Vespertine

Got Love? Whether it’s unrequited, extramarital, obsessive or completely otherworldly, this fic’s got it covered. Contrary to public opinion, Severus Snape didn’t die at the Battle of Hogwarts. Although he’s not exactly “alive,” he is on a mission to possess the very thing that eluded him in life: love. While love might be the best revenge, it’s never easy. When murder and madness are part of the mix, desire has teeth—and this kind of love really bites!

0Likes
0Comments
3242Views
AA

20. The Moon's Mistress

Part I (London)

Unable to wait inside any longer, Sybill entered the yard by one of the exits along the side corridor. Although the rain had held off for a few hours, a tenacious fog had taken its place, transforming the exercise yard into a ghostly landscape of barely discernible silhouettes. She could feel its spreading dampness wrapping about her, its droplets beading her hair, transforming its already uncontrollable frizz into overgrown furze. She tightened her robe, suddenly grateful for its plushness and warmth.

A small mercy, compared to the way she felt. Simon's earlier gift, initially calming, had worn off too quickly, leaving in its place a gnawing ache and a case of the jitters. Where was he, anyway? He said he'd meet her. Sybill peered out across the yard, but saw only shades of grey moving beneath the diffuse yellow lamplight—only mist, not even the small crimson flare of a cigarette to denote another's presence. What if he'd forgotten? What if there was no Candyman and Simon was a drug addict who'd just made the whole thing up to get her medications? He could be a drug addict, after all. While he seemed so nice, he'd never said why he was at St. Mungo's, where he'd come from, or anything about himself, for that matter. She leaned against the covered archway, listening to the steady drip of water from the eaves and feeling every bit the fool for putting so much trust in a complete stranger. Hadn't her pre-Hogwarts travels, years of living out of a carpet bag on nothing more than her family's fame taught her better than that? Still, joke or not, she didn't want to go back inside.

Sighing, Sybill picked her way over the boggy ground. By the time she'd reached the bench by the oak tree, her thin slippers were soaked and mud stained the hem of her robe. As she plopped down on the damp wood, something moved in the alley beyond the fence—something large—much too large to be a dog or cat. Unless I'm just imagining things again, she thought, although the sound of boots crunching gravel and a shape looming out of the fog soon told her she was not.

Springing off the bench, keeping it between herself and the fence, Sybill glanced back at St. Mungo's but still could see no one. Heart hammering, she turned back and whispered, "Is someone there?"

"Sybill, what luck; I was hoping I'd see you."

The voice sounded so familiar! Although its timbre lacked the velvety deepness of her dear Severus's it was undeniably male and something in its softness hinted at kindness. Making a cautious way around the edge of the bench, she took a few hesitant steps toward the fence.

Leaves rustled. "I'm sorry if I startled you—and for the lateness of the hour," he said. "But when I heard what a terrible thing Minerva did to you, I just had to come."

The words Minerva and terrible emboldened her. Joining the man at the fence, Sybill recognized him immediately. "Mr. Weasley! Oh, it's so good to see a familiar face," she said, clasping his hand through the iron bars. "I'm just so ashamed you have to see me in such an awful place!"

"It's a mad world when someone's locked away simply for telling the truth."

"You believe me!"

"Of course I do," he said, patting her hand. "I'm going to do everything I can to get you out of here. I don't care what Minerva said, I believe you—everything you said about Severus."

"Severus..." The mention of his name seemed to cast a spell over her. "Dear, sweet Severus! I can't bear the thought of him, hurt and alone, hiding in some dark corner of the castle—and I'm sure he is—hurt, I mean. Oh, Mr. Weasley, we have to find him, we have to help him," she said. Arthur nodded and started to say something, but just then, the bell began tolling the tenth hour. Dropping his hand, she stepped back and glanced wildly around.

"What's wrong?"

"You have to go, Mr. Weasley. He'll be here soon," she whispered.

"Who?"

"I came here to meet him; he has something for me. I'm afraid I'm not an ideal patient." She stifled a giggle behind her hands. "Simon calls him the Candyman."

He nodded but his gaze traveled over Sybill's shoulder. An ember flared in the gloom. "Syb, is that you?" Simon called from the fog.

"Over here," she said.

Putting a finger to his lips, Arthur stepped slowly back, merging with the fog and the night.

"I could'a sworn I just saw someone." Simon hurried past her and scanned the alley through the bars of the fence.

"It was just the fog playing tricks. Some people think it's so romantic, the fog, but I've never cared for it. All that vapor rolling and shifting..." She shivered.

"Yeah, it's thick as molasses all right," he said. "If it weren't for those lamps, you wouldn't know there was a hospital back there at all. It'd be easy to lose your bearings."

"Yes but it's more than that," she said. "Because water is the universal conduit, other things always ride in with it."

"What kind of things?"

"Images, memories, voices—too many voices..." She slipped her arm through his and they began walking toward the oak. "You know, for just a moment, I was afraid you weren't going to come."

"Not come? I wouldn't let you down, seein' it's your first time and all, but as I was coming across the yard, I heard you talking to someone. Who're you talking to?"

"Just myself. I often do it when I'm alone. A familiar sound makes it seem less empty, less frightening. I had a dream earlier and... Oh, never mind." She dropped his arm. "I'm sorry, carrying on like this, Simon. You must think I'm so silly."

"A dream? Was it one of those where you see the future?"

She shivered. "I hope not."

"This way, Syb. Watch your step." Taking her hand, he guided her around the tree's massive trunk and over its slippery roots to a secluded spot beneath its canopy. "Was your friend Severus in it?"

"Severus was! I was running to him, trying to find him but when I did, he..." The wind rose. Branches creaked in the wind and droplets, falling from leaves, crackled like flames. Moaning, Sybill hid her face in her hands and backed against the tree. "Oh, please don't ask me anymore. I can't bear to think about it!"

"Sorry. Didn't mean to upset you." Simon went to the fence and peered through the bars.

"Dreams, you say? Don't put much stock in them myself," said a deep voice from the alley. The hedges parted and a tall, hooded figure emerged. "I prefer things I can see, things I can touch, things of this world. Things like this." Cloth rustled and glass clinked against iron.

"Careful or you'll raise the alarm," Simon whispered.

"We'll be in Hogsmeade before anyone knows she's gone," Greyback said in a low voice. Behind him, deep in the foggy shadows, something creaked. Whipping his wand from his coat, he pointed it into the darkness. "We're not alone, Simon."

"It's just a rat. Don't be so paranoid."

"Maybe..."

"Oh, please, you can't go," said Sybill.

Turning back, pocketing the wand, he said, "Well, come on then, sweetie, I can't wait all night. You want this or not?" He waggled the bottle.

"It's okay." Simon grabbed her by the arm and pulled her roughly towards the fence, knocking her glasses off.

"Please...if you'd just...I can't see without..." Squatting, Sybill began tamping the ground.

"Leave 'em for now," said Simon, hoisting her to her feet.

"He's right. You don't need 'em to know what this is, do you?" Greyback uncapped the small bottle and started to pass it through the fence, but just as Sybill's hand touched it, he drew back. "Simon here says you're a teacher of some sort but I don't think I caught your name, Miss," he whispered. "That's no way to conduct proper business, is it?"

"It's Sybill—Trelawney—Professor of Divination at Hogwarts—and being held here against my will," she said, her hands groping for the bottle.

"Divination, eh," he drawled.

"It's a rare gift." She nodded. "Please, if I could just have a little nip?"

"S'that like seeing the future in a crystal ball?" This time, he let her find it but waited until she was in the midst of a long swig, before he said, "That is, when you're not chucking one at someone's head."

Choking, Sybill staggered back, only to crash into Simon. "Nearly killed me, you did," he said, wrenching the bottle from her hands. "Let's see how you like it, shall we? Better still; why not call your friend, Severus? I'm sure he'd love to rescue you."

His first swipe caught Sybill against the side of her neck and sent her careening into the fence. "I know I'd like to see him. By the way, my name's Greyback, but I'll bet you already knew that."

Fingers, long and hairy, twisted hanks of her damp hair and yanked hard, bashing her head against the bars. A shower of angry stars burst behind her eyes. Moaning, Sybill flailed and kicked blindly at her attackers, only to hear a sickening crack when a heavy boot slammed into her ribs. As she doubled over, gasping, sharp teeth sank into her shoulder and clamped down, sending another searing bolt of pain through her, pain that only increased with her struggles. Claws dug deep into her arms and then, pulled sharply, wrenching her body through the narrow space between the bars. Brittle bright fireballs erupted all around her, bursting in every color of her agony. Feral jaws, finding new purchase in her skin, crunched deeper, severing sinew and vessels, while releasing their slow poison, a curse worse than death. Sybill could smell it in the blood that streamed from her neck and chest. The fetid breath of her dream, a smell so thick she could taste it—too late, she realized the meaning of her dream, the name of the monster. Oh, Severus, save me, save me, she cried out with her mind, only to feel silence's impassive reply.

Then she remembered Mr. Weasley. Was he still here, hiding and watching? Why hadn't he come to her rescue? And where were the Attendants? Surely, someone must've heard, must have seen...why was no one coming—and why, at the time she needed it most, had her own gift not only failed to shield her from harm but blinded her to its proximity? Sybill moaned.

Now hands, fisting her hips, shoved and twisted; their merciless actions made her wish for death. Damnation, not divination, was all her legacy had ever been. I don't want this—I've never wanted this! Branches tore her robe and slashed against her face, and then, she felt herself whirling into nothingness, a sickening blackness where the wind's wail was a single, protracted scream.

"Come on, get her up. Dotty bird's heavier than she looks," Greyback said.

Easing himself through the bars, setting off another ear-splitting siren burst as he did, Simon crept to Greyback's side. "I wish we could just finish her off here and have done with it. She already told us where Snape's hiding. He's all she bloody talks about," he said, rolling his eyes.

"Unless you want to hunt a vampire all by your lonesome, you'll help me. And be quick about it; they're coming out now. Unless you're gettin' cold feet," staring into the yard, Fenrir growled.

"I'm not," he said, hoisting Sybill's unconscious form over Greyback's shoulders, "but even if Hogwarts doesn't have more shield charms around it than Azkaban, these days, there's something else, Fenrir. The paper said that Malfoy's dead. How're we gonna collect our reward?"

"It's not about gold for me—not anymore." Rising, Greyback shifted his weight. "By moonrise tomorrow, it won't matter. Trust me."

"You there! Stop!" a man cried from the fog. But by the time the Attendant discovered Sybill's glasses by the fence, Greyback and Simon had disappeared, leaving only tendrils of dark smoke.

 

Part II (Hogsmeade)

Having never been inside the Shrieking Shack before, Simon landed on all fours in the tall trees just outside its gate, a rusted contraption made of barbed wire and rough slats that practically screamed Unwelcome. Beyond it, mist and overgrown witchgrass surrounded a structure so dilapidated, it looked like an old tramp in a peaked hat hunched over a crooked walking staff. No wonder people thought the place was haunted. Although boards covered its windows and door, he thought he could see a faint glimmer of light between the slats of one of the upper windows. Already there, then...now he'd be late and Greyback would have something to say about it. Suddenly, he found that he didn't care; not because he felt guilty about his role in Sybill's capture, but because he not used to apparating"They got plenty of brooms in hospital. Don't know why I had to flip through the ether like a bloody acrobat," he grumbled. Hoisting himself on a large, flat rock, he waited for the woozy-queasy feeling to pass. "Don't know why he's in such a rush; moon's not full until tomorrow night."

"I stopped asking questions a long time ago."

Simon whirled towards the stranger's voice too late, the petrifying spell hit him in the chest, knocking him senseless before he could utter a word.

Thinking he'd heard something outside, Greyback peered between the crooked slats of a second-story window. Below, nothing but low-lying fog moved in the night. "Probably got himself lost in the woods, stupid git. All the more for me then," he said, raising his near-empty bottle of firewhiskey to his lips. "Cheers, mate." After draining the bottle, he hurled it into the fireplace. Nearby, hidden behind mildewed bed curtains on a lumpy mattress, Sybill groaned. "Shut it," he snarled, advancing on her. "You'll get yours soon enough!"

Behind him, footsteps shuffled and the door creaked open. Without looking, he said, "Took you long enough, Simon! I was beginning to think you'd turned coward on me!"

"Simon sends his regrets." Wand ready, Arthur Weasley stepped into the dingy room.

Greyback had left his on the couch. As he lunged for it, a jet of hissing orange slammed him back against the window. He slid down, taking rotted curtains and broken glass with him.

"Now Fenrir—you don't mind if I call you Fenrir—that's no way to treat your new business associate. Especially one who's accommodated your need for privacy so graciously," said Weasley. Plucking up Greyback's wand, he dropped it into the pocket of his overcoat.

"I got no business with the Ministry," Greyback said, shaking splinters from his hair and staining the dusty floorboards with droplets of blood from his lacerated hands.

"Oh, but you do. It became Ministry business the moment you left London. I was there in the alley; I saw what you did, and if I'm not mistaken, you're hiding her here," Arthur said, leveling his wand at the werewolf's broad chest. "Cooperate and I'll see things go very well for you, Fenrir. Just think of it: all charges dropped, all past deeds expunged. I can do it, too. You'll be a hero. You'd like that, wouldn't you?"

Nostrils flaring, eyes narrowing to yellow slits, Greyback began slowly pacing his half of the room, careful to keep the chamber's moth-eaten couch between them. Weasley watched him in silence. Finally, Greyback stopped and sniffed at him. "Why should I trust you?"

"Because now that Lucius is—regrettably—out of the picture, I'm willing to make it worth your while," Weasley said, pulling a leather purse from his breast pocket, a large bag with a drawstring tie at the top. Its contents clinked as he set it on the coffee table. "Inside, you'll find his twenty Galleons plus a little something extra; call it a token of my appreciation for a job well done—and one, as I understand, you cannot undertake all by yourself."

Greyback snorted, his gaze shifting between the bag and Weasley. Cautiously, he made his way back to the couch. A cloud of sour smelling dust puffed out around him as he plopped down on its tattered cushion. Still regarding the pouch warily, he started to reach for it, but then pulled his hand back. "What's the catch?"

"No catch at all, just a simple transaction—a trade, if you will." Sinking into a nearby chair, Arthur said, "You take the money; I'll take care of the rest. What do you say, Fenrir. Do we have a deal?" Reaching over, he jiggled the bag again but then, pulled it close to his chest. "Of course, I'll need to see her first."

"Fine, have it your way." Slowly, Greyback left the couch, rounding around its back before creeping to the curtained alcove. "Someone's come to see you, girlie," he said, tearing away the tattered curtains from their frame.

Face obscured by her matted hair, blood-soaked hair, Sybill lay curled on her side. Her feet were bare and her hospital garb was in tatters.

"Sybill? Merlin's beard," Arthur Weasley whispered, noticing how terribly long her nails had become ,and the lanugo that now covered her bare legs and arms like tawny down. When she did not answer, he moved closer, his eyes darting between her and Greyback. "Sybill, can you hear me," he said, suddenly finding his voice too loud for the little room.

Whimpering, she raised her head and pushed the pall of her hair away. When he saw her face, Arthur Weasley recoiled with a strangled scream. Her features seemed narrower, sharper, longer -- or perhaps it was just a trick of the same lanugo on her arms and legs that also covered the sides of her face, deepening the hollows of her already gaunt cheeks. The wounds from her attack had closed, leaving only a series of raised purple welts over her neck and bare chest. But it was her eyes that made Weasley shudder despite himself. Feral and gold, something in them spoke of a dark and archaic knowledge, one that superseded mortality itself. They were night eyes, hunter's eyes: the eyes of a wolf.

"Pretty, ain't she? Not a beauty, mind you—that she'll never be—but I think the moon's working her magic well enough. What's wrong, Weasley? You act like you've never seen a werewolf before. As I hear tell, there's one in your own family." Chuckling, he crossed his arms and leaned against the fireplace.

"I've never seen the change come about so quickly before," Arthur said, bristling at the insult.

"Got her at the start of the swell. She won't fully transform until tomorrow, when the moon's at its fullest, so we'll need to keep her here and quiet until then," Greyback said. Then, dropping his arms, he took a step towards Weasley. "I held up my end; now give me my money."

After Weasley tossed him the pouch, Greyback retreated to the couch. "Don't mind if I count it, do you? Not that I don't trust you, Weasley; it's just good business. You understand."

Taking a seat opposite him, Arthur nodded.

Pulling it the pouch open, he upended it, spilling its contents on the battered table, and began stacking the Galleons in small piles. Their golden color quickly faded and their surfaces softened, becoming more pliable, and then, liquid—

Silver.

Greyback shrieked as the liquid silver soaked through his fingers, burning its way through skin and sinew. Then, entering his bloodstream, the poison traveled up his arms and into his heart, eroding him from the inside out. Riding the rising tide of his adrenaline rush, the toxin's reach was systemic in seconds. His hide melted away, leaving bloodstained bones. Waving his skeletal arms at Weasley, he howled, "You bastard! What magic is this!"

"Think of it as a parting gift," Weasley said calmly, watching as Greyback's ribs imploded in an ichorous stew. "On behalf of my son and all the others whose lives you destroyed."

The smoking opals of Greyback's eyes rolled back in his skull. His intestines, steaming and putrid, spilled over his lap and slithered wetly to the floor. The stench was unbelievable and Weasley fought the urge not to spill his own stomach contents as he raised his wand for the coup de grace. "Bombardo!"

Greyback's skeleton shattered, spewing bones and shredded viscera across the floor. Sybill howled.

Gagging, Arthur Weasley staggered back to the bed. "I'm sorry you had to see that, Sybill—and for what I'm about to do—but I promise you, it will all be over soon and then, everything will be...will be..." The words clumped in his throat, a lie he could neither spit out nor swallow. Because it wouldn't be alright and nothing would ever be the same again. No spell in wizardom could set so many wrongs right or raise the dead. Still, he had to do it—for Fred, he told himself. Yes, Fred, and for Remus and Tonks, and poor, innocent little Teddy, who would never know his brave, wonderful parents. For Molly, his first and only love, no matter what recent circumstances had forced him to do...

Sybill moaned again, derailing his thoughts. "I'm sorry, Sybill but it has to end; you're the only one who can help me now. I promise, I'll take you back to Hogwarts—and Severus—very soon," he said, watching her intently, hoping the were-venom in her system hadn't eradicated Snape's Imperius Curse.

She lifted her head. Eyes glittering, she said, "Se...se....sever...us?"

"Yes, Severus...and when you remember this, if you remember, just think of it as a very bad dream." Tears sluicing down his ruddy cheeks, he cast a binding spell upon her, a charm that would bend that Unforgivable curse to his will.

 

 

 

Join MovellasFind out what all the buzz is about. Join now to start sharing your creativity and passion
Loading ...