1996-01-29: Catharsis

Participants:

Snape_icon.gif Tiana_icon.gif

Scene Title Catharsis
Synopsis Snape receives a visitor. It is not a pleasant stay.
Location Snape's Office
Date January 29, 1996
Watch For Allusions to the past, lots of hurt, anger and some hard truths
Logger Tiana

Severus sits in his office, marking papers. Somewhere between here and his rooms, Siobhan's seraph is curled up sleeping. She's not around his neck at the moment, though. He rolls his eyes at the poor work of the student and dips his pen into the green ink to write scathing comments on the page.

The corridor outside is usually quiet this time of day, it makes the perfect backdrop for the very distinctive click of bootheels across the stone floor. It's a dominant stride, someone who is aware of their own power and comfortable with it, but still has Shit to Do. Those footsteps pause outside the office door only a fraction of a second before a sharp rap sounds through the wood. Dressed like a rather vibrant Auror, Tiana Moldavia waits.

Severus sets aside his parchments, and flicks a hand, opening the door. There's a strong presence here. He knows he's going to have to ask for help, which bothers him, but he also knows he cannot look anything less than powerful doing it. So, possibly a bit subconsciously, he projects that feeling. "Enter." He steeples his fingers under his chin and waits.

Flicking the knob, Tiana kicks the door open - fairly gently, for her - and steps inside. Said door is closed behind her and the elegant huntress lounges back against it, arms folded across her chest as she studies her current prey. "I received a very interesting visit," she begins, no courtesy, no polite greetings, no catching up. "Dr Brennan seemed to think that my pack and I could be of … assistance in her latest case." There's something oddly like respect in her voice when she talks about the awkward anthropologist. She pauses then, and though a crooked smile curves her mouth, there is something so … so cold in the expression. "Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be you, Severus." Oh yes, she purrs that name, just as she always has. Time on this half of Europe has done nothing to water down the accent of her native land.

Severus fights to avoid reacting to her purr. However, it doesn't take as much doing as it might have done a short while ago. A memory of sunshine encased inside a hyena patronus drives every memory of the past he shared with Tiana back into the deep recesses of his mind. "Did Doctor Brennan happen to mention what we needed? A professor has been lost and the Doctor lost her trail in Knockturn Alley. She seemed to think that you and your compatriots may be able to assist us in discovering her location."

For someone who exacts as much control over herself as Tiana, the signs of someone else fighting to keep control are hard to miss. It makes her smile widen, the predator's grin before devouring whatever tripped in for dinner. The part about the missing professor? That makes her laugh outright. It's not the artful, musical laugh of the prostitute and politician, but neither is it the rough and warm laugh of the woman he once knew. No, this is something hard, something cold. "No, she did not." Which is where the funny part comes in. "She informed me that - after having conferred with the missing woman's bond-mate - the trail had gone beyond her ability to follow and asked if I would be willing to assist." Shifting her weight, she crosses one ankle over the other, still watching, even through the silence. "'I imagine Miss Moldavia knows all about giving permission to most anyone,'" she spits, throwing his own barb word for word into his face. "For Dr Brennan, there is not one of my people who would hesitate to walk through fire." So few people treat them as … humans. "But you?" She scoffs. "My people don't know you. You mean nothing to them." There's just the tiniest crack in her armor there, a flash of hurt that was sealed instead of aired, and has been left, raw and festering. "Without my lead, they would leave your little princess to rot in the snow." Her gaze is sharp now, and intense. "Give me one good reason I shouldn't let them."

Severus knows there's nothing between them that's going to make this right. She wouldn't believe it even if he did apologize. Every single one of his mistakes seems to come back and bite him in the ass, and this one is no exception. "It appears I have underestimated the depth of Doctor Brennan's forthrightness." It's a stall for time, clearly, but it is the one thing they share in the conversation. "My bond-mate, as you so accurately put it, was taken from Knockturn Alley. Near the potioneer who has been convinced to make wolfsbane from time to time. Should it happen again, the captor may take one of your people." It's a weak argument, because they haven't yet, but Severus at least begins there. "I do not know your people, and they do not know me, this is true. However, due to certain circumstances, that may be for the better." Phobias, even understandable ones, are completely unpredictable. It may also give a little insight into his asshat-edness, at least a tiny bit. "I can offer no personal reason that you would want to help me. I realize I behaved less than admirably to you," that's a Severus-apology, though he is sure it will fall on mostly deaf ears, "however, I will reiterate Doctor Brennan's request." Help, please? "If there is something I can provide to you or one of your people without endangering the promises and commitments I hold in trust for others, I shall." The bond between himself and Siobhan is now one of those promises. It's another layer on top of the web he was already walking.

The threat is weak. They both know it. Tiana doesn't even dignify it with a response. The next, however makes her thoughtful. "Due to certain circumstances … " And it hits her; like a wall of bricks dumped over her head, it hits her. Her head bows, her shoulders tensing and hands clenching into fists. It's a long moment before she can look up again, and when she does, her cold blue eyes are suspiciously bright. "Have you ever had a mystery, Severus? A true one, that you could not puzzle out because no matter how much you work at it, the pieces simply don't add up?" She laughs bitterly at herself, there. "And then when you've finally gotten your answer, you really wish you hadn't?" Because in the end, the answer is that she is a monster and not even a fellow monster can abide it. "You are a coward, Severus Snape." It's not spat, merely stated as if she's only now coming to that realization. "And you know it, don't you?" It's why he still wears the brand and still plays that game, why he pushes himself to the farthest edges of exhaustion and pain. "You justify it to yourself because of 'promises'." She never did find out what promises, but that vague answer was thrown at her often enough. "But those promises would mean nothing if you weren't trying to convince yourself and the rest of the godsforsaken world that you're actually a brave man." Reaching to the ties on her belt, she pulls out a small leather pouch and tosses it onto his desk. "I will find Siobhan, for what good it will do you." Her voice sounds so very, very tired. "Dr Brennan never gets to find her victims alive." That wears on a person. "And if she isn't found? You can hurt without guilt, because it wasn't your fault. This way, when you run from her too? You'll know." Package and message delivered, she pushes off from the door, turning to grasp the handle to leave. There is a pause and she turns her head just enough to speak over her shoulder. "I never would have hurt you."

Severus Snape is a coward. At least in his own mind. All the tripe he hears from the Headmaster about how brave he must have been to do what he did has always rolled off of him like water. Having his fears pointedly exposed and derided — no matter how accurately — is painful. However, he accepts it as his due. It's what he deserves for the cowardice. In a rare show of emotion, he closes his eyes and lowers his head. "Thank you." Whether Tiana hears the words or not, he does offer them. When she turns around and leaves, he follows her with his eyes, hooded with relief, regret and pain. "I think I know that now." It doesn't make a damn bit of difference, but he can see that. He'd still have trouble being around her, but he does appreciate that his actions hurt, and like hell, too. When she leaves, he exhales sharply, setting aside the emotions to focus on other things. He cannot fall apart. Examining the package, there is a small wry twist of his lips as shrunken copies of Brennan's books come sliding out. Perhaps, here, he will find a few answers. And be able to prevent himself from doing exactly as Tiana suggests.


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