Trickie Woo, Grey_Eminence, Black_lust_z, and niklars for the wonderful reviews!
Chapter Eighteen: Day Three
Mara looked down at the ring on her finger as the water coursed down her body. It glimmered in the lamplight and she smiled as she ran her hands through her hair, purging it of any leftover shampoo. Her body tingled as the ring warned her of something and she turned off the shower, listening intently.
"Alexandria! Alexandria!" He sounded frantic, yet faintly commanding, and she stepped out of his shower, wrapping a fluffy black towel around her body. She opened the door and watched him whirl towards her, face slackening in relief. He then took her in and she saw a faint blush appear beneath his eyes. She arched an eyebrow and he cleared his throat.
"Appearing out of a man's bathroom in nothing more than a towel is not cause for good temperament," he told her scathingly, and she chuckled.
"Were you afraid that I was only a dream?"
He nodded jerkily and then scowled at her retreating back.
"What have you done to me?" he muttered and he swept into his room and own bathroom to rid himself of his thoughts of her and pull himself together into his usual sarcastic self.
Severus entered the Room of Requirement with his usual scowl firmly in place at three o'clock. The students were just beginning to filter out and Mara was standing behind her desk putting away her notes. The students gave him glances of curiosity and fright. She fell into a chair and swung her legs over the side, giving a sigh.
"Hello, Professor. You wish to see me?" she asked affably.
"Of course not. I merely came up from my dungeons for a bit of fresh air," he replied nastily, and sat in the chair he conjured up. Back to our old self, I see.
"I'm sure you have," she said, continuing in the same tone of someone unflappable. "This is about the Wolfsbane potion, isn't it?"
"Yes, of course, Professor."
She waved her hand at the Lupins, who left suspiciously, and in the process of doing so, tumbled the tarot cards that were neatly stacked and ordered to the floor. Almost instantly, her facade of indifference and calm was blown and a look of vast annoyance crossed her face.
"Bugger!" Order was restored with a wave of her hand. "I swear, those tarot cards are trying to say something. I've spent the past fifteen minutes divining a werewolf's future and I spent most of it muttering about useless, uncooperative, and unclear tarot cards. I don't understand how Dumbledore does it!" She arranged her dress.
"Speaking of unclear, why on earth are you dressed up so fancily?" He gave her a sharp glance. She was wearing a dark green, velvet dress with a silver ribbon tied in an empire line, sustaining her bosom. Her hair was drawn up into an elaborate bun that was held up with a moonflower and, as she let her feet kick into the air, the skirt fell back to reveal feet clad in dark green slippers that resembled a prima donna's ballet slippers: the dark green ribbon wound up in an intricate pattern until it was tied off elegantly. She chuckled as she noticed his roving eyes.
"Albus' idea. He thinks that dressing up for the part would help. It didn't." She appeared disgruntled and then her expression cleared.
"I thought that Charms was today."
"Tomorrow night won't be a wonderful night for astronomy; it's going to be overcast. So we switched it to today." She arranged her skirt. "Well, Professor?"
He switched to lector mode. "The original Wolfsbane includes, of course, great amounts of wolfsbane tempered with pansy. It is advisable to also use the flower that most closely represents the brewer of the potion. Ground up petals of it, actually."
"Moonflower," she said promptly.
"Well, we shan't need many of them. They're huge. We shall need some other, obscure ingredients and some that can be procured with a trip to Diagon Alley."
"Wonderful. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to prepare for tonight's presentation. You coming to the show?"
"No, I think I've gotten enough fresh air."
"All right then. The practical part of the astronomy section ends at nine, meet you in the dungeons then?"
"That is an excellent idea. I do hope you manage to remember this time."
As he left, he saw the blossoming blush in her cheeks.
"Right, I'm not going to prattle on about how Venus is in the house of Saturn and how they're currently screwing each other's brains out." There was a round of laughter and McGonagall and Sinistra gasped; Dumbledore looked merely amused. "Instead, we're going to study the actual stars; planet divining is too woolly for my tastes. So, first thing you ought to notice is Orion's Belt. No ladies, no lower than that, sorry to disappoint you. He's not exactly in your realm of possibilities... besides the fact that he wouldn't look at any of the female persuasion twice." They laughed again. "Reason for that joke? Orion was a very handsome hunter in Greek mythology. Artemis fell in love with him and, in one of the versions, Apollo killed him over it. (1) In werewolf hunting season – sorry, Remus – it's a common joke to say that the savior of the werewolves was actually killed by Artemis, who is the goddess of the hunt, because he was gay (2).
"Savior of the werewolves, you ask? When Orion's Belt is completely aligned, the full moon closest to it has no effect upon werewolves, thus eliminating them from one transformation every couple hundred years. Werewolves look forward to this time, if they're around for it. I know about some werewolves that spend years measuring the distance the stars move, the time it'll take for them to become aligned, and when it'll be. I'm pleased to say that Remus is not one of these." More laughter.
At the entrance of the largest and highest astronomy tower, a dark shadow watched her happy figure. She was smiling again and her pretty lips occasionally gave forth a sardonic comment. Her humor was not full blown like the Weasley twins, nor acerbic like his own, but of her own brand of humorous sarcasm, one that didn't wound. Most of the time. Her jokes on divination were wounding for those that believed in, but perfectly understandable and funny to those that disliked it or were poor at it. Severus watched her hands form figures in the sky, tracing them with her wand so that a trail of silver sparkles followed it, allowing them to see what she was pointing out.
She said something that he missed and the astronomy tower burst out into laughter. He heard McGonagall's gasp and he smirked, satisfied in knowing that she was able to astound her colleagues. He turned around and left, heading towards the safety of his dungeons where he dragged out his old Wolfsbane notes.
The papers were old, crinkly, and yellow with age. He set about to ordering them by date and was astonished to find the oldest to be from 1970. Had it really been three decades since he had first decided to follow up on the old myth about something that could cure lycanthropy? Then, the door to his office opened and he watched Mara walk in and close the door. She shed her outer robe to reveal a short, black, cotton dress and black pumps, which she kicked off and lay neatly side by side next to the coat rack. She hopped her way across the stone-cold floor and scowled as she fell into a chair.
"Every consider putting a Warming Charm on your dungeons?"
"I normally do not walk around barefoot," he replied easily, raising his eyebrow.
"Let's just get this over with," she grumbled.
Personally, I love this chapter as well. I love the Astronomy tower and the entrance to the dungeons. I sound rather egotistical, but it's true.
(1) This version of the tale is true. Apollo did kill Orion because he was jealous.
(2) In another version of the same myth, Orion was killed by Artemis but NOT because he was gay. That was just a weird twist on my part.
Read and review, please! You know me and constructive criticism!
Oh, and there are five R rated chapters after this. If you DON'T LIKE R RATINGS DON'T READ THOSE CHAPTERS. Just a warning. The first R rated chapter is the next one.