A/N: This sequel to "For the Love of Hufflepuff" was supposed to be a prequel,
but story ideas being what they are, it metamorphosed into the strange little
tale now before you. "The Soul of a Hufflepuff" is not intended to infringe
upon any copyright owned by J. K. Rowling, Scholastic Press or Warner Brothers
Pictures. Original story and characters © Christina Teresa, 2002. Many thanks
to Yolanda and Zsenya, beta-readers extraordinaire. This story is rated
R for adult themes, language and violence and is not appropriate
for younger readers.
Chapter One: Philosophy in the Bedroom
"How many times have I told you to tell me if I was hurting you or if you felt
uncomfortable?" Severus called from the bathroom. "I would've stopped immediately,
you know that."
"I said I was sorry," Veronica replied, irritation replacing a bit of the guilt
she felt at hurting the person she loved most in the whole world. She grabbed
her dressing gown from the squashy chair near his bed and wrapped it around
her. She hesitated, then decided to sit in the chair rather than help Severus
in the bathroom.
As she waited, Veronica anxiously twisted her engagement ring on her finger.
Modern witch brides-to-be usually received a diamond or emerald engagement ring,
but Severus had chosen a much more ancient style. The ring was a thin gold band
inscribed with the bottom half of a runic inscription. At the wedding ceremony,
Severus would place the top half onto her finger, then both halves would be
magically melded together to read, 'Here is my heart, guard it well.' She was
beginning to wonder if she'd ever see the other half.
She turned away from him when he emerged, but caught a glimpse of the salve
on the three deep scratches on his left cheek. She wrapped her arms around herself
and tucked her feet underneath her. "Perhaps you should see Madam Pomfrey,"
"And what shall I tell Madam Pomfrey when she asks how it happened?" Severus
snapped. "I think I'd prefer to keep our private business private." He sighed,
then went to her, kneeling down in front of her. "What happened, Veronica? Did
I hurt you?"
"No," she said honestly. "I-I don't know why I did it." Tears started to well
in her eyes. "I'm so sorry."
Their first time making love had been so perfect. Severus had proved to be
as gentle and considerate a lover as Veronica had always known he would be.
Their subsequent problems in the bedroom just a month before their wedding were
her fault, stemming from the abuse she had suffered at the age of fifteen at
the hands of Professor Balin. To say that these after-effects were becoming
extremely exasperating for both of them would be a vast understatement.
"Come back to bed," Severus said gently. "We both need some sleep. We can talk
about this in the morning."
Still wearing her dressing gown, Veronica cuddled next to Severus, and placed
her head on his chest. She swallowed her tears, but her guilt overwhelmed her.
The irony of their reversed roles in the bedroom was not lost on her. To most
everyone at Hogwarts, Severus was unkind and unreasonable. Conversely, Veronica
was one of the most popular teachers in the school because of her sweet disposition
and sense of fair play. No one knew how patient and understanding Severus had
been with her and how capricious, erratic and difficult she had been. She remembered
something she had said to him months ago, You deserve someone who
can love you properly, and could hardly bear to be near him.
Then, in one of those increasing familiar flashes, Veronica suddenly felt claustrophobic
and angry. It was all she could do to not strike out at him again. Instead she
withdrew from him, curled up into a fetal position and pretended to go to sleep.
She heard Severus sigh in building frustration, turn away from her and go to
As Severus dressed the next morning, he stood in front of the mirror and gazed
at the lightening bolt-shaped scar above his heart. It was the mark left by
the rebounded Killing Curse Balin had throw at him just a few months ago. Its
striking similarity to Harry Potter's scar had at first been a source of great
consternation, but Severus had since looked upon it as a permanent reminder
of Veronica's love; for it had been her love that had saved him—in more ways
than one. He turned his head slightly and examined the scratches on his left
cheek which were already beginning to heal. Severus sincerely wished he could
heal Veronica just as easily.
He emerged from the bathroom and found an anxious Veronica trying to distract
herself by studying the jars filled with strange and mostly hideous creatures
lining the shelves in his dungeon room. As it was Sunday, there was no rush
to get to the Great Hall for breakfast.
"Severus," she began, "about last night…I'm so sorry."
"It's not just last night, Veronica."
She lowered her head and sunk down onto the sofa. "I know."
"I don't understand. The first time we made love you were fine, but ever since
then…" he trailed off and paused. "I thought you were over—it." Severus
had almost said 'him', but managed to stop himself. "I love you with
all my heart, but I'll be honest, I don't think I can stand much more of this."
Veronica sighed. Severus thought he detected a slight note of annoyance. "You
have to remember that my way of dealing with it has been to suppress
the memories of abuse and avoid romantic relationships altogether. This is the
first one I've ever had. It's almost like I don't even have control over my
own thoughts or actions."
He folded his arms across his chest. "So when do you expect to get over it?"
She shrugged sadly. "I don't know. Some people never get over it. I remember
reading about this famous Muggle, a man by the name of Lawrence of Arabia. During
one of the Muggle world wars, he was taken prisoner. He was raped and tortured
by his jailers. After he escaped and up until the day he died, he could hardly
bear to be touched by anyone. His only outlet, if you will, was being whipped
by some man he paid."
Severus knew nothing about this Lawrence
person, but thought it would naturally be more difficult for a man to deal with
such abuse. He was wise enough to keep his opinion to himself though. It was
interesting that she brought up this particular example. It raised a question
that had occurred to him before and that he decided it was now time to voice.
"Do you want me to hurt you? If that's what this is about, I won't do it."
Veronica shook her head. She met his eyes and he saw a momentary flash of darkness
cross them. "What if I never get over it?"
"Perhaps you should try a little harder," he replied curtly, then immediately
softened his tone. "There are potions you can take beforehand—the Amorous Elixir
"Tell me, Severus, do you really want to be saddled with a wife who has to
take potions before she can make love to you?"
Severus was silent for several moments, the pain in his heart becoming more
and more excruciating by the second. "No."
"Let me guess," she said with an anguished expression, "the wedding's off."
"Postponed," he replied quickly. He sat down next to her and took her chin
in his hand. "I'm not ready to give up on this—unless you are."
Tears were now streaming down her cheeks. She could only repeat, "I'm so sorry."
Severus gently took Veronica in his arms to comfort her, but after only a moment,
he felt her body stiffen—a now familiar sign that she wanted desperately to
withdraw from his touch. Without a word, he released her. With an apology in
her eyes, she left his room.
As soon as she closed the door after her, Severus picked up a jar filled with
the pickled remains of a garden gnome and threw it against the wall.
Veronica heard a crash come from Severus' room just after she shut the door,
but she could hardly blame him for being angry. She glanced down the corridor
leading to the Slytherin dormitory, but fortunately saw no one coming. She wished
she had thought to take the fireplace back up to her room, but had no desire
to face Severus again right now. She rushed up the steps and made her way to
her room, next to Professor Sprout's near Hufflepuff
As soon as she closed her door, Veronica sank down to her knees and sobbed
uncontrollably for what seemed like hours. Despite his assurance that the wedding
was merely postponed, she knew Severus didn't want to marry her anymore and
it was all her fault. She hated herself for being this way, but she was deadly
serious when she had told him that she had no control over herself.
When Balin had been killed by her love, Veronica had actually grieved for the
lecherous son of a bitch. Part of her had always loved him a little, even though
he didn't deserve it. That's just what Hufflepuffs did. Others might find her
ambivalent feelings toward him odd, but she mostly understood them. What she
didn't understand was her increasingly violent thoughts and actions toward Severus.
When Severus had asked her if she wanted him to hurt her, she hadn't dared tell
him that it was she who wanted to hurt him. Veronica was afraid she was going
She did her best to remain impassive the next day in front of her students
and other staff members, but the obviously strained conversation between her
and Severus at the teachers' table in the Great Hall got Hogwarts' tongues wagging.
Naturally, everyone assumed their pre-marital troubles were his fault, making
Veronica feel even worse. Mock O.W.L.s for her fifth-year students were a welcome
distraction, but she could hardly eat for three days; and then for the third
night in a row, she cried herself to sleep…
Oh gods, I'm late!! Veronica frantically searched her room for her
wedding gown, but not only was her gown missing, all of her other robes were
missing as well. With quickly rising panic, she was forced to leave for her
nuptials in her ducky pajamas. She threw open the window, mounted her Nimbus
Two Thousand Two and flew out over the grounds of Hogwarts. Instantly, Veronica
found herself circling the packed chapel of St. Degrebel.
Veronica landed and tried to push her way through the crowd that overflowed
out of small chapel, crying: "I'm the bride, I've got to get in!" but no one
listened. In desperation, she got down on her hands and knees and crawled through
the legs of the wedding guests.
Finally, she managed to reach the altar. Severus was there, but there was another
woman standing in Veronica's place. She was everything Veronica wasn't: beautiful,
blonde, graceful, not to mention tall and significantly younger than she. She
was also dressed in Veronica's missing purple wedding gown, trimmed in green—the
traditional colors for a bride in the wizarding world.
The wizard vicar, who happened to be Dumbledore, stopped the ceremony and looked
over his half-moon glasses and down his crooked nose at her. "Veronica, you
were late, so we had to start without you."
"Who's she?" Veronica demanded, pointing an irate finger at the blonde.
"This vision of female perfection is Cassandra," Severus told her, barely taking
his eyes off the flaxen-haired goddess. "When you didn't arrive on time, I asked
for volunteers. Cassandra is from an ancient and wealthy wizarding family. She
has the requisite tragic past, but she has managed to maintain her dignity and
virtue throughout." He paused and regarded Veronica derisively. "Unlike some
Veronica's heart sank. "You mean she's a virgin, too?"
"Of course, I am," said Cassandra. "You've always said that Severus deserved
someone who would love him properly." Cassandra stroked Severus' cheek; he in
turn gazed at her with smoldering dark eyes. "How could a woman who's been used
and discarded by another man love him properly?"
"Professor Balin didn't discard me!" Veronica countered feebly. "He was thrown
Cassandra laughed elegantly and rolled her eyes.
Veronica looked to the crowd for support, but even her own parents in the front
row just shook their heads in disappointment. "I always knew that one'd stay
on the shelf," she heard her father mutter.
The only sympathetic face in the crowd was that of famous, sexually-traumatized
Muggle T.E. Lawrence, decked out in his full Arabian regalia. "Bad luck, old
thing," said Lawrence. "Celibacy
isn't what it's cracked up to be, I'm afraid."
Dumbledore cleared his throat. "May I continue?"
"No!" Veronica exclaimed in horror.
Dumbledore ignored her. "Will you, Cassandra, promise to love Severus properly,
and discharge your wifely duties without complaint, keeping any childhood traumas
"I will!" Cassandra replied enthusiastically.
"I now pronounce you wizard and witch." He turned to Severus. "You may have
sex with the bride."
Severus growled lasciviously, grabbed Cassandra and threw her down onto the
chapel floor. Cassandra giggled, then began to make deep throaty noises as she
wrapped herself around her new husband.
Veronica shut her eyes tightly and covered her ears. A few seconds later, she
felt someone's warm lips on hers in a quick kiss. Hoping it was Severus, she
opened her eyes. She screamed—it was Balin. It was bad enough that she was having
her ultimate wedding nightmare, but now she had to deal with the old reprobate,
as well. It was little consolation that Cassandra and the others were now gone.
As in all of her nightmares of Balin since his death, her former Defense Against
the Dark Arts professor was no longer an old man, but looked to be about her
own age. He was tall and fairly handsome with his familiar, piercing blue eyes.
"You're not real," she said as she always did when he appeared in her nightmares.
"You're dead; you're just in my mind." In spite of this declaration, Veronica
stepped closer to the altar in order to put a safe distance between her and
Balin took a few casual steps towards her. "Well, then there's no harm in us
having a little chat, is there?"
Veronica attempted an unpleasant sneer. "Go screw yourself."
"Oh, if only I could." He grinned wickedly. "I must say that I am surprised
that an intelligent girl such as you hasn't figured out what all these silly
Veronica folded her arms across her chest. "And you have?"
Balin lounged on the front pew. "I think it's patently obvious—you've tired
of Severus' pedestrian lovemaking and you don't want to get married."
"Shut up!" Veronica snapped. "I most certainly do want to get married. And
if by pedestrian you mean that he doesn't bite me, gouge me or tie me to the
bedpost, I rather like it that way."
Balin jumped up and reached out for her, but Veronica managed to duck underneath
his arms. "I don't believe it for a minute, my angel. A beautiful young woman
deserves so much more than that."
"Beautiful? Why is it that I'm beautiful when we're alone, but as soon
as other people are around my beauty depreciates at an alarming rate?" She still
bristled at the memory of his scathing comments to Severus about falling in
love with a Hufflepuff—'an unattractive one at that.'
This time Balin was quick enough to encircle her waist with his arm and pull
her close. He brushed his lips against hers and nuzzled her neck. "Can't you
see it's because I want you all to myself?"
Almost involuntarily, Veronica put tentative arms around his neck as an infuriating
shiver of pleasure shot through her. Then Balin started to bite her and dig
his fingers into her sides. She kicked him and pushed him away from her, but
he still had that perpetual, dissolute grin on his face.
"Admit it, Veronica," he said. "I've ruined you for other men."
Veronica had to confess—at least to herself—that Balin seemed to be right,
though not in the way the old pervert meant it. She started to cry.
"Oh, my poor, broken-hearted angel. I can ease your pain. I can make it go
away. All you have to do is say the word." He reached his hand around her from
behind and put it over her heart. She grabbed his hand and sank her teeth into
in, drawing blood. She was quite pleased with herself until he breathed one
word in her ear, dripping with blissful depravity…
She pushed his hand and him away from her in disgust, then paced the chapel
in agitation. "Severus doesn't want to marry me anymore and it's all your fault!"
she screamed. "I hate you!"
"And you want to hurt me, don't you?" Balin said, once again creeping toward
her. "You want to hurt me as much as I hurt you." A chain metal flail suddenly
appeared in his hand. Veronica recognized it as one of the dozens of torture
devices Balin had owned and had threatened to use on her on occasion. This time,
he offered it to her. She reached out timidly and took it from him.
"I'm just an illusion," he said as he removed his over robe and shirt, presenting
his bare back to her. "What harm could it do?"
Veronica hesitated, but just for a moment. All the rage and hate she held for
her old professor traveled into the hand that held the flail.
Balin leaned over the altar and stretched out his arms in front of him. He
turned his head around to look at her. "Do it."
Without a trace of awkwardness, Veronica swung the flail in the air above her
head and struck. Blood spattered her ducky pajamas and dripped off Balin's back,
onto the stone floor of the chapel; he begged her to strike him again, and again,
"Don't despair, my angel," he said in between lashes. "Tomorrow we'll go hunting
for a new playmate…"
Veronica awoke, trying to grasp onto the strange dream she just had, but it
slipped away before she could remember even one detail. All she knew was that
the pain in her heart was gone, replaced by something else she couldn't quite
She grinned. Whatever it was, it didn't hurt.
To be continued…