Lily gasped, her arms going to balance her as she felt herself falling. Only, she wasn't falling. How peculiar. She opened her eyes to view her surroundings, her brow furrowing in confusion. Everything had changed and she had absolutely no idea where she was.
She turned slowly on the spot, glancing at everything, hoping for some kind of clue to what was going on. Wherever she was, it seemed to be a perfect spring day; there was a gentle breeze that softly ruffled her dress, a blue sky above her with the puffiest of white clouds, and lush greenery all around – flowers, trees, shrubs, all with delicate flowers and new buds waiting to open. The path she stood on was white gravel, with thick grass either side. She could hear water, only faint splashes, which perhaps belonged to a pond or lake. The lack of birdsong though was unsettling, it made her feel so alone.
She'd left behind the hot, humid day, the dry field with crunchy grass, the smoke from the burning house and burning Inferi. But she'd also left behind her friends, they'd still been fighting. Severus had still been fighting Voldemort. Severus had seen her falling. What must he think now? She had to get back to him. Somehow. There had to be some way to get back, she was meant to be with him, by his side.
Then she remembered the purple spell. Maybe that had sent her here, she certainly hadn't left the battle by choice. Her only consolation being that she had done her job and removed the snake. But at what cost? She was hit by something just as she was looking for Severus to confirm the snake was dead. She'd been unarmed, her wand had slipped from her fingers when she tripped. All she'd had was the sword of Gryffindor.
Was she dead? She didn't feel dead, she could take in deep breaths of seemingly clear air, she didn't feel any pain anywhere, not until she pinched her arm in experimentation, which did indeed hurt. She hadn't been hit with the killing curse, the spell hadn't been green, it had been purple. She'd never seen a purple spell before, but it was definitely from a Death Eaters wand so it shouldn't have had any pleasant effects. Maybe she was trapped in her own mind, her body fighting the effects of an unknown curse while her mind fought to protect itself, keeping her sanity safe and intact. Maybe that was why she was alone.
She sighed before cautiously taking a step along the gravel path, it didn't feel as though there were any other options. Only two directions to choose from – unless she wanted to go traipsing across the lawns, and that felt wrong. No, she had to stick to the path. Forwards. Always forwards. One foot in front of the other, another step forwards, then another, the only sounds the crunch of the tiny stones moving beneath her feet, the rustling of her dress, and the faint rippling of water that she seemed to be approaching.
It didn't take long for her to reach a bridge, though it took her by surprise, hidden by a bend in the path, large shrubs and the overhanging branches of a weeping willow. She loved willows, they reminded her of the sanctuary she and Severus had created for themselves by the edge of the Black Lake. The willow always kept them safe, kept their secrets.
Lily gasped as the branches swished closed behind her, revealing the rest of the bridge, and the large pond it overlooked. It also revealed she was not alone in this place. There was a figure facing away from her, leaning against the railing, staring at the water's surface. She knew that man, knew him better than she knew anyone else. But he shouldn't be here.
She watched in silence, hardly daring to breathe, not really knowing if she should announce her presence. So far he didn't seem to have noticed her. So she merely watched, observed him as he shifted his weight, gripping the rails a he rolled his shoulders – perhaps an attempt to alleviate tension there as she'd seen him do numerous times before after being hunched over a cauldron or books for hours. He seemed so different in this place, his robes unlike any she'd seen on him before. They seemed heavy and very, very black, long and brushing the floor behind him. She glanced down at herself, she was still in the same blue dress she'd been wearing when the spell hit her. Why did he look so different?
Before she could make herself known to him, he turned suddenly to face her, his face becoming even paler than it usually was, his eyes wide with surprise; for a split second she was convinced she could see the whites of his eyes surrounding the dark irises before he composed himself. Both of them seemed to take a deep breath before she began to approach him. He on the other hand, seemed rooted to the spot, unable to move or take his eyes off her as she made her way closer, his expression becoming guarded and uncertain as she stopped an arm's length in front of him.
Severus. But this wasn't her Severus, she'd never seen him looking this way. He was much older here, creases marked his forehead and between his eyes from years of frowning, creases around his eyes from scrunching them shut. Obviously uncertain of how to talk to her, a woman who was nothing more than a ghost to him, a distant memory of the girl he loved. She tried to give him a small smile as he stared at her, his eyes flicking over her face, she didn't know if he wanted to hug her or run away. Or get on his knees and beg forgiveness for his sins. The other Severus. Just how exactly did she get here?
"Hi, Sev," she finally said, surprising herself with just how calm her voice was when her thoughts were tumbling about.
"Lily," he whispered, still unable to look away.
"How did I get here?" she asked. Severus sighed.
"That is the question, isn't it?"
"Am I dead?" she asked, though she really didn't want to know the answer. Well, she did, but...
"No," he answered softly, shaking his head almost imperceptibly. Lily frowned, moving to stand beside him, leaning on her arms against the rails; Severus leaned back, folding his arms across his chest as he continued to watch her.
"How did you get here?" she asked, staring into the water below.
"I'm not entirely sure," he admitted.
"But... are you dead?"
"Most certainly," he confirmed, almost smirking as he did.
"That makes even less sense," she huffed, shaking her head. "So, you're dead, and I'm not, how are we both here then?"
"Isn't everything?" she countered. Nothing was ever simple in her experience.
"True," he snorted, she glanced up to meet his eyes and couldn't help but smile as he seemed to be attempting to suppress a smile of his own.
"So what do you know?" she asked, he had to know something.
"After I died, I found myself here, with Dumbledore."
"Dumbledore?" she echoed.
"Mmm, he found there was a connection, for want of a better term."
"He sent your memories back?"
"He did," Severus nodded.
"Have you been here since then? The memories started reaching him – you – him, two years ago," she pointed out.
"Yes, I've been here since then, but time doesn't work the same way here, Lily. It hasn't been two years for me."
"It's hard to explain, I honestly don't know if I can."
"You've not been waiting here for me have you?" she asked sadly. Severus sighed, turning to face the water again.
"Not specifically, I'm here until the universe catches up, I suppose, until all the threads shift and realign again."
"Wrongs will be made right as the strands of time shift," she whispered. "The Prophecy?"
"Mmm. When all the shifting is done..." he trailed off.
"Then what? You disappear?"
"I don't know," he said simply. "There could be two separate universes and I'll move on to where I'm supposed to be, or the universe I'm from could cease to exist."
Lily frowned even deeper, not answering that statement, she didn't know how to. Neither option seemed to give this Severus anything to look forward to. Option one, he'd be trapped in an afterlife potentially alone. Option two, it would be like he never existed.
"Thank you," she whispered softly, meeting his confused eyes again. "For sending the memories back. It's changed so much, for me, for my Sev, the war. Everything."
"It would seem Dumbledore was correct, that my younger self would use them wisely," he said quietly.
"You didn't think you would?" she asked curiously. The older Severus sighed.
"I wasn't exactly one who trusted easily, Lily."
"True. You trusted me," she said. His face softened for a moment.
"The timing of the connection was fortunate," he said, as a frown marked his features again. "At least my younger self hadn't pushed you away at that point."
"Sev," she started, sighing. "What happened that day –"
"Was unforgiveable," he interrupted.
"No, it wasn't," she said calmly, "things were obviously difficult, things were said on both sides that shouldn't have been. Too many outside influences," she said sadly. She remembered how strained things had been getting before the memories started. Severus stared at the floor.
"There were. But it doesn't make what I said right."
"I never said it did. I only said it wasn't unforgiveable," she confirmed.
"I'm still sorry."
"I've regretted it every single day."
"I know," she said gently. And she did know, she saw how horrified her Severus was by that memory, how hard it had been to eventually discuss it with her. "You were hurting and she was the one person you'd been able to depend on until then. People always hurt the one they love most," she added sadly.
"I'm sorry," he whispered again.
"I know, and I understand. I think you've done more than enough to make up for that though, Sev," she said as she rested her hand on his elbow.
The two lapsed into silence, neither sure how to continue from that point. Severus turned around to face the water again, both staring at the light as it danced on the surface.
"What was that?" she asked, frowning as she though she caught a glimpse of figures moving in the water.
"The water shows things," he said simply.
"Things? What things?"
"The strands of time, as they settle again. The water shows glimpses of those changes."
"So it shows the future? How it differed from yours?" she asked curiously. His lips twitched, the corners quirking into a smile.
"I've seen glimpses up until the date I died in my timeline, but not beyond that point," he told her.
"Oh. How far ahead is that?" she asked, though she had a rough idea.
"I died on the 2nd of May 1998."
"You've seen the next twenty years?"
"Is he happy in twenty years time?" she asked him.
"Deliriously," he smirked.
"With me?" she asked, frowning as sudden rush of insecurity arose.
"Where else would he be?" he posed. She couldn't help but grin with that knowledge.
"Do we have children?" she asked excitedly. Severus rolled his eyes though he was clearly amused.
"Perhaps," he teased. Lily groaned.
"How many? Do we have boys or girls?"
"Lily," he said. "Do you really want me to answer?" he asked more seriously. She turned her attention back to the water and the shadowy figure of Severus sitting beside a hospital bed, holding her hand in his.
"No," she answered, shaking her head. "I don't need to know that right now," she added. She didn't need to know that, no one was supposed to know everything the future held in store from them. For the moment, just knowing that she would return to her Severus was enough. Knowing that in twenty years time they would remain side by side with a family of their own was a bonus.
She turned to face the other Severus again, he mirrored her actions, his face soft as he simply looked at her, taking her in.
"You won't be here for much longer. He needs you," he said, inclining his head towards the Severus in the water. Lily nodded, torn between wanting to return to her own life with her Severus, and wanting to stay in the beautiful place with the other Severus. A Severus who had been through so much and all of it alone.
She couldn't stay here, and wouldn't, she didn't belong here. She took the final step towards him, closing the gap between them, and slipped her arms around his waist to rest her head against his chest. Severus tensed at the contact, clearly not used to hugs. Her Severus had been like that once. Slowly, his arms wrapped around her, but cautiously, like he thought she'd break if he embraced her too tightly. After a moment, his cheek rested on top of her head. Neither of them spoke, there was nothing left to say.
Both were content to stand and watch the water as the images flickered away again to once more show the reflection of the fluffy white clouds floating above. They would wait here together until time itself settled around them, and she would return to her place in the universe.
Dumbledore sat calmly in his chair, one leg crossed over the other, tea cup and saucer held delicately in his long fingers. Waiting. Waiting for what felt like an eternity. In the twenty four hours since Voldemort had fallen, he'd spent almost every single moment here at the Ministry – either in the Minister's Office with Harold Minchum, or in the Auror department with Barty Crouch senior.
Everyone had questions, of course they did, it was only natural for them to question yesterday's events and all that had led up to that. But there were no easy answers. Harold Minchum wanted to know exactly what decisions Albus had made over the previous months and years, wanted to know more about the Order of the Phoenix and the battles they had engaged in against the Death Eaters. As Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, he'd had a great deal more freedom to run his mission against the darkness.
And of course, he wanted to know about Severus Snape, the eighteen year old boy who had struck down Voldemort. He wanted to know how he'd done it. And he wanted to know why Voldemort had been so interested in him, and why Albus had sent him into hiding.
"I want to speak with the boy," Harold demanded, not even hiding his irritation.
"As I said before, he has other matters to attend to at this moment in time."
"You can't keep him hidden!" he snapped.
"I am not hiding him, Harold. His fiancée was injured and is in St Mungo's, he is by her side where he belongs," Albus told him gently. Harold sighed. "I'm sure when Miss Evans wakes he'll be happy to answer your questions, but for now he should be left alone. He's been through enough, don't you think?" And not just in the battle, Severus' life seemed to be one thing after another that would test anyone, he deserved to have a little space for himself and Lily to heal away from prying eyes.
"The Wizarding world needs answers, Albus," he said with another sigh. "Reporters keep sending me owls, they keep coming to my door. They want to know how it happened."
"Of course they do. Our world has desired and fought to be free from the fear Voldemort and his men brought. For the moment, the knowledge that Voldemort is dead and the majority of his Death Eaters are either dead or sitting in your cells should suffice," Albus explained calmly.
"So what did happen?" Harold asked, leaning forwards in his chair to rest his elbow on the desk, his chin resting heavily in his hand.
"If I could answer that, I would. As I told you, when I received word that Voldemort was in the village, I set up wards to keep the Muggle population separate and away from the area, and to prevent anyone Apparating away. I saw very little, and what I did see was from a distance."
"But you've spoken to the boy?"
"Briefly, but he needs some time."
"You've spoken to the others?"
"I have," he confirmed. "No one heard any of the words that were exchanged, Voldmort appeared to keep them in some kind of bubble. It seems as though Severus struggled to begin with, and Voldemort acted quite casually but became more distracted as time went on. Severus hit him with a spell that appeared to do nothing, but his next spell caused his death. It is still quite a mystery," Albus said with a shrug, setting his now empty tea cup down on the large desk.
"But it was the Killing Curse? One of the Aurors reported seeing a flash of green."
"So it would seem," Albus answered with a sigh of his own. "Not that he had a choice in the matter."
"Well no, of course. Anyone would have done the same. After all, You-Know-Who certainly wasn't one you were going to walk away from."
"It's just, so many have tried – Aurors, highly trained wizards – no one had given him so much as a scratch! The boy is eighteen! It's just hard to believe," he admitted.
"It is. But there is a great deal more to Severus Snape than meets the eye," Albus said fondly.
"If we had some answers it would stop the reporters making the ridiculous speculations you know they're just so desperate to make."
"Of course, I'm sure Ms Skeeter is more than a little eager to get that hideous quill to parchment as soon as she possibly can," he commented with a raised eyebrow. Harold snorted in a most undignified fashion.
"Don't get me started on that woman," he muttered, shaking his head. Rita Skeeter really could get under anyone's skin.
"For the moment, it may be best to play up to how many Death Eaters you have in custody, how many will shortly be brought to trial," he suggested.
"And how we need to move forward together. Blood cannot separate us, it matters not. The Death Eaters have shown us that, we need to find ways of ensuring something like this never happens again," that was a major concern, as long as there were Pureblood members of society who believed they were the only legitimate wizards. Supremacist ideologies were always going to be flawed, and would always be doomed to fail. "Perhaps a reminder of Voldemort's heritage may encourage those that believed in his ideologies to think twice."
"Well, yes. It doesn't make much sense does it?"
"None at all," Albus agreed. "On another matter, I noticed that Regulus Black still appears to be in a holding cell."
"He's a marked Death Eater, Albus, he needs to go to trial!" Harold argued.
"He was sixteen when he was marked, at the request of his parents."
"He's still marked!"
"I don't believe he had much choice in the matter, you know how rigid the Black's are in their beliefs, they disowned their eldest son for daring to be sorted into Gryffindor," Albus said. Harold made some sort of noise of agreement in the back of his throat. "Shortly after being marked, he sought help. He gave us information – some of which was shared with the Aurors and led to Death Eaters being captured, and which led to weakening Voldemort himself. The last few weeks he has warned me of attacks – the plot to kill Edgar Bones and his family –"
"But Edgar Bones was killed!"
"But his family were taken to safety. Edgar opted to remain behind. Regulus warned us of the attack planned on the McKinnon's, and when Voldemort arrived in Godric's Hollow, he joined Order members in battling Death Eaters - including his own cousin. He shouldn't be locked up, Harold, he has been an essential part of winning this war."
"Perhaps," Harold sighed, "but he will stand trial, on that I will not waver," he said, wagging his finger.
"Then at least hold his trial sooner, rather than later, I want him back at Hogwarts in September, he has NEWT's to earn," he said with a smile.
"I'll see what I can do, but Crouch won't like it."
"I'm sure he won't. And what of Crouch junior?" Albus asked.
"Obviously Barty is adamant he stand trial as a Death Eater, though he isn't marked and is under age."
"He is. He's washed his hands of him?"
"Essentially. He doesn't want the scandal, though junior maintains his innocence, says he was visiting a friend who took him there against his will. There's no evidence to connect him to any Death Eater activity, only being in the wrong place at the wrong time yesterday."
"I assure you it is more complicated than that."
"You think he's a Death Eater?"
"Aspiring to be one. I believe you should ask Regulus Black for more information, he may have a memory or two he's willing to share with you," he told him. He'd shared information with him back at Hogwarts after the attack on Lily Evans after all, sharing now would only help build a case for Regulus acting on the side of Light. Of course, Barty junior didn't deserve to be handed over to the Dementors, or locking up at all just yet. He was a sixteen year old boy angry at his father. The boy needed some support.
"Very well," Harold answered with another weary sigh.
"Excellent, now if you'll excuse me, I have matters to attend to at Hogwarts," he said as he rose gracefully from his chair.
"Indeed, much to prepare for the start of September," he said casually.
"Oh? Planning a few changes?"
"I am. In light of recent events, it's clear that there needs to be more emphasis on unity among the students, and less focus on separation – whether by blood or by House."
"Surely you're not going to abolish Houses?" Harold sputtered.
"Of course not, I wouldn't dream of attempting such a thing," he chuckled as Harold visibly relaxed.
"Good, I'm proud to be a former Ravenclaw."
"As well you should, but House shouldn't be what defines a person, it is only a small part of who we are. I believe starting with introducing Muggle studies as a compulsory course from the first year would be a step towards removing barriers."
"What about learning about Pureblood customs? Shouldn't it work both ways?"
"Perhaps more of a 'cultural exchange' course then, each student sharing something about their heritage. Students from all backgrounds may find they have more in common than they realised."
"It's going to be a big job, Albus," he remarked.
"It is, but we are now recovering from a war, we should do all we can to learn from past mistakes, otherwise we will surely be doomed to repeat them," he said calmly as he walked around to the fireplace.
"I'm sure you'll be stopping by St Mungo's too?" he probed hopefully.
"I will return there tomorrow to check on Miss Evans' progress. I will let you know when they are ready to discus yesterday's events."
"And I'll keep you posted on trial dates and times, obviously you'll be needed in the Wizengamot."
"Of course. Take care, Harold," he said quietly as he grabbed a pinch of powder and tossed it into the fire.
A moment later, he stepped back into his familiar office, Fawkes on his customary perch, his beak clicking against the cuttlefish bone. Yes, they definitely had a big job ahead, uniting the Houses wouldn't all be smooth sailing. There were so many prejudices that needed to be overcome.
He was glad to be away from the Ministry, if only for a short time, the next few months would be busy for the Wizengamot, so many trials that would take place. Some of the accused would walk free whether they deserved to or not, most would spend the rest of their life in Azkaban. Not all of the old ways would die out with Voldemort, he fully expected some of the arrested Death Eaters to convince the Wizengamot of their innocence – either because of their name, their connections, or their money.
Albus glanced at the sword of Gryffindor, he'd retrieved if from the field during the clean up once the Aurors had got the prisoners out. They had to return for the ones who had fallen. It had been strange seeing Voldemort's body covered with a grey sheet, his blank red eyes had been left open, forever staring at nothing. A short distance away had been the decapitated snake, fifteen feet of ugly reptile lying in the grass, the sword next to it, blood red rubies glinting in their settings, the blade covered with now-black blood.
It was getting late now though, it wouldn't be long before the fireworks began. There had been a few last night as rumour of Voldemort's downfall had spread, but tonight the celebrations would be far greater. For the moment, Albus was happy to remain in his office, keen to write down a few ideas for helping the school move forwards, while he waited to be summoned back to the Ministry by either Harold or Barty. And hoping for word from St Mungo's, letting him know Lily Evans had woken.
"I brought you some breakfast," his mother said as she entered the silent room. Severus didn't answer, didn't even really acknowledge her other than a quick glance in her direction before returning his gaze back to Lily's face. "You need to eat something, Severus," she said quietly.
"I'm not hungry," he answered. He was numb, he wasn't sure he was capable of feeling anything really. He'd spent two nights by her bedside, trying and failing to sleep, only managing to doze off from time to time. One of the healers had threatened to slip some sleeping draught into one of his drinks to force him to rest; Severus had shrugged it off and the healer had gone on his way.
When it was clear that whatever spell had hurt Lily had done something other than cause unconsciousness, she'd been moved to a private room. He was grateful for that fact for so many reasons. For a start, it meant that he could stay with her while she was healing – whether he was technically allowed to stay or not, he didn't care, he wasn't going anywhere. Though, once word had spread that Voldemort was dead and he was the one responsible, no one was going to force him away from her bedside regardless. At least he'd got her to St Mungo's before that news had begun to circulate, they'd been able to slip into the hospital and safely secluded in a private room, and avoided drawing extra attention, or creating some sort of circus with their presence.
Rumours of what had happened had begun to appear the following day as the Prophet was delivered to homes, reporters guessing at events. The only bit of information confirmed by the Ministry was that Voldemort was dead. They'd reported that a large number of Death Eaters had been taken into custody, though a small number seemed to have slipped away, after managing to hide themselves. Of course, Severus was concerned they may attempt to seek revenge for their fallen master at some point, though they would be more likely to attempt to flee the country now that the Aurors were actively looking for them.
The healers that popped in and out the room to tend to Lily seemed to behave in differing ways towards him. A couple of them seemed to remain purely clinical, casting their spells for an update in her condition, dosing her with the number of varying potions she seemed to require, and saying little else to him, his mother, or her parents. Some of the healers attempted to make conversation with him, especially after the first night in there, they spoke of the fireworks let off in celebration now the war was over, that a number of witnesses had given his name as being the one responsible for You-Know-Who's downfall. They were grateful for his efforts in freeing the wizarding world. Severus was not keen on their innocent, wide eyed asking of questions, and their words of gratitude made him feel uneasy. He'd only done what was required of him, if he could continue his life peacefully and without notice he'd be more than happy with that. The other healers fell into the category of dubious. They heard the same stories from the Aurors who were in St Mungo's and couldn't quite believe that this quiet, frowning eighteen year old boy had removed the Dark Lord's power. Oh, they were perfectly professional in their care of Lily (which was the important bit), but he didn't miss their frowns of suspicion aimed at him. The hero of their time.
Personally, out of the three main types, he definitely preferred the first kind. Clinical. Professional. And no small talk.
"You really should eat something, Severus," his mother said again. Severus sighed, he wasn't keen on the nagging either. "She'll be all right," she added.
"I know," he said quietly. That was something all the healers agreed on. Lily was getting better, slowly but surely. Her skin wasn't quite as pale now, her lips had returned to a soft pink, her breathing deeper and more even. But she still hadn't woken and it was now approaching 48 hours. Some of the healers said that was a good thing, while she was unconscious, her body was healing better than it would if she were awake. But selfishly, Severus wanted her to wake, he wanted to talk to her about everything they went through that afternoon. He wanted to talk to her because she was the only one who truly understood what he was going through. He wanted to tell her how proud he was of her, what she did, to tell her how much he loved her. And to tell her what had happened when he faced Voldemort.
"You need to get some rest, you could go home for a while."
"I'm not leaving her."
"She might not wake up today. The healers said it could be another day or two longer."
"I'm still not leaving," he said firmly. His mother sighed. "I will be here until she does wake."
"There were a lot more people milling about downstairs today."
"Reporters?" he asked with a frown.
"At the more reason to stay here then," he stated.
"You will have to face them eventually."
"Perhaps. Perhaps not," he argued. Logically he knew he'd have to face them at some point, he wasn't stupid.
"It is all anyone talks about. That You-Know-Who is gone, and they know you're linked to it."
"I know. Some of the Healers have mentioned it."
"You will have to tell us, Severus. Me and Lily's parents at least."
"I told you, when Lily is awake and I've discussed it with her first. And I should talk to Dumbledore," he said. They'd exchanged a few words in the last two days and he wasn't entirely sure what he should or could discuss. He was pleasantly surprised that Dumbledore had argued with the Minister himself, pushing for him and Lily to left alone. Even more surprised that the Minister actually listened. He was certain that at the very least an Auror would have been by to request he give them his version of events.
"I saw Dumbledore downstairs actually," his mother said.
"Oh? Did he say anything?"
"Only asked if there was any change to Lily, and said he would be stopping by later today, he wanted to check on a few others who are here."
"I believe there are a few who were admitted," she answered. Severus nodded, his eyes still on Lily's peacefully sleeping face. "He also gave me these to pass to you and Lily," she said as she placed something on the table beside Lily's bed. Severus glanced over to see two envelopes.
"I'll open them with Lily when she's awake," he said quietly.
He almost wanted to laugh at how absurd it seemed. If he'd been a normal teenager he'd have been at home waiting for his results. If he'd been normal, NEWT results would have been the most stressful event in his life so far. After everything that had happened, exam results seemed so insignificant, so small in relation to the stresses they'd faced.
He'd fought the Dark Lord and won and was waiting by his fiancée's bedside for her to wake and they could go on with their lives. Whatever their NEWT results were, life was so much bigger than that. So much was more important. Life. Love. Family. It would go on, for all the wizarding world, not just for him and Lily. That was important. That was why he should be proud of himself. The guilt of the memories, his father, the other Severus, killing Voldemort, all of it, needed to be left firmly in the past.