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The Conference by Melvacaea [Reviews - 2]

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EllieK but to Vaughn for her never ending patience with my mistakes (which seem to be limited to two a chapter lately) and her kindness in correcting me.

Any reviews for chapter ten will be addressed in chapter twelve!

****
Chapter Eleven: The Aftereffects

Mara awoke with one hell of a hangover. Groaning into her pillow, she reached out for her night stand and opened the drawer, refusing to look up. She grasped a slim vial filled with a blue liquid and, lifting her head and not opening her eyes, downed it in one swift gulp. Then, blinking through narrowed eyes, she managed to fall out of bed, stand up, wrap her bathrobe about herself, and make it to the bathroom in time to retch up the potion and last night's wine. She let her forehead lean against the cool side of the toilet, body shivering, and wrapped her arms around herself. When the shuddering passed and the dizziness abated, she stood up and leaned on the sink, the muscles in her arms tautening. She looked at herself in the mirror.

"You look a mess," the mirror said haughtily.

"Thanks for the input!" she snarled at it before turning away and tossing on some clothes. She combed her hair with a brief wave of her hand and, bags noticeable under her eyes, she exited into the hallway. She cast one angry glance at Remus' door and walked into the Great Hall as she gave a great yawn.

"Morning, Professor!" a Slytherin said brightly. She stared at the sixth-year boy and cast a dumbfounded look at the Head Table. McGonagall shrugged at her and she made her way to the table.

"Hey, Professor Alexandria!" two Slytherin third-year girls yelled and Mara looked up from her bacon, hand poised over the handle of her milk jug. When a group of seventh-year Slytherin boys did the same and two Gryffindor girls gave her suspicious looks, she knew something was up. She leaned over to Sprout, seated next to her.

"What is going on?" she muttered through the corner of her mouth. Sprout shrugged, just as baffled as she was.

It was when Snape stumbled through the teacher's entrance and all the heads turned toward him, some suspicious, some gleeful, and some downright nasty, that it dawned upon her. Snape sat down in a chair, massaging his temples, and began to eat. The horrified look on Mara's face did not disappear. She stood up so forcefully that her chair fell backwards and she walked so quickly out of the Great Hall that her cloak billowed in an almost perfect impression of Snape. She entered her room and slammed the door behind herself, leaning against it while panting.

"They can't possibly... what did we do last night?" she wondered. She sat down to think but last night was a foggy haze. She vaguely recalled the amount of wine she had consumed (and winced at it) and the fact that she and Snape had been crowned Overall winners of the professors' masque.

When she walked into class rubbing her forehead and frowning, she didn't miss the sniggers and the whispers in the back. She cast them a glance and then set the Gryffindor-Slytherin second year class to work. While sitting in her chair, she tried to read the book on divination in front of her but her vision kept slipping, trying to remind her of what happened the previous night. Pictures, brief pictures, arrived in her mind. Wine -- lots of it -- champagne glasses -- of other elder professors -- moonflowers -- yes, they were in their vase, she hadn't registered the bouquet that had been her award -- signet rings -- what on earth? -- hands -- oh no. Oh, no, no, no, no.

Mara gripped the edge of her desk with astounding force and her knuckles went white as her eyes glazed over in a valiant attempt to remember the whole evening. A flash of it went by. "I do believe that we're as drunk as a student who has just gotten his drinking license." "My dear Potions Master, you're hardly that drunk if you can form a coherent sentence." "Likewise." Oh, gods, I hope I'm wrong.

"Professor!" Her eyes snapped to the student in front of her and her ears heard the soft tinging of the clock.

"You are dismissed. You may hand in your work next class."

She sat back and watched the next class file in. Hufflepuff-Ravenclaw sixth year.

"Settle down!" she snapped at them, all too aware of the looks the students were giving her. "Today we are going to work on the theory behind the Moon Charms -- yes, I am aware of what is for, girls, stop giggling -- of which there are five. Stop laughing! This is serious!"

The palm of her hand hit the top of the desk, causing the room to be silenced. Her eyes cast over the room, angry now. What the hell did I do last night?

"Well? Parchment, quills, ink, now!" There was a general clamor for the items and she heard the next comments.

"Snape probably rubbed off on her..."

"Do you have any idea how nasty that sounds?"

"It's true."

"Abbess! Knud! Twenty points from Hufflepuff for disrespect towards two professors and detention with Filch tonight after dinner!"

The room gazed at her in amazement and then all the heads turned down towards their parchments. Mara's ruffled feathers smoothed and she interlocked her fingers behind her back.

"The five Moon Charms are as follows: to stimulate the possibilities of pregnancy, to honor a girl's menstruation, to help hunters, to protect a woman's chastity, and to help in weather control. I shall explain each one in depth and I hope that you... don't..."

She halted and stared off into space, a look of comprehension dawning crossing her face, and this time it had nothing to do with her and Snape. Moon... pregnancy... Hermione and Remus. The child. Oh God. This is not good.

****
All right, not until Chapter Eleven. But believe me, there's more than just a maybe-werewolf child on the way!

Oh, and I realize I haven't done this in the last few chapters so here:
Next chapter: After Mara talks with Hermione, she finds out that last night was more than what the students think.

-Mel

The Conference by Melvacaea [Reviews - 2]

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