Chapter 1 : The New Beginning
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He could see the Headmaster's office. The desk, the door, the shelves, the other portraits. In his vision was a box. A very elegant and black box. "What is this?" He spoke aloud to no one.
"Albus," he heard a voice from his left state. "He's waking up."
"And it's about time, too," he heard the familar voice of his former Headmaster state. "In all my years of knowing you, Severus, I've never known you to be late."
He slowly turned to his right to see the main portrait of Albus Dumbledore. He blinked once or twice to try to improve his vision. He felt hung over, his head ached so terribly. "Where am I?" He spoke aloud again.
"In my office, Severus," Albus spoke again from his place in his portrait. "Or should I say, our office." He corrected himself as he repositioned in his chair. He turned to get a better look at the two dimensional former Slytherin Head of House. "What do you remember, Severus?" He gave a weak smile and a wink to the other portraits.
Severus sat with his head in his hands and tried to think back. His last thoughts were of the Shrieking Shack and the Dark Lord. Kill. He remembered feeling it, the sharp sting of a snake bite. His hand subconsciously moved towards his neck to feel the puncture marks. "The Dark Lord," he whispered. "The battle. . . what happened?" He glanced around at the other portraits to see the looks each was giving. From the silent voices, he couldn't read anything.
"Well," Albus began. "You died," he stated matter of factly.
Albus looked to a few of the portraits before continuing. "We won," he whispered very excitingly. The twinkle, although two-dimensional, was back in his eye.
Snape glanced around to the other portraits for confirmation. "Define won," he stated bluntly. After being a servant for the Dark Lord and a double agent, he dared not hope to think it could possibly be true.
"He's dead, Severus," Dubledore stated. "Killed by Harry." All the other portraits began to talk at once about the details of the battle. With all the commotion, it was hard to understand all the voices. "Gentlemen," the former headmaster spoke. "If you please." He waited for the noise to die down again. "With the knowledge of the memories you provided, Harry was able to defeat Tom."
"So. . . . " Severus began.
"You're free," Albus whispered. "Free of the double life. Free of your haunted past. Free of me. . "
"Yes, my dear boy." He sighed as he began his confessional. "I put way too much weight on your shoulders. Far too much for any one person to bear. Forgive me."
Snape glanced away and towards the window. A bright light was beginning to shine into the dimly lit office. Although two dimensional, the young man in the portrait never felt so much alive. Never again would he have to answer the call of an evil man or complete his evil-doings. Never again would he have to risk his life to provide vital information for the saftey of others. He took a deep breath in and sighed. "How long has it been, Headmaster?"
Dumbledore looked at the younger man and smiled. "I haven't been called that in ages." He pulled out a pocketwatch and glanced at the time. "A couple of months," he stated. "There was alot of repairs to the school and the wizarding community that needed to be done."
Severus knodded. "Must have been quite the battle."
"Oh, it was," one of the other potraits blurted out. He was joined by the others, their voices shouting again.
Severus sighed at his new surroundings. He glanced to his left and right to see white staring back. Almost like he was looking at a blank canvas. "Why am I surrounded by nothingness?"
Dumbledore noticed his confusion. "That is where your new portraits will take you, once they have been completed. One will lead you to the Slytherin common room and the other to your former classroom.
"Slughorn has agreed to stay on for a year or two until we get things sorted around the school. He has also agreed to continue on as Potions Professor."
"That position is currently open, though there are discussions at the ministry on whether to keep the class or not," Dumbledore stated worriedly.
"They have to!" Severus began to protest. "What are they thinking down there?" He began to try and stand up but couldn't yet. He was still getting use to being only two dimensional.
"Ah!" Dumbledore stated. "Right on time."
"Professor Snape," Harry began. Another familiar face handed him a brown box. "It is my honor and privilage to bestow upon you, the Order of Merlin, for your brave efforts during the war."
The applause from both the living and the potraits was deafening.
Severus had never been so embarrased. He never had been the center of attention for anything, good or bad. He tried to keep a calm exterior as he sat back in his portrait chair. He gave a small wave to the crowd as Potter carefully removed the metal from the box and magically hung it close to Snape's portrait.
"I'll see to it and make sure it's included in your next portrait, Sir," Harry whispered to him.
"We lost a lot of people in the battle, Sir," Potter replied, a little more sad. "But we won the war."
The young man looked up with both shock and pride hidden in his facial features. "Thank you, Sir," he replied. "I hope so." He glanced around to the other portraits before continuing. "We never would have stood a chance if it weren't for your contributions, Sir," he stated quietly, so that no others would over hear.
Severus disagreed but shook his head in agreement. Now was not the time to be reviving old battles or arguments. He looked around to the others, Dumbledore included. His two-dimensional eyes turned towards the open window, a new day was upon them, a new life for them all. He breathed deeply as everyone began to leave. Even though death had fallen upon him, he never felt more alive. He glanced around to the other portraits and thought about how his new life might be like. Although two dimensional and confined to the painted canvas, he was finally free.
(Or is it?)