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Nova

When Magical Worlds Collide or Eternally Crossing Potter

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When Magical Worlds Collide

or

Eternally Crossing Potter

 

 

“You made that happen!”

 

Once again Severus pulled himself out of his dreams, sat up with a groan and buried his face in his hands. 'Why does my own brain conspire against me every night?' he asked himself as he threw off the covers and swung his legs over the side of the bed. 'At least in this dream I'm not hanging upside down and I get to keep my pants on' he thought. Not surprisingly, that thought didn't make him feel better.

 

He fumbled for the bedside lamp. In the unfamiliar surroundings it took a minute to find. 'Stupid Muggle contraption.' he thought as his irritation grew. He gave up with a snarl and grabbed his wand off the bedside table. “Lumos” he hissed and the wand tip lit, causing shadows to dance on the walls.

 

'Do not start thinking about Lily.' he ordered himself as he rose. He hesitated at the bedroom door then turned right, and made his way down the equally unfamiliar hallway. 'Wrong way' he chided himself when he came to the end of the hall. As he changed direction something caught his attention and his plans to go to the kitchen for a glass of water vanished.

 

One of the doors leading off the hall was open slightly and he could see a soft bluish light shining in the room beyond. “Nox” he muttered and the light at the tip of his wand went out. As he edged closer he began to hear a strange rapid clicking sound. His pulse quickened and he could feel his heart bumping against his ribs as he reached out, laid his hand flat against the door and gave it a gentle push to nudge it open.

 

He wasn't sure what he was going to find when the door opened, so when it swung inward to reveal a woman sitting at a desk in front of an odd glowing square, he breathed a sigh of relief. 'What did you expect to find, you git?' he rebuked himself silently as he watched her. 'Its her house, you aren't likely to open a door and find the Dark Lord.'

 

The woman sitting at the desk was Gabrielle Waters, a Muggle friend of Dumbledore's. Severus was currently staying with her because Dumbledore was convinced that he should be kept out of sight this summer.

 

It was believed, by former Death Eaters, that Severus was mounting a search for the Dark Lord to help him rise to power again. It was also believed, by the remaining members of The Order of the Phoenix, that he was acting as a spy and 'helping' Death Eaters search for the Dark Lord.

 

In actuality Dumbledore was heading the search for the Dark Lord while he, Severus, was stuck here with this Muggle who, as it was turning out, wasn't so bad... for a Muggle.

 

He felt his heart rate slow as he stood and looked over her shoulder. The odd clicking sounds that he had heard in the hall were coming from some sort of device on the desk. He was fairly certain he had never seen anything like it before, though he couldn't really see clearly in the bluish half light. It seemed to be an odd kind of flat rectangular panel. He crept closer for a better look.

 

Brie's fingers were moving rapidly over the panel, and, after watching for a few moments, he realized that as she touched certain parts, words were appearing on the glowing square in front of her. The words flashed in front of his eyes, and he couldn't help but read them. 'I know, I know. I haven't been on in ages, I got a bit busy.'

 

Brie was still unaware that he was behind her so he crept a little closer and continued to peer over her shoulder as more words appeared, but this time Brie's fingers had been still. 'Well it is good to see you back again.' he read. More brief clicking from Brie's hands. 'Thanks. I'll see you around.'

 

Severus waited, but no more words appeared. He was so intent to read more that he didn't notice Brie's hand drift over to another device on the desk, this one was small, almost oval shaped and about the size of her hand.

 

There was another clicking sound, a different one this time, and suddenly the glowing square changed right in front of his eyes. Before there had only been a black background with white words dancing across it, now he was looking at a kind of cartoon picture of many people sitting in a room with a fire. He inched even closer as something in the picture caught his eye. 'Is that fire...moving? Muggle pictures aren't supposed to move.'

 

Puzzled he continued to look on as Brie reached again for the small oval device and another single click was heard. Immediately one of the cartoon people in the picture stood up and started to walk away from the seated crowd. The new movement surprised him and he must have drawn in an audible breath, because Brie jolted in her seat and turned to face him with a little squeal of surprise.

 

“What are you doing lurking over my shoulder at three in the morning?” she asked while she giggled at the stricken look on his pale face.

 

“Couldn't sleep.” he replied after his heart was back down in his chest and not in his throat.

 

“That happens a lot with you I've noticed.” Brie said with a frown which deepened when she asked, “Want to talk about anything?” and he replied shortly, “No.”

 

She turned with a shrug and continued to click away on her various tools. “What is that?” he finally asked.

 

With a laugh she replied, “Severus, that question from you could mean just about anything. Where do you want me to start?” Because she already knew what he was going to say, she waved her hand to stay his answer, and spent the next half hour trying to explain computers, keyboards, the internet, and internet chatting to a wizard. He shot questions at her so fast she felt like she was standing in front of a firing squad.

 

“So...” he ventured after he was fairly sure he had the basics of this Muggle pass time. Many more questions swirled in his head, he chose the one that had floated to the surface more than once. “You can talk to anyone in the world this way? With... these?” He indicated the monitor and keyboard.

 

Brie suppressed a snicker, decided not to mention the inner workings of computers, and replied, “As long as they happen to have a computer and internet access and are sitting in front of their screen, yes.”

 

“So not all Muggles have these?”

 

“Not all, but a lot.”

 

“And this?” he pointed to the picture that was once again on the screen. More of the little cartoon people were moving around now. Every now and then there was a greenish white flash around one or another. Several little people disappeared in a beam of light as he watched. “What is this?”

 

“Its a game that I like to play.” She made her character sit and stand several times. “Thats me. I control that character.”

 

A smile quirked on his lips as he leaned a bit closer to the screen to get a better look. The word Thalia floated above Brie's little person. “You have pointed ears... and horns.”

 

She laughed and replied, “Thats because I'm a Draegoni.” Then she spent another half hour trying to explain online role playing games to a wizard who had just learned about computers, keyboards, the internet, and internet chatting, and once again she felt like she was in front of that firing squad.

 

Severus picked up on the basics of the game surprisingly quickly and was soon directing Brie as she played her character. “Fight that.” he said as she passed by a troll.

 

She snorted out a laugh and passed right by it. “No way, that troll would crush me.”

 

“Thats a troll?” he asked as he reached toward the mouse, which she was still using. “Go back.”

 

“Ok ok, calm down.” she swatted his hand away and reversed direction so that Severus could get another look.

 

“Trolls look nothing like that!” he exclaimed when he had gotten a better look.

 

Brie started to snicker, then saw that he was making a serious complaint. She stopped clicking and spun her chair around to face him. “Dear God, you aren't kidding, are you? Real....trolls?”

 

He smirked at the look of disbelief on her face and replied, “Oh yes, large, ugly, smelly, and very dumb.” He then spent the next hour and a half trying to describe various magical creatures to a Muggle who had only vaguely heard about some of them from fairy tale books. She fired questions at him so fast he could have sworn he was ducking spells in a wizard's duel.

 

She began to seek out various creatures in the game, asking if they really did exist and, if they did, how closely did they resemble the game creatures. “What about that?” she asked as a tiny little person carrying a spear darted across the screen.

 

“Wood sprites are quite common, yes.” he replied as he tried to get a closer look at it. “And I suppose they look something like that.”

 

“Ohhh, wait. I have one!” she said. Then click click click, she flashed out of one map and onto another. “Hang on, hang on...” she muttered as she had Thalia comb the pretend world. “There!” Brie exclaimed and jabbed her finger toward the screen. “What about those?” she asked with a note of triumph in her voice because she was sure she had found a creature with which to stump him.

 

“That is very very close to what a cockatrice looks like actually.” he replied with his tongue in his cheek. He could tell by her tone she thought she had found something he had never seen before.

 

“Oh I give up!” she exclaimed and rose to stretch. “Do you want to....” she trailed off because he had already claimed her seat, grabbed the mouse and was clicking away at everything.

 

“Come back here birdy.” He muttered at the screen while he clicked madly, trying to make Thalia peruse the cockatrice.

 

“Hang on hotshot.” Brie said, correctly reading Severus' intentions to try and fight the cockatrice. “You are going to get me killed.” They had a brief tussle for the mouse which he was trying to keep from her.

 

She won and quickly moved Thalia to a safer map. “Ok, this is better. Go nuts. You can fight with anything on this map. DON'T leave it.” She handed him back the mouse, sat, and prepared to be entertained.

 

For the next few minutes she watched Severus happily click away, fighting with this, harvesting that, and generally having a good time. Occasionally she would show him some hidden feature or remind him to heal Thalia or keep her fed.

 

Once he had the hang of everything he began to ask more in depth questions. “What are these bars?” he asked.

 

“Those are my current levels in various skills. That is pretty much the whole point of the game. The higher your levels, the more things you are able to do.” This statement, of course, was followed by another barrage of questions.

 

After he had run out of questions he ran his finger down the side of the screen and muttered to himself. “Attack, defense, harvest, alchemy, magic, potions...” he paused and looked at Brie, suddenly scandalized. “Your potions level is your lowest one!” he exclaimed.

 

She frowned and said with a shrug, “I buy all the potions I need. Plus I just recently got the nexus needed to make the better ones...” she trailed off, unsure of why she felt like she had to explain herself.

 

He huffed out an exasperated breath and asked, “How do you make that level higher?”

 

“You want to work on my potions level?” she grinned. “Go for it. Here, make these.” she showed him how to make Spirit Restoration potions. “Go nuts.”

 

She watched for awhile, making sure he had the hang of it. Eventually she zoned out, but was pulled back to reality when she heard more clicking that was usual. “What are you trying to do?” she asked

 

“Trying to eat this egg.” he replied.

 

“Trying to eat the egg.” Laughing, she grabbed the mouse. “Ok, time for you to start your own character. You just tried to eat my Rostogol stone. Who knows what you are going to try to do if I leave you alone to play.”

 

“Hey!” he exclaimed as she gave the chair he was sitting in a push and he rolled away from the screen. He hadn't realized that the chair had wheels. He wanted that...thing back...that mouse. Brie was now clicking away in front of the screen again, so he reached inside his sleeve and pulled out his wand. “Acci..”

 

He never got to finish the spell. Brie turned, saw the wand, and grabbed it from him. “I have the mouse and the wand. What are you going to do now?” she taunted him with a smile. “Don't hocus pocus me in my own house Severus.” The smile slipped off her face as she tossed the wand back at him. “Alright, stop putting my character in mortal peril and come over here and make your own.”

 

She briefly took him through the process. When he understood the basics, she left him to it and went downstairs to make some coffee. While it was brewing, she sat at the kitchen table with her cheek propped up against one hand and stared out the window. The sun was an orange red sliver on the horizon, growing bigger by the minute.

 

This may just be the distraction she was looking for, Severus' interest in this game. So far he had been in her house for the better part of a month and the experience had been less than pleasant. It was very obvious that he had no desire to be there. Dumbledore had said that Severus wasn't going to be happy with the arrangements that summer but that they were essential to Severus' safety.

 

Saying that Severus wouldn't be happy had been the understatement of the century. Apparently he hadn't been aware of the arrangements beforehand. So it had been a nasty surprise to him when Dumbledore had disappeared almost as soon as he had introduced Brie to Severus, all the while rambling off the plans for Severus' summer stay.

 

Really, he had literally disappeared. With a pop. One second he was there then, POP he was gone. And Brie had been left dumbfounded by the disappearance, in the company of an extremely angry wizard.

 

 

------------------- ---------------------- --------------------

 

 

“What do you know about this?” he had growled at her.

 

“All I know is that you and I are stuck together for the summer. Apparently, you aren't supposed to be seen.” Her eyes narrowed at the annoyed look on his face. “I'm not any happier with the arrangement than you are, but I owe Dumbledore a favor, so we are stuck together for the next little while.”

 

He stalked over the picture window and stared outside. “And if I leave?” he asked after a few minutes.

 

“Do whatever you want.” she had replied. “I consider my willingness to let you stay here as repayment enough, especially after having met you.”

 

Crossing the room in two strides, Severus had reached for the doorknob only to be thrown backward by some unseen force. “Damn that meddling old codger!” he exclaimed from the floor.

 

Brie had to stifle a laugh. “Well I guess he knew you would try that.” she had commented dryly. “The back door is through the kitchen, if you care to try. I could use a laugh.”

 

He stood with as much dignity as he could muster and brushed himself off. “That won't be necessary. It seems, as you said, we are stuck together...for the next little while.”

 

“And I am just as thrilled as you are. Your room is up the stairs and to the right.” she said, choosing to ignore the venom dripping from his words. He turned and started up the stairs. “Oh and Dumbledore asked me to put together some Muggle clothing for you. It is all in the dresser, I was told you prefer black and green.”

 

He stopped short at her words and turned. “Muggle clothing?” he had asked.

 

“Yes.” she replied, again ignoring the venom in his words, although it was getting harder to do. “This is a Muggle neighborhood, it won't do for you to be running around in robes.”

 

“A point that would make more sense if I was able to open the door!” he spat, truly annoyed beyond belief.

 

“Look, Merlin, what do you want from me?” She felt her temper bubble and boil over, she would NOT be treated this way in her own home. “Dumbledore called in a favor so I am helping him out. I am largely in the dark here. I don't know what is going on or why you have to stay here. Lets just try to make the best of what is promising to be a bad situation!”

 

He had stared at her for a moment, then turned and continued up the stairs. “Promising to be a bad situation indeed.” he muttered to himself as he made his way to the room Brie had indicated would be his.

 

---------------------- --------------------- ---------------------

 

Brie shook herself out of her reverie, the sun was almost fully up now. Might as well make some breakfast.

 

Upstairs, Severus was hunched over the keyboard with the mouse in his hand, staring at the screen as he built his character. He decided that a male elf seemed to be the best choice. He chose dark hair, pale skin, and a black top with gray bottoms. Yes, that looked good, very good.

 

Now to pick a name... he sat back in his chair to think. An idea popped into his head and a tiny smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. He glanced down at the keyboard and prepared to enter the name that had come to him. He needed an H, but the H wasn't where it seemed like it should logically be. None of the letters were. Slightly flustered he hunted down the letters he needed.

 

When he was finished he clicked on the 'Done' button, like Brie had said to do. Suddenly the picture on the screen changed. His new character was now sitting around an unlit campfire with many others, some that looked much like his. Words were flashing across the screen faster than he could read them and he began to panic slightly as multicolored sparks flew from his character. He tried to read as more words danced at the top of his screen. 'Pickpoints....perks...wraith.' Oh yes, Brie had told him about this part of the game.

 

'Where to start?' he wondered to himself. At almost that exact moment, more words flashed at the top of the screen. 'Start by trying to kill some rabbits.' he read. Well alright, that seemed to be as good a place to start as any. Once again he grabbed the mouse and started to click away.

 

Eventually he became aware of Brie standing behind him again, holding two mugs of coffee, one of which she handed to him. “How's it going?” she asked. She had been standing behind him, watching, for some time now. He had been oblivious.

 

“I was killed by a beaver and a rat and a Brownie.” he said testily as he sipped the coffee. “And I can't heal.”

 

She chuckled into her mug causing hot coffee to splash onto her cheeks and chin. “You need the sigils to do that, remember?” she said as she swiped at her face. “And the tutorial NPC will heal you until you are attack level 17.”

 

“You didn't tell me that!” he exclaimed as he slapped his mug down on the desk and grabbed the mouse again.

 

“If I tell you everything, you will never learn. Besides Professor I figured you would have guessed that the guy with the word tutorial floating above his head could help you out.” She wiped up the coffee that had slopped over the rim and onto the desk. “I made breakfast, come down and have some.”

 

“I just did.” He jabbed his thumb at the coffee mug

 

“No wonder you are so damn skinny.” she commented as she reached down behind the computer and unplugged the mouse. “Come on, take advantage of the fact that I actually remembered which appliance is the stove. It doesn't happen often.” She laughed as Severus jiggled the mouse and clicked madly.

 

“What happened?” he asked frantically

 

“Call it Muggle magic.” she answered while twirling the end of the mouse cord in the air. Just then she noticed something that she hadn't when she had been standing further away. “You named your character Hocus?” she asked with a grin. “I like it.”

 

She raised her eyebrows as he blushed and looked away. 'Well well, snarky Professor Snape has a shy side.' She thought to herself. 'Interesting.' “Come have breakfast.” she repeated and turned to walk away. “Besides, I bet you have a ton of questions. Come ask.”

 

He didn't want to eat, he thought crossly as he rose, he wanted to play. He followed Brie down the stairs and into the kitchen which was full of wonderful breakfast scents. Despite his earlier protest he felt his stomach grumble. 'Maybe just a quick breakfast then.' he thought to himself. 'Since she went to the trouble.'

 

After breakfast and roughly another hundred questions, Severus was back in front of the game. He nearly went giddy when he discovered the help encyclopedia icon at the bottom of his screen. As he explored more, he started to put together a plan of action for his character.

 

Brie returned after she had cleaned up from breakfast. She stood for a minute, looking over his shoulder, trying to figure out where he was wandering. Suddenly she realized where he was when she saw him picking up bags that were appearing randomly on a beach. An evil grin appeared on her face and she quietly sat behind Severus, pulled out her laptop, and logged into the game as Thalia.

 

“Hey! It's you!” he exclaimed when he saw Thalia walking toward Hocus. “Do you want to pick up these bags too? They are just appearing.... OY!” The last word came out as a shout as he watched Thalia attack and kill Hocus. “Hey! What happened? Where am I? Wheres my stuff?” When he turned, his face was flushed with anger. “Why did you do that?”

 

“You have to learn about Player Killing maps sometime.” she replied. “Better to learn from a friend who won't take your stuff. And you are in the underworld. Head toward the exit. I'll give you your stuff back. And next time, pay better attention when you change maps.”

 

He grumbled some sort of protest, which she didn't fully catch (and decided to ignore anyway) as he made his way out of the firey underworld. Something occurred to him. “I didn't go to the underworld when the animals killed me.”

 

“Your levels are high enough now that you will go to the underworld when you die. You also may lose some or all of your inventory.” She explained while Thalia returned Hocus' possessions and then healed him.

 

“You can heal other people?” he asked, already forgetting about the beating Hocus had just received.

 

“Yep. Keep working on that magic level.” She grinned as he turned back to the screen and was almost instantly absorbed in the game again. It was some time before either of them said anything else, then suddenly...

 

“I got eaten by a Grue!” Severus exclaimed. “Where was it? I didn't even see it! Whats a Grue?”

 

Brie chuckled and decided to have a little fun. “Oh thats right!” she exclaimed as she laid down the book she was reading and rose to look at his screen. “I forgot to tell you abut the Grue! It is invisible, you never know where it is going to be.” She had to bite her tongue to keep from laughing at the look on his face.

 

“But... thats not fair.” he whined “I had all my gold coins with me. I was on my way to buy... the healing things.”

 

“Sigils.” Brie felt laughter bubble up in her throat and she couldn't stop it from spilling out. “Don't worry, getting eaten by a Grue just means you lost your connection to the game.” She showed him how to reconnect. “See all your gold coins are still there.”

 

“Good.” he said while looking pathetically relieved. “It took forever to get those coins.”

 

Brie went back to her book, wondering how long it would be until Severus figured out that just buying the sigils wouldn't allow him to heal. She kept an eye on his screen as he went about his gaming business, and sure enough....

 

“I still can't heal!” he exclaimed a few minutes later.

 

“You need Health Essences.” she said without looking up. “Two silver ore and one mum. Get harvesting.” she noted the time, grinned to herself and continued to read.

 

Grumbling, he began to search for mums, felling vaguely ridiculous at the little twist of pleasure that came when he found them without asking Brie where they were. 'Now for the silver.' He glanced at Brie over his shoulder. It would certainly be faster to ask her where to find it, but she might not tell him, even if he did. “Silver, silver” he muttered under his breath as he searched his maps.

 

Suppressing a grin, she checked the time, ten minutes had passed. “Try some caves,” she said without lowering her book. “and don't forget a pickaxe.”

 

He glanced back again, “Pickaxe?”

 

“General store. Bring gold coins.”

 

“But I spent them all!” he exclaimed in frustration.

 

“Guess you will have to make some more then.” she said brightly, using the book to hide the amusement on her face. She was kind enough to tell him some of the best ways for new players to make money. Noting the time again, she went back to her book.

 

About half an hour later, “I can't harvest silver!?”

 

“You have to learn how.” She told him where he could find the books he needed and warned him that the maps where they could be found held creatures dangerous to new players. “And because I'm nice I'll even tell you that you also have to read these books,” she showed him the books section in the help encyclopedia, “before you can make Health Essences. AND I'll even let you know that your harvest level and your alchemy level aren't high enough yet anyway. You remember what I told you about the levels right?”

 

When he simply nodded, sighed, and reached for the mouse once again, she knew he was hooked. Suddenly the next few months began to look a little better.

Edited by Nova

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Nova!!! Where have you been hiding your amazingly wonderful talent? This story is absolutely wonderful, entertaining, AND educational. I second Annatira's nomination and concur that this would be a good Newbie Guide. Why? Because you're able to capture and hold a reader's attention.

 

Now, your story isn't finished yet. I can hardly wait for your next installment. You've raised questions that need to be answered and I am looking forward to reading more.

 

Really stellar work, Nova. More, please. :pickaxe:

 

Phil...

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Absolutely Fantastic!!!! :P. Kept my interest,made me laugh,and I am thoroughly impressed!!. I am also waiting anxiously for the next installment. LOVE IT!!!

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This is an interesting perspective. I enjoyed it though I'm not a Harry Potter fan. Except for a few names I wouldn't notice any HP at all.

 

pretty sure you mean "pursue" here:

 

“Come back here birdy.” He muttered at the screen while he clicked madly, trying to make Thalia peruse the cockatrice.

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Part Deux

 

Moonlight crept through window and slid over Brie's face, illuminating it as she tossed in her sleep, lost in her dreams. It was the same dream she had been having almost nightly since Dumbledore had shown up at her home after so many years.

 

She was 10 and perched on a branch halfway up a large oak tree. At 10 she had, most often been halfway up some tree or rocky surface, always looking at a birds nest or squirrel den, or a snake, or lizard, mouse, bug, or so on. Often her mother had exclaimed that she was going to fall and break her neck someday. On this day she should have been right.

 

--------------------- --------------------- -----------------------

 

The sound of a branch snapping echoed through her dreams and she felt herself falling, falling, spinning in the air, twigs and leaves getting tangled in her hair, hitting small branches on the way down. She didn't even have time to scream as the ground rushed up at her. She squeezed her eyes shut knowing, even at 10, that this could not end well.

 

But a cry rang out among the bird song and rustling of the wind through the trees. “Wingardium Leviosa!”, and suddenly her fall was broken instantaneously as she hit what felt like a wall of air. It didn't hurt, but it was shocking nonetheless. Her hands raked the air as she slowly opened her eyes and tried to figure out why she wasn't simply a stain on the rocky forest floor.

 

As her mouth opened and closed soundlessly, her brain tried to comprehend what her eyes were telling it they were seeing. She was hovering a foot and a half off the ground, completely horizontal, arms and legs still splayed in fear. A few feet away stood a man holding a stick in one hand, which he had pointed at her, and a tin can in the other. As he lowered the stick she slowly floated toward the ground.

 

“You, young lady, are very fortunate,” he said, “that my portkey sent me to this precise spot at this precise time.” He waved the stick at the tin can and it vanished into thin air as she watched. She blinked in surprise while he put the stick into some hidden inner pocket of his strange attire. As he helped her up off the ground he gave her a brief inspection and brushing off, all the while lecturing that large oak trees are no place for young Muggle girls. “What is your name?” he asked

 

“Gabrielle.” she answered. Her mind reeled as she tried to make sense of what had happened and take in the mans strange clothes and words. “Portkey?....muggle...?” she said vaugly as she examined the flowing robes he was dressed in. “How....?” she pointed up at the tree.

 

He ignored her questioning tone as he picked sticks and leaves from her hair. “Are you alright?” he asked. She nodded and continued to stare at Dumbledore, who sighed and asked her, “Do you believe in magic Gabrielle?”

 

She nodded slowly, her 10 year old brain putting together what no adults could. “You are magic?” she asked Dumbledore right away.

 

“Yes” he replied, looking pleased that she had caught on so quickly. He pulled his wand out of his pocket. “What do you think...” He never got to finish his sentence.

 

“Then thats a wand!” she exclaimed as soon as she saw it, her near death experience already pushed to the back of her mind by this exciting new idea. “A magic wand! And you made that can disappear! Can you do that with my little brother?”

 

--------------- ----------------------------- --------------------------

 

The dream faded out there as it always did and Brie slowly woke with a groan as she always did. She looked at the bedside clock. 3am. It never failed, always up at 3am these days. 'God, I hate you Dumbledore', she thought to herself as she rolled over and tried to burrow her way back into sleep, knowing that it wasn't going to work but trying anyway.

 

Dumbledore had never really offered her a full explanation about magic. Being 10 at the time, she hadn't needed it. She had simply believed him without question that day, and had made a solemn promise never to tell anyone what had happened and to be more careful in trees in the future. In exchange for that promise, a promise she had never broken, Dumbledore had answered any questions about magic that Brie had come up with. And she had come up with many.

 

At the age of 10 she had been exposed to the bare basics of real sorcery and from that day on she never doubted that the entire world held magic, though she never again saw any proof. Not until the day Dumbledore had disappeared into thin air right in her living room and Severus had been thrown from her front door by some unseen force. Now that would cause anyone to lose sleep. Any Muggle anyway.

 

She gave into the wakefulness with a sigh as she threw off the covers and swung her legs over the side of the bed. For a few minutes she simply sat and stared into the darkness watching the shadows on the wall change as clouds slid over the fat full moon. She wondered when she had started to think of herself as a Muggle. Well Severus said it about 23 times a day, that must be it.

 

As thoughts of Severus Snape surfaced in her mind she sighed, pushed herself off the bed and started to shuffle down the hallway to the office. Since Severus had started to play her online game it had been very difficult to get near her own computer. She hadn't checked her e-mail all week so she might as well go do that since she was awake already anyway.

 

When she reached the office door she found it was closed. The tell tale soft blueish light was shining beneath. With a half sigh half chuckle she turned the knob and entered the dimly lit room to find Severus sitting in front of the computer screen with his head laid on his folded arms, softly snoring and very slightly drooling.

 

She leaned over his shoulder to study the screen. Hocus was harvesting toadstools. Well yes, that would put anyone to sleep. Smiling, she studied his inventory window, impressed when she noticed that he was wearing a medallion of life already. Severus had been very busy this week if Hocus could already harvest toadstools and had earned enough gold for a medallion of life. And a harvester cape, she noticed with a smile.

 

She glanced down the skills list to the potions level and snickered. It was his lowest level out of all the ones he had started to work on. 'Not so easy is it professor?' she thought with an outright laugh.

 

Severus woke with a start at the sound of her laugh, sat up and quickly wiped the wetness from his cheek. She stifled another laugh and pointed to the small puddle on the desk. “You might want to get that too.” she commented

 

Blushing, he pulled out his wand, muttered “Evanesco”, and vanished it right before her eyes. This was the first bit of magic he had performed in front of her since he had arrived, other than the spell she had interrupted on the night he had started playing. She was thrilled, but tried to play it cool as she tugged his chair away from the desk, which had become the custom over the past week whenever she wanted the computer.

 

“Oy!” he exclaimed as he and the chair rolled across the room.

 

“Oh I get to use my own computer at least 10 minutes a week.” she said as she bent over the keyboard and reached for the mouse. She clicked a few times. “There, you are fed and harvesting again. That buys me at least 8 minutes.”

 

Severus darted out of the chair and across the room. He reached behind the computer and unplugged the mouse. Pulling out his wand, he cried “Accio”, and the mouse flew out of Brie's hand and into his. He mirrored her gesture and words of the week before and twirled the end of the mouse cord in the air. “Now I have the wand and the mouse. What are you going to do?” He asked with a smirk.

 

She simply stared at him for a second, ignoring the fact that he had once again used a spell on her. With a smirk of her own she turned back to the screen and proceeded to hit various keys on the keyboard. Severus' smirk disappeared as he watched the windows open and close on the screen.

 

Brie glanced back and laughed at the look on his face. “Keyboard shortcuts are a Muggle's best friend with a cocky wizard around.” She giggled as she reached over to snag the mouse from his hands and plug it back in. “Here you go Houdini.” she said as she turned and strode to the door. “I'm going to make coffee. Oh, you should work on that potions level by the way. Its your lowest one.” The last was said with a grin as she disappeared around the door frame and down the stairs.

 

Severus turned to retort only to find she had already gone. That was for the best, he thought to himself as he turned toward the screen again, he hadn't thought of anything good to say anyway. Potions was proving harder to work on than he thought, and the wine to make the potions was expensive. He much preferred alchemy. And magic, of course.

 

He could heal now, himself and others. He could also make both the essences needed for those spells himself. Much of Hocus' time was spent harvesting and mixing so he could run around and heal other players as they trained. Severus found this very satisfying for some reason. Just last night there had been an invasion and he had had Hocus dancing between the invasion monsters, healing fighters. He had died about 12 times and lost plenty of essences but had still had fun.

 

After reading some of the potions section in the encyclopedia again, he checked on Hocus, who was still harvesting. Coffee actually sounded like a good idea, so he scrubbed his hands over his face, stretched his arms above his head, rose and made his way down to the kitchen to find Brie sitting at the table with her head resting on her folded arms.

 

Glancing at the coffee maker, he noted that the little green light was lit and was glad she had gotten that far. Earlier in the week Brie had banned him from use of the coffee maker after a disastrous attempt at using that dreadful Muggle machine to make coffee for himself.

 

After pulling 2 mugs from a cabinet and placing them near the coffee maker, Severus pulled his wand from his pocket and placed it on the table as he sat. The sound of the chair scraping back woke Brie, who sat upright quickly. “Sorry.” he said softly

 

Brie shook her head to clear it and replied, “Don't worry about it. I wasn't asleep, that was more like.... drifting.” She rose and went to the cabinet for mugs, pulled out 2 and turned to the coffee maker, surprised to find 2 already there. “Oh,” she muttered and put the 2 in her hands away. “I don't remember taking those out.”

 

Severus suppressed a laugh as he rose and led her back to her chair. “You didn't, I just did.” After pouring, he placed one of the mugs down in front of her. “I've noticed that you don't function well until you have had a few of those.” he said and gestured toward the mug which she had practically dunked her whole head into.

 

“Keeps me going.” she muttered between sips. “Most mornings I can barely form a simply declarative sentence till I've had a hit of caffeine.”

 

He sipped his coffee and replied, “Most mornings you can't keep me from voicing declarative sentences until I've had my caffeine.”

 

Brie giggled at Severus' twist on her words as she felt the miracle of her chosen vice kick in. “That doesn't surprise me.” She said as she rose, went to the refrigerator and pulled out a grapefruit which she cut in half. She pushed one of the halves in front of Severus as she sat again.

 

“Sugar?” He asked as he poked the grapefruit with his spoon.

 

“In the canister on the counter.” She answered absently with a roll of the eyes. “The one that says SUGAR.” He glanced over at the counter, then down at his wand, then over at Brie, who saw right away what he was thinking. “Do it.” she said when he looked at her. “Please.” She added when he raised his eyebrows and frowned slightly.

 

He tried to think quickly. His time here was the longest he could remember without doing serious magic. He wasn't sure why he had been refraining from using magic in front of Brie. She obviously knew he was a wizard and it seemed that Dumbledore had filled her in vaugly about the wizarding world at some point. He had slipped up this morning and used the vanishing spell in front of her while he had been half asleep and her reaction had been mild. She had acted like it was an everyday occurrence when he had used the summoning charm to take the mouse from her.

 

“Accio sugar.” He said, and the sugar zoomed off the counter and into his hand. Without looking at Brie he scooped a ridiculous amount onto his grapefruit and used a Hover Charm to replace the canister.

 

“Would you like a little grapefruit to go with your sugar?” When he made a face at her Brie grinned into her coffee and tried to resist asking magic questions but she just didn't have that much willpower this early in the morning on only one shot of caffeine. “So...” she began, trying to seem nonchalant, “that first spell... you used that earlier to steal the mouse. Is that some sort of... grabbing spell?”

 

Severus choked on his bite of heavily sugared grapefruit at the term 'grabbing spell.' “You stole it first.” he replied after he stopped coughing. “It was a summoning charm. And the 2nd was a hover charm.” he said, anticipating her next question.

 

“Charms.” she said to herself as she dug into her grapefruit. “I see. So there are charms and spells.”

 

With a sigh Severus launched into a lecture on the differences between spells, charms, jinxes, hexes and curses and their basic usage and for the next half hour or so gave into her barrage of questions. He demonstrated a few basic spells, explaining about wand movement being important. While he was explaining Incendio, he accidentally used the proper wand movements without noticing as he mentally worked the spell. Suddenly the vase full of flowers on the kitchen table burst into flames.

 

Brie jumped up from the table with a cry and ran to the sink for water. After a second of shock, Severus cried, “Aguamenti!” and extinguished the flames with the jet of water that erupted from the end of his wand. Embarrassed beyond belief, he turned to Brie who was standing by the sink in shock. “That has never happened before.” He said. “I'm sorry.”

 

Brie looked at his horribly embarrassed expression and burst out laughing. “Oh if I had a nickel for every time I heard that.”

 

He looked at her blankly for a moment, then understanding dawned on his face. With a blush and a chuckle he made a new bunch of flowers sprout from the end of his wand to replace the smoking sticks that still sat in the vase.

 

Shocked all over again Brie pulled out a chair and sat back down. “Can we take a break from the demonstration part of the day?” she asked weakly. “I don't think my brain can handle anymore right now.”

 

He nodded, placed his wand back in his pocket, and sat again. For awhile each sat and drank their coffee, lost in their own separate thoughts.

 

“Sooo...” Brie ventured a while later. “Hocus' magic level seems to be coming up nicely.”

 

“I've been healing other players.” He replied.

 

The sun began to rise, washing the room in golden light as Brie and Severus discussed the best way to gain magic levels in the game. Eventually the conversation turned to the difference between magic in the game and wizard magic, then to game potions and wizard potions.

 

“Wine is very expensive, it makes working on potions hard.” Severus commented as he contemplated a fourth cup of coffee and grabbed a banana from the bowl of fruit on the table.

 

Surprised, Brie looked up from the orange she was already peeling. “You haven't done the wine quest yet?” she asked.

 

“Quest?” he questioned around a mouthful of fruit.

 

“Shoot, I forgot to tell you about quests.” She handed him an orange slice and launched into an explanation of the various quests for gods and cheap goods.

 

“So I can serve the god for magic and get more experience for all the spells I cast?” He asked once she had finished.

 

“Yep.” She replied from the sink where she was washing the sticky citrus juice from her hands. “There are quests for each god and each quest gets you more experience up to a certain percent. You can serve 3 gods at a time. You can also leave a god to serve another, but you lose the extra experience if you do that.” Grabbing a dish towel to dry her hands, she turned around to find that Severus was gone and she had been talking to an empty chair.

 

Her hands jumped to her hips when she saw that she had been chatting away to an empty room. 'Well, how rude.' She thought to herself as she grabbed the coffee mugs off the table and rinsed them in the sink.

 

Upstairs Severus was exploring his newfound information about gods and goods. He could get inexpensive wine and leather from 2 separate quests and he could also serve up to 3 gods who each had 7 quests to complete.

 

He immediately chose alchemy, magic, and potions and set about finding the temples. Magic was his first priority but finding the temple proved a bit tough. As was getting to the magic god's priest. This was not as easy as just walking up and talking to him as it had been for the alchemy god.

 

Eventually he gave up and decided to work on the alchemy god's first quest, which was simple enough. He completed the first task quickly and eagerly went back to find out what the next would be. His jaw dropped when he read what he was supposed to provide.

 

Perhaps the wine quest would prove easier for a new player. Half an hour later he was ready to rip his hair out. What was he supposed to do? He didn't understand why the NPC at the winery wasn't giving him a task to complete.

 

The leather quest then, he decided. Maybe that one was possible to complete. He would be happy if he could just get it started.

 

Sometime after he had started on the leather quest, which was turning out to be doable but very annoying, Brie wandered in. “Severus have you seen my glasses? I can't find them anywhere.”

 

“Over there on the table.” He jerked his head in the direction of a small end table and large overstuffed chair next to a bookcase.

 

“Oh perfect.” She said as she flopped down in the chair. “They are on top of the book I was reading. I was looking for that too.” Sliding on the glasses, she cracked open the book and began to read and for awhile all was quiet. Then suddenly Severus' screen was full of blue words.

 

“Today is a special day...” He read out loud.

 

Brie glanced up from her book with interest. “Oh yeah? Which one?” Don't let the word special fool you, some 'special' days really suck.” She rose and peered at the screen. “Ohhhh!! Day of Joule, get outta my way!” she cried as she spun the computer chair around and attempted to dump Severus out of it. “Everything you mix takes only half the food it usually does today.”

 

Severus had instinctively grabbed the mouse when he felt Brie start to spin the chair around, now he clung like a bur as she tried to shake him out of it. After a few seconds her explanation of the special day started to sink in and he redoubled his efforts to stay in the chair. “Half food?” he said. “There is so much I can do!”

 

“Yes, there is so much I can do.” she replied as she gave up on the chair and tried for the mouse instead, which he had hugged to his stomach like he was protecting a baby. “Gimme that mouse. You have been playing for days.” she grunted as she tried to pull apart his arms.

 

“No!” he exclaimed. “Its my first special day! Haven't you had lots of them by now?” She continued to grab for the mouse, but now halfheartedly and Severus went in for the kill. “Take pity on a new person, everything takes so much food.” he said while trying to suppress a smile because he sensed he had won.

 

“Fine, FINE!” she exclaimed as she stalked across the room and pulled out her ancient laptop, all the while muttering about bad graphics, and poor man mode. He might have even heard her say craptop once or twice.

 

He tuned out her annoyed mutterings and turned back to the screen, trying to figure out what he was going to do first. He really should run to the potions seller for Potions of Feasting. If you asked his opinion Potions of Feasting were absolutely the best thing ever. He glanced back at Brie, who still looked annoyed, and decided not to get her opinion on it.

 

Once he had his potions, he made his way to his favorite storage building where he sat and started to happily mix his Health and Magic Essences. As he did, he idly watched the local chat. Thus far he had mostly been a chat observer, but not a participator. He was still having a hard time adjusting to the odd way the letters were laid out on the keyboard. Suddenly Thalia's name popped up on screen and he quickly shifted from console mode.

 

Thalia was sitting facing Hocus. The characters were knee to knee and Thalia was quickly dropping health. Slightly panicked, Severus had Hocus heal her several times. “What is happening to you?” He asked Brie.

 

“I'm using toadstools as food and they are poisoning me silly.” she replied as she hit the restore icon and prepared to drink a Poison Antidote because she had been poisoned by more toadstools than she was comfortable with. “Everyone in storage is using them. Look.”

 

He changed his camera angle and saw that many of the characters sitting in storage were indeed dropping health quickly. This was like a magic training gold mine, he thought to himself as he had Hocus start healing everyone within reach of his spot. When he ran out of mana he went back to mixing.

By the time six hours had ended Severus had made more essences than he had in his whole game career, but he had absolutely no drive left to go make use of them.

 

“Bed.” He grunted at Brie as he rose and headed toward the door.

 

Surprised, she looked up from the book she had gone back to after she had gotten bored with playing. “Its the middle of the afternoon.” She stated after glancing at the clock. “If you sleep now you will be awake all night again.”

 

“Probably.” He answered. “But you will be too, and I bet you don't plan to sleep now.”

 

The grim reality of that hit her hard. “True.” She conceded. “See you at 3am.”

 

With a sleepy half wave, he disappeared down the hall. Fully clothed, he tumbled into bed and a sleep that was, mercifully, dreamless.

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If anyone has an constructive criticism or ideas on the direction this story could take, please let me know. I have a 3rd part started but i am kinda stalled. Nice words about what is already here might help also :confused:

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Part one and part two both began with dreams. The next part should probably start differently this time.

 

You've got an opportunity here to show us the softer side of Snape. We know he's capable of some kind of love and jealousy and we presume he's not one to make friends easily. He and Brie have the beginnings of a bond working through EL - it would be nice to see it strengthened.

 

So, direction for this story... It's safe to assume from what you've already written that charms have been cast on Brie's house. We also know that Snape can't be seen therefore someone must be looking for him. I would assume that Brie might not be safe at the grocery store, butcher shop, etc. What about an encounter or remark made to Snape that she had seen someone dressed very oddly. It might be nice to see Snape show concern for her safety - if only because he needs her EL character to help him do something in-game. This could quite easily lead to Snape opening up to Brie about why he can't be seen and she could open up to Snape more about herself and explain why the 3 am stuff is happening.

 

Eventually, though, because Snape is placed in hiding, an outside source will have to attack Brie's house and Snape will have to defend her. You'll need a magically-inspired battle to take place in and around her home that Industrial Light and Magic would love to program. Since Snape isn't permitted to leave, we don't "know" that someone looking for him can't enter. Perhaps it might be interesting to see some of these things.

 

Just a few ideas/thoughts. I hope they help.

 

Your friend.

 

Phil...

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Part one and part two both began with dreams. The next part should probably start differently this time.

 

 

Personally, I like the various dichotomies throughout the story.

 

I find that the parts I enjoy the most are the ones in which they are discussing EL. I'd love to see further interaction between Hocus and Thelia in the game. I like the idea of Brie having to help Severus in some way and Hocus having to help Thelia.

 

Thank you for the story! I haven't had much time to read any of these the past year since I've started multiplaying on the pk server (and no longer need to afk harvest). My computer is in the shop at the moment, so this was a great diversion.

 

Fantastic job! I'm going to go post this link in the newbie help thread.

Edited by sywren

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Thanks to Phil and Sywren for the ideas. They sparked my imagination briefly, but unfortunately I am still at a loss for a real direction for this story. I am putting the story on hold and stepping back from it in the hopes that some new ideas will come to me.

 

If anyone reads this and has ideas for me, please let me know. I welcome constructive criticism, ideas and nice words. If there is something in this story that you like, or something that you don't see and want to, feel free to post. Also feel free to post funny friendly EL stories. Noob stories, Pr0 stories, friendly encounters or anything else you find fun and funny about EL would help.

 

I will leave you with a teaser passage from the existing but unfinished 3rd part of the story.

 

Thanks for reading so far :icon13:

Nova

 

 

“My potions level is higher than yours, higher than yours, higher than yours.” Severus danced a little in his chair as he half sang to Brie about his levels.

 

She glanced up from the laptop with raised eyebrows. “You play 20 hours a day, of course your potions level is higher than mine.” When he continued to do his little chair dance she added, “Would you like some fries to go with that shake?”

 

He blushed scarlet to the hairline and muttered, “No but some ice cream would be good.”, before hastily exiting the room.

 

Quick as a flash, Brie claimed Severus' usual seat. Let him use the craptop when he got back. 'I never should have told him about the wine quest', she thought to herself as she looked at his levels. 'Shouldn't have told him about the magic god either.'

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Brilliant Nova... simply brilliant! :)

 

Don't know why it took me so long to read it, but I love it :) amusing, intriguing, educational...

 

I do hope to see more :) As for ideas, its your story to develop, but I would definitely say the key to the story is the interaction between Severus and Brie. He is definitely showing more friendliness towards her than is ever really demonstrated towards anyone in the harry potter books, what exactly is going on there between them? You could investigate that bond further.

 

One thing Brie's character hasn't yet shown -- is she jealous of Severus's ability to preform magic? Does she wish she could? Personally I'd be a bit envious, daydreaming that I could cast spells as well if I were living with a wizard. You could try to develop that a bit more in Brie, how does she feel about magic?

 

As for where to take the story is hard to say, I think only you can figure that out :)

 

Can't wait to see more, its quite amazing Nova, great work!

Edited by Enly

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I tried slapping my imagination around one last time before I truly put this story on hold. Something came out, but it has nothing to do with the story at all. But. my lovely readers, I will give you a peek at what goes on in my troubled brain. :) Enjoy. And feel bad for poor ole' Brie and Sev, cuz they made me mad.

 

 

 

Part- Nothing To Do With any Other Part

 

“No,” Brie said as she and Severus descended the stairs together. “Its a sword made of light, it cuts through everything.”

 

“Its light,” Severus scoffed. “How can it cut through anything?”

 

“Oh lets just watch the stupid movie and you will see what I....” Her sentence was cut short as they entered the living room to find a woman neither had seen before sitting on the couch. “Who the hell are you?” Brie asked as she stopped abruptly in the living room doorway, causing Severus to collide with her.

 

I simply smiled and said, “Call me Nova. I'm writing this story, and we have to talk. You guys aren't doing anything but playing MMORPGs and drinking coffee. Whats up with that?”

 

Severus peered over Brie's shoulder. “You're the writer,” he smirked and slowly reached into his wand pocket, “you tell us.”

 

“Watch it Merlin.” I replied with a raised eyebrow. “I can make you do anything I want, so treat me nice.”

 

His brow furrowed at my statement. “I doubt that.” He finally replied. Apparently Severus was going to need a little convincing so I sighed and snapped my fingers. Suddenly music started to play and he began sway to the beat of I'm To Sexy.

 

“Whats going on?” He shouted at Brie as he involuntarily turned around and shook his little tush on the catwalk. Brie looked like she didn't know if she should laugh or run.

 

“Did I stutter?” I asked “I can make you do whatever I want.” I waved my hand (purely for effect because, in fact, I don't need to actually DO anything when I want something to happen, I just have to think it. But they didn't know that.) and the music stopped. Once he was released Severus, who had been raising the roof against his will, reached again for his wand. I pointed a finger at him “I know what you are thinking right now. Don't even try it.”

 

Quick as a flash, Severus pulled his wand out of his pocket. Immediately the wand turned into a rubber chicken. “Oh very original.” he sneered as he dangled the chicken wand by the tips of two fingers as if it were a dead fish. “J.K. Rowling already wrote about wands changing into rubber chickens. “What lazy writing.”

 

“Fine. I can be original.” Severus' chicken wand gave a loud squawk as it turned from chicken to man eating killer mutant jungle vines from hell, which quickly wound around him. One of the tentacle vines slapped itself over his mouth for good measure. “And I see you!” I shouted at Brie, who had been slowly inching toward the front door. She ran the last few steps and threw open the door to find a full grown male African lion sitting on the doorstep. As the lion gave a loud roar Brie slammed the front door closed with a scream and made a break for the kitchen, only to be brought up short by a gigantic block of jello which had appeared out of nowhere. She ran right into it and was comically suspended in the goo. “Ok you two, enough games.” I said as one of the mutant tentacle vines slithered over and pulled Brie out of the jello with a loud sucking sound, “Are you going to play nice now?

 

“Oh gross.” Brie said as she tried to peel the tentacle off her leg. “Did you have to make them slimy?”

 

“Quiet you.” I answered. “And yes. You've got slimy man eating killer tentacle vines and right now I'm in a good mood. Imagine what you'd get if I was angry. Now shut up and sit still and I will make them go away. Deal?”

 

“Man eating?” Severus asked, and I nodded. They looked briefly at each other, shrugged, then nodded because they knew there was no other way. The tentacles lifted them up and unceremoniously dropped them each into a chair before turning back into Severus' wand.

 

I saw him look at it as it lay on the carpet. “You can pick it up.” I told him. I trust you understand that it won't do you any good?” He nodded and retrieved the fallen wand, placing it on the arm of the chair as he sat again. “Ok.” I pointed at Severus. “You're snarky and you're rude and you are someone else's character, I can't do much with you.” He sneered at me and curled his fingers around his wand. I shook my head with a smirk, daring him to try using the wand again. “But you,” I continued and pointed at Brie, “you are mine, so get interesting already. You've been sitting around playing games and drinking gallons of coffee and not sleeping for weeks. Oh and do you think that maybe you aren't sleeping because you drink so much damn coffee? ”

 

Severus snickered and Brie glared at him. “Well sooooorry.” Her reply dripped sarcasm. “I've been told that I can only do what you make me do, so maybe you should stop sucking so bad and make me do something good!”

 

Without warning, the chair Brie was sitting in flipped completely upside down, dumping Brie to the floor and landing on top of her with a dull thud. “I'm sorry Brie, what was that?” I asked sweetly as she grunted, hauled herself out from under the chair and set it upright again. “I couldn't hear you around the chair on your chest.” She made a rude gesture but I am too polite to tell you what it was.

 

I turned to Snape. “Severus,” I began.

 

“Professor Snape.” he interrupted.

 

“Yeah right, that will happen.” I laughed and continued, “Severus, do you like being in this story?”

 

“Merlin's pants, no! This is horrible! I'm stuck here with a Muggle who thinks swords made out of light can cut through anything.”

 

“Its a movie!” Brie and I shouted in unison. “Get over it!”

 

Brie looked at me in surprise. “Wow that was weird.”

 

“Not really,” I replied, “I wrote it that way on purpose. I thought it would be funny.” She rolled her eyes. “You are a fictional character who lives in my brain. I control you. Get used to it.” She scowled and crossed her arms over her chest. “Oh thats it,” I said and rose from the couch. “You guys are no help at all. Now you've gone and pissed me off and for punishment, until I can think of something good to do with you, you will sit here and watch the worst movie ever made over and over again.”

 

Brie gasped. “You monster! You wouldn't!”

 

“Oh you bet I would doll face.” I replied. Suddenly, from nowhere a huge screen appeared in the middle of the room. “Lady and gentlewizard, I give you.....Snakes on a Plane. Enjoy!”

 

“Nooooooooooooooooo! Nova you jerk!” Brie shouted as they both struggled against the mutant tentacles which once again appeared to hold them in place as the scene slowly fades away.

 

And folks, I kid you not, this is where poor Brie and Severus are going to stay until I get some ideas.

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Finally tapped out a real 3rd part to this thing :pickaxe: Ladies and gents, I present to you the totally un-beta read 3rd chapter. Constructive criticism welcome.

 

Part the Third

 

“Severus....”

 

“Gabrielle....”

 

Coal black met sapphire blue and held....held.....

 

Both sets of eyes narrowed, both felt their pulses jump...

 

He leaned in close to test her resolve.

 

She didn't back away.

 

“Fine!” Severus burst out as he turned from the computer and stalked out of the office.

 

“Damn right, fine.” Brie muttered to herself as she claimed her seat. “Its my damn house.”

 

She called down the hall. “Its only going to take me five minutes to pay my bills then you can have it back Professor Crybaby.”

 

Severus skulked back in the room and hovered impatiently at her elbow. “I am really close to a bunch of levels.” he muttered.

 

Brie finished what she was doing and pushed away from the desk. “Here you go, you can stop having withdrawal twitches now.” She indicated his right hand, which was curling and uncurling in a seemingly unconscious manner.

 

“My wrist hurts.” he replied with a smirk as he reclaimed the seat.

 

“Uhh ohhh, sounds like someone has a little taste of carpal tunnel coming on maybe.”

 

“What Muggle nonsense is that?” he asked as he clicked away.

 

“I showed you that search engine and how to use it. Look it up. I hope thats not your wand wrist.” she tossed over her shoulder as she made her way downstairs to the pile of laundry that waited for her.

 

'Wish I had a magic wand.' she thought to herself as she separated lights from darks. She chuckled as she tried to imagine being able to use magic. 'I'd probably end up giving myself a unicorn horn out my belly button or something.' With a sigh, she started in on the laundry the good old Muggle way.

 

“Why is iron so heavy?” Severus exclaimed in frustration a few hours later.

 

“Because its IRON.” Brie replied from down the hall.

 

“Well its taking forever to bring to storage.” He whined back, knowing that this was his best shot at getting Brie to tell him a better way of doing what he was trying to do.

 

“What are you trying to do?” She asked as she entered the room with a basket of laundry which she set down on a chair. He hid a smirk as she came up behind him and glanced at the screen. So far this tactic had never failed. He explained what he wanted to do and told her where he was trying to do it.

 

“Finally getting around to Matter Essences?” she asked as she started to fold laundry. “And you can harvest everything you need?” He nodded eagerly, which she found funny because she knew exactly what he was trying to do. She raised an eyebrow and watched Severus' expression change from eager to annoyed. He knew she was on to him. “Well, seems to me that everything you need to make those essences can be found in that cave that you are in and fairly close together too.” she said as she picked up her laundry and left the room again leaving Severus to figure out bag mixing by himself.

 

A few minutes later Brie heard Severus cry out, “Oh I get it now!”, and she chuckled as she put laundry in the proper drawers.

 

Later on that day Brie sat reading a book in the living room. Severus wandered in and stood near the doorway flexing his wrist. He had gotten around to looking up the carpal tunnel thing that Brie has mentioned and was a little worried. After all, it was his wand wrist. He had also grown somewhat bored with game play and was feeling a bit stiff from so much time hunched over the keyboard. He wasn't sure what to do so after a few minutes of standing around seemingly without Brie noticing him, he began to scan the books on the bookcases that lined one whole wall.

 

So far he had noticed books in almost every room of the house. Even the kitchen had a stack of cookbooks on one of the counters. Here in the living room there were framed pictures and little knickknacks and sculptures tucked in among the many titles on the shelves. “Who is this?” He asked as he looked at the silver framed picture of Brie and a man who looked much like her.

 

“That was my brother.” She replied shortly without looking at the picture. She didn't seem surprised that he was behind her.

 

“Was?”

 

“........That is a story for another day.” she replied after a moments hesitation. He nodded, chose a book at random and settled into one of the living room chairs. Outside a soft steady rain fell, casting the room in a strange watery light. Severus looked over at Brie and thought that she looked a bit sad, but it could just be a trick of the odd shadows that fell across her face as the rain ran down the window panes.

 

The rain lasted for several days, making both Brie and Severus cross and snippy.

 

****

 

“Stop calling it a shield charm!” She exclaimed. Severus had been driving her nuts with magic questions all day. “Its a spell! All the magic in the game are spells dammit!”

 

****

 

“Ohh today is a special day!” Severus perked up. “Green Day.” He read the description of the day. “I can't harvest?!?! How is that special?”

 

“Told you not to be fooled by the word 'special'.” Brie smirked. “What?? I did. Oh don't even look at me like that. You aren't scary you know.”

 

“Don't you have something Mugglish to do?” He asked rudely.

 

“Yes, but there is a snarky, ungrateful wizard who has parked his skinny ass where mine usually goes.”

 

****

 

“Oh look, a dragon.”

 

“Well run! Dragons ignore the green cape, its going to eat y.... Told you.”

 

“I lost my stuff!”

 

“I told you to run!”

 

****

 

“My potions level is higher than yours, higher than yours, higher than yours.” Severus danced a little in the chair as he half sang about his levels.

 

Brie glanced up from the laptop with raised eyebrows. “You play 20 hours a day, of course your potions level is higher than mine.” When he continued to do his little chair dance she entered a few quick commands into her laptop and cut off Internet access to the desktop.

 

“Oh I grued!” Severus exclaimed. “and it won't come back up!”

 

“Tough luck. That happens sometimes. Guess you have to find something else to do.” He rose with an annoyed sigh and wandered out of the office. “Don't make coffee!” she called after him when she heard him descend the stairs.

 

Once he had gone, Brie reestablished the connection to the desktop and claimed Severus' usual seat. As she studied his levels before closing the screen, she thought to herself that she never should have told him about the wine quest... or the magic god.

 

****

 

When the rain finally passed Brie, hungry for a change of scenery, spent most of the day puttering around in her gardens. Severus had tried to follow her out at first, but had run into Dumbledore's spells again. Blushing madly, he had picked himself up, dusted himself off and swept away to kill ferans.

 

The sun warmed her back as she pulled weeds and her thoughts drifted along like the fluffy clouds in the brilliant blue sky. Suddenly a loud tapping broke the peace and she looked up to find Severus pecking at one of the windows, mouthing something she couldn't hear.

 

“Open it.” she said as she gestured with her hands.

 

On the other side of the glass Severus shook his head and mouthed, 'Dumbledore', while pointing at the window frame.

 

Brie shook her head and gestured again for him to open it. “Oh he did not do the windows too.” she said.

 

Severus rolled his eyes and was immediately thrown backwards as he attempted to open the window. Outside, Brie collapsed with laughter. “He did!” she squealed as she held her aching sides.

 

She pushed herself to her feet and peeled off her garden gloves as she headed inside to see what Severus needed now.

 

“I tried the coffee machine again.” He said as soon as she came in, offering her one of the mugs he was holding.

 

She accepted the mug with a quick glance at the coffee maker. “Where's the fire extinguisher?” she asked as she went to take a sip of what looked like hot black mud.

 

He made a face and gestured to his wand which was laying on the counter. He saw her smile into her mug. “What do you think?” he asked as her eyes over the rim started to water suddenly.

 

“Its strong.” She managed to choke out. “How many scoops did you use?”

 

She sputtered when he answered. “12.”

 

“Ok so magic doesn't solve all of life's problems. Thats actually kind of comforting to know.” She grabbed Severus' cup and dumped both right down the sink as she set about making a new pot. “It kind of makes me feel good, in a totally petty way, that I can do something you have trouble with.

 

“One thing among, perhaps, thousands.” Severus scoffed. “Name me any other kind of situation and I'll tell you why it would be more beneficial to be able to use magic.”

 

“Oh I bet magic would be beneficial in just about an situation, I'm just saying that there has got to be some situation where Muggles have the upper hand.” she argued

 

He shrugged and replied coolly, not quite hiding a smirk, “There is nothing you can do that I can't.”

 

She sensed the smirk in his voice and felt her temper flare. “Sure there is.” She replied as she fought to hold it. “Watch.” Without further comment she walked to the door. With a wave, she pulled it open, stepped outside and went for a walk.

 

“Wench.” Severus muttered at the closed door, his smirk now gone.

 

After she had walked off some temper and some energy she returned and was unsurprised to find Severus in front of the computer.

 

“Whatcha doing?” she asked while trying to figure out where in imagination land Hocus was.

 

“Going to make steel bars.” He replied absently. “Oh a leopard.” he perked up and quickly changed direction. “I can kill those now.”

 

Brie peered toward his screen and drew a sharp breath. “Sev no, not that one.” she warned. “Run from that one.”

 

“No, its OK.” He replied. “They are easy now. Watch”

 

Brie watched as the leopard killed Hocus in one hit. “I warned you.” she laughed at the stricken look on his face. “Severus you just met Leonard.”

 

It took a full on hot fudge sundae complete with nuts, whip cream, and a cherry to lift Severus' spirits after his tango with the super leopard. Even after he had gorged himself on Chunky Monkey he found that he had no desire to play anymore that night. He spent the evening with Brie, letting her tell him about the Muggle television shows they were watching. At one point a nature program came on and she grabbed the remote and changed the channel abruptly.

 

“That looked interesting.” he protested with a frown. “It's about tigers. I like tigers.”

 

“Nah.” she said as she flipped channels without meeting his eye. “That show is no good.” She found a new show. “Oh but this one is funny. Now, you see this guy here? Well he.....”

 

That night, after both Severus and Brie had gone to bed, Brie woke with a start.

 

Had she heard something?

 

Yes. She heard it again. It was a moaning... now it was almost like someone crying out.

 

She shook her head to clear it as she threw back the covers and got up. Slowly, she made her way to the door and pushed it open and stood very still in the dark, waiting to hear the noise again. When she heard it again she knew right away it was coming from the room Severus' was staying in so she padded down the hall and peeked in the partly open door.

 

Moonlight washed over the bed and she could see him tossing and turning, tangled in the sheets. She glanced at the clock on the bedside table as she crossed the room. 3am. “Figures.” she muttered as Severus started to moan again. This time she caught a name before she reached out and gently touched his shoulder. He remained asleep, his breathing starting to come in harsh gasps.

 

“Severus.” She shook him hard. “Wake up Severus.”

 

With a mighty effort, he pulled himself out of his dreams and sat up, gasping for breath and drenched with sweat. It had been so long since he had had a dream like that.

 

“Who is Lily?” Brie asked as she gently brushed hair from his eyes.

 

He answered after a moments hesitation, “Thats not a story for today.” She nodded and left Severus with his ghosts.

 

When she had gone, he straightened out the sheets while cursing the two Muggles Brie had called Ben and Jerry for making their ice cream so delicious that you would want to eat enough to give you nightmares.

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\o/ its done, its done. *does happy dance* Its as spell checked as its getting as well. Hope you enjoy.

 

 

P4RT

 

“Damn it!” The cry echoed down the stairs and Brie rolled her eyes. Severus had started to level his ranging skill that morning. A steady stream of low grade swearing had been issuing forth from the office ever since. “Merlin!”

 

She laughed outright and called up the stairs, “Did you just say Merlin?” Maybe not all of it was swearing.

 

Severus appeared with his face like a thundercloud. “That has to be the most asinine skill in the game!” he exclaimed as he barreled down the stairs and into the kitchen. “It is impossible to hit anything.” He threw himself into a chair. “I'm hungry.”

 

Brie raised an eyebrow, opened the nearest cabinet, pulled out a box of cereal and tossed it on the table in front of him. “You know where everything is.” she said as she pulled out a chair and sat. “I like ranging. What are you shooting at?” She asked, referring to the archery skill that he had just been working on.

 

“I started with rabbits, but that was painful. Then I was shooting at bears,” he replied from inside the refrigerator where he was searching for milk and butter. “but they would attack me and I kept dying.”

 

“Well there is your problem right there.” She interrupted. “Later on I'll show you how to kill a dragon with your arrows. That is much more fun then shooting at bears.”

 

“Dragons?” His voice was doubtful as he backed out of the fridge with both butter and milk. He placed them on the table then hunted down the bread and loaded it in the toaster. “Do you want toast?” he asked as he pulled out 2 bowls and 2 spoons and placed them on the table near the milk.

 

“Sure.” She replied as she poured cereal into one of the bowls.

 

Severus pointed to the coffee maker. OK, but I want coffee and I'm still 'not allowed' to use that horrible machine.

 

Brie laughed as she rose to make the coffee. “I don't know why you and and Mr. Coffee can't get along, Mr Wizard.” She patted the coffee maker as she added water. “You've gotten the hang of the toaster and the microwave, and the computer for goodness sake.

 

He slid a hateful glance at his Muggle world nemesis. “That machine is just evil.” He replied as the toast popped up.

 

“Can't you just magic yourself up some coffee?” She asked as he reloaded the toaster and pushed down the handle again.

 

“Not unless there is coffee already around somewhere. Then I could make more, or heat it if it was cold, or change it to pudding if I felt like it.” He tried to explain Gamp's Laws of Elemental Transfiguration.

 

“Wow,” she said after he had finished, “I never knew real magic had so many rules and such. Now that feels weird to say.” Brie smiled “Real magic. I mean I've known since I was a kid that magic is real because thats when I met Dumbledore. Like, really real, not just little kid real. But still.....weird.” She poured coffee and told Severus about the day Dumbledore had saved her as they ate their toast.

 

“And that is the favor that you owe him?” Severus asked when Brie had finished her story.

 

“Umm hmm.” She replied. “Pretty much. I mean, he didn't tell me at 10 that someday he would be back to collect on blah blah blah....you know? But really, he saved my life, so when he showed up here a few moths ago and said he needed me...well I guess I didn't even really need that much convincing. He had some nice things to say about you.” Brie chuckled at the memory.

 

Severus' eyes narrowed. “I'm sure.”

 

With an outright laugh Brie explained, “No really, he did. To quote,” she cleared her throat and made her voice as deep as possible for comic effect. “Severus is really a nice, quiet fellow who just fell into a bit of bad luck. I just need a place to keep him for the summer. Honestly Gabrielle, you wouldn't even know he was here, he has a habit of keeping to himself mostly. Most days we hardly see him around the castle.” She grinned at Severus' scowl. “It was a really clever way of calling you a reclusive crank pot.”

 

He made a face and said, “Yes thank you, I picked up on that. He really didn't tell you at all why I have to be here?”

 

Her grin faded as she tried to remember what Dumbledore had told her about Severus' situation. “You know, I don't remember.” she said after a minute or two. Her eyes went cloudy and she began to mumble to herself. “He rang the bell.... I invited him in....we had tea... condolences....idle chatter....more tea....spoke briefly about his sister...swung right into you needing a place to stay...bold faced lies about your disposition... normally I'd have no problem, but given certain circumstances...” She frowned. “Then... he was leaving and thanking me and saying you would be here by the end of the month.” Her brow furrowed. “Isn't that weird? There's a whole section of that conversation missing in my mind and I haven't thought about it since. Maybe I have brain cancer.”

 

He lobbed a pat of butter at her from the end of his knife and rolled his eyes. “Sounds more like a Confundus Charm.” he said. She met him with a blank look as she flicked the butter back at him so he explained what a Confundus Charm was. Once he had finished her look when from blank to angry.

 

“So I didn't really agree to this? He put a spell on me and made me do it?” She asked through slightly clenched teeth.

 

“Oh no no.” Severus hastily assured her. “Its more like he confused you into doing something you were likely to do anyway.”

 

She raised an eyebrow. “I don't see much difference.”

 

He raised an eyebrow back. “Where I come from the difference is immense.”

 

“Either way, I'm pissed.”

 

“Well now we really do share a common bond. We'll have a good shout about everything when the old codger comes to pick me up at the end of the summer. You know what would make you feel better right now?” He didn't wait for a reply. “Showing me how to kill a dragon.”

 

With a grin she snorted out a laugh. “Damnit, I shouldn't have told you about that.”

 

Sixteen dragons and a lot of gold coins later Brie pulled herself away from the game and tumbled into bed. Severus had been right, showing him the finer points of dancing with the dragons had made her feel better. It had more been watching his facial reactions as he tried to avoid being eaten then the actual dragon hunting itself that lifted her mood, but she didn't care. Now, alone in the dark, she couldn't help but think of Dumbledore and his Confundus charm and the resulting situation she was living out because of it. Drifting off to sleep, she got mad all over again.

 

Not surprisingly she didn't sleep well or for long. It was still dark when she woke and shuffled down the stairs on her way toward the kitchen where she ran into Severus, who was holding out a mug.

 

After a minor heart attack at the unexpected early morning run in she took the mug, pursed her lips, prepared her stomach, warned her tongue, and took a tentative sip. “Its good.” She said with surprise in her voice. “Really good.” she concluded after a second longer sip. “You did it Severus. You made drinkable coffee.”

 

He shrugged and put his hands in his pockets. “I had to get it right sometime.” he said without quite meeting her eye.

 

“Well I've been showing you almost every time I do it for weeks now.” She poured more and went to the back door to retrieve the newspaper from the porch. “I guess it finally sunk in because this tastes just like when I make it.”

 

He turned away to look out the window. “Imagine that.” he said placidly

 

Brie narrowed her eyes at his actions and took another sip of the extremely familiar tasting coffee as something dawned on her. “I never dumped out the rest of the coffee from yesterday before we slaughtered dragons, did I?” His shoulders hunched and she knew she hit home. “I knew it!” she exclaimed. “You cheater. You did....one of those Gimp spells, didn't you?”

 

“Gamp's Laws.” He corrected peevishly as he turned to face her.

 

Snapping the newspaper open she chuckled at the look on his face. “Nice try David Blaine.”

 

He wordlessly paged through the corner of her newspaper till he found the section he wanted. After pulling it out from between the other pages Brie was holding he sat and spread it out on the table to read.

Brie glanced over and grinned. “It kills me that you like the funnies.” she said

 

“The characters don't move. Its fascinating.” He replied.

 

Brie went for more coffee after a few minutes and asked, “Whats the spell to rewarm it?” as she picked up the folded section of newspaper from her seat and sat again.

 

Severus answered absently, “No spell. Just drop in a Fire Essence.”, which caused Brie to laugh so hard she spit coffee everywhere.

 

“Mmmmm.” She replied as she watched Severus clean up the mess with a wave of his wand. “Little bits of flowers and sulfur. Just what I like in my coffee.” Severus laughed so hard he had to lay his head down on the table. As he did he somehow poked himself in the eye with his wand, which sent Brie into hysterics again.

 

A little while later, upon finishing a cartoon strip about a little Muggle brat who hid his fathers keys so that the father was late for work, something dawned on Severus. “What do you do?” he asked Brie abruptly.

 

“Do?” she asked vaguely, looking up from the comic strip she was drawing herself. It seemed to be about some sort of little stick man in a pointy hat who was running around aflame holding some sort of pitcher.

 

“Muggles have jobs.”

 

She raised an eyebrow. “So do wizards.”

 

“Right, but you don't work. Everyday I have been here, so have you.”

 

“Maybe I'm a teacher like you.” she replied as she lazily turned a page and began sketching a new cartoon of an older looking stick man in a pointy hat suspended above what seemed to be a pit of alligators. She was surprised it had taken him this long to ask this question.

 

“You are?” he asked with surprise in his voice. The thought had never occurred to him before.

 

“No.”

 

“Then what do you do?”

 

“Why do you care?”

 

“I don't know.” He began to tap his wand on the table.

 

“I'm semi retired actually.” she finally relented. “Up until early this year I hosted a nature show, OK? So as long as some channel somewhere plays reruns I get royalties. Hence, the no working. Hence the no brother.”

 

He looked at her in surprise.

 

“We hosted the show together. He drowned one day while we were filming. He got tangled in the weeds and we couldn't cut him free in time. I couldn't save him.” She pressed her lips together very hard, then went back to her newspaper.

 

'Ohhh, condolences and given certain circumstances.' Their conversation from the day before popped into his mind. He had been meaning to ask what those circumstances might be, seeing as she seemed to lead a normal Muggle life, but he hadn't yet found a good time to broach the subject.

 

'Thats why she never sleeps.' Severus thought to himself right away. He remembered barely sleeping for months after Lily had died. 'Dumbledore is truly a sod to make her deal with this situation right now.' He thought as he stared at her, hating that he had made her look so sad. Suddenly he found himself saying, “There was someone once that I couldn't save.” He followed with a very abridged story about Lily and Dumbledore, the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord.

 

'Thats why he has to stay here.' Brie immediately thought to herself once he was done. 'Thats a dangerous game he plays.' She hated that he looked so sad but she sensed that he had reviled to her as much as he was willing too already and she was unwilling to talk more about her problems, so she caste around for something to distract them both. “Thats some story Severus.” Her eyes fell on her collection of movies and she found herself saying, “Let me tell you a Muggle epic tale.”

 

“Wait a minute, wait a minute.” Severus said a little while later, interrupting the story. “So this all happened a long time ago...but somehow in the future?”

 

“Yes.” She said and continued on with the narrative without further explanation.

 

“Wait, wait, wait, a sword made of light?” He raised a skeptic eyebrow. “And talking robots?”

 

She gave and exasperated sigh and said, “Its a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, either you buy it or you don't!”

 

“Well I don't.”

 

“Well most people wouldn't buy that you could turn all their body hair purple with a stick and some funny words, but you can. I know for sure you can.” She scowled as she wound a few strands of dark purple hair around her finger.

 

“You lost the bet” he said with a shrug he gestured for her to finish the story.

 

“Well if you don't change it back soon we are going to starve because I am NOT going out for groceries looking like this.

 

Two days later, after Brie served ketchup soup for lunch, Severus relented and turned her hair back to its normal color. Two days after that, when Severus had fallen asleep sitting up at the computer yet again, Brie gave him some lovely bright red stripes in his jet back hair, courtesy of Manic Panic.

 

Right about the time the red was washing out of Severus' hair he summoned Brie to the office with a shout.

 

She came running. “What? What is it? Whats wrong? You didn't spill anything on the computer again did you?”

 

“No better!” he said triumphantly. “I just maxed out reasoning AND will.”

 

She couldn't scowl at his huge grin, but she could roll her eyes. “Well congrats you are officially what Muggles call, a geek.”

 

“Well then so are you. Don't you have some attributes maxed?” he shot back.

 

“Yep, but I have been playing for 2 years, not 3 months.” Her self satisfied grin squashed any reply he had been forming. “Actually you reached your pinnacle just in time, Dumbledore should be here within the next few days to get you.” Their eyes met briefly and both felt a little twist of sadness that neither was willing to explore further. She cleared her throat after a minute and said, “well, anyway...” as she drifted out the door and Severus turned back to the screen.

 

She descended the stairs trying to think of something she could do to get her mind busy so she wouldn't start to dwell on that little bit of her that seemed disappointed that Severus would be leaving any day now. Something in the living room caught her eye and she let out a little squeal then shouted, “YOU!”

 

Severus barreled down the stairs with his wand gripped in one hand and his heart beating like a drum. “YOU!” he echoed Brie's shout.

 

The rest of what was said was one large jumbled mess as both Brie and Severus unloaded their complaints of the last months onto the elderly wizard who had appeared in the house out of nowhere.

 

“Tell me about Confundus charms Albus.”

 

“You leave me here with NOTHING to occupy time.”

 

“Quiet and pleasant. My butt!”

 

“Muggles, Dumbledore, MUGGLES!”

 

“I never knew the true meaning of snarky till this summer!”

 

Dumbledore sat peacefully through the tirade in two voices. Severus and Brie rained complaints down on him like a waterfall on rocks. After they had finished he tilted his head and reached to his ears, pulling out two tiny ear bud headphones. Neither Severus or Brie had noticed them till now because the cord had been hidden in all his silvery hair.

 

“I have discovered quite an amazing thing.” he said pleasantly as he reached into his robes and pulled out a small thin device. Both looked at it in confusion. Brie because she knew what it was but had no idea where a ridiculously old wizard would have gotten one and Severus because he had no idea what he was looking at.

 

Dumbledore continued without missing a beat. “I believe it's called an...MP3 player. One of the Muggle born students I visited this summer loaned it to me. Lovely gesture from the lad, don't you think? I will be disappointed to give it back to him at the start of term.” He rose briskly. “Speaking of the start of term, we have 2 days till the students arrive at Hogwarts Severus. We really should be going. I'll give you two a moment to say goodbye.” With that he put the ear buds back into his ears and wandered off into the kitchen.

 

Brie turned to Severus with her mouth hanging open. “What just happened?” she asked

 

Severus shook his head. “Its best not to try to figure it out. It could make you insane. On a more awkward note, I'm almost glad the old codger dumped me here for the summer.” he said with a grin while not quite meeting her eyes.

 

Mirroring his grin she replied, “I'm almost glad too. If you ever need to hide out again....” she let the implication hang between them with a shrug.

 

With a blush and wink and a nod he said, “Tell the old boy that I left without him.”

 

“But you can't...” she didn't even have time to finish her sentence before Severus had turned on the spot and disappeared with a loud pop.

 

With a furrowed brow and a slight frown Brie stared at the spot where he had disappeared for a moment before shaking her head and going to find Dumbledore.

 

“He left without you.” She said when she found him in the kitchen, paging through a cookbook. Dumbledore rose and took Brie's hand in his. “Thank you again Gabrielle.”

 

Brie gave up on her anger and squeezed his hand and replied, “We are soooo even now Albus. You might even owe me.” Dumbledore's eyes twinkled as he turned on the spot and disappeared with the same pop Severus had, leaving Brie completely alone in her own home for the first time in months.

 

For awhile she found she was lonely without Severus. The morning after he left, she found herself awake at 3am again. She swung out of bed and shuffled down the hall to the office to find it empty and dark. She stood in the doorway for a moment, studying the outline of the empty desk chair before sighing and returning to bed and miraculously to sleep. She slept right through the whole of the next night and the majority of the ones that followed.

 

One day, a few months after Severus had left, Brie was sitting in her office playing the game. A private message popped up on her screen and she had to look twice at the name because what she was seeing shouldn't be possible.

 

[PM from Hocus: Gabrielle? Still up at 3am these days? I am.]

 

Apparently Severus had overheard some of the Muggle born students talking about Internet cafes, and the closest Muggle town just happened to have one. So every now and then, usually on weekends, Brie and Severus would be logged on at the same time and would get to chat for a few minutes.

 

[PM from Hocus: Internet and coffee remind me of you.]

 

For a long time Brie and Severus would usually catch each other at least once a month, but eventually Hocus stopped logging on. Brie thought of Severus often and hoped he was OK.

 

Many many years later, by extreme chance, Brie learned of the deaths of Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape. All the details of each. She was stunned by the enormity of what her friends had accomplished but she wept for them because, whether it had made them heroes or not, neither had deserved to die the way they had.

 

Her life had been changed forever by the briefest of encounters with two of the best men she had ever known. When she had known them, she hadn't even been aware of how truly noble and good they were. She knew now.

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