It felt like she was being poured back into herself, a drop at a time. Every bit of what made her Lilith returned to her slowly but surely. Memories, emotions, sensations, knowledge...bit by bit she came back to herself.
As everything snapped into place, she looked through eyes already open and saw in dim light. She felt muscles ripple beneath her fingertips, felt sweat slide between already damp breasts, felt her legs and stomach quivering with need. The bed was soft beneath her, the room warm, the man on top of her making her shudder and moan. Confusion filled her and her fingers tightened around taut shoulders.
Their eyes met, his more startled than hers, then he cursed softly, and stilled.
Lips parted, she could only mouth his name, fear, terror, shock and a dreadful confusion filling her and driving away desire. Her fingers began to ache, but she couldn't seem to let go.
"I can explain," he stammered. "This...damn. I didn't expect...Too soon..." She wriggled, and he groaned, moving in her again. "Let me...I..." Shaking his head helplessly, he buried his face in her neck and cried her name.
Growing colder and colder with shock, Lilith felt him spilling into her, and dimly wondered if she'd remembered to use a contraceptive charm.
And dimly wondered why she was in bed with Severus Snape.
As he moved off her, she finally found the strength to release him and scrabbled for the quilt at her feet, dragging it around her shaking shoulders. Tears filled her eyes, quickly slipping down her pale cheeks, and she stared at him as he slowly and gracefully rose naked from the bed and wrapped a black silk robe around himself.
Questions bubbled in her brain and she managed to finally voice one, the one screaming the most.
Severus sighed heavily, his shoulders slumping, as he walked across the bedroom to a small writing desk upon which sat a tray with a decanter and glasses. As he poured himself a brandy, he asked softly, "The long version or the short version?"
Swallowing hard and trying to control the shock-induced shaking of her body, she forced the question out again, adding, "Why am I in your bed?"
Slowly Severus turned to face her as he took a sip of brandy. "What is the last thing you remember?"
"Lilith, bear with me. You're safe, you're well. This is all going to be quite a shock."
"Shock?" There was a hint of hysteria in her low, strangled laugh. "Yes, this is all quite a shock."
"What do you remember?" he urged again softly.
"Before waking up with you on top of me?"
"You didn't wake up."
She frowned at that, somehow knowing it should mean something, then swallowed hard and tried to remember. "I was...going home from my shop. Walking, as usual. Then...Lucius. He stepped out of a doorway, greeted me. I had no idea what to say back to him. Then..." Her brow furrowed more as the memories abruptly ended. "I...I don't know."
"When was this?"
"December 18th. Why?"
"Hm, he must have stunned you. They didn't have the potion yet."
The fear was sliding away, being replaced by anger. "What potion? What the hell is going on?"
Severus took another drink and leaned against the wall, arms crossed over his chest. "I don't know the details, but two days before that your father asked me to make a large batch of Obfuscare Potion. They must have kept you unconscious until I delivered it on the evening of the twentieth."
Lilith nearly choked as the knowledge of just what Obfuscare did hit her. "How long?"
"Today is March 5th."
Nearly three months. Helplessly she started to cry again, dragging her knees up and wrapping her arms around them.
"From what I can piece together, your father wasn't at all pleased that you were fighting on the wrong side, so to speak, a traitor to your family. When you were simply living the Muggle life, he didn't care one way or another, but when you returned to our world and moved in with Black..."
"Sirius. Oh gods, does he know?"
"Of course," Severus continued smoothly.
She looked away from his penetrating gaze, a horrible feeling filling her that he meant more than just what her father had done.
"A few nights later your father brought you to the Dark Court, and offered you to any Death Eater who wanted you."
The fear returned and she clutched her knees tighter, staring up at him from stricken eyes.
"The Dark Lord took it upon himself to find you a husband instead. I immediately leapt at the opportunity to save both of us."
"As soon as he learned of the potion that had you in its grips, I knew you could destroy us all. We are very lucky that he chose to see you wed first before using your power against you."
Full understanding hit her and she nodded slowly. "Obfuscare breaks down memories, the mind, inhibitions, letting the natural power run free. I would have told him everything I saw."
"But I married you and altered the potion to greatly lessen the effect on your sight. You've told him only minor things, leading him to believe that you are not the Seer you were reputed to be."
Relief mingled with the fear and confusion, and she latched onto the one issue that was most important at the moment. "We're married?"
"You would have blown my cover and...at least we're on the same side." He finished the brandy and set aside the glass.
"That doesn't explain...this." Lilith swept her hand across the bed.
His upper lip twitched slightly and his eyes darkened. "I said we were on the same side. I never said I was a good and decent man."
Lilith felt herself blushing and buried her face in her knees. Obfuscare Potion was illegal because it could be used like a date rape drug that violated the mind and caused the user to become malleable to anyone strong enough to give orders. She knew she must have been all too willing to share Severus' bed.
And she wasn't surprised that he'd taken that advantage. He was right about not being a good man.
But, he'd saved her...
"You took me off the potion." She peeked up at him from beneath long lashes.
"I had to. Turn your mind inward, Lilith. You'll see why."
Puzzled, she did as he suggested, examining her body guided by her Sight. Slowly her eyes widened and she let her legs slide back down on the bed so she could place a trembling hand over her stomach.
"Four days ago. It's taken that long to wean you off the potion. To my chagrin you came off it sooner than I expected."
"I bet," she snapped back, nearly making him grin.
"Bad man, remember?"
Unable to contemplate the future or what rested beneath her hand, Lilith changed tacks. "Where are we?"
"My home away from Hogwarts. A cottage on my uncle's estate. Cranston Deveau."
"The Deveaus are good..."
"Yes, good wizards. It's the Snapes who are commoners and dark wizards. My maternal grandfather never forgave my mother for running off with Gilbert Snape, but also never held it against me. He left me this cottage when he died two years ago."
Pushing away form the wall, he began to gather up scattered clothing. "The bathroom is through there if you wish to bathe. I'll prepare supper."
"Yes, I know, Lilith. There is so much more to talk about, but all three of us need to keep up our strength." A few strides took him out of the room, the door closing behind him, and Lilith stared blankly at the carved wood he'd exited through, her mind a jumbled mass of confusion.
And her hand gently rubbing her flat stomach.
Lilith sat there for several minutes, trying to digest everything, and finally gave up. Sliding from the bed, she found herself blushing deeply at the twinge of discomfort between her legs and the tenderness of her breasts. Ignoring the evidence of lovemaking as much as possible, she hurried to a bureau and rummaged through it to find clean clothes, before continuing to the bathroom.
It was small but pleasantly decorated, with a shower and tub combination. She turned the water on and when it was hot, stepped into the tub and reached for soap.
At the first touch of a hand to her skin, the recent memories flooded her mind, of his hands on her, the pleasure filling her body, the ache of desire.
Tears spilled out of her eyes and she leaned against the tile wall, weeping.
Composed and wearing a pair of jeans and a pale pink sweater, Lilith left the bedroom. Her damp hair tucked behind her ears and her feet bare, she headed towards the aroma of cooked meat. The kitchen was charming, brightly lit, with a stone floor covered in handwoven rag rugs.
Severus stood at the stove stirring a large pot. A timer sounded and he bent to open the oven and magic out a tray of biscuits.
It seemed incongruous to say the least with the image she had of the man.
Startled, he looked over his shoulder, than nodded curtly and turned back to what smelled like lamb stew.
"It smells wonderful." Tentatively she sat at the table set for two before a large bay window.
"Simple food," he replied as he ladled bowls full of the stew. "Cooking helps me clear my mind." He placed a bowl before her, then returned to the stove for the biscuits. As Lilith stirred the stew with a spoon, Severus poured her a glass of milk and one of beer for himself, then joined her at the table, all while avoiding her eyes.
"I can't do much more than heat up a pre-packaged meal from Marks and Sparks." She reached for a biscuit. "Um, American style?"
"They go well with the stew. What is...Marks and Sparks?"
Lilith stifled a giggle, vaguely wondering where the sudden ease was coming from. "Marks and Spencer, more accurately. It's a chain of department and grocery stores." She took a bite of lamb. "Delicious."
Severus sat back in his chair, sipping his beer, watching her eat. "I tend to forget that you lived in the Muggle world for so long. It's...rather beyond comprehension."
"It's kind of like moving to a very foreign country, like Japan or Morocco. The culture is very different, but there are a lot of similarities, too. I think you'd be surprised at how quickly a person can adjust to things like telephones and take-out dinners. I found it a bit of culture-shock to suddenly do without when I returned to our world." She took a large bite of biscuit. "Oh, just like the ones I ate practically every day in New York." After devouring the fluffy biscuit, she looked up. "And you're looking at me as if I've come from outer space."
"Actually, I'm rather surprised that you're handling this so well. I expected to be cursed to hell by now."
She flushed and swallowed a bite of stew. "I...well, what would be the point of wailing and rending my clothes? Or of taking it out on you? You did save me, probably saved my life. I'm sure you didn't want to marry me either."
He cocked one eyebrow at that, but remained silent, sipping his beer and watching the emotions cross her face. After living with blankness for three months, her animation was delightful.
"So, we make the best of the situation and..." Lilith flushed and her free hand fell on her flat stomach. "I never expected to have a baby," she finally whispered. She looked up at him as a question came to mind. "How did you know so quickly?"
"I've been monitoring you carefully."
"There are wards on my body. I can feel them. Are they yours?"
Shaking his head, Severus reached for a biscuit and began to tear it into small pieces as he spoke, his voice low. "No. They're his. The Dark Lord's. He doesn't trust any of his followers. My own actions were carefully watched for the first month."
She took another bite of stew, mulling over the implications, then said softly, "I can't remove them, can I."
"You can, easily. He saw no need to make them complicated."
"But, if I did...he'd know."
Severus nodded and set his beer down, reaching for his own spoon. "I took you off the potion only because it might harm the child. I'm trusting that you can fake being a zombie."
"Fake...?" Her eyes widened. "You'll take me back to Vol..."
Interrupting her with a harsh slash of a hand, he swore quickly, "Never say his name. It gives him power and lets him see inside your very soul. And, yes, we will have to go back to his Court whenever it is called."
The stew settled in her stomach like lead and she swallowed convulsively against a suddenly dry mouth. "I...I don't know if I can do that, handle that. And, what about my visions?"
"Make something up and learn to lie." He noticed that she was fiddling with her spoon and staring at him from wide and frightened eyes. "And eat that. It's been very difficult keeping you nourished."
Letting the spoon clatter in the bowl, Lilith rubbed her hands over her face as fresh tears threatened. "What if I can't do it? What if I blow it? What if he kills me?"
"You will do it. There's too much to lose if you don't," Severus admonished, his voice cold.
"You shouldn't have taken me off the potion."
"I couldn't risk the baby."
"Then you should have put me on a contraceptive potion."
"Nothing mixes well with Obfuscare. Lilith, this is the way it is. Neither of us had a choice."
"You didn't have to fuck me," she cried, her voice strangled and full of frustration.
She watched the icy mask descend over his face. "And how would I have explained that to the Dark Lord?"
"Oh gods, he knew when...?"
Realizing she was becoming very upset, Severus sighed heavily and moderated his tone, "You can mask some of the wards to keep him out of the bedroom, so to speak, give him false impressions. Just be very careful."
Lilith looked at him, eyes shiny with tears. "But...does that mean...?"
"I shall, of course, move into the second bedroom."
"You know I couldn't mask the wards on you myself. Only the creator or the bearer can."
"Now, please eat the rest of the stew."
Obediently she picked up her spoon and resumed eating, barely tasting the food, but knowing she needed to keep up her strength for all the trials ahead.
And for the baby...a baby...
But not Sirius' baby.
Lilith tried not to sniffle as she finished her stew and milk, but she was very afraid she *was* going to start wailing and rending.
Because the more she thought of all the implications, the more she realized that she couldn't go back to Sirius, not until the war ended and they'd won.
She had to make a life here...without him.
With Severus Snape.
She wasn't sure she could do that.
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