The Conference by Melvacaea [Reviews - 5]
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Chapter Twenty-Six: The Woman that Saw My Aura
"Will you stop treating me as if I'm going to break? I'm blind, not made of glass!" Mara snapped at Poppy as she made her latest attempt to make Mara go to bed.
Mara retrieved the cane that was leaning against the wall and pressing into her foot and walked away slowly, cane feeling the ground before her. Albus had given it to her and described it to her in all manner of details: it was a completely straight cane, made of strong wood with a silver tip, with embossed grape vines curling around it (one of the symbols of her house) and the tip engraved with a moonflower design. Several people said hello to her on her way down the hallway, receiving a sharp reprimand for talking loudly. Really, they thought that since she was blind, she was deaf too.
But she wasn't completely blind. After a few days of complete darkness and relying on her other senses, she had seen light at the corners of her eyes. The black had filtered into gray and she had seen some colorful shapes that resembled people. After bribing a lazy Hermione (what a novelty) into helping her research, she found that what she was seeing were auras and they would work as colored-in forms of the person. She saw a variety of colors and, at first, they had made her head whirl and given her a headache.
Now, as she returned to her class at last, she knew how to handle it. She hadn't seen Severus and was beginning to worry that he now found her repulsive or some other silly thing. It had dawned on them early on that they could not continue the potion unless they found some way of getting her to see. Time was running out.
"Afternoon," she said pleasantly as she entered the silent classroom. The aura forms were still as stone and she read the roll from memory. "If my memory serves me, this is Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw sixth year, yes?"
"Yes, Professor," someone said sullenly.
"All right, then... Abbess, Carina."
And so it continued. They were slightly amazed that their now-blind professor could remember every single name, and in order too.
Silence. She cast her gaze around the room, eliminated some of the forms as the ones she had already ticked off, and her eyes landed on a dirty gray aura with speckles of yellow.
"Knud! Answer me!"
"He's not here, Professor."
She let her still gaze fall on the muddied red form of Abbess. Loyal Hufflepuffs, eh?
"On the contrary, Abbess, he is sitting in the back, where he always sits, pretending that I can't see him." Her eyes floated to the dirty gray aura again: it looked nervous. "Twenty points from Hufflepuff for lying to a teacher and trying to fool me," she said quietly and continued with the roll call.
When the bell tinged for them to leave, she heard the muttered comments with her terribly sensitive ears.
"Oh, nice try, Knud. She knows everything. She's a freak."
"How did she know? She's blind!"
"She's using a cane and she knew exactly where we were sitting. She was looking right at me!"
"Stop being such a wimp, Cari. She heard your voice and probably followed it."
"But how did she know where Will was sitting? He didn't say a word or move or anything."
Mara looked up at that voice and knew it instantly. Adderline, Ravenclaw; heavily interested in Divination and eerily good at it.
"What do you mean 'auras'? That's stupid. She's blind!"
"It was a backlash of energy that made her blind. Maybe she's not completely blind, but can see colored-in forms of us... our auras."
"While I am sure you are having immense fun determining how I know where you are, I daresay that you'd like to go eat lunch, hm?"
They jolted at her entrance in their conversation and then scurried away, not looking back. When the deep red form stepped right in front of her from the corner, she was surprised. Not many people could sneak up on her and she knew only two that could: Albus and Severus.
"Severus," she said softly as she let him through the door.
"How's the cane?"
"Good. Sturdy. Elegant, from what I hear."
"I heard something about auras. What was that all about?"
She sighed heavily and gave up her recent secret. "I can see auras, Severus. I'm not fully blind."
"What color is mine?" he asked, interested, and she managed a smile.
"Deep red," she whispered, thumping closer to him. She felt his arms wrap around her thin waist and his chin settled into her hair.
"Hm, deep red. Gryffindor colors, what a disappointment. But... survival-oriented... grounded, realistic... active with strong willpower."
She was astonished. "You know about aura colors?"
"Committed them to memory when I ingested a potion in my seventh year that enabled me to see my classmates' auras. Have you seen Albus'?"
She smiled. "Yes," she whispered. Pure, pure white, without a single blemish. "It's comforting."
"What's yours?" he asked.
"You know, it's funny. I can't see mine."
"Hm," he said. "I came here to tell you that I think I've found a way to help you see completely."
She edged back from him, looking up at where his face would be, a perplexed look lining her own face.
"The magical eyes."
"Are you kidding me? I'm not about to have my eyes pulled out to have two of those stupid things stuck in my sockets."
"So, no Mad-Eye Moody complex?"
"No, Severus. I still have my eyes and I can see auras. I'm perfectly fine."
"Most people would be devastated," he pointed out.
"I am not most people," she spat bitterly and then turned away from him, fury in her features. She knew what he was going to ask as he pulled her back to him before he even opened his mouth.
"Will you tell me why you never returned to ice skating?"
She was silent for a moment and then she sighed. "When I was in school, Alms Witching School, if you remember, there were four houses, like here. There was Vivian, intelligence and loyalty. There was Nereid, beauty and grace. There was Judas, cunning and slyness, with betrayal unvoiced, the counterpart of Slytherin. And there was Artemis, strength and chastity. Everyone in Artemis were virgins and stayed that way throughout school and, most of them, the rest of their lives... if they survived the Death Eater raid. I was sent to Artemis and learned that the symbols for the house were a full moon and a grape vine, for as you know, grape vines are strong plants.
"Strength isn't the same as courage, I soon learned. I was able to fight three boys from Judas, but I ran from a Stinging Hex. My ice skating days were the only places where I could be brave and perform amazing things that made my friends and schoolmates gasp and applaud. When I was pulled under the ice, I panicked and I... I grew frightened of the ice. I couldn't go back. I felt as if in that moment of panic under the water, I had betrayed my house, for everyone else in my house was brave. I couldn't face it again."
Severus stood stock-still behind her, arms still wrapped around her, and she sighed. How long did they have until they had to follow the orders of the ring? She counted the days... Forty days, which would be five weeks and five days. She shuddered. So little time...
"I'll see you in my dungeons," Mara heard Severus say before he left.
The houses have meanings (They're rather obvious, but for anyone who doesn't know...) Vivian is the name of the Lady of the Lake in the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Nereid is a sea nymph from Greek mythology, a daughter of the old sea god Nereus. Judas was Judas Iscariot, the Apostle who betrayed Jesus. Artemis is, of course, the virgin goddess of the hunt, the moon, chastity, childbirth, vegetation, and wild animals (mainly the hunt, the moon, and chastity).
Took me a bit to figure everything out.
And Trickie, the best I can do with Severus' age is that he's in his forties. And that's an educated guess.
The Conference by Melvacaea [Reviews - 5]