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About Varied / Hobbyist Member Josie NascimentoFemale/Brazil Groups :iconaquilla-et-corvus: Aquilla-et-Corvus
Severus Snape x Evelyn Black
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"Pray tell what the devil were you trying to accomplish with this ridiculous scene?!" Severus hissed as he slammed the door.

"Excuse me?! I was under the impression we were discussing something serious. Don´t get bent out of shape just because I put some muggle in her place.”

"Must I remind you  are currently in no position to put anyone on whatever your frivolous opinion considers to be their place?”

"All of this over a muggle, Severus? You really had us all fooled." she smiled wryly. Severus could almost hear his own jaw clench.

"I do not appreciate your tone, Narcisa. As many character flaws as you may have I´m sure stupidity is not among them."

Narcisa seemed caught off guard by his words, and Severus could tell she was struggling not to snap back at him. Prepotent as she might be, Narcisa knew she needed his help, and was not dumb enough to cross him.

"Very well...were were we?"

"You had just had an idea...Here´s to hoping it´s any better than anything I´ve had to hear from you this evening..."

…........................................


As soon as Evelyn closed her her living room door behind her the phone began to rang. She was very much inclined to let the answering machine handle it, if it wasn´t for the fact that she just remembered she had been expecting a call from her sister.

“Hello?” she almost growled into the receiver, startling herself with how aggressive that sounded.

“Evelyn? Jesus, what happened?” surely enough it was her sister.

“Oh, uh...Sorry, it´s nothing.”

“Yeah, right 'nothing', she says...What the hell bit you?! Let me guess, it´s either work or Severus?”

“What?! What do you mean 'either work or Severus', why does it have to be one or the other?”

“Well, after that romantic post-Halloween breakfast I´d think you´ve made some progress...did he go and do something stupid?”

“Jesus Lord, Caitlin! How many times do I have to tell you that Severus and I are just friends. He has every right to do whatever the hell he damn pleases with his spare time and...” she stopped midway, realizing what she had just said...WHY had she said that?

“So...it IS about Severus...What did he do?”

“Nothing, Severus did nothing! What the hell you´re getting at, Cat?”

“Still as terrible a liar as always, Linz”

“Ok, fine. It´s not something Severus did...exactly.”

“Come on...tell me what has he done.”

“It´s nothing...I just went over to his house and he had a very rude guest over and she pushed my buttons...No big deal really.”

“She? Did you just say 'she'?”

“Don´t go getting ideas, ok?”

“I´m not getting any ideas!”

“Yeah, right...”

“Who IS this woman, anyway?”

“I don´t know. Some posh socialite type I´ve never seen before.”

“Socialite type? Where did that come from? Isn´t Severus a hermit who´s always locked up at home and only ever interacts with you, because you obviously have a very specific fetish for awkward intellectuals?”

“Caitlin, will you please stop? And your guess is as good as mine. As soon as he introduced the two of us she told me to feck off, only no in so many words...And he just stood there. Needless to say I didn´t offer to stay and socialize...”

“She just sent you off like that?”

“As if she owned his house...”

“How did she look like?”

“How is that important?”

“Humour me...was she..you know...pretty?”

“She sort of looked a fashion model”

“Really?”

“Yeah, overdressed, thin, blonde and with a face like she´d just sucked a dozen exceedingly sour lemons.”

“It´s always some skinny, blonde bitch, ain´t it? Men...”

“I´m not jealous if that´s what you´re trying to get at...”

“You said it, not me.”

“Oh, do shut up, will you?”

…..............

It was close to 7:30 in the morning. It was the time Ms. Black usually left for work. Severus should probably have gone and apologized to her on the spot, but he couldn´t just leave Narcisa unattended or she´d make an even bigger scandal of it all. Still, there was no excuse for her childish behaviour and an apology had to be made, even if not by the offender. Evidently Narcisa would never “stoop so low” as to apologize to a Muggle...It never ceased to amaze him how even in the direst distress Narcisa Malfoy couldn´t quite shake off the signature haughtiness of the Blacks. None of them could really... Narcisa, Bellatrix, Sirius...They could all be thrown in the pits of hell and yet...a Black remained a Black. Severus smirked under his breath, leaning on the door frame and lighting a cigarette to warm himself up face the chilly breeze outside.

Evelyn was also a Black, he reminded himself. As a matter of fact,Severus could see that in her more and more. Worse still, he mused with a chuckle, she was at least three quarters Irish, a stubborn and fiery lot, if muggle history books were anything to go by. She didn´t have the quick temper the tired cliché assigned to her people, but neither was she one to take any abuse laying down...Evelyn Black had a way of telling people to fuck off in the gentlest terms that was, frankly put, quite delicious. He had had a taste of her bitting sweetness himself more than once. It had been quite the treat to see that rare talent directed at Narcisa Malfoy. Lucius´wife would never admnit, but it had hurt her to receive that amount of subtle contempt from a muggle.

Severus wondered what both Evelyn and Narcisa would say if they found out they were actually related. Cousins. Narcisa would surely have a fit. It was no small blessing that that was precisely the one Black trait Evelyn conspicuously lacked: the hystrionics. In fact one would be hard pressed to believe the affable dark-haired scholar and the conceited wife of one of the once-richest wizards in Britain shared a single strand of DNA. They couldn´t be more different if they had intentionally tried to be.

And yet, Severus had to admit, if you looked close enough...

Maybe it had been the healthy dosis of muggle blood that two generations had injected into her, or maybe it was simply the fact that she considerably less inbred than her wizarding relatives, but Evelyn Black somehow had managed to keep most of the best traits of the Blacks while avoiding most of the worst.  She had the dark and solemn beauty of the Blacks, but not nearly as much of their vanity, she had their inate elegance, but none of their haughtiness, their assertiveness without any of their tyranny... Surely enough she was irritatingly stubborn and proud just like every last of them, but her willfuness had been directed towards study and work, and her pride was mostly justified by actual achievements, which was more than he could say for any of the members of the magical branches of the family who had mostly made it far in school and life more through marriage and conections than actual merit. Maybe instead of marrying their cousins the Blacks should have tried marrying some muggles...Hybrid vigour was a scientifically proved way of improving genetics...and the wizading family line wouldn´t have come so close to extinction. Severus couldn´t decide wether it was funny or sad that the wizarding Blacks were on the verge of disappearing, shrowded in infamy, while the 'impure' branch Evelyn descended  from seemed to be perfectly happy and striving... Poetic justice, perhaps.

He put out his cigarrette on the doorframe as soon as he saw Evelyn come out from her house, carrying her usual multicoulored multitude of folders and bags. She made her way to her car so fast he almost had to run to get to her before she got inside and drove off.

“Miss Black? Can I have a moment please?”

“I´m dreadfully sorry, Severus, but I´m running late.” she spat without as much as looking at him, carelessly throwing her folders on the passenger seat.

“It´s about that unfortunate ecounter last night, I assure you...”

“I´d really rather not discuss that.”

“I understand and I agree you have every right to be upset about..”

“Actually, I don´t, and I´m not.”

“I´m sorry?”

“I showed up at a bad time, and I was told as much. That´s all there´s is to it. Now if you can excuse me...”

“Ms. Black, please. It´s simply that Narcisa is...”

“Narcisa was your guest and I was intruding. My parents happened to teach me manners...”

“Yes, Narcisa was my guest, but she had no right to treat you that way. You should know you are welcome to my house at any time you wish, and I will not have anyone...”

“Severus...” she looked like she was about to say something harsh but took a deep breath and paused before continuing “Ok, fine, Severus...apologies accepted. Now will you let me go?”

“I was under the impression you had something to talk to me about yesterday? If you´re running late now, maybe later we can...”

“Actually about that...I just wanted to tell you that  have a meeting with Fr. Thomas after work. I don´t know how long it will take, so you don´t have to bother to accompany me home today.” with that she got into the car and sped away not giving him any time to reply.


…...................................


The conversation was probably serious. Fr. Thomas didn´t receive her in the small and cozy rectory where they usually talked over tea and cakes, but in a meeting room in the main church building. It was an ample and gloomy room that smelled of mothballs, paper and incense, with a long table and wooden chairs on its center and cabinets filled with books, papers and registers covering the right wall and a few religious paintings decorating the opposite one. A large ebony scuplture of Christ hanging from the cross looked down gloomly on the table with deep empty eyes on his long angular face.  

“Sorry to keep you waiting, my dear.” he told her, pouring coffee from a thermos flask into two plastic cups. “Mrs.Murphy came in for a surprise confession...It had been a while, actually.”

“No problem at all, I´m early myself.”

“I apologize in advance for the coffee. I´d have made it fresh but we just ran out of ground beans... You take sugar, right?”

“Yes, please...Well...You said you talked to James?” she asked, trying not to mind the bad coffee too much.

“Yes, I did. As you had predicted, James is rather hesitant to discuss his private matters, as one should expect from a lad in his situation...”

“Tell me about it...His mother is no better, I must say”

“I´m afraid it will take him time to open up, but...he seems to trust you. He told me himself, he wouldn´t have come to meet me if you hadn´t asked him to do so. I think you have a good chance of reaching out to him...”

“From your mouth to God´s ears, Father...”

“I had no illusions of being able to get him to talk about the issues that are really troubling him, but  we did discuss other things. James is a good young man under that whole rebel act.”

“That he is. I think if he had more activities to occupy his time and find some sense of purpose...”

“About that...Were you aware he´s a quite gifted musician?”

“Oh, yes! He can compose too, you know? Tancey showed me some of his works, a couple 80s-rock style power ballads, very good stuff actually. I´ve been wanting to ask him for a copy of some but I´m a bit afraid he´ll get upset if he knows Tancey showed me those...and my piano is back in Ireland, so I can´t make much use of music sheets anyway...”

“You have a piano?” Fr. Thomas´face seemed to light up.

“Well, my mother does, actually...It belonged to my father, now she has it.” she smiled, sadly, memories suddenly washing over her “Not to brag or anything but dad was a gifted musician and singer. After he came back home from college in Dublin he and some friends started a little amateur music group... Traditional Irish music and all that. He compiled traditional songs and arranged them on the piano and they performed in family get-togheters and local events...”

“So I take that you can play the piano, then”

“Not expertly, but my father did give us all piano and singing lessons. My brother was quite better than me, God rest his soul. It was a bit of a family tradition, so to speak.”

“That...that actually gives me an idea...” Fr. Thomas has a huge smile on his face now“As you know James can play the guitar...”

“Yes, I´ve heard him; he´s actually very good. And he taught himself, I should note.”

“Precisely... I was wondering how James would feel about maybe accompanying our choir. We also have a piano, in bad need of tunning, but it still works...I wonder what James would think of maybe...learning to play it? Since he could teach himself to play the guitar, I don´t see why he can´t learn the piano...It should help him compose his own songs too...You can help him, if you can spare the time”

…..................

“Heeey? You in there?” Tancey snapped her fingers on his face, startling him

“What?” he grumbled

“You´re planning on sitting out here forever?” she sat by his side on the front steps of the school building. Most other students were long gone by now.

“What about you, what are you still doing here?”

“I wanted to return some books I borrowed from Ms. Black, but she´s gone. The secretary told me she left earlier today...”

“Did she? Why?”

“I don´t know...Why you´re asking?”

“I think Ms.Black is up to something...”

“Up to something?” she smirked “Paranoid much?”

“She had me meet with Fr. Thomas yesterday...”

“Fr. Thomas?! Whatever for? You need an exorcism or something?”

“Ha.Ha. You´re so funny. And yeah...she asked me to drop by the church,´cause he wanted to talk to me...When I got there he asked me these nonsense questions about my music and whatnot...”

“Maybe he needs help with the church choir” she laughed

“I rather have the exorcism... I just hope she didn´t leave early to go talk to my mother.”

“There´s a way you can find out...”

“Which is?”

“Well, since I couldn´t find her to return the books and she told me she needed them...we could go to her house to return them...If she´s there is because she hasn´t gone to talk to your mother, if she´s not, we can ask around...Wasn´t that bloke she brought to the party her neighbour? ”

“You know where she lives?”

“Spinner´s End...”

“You´re bonkers? Nobody lives in Spinner´s End.” James used to go to Spinner´s End with some other lads to break into the abandoned houses to smoke and drink. They had stopped after a few of them had become convinced the whole street was haunted a few months earlier. James himself had seen some strange events. but he didn´t believe ghosts so he never thought much of it...Still, Spinner´s End was, at best, a dump. “Ms. Black can´t live in that hole!”

“She does. She told me so herself. So, want to come or not?”


…...............


As her car took the turn that led into Spinner´s End, Evelyn felt relaxed. Fr. Thomas idea was actually very good. Some days before Severus had told her she had to help James find something to do with his life, something that could get him away from his father and the whole dysfunctional situation he had to endure back home and maybe direct him towards a better future. Maybe Fr. Thomas had found the solution. If James spend more time in church, playing his guitar, learning the piano, composing and refining his musical skills...maybe he could find a path for himself?

It would be good for her too...How long had it been since she had played the piano? Months...her father was still alive last time...She hadn´t had the heart to touch the keyboard since he had passed on, and that old relic of his remained untouched on the corner of her mother´s sitting room. Months had passed...maybe it was time for her to try her hand at it again...Her father would be pleased if he knew she was teaching someone else what he had taught her.

Evelyn stopped the car and remained inside for a while, debating wether she should knock on Severus´door. She was dying to tell him about Fr. Thomas´ idea but...she hadn´t exactly been very nice to the man that morning. She wasn´t even sure why she had treated him so poorly...Maybe she should head over and apologize...But what would she say? “I´m sorry for being rude to you for reasons I can´t explain even to myself, so please don´t think I´m completely insane”...That probably wasn´t going to go over particularly well. She should sleep on it. In the morning, with a fresh mind, she´d talk to him.

Having decided that, Evelyn stepped out of the car.

As she opened her front door, a sharp pain shot through her skull as she felt something pull her hair so hard her neck snapped back violently, making her lose her balance and fall back against something..someone. Someone strong enough they could single-handedly pull her whole body weight back by her hair only, she realized in horror. Nothing but a scream fuelled by all the air she had in her lungs could escape her lips. She felt an arm grab her around her torso, before a large gloved hand covered her mouth, fingertips digging into her cheeks. Her body struggled almost without her control, as if her every muscle was instinctively fighting to get away, her feet kicking back, heels first, and elbows hitting back as hard as she could against what she assumed was her attacker´s chest and stomach. But the person holding her felt like a giant, the arm around the torax nearly crushing her ribs. The hand covering her mouth moved away and she hoped screaming again might help...

Severus had to be home. Maybe he´d hear her...

Then she felt something cold against her throat. She brought her hands up to try and get it away but all she managed to do was cut her fingers...

...a knife.

Before she could think of what to do, Evelyn felt herself be dragged inside.

…........................

Watching Snape´s antics with his attractive muggle neighbour had been quite interesting for a while, but after the All Hallow´s Eve event, everything had returned to the same monotonous routine. Narcisa´s visit had been somewhat entertaining, and no doubt it would of interest to Claire. He had dutifully reported that the day before in his latest letter. But returning to his usual hiding spot on the vacant house in front of Snape´s, he soon realized life was about to fall back on the same pattern of hours upon hours of watching completely mundane and inconsequential everyday activities that provided no useful information, and much less any entertainment.

How wrong he had been.

As Snape´s neighbour´s red car stopped in front of her house he was nearly calling it a day. He was so bored, in fact, that he had started to get slumberous...Which probably accounted for the fact that he never saw that indinstinct shadow approach behind the woman.

It all happened too fast for his eyes to catch every detail. He had heard her scream before even noticing anything was amiss. When he looked up there it was: a tall hooded man had grabbed her from behind. She struggled, kicked and screamed like a captured animal.

But she suddenly went quiet. Then he dragged her inside.
'Post-War'-Part VI- The Stalker- Chapter IV
FINALLY!

This one had been nearly done for a month, then real life got in the way, but here it is...It´s...considerably darker than what I´ve done thus far, but I hope you enjoy it. Don´t hate me too much for that cliff hanger, please? :giggle:
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Just dropping by supper quick to say the next chapter has been nearly done since last month, but since this week I have to present my dissertation, I couldn´t get a chance (or the concentration) to write the final scene. But next week it will be uploaded!

Thank you al for the patience! 
  • Mood: Daily Needs
So I returned for a while last month, only to disappear once again....

As a lot of your know my mother is in the midst of a cancer treatment, and she underwent a second surgery, and I spent a few days in the hospital with her. The final text of my dissertation was due on the same week, but my dissertation director was very understading and managed to buy me a little more time. So I´ve been working on all of this in the weeks, then I was too exhausted to do much anything once it was all done.

Now I have some free time before I formally present my dissertation, so I´m working on the next chapter of "Post War" (is anybody but my homegirls Gryffgirl , RosaZaira and ameraucanablues still reading that? :giggle: ) and trying to draw some stuff. I hope I can post something this week! :D

To everybody who left me nice and encouraging comments on my breascancer picture: thanks you very much, you guys. Kind words like yours really do make a world of difference in a situation like this; every little bit of positive energy does count. :huggle: 
  • Mood: Daily Needs
  • Reading: St Teresa´s Book of Life
  • Drinking: Soy milk
She knew she shouldn´t be snooping around, but Evelyn truly couldn´t help herself. Severus rarely invited her into his house; everythime they´d meet for dinner or tea, or simply for a chat, he would come to her house, almost never the other way around. He was a fiercely private man, who kept to himself, she was well aware...But there was something more than that. In every interaction they had, Evelyn had the distinct feeling Severus was trying to keep tight control over how much of himself he allowed her to see. At first that had bothered her, but as she got to know him better, she made her peace with it. Severus Snape hadn´t had an easy life, and as it often happens with people with difficult pasts, he had trouble opening up completely. The little she knew about his history had been revealed in the small doses he could handle sharing at any given time. She hadn´t pushed, as much as she wanted to get to know him better. Evelyn knew the seemingly little amount of insight he gave her was anything but little to him. So she humored him. If he stopped by her house she´d let him in, but she´d almost never request to be received in his house, and even when she had to drop by for any reason she usually made it quick. She´d tell him about her family and her everyday life, but never asked him about his day, or his family or friends, unless he breached the topic first, which he rarely did.

But tonight, oddly, he had invited her in, without prompting. For coffee, he said. Evelyn wondered how much the events in the past few days had to do with it. Something had changed after that morning at the old mill. Severus seemed more comfortable around her...He was still stiff and laconic most of the time, but he smiled more, his sardonic japes had become less acid and more playuful...It had only been a couple days, but the change was evident to her...she couldn´t be imagining it. Then, there was the whole story with Mitchel. Severus was worried about that, to the point of actually coming out of his comfort zone to offer to scort her home. He could be borderline agoraphobic, so that must have meant something... and she´d be lying if she said it didn´t please her that he was showing that much concern for her well being.

Now she stood in the middle of his sitting room as he prepared coffee in the kitchen, and, knowing she was taking quite a chance, Evelyn was looking into his stuff. Running her fingers over the bizarre titles in his library, eagerly observing the odd decorative objects on his shelves, running her eyes on the scribbled papers scattered all over his desk. She couldn´t understand a single line of them. His handwritting was small, spiky and cramped, and the notes went in every direction, occupying every inch of the paper without any apparent order. It was nearly impossible to read on a passing glance, and she couldn´t very well take her time with it when he could come back in the room at any second and catch her in the act. Aside from the unreadable notes, there were loads and loads of seemingly complicated formulas.

Evelyn could hardly deal with everyday math, so these might as well be Chinese written backwards to her. Her sister Caitlin was the exact sciences expert. Caitlin had sailed through math, chemistry, physics and biology at school, unlike Evelyn who struggled with all of them, being much better suited to languages, histpry and social sciences. Caitlin´vocation for caregiving and her aptitude for natural sciences made nursing as much a natural and easy choice to her as it had been for Evelyn to become a historian. If Caitlin was here she´d probably make sense of every single one of Severus´ scribbles and probably debate him at lenght on them.That would have been nice...Severus didn´t have many friends, if any...At least Evelyn didn´t know of any. The fact that she couldn´t make sense of his work gave her a little pang of sadness. She wondered if he would have liked to tell somebody about this. It was rewarding to be able to tell somebody about your work and share things you´ve accomplished. Severus was patient enough to listen to Evelyn talking about her professional achievements, but he never discussed his own. She probably wouldn´t understand a thing if he did, but she wished he´d try...

"So you talked to Fr. Thomas on the subject of James, after all" she heard Severus ask from the kitchen.

"Yes. He asked me to tell James to drop by the church and chat with him."

"You think that will work?"

"I don´t know" she answered distracted, still looking at the papers on his desk "I suppose he can at least give me a second opinion after he talks to James."

"It´s a start I suppose"

"Yes..." She trailed off...Evelyn was about to give up on understanding his notes when she noticed something odd...A piece of paper that didn´t seem to belong with the rest. She picked it up, completely forgeting to continue the conversation. It was an envelope. She had tought at first it was a mock parchment paper, like those you can find in novelty stationery stores, but once she touched it, it was obvious it was actual parchment, good quality one at that...No stamps or postmarks of any kind, as if it had been delivered in person, or via messenger. It beared Severus name on the space traditionally reserved for the addressee, written in an excessively flowery handwritting that looked like a calligraphy exercise designed to impress moreso than convey a message. Above that, there was a fanciful green wax seal, an elaborate "M" over a crest sided by two reptilian creatures, dragons or snakes, she couldn´t be sure... It looked almost fake, like somebody had tried to replicate an antique letter just for the fun of it. Curious, she turned it around. In the same rococo-ish penmaship it read "Narcissa Malfoy"

“Entertained?” she almost jumped at the sound of his voice. Always sneaking up on her like that

“Oh, I...I´m sorry...I was just curious about your work. Not that I´d understand any of it...” she smirked, uneasy and thanked him for the steaming cup of coffee he had brought her.

“That´s nothing but drabbles...To keep the mind sharp, nothing much.” he looked down at his desk, smiling as if the complicated equations were nothing more than silly doodles a child does on the edges of a notebook during a particularly boring class. “But you were saying?”

“Oh, yes...I...I´ve talked to James today”

“And..?” It didn´t escape her notice that Severus had swiftly and discreetly put the envelope under a small pile of papers before turning away and sitting on his usual armchair. Obviously, she had been looking into something private... She was relieved that he didn´t seem to have noticed.

“I told him Fr. Thomas wanted to talk to him, that´s all.”

“You didn´t tell him why?”

“No. I know it´s not very honest, but...Knowing James, if I told him the reason for the meeting he probably wouldn´t go...”

“That´s true... Well, I suppose all that´s left now is to hope for the best...”

“Indeed.” she answered, still eyeing the envelope hidden under the papers

“Ms. Black...Is everything all right?”

“Yes” she looked up at him confused, “Why?”

“You´re awfully quiet...”

“I´m just...”

“Worried? About James...or is it about Daniels?”

“A little bit of everything...” she wasn´t lying, but.... Evelyn wasn´t really thinking about Mitchell right now...

-------------

At times Severus regretted his excessive escruples. Other wizards in his place wouldn´t have resited  the temptation of going into her mind to find out what was wrong. Evelyn Black was definetly not her usual talkative self tonight.  Well, maybe not through the entire night...she seemed normal enough over dinner...But for some reason, as soon as they had entered his house she seemed umcomfortable. They had coffee and talked for a while more, before she excused herself rather hastly. Maybe it was the fact that she didn´t visit him all too often. Severus had himself to blame for that lack of consideration... he went to her house regularly, but never invited her to his. Evelyn was a muggle, the less she knew about him the better...or so he tought. But things had started to change, and as he felt like he could trust her, at least insofar as his muggle life was concerned, he thought it would be appropriate to invite her in. Maybe that had thrown her off her balance?

No, it wasn´t like her to be awkward in unfamiliar environments. Not Evelyn Teresa Black, beguilling social butterfly that she was. Truth was that she was worried about a multitude of things...Small wonder she should be tense, with Daniels threatening her safety and James´situation showing no improvement. That was probably the reason her demeanor had changed once he returned the topic of James and Fr Thomas meeting. It was the only explanation. If Severus had learned anything about her in the month or so they had known each other, was that she was hopelessly uncapable of deception, almost down to the physical level. She couldn´t as much as utter a benign falsehood without blushing furiously. She wasn´t exactly an expert in hiding her feelings either..she wore them on her sleeve instead... It both irritated and endeared him, but if anything he had to respect her candour.

Severus finally decided to let it go. Evelyn was such an open book that whatever it was that was bothering here he would know it sooner than latter.  Sitting by his desk, he chose to foccus on the unpleasant task of answering Narcisa´s letter. He had gotten it earlier in the day but hadn´t bothered thiking up a response just yet, so he just left it in the middle of his notes. It was a strike of luck that Evelyn hadn´t found it.

As he expected, Narcisa was suspiscious of her husband´s reasons for sending Draco away to France. And she suspected, rightfully so, that Severus knew something she didn´t. He pinched the bridge of his nose, looking down at piece of fine parchment the Malfoys couldn´t afford, filled with her ornate handwriting. In the direst misery, Narcisa had to keep on playing the role of 'grande dame', even if it meant using expensive parchment to write her letters when the entire Wizarding Community knew that even her gowns had been auctioned off.

He quickly scribbled a couple of dismissive sentences, denying any knowledge of Lucius machinations and urging her to direct her questions to him, then sealed it. As much as he could empathize with her concerns, Severus wasn´t the one who owed her explanations....

-----------

Narcisa Malfoy...

The name echoed  stubbornly inside her mind... It was an odd name. Fitting of that bizarre letter, Evelyn thought. Why the hell would anybody write and send a letter like that? Well, it had no stamp or post marks...So she must have delivered it in person...But Severus never received guests...let alone women. Except for herself, that was... But he certainly didn´t receive women who wrote flowery letters in fine parchment...right? Why would anybody write a flowery letter in fine parchment in 1998, anyway?! She seemed like a piece of work this Narcisa Malfoy... Probably a snob...That “M” in the wax seal must have stood for her last name...Who, outside of aristocracy, had a family seal!? And what business could such a person possibly have with Severus? Severus the hermit Snape, a man slightly more frugal than Zeno of Citium and somewhat more Spartan than King Leonidas. It was nearly impossible to imagine Severus associating with people who had their own family seals and wrote snobbish parchment letters with baroque callygraphy in the bloody XXth century.

And yet, the letter was there, in the middle of his personal papers. Severus obviously intended to answer it...it was open on his work desk, after all. No, no...she was overthiking it..It could just be a practical joke among friends, maybe... Not that Severus seemed to have any friends...In over a month the only 'friend' of his she had heard about was Lily Evans, whoever Lily Evans really was... definetly not any Narcisa. Still...she was starting to wonder if that one girl he had brought to the mill before herself was, indeed, Lily, as she had imagined...

“Evelyn?” Jocelyn´s airy voice pulled her back to Earth

“ Yes?”

“Your mobile is ringing...”

“Oh, shite...” she hissed under her breath “Thank you, Jocelyn”

Evelyn fumbled with her purse for a moment before finding the phone.

“Hello?”

“Hello, Evelyn. Fr. Thomas speaking. How are you doing,dear? ”

“Oh, quite fine, thank you, Fr. Thomas. What about you?”

“Good, good. I´m just calling because...James dropped by this morning before school.”

“Did he? So...how did it go?”

“Better than I expected. Which is why I´m calling, I´d like to have a word with you if that´s possible?”

“Sure, I was just informed that my last class of the day was cancelled due to the Planetarium project we´re having this week, so I can meet you today if you want. I just have to drop my my house first. Severus is supposed to pick me up from work, but he´s a ludite who apparently believes phones are the work of the devil designed to eat his soul, so I have no way of telling him not to come to school.”

“I´m afraid my day is a bit full today” Evelyn could almost hear the smirk in his voice “there´s a meeting scheduled to start planning for the Christmas festivities, which I must attend. And  I´d hate if you and Severus changed your plans on account of me...But if you could drop by the rectory tomorrow, I´d very much like to have a chat.”

“Sure. After class is a good time?”

“Perfect. Thank you, dear.”

---------------------

Severus was expecting this to happen, but not that soon. How long had it taken Narcissa to apparate at his door step after getting his letter? 24 hours, maybe, if that much? Severus knew his letter wouldn´t please her, but this was frankly ridiculous. She must have run out of ways to badger her husband for answers, if she was as desperate as to come to Spinner´s End on a whim like that.

“May I come in?” she asked with an icy voice, standing so upright and tense at his doorstep, Severus had the impression of a bow ready to shoot an arrow at him.

“I suppose I can´t very well say no...But do try to make it brief, if you will” he glanced at the clock on the matle. Almost 5pm. He should be meeting with Evelyn at 6pm...Trust Narcissa to derail one´s plans with her demands, even if unknowingly...It was a talent that came with being a Malfoy, by birth of marriage...

“I intend to.” he rolled his eyes and stepped aside, making way for her to step in, dragging her long dark green skirts behind her with his her haughty and martial gait.

“Do take a seat.”

“That´s not necessary...I´ll make it brief, as you requested. In fact, I have only one question for you Severus.”

“I suspect which question it is, and I´ll save you the trouble: ask your husband.”

“You think I´d be here if I hadn´t done just that?...Over and over again.”

“Narcissa...” he mellowed his tone, agravating as she was, Severus couldn´t fault her actions. He wasn´t a parent, but if he had children of his own, he´d probably do the same.

“Severus, please...This is not the first time I come here to plead with you, to beg you for help. I know a second time is one time too many to ask, specially after everything that happened, but …We have been punished enough...If my husband is hiding something from me, anything that can put Draco at risk once more, I beg of you, tell me.”

The ice in her voice was melting rapidly, and once more Severus could see the distraught mother who had come to him less than a year ago, desperate to save her child. He had a hard time denying her.

“Narcisa...I´ll tell you once more, it´s not in my place to tell you anything. But if it makes you feel any better, I don´t plan to let anything happen to Draco.” he walked up to her, insisting she took a seat. Her composure was only as strong as a broken vase glued back together. Under the proud posture, the gelid expression and tense shoulders, she was ready to fall apart.

“Then, there is something you´re not telling me, isn´t it?”

“I can´t be sure of what your husband is planning...I have suspicions, but he never confirmed any of them.”

“Severus, don´t make me implore you”

“You know just as well as I do where Claire loyaties laid when the Dark Lord was amog us...Why do you think she would receive your child after your family has been disgraced and shunned by both sides? You know better than I do what´s the extent of her generosity.”

“So...Lucius wants to start it all over again? Is that what you mean to tell me?”

“You know your husband better than I do, I should expect. Why do you think the Ministry officials have visited your house? To start a book club?”

“They can´t possibly think Draco would...Lucius, maybe, but Draco wouldn´t get involved in this. Not after everything he´s been through, Severus...”

“You´re right. Your son has better sense than his father. Draco is not aiding the Rotts.”

“And by the certainty of your tone, I should conclude that you do, indeed, know something about what´s going on with my son. You lied to me...”

“I did no such thing. I don´t really know what your husband is hiding from you. He has told me exactly the same he told you: that Draco was shipped off to France for his own safety. I simply happen to know Lucius better than to believe anything that comes out of his mouth. It´s not exactly hard to figure out what he wanted when he decided to have Draco move to Claire´s mansion”

“There´s more, right?” she sounded defeated. “The ministry officials...they...”

“Have a seat...” Severus let out a deep sigh. It was about time to end this. If anybody could get Draco out of France, and out of dange it would be Narcissa. Lucius should listen to her, at least, Severus hoped  


---------------------------------

“Are you sure you don´t want to tag along? We just got free time, that doesn´t happen everyday.”

“Yes, I´m sure, Angela. Thank you for offering but...” Evelyn grabbed her coat from the hanger on their way out of the teacher´s lounge.  Angela and a couple other teachers had decided to use the extra time they had gotten from the cancellation of the last period of the day to go out for drinks. It was a lovely idea, but Evelyn just didn´t feel like it. She couldn´t stop thinking about Fr. Thomas and James´s meeting, and the entire plantarium project had made her fall behind schedule. “...I´ll just use the time to catch up with some things.”

“You mean catch up with Severus.”

“Here we go again...”

“He came to pick you up yesterday, after all, didn´t he?”

“Yes, thanks to Mitchel...Severus is just trying to help me out...”

“And I believe he´s coming today too, isn´t he? That´s why you´re won´t come with us?”

“No, Angela...I´m just tired. And if you must know, yes, Severus was coming, but since I´m leaving early...”

“Just call him. Ask him to join us.”

“Severus doesn´t have a phone.”

“What? He doesn´t have a phone? You mean his phone is broke, no?”

“No, I mean he doesn´t own a phone.”

“He doesn´t...own...a phone? Evelyn, in what century did you dig this man up?!”

“I thought you had promised me you wouldn´t do that, anymore...”

“Do what?”

“Be on my case about Severus!”

“Ok, I won´t. So...you´re really not coming?”

“No, not today. Thank you for asking, but I really need some rest.”

“Well, you have my number if you change your mind.”


--------------------------------

Severus held Narcisa´s gaze for a long moment. The momentous break down seemed to have subsided, and she had put the icy mask back on.

“Speak, Severus. I´m listening”

“The Ministry officials who visited your husband...They don´t think Draco is involved in Claire schemes... I have given them every assurance that he isn´t”

“You have...how?”

“You son has written me...twice thus far. Draco isn´t planning to go along with Lucius plans to support Claire´s designs to protect fugitives abroad...It´s the opposite, actually.”

“The opposite? What do you even mean by that?”

Severus shouldn´t be telling her what he was about to tell her. But he knew Narcissa, and he didn´t need to read her thought to know he could trust her. She had stood in front of the Dark Lord himself and lied, without as much as blinking, to his face. All for the sake of her child. Narcissa had many, many flaws...but she was a good mother. She didn´t care about Death Eaters or the Ministry, she cared about Draco. And for that, Severus could trust her.

“Draco has been giving me information about them, I´ve passed them on to the responsible authorities as I saw fit. Thanks to him the Ministry is now very close to tracing the Lestranges...”

“You mean to say...” her voice was suddenly hard and emotionless “...the ministry is forcing Draco to act as a spy?”

“No. It was Draco´s own decision. I´ve been trying to dissuade the Ministry from doing that, specially considering they already got plenty of information, far more than I´d expected Draco to come up with. But considering the fact that the information he has been sending out has, thus far, proven legitimate, I´m afraid they are not inclined to give up his help.”

“Severus...If Claire finds out that Draco is spying from inside her own house...”

“I know. Which is why I´m telling you all of this, even though I shouldn´t. I know your only interest in this is to keep your son safe. And trust me, Narcisa, I have not forgotten the vow I took. I´m trying my best to protect him, as I promised you I would. But the fact is: your son is no longer a young boy, and your husband is not inclined to enforce his paternal auhtority to convince him to come back. And the Ministry is going to pressure Lucius into not doing that. I´m trying to come up with a solution, but, honestly, there´s little I can do.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“First of all. Lucius can´t as much as imagine you´ve been here and that I told you all of this. He´s not to be trusted... I know I don´t have to ask, but...”

“Severus....I´ve betrayed the Dark Lord just as you did. Rodolphus and Rabastan probably want my head as much as they would want yours if they knew you´re alive.” her sigh sounded pained, as if she was about to cry. However, Severus had a more than passing suspicion that she had run out of tears by now. “If anything, Lucius is probably trying to convince them we´re still loyal, by sending Draco to France... I´m afraid my husband has gone mad...”

“If he has, then there´s little hope for us to protect Draco without him trying to ruin everything...”

“Severus...I have an idea...it might work...” her sudden revelation was cut short by the sound of soft knocks on the door.

Severus startled. Who could be knocking at his door at a time like this? Evelyn was at work...Minerva and Shacklebolt rarely visited without a previous announcement...Unless it was an emergency...If not them...

“You made sure you weren´t being followed, Narcisa?” he asked, for the sake of being safe. One could never be too paranoid.

“Of course! What kind of a bumbling idiot you take me for? You probably have a visitor, that´s all...If anybody was to follow me here with any ill intent, they wouldn´t knock.”

“Only if they had a dreadful sense of humor...At least trick or treat season is over”

“Excuse me?”

“Nevemind...” Answering the door with Narcisa in his sitting room was a stupid idea any way he approached it, but the knocking got more and more insistent. Whoever that was, they weren´t going away.

“Severus? You´re home? It´s me, Evelyn.”

Severus cursed under his breath, looking at the clock once more. 5:20pm. She should have been at work. Maybe Mitchell had been acting up again?

“I have to get that...”


--------------------------------------


“Hello, Severus.” she smiled, as usual, but there was something about his face when he opened the door that gave her pause. He seemed tense.

“Weren´t you supposed to be at work?” the words sounded harsh, but with Severus she could never really be sure if he meant to be harsh or if it was just his usual stern self speaking.

“Yes, I was. But that Planetarium project just made them cancel my last class. Since I couldn´t call you to let you know I was getting off work earlier, I had to drop by to let you know you didn´t have to pick me up today...”

“So you just came home on your own...”

“Well, I would have called you if you weren´t allergic to technologies developed in the past couple of centuries” she smiled

“Oh, well...You´re home safe, at least.”

Evelyn studied his face. He didn´t seem tense as much as...irritated? She was familiar with the that rigid, aggravated expression on his face. She remembered it clearly from the first time they met, when she knocked on his door and he nearly kicked her off his door step. What had happened?

“Is everything all right, Severus?”

“Yes, of course.” for a moment Evelyn had the distinct impression he was trying hard to tone down his annoyance and adopt a mellower tone “I´m...just in the middle of something.”

“Oh, I see...I´ll let you be, then...” she was about to bid Severus good night when a female voice spoke from inside his sitting room.

“I´m dreadfully sorry to interrupt, but...I believe we haven´t been properly introduced.”

Evelyn looked over Severus shoulder. Standing a few steps behind him there was a tall, willowy blonde woman. A beautiful, tall, willowy, blonde woman, Evelyn corrected herself. Her hair, tied in a meticulous low bun, was almost as golden blonde as that of Evelyn´s mother, before she had started to go grey, but her eyes were pale blue, cold and distant, unlike her own mother´s warm cerulean ones,  and her fine ruby red lips formed a scornful grin. She had a long black cape-like coat over a long dress in a peculiar shade similar to bottle green that Evelyn had rarely seen in fabric. The emsemble was, at best, unconventional, but the woman wore it with undeniable aplomb, a haughty elegance that gave her an air of aloof refinement, like she was an old Hollywood starlet that had just walked walked out of a photo taken on the set of her latest period film.

Evelyn was so taken aback by that bizarre apparition in Severus sitting room that it took her a while to notice his scowl had grown more somber. He looked over his shoulder at the blonde as if silently lecturing her for interfering in their conversation. Her grin grew wider, as her pale blue eyes looked on, ignoring Severus to foccus on Evelyn, as if she was appraising the quality of new curtains or a new decorative object...and finding it below her standards of quality.

“Well, Severus?” she insisted, in the perfectly posh and polished Queen´s English “Do be a gentleman, will you?”

He sighed, looking defeated.

“Evelyn...Narcissa Malfoy. Narcissa...Evelyn” he made the introductions begrungdingly, with a quick hand gesture, as if he wanted to get it all over with. Narcisa walked over to the door, followed by the soft ruffle of her dress and stood next to Severus

“I´m very pleased to meet you, Evelyn...” Evelyn noticed she smiled with her lips, but not with her eyes “Now, as much as I hate to be rude, my dear, Severus and I have some rather urgent matters to handle...if you don´t mind.”

Evelyn could feel a warm rush of blood running fast to her cheeks, but she wasn´t quite sure if from embarassment or anger. Probably both. For a moment she expected Severus to say something, but he stood silently, still wearing that egnimatic scowl on his face, his eyes avading hers. Well, as her mother would always tell her, a true lady knows that leaving gracefully is always preferable to lingering where she is not wanted.

“I do apologize for the intrusion” she smiled back, purposely adopting the sweetest tone she could muster “I was just on my way, as a matter of fact. Lovely to meet you as well, ma´am, have a nice evening.” Evelyn turned on her heels and walked away without sparing a word to Severus. Judging by how quickly he closed the dor behind her, he didn´t seem to mind it that much.


-------------------


For a “dead” man, Severus Snape definetly had an interesting social life. Not only did he routinely fraternize with his, admitely very atractive, muggle neighbour, now he was getting visits from hard on their luck wizarding socialites. Claire would be very interested in knowing what mother Malfoy was up to. Considering Narcissa had betrayed the Dark Lord in the foulest, most cowardly way, it was not surprising that she´d come crawling to Snape after Lucius had sent their dear boy to France. It was obvious what was her stand in the matter...It was left to discover wether Malfoy Manor was a house divided, or wheter all three Malfoys were plotting something.

A shame she´d probably be less interested in the little romance novel scene that was playing out before his eyes, the tall man smirked to himself. Wonder what that poor muggle was thinking when she found another woman in Severus´s house. She didn´t seem too pleased...Severus would have to come up a very good excuse for that... Alas, that was for another episode...Now he had an owl to send out.
'Post-War'-Part VI- The Stalker- Chapter III
Quite belated, and not at all like I wanted it to be, for reasons You all know by now. But here it is! The third chapter of "The Stalker"...more of a bridge chapter, but I hope it´s still entertaing ^^; 
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Just dropping by supper quick to say the next chapter has been nearly done since last month, but since this week I have to present my dissertation, I couldn´t get a chance (or the concentration) to write the final scene. But next week it will be uploaded!

Thank you al for the patience! 
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JosieCarioca
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