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It was late in the evening when a figure dressed in jet-black robes Apparated into the streets of London. The air was chilly and the man tightened his cloak around himself. His breathing was raspy and no one in a clear mind would think of approaching him. There were sparks of anger flashing from his eyes and his facial expressions looked like he was about to kill somebody. The man pinched his lips, narrowed his eyes and started to walk along the narrow street.
Snape was a very controlled man. Usually he could always hide his feelings, but this time his anger was impossible. That stupid Potter boy had poked his nose into something what was truly Snape’s – his very own memories. Those memories he had hidden especially from Harry.
Today he had had to leave their Occlumency lesson for a little while. He had told Potter to leave, but when he came back, he caught Potter with his face submerged into his Pensieve. And of course Harry had seen his worst memory – the one in which Snape was humiliated by Harry’s father and his gang in front of the whole school, but it had not been the worst part of it. Snape was lucky, that Harry was too stupid and narrow-minded to understand this memory. Potter will never guess that the worst part was not when James used Snape’s own spell against him. Of course, it was a nightmare to be hanging upside down in front of the whole school and get his pants taken down by his biggest enemies, but he had already gotten used to Marauder pranks. The worst part was where Snape had called Lily a Mudblood. It was the beginning of the end of their relationship. Lily never forgave him and he lost his only friend.
But Harry had been so close – if he had watched a bit further, he would have found out about Snape’s feelings towards Lily. Snape could not let this happen. Harry could not, must not know about Snape’s feelings, especially towards his mother.
When Snape saw, that Harry had accessed his memories, he had wanted to kill him. Why did the boy not understand that a person’s memories were exactly that: personal?
Now Snape was angry at Potter for knowing that he had not always been a respected person. Now he knew that Snape had been bullied by his father. Now he would honour his father even more. Snape was sure about that, but most of all, Snape was angry at himself for still loving Lily. After remembering his worst memory, other ones came flooding into his mind and he could not get rid of them. Snape knew only one reliable way to empty his thoughts – Firewhiskey. It was the reason why Snape was in London. He was going to the Leaky Cauldron. He could not risk getting drunk at Hogsmeade. He had reputation there, but here at London, he could sit in a pub like any other man.
Nearing the pub door, he noticed a woman coming, too. Without much thought he opened the door to let her in. The woman quickly made her way to the door and as she passed him, she looked into his eyes and smiled at him. Of course it was just a nice gesture to say “thank you” for opening the door, nothing more, but it gave Snape an opportunity to look at her and he was completely stunned by what he saw.
The look of the woman only made more memories come crashing into his mind. She had the same flaming locks of red hair as Lily, green eyes and a beautiful smile. Her eyes were a bit different from Lily’s. Lily always had light eyes with sparks in them, but this woman’s eyes were deep green. A hoarse whisper passed his lips, before he could stop it - “Lily”.
A confused look shot on her face.
“If you wanted to pretend that you know me, you should have chosen a more common name,” she said sarcastically.
Snape was silent for a moment. He could not understand how he could let is slip.
“You looked familiar to me,” he said and added, “I apologise”.
“It’s alright. People often make mistakes.” After that, she turned and walked into the pub, leaving an astonished Snape behind.
Years of practising to hide his thoughts and emotions did not go by wasted, so Snape gathered himself up and went into the pub, leaving his astonishment behind.
Snape sat at the table in the darkest corner of the pub, as he always did, and ordered a bottle of Firewhiskey. Snape opened the bottle and poured the strong drink into a glass. Firewhiskey had an interesting effect – it felt like it burned not only his throat, but it burned out his anger and pain. Sadly, it did not burn out memories. His head was full with memories of Lily now and he knew that they would only stop to pain him if he reached the end of the bottle.
After two glasses and calming himself down, Snape explored that evening’s public in the pub. There sat a few loners like him – men and women. They all had something in common. They knew the power of Firewhiskey.
In the middle of the pub sat a company of six wizards, who were drinking and laughing together. They had drunk several bottles of Firewhiskey already. Snape did not understand such gatherings. He was an antisocial person and preferred to drink alone. Of course he had never experienced what drinking with friends was like, because he had never had any friends, except Lily. There had been people who could be called companions, like Avery and Mulciber, but he had never considered them friends. Snape had spent time with them, only to find out more about the Dark Arts, to get better access to power. He had desired power to such a strong extend. He had not wanted to spend all his life in the shadows. He had wanted to be something more than poor “Snivellus”, who was the Marauders prank-puppet.
Several tables behind the group sat father and his son. They seemed submerged into a conversation. Being father and son was another kind of relationship that Snape had never had. His Muggle father had hated him for being a wizard and they had never shared any love. Severus had considered it jealousness. His father had hated the power of magic. He knew about what his wife could do with a wand and he was afraid of Severus one day turning his magical powers against him. He was not wrong. Severus hated his father for treating his mother like a house elf. Severus had often sworn to kill his father once he was of age, but the bastard died before Severus could fulfil his promise.
In the furthest corner from him sat a young pair. He remembered them from Hogwarts. They had finished their studies just a few years ago. How much he wished to have sat like that with Lily, but he had never confessed his love to her and how could he have? Lily had loved him like a friend. Even she would not have wanted him as a boyfriend. Just when he realised that he loved her, she was with Potter already and she would not talk to him anymore. She and Potter had definitely sat like that – holding hands, looking into each other’s eyes and whispering sweet words.
Now that Firewhiskey had set Severus’ mind free and he realised how much he wanted love, too. He wanted to be loved. He wanted a woman by his side who would be truly his. He wanted someone to share his secrets and thoughts with. He wanted someone to give gifts to and from whom to receive hot meals, made with love. He was so tired of being alone all the time. He had had enough loneliness in his life. Now he longed for something else – for company, feelings and romance.
What a fool was he to let such thoughts enter his head? He knew very well that he would never be loved. Who would ever fall for him? Not only was he unattractive, but additionally he had a very dreadful character. Although he was not as awful as he seemed on the outside, it had doomed him. How could someone find out, that he was able to love, if he insulted everybody at the first opportunity?
He had not met a potential woman, too. He did not spend any time in society, so he did not meet new people. The only people he saw were those at Hogwarts – old teachers and stupid dunderheads. Was it possible to find love amongst them? No. Another society were the Death Eaters. He hated them all and hated himself for having to spend time with them. Of course, there was the Order, too, but there were not many women in the Order and those who were would prefer any other man of the Order to him.
He was doomed. He knew that he would never have a family and so he pretended that he did not need one. It was easier to live that way. While the loneliness tore him apart on the inside, on the outside he remained a cold man without any feelings and it was exactly what he wanted other people to think. He would not be able to stand pity or even worse – somebody trying to help him. It was better to appear like a cold man who did not need love. It was easier to scare people away at the first opportunity than losing them after starting to like them. He did not need any more pain in his life so it was better not to be attached to somebody.
He poured himself another glass and went over the same old story again. Why would he want a woman? To fall in love with her and then lose her like he lost Lily and then suffer all his life, living in memories? It was enough with having just the memories of Lily in his head all the time. He did not need any more women.
After drinking another glass and convincing himself that he led a normal life and did not need anything else, he continued exploring people in the pub.
Severus’ gaze finally fell upon the woman whom he had bumped in at the door. Now he was able to look her over properly. She was wearing dark green robes that matched perfectly with her eyes and let her red hair glow even more magnificently. She was very charming. Something in her caught his interest, which was not only her appearance. Her eyes were wise and she was very controlled. She had focused her eyes on the drink and was submerged in thoughts. She was probably around thirty.
What was a woman like her doing alone in the pub? Snape did not understand. He found it impossible to believe that she could be alone. He looked for a wedding ring, but there was none.
Suddenly she looked up and their eyes met. Snape quickly looked away, switching his gaze to the pair in the corner, but he knew that she had caught him staring at her. Snape tried not to look at her again, but he could not hold his gaze. She was so much alike Lily. He looked at her again and pretended that she was Lily and he was sitting opposite her, holding her hand and saying sweet nonsense to her. He felt so warm yet it was only his imagination. In his youth he had wished for such moments so much, and he admitted to himself that he still wished for them.
He poured another glass and when he looked at her again, she met and held his gaze. He expected her to turn away, but she did not. Instead she raised an eyebrow similarly as Snape himself sometimes did and looked at him disapprovingly. It made Severus turn away. He did not want to be rude.
After several moments their eyes met for the third time. Was it possible that something about Severus had interested her and that she was examining him? No, it was a coincidence. He did not want to look away. He enjoyed looking into her eyes so much, that everything else faded away. It was just him and Lily. He was with his love again by looking into her eyes. It seemed like she was determined not to look away, too. She was staring straight into his eyes. It even seemed like she wanted to read his mind, but she did not know that he had a very strong shield. She would not be able to do that. Their eye contact lasted for a couple of seconds. Then something unexpected happened. She got up and came over to him.
Snape did not want to talk to her. He would have to be cold and rude to say that he had all rights to look wherever he wanted. This time he was not that willing to scare her away. She fascinated him in some incomprehensible way. Snape wanted to run, but there was no way out. All that he could do was to sit and wonder what she had to say.
I would be very pleased, if you left a review, so I would know, whether I should write more or it is dreadful and I shouldn't mess fanfiction with my stories. ;)
P.S. I'm sorry if my language is too simple. English is not my native language.
Snape followed her every move with his eyes as she made her way to his table, moved a chair and sat down opposite him without saying a word. Finally, after a couple of seconds of silence, she looked straight into his eyes and said, “Tell me about Lily.”
It astonished him. He was ready for many things, but not a request to tell about Lily. That woman had made him lose his reign over himself for the second time that evening.
Snape was not used to a state of being unable to find words, so he gathered all his strength to insult her. What was she thinking about? As Severus had feared, he could not work out a fitting insult. She had not done anything wrong.
Finally, he put on his usual sneer and said, “Why do you think that I am willing to tell you anything about her? Can you not see, that I came here to drink my bottle in complete solitude? I have no intention to spend this night talking with a girl, who is unable to tame her curiosity.” Severus had said the words slowly and coldly, putting in as much venom as he could. He believed, that it could enough to scare away the woman, but he was wrong.
“You are mistaken,” she said. “I am able to control my curiosity and I did well for an hour, but I do not want to continue. I saw you staring at me with a blank look. You were completely submerged into memories when looking at me. Men, who are interested in women, do not look at them like you did. The only explanation I could find was “Lily”, who I remind you so much of. I am right, aren’t I?”
Snape did not answer. She was right and he did not want to admit it. All possible insults had suddenly left his mind, and silence was just long enough to confirm her suspicion.
“You see. I felt that you have sad memories connected with her, so I think you should talk with someone about that.” A smile on her face told him that she was very confident about her words.
“Oh, you think that you are so clever, because you figured that all out. Why, do you think, that I will tell you about her?” he snapped.
“Because I am the one who offers that,” she laughed.
“And what makes you think that I need the offer? I can assure you, that I will not talk about her and especially not with a self-centred know-it-all!”
“Don’t be a fool! You want to talk about her. You’re just not willing to admit it, not even to yourself. You are scared of talking!” A tricky smile crossed her face as she said these last words.
“I am not scared!” Snape told. He was incredibly angry. Who did she think she was? The foolish girl did not realise what she asked of him.
“Don’t lie to yourself!” she spat. “I detect a flicker in your eyes that tells me you want to talk, but you are scared of remembering painful memories. It is easier to bear, once you have talked about them.”
“Why are you so self-assured? You don’t have the slightest idea of what you are talking about.” Snape was in fury. He considered leaving the pub even though his bottle was only half empty.
“I have studied psychology,” she laughed confidently.
“That is a study of Muggles!” Severus could not wrap his mind around the concept of her studying at a Muggle university. She was definitely a witch. She wore witch robes after all.
“That doesn’t mean that witches are not allowed to study it,” she said.
“But why?” Snape was confused. She was strange.
“To annoy people like you, by understanding their deepest thoughts and reminding them of their fears,” she sneered.
“Then your studies have been useless. You do not know anything!” Snape sneered; however, she just laughed.
“You can’t solve your problems by denying them. If you think that becoming a bitter and irritated man who is good only at frightening others is an achievement, then you are terribly wrong. You can’t live on your own and choke with anger. Drinking down your disappointment in the world is not the way out.”
“Leave me alone,” he snapped venomously. “I do not wish to tell you anything and never will.”
A long and uncomfortable silence stretched between them. She looked at Severus expecting him to say something, but he looked at his bottle and ignored her. He could not understand why she would like to hear him out, but it did not take long to understand. She wanted to tell something about herself. She was the one who needed a conversation thus she was trying to start it. Snape wanted to ignore it. He did not care about her problems; he had his own problems which he could not discuss with anyone. It tortured him; however, there was nothing what he could do. He could not talk about important issues with a stranger and he did not want to open up his wounds by discussing Lily. However, he looked at her worried face and sad eyes and his heart warmed slightly towards her. He could offer her an opportunity to talk if she wanted to.
“Why are you here alone, drinking and talking to strangers? This is not a safe way of living,” Snape started.
“Why should I tell you?” she raised an eyebrow. “You don’t answer my questions.”
“You are the one who started the conversation,” he stated.
“Let me keep my secrets, if you intend to keep yours.” She put on a spiteful smirk.
“I am fine with it,” Snape snapped. “My curiosity will not kill me, like yours will,” he said, pretending that he was not interested at all.
“You are curious! Admit it!” Her eyes started to sparkle and a chuckle escaped her lips.
“I asked just to be polite!” Snape told rather rudely.
“You don’t look like someone who is striving to be polite. You don’t care what others think and you get pleasure from hurting others, so don’t lie to me,” she said slowly, filling each word with venom. “We can make it simple. You ask a question and then I ask a question.”
“I’m not interested,” Snape said coldly.
“Start and you will be,” she smirked.
The only logical explanation was the large dose of alcohol in his blood, but he took her offer.
“What pain are you drinking away?”
“The death of my parents. They died not knowing that I love them,” she tried to say unemotionally, but Severus heard her voice tremble.
“How comes they did not know?” Snape asked.
“It’s my turn to ask a question,” she said.
She had driven him into a corner. He wanted to know, but he did not want to tell her anything. Although what could he lose by telling her? He had learned to live with the pain long ago. His wounds were torn apart by Harry anyway.
“Then ask,” he said through gritted teeth.
“Do you love her?”
“Yes, she died a long time ago, but I still love her and you are like a ghost of her. You can’t imagine how it feels,” he told.
“Probably,” she admitted. “It’s your turn now.”
“You know the question.”
“My parents were Muggles. They did not understand magic and the whole Wizarding World. They did not approve my magical education. I had to study both magic and Muggle studies. They wanted me to finish school and get a proper education, so I studied hard and passed exams in Muggle School, too. After that my parents did not want me to continue magical education. They knew that I could control my powers, so they found any other studies useless. They persuaded me to go to university. I could not obey them, so I studied psychology, but I got fed up with it. I knew that I had potential in the Wizarding World so I ran away from my parents. I was in different countries before I settled own here. I took up studies and became a healer. I was so angry that I did not go back to my parents even once and now I found out that they are dead.
“They did not know what I became. I think that they would like to know that I became a healer, because my dad was a doctor. They will never know, because they are dead and I did not even know about their death. I was not at the funeral, because no one knew how to contact me. I feel worse than ever.
“Now I’m completely alone in this world. I was not close with my parents, but I knew that I could always turn to them in case of emergency and they would support me. Now I have no one left.”
“You are telling more than I want to know,” Snape told her imprudently.
“I’m sorry!” she told bittely.
Snape thought that he should support her somehow and comfort, but he did not know how. He had never had a need to be there for someone so he never learned how to do that.
“I’m sure they knew,” was the only think he managed to say and he knew that is sounded very vague. The woman seemed disappointed. Most probably she had expected him to say something encouraging. She looked down at her nails and thought. Snape did not know what to expect. Would she start to cry, shout or just walk away? Neither happened. She resumed the conversation.
“So it’s my turn now,” she stated. “Was Lily your wife?”
“No. She married my greatest enemy.”
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“I do not care about you being sorry! Nothing will bring her back and I do not want to have those memories either. She died fifteen years ago, but I am still seeing her in all red-headed women. Do you think that it is easy to live that way? You do not have a clue about the things that you want me to talk about.”
“I have experienced great pain and ruined relationships as well. You are not the only one who is hurt here,” she retorted.
Snape did not answer. He did not know how to talk with her. She was not affected by his insults so he could not scare her away, but he was afraid of getting close to people so he did not want to start a friendship with her. He was confused.
“I don’t understand you. You are drinking away you pain. I offer you a chance to talk, you don’t want to. You look lonely. I am lonely as well. I come to you even though I know that you see that other woman that you love in me, I ignore your insults. I’m hurt, I’m crushed. You could have me so easily tonight, but you don’t make any moves. What do you want then?” she asked trying to understand him.
Snape could not answer. She was too straightforward. He would not mind to have her that night, but he could not do that. He saw Lily in her and Lily was not a woman for a one night stand, but Snape was not a man for something more. She would not want anything more from him anyway. It was just not logical.
“I see that I’m just wasting my time. I though that we could help each other, but I’ll better not spoil your evening more than I already have. If you do not want to talk then be it.” She got up from her seat and went to the door. Severus could only see her green robes and unbelievably beautiful hair waving in the air behind her. Severus did not manage to say anything before she was gone.
His thoughts were swirling around the woman he had met, but he tried to stop them, because she was gone. He had been rude enough to scare her away. He even felt a bit of remorse for doing it. He had liked her after all, but it was impossible that she could be attracted to him. It had only been her curiosity that had made her come to him and an overdose of alcohol. At least Snape assured himself of that. It was easier to scare her away immediately, than to start liking her. There was something more about her that had left Severus wondering. She understood him like no one else did.
When he caught himself thinking these thoughts, he was intrigued: Did he really fancy this woman or was it just because of Lily, of whom she reminded him so much?
Severus finished his Firewhiskey and left the pub. When he stepped out into the dark, it was after midnight and very cold. He took a breath of chilled night’s air and Disapparated back to Hogsmeade. On his way back to the castle, he noticed that he was not thinking of Potter at all. Now he wondered about the woman he had met. He knew that he would never see her again and if he did, then she would pretend not to know him. Anyhow, the thoughts of her were much more pleasant then those he had had previously.
Finally, the academic year had ended and Snape did not have to stay at Hogwarts. This year, with Umbridge at control, Hogwarts was less welcome than ever.
Each year Snape spent summer at his childhood house at Spinner’s End. He hated this house more than anyone could imagine. He hated memories of his parents quarrelling, but he had no choice. It wouldn‘t be clever to buy another house, if he visited it for two month each year. Still this house was better than staying at Hogwarts. This was a place where Snape could enjoy complete solitude and silence.
However, this year he did not have even this privilege. He had to accommodate Wormtail. He hated having someone in his house unbelievably, especially if it was curious Death Eater, but he could not disobey the Dark Lord’s orders. Wormtail had to stay somewhere and Snape was the lucky one to get him. He was told that Wormtail will be his assistant. He did not need an assistant. How could that creature help him? Maybe Wormtail was sent to him intentionally, to spy on him. Snape could not know for sure, but he knew that he had to be careful.
After leaving Hogwarts, Snape came to Diagon Alley. This was a fine day for Snape. It was raining, what meant that there were not many people shopping. Snape hated masses of people, so he felt relieved that this shopping trip won’t be as unpleasant as it usually was.
Snape had to get everything he needed at Spinner’s End and it meant some new books to read during the summer, as well as potion ingredients, for potions he had to brew and for new potions to try or invent. He needed some rare ingredients for a new potion, he wanted to try. Such ingredients were not normally used, but of course there was a place where to get anything – the Knockturn alley. He was a frequent visitor there so shopkeepers knew what he needed and got it for him.
Snape turned away from Diagon Alley to the twisting Knockturn Alley. Blamey the shopkeeper whom he had to visit was at the furthest corner of it. Suddenly he heard a scream from a side street. At first he thought that it was not anything serious. Women often screamed if they saw something scary in shop windows. He heard a scream again and started running along the side street until he saw where those screams came from.
It looked like a house had been broken down and now in the place where it once stood was a dirty area. This place could be very useful for dark wizards, because it could not be seen from distance. On that area he saw a group of people. At first he saw four men. They were shabby-looking and were probably thieves or plunderers. Then he noticed a woman cowering at their feet. It looked like they had used the Cruciatus Curse on her. Just as Snape understood that the biggest man, who was probably their leader, shouted “Crucio!” and woman started to scream again.
Snape could not stand it. He knew that it was not wise to fight four to one, but he did not have a choice. Anyway it did not look like they could be masters of defence.
“Stupefy!” Snape shouted and one of the men fell face down on the ground. While others did not manage to recover from the sudden attack, he stunned another one, but he had been wrong about abilities of these men. They were pretty good with a wand. It took some time for Snape to hit another man with a Body-bind Curse. Now he was fighting one on one with their leader. He looked determined to win this battle, but Snape had to win, too. He could not leave this woman here. Snape did not risk using dark curses, but that man threw at Snape all the nastiest curses he knew. After some moments of duelling, Snape finally saw his curse hit him, but at the same time Snape was hit by that man’s curse as well. It seemed that they had cast curses simultaneously and both saw only their success, not failure. As the curse hit Snape, it took his breath away and all his muscles contracted. After that he fell and everything became black.
Snape woke up, but he did not feel like he had really woken up. He could not move, he could not see, he just heard something. He heard footsteps coming nearer and nearer and then woman’s voice said, “Severus, can you hear me?”
He tired to respond somehow, but he could not. He could not control his body. He felt scared.
“Yes, I think you can hear me,” she said. “Don’t be afraid, Severus. You’re at St Mungo’s, Fourth Floor, Spell Damage. You got hit by a very nasty curse while duelling in the Knockturn alley. It has paralyzed you completely, but you will recover. I have to warn you, that it won’t be fast. It is a really nasty curse. We did not even know what to do with it at first, but we have found a way.”
Snape remembered, he had gone to help that woman and their gang leader had hit him with something. So he was in St Mungo’s. How foolish! And he would have to stay there for some time. As if he did not have anything to do in summer! And how did this woman know his name? He hated strangers calling him by his name.
She did not hear Snape’s thoughts and just continued, “What were you thinking about when you attacked four men? Are you really so arrogant to think that you could beat them? A gang of plunderers? Men who are so deep in dark business know how to defend themselves. Well, ok, I can’t say that they did it well. After all you managed to knock them all out.
Snape got really angry. He could not talk so he could not shut her up. Who was she to criticize him?
“That woman is all right, if you want to know. She’s here, at St Mungos, too. She was in shock. They had probably used many Cruciatus on her.”
Finally she did not have anything else to say. He felt like a child or old man, incapable of anything, when having this one-way conversation.
“I’ll go now and visit other patients. I think that you’ll be all right. I’ll come back after about an hour. You should be able to open your eyes by that time. Try to get some sleep.”
She got up and he heard her footsteps disappearing in the distance.
Snape could not sleep. He had to worry about being a complete fool, lying in hospital instead of enjoying his summer. How did that man hit him? Probably it was because the course that hit him was a very dark magic, but he had used just a simple Shield Charm “Protego”, not “Protego Horribilis” which is used for the darkest magic. This has to be it.
After some time he noticed that he could open his eyes a little bit. He wondered how much time it would take for him to fully recover. Severus wanted to look around, but all he could see was ceiling, because he could not turn his head. After exploring the ceiling, he figured out that he has to be alone in this room. He was glad about that.
After looking at the ceiling for some minutes, he was fed up with that. What use was that he could see if he had to lie like a fool looking only at the ceiling? He could do so many things right now, but instead he was admiring hospital’s ceiling which was nothing but just white. What could be worse?
He heard footsteps behind his door and then the door opened with a squeak. Finally his healer was back.
“How are you?” she asked.
As if he could answer!
“Ah, I see you have opened your eyes, that’s good.”
Severus wanted her to come closer so that he could see with whom he was “talking”.
Finally he heard footsteps coming closer.
“You are probably annoyed by looking at the ceiling,” she said and put some pillows behind his back. After that she sat on his bad so he could see her.
Snape was taken aback when he saw her. It was the same woman he had met at Leaky Cauldron. How did not he recognise her voice?
Snape had not forgotten about her. He thought often about the woman he had met, about her secrets and ability to understand him. How foolish he felt, when he realized what their second meeting was like. He was lying in a bed, unable to do anything. He did not want her to see him like that.
“Oh, I see shock in your eyes! You did not recognise my voice, but I’m sure that now you remember me. Alright, I did not expect you to recognise my voice and I did not say that we have met on purpose. You would be more willing to listen to a simple healer that me, because you would probably emerge into memories of Lily, if you knew who I was, and you would not hear a word that I said.”
Snape tried to make his eyes very angry. How could she hide who she was from him? He was thinking about her for three months and now he did not even know that she was his healer. That was not fare. If only he could say something.
“It’s so nice to talk with you, when you can’t answer me. It isn’t that easy to pretend that your insults don’t hurt.”
Snape made a really confused look. He wanted to understand, why she was not upset, why she did not hate him and why she did not believe any of his insults.
“I wish you could understand that Severus. You have too much bitterness in your heart for the whole world. Your insults are strong. It is clear for me, that you have been so cold for many years, too many years. It takes practise to appear as heartless as you are.
“Oh, do you want to kill me Severus? I can read that in your eyes, you have flames burning there and you aren’t trying to hide it. What harm does it make that I understand you? Why can’t you trust me? Think about it Severus.”
She left leaving her final words hanging in the air. Really, why did it bother him so much, that she understands him? He did not know. Probably it was because he was afraid to let someone into his heart. He could not let her know his deepest feelings, then he would not be able to let her go.
Se was playing too dangerous games for Dumbledore. He could not have love in his life. Feelings made people vulnerable. He was a valuable spy for both sides, because no one could hurt him by hurting those whom he loved. There were no such people. He could not be blackmailed. He did not put anyone in danger. What would happen if Voldemort would discover his true allegiance? He would definitely kill all his family, not only him. Snape could not risk so much. No, he definitely could not let this woman in his heart.
He had to find a way to hurt her. He could not mess up her life just because he was lonely. She understood perfectly that it was hard for Snape to resist her, but she did not know that Snape had sworn to himself that he will never fall in love again, after he lost Lily. He could not be just friends with her. He liked her, but he could not let her get involved with him. It was madness for someone like her to be with him.
Anyway, if she understood him so well, she had to understand that he was not the best choice for a friend or lover, or anyone. It is better to avoid people with broken heart. Why was she interested in him? Maybe she was not completely sane?
The next morning Snape woke up along with the sun and discovered that he was still unable to move, only this time he could control his head. At last he would be able to say what he thinks about her.
Snape recalled his point of view about how he should treat her and he still considered it the best way. He had to push her away.
Now, finally, Snape could see round the room, he was staying in. Room was all painted in white. Snape could not get why it had to be white. It was a hospital after all. People hated this place, so they could use black colour instead. Indeed, he was lying on the only bed in this room. There was not even a chair there, so that’s why she always sat on his bad. Snape had to admit that he did not mind. He looked out of the window, it was cloudy and looked like it would rain. He hated that he had to spend this fine day for a walk in here. Why did he have to go to Knockturn Alley that day? Why could not he go there when no one was screaming? Then he would not have risked his life and would not end up here.
Eventually, after what seemed like hours, she came again. This time her steps were insecure. It felt like she was afraid of what he will say and she was right, but as he saw her, he could not work out a fine insult with which to start the day again so he kept silent.
“Good morning, Severus!”
“It isn’t good. Do you think that it is good to be stuck on this bed, in this nasty place and with you as my only company?”
“That can be changed. Everyone is allowed to visit you. You can have a visitor that you would prefer more than me. Anyway, we have to inform your family about your current situation. How can we contact them? You haven’t got a file here, so we don’t know anything about you. You’ll have to fill it in later. It seems that you have a very good health. That’s strange that you did not have to visit St Mungo’s even once in your life.”
Snape knew that it was not strange at all. He was a potions master, why would he need healers?
“I don’t have a family,” he said. “You don’t have to report anything to anybody.”
“And your relatives?”
“They all are dead. I already said that no one has to know that I’m here.”
“There must be someone who would care, Severus.”
Maybe Voldemort? Yes, he would care if his Death Eater was unable to fight.
“How many times do I have to repeat, that no one cares?” he snarled.
“You just said that you can’t stand my company so I thought that you have someone better on you mind. Well it looks like you don’t want to do anything about it. You are able just to complain about your life. Things with you are much worse that I thought. You’re a complete loner and you don’t want anyone to be your friend.”
“I don’t need anyone. I’m perfectly well alone,” he snapped.
“Do you want me to leave you so you can enjoy your perfect company?”
“Yes! Just bring me water before you leave.”
Instead of being angry she started to laugh, but soon controlled herself and said, “So you want me to stay, but you can’t admit it. By the way – water is on the table just in front your nose!”
“So I need more water to drink when I’ll be able to lift my arms!”
“You won’t be able to do that until tomorrow.”
“What? I can’t be here for a week!” maybe it was her plan to keep him here for a week so she could get someone to annoy with her talking. It could not be possible. He could not spend an entire week here.
“You don’t have a choice,” she said.
“Can’t you make this process faster?”
“Well I can, but you would be in strong pain …”
“Do I look like I care?” Snape shouted.
“That would be really strong pain. Don’t think that you can stand everything.”
“I can. I want to get out of here as fast as I can. Do it.”
“As you wish,” she said. “And don’t say that I haven’t warned you.”
She want away, but quickly got back with some potions in her hands.
“What are those potions?” Snape asked.
“That’s not your concern, just drink them.”
“I don’t drink potions until I know what they are!”
“Wise. So I have potions called ‘Fectumactus’ and ‘Lacertus roboro’. They are rarely used so you don’t even have to try to pretend that you know what they are.”
““Fectumactus” is used to develop body movements and “Lacertus roboro” is for muscle strength,” he retorted easily.
“Impressive. So you’re a potions master?”
“Yes, I am.”
“What do you do with your ability?”
“I waste it by teaching dunderheads at Hogwarts.”
She opened her mouth in disbelieve. How could this person be a teacher? She was lucky that she did not go to Hogwarts.
“You’re a teacher? I can’t believe it. I thought that you hate children.”
“Then you’re probably their favourite teacher,” she said and laughed.
“You have guessed right again.”
“How comes you work as a teacher if you hate your job?”
“I can’t tell you that.”
“Ok, then drink these potions.”
She slipped potions into his mouth and then muttered some spells, while he swallowed them.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“It’s Sarah. I thought you would never ask.”
“I thought so, too.”
Then suddenly Snape felt unbelievable pain all around his shoulders. He would probably feel pain at first, but then he would be able to move that body part. He to clenched his teeth and kept quite, he could not say how much it hurt. He was too proud.
Sarah noticed his facial expressions. He thought that he can stand anything, but he could not. She wanted to laugh, but she knew that it was inappropriate.
“Does it hurt?” she said with angel eyes.
“Yes, it does! Did you intend to put Cruciatus Curse on me?” He wanted to pretend that it did not hurt, that he could stand it.
“I warned you that it would hurt, but you were too stubborn to take it seriously. You can close all your emotions from anyone, but not pain.”
“Shut up!” Snape yelled.
“Just tell me what you feel and it will be easier. I want to help you, I care,” Sarah’s voice was pleading.
Snape did not know what to do. She attracted him. Even more he was intrigued by the fact that she found him special and wanted his company. He knew that he can’t be friends with her, because he could fall in love and he could not risk that. Anyway he would not love her, but Lily. He was attracted to her only because of Lily. He could not do that to her. He could take advantage of her, but he would not. He could not risk her life while Voldemort was at power. He was used to live without love and it was easier not to change anything. He did not want to lose her after getting used to her, but he definitely would. It would not take long while she would find someone better, much better than he was.
“You can’t understand it, can you? I see Lily in you. You are nothing special. It’s all about her.”
“Severus, you’ll get over it. You can’t live all your life just for Lily.”
There was only one thing left that would scare her away for sure. She would finally understand. He could finally move his arms. That unbearable pain was in his stomach now. He could not wait when it would be over. It was torture being here both for his body and soul. He summoned up his courage, raised his left arm and tucked up the sleeve until his Dark Mark was fully exposed, then he showed it to Sarah and waited for her reaction.
Sarah backed away and stared in his eyes with disbelief.
“Yes, Sarah. That’s the Dark Mark. I’m a Death Eater and Death Eaters are not friends with Mudbloods.”
Sarah lost colour, turned around and ran out of the room. It was all over. She would never dare to speak with him again. He was sorry for what he had to do. He did not want her to think that he was evil, but he did not have a choice. And he had said that word again. It was like hurting Lily twice. Only this time he had done the right thing.
After some time he heard footsteps at his door again. He wondered who it was. He did not believe that Sarah would come back. He was right. Another healer came in.
“Your healer suddenly became ill and went home. I will be your healer now.”
Severus was ashamed of himself. He had hurt her more than he thought he will. He felt so bad about it that he did not even care about the pain his body was in.
This new healer was old and strict. She looked more like Madam Pomfrey. He had to obey her orders and drink everything that she gave him. Finally, by the end of the day everything was over. He could feel his feet now.
“Can I go home now?” he asked the healer.
“In no case! What do you think - that you can go home and die? It was a very powerful curse. I’m responsible for you! You will stay here until I say that you can go anywhere! Now sleep!”
Snape felt like he was five years old. How could she boss him around like that? However he decided not to argue with her. He decided that if he won’t upset her, she may allow him to go home earlier and he was right.
The next day she allowed him to leave and by the midday he was at Spinner’s End dealing with curious Peter Pettigrew, who wanted to know were he had been all this time. As if he would tell him!
Snape had imagined that this summer will not be very enjoyable with Wormtail at his side, but he had never imagined even in his worst dreams that Bellatrix and Narcissa would come to him. He had made an Unbreakable Vow and now he had found out what Draco had to do – he had to kill Albus Dumbledore. How could he help Draco in killing Albus? Albus was the only one who trusted Snape. Snape could never kill him or even help Draco to do that. Snape had a full head of worries. It seemed that he would have to die. He would not help Draco. If only he could remove this Vow somehow! He would have to figure out a way. Snape did not want to die yet.
It was past midnight, but Snape was still sitting in an old armchair in his dark sitting room, looking at covers of books that covered walls. Somewhere in those books had to be something about Unbreakable Vows. He had already looked in every possible book, but he had not surrendered yet. There had to be a way.
He was scanning the room again when he herd a knack on the door. Who could it be? Who would come in the middle of the night? There weren’t many people who knew his address and he did not want to see anyone of those who knew it.
Reluctantly Snape stood up and went to open the door. When he unlocked and opened it, he could not believe his eyes. He shut his eyes and then opened again, but nothing had changed. There stood Sarah. She was dressed in a simple grey dress that was completely inappropriate for chilly night air and was shivering form cold. He did not have time to think about what she was doing here. He grabbed her arm and quickly pulled her inside. He could not risk to be seen with her. They could not stay in the sitting room, because Wormtail would definitely eavesdrop on them. Snape had no choice, he pulled her inside his bedroom.
His bedroom was as dark as the rest of the house. He had a wardrobe there, some furniture, a table with a chair and a double bed. He did not need a double bed, of course, but this room had previously been his parents’ and he had not changed much there. Everything in this room was old and it was lit by candles, so it had an aura of mystique.
Snape cast a silencing charm upon the room and looked at Sarah. What was she doing here? He could not understand. He had been so rude to her, he had hurt her and she knew he was a Death Eater, but she was here. How could it be?
Snape looked at Sarah with flames in his eyes. “What the hell are you doing here? How could you come to this house? Are you insane?” Snape yelled. “There’s a Death Eater upstairs, I’m a Death Eater. Don’t you want to live anymore?”
“You won’t kill me. I’m not afraid,” she said calmly.
“How can you know?” Snape came very close to her and being taller could easily make her uncomfortable.
“I just do!” she sincerely.
“How did you find me?” Snape snapped. He figured out that he would deal with the foolish woman, but he had to make sure that nothing like this happened again.
“It was simple. I looked in the form that you filled in St Mungo’s. I found your address there.” She smirked happy that he had not understood himself.
“And why did you need an address of a Death Eater? I saw terror in your eyes, you were afraid of me, when I showed my Dark Mark,” he said in frustration.
“Yes, it was horrible when I saw it. I felt betrayed, but something was not right. I just knew that you can’t be as dark as you appear.”
“You saw a Dark Mark, what else did you need?” Snape yelled.
“I finally understood everything about you. The willingness to understand you was tearing me apart. I had to know who was Lily and I found it out. It has to be Lily Evans, everything matches. Death Eaters can’t love the way you do. I just can’t imagine a Death Eater who preserves such love for a dead woman. I read old newspapers and found out everything. I know that Dumbledore spared you out of Azkaban. He said that you were on his side. Don’t say that it was all a lie and you are on Voldemort’s side again. I got everything about your double spy business. You can’t be on Voldemort’s side, if he has killed the love of your life. Probably the death of Lily is the reason why you betrayed Voldemort.”
Snape’s lips were shaking, his face was white, his eyes full of terror.
“I knew I was right!” she exclaimed happily.
Snape pushed her to the wall forcefully. He was incredibly angry. The stupid girl did not understand what she had gotten herself into. “Do you understand that you’re dangerous to me, now?” Snape roared.
“Are you threatening me?” She challenged him being sure that he would not hurt her even though he did his best at making her uncomfortable.
“I can’t leave it like this. That information can cost my life! How comes that you’re the only one who figured it out? I’ll be dead immediately if anyone on Voldemort’s side gets it,” Snape said helplessly. He would have to obliviate her.
“Because I’m the only one who knows about your love to Lily. You did not want to talk about her. You never do, so no one knows, but I do. I’m the only one who saw, how you would look at her. It was a look full of love. You are right that you don’t tell anyone that you love or loved her. It would give you away.” She had sparkles in her eyes that were so characteristic to Dumbledore. She thought that she had won.
Snape wanted to grab her and throw out of his house. Snape felt her body with his hand. She was so thin and frangible and still cold from the chilly night air.
“Why did you go into night wearing only a summer dress?” Snape asked.
“I did not think about that. I just had to know whether I was right.”
“Don’t do so again,” It was more like a plea than a reproach. “I’ll bring you hot tea.”
Snape made tea and went out of the kitchen when Wormtail stopped him.
“Who was at the door?”
“It’s none of your concern.”
“It is. If I live in this house, I want to know who comes in here.”
“This is my house and I will have whatever visitors I want!” Snape roared in anger. “I did not ask you to come here. If you don’t like it then find another place to live!”
Wormtail was silent. He could not contradict it.
“Who are you taking this cup to? Do you have a visitor?”
“What the hell are you talking about? I don’t have any visitors. I made this cup for myself!”
“You never drink tea in your room.”
“So today will be the first time.”
“You’re not a person who changes habits and you said that “no food outside kitchen” is one of your countless rules!”
“This is my house and I will do whatever I want. Your job is to remain upstairs and untroubled me! Now get out of my way!” Snape yelled.
Wormtail glared with suspicion first at Snape, then at the cup of tea in his hand. Wormtail had guessed that something fishy was there. Finally he obeyed Snape’s command, opened the way to the hidden stairs and disappeared from Snape’s view.
It was very dangerous for Sarah to remain here. No one could know that he cares about someone, especially a Muggle-born witch. He silenced her, when she wanted to speak, and placed a silencing charm on the room again.
“The Death Eater, who is in my house, is getting suspicious. It’s not safe for you to remain here.”
“I’m not scared. Your silencing charm must be working well.”
“Yes, it is, but there still is a risk.”
Snape held out his hand and gave Sarah tea.
“Thanks,” she said and slowly drank it.
Suddenly, Snape saw some kind of movement behind the door and pointed his wand at the door. There was a loud bang and he could hear as Wormtail ran back to his chamber. He had somehow managed to sneak downstairs without a sound.
“The Death Eater was trying to eavesdrop on us. You should Disapparate from here and the sooner, the better.”
Sarah grabbed his arm and he felt the unpleasant sensation of Apparition.
Snape felt the unpleasant sensation of Apparition and everything got dark. The only thing he felt was Sarah’s arm and he held it tight. Sarah and Snape Apparated into a small living room. That had to be Sarah’s apartment. Snape looked around. There was a couch, furniture, paintings and a TV. Everything was clean and in place.
Snape hesitated a bit and then asked, “Why did you bring me with you?”
“Don’t say that you’re angry,” Sarah said in a low voice.
“I’m not angry, I’m just wondering…”
“Stop playing a fool! You know very well that we need to talk. Place won’t make any difference.”
To be true, it made difference. Snape did not feel comfortable in her apartment. It had an aura of love and Snape usually tried to stay away from it. At the same time he knew, that they could not stay at Spinner’s End.
“Do you really understand that no one can know about us?” he said.
“Calm down. I have no one to tell.”
“You have to understand that I’m playing very dangerous games. If the Dark Lord suspects something, you’ll be his target to make me talk.”
“I understand everything. I have watched enough movies about spies to know, how hard it is and how dangerous it is for their family.”
“Why do you watch TV?” Snape was amused.
“I have to do something to occupy myself with. I find TV very handy. I can’t understand why wizards don’t use it.”
“I loved TV when I was a child, too.” Snape admitted unwillingly.
“You had a TV? Voldemort’s followers can’t be Muggle-born!” she was completely confused.
“I’m a halfblood.”
“So this is your apartment. Where are we?” Snape quickly changed the subject.
“We are in the centre of London. Only Muggles live here, so no one will recognise you, if that’s what worries you.”
“That’s good for your own safety.”
Snape knew that Sarah wants to ask him something, but she can’t make up her mind about that.
“By the way, we haven’t introduced ourselves properly. Do you know that we have the same initials? I’m Sarah Smith.” Snape knew that it was not what she wanted to ask. She just had to say something to break silence.
“Sarah, how old are you?” Snape wanted to know that very much. He knew that she’s much younger.
“Twenty nine. I’m not a child anymore, don’t worry.”
“You are eight years younger than I am!”
“You’re not old. Everything is all right. Younger men are fools.” Snape still did not feel right.
Eventually she asked, “Severus, why did you say that I can’t be with you because you will ruin my life?”
“Sarah… How can you not understand? I’m much older than you are,”
“I don’t see a problem there,” Sarah interrupted him.
“I’m bad looking,” Snape continued.
“You’re looking good enough for me.”
“I have a dreadful character, I’m cold,”
“You’re not cold to me now.” Sarah smiled with a most warming look, he had ever seen. “There’s something more. I can never know that, but I feel that you’re the one for me. What makes you hesitate? Why are you not sure about me?”
“I’ll say the truth. You won’t like it,” Snape hesitated and said, “I don’t know whether it is you, who I like, or it is Lily, who I see in you. I’m scared that I won’t be able to learn to love again.” Snape looked down. He could not look into her eyes.
“Lily is dead. You can’t live only for her.”
“I know, I can try to get over her, but I can’t get out of danger. I have to please Dumbledore and Voldemort. I risk my life every day!”
“Tell me, what made you become a spy for Dumbledore?”
“Lily. I was a Death Eater. I believed the Dark Lord. I thought that I will have power. Once I overhear a prophecy. It was about a boy, who will vanish the Dark Lord. I told him about it. I did not know that hat boy was Harry Potter, Lily’s son. When I found out that Lily was in danger, I went to Dumbledore. I said I would do anything, if he protects her. It was all useless. She is dead, but I have to fulfil Dumbledore’s orders all my life.”
“Why could not Dumbledore protect her?”
“He did what he could. She was betrayed by a Death Eater, who lives in my house, now, and I can’t even kill him!”
“Sirius Black was in your house?” Her eyes were wide with fear.
“No, Peter Pettigrew was their secret keeper, not Black. He was hiding all these years, pretending that he was dead. He took his animagus form. It is a rat, and he isn’t anything more than a rat. He is the biggest coward I’ve ever met. And talking about him - I have to get back to my house. He will be very pleased to inform the Dark Lord that I have disappeared somewhere. There’s no need for him to know that I was gone.”
“Stay,” Sarah said leaned closer to Severus, kissing him on the lips. Snape was taken aback by her sudden move. He knew it would be right to push her away, but he knew there was no use. He had tried to reason, but she did not care. Severus returned the kiss. He felt her soft mouth opening and letting him in. Sarah put her arms around his neck and they deepened their kiss. He pulled her closer and she did not resist. Being with her felt so right that Snape could not believe it. It was so nice to hold her, to feel her heart beat, to know that she relied on him. She definitely needed a man by her side.
Three weeks had passed since the day when Sarah had arrived to Spinner’s End. Snape arrived to Sarah’s apartment approximately once in three days. Mostly, they were talking. They told each other about their background, childhood, parents and friends. Sarah wanted to know everything about Snape’s job as a spy. At first Snape told her something unwillingly, but later he had learned to trust her. It was like a new life for Snape. He had never had someone with whom to share his deepest secrets. Now he had someone who he could tell everything what was on his mind. He felt much better after telling everything that depressed him. He was in high spirits when being with Sarah.
Sometimes Snape spent a night at her flat, sometimes they got out of the house. Sarah knew many incredible places, where no one would see them. She had gone there previously, when she had wanted to be alone. Now she could stay there with Snape. That was much better. Mainly those places were somewhere in woods or up in the hills, places almost unreachable for Muggles, but simple to reach using apparition. They could take in the power of nature and enjoy a good view. Snape liked going outside with her very much. He had never been in so wonderful places before.
Two days after the last time Snape Disapparated out of her apartment, Sarah was waiting for him to return. Sarah was angry with herself. Why did not she say an exact time for him to come? Now she did not know how he will interpret “in the morning”. To calm her nerves, she switched on TV and watched a soap opera. It helped her to forget everything.
Meanwhile Snape was getting ready for his meeting with her. He washed his hair and put on his best robes, black of course. Then he went up to Wormtail’s chamber.
“Wormtail, I’ll be gone for two days. By the time, I come back, I want all my cauldrons clean. Do you understand?” an evil smirk had crossed Snape’s face as he said those words. Abasing Wormatil always lifted Snape’s mood and he wanted to arrive to Sarah’s apartment in a good mood for sure.
“Why do I have to clean your cauldrons? I’m not your slave!” Wormtail protested.
“The Dark Lord wanted you to be my assistant. The only way you can assist me, is by washing cauldrons. What if I’ll have to brew something to the Dark Lord? I can’t brew it in a dirty cauldron. Start working immediately. I have more cauldrons, than you can imagine.” Wormtail spotted a glint in Snape’s eyes.
Snape turned around and left with a victory. He liked to give Wormtail some useless work time after time. He wanted Wormtail to remember that he was just his slave. Wormtail had given up asking where Snape was going by that time. He knew it was useless. If he would have asked now, he would probably end up not only with cleaning cauldrons, but with arranging his potion ingredients, too.
Snape Apparated into Sarah’s apartment without a sound. It seemed like he had popped out of the ground. He found her watching TV. She was so emerged into that soap opera, that she did not feel his presence. He quietly sneaked up to her.
“Is TV more interesting than I am?” Snape asked and laughed.
Sarah spun around, her eyes wide with fear.
“You scared me! Don’t do that again!” She lightly hit him on the shoulder.
Sarah got up from the couch, switched of TV and gave him a kiss.
“What will we do today?” Snape asked.
“We’ll go out. I have something interesting my mind.” Sarah smiled fishily.
“I rely on you.”
“Then take my hand.”
Snape did that, as he had done many times previously, and was pulled into darkness.
They Apparated onto an isolated beach. It was small and had cliffs around it, high enough for no one to get there. The clearing in-between the cliffs was covered with white sand. Waves made a pleasant sound, and wind played with Snape’s hair. Sun hanged just above the water. Sunset would be in a few minutes, but it was sill warm, because sunrays pleasantly fondled body.
Snape looked perplexedly at Sarah.
“Why did you bring be to a beach? You know that I don’t like sun and especially beaches!”
“That’s why I brought you here in the evening. Don’t say that you’ll be affected by sun after the sunset.” Sarah batted her eyelashes innocently.
“All right, I admit, it is nice here.”
Sarah inclined and took off her shoes.
“Severus, take off your shoes!” she said angrily.
“You can’t swim with shoes, silly!”
Snape’s jaw fell open.
“Swim? Are you out of your mind?”
“Why would we come to a beach, if we did not swim?”
“How can I know? I don’t come to beaches! I thought that we will enjoy the sunset here!”
“We will, while swimming!” Sarah laughed.
Snape did not find it amusing at all.
“I won’t go swimming.” Snape crossed his arms across his chest.
“What’s your problem? It’s August. The water is warm enough to swim. The waves are not very strong. Maybe you can’t swim?”
“Of course I can swim, I just don’t want to. I find it foolish and I don’t have swimming trunks with me. You could tell me that I had to get them.”
“I did not say it on purpose. It is much enjoyable to swim without them.”
“You’re fooling me, right?” Snape could not believe her.
“Severus, stop being so insufferable! Come.” Sarah urged.
“No, I won’t swim naked. You can’t make me do it!” Snape gritted his teeth.
“Bad for you… I won’t waste my chances to enjoy a good swim. If you don’t want to come with me, then I’ll go alone!”
Sarah took off her cloak and revealed a light dress beneath it. Snape managed to turn away just in time. He saw as she reached down to the bottom of her dress and pulled it up a little, nothing more. After that he heard her robes dropping down on the sand and her light footsteps. Soon the sound of the waves hitting the coast outmatched sounds that Sarah did. Snape was not sure, if he can turn around. Maybe she had not gone deep enough. He did not know what the sea at this place was like, how far it will be deep enough.
“Severus, come! The water is so good. It’s unbelievable.”
Snape turned around and saw Sarah among the waves that were big enough for her to have fun, jumping when they came. It looked like she really enjoyed it. Snape was not sure about his position against swimming in the sea, especially naked. Maybe he shouldn’t be so stubborn after all?
“All right, I will come!” he shouted, to be sure that Sarah will hear him over the sound of the waves.
Sarah just laughed. She had known that Snape will follow her.
“Well turn away!” Snape said angrily.
Sarah giggled and swam away from the shore.
Snape quickly took off his robes and went into the sea. She had been truthful – the water was really warm.
Snape had to swim in order to catch Sarah. He went in until water covered his waist and fell into the sea. It seemed a bit cold at first, but after some moments it was not scary anymore.
Snape had underestimated Sarah. He could not catch her, because he was not a very good swimmer. He did not have any practise.
“Sarah! Don’t swim so far. It’s dangerous!”
“I’m a good swimmer,” Sarah responded, but swam back to Snape.
Snape could not swim all the time. He did not want to be covered by waves. He stood up on his feet whenever a big wave came, but Sarah did not seem to mind. She disappeared behind waves a few times, before she finally was near Snape.
At the place, where Snape stood, water reached up to his chest during the moment when waves were not coming.
Sarah swam closer to Snape and got on her feet. Snape gasped – a wave had passed by and uncovered Sarah’s bare breasts. Snape was distracted in the presence of a half-naked woman. He could not think clearly. Suddenly Snape felt his hand being grabbed.
“Come, the waves are better nearer the coast.”
Sarah led him to the place where water was up to his waist and started jumping each time when a wave came. She seemed to enjoy it very much.
“Severus, jump with me. It’s fun.”
Snape glared at her in disbelief.
“You may be able to get me into water, but not make me jump on the waves like Muggle children from kindergarten do!” He crossed arms across his chest and looked really angry.
Sarah seemed not to notice. She grabbed Snape by hand and pulled him up with her when the next wave came. He found it a bit nice, but his defences were strong. He will never jump in the waves! He is a man, not a child.
“Please, Severus, do that for me!” Sarah said and looked deep into Snape’s black eyes. Snape could not resist the magic of green eyes.
Sarah knew that her eyes were the strongest weapon to persuade Snape to do something and soon she found him jumping with her in the waves and not worrying about looking foolish.
They were having fun until the sun sunk into the sea and when the last rays of light disappeared they were kissing so passionately as they had never before.
Snape lifted Sarah into his hands and carried her out of the sea. When they got out of the sea they were both trembling. They had spent too much time in the water and the night air was cool. Snape picked up his large black cloak and throw it around them both.
He felt weird about having Sarah’s naked body so close to him.
“I have to admit – I have never enjoyed myself as I have today,” Snape said.
Sarah laughed and kissed him.
“I knew you need more fun, but you’re so unwilling to accept it.”
“I was a fool, alright! But don’t tell anyone that I was jumping naked in the waves. That will completely ruin my reputation.”
They both laughed whole heartedly and kissed again.
“We should Apparate back. You’ll get a cold otherwise.” Snape said.
“I’m good enough with your warmth,” Sarah pressed herself closer to Snape’s body. “You won’t warm me like this when we’ll get to my apartment.”
“I will, if you like. Let’s go.”
They gathered their clothes and shoes and Apparated back to Sarah’s apartment having one look back to the place where Snape had learned to enjoy himself fully.
Swimming in the sea had drained energy and provided a good night’s sleep. Sarah woke up feeling well rested and happy knowing that Snape had stayed for the night and he would not go anywhere for the whole day. She turned around to see Severus, but he was not there. The bed was empty.
“He is probably in the kitchen,” Sarah thought.
Se got up and quickly dressed. She went into the living room and then to the kitchen, but Snape was not there. She was surprised and disappointed. Why did he leave without warning her? Just as she started getting angry, she saw Severus popping out of the ground.
“Oh, I did not expect you to be up so early,” Snape said easily.
“Why did you leave?” Sarah asked and noticed concern building up in his eyes.
“What’s the matter?” Snape asked axially.
“I don’t like when you’re leaving without warning me. I want to know when I have to be worried and when not.”
“I went home to brew a potion.” Snape took a small bottle out of his pocket that contained pink liquid. “The contraceptive potion had ended!”
Sarah took the bottle and drank the potion in one attempt.
“Thank you!” she said simply. “But why did you go away so early without warning me? You could make this potion later.”
“No, I could not make it later! If you drank it later, there could be a little possibility to get pregnant. It is small, but still there is no need to risk.”
“Severus, why are you so afraid of a possibility to have a child?”
Snape jumped in surprise.
“What? A child is absolutely out of the question.”
“Why?” Sarah asked a bit sadly.
“I hate children!”
“I know, but is this the only reason? Sarah looked deep into Snape’s eyes.
“What reasons do you need now? There will be a war going on. I’m a traitor of the Dark Lord. Would you manage to raise a child alone?” Snape roared.
“Why do you say so?” Sarah was almost crying. “Why do you think that you won’t survive this war?”
“I don’t even know if I’ll live until the beginning of the war!”
“Why do you say such things?” Sarah yelled in despair.
“Sarah, I will die!” Snape said it with complete certainty.
“You won’t die!”
“You know nothing!” Snape roared, but immediately regretted shouting at her when he saw how hurt she was.
“Severus, why do you treat me like this? I have to understand what is troubling you so much!”
“I just could not tell you, I could not… I have made an Unbreakable Vow that I can’t fulfil. I am going to die.”
Sarah burst into tears. She grabbed Snape’s shoulders and shook him.
“You won’t die! I won’t let you! You can’t leave me. I don’t care what vow you have made. You will do whatever you swore! Do you understand?”
“I made an Unbreakable Vow to help to kill Albus Dumbledore. I won’t kill him! My life isn’t worth Albus Dumbledore’s.”
“What! Why? Explain!”
After Snape had explained everything to Sarah, she was in a complete hysteria and Snape did not know how to calm her down. She was hitting him and saying that he’s the biggest fool she has ever seen. Well, she was right.
Snape had never imagined that her reaction would be like this. He still was not able to believe that she cared for him so much. He could not get used to that.
“We will find a way to get around that stupid vow. I will not lose you!” Sarah said through tears.
“I have already thought about that. I made research, Albus did also. Unbreakable Vows can’t be broken. That’s why those are called Unbreakable Vows!”
Sarah started screaming and hitting him again. He did not even defend. He felt like he deserved it.
Suddenly Sarah screamed, “Go away! I don’t want to see you!”
Snape felt completely devastated. He could not believe that Sarah wanted him to go away.
“Sarah, please stop that!”
She completely ignored him.
“Please, go away. I want to be alone.”
He had no choice. He Disapparated and hoped that Sarah will want to see him again after she will have calmed down.
During next two week something was missing. It was Sarah’s joy of living. Although they never talked about the Unbreakable Vow again, Snape felt that she was rather depressed.
Snape was almost living in her apartment. It seemed that she wanted to have as much of him as possible while she could. She had even taken vacation in St Mungo’s to spend all her time with Snape while he had not returned to Hogwarts. Snape left her only when his Dark Mark burned or for the Order meetings. Nothing else was important.
It was a late evening in the beginning of the August. Snape and Sarah were sitting in her kitchen and drinking tea with a pie she had backed. It was not usual to have home-made pies. Frankly speaking Sarah hated cooking, but she did it sometimes now, when she had someone for whom to cook and who would appreciate that.
They were having a simple conversation about nothing important when something like a silver mist flew into the kitchen through the wall. It was a silver phoenix. Sarah had never seen so beautiful Patronus.
The phoenix opened its beak and spoke in a voice of an old, sick man, “Severus, come immediately!”
Snape looked very worried.
“It’s Dumbledore. I have to go! Something bad has happened,” Snape said and Disapparated.
Two hours later Sarah was walking back and forth in her living room. Snape had not come back yet. She was extremely worried. Something really bad must have happened if Dumbledore had sent his Patronus to get Snape. Sarah did not know how to calm down her nerves. She had tried watching TV, but it was no use. She had tried to assure herself that everything is alright and that she should go and sleep. At least she knew that Snape would not want her to be awake all night waiting for him, but she was not able to fall asleep. Different thoughts swirled in her head and as she lied in her bed thoughts became heavier and more thrilling. In result she found herself walking back and forth in the room. It seemed to be the simplest way to wait.
Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity to her, Snape came back. He was very low-spirited, more than sad and his hands were shaking.
Sarah ran up to him and embraced with relief. Snape did nothing, he did not answer to her embrace.
“What has happened?” Sarah asked. She was afraid of what she will hear.
“I will have to kill Albus Dumbledore,” Snape said slowly not believing in it himself.
“I know,” she stated sadly.
“No, this time I swore to Dumbledore himself that I will kill him,” Snape explained.
“Dumbledore asked you to kill him?” she was surprised.
“Yes. He made me promise.” Sarah had never seen him so sad before.
“Why?” Sarah looked at him with eyes big in surprise.
“He is dying. He was terribly injured when I came to him. I managed to stop the curse, but it will spread and he will die within a year’s time. Dumbledore thinks that is even great. He wants me to kill him, when the right time comes. He doesn’t want Draco to damage his soul, but he doesn’t care about mine. If I kill him, I’ll have fulfilled the Vow, speared Draco from being a murder, proved loyalty to the Dark Lord and helped him to die fast and without suffering. He believes that it is a great plan.”
“It is!” Sarah smiled.
“What?” Snape could not believe that she was happy that he will be a murder.
“That means that you won’t have to die.” She was smiling even with a wider smile.
“But at what cost! Do you think that it is simple to kill a friend? Dumbledore is the only one who trusts me, except for you.”
“He will die anyway. It won’t make any difference if you kill him a few days before he would have died anyhow. Dumbledore’s plan is just perfect.” She was still smiling and her eyes glinted. Who could have imagined that a woman can be made happy by announcing that her husband will have to make a murder? Snape definitely did not understand women.
“Have you every killed someone?” Snape asked.
“No, of course not!” Sarah was upset about this question. How could he ask something like that?
“Then don’t talk about something that you know nothing about!” Snape was foaming with anger.
Sarah finally understood what he meant. She was so happy that Snape will live, that she did not even think what he will have to do. Dumbledore was Snape’s friend after all.
“I’m sorry. I understand that it’s hard, but you can’t imagine how happy I am to know that you won’t have to break that Unbreakable Vow. You are everything for me. If you can’t do that for Dumbledore then do it for me.”
“I don’t have any choice. But do you understand what it means to be a murderer of Albus Dumbledore? Order members will never trust me again. I will be the worst of all the Death Eaters! And it’s after all these years of being a spy and risking my life in the name of good. I don’t want to be heated by everyone! It may seem that I don’t care, but it isn’t so. I don’t want to die as a traitor. I don’t want everyone to think that Dumbledore was a fool to trust me.” Snape turned away.
“The truth will come out someday. I am sure of that.”
“Dumbledore gave me the Defence Against the Dark Arts post. Even he understands that this will be my last year at Hogwarts.” Snape said sadly.
“But you had always wanted to teach Defence Against the Dark Arts. Maybe this last year won’t be the worst one after all.”
“Oh, of course it won’t be! It will be so nice to teach my favourite subject! Only joy all year around!” Snape said sarcastically.
“Dumbledore has planned everything. After you will have killed him…”
Snape interrupted Sarah, “I can’t do that!” he said with tears glinting in his eyes. This was the first time Sarah saw Snape crying. She had thought that he was not able to cry, she had even been sure about that.
“Think of it clearly, Severus. He will be almost dead anyway. Dumbledore has nothing to lose, but think about Voldemort – he won’t have a reason to have doubt about your loyalty. You will be completely safe.”
“Don’t you understand anything? Would you be able to kill me?”
“No!” Snape did not imagine that she would scream it out so loud. “I could never kill you!”
“That’s the same with Dumbledore!”
Sarah was absolutely shocked. Snape provided her with the best example. She was horrified when she imagined that she would have to kill Severus. She knew that she would not be able to do that, but Snape was strong. He had to manage. He had done many things that she found impossible and he could do that with no emotion. Only now she understood what happened inside of him. He was not as heartless as he appeared to be.
“All right. It will be hard, but you have to do that for me and Albus. You have to!” Sarah pleaded.
“I thought that you would understand, that you would comfort me, but instead you are happy. Can’t you understand that this task is tearing me apart?” Snape whispered.
Sarah embraced Snape tightly and said, “I’m so sorry that you have to go through this.”
“Why can’t my life be simple? I want to live just for myself, I want to do what I want, not what others want me to do. I’m so sick and tired of serving the Dark Lord and Dumbledore. It’s hard to comprehend how much one mistake – joining The Dark Lord – has changed my life. Just one mistake and Lily died, leaving me suffering of guilt all my life. I became a spy of Dumbledore to save her, but it as no use. Instead I’m his slave now. I have to teach in his damn school. I could not even teach the subject I would probably like teaching, because it is bewitched and Dumbledore did not want to lose his slave. Everything what I do now is to keep Lily’s son safe. Why could not he be like her? Instead he is just as arrogant as his father. He will never appreciate what I have done for him. He won’t even realise that I have lived my last years for him, for the boy I don’t even care about! Now, I have to kill Dumbledore, because he wants me to remain as a spy. Why can’t I live for myself, not others?”
“You will live for yourself when Voldemort will be gone. Just be patient a little bit more. Let’s just run away from here, when all this will be over, from all people that you hate, just two of us. What do you say?”
“Let’s survive until then at first…” Snape muttered.
“Stop that! Everything will be fine.” Sarah kissed Snape.
“I would want to believe you so much.” Snape said.
Summer had ended and no one had really noticed how it had passed by. It seemed just like a couple of weeks, but it was over. September 1st was there and it had brought different emotions. For some, like Harry, it was joy because Hogwarts was more like a home than any other place. To others it brought misery.
Snape was one of them. He hated everything that associated with this date. He had to come back to the school he hated, he would have to see those stupid dunderheads whom he hated, he would have to look after two boys he hated more than anyone in that moment – Harry, whom he had to protect, and Draco, whose safety was his responsibility now, too. And he had another reason why he did not want to go back to Hogwarts. It was Sarah. He had gotten used to her presence. He enjoyed talking and making love with her. She did not even seem so annoying anymore, but he had to leave her and go to Hogwarts. He wanted to leave his job and be with Sarah, but he could not resign. This was his last year at Hogwarts anyway.
He did not know how frequently he would see Sarah while he would have to be at Hogwarts. She asked him to come at the weekends. He could always go to the Hogsmeade and Apparate from there to Sarah’s apartment, but it was not as easy as it seems. It would be suspicious if he went away on weekend, because he had never done that. He had been leaving Hogwarts just to visit Voldemort. He had nowhere else to go. It was too dangerous for anyone to find out about Sarah, so he could not leave Hogwarts. He did not want even Dumbledore to know, but he would definitely poke his nose into Snape’s business. Other problem was that his weekend was never completely free. He had to give detentions. He was sure that he will spent more of his free time with Potter than Sarah. This was Snape’s last year, last chance to re-educate Potter. He was sure that he would be giving Potter much detention this year. He had a chance to take 70 points from Gryffindor on the first day already, because Potter was late for the start-of-term feast. He did not know exactly why he had been late, but he would find out the truth soon. And thirdly, he could not be away from Hogwarts, because he had to keep an eye on Draco. He had to find out what he was planning.
It was rather funny for Snape to see everyone wandering why he had got the Defence Against the Dark Arts post. They had always thought that Snape did not get it because Dumbledore did not trust him. Well they were wrong. He had acquired Dumbledore’s trust long time ago.
The only thing Snape did not like about getting D.A.D.A post was that Slughorn accepted N.E.W.T. students with 'Exceeds Expectations' at O.W.L and that meant that Potter was able to continue Potions and he could become an Auror. He had not been so lucky if Snape had continued to torture Potions. He was not able to obstruct Potter this time from getting what he wanted. Harry had always been lucky. And secondly he would have to see him in D.A.D.A. lessons, because he had an outstanding. He would have to see his green eyes that had been Lily’s and that brought pain to Snape each time he had to look into them and deal with the terrible character Harry had gotten from his father.
The first time Snape would see Sarah was at Christmas. Snape was looking forward to it. He had even gotten into a better mood, but Draco had managed to spoil it this time. Snape could not persuade Draco to tell him what he was planning. Draco did not trust Snape and he did not care that Snape had taken the Unbreakable Vow. He thought that Snape wants to steal his plan and glory. Snape had not imagined that Draco would be such a big problem, but Draco was very determined to accomplish his mission.
Snape had arranged some free days during the Christmas holidays to spend with Sarah. Christmas and New Years Eve was luckily among those days. A few days after children had left Hogwarts Snape packed some things and got going as well. Snape walked out of his personal quarters, put on some security spells and left cold and dark dungeons. Happiness filled him when he realised that these were the first Christmas that he would celebrate; and not only celebrate, but be away from Hogwarts in a lovely apartment with a woman who loves him. His usual sneer changed to something that might be defined as a smile and in this moment of weakness he ran into Professor McGonagall.
“Professor Snape,” she said, “where are you going?”
“It’s none of your concern, Minerva.” Snape snapped trying to be strict. “I’m not supposed to stay at Hogwarts all my life.”
“You are not, but you have always preferred to do so. What has changed now?”
“I will repeat again. It’s none of your concern. I would like to go now if you don’t mind.” Snape looked at her irritated.
Minerva stepped aside from Snape’s path. Snape noticed a smirk crossing her face as he passed her by.
“No, Minerva, you will not find out why I am leaving from Dumbledore.” He sneered.
She had a very surprised look so Snape knew that he had guessed right.
“I’m not as interested as you believe I am!” she snapped.
Snape just laughed, turned around and went away. He had been right – people would be interested in his personal life if he would suddenly have it. He had to be more careful.
Finally he got outside and breather in the chilly air of freedom. Just a few more steps and he was outside of Hogwarts territory. He Disapparated as soon as he could and popped into the living room of Sarah’s apartment. She had been waiting for him. She was wearing a simple black dress that ended just below her knee. It looked fantastic on her body, highlighting her figure. He knew that she had dressed up for him. In a matter of seconds she ran up and embraced him. Snape felt wonderful holding her and knowing that he isn’t alone in this world.
“I was waiting for you so long. You can’t imagine how awful it is to be alone all the time!” Sarah said.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t do anything about it.”
“How was your time at Hogwarts? Is Harry as arrogant as always?” she laughed.
“No, he is even more arrogant! Do you think that I have come here to talk about him?” he snapped.
“It was just a joke! Maybe you could write some letters to me during the time while you are at Hogwarts? I feel so lonely and abandoned.” Sarah pleaded.
“You know that it is too risky! Why do we have to talk about it again?”
“Because so much protection doesn’t make any sense! If you want me to be so safe you shouldn’t have came now!” She had folded her arms in front of her chest and Snape feared that she was resented.
“It will be over soon. I will have killed Dumbledore and there won’t be any Hogwarts for me. I’ll be able to live with you.” Snape hugged her and gave her a kiss. She was a bad actress. She was too happy to see him to be angry.
“Alright, let’s have dinner. I have made something especially for you.” She smiled and took Snape’s hand leading him into the kitchen which was filled with a wonderful scent of freshly baked food. He saw chicken, apple pie, different fruits. Everything looked wonderful and even tasted wonderful. She had done what she intended - Snape was very impressed by her skills.
After the delicious dinner they sat down on a couch besides the Christmas tree. Snape pointed his wand at the opposite wall and a fireplace with burning wood appeared there.
“Perfect!” Sarah exclaimed. “I think that now it is a perfect time for you to receive my gift!” Sarah went into the bedroom and Snape heard sounds that he recognised as opening the cupboard, taking something out and then putting it on the floor. Meanwhile he was also able to take his gift out of the pocket of his cloak. He had done that just as he heard her steps hurrying back to him. Sarah was holding a rather large parcel wrapped in silver paper. It was awfully bright, but Snape did not really expect to receive present wrapped in back. Sarah gave him the parcel and planted a kiss on his cheek. The parcel was rather light and soft. Snape looked up to her confused.
“Well open it!” she urged.
Snape undid the band and opened the parcel. As he took the present out, he was even more confused. It appeared to be clothing, moreover, a Muggle clothing. It was black at least - a black pullover and black jeans. Snape looked up at Sarah again. He did not really understand her sense of humour this time.
“Don’t worry, I know some useful spells for changing the size if it doesn’t fit.”
It was not what Snape had expected to hear.
“Why do I need Muggle clothing?” he asked shyly.
“I will soon be out of nice places where to take you unless we go to some places where Muggles can be as well. As you don’t want to draw anyone’s attention you should dress up as Muggles do.
Snape smiled. “In this case these will be useful. Thank you!”
“But is this clothing stylish?” Snape asked trying to look serious.
“I would like to see your face if I had bought stylish clothing!” Sarah laughed so hard that she almost fell off the couch.
“I also have a present for you,” Snape said and took out a bottle with a golden liquid.
During the last six month he had spent countless hours brewing it especially for her. He liked doing it. Moreover hours that he spent preparing this potion were the nicest. The coldness of dungeons seemed to disappear, light crept into his dark quarters and his heart was beating faster when he thought about her. Happiness filled him when he realised that once in a long time he was putting efforts into something that would really be appreciated, not just taken a granted.
“What is it?” Sarah asked in surprise.
“It’s Felix Felicis a luck potion. There will come a point when you will find it useful.”
Sarah kissed Snape on the cheek. “Thank you!” She smiled warmly. “I will know when to use it.”
“Now that I have new clothing, I could take you to a Muggle restaurant tomorrow. What do you say?”
“Oh! I would love it, but wait a minute do you want to say that you are not satisfied with my cooking?”
“Yes, that’s the worst food I have ever eaten!” Snape joked.
“Hey!” Sarah shouted and tried to punch him, but Snape caught her arms and kissed her again, and again, and again.
After a week of happiness it was the New Year’s Eve and one more day for Snape to remain at Sarah’s home.
“Is the Champagne on the table, Sev?” Sarah asked from the kitchen.
“Yes it is, but here are no glasses.”
“Then get them! Preparing a turkey isn’t as simple as you think!”
Snape went to the kitchen to get glasses and saw Sarah looking angrily at the turkey.
“May I help you?” he said.
“You are a man and men don’t know anything about cooking!”
“You have forgotten that I am a potions master.”
“Kitchen is a place for women. Go away!”
“As you wish!”
Snape got glasses and went to the living room. He lit some candles and liked the result. Atmosphere was nice and cosy.
“Come, Sarah, New Year will be here after 10 minutes!” he shouted in the direction of the kitchen.
Suddenly the turkey appeared on the table and soon after that Sarah came also.
“How do you celebrate the New Year, Severus?”
“Actually, I don’t celebrate it.”
“It doesn’t even surprise me anymore.” Sarah said sarcastically.
“I have heard that while the clock is beating twelve times, we have to write a wish on a paper and burn it. Then it will be fulfilled.” Severus said.
“Well we have nothing to lose. ‘Scrinium!’ Sarah said and small lists of paper appeared on the table just in front of each of them.
“You forgot about quills!” Snape said. “Perscribo!” Quills appeared, too.
“Sit down! The clock will be beating soon.”
Just as she told that the first stroke echoed throughout the house. They both took quills stimulatory and started writing. On the eight stroke Snape burnt his paper and Sarah soon afterwards. Snape opened Firewhiskey and poured it into the glasses. As the clock beat twelve they were drinking down the Firewhiskey.
“We did it!” Sarah said joyfully.
“What did you write?” Snape asked curiously.
“I wrote that I want to spend every day with you.”
Snape smiled and not for the first time that day. It was too unusual for him to hear that someone wanted to be with him.
“I wrote that I want you to be happy.”
“I am, Severus, I really am!”
Parts of the dialogue are taken form DH, chapter 32.
It was twilight, the air was cool as it always was in February, but it did not stop Severus Snape from taking a walk through the castle grounds. He did not do it because of his own will. He would have better preferred sitting in his office and making potions or writing a letter to Sarah, which he had done often after the Christmas, or putting students that were not from his house in detention, but Dumbledore always knew better how to plan Snape’s time. He wanted to have a talk with Snape. It should have been about something important, but up until that moment Snape had not received any useful information. He became only more and more irritated. Dumbledore not only did not reveal anything he did not even say what he was doing with Potter all the time. Yes, Dumbledore did not trust Snape anymore and Snape did not know where the problem was. “Probably I am stupid, but I don’t understand it. He prefers to give valuable information to Harry not me, because I spend too much time with the Dark Lord. And the way he said it. I just want to blow up. I do it all because of him, I rejoined the Dark Lord on his orders, but now he can’t give me any information worth knowing, because it’s dangerous. Naturally, it is dangerous to give information to me - an occlumens with years of experience, but it isn’t dangerous to give the information to a weak boy unable to shut his mind, who moreover has a straight connection with the Dark Lord. Yes, this isn’t dangerous. I think it’s just ridiculous!” Snape thought.
Snape turned away from Dumbledore. He was too angry to look at him. He felt undervalued and it hurt. It hurt a lot to be not good enough to know some secrets of an old man for whom he had done enough and would have to do a harder task than all that he had done before. Snape looked in the direction of the Forbidden Forest. They were close to it. The trees stood to their light and atmosphere was as dark as angry Snape felt. Some horrid thoughts came into his mind. “What if a horrible creature leaped out of the Forbidden Forest and attacked Dumbledore, even killed him. would not it be nice? Potter would not get more information and I would not have to become a murderer. It would be very convenient for me.” His eyes sparkled at these thoughts. Dark and nasty thoughts always made him happier, but suddenly he understood the foolishness of his mind.
God! What was I thinking about?” Snape cleared his head of such thoughts and looked at Dumbledore.
Dumbledore spoke, “After you have killed me, Severus—”
Suddenly new flames of anger lit up inside Snape. He could not take Dumbledore anymore. It was too much for him. He was fed up with being a toy for Dumbledore. He could not play with him like this!
“You refuse to tell me everything, yet you expect that small service of me!” snarled Snape, and real anger flared in the thin face now. “You take a great deal for granted, Dumbledore! Perhaps I have changed my mind!”
Finally, he had said it. He had really changed his mind. He did not care about the Unbreakable Vow. He would not kill Dumbledore and that’s all. It was too much to do for Dumbledore if he was not going to do anything for Snape. If he wanted to end his life before the time he had plenty of ways to do it. He could go into the dark forest and wait for someone to attack him (this idea was too good for Snape to forget it completely); he could take his life himself; and he could let Draco do it. Why did it have to be Snape who would have to kill him? He had other options and he would have to choose one of them, because Snape was not going to do it and that’s all!
“You gave me your word, Severus. And while we are talking about services you owe me, I thought you agreed to keep a close eye on our young Slytherin friend?”
“Well that was too much!” Snape thought. “He knows that I keep my promises and I have to keep this one no matter how much I don’t want to. He isn’t even trying to improve the situation!”
Snape heard a sigh from Dumbledore and then he said, “Come to my office tonight, Severus, at eleven, and you shall not complain that I have no confidence in you. . . ”
Well that was better. It seemed that Dumbledore had understood something after all. He was going to tell him something, but still he could sense that Dumbledore would not say the same to him what Potter knew. Still more is better than less. He had to wait and see what the night would bring.
At five minutes to eleven Snape came out of his personal quarters and quickly went to Dumbledore’s office. His footsteps trampled in the long and dark corridors of Hogwarts. There was such determination in his steps that he walked faster than usually, placing heavy footsteps. Some people in portraits hid when he came close to them. They did not know that he was not the slightest bit interested in portraits and if there was somebody that he wanted to kill then it was Dumbledore if he would not say anything useful to Snape. Funny, he would have to kill him anyway, but is still mattered.
Finally Snape came to the gargoyle guarding Dumbledore’s office and said “sherbet” in disgust. There was probably one good thing about Dumbledore’s death. Minerva would definitely choose more suitable password. The entrance opened and soon Snape stood in Dumbledore’s office just in front to his desk.
“Sit down, Severus!” Dumbledore said with those unceasing sparkles in his eyes.
Snape did as Dumbledore suggested and waited patiently for the information that Dumbledore will reveal. He waited like that for another few minutes, but after ten minutes he understood that it was useless. Dumbledore kept talking about the Potter boy. did not he really understand that Snape had not came there to listen that Harry has to do something that Snape knows nothing about and so he can’t know something else until he has done that. Snape would be the lucky one to tell him something that he has to know. It was ridiculous! If it was something that important then Dumbledore could say that to someone he trusted more than Snape, but now he was just wasting his time by trying to convince Snape that it would mean that Dumbledore had faith in him. It just did not make any sense.
Now Dumbledore was talking about Nagini. It was more foolish then everything told before. Why would Voldemort fear for the life of his snake? Well, but it meant one good thing. Snape would not have to tell Harry anything if Voldemort did not fear for the life of Nagini. Dumbledore was coming to the point about the message that Snape would have to tell so slowly that it was frustrating. Moreover, Dumbledore did not say anything useful. It was enough for Snape.
“Tell him what?” he asked.
At last he said it. He better would not have. Harry must die. As simple as it is. The boy Snape had hated all the time would have to die and all that he had done to keep him safe had been useless. Everything that he did to keep Harry safe he did for Lily, thinking about her and knowing that she would appreciate it, but now… Now he could not do anything. Dumbledore said that Harry has to die and if Dumbledore said something then it would be just as he said. Harry would have to allow the Dark Lord to kill him. Snape did not wish such death even for Potter. It would be dying like a coward. There was nothing worth than being considered a coward. Probably Harry was ready for the death from the Dark Lord’s hand, but not such death. Everyone deserved to have a chance to fight for his life, not just let the enemy kill him. Snape felt miserable. He had to protect Harry for Lily. How could he be the one who would have to reveal to Harry that he would have to die, moreover, die like a coward?
It hurt, it hurt strongly. Lily had sacrificed herself to save her boy. Snape had pleaded the Dark Lord to spare her and he would not have killed her if she had let him kill her son. Snape was foolish at that time. He did not know what it meant to have a child. Well, he did not know that now as well, but now he knew that a mother would do anything to protect her child and he had been such a fool to think that Lily could get out of it alive. Now her sacrifice did not make any sense. Her boy would have to die before being able to taste real life. It all just did not make sense for Snape.
“I thought. . . all those years. . . that we were protecting him for her. For Lily.”
“We have protected him because it has been essential to teach him, to raise him, to let him try his strength,” said Dumbledore, his eyes still tight shut.
Dumbledore opened his eyes. Snape looked horrified. It was too much for him; it was disgusting. How could Dumbledore talk like that about a person? Potter was not his property after all. He had a right to choose his life, but now it looked like Dumbledore had planned everything from the beginning. The boy had not lived for himself, but for others, just like Snape.
“You have kept him alive so that he can die at the right moment?”
“Don’t be shocked, Severus. How many men and women have you watched die?”
“Lately, only those whom I could not save,” said Snape. And he could not save Harry. He was stunned by the coldness Dumbledore spoke of Harry. Snape had always thought that Dumbledore had loved him like a son, that he would do anything to protect him, but no. It was all a lie and a good mask. He did not care for the boy. He had cared about his life and safety just to make sure that the boy would kill the Dark Lord. Finally, Snape understood that Dumbledore’s aim for the last years was to finish off Voldemort and he would always get what he wanted. He did not care about methods he would have to use. He did not mind sacrificing himself, devastating Snape’s life by doing that and then sacrificing the boy that all the Wizarding world thought he had protected. He was obsessed by this fight.
He stood up. “You have used me.”
Snape thought: “All these years I have worked for him and stayed in that bloody school just to keep Lily’s son safe and now he says that he has to die in the right moment. If I had known that he will die anyway I would not have rejoined the Dark Lord and I would not teach in this damn school. I would leave this country! He did not let me live the life that I wanted because of selfishness. He sees his goal of life and he wants everyone to dance to his tune. He doesn’t want to know that others don’t want to do what he has planned and that his plans are not the best for everyone!”
“I have spied for you and lied for you, put myself in mortal danger for you. Everything was supposed to be to keep Lily Potter’s son safe. Now you tell me you have been raising him like a pig for slaughter—”
“But this is touching, Severus,” said Dumbledore seriously. “Have you grown to care for the boy, after all?”
Did not Dumbledore understand anything? Had he forgotten why Snape had worked with him all these years, why he had been protecting the boy whom he loathed? He had never felt any sympathy for the boy. Even now he did not care so much for Harry. What he cared for was unfairness. He could not accept people dying young and out of reason. Snape felt betrayed. Dumbledore had said that he has to protect Harry for Lily, but now it appeared that those were just lies of an old selfish man. He had used Snape’s love to get another person on this side for accomplishing his own goal which was not what Lily sacrificed herself for. Snape could not comprehend that Dumbledore did not understand why Snape was so angry. How foolish was he to think that he cared for the boy?
“For him?” shouted Snape. “Expecto Patronum!”
From the tip of his wand burst the silver doe. Her Patronus. The doe even had her eyes it was only impossible to see the green colour. It was so painful for Snape to use his Patronus, because it reminded of her. It was also dangerous to use it, that’s why he never did. No one could know that his Patronus takes the same form as Lily’s did. It would be suspicious, because love is the most likely explanation for that. Even Dumbledore had not seen his Patronus. Snape did not want to seem vulnerable, with feelings. It was all weakness, but now Dumbledore had to see it. He had to remember and understand why Snape had protected Harry all these years, why he continued to live.
“After all this time?” Dumbledore asked.
“Always,” said Snape.
Parts in italic belong to JKR.
Snape had felt bad all day. There was an unpleasant sensation in his stomach and throughout his entire body. He knew that something wrong was going to happen. Actually he had felt that way for some weeks. The school term was coming to an end, but Draco had not done anything to attempt a murder. He had to act soon, because the summer holidays were coming and he was running out of time. In fact, Dumbledore was running out of time as well. There was a little bit more than a month left until the day when a year ago he had stopped his death. He could not hold much longer. The moment of which Snape feared was going to be soon.
Snape could not sleep that night just as the night before and another one before that. He was reading something. He did not remember what, because my eyes ran across the text, but he could not take any information in. A little bit past midnight Snape was trying to calm himself down. He had already assured himself that he had to rest and nothing was going to happen while he would sleep when he heard someone screaming. Just as Snape understood that something was wrong Professor Flitwick ran into his office screaming that Death Eaters were in the castle and he had to help fighting. Snape had been so stressed before hearing that it was going to happen that he did not get a heart attack as he had thought he would. Snape was almost happy that finally it would be over.
Flitwick did not know, of course, that Snape could not help them in that fight. To be true, he did not want everyone to know that he was a traitor so he just stupefied him. Flitwick would not be a good fighter anyway. He was so tense that he could not hold his wand straight.
Snape had to go. He had to go fast. He wanted it to end as fast as it could and he had to be there on time, before Draco had murdered Dumbledore. Snape did not think that he would be able to do that, but he had a year to prepare so he could not be sure. Draco had managed to get Death Eaters into the castle somehow after all. Snape did not think that it would be possible as well; at least he did not know how to get someone into the castle. He would have to find out how Draco managed to do that. Just out of curiosity, naturally.
Snape ran out of my office and saw two girls there – the Know-it-all and Mrs. Lovegood. They seemed ready to go upstairs and fight. It would be a waste if these girls suffered. How would he explain why Professor Flitwick did not come after him? Luckily he got a good idea and fast. Snape said that he had collapsed and the girls should take care of him. It would stop them for awhile. Accidentally, he had killed two birds with one stone.
Snape ran up and saw the battlefield. Curses were flying everywhere. The order was loosing. He could not understand how he had not heard anything before. The stairs were blocked by a curse. Snape knew that curse. Only those who had the Dark Mark on their arm could get through it. So that was the place where the most important event was happening – upstairs in the tower. Snape did not waste any time fighting downstairs. He knew what he had to do and he ran straight through the barrier. Snape hoped that he would be there in time.
Snape ran up the stairs as fast as he could manage. It felt like an hour even though it took him just some seconds to reach the top of the tower. He was petrified when he saw the door. Suddenly he could not do it anymore. Snape just had to run inside and say two words, but it was more that he could take. He wanted to run back, down those annoying, swirling stone steps. It would not take him an hour to get down. He heard voices.
“Draco, do it, or stand aside so one of us –“ screeched a woman.
It was Bellatrix. Snape feared her. He knew that she wanted to kill Dumbledore herself. There was no more time to lose.
He burst the door open and looked around. He saw Dumbledore and he looked terrible, three Death Eaters, Grayback and of course, Malfoy.
“We've got a problem, Snape,” said the lumpy Amycus, whose eyes and wand were fixed alike upon Dumbledore, “the boy doesn't seem able -“
Amycus always managed to ‘surprise’ him. Snape had known for a year already that Draco won’t be able to do that.
The voice that he could always recognize said. It was Dumbledore and he was pleading. Probably it was the first time Snape heard him pleading and it hurt. He could not let him down.
He walked forward and pushed Malfoy out of way. The Death Eaters were taken aback by his action. They did not know about the Unbreakable Vow so they could only suspect that Snape really meant to do what Draco was supposed to.
It was the moment Snape had feared for almost a year. He raised his wand, but he knew that “Avada Kedavra” would not work, so he had to gather all the hatred that he could to perform well. Snape remembered how Dumbledore had used him; that he had spent sixteen years in this school just because of him; that he was not able to protect Lily and that he wanted to sacrifice her son, as well. All the hatred that he had felt for Dumbledore during the year was just like new and felt for the first time.
“Severus ... please ..." Dumbledore pleaded again.
Snape looked back at him for the last time with thought about his future life as a murder just because of him. He pointed my wand at him and screamed,
Everything that happened after that was one big mess. Sanpe saw everything like in a slow motion. He waited while my spell hit Dumbledore. He had been as precise as always; the spell hit him right in the chest and then he observed as Dumbledore’s body slowly made the trajectory out of the tower. His eyes were still open as he was blasted backwards and Snape managed to look his corpse right into the eyes. It was the most horrific sight he had ever seen. His eyes were without the usual, annoying sparkle in them.
Snape had always wished not to see the sparkles in his eyes. It made him look happy and Snape did not like happy people, but Dumbledore had always pretended that he was one of them, although Snape knew that he also felt lonely and he was not entirely happy. He had tried to block those sad moments that had been in his life and to appear jovial, but Snape could see that deep inside something was troubling him. He had never talked about it and Snape had never asked, but Snape knew that it was guilt. Now the sparkle had gone. No one will have a chance to be annoyed with his sparkling eyes or with the request to take lemon drops and Snape was the one guilty for that
It seemed like hours before Snape pulled himself together and urged everyone to get out of that goddamned place. He seized Draco and pulled him out of the door. He wanted to leave before others did; he just wanted to disappear and be alone.
Snape was running through the castle grounds with Draco. They would have soon been at the gates when a “Stupefy” curse missed Snape. He told Draco to run and remained to see who dared to throw curses at him. He was not very surprised to see Potter. He had felt that it was him. Their eyes locked and Snape saw great pain and hearted in his eyes. Potter knew something for sure; otherwise he would not have attacked Snape. But how could he know anything if only Death Eaters were up in the tower. No one had seen that Snape was the one who killed Dumbledore. If he would be lucky enough, probably no one would find out, but the Potter boy knew… He had never been lucky. Snape looked into his mind and Potter did not even notice that. He had spent so many evenings teaching him occlumency, but Potter was absolutely incapable of closing his mind. When Snape looked into his mind he saw all that horror again. He saw his own face full of hatred as he shouted the curse and then Dumbledore was blasted backwards. Snape saw even more than he had seen himself and it was awful, but not so painful anymore. It had been done and he felt even a bit of relief. Snape guessed his secret instantly, of course, he had been under an Invisibility Cloak. That cloak always saved him like his father and his gang.
They both raised their wands and Potter tried to put a Cruciatus curse on Snape. Potter was very unsuccessful. Snape blocked the curse even before Harry had said it. Harry tried again and was unsuccessful again. Luckily Snape had a chance to insult Harry - hopefully for the last time. He would want to deal with the boy ever again. Especially now when Harry would be the one who would tell everyone that Snape had killed Dumbledore.
Then it happened. Harry called Snape a coward. It was the worst thing he could have done. It awakened the devil in Snape. If Harry would know what Snape had to do and what he had done for Dumbledore! How could he call him a coward? Snape was everything but a coward. Cowardice had never been his feature.
"Coward, did you call me, Potter?" shouted Snape. "Your father would never attack me unless it was four on one, what would you call him, I wonder?" "Stupe-"
"Blocked again and again and again until you learn to keep your mouth shut and your mind closed, Potter!" sneered Snape, deflecting the curse once more.
Anger did not stop him from teaching Harry important lessons. He still was used to look after him as he had done for six years. Snape hoped that this would be the last time to look after him. He was fed up with Potter who never listened to him.
Snape did not know how he managed to get the situation out of control, but Death Eaters had managed to put a curse on Potter while Snape had been boiling with anger. Snape had to stop that, but he could not just take the curse off. No one could know that he secretly cared a little bit for the boy. Luckily he could say that Potter belonged to the Dark Lord and it was true. Everyone knew that the Dark Lord wanted to kill Potter himself.
And then Potter managed to get Snape out of control again by tearing open old wounds. He tried to do that same what his father had done to Snape. It was no wonder that Harry had followed his father’s example and had tried to use Snape’s own spell against him. Snape considered an idea to put a nasty spell on Harry when Harry had tried again to put the worst spell that Snape had invented on him. It was the spell which had humiliated Snape the most and was one of the reasons why Snape’s and Lily’s friendship had ended. This time Snape was not able to hold his anger and he blasted a curse at Potter.
"You dare use my own spells against me, Potter? It was I who invented them - I, the Half-Blood Prince! And you'd turn my inventions on me, like your filthy father, would you? I don't think so . . . no"
Snape had known for awhile that Harry had found his old potion’s book. Snape had been careless enough to leave it in the classroom. Harry had probably thought about the Half-Blood Prince and wondered who it was, but he probably had not suspected that it was Snape.
Harry had not understood anything as he always did. He was sure that Snape wanted to kill him. He urged Snape to do that and called him a coward again.
"DON'T -" screamed Snape, and his face was suddenly demented, inhuman, as though he was in as much pain as the yelping, howling dog stuck in the burning house behind them - "CALL ME COWARD!"
Snape blasted a curse at Harry again. He did not even intend to do it this time, but the anger overtook him and he did it. He could not stand being called a coward. He had just killed the man whom he had trusted more than anyone else, but Harry dared to call him a coward. A coward would not have been able to be a double-agent and murder his friend. A coward would not have saved Harry out of trouble so many times.
Suddenly out of nowhere a hippogriff appeared and flew at Snape. Snape would not have been surprised if Dumbledore’s phoenix had attacked him, but it was strange that the hippogriff attacked him, just as it would known what Snape had done. Snape backed away, but the creature slashed him with its claws. He was used to be attacked with spells, but not by an enraged animal. Its claws where sharp, and it hurt very much. Snape ran as fast as he could and manage to Disapparate just as he got through the gates.
It took about two hours to get Draco to his mother and explain to the Dark Lord why he had killed Dumbledore and why Draco should not be killed. Luckily the Dark Lord was not disappointed. He had dreamed about Dumbledore’s death for years. He thought that Dumbledore was his only hindrance from ruling the world. He had accepted the explanation that Draco had done the impossible by getting Death Eaters into the castle and that it was enough for the boy. Everything happened as Dumbledore had planned. The Dark Lord immediately acknowledged Snape as one of his most valuable Death Eaters. It took a lot for Snape to pretend that he was pleased and happy when he wanted to die right on the spot.
Sarah had just come from work. It had been another crazy day. Voldemort’s followers were getting more and more active and that brought more and more patients to St. Mungo’s. They had managed to save everyone that day, but it had taken a lot of time. She had spent about fourteen hours working and was completely exhausted. Just as Sarah Apparated home, she went straight to bed.
Sarah did not know how much time had passed since she had fallen asleep when she was awakened by a loud bang. It sounded like apparition, but it could not be Severus. He was always very quite. She grabbed her wand and held it tight in her hand. She slowly approached the door and listened what was going on behind it. There was certainly someone in the room. She wondered what to do. Probably she had to Disapparate out of there, but it was her apartment after all. Sarah plucked up courage and slowly opened the door, looking into the room through the small rive. It was Severus whom she saw there. He would have to pay for the fear she had felt.
Just as she came to him to tell everything that she thought about such sudden popping into her apartment, she noticed that he looked sad and unwell. It seemed that someone had attacked him, because blood was dripping from his robes. At least it was clear why he had been loud. Injured people always Apparate with sound.
When Severus saw Sarah, he held his breath for a moment. She looked very lovely although she was wearing pyjamas. He was a bit concerned that he had woken her up, but he had not even thought about that when he Apparated to her apartment. He did not have a clue what time it was. He had just wanted to see her. He hoped that she would ease his pain. Snape was always happy to see her; however, no one would have noticed it in that moment, because he was overwhelmed with grief.
“What happened?” she asked very concerned.
Severus thought for a moment what he could say. Too much had happened since they had met. He understood that she asked about the lately events, but still it was too much to tell.
“Too many things happened,” he said. His voice mixed sadness and anger. Sarah could not comprehend which one dominated. She understood that he did not want to talk about it, but she had to know. She figured out to start from the obvious, not the real think that troubled her.
“I mean who attacked you? There’s blood on your robes,” she yelled.
Snape had forgotten that he had been attacked by a hippogriff. He had more important thought on his mind, like how to get Draco back to his mother safe and how to convince the Dark Lord that Draco did not have to be killed. Moreover, he had to appear to be happy and proud because he had killed Dumbledore. Nonetheless as she mentioned his injuries he suddenly felt pain again. The hippogriff had a very sharp claw and nails. He probably had serious injuries, but it did not matter. He would heal them later.
“That’s nothing. It was just a stupid hippogriff,” he snapped.
She looked at him askew, but decided not to ask about the creature. There had definitely happened something more important and she could guess what.
“Have you done that?” she asked.
“Done what? Became a murderer? Yes, I have!” he said angrily. Why did Sarah ask so obvious questions? Snape was sure that she had understood it. He would not have Apparated to her apartment without warning if nothing had happened.
“Oh! I’m sorry, Severus.” Sarah hugged him as tenderly as she could. So it was true. Severus had done that. She was very anxious about what would happen next. Would they go away somewhere and live in peace or everything would go badly? She could not know that, but she was lightened that she would find that out soon. The first steps towards that had been made.
“Do you want to speak about that?” she offered him a chance to pour out his heart, but “No!” was all she got back from him. Sarah wondered what had gone wrong so badly that he did not even want to speak with her. At the beginning of their relationship he seemed more open. She could feel that he trusted her, but at that moment she was not sure about it. Since Christmas he had become colder towards her and even less emotional, if it was possible. Maybe she was just a fool to think that he was as madly in love with her as she was. It had been more than a year since they met. He could have become bored with her. She would not better think about that. It was too hard for her to think that even he could have left her. She realized that he was not the most desirable man, because it was too hard to get through his shell and see that he was a nice man deep inside, at least he had been for her.
Her doubts cleared a bit when Severus started speaking. It seemed that his biting “No!” was a habit made up long ago, because there were no people whom he trusted enough to tell what was bothering him.
“Sarah, you can’t imagine how hard it was to cast the killing curse. I had to gather all my hatred for him to do it right…” Severus was not sure if she knew what was needed to cast the killing curse right, so he thought that it would be better to explain.
“Hatred?” she asked confused.
“Yes, I see that you haven’t practiced the killing curse.” His joke had definitely been unsuccessful.
“To perform the killing curse you really have to mean it. Just as I raised my wand I gathered all the bad thoughts that I had about him. I felt such hatred insight that I think for a moment I really wanted him dead. Do you understand it? I really meant it, because the curse I cast this time was more powerful than I had managed to cast ever before.”
She had never thought about the process of killing. She had thought that it was enough to say the two words she knew very well. The reality was much further from her imagination. Poor Severus, he had gone through emotionally very hard event. He blamed himself for being able to do that, but he had had no choice.
“No, Severus. Don’t torture yourself with that. The curse had to be more powerful, because Dumbledore was a very powerful wizard. You had to mean it to cast the curse. You could do nothing about it. It’s good that you can control your emotions like that. It’s only enviable that you can feel hatred when you have to, otherwise you would be dead long ago.”
He knew that she was right and that he shouldn’t blame himself. It was what Dumbledore had wanted even if it was a bit too much.
“But, Sarah, I hated him from all my heart when I did it.” Snape could not calm down. He was scared of himself.
“It’s not your fault. It’s Dumbledore’s fault, if he gave you enough reason to hate him so much.” Severus considered what Sarah had just said and agreed with her. It was right. Dumbledore had given him enough reasons to hate him so it was not Snape’s fault that he had reasons for the hatred. He should not torture himself with that, but he could not manage to make himself believe it.
There was something what was troubling Sarah very much. She was waiting for an appropriate moment to ask it, but she did not feel that the right time would ever come, so she decided to ask it straight away and find out the truth. “Did anyone see you murder Dumbledore? I mean besides the Death Eaters.”
“I know what you mean fairly well.” He sighed. How could he tell Sarah that Potter somehow had seen it? How could he tell her that Azkaban was probably waiting for him, even if he would be adroit enough to avoid it? “Sarah…”
“No, don’t tell me that it is known, no!” She wanted to live in peace not in hiding. She was tired of troubles and danger. It would be very bad if someone was looking for Snape. Sarah knew that Ministry did not like Dumbledore, but still it would be their responsibility to capture his murderer.
“I don’t know what they know. It seemed that no one had seen it, but when I was fleeing from the castle Potter ran after me. He had seen it. I looked into his mind and I saw myself casting the spell. It looked dreadful. It was more painful to look at his memory then it had been when I did it.”
“He had been there? How could you do it in front of the boy’s eyes?” Sarah was upset. The boy should not see death so often. He probably was completely devastated.
“Do you think that I would have done it if I had known that he was there? I’m not a fool, Sarah.” Snape was surprised by the way she reacted. Had she thought that he did not mind that the boy saw him murder his protector?
“I know…” She wondered how she could doubt Severus for a moment.
“I guess that he was under an Invisibility Cloak. He has got one. I can’t even imagine what he thinks about me now. If it is even possible to think worse of me than he already did. He saw the hatred with which I killed him. He thinks that it was for real. He called me a coward.” Snape did not want to think about it. He had obviously hated Snape before, but now Snape could not even imagine. Probably Harry hated Snape even more than Snape had hated his father. He was scared of what they boy would tell other professors. Snape knew that they did not like him, but he had had their respect. Respect was the only thing that could hold him in Hogwarts. It was something that Snape had longed for when he was a student in Hogwarts and he was proud that he had it now. He hated ungratefulness and he did not want to be hated for the things he was not guilty for. Secretly he longed for people to know that he was fighting for what was right and that he had sacrificed so much for a greater good. Instead he was thought to be a coward. That was hard even for unemotional people.
“A coward? That’s impossible. You are not a coward.” How could someone call him a coward? That sounded like a joke for her.
“He thinks that I am one.” He put so much bitterness into it as he could.
“Oh my god! I can’t imagine anyone thinking of you as a coward.” It was the very truth.
“You see, I am a coward in other’s eyes. You can be proud of me now!” he shouted. It probably did not really matter because anyway no one knows and will know about their relationship, but he would have wanted her to be proud of him, not ashamed because others think that he is a coward.
“Why are you yelling at me? I’m not guilty for the thing that you had to do!” she was hurt and annoyed by Severus always wanting to make someone else guilty for the things he had done.
“Yes, you are!” Sarah had been the one who had convinced him that this murder is the right thing to do after all.
“Do you want to say that I am responsible for the murder of Dumbledore?” she was even surprised.
“Yes you are! You are the one who assured me that it was the right thing to do! If it was not for you, I would have preferred to die! But I had to become a murderer just so that you would not cry!” Snape told it as nastily as he could.
“You know what,” she yelled. “Go to your house and calm down. I don’t want to see you until you have realized that you are the biggest fool on the earth!”
“You don’t even have a clue what I have just been through, and you call me a fool. You are the only fool here! Find someone else who will dance to your whistle!” Snape looked into her eyes for a long time and then Disapparated, with a bang again.
Sarah stood petrified for some moments. She could not believe what had just happened. She had looked forward to this moment, but everything had turned out completely wrong. She fell down to her knees and loud sobs escaped her lips. She thought that she would cry forever. Her world had just crashed. Everything that she had planned made no sense without Severus.
After her tears had dried Sarah understood that she had to do something to keep the thoughts about Severus away. Still, she hoped that he would come back. He had to. He had no one else to go to, but he had not come back for an hour already. She guessed that he wanted her to go to him and apologize. She wondered whether she should go to him. She understood that the situation was foolish, but she was too proud to admit that she should not have been so sharp with him, especially after what had happened.
She figured out that it would be more useful if she went to her work and helped to save some lives while she cleared her thoughts. She chose to Floo to the workplace. She hated this way of traveling, but it was the fastest one in this case. She Flooed straight to the room where healers from her department could rest. When she got out of the fireplace she saw her colleague Megan resting on the couch. She had shoulder length blonde hair, always wore provocative make-up and all in all was a very charming woman.
“Hey, Sarah! Have you heard the news?” she asked after throwing out her bubblegum.
“Which news?” Sarah asked back, just to be polite. She was not interested in any news anyway.
“There was a Death Eater attack on Hogwarts and they say that Albus Dumbledore has been murdered. Can you imagine something like that? If it’s not safe even in Hogwarts, it’s not safe anywhere…” Sarah thought that it was the first time she saw Megan worried. She was always too jovial to be true. So the news had reached everyone. She was worried about what everyone knew. Sarah had to admit that arguing with Snape had been silly, if she was afraid of being left without him more than anything in the world. She would not survive if he was sent to Azkaban. Still, she had hoped that everything would be alright. She could be lucky for once, too, but she was afraid to find out what was known. She did not want to crush her illusions about a bright future.
“Who killed Dumbledore?” Sarah asked without waiting for Megan to stop. She held her breath and hoped that Megan would not how anxious she was.
“I don’t know. One of the Death Eaters,” she shrugged her shoulders.
A huge weight was lifted off her mind. Sarah was relieved that Snape was not a murderer officially, at least up to that moment. She could hope that everything would be alright. The fight could not last forever, could it? She did not want to think about it. He should come back soon and apologize for being rude. She did not believe that he did not care enough for her to come back. He would do that eventually.
“Anyway what are you doing here? You went home just a few hours ago.” She was as curious as always and said everything what was on her mind without thinking.
“I just don’t have anything to do at home, but here is a lot of work,” Sarah lied.
“Don’t lie! No one comes to work just because there is nothing to do at home!” she stopped ad then suddenly said, “Have you had a quarrel with your boyfriend?”
“What? How do you know?” Sarah could not believe her ears. She had not even told Megan that she had a boyfriend. Actually, she had not told anyone that she had met someone whom she loved. Was it so obvious that she was in love? She tried not to express it in any way. It was a real mystery how Megan knew that.
“Well, I did not. I said it just like a joke!” she revealed confused, but an impish smirk crossed her face soon afterwards. She seemed very interested in her new discovery.
“Oh my god!” Sarah exclaimed. She definitely had not intended to talk about Severus with Megan. The whole St. Mungo’s would know everything that she told her after about ten to fifteen minutes.
“Why did not you tell me that you finally found someone for you?” she questioned her.
“I choose to keep my private life just to myself,” she said and hoped that Megan would not ask anything more, but it was a very small hope.
“So, you had a fight and broke up?” she asked.
“Yes,” Sarah admitted. It seemed that Megan knew everything. Sarah figured out that there’s no need to think about how she could conclude it.
“And he’s the guilty one?” Megan asked as straight as she always did.
“I would not say that I can’t be blamed as well,” she confessed although she did not want to.
“So what are you thinking about? Go to him and apologize. You were looking for someone so long and now, when you have found someone you love, you are wasting time by arguing.” Megan was quite furious.
“But why shouldn’t I?” Sarah asked for more explanation. She was not willing to admit that she was too stubborn and she should go and apologize.
“There’s a war going on! If the Death Eaters managed to kill Albus Dumbledore, they can kill him, too! Do you want to be alone again?” she said completely certain about her words.
That was definitely the worst example that she could provide, but Sarah got her point. She was right.
Sarah took some potions for clearing his wounds and Apparated to his house. She thought that he was definitely angry at her so it was better to Apparate straight into the living room, not in the street, because he could not let her in as well. It was not polite, but she did not care.
Everything was worse than she had imagined. Snape was sitting in an armchair with a bottle of Firewhiskey in the hand and was looking very miserable. She finally felt very sorry for him. He had been through so much, but she was angry just because of the worthless argument. She suppressed her pride, went strait to him and hugged him.
He did not return any love to her. Instead he glowered at her with no other emotion than pain and hearted and snapped, “What are you doing here? I have not calmed down and I have no intention to do that, so you are not going to receive any apology from me, if that’s what you want.”
“I haven’t come to ask for an apology although you said some unpleasant things to me….”
Sarah was intervened by Snape, “You should have gotten used to hearing truth from people long ago and not be furious for years and years that they do not think just the way as you do,” Snape retorted. He was fed up with her always thinking that she was right. It was an emotionally hard time for Snape and he had more important things on his mind than controlling his thought and temper, but she expected that he would be able to think about everything.
“But you are wrong!” she said obstinately.
“And killing a friend is wrong, too!”
“I’m sorry. Don’t be angry. Please!” she tried to comfort him, but he remained cold and angry.
“I am angry and I don’t want to do anything about it! You don’t know what it’s like. You haven’t seen the sparkle in Dumbledore’s eyes, but I saw the moment when it went out forever. You can’t even imagine how I feel, but you want me to be nice! Don’t be angry, but I would really like to be alone for awhile.”
“Alright, I will leave you alone so you can draw yourself in a bottle instead of talking it through with me.”
Snape was not looking at her, but heard how her steps went away. He was partly sorry for sending her away and being rude. He had missed her very much, but he did not want to take his anger out on her. For a moment he considered running after her and saying that he was sorry, but then he realized that it was definitely wiser to calm down at first. He did not want to risk with their love. Snape was surprised when she rushed back to him. He had hoped deep in his heart that she would not want to leave him alone and she would somehow find a way to make him feel better. He understood that he would not be so lucky, when he saw her carrying some bottles with potions towards him. He felt rather disappointed.
“What are those for?” he asked.
“For your wounds! Let me heal them.”
Snape repelled her soft and caring hands before they had touched him.
“Do you think that I’m incapable of healing my wounds myself?” he lost his temper completely. He needed her to help him sort out his emotions, but instead she was offering him potions that he probably had himself.
“Yes, you are. You are sitting here for hours in bloodied clothes!”
He wanted to scream at her and get her out of his house with all those potion bottles, but he managed to control himself. Sarah took his hesitation as allowance to heal his wounds. She magically took his robes off. He was surprised to see how many scratches and bruises he had. That creature had truly deserved to be beheaded. He got shivers running through all his body when she touched him. Snape had been longing for her touch, but he had never imagined that the reason for her touches would be his injuries. Snape lost the track of time since he felt very nice. It was until she applied some disinfecting potions. Then he felt like a small child again, because it was painful and he was too irritated to acknowledge how caring she was.
Sarah finished working on his wounds and was pleased with her job. He looked well and there was no sign that he had been injured just a few minutes ago. She cast some spells to mend his clothes and put them back on. She was partly sorry that she was done. It meant that she had to go home and wait for him to come to her, but she had no idea when he would do it and if he would. There could be a chance that he was angrier at her than she thought he was, but it was better not to think about that. She hesitated for some moments, because she hoped that he would reach for her and would not let her go. After some moments of silence when none of them moved she did not have another opportunity than to go away. At least she did not see another opportunity. She would not ask him an allowance to stay.
Meanwhile, Snape also was not as pleased as he should have been when she finished healing his wounds. He would have liked to feel her touch for longer. Everything could be alright if she stayed. He did not look at her, but he knew that she did not move away although it was not necessary for her to be at his side anymore. It meant that she would stay. Joy started filling his heart when she stood up and went away to the place where she had left her things. What if he asked her to stay? No, he could not do that. He had just asked her to leave. He never changed his thoughts so easily. He could not show her that he could not be without her. He had always been unyielding, he could not change now. It would not be him if he did. However, she was sensitive. She would definitely come back after a few seconds. He did not believe that she would really leave.
Sarah gathered her things and was ready to leave. Well, she did not want to, but she would never admit it. She waited a bit. She still hoped that he would ask her to stay, but she did not hear a sound from him. It seemed that he really preferred to be alone than with her.
Snape had almost changed his mind on calling her back when he heard a faint sound of Disapparition. “Sarah!” he called out, but it was too late. She had gone. He did not understand how it had happened. She had been so close, but he had let her go. Well, probably he could be fine without her. However, he noticed that since he had left her apartment he had thought just about her, not Dumbledore, Death Eaters, or his safety, just about her. So where was the use of sitting here and pretending that he was very angry if he was not? He knew that he won’t admit it, even to himself, but this time the best was to leave his pride behind and go after her.
Snape Disapparated and was on the way to restoring peace between them.
“Sarah, have you seen Megan?” Albert, the head of the Spell Damage department, asked when he saw her walking by in the hall. He was a large man with a big jaw and he looked a bit like a bulldog. He even resembled a dog, when he spoke. It was always a quick snap that used to send people in fear.
“Excuse me! I missed what you said,” Sarah had to admit it. She had been lost in her thoughts when he tore her out of them.
“I asked where Megan is. Her patient Mr. Lockhart needs help,” he barked at her.
What an always dissatisfied men! Sarah wondered how his wife could bear him.
She gritted her teeth put a smile on and answered, “I will go and find her.”
Apparently she forgot to add enthusiasm into it, because he barked at her, “Go! You won’t find her by staying here.” She also heard something like, “Why are those women so lazy?” as she left.
Sarah did not have to wonder where Megan could be. She was most probably having a cup of coffee; it was her habit. Sarah decided to get a cup for herself, too. It was quite hard to concentrate on the work on a hot day in the middle of June.
She went to the staff room which was just around the corner and found Megan there drinking coffee just as she had imagined.
“Albert sent me to get you. Mr. Lockhart needs something,” she reported lazily.
“Well, he always needs something! I can’t sit with him all the time! I guess his old healer quit the job just because of him. He’s so annoying!” she answered angrily as if Sarah was at fault.
“Albert is not in the mood today. I mean, he is even in a worse mood than usually so you should better go.” Sarah did not want Albert to think that she had not found Megan. She wanted to avid trouble that day at any cost. There was completely no need for arguments when after just a few hours she would get a free week. She smiled imagining not seeing all the patients, doctors, and annoying colleagues for a whole week.
“However, you seem to be in an unusually good mood. Are you together with your boyfriend again?” She settled back into the couch like preparing for a long talk.
“Yes, I am. You should go to Lockhart now.” She was trying to get her out of the room so she would not have to tell her anything.
“He can wait. I’ve taken his autograph four times today. Better tell how you made it up with your lover.” She did not intend to leave before Sarah would tell her something.
“There’s not much to tell, really.” She tried to dodge again, but unsuccessfully.
“Don’t be so pertinacious!” Megan said. “I don’t see what’s there to hide.”
“Ok, so I came to his house, but he did not want to talk with me so I left and waited when he would come back to me to apologize,” Sarah shortly explained.
“Did you have to wait for long?”
“Yes, it took him about five minutes.” Sarah said it completely serious, but Megan started laughing insanely.
“Five minutes? Yes, that’s much. I hope you made him suffer greatly for such a delay.”
“Yes, I did for some time. I could not let him know that I had been waiting for him.” Actually he had been rather scared hen she had left is house that he won’t come back that day. She would never admit to anyone that she was so unsure about him, though.
“Why aren’t you telling me anything about him?” Megan pouted.
“Go to Lockhart! He will tell you more interesting things!” she sent her away.
“Yes, he is a more interesting companion than you are. He talks at least!” she snapped and ran out of the room.
Sarah hoped that she would not have to talk with her again that day. One conversation was enough.
When she finally got home some hours later she found Severus in the kitchen. He was making supper. Usually it was not anything special, just some chicken, boiled potatoes and salad. He had not come up with anything new again, but Sarah did not mind. She did not enjoy cooking so she was glad that he could make something by himself.
“Smells good!” She sat at the table and tasted the salad. “Can you imagine? We can spend a whole week together! I’m so happy.”
“I can imagine. I’m unemployed now, if you have forgotten.” Snape did not know what would happen with him next. Voldemort was planning on taking over the Ministry and if he would succeed then Snape would become the new headmaster of Hogwarts. He did not want to think about it. It sounded ill. He did not want to look into the eyes of his prior colleagues. Snape did not know what Voldemort as planning for him in case he could not take over Hogwarts, but he knew that he would not be able to stay without a job. Voldemort wanted him in a useful position. It seemed that his plans never worked. The fantasy about going away with Sarah and staying out of everything would never come true.
“Do you have any ideas about what we could do during next week?” Sarah asked with a hope that he would have some, because she had completely ran out of new ideas.
“Actually, I have. You know that I can’t go far away from Britain in case he summons me, so I have picked south west of Ireland as out destination point.” He looked at her curiously waiting for the judgment.
“Why south west of Ireland?” She did not see it as the best vacation place, but she did not mind either.
“You will see.” His face remained unchanged as always.
“Sarah, have you finished packing?” Snape asked after he had finished the third cup of tea. He had thought that they would go to Ireland next morning after Sarah finished work, but it was already dinner time and she still refused to go.
“Just some more minutes,” she replayed from the bedroom.
Some more minutes did not sound as good as Snape had wanted so he poured in water for another cup.
“How do you think, should I take my boots in case the weather would be very bad?” she asked.
“You can take everything with you. We can put your entire apartment into the suitcase with a good shrinking charm,” he had to suggest it earlier. They would have saved a lot of time by taking everything with them.
“Oh! I forgot about the shrinking charm,” she responded. “I think I’m ready then,” she finally stated.
“Don’t worry, we can Apparate back any time in case you need something,” Snape did not want her to worry.
“No, then the joy of the trip would be ruined. Besides, I’m not used to apparition to other countries. I have to come here from America by plane while it’s not safe to Apparate over so great distance,” she explained.
“Well now we aren’t going too far. Are you ready?” he made sure that everything was alright.
“Yes,” she answered.
“Take my hand,” Snape said and Apparated her, himself and the not-large-enough suitcase
When they could feel the earth again Sarah almost got blown off her feet by the strong wind. Luckily Snape was fast enough to grab her and she did not lose balance. They found themselves on a high cliff and it was evident that there was water underneath. Sound of billowing waves could be heard and there was a light smell of salt in the air.
“We’re here,” Snape stated.
Sarah turned around to see a cottage not far from the cliffs and a village down in a valley. It looked that people were not coming to that place and it was just what they needed.
“No one will disturb us here,” Snape explained.
“I see. I hoped that here would be a beach somewhere, too, but it seems that here are only cliffs around here with not much chance to reach the water,” Sarah said, although she knew that she probably sounded ungrateful by wanting too much.
“Here is a beach. Do you see that island over there?” Snape pointed at a tiny piece of land in a distance.
“Yes, that looks like a beach. Will we have to go there by apparition?” she asked pointing out that she did not prefer apparition.
“No, I have a better idea, but let’s get our things in at first.” He grabbed the suitcase and guided her to the cottage. It was very small and simple, yet charming. The contrast of colours around it could be seen just in photos. The cottage itself was white, but it was surrounded by red roses, green grass and a clear blue sky. It was a time for Sarah to regret that she did not have a photo camera. They went inside to see that it had a kitchen, a living room and a bedroom. All the furniture in the house was old, after some time it could be called even antique. All around was an aura of neglect; however, the house was rather clean.
“Whose cottage is it?” Sarah wanted to know. Snape had never told that he had another house apart from the one in Spinner’s End. This did not look like one which could be rented, too.
“It’s Albus’s. He sent me to relax here many years ago. I remembered this place and thought that we could come here,” he explained.
“Are we allowed to come here? It doesn’t seem right to me.” She was a bit worried. Severus could not have asked for allowance to come here. This was not even Albus’s house anymore. When if someone who inherited the cottage would come and found them there. It would be highly unpleasant. However, Severus did not seem to be worried.
“He said that I can come here whenever I want and he reminded that not so long ago.” He saw that she did not seem convinced. “Don’t worry, no one can come here. Albus’s brother isn’t interested in his properties. I don’t think that anyone has been here in ten years. It is, since I left,” he concluded after casting a quick look around. “Albus spent all the time in Hogwarts. He did not need another place.”
“But it looks rather clean here,” she said, still not convinced.
“I have put a charm against dust. Do you think I wanted to clean it again in case I came back?” he laughed. Actually, she thought that it had been a good idea. She would not have wanted to clean anything either.
“Let’s go and see that beach now!” Sarah wanted to see the whole place where they would spend the next week.
“Well if you want to…” Snape had not intended to go right away, but he had no reason to postpone it.
They went almost to the same cliff on which they had Apparated. Sara still felt unsure about being so close to the precipice, but Snape led her even closer to it so that she could see how waves were splitting against the rocky coastline. Sarah seized Snape’s hand to gain more safety, but Snape took her in his hands and lifted her on his back.
“Why did you do that for?” she did not understand.
“You will see. Hold tight!” he urged.
They were so close to the precipice that she did not feel safe being lifted higher on his back, but she would never admit that she did not feel completely safe with him.
“The wind has almost disappeared,” he mentioned.
“Do we care about that?” she asked. She hated pointless discussions about the weather and flowers.
“Actually we do care about that,” he said very certain.
“Why?” she was curious.
“Are you holding very tight?” he asked.
“Yes,” she said, but was unsure why he kept asking that and what he was planning to do.
Before she managed to wonder what would happen he ran in the direction of the precipice. She was so shocked and excited by what would happen next that she only managed to grab his shoulders tighter and hope that he was not out of his mind. Yet, he probably was, because he jumped off the cliff. She did not think that it was a good joke.
“Severus!” was the only thing she managed to scream out before fear petrified her voice.
Sarah had not been so scared for a long time. She could probably say - never. She was falling off the cliff holding to her beloved man who had pushed both of them over the edge. She could not find any reason for that. She looked down, because she imagined that they could be falling into the water, but there were big and sharp rocks beneath just like everywhere near. She wanted to scream and find out why he had done that, but she could not emit a sound. She knew that he was rather disappointed with his life, but it was not so bad at least not to do something like that. It was probably the first time when she realized that time was passing slowly. She had analyzed many opportunities for why was happening what was happening, but she noticed that they had not fallen low. She quickly shut her eyes not to see the ground. She did not want to see what would happen in the outcome.
After a few seconds nothing had happened. They could not still be falling. The cliff was high but not high enough for a half minutes fall. She could not be dead without realizing it, could she? She opened her eyes to find that the scenery had not changed much. Only they were further from the cliff and they weren’t falling anymore. They were flying. She was not sure though, because she had never heard that even wizards had found a way to fly without a broomstick, but it seemed that Severus had. She was so amazed that she even forgot about the fear he had put her into just a few seconds ago.
“Severus!” she screamed. “I will kill you! I will really kill you!”
“I would not advise you to do that before we get on the earth,” he laughed. She was shocked. She had just thought that he was mental and she would die, but he thought that it was amusing.
“Then I will kill you when we get on the earth!” She did not have a clue what she would do to him, but he deserved a good punishment.
“You can’t scare me. I’ll keep flying as long as will be needed for you to calm down and forget about intentions to kill me.” He speeded up and flew down to the water. Sarah stretched her hand and touched the water. It was amazing. Now she understood why it was good that wind had quieted. They would not be able to fly just about the surface of the water if waves were roistering. She enjoyed that moment as much as she could. It was the most wonderful moment of her life so far. Naturally, she was hoping that there would be more moments like that.
“How did you learn to do this?” she finally asked.
“The Dark Lord thought me to. You see even someone like him can be a cause for happy memories.” Snape took a left turn and they were heading towards the small island they had wanted to see.
“Will you teach me to fly?” she wanted to know. She had dreamed in the childhood that she would find a way to fly, but she had forgotten about that wish later.
“Only some of the Death Eaters are allowed to know this trick and I don’t want you to resemble any of them,” he snapped. Sarah was bit disappointed, but it still seemed like a miraculous dream not a reality so she did not take it seriously.
“Hold on tight again. We’re landing,” Snape said.
Sarah laughed. It sounded rather strange to be landing. Snape slowed down and they were approaching the earth. It seemed that it would go smooth, but in the last moment Snape landed face first into the sand. It was not so unpleasant for Sarah since she was on his back. Snape turned around and pushed her off his back.
“I have to practice landing,” he admitted.
“Yes, you do, but it was wonderful anyway,” she cheered him up and kissed him.
They looked around and concluded that it was really a nice island for swimming. The coastline was sandy, but the middle of the island was rocky and there were some trees growing among the rock.
“Do you want to go into water?” Sarah asked.
“Not really,” Snape confessed, “but I know that you want to, so let’s go.”
“Are you really willing to go without appropriate clothing?” she could not believe her ears.
“Don’t let me change my mind,” Snape said and waited for her to start undressing. It was much more pleasant than last year since Snape did not have to turn around so he would not see her naked. He quickly freed himself from his black robes and they walked into the water together. Water was rather cold. It had not warmed up jet because summer had begun not so long ago.
“Let’s swim or otherwise we will freeze,” Sarah advised.
“We will freeze anyway!” Snape complained, but she was already swimming so he had no other chance than to catch up with her. It did not take long for them to freeze like Snape had predicted so they decided to get out of the water.
“I think I saw something interesting on the bottom. I’ll dive in,” Snape suddenly said and plunged in.
Sarah wondered what he could have seen there, but soon he emerged from the water and he was holding something in his hands. She saw that it was a seashell when he opened his hands.
“This looks like it could have a pearl inside. Open it,” Snape said with a smile on his face that made her wonder whether he was teasing her or not. However, she had never seen a real pearl taken out of the ocean so she risked. She slowly opened the seashell and gasped; there really was a pearl inside. She ripped the shell up to get it out, but to her amazement she had been wrong. It was not a pearl that was inside, but it was a golden ring with pearls. She did not know what to think. It could not be a proposal; at least she had never expected it from Severus. She just looked at him with big eyes and waited for what he has to say.
“Will you marry me when it will be safe?” he asked.
Sarah did not know how to respond. It was too unexpected. When she got out of shock and was able to move again she embraced his as tight as she could, kissed him and felt for the first time in her life what tears of joy meant.
A month had passed since they had returned from Ireland. The return had not been what they had expected. They had had to come back two days earlier than planned when the Dark Mark on Severus’s arm had burned. Sarah had become used to sudden summons so it did not stress her too much. Severus had come each time back unharmed. However, this time their life, at least for the following year, was defined. Severus had to remain in Hogwarts. Both of men whom he had to serve wanted it. Voldemort trusted him most of all since the recent events and the always valuable information he provided. Dumbledore, in this case his portrait, wanted a safe person leading his school, not those who truly served Voldemort. It was all complicated, but Severus had to agree that to remain in Hogwarts was the right thing to do. He cared a bit about his students so he had to keep an eye on Corrows to see what they would be doing with kids.
Sarah was sitting in the staff room of St. Mungo’s. She did not really have anything to do. She had taken care of all her patients and now was filling time by reading a newspaper. She hoped that Megan had enough work so she would not come and start questioning her, but talk of the devil and he is sure to appear. Megan flew into the room and it was obvious that Sarah was the one she had been looking for. Luckily Sarah managed to hide her engagement ring, before she had a chance to notice it.
“Oh, it’s good that you have nothing to do,” she said. “A man came and he is looking for someone who isn’t satisfied with work. You were the one who shot into my mind immediately. I would not mind talking with him, but I haven’t finished signing photos for Lockhart’s fans so I can’t help him. I’ll send him in,” Megan finished and left, apparently to welcome the man. Sarah was quite amazed by such impudence. If Megan was the one to meet him, then she could finish talking with him. Why did she have to thrust him upon her? It ruined Sarah’s mood a bit. She had just found an interesting article about the latest fashion trends in the Wizarding World, but now she had to talk with someone instead of reading it.
Megan guided a tall man who looked suspicious and unpleasant into the room. It seemed that he could hurt someone easily, because he was looking quite brutal.
“Good day!” he greeted Sarah.
“Hello,” she said and tried to look very bored so he would leave faster.
“I’m here from the Ministry of Magic. My name is Yaxley,” he stated.
“I had some kind of a friend during my school time,” Snape had told Sarah recently. “He was always a dark guy. Now he’s one of the most loyal ones for the Dark Lord. His name is Yaxley. He’s a very important guy for the Dark Lord, because he’s a spy in the Ministry. Imperius is his specialty. The Ministry will soon be under the Dark Lord’s control with the help from Yaxley and a bunch of others. I won’t be surprised if he announces himself the Minister of Magic.”
Sarah started worrying. It was not good if a Death Eater visited her, but she did not know what he wanted yet.
“Why do I owe this honour to speak with you?” she asked.
“Your colleague Megan revealed that you do not quite love your work here. I was looking for such a person. You could also tell me a bit about your family.”
“I don’t have a family,” Sarah said.
“Lovely,” he said. “I am looking for a person that is not bounded. My friend has a close relationship with the Ministry and he is looking for a private healer.”
“Why does your friend need a healer?” Sarah asked.
“You know that there are many dueling clubs these days. People are preparing for the war and they also want to ensure their safety. My friend is leading one of such clubs. It has a very effective and realistic way of practice and sometimes there is a need for medical assistance.” Sarah was amazed by his lies. It sounded quite realistic. There were really some dueling clubs around, but most of them had a wide list of spells that were prohibited so they did not get patients too often, but there had been some cases.
“I offer you to quit your work here and to work for him. You would definitely get a higher wage and your workday would be a lot shorter,” he told.
“I have to see the man whom I’m working for and the workplace to agree,” she said. She wondered what he would answer, but than it stuck her that he could easily agree and take her to Voldemort. She would never come back, though.
“The workplace is at the other side of Britain so it would not be very convenient for you to go there without an intention to work. I can assure you that my friend is a very nice person and he will provide an accommodation for you so all you have to do is to resign here, say that you don’t need a flat anymore, in case you are renting it, and enjoy the trip to a much better place to work,” he finished with an assuring smile on his brutal face.
She was getting sick of listening to his lies. She had finally understood what was going on. Voldemort needed a healer. She had heard from Severus that many got injured, but they were known Death Eaters so they could not come to St. Mungo’s or any other medical institution. The best place for them to look for a healer was definitely St. Mungo’s and Spell Damage department. It was not a coincidence for sure. She did not really understand where was a problem for them to look out someone and abduct her, but probably they did not want too many people to go missing. In this case she was a perfect choice. She did not have a family so no one would go looking for her; at least he thought that no one would. The offer was tempting. If he had not said his name, she would probably consider his offer, but now she had to think out how to refuse correctly.
“I can’t give an answer right now. This offer requires consideration,” she tried to dodge.
“This is a perfect offer. Why do you have to consider too much about it? You can go for now and in case if you won’t like a job you can always come back. I’m from the Ministry so I’ll make sure that they will take you back even though you will have resigned. It is an urgent offer, because a major dueling competition will be held in a week’s time, but you have to settle there before that.”
Sarah found it interesting that there would be something happening in a week’s time. Severus had not mentioned anything about an upcoming battle. She would have to talk with him abut that.
“But it’s impossible to leave this work immediately,” Sarah said.
“I am from the Ministry, I can arrange everything,” he was annoyed.
“Well, it won’t be possible. It’s too sudden. I have a lot of things to finish here,” she said.
“You can always come back for a visit afterwards. He needs you for one week. It is very urgent. I have wasted a lot of time by explaining the situation to you so you will have to come now. I have already arranged everything. The head of the department doesn’t mind letting someone go. All you have to do is go and sign some papers.”
He had gotten impatient. He grabbed her by the arm and pulled out of the room with a force that was too strong to call it polite. There was no way to get away from it all. She was sure that he would put her under the Imperious if she refused to join him. Severus had mentioned that it was his specialty after all. She had to do something quickly. He was pulling her through the corridor very quickly and she was starting to panic. Suddenly she remembered that she had put her wand in her sleeve for a case like this. Then the horror stuck her, because it was in her right sleeve and he was holding tight her right arm. There was no chance to get it out without him noticing it, but she had a real chance to stupefy him only if he would not notice her wand and she could struck him from behind. Anyway, she would have to risk. She had no other chance.
“Let go of my arm!” she screamed. “You are hurting me!”
He probably had not felt how strongly he had held her, because he realized her arm immediately. She acted as quickly as she could. She pulled out her wand and screamed, “Stupefy!”
“What are you doing, woman!” was what he managed to utter, before the curse struck him. He had tried to reach for his wand but her attack had been too sudden for him to react. After he fell on the floor she ran like completely crazy not looking where she was running. She just noticed that she managed to floor Megan while she was running out of there. She knew that her “Stupefy!” would not hold a large Death Eater for long.
“Severus!” Sarah called when she got home.
“What is it? Why are you home so early?” he asked after he came out of the living room into the hall.
Sarah threw off her shoes and guided him into the kitchen. “I just stupefied Yaxley,” she said.
“You did what?” he screamed.
Sarah told everything that had happened to Snape and he confirmed that Voldemort had really ordered Yaxley to get a healer. He had not suspected that he would go to St. Mungo’s so he did not warn Sarah.
“He mentioned that they need a healer urgently, because something will be happening in a week’s time,” Sarah said. “Why haven’t you told anything about it?”
“Potter will be moved to another place and the Dark Lord wants to attack him. There will be a fight, but don’t worry. It shouldn’t be dangerous for me.”
“Why did not you tell anything about it?” she asked.
“I forgot about it,” he answered. “I had other things on my mind after the last meeting.”
“Which are?” she demanded an answer.
“My colleague Charity Burbage was killed in front of my eyes while she was pleading for help. You know I can’t stand everyone whom I know dying. This thing about Potter did not seem important enough for me after that.”
“I’m sorry, Severus. I wish you would sometimes tell me about things like this. It is easier when you talk with someone about it.”
“I don’t want you to get bad emotions,” he snapped.
“I wonder what will happen when I go back to St. Mungo’s,” she said after a long silence. “I have stupefied someone from the Ministry and it’s a big deal.”
“What?” he screamed. “You won’t be going back to St Mungo’s. It’s completely out of question.”
“Do you think that he can harm me?” she asked a bit troubled.
“He will, not he can. You have upset his plans and you know too much. You can’t go back and don’t argue,” he snapped.
“But how will I earn money?”
“Let money be my concern,” he said and she understood that the conversation is over.
“Have you seen The Daily Prophet?” Sarah asked Snape while he was having breakfast.
“I guess that I don’t want to see it,” he murmured. “Is there something about the attack on Potter?”
“You’re worried that people will find out how George Weasley lost his ear?” she asked.
“Everyone who did not have to know that knows already so it doesn’t matter,” he snapped. “So what’s there?”
“It is said here that the Ministry wants to find out how Muggle-borns have stolen magical powers therefore Muggle-borns have to go to the Ministry and prove that they have magical ancestors or otherwise they will be accused in theft of magic,” she threw the newspaper aside. “That’s nonsense!”
“Yes,” Snape chuckled. “It appears that Yaxley has worked hard on this.”
“It’s his job?” she asked. It was already enough for her that she had lost her job because of him and was staying home for safety.
“He’s the main spy in the Ministry and a true Muggle hater,” Snape answered.
“What does all this mean? Will I also have to go?” she wanted to know.
“You’re from States so I don’t think that they will find out that you are Muggle-born, but anyway it’s not safe for you to go into public. I think that there are some people who know that you are Muggle-born. Yaxley himself could work on that. I think that you seriously hurt his self-esteem,” Snape explained.
“There are a lot of Smiths who are wizards in States,” she said. “I can lie to them.”
“You won’t have to lie to anyone!” he snapped.
“What do you mean by that?” she asked.
“Sarah,” he sighed. “It’s not safe for you here anymore. You have to go back to States.”
“Are you crazy? I won’t go anywhere without you!” she screamed and slammed her fist on the table.
“I can’t leave. I’ll be the headmaster of Hogwarts! Voldemort has confirmed it long ago,” Snape snapped. “If it is not written in the newspapers yet, it doesn’t mean that it’s not true.”
“I know that you can’t leave so I’m not leaving as well!” Sarah pushed back her chair with such force that it fell over and walked out of the kitchen. She did not forget to slam the door behind her to show Snape how angry she was about his suggestion.
Snape remained in the kitchen looking at the door that had just been slammed. He had to come up with something fast. She did not understand how dangerous it was for a Muggle-born to remain in London. He took the newspaper to read what it said about the Muggle-born registration and he was amazed by how far Voldemort had gone. He would definitely get rid of the Muggle-borns quite fast going through the Ministry.
Snape went out of the kitchen and found Sarah on the couch browsing though the TV programs. She was clicking the next channel button on the remote control quite angrily not being able to settle on a particular channel.
“I’ve made a decision,” Snape said. “You are moving to Hogwarts.”
“Hogwarts?” she asked in disbelief.
“Yes, you can be safe there since I’m the headmaster now. I will get you a house-elf so you won’t have to do anything yourself. Moreover, we can be together every day.”
“But if I won’t have to do anything there it will be too boring!” she protested.
“Sarah we can’t do anything about it. You can’t walk around here freely not only because the threat that Yaxley might see you but also because you are a Muggle-born. Everything that you can do in this apartment, you can also do in Hogwarts.”
She appeared to be sad about leaving her home. The idea about living in a place where no one can see her and she will not have to do anything did not seem very good.
“Sarah, Hogwarts is not truly as terrible as I have told you,” Snape said to cheer her up.
“When are we moving there?” she asked.
“The sooner, the better,” he answered. “I think we don’t have to wait longer than tomorrow night.”
“Then I’ll start packing my things,” she sighed.
They both Apparated to the outskirts of Hogsmeade the next night and started walking in the direction of Hogwarts. The night was rather chilly in spite that it was early August. The bright full moon reflected at the surface of the Black Lake and illuminated the small town.
“Have you ever been to Hogsmeade?” Snape asked Sarah.
“No, but I would like to come here during the day,” she answered.
“Yes,” he sighed. Sarah could understand that it won’t be possible in the near future. She would be imprisoned in Hogwarts.
The walked through the narrow streets of the town which were usually full of life during the daytime, but completely deserted during the night. Sarah did not enjoy their walk very much. It was dark; she could not see much and accordingly enjoy the sight. After approximately ten minutes they reached the gates that led to the castle. Snape just flicked his wand and they flew open. Sarah guessed that it was not as simple for others, but he seemed rather powerful there as a headmaster. Snape let her in first and then locked the gates behind them.
“Do you mind if I’ll cast a disillusionment charm on you in case if someone of those who remain here isn’t sleeping?” he asked.
“No,” she said without any emotion and felt like something cold a wet would be slipping from the top of her head until her feet as she was disillusioned by the charm.
As they came nearer to the castle she could see how enormous it was. She had never seen a castle so big. The school where she had studied was nothing compared to this. She could not even see the end of the castle. It was hard to understand if the other end of it was in darkness or it really ended where it seemed that it did. They stopped at the door of the main entrance of the castle. She waited while Snape would open the door for her and then followed him inside. Everything inside was in complete darkness. She felt lost and insecure before Snape said ‘Lumos!’ and the tip of his wand lit. She saw that they were in an enormous hall. The walls were covered in portraits, but luckily the people in them were sleeping. She wondered what they would do in case they woke up. Would they tell everyone that Snape had led a woman into the castle? It was probably a sight that they had not seen before. Snape led her through the hall and then to the left. A lot of ways were emerging to the left and right. It seemed that it would take years for her to learn the ways around the castle, but she did not want to spend years there.
“Where are you taking me?” she whispered, because it suddenly had occurred to her that she did not know where she would have to live. Would it be the Headmaster’s quarters or any other room?
“To my personal quarters. I mean those which I had when I was the Potions Master here, but anyway I won’t give my rooms to anyone,” he said. “I can’t take you to the Headmaster’s quarters, because his office is full of portraits of previous headmasters. They are all very nosey. I don’t want to talk with Dumbledore about you, too. He doesn’t have much to do in his portrait so he likes to take my time by chatting, after we have discussed Potters protection of course.”
“And where will you live yourself?” she asked being concerned.
“With you, of course!” he said. “Did you think that I could leave you?”
Sarah blushed. She was rather ashamed that she had let such thought into her head, but she was relieved that they were in the dark and she was also disillusioned so Snape could not see her embarrassment for sure.
They reached a staircase that went down and she soon found herself in a rather damp and cold place. They were the famous Hogwarts dungeons for sure. She could not imagine how Snape could live there for so many years and even seem to be satisfied. They had so many turns after that staircase that she completely lost track. Why could not those palaces have a simple architecture? Finally, they stopped in front of a rather small door and Snape started flicking his wand. He had very strong protections on his quarters. After another flick of the wand the door opened. Sarah stepped inside and when Snape lit the candles in the room she could see the place where she would have to live. She was surprised by the fact that it was not as bad as she has assumed that it would be. It was not nor as cold nor damp as outside. The place was light and flames immediately started burning in the fireplace. She looked around and saw that the room that they were in was a study. Snape had a table in the middle. There were a lot of bookshelves and also shelves with potions from his personal stock as she assumed. In one corner of the room was a dinner table. She went to the door that was on the right and saw a bedroom there with a double bed and another door leading from it to the bathroom.
“Why do you have a double bed here?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he answered simply. “But I don’t mind having more space.”
Sarah had to admit that this place was not worse than her apartment. It could even be better if it had natural light, but it seemed that even wizards did not have windows in dungeons.
“So will this place do or I’ll have to find something else for you?” Snape asked.
“It will do,” she said.
“To get food you have to call Shery, a house-elf,” Snape explained. “Everything else should appear here.”
“So what happens now? I’ll just have to sit in these two rooms for a year?” she groaned.
“I’ll think of something. It’s not so dramatic. When I’ll have free time we’ll go somewhere. I will get an Invisibility Cloak for you, too, so you can walk around,” Snape said.
“You can get an Invisibility Cloak? They are very rear,” she said.
“Not a real Invisibility Cloak, of course. I know only one person who has such, but I’ll get the best that I can.
“Come, let’s go to the library. You have to get something to read tomorrow while I’ll be at a meeting,” Snape said and cast a disillusionment charm on her again.
Sarah was a bit tired and did not want to go anywhere, but if she did not go then she would be bored the next day. It did not leave her much choice.
After countless turns and small stairs they came to a huge staircase where the stairs were moving. It seemed to be the main staircase. There were a lot of portraits everywhere again. She wondered how many years did it take to cover all walls in those annoying portraits. This was a place where walls had eyes and ears in a direct way.
“Is it safe that there stairs are moving,” she asked. “What if someone falls down?”
“They are charmed against falling. Even such dunderhead as Neville Longbottom did not manage to fall down throughout the years,” he muttered.
“Who’s Neville?” she asked.
“It doesn’t matter! Let’s go!” he urged when a staircase slid in front of them.
“You will have to learn the way to the library,” he continued.
“I think that after a month I’ll be able to do that,” she groaned.
Finally they got to the library, but something troubled her. A small light came from inside. Snape indicated her to be quite. When they came into it she saw an old women sitting at the table and trying to read a book. Sarah leaned against a wall so that the lady would not be able to spot her.
“Minerva,” Snape greeted her.
“What are you doing here, Snape,” she said through gritted teeth.
“I’ll be the headmaster soon so I have all rights to be here,” he answered coolly.
“You’re not appointed yet!” she shouted.
“Don’t try to prevent the inevitable, Minerva. You are aware that I would never choose to remain here,” he added.
“I know whose orders you are following!” she glowered at him. “Be aware that I will do everything to protect kids from you and the Carrows, Snape!” She left her book open on the table and stormed out of the library.
“I wish you could, Minerva,” Snape sighed low enough for just himself to hear.
“You have very lovely colleagues,” Sarah said and came closer to him; at least it appeared so, because her voice became louder.
“Yes, this year will be especially interesting,” Snape groaned.
Sarah was sitting in the bedroom and reading a book. She had accidentally taken a book about Muggle behavior and when she realized the mistake she was quite frustrated, but when she started reading it, she realized that it was very amusing. Her mood had gone up very significantly since she had started reading it so she did not mind spending some time on it, because time was passing quite slowly since she was in Hogwarts. Snape had more things to do than he had expected, and she was often left alone for a long time. Even now, when it was Sunday and he shouldn’t have had much to do, he was away.
Severus had found time to deliver some bad news to her. As she had enraged Yaxley he had decided not to waste time by trying to talk to another healer. He had placed Megan under Imperious since she knew that he had talked with Sarah before she disappeared. Sarah had never liked her, but she was shocked that Megan had such a fate. She had not deserved it.
Sarah had just started reading a chapter about what Muggles do to take care of their health when Snape finally came back.
“Oh, you are back! I thought that you will never come!” she pointed out that he came to his quarters too rarely last days.
“I’ve come just to have dinner with you,” he said while rushing to the table. “Shery!” he called and a tiny house-elf dressed in a huge sock appeared and took his order.
It was beginning to annoy her that he was away all the time. She was sitting alone in two rooms most of the time, but he did not seem to understand that she was annoyed with this sort of life. Actually, she had sneaked away some times during the month that she was at Hogwarts. Snape was so busy that he did not have time to check what she’s doing. It was rather hard to get out of Hogwarts, because all secret passageways were sealed off before the start of the year and dementors were put at the exits. Some days ago even Death Eaters had started guarding Hogwarts, because there had been some attempts to run away. Students could not accept the new system and they tried to get away, but unsuccessfully. It was made sure that no one could get away unnoticed. She did not know if it would be wise to try to sneak away again, but two weeks ago it was possible. Once when she was at the library under the Invisibility Cloak she heard Minerva McGonagall and Professor Flitwick talking about a new secret exit. Some of the teachers had created it so that they could get out without authorities knowing about it. When she went away for the first time, she was hiding under the Invisibility Cloak that Severus had gotten for her, but later she became less precautious. Not many people knew her so the chance to run into someone known was quite small. She had gone even to the Diagon Alley to buy some clothes. She had been sure that Snape would not notice if she got something new and she was right. When she wore some of the clothes later, Snape did not say anything. She had gone without a cloak and nothing had happened. Probably they were unnecessary cautious.
“What do you have to do again, Severus?” Sarah asked.
“I’m working on a potion,” he answered.
“And why is that potion more important then I am?” she inquired. “When I agreed to come here you said that it would be a wonderful chance for us to be together. I’m here for two month already, but I have seen you less than I did when living in my apartment.”
“Sarah, can’t you understand it’s not all about you! I have work to do. Hogwarts is a completely crazy place right now. I have to manage everything. I have to look after the Corrows and Minerva so that they would not kill each other!”
“I know that!” she said. “But you can manage your time, too. If you would not give detention to everyone who was on your way, you would have a lot more time!”
“Oh yes! And who will teach those kids a lesson then? Others won’t give detention now, because than the Corrows handle detention by making others practising Cruciatus Curse on those who have got them. It would not be a school if all that kids did was fun and they would not be punished for misbehaviour! I have made it clear for the Corrows that I will punish those whom I give detention myself so there’s nothing bad in it,” he growled.
“You’re too dramatic!” she said. “Now you’re working on a potion. Why? You’re not a potions master anymore. You can leave those potions to someone else.”
“No one else will make my potions!” he snapped. “I don’t have time for these silly arguments. I have to get back to the potion after exactly ten minutes.”
“Could you at least tell me why this potion is so important to you? What is it?” she demanded the answer.
“I can’t tell you unless it works. And until now it doesn’t. I don’t want to give you false hope,” he answered.
“Hope? Hope for what?” she wondered about his strange answer.
“I can’t tell. I’m sorry. Not now,” he muttered.
Sarah gave a roar of anger and wanted to go away, but then she decided to change tactic. Arguing never helped, anyway.
Sarah sat on Severus’s lap and gave him a passionate kiss.
“Let’s go upstairs and have some fun,” she said with a playful look.
“Sarah, I can’t. I said that I’m working on a potion,” he said being infuriated.
“Please!” she said and tried to pull him into the bedroom.
“Stop acting as a child!” he jelled. “I said that I’m in a hurry. I have work to do!”
“You chose that potion instead of my love? Oh my god! You don’t love me anymore! You don’t! Severus, there isn’t such potion that is more important that our love,” she cried.
“Believe me it is!” he pleaded her, but it did not work.
“I don’t believe you Severus Snape. I was such a fool when I fell in love with a cold and unloving man. What was I thinking about? Why should I live with a man who loves his potions more than me? ” she yelled.
“Calm down!” he snapped. “I will tell you everything, just calm down.”
She could not believe it! This small scene had worked. Usually if he did not want her to know something than he did not tell either, but this time he was worried. Actually, she was really upset, too. This entire atmosphere was making her depressive. She was not sure anymore if this was what she wanted. Everything was getting on her nerves. Sometimes she wished to have accepted his plea to go to the States and get out of this madness. She would have had a better life for sure.
Snape looked at his clock and said, “Take your cloak. We’ll talk while I’ll be brewing the potion.”
She obeyed and got her cloak. He let her go out first and shut the door with some spells after that. They had to walk just two corridors further. She did not wait while he placed all spells on the door, but walked to the potions lab. She almost ran into a Slytherin third year on the way there, but luckily she managed to get out of the way at the last moment. She muttered the password to get in the lab. It was “Sarah”, a quite sentimental password. Inside the room she saw three potion cauldrons simmering. Next to the third cauldron was a huge stock of records about previous experiments. It seemed to be something impressive. When she had examined the first page and understood nothing of it, Snape came into the room.
“You can take of your cloak, now,” he said. She had completely forgotten about it. She took it off and placed next to the potion shelf from which Snape took powdered mermaid scales which he added to the first potion slowly stirring it two times clockwise and one time counter clockwise.
“I’m waiting for the explanation,” she reminded him. Sometimes she was wondering what was worse - a man in love with another woman or with something as boring as potions.
“I have to think how to explain it to you!” he said.
“Just say the truth! What can be so unexplainable about a potion?” she snapped.
“The potion I’m working on I called a “Potion of Life”. If I’ll be able to make it, it will be possible to bring dead back with it in about eight hours time since the person has died. Well, at least I’m trying to achieve such time; otherwise it won’t be of much use. It is a potion that will call the soul back to the body after the death. If a person’s body would be healed in this time so that it would be possible to live, then the soul could come back. Right now I have made it possible to track the soul, but I can’t make it come back. It doesn’t work,” Snape relieved.
Those news confused Sarah. It would definitely be a very useful potion, especially in the Wizarding world where they could heal a large amount of injuries that were impossible to heal in the Muggle world. Still, she could not understand why he was so determined to finish it soon. The world could wait a few years for such a revolutionary potion. There was no need for hurry; at least she hoped that there was not.
“How would this potion be used? You can’t make a dead person drink it,” she said.
“Actually, you can. Don’t forget about the Inferi,” he laughed. “In this case this potion would have to be injected into a vein.”
“It sounds dangerous to manipulate with a soul. Are you sure that it is right?” she asked.
“I’m not sure about anything right now. I can’t make any experiments with this potion. No one will let me kill him to check if the potion does what it’s supposed to do!” he retorted.
“I mean, what happens with the persons’ soul during those eight hours?” she asked.
“Luckily I have not died yet. I don’t have a clue what happens eight hours after the death,” he snapped.
“But why did you chose eight hours then?” she asked.
“I think that it is the time when you can still heal the body and it would work. I’m not sure about it. I just think that this time would be optimal. More time would be too dangerous, but less would not make much sense, too.”
“Probably,” Sarah said and thought for a moment about how to ask the next question correctly. “Answer honestly. Why are you developing this potion and why is it so important or you?”
“Why?” he hesitated. It seemed that he was ashamed to answer. “I’m scared!” he gave out. “I’m truly scared. I have finally got some kind of a life. I don’t want to lose it.”
“Just don’t be so pessimistic! Everything had always been alright so nothing will happen,” she tried to assure him.
“You haven’t been to the meetings where I have been. Voldemort is killing people. He’s feeding them to his snake. For one in my life I am scared!” Sarah was astonished by what he had said. She had never expected him to be truly scared of something. He was hiding under his mask so professionally that even she sometimes could not understand what he was thinking or feeling and in what emotional state he was. Such moments when he revealed what was bothering him were too rare to be expected.
“So how do you want it to work? You just heal the body, inject this potion and that’s all?”
“I’m not sure about the resurrection. I assume that the soul needs a bit more than just a potion to come back. This potion just should make it possible for the soul to come back. There has to be something more that would actually make it come back, but I don’t see why it would not work like this, too. I can try at least,” he said.
“So how are you going to try the potion?” she asked.
“I can make experiments with rats, owls, whatever. It won’t be very close to human, but I’ll be able to see if it does anything.” Sarah shook herself. It sounded disgusting.
“I was wondering about one very important issue,” Snape continued. “Can you heal a body after the Avada Kedavra curse?”
Sarah had to think a bit. A death from the Avada Kedavra was an unexplained death in the Muggle world. She did not know what exactly the Unforgivable Curse affected so it would not be possible to heal it.
“I’m afraid that it isn’t. It seems that Avada Kedavra just makes the heart stop. We can’t do anything about it.”
Snape gave out a roar of anger. He had hoped that it would be possible to survive the Unforgivable Curse with this method, but if it was not then all his work did not make much sense. How much deaths there were caused by Avada Kedavra in the society where he was in and how many there were simple curable deaths?
“Then I don’t see a point of working on it!” he said bitterly. “We need it for all or nothing.”
“Severus,” she said. “It’s not always all or nothing. You have to keep working on it. It’s a revolutionary potion. Avada Kedavra is not the only reason why people die.”
“I hate it when it doesn’t go like I have planned,” he yelled.
“Why did you hide all this stuff from me? Is this the reason? You are scared that you won’t be able to make it and so you don’t want me to know that you aren’t almighty. Severus, you can’t expect to be the one who finds a way to cheat death. I would like you to be the one, but it’s too much even for a genius like you. I love your idea and I think that you should continue working on it, but don’t hope that it will work.”
“The idea is very simple. I don’t see the reason why it isn’t working,” he growled.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t think that I can help you with this. Don’t think that I don’t believe in you, but this is just too much for a human being. I’m sorry, but I don’t think that you’ll be the one who will save the Wizarding population and change the world. That’s just beyond your powers. If something bad is going to happen then it’s just how it has to be. Don’t try to prevent the inevitable,” she said and wondered whether she had hurt him very strongly, by doubting that he can do what he has planned.
“I just wanted it to be better. I wanted to play safe and be prepared to whatever can happen,” he said.
“I know. I think you can come back to this when we will have raised our grandchildren and won’t have anything to do!” she teased him.
“Our what? What are you talking about? You will pay for this when I’ll catch you,” he said when he saw her hiding under the Invisibility Cloak and running out of the room.
It was a chilly morning at the end of October. The sun had not come out of the clouds for several days and it was constantly raining. The dripping of the rain against the window of the Headmaster’s office was beginning to irritate Snape. He tightened his cloak and said “Incendio!” pointing at the fireplace. Snape was wondering all the time how previous headmasters managed to work in that dreadful place. Portraits of the previous headmasters were looking at him and observing what he was doing. It was very frustrating. He found it hard to concentrate on what he was doing because they were always staring and whispering to each other and it made him wonder if they were talking about him. When they were not staring it was even worse, because then they were snoring. He had always thought that people don’t snore if they are in a vertical position but he was wrong. Portraits did it very successfully. He thought that working in the Great Hall would be easier than in this office. At least one thing warmed his heart. Dumbledore’s phoenix Fawkes had disappeared somewhere so he did not have to listen to the noise that he had usually made.
All of a sudden he heard another sound coming from outside. Those were heavy footsteps rushing up the stone steps to his office. Amycus, a squat man who thought the Defence Against the Dark Arts, ran through the door and shouted in a wrathful voice, “Snape, those kids are making fools out of us again! There’s a new graffiti on the wall at the third floor. This time they have charmed it so that we can’t get it off.”
“Do you admit that some dunderheads can perform magic that you can’t handle? Don’t make me laugh,” he snapped and rose to his feet. He would have to take a walk to the third floor to take that off.
“You will see, Snape, that it’s not so easy,” he said as they exited Headmaster’s office. “I’m sure that it’s Longbottom’s job. He’s just as his parents!”
“Longbottom’s?” Snape exclaimed. “Are you kidding me? That kid is the biggest dunderhead I had ever had to teach. He can’t do anything right! He is nothing like his parents.” Actually Snape suspected that it could be Neville’s job, because he was trying to imitate Potter by trying to be a hero and getting in trouble, but Snape had to protect him so he had to assure Amycus that it was not Neville to take off suspicion.
“He is definitely planning something with his little friends. If only I could find out how they are communicating,” Amycus wished. “Look, there it is!” he added.
Snape looked in the direction that Amycus had shown him and saw a graffiti which said: Dumbledore’s Army, Still Recruiting.
Foolish kids! Snape hated when they did it. The Carrows already had very cruel ways of punishments. Snape was here to protect kids, but they did everything to make it harder for him. This was not the time to stand out by angering the Carrows. They had prohibited mentioning Dumbledore but Dumbledore’s Army was above that. Snape did not even want to think about what they could do with those who are guilty for these graffiti. They can even put them in Azkaban and Snape would not be able to do anything about it. Acting like this did not do anything good. The kids only made the situation worse for themselves.
“If I will find out who did it!” Snape yelled. He continued in his mind, “I will teach him such lesson that he will never ever again try to anger the Carrows.”
“What will you do then?” asked a wheezy voice which belonged to Alecto. She was the new Muggle Studies teacher and Amycus’s sister. Snape turned around to look at the stocky woman.
“I choose not to share it with you, but I’ll make sure that whoever did this will never attempted to do anything like this again,” Snape snapped.
He started working on the graffiti and what Amycus had said proved to be true. He could not get it off. Probably a simple Muggle paint would do the trick, but no one had it in the Wizarding World.
“I said that it’s not possible to get it off,” Amycus said with triumph.
“It’s some kind of charm that will wear off by itself but it’s not possible to get it off quicker,” added Alecto.
“I see it myself!” Snape shouted. “We don’t want anyone to see this foolishness. Foolish Dumbledore is gone and so has his armies. We should get a portrait with which to cover the graffiti.” The idea was approved by the siblings.
“They did it at night,” Snape hissed. “You had to patrol the castle tonight, Amycus! How could you let something like this happen in front of your eyes?”
“Well… I…I’ll get a portrait,” he said and went away leaving Snape in the company of his sister. Snape wanted to get past her and disappear in his office, but they were heading in one direction.
“I don’t understand, Snape, how everything here managed to get so bad. Yesterday I was explaining that Muggles don’t differ in any way from animals, everything that guides them is their instincts and their main goal in the life is to kill a wizard, because they hate reasonable beings, when students started objecting. I had thought that all Muggle-lovers are long ago in hiding, but the school is full of them. Can you imagine someone saying that many Muggles are cleverer than Wizards and trying to prove that Muggle-borns are more often outstanding students? I could not imagine it until yesterday, too. Luckily I managed to shut his mouth with a curse before he muttered some more nonsense.”
“Don’t try to hard to scare them away. You won’t have anyone to practice the Cruciatus Curse on,” Snape said.
“I will find some, don’t worry,” she said easily. “There are a lot of Gryffindors around.”
After nine tiring hours Snape finally went to his quarters.
“It has been a long day!” Snape said falling down on a stool.
“Yes, I noticed,” Sarah answered. “I have got a lot of interesting food from the kitchens.” She pointed at the table. “Maybe it will lift up your mood!”
“I hope so!” he said cheerfully and began filling his stomach.
“Severus, do you know what day it is today?” she asked.
“Monday,” he answered easily being happy that he could give her an answer she had wanted to hear.
“No, you fool!” she yelled sending Snape into shock. “It’s one and a half years since we met.”
Snape had not suspected that someone celebrated dates like that, but he figured out that it’s better not to object.
“I’m sorry. I had not counted the days,” he apologised.
“Men never do!” she pouted. “But it doesn’t matter. I think we should celebrate anyway.” Meeting Snape’s interested look she added, “After the supper.”
It was a great motivation to eat faster. Snape quickly finished eating and wanted to ask Sarah if they could start celebrating when he noticed that she was not in the room anymore. He did not have to wonder where she was for long; he could hear noise coming from the bedroom. He looked into the room and saw Sarah lying on the bed in just red silk underwear. He was amazed. She looked better than ever and he felt that he would not be able to resist her. He needed her at that moment. Snape jumped on the bed and Sarah began undressing him. He did not have much to do since she had done all the work for him.
“Red silk is something fabulous,” he sad while trying to get out of his shirt. “Where did you get it?”
“I ordered it from Madam Malkin’s. They have a new service. A catalogue is being sent to clients by owl and the orders are also taken by owls.”
It sounded clever and the only way she could have got something new, but he did not really care about her outfit. He cared more about how to get it off.
When they finally got rid of all clothes and formed a heap on the ground they had the best night ever. He had not felt so much love, lust and passion in a so long time that he had almost forgotten how good it could be. Snape felt so good as if everything in his life was alright. He was able to forget all his problems and worries. It could have been like this if he would be with Lily. His life would be much different then. He would not be working for Dumbledore; they would probably have a larger family and he would be able to admire her beauty every moment. “Lily,” he groaned.
“What!” a piercing scream crushed his fantasy into pieces. Sarah dragged him into a sitting position and shook demanding the truth, “You were fantasizing you were with her?”
“It was not like that!” he uttered.
“Are you kidding?” she yelled. “Will you say that it just slipped and I shouldn’t pay attention to it, like you said to her twenty years ago?”
“Sarah, I…” He did not know what to say. He had really had a fantasy for a moment that he was with Lily. He was feeling as happy as he had been long years ago when he was with her. He was just a child then, without bitterness inside. Then he had opened his eyes and seen red hair and it slipped. Something slipped again. It was like a curse. He understood that she won’t forgive it easily. She would not stand being called in another’s name while making love and it was completely right. He could conclude only that he was in a big trouble and he did not know how to apologize.
“I hoped you had forgotten…” she cried. “I did everything to please you. What is wrong with you?”
“Sarah, I’m trying to forget. I love you,” he said trying to embrace her, but she pushed him back. “How dare you touch me!” she screamed.
“Answer, do you love her more than me?” she asked through tears.
“I don’t know,” he whispered.
“Oh my god!” she screamed. “I knew you were not over her. I knew, but I never thought that you have me just as a substitute for her. I have seen that torn photo with Lily on it. I don’t know where you got it and how, but it’s enough for me. I’m tired of being in the second place all the time. Can’t you understand that you have to stop thinking about her if you want to be with me?”
“It’s not that simple, Sarah!”
“You’re just ill. It’s not love. You’re obsessed with her. It is not normal. That’s enough for me! I thought that you would get past her, but you can’t do that in you’re ill mind. How long do I have to wait for you to love me?”
“But ,Sarah, I do love you! It’s just…”
“Yes, just you love her more! I’m fed up with it! It’s over, Snape. I’m leaving!”
Sarah quickly thrower on a robe, then went into the living room, got a suitcase and started throwing things into it.
“Sarah, please, don’t go! Give me time; I swear I’ll get past her. Just please!”
She threw some of her clothes into the suitcase and went to the cupboard to get her cosmetics.
“It’s been seventeen years since her death! How much more time do you need? Ten years, twenty? I won’t wait so long. I want a normal life, a normal husband who loves me; I want kids. I will never get it with you. I think that more than a year of wasted time waiting for you to understand your feelings was enough. How do you think I feel knowing that you love a dead woman more than me?”
“Sarah, you don’t have to be jealous of her. It’s not if I’m cheating on you,” he tried to back away.
“Do you understand what you just said?” she yelled. “Do you think that I will live all my life waiting for you to forget her and come back to me? I don’t want to waste another day. I’m getting myself another man!”
“Sarah, where are you going?” he demanded the answer.
“To a place where you will never find me! Understand that it’s over. I’m not joking! I don’t ever want to hear anything about you or Lily!”
“Sarah, please, stop storming! It’s not safe for you to go anywhere. Calm down!” he commanded.
“I’m fed up with your safety! That’s not what I need. I’m fed up with your crazy country. States are large enough for me to find a place there. Have you not yet understood? It’s really over. You have spoiled everything!”
To Snape’s great surprise she took off her engagement ring and threw it in his face. He could still hear the ring bouncing after she slammed the door and was out of his sight. He could not believe it. Everything had been wonderful just a few moments ago and now he was all alone again.
Parts in italic from chapter 30 in “Deathly Hallows”.
There were so many stars in the sky that night that Snape could not count them all. Usually it helped to fall asleep faster, but not that night. Snape was used to doing everything perfect and he was not able to fall asleep before they were all counted. In his anger he had lost the cont and he started again from the bottom right corner. However, as he counted the first twenty, he was lost in thoughts again. He remembered Sarah. Since she was gone he was sleeping in the Headmaster’s quarters were the ceiling was bewitched similarly as in the Great Hall. He found it easier to look at the sky and see the clouds moving or stars in the bright night like this than looking at the empty place beside him where some month ago Sarah had lain.
She had not returned and he cursed himself for letting her go that night. It had all happened so suddenly that he did not take it for real. He had thought that she would return; he just was not able to accept the thought that she could have left him. When he had recollected form shock he had rushed after her, but it was no use. She was under the Invisibility Cloak so he would not be able to spot her even if she had not gotten far. After running through the gates into the Hogsmeade and checking each place that was open at night he concluded that she had left and he had no idea where to look for her. Snape had returned to his quarters immediately after that to think of what he would say if she came back. He had to come up with a proper apology to get her back. All night he spent sitting besides the fireplace and staring at her engagement ring. Nevertheless, he did not come up with anything sufficient. He knew that he was guilty and that nothing could live down what he had done. Snape still was not sure how it had happened. He had been very cautious about mentioning Lily, because he knew that Sarah was annoyed by it, but at that moment he had lost control. Lily was his love of life after all, and he could not keep it all inside him. Still, he regretted it very much. He had become used to being not alone; he missed Sarah’s company dearly.
During the next day he rushed to his quarters every thirty minutes to check if Sarah had not come back, but all the times he had to come back to the work being anxious whether she would come back at all. After a week all his hopes disappeared. She had nowhere to go in England. There was no way that she could still be somewhere near. He had hoped that she would come back, because he knew that she did not want to go back to States. She had hated the thought about going back, but he had forced her into doing so. After a week of waiting he had taken a grip of himself and written her a letter; however, the owl never came back. The most probable explanation was that she was truly back to her country and the poor owl had not been able to make the way across the ocean. It meant only one thing; Snape would never have a chance to see her again. He did not even consider going to Sates. It was self-evident that he would not be able to find her there. She had never mentioned where exactly she was from. It was still too painful for her to talk about her childhood back home or her parents, and he had never forced her.
Not much had happened since she had gone away. He had spent all the time between Hogwarts and the Malfoy Manor. Working hard on Dubledore’s portrait’s and Voldemort’s orders. The most of his time was used by keeping an eye on the Carrows and delivering the latest news about Potters actions to Dumbledore’s portrait. The only time he had went away it was to the Forest of Dean. Dumbledore had asked him to deliver the Gryffindor’s Sword to Harry. Snape came up with a pretty good idea. His Patronus was an ideal choice, because no one could recognise it. For all of his life he had to hidden his Patronus from everyone so that no one would wonder about its form. It was easy to picture his Patronus as a snake, bat, or something as dark and scary, but anyone who would see a lovely doe with big and expressive eyes would be amazed and unnecessary questions would arise. He had been successful and Dumbledore was still proud of him, but it did not matter to Snape.
It was sometimes hard for Snape to choose whether to dwell about Sarah or Lily. He had found that it was still easier to think about Lily, because he had became used to that over the years. Snape hoped that Sarah was happy. She had been right. He would not be able to give her what she wanted. He found himself too old to think about having children. It would be better for her to find a man of her age with not so tough past as he had no matter how much this though hurt him. It would have been a lot different with Lily though. He had been young back then, full of energy and ready to do whatever she wanted. Potter could not have been a better husband than Snape would have been. Snape still did not believe it.
Snape forgot that he had to count the stars to fall asleep and continued thinking about Lily instead when he was interrupted by a sudden pain in his left arm. The Dark Mark burned and he got a message from Alecto which said that there was an intruder in the castle which was most probably Harry Potter. These were highly important and troubling news. Snape was up immediately and quickly dressed into his usual back robes. Dumbledore had warned Snape long ago that Harry would definitely show up. Actually, Snape had been waiting for him already, because he had finally gotten out of the woods and began some action. Snape had to make sure that he would be safe in Hogwarts and also deliver Dumbledore’s message to him. It was the time. Like Dumbledore had said, Voldemort was protecting his snake. It was put in a protective magical shell just after Potter had escaped the Malfoy Manor and Voldemort was always keeping an eye on it. Fearing for anyone’s life, especially a snake’s, was not characteristic for Voldemort so it was something very important. Snape had to be fast and precise. He could not let Alecto find Potter first, because then everything would be ruined. Most likely Snape would have to abandon his cover and help Potter, but he would never want to do that. Not because all Death Eaters would want to kill him, but because of helping Harry. It was not something Snape would like to do even in the most desperate case. He did not want Harry to know his past and the reason behind his actions so he hoped that he would be there in time.
He ran through the Headmaster’s office turning the attention of all portraits to himself and ran out in the corridor. He was on his way to the Ravenclaw Common Room, where the intruder had been as Alecto had informed him, when he heard footsteps one floor beneath him. He quickly ran there trying to be as quite as he could and quickly caught up with Minerva who was not as quick as he was, because of her age. He was not sure yet whether she was alone or not so he followed her; however suddenly she raised her wand and asked, “Who’s there?”
“It is I,” Snape answered and came out of his hiding place which was behind a suit of armor. He raised his wand to be equal with Minerva and asked the question that was troubling him, “Where are the Carrows?”
“Wherever you told them to be, I expect, Severus,” she answered trying to insult him, but he had gotten used to that during the year.
He carefully looked around trying to spot something in the dark, but he was not surprised to see no one around, because had not forgotten that Potter had a very good Invisibility Cloak. He still thought that Potter was there, because there were clues suggesting to it. First, it was not McGonagall’s night for patrolling the corridors and second, she looked unusually nervous. Snape looked into her eyes.
“Have you seen Harry Potter, Minerva? Because if you have, I must insist—”
Snape was not able to finish the sentence because she suddenly attacked him and with a force which Snape had not expected from her. He quickly cast a Shield Charm and McGonagall’s own spells blast her off her feet. Snape was lucky not to get hit by it. Now it was obvious that Potter was indeed some steps away from him hiding under his cloak. There was no other explanation to her actions. If she would have wanted to do something to Snape she could have done it earlier. There had been a lot of opportunities, but she had taken action at the moment when he had mentioned Potter. Snape was in trouble now. He did not want to hurt Minerva, but in the same time it was essential for him to get her out of the way so that he could get to Potter and deliver Dumbledore’s message to him. Snape did not have time to plan his action, because a lasso of fire flew towards him, which he uickly transformed into a big black snake. After that Snape was forced to hide behind the suit of armor again not to get slashed by daggers that flew at him. Snape saw that she was determined to protect Harry by all means. It’s a shame that she did not know that Snape had the same goal. Snape had not recollected from McGonagall’s attack yet when Flitwick, Sprout and Slughorn joined her. They were all probably sure that Snape was the one who started the fight. He understood that there was no chance for him to win against four skilled professors so he made the only reasonable decision; he ran away. He did not want any victims in this meaningless fight so it was the only thing he could do. He was quick enough to jump out of the window before others caught up. As he flew through the darkness he heard Minerva calling him a coward. If only she knew the truth! Snape was sure that she will never find out what he had intended to do and that he was not a coward. Snape was totally destroyed. Not only he had failed one of the most important missions, but he was also called a coward. It was the word he could not stand. He had never deserved to be called a coward, but he was called so for the second time and it was all because of Potter.
Parts in Italic from chapter 32 (DH).
Severus Snape was dying. He had a meaningless death that even a person like him was not worth. He had been in some way ready to die. He knew that it was inevitable and sooner or later he would be killed. He had suspected that in his case it would be the sooner case. He had walked on thin ice far too long. However, in none of his nightmares he saw himself dying in a dimly lit Shrieking Shack in a pool of blood. He had been sure that if he died before his time, then it would have been because Voldemort found out that he had been a double-agent. Then he had imagined a quick Avada Kedavra from his Master’s wand or a brave battle against a lot of Death Eaters. Some would say that he had been not far from the truth, but it was completely different. No one knew that he had betrayed Voldemort; he did not have a heroic death; and he did not even see the point for his death. If Voldemort thought that everything he needed to defeat Potter was a wand, then Snape could not understand how he had managed to get so many followers by being so narrow-minded! Goddamned Dumbledore, he thought that by persuading Snape to kill him, Snape will be worth more in Voldemort’s eyes. But what was the result - his death.
He had pleaded the Dark Lord to let him find the boy just like he had done, when he had asked to spare Lily. Snape knew that he had not pleaded like that for a long time, probably it was the second time at all, but he was truly desperate. Snape had understood that something was wrong when he was called by Voldemort. It was the middle of the battle; the Dark Lord would never ask a Death Eater to have a chat at such circumstances. Snape went to him with a sinking heart. He was scared and he did not understand what he had done wrong. Actually, he was not participating in the battle; he had been looking for Potter. It was evident that he had to give him the message before he would meet Voldemort and Snape did not have much time to do that. When he had arrived to the Shack, he saw Voldemort and Nagini in the protective shell. It was very strange. According to Dumbledore he had to protect the snake, not to take it so close to the battlefield. Snape had understood immediately what Voldemort was pointing at; Snape was not needed anymore. At first he hoped that it was just a terrible idea, but after Voldemort started talking about the Elder Wand Snape understood that he was in trouble. The Dark Lord thought that he was the Master of the Elder Wand, because he had killed Dumbledore. As Voldemort had been obsessed with wands lately it was evident that he did not intend to spare Snape. He needed that wand in any case, and he would not pity his most valuable spy if he believed that he would be able to kill Potter with the wand. Snape panicked. He did not want to die. He had never thought that he would be so scared of death, but the fright was unbelievable. He noticed the snake again and started quivering with fear. He did not even understand what Voldemort was talking about; he just saw the snake and its sharp fangs. Snape thought that he would die from a heart attack before Voldemort could do something. He was terribly scared of the snake. He did not want his life to be ended by the serpent. But the worst of all his fear was that he had not found Potter. It was essential for him to know.
“My Lord—let me go to the boy—” Snape pleaded again. He had to try. He had to do something. Where was the point of all his work to protect the boy if he did not get the message? It was a complete fiasco! However, the Dark Lord ignored his pleas and continued talking about the importance to master the wand. Finally, he made his intentions clear to Snape who tried to object and raise his wand, but knew that it was useless.
“It cannot be any other way,” said Voldemort. “I must master the wand, Severus. Master the wand, and I master Potter at last.”
Then the Dark Lord raised his wand and performed Nonverbal Magic. Snape closed his eyes and waited to be dead, but nothing happened. A ridiculous though came into his mind. What if he was spared? It could not be, but still, sometimes miracles happened. However, he had not forgotten about the snake and a yell escaped his lips when he saw the cage moving towards him. He wanted to run, but his feet did not listen to him. Voldemort gave his order to the Snake while Snape could not do anything more than just stare and hope that it was a terrible nightmare. Snake wrapped around his head and shoulders and it pierced his neck. Snape screamed as he had never screamed before. The pain was unbearable, but it was not the worst. He had not completed his mission, he had failed, the boy was not found. All his life had been a complete waste. He fell on the floor and tried to staunch the wound. The last thing he thought the he would hear was Voldemort saying that he regretted it. Probably he did, but why would Snape care?
Snape felt blood leaving his body and he wanted to give up when a miracle happened. The boy whom he needed to find was standing right before him and staring down as if he cared. He was immensely lucky that Potter came. He could tell him the message so he would not die in vain, but as he tried to speak he was not capable of doing it. He had no choice; he had to give a memory.
In another situation he would not leave his memories to anyone, especially Potter, but that day he had no other option. Snape did not want to die like a coward and a traitor and he did not have another way to give him Dumbledore’s message. Harry had to know that he’ll be dead soon, from the same hand as Snape will be. Let it be – he gave Potter his memories, he even gave more memories than were needed for the boy to know that he will be dead soon. He would have never done that if Voldemort would have killed him for betrayal, but now the situation was different. Snape suddenly did not want the son of his love to think that he had not done anything good in his whole life. He had never imagined than he will ever let Harry know that he was also able to love; moreover, that he loved his mother and he still loves her, but as the boy would go right in the open arms of Death after watching these memories Snape let the memories go. He was sure that Harry won’t have a chance to tell anyone.
Probably these memories would make his last moments a bit lighter. He would know more about his mother. Snape knew that Harry had always wanted to know more about his parents, but he did not have a chance, and there was another point of showing these memories. Harry would see how cruel life can be. He would know that he hasn’t had the worst life possible. He was lucky to die before experiencing such pain as Snape had had. He would know how unfair life can be; he would know that they had both always loved one and the same person, and that Snape had had a heart. He would know how much the person he hated the most had done for him and what had made Snape such a cold man.
Harry looked down at him. Usually Snape could not stand Harry’s eyes. Those eyes were his mothers, they belonged to Lily and it was awful that they were in James Potter’s face. It was like torture for Snape to look into Harry’s eyes all those years, but suddenly he did not mind. He wanted to look into eyes of his love. He wanted to see in the eyes of Lily that everything he had done after her death was worth it.
“Look. . . at. . . me. . . . ” he whispered.
The green eyes found the black and everything else faded except those green eyes. In the moment of dying Snape did not even have to pretend that those eyes belonged to Lily. A picture emerged around Harry’s eyes and he could clearly see Lily’s red hair and her beautiful smile and those emerald green eyes - eyes in the name of which he had devoted his life, eyes because of which he had became Dumbledore’s man and rejoined the Death Eaters, eyes which had made him a cold man, eyes, in the name of which, he was dying. Snape was a lucky man. He could die looking into the eyes of the woman, whom he loved more than anything.
Lily was the only woman Snape had truly loved. It was no miracle that Snape had fallen for Lily. She had always been his only true friend. She was the only one he met at summers and his only friend at Hogwarts. She did not loathe him for his poorness and bad looks. Lily was the only one who accepted him the way he was. Even those who did not see her kind heart knew that she was one of the most beautiful girls at Hogwarts. Even that prat Potter had fallen for her. How could he – Severus Snape – be uninterested in her? But by the time Snape realised that he loved her it was already too late. Potter had finally gotten what he wanted. Lily was his and she could never be Snape’s. Knowledge that she was unreachable only intensified Snape’s feelings. He loved Lily so much. He could not imagine world without her.
Severus Snape had made many mistakes, but the biggest of all was informing the Dark Lord about the prophecy about a boy. How could he know that this boy would be her son? How could he know that she will die because of this prophecy? He had done everything to save her. He had betrayed Voldemort, gone to Dumbledore to ask for help and even pleaded Voldemort not to kill her, but nothing he had brought any results. She died and something in Snape’s heart died as well. His life had no meaning after her death. Nothing had a meaning anymore. He became a cold man on the outside, because he learned to hide all his feelings. Even Dumbledore did not know that he still loved Lily after all these years. He had never stopped loving her and now he would die loving her and devoting his last moments to the memory of her.
Then suddenly everything grew misty, even Harry’s eyes. Snape thought that it was the end, but no – an image reappeared. There was again a woman with red hair and beautiful smile, even green eyes, but Snape realised that it was not Lily. Eyes that he could clearly see now, where not Lily’s. Those were deep green ones, eyes that had seen pain and suffering, Sarah’s eyes. Snape could not understand why in those few moments before he would leave this world he saw Sarah.
Snape had never learned how to love again, after loosing Lily. He did not love Sarah the way she deserved it. It was not true love. She was in every way perfect – she looked as good as Lily, only she was more mature and more beautiful and the most important – she was alive and she could be his, but he had spent time with her just because she resembled Lily so much, because he could pretend that he was with Lily, that Lily had never neglected him, she had not married Potter and died because of that stupid boy. Sarah could be in every way his – with her soul and body, but she was not. He had spoiled everything again. He was able only to preserve his love to Lily, not develop a new one to Sarah.
Suddenly memories flashed into Snape’s mind. He wondered if it was the end. He had read in many books that the life of a person flashes before his eyes at the moment of dying. He saw him and Sarah laughing, kissing, talking, strolling along the seaside and enjoying moonlight. Those were his happiest memories. Snape realised that all his happiest memories involved Sarah.
Now, when he was almost dead, he did not have to distance all his feelings like he had to half of his life. He could set his emotions free, totally emerge himself into these memories and acknowledge what his heart felt. This was the biggest mistake of his life. Isn’t it funny – to make the biggest mistake of the lifetime in the final seconds of life?
When he finally had felt his heart and distanced it from the brain, he realised that all his believes were not true. He realised that he had loved Sarah. He was such a fool to think that he could not do that. He had assured himself that he loved Lily and could not love anyone else. He had really thought that he was with Sarah just because she looked like Lily. Now, he understood that it was not true. He felt such unbelievable love to Sarah that it overwhelmed all his body and held his breath, his last breath.
He finally understood that he remembered Lily only with his brain, when being with Sarah, but really all the feelings he had in his heart were real. He had loved someone more. He had loved Sarah more than Lily, but he was too stupid to get it. He had lied to his heart and there was not a chance to do anything about it now.
He wanted to see Sarah more than ever, to say how much he loved her. Snape wanted to hold her in his arms without thoughts of Lily messing it. Suddenly it occurred to him that Lily had never given him what Sarah had. They both could not even be compared. He had gotten over the love that had devastated his life. He could live further now, but it was impossible.
Snape’s life had never been simple. Snape realised that he wanted to live more than ever in the same moment when he died.
A red-haired woman sat at a window on the third floor of a five story building and slowly drank tea admiring the sunset. That day it looked spectacular. The entire horizon was blood-red and the light reflected on the tiny clouds. A big brown owl was flying towards her window. She almost rose from her seat to open the window, but the owl flew past her window and tapped at the one of her neighbours. Sarah smiled. She did not want to receive anything. She sipped her tea and noticed that sun had almost set while she was observing the owl, but the blood-red light still lingered.
The idyll of the evening was destroyed when the nice song which was on the radio ended and was replaced by heavy rock. Sarah wondered why the station changed the music style so suddenly. She definitely did not want to listen to something like that and it made her furious. Sarah gowned and got up from her seat. She made her way to the radio and thought what she could switch to. When she was living in England she used to listen to their most popular wizard radio station called “the Wizarding Wireless Network”. She knew how to find the wave at the place where she lived so she made a quick decision to switch to it. It was not because she enjoyed the music which was on the station, but because it was the best way how she could find out what was going on in England. She had not heard anything about Snape when she had listened to it and she was glad about it, but she approximately knew what was going on in the country, who was leading the Ministry and other news which were aired. Sarah wondered what would be on the radio. She hoped that those would not be the Weird Sisters; the best would be to hear the news. She said the password and heard the phrase that she already knew by heart, “Welcome to the Wizarding Wireless Network, the best wizarding radio station in England where you can hear the best music and latest news!” After that she heard the familiar voice of the evening news reporter and a warm smile appeared on her face. She was lucky after all! However the smile on her face did not stay for long. The voice of the reporter was troubled and she quickly revealed the latest information,
“…confirmed that the residents of Hogsmeade would also join the fight if it starts again in ten minutes time in case Harry Potter doesn’t reveal himself to He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
Sarah gasped in horror. Something bad was happening.
“I remind that fifty minutes ago He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named stopped the Battle of Hogwarts by giving an order to his force to retreat immediately. He gave defenders of Hogwarts an hour to dispose the dead and treat the injured, but said that he would resume the battle with a much fierce force if Harry Potter doesn’t go to meet him in the Forbidden Forest. Moreover, he would enter the fray himself and no one would see mercy form him.
“I don’t have any information on Potter having given up so it means that the battle would resume in five minutes. If the battle resumes it could become the most devastating battle of the war. There are many causalities already, but He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named insists that up until now he had been merciful.”
Sarah felt her hands shaking. If the battle was going on at Hogwarts it meant that Snape definitely participated in it. She tried to assure herself that nothing bad could have happened to him. From what she understood form the news the side of the Order of Phoenix was losing. It meant that there were not so many causalities among the Death Eaters. She had to be strong and forget about Snape, but she could not. She had to find out what happened to him. Would she find out? Sarah was not sure.
The voice of the reporter resounded again, “The hour given by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named has ended, but the battle hasn’t begun. Our reporters don’t know what is happening. No one believes that Harry Potter could have given up, but there is no other explanation why the battle hasn’t resumed. We will inform you about what is going on after some songs that should calm you down.”
Her voice faded away and was replaced by music. Sarah gritted her teeth and hit the radio with a fist making it fall down. Why did they switch on to some stupid music when she wanted to know what was going on at Hogwarts? She yelled and kicked the radio dashing it against the wall. A loud crack was heard and only silence after that.
“This was not wise!” Sarah thought, but it did not matter. She had made up her mind anyway. The thing she needed to know she would have to find out herself. The list of those who died at the battle would probably be known only next day and she doubted that there would be much information on Death Eaters in case if they did not win and Sarah hoped that they would not. She had to curse herself at these thoughts, because it would not mean anything good for Snape.
Sarah kicked the radio again, then quickly dressed into comfortable clothes, threw on the invisibility cloak, which she had kept all the time in case of a need, and took a large brown box from a shelf.
“John, I have to ask you a favour,” Sarah said.
“What can I do for you?” he asked politely.
“I need an unauthorised Portkey,” she confessed.
John was the husband of her childhood friend. When she came back to her hometown, she did not have anyone to turn to except Hannah. She was ashamed to knock on her door after disappearing eight years ago, but she had no other choice. Sarah had wondered during her flight back home if Hannah would recognise her and she was trying to set a backup plan in case if she did not remember her. Sarah had signed documents after her parents’ death and became the owner of their house; however, she had sold it soon afterwards. It seemed at the time that she would never come back and even if she did she would not come back to that house. Now she thought about buying a place for the money that was left. She just needed to spend some days somewhere before she found a place.
Sarah pushed the doorbell with a shaking hand, but after she had done that she realised that Hannah could have moved. In such a long time everything could change, but she had foolishly supposed that everything would have remained like it was when she had gone away. Sarah had an urge to run when she imagined a stranger opening the door, but just as she thought about how stupid it would look a slim man with dark curly hair opened the door. She felt so stupid that she blushed and wanted to apologise, but then she recognised the man.
“John?” she asked.
“Yes, who are you?” he asked back.
“Sarah. Sarah Smith,” she said and blushed again. They had studied together in the school and apparently she had not stayed in his memory for long enough.
“Sarah! It can’t be,” he exclaimed and blinked several times. “You were gone for several years! What are you doing here now?”
“And what are you doing in Hannah’s house?” she also had a question.
“We are married,” he explained.
“Oh!” Sarah said and blushed for the third time. She was feeling like a real fool and it was starting to annoy her.
Soon after that Hannah had come to the door to look who John was talking to and it is not possible to describe her surprise when she saw Sarah. Hannah had tried to pretend to be offended by the way Sarah had disappeared, but she was too excited to hear everything that had happened. It took them almost a week to talk everything through properly. Sarah stayed at their place, but she was looking for place for her, too. A very nice apartment was found and she moved in a month after she had come to the States. A lot of money was left so she did not continue working as a healer. Instead she started studying again. This time it was law. Hannah had assured her that it would suit her.
It had seemed to her that her life would be perfect, but she had been wrong. She still missed Severus even if she did not want to admit it. Hannah was trying to get her personal life in order, but she had not succeeded. Sarah had had some flattering conversations with several men, but she had not fallen for any of them. They seemed either inexperienced or boring.
She had tried to suppress the thought that she might go back for three month, but then she understood that there was no use. Even if she did not return to Snape she had to know what happened there. Snape had talked a lot about an upcoming war in which he believed something bad would happen, and she was afraid. Sarah believed that the war would start and she knew that it would not be possible to live not knowing what happened to Snape. She made up her mind that it would be better to go and find out herself what had happened than to go crazy while reading all the newspapers. She knew that she would not return to Snape if she found out that he was aright, but she had to make sure that he was. Only that way she would be able to live in peace.
The complicated thing about going back was the way how she could do that. She knew that it was not safe to Apparate over such a big distance, but a flight would take too long. She could go to Ministry and ask for a Portkey, but no one in his right mind would give her a Portkey to England if there would be a war going on. Sarah did not want to trouble John, but she knew that he could get a Portkey for her since he worked in the Ministry and he did it for her.
Now Sarah sat with a brown box on her lap which contained a book made into a Portkey and was gathering courage to touch it. She had chosen outskirts of Hogsmeade as her destination point. After that she could Apparate anywhere, but there would be no need this time as the battle was going on at Hogwarts. Then she remembered something. She got a small bottle with Felix Felicis and drank it. She would surely need luck to find Severus. Then she opened the box and took the book in her hands before she felt herself being sucked as it seemed out of the world.
Everything in Italic from chapter 36 in DH.
Sarah fell hard on the earth. She should definitely practise travelling by a Portkey. Her left foot hurt a bit, but after stretching it she concluded that everything was alright. Sarah got up and looked around. She was just outside Hogsmeade but the castle was not visible from that place. A small light was coming from behind the hills. It was a very strange sensation, because she had looked at the sunset not so long ago, but here the sun would have risen probably by the time when she got to Hogwarts.
She was afraid of what she would see when she got there, but it did not stop her from going. She ran through the streets of Hogsmeade and was reminded of her first time there, when she had come with Severus to live in Hogwarts, but somehow she had the same bad sensation. As she hurried through the village she noticed that it was completely deserted. No lights were in the windows and complete silence overwhelmed the place. It meant that the battle had resumed. Otherwise, people would have come back to their houses.
Sarah hurried past the last houses of Hogsmeade and saw a sight that she had not been prepared to witness. The main gates were blasted apart and the wall surrounding Hogwarts was severely damaged. There were holes in the castle as well. A giant was trying to break a small tower off the castle which was circled by a black cloud of dementors. Acromantulas dead and alive were everywhere across the territory. Lights were flashing from inside the castle. A lot of blasts could be herd and she wondered whether it will be possible to repair the castle after the battle. The sight made Sarah shiver and reconsider going inside, but she wanted to know. She hated herself severely for getting herself into it. She had left him, and she knew that it was the right decision, so she could not understand why she desperately had to know if anything had happened to him.
Sarah went through one of the holes in the wall and ran up the path which led along the lake, then up the hill and finally approached the main entrance. Now she could hear roars, screams, and cries clearly. It was obvious that the battle was continuing and it was going on inside the castle. She entered the entrance hall and saw a terrifying sight. Dead bodies were lying on the floor and some people were fighting, but not many. She thought that the main fight was going on in the Grate Hall and her assumption was confirmed when she saw green and red lights flashing from there. Sarah was delighted that she had an Invisibility Cloak on; otherwise, she would not dare going inside. Sarah went inside the Great Hall and was impressed by what she saw. Several hundreds of wizards and witches were fighting against a large number of Death Eaters and Imperiused wizards. Spells were flying everywhere and she had to cast a Shield Charm immediately not to get killed. She tried to keep closer to the wall, because mainly people were fighting in the middle of the hall, but some curses flew in her direction, too. She feared for her life so she backed into a corner and kept casting Shield Charms until she noticed one person whom she truly hated. It was the large Death Eater Yaxley. She felt such disgust and hatred for him that she hoped that someone would kill him. The Death Eaters were outnumbered already and some of them were running away. It seemed that the light side would win. Suddenly Sarah could not suppress the temptation to try out the Killing Curse. No one would feel so good killing him than she would so she raised her wand again and said the two words that she thought she would never pronounce. The large Death Eater was hit from behind and he fell down dead just as he had wanted to raise his wand against someone whom Sarah did not know. When Sarah realised what she had done she panicked. It had been a very sudden urge to kill the man and it seemed nothing bad then, because killing curses were flying everywhere across the room, but when she saw the actual dead body she felt sick. It could not have happened. She was a murderer! Sarah was so shocked of what she had done that she missed the whole action until she heard people screaming,
“Harry!” “HE’S ALIVE!”
Sarah looked to the place from where the shouts had begun and saw Harry Potter standing face to face with Voldemort. Sarah gasped at the sight of the fragile boy standing against the Dark Lord. It seemed insane, but no one was helping, because Harry had told not to. He thought that it had to be him who killed Voldemort. Sarah could not understand that. He was just a small boy. How could he be the one to vanish the Dark Lord? It did not seem right to her, but she would not be the one to do anything either. She came closer to the place where they both stood trying to avoid people unsuspecting her presence because of her Invisibility Cloak. To tell the truth Sarah was not as interested in Harry’s and Vodemort’s dialogue as she was in a chance to spot Snape. They were talking about Horcruxes and the Elder Wand and it did not make much sense to her. She had not heard about any off them.
She came even nearer to the place where everyone’s attention was attracted and could hear every word that Potter or Voldemort said. It was when she heard it, “Severus Snape was not yours,” said Harry. “Snape was Dumbledore’s from the moment you started hunting down my mother. And you never realized it, because of the thing you can’t understand. You never saw Snape cast a Patronus, did you, Riddle?”
Sarah was amazed. How could the boy know that Snape was not a traitor? He had surely hated Snape as much as Snape had hated Potter. She could not believe that Snape had revealed that he loved Lily. It was one of Snape’s biggest secrets, but it appeared that Potter had found out somehow. Sarah was totally confused. Not only Snape’s biggest secrets were revealed, but it was also done by a boy whom Snape loathed. Where was Snape himself? From what she could understand Voldemort had not found out about his betrayal so Snape should be safe.
Actually Sarah had not seen his Patronus as well. What could be so important about it?
“Snape’s Patronus was a doe,” said Harry,“the same as my mother’s, because he loved her for nearly all of his life, from the time when they were children.”
That did not surprise Sarah. She could have guessed. Still she wondered why they were talking about Snape now. She was happy that it was revealed tat he was Dumbledore’s man, but it felt strange to hear that from Potter’s mouth. Snape had always wanted to say that to Voldemort himself, but he knew that he could not if he wanted to stay alive. However, it seemed that the boy wanted to cut Voldemort to shreds so he continued,
“…he was Dumbledore’s spy from the moment you threatened her, and he’s been working against you ever since! Dumbledore was already dying when Snape finished him!”
Sarah was so thrilled. Everything that Snape had feared about was now cleared with the help of this boy. Snape would not have to hide anymore. They would be able to live free. He was a hero now instead of being the murderer and traitor. Nevertheless she became even more worried. Something had to be wrong, because she could not understand why Snape was not there to hear his defence.
“Dumbledore was trying to keep the Elder Wand from me! He intended that Snape should be the true master of the wand! But I got there ahead of you, little boy—I reached the wand before you could get your hands on it, I understood the truth before you caught up, I killed Severus Snape three hours ago…”
No! Sarah screamed in her head. She clamped her hand firmly over her mouth not to make noise. She fell down on the ground and sobbed uncontrollably. It was something that she had thought that she was prepared to, but it proved to be that she was not after all. Even if she had suspected that this information could be revealed, she was not ready to hear it. She could not understand how it could have happened like this. Snape had always been afraid that Voldemort would find out that he was a spy and murder him, but what Potter said seemed completely illogical. Voldemort had killed Snape because of a stupid wand. She was trying to comprehend it when she heard Potter saying,
“Severus Snape was never the true master of the Elder Wand. Snape never beat Dumbledore! Dumbledore’s death was planned between them! Dumbledore intended to die undefeated, the wand’s last true master!”
What? Sarah screamed in her head again. Snape had died just like that without a reason. He was killed absolutely pointlessly! It could not be happening. No! It could not be true. Now when everyone knew what he had been fighting he was dead and he could not even find out that his name was cleared. Sarah realised that he had to see him for the last time. She spotted the dead lying in a row in the middle of the Hall. Snape had to be among them. Sarah rose from the ground and slowly approached the dead. She was happy that she did not recognise any faces, but in the meantime she was not shocked less. There were children lying in the pile of dead. They should have been of age, but they had not deserved to die. Sarah slowly went around the dead, but she did not see Severus anywhere. Voldemort clearly stated that he had killed Snape three hours ago and the boy did not object. He had to be there. Was there another place where the dead lay? She could not know, but she hoped that there was not. She had seen too many dead already. She wondered where Severus could be. What if he was in Headmaster’s Office? He was the headmaster after all so it would not be strange if respect would be paid to him and he would have been carried to his office away from this pile of dead. She shivered and tried to get out of the Hall when she heard Potter say with a victory,
“ I am the true master of the Elder Wand.”
After that they both shot up their wands and shrieked,
A loud band echoed through the Hall. Then the spells collided and the wand from Voldemort’s hand flew high and was caught by Potter just as Voldemort hit the floor. After a moment of utter confusion yells of you and laughter filled the Great Hall. People were crying and laughing in the meantime. Positive emotions filled the Hall and Sarah felt that she did not belong there. People were moving into the depth of the hall to congratulate Potter so the way for Sarah to go out was free. She realised that she should be happy. Snape had worked in the name of this moment. He would have been happy knowing that Voldemort was dead, but it had not been Sarah’s fight. Her world was crushed and she did not care that Voldemort was dead. She just had to see Snape for the last time.
The castle was empty when she ran through the halls to the Headmaster’s Office. Sarah reached the gargoyle, said the password “Dumbledore” and was let in. At least one Snape had not changed the password! She jumped up on the raising stairs and with a trembling heart opened the door to the office. She peered inside, but he was not there after all. Sarah cried out. She did not know where else to look for him, but she could not leave just like that. Whom could she ask about Snape? She did not have a clue. What if Dumbledore knew something? She looked in hope at his portrait, but saw that it was empty. Then she noticed a large stone basin placed on the table. Something silver was swirling in the basin and it caught her attention. She approached the table to look closer, but she did not know what it was. That was when she noticed it - a parchment lying nearby. It looked like a map, but it was more than just that. People’s names were on it and they were moving. She saw many name’s concentrating in one place which was marked as the Great Hall. Was it a map of Hogwarts? It looked like it. Did it also show the dead? She did not know, but it did not stop her from looking for Severus. She did not have to look around for long, because all people were in the Hall and only some of them were walking away. Finally she spotted the lonely name which said “Severus Snape” in a place called the Shrieking Shack. She remembered Severus telling about a tunnel under the Whomping Willow which led to the Shack and where he was once almost killed by a werewolf. Why were all the dead carried into the Great Hall, but Snape left here? Sarah was furious realising that it would take some time for someone to find him. It was all just not fare!
Sarah ran again through the halls of the castle outside and to the willow. She had gained enough speed to jump into the whole under the tree before it tired to smash her with its branches. Sarah ran through the dark and narrow passageway, but she stopped when she saw a door. Was it really what she wanted? There was no chance that he could be alive, right? Would she see his dead body in nightmares afterwards? Maybe it would be better just to walk away. However, she felt a duty to visit him. She had gone too far and she could not back away now.
Sarah slowly opened the door holding her breath. At first she could not see anything because it was dark, but then her gaze stopped at a place where the light coming through rives reflected. She made a step to come closer and to look at it, but stopped dead, because she finally spotted what it was. Blood! It was a large pool of blood and a large black shape was lying in it. She did not have to wonder what it was. She understood immediately.
Sarah kneeled besides him and started crying again. It was awful. His eyes were still open and fixed on the place where he had seen the last image. One of his hands was clasping his neck. It was evident that he had died in great pain and suffering. Shock could still be read from his fixed eyes. He looked much older since when she had left. His life had probably been very tense since then; he still looked worried. Sarah started feeling guilty. He had surely needed her support, but she had left him in the hardest time. He would never find out that she was sorry.
Sarah moved his hand to look why he had clasped his neck and shivered, because the hand was cold as ice. If she had not been a healer she probably would not be able to tell that it was a snake’s bite, because his neck was covered in a thick layer of dry blood. She remembered Snape telling about Voldemort’s snake Nagini and this had to be its bite. She had never seen a snake large enough to cause such a cut, not in England at least. She wondered what he had died from - snake’s venom or loss of blood, and considered it to be both. Sarah feared even imagining Snape’s shock when Voldemort ordered his snake to kill him. She was not sure if Snape knew why he was murdered, but she supposed that he did. It was just unbelievable! He had died for nothing, completely pointlessly! Sarah closed his eyed and kissed his cheek. She could not do anything to help him, she was much too late.
She wanted to leave, because she could not stand being so close to his lifeless body, when a sudden realisation hit her. He had died from a snake’s bite. It was something that could be cured in the Wizarding world. It was not an unexplained death from Avada Kedavra what Snape had feared. She remembered Snape developing a potion that could bring dead back, but only if it would be a curable death, which had made Snape furious. He had said that there was no point in working on the potion since it would be no use in case of Avada Kedavra, but Sarah did not believe that he could just have left it unfinished. He had already made possible something like tracking the soul and bringing it back to the body. Sarah considered this idea ridiculous, but she had to try. Snape was a genius after all and nothing was impossible with magic.
A large shelf stocked with potion ingredients was in the length of the whole wall on the right side of a dimly lit room. Similar shelf was also on the left side only it was two times smaller and held a lifetime supply of potions filled in bottles and vials of various sizes, forms and colours. Setting her eyes straight Sarah saw two chests of drawers, a table covered in parchments and books, and another table on which potions were brewed.
She sighed. How could she find anything there? She remembered that Snape had called it “the Potion of Life”. She hoped that he had arranged potions in alphabetic order. Then she would be able to find it. Sarah came up to the shelf on the left and saw that potions were indeed arranged in alphabetical order, from A at the top left corner until Z at the bottom. She spotter “P” in the middle. There was a Polyjuice Potion, Pepper-Up potion and some poisons, but not the one she was looking for. She tired L, but it lead to the same result. Sarah remembered Snape saying that the potion would have to be used in eight hour time after the death, which meant that she had about three and a half hours left. She hoped that he had worked on the potion and modified it otherwise she could be late even in case if she found it.
She looked at the papers on his table and hoped to see some calculations and studies on this potion, but there was nothing of that sort. Only the chest of drawers was left. She opened some drawers, but did not find anything. Finally she saw a drawer marked as “failed potions”. She opened it and found a stock of papers which she took out and looked through. When she saw “the Potion of Life” scribbled at the top of one page she almost smiled. There it was. However, she would have started crying again after reading it if she was not crying non-stop already. It would take three days to brew the potion. She did not have three days. She had three hours! Her last hope was vanished and realising now that she had lost the man she loved hurt more than it had when she heard Voldemort telling that Snape was dead. She slammed the drawer shut and another drawer underneath it sprang open. Some bottles were visible in it. Sarah looked through them and found one marked as “the Potion of Life”. She was not as happy as she had presumed she would be it she found the potion. She still had not regained any hope. She did not have enough time left and Snape had not worked further on the potion. She had to figure out herself how to persuade the soul to come back and she did not have any ideas for now. She just hoped that it would work. Snape had not tested it after all so he could not be sure that the soul would not come back. She had to act fast in any case. After finding the Blood-Replenishing Potion, a bezoar and the Wand-Healing Potion she put the Invisibility Cloak back on and made the long way back to the Shrieking Shack.
After a quarter of an hour she was kneeling again besides Snape’s dead body. No one had found him yet. Even though everyone knew now that he was not a traitor, no one was looking for him; no one cared. She took a shrivelled brown object and shoved it down his throat in hope that the bezoar would be stronger than the snake’s poison. Then she used the Wand-Healing Potion and some spells, because the potion alone did not work good enough on a dead body, and finally used the Blood-Replenishing Potion. She would have to wait ten minutes for the Blood-Replenishing Potion to work, but it seemed that she had succeeded in healing him. She wondered what the one who found him would think seeing that he was completely healed.
Ten minutes seemed to pass three times longer than usually. Two and a half hours were left and Snape had said that the more time passes the harder it gets to make it work. Finally the ten minutes had passed and she injected the potion. She waited for some kind of change, but nothing happened just as Snape had suspected.
Snape woke up and groaned, he was lying on a cold surface and felt not at all comfortable. It did not feel like his bed, but he hoped that it was and the snake was just a terrible nightmare. If he would be dead then he would not be able to feel anything. He was afraid to open his eyes, because he did not know what he would see, but when he did he was amazed, because he saw nothing. It was all white. If it was the heaven, he would have rather gone to the hell.
When he understood that he was in addition naked he got so angry that his usual black clothes immediately appeared on him. Well that was something! Could he get anything what he wanted in this place? He imagined the last book which he was reading and did not finish and it appeared in his hands. “Not bad,” he thought. At least he would have something to do. He imagined being in his office and it slowly appeared out of smoke just as he had remembered it. He walked to a door which led to the bathroom and opened it. It was all white behind it at first, but then slowly everything appeared just as it had been in life. Snape walked up to the mirror and saw that one thing had changed. He looked better than in life. It seemed that he was younger, rested and when he searched for scars on his neck there weren’t any. However, he did not care. No one was there to see him ad it was even nice. He had become tired of people; at least no one would bother him after death. He was able to conjure his own world and no one would intervene. It was what he had wanted in life. What else could he do? Could he sleep? He did not want to do anything anyway. Snape went to his bed, but before lying he made his bad larger and softer. It was nice. He would try to take a nap and then see if anything had changed. He did not believe that it could remain so lovely.
Snape woke up again, but he was not in his bed. He heard waves splitting and wind blowing. He looked around and saw the place where they had went with Sarah in the summer. Why was he there? Was it because he missed her? Could he conjure people, too? Snape tried thinking about Sarah, imagining how lovely she was, but nothing happened. It seemed that he was doomed to be lonely. For now it suited him, but could he live like that forever? Probably he would, but he could not believe that others also would find it acceptable. It made him wonder why people talked about the heaven as something good if it was a place for loners. He went closer to the edge of the cliff and sat down hanging his legs over the edge. What would happen if he fell down? He would probably try that later if he would be bored, but now he had to think about the new situation he was in. Something had to be wrong. It could not be the end. Why did people fear death if it was all that came after it? Did they fear loneliness? It was not something that he could understand. Snape wondered how much time had passed since his death. Not much, but he was already getting fed up with this idyll. He could not stand it for long.
“Severus,” came a soft voice from behind.
He turned around almost falling off the cliff and saw Dumbledore. He looked as usually, except that he was also looking better and both his hands were undamaged.
“I thought that I can’t meet any people here,” Snape said.
“You can do whatever you want here,” Dumbledore answered and a chair appeared for him to sit on.
“Your chair doesn’t fit in the scenery,” Snape snapped.
“Scenery? Where are we?” Dumbledore asked. “I don’t see the same what you do.”
“Bad for you. I’m in Ireland,” Snape said.
“Interesting,” he said.
“So is this all? Will I have to live like this for eternity?” Snape finally asked.
“No. You won’t stay here for long. It’s just a place between life and death before you move on. It has to be that way. You can’t remain here,”
“What do you mean by moving on?” Snape wanted to know.
“I haven’t moved on yet. I don’t know what happens after that, but I presume that nothing at all. I had many things left here to supervise, but I think that we could move on now together,” he revealed.
“Does it mean that Potter saw my memories and the Dark Lord is vanished?” Snape asked.
“Yes! It has happened. I talked with Harry not so long ago.”
“So it means that the boy is dead? Everything went according to your plan?” Snape snapped.
“My plan was not to get the boy killed. He was here for a short time, but now he is back,” Dumbledore revealed.
“What do you mean by he is back!” Snape shouted. “I believed you! I though that he would be dead! I gave him my memories! Do you understand what has happened? The boy knows about me things that he did not have to know. He had to die with that knowledge not to wonder around pretending to be the true war hero and sharing them. I also want to go back to erase the memory of the boy!”
“Calm down Severus. There is noting you can do now. I did not make you share those memories. If you did it, it was at your free will. Accept that you secretly wanted him to know. Where is the point in denying that?” Dumbledore with a clam smile on his face.
“I don’t understand it. He went back. Does it mean that I can go back, too?” Snape asked in a sudden hope.
“No. I’m sorry Severus, but you can’t go back. I don’t know if you would even be here if I would not have wanted to speak with you. I had hoped that you would call me, but I had to come myself after you did not do it. Forgive me! I did not intent you to die,” Dumbledore said.
Snape pretended that he did not hear it. He did not want to talk about his death and that stupid wand anyway.
“Can I meet Lily?” he asked instead.
“Severus,” Dumbledore smiled. “She has moved on long ago. People don’t stay in this place for long. Some don’t come here at all. I presume that Lily could have been one of those who moved on straight away. I don’t now where she could be right now. She can be reborn back on Earth, too. She’s gone, Severus.”
Snape’s heart hurt a bit after hearing that. He had always hoped that he would meet her after the death. How foolish!
“So what happens now? We just move on? How do we do it?” Snape asked.
“I’m not sure yet. I think that we just have to clear our minds and concentrate on leaving this place. You have to realise that here is nothing left behind on Earth.”
“What do you mean by left behind on Earth? Can I go and observe what goes there? Can I see someone for the last time?” Snape wondered.
“I have done it, but I don’t think that you have to. Don’t live in the past. You have to accept what has happened and move on. It’s not good to go back. It will only make it harder to go on.”
Suddenly Snape felt a piercing pain throughout his body. He was not prepared to move on, but it seemed that it was happening. He saw himself slowly fading. He looked at Dumbledore in shock, but he met eyes that were shocked not less.
“Someone is calling you back, Severus,” Dumbledore said. “I have never seen something like this.”
Snape could not understand what was going on; he tried to fight against it. He felt as if his body would be torn apart. It was worse than the actual dying. Everything went black again. He could not see the scenery or Dumbledore. No waves could be heard. However, his mind was filled by horrifying memories. He saw horrible visions of what could wait for him back on Earth; he had to relive his worst memories over and over again, and it all happened so fast that he thought he would go insane. This torture was unbearable. He tried to cut his mind off using Occlumency, he had to switch it off or he would be totally screwed up; however, it was more harder than if ten Dark Lord’s would be trying to invade his mind. Finally he succeeded and everything went black.
In Snape’s instruction it was said that the potion should find the soul and bring it back in ten minutes time and in the same time remove the damage done to the body, especially the brain. She had waited for twenty minutes; his body had become a bit warm, but nothing else had happened. He was not alive. How could she get him back? It was said that the potion would bind the soul for several hours and not let it go; however, she had only two hours left when if would be safe according to Snape’s believes. She checked his pulse again, but she could not feel anything. It was hopeless! Sarah was angry with herself for hoping that it would work. It was more painful to crush hopes for the second time than it was for the first. Then she could have just accepted what had happened, but now she could not. She had imagined that she would be able to do something what has never been done. She was such a fool, but she had imagined that it would work and now she just did not want to understand that it would not. She started crying again, because she was so weak. There was some time left and she trusted Snape and believed that he had made the right guesses. It had to be possible, but she could not do it! She could not just leave and give up, but in the meantime she did not know what to do and it hurt immensely.
In despair she did the thing her emotions made her do. She leaned down besides him. Kissed him, told how much she loved him, and pleaded to come back. Although she was in hysteria, she understood that what she did was utterly mad. However, what if his soul was close and what if he still loved her a little bit. Probably he could hear her somehow and wish to come back. In the meantime she was still aware that it was crazy. Love could not work for anything; it had saved Harry, but she doubted if it would work for Snape. Her sorrow was so intense that she embraced him and felt energy leave her, when suddenly she heard something like a feeble gasp. Was it an imagination? She leaned closer and concentrated her hearing, but could not hear anything. She wanted to curse herself for regaining some hope, but then she heard it again. She took his arm again to check the pulse and this time she could feel something very weak. It could not be happening! It had to be another illusion. She did not want to get happy and then be crushed again, but she did when she felt his pulse become stronger. She quickly summoned a potion that would help the heart become stronger and poured it into his mouth. After some minutes his pulse became almost normal and it seemed that it had worked; however, Sarah was crying again, only this time out of joy.
Sarah was kneeling besides Snape and she could not believe what had just happened. He was back! There was no doubt that she had called him back from the Other World, and it had indeed worked. Snape had not woken up yet and Sarah did not expect him to do that for some days. However, she would be able to calm down and be sure that everything was alright only after speaking with him. It was said in his notes that the potion would heal the damage done to the brain, but what if it was not fully reversed? She hoped that his potion was a real miracle and it would be able to do everything.
Sarah had to move Snape from the horrible Shack. She wondered where they could go, but there was not much option as it was not safe to Apparate. They had to stay at Hogwarts; it was the only way. She thought that they would be quite safe there, because she new Snape’s password for his quarters and also the wards he had placed on it. She doubted that someone would look into the dungeon’s chambers when there was so much damage done to Hogwarts’s outside. It would take much time to fix everything on the outside and only after that someone could go to check Snape’s quarters. Sarah Levitated Snape and carefully took him to his quarters. She called Shery, a house-elf, to check if she would deliver food to them and keep their secret, and was assured that everything would be alright. It enabled Sarah to stay besides him for the most of time in case he woke up.
Finally, after three days Snape opened his eyes and after noticing her asked in a feeble and hoarse voice what required a lot of effort, “How did you do this?”
“With a help of the magical power of love,” was all she managed to say before he lost consciousness again. She had expected him to remain conscious for a longer time as he woke up, but what had happened was also satisfactory, because she could be sure that he was alright. He remembered her and it seemed that even his own death, and his tone was as strict and demanding as always.
The next day he woke up again and that time stayed awake longer. Sarah told him in detail what she had done and how she found him. He was amazed by her answer. He had not hoped that she would look for him and moreover remember his potion that he had been sure would not work.
After a week he was almost back to normal. Sarah did not let him get up, because it would require a lot of effort and strengths, but he was not at least falling in and out of consciousness.
“Severus, what will we do now?” Sarah asked after he had finished eating his dinner.
“Let me think about it later, but I assume that it would be better for us to get away from this region. It is if you want to be with me…” Snape still could not believe that she had come back. He had been sure that she had left him and would never be able to forgive.
“Do you think I would have tried to get you back from the dead if I did not love you?” she asked.
“I had to ask. I was such a fool, but I have understood that you are the only one who mans something to me,” he said.
“I hope you won’t change your mind,” she said sadly. “Why do you want to leave?”
“I don’t think that anyone has to know that I’m alive,” he said.
“Do you think that you can hide yourself forever?” she asked.
“Not forever, but for some time. They will get suspicious because my portrait won’t appear in the Headmaster’s Office, but I don’t want to see anyone yet and besides, they will announce me a hero only if I’m dead!” he laughed.
“You’re right about that,” she said, “I think you’ll be able to make a fortune on “The Potion of Life”.”
“No! This potion has to be destroyed!” he yelled.
“What!” Sarah shouted. “Are you out of your mind? You developed a potion which can get the dead back and now you want just to forget about it! Do you realise how many lives can be saved?”
“Sarah, I have told you already that I’m still sane just because I had mastered Occlumency! There are not many other people who have had years of practise at blocking their mind from the Dark Lord. This is all wrong! You can’t get the soul back easily. When you called me back it was the most horrific experience which had ever happened to me. If blocking my mind would have taken one more minute, you would have a vegetable lying in this bed! Besides, you know that the potion doesn’t work on its own. You got me back somehow, but I can’t sell a potion which requires “the magical power of love”, as you called it, to work,” Snape tried to explain.
“You can work on this potion, you can improve it!” she said.
“I did my best. There is nothing more I can do! Do you realise how dangerous it is? I don’t even want to think what would have happened if you did not get me back, but I would be left hanging between two worlds!” he snapped.
“Would not the soul just go away after some time?” she asked.
“If it would have been screwed up in the time of going back to Earth, I don’t think so. It’s too dangerous. I prohibit you to use it ever again! It’s a real miracle that it worked.”
“Think about it, Severus,” she argued. “You can try to work on it. Even if everyone can’t be saved with the potion, it can still save some lives!”
“Stop it! I already explained that it is too dangerous. Just forget about it. Please! I don’t want to mess with souls. I understood it months ago when I finished working on the potion. I should have destroyed it, but I’m happy that I did not.” Snape tried to convince her.
Sarah gave a deep sigh, but it seemed that there was no point in arguing. Snape was sure that it was dangerous, and he had always been right when he assumed something about potions.
Two weeks later Snape was as healthy as he had always been and it was time to move out of Hogwarts. They did not feel safe in there anymore. In no time someone could come and try to break the wards on his quarters.
“I think that it’s time to leave,” Snape said one morning.
“Have you made up your mind about where we will go?” she asked.
“I think that I should sell my house at the Spinner’s End, because I don’t want to return there ever again. While we haven’t bought something else, we could stay in Dumbledore’s house in Ireland. I think it was a quite nice place. We could rest for some time. There isn’t a lack of money yet, so I’ll start supplying potions to shops and St. Mungo’s later,” Snape said.
“We could go there. I also want to rest before I’ll start looking for a job,” she agreed.
“Are you sure that you don’t want to return to States?” he asked.
“Yes, I’m sure. We have to start a new life here!” she answered with certainty and smile on her face.
*** Nineteen Years Later ***
It was the first day of September when confused Muggles noticed another strange family pushing a trolley which had a cage with an owl on the top of it. Muggles had never seen owls in cages and had no idea where to buy them, but here families which had owls were going one after another and then disappearing somewhere. One Muggle considered it to be the latest fashion to have an owl, and thought about going to a pet shop after work to look how much an owl cost. Just as he decided that he definitely needed this pet, which none of his friends had, one more family with an owl went past. The man who pushed the trolley was dressed in strange black clothes. He also had jet-black hair with some grey stands in it and a hooked nose. The Muggle had to admit that he looked scary. However, the red-haired woman besides him looked quite nice. The same could be said about the girl with them. She was definitely their daughter, because she looked like a copy of her mother except that she had back hair like her father. When they disappeared in the crowd, the man shrugged his shoulders. He had not seen so many strange people for a long time.
“Are you ready to run through the barrier, Ardene?” Sarah asked her daughter.
“It’s the fifth time I’m going to Hogwarts. I know how to do it!” she answered and started running towards the brick wall fearlessly.
“I’ll never get used to running into a wall,” Sarah said to Snape after their daughter had vanished.
“You’ll have to do it just three more times. Come!” he took her hand and they ran though the barrier together. When they emerged on the other side they saw through the thick white steam that their daughter had met some friends and was laughing with them.
“Let’s wait here,” Snape said to Sarah.
“It’s impossible to see anyone. Will she find us?” she asked concerned.
“I have her trolley so she has no other chance!” he laughed.
“Look!” Sarah pointed at a family which had just emerged on the platform.
When Snape saw them, he stepped deeper into the vapour. “Oh right, there can’t be a September First without Potter and his countless kids,” he snapped.
“He has just three kids! And don’t forget that one of them has your name,” she said.
“Don’t remind me that! I would have never allowed him to call his son like that if he had asked,” Snape retorted.
“Look at little Lily. She looks very nice!” Sarah said.
“Can you stop talking about them? I don’t care about his daughter. I have my own daughter,” he said angrily.
“Calm down! I know that you wanted to call our daughter Lily. There’s no point in being angry at Potter just because he did what you wanted.”
“I never said that!” Snape said, but Sarah just smirked. “Ardene is a lot lovelier name. I would never want my daughter to be called the same as Potter’s.”
The white vapour was getting denser and they started moving in the direction where they had seen their daughter for the last time. There was not much time left. Finally they spotted her running to them.
“Let’s go!” Ardene urged. “The train is leaving soon.”
Snape lifted her things into the train and hugged her.
“Promise you’ll write to us!” Sarah said.
“I will!” she said.
“Get as many O’s in O.W.L.’s as you can!” Snape said.
“I’ll get them all! Don’t forget that I’m a Ravenclaw!” she said and smiled.
Ardene kissed her parents and boarded the Hogwarts Express, just before the scarlet train began to move. Snape and Sarah remained on the platform and waved until the train rounded a corner. Snape was happy and proud. He had everything what he had longed for.