Truth or Care
Astoria was standing on the stoop of Snape’s home. She knew that he knew she had been standing there for the last half hour. He had not opened the door or shouted at her to come in. She was torn, and in a great deal of emotional pain.
She didn’t want to tell him what she was going to tell him, but he needed to know. It could help. She was just so hurt and disappointed by her sister. Daphne had done plenty of wicked things in her life, but this had been truly evil. Mainly because Astoria knew Daphne had genuinely started to care about the redhead.
And yet she had still done it.
The whole situation made Astoria chest hurt. Like she couldn’t draw breath. She braced her hand against the doorframe when she started crying. She had barely gotten one good sob about before the door was wrenched open and she was yanked roughly inside.
“Has something happened to Marcus?”
Astoria shook her head no.
Severus pulled her into the sitting room and shoved her into the chair by the fire. He went to the kitchen and immediately got the kettle warming. She needed tea. Immediately.
“All right, Astoria. Gather yourself while I make you some tea, then do tell me what has happened.”
He went back to the small kitchen and finished making their tea. He used mugs instead of tea cups because this was for comfort not a social visit. Severus put a liberal amount of Ogden’s Firewhisky in both mugs. He’d made some for himself simply because if she was crying like this, he was probably going to need it as well.
He handed her her mug then sat in the chair opposite her, waiting.
Astoria stared into her tea cup and let the warmth form it take the chill from her hands.
“I don’t know how to tell you this.”
“Are you with child?”
She looked up at him sharply. “What? No. That doesn’t happen for a while.”
“Very. I would have to take back your tea otherwise. Go on then and do spit it out, girl. You’re beginning to make me worry a great deal.”
“I’m sorry, sir. I just... I know how you feel about all of us, even Daphne, and how you want us to do well. You don’t expect us to be exactly shining examples of goodness, but you don’t want us doing really evil things either.”
Severus’d had plenty of practice reading between the lines in his tenure at Hogwarts, both from students and fellow colleagues.
“What is it that Daphne has done this time?”
“She... Willow,” was all Astoria could manage because she was starting to cry again.
Severus Snape, being terribly quick on the uptake, gleaned her meaning.
“She did this to Willow? She’s the one who drugged her and took her blood?”
Astoria could not even look at him. She just nodded yes. Then next thing she knew, the mug was being gently taken from her hand and Astoria was pulled to her feet. She gave a start of surprise when her former professor enveloped her in a hug. She could not recall him ever touching her but to grab her arm or something.
“Shhh. You’ve done nothing wrong, Astoria. It will be all right.”
He was so angry right now he could have ripped Daphne to shreds with his bare hands. How could a student of his be so incredibly stupid, but Severus had bigger problems than knocking sense into Daphne Greengrass.
He had Rupert Giles to worry about.
Not to mention the Summers girl, Malfoy, and any of the other people who called themselves Willow Rosenberg’s friends. The girl inspired loyalty. Given that most of his Slytherins called her their friend, that loyalty would be fierce and defended violently.
His first order of business needed to be getting Astoria calm. She was obviously heartbroken by her sister’s actions. He would then need to meet with Rupert Giles and explain to the man what had happened and how he, Severus, needed to be the one to deal with Daphne. If anyone else went after her, the crying girl in his arms would take bloody vengeance upon them. In fact, he was quite sure the only two people she would not go after for taking action against Daphne were himself and Marcus Flint.
“I’m... I’m sorry, sir.”
“It’s all right, Astoria. Do sit and drink your tea.”
She did, but Astoria was still a bit bewildered by the hug. He’d just comforted her.
“And if you ever speak of what just happened, I shall be forced to hex you.”
Astoria actually smiled. She ahd a secret with Snape. Ironically, that comforted her.
“I will take care of this,” he said “But I do need to know what was done with the blood.”
“She gave some to demons, and sold the rest to Terence Higgs.”
Severus grinned the arm of his chair so tightly he heard the wood protest.
“Marcus is going to locate Higgs and have a chat with him about it.”
Severus nodded. He definitely trusted Marcus to extract some good information from Higgs. “Why the demons?”
“They brought back Greyback. One of them promised to let Daphne kill him.”
Severus was up out of his chair and pacing in one swift move. She had done this for revenge. He could understand that very well, but she had harmed people close to her to do so. That was not acceptable. She had harmed people close to him to do so - that was even more unacceptable.
“Anyone who brought that monster back needs to be destroyed. What do the demons want with Willow’s blood?”
“I don’t know, but if I can get close enough to one of them-”
“No,” he snapped.
“You are not to go anywhere near them. I won’t have it, and I know Flint certainly won’t. If they got their hands on you... the things you can do with the blood of a true Seer... Astoria, swear to me, you will stay far from the demons, and a real swear, not any of this agreeing with me to placate me then doing as you please anyhow.”
“All right,” she snapped. “I won’t seek out the demons. I swear it.”
“Where is Daphne now?”
“I don’t know. I... we had a fight, and I threw her out. I said some awful things. I assume she returned to Romania, but I’m not certain.”
He nodded. He’d find her. There weren’t too many places Daphne could hide from him.
“What are you going to do?”
“Find her... and turn her over to Hartness.”
Astoria swallowed. She didn’t know if that was such a good idea. Especially since Hartness had a witch she was working with already, and Amy Madison didn’t exactly walk the straight and narrow.
“You don’t agree?”
“I don’t know if Daphs can change. She might be too broken. Plus, I would hate for this to affect the new witch Emily is working with.”
“Amy Madison,” Severus said. “That might be an interesting cat fight. Both of them have harmed Willow. Almost irreversibly.”
“Daphne felt guilt about it.”
“But not enough to not do it, to not go through with her plans. She should have come to me.”
“I think she became accustomed to not coming to you after you...”
“Yes,” he said.
Now Severus felt a bit of guilt. Was Daphne’s spiral downwards his fault? She had become accustomed to not coming to him because she didn’t think he was here to come to.
“Don’t,” Astoria said. “You do what you can. You needed time to heal yourself. You still do. You were there for us all through school. You don’t have to sacrifice everything for us any longer. You can have a life of your own.”
“My students are my life.”
Astoria smiled at him.
“And Daphne will soon learn that I treat this infraction of honor as seriously as I would had if she had done it to you or Draco or Pansy... any of you.”
Astoria swallowed nervously. She knew Snape was unhappy with the way she had been using her Sight. Perhaps she needed to start doing better there to keep him from coming after her like she sensed he was about to do with Daphne.
When she was younger, sometimes Astoria wished she could have been her sister so she would not have to deal with visions and prophecies and all the other things that came with being a Seer, but now she would not wish even her worst enemy in Daphne’s place.
“Do not judge her too harshly, Astoria. She is the only sister you have.”