As the carriage rolled towards Hogwarts on a mellow summer evening, Viviane
leaned out the window to catch a first glimpse of the castle towers. Sheíd
had a wonderful summer in Prague, but to her surprise she was happy to
be returning to another year of teaching at the English wizarding school.
By the time the school year had ended last spring, she thought she would
never look forward to coming back, especially after the row with Snape
and the mistake sheíd made of yelling after Dumbledore down a school corridor.
She blushed slightly as she remembered having to apologize to Albus, but
she hoped heíd forgotten both her fit of temper and her apology afterwards.
As the carriage rolled up to the door, Viviane felt a surge of excitement.
When it stopped she bounded out and ran into the entrance hall, shouting
"Albus? Minerva? Anybody home?"
"Well, thereís the end of our nice quiet summer," a sarcastic
voice declared. Viviane spotted Snape lurking in a corner of the hall.
Suddenly she remembered the one thing she was definitely not looking forward
to doing - spending two hours a week deciphering potions with Snape. Hopefully
Albus had also forgotten that heíd sentenced them to that particular task.
"Severus. Practicing your manners for the new crop of students,
Before Snape could retort, Dumbledore walked hurriedly into the hall,
slightly out of breath. "Viviane! Howís our traveler? I trust you
enjoyed your vacation!" He patted her on the back and smiled at her.
"It was lovely, Albus. In between waltzing and wine tasting, I actually
picked up some interesting new methods for Transfiguration. And I brought
you back some divine chocolate creams."
"They sound wonderful, but I hope they arenít a bribe."
"Bribe?" said Viviane, puzzled.
"Yes, bribe," Dumbledore chuckled. "Viviane, I know your
methods. Severus, since youíre here, I might as well let the both of you
know that Iíve arranged for you two to have Wednesday evenings free in
order to start your Potions collaboration. Iím sure youíve been looking
forward to it. Iíll see you both at dinner!"
As Dumbledore walked away, Snape hissed, "If you had refrained from
blasting down my door last spring, we wouldnít be in this mess."
"Oh? If you hadnít played that scurvy trick on Remus, blasting down
your door would have been unnecessary. Excuse me. I have to unpack."
As Viviane walked to her room in the Ravenclaw tower, she began to wonder
if this year was going to be as much fun as sheíd anticipated.
At dinner that evening, Viviane was having a wonderful time comparing
vacation notes with Professor McGonagall, who had enjoyed herself immensely
hiking in Scotland, and Professor Sprout, who had discovered several new
uses for mandrakes over the summer. Suddenly Dumbledore called for everyoneís
"Ahem. I have an announcement to make that will greatly affect this
school year. The Ministry has decided to revive the Triwizard Tournament,
which will take place at Hogwarts-"
Viviane leapt to her feet. "Albus! You canít be serious?"
Dumbledore looked at her with an expression that made her sit down more
quickly than sheíd gotten up.
"Excuse me, Albus, sorry for interrupting. But with the events at
the Quidditch World Cup this year and the Death Eaters gathering force,
do you really think this is a good time to hold a tournament featuring
dangerous tasks for students, not to mention the amount of strange people
whoíll be running around Hogwarts? And all of them eager, probably, to
get a glimpse of Harry Potter."
Dumbledore sighed. "Viviane, you make several relevant points. But
I think weíll be able to handle security, and it will be a good chance
for the students to meet with others that they may need to ally with in
future. It does mean extra work for all of us though, so I have cancelled
Quidditch this year." Professor McGonagall sat back in her chair
with shock but Viviane decided there might be advantages to the situation
after all. That decision was immediately reversed when Dumbledore caught
up with her as she was leaving the Hall.
"My dear, I have a very large and very important task Iím going
to ask you to perform for us during this Tournament. You raised several
security issues, and I share your concerns. Therefore, Iíd like you to
take on the role of Defender of the Tournament. Since you speak several
languages and have done such a good job containing the little threats
the Death Eaters have been sending us, I have no qualms in trusting the
safety of the students of all three schools to you. Do you think you can
handle this as well as your classes?"
"Defender? Albus, Iíd be happy Ė well, Iíd do it, but do you really
think that Beauxbatons and Durmstrang will feel the same way about my
Dumbledore smiled at her. "Iím sure youíll do just fine."
"If everybody agrees, Iíll do it. But Albus, I must tell you I still
donít like the idea of this Tournament!"
As she waded through the throngs of soaked students arriving in a terrible
rainstorm, Viviane spied Harry, Ron, and Hermione. "Well, hello you
three! Got into any trouble yet?" she teased.
"Give us time Ė we arenít quite up to Fred and Georgeís standard,"
answered Ron. "What are you going to teach us this year? That Shield
you taught us last year really came in handy this summer when Fred was
trying to perfect his wriggly-eyebrows curse."
"I think weíll be getting into some of the more difficult reversal
methods for high-end curses, and maybe cover some rather nasty Blasting
Spells. Weíll see, depending on the time frame what with the-" Viviane
broke off. "See you in the Hall!
"What is going on?" said Ron. "I donít know which is worse,
the big secret or the state of my stomach."
"Your stomach, definitely," said a voice behind them, and the
trio turned to find Charlie and Bill behind them.
"How did you get here?" Ron exclaimed. "We said goodbye
at the station!"
"Yeah, but we were curious about the announcement. We want to hear
what Dumbledore has to say about it," Charlie said.
"And who was that you were talking to? That tall woman with the
dark hair?" said Bill. "She must be new, because Iíve definitely
never seen her before."
"Me neither. Geez, whatís she here for? Looks like a tough customer
in and out of the classroom," interposed Charlie.
"Oh, thatís Professor Chance, whoís here to teach Defense Against
the Dark Arts. One of the coolest teachers here, by far," explained
"Speak for yourself," retorted Hermione, who found Professor
Chanceís class the hardest sheíd yet encountered, and who didnít seem
to appreciate some of Professor Chanceís teaching methods.
Viviane knocked at Snapeís reconstructed door with a hint of a smile,
remembering what happened the last time sheíd been here. The door had
ended up in pieces and they had nearly come to blows. This time, however,
Snape opened it and stood aside to let her in.
"Professor Chance. Since you got us into this, how do you suggest
we go about fulfilling the Headmasterís instructions?" Viviane ignored
the accusation and said "Well, why donít you give me a lesson in
Potions for the first hour, to get it over with, and the second hour Iíll
read by the fire or something and if you need a translator, Iíll be here.
I think that arrangement would fall into Albusí requirements." Last
year Viviane had given Snape the master potions book from Aquitaine, which
contained many written in ancient French that he needed help in translating.
Snape sighed and said, "That is fine with me. Weíll start with a
simple Growth Potion." As he gathered the ingredients, Viviane observed
the room. The only other times sheíd been in there, she had been either
injured or so angry that she hadnít noticed the décor. "Early
English Uncomfortable," she thought to herself, noting the hard wooden
chairs and cold floors with threadbare carpet. The only decorations seemed
to be rows of slimy things in jars.
"Are you going to pay attention or not?" Snape asked impatiently.
"Oh, sorry," replied Viviane. What do you want me to do?"
"Hereís the list of ingredients and instructions for brewing the
potion. Start cutting up leeks." Snape began to flip through Aquitaineís
potions book when he spotted Viviane about to throw her chopped leeks
into the boiling cauldron. "No! Wait, donít do-"
It was too late. Viviane had tossed in the leeks, and a loud bang echoed
off the walls as the cauldron melted into an iron puddle and the half-completed
potion ran off the table and onto the floor. Mortified, Viviane hardly
dared look at Snape, who, after a rare speechless moment, choked out "One
of my best cauldrons. Here," he continued, throwing her a towel.
"Clean up that mess and concentrate. Brewing potions isnít like picking
up dubious Transfiguration spells from Hungarian vagrants. You need to
pay attention to what you are doing. Iíll be back with another
cauldron in a moment Ė start cutting up more leeks and this time make
sure you cut them up properly."
At the end of an hour, Viviane had finally managed to brew a passable,
if weak, Growth Potion, and she lit a fire, then subsided into a chair
to read up on the histories of Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. The time went
much faster, since she only had to deal with Snape when he needed a word
or phrase translated.
As she gathered up her books and headed out the door at the end of the
second hour, Snape handed her a sheaf of parchment. "Here is your
assignment. I want you to research Reversal Potions. Make sure you have
one before you come back next week."
Viviane stared at Snape in disbelief. "Youíre giving meÖ.homework?
I have a day job, you know!"
Snape responded with a nasty smile. "Dumbledore said to teach you
Potions. So Iím teaching you. Good night!" He shut the door firmly
in her face, and Viviane stomped back to her rooms, cursing Snape, Dumbledore
and Hogwarts all the way there.
Next morning on the way to breakfast, Dumbledore waylaid Viviane and
asked, "Did you enjoy your first Potions lesson?"
Viviane gave him a dirty look and breathed, "I swear, Albus, I will
get you back for this. Just you wait!"
Dumbledore chuckled, and said, "I suppose I shouldnít ask Severus
for his opinion!"
"I rather think not. I melted his best cauldron." As Viviane
walked off, she could hear Dumbledore laughing quietly.
For her first class of the year, Viviane took her fourth-year students
out to a grove of dead trees. "Iím going to teach you a Blasting
Spell, which is definitely something you canít practice on each other."
She indicated the trees. "Weíll be practicing on these for accuracy
and degrees of intensity. Any questions before we begin? No? Good. By
the way, the same rules as last year apply while youíre in my class. No
one will hit anyone else with a curse or spell without warning. The severity
of the spell will influence just how many points Iíll take from your House,
which start at 50 and go up from there. Letís begin."
After a group practice of the wand motion and spell, Viviane let each
student try to blast small twigs off the end of branches. Poor Neville
Longbottom managed to hit a raven instead of his twig, and the bird attacked
him before Viviane could stop it so she sent him off to Madam Pomfrey
to heal the resulting puncture wounds. As Viviane let the students start
strengthening the blasts, it was Dracoís turn to try. With a glance at
Viviane, he tensed his body and delivered a blasting spell so powerful
that it not only knocked off a massive branch, but ricocheted back towards
him. Viviane immediately saw what was coming, and tried desperately to
keep her face straight as Draco ducked instinctively and the remains of
the blast hit Crabbe and Goyle standing behind him, knocking them backwards
about five feet and leaving them in a heap. Viviane found she could no
longer stand it and gasped out "Iíll be right back Ė left something
in the castle," and ran down to the courtyard, where she stood shrieking
with laughter for several minutes. Wiping her eyes, she took some deep
breaths and ventured back to her class, wondering how Draco managed to
deliver that much power. She could hardly believe that heíd practiced
much over the summer.
Viviane and Professor McGonagall were playing their first game of chess
since the year started, and Viviane was getting soundly beaten.
"Yet another Defense teacher. I must say, they keep getting weirder,"
McGonagall said between a sip of her wine and the capture of Vivianeís
"Damn! Minerva, you need to cut me some slack for the first couple
games. Yeah, Alastor Moody!" Viviane began to giggle. "I knew
him years ago. He wasnít bad-looking when he started out and still had
all of his extremities. We used to call him CV."
"Constant vigilance!" Viviane shouted, making Professor McGonagall
jump and then start laughing. "He certainly is paranoid. How did
your first class go today, Viv?"
"Total chaos, naturally. I have the Gryffindors with Slytherin again.
Even when they arenít fighting each other, I swear the mutual antipathy
just makes things happen. Neville Longbottom got attacked by a raven and
Crabbe and Goyle were slightly injured by a surprisingly strong Blasting
Spell courtesy of Draco Malfoy."
"Draco Malfoy? He produced a strong spell?"
"Yeah. It surprised me, too. But then again, it makes sense, sort
of. Iím teaching some powerful stuff, and the Malfoys do like power. And
he does well enough in Potions, so he isnít entirely hopeless. How did
your classes go?"
Professor McGonagall smiled. "Our new batch of students seem a likely
bunch. And my third year Transfiguration class was a treat Ė Ginny Weasley
in particular seems like a quick study."
"Cute kid, Ginny. But I feel sorry for whoever tries to date her,
with all those older brothers around."
The next morning, as Viviane was sprinting to her fifth year class, she
passed by Moody, who was letting his students into the classroom.
They gave each other a high-five as Viviane went running off down the
hallway, trailing coffee out of her oversized mug.
Professor Moody turned to his class. "Lethal woman, she is,"
he said with apparent satisfaction. "Keep on her good side. I once
saw her take out a rampaging giant with a Stunning Spell and two sword
thrusts." The students stared at each other, shocked, while Hermione
gave Ron and Harry an ĎI told you so!í look. Ron responded with "Iím
sure sheís mowed down acres of house-elves, too. Better raid her desk
again to check on that, Hermione."
The huge blue carriage approached the door, and Viviane shifted from
foot to foot nervously. She had no idea if the Beauxbatons delegation
knew of her, of Aquitaine, or her parents, but she sincerely hoped not.
As the students followed their teacher up the steps and into the castle
without anyone glancing in her direction, she began to hope that it wouldnít
be an issue. The Durmstrang group followed, one of who was apparently
a Quidditch World Cup player. Viviane shook her head and picked him out
immediately, due to the crescendo of giggles that followed his passage
through the Hogwarts student ranks. "Professional athlete and student.
What are his teachers thinking, letting him do that? Surely he canít have
acquired the skills needed to master the tasks of the Tournament,"
she thought. He certainly didnít seem as if he was enjoying the attention.
Viviane hurried back to her rooms instead of the Great Hall, suddenly
realizing that sheíd have to be conspicuous and easily found if something
went wrong. Therefore, her usual black attire was out. "What to wear,
what to wear?" Viviane asked herself as she flipped through her wardrobe,
inspecting extravagant dress robes that had belonged to her mother, and
others sheíd had made over the years. Finally a deep blue robe in fine
wool caught her eye, edged by constellations worked in silver thread and
set with tiny crystals. That, Viviane decided, would do nicely.
Feeling odd in the unaccustomed robe, Viviane hurried into the Great
Hall just as Dumbledore was welcoming the students. He gave her a reproving
look as she made her way between the tables and took the only empty chair
at the faculty table. She sat down, carefully moving her sword to one
side of the chair and surveyed the Hall. It looked strange, with the red
and blue robes of the other schools mixing with the black of Hogwarts.
She was nearly caught up in the excitement emanating from the students,
but the nagging sense that the Tournament was an incredibly stupid idea
kept her subdued. She barely paid attention throughout dinner, her mind
still trying to work out her security plans, when she heard Dumbledore
announce her as Defender of the Tournament and look at her expectantly.
Taken by surprise and moving on instinct, she stood up and moved around
to the front of the faculty table, unsheathing her sword and sweeping
it over her head so quickly that most of the assembly jumped at the audible
Ďwhooshí it made. Eyes blazing and holding the sword aloft, she surveyed
the room and said, "If anyone here is contemplating mayhem, disruption,
or injury to anyone involved in this Tournament, think twice. I, Viviane
Chance, am Defender of this Tournament and swear to protect all members
of the schools involved. If anyone sees or hears of any unusual activity
or of a threat, tell me, and Iíll deal with it. Immediately."
Amid total silence, Viviane slammed her sword back into the scabbard
and headed back to her seat. As she did, she noticed that a rather attractive
wizard with long red hair was seated near the end of the table. He leaned
backward as she passed him, looked up at her with a smile and whispered,
"Well done! Youíve managed to scare the piss out of everybody."
Viviane whispered back with a grin, "Except you, apparently! Hope
you enjoyed the show!"
After she passed by Charlie leaned over to whisper to Bill, "Brave
boy! What are you, a glutton for ÖahemÖpunishment?"
Viviane was sitting in the chair by the fire, cleaning her sword. She
removed a spot of mud, held it out to watch the flames play on the steel
of the blade and glitter in the emeralds that made up the eyes of carved
serpents, then tossed it down on the carpet.
"Iíd think you would treat your precious family relic with more
respect." Viviane looked up to see Snape gazing at her with a faint
"Youíre assuming itís precious. Not to me." Viviane snorted.
"I hated the sight of it, growing up. No sooner would I be in the
middle of a good book when my father would come along to drum me into
the practice court, going on and on about honor and duty and family reputation.
I absolutely dreaded school vacations." Viviane gave a short laugh
and stretched her arms over her head. "The rude irony of it all.
My skill at swordfighting earned me a good if eminently disreputable living
after Voldemort killed my parents and destroyed Aquitaine. It was my key
to survival. How my father would have laughed to see what Iíve become
and how Iíve used his lessons in honor. If heíd had a sense of humor,
that is, which he didnít."
"Living? Survival? Surely your family has enough gold stored in
Gringotts to make you comfortable until the end of time. Iíve wondered
why youíre bothering with Hogwarts. After all of your wanderings about,
donít you find teaching in a boarding school limiting?" Snape demanded.
Viviane sighed and thought about it. "Yes. I find Hogwarts to be
an uncomfortably small place at times. But the Devereaux had more pride
than money. Oh, Iíve had enough to travel and choose my way of life, within
reason, and I chose to disappear. Itís much easier to take little vacations
from reality when youíre able to roam at will-"
"What? Vacations from reality? What on earth are you talking about?"
"Oh, surely you know what Iím talking about, Snape. When
the burden of being who I am gets to be a little too much. When the crazy
past we all share, thanks to Voldemort, presses a little too close. When
my black hole of a conscious needs a little cleaning out." Viviane
looked up at Snape with a wicked smile and raised eyebrows, eyes glinting.
"Speak for yourself. I have no reason to want to escape from anything,
nor does my conscience need - it is time for you and your metaphysical
nonsense to go."
"Right," said Viviane, reaching for her sword. "See you
Suddenly the door opened. "Isnít this cozy," remarked Lucius
Malfoy, as he entered. His glance took in Snape busy at the cauldron and
Viviane sitting by the fire. "May I ask who-" but he broke off
and simply stared at Viviane, whoíd gotten out of the chair and attempted
to sweep past Malfoy and out the door. Malfoy detained her by stepping
in front of the doorway.
"Excuse me, I donít think weíve been introduced. You must be Viviane
"Professor Chance. And you are a Malfoy?"
"Lucius Malfoy." He looked intently at her, and remarked, "Yes,
Fudge was right. With those eyes and those features you canít possibly
be mistaken for anyone else. Philippe would have been proud, but it must
have dismayed your lovely mother. Dumbledore thinks you quite an acquisition,
"Iíve been wandering around anonymously for years with these eyes
and features. And I was hired simply as a Professor for Defense Against
the Dark Arts. Goodnight."
Viviane could feel Malfoyís amused glance follow her out of the room
and she wondered just what kind of business he had with Snape at that
time of evening.
There was something strange about the students. They were more subdued
than usual, and were avoiding her glance. Viviane attributed it to the
nervousness over the impending test, until Hermione Granger raised her
hand to ask a question.
"Professor Chance, a few days ago Professor Moody said you were
lethal, and youíd killed a giant. Is that true? Were you an Auror?"
Viviane was shocked by the question and that Moody had said such a thing
to students. Trying to buy some time, she found herself turning her ring
around on her finger as she considered what to say. Finally she gave Hermione
a level look and raised an eyebrow. "Well Hermione, you always do
ask the hard questions. And I suspect you already know the answer to your
second one since youíre such an avid researcher. Iím also rather surprised
you bothered to ask, since you seem to be doing quite well with Blasting
Spells, unlike the Shield Spell of last year."
Hermioneís accusing gaze turned into a glare as Viviane turned away and
paced slowly across the room, hands pressed together and placed against
her chin. "In answer to Hermioneís question, and to the doubts that
the rest of you obviously have, I was not an Auror. As a matter of fact,
Iíve clashed with them in the past. And yes, Iíve killed a giant. And
dragons. And wizards." Viviane took note of Nevilleís terrified and
Dracoís fascinated expressions. "Let me warn you, if you ask me difficult
questions you are old enough now to get difficult answers. But Iím currently
working against Voldemort, and for Hogwarts, and youíre all safer with
me here than without me. What the lot of you make of all this, and whom
you choose to tell is your business. Any other questions, difficult or
otherwise?" The class sat in profound silence. "Good."
Viviane handed out the tests and sat back at her desk, wondering if it
was worth it to confront Moody with his indiscretion and hypocrisy. "Damn
him. Making nice to me and then this," she said to herself. "Subtle
move, too, Alastor. You havenít lost your touch." She decided to
let it pass, considering the outcomes of their former strong disagreements
and hoped that they could simply manage to avoid each other in future.
Time for the choosing. Viviane watched with interest as the three names
came out of the Goblet, but sat upright, appalled, as Harry Potterís name
was tossed forth as well. As she joined the rest of the faculty and chosen
champions, she held back as the discussion about the inclusion of Potter
raged. Finally Karkaroff looked at her and said, "Professor Chance,
I believe? Youíre in charge of security here. What is your opinion?"
"My opinion is irrelevant, Karkaroff. Iím simply going to step up
security, thatís all. Iíll keep a very sharp eye not only on Potter, but
on everyone involved." Her eyes narrowed. "Anything youíd like
Snape stepped between them and said "This wonít be an issue when
we find out just how Potter got his name into that Goblet. So you wonít
have to worry about the extra security, Professor Chance."
Viviane gave a mirthless laugh. "Thatís the first time Iíve heard
someone say that. Excuse me, everyone, I have a few people I need to talk
Hurrying after Harry, she caught up with him just before he got to the
Gryffindor entrance. "Harry, I have just one question to ask you,"
Harry looked up at her and said, "No, I didnít put my name in the
Viviane smiled and said, "In that case, I have a couple of questions.
Who do you think would? Is there another student who might have done it,
mistakenly thinking it would be a favor to you? Fred and George playing
a prank are out, because we know they canít get over the age line. Anyone
else come to mind?"
"Um, well, not a student. But maybe Voldemort-"
"Ah yes. It always seems to come back to him, doesnít it? Iíll keep
an eye on your back, Harry. And if you need any extra help, find me. It
isnít quite fair, you know, that the other champions have more years of
learning under their belts. But youíve had good training from Professor
Lupin, and youíve always done well in my class."
Harry looked surprised. "Thanks. Youíve never said anything so-"
"Iím afraid Iíve been a little remiss in letting you know that.
But youíre kind of overwhelmed by attention, so I may have gone a little
too far the other direction. But youíve got real talent for Defense techniques.
Now get some sleep, or at least try to!"
"Rita! I havenít seen you in ages. Still keeping the Ministry on
its toes, I hope. I assume youíre here to cover the Tournament?"
"Viv. I thought Dumbledoreís hiring of Lupin was a strange idea,
but youíre the last person Iíd expect to see teaching here. You change
sides so fast that even I canít keep up with you."
"I have no Ďsidesí, Rita, only goals."
"Got a quote for me? How is Harry Potter-"
Viviane laughed. "No comment. I donít have time to act as your inside
source, but I wonít hinder you as long as you keep out of my way and Iím
left out of your stories. As an advance token of my appreciation, theyíre
weighing wands in that classroom at the end of the hall. Youíre sure to
catch all of the champions in one place, and I donít think thereís any
faculty present to interrupt whatever interview you choose to conduct.
And thereís a closet in there if you need some privacy."
"Thanks! You always did know how to cut a deal, darling. Be sure
and read my next column in the Prophet!"
"I always do, Skeeter."
There were lots of strange people milling about the night before the
first task, most of them relatives of students who had come to watch the
first Triwizard Tournament and support Hogwarts. Viviane was regretting
her decision to wear a conspicuous robe, as parent after parent waylaid
her to discuss the measures she was taking to protect the students at
the Tournament. As she nodded, smiled, and talked until she was hoarse,
she suddenly found herself face to face with Lucius Malfoy.
"Mademoiselle Chance Ė or shall we say Devereaux?"
He bowed mockingly, and as he straightened up, said, "Iím honored.
To meet the future consort of Lord Voldemort-"
Vivianeís lips tightened, but she made no reply as she tried to walk
away. Lucius Malfoy caught a fold of her robe and stepped up to her. "Excuse
my presumption, Professor Chance. Letís talk parent to teacher. I really
must apologize for my son. He doesnít have the abilities he should, Iím
afraid, but I think Dumbledoreís methods are also highly to blame for
"You son is bright enough, Malfoy. Itís a pity your method of alternate
bullying and bribing does him such disservice."
Malfoy glared at her and was about to retort when Snape appeared and
said, "Professor Chance, the Weasleys sent me over to ask for an
audience with you. Come along." He dragged her off, and as he did
so whispered, "I know any kind of advice is anathema to you, but
may I suggest steering clear of Lucius Malfoy. It will do you no good
to antagonize him."
"He started it-" Viviane retorted, but Snape had dropped her
arm and moved off into the crowd. She turned towards the gaggle of Weasleys,
who were looking at her in surprise. "Professor Chance!" Arthur
Weasley exclaimed. "How nice of you to stop by!" Viviane scowled
after Snapeís disappearing form, wondering what the latest fit of bossiness
The dragons for the first task were ready to go, the golden eggs placed
in the nests. Viviane prowled around, looking for possible security problems,
but everything seemed to be secure and in order so she leaned on one of
the railings and studied the creatures. They certainly were beautiful,
but she didnít envy the person who got that Horntail, which seemed to
be in a permanently nasty mood. She tooked at the stands, filling up with
spectators, and noted Cedric getting sick outside the championsí tent.
It seemed like a good time to take her place.
She walked up the stands to a seat near the top, where she had a clear
view of events. Taking out her wand, she held it ready for whatever she
might need, be it stopping some threat or to magnify her voice if a warning
was needed. The first three champions did well, and Viviane tensed as
Harry emerged to battle the Horntail. She began to laugh as Harry summoned
his broom and began to outwit the dragon from the air. "Oh, good
job, Harry. Clever boy!" she exclaimed. He was so good at spells
requiring basic courage that she often forgot that he was also quite clever.
As he scooped up the egg and came to a halt she raced down the stands
and into Madam Pomfreyís tent.
"Well done, everybody! I bet youíre all relieved to have that over
with." Leaning towards Harry, she whispered, "Excellent idea,
summoning your broom. The most important part of any defense technique
is using your brain!"
As she walked back towards the castle, Viviane decided that although
she would still watch Harry closely, he was quite capable of taking care
of himself to a certain point.
Snape found that Viviane was much better at Potions theory than in brewing
them, so heíd taught her how to make a series of Base Potions, which she
would spend the first hour brewing for the more complex ones he would
create later in the evening. They seemed to have found a comfortable accord
with each other, Viviane thought as she stood cutting up roots while Snape
arranged the ingredients he would need later. Sheíd actually come to look
forward to Wednesday evenings; they provided a break from the constant
surveillance she was usually performing and gave her energy for the rest
of the week. Viviane watched the Potions master and thought that this
was where he looked to best advantage. He moved gracefully among his jars,
bottles and herbs, and Viviane noticed yet again how beautiful his hands
were as they sorted out glass vials. Pity he was so irredeemably bitter,
"Pay attention! Youíre cutting those roots up in the sloppiest manner!"
Snape said, making Viviane jump and refocus.
Once the first hour was over, Viviane forgot to pick up her book and
was leaning against the side of the chair. The Tournament was taking more
out of her than sheíd realized, and she sat gazing into the fire with
a tired and rather sad expression. Snapeís voice roused her from her meditations.
"Chance, wake up. What, exactly does this mean? Should the newt
livers be ground or powdered?" Viviane got up and peered at the book.
"Um, it looks like you want them coarsely ground up. A Truth potion?
Donít you have one of those already? Veratiserum?"
"Yes, but this seems to work differently. It doesnít last as long
as my Veratiserum, but it looks much more powerful."
"Ah, yes. The addition of the ratís blood increases the potency,
but I can see that the mandrake you need for stability would degrade the
effects of the potion more quickly than usual," Viviane observed.
Snape stared at her, mouth open in surprise. "Exactly, but how did
you know that? This potion is a far cry from the simple ones youíve been
Viviane looked amused. "Well, it just makes sense. Youíve made me
research what the ingredients do Ė it isnít hard to figure out what the
effects would be."
"Not according to the students in my classes. Very - very good.
Well, thatís all I needed," Snape said, still looking surprised.
Viviane returned to her chair and resumed staring into the fire. "You
look exhausted, by the way," Snape remarked. "Are you thinking
about the end of this wretched Tournament?"
"Actually, not at the moment. I was thinking about Aquitaine."
Viviane hugged her knees and leant back into the chair. "I generally
avoid the thought, but it was such a beautiful day today, and it reminded
me of our annual harvest festival. It used to be such fun, and I can still
taste the fresh apple cider. I did love that place."
"Iím rather surprised you enjoyed school. Didnít you get homesick?
Iíve heard that your parentís chateau was one of the most beautiful in
France, and conditions at Aquitaine have been unfavorably compared to
"Oh yes, my parentís castle was stunning. But wasnít I made for
the role of scion of an heroic house and living in one was disconcerting
at best. At Aquitaine I had everything I wanted. A library and the freedom
to use it, exceptional teachersÖand I was good at the academic life. I
thrived in it. The lack of velvet curtains and fine cuisine did not matter
when I was with a group of people who had the same goals and passions
as I did." Viviane suddenly felt like sheíd said too much and abruptly
stood up. "Time to go," she said.
Viviane was heading to Snapeís office to drop off some hard-to-get ingredients
sheíd obtained through some of her old contacts. As she passed through
the Slytherin common room, she noticed that Draco, one of the few occupants,
hastily stuffed a bunch of parchment into his bookbag when he saw her.
Viviane wandered over and sat down next to him. "Draco. How goes
"Fine, Professor Chance! I told my father about what weíre learning
in your class and he says it sounds like Iím finally learning something
"How nice of him. So. Which class were you copying a paper for just
now? Herbology? And who did the actual work?" Draco stared at her,
opened his mouth to say something but then changed his mind.
"All right, time for a little chat. My office. Now." Draco,
looking sulkier than usual, followed her back to the Ravenclaw tower.
"Draco, has it ever occurred to you that all your fatherís money
and influence wonít help you very much in the long run?"
Draco looked smug. "My father is a very important man. Heís on the
school board and thinks Dumbledore-"
Viviane gave him a look so forbidding that Draco shut up instantly.
"Dumbledore thinks cheating is an expellable offense. Iím going
to offer you a deal, because I think youíre far from dumb. As a matter
of fact, youíre one of my more talented students, but the talent is getting
lost under your apparently insatiable need to attain results without work.
Iíll help you out with your schoolwork Ė obviously, youíve been cheating
so long youíve forgotten how to study correctly. Weíll start with this
Herbology paper. But the deal hinges on two conditions. One, if I catch
you cheating again, I go to the Headmaster. Secondly, you are not to tell
anyone that Iím tutoring you. I need to tell Dumbledore, of course, but
I wonít mention your current transgression. Deal?"
Draco looked at her from under his eyelids and groused, "Do I have
"As a matter of fact, no. Be back here Tuesday after dinner."
Finally he mumbled, "OK."
As he left her office, Viviane smiled wryly to herself. "Take that,
Lucius Malfoy," she said after the door closed.
As she staggered out of the Forbidden Forest, numb and shaking, Viviane
decided to avoid any encounters in the hallway of the castle and went
around to the back where she could enter through her window and get cleaned
up before anyone saw her. It was late, but these days any of the teachers
could be walking the halls. She dragged her tired feet to the steps of
the terrace, but a wave of nausea overwhelmed her before she could continue
and holding herself up by her sword, she leaned her head against the stone
newel and tried to control a series of dry heaves that swept over her.
"Chance? What in the world-"
She looked up and saw Snape gazing down at her, appalled. "I must
look like a madwoman," Viviane thought, "blood-covered and shaking,
with my hair falling in my face." Trying to speak normally, she said
"The Death Eaters had a little surprise for me tonight. They managed
to send a real dragon out instead of one of their little magical mock-ups."
Her voice broke and she sank down on the steps, her back to Snape. "Oh,
it was a beautiful creature. I didnít know it was real until Iíd cut its
throat, and I ended up like this." She indicated her drenched robes.
Making an effort to control her voice, she continued, "Do you make
it a hobby to stalk around here nights? Donít you ever sleep?"
"Do you?" Viviane heard the rustle of robes as Snape sat down
next to her on the steps. He was trying to glimpse her face, but Viviane
turned away. "Please," she said. "Can you leave me alone?
IímÖ" she broke off, lost for words.
"The unshakeable Professor Chance is shaken? By the death of a dragon?
Surely you have worse than this on your Ė how did you phrase it Ė black
hole of a conscience? I never thought Iíd see the end of your incessant
bravado and blather about vacations from identity." Viviane was surprised
to hear him speak so evenly, and sneaking a look at his face, she found
it contemplative rather than sneering.
Viviane leaned her head on the stair railing, scraped idly at the blood
on her hands, and considered his question. "I suppose Ė well, yes,
my past deeds include far worse than killing a dragon. Albus places great
importance on the choices people make. You seem to have made all the right
ones, according to him. Do you share his opinion on that?"
"He said that?" Snape said sharply.
"Not literally. But I know he believes it." She hesitated,
but Snape seemed unwilling to comment so she continued. "Iíve made
some awful choices, and worse mistakes. But I canít let regrets consume
me, because otherwise Iíd be useless to myself and everyone Iím trying
to serve. And I am trying, Severus." She pulled herself to her feet
and prepared to go inside.
He caught her wrist as she turned and said without looking at her, "You
had to do it, you know. Itís too dangerous to let wander about the Forest,
and if Hagrid found it he would try and keep it as a pet."
Viviane smiled slightly in spite of herself, but said, "That doesnít
change my hatred for what I do," and walked to her window.
Just as she was about to pull herself up to the windowsill, Snapeís voice
made her pause yet again.
"Viviane-" Snape said hesitantly. She glanced back at him,
but he was still facing away, gazing out over the lawn.
"Is any of that blood yours?"
"Not this time," she answered, and climbed into her room.