1996-01-27A: Bonds And Bones


Brennan_icon.gif Snape_icon.gif

Scene Title Bonds and Bones
Synopsis Severus meets up with Dr. Charity Brennan, Jane's 'expert'. She overwhelms him with all sorts of information.
Location London: Knockturn Alley
Date Jan 27, 1996
Watch For Severus Snape dumbfounded. Amazing leaps of intuition, and scads of information.
Logger Snape, Snape, Severus Snape.

Severus is awake very early. The night was pure hell; he couldn't even consider sleeping in his own bed, so he kipped for a couple hours on Siobhan's, her familar strangely absent. After giving up on even a fitful sleep, Severus wakes up, and storms out of the castle, popping back into Diagon Alley. He avoids even looking at the other people passing by, other than to notice their presence and avoid those who scorn him for his teaching methods, his supposed allegieances, or both. He steps into the dark alley in Knockturn, magic reaching instinctively to search and keep ahold of any small strands of sunshine that are left, internally cringing at the acrid feeling of not-right that flows through the little bits he finds.

Striding in from a side-street wearing black sleeveless fatigues - in January! - and muddy combat boots is a slender brunette. She wears no makeup and her hair is pulled up in a simple ponytail, her only accessories are a backpack and a duffel bag. It's still to early for crowds, so when she looks down the alley and spies Snape, she figures he's her rendevous and strides toward him, snapping what looks like a latex glove on her hand. "Dr Charity Brennan." She'll offer the bare one in greeting. "You must be Professor Snape? How cold is the scene?"

Cold? Severus quirks an eyebrow. "I am indeed Severus Snape." He thinks for a moment. Oh. "The incident happened only a few hours ago. I can still sense a small portion of her magic." He doesn't explain how he can, or why that's important. If this is Jane's 'expert', then she ought to know. "We are looking for any information you can give us." He pushes back his instinctive need to snarl at everyone around him, but his lip does curl in frustration and anger.

Oblivious!Brennan is oblivious. If Snape's in a particularly snarly mood, it goes right over her head. "Vampire, werewolf or bonded?" The matter-of-fact way she phrases the question - as if it's just SOP, no big deal - might be a little surprising. Snapping the other glove on, she drops both of her bags in the snow and kneels down near the door to a shop called Game of Thorns, running fingertips over a place where the wall's been chipped and looking back and forth between it and the door handle. "What's her trace element?" She looks over her shoulder at him. "Fire of some kind?"

Snape steps closer to the woman. "I am not a werewolf." He looks like a vampire, but hey, it's getting close to daytime, and yeah, most of the vampires around here are skittish about the light, if not downright avoidant. Her words make him stop and think. She's seen this before? "I am not a vampire," he finally decides to admit. "Her magic feels like sunshine." So, yeah, probably fire-elemental. "It … may be touched with a bit of water." He lets his magic flare, kind of a 'see, like this?' thing. Only for a second, however. Of course, this probably answers Brennan's question for her.

There's a furrow to her brow when he's so touchy about the question. "I meant no offense, Professor Snape, but I need to understand what that 'sense' comes from." Again, Brennan is calm and matter of fact, though there's a slight archness this time, like she's offended that he snapped at a perfectly reasonable question. Turning back to the wall, she leans in and … sniffs it. "Sunshine?" That seems to catch her attention. "That's very unusual for this part of the world. Most astral elements tend to come from much closer to the poles." North or south. When he flares, she pauses, inhaling deeply before nodding. "The sun and the ocean, that's absolutely fascinating. The statistical improbability of that kind of a bond sits at about 0.025. In fact, in some of the South American native cultures, pairings like that are taboo, forbidden." Standing straight, she pulls open the broken door to step inside. "They believe that the sun should stay in the sky where it belongs and that the ocean should be content to move below it." She's in full-on 'lecture mode' now. "It's not a terrible metaphor. There's archaeological evidence that matings like that produced some of the most powerful conquerers they ever knew. Mind you, the Inuit peoples disagree entirely. Their leaders can only ever come from a child of sun and sea or earth and moon or star and stone." She picks her way among the wreckage of the toppled shelf and inhales deeply again.

Far from being offended, something in Severus swells with pride. Together, they could be that powerful? That has potential. However, it draws his attention back to the scene when she starts sniffing around. "Can you determine what happened here?" He lets his magic reach out where she's sniffing, to see if he can sense anything near what the woman can feel. If it's Siobhan, he might be able to. He listens to her rambling, letting it slide because it's interesting, it seems to focus her, and it may be useful in the future. "I have had … poor experiences with werewolves, Doctor." That's all he'll say about being offended. "If it is helpful, Siobhan was attacked by a non-transformed werewolf several months ago." That might make her magic feel … weird to this doctor.

"And there are nomadic people in the Russian steppe that can only be led by a bonded pair. They follow the same rule as the Inuits, but it's the pair and not the offspring. They believe that true power comes from two-that-are-one." She bends down to run spilled soil between her fingers and glances up at him again. "You didn't think Genghis Khan had the power to take over all of Asia and most of Europe on his own, did you?" She nods in response to his admission about werewolves. "They're much nicer when they're reared by their own kind. Western civilization has a tendency to emphasize suppression of their natures rather than management of them. It often has … disastrous consequences." Looking around the shop, she hums to herself. "If your bond-mate is the fire-wolf - " which is what she smells " - she was here. This place stinks of fear and betrayal." There's a shard of ceramic pottery that looks like it might have blood on the tip. Lifting it carefully, she smells it and then secures it inside a clear plastic evidence bag. "Someone else was here with her besides the shopkeeper." The smell permeates the place because he lives and works here. "Someone who smells like … rot covered in unrefined oil. Do you know anyone with corrupted magic?"

Severus continues to listen to the comments, feeling a strong sense of something stirring within him. It's not a geas or demand, just a touch of an idea that seems to form in the dark recesses of his mind and magic. You have a place. It found you. However, her comments about his 'bonded' get his attention, and he focuses back on the doctor, all other thoughts gone. "Madam, do you want an alphabetized list? It would begin with Mister Avery, and end with Mister Yaxley."

"Oh." That seems to derail Brennan. "At the risk of sounding like I put any stock in psychology - " which she doesn't " - don't you find it a little disturbing that you have a list?" Most people have met maybe, maybe one or two. In their entire lives. Unless. Standing, she turns to face him, palm out in front of his face, hovering for a moment before tracing the air down in front of his chest, shoulder and finally stopping without touching over his left forearm. "Oh." And without further comment, she steps around him and back out into the alleyway. "Shepard said you could hear Dementors in the message?" she confirms. Kneeling again in the cobblestone, she retrieves a wide black button and some wool thread. Slipping it into its own bag, she hands that over. "Recognize that?" There's a slight pause. "There were Dementors here. Not many, but enough."

"It is better to have a list than to work blindly," Severus replies, somewhat cryptically. When she 'scans' him, he tenses up for a moment, then relaxes. Oh, indeed. "Yes. They are similarly marked." Severus glances around, curious as to how she knows there were Dementors here. However, it is unimportant. "I believe that's what it was I heard. If you are finding evidence, then there is a good chance that is what I heard." He reaches out for the bag with the button. He does. He closes his eyes, expression tightening. "Yes. That is a button from Siobhan's jacket." So, something happened here.

There are footprints in the snow. Lots of them. Brennan follows them, mimicking the bouncing weight-shifting that fighters often use. There's a circle in the snow and she spins, moving around the spot to try and work out the exact angle. "There was a fight here." Some of the snow near the circle is stained red. Dipping just her fingertips in it, she licks it and then immediately spits in the snow. "Not her blood, too festered. She fought hard." Looking down the street from the blood-splatter, Brennan stands and takes off at a jog.

Snape looks down at the footprints, watching her reenact something from them. He can track a little with magic, can curse people pretty well, and is of course, damn good with anything potion or ingredient related. But this woman impresses him. She can see things that are almost not there. He follows after her, maintaining his silence as she continues to discover things.

There's a sign for Poppy's Pilfered Prizes hanging midway down the street with what looks like a chunk eaten out of it by acid. Clambering on a stack of barrels and crates nearby without even a second thought, Brennan pulls a knife and small bag from her pocket and leeeeeeans out to scrape the charred edges into the open bag. "This is where your Killing Curse hit." Well, not his, but the one he heard. "Stinks worse than almost anything." And this from the woman whose day job involves human bodies in varying states of decomposition. Task completed, she makes to jump down, but something catches her attention out of the corner of her eye. Taking off again, she comes to rest at the foot of the brick wall, staring at a blood smatter-smear and the odd piling of snow below it, like something writhed there and then vanished. Headed back to the shop, she hefts one of the taller crates and sets it to one side of the weird snow-nest, climbing back on top of it and this time pulling a pair of tweezers from her pocket. Very carefully, she plucks a sliver of bone from the brick and gestures for him to come closer. "I can't smell anything, here. The Cruciatus is too thick." It's making her a little nauseated and her voice is oddly quiet. "Can you feel her here?"

There's still a sense of her here, and he nods once before responding. "Yes. I can feel her here." He grits his teeth. "She was subjected to the Cruciatus?" He inhales, and then explains why that's important. "Siobhan reacts… poorly to the Cruciatus curse. Lips pursed, Severus is silent for a moment. "It behaves much like an allergy to a potion. Her magic rejects the curse itself. They used potions to deal with the aftermath, but were unable to cure it." If there is a cure for such a thing. His Siobhan is definitely unique.

"Any history of drug use?" Backed a step or two away from the wall and the foul magic, Brennan is absorbed by the bone fragment. "This is probably hers, then. I'll test it to be sure. Facial bone is usually the only type to splinter this fine, but I can't say conclusively."

"I am not aware of any drug use, though, I do not know everything about her." Yet. If he ever will. Severus is a little thrown by the fact that she's standing there, holding a piece of his lover's — no, if this woman is right, his bonded's face, and is just examining it. He gazes at the bone, and his eyes narrow. "He broke her cheekbone?" Fury roars through him, and he has to step back from the short doctor. His magic flares, splashing over the edge, seeking out whoever harmed Siobhan. It's obvious that nothing will tell him anything, at least not more than the woman is discovering herself. He growls, and conjures a figurine, throwing it into a wall away from Brennan.

The outburst of temper makes Brennan blink, but she doesn't seem overly surprised. "Well, technically, a splinter like this could come from the supraorbital process, the maxilla, ethmoid, volmer or the ramus but … " Twisting and turning the bone just so. "The zygomatic process is actually a very good hypothesis. An impact fracture. She was likely cursed mid-leap and slammed face-first into that wall, there." She squints and seals the evidence bag before trudging back up toward her bags. "I'm uncertain how you would proceed in such matters with magical remedy, but muggle medicine will pump a chemical through a body in detox from some of the heavier substances. It basically kicks the body's immune system into overdrive so that it can purge the chemicals from the system, but by that same token, the immune system is on overdrive likely for the rest of the patient's life and certainly if they ever come into contact with the substance again, they're likely to die." She looks over her shoulder, just now realizing she should probably make sure he's following her. "I've seen one or two allergic reactions to certain spells, but they were both as a result of that procedure. However," she qualifies her explanation. "I'm not a Healer nor a medical doctor. I'm certain there could be other possibilities as to the origin of such a reaction." Just none of them are likely.

Severus considers all the implications of the outpouring of Brennan's words, and remains silent, the proverbial wind sucked right out of his sails. His anger deflates, and he slumps against the wall, still tracking her, watching her work as much as he can. He straightens up, then follows her as she moves. "Thank you for the very useful information." He is a little more willing to be gracious to her when she's just given him more information than any of the other MLE people, and without 'price'. He sighs. "Have you any suggestions as to find out where she went from here?" Or, probably more precisely, was taken.

That surprises Brennan, enough so that she pauses to give Snape a long and measuring look. "There are no drag or lift marks in the snow where she fell, so I would postulate that she was bound or otherwise immobilized and transported out via Portkey or Apparition. There's no way to follow that kind of trail." Her study of him tells her many things - probably far more than he'd like to think - but most importantly she sees his level of distress, the geniune care and even adoration for his bond-mate. "I was going to lie to you," she admits. "Tell you that there's nothing further to do." Her implements and evidence are stowed in the backpack and both bags are hefted back onto her shoulders. "Most people with that kind of magic branded on them don't wait for a willing bond." And that had made her wary. "But you really love her, don't you?" And though she searches his face, she doesn't really wait for an answer. "Get in touch with the werewolves. There's a pack centered a couple hours north of here. They'll smell and feel her magic differently than I would or you would," respectively "but if you bring them here soon enough, or to wherever she lived - anywhere she spent a lot of time alone - they'll be able to help." Pulling her gloves off, she seals them in their own bag - though this one just gets stuffed in her pocket and she brushes off her pants. "Now, I was told you'd be able to Side-Along me to the Ministry on your way back to Scotland."

"I blame youth and stupidity, and unfortunately, both were my own." Severus comments dryly. When she comments that he really loves her, it strikes him. He never thought of it quite that clearly. It also strikes him as ironic that the first person to say that this relationship was 'love' was someone completely outside of their sphere, someone he had never even met before today. "Merlin, I do." Saying that feels right, though the rightness slides away when he realizes that he needs to tell Siobhan, and she should have been first to hear it. However, it's been said, and he doesn't think this woman will be spreading it around too much. In a second, 'oh, shit' moment in the last five, Brennan mentions werewolves. He closes his eyes, and nods. "I believe I can do that." It's going to hurt like hell, but he can do that. He frowns, looking at her, and tilts his head. "You do not apparate?" That must make things extremely difficult. "I can assist." It's the very least he can do for all the information and the lead. "If you would hold my arm." When she does, he will apparate her to the ministry, then, he will head back to the castle and consider best how to contact someone who probably hates him worse than Sirius Black, and with much more cause.

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