Snacks and Letters - Part 82

Author: [info]valkyriekat
Title: Snacks And Letters - Part 82
Word Count: 918
Rating: PG


~Severus~


I woke up in the Leaky Cauldron with a crick in my neck, having fallen asleep reading by the dim light of a lantern. I'll be meeting Sirius at noon. I spent half the night wondering whether Sirius picked up that slightly obscure offer to teach him Occlumency. I rub my sore neck, grimacing. I don't wish to teach him Legilimency, but it may be unavoidable. He may be just as adept as Harry at taking instruction – rash, emotional, unfocused. I think not. He can adapt very well. That we both are still alive and on speaking terms says a lot in itself.


Zara is on a perch by the window. The highly polished oak furniture is so foreign, I hate to touch it. Noon. He should be done with Kingsley by then. My cat is probably asleep laying on his side on my chair, snoozing on the grey fabric seat, in my office. My real office, not the Headmaster's lair. Too many prying eyes, helpful or otherwise. There are festive baubles over the bedstead. No matter where I go, Christmas cheer snickers at me.


If I had never have returned last night, gone back to 12 Grimmauld Place, I would be more myself. Why should I go against my own grain? He has no hold on me – or so I thought until I discussed the Dark Arts with him. Defence and the students and the curriculum being the excuse to see what each other think. I played the simpleton to see what he would make of normal hexes, unfriendly spells of the second or third degree. He wasn't deceived. Yes, I accused him. He knows me, damn it.


I made my points, until he brought out that hideous book of power's enchantments, the succubus of the Black family library. That I knew the book under the Dark Lord raised the hairs on the backs of my arms. I knew what I faced. Had I been unprepared, the whole thing may have turned into a very sour disaster. But that temptation held no real threat this time.


Sirius said he trusted me. He seemed to be drawn in, but was his a struggle for the bare edges of sanity? Mine once was. The “test” made one thing clear- I have moved on to other things. I am not the same man I was mere months ago. And the Black mutt is to blame for a lot of it. I don't like every change. I seem less inquisitive, more trusting, calmer and less likely to snarl at people. I don't cut down at every opportunity. Bollocks


We'll see how well this fares when ... if ... I teach Sirius Occlumency. I would teach Legilimency without a doubt but for my own self-preservation. I like my mind to be intact, not have some mangy hound getting glances into my mood and thoughts. I would trust a Gryffindor to view them wrongly. And no one else has ever truly done it, invaded my mind, not the Dark Lord, not Dumbledore. No one else. The exception is Potter. And then he invaded more privacy in the Pensieve. Sometimes I wish I could do as I threatened him at Hogwarts all those years ago. A little Veritaserum wouldn't go amiss, and a list of questions that would bite him most.


What am I going to have to deal with for the sake of friendship? Will Sirius be amenable to a trip down Knockturn Alley when we're finished in Diagon? An item or two for sale and books much nicer than Adventures in Hexing. I wouldn't mind my own copy of Possession and Reanimation which I didn't get to read properly last night, either. It makes the past less cumbersome, when it's remembered with understanding. I want to know yet more about Horcruxes because then the Dark Lord seems less talented, less threatening, and certainly less admirable in his use of them. I have studied this, but Hermione Weasley won't allow the books such as the Secrets of the Darkest Art she nicked out of her sight. I'd love to use Kreacher to get one, but I can't do it.


I make my way out of the room, down the shiny wooden hallway to the grubby bar and sit by myself at a table in the far left corner, watching. He won't be early. He must know to meet in the Leaky Cauldron, I told him where I'm staying. A barmaid comes to me, short and dark-haired and pretty. She must know not to serve alcohol at this hour. It's only seven am. I'm in for a long wait. I buy a Daily Prophet from the girl. I order bangers and mash with a side of fried tomatoes, and stare at the entrance.


I can see him now, casual and offhand, having done some impossible deal with Shacklebolt with apparent ease. Sirius always makes everything look easy and simple when he's not muttering darkly and scowling. I think I prefer the scowling Sirius. The other side can be too much to take, at times.


It will be a relief when I am back at work and have student idiocies to distract me, and staff woes. To judge by the meeting, they (on the whole) welcome Sirius, and Minerva seems to accept things as they are. Slughorn will have told half of Hogwarts and all of Hogsmeade about our unusual friendship. Like Mum said: Grit your teeth and bear it, Severus.

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October 2013

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