Disclaimer:These characters are J.K. Rowling’s, not mine. I hereby solemnly swear I’m up to no good, and I didn’t make a profit from this. Really, I promise!
Severus Snape awoke to bright light. It was his least favorite kind. Oh how he loathed bright, shining light. The years he spent being frequently locked in his dark bedroom as punishment for some perceived slight against his mother had made the darkness his friend. The shadows of the dungeon always brought him comfort.
The brightness disoriented him, as he recalled the last few moments before he regained consciousness. Voldemort had ordered his snake to attack him, and then he’d sworn he’d seen Potter. At least he though it was Harry in the last moment. It would be just like Potter to be the last thing Severus Snape ever saw. Potter was after all always obnoxious. He shuddered at the thought that his final memory was of Harry Potter leaning over him looking at him with those eyes…those eyes that haunted him.
He squeezed his own eyes closed against the piercing brightness as he took an inventory of himself. The gaping holes in his neck and face no longer hurt. He frowned as he realized the constant nagging pain he always felt from a lifetime of exposure to the Cruciatus curse was also gone. Even the pain in his leg where Hagrid’s infernal dog bit him years ago had disappeared. What was this place?
The lack of pain made the searing burn he suddenly felt inflicted on the left side of his face all the more surprising, and painful.
“How dare you! I was your friend. Your real friend, I was your only real friend, and you treated me like I meant nothing!”
Severus groaned as the second blow came, doubling the pain from the first. It was not an entirely unfamiliar sensation. He’d felt similar pain often during his childhood. His mother had a wicked temper and she knew how make sure you felt it when she was unhappy. Severus blinked, trying to get his bearings. There was a ball of flaming red hair standing close, too close, and the smell…God how he’d missed her smell. He hated flowers…truly if they could not be used in a potion, he hated them, but God help him, he brewed Amortentia frequently just so he could smell this flowered scent again.
“Lily,” he gasped.
“How could you, Severus? After everything we shared? After everything I gave you, how could you sell me to that thing? How could you do that to me? To my son? How, Severus?”
“Lily, I …” This time the crack of her hand across his cheek was like tonic. He only wished it hurt more.
“You think that there’s an answer?” Lily demanded. “You think there’s some explanation that means you didn’t betray every bit of us, Severus?”
“I love you,” Severus said desperately. Even in his own mind it sounded hollow. But he’d longed to tell her those words since he was six years old. He’d never had the courage in life, and now in death it sounded so small.
“I loved you, you bastard. But you ruined us. You and your blood-freak cronies ruined us. It was more important to be accepted by them than it was to be with me. Do you know how much that hurt? Do you have any clue?”
“Yes…you married Potter,” Severus spat.
“Yes, I married James. Do you know what James gave me that you never would?”
“No,” Severus replied desperately. He had to make her understand, he had tried.
“Everything. I asked him to grow up and stop playing immature pranks and he did. I asked him to get Sirius to stop too, and he did. I told him I would only go out with him as long as he was genuinely nice to you, and it nearly killed him, but he tried. Even when his friends made fun of him, he did his best. I told him, he had to act like a grown-up if we were going to be married and he did. He was playful and a bit naughty, but he did everything I asked and more. He treated me like I was more important than anything else in the world. You wouldn’t even stop hanging around people who thought I was scum; they wanted me banned from Hogwarts. What was it? Did the promise of just a little bit of power mean that much more to you than I did?” She glared at him with her bright green eyes, and Severus could not meet her gaze.
“I’m sorry,” Severus groaned. He’d planned for years what he’d say if he ever saw Lily again, but it wasn’t supposed to go like this.
Lily gave a bark of derisive laughter. “No you’re not. If you had been sorry you would have looked after Harry. You would have taken him under your wing. You wouldn’t have piled on to the years of abuse he suffered at the hands of my rotten sister, and her turd of a husband. But no, you humiliated him during his first day of class. You berated him every chance you got. You sabotaged his work. God damn it, Severus, you encouraged your house to actively provoke him and you gave them points for their attacks on him.”
“You saw that?” Snape asked in a panicked voice.
“I watch my son every minute that I can. He’s my everything. I just wanted him to have a happy life. You took everything from him.” Lily’s voice finally broke and she started sobbing, her body shaking violently.
Severus’s heart broke. He’d only seen her cry a few times in all the time he’d known her. He needed to comfort her, to make her understand. But before his hand reached her, an arm surrounded her shaking shoulders. “Come on, Lils, let’s go.” It was that dirty, interloping, sneaking thief. Severus burned with rage. How dare he take Lily away from him again? “Harry will be awake soon. Maybe he’ll talk to Ginny today, you always love that.”
“Yeah,” Lily sniffled.
James ushered Lily through a doorway that appeared to have a garden behind it. After she walked through James turned around.
“Enjoy your eternity, Snape. Perhaps Dumbledore might stop by to see you sometime, but I seriously doubt anybody else who’s allowed to travel here will want to see you.” The door clanged loudly as James shut it and then it seemed to melt into the wall. Severus moved to the spot where it had been, but there was no wall, only mist, blinding bright white mist. He sat on what seemed like a floor, although it did not quite feel like one, and was not uncomfortable. His thoughts poured in on him, suffocating him. Memories crashed over him, memories of a life in which he had never really lived. He’d been alive of course, but he’d never really enjoyed the experience. Happiness had always remained just beyond his reach. Now he seemed stuck here, in this mist, where time had little meaning. His only companions were his thoughts and memories, and after a time he came to loath himself even more, if that were possible. He’d avoided introspection in life, and now it seemed introspection was all he had. Snape wished he would go mad, if only to stop the memories.
He had no clue how long he’d been sitting there when the door finally opened again, but it had felt like an age. He watched a much younger form of the man he had vowed his service to walk through the door.
“Hello, Severus.” Dumbledore nodded.
“Albus, you must get me out of here!” Snape cried.
“I cannot,” Dumbledore said sadly.
“But I did what you asked of me!” Severus begged.
Dumbledore sighed. “You owe James Potter an unpaid life debt. It is he who controls your fate here, Severus, not I. I’m afraid after years of watching your behavior towards his son, he is disinclined to release you from this place.”
He stared at the headmaster in horror.
“I did warn you that there might eventually be consequences for your behavior. I am sorry it has come to this. You were a loyal comrade, to me at least.” His former boss patted him gently on the shoulder.
“Why have you only now come to see me?” Severus demanded.
Dumbledore frowned. “I am quite sorry, Severus, I have many friends here. Some of them I have not seen in quite some time. Why, just visiting with my friend Nicholas, it seemed it took an eternity to catch up again. I’m afraid time does tend to get away from one’s self in this place.”
“So I’m stuck in this room, or whatever it is, forever?” he asked desperately.
“I believe that James has decided to let your fate rest with Harry. But you will at least have to wait until Harry joins us here.” Dumbledore smiled. “He’s got much to live for these days.” Dumbledore checked a time piece on his wrist that seemed even more convoluted then the one he’d worn on Earth. “Oh, I need to be going, he’s getting married today, you know. I’m most proud of how he’s turned out and he seems quite taken with Miss Weasley.
“Good day, Severus, I will stop by and see you again. You did many good things with your life, don’t let the bad thoughts dominate your memories. Time will pass much more quickly if you focus on the positive.” With that Dumbledore swept from the room and into the garden beyond.