melin Weichselzopf.)” he inwardly winced at Larien gasped. “(I have come to pay my respects to my mother’s most noble linage.)”

Striding forward, Larien held out her hand to Jehan, motioning for him to rise. Looking him over a smile came across her face. “(Welcome grandson.)” Kissing Jehan on the cheeks she looked over to Melin. “(It appears Kale’s stories were true.)”

Blushing Melin folded her hands behind her. “(Yes mother…)”

“(Now don’t be ashamed little Melin. You have a very handsome and powerful son, his abilities look as if they could easily rival Delena’s.)” She looked back at Pallanen and smiled. “(You had always said you wished for a grandson, my lord. And I don’t think we could have gotten a better one than the young man standing here.)”

“(Indeed.)” Stepping forward Pallanen clasped Jehan’s arm and smiled faintly. “(You are welcome in Inglamis, Jehan. I am afraid I cannot bestow upon you any better welcome than that, for unless a man of your mother’s race comes forward and claims you as his own, you will always be seen as an outsider.)” His eyes looked sad as he looked over at Melin. “(Until someone wishes to claim him, like Annanahrion did with Delena, my hands are tied.)”

Stepping forward Círdan placed his hands on Melin’s shoulders. “(I would like to claim her son as mine, and bestow upon him both my heritage as well as hers.)”

Pallanen nodded. “(Do you consent to this, Melin?)” At Melin’s nod he raised his hands, placing one on Jehan’s shoulder, and the other on Círdan’s. “(Then let it be known that the man Jehan, formerly Jehan Fray, is hereby claimed as the son of Círdan, of the house of Súrion. From this day forward you shall be known as Jehan Círson, of the house of Súrion.)” He smiled and lowered his hands. “(May I see your watches?)” Taking the three watches he traced a symbol on the top of each of them with his finger, making each watch glow for a split second. “(You will be announced tonight at the ball.)” he said happily as he handed the watches back. “(From this day forward your watches will all be connected, and the difference in realms will hold no sway over your watch’s magic. But now you should all go and get ready for the ball.)” Motioning to the chamberlain to show them out he smiled at his wife. “(It is wonderful to see our youngest daughter happy.)” Leading Larien over to a simple table he sat down and looked over towards the door. “(I only wish I could see what the future held for those three. I have a terrible feeling that both Melin and her son will not return to this realm for some time once they return to the human realm.)”

“(But they are both working towards a greater good there. We should be happy that they are using their abilities to help the less fortunate. I only worry what Kale and Camthalion will do at the ball tonight.)”

 


 

 

“(Announcing the Lord Círdan, son of Farnir, of the house of Súrion, and the Lady Melin, daughter of Pallanen, of the house of Weichselzopf.)”

Melin blushed and allowed Círdan to lead her forward towards the dais where Pallanen and Larien were seated. Giving them a low curtsey she turned and took Jehan’s hand, gently pulling him to stand between herself and Círdan. “(My lord and lady, I present to you…my son Jehan, who has been claimed by Círdan as his own, thus bestowing the rights and title of his station.)”

Jehan bowed low, his silver cloak trailing the ground. He knew full well this was only ceremony, but even so the back of his neck tingled with anticipation, as if there was a chance that he would not be accepted a second time.

Pallanen’s voice rang through the hall as he spoke. “(Rise Jehan, so that we might look upon you as a child of our child.)”

Straightening, his dark green tunic rustling ever so slightly as he moved, he noticed Kale and a blonde haired man glaring at him from the dais. The man had golden eyes much like Michea’s, but where Michea’s eyes were kind, this man’s were full of hate. “(My most humble thanks to my lord and lady for allowing me an audience. I will take up this title with pride.)” He smiled at Melin and Círdan as Círdan produced a simple silver circlet.

“(Kneel son, and accept the symbols of my house as yours.)” As Jehan knelt on one knee Círdan lowered the circlet onto the younger man’s brow. Taking out a small box he opened it and took out a finely made clasp in the shape of a dragon. “(I place upon you the honor of the dragon.)” Removing Jehan’s simple cloak clasp he affixed the dragon on the younger man’s cloak.

Rising from his throne Pallanen held his hands up, signaling for silence. “(Let it be known that from this day forth Jehan Fray, son of Melin Weichselzopf, has been accepted and claimed as the son of Círdan Súrion. He shall no longer be Jehan Fray, but shall now be called Jehan Círson.)” As the crowd began to clap quietly, almost as if they were unsure if this was a game or not, Pallanen lowered his arms. “(And now I believe it is time to cue our wonderful minstrels.)” With a wave of his hand the minstrels gathered over at one side of the great hall began to play a lively tune.

Círdan smiled and embraced Jehan for a moment before moving over to Melin and taking her hand. “(May I have this dance?)” Leading Melin out onto the dance floor he took time to admire the pale blue dress she was wearing. It had short cupped sleeves, and seemed to flow with her as she walked, adding even more to her natural flowing grace. The dress was complimented by a long pair of silvery-blue gloves, and her circlet was shining brightly in the torchlight, its fire topaz looking almost as if it was burning along with the fires of the lamps. “(You look so lovely tonight.)” he whispered as he placed his hand on Melin’s waist and pulled her into a waltz. His smile disappeared as Melin gave him the tiniest of smiles. “(You seem preoccupied Melin, is everything all right?)”

“(I’m fine…it’s just that Kale and Camthalion won’t stop staring at me…it’s really quite unnerving.)” She looked up into Círdan’s eyes, her own dark ones showing her fear. “(I’m also feeling apprehensive about whether or not your researchers will be able to find something to help me.)” She noticed a dark robed man cutting his way through the dancers, moving towards them with a quick pace. “(Círdan…someone’s coming. And they look like they’re coming for us.)”

Motioning for the robed man to follow him, Círdan led Melin from the dance floor and over to the edge of the hall. “(I take it you have news for me, Getta?)”

The young scholar known as Getta nodded vigorously, pulled a piece of parchment from one of the pockets on his robe, and handed it to Círdan. “(There is a complicated potion that can be used to weaken the curse, but only if the person already has someone they wish to move their curse to. I don’t know anyone who is skilled enough to brew the potion though.)” he sighed. “(If the youngest daughter of the Weichselzopf family were here she would surely be able to make this potion. After all…it was her place to become a scholar.)”

Melin had to feign a cough to hide her laughter. “(May I see it?)” Melin took the piece of parchment from Círdan and looked it over. “(I’ve seen potions more complicated…but not many.)” She continued to read the directions for the potion. “(It takes a month to mature…that would set it at the middle of August…it won’t leave me much time….)” She looked up at Círdan and Getta, both of whom were looking at her funnily. “(I teach potions…have devoted my life to them.)”

“(Ah, well then it looks like we have someone who can brew the potion after all.)” nodded Getta. “(I’m sorry…but I never got your name.)”

Círdan wrapped his arm around Melin’s waist and smiled. “(Getta, this is the youngest daughter of the Weichselzopf family.)” His smile widened as Getta gasped in surprise. “(I want you to go and collect the necessary ingredients Getta, and bring them to…)” He stopped and looked over at Melin. “(Where should we make this potion?)”

“(I’ll work on it in my chambers. It would give me something to do while I’m under this odd house arrest of Kale’s….)” Handing the parchment to Getta she smiled as the scholar hurried off to begin collecting the needed ingredients for the potion. “(He’s not very old is he?)”

“(Only around 150 years old.)” Pulling Melin close Círdan, smiled down at her, his gloved hand caressing her cheek. “(Are you really willing to go through with this, Melin?)”

Melin nodded and smiled. “(I am.)” she said quietly. Her eyes widened a little as Círdan let go of her and reached into his pocket. “(Is everything all right?)”

Círdan gave Melin a mischievous grin and held out one of the small boxes that he had shown her earlier. “(I had bought this for you long ago…in hopes of you coming back.)” He opened the box to reveal a silver necklace with a beautiful knot work design and a brilliant blue topaz gem in the center. “(The fire topaz is the gem of your house, and the blue topaz is the gem of mine. I would be honored if you would wear this.)”

“(The honor would be mine.)” whispered Melin. She blushed as Círdan removed the necklace from the box and placed it around her neck. Touching the necklace she looked up at Círdan as he placed his fingers under her chin and kissed her gently. ‘I’ve finally found the true one….’ she thought quietly to herself. Her joy was quickly dissolved as she heard the sound of three people coming towards her. Opening her eyes she turned to see Jehan being escorted by Kale and Camthalion. Jehan looked like he was being magically restrained, and Kale had a smug look on her face. “(Now what?)”

Kale took hold of Melin’s arm and smiled. “(Come with me sister. Cam, please take Círdan. We’ll take them up to Melin’s chambers. And neither of you make any action that would suggest anything other than us merely going for a walk. We wouldn’t want to upset the guests now would we?)” Leading Melin out a side door her smile widened. “(I told you not to mess up Melin. You shouldn’t have presented your son. Now we will have to spend months undoing the damage you’ve done. It was bad enough when your brothers brought that other half-breed here….)” She looked behind to make sure Jehan and the others were following. As she reached the door to Melin’s chambers she motioned for the two guards to open the doors. “(I really am disappointed in you little sister.)” she said quietly. “(You just had to be like your brothers and meddle where you shouldn’t.)”

Pulling out of Kale’s grip, Melin moved over behind the changing screen and quickly undressed, changing into her teal colored tunic and blue jerkin. Slipping on a pair of black breeches she quickly made sure she still had her wand hidden in her sleeve. “(You know Kale; I used to dream at night of coming back here and being able to say that I was home. But I see that with you and Camthalion doing your little power games I will never be able to feel that way.)” Coming out from behind the changing screen she saw Camthalion shove Círdan into the room, followed by Jehan. Hurrying over to Círdan she knelt down next to him and helped him up. “(Are you all right?)”

Nodding Círdan maneuvered to a sitting position and looked over at Jehan, who was struggling against invisible bonds. “(Jehan, you will only hurt yourself. Please stop struggling.)” Looking over at Kale he narrowed his eyes. “(What is this about Kale?)”

“(It’s about your nice little display of accepting a half-breed as your son!)” shrieked Kale. “(You have made a mockery of everything Camthalion and I have worked to achieve. And you!)” She glared at Melin. “(You dare to come back here, spreading your taint! You who would rather live as a human! You treat them as your equals! Some of them you even take orders from, when it should be the other way around! If the humans here see that they will begin to revolt. Do you really want another uprising to happen?)”

Glaring back, Melin got to her feet and strode towards Kale. “(Did you ever stop to learn that the uprising was intentional? Did you ever bother to ask your little brother Aranel if he had caused it because of how you treated someone he loved? Did you?)” Staring down at Kale her mouth formed into a sneer. “(From the look in your eyes I see you didn’t. How about the nice little fact that even if you kill off the entire magical population of humans they will continue to appear? The only way to stop them from appearing is to stop all humans from breeding. Do you really think you can kill off the entire human race? Could you live without your little servants?)”

Kale shoved Melin away and stormed over to Jehan. Looking him over she turned back to Melin. “(There are only two half-breeds on record. Why is that?)”

“(Because the human parent has to be of magical blood, you bitch.)” snarled Jehan.

“(I wasn’t speaking to you, half-breed.)” snapped Kale.

Melin pulled out her wand and cast a quick spell, undoing Jehan’s invisible bindings. “(Jehan has been claimed by Círdan, to harm him would be the same as if you harmed Círdan.)”

Staring at Melin’s wand Kale’s left eye twitched slightly. “(You will remain in your room unless one of the guards outside the room escorts you to where you are going. The half-breed is to be confined to the rooms next to yours to make sure that he will not influence any of the servants. And you,)” her gaze fixed on Círdan. “(I have been most lenient with you ever since your family decided you would be Melin’s betrothed. I even made you the leader of the castle’s forces so that you could remain here. And yet you allow first a human here…and then this half-breed filth…and what’s more you accept the thing as your son! Are you trying to destroy what little reputation you have left?)”

“(My reputation has nothing to do with this.)” Círdan stood up and moved over to Melin’s side. “(Jehan is Melin’s son. And tonight he became my son as well. My reputation means nothing, and I feel it is better that I claim Melin’s son than to allow him to be an outcast. You are merely afraid of your own reputation…not ours.)”

“(Wonderful, another human lover.)” drawled Camthalion. Eying Melin’s wand he reached over and took Kale’s hand. “(We should leave them be before they begin getting even stranger ideas in their heads. Círdan, you are to come with us. You are hereby banned from coming anywhere near this room or the room that her filth will be occupying.)” Taking Círdan by the arm he pulled him from the room, leaving Melin and Jehan to stand there glaring angrily at the door.

 


 

 

“Are you sure you want to try this, Mother?” Jehan watched as Melin rifled through her bag, pulling out the invisibility cloak Aranel had given her earlier that summer. “The guards will be alerted the moment you open the door.”

Melin smiled and walked over to the large fireplace, pressing one of the bricks on the hearth. “This is the only passage I remember, but this castle is a lot like Hogwarts. There is more to it than there seems.” As the fireplace slid aside to reveal a hidden passage she gave Jehan a reassuring smile. “Would you be so kind as to begin preparing the ingredients Getta brought up? I will only be a moment….I hope.” At Jehan’s nod she disappeared into the passage. The passage was a short one that connected Michea’s old room to hers, but she knew that there was enough distance between the two rooms that she could leave through Michea’s room without alerting the guards.

Stepping out of the passage she blinked in surprise at the condition of Michea’s room. The place looked as if Michea had never left, and there wasn’t a speck of dust to be seen. Throwing on her invisibility cloak she made her way over to the door and opened it just enough for her to slip out. It was only after she had gotten lost for the umpteenth time that she realized that she had no idea where Círdan’s rooms were. Stopping near one of the side doors she sighed and looked out the window. ‘What on earth?’ Taking a closer look she noticed that there was a light on down in the stables, even though by her watch everyone in the castle should have been asleep. Checking to make sure no one was nearby she opened the door and hurried towards the stables.

Chapter Text

Still in his clothes from the ball, Círdan stretched as he fed his hippocerf a carrot. “(It’s times like these when I wonder how they can be in the same family, Moontrimmer.)” he smiled as Moontrimmer whinnied in agreement. “(You like her to don’t you?)” At the sound of the stable door opening he whirled around, only to find no one there. “(Odd…it isn’t a windy night. I wonder what could have made the door open.)” Walking over to close the door he thought he felt something brush past him.

Once the door was closed and bolted he strode back over to Moontrimmer’s stall. “(I know this will sound crazy boy, but I feel that we aren’t alone in here. And I could have sworn that something brushed against me while I was over by the door.)”

“(No…crazy would be talking to a hippocerf.)”

Círdan whirled around. “(Show yourself!)” he commanded as he drew his sword. His eyes widened as Melin’s head appeared out of thin air, quickly followed by the rest of her body. “(How did you get past the guards?)”

“(What can I say? I've never enjoyed being locked up, so I did what anyone would do, I used what I had on hand to get out.)” With a smile Melin set the invisibility cloak on the stand next to Moontrimmer’s stall. “(You haven’t even changed.)” she said as she looked him over. It was odd seeing Círdan in his silver colored officer’s coat and pants, with the red and gold hem and cuffs. It appeared his cloak was made of the same material as his coat, and the clasp was made of a large smooth cut blue topaz. His gloves were the same silver color as the rest of his clothes, but extending from the index finger down to his wrist was a black satin cloth that contained two more smooth blue topazes. Looking up at Círdan’s face she smiled at the sight of the golden circlet he wore. “(Not that I am complaining of course.)” she quickly added.

Replacing his sword in its sheath Círdan gave Melin a small smile. “(I didn’t feel much like changing. After Cam left me in my room I came out here to blow off some steam. Moontrimmer here has been most kind to listen to me talk for the past six hours.)” Taking Melin in his arms he tangled his hand in her long hair and kissed her gently on the forehead. “(I am surprised that you remembered the secret passages in the castle, it has been so long since you left…and you were only what….five when Michea took you away?)”

“(I never mentioned using a secret passage.)” Melin narrowed her eyes at Círdan as he blushed slightly.

Círdan cleared his throat and smiled faintly. "(The castle is filled with them, and unless you jumped out the window that's the only way to get past the guards. It only made sense that that's how you got out.)" He lowered his arms and stepped back from Melin. “(We shouldn’t be out here. By now Kale will notice that I am not in my chambers and will probably come looking for me.)”

Nodding, Melin threw on her invisibility cloak and followed after Círdan as he left, trailing a safe distance away from him so as not to give herself away. They had almost reached Círdan’s chambers when a tapestry was thrown aside, revealing a hidden passage, and worse, Kale.

“(I have been looking for you everywhere Círdan. I was worried that how we were forced to act earlier had been harmful to you.)” purred Kale.

Círdan looked extremely confused. “(I do not understand.)”

Sashaying up to Círdan, Kale draped her arms over his shoulders. “(You don’t need to play games with me Círdan, I know that what you are doing is merely out of pity for my poor wretched sister and her half-breed child. You claim that you are in love with Melin, that you have been since before she vanished all those years ago…but you were only 6, and you and I both know that you were unable to fall in love at that time.)”

Melin bit back the desire to rip her invisibility cloak off and confront her sister. It worried her that Círdan wasn't pushing Kale away, but her anger towards her sister easily overtook her worry as she turned away from the two and ran towards her room.

As soon as Melin’s footsteps had died away Círdan looked at Kale with a smirk. “(You think she fell for it?)”

Kale nodded and stepped away as Círdan’s form melted away, quickly being replaced with Camthalion’s. “(If it doesn't, at least it will start a wedge between them. If it all works out, she'll be gone by morning and we can get back to our lives.)”

With a sneer he pushed open the door to Círdan’s room and looked down at the prone figure on the floor. “(Perhaps we should send him away as well…he is a danger to us.)”

“(No, first we need to make him feel betrayed by his beloved. Then we can rid ourselves of him.)” Nudging Círdan with her foot, Kale matched her brother’s sneer. “(Any ideas?)”

“(None at the moment. Perhaps her sudden disappearance and a note saying she prefers that greasy looking human would work best?)”

“(An excellent idea, brother. Let’s be off then.)”

 


 


Jehan had just finished juicing the last seed pod when Melin rushed out of the hidden passage. Leaping to his feet he hurried over to her, his eyes filled with fear at the look of rage on her face. “What happened, Mother? Did you find Círdan?”

Melin shook her head. "Kale wants us gone, I can just feel it. She's trying to turn Círdan against us, and if she succeeds I'm afraid that we may never make it back to our world. Get everything packed, we need to leave tonight."

"What do you mean?"

Melin's eyes darted to the door and she raised a finger to her lips. "I'll explain later."

The door opened and Kale came striding into the room, followed closely by Camthalion. “(You look a mess sister. I hope our actions weren’t too harsh on you earlier.)” Stepping over to Melin’s side Kale put her hand on Melin’s shoulder. “(You must understand that we are under a considerable amount of stress, our parents are getting on in their years, there has been another report of a possible attack on our castle, and with your return…well…I guess our stress got to us.)” She gave a look of concern as Melin shook her away. “(There is something else troubling you isn’t there little sister…)” she said quietly.

Pushing Kale away Melin made her way over to the large bay window. “(You humiliated me in front of the ball, you humiliated me in front of my son, you openly called me tainted and filth, and now you want me to believe it's because you're stressed?)” She whirled around and glared at Kale, becoming even more upset at the look of concern on Kale’s face. “(And now you come in here apologizing for your actions? Do you really think that I want to stay here after everything you and Cam have done? Do you really think I'm going to believe that you actually care after you have openly admitted to slaughtering children who show signs of magical talent? Do you think I'm stupid?)”

“(Of course we don't think you're stupid. We're concerned that your ignorance to what is really going on is clouding your vision. Círdan doesn't see everything that we do, he's not helping you by telling you horror stories about us.)” Camthalion watched as Melin began packing up the few belongings she had taken with her.

"(He hasn't told me a single story that our brothers hadn't already told me.)" spat Melin. "(I wanted to believe that they weren't telling the truth.)" Pulling out her wand she forced back a smirk as both Camthalion and Kale took a step back. "(Jumpy?)" A sheet of parchment appeared with a flick of her wand. "(Seeing your actions has only shown me how desperately I need to return home to try to prevent what has happened here from happening there. And perhaps I can stop the attack that is being planned on this realm, not that you'd care about that, would you?)" Another flick of her wand and letters began to form on the parchment before rolling itself up and flying from the room. "(I've sent word to mother and father of my decision. Jehan and I are leaving, you know where to find me.)"

Jehan placed the prepared ingredients inside the cauldron on the table and grabbed his bag. "(Everything is packed, Mother.)"

Melin nodded and slung her bag over her shoulder. "(Then let us head out. You two had better hope that we succeed over on the other side, because this realm will be destroyed if we fail.)" Grabbing the cauldron she disapparated, followed closely by Jehan.

Camthalion turned to Kale and smiled. “(That went better than we had hoped.)” Pulling out a sealed envelope he set it on the desk next to a necklace that looked almost identical to Melin’s. “(Now let us head for bed. We will need to be in good shape when we find this letter in the morning.)”

 


 

Círdan awoke to the sound of someone pounding on his door. Rolling on to his side, his head pounding, he opened his eyes. “(Who is it?)” he croaked.

The door opened and Kale came rushing in. “(Melin is gone!)”

“(What do you mean by gone?)” Sitting up Círdan groaned as the room began to spin. “(When did she leave?)”

“(I don’t know. I went up this morning to apologize for my behavior and she was gone. All I could find was this.)” Kale held out a tear stained envelope. “(It is addressed to you.)”

Taking the envelope from Kale, Círdan opened it carefully and began to read.

(Círdan,

After spending a lot of time considering my options I have decided to return to the human realm and to Severus. He treats me for who I truly am, not for who I once might have been. Had this been any other time I might have remained here, but I need to be with Severus. He can do more for me than you probably ever could.


Melin)



“(What does it say Círdan? Is she all right?)” Leaning over Círdan’s shoulder Kale gave a mock gasp as she pretended to read the letter. “(She loved that human?)”

“(She is under a love curse….he abuses her, and yet she still wants to be with him.)” Círdan wadded up the letter and threw it across the room. “(And to think I actually had my scholars search for a cure! And I even had Getta go out and collect the ingredients she would need!)” He slammed his fist down onto the bed. “(She played me for a fool!)” Looking up he noticed Kale was holding something in her hands. “(What’s that?)”

Kale sighed and opened her hand, revealing the necklace. “(This was with the letter. I’m sorry.)”

Círdan snatched the necklace from Kale’s hands and turned it over, inspecting it carefully. After several minutes he stood up and threw the necklace at Kale. “(This is a fake! Where is Melin and what have you done with her?)” he roared.

Kale’s worried demeanor melted into a sneer. “(She’s left to go back to the human realm. And I doubt she or that thing of hers will ever return.)” The triumphant tone in her voice rang throughout the room as she spoke. Turning on her heel she strode from the room, slamming the door behind her.

 


 

Melin returned to the house she shared with Michea and her other brothers and locked herself in her room. It was August 31st by the time Melin finally began talking to anyone other than Jehan and Michea. The potion became her every waking moment, even to the point of missing several meals to make sure she didn't miss something.

“Mother, Headmaster Dumbledore is here to speak with you. He wishes to know if you will return to teach this year.”

Melin looked up as Jehan showed Dumbledore into the room, her eyes following him closely. “I've got more important things to focus on right now. Severus will be fine on his own.” she said quietly.

Dumbledore’s face was stern as he sat down on the only chair in the room. “Nonsense, Melin. You are a highly qualified teacher, and we would be losing out if you do not return. Severus has even asked personally for you to come back.” He motioned for Jehan to leave the room. As soon as Jehan was gone he sighed and looked Melin over. “I need you to focus on your duties to the Order, Melin. I also was hoping you could assist Severus now that he is teaching Defense Against the Dark Arts.”

“But…who will teach potions?” asked Melin.

“I have gotten Horace Slughorn to agree to take up the job once again. But that is not what matters."

"No, this matters." Melin returned her attention momentarily to the potion. "I have devoted my life to potions, and if you wish for me to return to teaching, I wish to return to teaching potions. I will work as Horace's assistant if necessary, but I want to continue focusing on what I love." a thin smile spread across her face. "Besides, if I'm supposed to be Voldemort's eyes and ears at the school, I need to keep a low profile, don't I?"

Dumbledore chuckled quietly and nodded. "Fair point. Perhaps it will be for the best to have to continue playing the part of meek assistant. Severus won't be pleased, but what matters is that you return and teach. You love teaching, you have said it many times to me and the other members of the faculty. And besides…with Severus teaching his new class….” He let his sentence drop, allowing Melin to fill in the gaps as she needed. “Will I be seeing you at the feast then?”

Nodding slowly Melin gazed down at the instructions for her potion. "This should be finished by tonight. I will return to the school in the morning."

“I will notify Horace and Severus of your decision. Report to Horace in the morning so he can instruct you on what you'll need to do.” Dumbledore rose from his seat and patted Melin on the shoulder. “I expect to see you at the staff table tomorrow night Melin, you're needed more than ever at the school and for the order.”

Melin listened to Dumbledore leave and sighed. Turning away from the window she checked on her potion one last time and made her way slowly out of the room and down the stairs. The house looked deserted, but when she stopped she thought she heard voices coming from the kitchen. Pushing open the kitchen door she blinked at the bright light streaming into the kitchen from the breakfast nook. “What’s going on? Why is everyone in here?” As her eyes adjusted to the light she scanned the room, looking first at her son, then to Michea, then to Aranel and Rio, and finally to a cloaked figure who was sitting over in the breakfast nook nursing a glass of pumpkin juice. “Who’s the cloaked person?” There was something about her son and sibling’s smiles that made her really curious. “Why are you guys smiling?”

Michea smirked. “Why don’t you go and find out who the cloaked person is? You’ve never stopped to ask permission before.” Seeing Melin’s expression sadden he gave her a reassuring smile. “Hey I’m joking with you, Melin. Go on, go take the guy's hood off and see who it is. I think you will be surprised.”

“It’s not Severus is it? I don’t want to deal with him right now….” Moving over to the table she tried to look under the hood of the person who was sitting there, but the light was shining from behind the person, making it impossible for her to see. As the person stood up she reached up and lowered the hood. “(Círdan!)”

Círdan smiled happily and plucked a stray leaf from Melin's tangled hair. “(Melin…you've not been taking care of yourself, are you all right?)”

Stepping forward Michea moved Melin over to one of the chairs and gently pushed her down. “(Círdan arrived about an hour ago. He’s told us everything he’s figured out about what happened with you. He says he was drugged that night and it wasn’t him that you were speaking with in the stables.)”

Melin blinked and raised an eyebrow. "(Well that makes more sense than Kale throwing herself at you. It also explains why the Círdan I talked to was rather distant.)"

“(You saw Kale all over Cam, Melin.)” Michea sat down next to his sister and patted her hand. “(Cam’s specialty is in changing his appearance. He was notorious for disguising himself as one of us when he wanted to get us in trouble.)”

“(Kale came into my room the next morning with a letter that you had apparently written, along with a necklace that was supposed to be the one I gave you.)” Sitting back down Círdan folded his hands and looked over at Melin with pleading eyes. “(You left before I could tell you the truth and Cam has been making sure to keep me busy.)”

Sighing Melin looked down at her hands. “(I'm sorry I didn't tell you I was leaving, after I saw what Kale was doing I knew Jehan and I weren't safe there and we had to get out as quickly as possible.)”

"(Your parents informed me of that when I went to tell them what had happened.)" Reaching forward Círdan took Melin’s hands in his own. “(Cam and Kale have been going through hell because of what you did, because of what I did. And they wanted to make you pay.)” he gave her a small smile. “(I'm pretty sure I would have done the same in your place.)”

Standing up Michea, motioned for everyone to leave the room and give Melin and Círdan a bit of private time.

Círdan got up and moved around the table to sit next to Melin. Gently caressing her cheek he smiled again. “(I know you cannot return with me to our realm at this time, but…)” his words were cut off as Melin leaned forward and pressed her lips against his. Closing his eyes he wrapped his arms around Melin’s elfin body, tears of joy streaming down his cheeks.

It was several minutes before Melin broke off the kiss. Looking into Círdan’s eyes she smiled for the first time in over a month. “(You have no idea how happy I am that you came. The potion will be complete tonight, your timing is perfect.)”

 


 

Melin smiled happily as she entered the gates of Hogwarts the next morning. The potion needed a month to rest, but Círdan’s arrival at least removed a few extra steps after. She carried two suitcases with her, one containing the potion and several fresh ingredients, the other almost full to bursting with the books Jehan had picked up for her. She had just made it up to her office and was putting away her new books when Snape entered her office. Turning around she gave him a polite smile. “How are your ribs?”

Snape raised an eyebrow. “Why do you ask?”

“Because I cracked a few of them.” Turning back to her bookshelves she resumed putting away her books, stopping only when Snape cleared his throat. “Is something wrong?” she asked, not turning around.

“You do know that you are assisting me now in Defense Against the Dark Arts correct?”

"No, I'm assisting Horace in potions."

"Dumbledore was supposed to inform you that you were to remain my assistant."

"And I told him that you didn't need my help. You and I both know that Defense Against the Dark Arts is your thing, and potions is mine." Melin smiled politely and set the crystal vial with her newly made potion in the window. "I would have congratulated you sooner, but I was busy with a very important potion."

“You prioritized a potion over my promotion?” asked Snape, feeling irritated that Melin was paying more attention to the potion than to him.

“I picked up a several new recipes during my trip and I wanted to try them out. Especially the one to help protect against blood poisoning.” she cocked her head to one side as Snape let out an exasperated sigh. “Is something wrong? You seem more agitated than usual.”

“Agitated? I am finally given the position I originally applied for, finally being rid of those insufferable potions brats, and you were too busy making some obscure potion you discovered while hanging out with your family to even notice what was going on?” Snape strode over to Melin and grabbed hold of her arm. “I don’t know what has come over you, but you are seriously beginning to irritate me. Do you know how many times I have had to explain that you were infiltrating the other realm when you didn’t respond to the Dark Lord’s summons? He wants you to be his eyes and ears for Hogwarts…but apparently you are too busy being all happy with your family!”

Melin pulled her arm away from Snape and resumed putting things away. "There is no point in being the eyes and ears for someone when Hogwarts is empty. Besides, it's not like I was going to balls every night and eating fine chocolates while being fanned by barely clothed slaves."

Snape's eyes narrowed in irritation at Melin's dismissiveness. "I would have expected you to at least let me know when you returned home." he sighed and pressed his fingers to his temples. “In truth I am beginning to wonder why I even have feelings for you.” His scowl darkened as Melin began to laugh mirthlessly. “I fail to see what is so amusing to you Melin. I actually thought that you and I shared something special.”

Melin stopped laughing and looked over at the potion in the window, her demeanor changing as quickly as a boggart coming upon a new person. “We did…but I feel that there is no way we can continue with our relationship with everything going on.” Her heart felt as if it was being torn to shreds as she stood there staring at the prismatic liquid sparkling in the sun. Círdan had told her this would happen, the she would become physically ill when she tried to break the curse, but she still had to clutch her desk to stop herself from falling. “I do care for you deeply Severus, and I always will…but we will only be liabilities to each other.” Feeling ill she closed her eyes and clutched her stomach. “Please, let us at least spend this year without a fight….” she gasped as Snape strode over to her and wrapped her in his arms.

“You look like you are going to faint. Tell me what is going on.” Snape said quietly, his voice devoid of emotion. Turning Melin to look at him he stared into her eyes, his reflection showing back at him. “Why do you seal your mind from me?”

Melin looked away and sighed. “Because that's what you trained me to do.”


 

NOVEMBER, HOGSMEADE


“Ah Melin, fancy seeing you here!” Slughorn maneuvered his large body over to the table where Melin, Círdan, Jehan, and Michea were sitting. Taking the last free chair he settled down and set a large container of crystallized pineapple on the table. “How did your potion turn out? I must know!”

Blushing, Melin looked over at Círdan and smiled faintly. “It worked wonderfully. Granted there was some pain, but it was to be expected with a potion that powerful.” Turning to look at Slughorn her smile widened. “I see that you’ve stocked up on your favorite candy, sir. May I introduce you to my son Jehan, my older brother Michea, who I believe you met while I was in school, and Círdan, my fiance.” She blushed violently at the last word.

Slughorn nodded to Jehan. “You work at the apothecary down on Diagon do you not?” At Jehan’s nod he smiled. “I see that a love for potions runs in the family. Where did you go to school?”

Jehan cleared his throat and turned the same hue as his mother. “I went to Le Feu et Glace Academy in France. But that was years ago.”

“Ah yes, I remember Melin saying something about that.” Turning to Michea he gave him a polite nod. “I see you haven’t aged a day since Melin’s graduation.” He slapped Michea on the back and laughed. “You really must tell me your secret.”

“Oh, you know, just the usual ‘be a member of an undying race’ method.”

Melin raised an eyebrow and sighed. Michea had never been good at making jokes, but that one stunk worse that a bag of dung bombs. As Slughorn turned his gaze to Círdan she turned red again and looked down at her drink as if she was trying to decipher the exact ingredients in the cocktail she had ordered. She could feel Slughorn’s gaze move to her and she looked up, her face rivaling the color of Michea’s scarlet fizzing drink.

“I was under the assumption that you were with Severus.” commented Slughorn in a confused tone. Seeing how red Melin was he suddenly let out a loud guffawing laugh. “Well that’s what I get for believing rumors I guess.”

“No, Severus and I were together…but we came… we came up against, um…differences.” She could feel Círdan place a comforting hand on her leg and relaxed slightly.

Círdan smiled politely. Though he couldn’t understand what was being said, he had a pretty good idea it was about the odd circumstances in which Melin and Snape had separated. The conversation seemed to move on to lighter subjects, until at last Slughorn got up, said his goodbyes, and left. With a small smile Círdan watched as Michea placed the money for their drinks on the table. Standing up he took hold of Melin’s hand and helped her to stand. “(I guess this means that you have to head back now.)”

“(Yes, but I promise to see you again soon, Círdan.)” Kissing Círdan on the cheek she pulled on her coat, scarf, hat, and gloves and made her way out of the tavern and up the frozen path back to the castle. She had barely reached her office when Snape’s silver messenger flew towards her. Listening to the message she quickly hurried from her office and down to where Snape was waiting for her. “What happened?” she asked breathlessly.

“There’s been an attack.” sneered Snape. “I believe I said that in my message. Now let’s go, I’ve gotten the student stabilized, but now our job is to find out who attacked her and why. Come with me.” Turning on his heel Snape strode off towards the dungeons, his cloak trailing after him like the wings of some great bird. He already had a pretty good idea as to who had sent the cursed item, as well as who the item was meant for, but he still had to find out what had gone wrong. Hearing Melin’s footsteps behind him he opened the door to his office and strode through, shutting it right behind Melin. “Get those silly clothes off and sit down, you look like you’re preparing for a blizzard…either that or trying your hand a knitting with hairballs you’ve found left behind from the student’s cats.”

Melin glared at Snape and removed her outer garments, setting them on the chair. “I think I’ll stand for now, Severus.” She said coldly. As she listened to Snape tell her his suspicions she felt the blood leave her face and noticed that she was clutching at her left arm. “But…how can we prove that he did it?” she asked.

“Well first I have to make sure that he was the one who did it, don’t I?” snarled Snape. “I’ll know by Christmas, and you will be the one to tell me. I expect to have an answer soon too Melin, or else I will be forced to report to the Dark Lord that you are not doing the job he assigned to you.”

Chapter Text

Malfoy sneered as he looked at the various books on Melin’s shelves. “Does the ministry know you own these books?” he drawled. “Look at this,” he pulled a book from the shelf and read its title, “The Catalogue of Dark Arts.” Putting it back he moved along the shelves, stopping at a few choice books. “Novel Black Magics for the Illusionist, The Domestic Use of Innovative Alchemy, The Everyday Application of Ancient Enchantments….You could be locked up for life for these.”

Melin merely shrugged and watched as Malfoy moved about the room. He looked paler, and there were large bags beneath his eyes. Even his mannerisms had changed greatly. Even though he put on his pompous attitude like always, he now seemed under great strain and…fear? “Mr. Malfoy, Professor Snape asked me to speak with you, he tells me that you are struggling in many of your classes…and I myself have noticed you are not getting your usual marks in potions this year.”

“And why can’t Professor Snape tell me this himself?” sneered Malfoy. Picking up an ornately decorated orb he looked over at Melin, seeing if she would react.

“I would suggest setting that down, it reacts to heat.” Melin smiled politely as Malfoy tossed the orb away from him. “Accio beamball.” The orb zoomed over to her and landed in her outstretched hand. Setting the orb on the desk she looked over to Malfoy again. “Professor Snape is busy, and feels that he can entrust me with his more…menial tasks.” She pointed to the soft armchair before her desk. “Please, sit down. I would offer you some tea, but I have a feeling you would turn it down.”

Slumping down into the chair Malfoy crossed his arms and scowled at Melin. “What does it matter if I get good marks? I might not even return here next year…you see…I’ve got a rather steady job lined up for me.”

“And would this job have anything to do with your father’s old line of work?” Her smile formed into a smirk as Malfoy’s already pale face paled even more.

Straightening in his chair Malfoy resumed his usual haughty air. “You are making accusations you cannot prove, Professor.” he stated. “Not even Professor Snape has any proof of his suspicions.”

Melin raised her eyebrows in mock surprise. “I see.” Resthing her chin on her hands she smirked as her sleeves fell down to reveal the mark on her left arm. “Now…are you quite sure I know nothing of what I’m speaking of?” She noticed Malfoy’s eyes widen severely at the sight of the mark on her arm. “Professor Snape is worried that you have become careless, he-“

“He’s wanting to get in on what I have been commanded to do!” snarled Malfoy. “He wants to get the glory for my work.” Standing up he turned and made his way towards the shelf that hid the exit from Melin’s office. “Why don’t you tell him to stop snooping in my business? I can take care of myself just fine without his help, or yours.”

With a sigh Melin stood and lowered her sleeves, hiding the mark from sight. “Mr. Malfoy, you have been given a choice, to accept our help, or struggle along. And I mean that in both your classes as well as this job you have been set to do. I couldn't personally care less if you succeed or fail, but I am sure your mother cares.” She watched Malfoy stiffen slightly at her words. “You know I speak the truth. You are all she has left, now that your fa-“

“Just shut up!” whirling around Malfoy glared at Melin. “You are to stay out of my business! I am under a direct order from the Dark Lord himself!” His anger rose as Melin merely stood there, her face devoid of expression. “Why don’t you tell your beloved boyfriend to stay out of my business as well?”

“Professor Snape and I agreed it would be in our best interests to separate. So I doubt I could tell my boyfriend to stay out of your business. But I will relay your message on to Professor Snape. Now you should return to your dorm. Neither I nor Professor Snape will vouch for you if you are found outside your dorms after curfew.” As Malfoy opened the hidden passage she cleared her throat. “Oh, one more thing. Professor Snape has told me to inform you that you are to have detention with me on Saturday. He says that you have failed to turn in your assignments too many times to overlook. You will arrive here at 7:00 to help me organize and catalog my books.” A smile appeared on her face as Malfoy bristled with anger and stormed out of the office.

“Oh bravo…you really enjoyed that didn’t you Melin.”

Turning around Melin smirked as Snape stepped into her office from the passage that connected their two offices. “I always do. Looks like the rest is up to you Severus. Perhaps you can use your debonair charm to get him to trust you.”

Snape sneered and sat down in the armchair. “I see I don’t even get a hello now a days.” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

Striding over to her own chair Melin sat down and leaned her arms on the desk. “Yeah well in the old days you used to give me a hello kiss.” she shot back. “But enough abut our non-existent love life, we both agreed that we would keep this professional.” Conjuring up two teacups she smiled politely. “Do you still take yours plain?” At Snape’s nod she summoned over a simple copper tea kettle and poured out two cups of tea, adding a stick of cinnamon to hers. “It appears that Lucius’ son is just as stubborn as he is…but without the control or planning skills.”

“Exceptionally stubborn, hell he makes you look like Pettigrew.” He sneered as Melin’s face turned red. Picking up his teacup Snape took a sip and stared over at the pictures on Melin’s mantle. “I see you have a few new additions.”

“Just a few.” Swirling the cinnamon stick in her drink Melin looked over at the mantle as well and smiled. “I try to keep as many happy memories about me as possible in here.” she turned back to see Snape staring at her in disbelief. “What?”

“How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

Snape set his cup down and looked Melin square in the eye. “How do you keep so bloody positive? I’ve seen your dreams, I’ve seen your past. You should be the most bitter person in the world by this point.”

“I keep telling myself everything will work out for the best…that everything happens for a reason.” Melin shrugged and looked down into her cup. “I guess I have a fool’s hope. I admit I am bitter…I just always try to find the best in people, and not let others see my bitterness….it kinda leads to a rather nasty cycle when I do.” she looked up and smiled. “Besides, I have plenty of people around me to keep me from becoming too bitter.”

“Wonderful….” picking up his cup again Snape took another sip and leaned back. “Sometimes I really have to wonder how much sanity you have lost over the years.”

“I’m sure I’ve lost some…but I am by no means senile.” Still smiling Melin took out her wand and levitated the beamball back to it’s stand. “I am sure the Dark Lord will be expecting a report soon, you should hurry.”

Standing Snape looked down at Melin. “And why won’t you be coming along?” he asked coldly.

“I have my orders…you have yours.” Melin stated calmly.

“I take it that means that you have been given another assignment?”

Nodding, Melin finished off her tea and stood up. “The Dark Lord wishes me to learn what I can about my race’s magic, to see exactly how powerful it is and how easily it can be beaten with wizard magic….and so I am off to start my lessons again. I’ll be back by the first class of course.”

“Wonderful…that’s all I need. Make sure you are back before breakfast. We will have much to talk about I am sure.” Turning away from Melin, Snape strode out of the office.

“I count on it.” sneered Melin.

 


 

 

The morning of Slughorn’s Christmas party dawned in a brilliant display of white. Setting aside her copy of The Everyday Application of Ancient Enchantments, she stretched and rose lazily from her chair. With a yawn she strode over to the window and pulled back the curtains, wincing at the sudden brightness. Everything outside was covered with white, and the lake had a nice thick layer of ice on top, providing a wonderful skating rink for the students. Smiling she turned away from the window, magiked her book back to it’s place, and walked into her bedroom to change into some fresh clothes.

After a few minutes she emerged from her bedroom in her usual attire, but this time she had pulled on a festively colored robe as well. Smiling at her appearance she walked over to her desk and quickly scribbled out a note to Círdan, asking him to meet her for Slughorn’s dinner party. Tying the note to Taelesin, her kestrel, she opened the window and watched as Taelesin flew off towards Hogsmeade.

 


 

 

As 7 o’clock rolled around Melin made her way down to the gates to meet with Círdan. Finding him standing there, dressed in a pair of black slacks and a red pullover, she couldn’t help but smile. “(You look nice.)”

“(Michea leant them to me.)” said Círdan, his face turning red. “(He also gave me this.)” He showed Melin the simple green robe that he was carrying. “(I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to wear this or not.)” His face turned even redder as Melin took the robe and slipped it over his shoulders. “(Are you really sure it’s a good idea for me to come to this party?)”

“(Of course!)” Adjusting Círdan’s robes she smiled happily. “(I can’t think of anyone I’d rather go to this party with. Now let’s get going, I’d like to introduce you to a few people before the party starts. Oh…but first…drink this.)” She handed him a small vial filled with a glowing indigo potion. “(It should help with the language barrier.)” Her cheeks reddened slightly as Círdan drank the potion. “(I came up with it a long time ago…back when Michea and I were still traveling around.)”

“(It tastes like lime. Does it wear off?)”

“Never figured out how to test that. Either it wears off and you'll have learned how to speak the language, or it never wears off. Can you understand me now?” At Círdan’s nod she clapped her hands with joy. “Wonderful!” Taking Círdan’s hand she led him up into the castle and through a few passages to Slughorn’s office. Finding the door open she stepped inside, finding Slughorn finishing up the last of his decorations. “I hope I’m not too early?”

Turning around Slughorn beamed at the sight of Melin and Círdan. “Of course not! You should know by now that one can never be too early to my parties.” Taking hold of Círdan’s hand he shook it vigorously. “Nice to see you again…um…”

“Círdan.” whispered Melin.

“Ah yes, Círdan! Glad you could make it.” Turning back to Melin he placed his large hand on her shoulder. “I haven’t had a chance to speak to you before now. I wanted to tell you I was exceptionally pleased when your book got published. Did you know that since it has come out it has become a household item?” Seeing Melin’s look of surprise his smile widened. “Now don’t be so modest! Surely you’ve been keeping track of your book’s sales? You haven’t? Oh my dear girl! Don’t you know that you’ve made yourself a household name?”

Melin shook her head. “I didn’t know that…I haven’t really had much time to check my book sales. Personally I expected it to go the way of Sonnets of a Sorcerer.” she smiled politely as Slughorn let out a guffawing laugh.

Slughorn turned away from Melin, still laughing jovially, and summoned over three wine glasses and a bottle of a dark red wine. “That silly book that makes everyone who reads it speak in limericks? Don’t be silly my dear girl, your name is getting up there with Gilderoy Lockhart’s! Why…if you publish more books you may pass him up, seeing as how he has disappeared from the public eye.”

“Such a pity.” Melin took the glass of wine from Slughorn and raised it in a toast. “To success…may it never inflate our heads wider than the doors we have to walk through.”

“To success.” As the three glasses clinked together Slughorn looked over towards the door. “Ah, I see our guests have begun to arrive. Come in Severus! Don’t be shy.”

Snape looked from Slughorn, to Melin, and finally to Círdan. “I see you’ve brought your latest pet. Has he learned any new tricks yet?”

“Define trick.” sneered Círdan. Seeing the look of shock on Snape’s face he gave a quiet laugh.

“Now now you two, this is a party, I will not have any sore feelings in this room.” Pouring a glass of wine for Snape, Slughorn moved away from Melin and Círdan and began welcoming the people who were beginning to come through the door.

Striding over to Melin and Círdan, Snape pulled them to the side, taking advantage of the rising noise level. “Why did you bring him here?” he hissed.

Melin raised her eyebrows and took a sip of her wine before answering. “Well I was told I could bring a guest. Michea was busy taking Delena over to Japan and Jehan already had a date with his girlfriend. And there was no way in the nine hells I was going to take Aranel or Rio to the party…those two get into more trouble than the Weasley twins.” She took another sip. “Were you expecting me to ask you?”

“No, but I was at least expecting some form of warning! I don’t like being made a fool of.” snarled Snape.

Clearing his throat Círdan raised his hand. “Um…not to interrupt…but I can understand you, Severus. Could you please stop talking like I’m not here?”

Snape’s face flushed with anger. “Well I am so sorry to offend your most royal highness…I never knew.” With a mock bow Snape turned away and disappeared behind a large and wild looking warlock.

Círdan sighed as Snape left. “(I know I promised never to bring this up, love….)”

“(Then don’t. Let’s try to enjoy ourselves tonight. Oh look! There’s one of my students, I’m sure she’d love to meet you.)” Melin raised her hand and waved over at Hermione. “So nice too see you, Miss Granger!”

After introducing Círdan to everyone she knew, Melin took hold of Círdan’s arm and led him from the room, telling those who asked that they needed a breath of fresh air. Once away from the smell of cigar smoke Melin breathed a sigh of relief. “(How are you holding up?)”

“(I’ve been better.)” admitted Círdan. Vanishing his wine glass he took Melin in his arms. “(But as long as I’m with you I can endure anything, even your co-workers.)”

“(Glad to hear that.)” whispered Melin as she draped her arms over Círdan’s shoulders. “(Especially since we’re standing under the mistletoe.)”

“(Then allow me to engage in one of the human realm’s oldest customs.)” Leaning forward he was about to kiss Melin when he heard footsteps approaching from behind him. “(Wonderful…)” Releasing Melin he turned around to see Snape dragging Malfoy behind him.

Spotting Melin and Círdan, Snape motioned for Melin to come with him, dragging Malfoy into an empty classroom. As soon as Melin was inside as well he shut the door. “Do you have any idea how stupid your little stunt was tonight Draco?”

Melin blinked at Snape’s tone. She had only heard him use that tone when speaking to Harry. Deciding it was best to keep quiet she moved to stand guard by the door, just in case anyone decided to use the room for a make out spot (which she had noticed was becoming more and more common). Listening to the back and forth between Snape and Malfoy she sighed, only adding in a nod from time to time. She didn’t feel like dealing with anything serious tonight, and Snape seemed to be wanting her opinion on his words.

After a good few minutes of Snape trying to figure out what Malfoy was up to, and Malfoy telling Snape to shove off, Melin was more than ready to smack both of them. She barely even noticed when Snape and Malfoy left the room. “Wonderful…this is all I need.” Storming out of the room she could have sworn that she heard someone else in the corridor. “Now I’m going the way of Trelawney…”

After meeting back up with Círdan she returned to the party, only to find Snape standing there waiting for them.

“Melin, may I speak with you alone for a moment?” asked Snape, his voice flat. Taking hold of her hand he noticed Círdan bristle. “Calm down, I’m only taking her over towards the window. I’ll return her in the same condition as I got her in.” he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. Without waiting for Círdan to respond he pulled Melin over to the window, keeping a tight grip on her left arm. “I expected a little more help than what you gave back there. You need to keep your head in this-“ He cut off his words as Slughorn came up on them, a large conga line formed behind him.

“Come now! Join in our party you two, you can be grumpy on your own time.” Slughorn’s face was red from the alcohol he had been drinking, but he was still remarkably steady. “Severus, why don’t you lead the line?”

Snape’s face was impassive as he looked at Slughorn. “I don’t dance.” Casting a quick glare of ‘Don’t even think of bringing up the Yule Ball’ to Melin he looked back to Slughorn and shrugged. “Sorry.”

“Nonsense! Anyone can dance the conga! Look, I even have that young man…Círdan I think…in the line!” Pointing back towards the middle of the line he beamed happily. As Círdan gave an embarrassed wave he turned back to Melin and Snape. “Come now…you need to be in the Christmas spirit you two! You look like you’re discussing your own funerals.”

Snape shook his head. “I have work to do. And I am quite sure Melin does as well.” Releasing Melin’s wrist he pushed through the conga line and strode out of the office.

Slughorn cast a slightly bewildered look after Snape. “Did I say something wrong?”

Melin shook her head. “No…Severus just isn't the partying sort.” Smiling politely Melin made her way over to Círdan and removed him from the line. “But sadly he is correct…I have much I need to get done. Thank you so much for the lovely party, sir.” Saying goodbye to everyone in the room she led Círdan down the halls and to the front hall. “(Let’s head down to the house love. I don’t want to be around when Snape bursts into my office to give me the fifth degree.)”

Nodding Círdan conjured up two warm cloaks and handed the more feminine one to Melin. Smiling happily he followed after Melin through the doors and down the snow covered path towards Hogsmeade. As they reached the Three Broomsticks Círdan pulled Melin into a small recessed area out of the snow and held her tightly in his arms. “(Melin, I know you must continue with your…orders…but-)” He was unable to finish his sentence because at that moment the door to the Three Broomsticks opened and Madame Rosmerta stepped out, her shawl draped loosely about her shoulders and a glazed look in her eyes. Pulling Melin deeper into the shadows he slowly pulled out his watch and made the adjustments to transport both himself and Melin to the house. With a quiet pop they both disappeared, the only trace of them having been there being two pairs of tracks leading to the small recessed area.

At the beginning of the Christmas holiday Melin went to see Snape one last time before heading home. She had meant to wish him a happy Christmas, but it wound up in a fight. After several blocked hexes on both sides Melin finally tossed aside her wand and blasted Snape with one of her race’s spells, sending him flying backwards into an empty shelf. Striding over to his unconscious body she looked down at him and sighed. ‘It’s going to be a fight every time….perhaps….” Her eyes glinted for a second in the candle light as she knelt down and removed Snape’s robe and shirt. ‘I guess it’s time to see what I’ve learned.’

After several minutes she stood up and cracked her back. “Severus?” She smiled faintly as Snape stirred and looked up at her. “Are you all right?”

Snape looked down at his body and patted it as if checking for any wounds. “I’m fine.” He stood up and put his shirt and robe back on. “Care to explain why I was half nude?”

“You were grading a child’s potion and it exploded.” Lied Melin. “I had to remove your clothes to heal you.” She inwardly smiled, proud that she had been successful in modifying his memory. Granted…it would lead to some awkward moments, but at least it was better than fighting all the time. She had made it so that Snape thought he had broken up with her, and had removed most of the fights/squabbles/arguments/etc. that had happened over the past several months. “I came down here to wish you a happy Christmas before I headed for home.” She turned to leave, but stopped at the door. “By the way, if you have time could you stop by tonight? Michea said he had something he needed to give you.”

 


 

 

Water, Carbon, Ammonia, Lime, Phosphorus, Salt, Saltpeter, Sulfur, Fluorine, Iron, Silicon…

Melin’s eyes shot open. “Who’s there?”

You are made this way...

Looking around her dark room Melin searched for the source of the voice, her heart beating heavily. “Who are you?”

In simple terms…A layman’s body…

“A layman’s body? What are you talking about?” cried Melin.

The blue flame is lit…There is but one flame left…

Fear began to take over. Getting up from her chair with catlike speed and grace Melin reached up her sleeve for her wand, still unable to find the source of the voice. She jumped and whirled around, her wand now out and ready, as the door behind her opened. “Severus!” she gasped.

Snape raised an eyebrow at Melin. “Who were you talking to?” Pulling out his own wand he pointed it at the fireplace. “Incendio.” As the fire blazed to life he turned back to look at his former lover, only to see that her face was paler than usual, almost as if she had seen something no mortal should ever see. “What happened to you?”

Melin shook her head. “I don’t know. I fell asleep while working on something….” She shivered and ran a hand through her hair. “Then I heard this voice….”

The fire here also moves…Eyes with such a burning flame…

“Can’t you hear it?” Melin shivered again, it felt as if invisible fingers were running over her body.

“Hear what exactly?” asked Snape.

Why has it become so brutal?

“What’s brutal?” screamed Melin. The voice was maddening, was she the only one who could hear it?

The uncontrollable fire has been lit…

Snape rushed into the room and grabbed hold of Melin. “What in the name of Merlin are you screaming for? What are you hearing?” The color drained from his face as he looked into Melin’s eyes. There was an unnatural fire burning within them, a fire that was not Melin’s.

The blue fire is blazing…

Melin shoved Snape away from her. “What fire? What is the blue fire?” she screamed as she sank to her knees, the invisible hands now at her neck, strangling her.

The blue fire that is impossible to extinguish…

The world began to blur as Melin gasped for air, the invisible hands crushing her wind pipe. “Severus…help me…”

Looking around the room Snape noticed the open book upon Melin’s chair. He strode over to it and looked down, his eyes narrowing as he recognized the text. Snatching up the book he flung it with all his might into the fire. The book burst open and a shrill cry filled the room, almost as if the book was screaming in pain. With one final howl the book burst into flames and was quickly changed into nothing more than a pile of ashes. “Good riddance.” growled Snape. Turning around he walked over to where Melin was lying on the ground and knelt beside her. He lifted her sleeve and felt carefully for a pulse, doing his best not to look at the dark mark that was burned into her arm. ‘She’s still alive…barely.’ With a sigh he lifted her up into his arms and carried her out of the office, doing his best to maneuver down the stairs with Melin’s now shivering body.

Michea met him at the bottom of the stairs, his sea blue skin almost white with worry. “What happened to her?” He rushed up and took Melin away from Snape, making his way quickly into the drawing room and laying her down on the sofa. He turned his gold eyes on Snape. “Why is she shivering like this?”

“Who gave her the book she was researching?” Snape asked calmly.

Michea ran a hand through his lavender hair and shrugged. “I think she bought it. She said it cost her a pretty penny to get it, but she didn’t tell me where she got it…she just went straightaway up to her room and locked the door, saying she was going to be researching something.”

Snape lifted Melin’s head and sat down on the couch, resting her head on his lap. “The book was one of four that have been passed around by the Death Eaters, each has a specific way to unlock its powers. Melin must have found out how for this one.” He absentmindedly stroked his fingers across Melin’s temple as he looked over at Michea. “Sit down before you fall down, Michea.” As Michea collapsed into an armchair by the fire Snape continued. “As I was saying, Melin must have found out how to unlock it’s powers. I don’t know what the book is supposed to do aside from siphon the reader’s life away, each one does it differently. Once the reader is dead the book’s spirit possesses the body and carries out whatever it was supposed to do. So far two of the books have been found…Melin’s was the third.” He looked down as Melin stirred. “The reader supposedly goes mad before they die, but other than that.” He shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine.”

“But Melin survived.”

“I destroyed the book.”

Nodding, Michea waved his hand and summoned over a large tea tray. “Can I interest you in a cup?” he asked as he poured himself a cup of tea, his hands shaking.

“I’m good.” said Snape. He looked down and smiled faintly as Melin opened her eyes. “Care to tell us where you got that nice little book?”

“The blue flame has been lit….” whispered Melin, her hands covering her eyes. “Why won’t those words leave my head?”

Snape shrugged. “Side effect of your careless curiosity.”

Michea looked up. “Wait, you said there were four books right Severus?” as Snape nodded Michea set his cup aside. “What if they were for each of the houses at Hogwarts? Meant to be given to those of…lesser blood? It would explain the blue flame would it not?”

“I doubt it is as simple as that.” Snape raised an eyebrow as Melin sat up, suddenly extremely alert. “Is something bothering you?”

“The man who sold me the book said it had been sold to him by Lucius…and that he would only sell it to me….” She ran a hand through her hair, pulling out her ponytail. “Two other people were asking for it as well…but he turned them down, even though they offered twice and three times what I was going to pay….” Melin got up and strode from the room, her expression unfathomable.

Looking over at Michea, Snape shrugged again. “I’d hate to be that store owner.” As Michea nodded knowingly Snape stood up. “So…what was it that you wanted to give me?”