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A Fiery Blue

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She was a fairly unassuming 11 year old. He remembered vaguely that he had noticed the color of her hair and eyes on that first day, but other than that, she had no remarkable qualities.

Sorted into Gryffindor, she was quiet but bright, engaging with other students only seldomly, hoping to earn their friendship it seemed.

A muggleborn, she was new to magic as so many were, and she tried her best to learn everything she could.

Having only been a Professor in training at that point (under Horace Slughorn) Snape had gotten used to watching the students from afar. His apprenticeship, so to speak, lasted 6 years. During that time he watched her grow in her magical capabilities. She was bright, and very powerful. Other teachers gushed over her and many of them harbored a hope that she would one day teach at the school, both because of her power and because many considered her a kind of friend. But this was of little interest to Snape.

Other than the comments made professors and the occasional surprise at her brilliance, he rarely took notice of the red-haired girl. That was, until her sixth year.

Something about her had changed over the summer, she was suddenly no longer meek in her interactions with other students. Instead she commanded attention, displaying leadership skills that professors had seen lurking in the shadows for years. Snape noticed a strain of ambition in her more characteristic of a Slytherin than a Gryffindor, she talked of her plans to teach in America and eventually become a headmistress. Other students speculated she would run for Minister one day, but he tried to ignore the idle chatter of ignorant students who knew nothing of the world beyond school.

As the year progressed she was almost instructing students in each of her classes, including potions. She had a unique eye for alchemy, and it was rumored she had created a few concoctions of her own.

When Slughorn was too busy wheezing from one student to the next she offered to help struggling students, and they all seemed to hold her in high regard.

When her 7th year came, it was finally time for Snape to teach the classes he had shadowed for years.

Everything was going well, the students seemed to respect him, probably more out of fear than anything else but that was fine. More students payed attention to him than they ever had to the old goon who fancied himself head of house, even in his partial retirement.

Snape secretly hoped that the rumors were true, and after this year Horace would leave the school, leaving Slytherin in need of a new Head of House. But that was beside the point. For now he was determined to impress Dumbledore and make an impression on his students.

----

Snape circled the classroom, glancing at cauldrons as the 7th years attempted to brew the Draught of Peace, it was nearing midterms and each was somewhat frantic. That was, expect Lyria. She wasn't looking at her cauldron at all, instead she seemed to be helping the student next to her, a tall and thin boy also in Gryffindor that Snape had figured to be her best friend. He was dismal at potions.

"Artemis." He said loudly, breaking the silence and turning all heads to him. She met his dark gaze with the fiery blue of her own.

"Yes Professor."

He began to walk to her "Why are you not working on your own Draught? Surely Mr. Konelin can fend for himself."

The fire that ignited in her eyes startled him, but he showed none of his surprise.

"I have finished my potion and Colton needed help, and honestly I felt I needed to help because your instruction was unfair, Sir."

She stated it with as much authority as any professor could have, but he tried his best to remain resolute. Whispers broke out around the class at the disrespect she had shown.

"Miss Artemis, I assure you my instructions are complete and clear-" He was cut off when she stood and spoke.

"You neglected to tell the class that this is our midterm exam. It is unfair to test students for a grade without their knowledge or forewarning."

The class gasped, many of them checking their potions book making sure they had been doing things right.

Snape seethed. "Artemis you are out of line, 10 points from -" Again he was cutoff.

"No! What you are doing is a breach of protocol! Students should be informed of their examinations and allowed to prepare for them."

Angry at being cut off, slightly embarrassed that his student had figured out his plan, he fought to keep his voice calm.

"Detention Artemis… and for the rest of you, I suggest you resume your exam before you all share Ms. Artemis' fate."

He turned his back to the fuming red-head and walked among the now terrified students as they completed their draughts.

At the end of class students rushed for the door, all gossiping about the surprise exam.

"Artemis, stay." It was a command not a request.

The girl stayed in her seat, her bag neatly packed and placed on the desk in front of her.

No student had ever challenged him, and Snape was determined to make sure no student would again.

"You are to serve detention this Friday evening. And you shall not speak back to me or question the way I teach this class."

She met is gaze evenly, the calm in her eyes startled him, "Yes sir."

"Miss Artemis I believe you should inform me as to how you knew about the test."

She never dropped her eyes from his, "It was obvious, you made a quip about it in the last lecture and refused to answer questions the students asked of you today."

He was surprised she had caught onto such small slip ups, but remained straight faced.

"Very well. Your potion will be graded along with everyone else's, but I suggest you do not question me again." He said in a seething tone that made most students shrivel.

Instead she stood, not quite as tall as him but still tall fairly tall. She was an impressive figure to behold. Blue eyes blazing, red hair steaming around her shoulders, Snape couldn't help but be impressed by the girls fierceness.

"Permission to leave. Sir." She said, sharply.

"Granted." He gestured to the door and turned sharply on his heel to his office. He heard the door slam as she left.

Chapter Text

Throughout the year he continued to be questioned by the Gryffindor, she caught onto every wrong move he made. Sometimes she was subtle, writing a note on her assignment, other times she openly questioned him or called him out in front of students, and in return he fired back. Snape couldn't help it. Either sarcastically or with his own expertise in potions he would retort, sometimes it made her quiet but other times he just had to move on and ignore her.

As her confidence seemed to grow, he noticed other things changed too. She no longer hung around the same group of friends she once did, she often sat alone at meals, and more than once he had caught her in the corridors after hours. Either sitting on a ledge by a window or in some corner reading. Each time he took away house points, but he almost felt bad about it, he had hid in the same places a long time ago...

Her behavior was curious, but he was so preoccupied with earning the role of Slytherin's Head of House that he focused on her rarely.

Eventually the end of the year came, he was given the full-time Positions position, and Horace had publicly announced his resignation, leaving the space open for Snape to become head of Slytherin House.

Over the years he heard other Professor talking about Artemis occasionally, either in the Teacher's commons or at dinner, rumor had it that she was to pursue a joint position with the Ministry and Hogwarts to help ascertain where her talents would be most useful. She had been working at the Ministry for some time and McGonagall had insisted she be offered an apprenticeship at the castle. The Ministry had insisted on being involved in the apprenticeship for some reason and Dumbledore had acquiesced to the agreement. Snape tried to ignore the talk, but was curious to see her around Hogwarts again.

As much as he hated to admit it, he had missed the way she stood up to him in class… it had been the only interesting part of his day, and in the years that had passed he often found himself looking for something to stimulate his intellect. Perhaps Artemis could be that something.

-----------------------------------------

Lyria stood and looked at her new room, it was better than the shared dormitories for sure. She had her own bed space and bathroom, there was even a small office down a small set of stairs with a window into the lake.

She would have to get used to being in the dungeons after 7 years at the top of the highest tower, but to be honest she didn't mind. It was quiet and serene here, away from the Slytherin dorm, which she was finally privy to the location of, but close to the potions classroom for easy access. She set about unpacking her bags, thinking about what the next year would bring. Each semester she would be overseen by a different professor who would tutor her, but she would also rotate classrooms as a teaching assistant. In addition to mastering each subject, she was to observe how each Professor ran their classrooms and gather data on the administration practices of Hogwarts.

She had always said that being a Professor was not her goal, but secretly she was beginning to second guess herself. Maybe spending some time with the other professors would help her decide whether or not it was something that would be good for her. Besides, she was desperate to get away from the Ministry.

It had been a two years since she left Hogwarts but the castle had hardly changed. She was happy to realize that hardly anyone in the castle remembered her, the few Gryffindors that did nodded in her direction at the welcoming dinner, but otherwise she was left to herself. Lyria hoped the position in the castle would be less restricting and less... well terrible, than her one at the ministry, maybe she would have some time to do research of her own.

A clang to her right made her jump, realizing it was just a clock, she noted the time and hurried to unpack her clothes. She was to attend a social tonight with the other Professors, apparently each year they welcomed the school year by reserving The Three Broomsticks for an evening.

Hopefully she would get a chance to talk to McGonagall, she hadn't had the opportunity to thank her for recommending her for this position and inadvertently saving her from the Department of Mysteries. Not to mention she was still unsure what professor she would be working with this term and hoped McGonagall could enlighten her. She knew she was supposed to observe Muggle Studies, Astronomy, Ancient Runes, and Divination, but her advisor remained unknown.

As she tried to choose a suitable dress she began to get nervous, she was used to being around people older than her, in fact she got along best with people that were not her own age, but the prospect of being a colleague to her former teachers was a bit frightening.

She chose a dark red wine colored dress that framed her figure nicely without being revealing. It had a high collar but left her shoulders exposed, necessitating a strapless bra, and there was a slit up the right side that showed her leg as she walked. Pulling her red hair into a french braid that twisted into an elaborate bun and putting on some makeup, she topped off the look with golden earrings that dropped near her neck and she gave herself a once over. She looked quite mature if she said so herself.

There was a knock at the door and she slid on her golden heels as she made to answer it.

When she opened it Minerva McGonagall stood before her. She was wearing a red dress as well, hers was long sleeved and quite simple, but the professor made it look elegant.

Lyria beamed, "Professor! It's so good to see you!" They hadn't gotten a chance to talk at dinner.

McGonagall opened her arms and hugged the younger woman. "You too my dear, and please, call me Minerva."

"Thank you, Minerva." The older woman smiled, she had always liked the girl, and was happy to have her at the castle.

"Are you ready to go?"

"Yes of course." Lyria pulled the door closed behind her and tucked her wand into a hidden pocket in the dress.

The two made small talk as they walked towards Hogsmeade, Minerva caught her up on the castle gossip while Lyria updated her on Ministry gossip.

"Has the position of Defense Against the Dark Arts professor been tenured yet?"

McGonagall shook her head, "No, I'm afraid we are still testing people out, but each professor has been more dismal than the last."

Lyria couldn't help but smile, "Perhaps Snape could take another shot at it."

When Snape had first started his apprenticeship at the castle everyone knew he wanted the Defense position, but Dumbledore seemed adamant he stuck with potions.

"I am sure he longs for the chance but the Headmaster is quite unwavering on that particular issue."

Lyria sighed, "Oh well, I am sure he's only gotten better at scolding students since I left."

McGonagall gave a knowing smile, she had heard of all the trouble Lyria had caused the poor potions professor in her final year, and was also aware that Snape had seemed to miss the challenge she had provided.

"He doesn't have to be quite as stern without you there to keep him on his toes."

It was Lyria's turn to smile, "Well now that I am back perhaps I can start again." The two women gave a small laugh as they drew nearer to Hogsmeade.

Snape was the bane of most student's existence, and true, had been of hers, but there had always been a sort of respect the two had for each other. He never tried to calm her passion, instead challenging her, and in a way he had helped her become more confident in herself.

Nearing the end of her 7th year she had found herself taking more note of Snape, she was supposed to hate him, and sometimes he made it easy to hate him, yet he was so intriguing. But, she supposed, that was her weakness, passionate and mysterious men.

She shook her head at the childhood fantasy that had popped back into her mind, of them alone together, maybe him opening up to her. How silly.

Having been lost in her thoughts, Lyria was startled when McGonagall stopped her before the door.

"Now, I know you have no issue being around people your senior, but I want you to know that you belong here. You've earned this position, and frankly, the staff could use someone like you."

Lyria felt a small blush stain her cheeks at the woman's kindness and thoughtfulness, she always knew the right thing to say.

"Thank you Prof- I mean, Minerva. I hope the others are so accepting."

She smiled, "Oh not to worry, they will be."

And with that they entered the bar.

Chapter Text

Snape sat in the corner of the Three Broomsticks as the other teachers milled around him. He found these gatherings so silly, he was sure no one wanted him there, the mood always dulled when he entered the room, but every year the Headmaster insisted he attend.

He twirled a drink absentmindedly in his hand, while others took this opportunity to enjoy more than a few libations and unwind without the students around, he found the frivolity mundane.

However, instead of reading during the party as he usually did, he decided to observe, curious to see the new apprentice.

Artemis had infuriated him in class, however… There was something about her. Her passion, her drive, it was… intriguing. He found he was looking forward to watching how she impacted the castle, and perhaps, his own classroom… He shook his head at the thought. His classroom was the last place she would want to be.

He was watching Professor Flitwick try his best to liven up the party by prompting Professor Sprout to tell a story about some venomous tentacula that had escaped, when suddenly all eyes turned to the door.

Minerva McGonagall entered first, but instead of her usual tame smile she sported a bright one, and he quickly saw why.

Lyria Artemis seemed to brighten the room as she entered, and everyone was drawn to her. Everyone rushed to the door to greet her, some hugged her in welcome, Sprout seemed as though she may burst with excitement, even Dumbledore moved towards the door.

He couldn't take his eyes off of her, where he dulled the room she shone through it. She had outgrown her girlishness and stood a confident woman, her dress showed off her form well, and her blue eyes and red hair stood out in contrast to the maroon fabric that set off her pale skin.

Catching himself staring, he averted his eyes and tried to regain some of his composure. He found that he had stood when she entered as so many had done, and quickly went to reseat himself.

He sat once more, but this time he reached for his drink. Even though he was unsure of what had been poured for him, he took a large gulp to calm his embarrassment. As he drank he tried to focus on something else, but his eyes seemed to be drawn inexorably to her.

-----

Lyria was overwhelmed with the welcome she received, she hugged everyone and willingly accepted the drink Flitwick shoved into her hand. It seemed the teachers had already begun to enjoy their drinks, all being quite animated, with the exception of the Headmaster and to her slight disappointment, Snape.

When she entered she had inadvertently scanned the room for him, upon seeing her he had stood, as if meaning to come over like the rest of the staff but to her dismay he seemed to shake his head and sat again.

Unable to dwell on him much before being pulled into a conversation with Professor Sprout, she tried to keep an eye on him. Noting that he seemed to be enjoying a firewhiskey, she had never seen him drink before.

After perhaps an hour of being shepherded around the room by McGonagall, sharing stories of days past and describing as best she could her time at the ministry, she finally was brought before the headmaster.

"Miss Artemis, it is a pleasure to have you back in the castle."

Lyria bowed her head slightly, "Thank you Professor, it is an honor." While the other teachers had insisted she call them by their first names, she stuck to titles with him.

"I am sure you have many questions, however I cannot answer all of them right now. Would you join me tomorrow evening in my study so we can go over your duties?"

"Of course Professor…" She hesitated, "Might I inquire as to who my faculty advisor for this first term is to be? I haven't been told yet."

A small twinkle entered the Headmasters eyes, "Yes I think that is something you should know sooner rather than later. Minerva?" He said addressing McGonagall who had been standing beside them while they talked.

"Would you care to do the honors?"

McGonagall smiled and nodded.

Before she had the chance to ask, McGonagall had grabbed her elbow and began to guide her through the crowded bar.

The sudden movement made her head spin a bit, and she realized that while she had been drinking from her glass the whole time, it had never emptied. She was afraid she may be a bit past tipsy at this point.

Trying to regain her control she didn't note where she was being led until she was brought to a halt in front of a small table in the corner of the room.

"Ah, Severus, I am glad to see you are still here." Said McGonagall.

The expression on his face was a mixture of annoyance and curiosity. But it was much preferable to what his face displayed after her next words.

"I am sure you remember Miss Artemis."

He nodded to Lyria briefly, not making eye contact.

"Oh good!" Said McGonagall. "Ms. Artemis will be serving as your apprentice this year, and you as her Faculty Advisor."

Both Snape and Lyria's mouth fell open in sock. Though Snape quickly recovered.

"The Headmaster seems to have failed to mention such a thing… I cannot-" He was cutoff.

"Nonsense Severus, as the newest member of the Hogwarts faculty the choice was clear. Especially when you consider Lyria's talent in Potions. I am sure she will be of great assistance to you. Isn't that right Lyria?"

Still somewhat taken aback at the revelation, she put on her best diplomatic smile and responded. "I will do my best Professor."

Satisfied at her response, McGonagall smiled, "Well, I believe you two must talk about your arrangement, and Severus would be happy to answer any questions you have about being an apprentice, after all he vacated the apprentice quarters not long ago himself. Isn't that right?"

Lyria hadn't even realized that she was in Snape's old room. She should have figured that as she was serving in a position similar to the one he had been in when she started to school.

Snape had not responded, but it didn't seem to matter to McGonagall as she quickly excused herself to talk with Dumbledore, leaving the two of them alone.

Snape was unsure of what to do at this point. He had not been expecting to work with Lyria at all, much less be her advisor. When he glanced at Dumbledore he caught a glint of a laugh in the old man's eyes, and he knew this was his doing.

In his contemplation, he had not heard her speak, and was taken aback when she called to him again. "Professor?"

"Yes Artemis." she looked at him expectantly and he realized his mistake. "I apologize, I did not catch what you said."

"I said I'm sorry."

Already overwhelmed, he was caught even more off guard.

She wasn't sure what had possessed her, she was usually the last to apologize for her behavior, but he looked so dismayed at the thought of working with her.

"I am sorry that you have to be my Advisor. I can tell you are upset at the prospect. I take full fault for that, I know I was trouble in your class while I was in school. I will talk to the Headmaster and see if he will -"

Surprised at her sudden apology, his eyes softened a bit as he stopped her train of thought. "I do not want you to think I am upset with you, it just would have been useful to have some forewarning." Seeing that this didn't help, he clarified, "To prepare. I have no material for you to study."

She looked a bit less dismayed and he tried again to get control of himself, he meant to excuse himself and leave, but it seemed he had had more to drink than he thought and instead he heard himself invite her to sit with him.

Did she hear that right?

"Sorry Professor, did I hear you correctly?"

He hesitated, "Yes I believe Minerva is correct, we have much to discuss."

Lyria didn't even try to hide the shock on her face as she sat down in a chair adjacent to him. She took a long drink out of her glass, what was previously a rich Ale was now firewhiskey. The warmth spread through her and she relaxed a bit.

Snape began the conversation somewhat uncomfortably, but managed to ask about her interests specifically in potions. Happy to discuss something she was passionate about, she described her interest in developing new potions.

While there were constantly new charms and hexes being developed, there were few new potions besides the ones Snape and Dumbledore had developed in the last few years.

"Recently I have been thinking about developing antidotes for potions that are not poisons."

He raised an eyebrow in question.

"Well at the ministry there was a case where someone had added Skele-Gro to the drink of a man that did not need to have any bones regrown. The potion made him incredibly sick and his bones began to fracture into pieces then re-solidify into new, stronger bones."

He was listening intently, having been unaware of this incident.

"There is no antidote for Skele-Gro since it is seen as a healing potion. They had to put him into a coma and isolate the areas of intense growth. It was a painful ordeal that could have been avoided with a simple antidote."

She was entirely correct, many healing potions or other 'helpful' potions did not have a way to counteract their effects. In fact, he had been thinking of creating a potion that fit her interests exactly.

"Curious."

"What is?"

"It seems I may be able to use your assistance after all, I have something I have been working on that could use your… creative, take." He said.

"Wonderful… but does that mean you would like to keep me as your apprentice?"

He thought he detected a strain of hope in her voice, but surely she was upset.

"I would not want you to waste your time at the castle doing something of little interest to you, however if you believe studying potions would be in the best interest of your future career, I will accept the headmasters decision."

"Thank you Professor! I look forward to working with you." She gave him a warm smile and stood from the table.

As she did she placed her hand on his arm, perhaps as a show of gratitude or to help her steady herself as she swayed slightly at the movement, he wasn't sure. But either way her touch seemed to burn him long after she had walked to where the other teachers stood chatting. He quickly left the now too warm bar.

Chapter Text

The welcome she had felt during the get together at the Three Broomsticks was short lived. Once classes got going, she rarely saw anyone unless she was in their class helping. She had never noticed it as a student, but the teachers were rarely all there at the same time for meals, and when they were they spent their time chastising students or eating quickly so they could return to work.

Even if the Professors took little notice of her, she thought the students might provide some sort of company, but ever since it had been announced during the second dinner of the year that she was to apprentice with Professor Snape, students were terrified of her. She assumed they all thought that she would be as harsh as he was. It didn't help that, as much as she disliked it, she was quite intimidating.

Slowly students that had her in class warmed to her, realizing that she was incredibly smart and always willing to help. She was patient but didn't tolerate laziness or nonsense. She hoped more students would start asking for her help instead of averting her gaze at all costs.

Her time with Professor Snape was the most one-on-one interaction she got. She would often sit in his office and grade with him. Sometimes she would sit in on his classes and assist students as necessary, but she hoped they would get started on the project he had referenced soon, Snape kept saying he was still preparing it.

Snape was not one for small talk, and she often felt that her presence annoyed him. For the first few days she tried to get him to talk to her, either by commenting on a particular student or asking him his opinion, but he gave short, curt answers and she quickly learned it was best to remain silent.

She had no one to talk to, no friends, no students pestering her to write their potions essay in the common room like they had in days past. She was just left to herself. The Ministry had been quite the contrast, she was never left alone and always felt eyes on her. Even if she feared the people she worked with, at least they had payed attention to her. Give her a room full of corrupt Ministry officials and she could chat and smile like no other, she had always been good in artificial social situation so to speak. But friends, well she was never great at having those.

No one wrote to her, none of the teachers invited her to lunch with them, Hogwarts felt more lonely than it ever had before. But at least she had escaped the Ministry...

-------

Artemis had come in with so much enthusiasm, but as the days turned to weeks, he watched the smile fade from her eyes. She no longer came to breakfast or lunch, and only rarely did he see her at dinner. When she entered his office she would ask what he needed done and after receiving instruction she would remain silent as she worked.

He told himself he shouldn't be bothered, all students were silent in his presence, but for some reason, he wished she wouldn't be. He missed her lively spirit, her fire that she brought with her.

She hadn't even challenged him in class.

One day, he didn't see her at any meals, normally she would come to his office after the dinner hour and grade, but as the minutes ticked by he grew nervous. True, she wasn't required to come at this time, but it was unlike her to break schedule like this.

He thought about writing to McGonagall to ask if she had seen her, but before he could he heard a faint knock at his door.

Lyria walked in and gave him a small nod before moving to her seat on the opposite side of his desk. She noted the essays he had been grading and grabbed half of them before getting her quill and inkpot out of her bag.

He watched her, expecting her to explain why she had come so late, but she stayed silent and began to read the first essay in the pile.

-------

Fourth years could be so annoying, she read through the essay as it tried and failed to explain the active ingredients in a calming draught. The student had obviously thought to fool the grader by restating the same point over and over in different ways to make up for the fact that they knew so little. At the end of the page she marked her final grade and reached for the next paper.

"Artemis?" When she didn't respond he tried again, a bit louder. "Lyria?"

Snape had spoken to her, her heart may have actually skipped a beat at the sound. He had even used her first name.

"Yes Professor?"

"Would you care to explain why you are so late today?"

Honestly she was surprised he had noticed, he took so little note of her she hadn't thought he would be upset. She should have known better, he would of course have been expecting her help since both the fourth and sixth years had turned in papers today.

"My apologies Professor. I will stay longer to make up for the time. I know that two classes handed in papers today and-"

"That is not why I am asking."

He didn't seem annoyed, if anything his dark eyes seemed to hide a hint of... concern? No it couldn't be, she was imagining things.

Lyria of course, had an answer prepared just in case someone had asked. "I was assisting a student, a first year had gotten lost and asked for my help instead of asking McGonagall."

To her dismay, he didn't seem to buy it as he was still looking at her expectantly.

Was she just supposed to tell him that she had finally fallen asleep this afternoon after two days of insomnia?

He could tell she was hiding something, but instead of putting her more on the defensive he decided to try something else.

"I would like to ask you something Mrs. Artemis, I thought-"

"Miss."

"Pardon?"

"You said Missus. I'm not married Professor."

He hadn't even considered the possibility that she may not be married. Most students married within their first year after Hogwarts, and a woman like her would be no exception he thought. True she had never mentioned a husband but why would she to him?

He looked at her left hand and saw no ring.

"My apologies."

"It's okay, it's flattering that you would think me capable of having found a husband."

He looked at her curiously.

"What do you mean?" He tried to sound uninterested, but he was truly puzzled by her statement.

She blushed slightly, "Sorry, that wasn't an entirely appropriate comment, it's just that my friends have always told me I was too intimidating and boys would never like me because they were afraid of me." She paused, looking a bit sad, "Well that's what they used to say anyway."

What a horrid thing for people to say to her, before he could stop himself he responded, "Boys would find your passion intimidating," he paused and saw sadness come across her face. "But a man would not."

Her eyes shot to his at the comment, she had never thought about it that way, and she certainly hadn't expected to hear such a thing from him.

She was kept from asking him to elaborate when he spoke again.

"As I was saying," he tried to catch his breath as it had suddenly become quite difficult for him to draw air. "I was thinking it would be a good experience for you to teach a lesson. I have noticed your particular expertise with Veritaserum, perhaps you could conduct a lecture and the subsequent brewing lesson for the 7th years?"

She was stunned, no one had asked her to actually teach a lesson before, make a few comments or elaborate on something sure, but none of the other professors had placed that kind of trust in her.

"I would be honored Professor."

"Good, you will start the lesson on Monday, that gives you the weekend to prepare. Knowing your command of the brew I believe this should be easy for you." His compliment was honest, she had brewed Veritaserum for her final N.E.W.T.S. exam and it was the strongest and most potent version he had ever seen. He had even kept it in his store room for emergency use. Of course she needn't know that last part.

"That should be plenty of time, thank you for the opportunity."

"Just don't disappoint me."

"I will try my best to avoid it Sir."

"Severus."

"What?"

"You refer to your other colleagues by their first names, you may use mine if you wish."

"Thank you Severus. On one condition."

He quirked an eyebrow and looked up from the paper he had begun to mark again.

"You call me by my name as well."

"Very well, Lyria."

They returned to grading, but he could see a faint smile on her lips and she seemed to sit a bit straighter. That would do for now.

Chapter Text

Lyria sat nervously at the small candle-lit desk in her room as she read over the lesson plan she had written for the thousandth time that evening.

Tomorrow's lecture had to be perfect, she tried to include elements of Professor Snape's teaching style as well as some techniques she had observed McGonagall use. Her lesson was well paced, allowing plenty of time for questions and clarification, but not so easy as to let the students slack off.

The students wouldn't have to brew the potion until Tuesday, so she just had to focus on the description for now. She had descriptions of each ingredient memorized and every step thought out, she had even come up with a few tricks to help students remember key elements 'The potion makes the drinker go against their wishes, go against the clock and stir counterclockwise' She included an in depth description of the lunar cycle and its effect on the potion towards the end of the lecture. She was amazed that Snape had worked it out so they would start brewing on the exact day of the new moon. Maybe the students had a chance at getting this right after all.

After w while she realized it was well past midnight. Despite the late hour she did not feel tired. If she didn't get to sleep soon though she wouldn't be in the best shape for the lesson tomorrow.

She sighed and wrapped her cloak over her night dress. The thin straps and sheer fabric were comfortable in her heat-charmed room, but weren't quite sufficient to provide warmth in the corridor, not to mention the potions classroom was always freezing. Wrapping a cloak around herself she put away her papers and tried to calm herself. She hated to rely on potions to make her body function as it was supposed to, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

Lyria slid out of her room into the quiet corridor beyond. Although she was not a student and wouldn't be punished for being out after hours, she still wished to avoid anyone while in her current state of dress.

She glanced down the halls in both directions before padding down the corridor to the potions classroom. The door was unlocked and she slipped in, closing the door quietly behind her.

"Lumos"

She lit her wand and made her way to the store room. Hopefully Snape would have some calming draught if not actual sleeping draught. Either would be a welcome aid.

Searching the shelves she made a mental note to tidy the place next time she came to work with Snape. She could hardly find anything. Feeling a bit uneasy about rummaging through the Potion Master's store room, she whispered "Accio Calming Draught" and to her relief a bottle presented itself to her.

She grabbed it out of the air and turned to leave.

It wasn't until she was part way to the door that she became aware of a presence in the room.

She turned the light of her wand to a corner to her left and saw Snape sitting there calmly watching her.

"Find what you needed?"

"I-I… I'm sorry Professor I should have asked but I didn't wish to wake you. I just-"

He stood and walked to her, he didn't look angry which surprised her, she paused in her frantic apology as he drew nearer to her.

"Lyria, as my apprentice you have full access to the store room and are welcome to anything you may need. However," He paused and she noticed his cheeks flush a bit as he took in her light blue silk dressing gown.

Embarrassed she drew her cloak around her to cover herself and he continued.

"Might I inquire as to why you would need a Calming Draught?"

She was about to lie, tell him it was just nerves, that it was a one time thing. But she could tell that would be useless. He knew she hadn't been sleeping, she had felt his eyes on her at dinner, and had noted the concern in his stare as he had noted the pronounced bags under her eyes. She knew he just wanted her to be honest.

-------

Severus had a feeling Lyria would come looking for a sleeping potion, she hadn't emerged from her room all weekend until dinner that evening, and he had noticed dark purple rings around her eyes. Lyria was no fool, she would know she needed rest to teach tomorrow, so he sat and waited for her to appear. When she walked in and he heard her summon the draught his suspicions were confirmed.

He was prepared to confront her about her recent lack of self care, however he was not prepared to react to her the way he did. The way heat had rushed to his cheeks when he saw her in her dressing gown was entirely unexpected.

The pale blue dress seemed to glow in contrast to her pale skin, and her long red hair was out of its typical braid and spilled over her shoulders in waves. She was stunning.

Snape tried to focus on the matter at hand. His apprentice was sleep deprived, and he couldn't have a sleep deprived teacher running his classroom.

The excuse was pathetic but it kept him going nonetheless.

Her response was quiet, "I have been having trouble sleeping. I'm sorry Severus."

She looked so ashamed, not at being caught, but at admitting she needed the help of a potion to sleep.

"How long has this been an issue Lyria?"

Sevetus tried to make her feel comfortable, encourage her to talk to him. Boy that was a first, he actually wanted someone to open up to him.

"Oh ha, for many years. But it's been particularly bad since I came to the castle, it just.. Hasn't been the same… it's been-" she hesitated, glancing at him before continuing. "-lonely. I don't do well when I am left to myself so much, I dwell on things and the nightmares are worse-" She caught herself, why was she telling him this? She shook her head and drew a deep breath "In any case I wished to be well rested for tomorrow's lesson."

He felt terrible. Of course she felt lonely, he knew just how she felt. He knew how isolating it was to be an apprentice, he just hadn't thought of Lyria in that way. And nightmares? What could she have nightmares about? She was always so strong, so in command, he figured she would be fine. 

Snape could see now that he had made a mistake, she was human, not some infallible and perfect witch, she needed help sometimes too. The realization and the concern that raised in him knocked him off his guard. He didn't know what to do. What could he do?  

"Lyria, come with me."

She had been staring at the ground, hoping to hide the blush that had spread across her chest and neck. She hated to feel so vulnerable, but she didn't have any strength left to argue. When he called for her to follow him she did as he asked, not even caring where they were going. Nothing could be worse than admitting her loneliness or her nightmares.

He led her back to the storeroom and went inside. Where she had had trouble finding anything, he went right to a shelf in the upper right hand corner and grabbed a small vile.

He brought it and offered it to her.

"This should help more than the Calming Draught."

Lyria took the vile filled with purple liquid and handed the one she had grabbed back to Snape. As she did their hands brushed and she jumped at the electricity she felt. When he drew his hand back abruptly she knew he had felt it too.

"Thank you Severus."

She turned to leave once more but Severus had grabbed her wrist and she turned back to him. Her cloak flowed over her shoulders and the sudden movement exposed her night dress once more.

This time she didn't pull away to fix it, partially because he still had her wrist gently in his grasp. But also because of how his eyes widened. She liked him looking at her.

"Lyria…"

"Yes?"

"You are not alone." It was just above a whisper, but she heard it all the same.

He couldn't help but glance at her one last time before tearing his eyes away and releasing her wrist. He moved quickly through the classroom door and was gone.

--

She was left standing in the cold potions classroom, absolutely astonished at what had just happened.

Lyria slowly made her way back to her room and met no one else in the hall. When she sat down on the bed she decided to take the potion right away. Now that thoughts of how Snape had looked at her, the feel of his large, slender hand on her wrist, and his words of comfort had joined her worries for the next day, she knew unaided sleep was hopeless. Unstoppering the bottle and she smelled the potion. Unlike a regular sleeping draught that smelled like lavender and the other earthy ingredients it held, this light purple potion smelled of clementines. It was entirely foreign.

She hesitated for a moment, but trusted that Severus was truly trying to help her. She gulped it back and immediately felt her eyelids weighing down.

Laying back on the bed she fell into her first restful sleep in ages.

Chapter Text

Lyria woke feeling more rested than she had in weeks, possibly years. For once she had slept through the night, and she remembered no nightmares to boot. Whatever that potion had been, it was her new best friend.

Looking at the clock on her dresser she became even more astonished, she had gotten exactly 8 hours of sleep, but there was something beside the clock that drew her attention away from the time.

She stood, stretched, and made her way to the dresser. There was a small, covered silver plate waiting there with a note beside it.

“You missed breakfast, again.
Eat, you’ll need your strength today.”
-S

Her body flushed as she read the note. He cared, not only that, he cared enough to do something to help her. If only he knew how much he had brightened her day.

Lifting the cover of the plate she saw a simple breakfast, eggs, sausage, toast and he even knew her favorite flavor of jam. “That must just be a coincidence” she thought, shaking her head. Maybe he cared, but it was probably because she would be running his class in a few hours.

She ate quickly and set about getting herself ready. She pulled her hair into her normal french braid, but instead of her simple maroon cloak or even her nice black one, she decided on a garment she had yet to wear at Hogwarts. Besides, green felt like the right color to wear today. After finishing her look with light eye makeup and a bold wine colored lipstick, she gathered her things and set off to the potions classroom to prepare. Confident in her ability to impress Snape and the students with her lesson, she almost felt like herself again.

Lyria scrawled an outline for students to follow onto the chalkboard before gathering the ingredients she would need for her eventual demonstration.

After laying everything out on the table, preparing her cauldron, and double checking her notes, she decided to add one more thing to her lesson.

Lyria entered the storeroom and searched for a bottle of Veritaserum, she was going to have the students try to guess the potion in the bottle, just like Snape had with her class.
She turned the corner of the storeroom to head back to the demonstration table, but noticed this time she was not alone.

Snape was perusing her set up, probably looking for anything she had missed.

Approaching the table, she sat the small bottle next to the cauldron and waited for him to finish his appraisal.

He hadn’t looked at her yet, hadn’t acknowledged her presence at all in fact, but she stood patiently for him to be done inspecting. As he moved from the table to the board he said “Sleep well?”

“Yes, thank you.”

He nodded curtly.

Only after reading everything did he finally turn to her.

----

When he turned his heart nearly failed and a lump grew in his throat. Instead of her usual cloak she had donned a stunning coat, it had long sleeves, a low but not particularly inappropriate v-neck that showed off her cleavage just enough. The coat hugged her waist and was fastened with gold buttons down the right side. Instead of flowing from the waist to the ground the coat split in the front leaving her legs exposed while remaining long in the back. Best of all, it was a dark forest green that set her hair of fantastically.

Under the coat she wore black skinny jeans and black-heeled boots with ties up the side. When his gaze traveled back to her face his eyes were drawn to her lips, the color of dark wine looked so inviting, and her eyes… those eyes.

The whole picture took his breath away, and he hadn’t realized how long he was staring until she began to approach him looking concerned.

“Severus? Is everything okay?”

----

He had become rigid when he looked at her, his gaze traveled up and down, assessing her appearance. Was the coat too much? Was something wrong with her face?

When he shook his head and blushed at her question she knew the answer, it had been too much, but in a good way.

She decided to press, “Severus is something wrong? Do I look too unprofessional?” she smirked, enjoying seeing him scramble.

“Oh uh- no, everything is fine. Yes you look um,”

“Thank you.” He had struggled long enough.

Happy with the reaction, she turned to look over her setup once more, but before she moved too far she heard “I have never seen you wear green before.”

Lyria stopped and turned back to him, he was facing her again.

“Oh, well yeah I guess I normally don’t, house colors and all.” She paused, “Actually green is my favorite color.”

“It suits you.”

With that he turned and went to his desk without looking back to her.

She could hardly contain her smile.

------

Soon the clock hit the top of the hour students began filing into the classroom. When they saw Lyria standing at the front of the room next to Professor Snape, each did a double take. They had never seen the Apprentice at the front before, and they had certainly never noticed she looked like that.

When everyone was seated Snape began “Today your instruction will be provided by Miss Artemis. You will treat her with the respect she deserves and all of you will be on your best behavior. Any infraction will be met with a loss of house points and detention. Understood?”

They all nodded vigorously, they could see he meant every word of his threat.

Satisfied, he gestured to Artemis and she began.

She held a small vile and presented to the class.

“This potion is more dangerous than any curse you are likely to encounter and a greater threat than any dark magic.”

All the students straightened in their seats, her tone was serious but held none of the ‘bored’ quality of Professor Snape. They strained to hear the next words out of her mouth.

“If used nefariously it could topple governments, start feuds, you name it. With it you can exert complete control over another person with something as simple as the knowledge they already possess.”

She waved her wand and the bottle hovered in midair and unstoppered itself.

“Odorless, tasteless,” as she spoke the potion traveled around the room, it passed each table just long enough for them to get a quick whiff and glance in the bottle. “And colorless. Untraceable and undetectable, once you are under its influence there’s little you can do to protect yourself.”

As she finished the bottle glided back into her waiting hand.

“10 points will be awarded to the first student who can tell me what it is.”

Students began to whisper amongst themselves as they talked over their answers, Artemis made no move to quiet them as they talked.

Tentatively, a Hufflepuff girl raised her hand.

“Ms. Baze?”

“Is it Veritaserum?”

“Correct, 10 points to Hufflepuff.” The girl let out the breath she had been holding and a few of the other students clapped her on the back.

Artemis waved her wand and the board, which had previously been blank, revealed the notes she had written earlier.

“Veritaserum is the strongest truth serum in existence and is one of the most complicated potions to brew. It makes the drinker spill their darkest secrets and can last up to 8 hours. This potion takes one full lunar cycle…”

As she continued students began furiously scribbling down notes. She detailed the ingredients, the purpose of each, as well as the way they interacted with each other.
Every set of eyes was glued to her as she talked, her voice was confident and unwavering but gentle. She paused when she noticed students looking confused and called for questions regularly. Each time someone asked something she thanked them and answered thoroughly, never condescending.

Snape had never seen a potions classroom so engaged. He couldn’t blame them, he could hardly take his eyes off of her himself.

“Tomorrow you will begin the brewing process, on the night of the new moon. Timing will be critical and each group will be expected to brew an acceptable draught to be stored for a month. When the lunar cycle is complete we will finish your potion. Understood?”

They nodded.

“Good, are there any last questions before we begin gathering ingredients? We won’t have time to gather them tomorrow as our timing must be exact.”

No one raised their hand, in fact they all looked eager to start their preparations.

“Very well, you may begin.”

Chairs squeaked across the floor as some students moved to the shelves lining the wall while others got their cauldrons, still others compared notes and chatted.

Satisfied that they knew what to do, Lyria approached Snape who had been standing in a corner for the duration of the class.

“Well, how did I do?” she looked at him nervously.

“I have never seen my students more engaged in a lesson. Nor have I seen one so engaging.”

Her face brightened at the compliment.

“Thank you Severus.”

“I believe I am ready for your assistance with the project I referenced earlier in the term.”

“Really? Wonderful! Do I get to know what it is now?”

He let a faint smile across his lips at her eagerness.

“I will tell you after tomorrow's class.”

She nodded and gave him a smile before turning back to assist the students.

-------

He began to circle the room and observe the class. While her instruction had been clear, some students were too thick to get it right even with the best information. Snape scolded a Gryffindor who had grabbed Occamy shells instead of Powdered Moonstone, another student had gotten out a Pewter cauldron instead of an Iron one. The ignorance of children was insufferable.

Noticing that Artemis was dealing with students too, he watched and was amazed to see she didn’t look at all annoyed at their ignorance. Instead she was smiling and joking with them, they all looked so comfortable around her yet seemed to respect her.

Still staring, his attention was drawn when he heard a blonde Slytherin remark “Ey, she wouldn’t need a truth serum to get me to admit what I’d like to do to her. You see that figure?”

The boy next to him snickered “I may actually show up to class if she was teaching, maybe if I mess up my ingredients I’ll get to have detention with her.” The boys laughed together, and something in Snape snapped.

“Gordin, Johnson, 30 points from Slytherin and detention!” His cloak billowed as he approached the boys. His voice became a dark whisper, “And if you ever speak that way about Artemis again, you’ll wish you’d never been born.”

All eyes were on Snape as he scolded the pair, the air was cold with fear as they felt his anger. When he turned back to the class and saw them all looking he barked “Return to your preparations.” And moved to his desk.

As the students got back to work Artemis gave a small smile, he had defended her. Not that she couldn’t look out for herself, she had been about to deduct house points as well, but he had been so enraged, surely he cared at least a little for her.

The knowledge put a spring in her step as the class finished, “Your preparations will be as you left them when you return. See you all tomorrow and well done today.” She gave them a warm smile and excused the students.

As they left the room, she heard whispers from a group of Gryffindor girls

“Did you see how angry he got?”

“Forget that, did you see the way he looked at her?”

“I wouldn’t want to be Jason or Felix right now,”

The group of girls giggled and one of them, a short girl named Eva Grace, gave her a wink. She blushed, well at least she wasn’t the only one who noticed Snape's behavior.

She heard other students as they passed,

“I can’t believe I actually enjoyed potions!”

“Right? Maybe I won’t screw this one up!”

Lyria was so preoccupied watching the students that she didn’t notice as Snape instructed the two boys on how they would spend detention.

“Report to Filch tomorrow evening, and be happy you don’t have detention with me.”

“Yes Sir.”

“Yes Sir.”

The boys scurried out of the classroom without looking at her, they trailed behind the last of the other students and left Lyria and Severus alone.

She approached his desk and he stood, “Thank you Severus.”

“For what?”

“For looking out for me, I heard what those boys were saying, but I would have stood up for myself too you know.”

“I know.”

She waited, expecting more of an explanation.

“I just couldn’t... ”

He stopped and sat back at his desk. She could tell that he wasn’t ready to tell her anything else and took the cue to leave. Making her way to the door, Lyria couldn’t help but fixate on everything he had said, he had been so sincere.

As she entered her room she glanced at the note on her dresser. It had been such a good day she had almost forgot what made it start out so well. She read it once more before preparing for bed.

Chapter Text

Severus Snape was woken by a silver light that entered his room. He sat up in bed and watched as a silver cat materialized before him, it spoke in the voice of Minerva McGonagall.

“Severus report to the headmaster’s office for an urgent staff meeting. Please wake Miss Artemis and bring her along.”

The cat faded and he quickly got ready. Why did he have to collect Artemis himself? He had just gotten thoughts of her out of his head long enough to fall asleep and now he must see her again. 'She’s never been summoned for a staff meeting fool, she wouldn’t know where to go.' Obviously. He shook his head, annoyed that he had let his personal thoughts interfere with his logic.

The hall was calm as he made his way nextdoor. Lyria didn’t know but the Apprentice’s quarters shared a wall with his own, he hadn’t found it prudent to tell her that.

He knocked, softly at first, but hearing nothing he knocked again.

Lyria opened the door, still rubbing sleep from her eyes. He saw it took her a moment to register the dark figure in front of her, but when she did she snapped awake.

“Severus, what-”

He tried his best to keep his voice even and serious as he took in her nightgown, this time a light shade of green. 'Damn this woman' .

“There is an urgent staff meeting, your presence has been requested. Please dress quickly and come with me.”

Lyria let go of the door and waved her wand at the dresser. Clothes soared out and met her as she made her way to the bathroom.

Snape was left standing in the open door to her room. Unsure of what else to do, he glanced around. She had decorated the space far more than he ever had, it didn’t even look like the same room. There were paintings above the bed and adorning most of the walls. Teal curtains hung from the windows that matched the bedspread. The furniture was a dark espresso brown instead of the black it had been when he lived there. His eyes lingered on the dresser and noticed his note from the previous day lay there, perhaps she liked it enough to keep it.

Before his thoughts could wander much past that she emerged wearing a gray t-shirt and black leggings. She sat on the bed and pulled on her regular black heeled boots before grabbing her cloak from the back of the chair. She tugged it on and left the room, leaving him to close the door and trail in her wake.

“Severus what is this about?”

They had been walking silently through the halls, Snape tried to keep his eyes from her shiny hair that she had yet to pull back. Her question brought him out of his reverie.

“I don’t have an answer, I was woken only minutes ago and informed to collect you.”

Lyria looked at him curiously.

“Normally you would be woken by a patronus carrying a message, but seeing as you have probably never seen a talking patronus nor have you been to a staff meeting, we thought it best I get you myself.”

She nodded and they continued.

When they came to the Gryffin statue Snape said “Treacle Fudge” and it began to reveal the hidden stairs.

When he noticed her confused look Snape offered an explanation, “The Headmaster is fond of sweets.” They walked up the steps and Snape opened the door to the study.

Lyria had been here before, but the scene before her distracted her from any reminiscing.

“Ah Severus, thank you. Lyria sorry to wake you but this is urgent.” Said McGonagall as they entered.

As they approached the group she saw all of the Professors were there, some whispering quietly, others looking like they were about to fall back asleep, the only person she didn’t see was Dumbledore.

About to question his whereabouts, she was silenced when he appeared next to his desk with a quick pop. She had heard he could apparate in and out of Hogwarts but she had never seen it.
McGonagall was the first to speak up, “Albus what’s happened?”

“The attacks at Ilvermorny have taken a turn for the worse.”

There was a collective gasp from many of the teachers.

“You don’t mean…”

“No one has been killed Minerva, but we have agreed the risks are too great to continue to hold the TriWizard tournament there.”

Lyria was burning with questions but held her tongue. She knew that there was a tournament going on, but the students contending for the spot had been selected and gone to America before term had begun. Some girl from Ravenclaw had been selected and the rest had stayed to represent Hogwarts along with Silvanus Kettleburn who was representing the Hogwarts professors. She had heard the occasional update, but nothing worth noting.

“Are they cancelling the tournament?” piped Filius Flitwick.

“No.”

“Then where is it being held?” Said Professor Charity Burbage.

“I have offered Hogwarts as the alternative.” He said calmly.

“We are not prepared!”

“We have no tasks ready,”

“How many students will there be?”

The comments came from all around her, and they mirrored her own concerns, but Lyria stayed quiet.

“We will host them graciously. The tasks have been decided and staff from Ilvermorny and Durmstrang will be here to help us prepare them. Arrangements have been made for housing and the number of representatives from each school has been limited to prevent strain on your classes.” His voice quieted the group immediately, they knew he would make things work.

“We will inform the students at breakfast. Heads of House please instruct your students to arrive at breakfast on time.”

Minerva, Sprout and Flitwick nodded. Snape simply stared back at Dumbledore. He seemed to be waiting for something.

“Regarding the issues plaguing the tournament, we hope they will not follow the students here. If anyone sees anything out of the ordinary report it immediately. Tomorrow I will provide you with more details as to what to expect. For now, I will let you rest.”

With that he moved behind his desk and everyone began to file out. Lyria moved to follow but noticed that Snape was still standing by the desk. She waited and watched.

“Headmaster what staff will be representing Ilvermorny?”

“The Headmaster, the Herbology Professor, and the Defense Against the Darks Arts Professor.”

She saw Snape stiffen at the last mention, and made a mental note to ask him about it later.

Snape turned and made to exit the room, he caught up to Lyria quickly and gently placed a hand on her elbow, guiding her out the door.

Lyria waited until they had separated from the other Professors to start asking questions, “Severus I don’t understand, what’s happened? What’s been-”

“Lyria I know you have many questions, but I must insist we wait to discuss it until we are in a more secure location.”

She nodded. Of course he couldn’t discuss Hogwarts business where students or ghosts could hear.

Snape led them to the Dungeons, and at first Lyria thought they were heading back to her room, but when they passed the turn and continued down the hall she was confused. Suddenly, he stopped. Snape pulled out his wand and tapped the wall twice. A door appeared and he opened it, gesturing for her to follow him in.

Chapter Text

Lyria and Severus entered into a vast, dark, candle-lit room with high ceilings and long windows covered in green and black drapes. Snape flicked his wand and a fire erupted out of a fireplace to their right.

The room was cluttered, but not messy. Bookshelves lined most walls and the others were full of shelves holding every manner of vile and container. A small sitting area in front of the fire place looked virtually untouched, but the rest of the tables and chairs were stacked with volumes and parchments of all manner.

Lyria noted the slytherin crest on fabric hanging from the ceiling and realized where they were. This was the Head of House’s office, and therefore… she stared around with new rapt attention. These were his living quarters.

Snape strode to a small stove in one corner and put a kettle on, she assumed he was preparing tea so she took a moment to wander the room.

It seemed to be an extensions of the potions store room, with the about the same level of organization. Ingredients and cauldrons were intermingled with strange contraptions and novels. Lyria could see barely any indication that this room belonged to Snape, there were few if any personal touches.

As she moved near the windows that looked into the lake she noticed how cold it was in the room, she drew her cloak tight around her as she came to a painting on the far wall, the only painting in the room as far as she could tell.

It was a dark painting, in color not necessarily content. A single flower bloomed in the middle, it’s white petals shining in the light of a moon off canvas.

“You must be cold.”

She jumped at his proximity, he had approached her while she was staring at the painting.

Lyria nodded and he gently touched her arm to guide her to the fireplace. She took one last look at the painting of the lily before following.

 


 

 

They sat on the couch facing the fire, a respectable distance between them, and Lyria began her deluge of questions.

Severus explained that while the triwizard tournament was normally a dangerous event, this particular tournament had been plagued by a series of ‘accidents’ that had jeopardized not only the contestants, but the attendees, students and teachers as well. The selection ceremony had been interrupted by dementors, during the first task boggarts had appeared amongst the crowd and in the arena, the list went on. The Wizarding Congress in America had tried to keep things quiet, not wanting to cause worry in the wizarding community, but whatever had happened tonight had obviously changed their minds.

“So what happens now?” She asked, clutching her nearly empty mug of tea.

“I suppose we host the tournament and hope that none of the disasters that befell Ilvermorny follow the contestants here.”

“Is there anything or anyone that could be behind these attacks?”

“I understand what you are referencing, but the Dark Lord is gone, and in any case it does not follow the pattern of past devastation brought by You-Know-Who.”

“How do you mean?”

“You-Know-Who targeted specific groups of wizards, muggle borns in particular. These attacks have been random as far as anyone can see. Purebloods have been affected as much as any other type of wizard.”

“I see…”

Her brow was furrowed as she stared into her cup. Severus was about to ask her what she was thinking when she spoke.

“I feel bad…” Lyria couldn’t believed she was willingly opening up to him, but talking to him was so easy...

“Why?”

“Because I was so preoccupied, I hadn’t even taken notice of the tournament, much less any trouble.”

“There was no reason for you to have, you are not a student so the sport probably doesn’t interest you, and-”

“It doesn’t matter! People were in danger and I was too self-absorbed to take notice!”

He stared in surprise at her outburst.

“Lyria, there is nothing you could have done.”

Her expression did not change and he knew it was useless. He sat and watched the fire for a bit before glancing back at her.

Lyria had relaxed some, her shoulders slumped forward, she held her cup in one hand and with the other held her cloak tight around her. He noticed a slight tremor in her hands and realized she must be cold, exhausted, and overwhelmed. He stood and moved to another area of the room, she took little notice, simply staring at nothing.

--


'I was so focused on my own feelings, feeling sorry for myself, I didn’t even think to listen to the castle gossip, if I had maybe I would have picked up on something…' she thought. Her inner criticisms continued. Cursing her foolishness and generally thinking herself an idiot, she was roused from her thoughts went she felt a weight on her shoulders.

Snape stood beside the couch, and she saw a dark cloak had been draped around her. Looking up at him she saw worry in his gaze. She looked away quickly, pulling the cloak tight around her. It was very warm, Lyria hadn’t realized she had been shivering until she felt the tremors subside.

Severus moved to her other side and sat on the couch once more, this time a bit closer. He looked like he wanted to reach out to her, but he kept his hands firmly on his legs.

When she looked at him again he caught her gaze.

“The best we can do is keep a watchful eye on the tournament now that it is to be held here. We must protect our students, and do what we can to find some answers.”

He was still looking at her, his dark eyes studying her blue.

She nodded. His words comforted her and gave her purpose. She would protect Hogwarts, its students, and its teachers, at any cost.

Unable to hold her gaze any longer he stood abruptly. “Come, you need rest.” He held out his hand to help her up and she took it.

His hand was warm and firm, larger than her own. Lyria placed her mug on the table beside the couch and uncrossed her legs. Slowly she stood, too focused on the feel of his hand around hers that she stumbled as her legs, which had fallen asleep, gave out.

Lyria clutched at Severus to slow her fall, but his arms had already wrapped around her and caught her. She stayed still, legs weak from being asleep or something else, she stared into his eyes just inches above her own.

Snape held her tight, his warmth enveloping her, she felt safe, secure, and other things that made her cheeks flush.

--------

Her body was pressed tightly against his own, he could feel her breasts against his chest and the hand wrapped around her waist felt her curves through the cloaks.

He felt himself reacting to her proximity and her touch, a light blush rose over her neck and cheeks. She must have felt the heat as well.

Severus pulled back from her slightly, still holding her but not pressing himself fully to her, he did so to make sure she didn’t feel uncomfortable, and to hide his own reaction.

“Thank you..” it was just a whisper, her lips inches from his own. He felt a longing deep within him, a longing to close that distance... and it scared the hell out of him.

His arms fell from around her as she stood fully. He nodded to acknowledge her thanks and looked away from her quickly, she had seen something change in his eyes before he had let her go, he was… scared? To be honest she was a bit scared herself.

He led her to the door and opened it for her, she slipped out silently and quickly made her way back to her room.

 

Still clutching his cloak, she put in on the chair when she entered her room and started to search for the small vial he had given her the previous night. She needed to sleep. She couldn’t stand to think about his strong arms and inviting lips for another minute.

She found it, and before gulping it down cast a charm on her clock to wake her in time for breakfast. Lyria fell onto her bed exhausted and confused. She had never felt such a strong attraction to anyone before… Lyria’s eyelids drooped and she fell into a deep sleep.

Chapter Text

Snape’s cloak billowed behind him as he made his way to the Great Hall. He hadn’t slept a wink.

Students cleared out of his way as he stormed through the corridor, he looked like he was about to curse someone into oblivion.

His thoughts waged war inside him. How had he let himself think of Artemis in that way? He felt sick.

He had betrayed Lily. He had promised there would never be another to pique his interest, and yet here he was losing sleep over a girl who used to be his student.

He had promised himself, there would be No. One. Else.

But then... is that what Lily would have wanted? For him to deny himself for her sake? She had told him to keep his heart open… to allow himself to love and be loved in return... No, he could never. Besides, it was preposterous to think that Lyira felt anything for him in the first place.

He let out an exasperated huff and a Gryffindor student booked it down the corridor, afraid it had been directed at them.

 

As he entered the Hall he noticed Lyria was already seated at the far end of the table near Flitwick.

She did not look at him and he did not look at her, instead he made his way to his seat without meeting anyone’s eyes. He didn’t even scold the first-years chasing each other between the tables.

It was only another minute or two before the Headmaster stood and approached the podium. The hall fell silent immediately. Dumbledore never made announcements during this time of year…

“Good morning everyone,”

There was a murmur of repeated greetings punctured by yawns and general sleepiness.

“You all must be wondering why you have been called to attend breakfast at this hour, and I do not intend to keep you waiting… In the early hours of the morning we received reports of an attack on Ilvermorny,”

There was a gasp, and the Ravenclaws began to whisper in worry for their champion.

“A wing of the castle was blown apart, some were injured but no one was killed.” The hall was noisy now, everyone talking about who could have been behind the attack, what other attacks may have happened. Lyria was somewhat glad to see she wasn’t the only one who hadn’t been paying attention.

Dumbledore raised his hand “Silence.”

It was not a yell, simply a command. The students fell quiet once more.

“Miss Marilla Anderson of Ravenclaw is safe for the time being, as are the rest of the champions. However, in light of recent events we, myself and the Headmasters of Durmstrang and Ilvermorny, have decided to move the remainder of tournament to Hogwarts.”

There was no containing the burst of excitement that came from the house tables. The attack was quickly forgotten as people anxiously discussed the homecoming of their friends and what the next task would be. Where there had been little interest in the far away tournament, suddenly everyone wanted to talk about it.

Lyria looked at the Headmaster, expecting to see him angry at the outburst, but he held a light smile and amusement twinkled in his eyes.

Flitwick leaned closer to her and whispered “Amazing how quickly danger can be forgotten at the prospect of a party.”

Confused, Lyria turned to him. “Party? What do you mean?”

“The Yule Ball Miss Artemis, it’s only a month and a half until Christmas.”

A Yule Ball? Why would students be worrying about a Yule Ball when they were potentially in danger?

She shook her head, marveling at their short sightedness.

Flitwick chuckled, “Oh come now, a ball is a great way to alleviate the stress of the tournament. Maybe the celebration will cheer you up as well!”

Before she could question what he meant by that, Dumbledore began speaking once more.

“Normally each school would be presented in a welcoming ceremony, however since the first task is already complete and preparations need to be focused on the second task, we will settle for a simple introduction tonight at dinner. Until then you are to attend your classes as scheduled. Now, let us eat!” He waved his hand and the bounty of Hogwarts unfolded upon each table.

The Great Hall buzzed with excitement as students talked about the news, but Lyria didn’t pay them much attention. Her thoughts had turned once more to the previous night, she both wanted nothing more than to be alone with him again, and was scared of what would happen should they find themselves close once more.

----

Uninterested in the gossip of teenagers, Severus also had his mind turned to the events of the night previous, though for different reasons. His internal struggle raged on as he felt himself drawn to Lyria, even now as she sat at the far end of the table. He fought not to look in her direction, afraid that if he did his resolve would melt.

He loved Lily. Even if she had never loved him in return, she was the only one that held his heart. His heart that had turned cold when she married Potter, his heart, that had died when he saw her lying on the floor of her home…

But then...then why did he feel warm when he looked at Lyria? Why did he look forward to having her around? Why did he feel alive around her, more alive than he had years?

Snape had not touched his food, instead his hands were clamped tightly in his lap and his head bent in concentration. He didn’t seem to notice the unusually loud and boisterous behavior of the students, nor did he notice the way Dumbledore observed him.

-----

Noting his friend’s apparent inner turmoil, Dumbledore watched Snape for a moment before turning to the other side of the table. At the far end Lyria sat with her shoulders slumped and brow furrowed. She absentmindedly pushed food around her plate.

Connecting the dots, Dumbledore looked to his right where McGonagall sat, she had noticed the pair’s behavior as well. He gave her a small smile and slight nod, returning the twinkle of a smile she nodded in agreement. He loved that Minerva could understand his intentions without requiring an explanation, he knew that his old friend would tend to the Apprentice, and soon he would have a talk with Severus.

-----

There was no need to arrive at the Potion’s classroom early this time, so Lyria spent the day going over lesson plans Professor Burbage had given her after breakfast.

Talk of Lyria’s potions lecture spread quickly it seemed, Burbage had asked her to prepare an activity for an upcoming lesson on muggle dress during the Renaissance, and Professor Sinistra had asked her to prepare a lesson comparing muggle constellations to those of wizards.

The 7th years were due to report to the Potion’s classroom at 9 p.m. to begin the brewing process under the darkness of the New Moon, she didn’t mind the late night ahead though. The delay meant more time to mentally prepare for seeing Severus.

 

At 5 she began to prepare for dinner. She had been instructed by McGonagall to wear something nice to greet the newcomers in. She selected a midnight blue dress with floral embroidery around the base, long sleeves, and a scoop neckline. It hugged her figure until it flared a bit at her waist into a full skirt. She finished her look with a black rose pendant, rose-stud earrings, and at the last minute decided to wear her hair down.

Colovaria” she murmured, and her hair fell into long curls that draped down her shoulders and back.

She gave herself a once over, the light makeup she had applied seemed appropriate, and she enjoyed getting to wear blue. It was so nice not having to dress in House colors all the time.

Satisfied, she grabbed her black cloak and headed to the Great Hall.

-----

The room seemed to have grown, a table had been added near the Gryffindors and the teachers platform was now tiered. Upon entering McGonagall had directed Lyria to a medium sized table with several empty seats. She sat and waited for it to be filled, to her relief she saw that Snape was seated near the headmaster and would be behind her, well out of her field of vision.

Eventually all the Hogwarts professors had been seated, Sprout sat beside her, but the chairs on her other side remained empty, as did most of the chairs at the table opposite her.

Once everyone was seated, Dumbledore stepped up to the podium for the second time that day.

He raised his hands and the candles around the room dimmed and turned faintly green in color. The ceiling transformed and snow began to fall in a moonlit sky, the air turned slightly cold, and silence fell over the crowd, but this time everyone emitted an air of excitement.

Dumbledore’s voice boomed in the quiet of the hall, “May I welcome, the Proud Sons of Durmstrang,”

There was a crash as the entrance doors flew open and a group of burley men walked through them. The man at the front of the line was somewhat short, but exuded confidence, she assumed he was their champion.

“And their Headmaster, Igor Karkaroff.”

An ugly bearded man followed behind the students, he was tall and lean, but had none of the grace that the students in front of him exhibited.

The group came to a stop in front of the podium and faced the students. Dumbledore moved from the tiered platform and embraced Karkaroff quickly before continuing to speak.

“Representing Durmstrang in the Triwizard tournament, Mr. David Caulfeld.”

The short man stepped forward and bowed. Lyria thought she saw him wink at a group of Hufflepuffs before stepping back into line with his peers.

“With us also, for added security and assistance in the instruction of Charms, Professor Clive Fischer.” A rather unassuming older man near the back of the group gave a small bow of his head.

“Please join me in welcoming them to Hogwarts.”

Everyone applauded, most of the female students applauded with extra enthusiasm.

After a few moments Dumbledore gestured to the Durmstrang representatives and they split, the students going to sit at the empty table, the Professor and Headmaster sitting near Flitwick at the table across from where Lyria sat.

“Now,” Dumbledore paused as he put himself behind the podium once more.

“May I present to you,” He waved his hands and the candles took on a reddish hue, the sky shifted to look like a nice Autumn evening, complete with falling red and orange leaves “The esteemed students of Ilvermorny.”

The doors flew open once more to reveal a group of students lead by a beautiful brunette girl. “Representing Ilvermorny as champion is Miss Ava Blackwell.” Her brown hair fell in tight curls and she walked with the grace of a dancer to the front of the room. It was the boy’s turn to gawk at the new arrivals. The girls in the group, including Ava, wore short skirts with no leggings. Instead their stockings reached just above the knee, and their red blouses sported a small v-neck. The boys in the group wore light beige pants and their red sweaters, for the most part, were rolled at sleeves.

“Welcome to Headmaster Agilbert Fontaine,”

A gray haired man with a matching, short, gray beard smiled welcomingly to Dumbledore at the mention.

“And Professor William Pendragon, who will be assisting in students instruction as a guest Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor.”

A gasp echoed around the room, Professor Pendragon was well known for being a descendant of King Arthur, plus, he had graduated from Hogwarts before moving to America, leaving quite the legacy.

The sandy-haired man was, Lyria supposed, conventionally attractive. He sported a boyish grin, a large torso, and flattering well-made robes. As she observed him, he caught her eyes. Professor Pendragon shot a wink in her direction and she blushed fervently, quickly breaking eye contact.

“With us also is Professor Cindy Johnson, who will be assisting with Herbology.” The kind looking, dark haired woman next to the Headmaster bowed at the introduction .

After the group stood for a moment and were applauded, the students moved to sit next to the Durmstrangs and, to Lyria’s dismay, the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, Professor Johnson, and the Headmaster moved to sit next to her and Professor Sprout.

Luckily the Herbology Professor sat directly next to her, but Pendragon was staring at her still. She wasn’t sure why but his gaze made her feel very uncomfortable. He looked at her like a dog looking at a piece of meat, and she did her best to keep a diplomatic expression on her face instead of showing her disgust.

With everyone seated Dumbledore took to the podium one last time. “Before we begin, we also owe a warm welcome back to our own students,” the ceiling returned to it’s normal celestial scene and the candles glowed yellow again. “Welcome back to our champion Miss Marilla Anderson, Professor Kettleburn, and all of the our other Hogwarts students!”

Familiar faces entered the room and everyone was excited to see their friends once more. The group stood at the front of the room for a moment, was applauded, and then the students went to sit with their houses.

“Excellent! Welcome to all!” the headmaster said as he clapped his hands, “And now, let us feast!”

Chapter Text

Lyria spent the meal making small talk with Sprout and Johnson, they talked about various American plants and Lyria was able to contribute occasionally by mentioning their unique uses in Potions.

She did her best to ignore Pendragon, but eventually Johnson excused herself to escort the Ilvermorny students to their dormitories.

Pendragon stayed behind and scooted over into the seat that Johnson had vacated.

“Hello beautiful, my name is William Pendragon. What name have the angels that sent you bestowed upon you?"

She really didn’t want to seem rude in front of so many people, if they had been alone she would probably punch him, instead trying her hardest not to roll her eyes she answered.

“Lyria Artemis, it’s a pleasure to meet you Professor.”

“I have not seen you at Hogwarts before, are you a new professor? If so I may need to apply for a job here.”

“I am actually an apprentice at the castle.”

“Are you? My my, lucky girl, Hogwarts is truly wonderful isn’t it?”

“Yes, it’s lovely. I am honored to work with such amazing students and staff.”

He grinned, “And Hogwarts is all the more lovely for having you. Well, Miss Lyria Artemis, I look forward to seeing more of you.” He winked and stood, moving to greet the Durmstrang Headmaster.

Lyria sat still, had he just…? She wasn’t sure if she was reading too much into his comment or the over all conversation in general, but she was not okay with how completely inappropriate his implications had been.

It wasn’t that he wasn’t handsome, he just wasn’t her type. She also had no interest in men who thought her an interesting specimen to be captured and conquered for their trophy rooms. She returned to her food, although she had lost her appetite, and tried to push Pendragon out of her mind, keeping her head down as to avoid his hovering gaze.

Lyria didn’t notice, but Snape’s eyes bore into her, he had observed the whole interaction, and was damn near slicing Pendragon’s head off.

-----

Preparing to head to her lesson, Lyria had swept her curled hair into a side ponytail and changed into a blue waistcoat buttoned to the neck with her usual dark jeans and laced boots.

Entering the Potions Classroom she saw Snape pacing in front of his desk. He look murderous.

“Severus?”

He didn’t respond or stop his pacing. Cautiously she decided to approach him. She placed her bag on one of the desks and came up behind him. She touched his shoulder to get his attention as she repeated his name.

He turned to her, and for a moment his appearance was quite frightening, she almost thought she should draw her wand to protect herself. But upon looking at her his face fell, there was less anger in his eyes and instead it was mixed with an emotion she couldn’t quite place. He almost looked sad...

“Severus what’s wrong? Are you okay?”

---
He tried to stay mad, he tried to remain firm. He had decided not to let her in, not to allow himself, but then….

His conflicting thoughts mixed with the concern he saw in her eyes weakened his resolve. Severus felt himself melt a bit and some tension released from his shoulders, but he held onto his cold tone as he responded.

“I apologize Miss Artemis, I’m fine.”

“Artemis? Really? Severus please, tell me what’s going on.”

He refused to meet her gaze, electing instead to move to the demonstration table. She followed, determined to get to the bottom of his behavior, she couldn’t stand to see him like this, so angry and hurt. There was once a time when he walked around the castle like this perpetually, but Lyria knew now he had a softer side, and wondered what had happened to it. She called after him and followed, “Wait, I’m serious, what’s bothering you?”

He placed his hands on the table and stood still, not looking at her.

“Did I do something wrong? Look at me.” She was at his side now, her hand on his arm she peered around his curtain of hair to see the pain on his face.

She decided that perhaps being harsh wasn’t the best idea right now. Instead she lowered her voice. “Severus you can tell me, what’s on your mind?”

“It’s just… that… that… insolent, slimy... the way he talked to you. He comes striding in thinking he can take what he wants, do what he wants.” His voice had begun as a whisper but grew louder as he spoke. He stood fully, anger overtaking him once more, “After all this time he returns and thinks he owns the place. He has no right to- to-....” he glanced at the woman beside him, she looked confused and scared at his anger, but her eyes still held that concern for him.

She was like a warm fire, comforting and reassuring, he felt his cold anger beginning to leave once more. “I apologize… my anger is not at you.”

“I don’t understand what you’re talking about Severus,”

“Pendragon.” He spat.

A look of disgust crossed Lyria’s face and it made him feel inexplicably better.

“Oh, yeah, he’s one hell of a slick git.”

Not wanting to let onto his relief, or his amusement at her frank description, Severus responded “But you’ve just met him.”

“Yeah… doesn’t mean he isn’t a git.” She looked angry now too. “I can see why you would dislike him, he thinks he is quite the catch that’s for sure. Ugh, gross.”

A glimmer of a smile flit across Snape’s severe features and she grinned. He seemed to have relaxed some, and seeing his smile calmed her as well.

“Maybe try taking house points away and giving him detention next time.”

He met her gaze, a bit taken aback, and his surprise grew as she winked at him. Before Snape could respond students began to enter the classroom and Lyria went to collect her things from where she had dropped them.

Snape was left with heat spreading across his cheeks and quickly moved to his desk.

-----

It was remarkable really, every student was early. Lyria had begun her demonstration by 8:50 and the students were back to their desks beginning their potions at 9:30. Each group wanted to impress her. They checked and double checked their process, asking questions of each other and of her. Lyria was kept running between tables to assist everyone and Snape had to jump in to help.

Snape noticed that even when he approached the tables instead of Lyria students didn’t shy away from asking their questions. He was impressed by their dedication, and even awarded house points to a group that had managed to time the addition of their moonstone with the exact moment the moon rose above the horizon.

Lyria noticed Snape’s odd behavior, he wasn’t angry when a student raised their hand, he didn’t shush anyone as he passed by, it was nice to see him so… well, not mean. She chalked it up to him being able to relax a bit with her heading the class, and tried to focus on her own tasks.

Once in a while Lyria would sneak a glance at Severus to find his eyes already on her, at first every time she caught him looking he would hurriedly glance away. But half way through the lesson he stopped, he began to hold her eyes and it was Lyria who had to turn away. The heat rising in her body was quite distracting, and the students needed her help.

 

It was getting quite late when the students finally finished their potions. Each group had an acceptable draught, and a few had managed to brew quite impressive potions. When each had handed Lyria a vial of their brew, she went to the store room and placed them all in a box in the corner. They would need to remain undisturbed for about a month, and this was the best place to assure their safety.

When she returned the students were looking tired, they had done well today. “Your potions will remain in the storeroom for one lunar cycle. When they are ready we will finish them off. I’m very proud of all the hard work you put in these last two days. I know it’s late, so instead of asking you to write a summary of the brewing process, I am going to let you go. Your essays will be due on Professor Snape’s desk by the end of the day tomorrow.”

Everyone smiled, excited that they could head to bed instead of writing an essay tonight.

“I also wanted to thank you all for allowing me instruct you in this process. You should be proud and confident in your ability to brew a very difficult potion. I hope you will work as hard for Professor Snape when he resumes instruction.”

The Gryffindor girl Eva Grace began to clap from the corner of the room, and soon the whole class joined. Lyria blushed at their show of thanks, she had never expected them to respond so well to her.

She held up her hands and the clapping quieted. “Thank you, truly. You are all dismissed.”

Chairs screeched across the floor as they made their way out, Lyria smiled as they passed, a few even stopped to thank her for helping them.

The group of Gryffindor girls were the last out of the room and each gave her a shining smile and a word of thanks. “See you next time Ms. Artemis!” A blonde named Megan called. She smiled and waved goodbye to them. She really enjoyed teaching.

When they were all gone she let out a big sigh and fell into a nearby chair. She was exhausted. Lyria rest her elbow on the table and lay her head in her hand. With all that had gone on in the last two days she was ready to collapse, she had the beginnings of a headache and was suddenly regretting eating so little at dinner. The Three Broomsticks came to mind and suddenly she longed for the warm atmosphere, a snack, and a very large glass of firewhiskey.

----

Severus sat behind his desk and watched the students walk out, he was a bit jealous of the effect Lyria had had on them. He had watched her intently throughout the class, sometimes observing her teaching skills, other times, well… other times he wasn’t sure why he was looking at her.

When she sat on a chair near the exit he studied her, she had seemed so energetic, he would never have guessed she was that tired. Although he supposed, maybe that’s how she wanted it to seem. She was always strong, always in command, and yet there were times like this when he saw just how vulnerable she was.

Her eyes were closed and her head remained in her hands as he approached her. He didn’t want to startle her, and knew he should keep his distance, but he couldn’t help it.

He placed a hand gingerly on her shoulder and her head snapped up to look at him.

There was evidence of dark circles under her eyes, and she looked worried.

“Lyria? Are you alright?”

“Yes, I’m sorry Severus. I’m just a bit tired. It’s been pretty hectic and I just-” she sighed “I wish McGonagall hadn’t restricted our after-hours access to Hogsmeade.”

Snape recalled Minerva saying that until they were sure the danger had not followed the contestants to Hogwarts, even Professors and staff were not to leave the castle after hours. But why did that matter?

“Why?”

She sighed again, this time emitting a bit of a laugh too “Well, ha, because I would do pretty much anything for a glass of fire whiskey and some chocolate.”

Lyria expected him to brush off her comment, maybe condescend her for thinking something so childish, but instead he was smiling. Like actually smiling. She couldn’t believe her eyes, it was the most wonderful thing she had ever seen. He looked ten years younger and smile lines appeared near the corners of his eyes.

She couldn’t help but smile too. “Severus?”

He continued to smile and even let out a tiny cough of a laugh.

“Severus are you laughing at me?” She giggled as she said it.

“No, I just,” he smiled again, “Now you know what it really feels like to be a teacher.”

At that she let out a full laugh and Snape turned his face to hide his amusement.

After a few moments, and regaining a bit of his composure, he said, “Here, come with me, we still need to talk about our project.”

She nodded and followed him out of the classroom. Marveling that she had just seen Snape joking and laughing, Lyria made a quick vow to make sure that his smile returned much more often.

Chapter Text

Once again Lyria found herself in Snape’s living room. This time the promise of relaxing on the couch outweighed her curiosity about the contents of his living quarters.

When Severus gestured for her to sit by the fire she did so, removing her cloak and even taking the liberty of unbuttoning her coat a bit. She had been in tight fitting clothing all day and decided that opening the coat halfway was still modest since she had a shirt on underneath. She also removed her hair from the ponytail in hopes of avoiding a headache.

Settling on the couch, she flicked her wand at the fire and at once there was a warm blaze inside. Content, comfy, and not worrying about what Snape was doing, she leaned her head back on the couch and rested her eyes.
--

Snape moved to where he stored his drinks and collected two glasses. To be honest, a drink sounded quite wonderful to him too. Seeing an old school rival, not having slept in two days, and all his conflicting feelings were enough to convince anyone that a drink was a good idea.

He opened the cupboard and heard a fire come to life behind him.

His first impulse was to grab a simple Celery and Beetroot Wine, but as he thought about who he would be sharing it with, he reached instead for an Elf-Made wine and a bottle of Red Currant rum.

He poured two small glasses of the rum before moving to carry them, the wine, and two wine glasses over to the fireplace.

When he turned Severus nearly dropped the glassware he was holding. She lay back on the couch with her eyes closed. She had undone her coat some and the creamy expanse of her neck and chest were visible, seeming to glow in contrast with the black of her shirt.

Lyria’s red hair spilled over her shoulders and the back of the couch. Lit by the warm glow from the fireplace, it seemed to dance with flames of its own.

She looked so relaxed, just, content. He couldn’t believe she was able to be so comfortable with him around, in his rooms no less. No one had ever trusted him in that way…

Realizing he was staring, and feeling heat enter his body, he quickly shook his head and made his way over to her.
--

She heard Severus set something down on the table and opened her eyes. He was leaning over, pouring them each a glass of wine. His shiny hair caught the light of the fire nicely, and there was a warm glow on his cheeks. Lyria couldn’t help the small smile that crept to her lips at the sight of him.

He straightened and handed her a small square glass with reddish liquid in the bottom. He proceeded to place the full wine glass within her reach on the table in front of them before sitting on the other side of the couch with his own small glass.

Lyria brought the cup to her face and smelled. She noted hints of cranberry, raspberry, and her favorite scent, rose. She took a small sip and was surprised at the punch it brought.

Snape watched her, expecting her to splutter a bit at the strength of the drink, but she sipped it and took it down easily. She closed her eyes, savoring the taste, and licked her lips. Oh God those lips…

Severus took a rather large swig of his own glass as she took another small taste.

“Thank you for the drink Severus, what is it?”

“It’s Red Currant rum, do you like it?”

She smiled and took a large drink before replying. “Oh yes, it combines two of my favorite things.”

“And what are those? Alcohol and sweets?”

She giggled and the sound traveled from his ear down his spine, he loved her laugh.

“Well those are certainly two of my favorite things, but no. I meant the berry flavor and the scent of rose.”

“You have keen senses Artemis, berries and rose petals are essential ingredients.” He noted those same elements in the drink as he took a more reserved sip this time.

They continued to enjoy their rum for a few quiet moments and looked into the fire, each with their thoughts on the other.

When Lyria found her glass empty she switched it for the wine glass and Severus did the same.

She was about to take a drink but thought better of it, she should probably wait another few minutes to see exactly how strong that rum was.

“Lyria,”

“Yes?”

“I wanted to express how, frankly amazed I am with how you handled class these past two days.”

A deep blush spread over her cheeks, Snape saw that it colored the curves of her neck too.

“Thank you, I really enjoyed it. I never thought I would be the teacher type.”

“I find that hard to believe, you have a talent for it.” Where was this gushy complimentary man coming from? Severus scolded himself for his informality and tried to focus his mind on her teaching ability alone.

“I don’t know, I just always thought it wasn’t for me. Although I admit, I have been reconsidering.”

“If you change your mind I would be happy to help you prepare, any school would be lucky to have you as a potions master.”

“Thank you Severus, that really means a lot to me.”

He nodded slightly and took a drink of the wine.

“Severus?”

“Hmm?” He said, looking again into the fire.

“Weren’t you going to tell me what project you wanted my help with?”

“Oh, of course.” He had completely forgotten about that, he had just been enjoying the foreign feeling of being relaxed.

“I chose the Veritaserum lesson for you to teach very specifically. Your draught from your N.E.W.T.S. exam was the strongest brew I had ever seen. I wanted to see just how far your command of the potion went. As you know there is an antidote for veritaserum, but it only shortens the length of time the potion lasts, there isn’t anything to cure the drinker of its effects immediately. At the beginning of the term you told me of your interest in preparing uncommon antidotes. Well, I would like you to help me create one that will instantaneously reverse the effects of Veritaserum.”

She stared in amazement. He wanted her help creating a new potion, not only just a new potion, but an antidote for one of the strongest potions she knew of.

Lyria found it difficult to contain her excitement. She turned and tucked one of her legs under the other so she was facing him better.

“Severus… that’s brilliant. How do you think it can be accomplished?”

There was a light in her eyes that made Snape excited too, she was so passionate.

“It will have to be incredibly strong and relatively concentrated.”

Lyria jumped in, “Of course, it should be concentrated enough so someone who has been tricked into drinking Veritaserum could potentially take the antidote without their poisoner knowing.”

“Yes! Exactly my thought. Just a small dose should be able to break the spell and save the drinker from answering unwanted questions in a delicate situation.”

“Brilliant Severus, I know quite a few aurors that would have killed for something like that. Do you think it can be done?”

“Yes I believe so. I have been testing ingredients but will require your assistance in cataloging their reactions and coming up with the exact recipe.”

“Oh I can’t wait to see what you’ve already discovered. Do you have notes on the ingredients you’ve already tested?”

He smirked, “Of course I do.” Severus stood and went to a pile of papers on a nearby chair. He grabbed a blacknote book from within the stack and brought it back to the couch. This time sitting almost right next to her. “Here, you may look over what I have found and add anything you think may be useful.”

Lyria took the book eagerly and undid the small elastic holding it together. She set the book in her lap and began to flip through it. She saw that Snape had included drawings of the ingredients, descriptions of them, and their potential effect on the potion.

As she flipped through the pages Severus was once again left to observe her. She no longer looked tired, her eyes were bright and a smile rested on her face. A few stray curls fell across her face and she brushed them back absentmindedly.

Never drawing her eyes from the book she reached for her wine and took a sip.

“Oh wow, Severus this is wonderful too.”

Her attention temporarily drawn from the notes she looked up at him. He was sitting just in front of her, watching her peruse his notebook. He no longer held a glass of his own, instead one hand rested on his knee and the other on the couch near her leg.

It was her turn to stare as he responded. “I am glad you like it. It’s a favorite of mine.”

Lyria took a long drink before turning and setting the glass and the notebook on the table.

“When do you want to start work on the potion?”

“Whenever you’ve had a chance to look over my progress thus far, I have been anxious to begin.”

“I will look everything over and should be ready to move on by Friday.”

“Then Friday we will begin our work.”

They sat simply looking at one another. Perhaps it was the lack of sleep, perhaps it was the wine and rum, but when a red curl fell from behind Lyria’s ear, he reached out and brushed it from her face. He skimmed her cheek with his fingers ever so slightly as he tucked the strand back into place, and as he drew his hand back he let it graze lightly over her jawline and rest under her chin.

Involuntarily she leaned into his touch, her eyelids fluttered as his gentle hands brushed against her. Goosebumps ran over her body and she shivered. He was looking at her in a way that no one ever had before. She stared at him, first at his dark eyes, then his lips.

Severus’ gaze traveled similarly to the red fullness of her lips. At his touch she lightly bit her bottom lip and he sucked in a breath.

Lyria’s eyes had flitted shut. Enjoying his lingering touch on her lower jaw.

When she opened them, Severus saw reflected in the deep blue of her eyes the longing he felt. He wanted to cross the short distance between them, but he was stopped once more by a wave of guilt.

Snape drew back and stood suddenly, Lyria let out a small gasp as the moment was broken.

“You need rest.”

Lyria understood that he had once more scared himself. Why exactly he was scared she didn’t know. She stood and grabbed her cloak from the couch.

She decided it best to leave him to think, so she moved past him to make her way to the door. As she did her hand brushed his, and she felt him twitch at the contact.

 

Lyria was out the door quickly, too slowly his hand had moved to grasp hers, and his fingers stayed outstretched ever so slightly as she left.

They both took a large dose of the purple potion before bed that night, each dreaming of the other.

Chapter Text

The Great Hall was packed, everyone was excited to see which new students would be placed in their classes, each eager to get to know the mysterious boys of Durmstrang and the boisterous students of Ilvermorny.

Lyria paid little attention to hubbub below and made her way quickly to the far end of the teacher’s table. The seat at the end of the row was vacant and placed beside Professor Binns, she quickly snatched it. No seat next to her meant no Pendragon. Or so she hoped.

Lyria hadn’t wanted to come to breakfast, but with all the new arrivals she decided it would be rude not to. Electing to fill her plate sparsely with some eggs, toast, and hashbrowns more for show than because she was hungry she focused her attention on the mug in front of her.

“Coffee” she said, and brown steamy liquid filled the cup. Hogwarts was so wonderful.

She took it and breathed in the wonderful aroma, nothing like a cup of coffee to brighten a dreary morning. As she took a sip, eyes still closed in enjoyment of this guilty pleasure, she felt eyes upon her.

She looked around hesitantly for Professor Pendragon but he was nowhere to be found, instead her eyes fell on Snape. He had just come through the back door to the hall and was watching her. Quickly Lyria averted her eyes and turned back to her meal. Hoping that no blush would appear on her already warm cheeks.

Snape left breakfast without eating anything, he merely talked with Dumbledore for a moment before rushing off. With him gone and the droll presence of Professor Binns beside her, Lyria was left to her thoughts.

Breakfast was almost over and students had begun gathering their things and were exiting the Great Hall when Lyria felt a firm hand tighten on her shoulder. “Miss Lyria Artemis there you are my beautiful.”

She jerked away and stood quickly.

Pendragon held his hands up in mock defense. “Sorry love, didn’t mean to scare you.”

He had indeed startled her, but she was more upset at the aggressive way he had grabbed her.

Not waiting for a response from her Pendragon began talking once more, “So I hear you’re apprenticing for old Snivellus, sorry about that, maybe I can put in a word with the Headmaster and you can apprentice for me instead.” He had approached her again and was nearing uncomfortably close, “After all, I am a pleasure to serve under.” He winked.

It took all her resolve not to slap him right there. Instead she spat back “I’d rather spend the rest of my life in Azkaban than spend a minute more than necessary with you.” She turned to leave but he grabbed her arm. Lyria felt cold fear course through her. She wasn’t used to feeling so out of control, he held all the power, she couldn’t fight back with so many people around and his grip was too tight. She began to panic and drew short quick breaths.

“Oh my my you’re a feisty one, don’t worry darling, you’ll come around. I’ll see to it.” She couldn’t quite read his expression, either she was too scared to pay full attention or perhaps because it was so fleeting.

The hostility between them was broken suddenly when a sharp “Artemis!” was yelled.

Both of them jumped a bit at the voice but he didn’t let go of her.

It was McGonagall.

‘Oh thank God’ thought Lyria.

Minerva approached them and with one graceful movement removed Lyria’s arm from Pendragon’s grasp and steered her to the door. “Come I have something to discuss with you.”

McGonagall didn’t drop her arm from around Lyria until they were a few corridors over from the Great Hall. When they were a fair distance McGonagall stopped them and gently turned Lyria to her.

The young woman looked broken, there were tears in her eyes and her lips were pursed tightly. Fists clenched and head down Lyria stood shaking, a mixture of anger and sadness.

“Lyria dear it’s okay.” Minerva touched her arm and gently wrapped her into a hug. The physical contact was too much and Lyria couldn’t hold back anymore, the tension released from her body as she began to cry, falling into the older woman’s arms.

“Shh shh, it’s alright dear you’re okay, you’re safe.” Minerva gently stroked the girls hair as she cried into her shoulder.

After a few moments Lyria lifted her head and tried to wipe her face. “S-sorry, Minerva. I ju-just...”

“Come on dear. Let’s go to my office for some tea.” Lyria nodded and followed.

McGonagall's office was warm and comforting, red fabric draped the brick walls and comfy-looking chairs surrounded a small fireplace. Her desk sat by a tall window that looked out onto the grounds. Through it Lyria could see a group of first years trying their best to remain steady on brooms below.

Lyria sat in a large armchair and McGonagall handed her a cup of earl gray tea before sitting next to her.

“Thank you…”

“Of course, now, what happened? What did he say to you?”

“He just,” her cheeks flushed, “he insinuated things that made me very uncomfortable before calling me ‘too feisty’ and telling me he would see to it that I came around.”

“Has he said things like this before?”

“We only met last night but yes, he seems to have taken interest in me. He speaks with such familiarity, he just.. ugh." She took a deep breath. "Sorry Minerva I over-reacted.”

McGonagall paused to consider her words. “Nonsense dear. I will see to it that he is kept far away from you. Would you like me to inform the other professors as well?”

“No, no fuss. I don’t want to make a big deal about it. It could be misinterpreted as ill-will on my part towards Ilvermorny.”

Minerva smiled a bit, Lyria always had an eye for diplomacy. “Very well, if you change your mind please let me know.”

“I will, I just hope he can take no for an answer.”

 

Lyria sipped her tea for another few moments as McGonagall observed her. Slowly Lyria was regaining her composure and she looked a bit more like herself.

“While I have you here, there is something else I would like to discuss with you.”

“Of course, is something the matter?”

“No dear it’s just about your apprenticeship, I wanted to ask how things have been going with Severus.” stated McGonagall.

Lyria felt her cheeks flushed slightly so she tucked her face behind her mug and took a drink before responding.

“It’s going well I think, we are going to start on a new potion on Friday.”

“I heard that you conducted a lesson for him.”

“Yes he was gracious enough to allow me to instruct the 7th years on how to brew Veritaserum.”

“Miss Lyria you needn’t be modest, I have heard students talking about it non-stop. They really enjoyed your instruction, a few even seemed to have enjoyed a potion’s lesson for once!”

“Well, I enjoyed teaching them. I hope to have more opportunities like that in the future.”

“I am sure you will.” Minerva paused before proceeding, “I have also heard, that you’ve had quite the impact on Severus.”

Lyria blushed fervently.

“H-how do you mean?”

“One of my students said they accidentally spilled a vile of horklump juice and the Professor didn’t take any points away. A seventh year said he thought he saw Snape smile during your lecture, and two Slytherin boys recounted quite the tale of receiving detention because Snape was “protective” of you.”

“Oh… well I- I am sure Severus would respond similarly if any apprentice of his was in question. I doubt it has much to do with me”

Minerva raised an eyebrow.

“What?”

“Lyria, I do not wish to pry, but I have also noticed a change in Serveus’ behavior.”

Lyria bowed her head a bit to hide the now ever-present redness in her cheeks, she went to take another sip of tea but discovered the cup was empty. She set it to one side before reluctantly meeting McGonagall’s gaze.

Minerva didn’t look angry, in fact she looked quite hopeful.

Hopeful? For what?

“Um, well, I have enjoyed working with him, and look forward to what the rest of the semester might bring.” She realized how that sounded and quickly corrected, “I mean we are starting work on a new potion and I just, well” The look in Minerva’s eyes told her it was useless to cover her blunder so she sighed.

Minerva gave a slight smile. “I also look forward to what you two may accomplish. Although, I feel I must tell you something.”

“What’s that?”

“Severus is not overly fond of Professor Pendragon, I assume you have already discovered this. Just be aware that should you spend too much time around Pendragon, of your own choosing or not, he is sure to notice.”

“I have noted his particular hatred towards Pendragon yes, even before he arrived at the castle Severus seemed upset that any Professor from Ilvermorny would be coming to Hogwarts.”

Lyria paused, choosing her next words carefully, afraid that she was asking too much.

“Do you know why Severus hates him so? Aside from the fact that he is a prat. I would ask myself but I sense it is a sensitive topic.”

“Well,” Minerva paused, not sure if it would be inappropriate to tell Lyria, but figuring under the circumstances it would be prudent she continued. “They didn’t get along in school.”

“They attended Hogwarts at the same time?”

“Yes, although William is two years older than Severus.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t have guessed that.”

“Most wouldn’t. When Severus came to Hogwarts he quickly found adversaries, and Mr. William was more than happy to help a few first years tease the poor boy.”

“I see…” No wonder he hated him, Pendragon was his school bully.

“You needn’t tell Severus I told you dear, he is quite, well, he doesn’t like talking about his time here.”

“I understand, thank you for telling me.”

“Of course, now I think you are due to attend Muggle Studies shortly. Correct?”

“Yes, Professor Burbage and I are preparing a fun lesson.”

“Then I won’t keep you, however I want to reiterate that you are welcome to talk to me anytime about anything okay dear?”

“Thank you Minerva.”

Chapter Text

The rest of the day passed uneventfully, Lyria saw no sign of Pendragon and at dinner she was left alone.

Lyria wasn’t due to assist in Potions again until next week, and she wasn’t to meet with Snape again until Friday evening. The break gave her a chance to think through everything that had happened between them.

After dinner Lyria returned to her room to work on her Astronomy lecture, but after several hours her back felt stiff and her body ached. Deciding to take a walk around the castle to stretch her legs, she grabbed her cloak and left, happy that at least her privilege to roam the halls at night remained intact.

---

Severus patrolled the corridors angrily, his mind focused on what he had heard about William and Lyria at breakfast. All day rumors had been swirling. "Had Pendragon really assaulted Artemis?” “What if he merely held affection for her?” “The Apprentice had seemed upset, but McGonagall hadn’t yelled at either of them.” “What had happened?”

He had gotten tired of the gossip and had asked Minerva for an explanation after dinner. He hadn’t attended the meal himself, thinking it best he wait to hear the facts before he tortured Pendragon.

But now that he knew that he had indeed assaulted Lyria. It was enough to make his blood boil.

If only he had been there! He would have put William in his place once and for all.

His thoughts consumed with the idea of cursing Pendragon, Snape didn’t notice when a suit of armor came to life next to him. The suit grabbed him around the throat and hoisted him into the air. Snape reached for his wand but found his pocket empty. He turned his head as best he could and there, standing next to him holding his wand aloft, was Pendragon.

“Looking for something Snivellus?”

Snape clutched at the metal arm and tried to free himself. The metal continued to tighten and Severus heard William laughing. His vision began to spot, he tried to kick out at the suit of armor, at Pendragon, anything. But his strength was leaving him.

Suddenly there was a BANG and Severus dropped to the floor, gasping for air. He heard Pendragon shout ‘Stupefy!’. There was an answering yell and he saw a flash of red light. His wand and Pendragon’s own fell from his hands to the floor.

---

Lyria heard what sounded like laughing and quickly made her way to the corridor to her right, expecting to catch students out of bed. What she saw instead made her vision burn red.

Severus was struggling from the arm of a statue, and Pendragon held his wand tantalizingly close as he laughed.

Finite Incantatem!’ She yelled, and the suit of armor dropped Severus before returning to it’s lifeless state.

-
Upset that his spell had been broken, and startled by the noise, Pendragon cast ‘Stupefy’ at the figure down the hall. Only after the spell had been cast did he see it was Lyria Artemis.
“Wait! I didn’t mean-” He was cut off by her incantation.

‘Expelliarmus!”

The force of the spell blew both wands out of Pendragons hand and knocked him off balance. He stumbled, falling to one knee and Lyria rushed to where Snape lay choking on the floor.

Lyria fell to her knees and pulled Severus to her. She gave him a quick look over for any physical marks before turning her gaze to Pendragon.

“What were you doing! You could have killed him!”

“It was only a bit of fun, I would have let him go.”

“A bit of fun! You’ve got to be kidding me, you’re sick. Absolutely sick!” She spat.

 

Snape was breathing a bit easier now, still rasping but his vision had returned. He clutched Lyria’s arm as he sat up. Not wanting to let him go, she helped him to his feet as he took great heaving breaths.

Pendragon watched, unsure of what to do. His wand was next to Snape’s at Lyria’s feet. He wanted to lunge for it but knew he wouldn’t be quick enough. Instead he stood and started to back slowly down the hall.

When Snape was able to stand on his own Lyria took a step back.

Taking in a few more deep breaths Snape looked around until he saw his wand and Pendragon’s on the floor. Anger took hold and he forgot everything else. He scooped them both into his hand, grasping them tight he pointed them at the man backing away from where he stood.

‘Levicorpus!’

Pendragon let out a yelp as he was lifted by his ankle. The double spell launched him high into the air and knocked the wind out of him. The man struggled, helpless.

“Please, Severus it was only a joke,” he said between breaths. “I meant no harm, I only-”

Snape ignored the man’s pleas and narrowed his eyes.

 

Lyria could see the rage pouring out of him as he pointed the wands at Pendragon. She knew that whatever Snape was about to cast, it would not be good. As his lips began to move she cried “Severus no!”

Without thinking she reached for his free hand and spun him around to face her. As much as she wanted to see Pendragon hurt, Snape would be banned from the castle if he wasn’t careful.

Snape’s eyes were wide with fury and his mouth formed a sneer. But Lyria held on tight and used her other hand to lower his wand arm. Her eyes never left his. “Severus,” she repeated, much quieter this time. “Don’t. It’ll only make things worse.”

 

One of her hands was firm around his and the other moved slowly down his arm. He saw fear in her eyes, not fear of Pendragon, not fear of him, but fear for him. He knew she was right.

As he stared back at her he felt himself relaxing. Her blue eyes were like a great ocean, calming, and serene. He sighed and his head fell to his chest.

 

Slowly Lyria took Pendragon’s wand from Snape’s hand, caressing him gently as she did.

“Go, I’ll take care of him.”

He wanted to protest, to stay, protect her, but the look she gave him was stern and resolute.

“I’ll be fine, now go.”

He nodded and took off down the hall.

 

When Snape was out of sight Lyria waved her wand and Pendragon fell to the floor in a heap.

She watched as he tried to regain his composure. He stood slowly, fixing his robes and patting down his hair before turning to face her. His mind whirled. What had he just seen? Was Lyria... did her and Snape...? NO.

“My wand Artemis.”

She began to hold it out to him but paused. “Leave Severus alone. You’re lucky I stopped him.”

Pendragon moved quickly and grabbed his wand, but she didn’t let go. They stood there, each with a forceful grip on the thin strip of wood.

“Yes, I see…” His voice had turned cold and quiet. “How lucky that Snape has another redhead to protect him.”

She couldn’t help it, her eyes widened a bit at the comment. “What do you mean by that?” She tried to keep the curiosity out of her voice, but failed.

“Oh… now isn’t this precious. He hasn’t told you?”

“Spit it out Pendragon.” She said angrily, not enjoying being toyed with.

Her grip had slackened ever so slightly on the wand and he pulled it out of her fingers and backed away.

“No wonder you reject me, you think he cares for you don’t you?”

Lyria stood still, shooting daggers with her eyes at the man before her.

“You are nothing to him, just a pale imitation, I almost feel sorry for you.”

“What are you talking about!” She couldn’t hold it in anymore.

His mouth curled into a sick smile, “Ever heard of Lily Potter?”

Chapter Text

Snape knocked sternly on the Headmaster’s study.

“Come in Severus.”

He opened the door and strode quickly to where Dumbledore sat at his desk reading. Seeing the man so calm just fueled his anger and he launched into speech.

“Headmaster you must do something. This kind of behavior is-is it’s unacceptable. How dare he. Professor or not I will not stand for it. I-”

“Severus, please.”

Snape stopped his pacing and his rant and looked at Albus.

Dumbledore reflected none of the urgency or anger Snape felt. Instead he calmly closed his book and folded his hands in his lap.

“As I recall, it was I that wanted to speak with you.”

Snape looked down, somewhat embarrassed at his outburst but not fully letting go of his rage.

“I have no doubt Severus, that you are referring to the incident at breakfast yesterday morning. Regarding Miss Artemis and Professor Pendragon.”

Snape gave a curt nod and Dumbledore continued.

“Were you present?”

“No, if I had been I…” Snape trailed off.

“Severus, Minerva has assured me that the girl is fine. No harm was done.” Snape was about to interject but stopped when the headmaster raised his hand. “No physical harm was done. I understand your concern Severus, Professor Pendragon did not act appropriately, however I must insist you do not confront him. Doing so would only make matters worse for both yourself and Lyria.”

“Yes… Sir.”

“I also heard about something that transpired late last night. Something that I fear, would have been quite the scandal had Miss Artemis not stepped in.”

Snape stayed still but his anger returned anew.

“I must make it a point to thank Miss Lyria, I would’ve hated to have you lose your temper Severus, especially in such delicate times.”

“It doesn’t matter what happens to me. What you should be concerned with is the fact that Pendragon could have seriously injured Lyria! He shot a stunning spell at an apprentice of Hogwarts! All the more reason to have him taken from the castle. What if he had cast something worse?! What if-”

“Ah ah,” Dumbledore interrupted once more “While you are technically correct, I have great faith in Lyria’s abilities. She would have been able to defend herself if the need had arisen.”
Snape seethed.

“Severus, I’m touched, you seem to care a great deal for Miss Artemis’ wellbeing.”

He quickly turned his face away from the man’s twinkling eyes. Those eyes that seemed to miss nothing.

Dumbledore continued “I must ask Severus, is this care for an apprentice of Hogwarts? Or is it, perhaps, something more?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He replied curtly, back turned to the headmaster, afraid his face would betray him if the slight quiver in his voice hadn’t already.

“You insult my intelligence if you think I have not noticed your fondness for the girl. I do not blame you of course. She is quite brilliant, passionate, and beautiful if an old man like me daresay.”

Snape stood still. “You’re changing the subject.”

Dumbledore ignored him.

“Severus, there is nothing that would bring me more joy than seeing you happy. But, I’m afraid, I must ask,” Snape turned to face him now. “Is your interest truly in Lyria? Or perhaps, does she remind you of someone else?”

Snape’s eyes widened at the insinuation. To hear his fears said aloud, almost as an accusation… He couldn’t find the words to respond, his mouth running dry.

“I don’t mean to insult you, but I must be certain, as should you.”

His teeth barred, Severus clutched the back of a nearby chair and turned his face away, wishing not to hear anymore.

“Lyria is kind, talented, brave, not so different from another young woman. Even her hair, Severus... “
He closed his eyes. He was so torn, he had loved Lily, ever since they were children, but she had never loved him in return. She had told him not to close his heart, but had he simply opened it to someone that reminded him of her?

No.

“You’re mistaken Headmaster. Lyria is different.” Suddenly all his thoughts came pouring out. “Where she was gentle, Lyria is passionate. Both are smart and talented, but Lyria’s talent lies in potions, Defense against the Dark Arts, not charms or transfiguration. Their magic is different as are they. Lyria is a leader. Determined and brilliant. Creative and outspoken. She was kind, considerate…. She only spoke out when there was real need. No, they are very different.”

 

Albus watched his friend and he felt a tear in the corner of his eye as he listened.

 

“Li-...Lily… never loved me.” There. He said it.

“I will always have a place in my heart for her. But I am not trying to fill the rest with a facsimile!”

He paused and took a deep breath. “I do not expect Lyria to return my affection, but I cannot live in the past. Lily would have wanted… she would have wanted me to live my life. She would not have wanted me to die with her that day.”

Snape lowered his head, the effort of his admission had exhausted him.

 

Albus stood and moved slowly to the man in front of him. The man that had seen so much, experienced so much heartache. Proud that he had finally let go.

“The ones we love never leave us Severus, but our love for them does not take from the love we share with others.” He placed his hand on Severus’ shoulder.

“I believe that you’re right. Lily would want you to be happy, and since Lyria has come around, you are different than I have ever seen you. Love is a powerful thing Severus, its power to hurt is made up for many times over by its power to heal.”

Snape looked at Dumbledore, his words were sincere, and Snape hoped above all else that he was right.

“I will not meddle any more than I already have Severus you have my word. I do suggest however, that you talk to Lyria soon. If for no other reason than to thank her for stopping you last night.”

“I understand.”

“Good.” The Headmaster patted Snape’s shoulder once more before returning to his desk.

“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a tournament to prepare for.”

Snape turned and headed for the door, before he was completely out he paused, “Also you’re mistaken.”

“Hmm?” Called Dumbledore absentmindedly.

“Lyria’s hair is a much brighter shade of red.”

With that he closed the door.

 

Dumbledore chuckled and he returned to his books.

-----

Lyria was nowhere to be found. Snape searched for her at each meal, between classes, even check to see if there was a light coming from her door. But nothing.

At the end of the day Friday he made his was to the Potion’s classroom. The last two days had found him behind on grading and he had a stack of essays on Wiggenweld potions to read. Besides, she was due to come by to discuss the ingredients he had researched, so he decided to simple wait.

As he approached his desk Severus noticed a piece of parchment with a note scrawled upon it. Recognizing the handwriting, he quickly snatched it and began to read.

 

Professor Snape,

It is my duty to inform you that I have been recruited by Professor Kettleburn to assist in the preparations for the second task.
I will be unable to assist you in class or otherwise until the task is complete. I will continue to research ingredients independently and will send you anything of significance that I find.
This arrangement has been approved by Professor McGonagall. Please direct any questions to her.

Signed,
Lyria Artemis

 

Snape sat, still holding the note, reading it over and over again. It was so formal, she never referred to him as Professor anymore. Besides she had seemed so excited to get started, why the change of heart? Had he scared her away? The second task was two weeks away, was he not to see her until then?

He resolved to question Minerva at breakfast in the morning, and hopefully get an in-person explanation from Lyria then as well.

Chapter Text

The sky was beginning to turn pink as Lyria made her way back to the castle. She was completely exhausted.

Grasping her cloak tight around her, the autumn air made its way through the rips in the fabric and she shivered. Her boots were caked in mud and her hands had been rubbed raw.

For a moment she contemplated going to Madam Pomfrey, but the thought of laying in her soft warm bed won out.

She was already half asleep as she slipped out of her dirty clothes and put on her warmest pajamas. At least working with Kettleburn had helped her take her mind of Severus, she had barely thought the name before she fell asleep.

 

“Minerva,”

McGonagall turned around to see the potions master gliding towards her, a few students scurried out of his way and she really couldn’t blame them. He looked quite distraught.

“Ah, Severus, yes I am sure you have questions for me.”

She resumed walking and he fell into step beside her.

“Minerva have you- are you aware-, I know you-”

She sighed and stopped him, not waiting for him to spit out the question.

“Yes Severus, yes I know where Lyria is. She is assisting Professor Kettleburn in his preparations for the second task.”

“I am aware, but is that also why she seems to have disappeared from the castle? Why she cannot continue her duties as my apprentice? She hasn’t even attended meals, what’s going-”

Minerva lowered her voice slightly, just in case her words were caught by a student passing them as they rushed to class. “Miss Lyria is not the only one of the castles staff that has been absent Severus, as I am sure you noticed.”

Actually he hadn’t, but thought it prudent to keep that fact to himself.

“The... nature, of the creatures they are working with necessitates that they prepare at night. Not only to keep from the eyes of curious students but for the creatures themselves.” Her voice returned to it’s normal volume, “So, Lyria and the others will be sleeping during the day, making it quite difficult for her to attend your class Severus.”

“I see.”

They walked in silence for a few moments, Snape chose his next words carefully.

“Minerva, did Lyria mention anything else to you?”

“Are you referring to the incident involving a certain Ilvermorny Professor”

“I see she did.”

“It was I who asked her about it. I wanted to make sure she would be okay working with Pendragon occasionally as she assisted with preparations.”

Snape stopped in his tracks. When she realized that Snape was no longer next to her Minerva turned and went back to him.

“She’s working with Pendragon?!”

“There isn’t much we can do to avoid that Severus. But she was confident that she would be okay, and if he tries anything she will let me know immediately. It’s been taken care of.”

His scowl remained in place and she sighed. “Severus if you are worried then talk to her, not me. Now if you’ll excuse me,” she walked a few steps down the corridor to the Transfiguration classroom. “I need to begin my class, let me know if there’s anything else you need Severus.”

 

A week went by. And nothing. She wasn’t at any meals, the few times he saw her early in the morning she scurried away from him and into her room. He was at a loss, and it was killing him.

Students began to notice Snape’s bitter mood. He was even more terse than usual, he took away about 50 house points per day. Students were now basically learning from their textbooks as he spoke infrequently and offered little guidance in class. The 7th years in particular couldn’t help but note that his change in mood corresponded to Miss Artemis’ disappearance.
There were rumors that she was helping prepare the next task along with a few other Professors, but no one was quite sure.

 

Part way through the second week of her absence things got particularly bad. Snape was handing out detentions left and right, and Artemis’ kindness seemed a phantom of the past.

Eva Grace, had been quite fond of Artemis as she sat with her friends in the corner of the Potions classroom they talked.

“Why do you think she left?”

“Maybe it wasn’t her choice! I’ve heard that this task is huge, preparations started the night the champions arrived.” Responded her friend Megan Joel.

“But why did they have to take her? I thought Potions were dreadful before but now…”

“I know what you mean.” Megan giggled. “I much prefer watching Snape make goo-goo eyes than this!”

The whole table erupted in giggles and Snape took notice. “Joel, 5 points from Gryffindor. Keep your table quiet as you work.”

“Yes Sir.” replied Megan.

The girls continued their work but halfway through the brewing process Eva hit a snag. Her Elixir to Induce Euphoria had turned into a dark sludge that smelled of wet leaves. Certainly not euphoria-inducing.

Eva raised her hand, she had checked the instructions a dozen times and whispered to Megan for advice but they couldn’t figure it out.

Snape continued to pace on the other side of the room, obviously not seeing her.

“Uh, Professor?” She called, everyone turned to look at her.

“Miss Grace?”

“My potion looks weird, we can’t figure out what I did wrong.”

“Congratulations, I’m so proud.” He sneered and turned away once more.

“Professor wait I-” As Eva stood she bumped the table and some of their ingredients fell to the floor.

“5 points from Gryffindor for making a mess in my classroom.”

Her cheeks burned at the embarrassment, but at the same time she was angry. All she had done was ask for help!

“Artemis would’ve helped..” she said under her breath to Megan.

“Detention Grace.”

She sighed and cleaned her mess, Megan looked at her sympathetically and helped.

 

At the end of the hour students cleaned their stations and headed out but Eva stayed behind to receive her punishment. Snape sat at his desk and didn’t look up when she approached.

“Report to Hagrid’s hut at dawn tomorrow, you will be helping him clean the Quidditch pitch.”

“Yes Sir.”

 

The next day Eva rushed to Potions, she couldn’t wait to tell Megan!

Her friends were already seated as she rushed to them.

“I saw her! I saw Artemis!”

The table lit up.

“You did! Where?”

“What did she say!”

“Is she coming back?”

Before she could explain Snape entered the room and they all fell quiet.

After Snape gave his usual sparse instructions she began talking to her friends in a hushed voice.

“I had to be at Hagrid’s for detention at dawn, and I saw her walking back from the forest!”

“The forest? What was she doing in there?” asked Megan.

“Who cares? I was just happy to see she’s still around!”

“Did you talk to her?”

“Yeah!”

She paused, making sure Snape wasn’t around to take house points.

“She said that she was working on the task! She’s been working at night and sleeping during the day, that’s why she can’t be here.”

Megan looked hopeful, “Does that mean she’ll be back after Friday?”

“That’s what I asked! But she said she wasn’t sure, I didn’t get to ask her anything else before Pendragon showed up and they headed back to the castle.”

Snape had been listening in, it was the first news he had heard of Artemis as well. He decided not to let on that he had heard their conversation.

 

As the group of Gryffindors headed out of the room at the end of the lesson he called “Grace. Stay.”

Eva sighed, probably detention again.

She walked to his desk but this time he stood and was looking intently at her. Snape waited until all the other students had left before asking.

“Miss Grace I heard you beguiling your friends with news of Miss Artemis.”

Uh-oh.

“Yes Sir.”

“Did she say anything else to you?”

“Yes Sir.”

“Let's hear it.”

She paused, unsure of what to do. She didn’t want to anger Snape, but also thought it was fair for him to know.

“Well um… Professor… she said she wasn’t sure if she would be coming back to help our class.”

Snape’s face was unreadable. “Did she say that exactly.”

“She said ‘I’m not sure it would be best to continue to help with potions.’ She looked like she wanted to say more but then Professor Pendragon came around the corner and said they had to get back to the castle.”

Snape said nothing for a moment and Eva shivered at the coldness in his eyes.

“Very well Miss Grace. Although please refrain from gossiping in my class in the future.”

“Of course Sir.”

“You may go.”

She scampered to the door, but just as she grabbed the handle she got a wave of bravery.

“Professor?”

He had sat at his desk and did not look at her.

“We miss her too.” She rushed from the room.

Chapter Text

Lyria yawned as she made her way to her room, the day of the second task had finally arrived and her torment was nearly over. She tried to wipe some dried blood off her cheek as she moved through the quiet corridors. Later than normal getting back to the castle, everyone was already at breakfast, but just in case, she didn’t want to chance anyone seeing her.

Tonight the champions would compete and she could finally get back to a more normal sleep schedule. She winced as she twisted her wrist wrong, aggravating a slight fracture she had acquired the night previous.

And maybe I will actually pay a visit to Madam Pomfrey” she thought.

Descending into the Dungeon it grew dark once more, almost convincing her body that it was night. There were certainly perks to living down here. She breathed deep and started to relax, Eva hadn’t been outside Hagrid’s hut like yesterday, and she had left after Pendragon so she got to walk alone today. 

Thoughts focused on the warm shower and comfy bed that awaited her, Lyria didn’t notice as the potions classroom door opened to her left.

She yelped as she was pulled inside. Stumbling, she thought she would fall before strong hands grasped her arms, steadying her. Still confused she stepped away, “Hey! What was that for! You could have-” she stopped.

Snape stood, looking a bit guilty, in front of her. She immediately moved to the door.

“Lyria wait!”

Maybe it was the sleep deprivation, maybe the desperation in his voice, but she stopped and turned to him.

“Yes Professor?”

“Why are you calling me Professor?”

“Sorry Sir.”

He rolled his eyes. “Look, I apologize for grabbing you, but you’ve been avoiding me. I knew you wouldn’t come of your own volition.”

Lyria said nothing, her face plain and emotionless.

He continued, “Lyria what’s been going on?”

“As I told you I have been assisting with preparations.” She gestured to her clothes that were were dirty from the night's work as always.

“You know that’s not what I mean.” She stayed still, Severus noticed a slight change in her eyes and pressed on.

“Is this about what happened with Pendragon? I know it was out of line for me to retaliate, but I just couldn’t help it. I- He-” Snape sighed. “I never thanked you, I don’t know what I would have done.”

Lyria regarded him with a bit less coldness, his words of thanks were sincere, ‘too bad nothing else was’ she thought bitterly.

“Don’t mention it. He got what was coming to him. Now if you’ll excuse me.” She reached for the door handle once more.

“Lyria please,”

He reached out and grabbed her hand, gently, but the movement was enough to make her wince. “Ah!” she hissed in pain.

Of course, Severus took notice.

He brought her hand to eye level and examined it. She had small cuts and bruises all over, when he touched her palm she winced again and he moved his examinations to her wrist. It was swollen and somewhat purple.

“What in Merlin's...” His fingers moved gently over hers, examining each cut, each mark. She wanted to pull away but just couldn’t force herself. His touch was so careful…

Pulling out his wand, Severus began to mutter incantations and wave it over the hand in his. She felt a cool wave ripple through her, the pain left and was replaced by warmth.

When he was satisfied with his work he held out his hand and gestured for her to let him examine her other side. Reluctantly she did so and he repeated the movements.

She twirled her wrists and examined them, it wasn’t until the pain was gone that she realized just how much it hurt. Looking up to thank him, she paused when he gestured to her cheek, Lyria tilted her head and let him heal the cut across her face. As he did so he placed a hand tentatively on her chin to keep her steady.

“Anywhere else?”

She shook her head, “No, Thank you.”

“Why haven’t you seen Madam Pomfrey?”

Lyria shrugged “Just haven’t had the time I guess.”

“Then why didn’t you at least come to me?”

Lyria knew he didn’t just mean for healing, “I just I thought it would be best not to.” She didn’t look at him as she said it.

“Why?”

Suddenly, the anger that she had been suppressing for two weeks boiled to the surface.

“Because Severus! I will not be some cheap substitute, I thought you might actually care about me, that you might even like me. I was foolish. I don’t want to be compared to anyone, maybe it’s best that I’m intimidating, maybe in the future it will keep men like you away from me!” 

Snape stood in shock, he hadn’t realized… how could she have… then it hit him. Pendragon.

“He told you about Lily, didn’t he?”

“Yes. He did.”

“Lyria I can explain-”

“No, don’t bother Severus. Pendragon may be a prat but he wasn’t lying. I’ve seen your patronus, I know it’s true.” In her fourth year at Hogwarts Slughorn had asked Snape to demonstrate the patronus charm during a SlugClub meeting.

“I’m sorry, I should have told you, I-”

“Should have told me that you were only interested looking at me, being kind to me, doing... whatever! Because you saw me as a ghost of the girl you once loved? Yes you should have.”

“No! That’s not true! I never- you aren’t- you’re different!”

“Am I Severus? Pendragon was friends with Lily, he said that-”

“Why didn’t you just ask me! Pendragon doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

“Oh no? You mean to tell me that you didn’t love Lily Evans? That you didn’t hate James Potter because he stole her away from you? That you weren’t devoted to her all these years? That you aren’t still devoted to her now?”

“No you don’t understand, Lily never loved me…”

“That doesn’t seem to matter does it, because you still love her. Please don’t lie to me Severus, I thought…” she took a deep shaking breath, she couldn’t hold her tongue and continued, anger had left her voice and was replaced by pain, “I thought you might actually care for me. That perhaps you saw through my rough exterior, the way you looked at me I- I felt like you actually saw me for the woman I am.” Tears began to track delicately down her face, “I thought… but the whole time you were only seeing Lily!” Her anger had returned and she glared at him.

“That isn’t true. I told you, you’re different.”

“How?”

“I do think of Lily when I look at you, but not in that way. When I look at you I think about what she said to me, what she said she wanted for me.”

Lyria stayed still and watched, Snape’s eyes seemed to glisten slightly, “Lyria she wanted me to open my heart to someone who could return my affection.” He repeated what he had told Dumbledore, “She wouldn’t have wanted me to die with her that day.”

He was close to her now, Lyria looked up into his eyes, those beautiful dark eyes… No!

Lyria stepped away from him and moved further into the potions classroom, with her back to Severus she said, “Severus I won’t ask you to betray your love for another, I only ask that you be honest with me. I don’t want to make a fool of myself any more than I already have, and I can’t… I just... ” She never finished her sentence.

Snape took hold of her arm once more and spun her to him. Their bodies pressed together, their faces just inches apart, blue eyes looked up into the black. One arm around her, Severus’ other hand moved to trace along her cheek, he brushed away a few stray tears before moving his hand slowly into her hair. His head tilted down, he looked at her, trying to convey what words couldn’t.

He began to lean in when suddenly there were footsteps outside the door.

The jumped apart just as the door opened and a group of second years entered. Recognizing Lyria, they all rushed to her.

 

“Miss Artemis! Miss Artemis!”

As they surrounded her Snape stepped back.

“Where have you been! We missed you!”

“Muggle studies isn’t nearly as interesting without you, where have you been!” asked an enthusiastic Ravenclaw.

“Are you coming back? Miss Artemis!”

She smiled down at them and greeted each by name. “Hello everyone! Hi Tammy how are you doing? Greg it’s good to see you. Oh Tom, I miss you guys too!”

“Miss Artemis when are you coming back?” Pipped the Gryffindor boy named Greg.

“I should be back in class next week, I promised I would be there for Historic Figures day didn’t I?”

They all cheered. “Oh I can’t wait!” cried a Hufflepuff.

“What figure are you dressing as Miss Artemis? Can you give us a hint?” said Tom.

“Promise you’ll be there?” Said a hesitant Slytherin.

Lyria’s smile lit up her features and Severus couldn’t help but stare. He had never been great with children, and no student was ever happy to see him like they were to see her. He smiled faintly and backed away to his desk.

“Everyone please, don’t worry I will be there. But now I believe it’s time for your potions lesson, we wouldn’t want Snape to be upset with us. Go take your seats and I will see you on Monday, okay?”

“Alright Miss Artemis.”

“See you Monday!”

She smiled and waved goodbye to them as she made her way to the door. Just before she exited Lyria looked at Snape. He was watching her intently, a deep longing in his eyes. She felt a pull in his direction, she wanted to go to him, to be back in his arms… But instead she turned and left.

Chapter Text

Students filed out of the main entrance down the hill. A huge arena had appeared just inside the border of the Forbidden Forest, and everyone was excited to find out what was waiting for the champions inside.

Lyria gripped her wand tight and continued to cast her shield charms. The arena was large and many seats looked down upon the field. The air rippled as her enchantments joined others to create a wall between the seats and where the champions would face their second challenge. The moon was bright and provided some illumination even through the trees, but the air was cool and crisp. Lyria was grateful for the thick protective gear she had been given to wear.

Her pants were made of thick leather, the soft shirt she wore provided warmth and the dragonhide jacked hugged her tightly. Outfit complete with Dragonhide gloves, combat boots, and a tight French braid, she felt as prepared as she could for the events about the unfold.

Charms cast, she took her place along the perimeter. Lyria along with a few other professors from each school and some wizards from the Ministry stood in the shadows of the arena, they were there to help with transitions and on hand just in case things went horribly wrong.

The stadium began to fill and Lyria took deep breaths to calm her nerves. “It’s fine, everything will be fine. At least you aren’t a champion.” she said quietly to herself.

With everyone seated, the quiet night was interrupted by cheers from all sides. Banners were flown and chants for each champion rained down on the field.

“Welcome Everyone, to the second task of the Triwizard tournament!” Dumbledore's voice boomed through the arena the cheers intensified.

Lyria searched the crowd for the teachers section. Her eyes fell on Dumbledore standing on a raised platform and noticed he was surrounded by Professors from each school. Her eyes fell on Snape and her heartbeat quickened. She began to think of what had happened that morning… everything he said…

She was brought to reality when Dumbledore resumed his speech.

“First, we have David Caulfeld of Durmstrang!”

A chant of hoots and hollers came from a group of Durmstrang boys and various other students in the crowd.

“His objective is simple. Somewhere in the arena is a hidden chest full of treasure, in that chest is an object without which he cannot hope to proceed to the next task.” The stadium started to quite as the anticipation grew. So far, there was nothing on the field to stop David from walking through and finding the chest right away.

But Lyria knew what was coming.

 

The stands surrounded a varied landscape. There was a dark, murky lake in the left corner, the right side of the stadium was piled high with rocks and boulders, and between the two halves were tree trunks and various other forest coverings. It honestly appeared as if they built the stadium seats around the existing forest landscape, but Lyria had levitated boulders, filled the lake, set the stage, she knew it was all set up. Her anxiety returned, causing her to grip her wand grew tighter as David walked onto the field. He waved to the crowd enthusiastically, pumping his fist in the air along with the other Durmstrangs.

His eyes scanned the scene before him as he slowly began to prowl the edge of the field, wand in hand he searched. David came upon the boulders and began to climb them, searching in the nooks and crannies.

Suddenly the stadium shook, David lost his balance and fell to the dirt. The whole crowd watched as a huge figure pulled itself from the mountain of rocks. It’s back gray and pebbled, it had blended in perfectly to the boulders. Now it stood towering over David who scrambled to his feet.

The troll grabbed a nearby tree trunk and swung it at David who dived out of the way just in time. Upset at the quickness of the creature at his feet, the troll let out an ugly roar that rattled the leaves on the trees. It’s feet pounded into the dirt as it charged at David.

Lyria braced herself, he wasn’t moving, surely the troll would hit him- but suddenly, David’s face started to change.

The crowd gasped as they watched David transform into a small brown fox. “An Animagus” said Lyria, although no one could hear her.

The troll skipped to an unbalanced halt and looked around, but the fox had already begun climbing back up the boulders. It sniffed and hopped gracefully from one ledge to the next until it reached a small mossy boulder in the middle of the pile.

The troll spotted the small fox and threw his tree trunk with a roar. David quickly transformed back into his human form and yelled “Aresto Momentum!” The trunk stopped in mid air and gently fell to the ground.

Screaming in rage, the troll began to grab boulders from the pile and hurl them towards the Wizard. Deftly David deflected each one.

When the troll had run out of reasonably sized boulders he stooped to hoist an extremely large one. The split second break in the onslaught was all David needed.

With a bang the troll was hit in the face by a spell. He stumbled backward before falling over, unconscious.

David’s shoulders relaxed and he turned back to the small mossy boulder. With a quick wave of his wand the disillusionment charm fell away to reveal a small wooden chest.

The crowd roared as he lifted his treasure over his head, displaying it for all to see.

 

Once David was off the field Lyria looked to Kettleburn who was on the opposite side of the stadium, he gave a nod and she pointed her wand at the stands.

A curtain of blackness fell around the arena and the audience gasped. Next she cast ‘Silencio’ and then sprung into action.

A team of wizards removed the unconscious troll and Lyria crossed the stadium to help Kettleburn bring the next one into place.

 

Marilla Anderson stumbled upon her troll when she drew near the lake, the water troll burst from the swampy water and tried to snatch her. A natural runner, she was able to dodge its hands with quick movements and a few shield charms.

Aggravated by her agility, the water troll began to make it’s way from the middle of the lake to the shore. Upon seeing this Marilla was able to freeze the water, and being made partially of water itself, the troll was frozen as well. Soon Marilla had her hands on her own treasure chest.

 

Lyria repeated her charms and prepped the stadium for the last contestant. The moon was high in the sky and it was easy to see what they were doing. Once they got the last troll into place she returned to her spot at the edge of the field.

Ava entered the arena to a great cheer, a few of the Ilvermorny students even managed to send red sparks into the sky above her.

While Ava began to search for the chest, or more likely the troll, Lyria noticed the air turn unusually cold.

A chill wind blew across the field and everyone quieted at the unnatural frigidity of the air around them. Even Ava was distracted from her search and looked around, perhaps wondering if there was some sort of snow troll.

The water on the lake began to freeze, but this time not from any spell. The moonlight was blocked by a mass of dark figures that were making their way over the trees, gliding, freezing everything in their path.

As they began to move over the crowd there were screams, Ava looked wildly around, unsure of what to do.

Dementors fanned out over the field and into the stands, Patronuses began to erupt from the teacher’s section and a few of the older students were able to conjure their own.

Lyria began to run towards Ava who was still standing in the middle of the field. She had to move before- Suddenly the dirt beneath Ava’s feet broke apart as the troll rose from the ground. Before Lyria was able to stun the troll she saw Pendragon cast a spell at it and grab Ava’s arm, taking her back towards the entrance. Kettleburn and other wizards moved to the troll and Lyria decided to try and help protect the students.

Many of them were being rushed out of the stands by prefects and teachers, protected by patronuses, but before she could reach the stairs that lead to the seats Lyria felt a deep despair enter her bones.

She turned around and saw a dementor gliding directly towards her, she raised her wand, “Expecto Patronum!” She yelled.

The dark wolf burst from her wand and charged at the dementor, but as it did she felt another presence to her right and turned.

A particularly large dementor was feet from her, one dead hand outstretched. She turned her wand at him but the wolf flickered and disappeared.

She tried again.

“Expecto Patronum!”

A flicker of light, then nothing.

The dementor was upon her now, it’s black hand wrapped around her throat, she was lifted into the air. She struggled still holding her wand and trying to cast the shield once more.

But suddenly, she couldn’t picture anything happy, the memories of her mother faded. She tried to think of this morning, of hearing Snape confess his affection for her, but it was too late.

The feeling of loneliness consumed her.

Her mind started to turn to the dark halls of the ministry, the circle of wizards and witches... then to the empty halls of Hogwarts.

Her memories turned to Pendragon, his words ghosted across her mind “You are nothing to him, just a pale imitation, I almost feel sorry for you.”

She felt a part of herself being pulled as the dementor drew close to her face. She closed her eyes and sobbed, hearing Pendragon's sick laughter transform into the laughter of another... "You can't escape me!" said the voice. Her memories began to consume her. 

Lyria had stopped struggling, accepting her fate, when suddenly she fell to the ground.

 

She blinked up at the bright light in front of her, it was a wolf like her own patronus. The wolf was smaller than hers, it’s fur lighter and it’s eyes a bit more feminine. Lyria felt what little strength she had left leaving her. Her vision began to blur and the world started to fade to black.

“Lyria!” She heard. But the voice was far away… “LYRIA!” so far…

Her eyes closed, arms scooped her from the ground, but before she could see her savior she fell unconscious.

Chapter Text

Lyria opened her eyes slowly. The room was dark and unfamiliar, she tried to sit up but her head spun and she shut her eyes tight. When the world had stopped spinning she cautiously opened her eyes once more and glanced around. The small room was dark but cozy, there was a small night stand, a single window that allowed moonlight to stream in, and a few paintings on the walls. She almost thought it was someone’s room but when she examined the bedspread she knew it must be a seperate room of the hospital wing. Lyria felt her eyelids growing heavy again and fought to keep them open.

She was just able to make out a figure sitting on a chair next to the bed, trying once more to sit up she felt pain shoot through her and cried out. “Ah!”

The figure moved quickly to her, as his face drew near she saw it was Severus.

“Lyria be careful.” He whispered.

“Severus…” Lyria reached out to him and he took her hand, pulling it close to his chest. With his other arm he lowered her gently back onto the pillows.

“It’s alright, you’re safe. Rest.”

“Se-Severus, please…”

His face softened, worry still evident but the feeling mixed with care and affection. “It’s okay, I will be right here. You’re safe.”

“You’ll stay with me?” Her vision began to blur, she felt herself slipping into unconsciousness once more.

“Always.”

A soft smile crossed her features as she fell asleep.

----

When Lyria woke again she felt loads better. Her headache was gone, the soreness in her limbs had disappeared, and for the first time in two weeks she felt well-rested. She blinked at the bright light streaming into the room and properly took in her surroundings.

There was a door to her right set slightly ajar, she could hear voices through it and moved towards them.

Her protective gear had been replaced with soft green robes, and a pair of black slip-on shoes were placed near the edge of the bed.

After pulling on the shoes she went to run her fingers through her hair, expecting to find a mess of tangles she instead found that it was in a tight french braid, much better than anything she could have done.

She peaked around the door and saw Snape and Dumbledore standing with Madam Pomfrey.

They spoke in hushed tones and Lyria tried to listen around the door.

“It’s really not too surprising Severus,” Pomfrey was saying. “She worked herself to the bone these past two weeks. Trolls are incredibly difficult to train and Kettleburn demanded a lot of her and all the other assistants. Since they arrived I’ve been treating broken bones, crushed fingers, scrapes, you name it!”

“Did Miss Artemis ever come to see you?” asked Dumbledore.

“Pendragon brought her to me early one morning, they had both been struck by a rogue tree apparently. But that was the only time, I figured she was getting help from you Severus.”

“Was she?” questioned Dumbledore, a hint of a smile on his face.

Snape blushed ever so slightly, “No, I only saw her injuries Friday morning when she was returning from the forest. I healed what I could see but nothing more.”

“She had three fractured ribs, cuts all over her body, and her knee had been dislocated. I am not sure what was caused by the dementor attack versus the trolls but either way I suggest you have Kettleburn send all his assistants to me to get checked out.”

Dumbledore nodded and turned to Snape, “See to her Severus? Make sure she gets some rest.” Snape nodded and moved towards where she stood.

Quickly she kicked off her shoes and sat back on the bed, trying to pull some of the covers around her.

“You’re awake,” Snape said as he rushed to her side. “How are you feeling?”

He knelt beside the bed and looked anxiously at her face.

“Honestly Severus I feel great, I think I needed some sleep.”

He smirked, “It seems so. You’ve been sleeping for two days.”

“Really? Wait! What day is it, what’s the time?” Lyria started to stand but Snape held her arms and set her back on the bed.

“Where do you think you’re going?” He asked sternly.

“I have to prepare! I promised them I wouldn’t miss it.”

“Miss what?”

“Historic Figures Day, it starts at 5, how much time do I have?”

Snape vaguely recalled her talking to the second years about the event but was unsure of what it actually was.

“You have about three hours. But you haven’t eaten in at least two days, probably more knowing you.” Lyria smirked, he knew her pretty well it seemed.

Severus sighed, she was too stubborn to be talked out of it, so he tried to compromise.

“After you’ve eaten I will help you prepare, you aren't to be left alone quite yet.”

She smiled, one of his hands rested on her knee and she grasped it gently.

Severus reached his other hand to the bedside table and grabbed a small vile.

“Here, this should help keep you awake take away any residual soreness.”

“Thank you Severus.” He unstoppered it for her and she drank it down.

“Now, let’s get you something to eat.”

When she smiled at him he felt a small smile touch his own lips. Snape stood and offered his hand to her, she took it and they stood like that for a moment, just looking at one another.

Eventually, still holding her hand, he guided her out the door.

----

Deciding the Great Hall would be a bit too much, Snape had the kitchens bring two plates to his room and they ate there. Talking sparsely Severus spent most of the time watching Lyria, he looked her over intently, searching for any residual physical injuries and at the same time trying to assess how she was feeling.

Lyria knew she should be thinking of everything that had happened during the task, She had many questions about what had happened but decided to hold off until another time.

When they had finished eating Snape rose and gestured for her to follow. “Come, we must prepare you for this, this… what is it exactly?”

“Historic Figures Day. A few members of the staff dress up as relevant figures in muggle history and the students have to guess who we are. We dress like them, talk like them, answer questions about our time period, that sort of thing.”

“And who will you be portraying?”

“Madame de Pompadour.”

“Who?”

“Oh come now, surely who know who she is.” Lyria stood and began walking to the door. “Mistress of Louis XV? Extremely relevant political figure in French politics?”

“It’s been years since I took Muggle Studies, and even then I payed… sparse attention.”

She giggled slightly and motioned for him to follow.

“Come on, I will tell you all about her.”

------

“So, will anyone be playing Louis XV?” Snape said smugly. She could hear the sneer in his voice from across the room. “Pendragon perhaps?”

Lyria rolled her eyes, “Honestly Severus. No, no one will be playing him. And Pendragon will be nowhere near the event I promise.”

“Why did you choose her?”

“Well I like her story, a woman from humble beginnings influencing the entire political climate of France, her beauty assisting her but never being the only thing she had going for her, her independence. Plus I like the dresses she wore.”

“What will you be wearing?” Severus replied from his spot in the corner of the room. He sat reclined in an armchair and waited for her to dress in the bathroom around the corner.

“A gown, although there is quite a bit more to these dresses than I am used to. Charity let me downplay the size the hips of the skirt a bit to allow for easier movement, but the rest will be pretty authentic.”

“Where did you get such a gown?”

“McGonagall designed it and made it with the help of some of the house elves.”

His interest was piqued, he was somewhat excited to see what the dress looked like, not only because he hadn’t known McGonagall to be one who designed dresses, but also because he had enjoyed all the dresses he had seen Lyria in so far.

“Although I think I need your help.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well these gowns require some elaborate preparations. I will need your help to tighten the Stay. Magic won't do because it has to be pretty precise.”

“The what?”

His question was answered when she came around the corner. Severus was sure his eyes must have tripled in size. His mouth went dry and he felt heat spread through his body.

She stood in front of him in a simple but full skirt and a thin white corset. Her hair was down around her bare shoulders and the corset pushed her breasts together so that her cleavage was extremely evident.

At his reaction she blushed, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to make you uncomfortable. I can-”

“No, no, you’re... it’s fine.” He continued to stare, unable to take his eyes away.

She looked at him through her lashes and lifted her arms to gather her hair, draping it over one shoulder she continued.

“Would you mind tying me off?”

She turned her back to him and bent slightly to grab hold of the bed frame.

Severus stood slowly and approached her. Her red hair fell over her shoulder, the elegant curve of her back was the most wonderful thing he had ever seen, and her curves were exaggerated in just the right way by the dress. He stood directly behind her, unsure of what to do. The corset had a strip of silk winding down the back in a zigzag.

Cautiously he placed on hand on the curve of her hip, and the other on the string. “How can I help?” He almost whispered.

“Pull the strings at the top, then work your way down, tightening as you go. When you get to the end tug hard to tighten it fully and then tie it off.”

She said it quietly, but there was a roughness to her voice that was unfamiliar. It was enticing.

Slowly he moved his hands to the top of the corset, with one hand he pulled the strings gently, the other stayed on her waist to steady her.

“It’s alright Severus, you won’t hurt me, it has to be tighter.”

He tugged again, this time bringing her slightly to him. He tried to focus on the task at hand, tried not to think of her bare skin in front of him, the soft sounds she made as he tightened each loop. The tension between them was almost palpable, but he continued.

When he reached the bottom he used both hands to pull either side of the string.

He moved the ties to one hand, gently moved his other hand over her shoulders and down her left arm. “Is that enough?” he asked, his voice barely above a whisper.

“Yes,” she breathed. Goosebumps spread across her skin as his light touch continued down her arm.

Slowly he brought his hands back to the bottom of the corset and tied it off. When he was done he placed a hand on her now even smaller waist, and using the other he turned Lyria to face him. Her chest and neck were red, either from the tightness of the garment or something else…

Severus held her waist and gently brushed a strand of red hair from her cheek. Lyria looked up at him with those brilliant blue eyes. In them he saw reflected his own longing.

She leaned into his touch, their bodies flush against each other. 

When she opened her eyes she noticed a difference in his, normally almost black, they appeared a shade of dark brown. He seemed to be searching her face, looking for any hesitation, any discomfort. He found none.

His hand traveled from her cheek into her hair, that gorgeous red hair… it was soft against his fingers, and he couldn’t help but continue his movement until his hand was behind her head.

The heat between them was almost unbearable. Lyria’s own hand had traveled to his chest and her other hand rested on his shoulder.

Severus ever so slightly inclined his head to hers.

When she tilted her chin upwards towards him in answer he closed the gap.

The kiss was gentle at first, her lips full and soft, he longed to press fully into them but hesitated, giving her the chance to pull away, but at his touch she melted into him and after a moment of shock, pressed her lips firmly to his.

Feeling her respond he deepened the kiss. He clutched the back of her head and Lyria’s arm snaked around his neck, pulling him closer. She felt his tongue trace her lips and she opened them to him. Her hand had found its way into his hair and the other clutched his robes. Her chest tightened and heat that had started in her bosom spread through her whole body.

They kissed passionately, neither having felt anything like it before. When they broke apart Lyria was all but gasping for air and Severus was panting somewhat too.

She stayed in his arms, tracing a finger across his cheek as he looked at her, both catching their breath. He was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen, lips parted slightly, eyes ablaze, a light smile softening his stern features, she couldn’t help herself, she smiled wide and she kissed him again.

He responded in kind, using both arms he lifted her from the ground and spun her around once before setting her back on her feet.

As they kissed the clock chimed faintly from the dresser, Lyria knew in the back of her mind that she had to keep getting ready, but she never wanted the kiss to stop. Severus’ hands had untangled from her hair and traced lightly down her arms. He slowly drew back, breaking the kiss.

Lyria tried to go to him again but his hands kept her arms pinned to her sides and she was held in place.

“You must get ready.” He said quietly, there was still passion burning in his gaze, oh how he wanted to continue.

“Severus…” She leaned to him again, trying faintly to break free of his hold. But he resisted.

As much as he wanted to throw her onto the bed right now, he didn’t want to rush her or overwhelm her. Although noting the lust in her eyes he doubted she would resist.

He let go and moved to sit back in the arm chair. “Besides,” he crossed his legs and tried to seem nonchalant. “I would like to see the rest of the dress.”

Chapter Text

“Are you sure you don’t want to come in?”

“Quite sure.”

Lyria looked beautiful, the cream colored gown hugged her and accentuated her curves, although Severus couldn’t stop thinking about the corset, or Stay as she had called it, underneath….

Her hair was elaborately piled into a bun and she wore a touch of white powder on her cheeks and bright red lip paint.

“Come on, you’ll get to see Filius dressed like Napoleon, it’s quite something.” She laughed at the image of the short man in a hat almost his size, standing there in uniform.

“Napoleon? The squib? But he is part of wizarding history.”

“Well yes but he played a much larger role in Muggle history. His little rebellion against his magical family was nothing compared to the war he waged on Europe.”

“Hm. That is beside the point. I do not wish to intrude.”

“Severus you wouldn’t be intrudin-”

“Lyria, it’s alright. I know your students are eager to spend time with you.”

She sighed as they came to the classroom door. “Very well.”

They stood facing each other, their silence a bit awkward. Completely oblivious that they were being watched.

Lyria decided to take a chance and asked “Severus, I am going to the Three Broomsticks tonight, would you care to join me?”

Oh those eyes… she made it so hard to resist her, but unfortunately he had detentions to oversee. “I appreciate the invitation Lyria, I do, but Gordin has detention this evening.”

“Again?”

“He blew up his cauldron without even putting his ingredients in.”

“Alright I’ll give you that.”

“Have a good time.”

“Thank you Severus.”

She wanted to move to him, but thought it best to stay back a fair distance in areas where they could be seen. The look in his eyes told her he understood and she entered the classroom.

------

Lyria sat in the corner of the Three Broomsticks and sipped at her wine. She was completely exhausted, kids were great until you had to spend any length of time around them in a social setting.


She had acted as Madame de Pompadour for three hours, answering questions, giving hints, and generally just trying to deal with the excited Second years. All the houses had been present and even with 6 teachers and herself it was a handful.

Taking a deep breath, Lyria appreciated the lack of restraint on her lungs. The Stay had felt nice in certain ways but she was definitely happy it wasn’t the norm to wear one all the time anymore.

Although she had been busy, she had still thought about Severus nonstop, about how good her felt against her, his lips, the rasp in his voice as he tightened the stay, his eyes when he had seen her… just the thoughts had kept her quite aroused throughout most of the day.

But now, exhausted and alone, her thoughts had turned. Maybe it was her sense coming to her or maybe too much wine, but either way she started to get anxious.

“Does Snape really care for me? If he does, is that worth anything when he knows so little about me?”

Lyria felt herself drawn to him more than she had ever been drawn to anyone. She wanted to open up to Severus as he had to her, tell him everything. But the person she appeared to be at Hogwarts, the person she wanted to be, was so much easier to love than the person she knew she was.

Snape would turn away from her, just like everyone always did.

Even though there were no dementors around, her thoughts turned to the halls of the ministry, the halls she had escaped by taking McGonagall's offer. When she arrived at the castle she had vowed to start anew, to do her best and make a good impression on people who valued her for more than her power.

Lyria twirled her glass between her fingers and fought to suppress memories of her life before she had come to Hogwarts. But images of the Ministry still flooded her mind and her hand went instinctively to cover her left forearm. She gently lifted her hand and saw that the makeup was intact. It was amazing that more witches hadn’t discovered the wonderful power of Muggle concealer.

Taking a deep breath and a long drink, Lyria emptied her glass and sat back against the wall. She closed her eyes and tried to relax. She did what she always did to clear her mind.

Breath in: gather all bad thoughts, all stress, all memories.

Hold.

Breath out: Let them all go, a release of dark to make way for light.

Breath in: Think of a happy memory, a powerful memory.

Hold.

Breath out: Using the memory, summon the Wolf, her protector. Let the light of the patronus to banish all darkness.

 

Suddenly her eyes snapped open. The Wolf.

There had been another wolf at the second task. A patronus just like her own… She still had no idea who had cast it. She resolved to ask Minerva in the morning.

Looking around she saw that the sun had set, she best get back to the castle before curfew.

Lyria stood and drew her cloak around her. As she left she waved to Madam Rosmerta, “Thanks again Ros!”

“See you next time Lyria, take care of yourself!”

-----------

“I’ve finished Professor.”

Snape looked over the cauldrons, most still had residue inside and some looked like they hadn't been touched. When he turned to the shelves right away he saw books out of order. Good lord this boy couldn’t clean or even figure out the bloody alphabet.

He thought about telling Gordin to restart, but honestly he didn’t want to be there either. He rolled his eyes and gave the Slytherin a disapproving look. “I suggest you improve your performance in class if you ever wish to succeed in your career as… well any career. Dismissed.”

The boy scurried out the door and Snape let out a huff. Finally, perhaps now he could collect his thoughts.

Returning to his room Snape threw off his oversized cloak and loosened his collar. Pouring himself a drink and collecting a book on truth serums he moved to his bedroom to read. Perhaps the study would help him keep his mind from Lyria.

-----

“The victim states what only they believe to be true, so the victim's sanity and perception of reality are also factors in during interrogations” He read the sentence over for the fifth time before snapping the book shut and beginning to pace.

Truth. What a fickle thing. Was Lyria’s affection for him true? Was his for her real? What did he know about this woman anyway? A Gryffindor, roughly 20 years old, as a student she was confrontational but studious, as a teacher she was talented and devoted, as a woman she was passionate and alluring.

Severus tried to list other things he knew, her favorite color was green, she loved coffee and alcohol, her favorite scent was rose, in fact he was certain her favorite flower was a rose, he had seen her wear them many times. She was muggleborn, right? Yes he thought, he seemed to remember that... She enjoyed art, perhaps even painted herself judging by the paintbrushes he had observed in her room.

He tried to think of family ties, other comments she had made, friends, but he couldn’t think of anything. Somehow he was beginning to fall for a woman who had managed to learn his deepest secret but had shared none of her own.

Severus’ pacing halted suddenly when a piercing scream came through the wall. He lunged for his wand on the table beside him and dashed through the door.

The screams continued, louder as he neared her door. With a great BANG the door to Lyria’s room blew open and he rushed inside.

Lyria was curled into a corner, tears were running down her face as she looked up at a figure standing over her. Snape raised his wand to curse the intruder but stopped, he was looking at himself.

The Snape standing over Lyria began to speak, “Foolish girl, you will never compare to her….” the Snape’s voice turned into a hiss as the figure morphed. It curled into a shifting ball before reforming into another man, one Snape recognized but he wasn’t sure from where.

The man spoke in a deep voice, Severus couldn’t see his face but he could hear the disdain dripping from his lips “Disgusting, your talents wasted, you foolish girl. Alone and worthless.” The man reached down and grabbed Lyria’s dress by his fist, pushing his face close to hers. “You will turn, afterall A Rose with too many thorns be left alone, no matter how beautiful the flower. You’ll have no choice but to join us.” Her sobs shook her whole frame as the man dropped her back to the ground. Snape watched petrified as the thing began to reform again. This time the ball burst into hundreds of spiders that scurried across the floor and the bed to Lyria. She let out a blood curdling scream and Snape broke from his reverie.

Riddikulus!

The spiders exploded into bouncy balls and fell all over the room before they reformed into a shifting mass and flew out the window.

Severus ran to Lyria who was curled in a fetal position on the floor as she sobbed. As he passed her dresser he flicked his wand and a quill scrawled across two pieces of parchment before the paper folded into birds and zoomed out the door.

Severus placed a hand on her shoulder to alert her to his presence. When Lyria looked into his face she yelped again, “No! Please, I will leave you alone! Please…”

“Lyria it’s me, the real me. I’m real! The boggart is gone.” She looked up at him, tears still pouring down her cheeks and she lifted a shaking hand to his face. Lyria touched his cheek and confirmed that he was really there before she fell to him. He caught her and lifted her from the ground.

At some point he would have to carry her when she wasn’t sobbing or unconscious.

Severus sat on her bed and held her. Arms around his neck he hands grazed his skin as he realized that his collar was still undone. Her legs stretched across his lap and she clung to him as she cried. He tried to comfort her, but he wasn’t used to such a situation. He placed one hand hesitantly on her hair and smoothed it, with the other held her body close to him, he whispered that she was safe, that he was there.

A flapping sound caused him to turn his head, a parchment bird flew to him and unfolded in his outstretched hand.

In Minerva’s elegant writing was a note:


“Severus, a boggart has appeared on each floor castle, if the one in Lyria’s room is gone they have all have been banished for the time being. I will send Poppy to Lyria when she has finished attending the students. Staff meeting at 7 am”

He twitched his hand and the paper blanked, a new message scrawled itself upon it.

“I have her. Let Poppy remain with the students.” One boggart per floor, if none of his students were involved then he would stay where he was most needed.

The paper folded once more and flew out the door.

It seemed that Hogwarts was officially under attack, just like Ilvermorny…

Chapter Text

Severus held Lyria until her cries had quieted, a few times her eyes started to flutter closed but she would jolt awake looking around the room for another Boggart.

Realizing she would never fall asleep like this, Snape waited until she began to doze then stood, carrying her out the door and making his way to his own rooms.

Considering laying her on the couch, he decided to just take her to his bed, she could hate him later but she would be more comfortable for the time being.

Pushing open the door Snape walked to the bedside, placing a knee on the mattress he lay her down. She hadn’t fully woken yet but he knew she would soon. Severus quickly went to one of his drawers and searched for a potion. Vile full of turquoise liquid in hand he returned to her side and sat on the bed.

 

Lyria stirred and sat suddenly, not knowing where she was.

Panic coursed through her before she saw Severus beside her, she calmed as much as she could, taking deep breaths. She registered his presence fully for the first time, realizing what he must have seen… When her breathing had slowed enough she spoke, although her voice was still shaking slightly

“How did you know I was in trouble?”

He looked away, not sure how she would take his next words, “I uh, I heard you scream. You bedroom shares a wall with mine.”

“Severus, what did you see?”

He hesitated, choosing is next words carefully.

“I saw… I saw a version of myself. Then a man that seemed slightly familiar, then spiders.”

“Did you hear what the man said?”

“Yes.”

She hung her head.

“Lyria who was he? Why are you scared of him?” He reached out and placed his hand under her chin, pulling her to face him. “Why are you afraid of me?”

“Severus… I’m, I’m not afraid of you…” She took a shuddering breath before closing her eyes and continuing. “I am afraid of how you make me feel, I am afraid that you’ll leave, like everyone always does. I’m scared that if you- if you get to know me you will see how different I really am from Lily. ”

“Look at me.”

She did so. His eyes had turned brown again, she saw nothing but care in them, no fear of her, she could tell he saw through it all to who she was.

“You don’t need to be afraid. As long as you want me here I am not going anywhere.”

“Sev…” He wasn’t sure if she had said it purposefully or because she had begun to cry and tears had ended her speech, but Severus smiled a bit at the name.

Lyria moved from the center of the bed to sit beside him, placing her head on his shoulder as he placed an arm around her.

After a few moments Severus remembered the potion, he held it out to her and she lifted her head from him.

“Here, this will help, you need to sleep.”

“I don’t want to go back there.” She said, remembering the hand that had thrown her from her bed, the man she longed to forget standing over her.

“I am not asking you to.”

“What do you mean?”

He took a deep breath, not wanting his offer to come off wrong. “If you want you are welcome to stay here for the night. I want to be near just in case the boggart comes back. I will stay in the armchair and-”

“Severus,” she stopped him. “I will stay on one condition.”

“What’s that?”

“You lay with me? I’m not going to kick you out of your own bed.” a hint of a smile ghosted across her face “I promise I won’t try anything.”

He nodded and she stood, moving to the other side of the bed she drank the potion before pulling aside the covers.

Severus slipped off his shoes and made to sit on top of the comforter beside her.

“Severus do you really sleep in your robes?”

He looked at her sheepishly, “Uh, no.”

“Are you planning to stay awake all night?”

Taking a moment to think he considered the possibility, but as much as he wanted to, to keep an eye on her, he was exhausted.

Not waiting for him to answer she set down the corner of blanket she had been holding. “If I am making you uncomfortable I will leave.” Even tired and having spent the last hour crying, she was able to give him quite the death glare, one hand on her hip he almost smiled at the sight.

“I would not have offered unless I was okay with it.”

“Then please, get comfortable, after all it’s only fair. I don’t exactly have much to hide from you anymore.”

Glancing down at her dress his eyes followed suit and he saw what she meant. The fabric of the dress was thin, her breasts were clearly outlined and her nipples were hard beneath the fabric. The moonlight tinted green from the lake shone through the window behind her, clearly outlining her figure through the sheer straight dress. He gulped at the sight. Suddenly a bit warm for the robes he was wearing.

“Point taken.” He said stiffly. “Very well.”

He stood and began to remove some of his many layers. He decided it would be best to keep his bottom layers on… more to hide behind.

As he undressed Lyria climbed into the bed, averting her eyes to give him a bit of privacy, no matter how much she wanted to watch.

When Severus came back to the bedside he was wearing a lightweight long-sleeved shirt with a deep neckline and loose sleeves. It was still tucked into his pants and she rolled her eyes. The neckline of the shirt revealed dark chest hair against pale skin and she couldn’t help but wonder what the rest of him looked like.

She was beginning to get sleepy but was able to manage “I still doubt that that’s what you sleep in, but it’s better.”

He smirked slightly, well she wasn’t wrong.

 

His bed was warm and soft, the mattress much more comfortable than her own. The draught of peace was beginning to take effect and she felt herself drifting off.

“Lyria there is a staff meeting in the morning, would you like me to wake you for it?” Legs under the covers he still sat up against the large headboard, he waved his wand and a book flew to him.

“Yes please.” she yawned.

As Severus lit his wand and tried to find his place in the book he said “Everyone would understand if you wanted to rest, you’ve had a rough fews days and-”

“Sev, please. I am fully capable of attending.”

“Alright.”

“Severus?” Lyria said, her eyes were closed and she lay on her side facing him, her hair spilled in waves over her shoulder as she snuggled into the pillows.

“Yes?”

A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth as she spoke, “You know if you want to see me in the middle of the night all you have to do is ask. You don’t need to create an emergency or send a boggart after me.”

Snape let out a breathy laugh, even after all she had been through today she could still manage sarcasm.

“I’ll keep that in mind.”

She smiled once more before her breathing slowed and she fell asleep.

Severus sat and read until he couldn’t keep his eyes open any longer. He set down his book and wand on the bedside table and lay a respectable distance away from Lyria.

----

A slight fluttering noise caused Snape to awaken suddenly. A paper bird sat on his night stand and he moved to grab it when he realized that there was weight on his chest. Looking down he saw that Lyria’s head lay on his shoulder and one of her arms was draped over his chest. Her hair was messed about her and the night dress she wore was slightly askew, revealing the side of her breast. He smiled at the beautiful sight before him. She was warm and comfortable, and seeing her like this, sleeping on him, was something he would love to get used to.

Carefully as not to disturb her he reached for the note and read it.

 

"Classes will be canceled for the day, please inform your house before the meeting."

 

Checking the time he saw it was only 4 in the morning, he could stay with Lyria for another hour or so before going to his House to inform them of the schedule change.

Setting aside the note he settled back into bed. Lyria stirred, her face crinkled and her grip on his shirt tightened. Her breathing began to quicken and Severus saw her eyes darting beneath her eyelids. A nightmare.

Trying to calm her, he stroked her soft red curls and rested his head against her own, pulling her closer to him.

At his actions her face relaxed and her grip loosened. He continued to comfort her until he was sure she was sleeping soundly.

----

Snape opened the door to the headmaster’s study, placing a hand gently on the small of Lyria’s back he guided her into the room. Despite her reassurances he was still nervous about the additional stress this meeting may cause her and was feeling very protective.

McGonagall noticed the gesture and smiled to herself. Offering to look after Lyria and a public display of physical affection all in one day. She could see that him and the young apprentice were back on speaking terms. To say the least.

Pendragon took notice too, this combined with the interaction he had observed in the hall earlier made it quite clear that his attempt to pull Lyria away from the Potions Master was unsuccessful. He shot Severus a look of anger and disgust which Snape returned with a coy smile twinged with pride.

The teachers gathered around the fireplace in the study, this time joined by the Headmasters of Durmstrang and Ilvermorny as well as the representative professors from each school.

When they were all there Dumbledore stood from his desk and walked to the group. Standing on a stair he looked over them and spread his arms wide, “Well, here we are.”

The group stayed silent. “Luckily no students have been harmed and this attack seems to have avoided our champions. But this is cannot continue. I am interested to hear anything you have observed, perhaps we can start to narrow down the cause of these attacks.”

He clasped his hands in front of him and looked expectantly at the witches and wizards in front of him.

“Is there any way that these attacks could be related to You-Know-Who and his followers?” squeaked Filius.

“Muggleborns are not the only students that were attacked by the boggarts or the dementors. In fact I am not sure any of the students tonight were less than half-blood.” Replied Professor Vector.

Snape looked at Lyria but she was nodding in agreement. Wasn’t she Muggleborn?

The room quieted again.

This time Lyria took to opportunity to speak up. “Could the Ministry be involved?”

All eyes turned to her at the accusation, she wanted to shrink into herself at the attention but she remained strong and stood to her fullest height.

“Dementors and Boggarts are controlled and monitored by the Ministry. In fact Dementors take direct orders from within the Ministry, and Boggarts are being studied by the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures right now. Could someone be controlling these attacks from the inside the Ministry itself?”

Whispers spread throughout the crowd, only Snape and Pendragon were silent.

Snape placed a hand covertly on Lyria’s arm to indicate support, she was right, there certainly seemed to be a connection.

“MCUSA does not use dementors like the Ministry does.” said Headmaster Fontaine. “How would they have gotten into America without notice?”

“Ilvermorny is not far from the ocean in the grand scheme of things. In theory they could have traveled there with ease.” said Minerva.

“And the boggarts?” asked Professor Johnson. “I don’t think MCUSA would just happen to be studying the same species as the Ministry.”

“They could have been trafficked.” responded Lyria. “What were the other attacks like at Ilvermorny?”

Headmaster Fontaine answered “Those were the only two involving magical creatures, the rest seemed to be the work of dark magic. Students being cursed to carry magical objects, champions and professors poisoned, lessons sabotaged, that sort of thing.”

“What magical objects?” Said Snape and Lyria together.

She glanced sideways at Severus, a bit embarrassed, but the question was genuine. Clearly he was thinking along the same lines as her.

“Professor Pendragon?” asked Fontaine. William didn’t seem to have been paying attention and he asked for someone to repeat the question.

Snape kept quiet and let Lyria ask, “What objects were discovered to hold curses? What did the curses do?”

“Oh, well there were a range. Some objects were simple like books or quills, others more out of place like jewelry or trophies. They all held curses that would make the holder either die, fall into a coma, or become seriously ill.”

“How were these objects transported? Or were they just lying around the castle for students to happen upon?” Minerva asked, clearly distraught at the possibility.

“Of course they weren’t just lying around.” Snapped Pendragon.

“Students carried them wrapped to the recipient. Most seemed to be under the imperius curse.”

“Who were the objects given to?” said Poppy.

“Well none of the students were able to succeed in their attempt to deliver the objects, but targets ranged from Professors to Champions, to first years.”

“I think we need to keep an eye out for similar objects here. That and be extra careful to monitor any food or drink in the castle. If history repeats itself those will be the next steps of this attacker.” said Professor Sprout.

“But objects inside the castle wouldn’t have been placed by the Ministry,” said Lyria. “There must be someone or some group inside the castles that’s been assisting the attacks. How else could the creature and objects get in?”

Silence fell over the crowd at her insinuation. “Lyria, are you suggesting that a Professor is responsible for these attacks?” asked Dumbledore calmly.

“That or a student that’s been present throughout the tournament, it’s the only way.”

“Very well. Heads of House, Headmaster’s, I would speak with you. Miss Artemis has given us a lot to think about. As you see students try to keep them calm, we don’t need hysteria and fear to add to our problems now do we? Take the day to think of more possibilities for the attacks and keep your eyes peeled. Dismissed.”

Lyria turned to Snape who was already looking at her. “I will check on you soon.”

“I’m alright Severus,” she said quietly. “I am going to see to some of the students, maybe ask those who were attacked if they saw anything more than I did.”

He reached out and grabbed her arm gently, “Be careful, I will see you later.” She nodded and left as Snape moved to join the other heads of house around Dumbledore's desk.

Chapter Text

“Severus, Minerva, a moment please.”

The rest of the Heads of House exited the office leaving the three of them alone.

Dumbledore turned to Snape, “How is Miss Artemis doing? I got your message that she had been attacked.”

“Considering all she has been through recently, very well.” Snape said, trying to sound impartial.

“But how did you know she had been confronted by a Boggart?” asked Minerva.

“I heard her scream from my own rooms, when I arrived she was huddled into a corner as the boggart spoke to her.” He decided not to reveal what he had seen, and was grateful when neither asked for more details.

“It’s a good thing you did, the Apprentice’s quarters are not equipped with the same protective charms as the dormitories. We would have had no way of knowing there was an intruder.” replied Minerva.

Snape inclined his head in acknowledgement, not trusting himself to say anything that wouldn’t reveal what else had happened.

“How has her apprenticeship been going?” questioned Dumbledore.

“She is a talented teacher and potioneer. We were due to start brewing a new antidote for Veritaserum before she was called to assist with the second task.”

“I must apologize for that Severus, her assistance was necessary, and I am afraid I will have to call her to assist in the preparations for the Yule Ball as well.”

“You mean she will not be allowed to continue as my apprentice?”

“No we aren’t saying that Severus,” Minerva jumped in. “But she won’t be able to spend as much time in her duties as we had hoped.”

“Minerva has actually thought of a way for Lyria to make up the lost time with you. Silvanus was due to be her advisor next semester, but after working with her during the task he has insisted there was nothing more he could teach such a talented witch.” said Dumbledore. Snape’s interest was piqued.

“We thought maybe she continue on with you for another semester. Perhaps she could even take over a class to further improve her teaching skills.” added Minerva.

Snape tried not to let on to his excitement, “I believe that would be a favorable arrangement for both Artemis and myself. She enjoyed teaching and with her taking a class I could spend more time on my own research.”

“Yes but Severus she will still require your guidance.”

“Of course Headmaster.”

“Minerva will you confirm the decision with Miss Artemis?” asked Dumbledore. She nodded and Snape turned to leave.

“Severus, one more thing.”

Damn.

He turned as nonchalantly as he could. “Yes Headmaster?”

“Has Artemis spoken to you about her time at the Ministry?”

Well that was unexpected. “Vaguely, she spoke about a few incidents she observed but nothing more.” Noting the concerned glance that Minerva and Dumbledore shared he began to walk back to the desk. “Why? Is something wrong?”

“That remains to be seen.” The wizard nodded to Minerva who began speaking in a worried tone.

“We have been unable to learn anything about her position at the Ministry.”

“What do you mean? I thought this was a joint internship of sorts.”

“Well initially the position of apprentice at Hogwarts was offered to Lyria outside of her work at the Ministry, but when she accepted an official from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement sent a letter to myself that stated her position would be in conjunction with her position at the Ministry. No other instructions were attached, simply that they would be monitoring her progress.”

“Who sent the letter?”

“It was not signed, only stamped with the seal. We haven’t heard from them since and all of our inquiries about Lyria’s time at the Ministry have resulted in few answers.”

Dumbledore added “We were hoping she had spoken to you about what exactly her position was.”

Snape shook his head, confused “No she hasn’t.”

“And now she seems to know about projects being conducted within the Ministry, seems suspicious of them, strange for a girl that had one day hoped to work there.” responded Dumbledore tentatively.

Snape’s face lit with rage “Albus you cannot seriously be implying that she had something to do with-”

Dumbledore raised his hand, “No Severus I am not stating anything of the sort. However I do think she will be able to help us find out what’s going on. See if you can get her to talk about it, she may be our only hope.”

Snape nodded and moved away once more before realization hit. “Headmaster,”

“Yes?”

“One of the forms Lyria’s boggart took was a man that works for the Ministry.”

McGonagall’s face paled, “Are you sure Severus?”

“Yes.”

“How do you know?” she questioned.

“I’m not sure, he is familiar to me. I know not from where. I am just sure he works for the Ministry.”

“Very well…” said Dumbledore, his face turning serious, “If you remember anything else about this man inform me immediately.”

-------

Lyria spent her day tending to frightened students, helping them with their homework, and traveling from one common room to another. The work kept her mind away from the events of last night and also helped her to avoid Snape.

She had avoided answering his questions about the other form her boggart had taken, but knew he would ask again. Lyria desperately hoped to avoid answering.

 

Snape looked everywhere for Lyria, even asking a few students if they had seen her, but each time he got to her last reported location she had gone. When dinner came she arrived late and tried to avoid his eyes. Severus was beginning to worry that he had made her uncomfortable last night and this morning, but the blush that rose to her cheeks and the smile that teased her lips when he finally caught her eyes dispelled his worries.

Lyria was definitely avoiding him, but not because of their… their what? Was it an interest in each other? A relationship? Snape resolved to ask her about that too, if he could just get a minute with her.

Lyria left dinner early and exited out the teacher’s door.

“That’s it, I will have to knock on her door again.” thought Snape.

-------

As students and teachers alike exited the Great Hall William Pendragon gave a small wave to a group of Hogwarts girls that were giggling as he passed them, they all sighed. He gave them one last smile before continuing down the corridor.

Even with everything going wrong Oh how he loved being back at Hogwarts.

It was his home away from home, his domain, and soon he would be back for good. He didn’t want to have to betray the old wizard, it would be much easier to have his support, but alas Dumbledore would have to be disposed of.

All William had to do was wait until the end of the Triwizard tournament, then his efforts would be rewarded with the teaching position and his future in the new order would be secured. All he needed now was that beautiful, powerful woman by his side.

Lyria had been more resistant to him than he had expected. When she had first been described to him, he thought he would have no trouble charming her. A loner, quiet but powerful, ambitious and resourceful, she was the perfect combination of Gryffindor and Slytherin not dissimilar from himself.

His instructions had been clear,

“I am going to let her take the Hogwarts position, she will think she’s escaped, but when the tournament is moved there it will be your job to bring her around William. We will need her support. You must gain her trust, her favor. Shower her with attention and she will not resist. She has grown accustomed to being overlooked. A rose with too many thorns will be avoided, no matter how beautiful the flower. She may be powerful but she is just a girl. Once she favors you play to her ambition, she will come to us eventually.”

Yet still she resisted him! He had tried so many different things, no woman had ever scorned him this way.

Then there was Snivellus, quite the unexpected obstacle. He thought that once he revealed the truth about Snape’s past to her, she would be driven away. Once she knew about Lily, Lyria would certainly fall to him, he would be waiting there to catch her and support her. He was able to make some headway while they worked together, but the events at the last task as well as their recent behavior indicated that his attempt had not been successful. Lyria had still called out to Snape instead of him. The potion’s teacher had then proceeded to remain by her bedside as she recovered. Now they were walking around Hogwarts chatting, even displaying affection at the meeting.

“That wimpy dungeon bat is nothing compared to me!” He thought angrily.

And now Lyria was onto them, surely it wouldn’t be long until she put the pieces together.

He shook his head. She was a foolish girl, if she didn’t come to him she would miss out on a wonderful opportunity. Not just to be with an actual man instead of the young potions brat, but to be a part of a new wizarding order in Britain.

Perhaps it was time to confront her… And Snape, well, once he knew the truth about Lyria he may not be as interested. If that still didn’t break them apart then maybe he would write to his friends at the Ministry and ask for some help.

 

Snape turned to head down the corridor towards the Dungeons and William saw his chance.

He started to walk towards Snape and when the man’s eyes fell on him he saw rage. Perfect.

“Hello Snivellus.”

“What do you want Pendragon.” He spat.

“I just wanted to give you a fair warning.”

“Warning?”

“Lyria will be mine. I suggest you stay out of my way.”

Snape scoffed at him and William continued. “You have no idea what you’re dealing with Snivellus. That girl isn’t what you think she is.”

“No?” Snape said tauntingly.

“No. Obviously she doesn’t trust you as much as you think. If she did you would know why she’s so dangerous.”

“What do you mean?” His sneer remained in place but his eyes betrayed curiosity.

“Ever wonder how she got so far in the Ministry right after she graduated from Hogwarts? How she knew what the Ministry was doing this morning? Ever wonder why she suddenly fled to Hogwarts? Honestly Snape you’re daft. I bet you don’t even know her name.”

“Her name is Lyria Artemis.” Snape said sternly.

“Are you sure?” Pendragon smiled wickedly. “You may have stayed away from the Dark Arts, but not everyone can.”

Snape realized then that Pendragon didn’t know he had been a Death Eater, which was good, but heightened his concern.

“As I understand it, Hogwarts teachers aren’t fans of those involved with the Dark Lord.”

Snape stayed quiet and let Pendragon speak, he was revealing valuable information and no matter how angry he got, he wanted to see what else William would reveal.

“And how would you know who’s involved with the Dark Lord?”

Pendragon spluttered for a moment before he responded. “When you're as respected a Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor as I am you know these thing. Also I was an Auror after all.” Snape almost laughed, William looked like an arrogant child caught with his hand in the cookie jar.

“Besides, I don’t answer your questions Snivellus. Just think about what I said.” and with that William strutted down the hall.

Chapter Text

Snape knocked again. Nothing. Not in her room nor in the Great Hall, not in Hogsmeade, and not in the corridors. Curfew had passed so she should be here. He was growing worried, what if she had been attacked? What if she was cursed? He rushed to the potions room to grab a few supplies before searching the castle once more.


----

Lyria stared at the moonstone and lavender mixing in her cauldron, if her predictions were correct then the lavender would strengthen effects of the moonstone and could aid in making the antidote more powerful.

She tapped her wand against the cauldron and a burst of glittery purple dust erupted. Yup, definitely stronger. She wrote her observations down in Snape’s notebook, focusing on every little detail. The more occupied her mind the less she could dwell on the dark path that lay before her.

Of course the Ministry was involved, of course he was behind the attacks, she didn’t know why it had taken her so long to connect the dots. If he could gain control of Hogwarts his path to controlling the Ministry would be much more clear. If only she could figure out what professor or student he was working with!

She had ruled out the Headmaster’s, even though Karkaroff had been a Death Eater he had sold out long ago. He would never be trusted with something so important. Fontaine was too American in all honesty, European Wizard politics would hardly involve him.

Lyria had thought through every professor at Hogwarts, none seemed like they would be the type to sell out to someone who followed the Dark Lord. Even Severus, a slytherin, refused to call muggleborns mudbloods, and Dumbledore surely wouldn’t allow a Death Eater to teach.

Perhaps one of the Ilvermorny professors…

She had gotten lost in her thoughts and the ingredients in front of her had spoiled. She would have to make a new batch.

As she gathered more viles from the shelves her mind turned to Snape. She wouldn’t be able to avoid him forever. She didn’t want to be avoiding him at all in fact, quite the opposite. She longed to be in his arms again, but alas… if he questioned her she would surely lose her position at Hogwarts and she would have nowhere to go but back to the Ministry. It was a lose-lose situation.

----

Opening the door to the classroom Severus immediately relaxed. Lyria sat at a table scrawling notes in his black notebook.

“Lyria there you are.” Snape’s relief was mixed with frustration, “I've been looking for you everywhere where have you been?”

She looked up at him and immediately started to clean up her work station. With a wave of her wand the cauldron was empty and clean, ingredients returned to their spots on the shelves, and her other supplies piled in the corner.

“Hello Severus, I was just researching some ingredient interactions.” She tied up the notebook and made to leave.

“Why are you avoiding me again?”

She blushed slightly and continued to the door as she spoke. “I’m not avoiding you, it’s just late and I have to-” suddenly her progress towards the door was impeded as Snape cut in front of her and trapped her against a nearby wall.

Lyria should have been afraid, angry perhaps at the act of aggression, but she wasn’t. Instead she found herself blushing as she discovered she had been aroused by his actions. She suppressed her feelings immediately, though it was difficult with him standing so close to her.

Lyria had to leave, before he started asking questions. She tried to duck under his arm but he stopped her.

Hand on either side of her head he looked at her desperately.

“Is it because of... what happened last night? I’m sorry I should never have brought you-”

“No Severus it’s not that at all.” Her answer came before she could stop it. “I just…” she trailed off.

“Then you must know I have questions to ask you.”

His eyes were intense as he stared down at her. Oh how she wanted to tell him, she wanted to tell him everything, but she couldn’t. She closed her eyes tight to avoid his stare and put up a wall in her mind just in case he knew legilimency.

One of Severus’ hands left the wall and tilted her chin up towards him.

“Lyria look at me,” hesitantly she did, not being able to resist the kindness and care in his request, but still she kept her mental block in place.

“I know that man that appeared works in the Ministry. If you’re right about the attacks, if you’re right about a Ministry agent trying to harm the students at Hogwarts we must know. Do you suspect the Ministry because of this man?”

She nodded, the action looked like it caused her pain.

Severus pressed for more information, “Did you work for him?” She nodded again.

“What’s his name?” Lyria hung her head and tried to keep tears from falling.

Severus kept one hand delicately under her chin, he moved his other to her arm and felt her shaking. “Lyria,” he said softly. “Please you can trust me, who is he?”

Tears fell down her cheeks, she was done. Once Severus told the Headmaster she would be accused of aiding the Ministry in the attacks. But she could refuse no longer.

“Edmond Rose.”

Understanding came crashing over Snape. Of course, Rose had been placed in the Ministry when Severus first joined the Death Eaters, he must have remained in place after the Dark Lord fell. That’s why he recognized him, but then…

Eyes wide he gripped Lyrias arms, “Lyria he is dangerous, he was a Death Eater, he-”

“I know he is. I know- wait.” Her fear disappeared and turned to anger. “How do you know that?”

Snape realized his mistake too late. She grabbed his left arm and forced up the sleeve, revealing a faded but ever-present dark mark.

Lyria threw away his hand and ran for the door.

“Lyria wait! You don’t understand, I don’t-”

“No! You’re one of them!” Her cloak flowed around her as she turned to him. Her hair was falling out of her braid and she had a wild look about her, Snape could almost feel the heat of her anger as her blue eyes lit like flames.

“He probably sent you! Is that it? Did he tell you to charm me? To gain my trust? Is that why you took notice of me?! Here I was thinking that maybe, just maybe, but no, you’re working for him!”

He stood there flustered, there was so much to explain, “It’s not like that! I left a long time ago, I was a spy for Dumbledore.” Secrets he had promised to keep came spilling out as he tried to make her understand. “I promise I don’t know Edmond any more. I-” he stopped as Lyria pointed her wand at him and she shouted “Legilimens!”

Instinctively he started to block the presence in his mind but realized that this was the best way to have her understand.

Memories swirled and Snape pulled himself to the side as Lyria explored them.

That night on the hilltop outside Hogsmeade, the prophecy, the Dark Lord beginning his search for Lily, her broken body in his arms, his promise to Dumbledore, he laid it all out for her to see. Severus could feel her searching for something and eventually a new memory arose, this time of a dark circle around Voldemort,


“Rose, you’re report.” hissed the Dark Lord.

A tall man with a dark red beard spoke up “We have agents in all the major Ministry Departments. Crouch and I have secured the Magical Law Enforcement Office and should soon be able to protect your efforts in London as well as provide you access to any area you wish.”

“Very good Rose....” The last letters of the name turned to a hiss in You-Know-Who’s mouth.

“Lucius?” The dark lord turned to the blonde man you bowed before his master.

“Yes my Lord?”

“You will aid Mr. Rose in securing the Ministry, I want you to apply for the position in the Department of Mysteries. We will need access soon…”

“Of course My Lord.”

“Very well… Another year and we will put our plan into action…”

“My Lord?” Rose spoke up again and Voldemort turned sharply to him. Without waiting for permission Rose began to speak. “Should we not act now? The Minister is weak, we needn’t wait a year, if we can garner support quickly in the Department of Mysteries we could-”

“Silence….” A chill ran over the group as the command lingered in the air.

“I appreciate your ambition Rose, you are a worthy member of Slytherin House and a true pureblood... but it would be unwise to move against the Minister before disposing of Dumbledore. We will need to infiltrate the castle first. Focus your attention on spreading my followers throughout the Ministry. The castle will be handled by others, and that, is where you come in Severus…”

The memory faded and Lyria pulled back from Snape’s mind.

 

Lyria fell to her knees, the combined effort of the intrusion and the information she was trying to process sucked the strength out of her. Snape hadn’t been lying. He wasn’t spying on her and he wasn’t assisting Rose. Did that mean his care for her was genuine? Rose had been placed on Voldemort's orders, he was meant to overthrow the Ministry, no wonder he was trying to do it again… his Master may be gone but the resources were still in place.

Snape watched as Lyria tried to process everything she had seen. He had half a mind to return the gesture and enter her mind but knew the action would just make things harder for her. Instead he walked over and gently helped her from the ground. Before he could speak Lyria threw herself against him. She wrapped her arms around his middle and held on tight as she began to sob into his chest.

Quietly he said “That’s the only time I met him, I promise.” He held onto her as she cried, saying nothing more.

They stayed entwined that way until Lyria’s tears slowed. Severus stroked her hair, holding her tight, he tried to let her know without words that whatever she was going through he would be there to help.

Eventually Severus led her from the classroom and into his rooms.

As Lyria shed her cloak and sat in the corner of the couch Snape collected wine and glasses before joining her.

She accepted the drink gratefully and took a long sip before facing him.

“I’m sorry Severus. I shouldn’t have done that.”

He sat next to her, “I understand why you did, it was the fastest way to find out the truth.” She nodded but did not seem comforted by the comment. “Besides I am impressed with your skill, I had no idea you knew legilimency.”

“Well,” She smirked, “Rose taught me all sorts of things he thought I would need to use one day.”

Severus tread carefully with his next question. “You know now why I recognized Rose, but I still don’t understand how you know him. Did you just get randomly placed in his department?”

She shook her head and clutched tightly to her glass.

“Then he chose you specifically, Rose was a very smart wizard, that’s why the Dark Lord trusted him with something as important as the Ministry. I thought he had left after the Dark Lord fell but I should have known he wouldn’t give up power so easily.”

Lyria scoffed. “He certainly is smart in his grabs for power, no one at the Ministry has ever suspected him.”

“Then how did you find out he was a Death Eater?”

“It’s... complicated.” She stared down into her now empty glass, avoiding his eyes.

“I have time.” Snape took a drink from his glass and then refilled Lyria’s to make his point. She smiled a bit and conceded.

“If I tell you, you must promise me that when Dumbledore finds out you will help me maintain my apprenticeship here. It’s the only way I have stayed away from Rose. If Dumbledore suspects me and kicks me out I am afraid Rose will come for me.”

“Lyria many people work in the Ministry, that does not immediately implicate them in the crimes of one man. The Dark Lord is gone, anything Rose does is pointless and you obviously did not want to be aiding him.”

“Maybe… Either way he still plans on taking over the Ministry in the Dark Lords name.”

“I don’t understand how you know this.” said Snape, Rose had been so well undercover...

“He’s my father.” It was a whisper, but the sentiment came through loud and clear.

Snape stared in awe, “How can that be? I thought you were muggleborn?”

“So did I. My mother is a muggle, she kept me hidden from him. They eloped and she became pregnant with me, only then did she find out my father was a wizard. When my mother told him of the pregnancy my father freaked out, saying he couldn’t taint his family name with a half-blood child. I don’t know if he ever loved her, but the prospect of having a child scared him. He attacked my mother and left thinking he had ended her pregnancy, but her body kept me. When I was born she hid me from the wizarding world until my letter came when I turned 11. She was afraid that if Rose found out about me he would try to recruit me into his efforts, turn me into a wizard like him, or kill me.”

Snape kept quiet and listened intently.

“My mother had told me I had a muggle father, and that he had left before I was born. When I started at Hogwarts she still hadn’t told me about Rose, I guess she thought if I didn’t know then I wouldn’t go looking for him or something like that. But the summer before my sixth year I came across his name and asked my mother about it. That’s when I learned exactly what happened.”

“So is your name…”

“Lyria Rose Artemis. My mother thought that giving me her married name as a middle name would keep me safe. My last name is her maiden name. My mum died right before I started my sixth year. Perhaps that’s why she told me the story, she didn’t want to leave without me knowing the truth.”

“I’m sorry…” said Snape quietly. Lyria took a deep breath and continued. It felt good to confide in someone, even if he would surely never talk to her again after this.

“When I graduated from Hogwarts he found me, I’m not sure how. But he offered me a job at the Ministry and I couldn’t refuse the opportunity. Suddenly I had a job, a father that wanted me, and I thought things were starting to look up. I worked for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and the Department of Mysteries, I oversaw many projects that I thought were Ministry sanctioned. In addition to my work my father trained me, I learned Occlumency, Legilimency, and various aspects of Dark Magic, I became familiar with the inner workings of the Ministry. He said it was all to help me become a better leader.” She paused.

“Did you know he was a Death Eater?”

“No. Not at first anyway. I began to suspect him when he started to teach me Dark Magic, he began using techniques I knew that Death eaters had used in the past, and as I got to know him his feelings became clear. He was ambitious, cunning and manipulative. I almost fell for it. I started to believe in this new world order he would talk about. With only the most talented people running the Wizarding World. When I had completed two years in my position he took me into the Department of Mysteries with a group of other Wizards and Witches from the various departments. That’s when he revealed that it was all a plan to get things ready for the Dark Lord’s return. He told everyone that I was a long-lost child of the sacred Rose family and that I should be welcomed into their circle. Obviously he didn’t think to ask who my mother was, if he had maybe he wouldn’t have been so quick to invite me in. My father is smart when it comes to the big picture but somewhat oblivious in other matters. He said that since no one knew who I was I couldn’t be traced to the Dark Lord, I would be the perfect candidate to replace the Minister once he was overthrown.”

Lyria wanted to continue, but her throat closed as she remembered the feeling of being surrounded by followers of the Dark Lord. The betrayal she had felt when she learned her father didn’t care about her at all, he had just wanted to use her as a pawn.

Severus saw her struggling and moved closer to her. He set down his glass and put one hand on her thigh to reassure her. She seemed to appreciate the gesture, giving him a small smile. Glass drained once more, she set it down on the table and moved to touch his sleeve. Instinct told him to pull away, but Severus let her push back the sleeve and draw her fingers over his mark.

“I didn’t know what to do, I was surrounded, if I revealed my true feelings and refused I was sure they would kill me. So I agreed to their plan. My father had me pledge myself to him and the Dark Lord, he couldn't give me a mark like yours so he did the next best thing.”

She withdrew her hand and rolled up her own left sleeve. Severus saw nothing until she waved her wand and the makeup that covered her mark disappeared.

The mark was dark black, about the size of his own but obviously newer. Instead of a skull there was a rose, and wrapping around the stem of the rose was a thick snake like the one he wore.

Severus looked at her questioningly, asking permission. She nodded faintly and he reached out and touched it. The snake began to move slowly, winding in a constant pattern around the stem.
Lyria lay her arms next to Severus’, both branded by a Master they didn’t wish to serve.

“Mine is less powerful than yours, I can hide it behind makeup or even a spell. But should the Dark Lord return my mark will burn same as yours. It also responds to my father’s mark, he can summon me. I don’t know how he did it.”

She was looking down at their arms. Her tears had stopped but he could see how the burden of her past haunted her. Much as his haunted him.

“After the ceremony I received McGonagall’s offer I took it immediately. I thought that if I left maybe my father would move onto a different victim. Get some other Death Eater to work for him.” Snape rested his hand over her mark as she continued to speak.

“My father doesn’t know you were a Death Eater, or at least does not remember. If he did I am sure he would have reached out to you.”

“That’s not surprising. The Dark Lord was the only one who seemed to consider me a valid follower. The rest dismissed me, I’m fairly easy to overlook.”

“What do you mean?” She looked up into his eyes, curiosity burning through the pain.

“I am not pure-blood.”

She looked genuinely taken aback, “Really? But thought… I guess I assumed…”

“Most people do.” Snape shrugged his shoulders and tried to brush it off, picking up his glass and taking a long drink. Lyria noticed the feigned nonchalance and pressed.

“Mother or Father?”

“My mother was a pure-blood. One of the sacred twenty-eight like your family. When she became pregnant and married my father she was shunned from the house of Prince. I was a constant reminder of the life she had lost. I was part of the Prince family, but only in name, they never accepted me.” Something about Lyria’s own confessions about her past made him feel as though he could confess his, and he found himself telling her things that he had never told anyone.

“My mother resented my existence, I was her tie to the muggle she had married. I can’t blame her, torn between two worlds. And my father, well, he was as confused and conflicted as she. I just got caught in the middle. I had no place in the muggle world and I ruined the wizarding family name just by existing. I was the only Half-Blood Prince.”

Snape went to drink again but his glass too had been emptied and he set it aside.

“I know how you feel. My father must not know that I am half-blood. Probably bedded so many women he isn’t sure who I might belong to. Even if he did know I doubt he would admit it to anyone.”

They sat quiet for a bit then. Just processing what they had heard, comparing their stories and considering what life had been like for the other. After a long moment of silence Lyria whispered “Thank you.”

“For what?” Neither looked at the other, they just continued to stare into the fire.

“For listening. I know that your feelings toward me, whatever they were in the past, have probably changed. But before you never speak to me again I wanted to thank you.”

“Never speak to you?” Snape looked at her, genuinely confused, “Why wouldn’t I speak to you?”

“Because I was weak, where you turned spy for Dumbledore and worked to make your wrongs right I just ran away. When I accepted McGonagall's offer I thought it was my ticket out. I didn’t even think that the attacks could be linked to my father. I was too focused on my position here and forgetting about what happened at the ministry. You’re more of a Gryffindor that I could ever be. I don’t expect you to-”

“Lyria stop, that’s not true at all. Look at me,” She turned her head to him, and in that moment Severus wished he could take away all her pain, make right all her wrongs, hide her from the world, but knew he could not. Instead they would both have to try to balance their lives, torn between what they were expected to do and what they wanted to do.

Both wanted to live their lives for themselves, but each were bound to serve a Master they had not chosen.

“Lyria, thank you for trusting me. I don’t think any less of you. I know what you have been through, and I know nothing I can do or say can make it easier, but what I can do is offer you support and guidance.” His hand drifted across her cheek, he shifted closer to her so their legs were touching as he looked into her fiery blue eyes.

“You’re not alone.” He thought back to the words he had heard Rose’s boggart speak over her and decided there was a much better sentiment that could be conveyed. "He who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose."

Lyria couldn’t help it, she leaned into him and their lips met. Where their first kiss had been one of lust and tension, this one was full of love and caring. Severus’ hand wrapped around her head and pulled her to him, Lyria’s hand did the same. Neither could get close enough to the other. All the loneliness, the pain, the demons of their past faded away as they kissed.

Lyria shed one last tear, not out of sadness, but from the overwhelming feeling of being loved and cared for. She knew in that moment that Severus saw her, truly saw her, and cared for her not in spite of her flaws, but because of them.

Severus knew that Lyria understood him, she truly heard him, accepted him and wanted to be there with him. She trusted him as he trusted her, and it was the first time Severus had ever felt his love truly reciprocated.

After who knows how long, they broke apart and rested their foreheads against each other. Neither wanted to move. In fact they wished to stay like that forever, in that moment of love and understanding. But Lyria’s eyelids grew heavy as emtional exhaustion swept over her. She leaned back momentarily only to place her head on Severus’ shoulder, where she lay as he held her tight. After a few moments, Snape stood and held out his hand. Lyria took it wordlessly and followed him to his bedroom.

She removed her robes but remained in her undershirt and panties as Snape took off his outer layers, leaving his trousers and his loose white shirt.

They climbed into bed and fell asleep in each other’s arms. Whatever lay ahead they would face it together.

Chapter Text

Severus awoke to find Lyria pressed against him, in his sleep he had draped his arm across her and molded himself to the curve of her back.

Starting to pull away, Lyria pushed herself back into him, still sleeping she must have done it subconsciously. Severus decided to stay close to her for as long as she would let him. Her red hair tickled his face as he inhaled it’s rose scent. She felt so good against him, as he became more aware of his position he realized that his hand was resting on the bare skin of her upper thigh.

Her skin was soft and warm beneath him. Gently, delicately, he spread his hand over the curve of her hip. Severus did not wish to wake her, just feel her. He bit his lip as he became hyper-aware of every place their bodies touched.

Severus did not remember noting her state of dress the night previous, but now it drew his focus and made his heart skip a few beats. His thumb brushed the black lace lining of her underwear and goosebumps showed over her skin. As much as he didn’t wish to wake her, he had to rotate his hips away.

Lyria stirred slightly and Snape stilled. A quick glance at the window told him it was approaching an hour after dawn and he decided he should just begin to get ready. When she had settled once more he carefully extracted himself from her sleeping form and went to shower, hoping the cold water would bring him back to reality.

 

Shivering slightly at the cold Dungeon air, Lyria awoke to find the bed beside her empty. She stretched and listened for him, there was the faintest sound of running water and she checked the time. She would have to hurry back to her quarters before students started to make their way to breakfast. Quickly she put on her robes and made to leave, but before she did she conjured a single rose and placed it on his bed.

------

Classes were due to resume and the Great Hall was alive with chatter. The Slytherins looked a bit put-out that they had no stories of boggarts to share, so instead they took to teasing the fears of the students that had been attacked.

Lyria had arrived to breakfast early and overheard Eva Grace, Megan Joel, and a few other girls talking about the attacks. The 7th year girl’s dormitory had been the room to receive a boggart in Gryffindor tower, Megan had subdued it with the Riddikulus charm before it could take more than one form. However the presence of a gigantic snake in the middle of the room was enough to terrify all present and Lyria felt bad for them.

“I haven’t faced a boggart since my third year! I had no idea that snakes were still my greatest fear, I thought perhaps it was failing my N.E.W.T.S. but I guess I was proven wrong.” said a girl named Justina.

“I’m just glad you got it Megan, I would have hated to face my fear again.” chimed Eva sheepishly.

Megan smiled and put her arm around Eva, “I’ve got you girl, I’m just glad McGonagall got there so quick afterward. I’m not sure how we would have banished it for good without her.”

“Yeah me too, although I would have liked to see what her boggart would have been.” The girls paused at Justina’s comment, they had never seen a Professor’s boggart before.

“Were any teachers attacked?” asked Megan.

Jason Gordin, who had been eavesdropping nearby, chimed in by elbowing his way into their circle. “The Apprentice took ours.”

“Took? It’s a boggart Jason, you guys are lucky no one in your house had to face it.”

“Yeah, I doubt any Slytherin would’ve been able to get rid of it. You’ve got such lousy senses of humor.”

Jason seemed to make Eva’s point by sticking his tongue out at her and stalking away defiantly.

The group glanced at Lyria before continuing their conversation in hushed tones, no doubt wondering what she had been afraid of.

 

Lyria’s left arm twitched, she had been thinking nonstop about her conversation with Severus. It felt weird to have nothing to hide from someone, and even weirder to be attracted and drawn to that person. Lyria wasn’t sure what she should do next. As much as she hated to admit it, she wasn’t exactly experienced with men, few had ever dared to breach her hard exterior, and those that had quickly left her. Not that she had felt strongly about any of them, she knew now that immature boys weren’t worth her time. Snape was the first man that she could say she was genuinely attracted to in every way, physically, emotionally, their interests aligned, they worked well together, and beyond all of that they had a deep understanding of one another.

Beyond their personal relationship they still had to decide what to do with the suspicion that her father was behind the attacks. Although they seemed to agree it was Rose coordinating the attacks they had no proof. Surely she would have to find proof, maybe Severus could help her. Then they would have to tell Dumbledore, probably all the staff in fact. She cringed at the thought of everyone knowing her secret.

At that moment the Teacher’s door opened and Lyria turned, it was almost as though their eyes were drawn to one another, Severus stood in the doorway and held her gaze. Even from a distance he could tell she had been worrying. He tried his best to give her a reassuring look but his face wasn’t used to doing much but sneering or furrowing his eyebrows, instead he ended up making a face halfway between a grimace and smile. Lyria understood his meaning and gave him a small smile in return before turning back to her plate.

Still thinking through everything that had happened, Lyria was unaware as a girl walked up to the high table. Only when the girl spoke did Artemis jump and realize that someone was standing in front of her.

“Ms. Artemis?”

“Oh, hello Eva, sorry I just.. Lost in thought I guess. What can I do for you?”

Eva looked apologetic for startling her and nervous, she glanced over her shoulder to the Gryffindor table where Megan and Justine were giving waves of encouragement.

She took a deep breath and said “Well Ms. Artemis, some of the other girls and I were wondering how you were doing. We heard about the boggart attack.”

Lyria’s face softened at the girl’s question, “Eva that’s very kind of you to ask. I am doing alright, just happy that Professor Snape was able to banish it.”

“Professor Snape got rid of it for you?”

Oops. “Oh, um yes, the boggart knocked my wand out of my hand, luckily Snape heard the commotion and got rid of it.”

“Oh my goodness I’m so sorry! That sounds so scary!”

“It’s quite alright, I am just glad it’s gone.” She quickly tried to change the subject away from herself. “How are you and your friends doing? I heard you were in for quite the scare as well.”

Eva nodded and gave a small laugh “Yeah, kind of alarming when a giant snake wakes you up.”

Lyria returned the smile and said “I’m sure, but you’re all okay?”

“Yes we’re okay. We just wanted to ask about you and well…” she glanced over her shoulder again before continuing. “We were wondering, well since you’re only a few years older than us, and you aren’t technically a Professor or anything,” She shifted her feet and twirled her robes through her fingers. Lyria couldn’t help but find it a bit endearing how shy Eva was when she wasn’t surrounded by her friends.

“We were wondering if you would want to come to Hogsmeade with us sometime. Megan wants to ask you about your experience in Potions and I wouldn’t mind knowing more about the Ministry, do you think that- well, would you be interested in-?”

“Eva I would love to join you, thank you very much for thinking of me.”

Eva’s face brightened and she stopped her fidgeting, she beamed at Lyria before saying “Great! We were thinking about going to the Three Broomsticks this weekend. I will let you know when exactly?”

“I will look for your owl.”

Eva gave her another smile and a nod before bouncing back to her friends.

Smiling at the invitation, Lyria glanced over at Severus who she found was watching her with a smug look on his face. She shot him a glare that said ‘oh shut up’ and Snape almost smiled at the sight. They both turned back to their food, but not before being noticed by a few Professors at the table.

-----

The next few days passed uneventfully, there were no attacks and preparations had begun for the Yule Ball. Lyria was asked to help with everything from decorations to planning the food and music, she did her best to balance everything with her classes but ended up having to sacrifice class time in Ancient Runes, Divination, and most regrettably, Potions.

Lyria still assisted with Potions sparsely, but there was an uneasiness between her and Severus, neither knew where they stood. Lyria wanted to have a conversation with him but everytime she tried to make her way to his office or his rooms she was dragged away to help with something else. Each night she fell into bed exhausted before waking up only a few hours later.

 

Snape had never felt this way about someone, at least not someone who returned his affection, and he wasn’t quite sure what to do about it. Should he ask her on a date? What did he have to do on a date? Was there some sort of protocol? Did she even want to keep seeing him? Each time she was in class he became tongue-tied and couldn’t find the words to ask her on a proper date. He kept missing chances, each time he saw her she would have to run off to do something else. He had observed students in their meek attempts to court each other for years, but now that he longed for Artemis he understood their difficulties… if only just a little bit.

They needed to talk, not just about their… personal interactions, but also about the Ministry. Although the attacks had stopped for the time being, Severus was sure they would resume once the attacker felt safe again.

The rose Lyria had left him remained on his bedside table. Each night he enjoyed the reminder of the woman that was just a wall away, and each night he vowed to talk to her, soon anyway.
----

Lyria made her way down the corridor wrapped in a warm cloak and scarf. She was to meet Eva and her friends in Hogsmeade and she was excited for the break. She had justified the time as ‘informal advisement of 7th year students’ and was able to get the whole afternoon off.

Snow had started to fall and Lyria bent her head to avoid the flying flakes as she exited the castle. Rounding a corner, she ran headfirst into someone’s chest.

“Oh! I’m sorry I wasn’t looking where I was going!” She reached out and grab the person who she had knocked off-balance and realized who it was.

“Oh, hello Severus.”

“Quite the way to say hello,” he said as he straightened his robes.

“Sorry, I’ll think of a better way next time.” She grinned and he noticed the mischievous smile. Ugh, that woman…

Seeing an opportunity to talk to her alone for a few minutes he asked, “Where are you rushing off to?”

“Hogsmeade, I said I would meet a few students at the Three Broomsticks and answer some questions about their potential career paths.”

“Ah yes, befriending the 7th years I see.”

“Hey I know it’s hard to believe but sometimes people want to talk to me.”

“I didn’t mean it that way,” Said Snape quickly.

“I know Severus, it’s alright. Anyway what about you? Why are you out here in the cold?” she asked, pulling her cloak tighter around her.

“I have the unfortunate task of overseeing students in Hogsmeade today.”

“Sounds exhilarating.”

“Quite. Well, would you-,” his careful Professor’s mask began to slip away as he spoke to her. His confidence was failing but he pushed through. “Would you care to walk with me to the village?”

“Sure Severus, I would love to, I’ve missed spending time with you.” She smiled and they fell into step beside one another.

Lyria was happy to be near Severus again, the silence of the first few minutes of the walk didn’t bother her, but Severus was struggling with how to bring up everything he wanted to discuss. Eventually he said “Lyria I would like to apologize for my behavior, I realize we have not seen each other much since we talked… and I just wanted to assure you that I won’t breathe a word to anyone until you have said it’s okay. Eventually the Headmaster must know but it’s your decision.”

“Thank you, but it’s okay. I’ve been distant too, I think we both needed time to think things through.”

He quirked an eyebrow at her, “Alright, well, what have you been thinking through?”

A blush tinted her already rosy cheeks, “I guess, just thinking about what to do next. We need to talk to Dumbledore about our suspicions I agree, but we need proof. I think we should try and identify who in the castle has been assisting Rose. If we can catch them then we will have a stronger case should we need to confront the Ministry.”

“Agreed. Do you have any inkling as to who may be Rose’s accomplice?”

“Nothing concrete, just suspicions. I think whoever it is got nervous that I or someone else was onto them. They will probably wait until after the Yule Ball to attack again.”

“Seems reasonable, I hope we can get a few normal weeks in in the meantime.”

“Me too, but the Yule ball is only 2 weeks away.”

“Already?”

“Yeah, hence my frantic preparations. I had no idea how much went into throwing a ball.”

The walked in silence for another few moments before Snape asked “Is there anything else that’s been on your mind?”

“Of course Severus.”

“What’s that?”

She rolled her eyes and shot him a look, “Don’t play dumb, I’ve been thinking about you.”

It was Snape’s turn to blush slightly, he wasn’t as coy as he tried to seem. The knowledge that Lyria had been thinking about him gave him hope that maybe they would be able to resume their, their… whatever it was.

“What have you been thinking about me?”

“Well, I guess I am just not used to having nothing to hide from someone, it’s strange.”

“I understand.”

She stopped and turned to him in the snow, they were still a few yards from the village and were completely alone.

“Severus I want to know how you feel, what do you want? What have you been thinking about?”

Her red hair blew across her face and her blue eyes stood out sharply against the snowy background. His nerves seemed to dissipate for a moment as he looked at her, and words came without his volition.

“I have been thinking about you Lyria. I have been thinking about the trust you’ve shown me, and the trust I have placed in you in return, I have been thinking about what to do regarding the attacks of course. But more than that, I have been thinking that I miss you. That I am happier when you’re around, and I was hoping you would join me for dinner sometime in the near future.”
She looked into his dark eyes, he seemed sure in his request, sincere in his words, and she couldn’t help but smile.

“Severus Snape are you asking me on a date?” He could hear her smile without looking at her.

His nerves returned and he stuttered slightly, “I- I would understand completely if you didn’t want to, I don’t blame you. I-”

“Severus,” he had hung his head slightly and she got closer to him to catch his gaze. He looked so nervous in that moment, just a school boy unsure of how to proceed.

“Are you asking me on a date?” She questioned again.

Snape drew a deep breath and met her blue eyes with his brown. “Yes.”

“Then I accept. I think dinner sounds lovely.” Her smile touched her eyes as she said it, Lyria was genuinely excited at his request and she felt a warmth growing inside her at the thought of spending an evening with him.

Snape tried not to show his relief as he turned to keep walking but Lyria noticed. “Severus did you think I’d say no?”

“I just, I wasn’t sure how you felt about me. If maybe it was just something in passing. Or perhaps you regretted staying with me, or...” He was cut off from his stream of worries when Lyria wrapped her arm through his as they walked. He felt an enormous swell of pride and happiness to have her on his arm and his worried expression was replaced with a sly smile.

They continued like that until they reached the Three Broomsticks where Lyria withdrew her arm and they faced one another. “I don’t regret anything I have shared with you Severus,” She glanced quickly at their surroundings to make sure no one was standing near before she added. “And I look forward to what else we might share.” She gave him a positively devious smile before moving towards the door. “Just let me know when and where Sev!”

Snape walked away from the bar quickly as his mind began to work, already planning his date with Lyria.

Chapter Text

“So you really think I will be able to apply both my potion’s knowledge and my passion for charms as a healer?” asked Megan.

“Yes definitely, a healer must rely on both types of magic. Maybe you should talk to Madame Pomfrey about working a few hours in the Hospital Wing. That way you can see what it’s like and decide if it’s something you would like to pursue.” answered Lyria encouragingly.

Megan sighed and looked relieved, “Oh good, I thought I was going to have to choose between the two!”

Eva smiled at her friend, “I told you that there was nothing to worry about!”

“Could you maybe talk to Madam Pomfrey and see if she is looking for anyone to help out? I don’t know her that well…”

“I would happily introduce the two of you. She’s very kind, there’s nothing to worry about.”

“Wow thank you so much Ms. Artemis! I really appreciate it!”

“Of course, I’m glad I can help. And please, I’m not here as an apprentice or a Professor, you can call me Lyria.” She smiled and took another sip of her butterbeer. The sweetness was almost overpowering, but she hadn’t had it since being a student, opting for stronger drinks instead, and was enjoying the nostalgia.

“Really? Oh! Well, thanks Lyria!” Megan and the other girls smiled.

Lyria turned to Justine and Eva and inquired about their plans, “Are you two still wanting to become aurors?”

The brunettes nodded enthusiastically, “Yes definitely,” said Justine. “We have been learning defensive spells and other skills on the side to give us an edge. I just need to do well in my Potion’s exam, it’s the one subject I struggle with.”

“Come on you aren’t that bad,” said Megan.

“Honestly I think they graded my O.W.L.S. wrong, I still can’t believe I got an Outstanding.”

“No, have some confidence in your ability! I’ve seen you in class, you just need to work on your timing, you always have the ingredients correct. Timing will take practice, perhaps Megan can help you, as I recall she has no difficulty in Potions.” said Lyria, smiling at the blushing blonde.

“Aw thanks, Ms. Arte- I mean, Lyria. I would be happy to help Justine, maybe I can help you too Eva!” The girls giggled, Eva was the clutz of the group and often messed up her potions because she spilt things in.

Lyria smiled at them, “I believe Eva would also improve with practice, potions are about more than memorization, it’s almost an art form. You have to practice timing, patience, and creativity, and all those things come with time.”

“Have you always enjoyed potions?” asked Eva.

“Well, in a way. I enjoyed making potions and inventing my own, I just didn’t like class.” she laughed at the memory of Slughorn blundering around the room basically making potions for the students while they goofed off.

They gasped, “You didn’t like Snape’s class as a student?” Megan asked incredulously.

“Oh! No no, I had a different Professor. Professor Slughorn. He taught for most of my time here, I only had Snape during my 7th year.”

“Ohhhh okay, I was about to be really confused.” said Eva.

Lyria quirked an eyebrow at her. “Why?” Eva blushed and looked down awkwardly before glancing sideways at Megan and Justine who held similar expressions.

“Come one what is it?” said Lyria, curious at their reactions.

“Well, you know… it’s just hard to picture you and Snape not getting along.” said Eva sheepishly.

“Oh, then you’d be quite surprised to find that we had quite the hostile relationship during my 7th year.” replied Lyria laughing slightly. Their eyes widened and Megan pressed for details. “Really? No way!”

“Oh yes, I think I quite annoyed him. It was his first year teaching and he tried to trick students a lot, I called him out on it each time and he got mad. I was argumentative and pretty disrespectful. I feel bad about it now, he was still learning to teach and I gave him such a hard time.”

“Obviously he’s forgiven you!” said Justine with a giggle. Megan and Eva shot her a look and Justine’s hand shot to cover her mouth. “Oops! Sorry I just…” But Lyria wasn’t about to let a comment like that slip by.

“And what do you mean by that?” She looked at the girls who were all pink in the face, they seemed to be silently arguing about who should speak up.

“Well… uh… we’ve just… couldn’t help but notice…” Stuttered Eva.

“Come on now, spit it out.” She wanted to know exactly how aware the girls were of her.. Situation… regarding Severus.

When the trio stayed silent she sighed, “Girls I’m not going to be angry with you or anything, I am just curious as to what you mean.”

“Snape’s just different when you’re around, and we noticed that you two seem pretty close so we were kinda like… wondering…” Megan drifted off as she looked at Lyria apprehensively. Eva jumped in, “Yeah like you two spend time together and like, when you were preparing for the second task he seemed miserable. Now that you’re back he is being nice again and like, well he walked you to the door today and everything so…” Eva quieted too.

Artemis smiled and gave a small sigh, “Go on, ask.”

“Are you two a thing?” said Megan, a twinge of girlish excitement noticeable in her voice.

Lyria tried her best to hide the blush that rose up over her cheeks, but of course the girls noticed.

“Oh my Gosh you are! That’s so cute!” cried Justine.

“Now wait I don’t know-” said Lyria, trying to hide her reaction, but Eva jumped in and cut her off. “It’s okay Lyria we won’t tell anyone! We think it’s so adorable! You two are perfect. Before you came around I didn't know that Snape had well, feelings. Other than annoyance and anger. But anyway it's nice to see you bring out better in him.” The three giggled and Lyria couldn’t help but smile, she had never been close with any girls her age and it was kinda fun to hear them giggle and get excited about her possible relationship.

“Well, I don’t know if we’re a ‘thing’, as you put it.”

“Oh please, he’s SO into you!” Said Justine with a wave of her hand. Megan nodded, “I mean did you see the way he watched you while you taught us? Anytime time you’re around he can’t take his eyes off you!”

Eva perked up even more and asked in a high-pitched voice, “Do you think he’ll ask you to the Yule Ball?”

“Awwww!” said Megan and Justine in unison.

Lyria wasn’t quite sure how to respond, she hadn’t even thought about that. She had assumed she would go alone or maybe as a representative of Gryffindor if Minerva didn’t want to, but the thought of going to the Yule Ball with Severus gave her butterflies.
But then reality seemed to kick in, “Wait wait hold on, I never confirmed anything. Besides, if Severus - I mean - Professor Snape and I were to be… involved as you suggest, I don’t believe he would be one for taking a date to the Yule Ball.”

“But Lyria you’re obviously special to him! You two should totally go together!” Justine said encouragingly. Even though Lyria tried to deny it Megan, Eva, and Justine knew that she had feelings for the Potions Master, and it made them genuinely happy. They all liked her, as a teacher but also as a person. As their excited giggles subsided Eva noticed Lyria looked a bit worried, “Lyria we aren’t trying to make fun of you or make you feel bad, we’re just excited for you. We like you!”

Megan nodded, “For sure! You’re awesome and we’re just happy for you is all. Besides, if you stick around Snape might go easy on us in class!”

Lyria smiled, “Well thank you, I’m sorry I’m just not used to talking about this kind of thing, with anyone much less… well, other girls.”

“Aw! Well don’t worry Lyria, as long as you don’t mind being around a bunch of 7th years you’re welcome to hang out with us anytime!” replied Justine, the others nodded in agreement.

“Yeah! And if you need any dating advice we’ve got you covered, just as long as you give us advice on everything else in life!” said Megan happily.

Lyria gave them a genuine smile of gratitude, was it inappropriate to be talking about her love life with students? Probably, but as long as she could still be professional around them in class maybe having a few friends wouldn’t hurt. And maybe a covert tongue-tying jinx would be prudent for good measure…

Giving in, she said “In that case,” a cunning smile spread across her lips, the girls all looked at her expectantly, “Any advice on what to wear for a dinner date?”

Chapter Text

When a soft knock came at the door Severus looked over the table once more before adjusting his shirt and moving to answer it.

He had spent days deciding what to do for his first ‘date’ with Lyria. While she waited for his invite the two shared long glances during classes and at meals, the anticipation was growing and eventually Severus made up his mind. He had decided that a dinner in his living quarters would be best. That way they could have some privacy but still be somewhere familiar.

 

Lyria had picked out her dress with Eva, Megan, and Justine before they had left Hogsmeade a few days earlier. Remembering his fondness for green, they had decided on a simple dark green wrap dress with long sleeves and long skirt. The velvety material was comfortable and warm, perfect for winter, and the forest green made her red curls look ‘enchanting’ as Justine had put it. The dress tied at the waist in a simple bow, which Lyria had been worried would come off as too provocative since once untied the dress nearly fell away, but she eventually caved and got it.

While she prepared in her room a paper lion crawled under her door and bounded to her. Picking up the parchment and unfolding it she saw three handwritten notes:


“Good Luck tonight! It will be great!” “You go girl! Enjoy yourself!” “Just relax and be yourself, you got this!”

Lyria had smiled bright at the encouragement, taking a deep breath and repeating the girl’s words to herself, she headed down the corridor to Severus’ room.

 

When Snape opened the door he forgot how to breath. Lyria stood before him in a velvet dress with a v-neck and long sleeves. It hugged her curves and showed off just enough skin. Her hair looked ravishing, falling in loose curls around her shoulders, contrasting with the dark green fabric. He smiled at the color, wondering if she had chosen it on purpose. When his gaze finally found its way back to her face he was drawn to her deep wine-colored lips and bright eyes highlighted by brown tones.

“Hello Severus,” she said, a smile toying at her lips as she enjoyed his reaction to her. His bat-like cloak was gone but he still wore is long black vest and high-collared shirt.

“Good Evening, please, come in.” He attempted to regain his composure by bowing slightly and gesturing for her to enter, realizing too late he probably sounded too formal.

Closing the door lightly behind her Snape followed her into the room, “It smells wonderful in here, did you-” Lyria looked to the corner of the room for confirmation and saw the stove was still aglow with heat. “Did you cook?”

“Yes, I did. Do you mind?”

Lyria turned to him, “I don’t mind at all! But Severus you didn’t have to go through all that work, I didn’t even know you liked to cook.”

He smiled slightly, glad he had impressed her already, “Nonsense, I wanted to make you something nice. Besides, I enjoy cooking.” He guided her to the table he had set with his hand at the small of her back, some of his confidence returning at her words and at the look of surprise on her face.

The black couch in front of the fireplace had been replaced with a medium-sized round table. Snape pulled back a chair for her and gestured for her to sit. Lyria smiled, she had never been treated like this before, he was such an old-fashioned gentleman and it was adorable.

Gratefully she took her seat and observed the place setting. The black tablecloth set off the brilliant silver and white dishes upon it. A green napkin sat upon the plate in front of her and a single rose in a small vase sat next to a few candles as decoration.

“Severus this is, I mean,” She looked everything over once more before looking up to him. “I’m really speechless, you didn’t have to go through all this trouble for me.”

“Is everything okay?” He looked slightly worried and she quickly reassured him. “Oh yes everything looks beautiful, I’m just… no one has ever done anything like this for me before.”

Snape gave a small smile and she saw a glint of pride in his eyes. “You can’t have met many decent wizards then.”

Severus moved around to his chair and sat while he waved his wand. Their wine glasses filled, a caprese salad, bread, and olive oil appeared on the table and Lyria looked on still stunned. “I hope you like Italian food.” Said Snape.

“I love it.” Lyria smiled and began to fill her plate to prove her point.

 

As they ate the two made light conversation, discussing everything from potions to the latest book published by a popular travel author, time passed quickly as they enjoyed one another and the delicious meal Severus had prepared. After the appetizers there were plates with different pastas on them and Lyria tried some of each. Her favorites were easily the mushroom ravioli and the penne with sun-dried tomato cream sauce, but everything was exquisite. She resolved to ask him to cook more often.

Severus quickly found himself engaged in conversation with the charming witch. Only a few times did he catch himself staring at the sensual curves of her chest or the fullness of her lips, each time Lyria caught his gaze she returned his stare with an impassioned one of her own, but their conversation continued effortlessly.

Dessert was a light berry sorbet which they enjoyed before sitting back and enjoying their wine.

“Did he really have you attend all those SlugClub parties? That sounds terrible, even as a student they were dull, I can’t imagine being forced to attend like you were.” Lyria reclined in her chair, crossing her legs the slit in her skirt pulled up to reveal her skin. Snape’s eyes traveled from her feet, shaped perfectly in black heels, up the curve of her calf and to her thigh, remembering the feel of her skin, wondering what it would feel like against his own. Quickly he shook his head to clear his mind, reminding himself that he was delusional if he thought she would ever desire him the way he did her.

“They were dreadful, he seemed to delight in embarrassing me. Slughorn was an accomplished potioneer, but almost everything else about his career and his personality were misguided in someway.” The memory of working for Horace helped clear his mind further, Snape sneered at the thought, “I could hardly stand to work with him.”

“I’m impressed you put up with him for so long. I probably would have just given up and moved on.”

“Now that, I highly doubt. You’re much to passionate.” Snape gave her a teasing smile before emptying his wine glass.

Lyria smiled provocatively, “How do you mean?”

Severus tried to divert from the question by offering her a more comfortable seat and another drink, when she accepted and stood from her chair he waved his wand and the table disappeared. The usual black couch took its place and Severus brought over two glasses of rum, this time in a larger quantity. Handing one to her he sat close, angling himself to face her as Lyria did the same, pulling one leg onto the couch and tucking her ankle under her knee. The action tugged at her dress and the V of her neckline cut lower.

“Thank you for the rum Severus, but giving more to drink isn’t going to let you off. You haven’t answered my question.”

“I just happen to recall that as a student you were not one to ‘give-up’ and move on if you didn't like something. Or was that behavior reserved for me?”

She laughed, “Alright you got me there. I did talk to him a few times but I think I was worse to you. I’m sorry about that by the way, I feel bad in hindsight.” A slight redness tinted her already wine-flushed cheeks.

“Don’t apologize, not that I would ever have told you but I actually didn’t mind. I enjoyed your passion, if students had half the determination and drive you did they would all be less asinine. You frustrated me at times,” He glanced at her as he continued, “but you challenged me, which is something few dare to do. I was impressed. You’re quite the intimidating figure when you want to be.” He smirked and her smile returned.

“Well I am glad you didn’t mind.” Lyria spoke softly.

“Never apologize for your passion or drive Lyria, they’re some of your most alluring qualities.”

“Alluring?” Lyria quirked an eyebrow and looked at him over the rim of her glass, batting her eyelashes and shifting her leg slightly.

Glancing down at his already half-empty rum glass, Severus decided he needed to slow down before his tongue loosened anymore.

Lyria was beginning to feel the effects of the alcohol as well. She was normally able to keep her salacious tendencies in check, convincing herself that she could never be with anyone. But Severus was so handsome, and he had been so romantic and gentlemanly all evening, she couldn’t help but tease him a bit. She licked her bottom lip and shifted her shoulders, the adjustment highlighting her cleavage and caused her hair to spill over her shoulders. When she adjusted her legs one came in contact with Severus’ and neither flinched away.

He still refused to elaborate so Lyria decided she would speak instead, “I could say the same for you you know.”

“Oh?” He gave her one of his half smiles and she felt warmth spreading across her abdomen, slowly creeping lower as he looked at her.

“You’re passionate about your work as well Severus, besides you’re incredibly adept for someone so young, I have read your notes and continue to learn from you. You try to hide it but I know you care about the students, you want them to succeed. That and you’re proficient in so many other types of magic, not to mention a great cook. Your passion obviously rivals my own.” She spoke with sincerity, and Severus was touched by her words, it seemed he was often overlooked, in his career and as a person, but Lyria noticed him.

“And that’s alluring?”

“Quite, a man without passion isn’t worth the time of day. Your passion, even though you keep it underwraps, is an incredibly attractive quality.”

As he watched her his confidence grew, there was no way what she was doing was an accident, the way she looked at him, the way she moved under his gaze, her words. He couldn’t explain why, but he knew that she longed for him as he longed for her. Amazed at the notion the someone could desire him, he had to be sure.

“Attractive?” He looked at her curiously, almost as though he was trying to make sure she hadn’t said it on accident.

She decided to answer as bluntly as possible. “Severus I find you incredibly attractive.” Something in his eyes changed, she wasn’t quite sure what it was, but suddenly his lips were upon hers and his arms drew her close to him.

The warmth in her body threatened to overwhelm her as she kissed him back. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the pure bliss of his lips against her own. No one had ever kissed her the way he did.

Severus couldn’t stop himself, he had to touch her, to experience her, and when she kissed him back his thirst for her grew. She was an incredible woman, with all she had been through she was still kind and caring, but she never let those qualities diminish her drive or her persistence.

His hand wrapped around her neck pulling her closer, but their position next to each other on the couch limited their movement.

Need overtaking her, Lyria unraveled her legs from beneath her and propped herself up on one knee before swinging her other leg around so that she was straddling him. The slit in her dress allowed for the movement and Severus, reaching a hand around her waist, guided her over him.

They stayed like that, enjoying the elation of their kiss until eventually Snape pulled back, lightly pushing against her waist so he could look up at her. Her hair was backlit by the fire and seemed to dance with light. Her lips were red, slightly puffy from their kiss and her eyes were wide, about at his eye level was the creamy expanse of her neck and chest, all together it was the most sensual thing he had ever seen.

She smiled, “Do you find me attractive as well then?” Aching for him to continue to touch her, continue to kiss her, she needed to hear that he did in fact find her appealing. “Lyria you’re the most enthralling woman I have ever known.” She stared at him, almost in disbelief, “And you’re physically attracted to me? Even though I’m so intimidating?” She winked at him as she said it.

In answer he captured her lips with his own and guided her hips down further onto his lap. She felt his desire for her and she gasped at the sensation, impulsively grinding her hips into his, needing to feel friction between her legs.

He broke from the kiss and held the back of her head as he began to kiss down her jawline, “Yes, I do.” He said quietly between kisses.

Lyria leaned her head back and exposed her neck to him, enjoying the warmth of his mouth on her skin. He began to make small licks and nips on her skin and she moaned lightly under the ministrations.

As Severus moved over her skin he paid careful attention to her reactions, noticing what she liked best while making sure she didn’t seem uncomfortable. When he reached a spot beneath her ear she let out a moan, thrusting into his touch. Severus began to kiss down her neck and to her chest, he drew his tongue carefully along the line of her dress and she let out another moan, a hand coming to rest behind his head and holding him to her. Keeping one hand in her hair, his other hand worked around her waist and came to rest above the curve of her hip, gently he let his thumb caress the underside of her breast.

Severus was sure this was a dream, but it was the best damn dream he had ever had. He had been with other women, setups or drunken dates, but never had he felt such a gravity towards someone. He was determined to make this flaming goddess understand exactly how he felt.

Severus drew his hand from around her neck and brought it down her chest, lightly brushing her nipple through the thin fabric before settling on her waist. This time it was she who leaned down and secured his lips in her own, she moved her hips back and forth across his lap and he let out a groan against her. Her dress had tucked between them and prevented her from fully feeling his hardness through his trousers.

She pulled back and his blazing eyes found hers. They looked at each other for a moment, catching their breath and assessing the other’s reaction.

Severus looked completely awestruck, and Lyria smiled, “What’s wrong Sev? I mean- Severus.”

“I don’t mind.” He said breathily.

“Don’t mind what?” she muttered.

“If you call me that. I like the way you say it.” She smiled and the breath he had just caught left him once more.

“Sev you look surprised, what’s the matter? Is it too much?”

“No, not at all, I’m just astonished.”

“Why?”

“That you’d… you’d want…” Even the words sounded strange. But she cut in. “Yes I do want you Severus. I’ve never felt this way about anyone.”

“Felt what way?” His hands still rested on her hips as he looked into her eyes. She drew in a breath to respond when there was a great BANG from the corridor.

Severus stood, lifting her with him before placing her on her feet as they drew their wands. Smoke began to travel under the door and they rushed to see what had happened.

Chapter Text

Minerva McGonagall and William Pendragon rounded the corner just as Severus and Lyria burst out of Snape’s room. Minerva only had a second to take in their appearance, noting Lyria’s dress and their general flustered appearance, when her attention was drawn to a fire burning down the hall.

Lyria ran ahead of the group and approached the fire, she recognized this type of flame. It was a deep orange and danced with animal-like shapes, not having much to feed on it remained somewhat subdued, but nonetheless it started to race down the hall toward where the other professors stood.

Minerva raised her wand to cast water upon the flames when Lyria cried out “No! Don’t use water, that will only feed the flames further. Severus!” She looked at him and understanding passed between the two. They knew these flames, imbued with dark magic, conventional means would only serve to grow their power. The two raised their wands with steely expressions and aimed at the fire. Where moments before they had been in the throws of fervent passion, they were cool and collected, their masks falling into place. Hiding their emotions was second nature to them.

Each muttered incantations as McGonagall and Pendragon watched on in awe. They worked effortlessly in tandem, taming the animals and extinguishing the blaze. When the last of the smoke cleared they turned and went back to where the others stood. “Fiendfyre.” Panted Lyria, the effort of dousing the magical flames catching up to her.

“That is very dark magic, how did you recognize it? Or put it out so quickly.” asked Minerva, concern evident on her face.

Severus jumped in to save Lyria from answering, “It is not an uncommon tool of Death Eaters. Most aurors are familiar with it. My concern is the concentrated nature of the fire, whoever cast it has specific training.”

“No one cast it.” Stated Lyria, she had wandered back to where the flames burned brightest and bent to pick up a smoldering black shell.

“Minerva gather the other Professors quickly, search every floor of the castle for a black object like this. You should be able to detect the curse even if you can’t see the object at first. Severus be ready to tame more fires.” Even in her dress and heels Artemis was an impressive figure as she barked orders. Command was natural for her.

“Pendragon I assume you also know how to smother fiendfyre, go with them. Make sure none of these explode! You should have a few minutes to get to them. Diffuse them by casting Aparecium and then destroy the shell. Alert all prefects to keep students in their beds until we have searched the castle in its entirety. Make sure to double check the dorms where the students from Ilvermorny and Durmstrang are staying. There is no time to lose.” No one questioned the apprentice, it was obvious she knew more than they did about the present danger and William quickly followed after Minerva as she sped down the hall, sending off patronuses to wake the other teachers.

Lyria turned back to where the flames were darkest and Severus noticed for the first time that they were right in front of the door to her room. The door itself had been blasted open and she stepped deliberately over the debris. Snape followed after her and watched as she crouched down just inside the door and lifted a black rose from the floor. As she stood she pulled a small roll of paper from around the stem and unfurled it. As she read her face went white and Snape rushed to her side, “What is it?”

He looked down and read the paper in her hands.

 

You’re time is nearly up, make your choice. Join us or die with them.”

 

“Lyria,” but he was too late. She had thrown down the note and the flower. With a flick of her wrist her dress was replaced by her robes and she left the room, leaving the door hanging on it’s hinges.

“We don’t have a choice Severus.”

Snape followed her as they moved to join the search for more dark objects. He understood, they would have to tell Dumbledore what they knew.

 

-----

 

Dumbledore considered the cracked black sphere on his desk. “How many were there?”

“We found four in addition to this one, luckily we were able to disarm them before anymore went off.” said Minerva.  

“Where were they located?”

“There was one near the dorms we constructed for the Ilvermorny and Durmstrang students and one outside each house common room except Slytherins.” Answered Snape.

“Where did this one explode then?”

All eyes turned to Severus and Lyria who stood next to one another. Snape turned to Lyria for an answer, not sure how much she wanted to reveal right away.

“It exploded near my door Headmaster. However I was not in my room at the time and was therefore not injured. Professor Snape and I heard the noise and went to investigate, which is where we met Professor McGonagall and Professor Pendragon who had been on patrol and I assume also heard the noise.”

Snape kept his eyes fixed on the object, not daring to look anywhere else should he implicate himself.

Lyria, Severus, Minerva, and Dumbledore stood alone in the study, the other Professors attending to the students.

“We were able to choke the flames before significant harm was done.” added Snape.

“Ms. Artemis I’m afraid I must ask you to enlighten me. You recognized this object and knew there must be more, how?”

His voice wasn’t angry nor was it accusatory, simply curious.

She remained steadfast under his gaze, “I helped to develop them Sir.”

Snape’s eyes shot to her as did Minerva’s.

“While I was working in the Ministry I was asked to oversee many projects, while I believed them to be Ministry sanctioned I know now that many of them were not. These devices are rigged to explode and produce fiendfyre. It is assumed that the fire would rage until the person who had placed them deemed it time to put it out. The use of these devices reaffirms my confidence that I know who is behind these attacks.”

Her voice was steady but Severus saw her knuckles had turned white and she had begun to shake. He suppressed the instinct to comfort her.

“Headmaster I would like to preface my explanation with this. While I understand that I will not be permitted to continue my apprenticeship I must ask to remain in the castle, for protection.”

“And I must ask you not to assume my decisions before I have made them. Now, who is behind this?”

“My father.”

Minerva gasped and a hand flew to her chest, Dumbledore’s eyes widened and Severus winced.

“But... but I thought- how can that be?” asked Minerva breathily.

Lyria proceeded to explain her past to them, detailing how she had discovered her true blood status, her position in the Ministry, and even describing her experience in the circle of Death Eaters. She detailed other projects she had worked on that Severus had not heard about. Almost all of them involved dark magic. As she spoke her strength began to slip, so Severus moved nearer to her and placed a hand gently on her back to show support. It seemed to help and she continued.

Lyria rolled up her left sleeve and the makeup was whisked away with a flick of her wand.

“My father warned me that I would never be able to hide from him. I should have known his reach would extend to the school system. I hadn’t been made aware of any plans to interfere with the tournament but the actions align with his overall objective. I believe he plans to unseat you Headmaster, and place someone in your position that is sympathetic to him and the Dark Lord.”

All eyes were drawn to the snake that slithered around the stem of the rose on her arm. Minerva looked terrified but Dumbledore remained calm, pacing as he considered her information.

“Severus?”

“Yes.”

“Did you know Edmond well?”

“No, he was many years my senior and we were assigned to different arms of the Dark Lords plan, I met him only a handful of times. Even then I was never privy to his exact tasks.”

“Would he remember you as a Death Eater?”

Dumbledore eyed him critically and Snape considered the question, “I cannot be sure… he would likely have heard of me but he may not know I am in the castle.”

“If my father knew about Sever- Professor Snape he would have already reached out to him. Rose was sure that all the remaining Death Eaters were connected to the Ministry. That’s why I think he had to reach out to a non-Death Eater to help with the attacks.”

“Do you know who is abettor may be?”

“Not yet.” She answered.

“Very well, I will consider your suspicion but I am going to need your help to substantiate it.” He turned to McGonagall, “Minerva I will leave it to you to debrief the other teachers, do not mention Artemis’ involvement. Only tell them what they need know.”

She nodded and turned to the door before changing her mind and rushing over to Lyria. The older witch hugged her and Lyria felt relief wash over her, she had been afraid Minerva would hate her.

When she pulled back McGonagall held Lyria’s arms and addressed her sincerely, “We will work this out dear, but don’t worry, you belong here.”

Lyria tried her best to give her a smile, “Thank you for understanding Minerva.” And she left, leaving Lyria, Snape and Dumbledore alone.

“This explains why the attacks have seemed to target you Ms. Artemis. Severus, I believe you must contact Mr. Rose.”

Lyria looked up at Severus, he saw the fear in her eyes and understood, but if Dumbledore asked him to, he would have no choice.

“See if you can gain his trust, your loyalty to the Dark Lord must appear to remain intact. That is imperative. It may also give us an idea of who else he may be working with.”

Both Snape and Lyria understood the logic in his proposition but neither liked it.

“Lyria,” Dumbledore faced her and his blue eyes pierced her own, “Is there anything more you can tell me about Rose’s plans?”

“Only that he meant for me to become Minister. When I ran he swore he would bring me back, that I would willingly serve the Dark Lord as he did. I don’t know how I factor into his plans at Hogwarts but I do know him. He will try to use me in some way.”

“Very well.” he turned and sat behind his desk. “Severus I will see you tomorrow evening in my office, Lyria,” He looked over his half-moon spectacles, “You will remain an apprentice of Hogwarts, Minerva is correct, you belong here. But I ask that you keep the information regarding the Ministry to yourself.”

“Of course Sir.”

“You both may go.” Lyria started towards the door and Snape placed his hand on her lower back to guide her out, as he was about to close the door Dumbledore called out to him, Lyria continued down the steps but he turned back.

“Yes Headmaster?”

He peered at him curiously, “Look after her. She is in great danger, as are you. Stay with her.”

Snape nodded and shut the door, needing no more convincing.

Chapter Text

As they approached the door to her room Lyria moved her hand ever so slightly and the debris around them began to clear. The Door reshaped and secured itself on its hinges, the black marks from the fire were wiped clean, and the contents of her room that had been scattered by the explosion fell into their rightful places. Never pausing, she crouched to pick up the flower where she had dropped it as the rest of the room stilled. “Lyria… I’m sorry.”

Her eyes remained on the black rose.

“Why are you sorry Severus?”

“I have no choice, I have to do as Dumbledore asks.”

“I understand.” Her voice was monotone as she considered the flower. “Neither of us have a choice, we must face him. Your way forward is clear. You must aid my father, you will be forced to tell him everything you know about me, and when he discovers my feelings for you he will ask you to bring me into the fold.”

“Lyria I would never-”

“You have no choice Severus, I have no choice.” She turned and set the flower on her desk before moving to the armchair in the corner of the room. “He’s right, I can never escape what I was meant to be. A Rose with too many damn deadly thorns. My life isn’t my own, no matter what I may want I will have to follow him, or die.”

Snape closed the door behind him and walked to her cautiously, her eyes were fixed on a spot off in the distance as she considered everything that had happened.

“You’re wrong.”

Lyria’s eyes snapped to his.

“Dumbledore and I have our ways. We can be selective about the information we reveal, while he is correct I must maintain my status as a Death Eater, I do not have to serve fully. I will not allow them to harm you. I will protect you.” Her eyes softened ever so slightly and he kneeled before her, placing a hand on her knee.

“Lyria you must trust me, I will speak with Dumbledore and we will work something out. You aren’t going anywhere, and he isn’t taking you.”

Lyria considered him, his dark eyes, full of hope and care, she almost believed him. Believed that she could escape without falling to the whims of her father. “I do trust you Severus, it’s Rose I do not trust.”

“I am not asking you to trust him any farther than you can throw him. Just have faith that this will work out. Your father is biding his time in these attacks so we will have time to plan, give Dumbledore a chance. Give me a chance. We will stop him.”

“Severus…” She slid from the chair and joined him on the floor. Falling into his arms, he caught her and held her tight to his chest. Wanting more than anything to make it all go away, he held her, for he knew what it was to feel that your life isn’t your own.

She looked up at him and gave a small smile, “And I was having such a good night…”

“Were you?” He said playfully, smirking at her.

“Probably the best night of my life.” The words had come too easily, and her smile faded as she realized how serious that sentiment was. “I mean… I uh…”

Snape gave her an uncharacteristically warm smile, “Well, should we see what of it we can salvage?”

A sigh of relief escaped her, “Yes please.” They stood and headed back to Snape’s rooms.

 

-----

 

The fire had nearly died and their glasses remained on the table where they had been abandoned, Lyria relit the hearth and Snape gathered some wine. They sat close on the couch, Lyria tucked into Severus’ side as they chatted about nothing and just tried to forget the night’s events.

When the fire died down once more, their glasses were empty and Lyria felt her eyes growing heavy. The steady breathing of the man beside her along with his warmth and the security he gave her had helped her relax.

She felt a gentle touch on her cheek and she looked up at Severus, trying to blink the sleep from her eyes.

“Feeling better?”

“Yes, thank you Severus. It helps just to be with you…” She yawned before continuing. “Gives me a chance to clear my head.” She lay her head on his shoulder once more.

Severus leaned down and gently kissed the top of her head, “Good, but now you need rest.”

She yawned again and lifted her head, “I think you may be right.”

He smirked and she caught the expression out of the corner of her eye, “Don’t get used to the feeling.” He grinned at her as she scowled playfully and stood. Stretching, she arched her back and he was drawn to her curves, remembering the feel of her over him. ‘Soon…’ he thought.

They made their way to the door where Lyria turned to Severus, looking up into his shadowed eyes.

“Goodnight, Sev…” She leaned to him and Snape took the cue, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her to him. She pressed her lips to his hard, trying to convey what she was not yet ready to admit in words.

Severus didn’t want to let her go, but she had already spent several nights in his rooms, it was dangerous to continue to do so. They would be caught for certain, and that, well, that would just complicate things. Especially now. So he let her go, and retired to his room alone.

 

--------

 

“Are you sure he meant her?”

Megan nodded, “Who else? What other ‘talented and beautiful representative of Gryffindor’ could he be talking about?”

Eva looked concerned, “But I thought… do you think her date went poorly? Is she wanting Pendragon?”

Justine jumped in “Shh! Keep your voice down. No I think Pendragon’s just jealous. He seems to have a thing for Lyria too.”

“Yeah, remember a few weeks ago? When Lyria had to be taken away from him by McGonagall?” They thought and soon remembered the incident to which Megan referred.

“So it’s safe to say Lyria doesn’t like Professor Pendragon, but I think he means to ask her anyway.”

“But Snape would never let him take Lyria to the ball. He’d stop them wouldn’t he?”

“Do you think Lyria knows?”

“Think Lyria knows what?”

The girls jumped and spun around. Artemis stood over them as they huddled around their cauldron.

“Um… we were… we were just…” Eva stuttered. Lyria glared down at them with her best ‘you better speak up’ look, and Megan folded. “We were wondering if you knew that Professor Pendragon is meaning to take you to the Yule Ball.”

Lyria’s face paled but she remained still, “I was not aware. How do you know this?” She looked to Justine, who was the most likely to spill the details quickest.

“In Defense Against the Dark Arts Ava Blackwell asked who he was taking to the Yule Ball and he said “None other than a very talented and beautiful representative of Gryffindor”. Obviously he meant… well you.” Justine trailed off at the end, noting her worried look.

Lyria tried to process what they were saying. If Pendragon asked her how could she refuse? No I don’t want to go with you because you’re gross and I’m actually seeing Severus Snape? Yeah that would go over well.

“Hey you can always say no!” Megan said hopefully.

Eva elbowed her in the ribs, “Ow!”

She hissed “If she says no then people will ask who she’s going with instead.” and Megan looked embarrassed for not considering that.

“Not to mention people will consider it an insult to Ilvermorny.” Added Justine.

It was Megan’s turn to glare, “Not helping!”

“Oh, right, sorry.”

“Did he say anything else?”

“No, it was the end of class and Ava looked upset so she didn’t ask for any more details.”

“Very well, thank you for telling me. And please keep this to yourselves.”

“Of course, but, Ms. Artemis,” Eva looked around the class and lowered her voice further, “Other people were there too, people are starting to talk.”

Lyria understood, she would have to decide what to do, and soon.

 

--------

 

“Lyria! Oh Lyria!” McGonagall hurried down the corridor to where the young witch stood and waited. “Hello Minerva.”

As McGonagall reached her they proceeded down the hall, she noted Lyria seemed to be in deep thought, “Am I disturbing you?”

Lyria shook her head and tried to plaster on a smile. “No of course not Minerva, what can I do for you?”

“I wanted to ask you about the Yule Ball,”

Lyria cut in, “Oh! I am just heading to finish preparing music with Filius, I have been helping with the choir. He wants to keep the main band a secret but I’ve been doing what I can.”

“Alright, how are your other preparations going?”

“Well I believe. We should have everything ready in time.”

McGonagall nodded, “Good, well I am glad to hear that…” Lyria paused and turned to her, “Is that all you wanted to ask me about Minerva? I have a feeling there is something else.”

“You’re correct, you see dear as you may recall it is the job of the Heads of House to teach the students how to dance.”

Lyria nodded, remembering the lessons she had attended with McGonagall in her third year.

“Well, I seem to recall that you were very talented.”

She blushed, “I’m not sure if I would say that, I enjoy dancing certainly, but I haven’t done it in a while.” Lyria looked at the woman curiously, “Why?”
“I was going to ask that you attend the lessons for each House, it would be helpful to have another set of eyes on the students and I believe they would benefit from your experience.”

“I would be happy to Minerva, any way I can help I will.”

“Very good, now there is one other thing.” McGonagall glanced in either direction down the hall before continuing, quieting her voice.

“There’s the matter of whom you will be attending the Ball with.” Anger replaced the vacant expression on Lyria’s face. “Yes, that arrogant gargoyle thinks he can spread rumors without even asking me. Minerva I will not attend with him. I don’t care what people think.”

McGonagall looked utterly bewildered. “Good heavens what are you talking about? I thought you and Severus were-”

“Oh! No! No no, I’m sorry I thought you were talking about William.” Lyria’s face flushed at the mistake.

“What’s happened with Professor Pendragon?”

“He’s been telling students I will attend with him. He hasn’t ask me but he plans to.” She sighed and hung her head, “I won’t be able to say no, not without insulting the school or causing some other drama.”

McGonagall still looked confused, “But Lyria dear, no one can be upset with you if you’ve made other plans. Simply explain to them that someone else asked you and-”

“I haven’t other plans. What do you mean?”

Minerva was the one to blush now, “Oh, I assumed, well… Dear are you not going with Severus?”

Lyria couldn’t help but enjoy seeing the intimidating Professor McGonagall fluster, she straightened up and crossed her arms across her chest. “What would give you that idea may I ask?”

“Heavens, I do apologize for the assumptions, but why wouldn’t you?”

“Minerva I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Merlin’s beard,” Minerva rolled her eyes and let out an exasperated sigh. “Are you two seeing one another or not?”

Lyria smiled at her exasperation, “Now see wasn’t that easy enough to ask?” McGonagall looked at her expectantly, and Lyria’s facade faded, “Minerva even IF I was seeing Severus do you really think he would ask me to the Yule Ball? I’m not Slytherin and as his partner I would be representing Slytherin House so there’s that, and second… well he just wouldn’t.”

“Have you asked him?”

“No, of course not.”

Minerva rolled her eyes again and placed a hand on Lyria’s arm, “Perhaps there was a time when he wouldn’t have asked, but he’s changed. You both have, I think you should give him a chance.”

“But Pendragon will ask me soon, what do I do?” She sounded like a 5th years asking her friends what to do about a date. But Minerva didn’t seem to mind. “Have patience, it will work out.” She patted her arm and began to walk back the way she came. “Besides,” Lyria turned to watch her as she left, “If he doesn’t ask you then the dress I am making will go to waste.”

“Wait a minute! What dress!” Lyria began to rush after her and she heard Minerva chuckle as she sped around the corner “Minerva! Hey!” but it was too late, McGonagall had disappeared into her classroom.

Chapter Text

“Well done! You will make Ravenclaw House proud. Now continue to practice and I will see you at the Ball, dismissed!” Flitwick waved off the Ravenclaws and turned to Lyria.

“Thank you for your help, I was never one for dancing as I spend my time with the choir, it helped to have someone as talented as you.”

“Thank you Professor, I enjoyed assisting, although I must say I am quite tired.”

“I don't blame you!” Said Flitwick as he sauntered over to the gramophone, giving it a tap before moving from the room. Lyria followed as they talked. “How many lessons have you assisted today?”

“Oh my… 5 I think?”

“Only one left after dinner then!” squeaked Flitwick. “But, you should enjoy that lesson.”

The small Professor had a grin on his face and Lyria knew to what he must be referring. Choosing to play dumb, she asked “You think the Slytherins will listen to me? I highly doubt it.”

“Even if they don’t listen to you at first, you and Severus are quite the deadly combination, I have no doubt you will whip them into shape.” Flitwick recovered well, and he made a good point. Her and Snape were quite good as a team, they were both strict but her compassion made up for his harshness in the classroom. Together they worked well.

“I hope you’re right.”

“Oh you’ll do just fine, besides, I am looking forward to seeing the two of you dance together.”

“What do you mean?”

“Severus is quite a good dancer Lyria, just as yourself, it would be a pleasure to see you two dance. Besides it would be good for Severus, he may actually enjoy something for once.”

Flitwick was managing to walk the line between appropriate and personal comments extremely well, she wasn’t sure how to respond without implicating herself.

“Well, should Professor Snape wish to dance with me at any point I would be honored.” She couldn’t help it, “I don’t know if it would be good for him, but anyway…”

Flitwick chuckled once more as they came to the teacher’s entrance to the Great Hall, “Oh you two! For goodness sake Lyria you’re both young and brilliant, there’s no shame in enjoying a dance!” Lyria nodded and almost missed his next words, “Or more.”

 

Lyria took her place at the end of the table and the meal began. She was quite hungry, having been dancing for hours now. The Hufflepuffs really hadn’t been bad, she danced with a nice 7th year named Colin who was a quick learner and made the demonstrations easy for her. During the Gryffindor lesson she had danced with one of the Prefects, a red-haired boy named Percy. He was alright enough at dancing, but he was so preoccupied asking her all manner of questions about the Ministry that it had been difficult for her to instruct anyone. Eventually McGonagall had come to her rescue and suggested she walk around and help without a partner. The Gryffindors were rowdy and didn’t want to adhere to the structure of the dance, but she managed to communicate the basics.

The Durmstrang students were already masters of the Waltz and several other forms of dance, apparently having been taught it in school. Nonetheless Lyria went over it with them and danced with several talented students. It was quite enjoyable really. The Ilvermorny lesson was one she had dreaded, wishing to avoid Pendragon at all costs, but to her great relief the lesson was taught by Professor Cindy Johnson. Apparently the Waltz was uncommon in America, and all the students were eager to learn. Lyria danced with several of the boys before assisting a group of girls. Ava Blackwell, the Ilvermorny Champion, had thrown her dirty looks the entire lesson, and when Lyria offered help at one point she had declined rather rudely. Unsure of what she had done to upset the girl, she had let it go. The Ravenclaws had been eager to learn and followed her instructions perfectly, but the effort had still exhausted her.

Lyria’s thoughts turned to the upcoming lesson, the Slytherin lesson. She didn’t remember anything about Snape dancing at the Yule Ball her third year, but he had only been an apprentice then. This must be his first Yule Ball as a Professor and Head of House and she wondered who he would opt to bring as a date to represent Slytherin with him… More than anything she wanted it to be her, and if Flitwick’s comment was any indication it would be accepted by the castle staff. Not to mention the fact that Minerva seemed to be preparing a dress for her already. But still she hesitated, they hadn’t discussed anything about making their… fondness… for one another public. But going to the dance didn’t have to mean they were seeing each other right? “Minerva and Albus go together and they aren’t a couple…” she thought. In fact most of the pairs were not actually couples. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad… The last few days had not offered her many opportunities to see Severus, in fact they hadn’t been alone since their date. When she looked around the hall for him, to make ‘discreet’ eye contact as they usually did, he was nowhere to be found. How had she missed that?

As she searched for him Minerva caught her eye from the middle of the table. The Professor stood and made her way over to where Lyria sat, standing behind the chair she said “He has gone to prepare for the lesson. You should leave soon and meet him to make sure everything is ready for the students.”

“Of course, thank you Professor.”

McGonagall nodded, smiling ever so slightly as she made her way back to the table.

Lyria abandoned her half-eaten meal and moved to the door.

 

“Not so fast beautiful.” She hadn’t seen him approach but Pendragon slid to block the exit from the Great Hall as Lyria reached for the handle.

“Professor I must prepare for the next dance lesson, if you’ll excuse me.” But he moved into her path again, this time reaching out and grabbing the hand she had stretched towards the door.

“Just one minutes, I must speak with you.”

“Professor I have nothing to say to you, please let me go.” Lyria snatched her hand away and glanced behind her to where the other teachers and students sat eating happily unaware of her predicament. She briefly considered calling out before he began speaking “We have pressing matters to discuss, you are a hard woman to get to. Perhaps you’ve been avoiding me Ms. Lyria, I’m hurt. ” he feigned upset by pouting his lips. “But perhaps I can forgive you, see tomorrow I-”

“Professor I must insist I go to the lesson.” she interrupted.

She was becoming desperate, increasing the level of her voice ever so slightly, but no one turned. “Should you wish to speak with me tomorrow after breakfast I will listen.” she conceded.

He contemplated pushing her to talk now but resigned, “Very well, breakfast it is. Until then I will think of nothing but your beautiful eyes and your soft hands.”

William stepped to the side and he let her rush past. If she wanted to wait until tomorrow then so be it. He had offered to talk before hand but if she wanted to be surprised then that was her choice, he would ask her after breakfast in front of the whole school either way.

 

---------

 

Lyria rushed through the door and shut it quickly behind her. Making sure it was locked before leaning her head against the frame and taking a deep breath.

When a hand touched hers she jumped before realizing that the hand belonged to Severus. She relaxed immediately, “Oh! I’m sorry Sev, you startled me.”

“Lyria what’s wrong.” It was more a statement than a question, his face was stern as he looked at her still holding her hand. “It’s nothing, I’m fine Severus really.” Lyria managed, still panting a bit from her sprint down the corridor.

“Yes I can see that, you run from the Great Hall and lock the door behind you because everything is fine.”

His dry sarcasm made her smile, “It’s just Pendragon, he-” Lyria stopped as Snape grabbed her by the shoulders and faced her fully to him.
“What has he done? Has he harmed you? If he lays a hand on you I swear-” Lyria placed a hand on his cheek and turned his eyes to hers. His expression softened and the anger he had held a moment previous faded at the touch of her skin.

“Severus, I’m fine. He just said he wanted to talk to me.” His grip on her relaxed but his hands remained in place.

“About what?”

“I’m not sure, he said a ‘pressing matter’ and started to say something about tomorrow but I didn’t really want to hear it so I told him he could talk to me after breakfast.”

Snape considered the information and moved away from her slowly. “Severus I promise it’s nothing. Hey,” Lyria stopped his movement with her hand on his, she walked around in front of him, lacing her fingers between his and looking up into his dark eyes.

“It’s good to see you.”

She looked so beautiful in the candlelight, he took in her appearance fully for the first time since she had entered the room. Her hair was braided into a high bun and curls fell around her ears. Her blue robes made her eyes pop and her skin glow. She seemed to radiate warmth and light in the cold room, he felt the stress of the last few days begin to fade as he looked at her.

“I… I’m sorry I’ve been running around so much and haven’t been able to be in potions or help you with your work. I didn’t mean to disappear after our date. I didn’t even get to ask you how the meeting with Dumbledore went. I just… I- I’ve missed you.”

“And I have missed you.” He didn’t care about her duties as his apprentice or his deal with Dumbledore in that moment, he just missed Her.

He slid his free hand behind her head and brought her lips to his. The kiss was tender, he simply enjoyed the feel of her against him, realizing just how true it was that he had missed her. With Lyria’s hand in his, his lips on hers, he felt whole for the first time in several days.

Lyria gave into the kiss eagerly, feeling safe and secure in his hands. He kissed her with such compassion, it was enough to make her knees weak.

The heat between them grew as Lyria’s body molded to his, she wrapped one arm around his neck and took the other one from his hand to his chest. Severus pulled her close and gently prompted her to open her lips to him which she did readily.

Lyria noticed then that he was without his cloak and the top button of his shirt was undone. She worked the hand behind his head beneath the high collar of his shirt, needing to feel him instead of his many layers.  

As she responded to his touch and placed her hand on his neck Severus felt an overwhelming desire to feel more of her skin against his. He traced a hand along her waist, trying to find a hem to her robes.

Suddenly there were footsteps outside the door and voices filled the hallway beyond. They broke apart and Severus rushed to the gramophone fixing his collar as Lyria straightened her robes and flicked her wand at the door to unlock it, not a moment later the door opened.

 

Severus was still futzing with the music so Lyria raised her voice as the students poured into the large classroom.

“Please line the walls, boys on the right, girls on the left. Quickly now.”

They did as they were bid and once everyone was settled Snape returned to the center of the room beside Lyria.

“By now you’ll have heard that you are all to learn how to dance, I have the unfortunate task of instructing you in this venture. You will obey my instructions and listen carefully, any foolishness will be punishable by detention. As Slytherins it is your duty to uphold the name of Salazar himself, your performance at the Yule Ball will signal to the wizarding community the prestige of Slytherin house. I needn’t impress upon you the importance of this.”

The students remained silent as he spoke, his voice was brimming with contempt and his sneer was audible as he spoke. Lyria suppressed a smile, it was amusing to see him so loathe to his own house, he clearly didn’t want to be teaching them in that moment.

“Ms. Artemis is here to assist in your instruction, you will treat her with the deference she deserves or find yourselves in detention for the rest of your miserable lives, understood?”

Nodding vigorously the students agreed.

“Now, before we begin you will need a partner.” There was an outbreak of whispers and Snape hissed, “Quiet!” The talking stopped and he continued cooly. “You will treat your partner with respect and dignity.” He turned to the boys in the room and spoke to them directly, “No one owes you miserable lot a dance, you must ask and respect the women’s response. While the concept of courtesy seems to elude most of you, you will learn it now.”

Lyria listened intently, none of the other Professors had talked about how to ask someone to dance, she was impressed at Snape’s attentiveness to the issue.

Turning back to Lyria, Severus looked at her with a glint in his eyes that made Lyria blush.

He didn’t completely face her, instead angling his body slightly away from her to avoiding seeming imposing, he bowed his head and spoke. “Miss Artemis, may I have this dance?” the contempt in his voice had disappeared, replaced with a kindness she was not expecting him to display in front of his students. He extended his hand to her and she responded in kind, curtseying slightly before accepting his hand. “I would be honored.”

He pulled her to him gently and his arm worked its way around her waist. Lyria couldn’t take her eyes off of him in that moment, but Snape looked out over the room.

“Now you. And be quick about it.”

The girls eagerly rushed forward as the boys hesitantly selected one to ask. She watched them stumble over their words as they asked a girl to dance, some tried to be frivolous with their question, trying to impress the girl he spoke to, others merely mumbled the request. Eventually everyone had found a partner and stood as her and Severus did now.

Snape removed his hand briefly from her hip and waved his hand at the corner of the room. Music began to play and he raised his voice, “Men you will lead your partners, like so-” and they began to dance.

 

Lyria tried her best to pay attention to the students around her, offering advice to the couples near them and looking out for any issues, but as the students got the hang of it her attention was drawn completely to Severus.

He lead her easily, confident in his movements and graceful with each transition, he was the perfect dance partner. They flowed together easily, communicating their next moves through light touches or glances, many students stopped to watch them as they moved across the floor.

As they danced, they felt the heat between them grow once more, Lyria responded to his touch, following his lead and savoring each moment their bodies pressed together. Their eyes were locked on each other as they spun, Severus let slip a half smile as he confidently lead Lyria in complex turns and dips while she gracefully added small flourishes to her movements.

Only when the music faded did the couple come back to reality. As Snape looked around the room the Slytherin’s hurriedly faced their partners once more and tried to keep dancing as a new song began. Lyria’s eyes never left his face, astonished at his grace and talent. When he turned back to her he let out a small grin.

“Something wrong Ms. Artemis.” Snape began to move them once more, this time simply.

“Not at all, Professor.” He rolled his eyes and she smiled, “Really though, you’re an excellent partner Severus,” she whispered to him.

Snape spun her so that their arms were crossed in front of Lyria and her back was pressed to him. He leaned into her ear and whispered, “I hope you’ll give me a chance to prove just how excellent a partner I can be.” His lips barely grazed her ear before he unfurled her from his arms and bowed. “Thank you for the dance Ms. Artemis.” A sly smile remained on his face as he moved to discipline a group of Slytherin boys who had navigated away from their partners. Lyria was left in stunned silence for a moment before attempting to collect herself and moving to help another group.

Chapter Text

“But HE’s supposed to be leading!”

“I am, you’re just not following.”

Lyria rolled her eyes, “Here, try this, Felix when you want Alexandra to turn, try squeezing her hand to let her know. Then, when she comes back, take her hand and point it in the direction you want to move next. It’s all about communication. Try again.” She stood back and the pair tried the movement, Felix did a better job of indicating the direction but Alexandra still stumbled a bit coming out of the turn. They both looked to her, eyes pleading.

“It’s alright, it just takes practice. Kelly, Adrian, come here, maybe switching partners will give you a fresh start.”

The four relented and continued to practice. Lyria circled the room, assisting couples and demonstrating when necessary. Even across the room she kept catching Severus’ eye, feeling a heat course through her each time.

When she heard Felix Johnson starting to argue again she moved back over to where he and a group of other Slytherins stood. “It isn’t my fault you know! Geez, Snape makes it look easy, it’s like Potions, it makes sense until you actually try.”

“Yeah, Artemis too. It’s like she’s been doing this her whole life.” quipped the girl named Alexandra.

“I have.” Interrupted Lyria who stood behind the cluster. “And if you keep practicing you will improve. I promise. It just takes time.”

“Still, Pendragon’s a lucky guy.” Said Felix with a half smile. Her own face fell, “What do you mean?”

“You’re going with him to the ball aren’t you?”

Snape headed over to where Artemis stood, but hung back when he heard Felix bring up Pendragon.

“Mr. Johnson that is news to me. Professor Pendragon has not asked me to the Yule Ball, I don’t know where you got that idea.”

“It isn’t his fault Ms. Artemis,” piped a 7th year names Julia, “It’s all anyone’s talking about. Kelly almost cursed an Ilvermorny student over it.” She giggled, but Kelly elbowed her in the ribs.

“Ms. Ives, is this true?” Questioned Lyria with a raised eyebrow.

The blonde shrugged, “Yeah, I told her that he hadn’t asked you yet so she shouldn’t make assumptions. Besides, we thought you’d be going with-” Felix cleared his throat and she stopped. “Oh, right. Well anyway we just didn’t think you were that type. For a Gryffindor you’re pretty alright.”

“Well, thank you for that. And while I appreciate that you wanted to put a halt to rumors I prefer if you’d restrain your curiosity regarding my personal business and refrain from threatening or injuring other students.”

The circle of Slytherins nodded, looking sorry. “Now, I believe we only have a few minutes left of the lesson. I suggest you pair up once more and practice.” Falling into pairs, the couples began to dance away from her.

Felix and Alexandra remained near by, and Felix seemed to get the hang of leading as he guided himself and Alexandra over to Lyria.

“You know Ms. Artemis, we were really hoping you’d go with Professor Snape.” Alexandra nodded vigorously. “Just sayin, as far as Professors go, we wouldn’t mind you representing Slytherin with him.” And they danced away, leaving Lyria stunned and unsure of how to proceed.

 

-------

 

“Enough. Continue to practice and perhaps your performance at the ball won’t disgrace this House. Dismissed.”

Students filed out of the room as Snape looked on. Lyria moved to exit with them, but his voice stopped her. “Ms. Artemis, I require I word with you.”

As the remaining students left the room, some of them whispering and looking back at them, Severus approached her. “Where are you off to in a such a hurry?”

“Nowhere, I just-” The door closed and Snape grabbed her hand, turning her to face him. “Lyria,” her brow was furrowed as she kept her face turned away. “Lyria, please.” He gently moved a hand to her cheek and brought her face to him.

“What else did Mr. Johnson say to you? When he and Alexandra approached you.”

She winced, “I take it you heard the preceding conversation then?”

“Enough of it.”

“Severus I’m sorry, I don’t know where William gets off spreading rumors to students. But I have no intention to go to the ball with him.”

“Then what was your plan?” His voice remained calm and she scrambled. “Um, I wasn’t… I just figured… not that I wouldn’t… I just mean-”

“Now this is something I never thought I would see. Lyria Rose Artemis lost for words.”

She smirked, “Very funny Severus. And don’t call me that!”

“If you’re all done spluttering, I was going to ask if you’d eaten enough at dinner.” He was still unusually calm. She thought he would be angry to hear the students gossiping about them, but he hadn’t even broached the topic.

“I’m a bit hungry, why?”

“Care to join me for a drink and something to eat?”

“I would love that.”

Snape kissed her briefly but hard before moving towards the door, a bit taken aback, she blushed as she proceeded to follow him, his earlier comment coming to mind.

As they walked Snape brushed her hand with his every once in a while. Eventually, she decided that if he could tease, so could she.

Lyria threaded her arm through his as they walked the empty corridors. To her surprise he did not pull away, he didn’t even stiffen under her touch so she moved her arm around him, gently sliding across his robes until her hand rested against his lower back.

Severus looked down at her as they walked, cocking an eyebrow but not saying anything. His move.

Suddenly a chorus of whoops and hollers burst through the wall of the corridor ahead of them. The headless hunt galloped down the hall, forcing Lyria and Severus to dive out of the way, more out of instinct than any real danger.

When the group had passed Severus realized he had pulled Lyria to him, back pressed against his front as he pressed his own back to the wall. She was smiling at his instinct to protect her, and decided to take advantage of the situation. As she maneuvered away from him, she pressed her hips backwards before arching her back and lifting her body from his.

He let out a slight groan, and before she knew what was happening Severus had hold of her hand and was rushing towards the dungeons leading her down the stairs.

Throwing open the door to his room, Lyria was barely over the threshold before he had her pinned to the wall.

Lyria’s surprise faded quickly as he kissed her. She opened her mouth to him and savored the sensation of his body over hers. One hand placed on the brick beside her head, his other held her waist and pulled. She caved easily, sliding her hands over his body as they kissed.

His hand traveled to the hem of her robe and she moaned into him.

Taking that as a good sign, Severus moved his hand to the buttons of her coat and quickly had them undone. Lips never leaving hers, he pushed the robe off her shoulders and onto the floor. She was left in a black scoop-neck shirt that gave a wonderful view of her creamy skin, and a hint of cleavge. He began to move his kisses down her jaw to her neck, needing to feel more of her.

As he kissed her Lyria tried to undo his vest, but the small black buttons proved difficult to maneuver. Instead she snapper her fingers and they were undone in an instant.

Getting the message, Snape removed himself from the fabric before pressing back to her, leaving him with another black vest over his white long-sleeved shirt. His lips found her neck before she could remove more of his clothing and she gasped, closing her eyes and thrusting her hips against the hand that held her waist. He traced the edge of her shirt before slipping his hand underneath. As his skin touched hers they both moaned, Snape’s a deep rasping and hers a high-pitched mewl.

Suddenly he was off her and she opened her eyes in confusion, she didn’t have to worry long as he took her hand and guided her to the couch by the fireplace.

Snape waved his hand and flames burst into being before he turned to her. Gently he shifted her so Lyria had the back of her legs pressed against the couch. Slowly he lay her down, black eyes never leaving the blue. Severus placed a knee on either side of her, straddling her waist before returning his lips to her neck.

As his ministrations neared her ear he said in a soft, husky voice “Tell me if it’s too much and I will stop.”

She placed a hand on his cheek and brought his face over hers. “Severus, the last thing I want is for you to stop.” He kissed her passionately but she broke away. “However,” her wicked grin just served to heighten his arousal, “I need this off you.” She gestured to his frock coat.

After only a moment's hesitation, he undid the buttons and removed the garment as she had bid. She smiled genuinely, “Better. Why do you wear so many layers anyway?”

He shrugged and gave a slight smirk before bringing his lips back to hers. Slowly he maneuvered himself so that he lay on top of her without putting his full weight one her. Propping his hip with the couch. At the increased contact she took in a sharp breath and he pulled back “Am I crushing you?”

She silenced him with her lips. If he was, she didn’t seem to mind.

Lyria could feel his hardness against her leg and she couldn’t help but grind her hips into him as he continued to kiss her. Slowly his hand lifted the corner of her shirt and slithered across her skin.

Breaking away from her lips to kiss along the collar of her shirt, he slid his hand over her abdomen, her breath quickened and her hips nudged into him repeatedly. The hand on her stomach moved higher, tracing the underside of her bra as his lips pushed passed the upper hem of the shirt. Lyria threw her head back with eyes closed. Letting him explore her body, her hands roamed over his back and gripped his shirt, untucking it from his pants and revealing a bit of his back. She hoped he wouldn’t tease too much longer, aching for his lips to find her breasts and to feel his bare chest against her.  

Severus paused to take in her appearance. Lyria’s head was back and her mouth was open as she moaned with each touch of his hand and mouth. It was delicious, his cock strained against his trousers as she ground into him, he couldn’t take it much longer, he needed to see more of her, and by the looks of it, she needed him too. She tugged at his shirt and placed a hand on the bare skin of his back. The touch had him moaning as well and he bit down on the skin just above her bra line.

She let out a raw cry and clutched his head to her chest. He couldn’t help but smile against her skin, apparently she liked things as rough as he did.

Severus felt her push against him and he sat up, drawing his lips from her and looking down at the beautiful creature before him. Her face and chest were flushed and a purple mark was forming over the spot he had just vacated. Before he could speak she was reaching behind him and drawing his shirt over his head. He obliged and sat back on his knees to pull off the long sleeves.

She sat up slightly and he shifted further back to allow her the movement. She stared, but not in a bad way, in her eyes he saw nothing but hunger and longing.

She leaned forward and began to place light kisses down his chest, placing her hand on his back and moving over his exposed skin, savoring every inch of him. As her lips explored she felt his chest contract as she hit sensitive spots and slight breaths escape him as her nails gently scraped across his back. When she stopped and looked up at the man straddling her his eyes were closed and his breathing heavy. Opening his eyes, she saw something akin to amazement in them.

As he watched her, she drew her hands to her shirt and lifted it over her head, revealing a black bra with a metallic green lace overlay. His breath gone, his eye devoured her as she looked up at him. When he continued to stare, saying nothing she asked tentatively, “Too much?”

He shook his head, “You’re just… beautiful.”

She gave a small smile and shrugged her shoulders under his gaze. No one had looked at her that way before and she wasn’t sure how to respond. He answered her question of what to do next with his lips on hers, his hands resuming their desperate exploration, finding their way to her back and tracing maddeningly along the lines of her bra.

As his lips found that spot behind her ear again and his long, deft fingers found their way under the left shoulder strap she sucked in a breath and thrust her hips into him before moaning his name, “Severus… please…”

“Please what?” He said against her neck.

“Touch me.”

His hands worked around her and undid the clasp before pulling away and drawing the undergarment from her.

Her tits were mesmerizing, pale in the firelight, her rosy nipples hard in arousal. He moved his hand over one and it fit perfectly into his large palm, as if it was meant for him. He leaned her back and replaced his hand with his mouth.

Her body clenched as the warmth of his mouth engulfed her. His tounge flicked against her nipple and sent waves of pleasure rippling through her. As he explored, she pulsated against him, responding to every flick, every nip. She scratched his back and held his head to her as he switch from one breast to the other.

Eventually she couldn’t take it anymore, she could feel him straining against her, grinding his hips into her in time with every moan that escaped her red lips.

Still catching her breath, she motioned for him to stand. He was going to ask what she was doing but kept silent as she stood, took his hand, and guided him to his bedroom. He’d never had a woman take charge in such a way before but he didn’t mind. It excited him, what could she want so badly that she needed to take control?

Lyria stopped at his bedside and turned to him, but instead of laying down as he expected, she guided him to sit on the edge of the bed. Leaning down to kiss him, she slowly moved her hands over the expanse of his chest as she knelt down in front of him. Her lips moved over his neck, peppering kisses down across his collarbone as her hands traveled to his hips. One hand supporting him, the other made its way into her hair as she continued to caress his skin.

Ever so gradually, her hand came upon the rather sizeable bulge in his pants, tracing her fingers over it as she kissed him.

“Ahhhhh,” He let out deep sigh as she continued to palm his erection. He couldn’t help but buck into her. Pulling her to him Severus crushed his lips to hers, as their tongues entwined her hands moved the buttons of his pants and he drew back, looking at her seriously.

“Lyria, please, you don’t have to, I don’t-”

“Sev, unless you’re uncomfortable or unhappy with my touch,”

“Far from it.”

“Then please, let me show you how much I want you.” It came out as a pleading whisper, and he could only nod at the red-haired beauty before him as she continued to undo his trousers.

He lifted up slightly so she could pull them off him and watched in awe as she sank fully to her knees.

Lyria cast small kisses against his thighs as she made her way up to his boxers. He sat back on his elbows and watched as she teased him. Her hands skirted his hips and one gently palmed  him through the shorts. He groaned and pressed into her, but she kept her touch light. Finally she sat up and brought the waistband down, freeing him from the confines of the fabric and revealing him fully.

She had been able to feel his size even through their clothing, but seeing him completely erect she worried she may not be able to do him justice. The thought was fleeting as her mouth watered and she bent to resume her kisses along his inner thighs. She wanted him so badly but was determined to make this as pleasurable as possible.

She slowly brought her hand to wrap around him, noting his girth as she moved her lips closer to him. Lyria looked directly into his eyes, needing him to see how much she wanted him. At last she drew the flat of her tongue from the base of his cock to the tip before encircling his head and drawing it into her mouth.

“Fuck!” He gasped and lay back fully on the bed, overwhelmed by the sensation. She circled her tongue around the tip of his cock again before taking as much of him as she could into her mouth.

Engulfed in blissful warmth, he moaned and trembled at the sheer ecstasy of her mouth. Never in his life and someone made him feel so desired. Her tongue swirled over his head before taking him fully. Using one hand as an extension of her mouth, twisting and pumping, she bounced on his cock. She paid attention to every move he made, every groan and every sharp intake of breath.

Grabbing a pillow from above him he propped up himself up, watched enraptured as he experienced the best blowjob of his life. She sucked expertly, never being too rough, alternating speeds, and drawing out moan after moan from his lips. Her movements slowed to near a halt and he raised an eyebrow, about to ask if everything was alright, when suddenly she plunged down and his cock hit the back of her throat. “Oh fuck!” was all he could manage as he wound his hand into her hair, guiding her down. Her throat relaxed and she pushed herself further onto him. He had to pull her hair to get her up and she slowly removed her mouth from around him.

“Sorry, too much?” She said sheepishly.

“Oh Gods no, it’s just that… if you keep that up there will be consequences.” She gave him a smile that made his heart flutter and his already throbbing cock pulse.

“Good.”

She lowered herself back onto him and continued her ministrations, sucking and teasing with new fervor. Lyria pushed him into her throat several more times, learning to take his length, hoping to one day be able to wrap her mouth fully around the base.

She felt him become rigid beneath her and sucked greedily. Wanting to taste him, to give him release.

“Lyria… Lyria! Oh fuck!!” He threw his head back and grabbed her head wit both hands, driving his cock into her waiting mouth. Instead of retreating or opening her mouth as he had expected, she clamped her lips around him and sucked in rhythm with each spurt of his seed.

He came harder than he thought possible and she swallowed every drop, never taking her mouth from him as he rode out his orgasm.

As he stilled she swallowed what was left in her mouth, he wasn’t salty as she had expected, instead there was a hint of sweetness to the overall musky taste. She quite enjoyed it and found herself gently moving her mouth and tongue over him. Licking up any last drop and generally just enjoying the contact as he caught his breath. He hands fell to his sides as she continued her movements.

As he came down from his high he realized she was still on him, gently circling her tongue and giving small licks to his semi-erect member. He was extremely sensitive, and the contact was bordering on too much, but he enjoyed the prolonged feeling of her. It was extremely intimate.

After a minute or so Lyria sat back and looked up at him, almost as if searching for a sign of approval.

“Was that… okay?” She asked with a nervous smile.

“Okay?” Severus sat up and looked over her, still between his legs and looking up at him with those blazing blue eyes.

“That was the most incredible thing I have ever felt in my life.” He glanced a hand over her cheek, she leaned into his caress and closed her eyes in contentment.

Still recovering, he asked quietly, “Come up here with me?” He nodded to the bed and she wordlessly agreed. He shifted so he was more on the bed as she lay beside him.

It was an entirely foreign feeling, but Severus wanted to lay on her chest, to be close to her, to feel her soft breasts under him. He wasn’t used to being so intimately aware of his feelings for someone, or having that person reciprocate those feelings. Lyria lay back on the pillows and opened her arm to him, he gladly took the invitation and lay his head on her chest. Exhausted from the day and from the intense orgasm.

Lyria wasn’t sure how he’d react, but she just wanted to be near him, to be held by him and to hold him. She let out a happy sigh as he accepted her invite. She curled into and around him, entwining her legs with his. Only in that moment did she realize she was still wearing her black leggings.

As his warmth and comfort surrounded her with his arms across her body and his head leaning on her chest, she couldn’t seem to care about their varying states of dress.  

Drained, comfortable, and inexplicably happy, Lyria quickly felt her eyelids begin to droop.

Within minutes, they were both sound asleep.   

Chapter Text

The soft sound of running water drew Lyria out of her slumber. After a few moments of drearily blinking away the sleep from her eyes she realized where she was, and what had happened the night before. She became aware that while she was missing her top, the dark green silk sheet had been draped over her chest. Snape was ever the gentleman it seemed.

There was only a hint of light coming through the window, but Lyria found herself quite awake as she replayed the night’s events in her mind.

He had seemed to truly enjoy what they had done, but Lyria couldn’t help but wonder exactly what he had thought about it. Was it too much too soon? Was she not as good as his previous lovers? Is that what they were?

Cuddling into the soft pillows, Lyria wished she could stay in his bed forever, never thinking about the consequences, never thinking about all the other things in her life, just lay there with him.

As she tried to shut her eyes to the outside world reality seemed to set in and she realized how much she had to do that day. Perhaps an early start wasn’t a bad idea.

Conjuring a purple rose, she lay the flower on his pillow before setting off to find where exactly she had left the rest of her robes.

 

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Peering around the corner, Severus found the bedroom empty. He had already dressed in his usual robes, unsure if his appearance in a towel would be quite welcome should Lyria be awake. Although it seemed he had nothing to worry about, she was gone. Did she regret last night? Is that why she left? Had he made her uncomfortable? Severus ached to feel her again, those full lips wrapped around him… her hands…

He scolded himself, enough! She had gone… obviously- but then his eyes came to rest on his pillow. He strode to where the purple flower lay, picking it up and twirling the thorny stem in his fingers.

A purple rose, a symbol of desire…

In that moment Severus made up his mind. No more doubting, Lyria had made him feel that good last night for a reason, she had wanted to, and he wanted her in return, more than just physically.  

Snape moved quickly out the door, heading to the kitchens to gather a few things before making his way to Lyria’s room.

 

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“Coming!” Lyria twitched her blouse into place before hurrying to answer the door. Breakfast wasn’t for another hour, who could be knocking so early?

When she opened the door Snape stood there looking a bit flustered. The sight of the infamously stern potions professor looking nervous was quite amusing.

“Severus? Oh, Good morning.” He gave her a nod of acknowledgment, seemingly unable to form words.

Where had all the confidence from a few minutes ago gone? He chastised himself as he attempted to force his lips to move.

“Would you like to come in?” Lyria held open the door a bit more and he nodded again before moving into her room, a silver tray floating behind him. Closing the door behind him she turned “So? What’s all this?”

Snape looked a bit sheepish, “I brought you breakfast. I wanted to talk to you and you didn’t get much dinner so I thought…” he stopped speaking and Lyria smiled at his nervousness, somehow it gave her confidence.

“I may not have gotten dinner,” She crossed her arms and moved towards him slowly, a wicked grin spreading across her features, “But I had a lovely dessert.”

Her words shot straight through him and suddenly he had to touch her. Severus closed the distance between them and pressed his lips to hers, feeling her melt beneath him. They stayed that way for who knows how long before Snape broke away, this time it was he who had a wicked glint in his eyes. “Perhaps tonight it will be my turn to get some dessert.”

Lyria felt her core tighten at the implication and a blush spread across her cheeks. She gave an enthusiastic nod before Severus said “Come, let’s eat.”

Severus pulled the chair from her desk and Lyria sat in her large armchair as they ate. They didn’t say much, talking here and there about their project, but mainly they were simply enjoying each other’s company.

When Lyria’s clock chimed 8 they reluctantly charmed away the dishes and moved to the door to head to the Great Hall. If they didn’t show up it would look suspicious.

Before Lyria could open the door Severus grabbed her arm and spun her to him, crushing his lips to hers in a fervent display of passion. Her arms circled his neck and he pushed her against the door as their need overtook them.

Moving his kisses down her neck, Lyria gasped at the sensation but tried to reel herself in. “Severus… Severus we have to-” He was making it difficult to form a coherent sentence. “We have to go Sev.” She gently placed hand on his cheek and brought his lips back to hers before pulling away to look at him.

“Tonight okay?”

“Very well.” She nodded at his response and moved to turn away, “Lyria wait.”

She looked up into his eyes which, where a moment ago she had seen hunger, there was now a sort of earnest tension.

“Yes?”

“I have something to ask you.”

“Alright… is everything okay?” She looked concerned and he quickly reassured her.

“Yes everything is fine. But I just need to ask,”  Lyria was expecting another question about whether or not she is really attracted to him, perhaps another inquiry as to if she was okay with what was happening, instead he looked her directly in the eyes and softly but sincerely said “Will you go to the Yule ball with me?”

Pure shock shot through her. She had been so sure he wouldn’t ask her, she hadn’t even thought about what she would do if he did. She tried to grasp at some of the thoughts swirling through her head.

“But I - I wasn’t in Slytherin, do you mean for me to-?”

“Yes I do.” He sounded so sure, “You represent the best qualities of my house, you’re clever and resourceful, that and the students adore you.” She blushed at the compliment and he continued. “Besides,” He smirked, “It would take a real Gryffindor to appear at the Yule Ball with a Slytherin.”

She smiled up at him, meeting his gaze again. “I guess that’s true.”

“There’s one more thing, I want you to be there to represent my house with me, but more than that, as my partner.”

“Severus are you sure? People will suspect-”

“I don’t care and neither should you, we can do what we please, as long as we are able to continue in our positions.”

Lyria couldn’t believe what she was hearing, she had half a mind to try and talk it out more, but her excitement won out and all she could respond was  “Yes Severus, I would love to go to the ball with you.”

 

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Snape entered the Great Hall first and Lyria followed a few minutes later. Try as she might Lyria couldn’t wipe the small smile off her face. Even Snape was having a hard time scowling.

As they picked at their food Minerva noticed the two’s odd behavior, when a Gryffindor in front of Lyria threw a biscuit at a Slytherin, instead of getting upset she simply walked over to the boy, quietly scolded him, and returned to her seat. Looking no less happy.  

Dying for answers, and noticing that Dumbledore seemed to be watching the pair as well, McGonagall stood and moved to speak with Lyria.

“Good morning Minerva!”

“It seems so dear, what’s gotten into you?”

Lyria blushed, “Nothing…”

Minerva rolled her eyes “Honestly you’re practically glowing.”

“Fine, let’s just say you were right. I seem to have a date to the Yule Ball.”

It was difficult for Minerva to remain professional, she smiled and gave Lyria’s arm a squeeze. “I told you so.”

“I know. I should know by now that’s you’re always right huh?” Said Lyria teasingly.

“Perhaps” came McGonagall’s chuckled reply. They grinned at each other for another moment before Lyria came back to reality.

“Was there something you wanted to speak to me about?”

“Come to my office after dinner, we need to talk about next semester.” Lyria’s face paled and she quickly reassured the young witch. “Don’t worry it’s good news. Besides, we have to get you fitted for your dress.” She shot her a wink before moving back to her seat, leaving Lyria even more excited than before. It seemed the day was off to a great start.

 

As breakfast neared its end Lyria finished off her coffee and made to stand when suddenly the enchanted ceiling above them began change. The winter sky was replaced by white fluffy clouds and from somewhere light violin music began to play as small hearts started to fall amongst the snowflakes. The hall looked up in confusion when suddenly the entrance to the Great Hall burst open and none other than Professor William Pendragon walked in.

Sporting a large grin, he wore fine gold robes and carried a frilly bouquet of flowers. Lyria felt a pit in her stomach as he eyed her, strutting down the hall in her direction.

Whispers broke out amongst the students as Pendragon ascended the stairs and approached Lyria’s end of the table.

She was mortified, her face was ash white and she seemed unable to move as Pendragon stopped in front of her and thrust the flowers into her hands, she took them only because if she hadn’t the Daisies would have spilled everywhere. Daisies, she hated daisies.

“Lyria Artemis,” his voice boomed through the hall and the whispers quieted, all eyes on the pair of them. Even the teachers had stood and were watching, Snape of course seemed to be radiating anger but kept his mouth shut.

“It has come to my attention that you are not only a talented witch, but a supremely beautiful woman and every bit the lioness a proper Gryffindor should be. As a Gryffindor myself, as a visiting professor looking to showcase the best that Hogwarts has to offer, I must ask,”

He stepped back from the table and spread his arms wide in some sort of display of showmanship.   

“Will you go to the Yule ball with me?”

The Great Hall had never been so silent. All eyes were on Lyria, she could feel the eager stares on the Gryffindors, the knives being thrown at Pendragon from the eyes of the Slytherins, the disheartened glances from the Ilvermorny girls and several Ravenclaws. Lyria acknowledges them all. She felt like a lion in a ring, all eyes on her, expecting some sort of display.

Her mind screamed at her to accept, to avoid the drama that would be caused by rejection, but her heart pulled towards Severus, the connection they had, and his own request for her to attend with him. She felt split between duty and what she wanted.

She felt like she was facing her father all over again, being asked to abandon her own feelings for the good of the group, to protect her image. Lyria couldn’t betray her heart again…

She drew herself to her fullest height and put on her best diplomatic expression, a look of cool serenity that bordered on indifference.

“Professor Pendragon, I am honored by your request.”

He beamed and bowed his head, seeing to take the comment as a yes. Lyria quickly jumped in.

“But I must decline.” Holding the flowers out back toward Pendragon, the hall gasped at her answer.

Blank shock showed upon William’s face for just a moment before it started to become red with anger. His fists clenched and his arms lowered to his sides.

“Why?”

Lyria could tell he was trying to hold in his anger as his voice trembled slightly. His question was a sweetly veiled attempt to calm himself.

“Someone as already asked me.” endragon began to ask who but she held up a soft but firm hand to stop him.

“It does not matter with whom. My answers stands. I appreciate you asking but again,” she placed the flowers in his hands as he stood shaking, angry and dumbfounded. “I must say no.”

Lyria turned to leave, the pressure of all the eyes becoming overwhelming.

“It’s you isn’t it! You took her!” Suddenly William threw down the flowers and pointed accusingly at Severus.

Before Mcgonagall could raise her voice and other professors moved to take Pendragon away the Slytherins gave a great cheer. The other houses, including the Durmstrang and Ilvermorny students looked on in shock, trying to understand the sudden commotion.

It happened so quickly, Lyria didn’t get a chance to fully react before Pomona Sprout was taking her from the room as Dumbledore stood, presumably in an effort to exert some sort of damage control. Snape looked on helplessly as Lyria fled, unable to follow without further incriminating himself and her. What had he done?