The Old Walls Crumble by cearrae
[Reviews - 2993] Printer Chapter or Story

- Text Size +
Disclaimer.
This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

This chapter has a little more information but it’s mostly about Severus and Jenny. If Voldemort appears more than a little bipolar, it’s because I think the character is totally psychotic. Walpurgisnacht is also known as Beltane. It’s a summer festival and is usually celebrated on April 30 or May 1. The Christians celebrate it as May Day.

sssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Boxing Day; funny thing was that Boxing Day was synonymous with a hangover for Snape. At least, it had been since he was old enough to get pissed on Christmas Day. He pushed himself up, and swung his legs over the side of the feather bed he’d used the night before. Watery, morning light flickered through the lace curtains and puddled on the Persian rug thrown beside the bed. Snape sat forward, his elbows resting on his knees. Bending forward, he rested his forehead on his hands for a moment before running them through his hair. He snorted; it was still strange to have short hair.

“Master Snape is you needing anything?” asked Lessiff the elf, who had appeared in the bedroom unbidden.

“Coffee in the drawing room,” said Snape, as he stood and stretched.

The elf disappeared. Severus left the room in search of a loo before heading downstairs. He went to the same room he’d sat in the night before and found Malfoy sitting in the same chair, looking as if he’d never moved.

“Coffee’s there.” Malfoy pointed to a side table.

Snape poured himself a cup and sat opposite his friend. He pulled out two phials of potion and passed one to Malfoy. They opened the phials, and silently toasted each other, before they each tossed the potion back in one.

“Just like old times.” Malfoy stared into the fire, his thoughts miles and years away from hear and now.

“Are you resolved?” asked Snape.

Malfoy nodded, “It shall be done. When do you expect to be called?” He looked over at Snape.

“Come now, Malfoy. You must remember that He Who Must Not Be Named always holds a New Year’s Day levee for his most faithful. Eat, Drink and be Merry, sayeth the Dark Lord.” Snape smirked before sipping his coffee.

“Here’s to the creature of habit; and I do mean Creature,” said Malfoy, now raising his coffee in a toast.

“And to his real familiar, Wormtail, for Merlin knows, Nagini the snake has far more brains in her reptilian head than that rodent. She’s probably the real brains behind the entire movement.” Snape began to laugh at his own joke. Malfoy joined in and soon, the deserted house was echoing with their dark mirth.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Late Wednesday morning, December 31st, Jenny looked out of her front window and saw a grey car pulling up to the kerb. She turned away and got her coat and handbag, stopping for a moment to check her hair in the hall mirror. The doorbell rang as she was pulling on her coat.

With a smile, Jenny opened the door, “Hello Severus, you’re right on time. Don’t you look handsome?” She brushed her hand over his tie.

“Thank you. Traffic was light for a Wednesday. I’m glad you had the day off.” He stood aside as Jenny stepped out and locked the door behind her.

“It was a nice surprise, to be asked along on a day out, Severus. I’ve not been out of Manchester for a while. Where are we going anyway?” She walked down the path, not noticing Severus’ eyes watch her legs. She’d never worn a dress while in his company before.

“You recall that search we did for an old artefact the first time I visited?” he asked, pulling his eyes to her face.

“Yeah, the shield with griffins on it, in a church somewhere east of here,” she replied.

“Indeed, I thought we would visit the area and, as I had suggested on the phone, perhaps stop for dinner on the way back. I’ve made reservations at a nice restaurant.” He opened the car door for her to enter.

“Thank you Mr Snape, you always know just how to make me feel special.” She pulled her skirt in before he closed the door

“My pleasure, Ms Doulton, it’s not every day a lovely lady is my companion.” He told her, as he climbed in the driver’s side.

“Don’t forget your belt,” she warned, as he started the car without buckling up. “Don’t want to get a citation.”

“I forgot,” he muttered, as he fastened himself in.

They headed out of Manchester, east on the M60 and M1 towards Greater Driffield. They left the Motorway and the main trunk roads behind, ending up on Bridlington Road.

“Do you know where the church is?” asked Jenny.

“I don’t have the address, but I think we’ve found it.” He looked out of his side window and saw a tower soaring upwards to the sky. “I thought we might do what I always do when I’m looking for information, and visit the hub of news about the town.” He replied.

“The library,” she stated with conviction.

“The local pub,” he responded with a smile.

They found a pub after turning two corners. Severus parked the car down the street from the whitewashed building. He opened the door and helped Jenny out.

“This looks like a good place to start,” he said, “and it appears to serve pub lunches. Hungry?” he asked, leading her to the doors.

“Biscuits and cheese with a shandy sounds good.” She replied, entering the pub before him.

The interior was quiet, only a few older men and a group of women in one corner.

“‘Ow do folks, ‘aving a day out, then?” greeted the landlord.

“Yes, we’re just travelling around the area, taking in historic sites.” Snape told him.
He ushered Jenny to a table where they were joined by the jolly man.

“What can I get you?” asked their host.

“A Ploughman’s lunch, a shandy for the lady and a pint of bitter for me,” Snape ordered.

“Are you vegey, we’ve ‘ad some that don’t like to ‘ave meat?” he asked.

“No, we’ll have a bit of everything,” replied Snape.

“Coming right up.” The landlord exited into what appeared to be a kitchen, and then returned to pour their drinks.

“Why are you searching for this shield, Severus?” asked Jenny.

“There are some who would pay a great price to have it in their possession,” Snape told her. “To others, the shield represents a way of life, a tradition begun by the original owner.”

“Are you still talking about your school?” she asked.

He cocked his head to the side, “Surely you know the kind of loyalty old schools have from their pupils.”

“I never went to that kind of school, Severus. I couldn’t wait to get out of the state system.” They paused as their drinks arrived.

“Anything else?” asked the landlord.

“Yes, where can we find All Saints Church?” asked Snape.

“When you go out, go back up the hill and turn to your left at the first street. You’ll see the old graveyard first. Just turn right when you see the main gate, you can’t miss it.” He stood aside to let a woman put a platter of food and two small plates on the table.

“Have there been any other people around asking about the church?” Snape kept the question innocent, but Jenny caught something in his tone.

The landlord shook his head, “Not since I’ve been the licensee, but, I remember my old dad saying something about a man asking after the church quite a while ago.”

Snape looked at him, “Why would that stick in your memory?”

The landlord stroked his chin, “My dad, ‘ee was a superstitious man, ‘ee was. Had the vicar come and bless the house after that bloke came; said ‘ee thought we’d been visited by Satan ‘imself. Lot ‘o tripe of course, but me dad was funny that way. Enjoy.” He nodded and returned to the bar.

Jenny helped her self to pork pie, Cheshire cheese and a slice of cob bread. “What are you not telling me, Severus?” she asked.

“Why would I be hiding anything?” he asked in return. He speared some pickled onions to go with his slice of pate.

“Severus Snape, don’t play the innocent with me. There’s something more going on here than just retrieving an old school heirloom.” She sipped her shandy and waited.

Snape sighed, “Jenny, the whole thing is contentious. There are two sides fighting over the rights to certain artefacts. They both believe they are right.”

“Whose side are you on?” she asked, putting a piece of pork pie in her mouth.

He smirked, “The side that is in the right, of course.”

When they finished, they left the pub and drove to the church. No one else was about, as they approached the front doors which were open, much to Jenny’s surprise. They entered the ancient church and looked about the nave. To one side, the nave opened into a small side chapel which held a burial crypt.

“Severus, look.” Jenny pointed to a carved frieze above the low, buttressed entry to the chapel. The heraldic and holy symbols included stylized Griffins. Jenny walked towards the vault while Severus was several paces behind. As she passed under the buttress, he saw a glow emanate from around the wooden frame. Secretly, he dropped his wand into his palm. Turning to cover his action, Severus cast a revealing charm on the frame. As he had suspected, a ward to detect magic of any kind had been placed around the chapel. He tentatively reached out a hand, only to snatch it back when it was given a nasty shock; warded against magical folk as well then.

Jenny reached into her bag and pulled out a small camera. “Come closer and I’ll take your picture with the dead knight.”

Severus shook his head, “I’ve more respect for your camera lens than that. If you wouldn’t mind, take a few snaps of the crypt itself.”

“Shy aren’t you,” she teased, “Okay, from what angles?”

“Do you see the shield?” he asked.

“Yeah, looks perfect from here.” She lifted the camera and took pictures from every direction. At Severus’ coaching, she took one closer shot of the shield.

“Why won’t you come closer, Severus?” she asked.

He shrugged, “Old superstition “ only pretty young women may approach the knight with impunity.”

“And here I thought you wanted to spend time with me,” she mocked him teasingly.

Snape frowned, “I do, Jenny.”

Jenny shook her head, “I was just teasing you again. Here, take a picture of me pointing at the carvings above.” She passed him the camera and took off her coat. She posed, leaning on the wall with her arm outstretched pointing at the frieze.

Severus watched as she got ready for the picture, taking in the black velvet dress she wore. The neck was scooped low and the skirt hung loosely from her hips. It made her look utterly feminine and reminded him of something a witch would have worn.

“You look very pretty today, Jenny,” he told her, as he pointed the camera at her and pressed the shutter release.

“Thanks, I ...my sister said every woman should have a little black dress.” Jenny blushed at his complement.

“Hello, can I help you?” called a voice from the sanctuary.

“Hello,” answered Jenny, “We were just admiring your wonderful frieze and crypt. We’re not trespassing I hope.”

The man approached them, “Not today you’re not. We’re having a service of thanksgiving tonight and the choir is due anytime. I’m the lay-deacon here. Archie Phelps.” He held his hand out in greeting. Jenny and Severus both shook it.

“My name is Tobias Prince, Mr. Phelps,” offered Snape, hoping Jenny wouldn’t give away his subterfuge. “I’m wondering if you’ve had any enquiries about the shield on the crypt. It seems remarkably well preserved.”

“I’ve not had any questions from anyone but there is a visitor every Easter that stops by and makes an anonymous offering to help in the up keep.” He chuckled to himself, “The old vicar said it must be an ancestor of old Godric the Good.”

“Godric the Good?” asked Jenny.

Phelps nodded, “Well, the story goes that the knight, Sir Godric, cast a magic spell upon the shield making it impervious to any weapon. It’s said the spell is still in effect today, leaving the shield as perfect as the day it was cast.” The man smiled, “The Sunday School kiddies love the story.”

“Indeed, thank you Mr. Phelps, Happy New Year,” said Snape, gathering Jenny up to leave.

“Happy New Years, sir,” called Jenny over her shoulder, as Severus pulled her along.

“Tobias?” she asked as they approached the car.

“Later,” he replied, making haste to leave.

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

“Mum, sit still,” Ginny insisted, as she helped her mother primp for the Minister’s Ball.

“Ginny, I’m quite capable of choosing make-up charms,” snapped Molly.

Ginny rolled her eyes in frustration. “Fleur, are you there?” she shouted down the hall.

“Oui, wat iss eet?” asked the Weasley daughter-in-law, entering the Weasley’s bedroom.

Ginny indicated her mother, “Please, tell my mother wearing blue eye shadow and heavy black eyeliner is out,” she begged.

Fleur looked at Molly and gasped, “Mon Dieu, ma mere, vous ete...pardon...you are spoiling ze look of your beautiful robes and stole. Sil vous plais, laissez-moi faire votre maquillage? Let me help you?” The witch from France smiled at her mother-in-law.

Molly huffed and started to pout.

“Mum, think of Dad? He just wants you to feel like the belle of the ball tonight. He’s right smart in his new dress robes.” Ginny knew her mother was a softy when it came to her father.

“Mais oui, ma Cher papa Weasley, il es magnifique; ee is very dashing.” Fleur looked at Ginny over Molly’s head and winked.

Molly shrugged, “Go on then, do what you want. I’ll put myself in your hands tonight, girls.”

A short time later, Fleur declared Molly was,” Parfait.”

She came down stairs, following behind the younger girls, into the front room. Arthur had been talking to Lupin while the twins, Ron and Harry played exploding snap. Hermione was curled up on the rug with Crookshanks, reading her ubiquitous book.

“Okay Prince Arthur, Cinderella is ready to go to the ball,” announced Ginny, smiling ear to ear.

Arthur turned and looked at his wife. Her transformation was complete; Dark green formal robes with gold filigree lace adorning the bodice, cuffs and hem. Gold combs in her hair that had been styled into a regal chignon. Her gold locket, a wedding gift from Arthur, was the only other jewellery she wore.

“Molly,” said Lupin, breaking the silence, “You’ve never looked lovelier.”

Molly blushed and looked away, “Thank you, Remus that was kind of you to say.”

“Wow, mum; you’ll knock’em dead at the dance,” announced George. Ron and Harry nodded in agreement, as Hermione smiled at the two girls who had wrought the new Mrs. Weasley.

Arthur finally approached her and took her hands in his. “Molly, my love, you’ve never looked more stunning. I’ll be the envy of every wizard there tonight.” He lifted her hand and kissed it.

“Stop it, “said Molly, “You’ve got me all embarrassed.”

Arthur took her stole and set it about her shoulders. “Nonsense, Molly. Every word they’ve said is true. Now, let’s make our grand entrance to the ball shall we?” He started to lead her out, but stopped and turned. “Happy New Year All,” he pointed to his children, “and you lot behave.”

Ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

“Master, he is here,” announced Pettigrew.

“Show our dear brother in, Peter. He has been too long gone from our fold.” Voldemort lounged on his wing-back chair as though it was a throne. He petted his familiar; her serpentine head rested on his shoulder from where she had coiled over the chair back.

Lucius Malfoy entered the presence of his Dark Lord for the first time since he’d fought at the Department of Mysteries. He’d found a suit that had been in the laundry when his home had been plundered following his wife’s murder. That, along with a cloak supplied by Snape, had made him at least look presentable.

Lucius limped into the room, leaning on his cane. He stopped before Voldemort and with obvious difficulty, dropped to his knee in the approved manner. He bowed his head and said, “My lord, you are most kind to grant me an audience.”

“Lucius, you must know of my affection for you. You have served me loyally for many years. Surely you don’t think I had forgotten you.” Voldemort regarded the man before him. “You are recovering from your ordeal?”

“I am beginning to, my lord,” he answered, avoiding looking into Voldemort’s eyes.

“Come; sit by me while we have some tea. Peter,” he called.

Peter scurried into the room and bowed. “Master?”

“A proper tea for us and our guest. We have much to catch up on.” Peter was dismissed with a serpentine smile and a wave. As he turned to Lucius, now sitting on the arm chair opposite, Voldemort’s face had morphed to a look of pity.

“Ah, Lucius, your poor, poor deluded wife,” he shook his head, “How could she have thought to foil my plans? Surely you had told her of my…need for obedience.”

“My lord, she was a mother in fear for her son…”began Lucius, cautiously.

“She sought to escape my wrath,” he snapped violently. Voldemort drew a deep breath and continued on in the calm tone he’d used before. “If she had approached us with an explanation or asked for an indulgence, we would have considered it. As it stands, stealing away in the dark of night…well, she left me no choice.”

“Her intentions were never intended to be disloyal, my lord. Draco…” Again, Lucius was cut off mid sentence.

“….is a failure, an embarrassment; he cost me my inside spy to the activities of my enemies.” Voldemort stood and began pacing. “This has gone on long enough. It must end before the feast of Walpurgisnacht is over.” He wheeled back to Malfoy, pointing a finger in his face, “And, you my dear, devoted Lucius shall lead your brothers in the fray.”

At that moment, Peter entered, floating a large tray of tea time accoutrements before him.

Voldemort looked up, his expression lightening, “Excellent, Peter. Did you find the gammon I asked for? I do so enjoy a fine gammon sandwich for tea; milk and sugar, Lucius?”

Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Jenny sat curled against Severus watching the New Years television broadcast from Scotland. She felt him laugh quietly.

“What?” she asked.

“I think I watched this show back in 1975, 76 and 77. The dancers dance the same dance; they sing the same songs and recite the same bloody Burns poetry.” He lifted his glass and sipped the brandy he’d bought on the way home.

“Well,” began Jenny in the Scots defence, “they have their traditions. Good for them if they enjoy them.” She sat up and looked at the clock. “Ten to Twelve; come on you.” She pulled Snape to his feet.

“What?” he asked surprised at her actions.

“Out you go, I have my traditions.” She handed him his coat.

“You’re throwing me out because I don’t like bloody Scottish traditions?” he asked.

“No, silly; you’ve got to first foot. Come on, hurry; outside.” She pulled him to the front door.

“Jenny,” he whined, “they used to make me do this at the school in Scotland.”

“It’s your own fault,” she told him as she opened the door and pushed him through.

“What did I do to deserve the misery?” he asked petulantly.

“You were born a man with black hair. Now behave and you’ll get back in at midnight.” With that, she slammed the door on his face only to open it again, handing him his bottle of brandy and banging it shut once more.

“Bloody northern superstitions,” he muttered, then opened the brandy and took a swig.

“Can you spare some?” asked a male voice to his left.

Looking over, Severus saw a younger man, with dark hair, in the same predicament he was. “You don’t have anything to first-foot with?” he asked.

“Just this,” the man held up a lump of coal.

Severus snorted and passed over the brandy. “Did you bring a bottle?”

His neighbour took a long draught of liquor and passed the bottle back, “Yeah, but the father-in-law to be claimed it.”

Inside, Jenny was dashing around madly. She ran to the bedroom and removed her clothes, donning a black, silk nightgown with a handkerchief hem she’d left on the bed. She dabbed Severus’ perfume on and passed a brush through her hair. Now, she dashed to the kitchen and pulled out the champagne from the fridge. Grabbing two flutes, she went back into the living room and lit more candles before turning out the lights. Turning once more to the bottle of champagne, she popped the cork and poured the sparkling wine into the flutes just as the clocks began to chime and the church bells began to ring. Lifting the flutes in one hand, Jenny went back to the front door and released the latch just as Severus knocked.

Severus saw the door open just as he tapped it. He pushed it open all the way and stepped inside to be presented with a vision he’d not expected.

“Jenny,” he breathed, closing the door behind him. She had transformed herself into a voluptuous nymph. His senses were filled by her presence.

Jenny stepped close to him and handed him a flute of champagne, “Happy New Year, Severus.” She touched her glass to his and sipped. Severus followed suit.

Jenny then took his glass and set both flutes aside. Stepping forward, she wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him deeply. He wrapped his arms about her, holding her softness to him as a drowning man to a lifejacket. The moment seemed to stretch into eternity. Only when they each needed to breathe, did the embrace loosen.

“Oh Severus, I’ve waited for this moment since the first time you kissed me,” she whispered in his ear. She began to stroke his back and arse, only to feel him stiffen and move away.

“Jenny, my lovely Manchester Lass, I can’t believe you have done this for me.” He pulled back from her and stroked her hair.

Jenny frowned and shook her head, “I don’t understand, Severus. What do you mean, have done this for you? I’m doing this for both of us,” she exclaimed.

“Jenny, there are things you don’t know about me; things that would make you see me differently.” He didn’t know what to say.

“Are you gay or bi?” she asked bluntly.

“What?” he asked, incredulously. “No.”

She picked up her champagne and walked away. “I told you more than once; I had no illusions about how men saw me. You gave me the impression you saw me otherwise. If that’s not the case, then don’t lead me on and tease me, Severus.”

Jenny bit her lips to stop herself from crying. “I’ve come to feel a great deal for you, Severus. Not just as a woman for a man, but as someone I can actually have a decent conversation or debate with. Even so, I’ve dreamt of you holding me and making love to me. I’ve never met a man I could have that kind of relationship with before.” She turned to face him as he sat on the chair beside the computer. “Be honest with me, Severus. I’d much rather keep you as a friend than lose you as a lover.”

There were few moments that Severus regretted his genetic inheritance of being a wizard but this was probably the greatest. He inhaled deeply; now, a decision had to be made.

“Jenny, there are things happening in this world that very few people know about. Men, women and children are suffering,” he began.

“I know this, Severus.” She replied.

“I’m not talking about what you read in the newspapers, Jenny.” He declared. “There are other parties who would seek to overthrow the government.”

“This has everything to do with the research you’ve been doing, doesn’t it?” she asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Who is Tobias Prince?” she asked.

“My pseudonym,” he replied.

Jenny knelt before him on the floor, “What does all this have to do with me?”

“Jenny, people are being hurt and sometimes dying because of a ridiculous conflict. If you were to be counted among their number...” He couldn’t voice any more.

“Whose side are you on; the ones that want to take over or the others?” She watched the guarded emotions pass over his face.

“Sometimes I’m not sure any more. It’s all gotten muddled somewhere in the middle. I’m trying to stop the mayhem.” He felt her hands on his face.

“Severus, I could step outside my front door and be murdered by a stranger; I could board a train that could be derailed by an idiot making a political statement. Good lord, I work in a public building that shares information to all and sundry; it could be bombed by a religious zealot who decided we were blaspheming against his god.” Jenny paused to gather herself. “In our world today, there are no guarantees, Severus. I will not be a prisoner to fear.”

Snape reached out and cupped Jenny’s face, “I...I want you more than the air I breathe. You are perfect and pure and lovely. I am not worthy of your gift.”

“Don’t put me on a pedestal, Severus. Just give me my New Year’s wish.” Jenny waited for his answer.

“What is your wish, Jenny?” he whispered.

“Make love to me and let me awake in your arms tomorrow.”

He rose and pulled her up with him. She took his hand and led him down the hall towards her room. Unseen by Jenny, Severus raised his hand in a gesture borne of habit and waved it behind him, dowsing the candles magically.