The Conference: What's in a Name?
Just a notice. My life has gotten back into a semblance of order (at long last), so the updates may not be as often as they have been. Besides, I've been on vacation. I shall try to update as often as possible!
Chapter Fifteen: What's in a Name?
Mara put on her bathrobe over the flimsy nightgown and slipped under the comforter of her bed, smiling. Then, as she reached for the glass of water on her night stand, a familiar pressure on her finger suddenly pricked her, causing her to yelp. She looked down at her left hand and then revealed the signet ring to see that it was glowing red. With a frown, she tossed off the covers and Flooed to Snape's rooms.
"Snape!" she said into the darkness. She was greeted by a moan and she shouted a Lighting Charm in terror. "Snape!"
He was lying on the floor, twitching involuntarily, right hand clasped to his forearm. She bent before him and tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. She bit the corner of her bottom lip, running a smooth hand over his forehead and then grasping his right hand.
"Release it, Severus," she purred, not even noticing that she had used his first name. "Let go." She coaxed the hand into submission and let her hands curl around his arm and hand, soothing them. He gave a shudder and the hand fell to his side, his body limp.
Relieved, she levitated the man onto the couch and transfigured it into a decent bed with pillows and a blanket. She eyed his frock coat and, with a sigh, set about to undoing the buttons of her fiance's coat. So many of them! How long did it take him to undress to take a shower? She reached the end and pushed it off his shoulders, laying it across the back of a chair. She lit the fire and extinguished the candles, now able to see better. She gazed down at his face before taking off his boots and, with a soft smile, setting the footwear neatly next to the chair. While she placed his left arm over his stomach, the unbuttoned sleeve of his shirt slipped back to reveal the burning black tattoo that had plagued him from the weakest age.
Mara froze in what she was doing and stared at it, blue eyes wide and frightened. When her hand just touched it, as if to see if it was real, his right hand curved out and grabbed her wrist, eliciting a cry from her. He opened his eyes and she wrenched away from him, sprawling across the floor. She saw him sit up and she pushed away from him, face twisted in an expression of disgust.
"You. You served him."
Snape stood up, noticing that he was bereft of his coat and boots. "He's dead."
"But you aren't. You're still here. Does Dumbledore know?" she asked him sharply.
"Of course Dumbledore knows. Don't be a fool, Mara, and listen to me!"
"Why? Why should I? You could have been one of hundreds that came that night to Alms and attacked, removing me from my safety net! You could have been one of the hundreds that killed my friends, leaving me with a handful of memories and two scarred friends!"
Alms. Alms Witching School, an all-witches private school in upper Scotland. It had been attacked in 1977... she had started living with Remus in 1977. He had been one of the hundreds. But he hadn't killed, hadn't maimed, hadn't scarred. He had Stunned them and hidden them and let them live for the next day.
"Please, listen to me. I made a mistake –"
"Bet you didn't think that when you were raping the pretty ones," she hissed. "I bet you didn't think that when you were leaving them stripped of everything that made them what they were."
"God damn it, Mara, it wasn't so simple! I didn't kill, I didn't maim, I didn't scar anyone! At all! I Stunned them and I hid them and I let them live for another day! I was a bloody spy! My life was always, always serving You-Know-Bloody-Well-Who, Albus bloody Dumbledore, and the Boy-Who-Wouldn't-Bloody-Well-Leave-Me-Alone!"
She stared at him, lips drawn together lightly, a suspicious look in her eyes. He sighed and rubbed his forehead. His feet were cold, he wanted to sleep, and he had a Slytherin-Gryffindor third-year class first thing in the morning. He did not want to console this insane woman right now.
"You called me Mara."
He blinked. What on earth? He ran through his speech in his head, mouth slightly parted. Damn. He had used her given name. Twice. This was not good.
"So... you didn't hurt anyone. You saved them."
"Yes," he said impatiently.
"You... were on our side."
She had a calculating look on her face and then she turned away with a nod.
"Tell me about the potion in the morning," she told him as she left with a slam of the dungeon door.
The title of the chapter is obviously borrowed from Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", Juliet's balcony monologue.
If Mara was 14 in 1974, it's only logical that she was seventeen in 1977. I'm working with that timeline, just to let you know.
This story archived at: Occlumency