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Snape's Journal

July 15, 1993:

By eleven o'clock this morning, I had set up in my makeshift classroom two goblets of water and a beaker of wine, plus two lumps of sugar and two biscuits, each on their own plate. Today I was instructing Harry and his longtime friend Hermione on Transmutation, which was not like Transfiguration, though they sounded similar. Transfiguration was the ability to change an object into a totally different object, from inanimate to animate, from alive to unalive, and so forth. It also encompassed shapechanging. Transmutation, however, was the act of taking a substance with similar properties and altering them slightly. Such as changing a goblet of water into wine, or pumpkin juice, or changing sugar into salt, ect. It was the craft of the alchemists, who had long ago discovered how to turn lead into gold, but had kept the secret from Muggles, lest they be made to serve greedy Muggles as a kind of bank, and thus devalue the world's economy at the same time. For, as any economist will tell you, the value of a thing increases if it is scarce, like gold, but start minting gold coins nonstop and the gold value will decrease and become worthless.

Transmutation was a subtle magic, and not one that was studied at Hogwarts, but one that I considered a useful branch of study, much better than Divination. Hermione had attended Hogwarts for one year and then decided to return home. She had been dreadfully homesick, bored in all of her classes, as she had learned all the basic magical theory and some spells from me by the time she was eleven, and was constantly made fun of by her less studious Gryffindor Housemates. So now I tutored her as well as Harry three to four days a week, for nine weeks during the summer, with three weeks off for holiday, and the rest of the year it was for the whole month. The Grangers paid me a generous sum for doing so, saying that it was a Godsend that they had a professor of my caliber nearby who was willing to tutor their daughter. I had tried to refuse, but they had insisted, and I was grateful for the extra income, we didn't precisely need it, but I placed it in a savings account, because you never knew what might happen. Plus, I enjoyed teaching willing students who loved learning, and would therefore pay attention and listen while I taught. It was one reason I taught Advanced Potions and Theory at the Academy, because the students who attended there were serious about becoming Masters and Mistresses of Potions or apothecaries or Healers, and so never slacked off in my class.

Hermione soaked up knowledge like a sponge, always thirsty for more. She also provided a challenge for Harry, who tended to grow lazy if not pushed somewhat, and though she was his best friend, he didn't like it when she outperformed him, and therefore studied harder. With only two of them, it also cut down on homework assignments and tests I needed to grade as well. I could also tailor my classes to them individually, and focus my lessons on what they were having trouble with. All in all, it was a very satisfactory arrangement.

There came a knock at the door.

"Come in, Hermione!" Lily called cheerily and Hermione walked into the house. "Goodness, you've gotten taller since the last time I saw you, and look how lovely your hair is!"

"I hate it, Lily," Hermione told her. "It's all bushy and frizzy and it tangles no matter what I do. I wish I had straight hair like yours."

"Oh, no, you don't. My hair is awful to work with, it goes limp and sometimes I have to use volumizing potions to get it to fluff and I think you're lucky to have such curls."

"You do? But all the girls at school made fun of my hair. They called me Bushyhead and Furcap and asked if I were related to a werewolf."

"They were jealous, Hermione. And you should have told them you were related to a werewolf, it might have scared some of them away. Your hair is a gorgeous chestnut color with natural amber highlights, and any girl your age would kill for it. Trust me."

"Honest?"

"Witch's honor. I can give you some Sleek-EZ Hair Tonic which will tame down the curl and relax it so it doesn't frizz on you," Lily offered.

"Really?" Hermione looked delighted. She threw her arms about Lily and hugged her. "You're the best, Lily!"

I watched as my wife hugged the slender girl back, and I could see the longing in her eyes for a daughter of her own. She had had two miscarriages after Harry was born, once with James and the other with me. Both times the fetus had aborted in the first trimester. Lily was afraid she might never be able to have another child, Harry's birth had been difficult, and the women in her family were known to have trouble conceiving and carrying a fetus to full term. I prayed that this time she had caught, and our wish for another child would come true.

They broke off the hug when Harry entered the den, and greeted his friend. "Hey, Hermione. All set for today's class?"

"Yes. I can't wait to learn Transmutation. The great alchemist Nicholas Flamel created the Sorcerer's Stone Elixir using it," she informed my son eagerly. "I read about it in Great Witches and Wizards of the Nineteenth Century."

"Oh. Sounds cool. Did you do something different to your hair?"

"Why? Does it look terrible?"

"No. It looks . . .nice."

She beamed at him, "Thanks Harry."

Then she headed into the dining room, which was where we usually had lessons.

"Hello, Professor!" she greeted warmly.

"Good morning, Hermione. Please take your seat." I turned to my son. "Harry, quit slouching and sit up straight."

My son shifted and sat up, he had a tendency to slump in his chair, and I did not want him to get in the habit of doing so. Both of them had their notebooks out and quills poised to write notes.

I began by explaining the theory and Laws of Transmutation. " . . .Transumtation does not increase or decrease the mass of the base or target liquid or solid. The Law is that the mass remains the same, so if you start with a pound of sugar and transmute it into salt, then you shall have a pound of salt, no more or no less. That is called the Law of Equivalents. Watch as I demonstrate."

I waved my wand over the wine beaker and Transmuted its contents into water.

"See, the same amount of water is in the beaker as there was wine before. If you attempt to alter the amount, the spell will fail."

Halfway through my little lecture, I noticed Harry nodding off. I reached over the table and shook his shoulder. "Wake up, Mr. Potter!" I tended to use the more formal address while I taught, because it made Harry and Hermione treat me like a professor and not a family member.

"Huh?" He blinked blearily at me. "Sorry, sir. I guess I'm tired."

"Mmm . . .you need to go to bed early tonight and no reading Quidditch magazines under your covers."

He made a face at me. "How'd you know?"

I concealed a smirk and resorted to the time-honored parental response, "I'm your father. I know everything you do."

Hermione giggled. "You sound like my dad. He knows everything too."

"Merlin help us all!" Harry groaned, rubbing his eyes.

I cleared my throat. "All right, now it's your turn. Hermione, Transmute the goblet of water here into a drink of your choosing . . ."

The rest of the lesson progressed well, and soon both my students had mastered the simple Transmutation of altering liquids and small amounts of a solid. I assigned some homework, mostly reading Nicholas Flamel's Transmutation's Victory, which was often called "The Alchemist's Bible".

Then we moved on to History of Magic and then a double lesson in Herbology. But the Herbology lesson ended rather abruptly when Harry got stung by a bee while picking a patch of common dandelions. He was stung on the thigh, and had a immediate allergic reaction to the sting, resulting in his leg swelling up. I swiftly carried him inside, he was gritting his teeth and whimpering.

"Easy, son. You'll be fine once I get some potions into you and some Sting Balm on the bite."

" . . .hurts . . .feel like I can't breathe . . ."

"Will Harry be okay, professor?" asked Hermione.

"Yes," I said, though his words about shortness of breath concerned me greatly. This was the first time he had been stung and a bad allergic reaction like this was not a good sign.

I carried Harry inside, placing him on the couch, while Hermione told Lily what had happened. She came in to help keep Harry calm while I summoned potions and salve and a syringe. By then Harry was struggling for air, and Lily was telling him to relax and try and take short breaths, that everything was going to be fine. His green eyes were wide and scared. I could tell Lily was scared too, but she wasn't showing it. She had grace under pressure.

"Hermione, I need you to step into the kitchen for a bit, I have to remove Harry's jeans and underwear to treat him." I instructed.

She blushed and said, "No problem," and then retreated into the kitchen.

I quickly banished my son's clothing, the bite was on the back of his thigh. "Harry, I'm going to turn you over now so I can apply some salve and give you an injectable potion." By now he was wheezing and Lily helped me turn him. I rubbed the salve all over the nasty swollen area, then gave him two shots, one in his thigh, to counteract the poison from the sting, the other in his bottom so he could breathe. The ephedra-based Breath Ease Elixir worked in moments, enough so the first words he said were, "Ow! You know I hate needles, Dad!"

"That was the only way he could get the potion into you, son," Lily soothed. "Your throat was swelled shut and you couldn't swallow." She rubbed his back and encouraged him to take deep breaths.

He squirmed a little. "My leg hurts."

"Lie still. You need to give the Anti-Allergen Draft time to work and the balm as well."

It took five minutes before the swelling finally went down and the pain began to fade. I gently replaced Harry's underwear and summoned a pair of loose cotton shorts for him to wear instead of jeans, they were more comfortable. "There. You'll be all right now. Do you feel sick or dizzy?"

Harry turned over on his side and looked at me. "Not really. Just kind of stupid. Why am I allergic to a little sting?"

"You get that from James' side of the family," Lily told him, hugging him. "Your grandfather Charles Potter was allergic to bees very badly. He nearly died once from multiple stings when a hive fell on him while he was walking in the woods. Thank goodness your dad reacted so quickly. From now on you'll have to carry a dose of Anti-Allergen with you in a small syringe."

"What? You want me to . . .give myself a shot?" He looked horrified.

Lily patted his arm. "Yes. You can do it if you need to. If another bee stings you, you could die without that dose, son. I'll have you practice on an orange so you'll know how to give yourself a needle without hurting yourself."

"How do you know all this, Mum? They teach you this stuff in Auror school?"

"No, but my cousin Linda was diabetic and had to give herself insulin shots every day. So I learned it from her."

Harry shifted, winced a little, then sat up. "Ow!" He immediately stood. "I need a Cushioning Charm."

I cast one and he gingerly sat down. "Where's Hermione?"

"In the kitchen. I didn't think you'd want her seeing your bare behind."

"No way!" He blushed red then he called Hermione to come in.

She rushed in and cried, "Oh, Harry! How are you feeling? I was so worried!"

"I'm fine now. It doesn't even hurt anymore," he lied gallantly.

She hugged him then. "You must be highly allergic to insect stings," she declared then.

"Obviously," he replied, imitating me dead on.

We all shared a laugh then, in the wake of the emergency, it felt good to laugh again.

Harry had been lucky. This was not the first time he had been hurt however, he was an active boy and somehow seemed to be forever getting bruised and scraped, usually from doing something he was told not to. But I wouldn't trade him for anything.

Later that night, I rose to check on him, and found him sleeping peacefully on his stomach, one leg dragging nearly on the floor. I gently moved his leg back and fixed the covers about him, after taking a quick peek at the sting, which was now a small bump. It would be gone by tomorrow evening.

But when I returned to my room, I found that sleep eluded me and so I pulled out my journal again. Lily had stayed on at Spinner's End after her near death experience, not wanting to be alone, and my mother was perfectly content to watch Harry while Lily grieved and attended James' funeral and attempted to recover from the tragedy that had befallen her.

Snape's Journal

November 7, 1981:

After she had recovered mostly from the smoke inhalation, and was assured that my mother didn't mind taking care of a rather fussy Harry, Lily managed to tell me what had become of her life since she had moved from Spinner's End and left school. I knew, of course, that she had married James Potter, the engagement had been in all the wizarding papers and magazines, and even I, reclusive apothecary that I was, learned of it. The knowledge had been like a stone in my gut, a barrier that had put paid to any sort of relationship between us save an acquaintance. Until now. During the week she spent recovering from her injuries and grief, I had not attempted to speak of the past. Even now, I was hesitant. She had been the one to bring it up, saying abruptly one morning over breakfast, "I think we need to talk, Sev."

"About what?"

"You. Me. James."

"Now?"

"Yes, now. It's time you heard the whole story."

I wasn't sure if I wished to hear this confession, or whatever you wanted to call it, so I asked a rather blunt question of my own. "Did you love him?"

She sighed. "Yes. But . . .it's complicated. I loved him . . .but not perhaps in the way he wanted me to, and he didn't love me the way I wanted him to." She shook her head ruefully. "I'm not making a lick of sense, I know. Best to start at the beginning then. You know why I first started dating James, back in fifth year. But what you don't know is why I continued."

"I can guess. He was charming and handsome and acceptable. Everything I was not."

"To others. But not to me. Not at first. And he knew it. Oh, he tried to win me over, but I would have none of him. I knew him for what he was, a spoiled little boy who wanted me because I was the one girl who never swooned over him. But someone else also saw us together and assumed we were attracted to each other. The Headmaster. Not long after I agreed to date James, he summoned me to his office and told me how pleased he was that I was paying James some attention, and how he thought my influence on him was wonderful. He said that it was me who had caused James to change and stop being so . . .reckless and irresponsible. He asked me if I would continue mentoring James, set him a good example. Give him good advice. I . . .didn't know how to tell him no. I would look like an insensitive uncaring wretch if I refused. And then I thought, maybe Dumbledore was right. Maybe I could keep influencing him to behave and make him keep leaving people, like you, Sev, alone. What could it hurt?

"I was proud of myself, I'll admit it, and I became fond of him, sort of the way a teacher is fond of a rowdy student who becomes a good boy after all. He could be very charming and sweet when he chose to be. I liked the attention he paid to me, he used to bring me small presents and help me with my Transfiguration and I even made him promise to keep Pettigrew and Black in line and I thought pretty highly of myself. I'd civilized the Marauders." She snorted deprecatingly at herself. "I was a silly twit. They did nothing but mask their true natures from me. Especially Pettigrew, who ended up a traitor. And James . . .I think he wanted to change for me, but if I hadn't been there, he would have kept right on bullying you until one or the other of you snapped and killed the other."

"That is very likely."

"I should have explained this to you while we were at school, but . . .I just didn't, I kept putting it off until it was too late. And then I . . .saw you hanging around those other Slytherins and I got mad, because you had just proven James right and I let myself believe that you really had gone dark. That you had become like all the others and I turned my back on you. I was a fool, I should have known better. I should have gone and asked why you would ever do such a stupid thing, what had ever happened to you, but I allowed the opinions of James and the others in my House to sway me and I never asked. I regret that now, very much."

I nodded. I could see that she did, her emerald eyes were full of an old pain.

"I gave up my best friend over a few rumors and a charming smile. I betrayed you, Severus, and for that I am deeply sorry."

"Lily, I almost went dark, I was almost seduced by the Book of Night. Gabriel saved me. The love of a dog saved me."

"Almost doesn't count. I should have known that you could never . . .be like them . . .like Avery and Mulciber. But somehow, I . . .I let myself be led astray." She shook her head in disgust. "Well, I know you cannot forgive me for this, but . . .what's done is done. I married James knowing full well what he was. What I didn't know was how he perceived me, or how my life would change because of it. I had met his parents briefly while we were courting, and it was a short courtship, because James said why linger over it, since he already knew he was going to marry me."

"So he rushed you into marriage." I interjected.

"Well, not really."

I shot her a look of disbelief. But I said nothing. She knew how I felt about her deceased husband. I had no desire to make her feel any worse than she did already. So I kept my mouth shut.

"Anyhow, we were married, and for a time, we were happy with each other. I grew to love him, and he loved me, or the Lily he thought was me. I believe James saw me as an innocent girl, being taken advantage of by you, and needing his protection and guidance. It was how he had been brought up, his father was an oldschool gentleman, and his mother was the sort of woman who was content to let a man shelter her. Even though I was nothing like her, and James ought to have known that, I think he figured once I was Mrs. Potter, I would become that way. It's funny, how people see what they want to see, and blind themselves to what really is. Until I told him that I wished to join the Auror Academy as well, but not the regular force. I wanted to be a Spec—a Special Auror, one who infiltrates and spies upon the enemy. It's a separate branch within the MLE, a select branch, one that James would never be suited for. He was too open, he showed everything he felt, he could never be a Spec. But I felt that this was the one way I could fight against Voldemort. I could pretend very well, you know that, since we always pretended when we played together as children. And I've always been excellent at Charms. James, however, disagreed. He said there was no reason to involve myself directly in the war. That I should stay safe at home, in Potter Manor. We quarreled then. I was no hothouse flower, who needed to be protected and sheltered by a man. I told him I was perfectly capable of taking care of myself. He insisted that as my husband, it was his duty to see to my safety. He regarded me, you see, as a woman much like his mother, content to remain among her rose garden and go to benefits and raise a family. I had tried to live that life, in the beginning of my marriage, tried to become the genteel aristocrat that was expected of me, but I never quite managed to fit in. I was too outspoken, I had married up according to some, and what was more, after a few months of attending soirees and the like, I found that atmosphere stifling. So I gave up trying.

"I would never be like them, nor did I want to be. And I was quite furious that James would try and cast me back into that insipid role. So we quarreled, and I ended up not speaking to him for a week. Then he caved and said I could do what I wished, but he didn't like it. So I applied to the Spec program and was accepted. I was delighted. At last I could do something besides donate money to the department or charities. I could make a difference.

"I was immersed in learning my new career for three months at the Academy, before I discovered I was pregnant. Despite that, I wanted to continue my training, but James wouldn't have it. I might risk myself, he said, but not his child. Reluctantly I agreed to leave the Academy for a time, but as soon as I could, I was going to return and finish what I started. Plenty of women had babies and careers. I continued to study as much as I could while I stayed home, and aided the Order of the Phoenix, which was Dumbledore's group of rebels, covertly.

"That day I saw you in the apothecary, I had just surrendered my freedom, and seeing you brought back so many memories. Memories I had done my damndest to forget since I moved away, but now found I could not. I foolishly assumed that things might go back to the way they had been between us. I don't know what I was thinking. You had every right to be angry with me."

"But not to hurt you," I said quietly.

"Why not? As long as we're being honest here, I hurt you when I chose James, don't deny it. You hurting me is fair turnabout."

"No! I never wanted to hurt you, Lily. All I wanted—all I've ever wanted—" I halted.

"What, Sev?"

"Never mind. Go on with your story, please. I'll . . .tell you later."

She gave me a speculative look. "Very well. But you will tell me later," she said firmly. Then she continued.

"James was often away, helping the Order, and I was alone. Occasionally I saw Alice Longbottom, who was also in the family way, and we commiserated about our pregnancies and how good it would be when the babies were finally born. Sometimes Sirius Black and Pettigrew would drop by, to see how I was getting on, and bring news for me about James. I worried over him, that he would be too impulsive and get himself into a situation he couldn't get out of. He was brave, no one could ever say otherwise, but he was also reckless. Sirius promised he would watch his back, but Sirius could be equally reckless, neither of them had changed much since school in that regard. I was afraid James would die before his child ever saw the light of day. And there I was, unable to do anything useful except pray for his quick return.

"I nearly went mad, Sev. I'm not one to sit about and let others fight my battles. But I had no choice, for I was now so big I could barely see my feet. James was hoping for a boy, a son to carry on the family name. Me, I didn't care, boy or girl, I just wanted it to be safe and healthy. And get born as soon as possible." Her face took on a tender glow that I had never seen before, and such love and warmth shone in her eyes that I was struck dumb. Had my own mother ever regarded me so? Or was Lily unique in that regard?

"When he was born, and I first looked upon him, it was as though I looked upon a miracle. That such a perfect child had come from me . . .I was consumed with love. And I vowed that nothing would ever hurt him. Nothing. James was so proud. "I have a son! I have a son!" he shouted. Then he thanked me, and I told him that I loved him. I named him Harry, after my father, and James as well. James said that since I'd named our son, he would choose his godparents, and named Sirius and Alice. I would have preferred Frank instead, but James insisted Sirius was his choice.

"Six months later, the war had escalated, and James was again called back into the field. I stayed home with Harry, though I was taking a correspondence course by mail from the Academy. I never told James, for it was my decision to make. It was my war too, and I would do what I had to in order to make the world safe for my child.

"Then we received a warning from Dumbledore, there was a prophecy concerning my son and Alice's Neville. They were supposed to be the instruments of a prophecy to kill You-Know-Who. And he knew of it and them. I was horrified. It was madness, to think a baby capable of such a deed. But then, Riddle was always a madman. Dumbledore said we must hide Harry, and my first instinct was to leave the country. But he said we would be perfectly safe here, and may God forgive me, I believed him. He put us under the Fidelius Charm, and James would have chosen Sirius for his Secret Keeper, but at the last minute, Sirius changed his mind and convinced James that Peter would be the better choice, since no one would suspect him." Her face twisted in a grimace of hate. "I had my doubts about him, I have never liked that rat, but I was overruled. James never could see the evil in that man, the slyness, he always insisted Peter was just self-conscious and that deep down he had courage and we could trust him."

"He was delusional," I snorted. "Pettigrew always licked his arse though, so maybe he figured that was enough."

"Severus!" Lily rebuked. "That's rather harsh."

"The truth often is," I said simply. "So you made the rat Secret Keeper. And you went into hiding at Godric's Hollow."

"For a month. It was rough on the both of us. James was as ill at ease as I was being cooped up. We got on each other's nerves something fierce. The only thing that kept us both sane some days was Harry. He could always make me laugh. James adored him, and played with him every chance he got. He had never really spent much time at home, so Harry barely knew him. So, for Harry, this enforced confinement was a good thing. Would that it had remained so. But it was not to be. The same day that I received your warning note about Pettigrew's betrayal and Voldemort's agenda, James discovered my papers from the Auror Academy, which I had placed inside the desk. He had a royal fit, accusing me of going behind his back, of being a deceitful wife. We had a dreadful row, and then I showed him your letter and he refused to believe it was the truth. He claimed he didn't trust anything you said, that you had always hated him and his friends and would say anything to smear their reputations. We argued some more over that, and I said we couldn't afford to ignore the warning. I wanted to take Harry and leave, go to my sister's house in Surrey or somewhere Voldemort would never think to search. Petunia and I had never been close but I knew she would not turn me away. James refused to consider it. He said I was a fool for doubting Peter and Dumbledore and we were safer at the cottage than anywhere else.

"I almost took a swing at him, but at the last minute I controlled myself and decided to take a long walk about the village instead. I told James to at least call Sirius and have him come over as backup, just in case, then I left Harry asleep upstairs, after casting a strong protection charm over him, and went out. It was just after seven o'clock in the evening. I walked out my frustration in an hour and a half, and then I found myself at the cemetery. I was weary and heartsick, but I didn't want to return home just yet. I didn't want to go back to that house, and start yet another quarrel with my boneheaded husband. I ended up entering the cemetery and talking to the gravestones. I felt I was a failure, that everything I had ever tried to do had gone wrong. I had never become a Spec, or the wife that James wished for, or the friend I should have been to you. I didn't even think I was a good mother because the last place I wanted to be was at home, even if Harry was there.

"So I sat and thought for a bit, then rose and headed back towards the house. I saw Sirius' motorbike parked in the drive and decided I could wait a bit longer to enter the house. James was probably grousing to Sirius about me anyhow. I returned to the graveyard and sat upon a bench, and for some unknown reason I thought of you, Severus. You and Gabe and Eileen. I missed all of you dreadfully and I hoped you were safe. Before I knew it, my eyes shut and I had fallen asleep.

"It was then I had the strangest dream. I dreamed that Harry was in danger, terrible danger, that You-Know-Who was trying to kill him, that he was surrounded by fire. I woke to the smell of smoke, screaming Harry's name. When I looked down the street at our cottage, to my horror, I saw that it was burning. My nightmare had become real." She started to tremble then, and she closed her eyes, tears running down her face.

"Lily, don't. You don't have to speak of it."

She shook her head silently. "No . . .I do need to speak of it . . .I need to have someone know . . .I don't want to remember, but I need to . . ." She took a deep breath and wiped her eyes with the heel of hand. "The house was on fire and I knew . . .I knew James was dead . . .and I also knew that my baby was in there. I didn't stop to think I just ran . . .ran right into the house. James was lying at the foot of the stairs, dead. I nearly tripped over him. I glanced at him briefly, but my whole being was focused on Harry. Harry was upstairs . . .where the fire was. The whole house was filling with smoke. I could hardly breathe. I cast a Cooling Charm about me and raced up the stairs. In the hallway, I found Sirius. He was dead too, another victim of the Killing Curse. A few feet beyond I found Pettigrew, he had been killed by a Cutting Curse. I kicked him out of the way. I supposed Sirius and he must have dueled and the coward took Sirius from behind with his last breath. Or maybe Voldemort killed Sirius. I'll never know.

"By then I was choking and gasping, the fire was roaring overhead and I could hear Harry screaming. I burst into his room, where I found him sitting on the floor next to his overturned crib, howling. And next to him was yet another body. It was Voldemort. Harry's face was a mess of blood, but I didn't care about that. I just grabbed him and then I Apparated. You were there when I reappeared outside and you know the rest of the tale." Her green eyes were bleak, pools of sorrow and regret. "I should have been there!" she burst out suddenly. "I nearly let my baby die because of my temper. I should have been there!"

"No, Lily. My God, if you had been there, you would've died too!" I cried, aghast. "Then Harry would have lost both parents and who would have taken him in? Never wish that, Lily! You couldn't have changed what happened, all you could have done is die with them! Is that what you wanted?"

She shook her head, crying softly. "You don't understand! James died before I could patch things up with him . . .! I should have gone home!" She put her head in her hands and began to sob harder. "I failed everyone!"

I sat there, feeling terrible, as she wept from guilt at not being able to save her husband. I could have told her that Potter should have believed her, should have never discounted my warning, that I would have made sure my wife and child were safe far away from Godric's Hollow. But I knew that such words, honest though they were, would only hurt her more. I tentatively reached out to touch her hand, unsure if I should attempt to comfort her, if she would welcome my touch.

She gripped my hand like a lifeline and wept over it.

I did not know what to say, how to ease her pain. I knew only that I could not stand to see her suffering. I rose and put my arm about her gently. For one instant, she stiffened, then she turned to me and cried on my shoulder. I gathered her to me and just held her, murmuring, "Shhh . . .shhh . . .Lily. Don't blame yourself. You survived. Be glad, Lily! Be glad! I am. You have no idea how much."

I held her for a long time, reveling in the feel of her in my arms, and wishing that it were a different reason I had for holding her. I still loved her, even after all this time. She had married my rival, borne him a child, and yet my heart still leaped when she spoke my name, and the past hardly mattered right then. "I love you, Lily. That's what I wanted to tell you before. I love you."

She sniffled and looked up at me. "Even after all this time?"

"Always."

She smiled through her tears. "Oh, Sev. I really don't deserve you."

"Of course you do. Never doubt it." I took a handkerchief from my pocket and blotted her eyes. "You seem tired, perhaps you should lie down."

"I'm fine, Sev." She gently slipped from my lap. "I don't want to impose on you and Eileen. Harry and I . . .we still have Potter Manor. As James' widow, I inherited all his property and assets. And Sirius left Grimmauld Place and all his worldly goods to his godson."

The funerals and wills had been read during the week following the deaths of the three Marauders. Sirius and James had been hailed as heroes and given a hero's funeral. Statues of them had been erected in Godric's Hollow. Pettigrew, on the other hand, was reviled as a traitor and his body burnt and his ashes scattered to the four winds. As for Harry, people were now calling him The Boy Who Lived, and saying he had vanquished Voldemort somehow by surviving the Killing Curse.

"What are you saying?" I asked. "That you want to leave?"

"It's not that I'm not grateful, Sev. You saved my life and Harry's life, I owe you more than I could ever repay, but I don't want to be a burden." Lily began.

"Nonsense, Lily! You are always welcome in my home," Mum said, as she walked in carrying Harry. The little boy bore a lightning bolt scar from where the curse had struck him.

I could not help recalling the words of the prophecy—and the Dark Lord shall Mark him for his own. Had the prophecy been fulfilled? Or was there more yet to come?

"Eileen, are you certain?"

"Lily Evans Potter, what a question!" Mum shook her finger at my childhood friend. "You are in no fit state to go off by yourself. You need time, child. Time to grieve and time to heal. And you won't do either alone with only your son for company. You may stay here as long as you wish. No arguments."

"Thank you, Eileen."

Mum smiled. "You're very welcome, Lily."

Harry held out his arms for Lily. "Mama!"

Lily picked him up and held him. "There now, little one. Mama's here."

Harry snuggled up to her and put his thumb in his mouth.

My mother looked at them and smiled sadly. "This is a hard time for you both, I know." She looked suddenly uneasy. "I wish . . .I wish I didn't have to be the one to tell you, but . . .I noticed something today when I was holding Harry."

"Like what? Was he injured somewhere else?" Lily asked, alarm widening her eyes.

"No . . .not injured . . .but . . .I fear he . . .his magical core was severely damaged deflecting the Killing Curse," Mum began.

"What are you saying, Eileen?"

"I'm saying that . . .I fear your child has very little magic left within him."

"No! He . . .that's impossible! He was born with a strong talent, James and I both saw it within him."

"And it was that which kept him alive. That and your charm as well. Lily, I know this is hard for you to hear, especially coming so soon after your husband's death, but I figured it best that you know now. Look at him with your Magesight if you don't believe me."

Lily did so, summoning the innate power of all sorceresses and wizards, the ability to detect magic upon a person, place, or object. She gazed at her son, who had fallen asleep in her lap. "No . . .Merlin save me . . .but you're right. His magic is . . .almost gone. He's a Squib."

I called upon my Sight too and saw that my mother was correct. The dark-haired child with Lily's eyes now had no more magic within him than the Hogwarts caretaker, Argus Filch. He had defeated Voldemort, but no victory comes without cost. He had paid with his magic.

Snape's Journal

July 15th, 1993:

I redipped my pen, thinking how far we had all come from that day to this. As it turns out, Mother was not quite correct, but more on that later. Lily turned over and woke, she always seemed to know when I was absent from her side. "Sev? Where are you?"

"Here, love." I put away my journal and came to her.

"Couldn't sleep again?"

"No." I came and sat next to her. "So I decided to write a few things down."

She chuckled. "You seem to be as in love with your pen as you are with potions. But that's all right. I've always admired a man with brains."

"Good thing," I grinned back at her.

She leaned her head against my shoulder. "Sev, thank goodness you were trained in emergency medicine as an apothecary. I was so scared, Sev. We almost lost him today. If you hadn't . . ." she trailed off and clung to me.

"I know. I was scared too," I admitted.

"I never would have guessed. You sure didn't act like it."

"Neither did you," I pointed out.

"What good would it have done to go all hysterical? Someone had to remain calm, poor Harry was terrified. I had to be strong for him."

I nodded. "You're a true Gryffindor."

"No. I'm a true mother." Lily corrected. "Thank Merlin I had the good sense to marry you, Sev. And thank God Harry's going to be okay." She placed a hand over her stomach. "Because I would be heartbroken if he never saw his new little brother or sister."

For long moments I just stared at her, uncomprehending. Then my wits returned to me. "You're . . .pregnant? Finally?"

"Yes, finally!" she laughed. "Finally I am carrying another child. Are you happy, Sev?"

"I am. I-I don't even have the words to express just how happy I am." I caressed her cheek and then placed my own hand over hers tenderly.

"I just hope . . .that I can carry this one to term."

"You will. I'll call Mum and she can examine you tomorrow morning." I said. My mother, in addition to being an apothecary, had also trained as a midwife. "I can hardly wait to tell her she's going to be a grandmother again."

I leaned back against my pillows, Lily cradled against me, and I fell asleep with a smile on my face. It had been quite a day, and not one that I would soon forget. I only wished that Gabriel were here to share it with me.

Well, I know this chapter had a lot of surprises in it, and some of you might not be pleased with the way things worked out at Godric's Hollow, but as I said in the beginning, this is an AU and non-canon, so events happened differently. I have done many Sev adopts Harry stories with Sirius in them, and this time I decided to have a more tragic ending.
 

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