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AN – this chapter will take place in James point of view

James didn’t really know where he was going. All he knew was that his feet were propelling him forward. He wanted to get away from the revelations that had just been voiced. To James, they felt like multiple slaps in the face.

James crossed a small bridge over a frozen stream. The bridge led into a children’s park. Back in his mortal days, it was this location that he sought out whenever he was troubled. The park was vacant at the moment. Sighing heavily, James sat down on a snowy park bench and put his head in his hands. His mind wandered through the conversation he’d just endured…

“James, he overheard the prophecy about Harry and tried to protect us by asking if Dumbledore would make us go into hiding. He agreed to remain a Death Eater so as to keep Harry safe….”

Harry’s words rang in his ears, replacing Lily’s…

“Before he died, he asked me to look at him. I found out afterword that his request was so he could see mum’s eyes one last time….”

James groaned. “Why?” he whispered aloud. “Why do I have to deal with this?”

These emotions were like scars, scars that refused to heal. After he’d secured Lily’s hand, James had been sure that he could bury these emotions forever. But now they had returned. The horrible thing was, he was dead and he still had to deal with them! Didn’t death usually promise to bring relief? Why was he still suffering then? Just admitting to the emotions ripping him up inside caused his heart to burn. But he needed to be honest with himself.

He had been jealous of Snape when he was at school and he was jealous that the man still obviously held a place in his wife’s heart.

The first day James had seen Lily on the Hogwarts Express back in their first year, he had been completely smitten. He’d thought she was an angel. And then he saw that the angel had a small gorgon trailing along behind her, a gorgon that would never leave her side. And the angel seemed to be completely fine with having the foul creature around! In fact, she even enjoyed his company! And to add salt to the wound, she enjoyed the gorgon more than she enjoyed James, who clearly was the knight.

Every time James saw the two of them together, he would feel his stomach tie up in uncomfortable knots. The constant pranking of Severus Snape had mostly been a way to satisfy those feelings. Not to mention the guy had had a natural desire to follow the dark arts. James had known this about him from the start. Perhaps that had been another reason he wanted Lily away from Snape; he didn’t want her to get affected by the same nonsense.

But now Lily and Harry had shared a story about him turning his back on the Dark Arts and sacrificing everything out of love. Yes, it was disturbing that Snape loved his wife. James would have outright denied it was true except everything that had just been revealed to him pointed to the actions of one who truly was in love. If James put himself in Snape’s position (which caused him to cringe just thinking about the idea), he would have done the same. Loving Lily, if he had overheard anything that would have caused harm to come to her, he would have done everything in his power to keep her safe.

Although James hated admitting it, Severus Snape had shown explicit bravery. But actually admitting this was not enough. There was something further that James needed to do, something that would ensure peace to his mind. He only now realized that until this was taken care of, he would never experience true, complete paradise.

Sighing, James lifted his head and gasped.

A man stood at the other side of the park, right by the entrance. He was wearing a deep black cloak, obviously to protect himself from the bitter cold, as well as a silent calculating expression. It was Severus Snape. James raised his eyes towards the heavens kind of thinking that their timing was obvious: they wanted things to be settled between the two men now.

James rubbed a hand behind his neck, sighed, and made his way over to where Severus stood. The previous Potions Master stiffened slightly, as if he were anticipating some hidden attack. James kept his hands at his sides, hoping that by so doing Snape wouldn’t think he was trying to go for his wand.

James stopped right in front of Severus and stared at him. The man looked as pale as he had when he was alive though his ‘greasy’ black hair appeared to not be in the same state as from James’s memories. His black eyes were narrowed, slightly suspicious, and a frown was clearly displayed on his lips.

“Severus, can’t say I’m surprised to see you,” said James.

Severus’s eyebrows rose. “Really, Potter? You look as if you have been expecting me.”

James sighed. “Well, to be honest, I’m a little shocked but not altogether surprised either.”

“And why is that?” Severus asked with a sneer.

James tried to keep the bitterness from his demeanor and tone as he invited Snape to join him on the bench he’d previously been occupying. The Potions Master studied him intently before following him past the playground equipment. Once seated on the snowy bench, James tried to find a way to speak his thoughts. An awkward silence descended upon them along with new flurries of snow fluttering down from the sky.

“Good Merlin, Potter,” Snape muttered, “Your silence could cause a skeleton to shake its frame in irritation. What is it that you wish to discuss with me?”

Hearing the bitterness and slight anger in Severus’s tone, James tried to start by asking a simple question. “How did you get here?”

Snape scowled. “One of the Higher Ups knocked on my door and told me I was going somewhere. Next thing I know I’m getting kicked out of Paradise and finding myself in a muggle children’s park with my least favorite person in existence sitting on this miserable bench.”

James pursed his lips. “Look, I’m sorry you were unceremoniously chucked out of your house -”

“–Obviously your doing –”

“–but there’s something that I need to get off my chest,” James finished despite the interruption.

Snape sneered. “And why in Merlin’s name do you need me to listen to you so you can get whatever it is off your chest? Why not get one of you little marauder friends to listen? I’m sure they’re more than satisfactory for this purpose.”

“The thing I need to discuss, Severus, is you,” James snapped angrily.

Snape blinked. “I beg your pardon?”

“You! You! For the love of snitches, it’s you, dang it!”

James stood and began pacing back and forth, occasionally kicking the snow under his feet. Severus’s eyes followed him back and forth.

“As much as I love to see you having a nervous breakdown,” Severus said, interrupting James’s silent pacing, “I hate to admit that I’m curious as to why I’m a problem for you.”

James looked at him mutinously. For a moment Snape thought he would draw his wand but then the marauder sat down and let out a heavy sigh. Deciding to keep his comments to himself, Snape waited for James to speak.

“Do you know why I hated you so much, Severus?” James asked, looking Snape right in the eye.

Severus scowled. “I think I have a pretty good idea.”

“Care to share it then?”

“I was always trying to get you in trouble, to blame things on you. And you also obviously hated my disgusting fascination with the Dark Arts.”

James studied him. “Well, the last one is right. But do you know why I started pranking you specifically?

Snape became agitated. “You thought I was annoying? Ugly? Not as popular? A freak? I don’t know!”

James’s eyebrows rose. “Seriously? You thought I found you all those things?”

Snape’s annoyance reached its paramount. “Obviously,” he spat. “What else would have caused you to act so cruelly towards me?”

James actually let out a small chuckle of disbelief. To him it had been so obvious! Had Snape really not known the true emotion behind his bitterness?

Snape’s face blotched angrily. “Is that what this is? The Higher Ups just thought to send me here so you could laugh?” He stood up. “I’ve had enough. I’m leaving.”

He began walking towards the park’s entrance and exit. Part of James wanted him to keep walking but another part, a greater part, told him that now was the time to tell Severus the truth.

“I was jealous,” James said loudly.

Snape stopped. His back had gone ridged. Snow danced between the two men, swirling around in silent, chilly breezes. The swings creaked lightly back and forth. Snape turned around slowly. “What?”

James closed his eyes. “I was jealous. That’s why I pranked you. That’s why I ridiculed you, hurt you, made fun of you. I was jealous.”

Snape stared at him with disbelief. His mouth slightly open, his black eyes wide with surprise, he said, “And why in the world would you be jealous of me?”

James breathed in deeply. “Because Lily was always with you; because she always liked you! From first to fifth year I was jealous of how I wasn’t the one by her side. It was always you. You always got to be near her, laugh with her, cry with her, comfort her, everything. I wanted that more than anything. That’s why I was jealous. A small fraction of the pranking was because you were into the dark arts but the major part was done out of jealousy.”

Snape blinked several times. James stood still, waiting for his laughter to begin, waiting for a gloating sneer to spread across his face. But none came. Snape looked pained.

“You were jealous of me…because I was with her all those years?”

“Yes,” said James, slightly irritated. “How many times do I have to say that?”

Snape’s black eyes moved back and forth, taking in James’s expressions. “I never would have thought that you would be jealous of me, Potter. Since, for me, I harbored the same feeling towards you.”

James made a pfft sound. “Why would you be jealous of me?”

“Hmmm, let’s see…” Severus said with heavy sarcasm, “Pureblood, both parents love you, most popular in school, magnificent magical capabilities… Must I say more?”

James blinked. “Why does any of that stuff matter? You had Lily. To me, that’s all that matters.”

It was Severus’s turn to be surprised. “You mean to say you always had feelings for her? Despite everything else? Despite all those other girls who obviously loved you?”

James rolled his eyes. “I didn’t notice or care about any of that, Snape. I thought it was obvious how much I loved Lily.”

“Well, I hate to break it to you but it wasn’t obvious,” Snape confirmed.

“Hmmm, guess that explains why Lily never really believed me every time I confessed to her.”

Snape rolled his eyes and muttered something that sounded suspiciously like “git”. James eyed him warily. The two stared at each other for a long moment and then Severus sighed.

“This entire conversation doesn’t matter. Lily chose you.” Snape’s voice was filled with so much pain and anguish over this that James merely gaped at him. How could he not have noticed before? It was so obvious now.

“Severus,” he muttered, feeling awkward, “I didn’t know you loved her too.”

Snape’s head snapped up sharply. “What?”

James blinked. “You loved her, right? That’s why you warned Dumbledore about Voldemort being after us and why you protected Harry the whole time.”

Snape looked like he could spit venom. His eyes flashing dangerously, he stood up. “Your son needs to learn to keep his mouth shut!” he spat with malice. “I should have known; Potter was a spitting image of you.” He looked James up and down with revulsion. “He always meddled in everything, sticking out his neck, always needing to be rescued. Thinking he was the greatest thing in the world, strutting around the castle the same as you.”

James became defensive. “Harry is very different from me! He’s not as arrogant and prideful! True he does have some of my qualities but if your blind eyes would just look passed the flaws he inherited you’d see he has a lot of his mother in him! Besides, Harry wasn’t the one who told me the truth.”

“Who was it?” Snape asked angrily. “Albus?”

James shook his head. “No. It was Lily.”

The anger faded from Snape’s face. “What?”

“She saw everything, Severus. She was watching over Harry when he entered the pensieve and witnessed your memories. She figured everything out the same time Harry did. And you know what? She cried. She cried, Severus! She was devastated over what happened to you! She was bawling as she told me everything! Can you believe that? After all these years of being married to me she still cares about you! Imagine how that feels! The jealousy I thought I had buried at our wedding resurfaced like an angry dragon ready to spit fire.”

“She cried?” Severus asked, bemused. “Why?”

James shrugged. “I don’t know,” he snapped. “I guess you’re still special to her somehow.”

Snape looked as if someone had shocked him with a thousand volts of electricity. He didn’t seem elated by this news. He was intently surprised. James observed him in silent loathing, hating that he had to explain this aloud. It had been bad enough in his head.

“But…how could she still care for me? I became what she hated, what she detested. She never spoke to me again after that. Ever. She married you, she forgot about me. Why would she cry?”

“Why don’t we go and ask her?” James asked savagely. He was hating this discussion even more than before, especially since part of him wanted to comfort the gorgon before him.

“Could we?” Snape asked, suddenly sounding hopeful.

James scowled. “If we have to. But first, there’s still something I have to do.”

Snape raised an eyebrow. “And what might that be, Potter?”

James closed his eyes and turned around. “Give me a minute,” he muttered. “This needs to be heartfelt and I don’t want to have to repeat myself.”

Snape, slightly alarmed with the words ‘heartfelt’ coming from James directed straight at him, took a couple steps backward. Thinking that James was going to pull out his wand and blast him to relieve some of his anger, Snape found his wand pocket and waited, tense.

James turned around, perfectly calm. Holding out a hand, he said with perfect sincerity, “Thank you for warning Dumbledore and protecting Harry til the end. I know you did it all for Lily but I still feel like I need to express thanks so…” he continued to hold his hand out.

Severus glanced at it then at James’s face several times before accepting the handshake. “Don’t think this changes how I feel towards you, Potter.”

“I hate you still too,” James replied, except for some reason there was no hatred in his tone. “Come on. Lily and Harry are back at the house.”

After a split second of indecision, the Potions Master followed after James who led the way back to Harry’s place.

*~*~*~*~

 Harry and Lily were still in the living room when James reentered the house. Severus was reluctant to step inside but after one backward look from James, he came in and closed the door behind him. James came around the corner. Lily rushed over and gave him a kiss the moment she saw him.

“Missed me, Lils?” James asked, grinning at the obvious passion displayed in her kiss.

Her green eyes filled with silent frustration but melted into relief as she put her head on his chest. “I didn’t know what to do,” she muttered. Then she looked up and noticed Severus watching them wearily. “Severus!”

“What?” Harry called from the living room.

Lily let go of James and stepped over to her  childhood friend. “Severus,” she said again, her voice filled with mixed emotions. “I…I don’t know what to say…”

Harry appeared around the corner. “Professor!” he said.

The tone of his voice completely surprised Severus. It lacked every hostile emotion. Stunned, Snape nodded in his direction, trying to keep his sneer. “Potter.”

Harry grinned. “It’s good to see you again, Professor.”

Snape cocked an eyebrow. “Really?”

Harry nodded. Then he shuffled his feet. “There was a lot that was left unsaid after you passed,” he muttered.

“And what unarticulated words from the famous Potter must I be tortured into listening to this time?”

Lily cracked a smile. “You really hate him as much as James, don’t you, Sev?”

Snape’s cold demeanor melted a little as he heard the old nickname she’d given to him all those years ago. Trying to ignore the look of derision on James face, Snape managed to shrug. “He’s a spitting image of him, Lily. Hard to ignore that, I must say.”

Lily rolled her eyes before returning them to his face. She smiled kindly and to Snape’s alarm tears started to form in her eyes. “Oh…Sev…”

James came over and put an arm around Lily. “I told you, Snape. You made her cry.”

Severus took a step forward as if he wanted to be the one to comfort Lily but James tightened his hold on his wife and gave a pretty direct warning of “hands off”. Severus sighed and lowered his hands.

“Do you want to come in and sit down, Professor?” Harry asked, pointing to the living room.

Grateful for a little distraction, James redirected this a second time when Snape didn’t automatically answer.

Snape shuffled his feet. “I’m not sure I’m welcome here.”

Harry blinked in disbelief. “Why would you not be?”

James rolled his eyes. “Come in Snape. If I didn’t want you here I would have slammed the door in your face.”

Slightly peeved, the Potions Master accepted Harry’s invitation and sat down in one of the arm chairs close to the fire. Once the three Potters sat down together comfortably on the couch, Lily decided to be the first to speak.

“How have you been?” she asked innocently.

Severus shrugged. “Not too bad. Living in Paradise without having to worry about Voldemort manipulating you is a pretty restful afterlife in my opinion. I figure that Potter is also grateful for the relaxation.”

Harry grinned. “It’s nice not being Undesirable no. 1.”

Snape snorted. “Yes…now you must deal with the increased fame; how tragically unfortunate.”

Harry grimaced. “You may still believe that I enjoy the attention, professor, but I can definitely assure you that’s the last thing I want.”

“Then, out of bored curiosity I must ask, what is it that you do want, Potter?”

“To be left alone,” said Harry, “To make my own way in the wizarding world without being pampered or spoon-fed from anyone. Oh, and getting this blasted curse off. Speaking of which…” he glanced at the clock and sighed. “My times up.”

Severus was about to ask if it was the same curse as the one he’d witnessed back in Dumbledore’s office when Harry landed on all fours and gasped in pain. James and Lily looked on sadly. Harry’s whole form shuddered. James winced inside as his son cried out; they felt like icicles stabbing his heart. For the hundredth time James wished he could find whoever had done this and wring their neck with his own hands.

James glanced at Severus. The man’s face held slight surprise as he witnessed the terrible transformation. Harry gasped several seconds later, breathing sharply.

“Son, are you alright?” James asked as the stag shuddered violently.

“Yeah,” Harry mumbled. “Sorry you had to see that, professor.”

Snape continued to stare at him. After a long pause, “That transformation was worse than the one in Dumbledore’s office, wasn’t it, Potter?”

The stag look over at him and nodded reluctantly. “Yes.”

Severus looked to James. “Why have they gotten worse?”

James shrugged. “We haven’t been able to figure that out yet. Albus has been doing some research but so far we’re hitting dead ends.”

“Hmmm,” Snape muttered, observing Harry again.

There was a sudden knock on the door. James looked down to Harry. “You want me to get that?”

Harry nodded. “Please. I hope it’s not a neighbor.”

“I’ll scare them off if they are,” James promised.

He got up and went to the door. Opening it, he was surprised to find Sirius, Elle, Tonks, Remus, Aberforth, and Albus standing on the doorstep.

“What are all of you doing here?” he asked, perplexed.

“We figured that Harry had transformed so we thought we’d invite ourselves over,” said Sirius. “The Weasleys wanted to join us but Molly put her foot down and shot the idea. So, can we come in?”

James bit his lip. “Look, Sirius, Remus, you two need to make me a promise.”

Remus’s brow furrowed. “What is it, James?”

“Promise me that you won’t attack anything inside the house,” James said, his voice almost pleading. The last thing he wanted was a magic fight to destroy his son’s new home.

Sirius put a hand on James’s shoulder. “Relax, Prongs. I’m sure there’s nothing in there that will make me go ballistic.”

He tried to sidestep him but James didn’t move. “Sirius, promise me.”

Sirius frowned. “Fine, if it’s that imperative, I promise.”

Albus gave James a questioning glance. James shook his head before opening the door. “We have company,” he called.

“Who is it, honey?” Lily asked.

Everyone filed into the living room entrance way. A collective gasp echoed off the empty walls as Snape stood up.

“What is he doing here?” Sirius demanded, going for his wand.

“Sirius, your promise,” James warned.

Sirius bristled. “You’re kidding, right?”

Albus stepped forward and, surprising everyone in the room, wrapped his arms around Severus in a brief warm embrace. “It is good to see you again, Severus.”

Snape took a step backward. “What was the hug for?”

Albus grinned. “An old man’s display of gratitude. You followed my instructions to the letter, Severus. And in doing so you ensured Harry’s victory.”

“I failed in your last instructions, Albus,” Severus muttered. “He killed me before I could complete them. I don’t expect praise for failure.”

“You didn’t fail.”

Snape looked down at Harry who was staring at him intently. “What?”

“Your intentions were to come find me to tell me the truth,” said Harry, straightening his neck. “But Voldemort wouldn’t let you go no matter how insistent you were. He was too driven by the false notion of owning the Elder Wand. Thinking that you were the only one who stood in the way of getting that power, he killed you.”  

Snape stared at him. Everyone stood frozen. Harry kept his gaze locked on his professor. Snape leaned against the wall. “How did you get there, Potter?” he muttered. “How did you know where Voldemort and I were that night?”

“I only had the snake left to kill so I looked into his thoughts and found him in the Shrieking Shack. When I got there, you were discussing what I just explained. I watched as he gave the order for Nagini to kill you. I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Snape demanded defensively.

“For not saving you,” Harry whispered, looking at the floor. “I wish I had…now that I know the truth…”

“What truth?” Sirius asked, stepping forward.

Snape growled. “When will you learn to keep your mouth shut, Potter?”

James turned to Severus. “Do you want me to explain this?”

“I’d rather you left it alone, Potter,” Severus snapped angrily.

Dumbledore smiled. “My dear Severus, don’t you think they have a right to know your story?”

“No I do not, Albus. I told you my opinion on the matter when I was alive and it is still the same in death.”

“But your story is so tied in to Harry’s history,” said Albus. “It will be made known one day, Severus. You’re already dead. You can’t stop someone from sharing what they know in a certain biography about themselves.” His eyes twinkled as they landed on Harry.

Snape stepped forward. “Don’t you dare, Potter!”

The stag stared up at him. “But Professor, you are part of my life story. And I’d been repeatedly told throughout my fifth year that I must not tell lies.”

Snape snarled angrily, spinning around on his heel to face the wall where he could fume in silence.

“Is someone going to elaborate on what exactly is going on here?” Elle asked.

Sirius looked at James. “You’d better start explaining.”

James sighed. “Actually, Lily and Harry will have to share the story with you. They know it better than everyone…besides Severus anyway.”

Snape huffed indignantly in response.

Albus chuckled. “Come, Severus, Lily can’t give all the details.”

“Please, Sev?”

Snape stiffened. Then he let out a heavy sigh and turned around. “Fine.”

“Take a seat everyone,” Albus invited. “This is one of my favorite tales.”

Severus glared at the Headmaster. James tried not to smile. Settling next to Lily on the couch, he put his arm around her and waited once more to be told the story that would leave his insides tangled in knots.

*~*~*~*~

“That could have been worse,” Lily muttered.

She and James had decided to take a late night stroll now that things had settled down back at Harry’s place. Sirius and Remus hadn’t taken the news very well. They were in complete shock, the same as James had been the first time he’d heard it. They still harbored a type of odium to Severus but, like James, they couldn’t bring themselves to hate him in the amounts that they used to.

Harry had fallen asleep shortly after the account. Everyone decided to stay the night, finding spare bedrooms to sleep in. Albus had insisted that Severus stay the night though the man had been obviously thinking of sneaking back to Paradise. It was only after Lily insisted that he stay that Severus gave in.

“I don’t know what to think,” James muttered. “It’s obvious that Harry holds him with respect.”

Lily lifted one half of her lips. “Yes, he does. Severus showed an incredible amount of bravery and that really speaks to him since he had to display it his whole life.”

James sighed. “He never saw me being brave.”

“Yes he did.”

“When?” James asked, doubtful.

“When Voldemort came to attack us,” Lily reminded. “Harry saw you stand up to him, remember?”

James was not assured by this. “I didn’t have a wand though. I’d been a complete git and left it sitting on the couch in the living room. What kind of father does that?”

“James, I didn’t have my wand on me either,” Lily said. “I left it in the kitchen. We were living in what we thought was a safe environment. How were we supposed to know that Peter would betray us?”

James growled, “The foul, lowlife scum.”

Lily squeezed his hand. “He was scared, James. He never was strong like you or Sirius or Remus. He flocked to those with the most power. Some people are like that.”

James sighed. “Yeah, I know. Hey, Lils?”

“Yes?”

James stopped under a streetlamp. He pulled her close to him, feeling her warm body against his own. Lily buried her face in his neck and snaked her arms around his back. James closed his eyes, savoring the smell of her hair, the softness of her touch, the warmth of her heart.

“You’re never going to leave me, right?” he whispered into her hair.

Lily pulled away just enough to kiss the bottom of his chin. “Why would I do that?” she asked gently.

James tried to fight the insecurities stirring beneath the surface. “You get along really well with him. He was your first best friend.”

Lily sighed. “James, I can’t believe you’re still afraid about something as trivial as that. Sev is my friend.”

“You never gave me a nickname.”

“How about githead?”

James snorted, his nerves relaxing some from the joke. “Not funny, Lils.”

“You laughed.”

“Yeah, I suppose I did.”

Lily looked up at him with her brilliant green eyes. They swirled like liquid emeralds, glittering brilliantly in the light of the lamppost. James cupped her cheek.

“Such beauty,” he whispered, “It’s only natural for me to be worried that I won’t be able to keep it all to myself.”

Lily blushed but firmly replied, “Well, I hate to break it to you but my beauty has been captured forever.”

James tensed a little. “By whom?” he asked.

Lily leaned up on her tiptoes. Putting her lips right at the base of James earlobe, she whispered, “It has been captured…by a stag.”

She pulled away, displaying a genuine smile, before kissing him passionately on the lips. “I love you, James,” she said softly.

“I love you too, Lils.”

He held her tightly, sending a thankful prayer to the heavens for this wonderful woman who had quieted his fears, who loved him for who he was, and had decided to stay by his side forever.

 ~*~*~*~

The next morning, James woke before Lily. He watched her sleep for a while before finally deciding to get out of bed. Pulling the covers up around her, he kissed her forehead and slipped from the room. The landing was still dark, the brightness of dawn just barely creeping upon the horizon. James stretched, sighed, and descended the stairs. If memory served him right, Severus was sleeping in the basement bedroom.

James glanced in the living room briefly to check up on Harry. Harry was sweating profusely, his breathing sharp and painful. He’d just changed back. James magicked a cloth with his wand, stepped over to his son, and wiped his brow. Harry’s skin felt like ice. He shivered from the warmth of James touch. Pulling Harry’s blanket securely over his shoulders, James looked down on his son. Normally he wouldn’t have done this but he’d been deprived of so many things. He bent down and kissed Harry’s forehead.

Ruffling his son’s hair, he stood up and continued on his way down to the basement. Reaching the door to the spare room, James hesitated. Would Severus be up this early? Spirits didn’t necessarily need to sleep; they rested out of habit. Still, there was a possibility that Severus could be sleeping. Only one way to find out. Swallowing the lump in his throat, James raised his hand and knocked three times.

Severus came to the door at once. “Potter?”

“Can I come in?”

Severus eyed him suspiciously before stepping aside. After closing the door he asked, “What do you need?”

James decided to get right to the point. Looking him right in the eye, he said, “I came to apologize.”

Snape’s eyes widened. “I beg your pardon?”

“I’m sorry,” James repeated. “I’m sorry for all the things I did to you in school, I’m sorry for hating you, and I’m sorry for being jealous.”

Severus blinked. “Are you ill?”

“No.”

“Are you sure? You don’t need a potion or anything?”

“No.”

“Huh…” Severus suddenly began to smirk. “Well, I must say this is different. What brought about this change in you?”

James tried not to grit his teeth. In a voice of forced calm he said, “Snape, I came to apologize. Do you accept my apologies or not?”

Severus studied him. “You’re being serious,” he muttered. It wasn’t a question. James waited. Severus sighed. “I forgive you, Potter. And now I must ask something.”

“What?”

“Will you forgive me for becoming a Death Eater and practicing the Dark Arts? I hope I made it clear how much I detest them in my explanation earlier.”

If previously asked this, James would have said no. But now, since they had finally decided to put their childhood hatreds aside, James nodded. “I forgive you. Thank you for everything you’ve done…Severus.”

Severus stared at him. “Thank you…James.”

Somehow, it didn’t seem weird now for Snape to be calling him by his first name. James suddenly realized that now he’d said and done what he’d set out to do, he had no idea what to say next. Thankfully Severus helped him out.

Sneering, he asked, “Are you going to bunker down here? Because I can leave the room if you want.”

James rolled his eyes. “No thanks. Why would I want a bed you’d just spent the night sleeping in anyway?”

Severus, still sneering, asked, “Then what are you doing here still?”

“I have no idea.”

“Allow me to show you to the door?”

“No, that’s okay. I can find it myself.”

Severus smirked. “Good day, then.”

“Yeah, see you,” James said before turning around and exiting the room.

As James headed back upstairs, he realized something. For the first time in his afterlife, he felt completely at peace.

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