Viviane invited Professor McGonagall to her rooms for a game of chess
after dinner. As they sat over the board, Professor McGonagall couldnít
help teasing Viviane. "Youíre awfully chipper despite all of the
extra work for the Tournament. Any particular reason? A reason involving
a Ė certain handsome young wizard?"
Viviane sat up. "What? Minerva, is there a rumor going around? What
Professor McGonagall laughed. "Donít panic! I havenít heard anything.
But I have noticed that youíve been awfully cheerful lately Ė you almost
glow, as a matter of fact, and that nice Bill Weasley has shown more interest
in Hogwarts in the last few months than he has since graduation several
years ago. And he does seem to like you."
Laughing, Viviane replied, "Well, thatís news to me! Billís been
coming around to check out the Tournament and keep an eye on his siblings,
no doubt. Weíve had some fun conversations, but I have no lustful designs
on Bill Weasley." Silently and unbidden, the thought came to her
mind, but I do for Severus Snape.
Utterly horrified, she jumped up, knocking over the chessboard and turning
"Viviane? Are you all right? Is this the way you get out of losing
a chess game?" Professor McGonagall queried, gathering up the scattered
"Oh damn, I am sorry, Minerva! I just realized that I Ė I forgot
to do something. I need to see Hagrid. Iím sorry, I need to go! Iíll Ė
weíll do this again soon." She ushered the astonished Professor McGonagall
out of her room, threw on her cloak, buckled on her sword and set out
in a light rain not towards Hagridís house but towards the Quidditch field.
Walking behind the stands, she unsheathed her sword and started to battle
an imaginary enemy, all the while muttering imprecations against herself.
"You idiot! Are you mad? Heís bitter, heís rude, heís all-around
impossible. He barely tolerates your presence. He resents your influence
with Albus. Albus! Heíd be horrifiedÖ.or infinitely amused. Itís all the
result of those damned Potions lessons. Itís just a silly infatuation."
Panting, she stopped hewing at the air and tried to imagine Snape objectively.
Greasy hair, sallow face, sour expression, exquisite hands, those deep
eyes. What would they look like, she wondered, filled with passion instead
of scorn? How would it feel to have those hands laid on her shoulders
not in anger, but in desire?
"You have got to stop this!" she exclaimed aloud, but started
when she heard a voice query, "Professor Chance?"
Viviane turned to see Harry Potter, swathed in a cloak, looking at her,
"Oh, Harry. Iím just getting in some practice. What are you doing
"I know Iím not supposed to be out here alone-"
"Right you are. Donít let your godfather find out, or youíre in
"You arenít going to tell him?"
Viviane laughed and sat down on the damp grass under the stands. "Sometimes
you just need to get away, donít you? From the scene of the pressure.
Although you did well enough at the first task."
"Er, yeah," said Harry. "Your sword would have come in
useful for that one."
Viviane smiled and then sighed. "Your broom served you well enough.
Swords are double-edged, and can be easily turned against those that wield
Harry gave her a keen look. "Has that ever happened to you?"
"Plenty of times, especially in the beginning when I didnít have
the skills I have now. I survived those incidents, and learned from them.
One can learn fast when necessary Ė as youíve found out recently."
"Professor Chance, do you mind if I ask you a kind of personal question?"
"No, of course not. What is it?"
"I understand why you had to go into hiding after Voldemort destroyed
everything. But, well, your family was so famous. Your father was a hero.
Why didnít the Ė the government, or someone protect you, instead of letting
you run off to wander by yourself?"
"Good question, Harry! Most people donít have the guts to ask me
that. Well, my father was a hero. But heros arenít easy to live
with, and he made a lot of enemies through hotheadedness and complete
lack of tact. My mother tried her best to smooth things out after one
of his political debacles, but she wasnít always successful. Most people
were not eager to take in the orphan of Philippe Devereaux, especially
since it was known that Voldemort would eventually come looking for me."
"What was she like?"
"Madame, my mother? Oh, she was brilliant, a great politician. Kept
the government on its toes, and managed an exclusive literary salon in
her spare time. I really didnít know her very well, to be honest. She
was rarely home. To speak truth, after I landed on my feet and knew what
I wanted to do, I enjoyed my freedom and my anonymity. A famous name is
quite burden, isnít it?"
"You said it!" said Harry fervently. "But why did you
decide to come to Hogwarts? Surely you knew youíd eventually be recognized.
And arenít you out to kill Voldemort? To revenge yourself for the murder
of your parents and destruction of your school?"
Viviane leaned backwards on her elbows and tilted her head back to gaze
up at the stands. "Oh, I want revenge on Voldemort. I suppose he
has to die to be stopped. But my idea of revenge has become a little more
complicated. I want to see all three schools Ė Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and
Durmstrang Ė survive and flourish. I want to be able to live in a civilized
manner without worrying if and where the Dark Mark will appear next. I
want to see Azkaban abolished and the Dementors disappear."
"Dumbledore doesnít like the Dementors either." Harry shivered.
"I wouldnít mind seeing the end of them. But donít we need Azkaban
to hold the Death Eaters?"
"That is a thorny problem, but the whole idea of Azkaban gives me
the creeps. Iím going in, are you?"
"Sure." Harry got up, and both of them proceeded to walk back
to the castle.
Viviane stood in front of her bed, which was strewn with a colorful variety
of dress robes. The peacock-blue silk was nice, and the deep red one would
set off her dark hair, but finally she chose a muted moss-green velvet
that had gold fleur-de-lis embroidered around the hem and fitted bodice.
Putting it on, she blushed a little at seeing how low the neck wasÖwell,
she did have that peridot necklace that would look nice with the robe,
and the green exactly reflected the color of her eyes. She pulled her
hair back from her face with a simple gold band, letting it flow down
her back nearly to her waist. Twisting around, she found that the robe
covered most of her scars.
Then she caught sight of her reflection and with a start realized how
weathered her skin was. She hadnít used cosmetic spells since coming back
to Hogwarts. It took a few minutes to recall those sheíd learned years
ago from Emma, but she finally remembered them correctly as she evened
out her complexion and then applied eyeshadow. Using a Smoothing Spell,
she tackled a few of the lines at the corners of her eyes. "My mother
was right", she reflected. "All that outdoor activity does play
havoc. And after all those years tending bar, Emma certainly had collected
quite the magical repertoire for looking good." Viviane grinned to
herself as she recalled Emmaís desperate crush on Remus and how oblivious
he had been to all of the marked attention. Sighing, she hoped he was
doing all right; the few notes sheíd gotten from him told her so little.
As she was finishing up, someone knocked on her door and she found Cho
Chang in the midst of a group of the Ravenclaw girls huddled around her
doorway. They gave a collective gasp and Cho said in an awed tone, "Professor
Chance, you look gorgeous! We came by because, well, we want some advice
on our hair. Yours always looks so good Ė how do you keep it up every
"Come on in, girls, and Iíll be happy to help you out! I have a
little secret called a Staying Spell, which acts like Muggle hairspray.
My, you all look wonderful! Turn around, and let me see your robes. Marvelous
Ė Cho, Cedricís jaw will hit the floor when he sees you." Cho blushed,
and the rest of the girls giggled. As Viviane looked over each girl in
turn, adding a few touches or redoing a hairstyle, she began to catch
a little of their excitement.
"Are we all ready? Good, letís go down!" Viviane herded the
girls into the Great Hall, which had just been opened. As they scattered,
looking for their dates, Viviane found herself looking for Snape. Snorting
impatiently at her stupidity, she caught the eye of Professor McGonagall,
who raised her eyebrows archly at Viviane and glanced at the teacherís
table. Viviane followed her glance and saw Bill Weasley staring at her
As she made her way to the table, Bill pulled out the chair next to him
and gestured for her to sit down.
"Bill! What are you doing here?" She smiled at him. "Howís
"Same old. Not nearly as exciting as Hogwarts these days, so I thought
Iíd look in and see how Ron and Ginny are doing. You look like a princess
Ė if princesses can be sexy."
"Uh, I donít know about that. I donít think theyíre supposed to
be." Viviane blushed in spite of herself.
They continued to chat throughout dinner, about Billís latest curse-breaking
and Vivianeís classes. Right after the lights went down for the championís
dance, Viviane forestalled Billís invitation to dance and slipped outside
to prowl the perimeters of the garden. All seemed to be in order, and
she permitted herself the luxury of wandering along the back, enjoying
the lights and roses, wondering with a touch of exasperation how sheíd
ended up in such a time and place as this. Finally and with reluctance,
she returned to the Great Hall, where others had joined the dance. As
she watched from the sidelines, she saw Karkaroff heading towards her
with obvious intent. She was trying to decide between hiding from him
or peppering him with questions on the dance floor when she heard a familiar
voice say "Would you care to dance?" and without waiting for
an answer the speaker swept her into a waltz.
"Snape? You can dance?" Viviane instantly wished sheíd faked
deadly illness and stayed in her room. Keep your cool. He wonít find
out, she told herself. They were nearly the same height and Viviane,
to her irritation, found herself noticing his extraordinarily long eyelashes.
She was just forcing herself to notice his skin and thinking, it could
use an Exfoliation Charm or ten, when he answered her query.
"Shouldnít I be asking you that question? Youíre the one with half
an education. Do I get any thanks for saving you from Karkaroff? Heís
a terrible dancer."
Viviane rolled her eyes. "Thank you, Professor Snape, for saving
me from the evil Durmstrang Headmaster. What exactly are you afraid heís
going to tell me? You havenít let me get a word with him since heís arrived.
Really, Severus, I can take care of myself. But you dance divinely!"
"Your surprise is most flattering. Iím sure you can take care of
yourself, but slugging the evil Durmstrang Headmaster in the mouth is
not an approved custom in British boarding school culture. You made the
most of your lessons in Prague Ė you dance better than you prepare roots."
"Thank you, Severus," Viviane said primly, and stared over
his shoulder through the rest of the waltz, acutely conscious of his arm
around her waist. When the music stopped she suddenly realized almost
everyone had fallen away, stunned at the sight of Snape on a dance floor.
Snape realized it also and abruptly stalked off into the garden while
Viviane smiled and swept the room a magnificent curtsey.
A few hours later, back in her room, Viviane sank down on the sofa, exhausted.
She hadnít danced so much in years. Whatever dances Bill seemed inclined
to sit out, Albus, Hagrid or Flitwick claimed from her. Snape had ignored
her for the rest of the evening, except for an exceptionally nasty look
when he ran into her and Bill taking a stroll in the garden. "Good,"
Viviane told herself fiercely. "He just hates seeing other people
happy." But as she undressed and went to bed, it was her waltz with
Snape that she relived in great detail, over and over again.
"Albus, I have a large favor to ask of you," Viviane said,
as she dropped into a chair in his office.
"What is it, Viviane? You look tired Ė are you getting enough sleep?"
"Well, Albus, that is why Iím here. I need a bit of a break, and
Iíve thought of a way I could combine a bit of a rest with some useful
research. Would it be possible to go away for a week? I thought I might
head to London, and do some undercover work among the Muggles. To see
if Voldemort or Death Eaters have been up to anything recently. I just
need to step away from Hogwarts for a short time Ė itís all getting too
intense, and Iíve given my students enough work to keep them busy while
Dumbledore considered her suggestion, and then replied, "It isnít
a bad idea. We still have two weeks until the second task, so if you go
immediately, you would be back in plenty of time. I give you leave with
one condition, though, Viviane. I want a detailed itinerary of where youíll
be, because if anything happens here Iíll need to contact you at once.
Are we agreed?"
"Oh Albus, thank you! You donít know what this means to me!"
Dumbledore smiled at her. "Probably not. Just come back refreshed!
We need you."
Viviane sat at the bar in the Muggle tavern, sipping appreciatively at
a Tanqueray and tonic and chatting with a group of locals. She felt someone
staring at her and looked down the bar. To her complete shock Bill Weasley
stood near the door, grinning at her, dressed in a leather jacket and
black denim jeans.
He walked up to her and said, "Excuse me miss, but I believe weíve
met before. Bill Smith." He held out his hand.
"Viviane Chance," she replied, and was amused at the shock
on his face as she gave her real assumed name. "Yes, I remember you.
How are you?"
"Fine," he said, and appropriated the barstool next to her.
"A schoolteacher, are you?"
"No, a researcher. And you, youíre a banker, right?"
Viviane introduced him to her new group of acquaintances, and was amused
to note the admiration in the eyes of the females. Muggles apparently
appreciated long red hair and weird earrings. As the group continued their
conversation, Bill whispered "You use your real name?"
"Why not?" replied Viviane. "I already have two. If I
add any more, I get confused."
"Oh," laughed Bill, and got up to put some money in the jukebox.
"Dance?" he queried, as a slow song came on.
"Sure!" said Viviane, and Bill pulled her into his arms.
"You know, Iíve always regretted that wizards have never come up
with the robe equivalent of a miniskirt," he said, glancing appreciatively
at Vivianeís legs.
Viviane chuckled and said "Actually, Iím really partial to my trenchcoat.
Muggle clothing has its good points."
"Mm-hmm," murmured Bill, as he pulled her closer, grazing his
nose against her ear.
Many, many drinks and dances later, Viviane sat at the bar, eyeing Bill
as he danced with another of the girls they were sitting with. Perhaps
my unfortunate crush on Severus is just frustration, she thought,
as she realized how long it had been since her last fling. "FlingÖ"
she murmured as she continued to watch Bill. He certainly is adorable,
especially in those jeans, she said to herself. I wonder if a Weasley
is capable of beingÖflung? Theyíre so earnest, the lot of them.
She got her answer several hours later, and afterwards she and Bill lolled
naked on a bed in a Muggle hotel, snacking off a cheese and fruit plate
and drinking champagne.
"I will be so hung over tomorrow. This on top of gin!" exclaimed
"Only one remedy for that Ė drink more!" said Bill as he filled
up her glass. "Muggle room service is the best."
"Thanks for the refill. Hereís a reward for your gallantry,"
Viviane said as she swiped her finger across the Stilton and held it out
Bill slowly licked it off, raising his eyebrow at her so suggestively
that Viviane hastened to ask the question that had been bothering her
all evening before she got distracted again.
"How did you find me? Only Dumbledore Ė did Albus tell you where
I was? Iíll jinx that man!" Viviane exclaimed.
"Actually, no. I, uh, acquired the information on my own."
Viviane sat up. "What did you do? Youíre worse than Fred and George!"
"Oh, I had a meeting with Dumbledore and he left the office for
a moment. Found that heíd put your itinerary into the Pensieve for safekeeping."
Bill beamed at her so like Fred Weasley after a successful prank that
she started to giggle.
"What?" said Bill.
Viviane started to laugh harder, and to Billís insistent questions gasped
out between gales of laughter, "I canít believeÖ.Iím supposedly a
respectable schoolteacherÖ.and here I amÖ.in a Muggle hotelÖ..having a
"What?" said Bill, beginning to laugh himself.
"A high-level Gringotts employee!" Viviane shrieked, falling
back on the pillows.
"Yes indeedy!" said Bill, as he pulled her back into his arms.
The next morning she opened her eyes to Bill softly kissing her awake.
"Oh. Bill." She twined her fingers in his hair and smiled up
at him. "That was lovely."
He rolled her over on top of him and asked, "What do you plan to
do today, my green-eyed princess?"
"I donít exactly know, my red-haired seducer. I guess we could stay
"Iím all for that!" exclaimed Bill.
"Or we could go on a side trip. I have a sudden mind to revisit
my parentsí house. We could get some food and picnic in the gardens. I
havenít been back since my initial salvage operations right after its
destruction, and from what Iíve heard itís a great place to hang out on
a lovely afternoon."
"Sounds interesting Ė Iíve never been to that part of France nor
picnicked in a ruined castle," said Bill.
"Well, Iím going to take a shower, so Iíll see you after a bit,"
said Viviane as she headed for the bathroom. Turning on the water, she
then sat down on the toilet and thought, What have I done? If his mother
ever finds out! and then laughed at herself for being afraid of the
wrath of Molly Weasley. Well, it was fun and he certainly seemed to
enjoy himself. Heís got a nice body under those clothes, and he certainly
knows how to use it. And his eyes Ė they reflect his wonderful sense of
humor, unlike Severusí that are so mysteriously sexy-
Viviane stood up abruptly and said, out loud this time, "You have
got to stop that!"
"What?" she heard Bill query from the bedroom.
"Nothing! Iíll be out in a few moments."
They Apparated in the outskirts of the chateau. As they approached the
ruins, Bill caught his breath. "Wow. This is beyondÖ"
"-what youíve imagined? I felt the same way, even living here.
Cozy it isnít," Viviane remarked. The foliage fell away and the ruins
of a once magnificent castle stood before them.
"Lets go through to the back," suggested Viviane. "Thereís
more worth seeing there."
They struggled through overgrowth and litter of old papers and empty
wine bottles until they reached the walls of the castle. Once inside the
ruins, they climbed piles of masonry and wound through hallways clogged
with stones and debris. Finally Viviane paused in a large, open space
to let Bill catch his breath. A bit of color caught her eye and she lifted
up the object with the point of her sword. It was a tapestry, dirty and
sodden from years of lying open to the elements.
"Weíre in what used to be the dining hall. I remember this."
She turned the tapestry over and prodded it with her sword point. "Some
egomaniacal ancestor of mine had them made to celebrate a minor battle
he actually lost. An early form of propaganda." She looked at Bill.
"Donít you want to take that along? It could be cleaned. You could
pass it on to your children, someday. It is part of your inheritance,
Viviane poked thoughtfully at the object, and slowly said, "I donít
see the house of Devereaux rising again. I certainly donít want to rebuild
this place, and I think Iíd rather help Albus defeat Voldemort than waste
my energies re-establishing a legacy I wasnít very good at upholding anyway."
"What about when Voldemort is defeated? Have you ever thought beyond
the war youíre so convinced is coming?"
"Sometimes. Briefly. I think Iíd like to settle down somewhere for
a while, perhaps take some time out for regrowth. I feel so rootless,
merely reacting to events for the last 15 years. Iíll need some quiet
to think about reconstructing my life after Voldemort." Viviane smiled
and held out her hand. "Come, weíre nearly there."
They stepped out into a clearing that was once obviously a formal garden.
Viviane paused, and drew a deep breath before heading down one of the
old paths. Bill followed, and they found themselves in a small, walled
area that contained the remains of a fountain and a luxuriant growth of
"This is where I spent most of my time, even in winter," Viviane
said. "It was the most beautiful place Ė these iris were planted
by my great-great-grandmother, who brought them from the South."
She bent down and traced a finger down one of the petals. "I havenít
seen these since I left for school last time."
They spread out the blanket theyíd bought and stretched out, enjoying
the sunshine and fragrance of the flowers that grew haphazardly around
them, chatting and laughing as they consumed their sandwiches and fruit.
Viviane found herself dozing off after the meal, but was roused by Bill
asking her a question.
"Huh? What was that you asked me?"
Bill propped himself up on his elbow and looked down at her. "I
was just wonderingÖwhat prompted you to come to Hogwarts? You donít fit
there at all. Dumbledore has collected quite a few, er, characters as
Professors, but they all have the same goals and same loyalties. You seem
to be walking another, rather solitary path, so to speak."
Viviane raised an eyebrow at him. "Head boy, were you? Iím no threat
to your precious Hogwarts. Iím just there to help out, mostly because
I think Albus is the one person who understands what is happening and
the danger we are blindly heading into. Youíre right Ė I havenít really
become part of the crowd there, but I have my own goals that mesh at critical
points with those of Albus. Do I pass muster?"
"Viv, I didnít mean to insult you. Iím glad youíre there, especially
with so many members of my family at the school. But you spoke of settling
down and Hogwarts-"
"Makes me crazy, most of the time. I couldnít live within the rules
there, permanently. Albus gives me the hairy eyeball too often as it is.
How on earth did you get to be a Weasley? Youíre so different-"
Bill grinned down at her. "Not really. Iím like the rest of my family,
excepting my weakness for French accents and dangerous women."
Viviane laughed, but heard a bunch of people approaching, obviously struck
with the same idea theyíd had. "Weíd better go," said Viviane.
"I shouldnít be seen here. Iíll Apparate to Hogsmeade. It Ėyou Ė
I had a wonderful time!"
"And Iíd best return to Egypt for another round of curse-breaking,"
said Bill. "If you ever need some, uh, moral support, especially
since you have Fred and George in your class-"
"Bill Ė I want to let you know Ė I donít have time Ė I Ďm not able-
"Donít worry, Viv. Iím not ready for a relationship, either. But
it was quite a weekend." He pulled her into a tight embrace. "Please,
take care. I donít know exactly what youíre up to at Hogwarts, but stay
Viviane gave him a radiant smile. "Thank you, Bill, and you take
care as well. Iíll be sure to keep an eye on your crazy siblings."
Bill laughed, gave her a last, sensual kiss, and sent Viviane on her
To everyone at Hogwarts, Viviane returned looking most refreshed and
acting positively bubbly. She felt rejuvenated. "Cured, cured!"
she thought as she almost pranced through the halls. Her students were
amazed as she airily dismissed their dismal attempts at Imperious Curse
detectors, and she was more than usually restless after dinner.
At a loss, she paced the terrace, longing for a confidante, but realized
that Minerva was busy tutoring a bunch of students for O.W.L.ís. "Malhereuse,
for some problems there are simple, yet highly satisfactory solutions,"
she remarked to the falcon perched on the railing.
The next morning at breakfast, Viviane was unprepared for the massive
bouquet of blue-black iris that landed on her plate, courtesy of a postal
barn owl. A moment later, another owl dropped a parcel containing a note.
Viviane discovered it was full of bulbs from the chateaux garden, and
the note read, "You spoke about regrowth Ė try starting with these.
An unforgettable few days. Love, Bill." Immensely touched and without
thinking, Viviane placed the note against her lips and closed her eyes.
When she opened them she found Snape staring at her with a most forbidding
expression on his face. Blushing furiously, she dropped the note back
into the parcel, gathered it and the flowers up and fled back to her room.
Dropping down on her sofa, she set the flowers on the table and covered
her face with her hands. "Not cured. Damn him. Damn you, Severus
Snape," she muttered as she wondered how on earth she was going to
keep her feelings a secret from those eyes that saw everything.
As they stood at the table, preparing potion ingredients, Viviane tried
to act normally around Snape, but she couldnít contain her nervousness.
Her hand brushed Snapeís as they both reached for more spider legs, which
made her jump and overturn a jar of slugís grease.
"Now look what youíve done Ė oh no, itís seeping over to the herbs.
Hurry, wipe that up. What is your problem, Chance? Youíve been spooked
since youíve shown up tonight."
"I donít know. I guess Iím nervous about the second task-"
"That isnít for some days yet. It isnít like you to worry about
something ahead of time."
"Oh thanks. Well, thereís just too much going on to be perfectly
"Worried about protecting precious Potter? Iíd love to know how
he managed to sneak his name into the Goblet-"
"You really think he did that? Donít you think a plot by Voldemort
or his followers far more likely?"
"Hmph. Maybe," Snape snorted. "But I wouldnít put Potterís
arrogance past doing anything that would get him more attention."
"Funny, I get the opposite impression. Heís sick of the attention.
Well, that about does it for the ingredients." Viviane went and sat
in her usual chair by the fire, happy to put more space between herself
and Snape. "Severus, Iím going to ask Dumbledore if we can end these
meetings. I think weíve successfully gotten over our contretemps of last
year, and weíre so pressed for time these days-."
Snape turned and stared at her. "You want to stop? I thought - I
mean Ė youíve been helpful." The admission seemed forced. "But
of course, if you think the Headmaster would agree, I would be most happy
to reclaim my time for more important things. As a matter of fact, why
donít you go ask him now?"
Viviane lurched to her feet, unaccountably angry at herself, Snape and
Dumbledore. "Fine, Iíll do just that. If I donít come back, youíll
know youíve regained your freedom."
She made her way to Dumbledoreís office, and he smiled at her as she
entered. "Shouldnít you be in Snapeís office at this time, Viviane?"
"Oh, Albus. Look, weíve been working together just fine for some
time now. I think youíve made your point and we both need more time to
deal with the tournament and classes."
Albus peered at her intently. "Do you think so? I must admit Iím
rather disappointed Ė Severus mentioned that you have quite a talent for
researching potions. But if you two feel that youíve reached agreement
and you need the time, Iíll let you discontinue your collaboration."
"Thank you, Albus," Viviane said fervently, and as she headed
back to her own rooms she told herself, "Well, thatís over. Over,"
trying to believe it.
"Now," said Viviane to herself, "I just have to avoid
the man." It was fairly simple to do, and Viviane found herself working
harder, prowling the grounds at night and hoping for something to happen
to take her mind off of Snape. Her students couldnít figure out what was
going on, as the normally difficult and sometimes sharp-tongued Professor
Chance had been positively goofy for a few days, and then gone back to
being not only sharp-tongued but sharp-tempered.
After retiring to the teachersí lounge after a disastrous fourth-year
class session, Viviane collapsed on the couch to rest for an hour before
taking on the fifth-years. She closed her eyes and tried not to think
about Neville Longbottomís expression when she lost her temper with him.
Heíd managed to blast her desk apart and sheíd more or less threatened
to turn him into one as a replacement. Neville been terrified of her ever
since Moodyís revelation about her past deeds, and she thought he was
going to pass right out when she stood over him among the pieces of the
The next thing Viviane knew, she was being shaken by the shoulder.
"Viviane, wake up! You have a class in five minutes."
She sat up, blinking and trying to think straight. "Minerva? What
time is it?"
"Time for you to go to your fifth-year class. Youíve got five minutes."
"Oh, hell." Viviane got up and tried desperately to clear her
brain. Finally, she turned away and putting both hands to her forehead,
whispered a Banishing Spell for fatigue. As she opened the door to leave,
Snapeís voice issued from a dark corner, warning, "If you keep doing
that instead of getting a decent nightís sleep, youíre going to collapse
at the worst possible moment."
Viviane, making a monumental effort, ignored him as she left for her
The second task was about to begin, and Viviane was worried about Harry
Potter, who had not yet arrived at the judgesí table. She was just about
to go in search of him when he was seen running across the lawn. As he
waded into the lake, looking confused, Viviane desperately hoped he was
just nervous and had an idea of what he was going to do. Suddenly he dove
into the water and disappeared.
The crowd collectively held their breath until Cedric and Krum appeared
with their friends in tow. Viviane grinned to herself when she recognized
Hermione under Krumís arm; Rita would have a field day with that one.
As she stood, trying to see signs of Fleur or Harry through the water,
the crowd around her began to get restless as neither champion appeared.
Finally Harry surfaced, towing both Ron and Fleurís sister. Fleur finally
made it back, although wounded by grindylows. Breathing a sigh of relief
that it was over, Viviane headed back to the castle instead of staying
to celebrate with the champions.
Hogsmeade. Viviane liked Rosemertaís gin and tonics, but dreaded the
responsibility of keeping an eye on hordes of Hogwarts students running
wild through the village. However, she steeled herself to both the drink
and the trouble as she donned her cloak and met Professor McGonagall for
the walk over.
"Well, Minerva, have you heard any rumors of pranks, plots, plans
or other mischief I need to foil this afternoon?"
Professor McGonagall rolled her eyes. "If I paid attention to every
plot a Weasley ever hatched, Iíd have very little free time and no sanity.
But I havenít heard anything unusual. Do you have any errands? Shall we
Apparate from here?" she said as they exited Hogwartsí grounds and
walked a few strides past the boundary.
Seconds later they appeared in Hogsmeadeís main street. "Nope, no
errands. Iím just going to make sure the place is still standing after
our visit, and to prevent any extracurricular use of invisibility cloaks.
Potter is allowed to go to Hogsmeade this year, but I still donít trust
him out of bounds."
"Ah, yes." Professor McGonagall looked disapproving. "I
sometimes wonder why AlbusÖoh well, I suppose he did it for the best.
Well, hereís the inn Ė shall we?"
"Actually, I think Iím going to do a preliminary sweep of the village.
Iíll see you later Ė tell Rosemerta to keep the gin cold for me!"
Viviane wandered off and surveyed the mass of students in Zonkos and
in the candy shop. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Harry, Ron, and
Hermione walk off past the Shrieking Shack with a large black dog.
"Sirius!" whispered Viviane to herself in surprise, and she
tracked them up a hill and into a cave, where she observed their meeting
and Siriusí transformation back into human form. Viviane noted with alarm
how thin Sirius still was, and wondered why he hadnít alerted her to his
arrival in his occasional notes. She waited until the trio had left, and
quietly slipped into the cave.
"Sirius Black, do you have a death wish?" He whipped around,
hand on wand, but stopped when he recognized her.
"Do you? Are you crazy, sneaking up on me like that! I could have-"
"Could have Ė what? I doubt it. Sirius, you should have stayed away.
Youíre still a wanted man."
They fell silent and stood, surveying each other. "You havenít yet
gotten a haircut?" queried Viviane.
Sirius gave a short laugh. "You havenít changed, I see."
Viviane sat down on a rock. "What does that mean? Weíve met all
of once, as I recall."
He sat down across from her, casually crossed his legs and said, "You
show up and jump straight into a situation, assuming you have every right
to be there. You followed Harry here, I suppose. Anything I should know?"
"I do have a right to be here. Iím in charge of getting Harry alive
through this damned tournament, yet here you are leading him out of Hogsmeade."
"Heís my godson. Iím not leaving him to the tender mercies of Severus
Snape and Voldemortís cronies."
Viviane sighed. "You two should really grow up-"
Sirius uncrossed his legs and leaned forward to glare at Viviane. "He
came extremely close to feeding me to a Dementor. I donít forget that,"
"Right." Viviane got up and without thinking ran her hands
through her hair, dislodging her pins and sending it uncoiling down her
back. "Oh hell," she said, trying to recoil it and reaching
for her wand to redo the Staying Spell.
"Donít bother," she heard Sirius say. She turned around to
find him grinning at her. "This is an informal meeting! Sit back
down and Iíll try to be more civil."
Viviane retook her seat as Sirius said, "I need to thank you for
being such a friend to Remus all these years. Youíve been the one true
friend heís had while I was rotting in Azkaban."
Unexpected tears sprung to her eyes as she replied, "He has been
a true friend to me, especially in the years right after Aquitaine was
destroyed and I was trying to make my way in England as a young, untrained,
uneducated witch. He probably saved my life a couple of times-"
"As you saved his. He told me of a few instances."
"The least I could do. Have you heard from him recently? I occasionally
get a note, but he doesnít-."
"Say much. To me either. I suspect-"
"Heís having a hard time. Damn you, Severus." Viviane got up
to pace. "I wish I knew what to do. What?" said Viviane, annoyed,
as she noticed Sirius grinning at her again.
"You certainly are a restless soul, arenít you? Can you sit still
for more than five minutes?"
"Not these days. I feel war coming, and soon. Iím doing what I can
to delay it, but I canít do much alone, and yet I donít want to seem paranoid
by raising alarms on something I canít prove. Fudge is an idiot, and the
Ministry is, well, the Ministry." She moved to the entrance of the
cave, gazing out. "I only hope we can give these students a few more
years of normalcy, a few years of memories to sustain them when-"
"When all hell breaks loose, and their world collapses." Viviane
felt Sirius move behind her, to gaze out over her shoulder. "This
isnít what I wanted for Harry. I thought for years that Voldemort was
defeated. It was part of what kept me sane in Azkaban Ė that Harry would
at least know the life his parents, myself and Remus were denied. But
then I saw Peter in that photograph and I knew. I knew-" Sirius
turned away, his hands over his face.
"Oh Sirius. Iím sorry. I didnít mean to bring back bad memories-"
Viviane stopped in embarrassment.
Sirius turned back to face her, his expression so forbidding that Viviane
backed up a step. "Voldemort will pay. For Jamesí death, for Lilyís
death, for the twelve years I lost in Azkaban. Iím glad to find someone
else who understands what the return of Voldemort means, and isnít just
standing around waiting for it to happen." He stepped up to her and
extended his hand. "I donít think youíre paranoid. You have a partner,
if you want one. To give Harry and his friends those years you talked
about, and to prevent their sustaining the losses that we have. Will you
"Accept what? So far youíve just made my life more difficult by
showing up and tempting Harry, Ron and Hermione to wander off out of bounds.
Go someplace far away and let me do my job, which does not include helping
along your revenge fantasies. Iím pledged to protect all of the students
at Hogwarts, which does include Harry and his friends."
Sirius grabbed her arm and shook her, his face livid with anger. "Me-
using you? For all I know youíre using Harry to get at Voldemort for your
own Ďrevenge fantasies.í You say youíll do your job. Youíd better, because
if anything happens to Harry under your watch I will come around, and
Defense skills or not, youíll regret the day you came to Hogwarts."
Viviane tore herself away and pointed her wand at him. "Grab me
again and youíll lose that arm. No, donít even bother reaching for your
wand Ė Iím leaving. As for Harry and his friends, Iíll hold up my end
of the deal and theyíll come out of this all right. But donít let me catch
you around Hogwarts. With this Tournament going on, I may not look twice
before I attack an intruder." She swept out of his cave, feeling
his glare burning through her back as she attempted to redo her hair on
her way back down the mountain.