**AUTHOR'S NOTE: This chapter is definitely an emotional roller coaster. I tried to fluff it up as much as possible, but I must give you fair warning that it may trigger some. I tried not to go too in-depth, but at the same time I felt it was important to clearly describe the horror that was Severus's childhood.
"What in bloody hell have you done to my rooms?!"
Standing beside Harry, Snape glared – stunned – at a space which only twenty minutes previous had been his sitting room. The room was completely unrecognizable now and reminded him more of a meditation space for that bug-eyed bat Trelawney than his cold living quarters in the bowels of the castle dungeons.
Where were the dark hardwood floors and bookshelves crammed with his beloved tomes? For some ungodly reason, his floor had been replaced with squishy foam made to look like a ridiculous imitation of blonde wood. Even worse, the uneven stone of the dungeon walls was now a flat drywall painted in a repulsive shade of pastel green.
His massive stone fireplace had been meticulously transformed into an even more massive picture window, which was framed by gauzy white curtains that fluttered in a soft highland breeze. Snape's eyes narrowed at the sunlight streaming through the enormous magical window, thrown open to admit the sounds of birds twittering softly from the snarled, ancient branches of the trees.
A wall-sized mirror covered the wall opposite the window, reflecting the sunlight and brightening the room even more. Snape scowled at the three colorful, rubbery mats laid out before the large mirror, imagining that Lily had transfigured them from his sofa and two matching armchairs. Besides the mats, the only other furniture in the room was a small wooden shelf that held a score of thick folded blankets, a small tower of cork blocks, and three woven straps that looked to him like extra-long belts.
"Oh, good. Something I can hang myself with," he sneered.
"This… This is brilliant!" Harry announced in awe beside him.
"Simpleton," Snape muttered grumpily. Harry only grinned cheekily back at him.
"Welcome to The Zen Den!" Lily happily announced, using the elastic she kept around her wrist at all times to sling her hair into a low ponytail.
"In the name of all that's– Tell me you did not just rename my residence 'The–'!"
"We need to change," Lily interrupted, and with a swish of her wand her robes were transformed, and she was suddenly wearing a pair of tight leggings and a loose-fitting, flowy shirt that hung off one shoulder. Snape was so intent on trying to ignore her suddenly visible curvaceous backside that it took him a moment to realize that he and Harry's robes had also been altered. It was only as he felt the unexpected breeze against his abnormally pale calves that he realized he and his son were now wearing matching black gym shorts and long-sleeved grey t-shirts.
"Woman!" He growled in outrage, "I refuse to be clad–!"
"Remove your shoes and socks, please," Lily requested with an unruffled smile. Harry immediately jumped to do her bidding, reminding Snape of a well-trained poodle. He rolled his eyes and huffed irritably.
"You have to try this, Dad!" Harry reveled, and although Snape had never been around such a revolting creature, he imagined that Harry's voice exactly matched that of an overexcited toddler. Bouncing slightly on the thick, squishy floor, the boy addressed him again. "It feels really good – way better than your normal floor!"
With a heavy sigh, Snape pinched the bridge of his nose. Glaring at his family's smiling faces, he began to grumble with impatience as he angrily whipped off first his heavy black boots, then his matching black socks. "'The Zen Den'," he mocked. "Whoever in their right mind…? It sounds like the sort of hairbrained idea that Dumbledore would come up with! I feel like a God-damned Muggle housewife stuck in this ludicrous room. You have another thing coming if you expect me to actually participate in this absurd–" But his irritable tirade abruptly ended as he stood in his bare feet on the squishy floor. For once in his life, his son was correct: it did feel rather nice.
Instead of admitting that fact, however, Snape simply raised a brow at their knowing smiles.
"Well?" he snapped. "Let's get on with it, then."
"Mmm-hm," Lily chirped with a far too perceptive look. Turning to the boy she asked, "Harry love, would you mind grabbing three of those folded blankets?"
"I find that I get a deeper seat if I sit on something cushioned," she explained, taking one of the heavy blankets from Harry's arms. She led them to the colorful, rubbery mats and took a seat on the one closest to the mirror, facing the other two. After tossing the extra blanket on Snape's mat, Harry eagerly mimicked her movements, using his own blanket as a bolster as he sat cross-legged atop it.
After getting comfortable, his family turned their faces expectantly toward him. But Snape simply stood, staring down at them and looking aghast.
Instead of arguing, Harry slowly reached across the small space between the mats and gave two sharp pats to Snape's blanket.
"You're crazier than Xenophilius Lovegood if you think I am going to sit like that."
Harry continued his teasing, waggling his eyebrows as he ruffled his father's blanket with a cheeky smirk. When Lily nodded her encouragement and grinned at him like a fool, Snape knew there was no escape. With a loud sigh as he rolled his eyes, Snape resumed his irritated grumbling. Getting down onto his knees, his joints cracked loudly as he complained, "I can't believe you expect me to sit like a five-year-old in primary!"Groaning as he yanked his ankles into place, he continued, "First you dress me like an imbecile, then you demand that I bend myself into a human pretzel." Finally, Snape angled himself into a passable excuse for cross-legged. "Happy?" He seethed at the two of them.
"Extremely," Lily retorted in a perky tone. "Now… Harry, in case you're wondering what we're doing here, I'm going to guide you and your father through a series of physical and verbal therapies that are meant to ground you into your body during moments of extreme stress."
"Is this because of what I did to Malfoy today?" the boy asked quietly, his excitement suddenly subdued as a look of guilt clouded his eyes.
Lily immediately scooted forward on her mat, reaching to grasp Harry's hand gently within her own. "This isn't a punishment, love," she murmured, squeezing gently. "If anything, it's a way to help you cope with the traumas you've been forced to endure. You've been through more in sixteen years than many full-grown witches and wizards will undergo in an entire lifetime." She smiled at him, giving the boy's hand another squeeze. "You're so brave, Harry. You're father and I – we're both so proud of you."
Harry didn't say anything for a long moment, and Snape could tell the teen was trying to collect his tenuous emotions. He swallowed and glanced at Snape out of the corner of his eye before asking thickly, "Is that why Dad is here? To assist in my… therapy?"
"Goodness, no. Severus needs this even more than you do, sweetheart."
Snape's lips puckered in a sour expression, but he said nothing to dispute the statement when his son's wide-eyed gaze shot to him in surprise. Without meaning to, Snape found himself tugging on the ends of his sleeves, consumed with thoughts of the purple scars crisscrossing his skin beneath. Like a bolt of lightning, it hit him why she'd chosen long-sleeved shirts. He was rather shocked at how vulnerable he suddenly felt, and even more so at how Lily seemed to anticipate that.
"Now," Lily repeated, scooting back to her original position. "Place your hands on your knees in a comfortable position, straighten your shoulders, and close your eyes. Sit up nice and tall, breathing all the way down into your seat–"
"My seat," Snape grumbled. "Breathe into my seat. You dorealize how ridiculous you sound, don't you?"
"Shhh…" Lily murmured, her eyelids softly closed and her features completely smooth and unaffected. "I want you both to take a few deep breaths – in through your nose, and out through your mouth. With each breath, I invite you to fill your belly completely with air. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Try to keep your shoulders still as you fill your belly again. One more time... Good. Now, on the next breath, I want you to fill your body close to bursting, then sigh it all out through your mouth. Again – let me hear those sighs."
Snape's last exhale was more of an exasperated huff. But a small voice in the back of his mind was forced to admit that his normally tense muscles did indeed feel looser. Sitting there in the quiet, for the first time he perceived a small brook babbling somewhere nearby. How had he not noticed that before…?
"We're now going to move into Balasana, or Child's Pose," Lily murmured.
"Of course, it would be called that," Snape ridiculed quietly. But this time there was less heat to his voice, even to his own ears, and Lily smiled.
She guided them through a series of gentle poses, some of which Snape worried if his hands could handle. But he realized with a start that he finally understood why she'd brought the additional potions during lunch and had been so insistent on reapplying the orange healing cream, even though she'd been busy in the Hospital Wing. The only reason he'd known of her extra work load was because he had been the one to send the irresponsible First Years there.
Was it my fault they hadn't taken me seriously on how painful the rash from handling a Fire Crab could be? He thought. After all, Snape was a professor, not a damned babysitter; he hadn't deemed it necessary to remind them to put on their dragon hide gloves – not when the instructions were clearly written on the board behind him. He'd known what would happen, and that the stinging nettles in the small animal's exoskeleton would take about twenty minutes before setting in. But he'd said nothing, knowing that discomfort was one of life's greatest teachers. By the time the little dunderheads started breaking out in the painful, burning hives, he'd been forced to send nearly all the students in his third period class to the infirmary.
So he'd been surprised, to say the least, when Lily had come hurrying into his empty classroom during the lunch hour directly after class. Even after Snape had questioned her, she'd insisted on treating his hands instead of tending to her needy, albeit rather whiney, patients. She'd left a class-full of whimpering, tearful eleven-year-olds to tend to the long process of liquoring him up with potions and massaging his hands. It was very odd and unlike her.
But as he moved through the Downward-Facing Dog pose and didn't even feel a twinge, Snape finally understood.
And she hadn't even warned me of what she intended for this little session. How very Slytherin of her, the sneaky little minx, he chuckled.
He was laughing now? Laughing, and not exasperated?
When during this infernal session had THAT happened?
"I want you both to settle in for our last pose, Savasana, as we ready ourselves for our Comprehensive Resource Model work. Using the blanket as a pillow, lay on your back with your palms facing the ceiling. Repeat the breathing exercise from before – in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Keep your shoulders as still as possible. Good. The goal of this pose is complete and utter relaxation, so it's ok to make yourself comfortable. Close your eyes and take another few deep breaths – in through the nose and sigh it out through the mouth. Again. Relax into that sigh as you release any remaining tension in your muscles and soften into the floor."
She was silent for a long moment, allowing them to relax fully into the soft, squashy mats beneath them. When she spoke again, her voice was quiet and even.
"The next part of our therapy is going to be spent right here, in this position. I want you to stay as comfortable as possible while I guide you with my voice. I am going to show you how to keep yourself centered in your own body, especially during moments that your emotions might feel out of control.
"This is not typical talk therapy where I ask you to relive every moment your trauma – in fact, we never need speak of it at all. I do not want you verbalizing those details, as they only serve to retraumatize your mind, body, and soul.
"Instead, I want you to focus on the feelings that emerge as you think of these events and begin to consciously recognize your body's physical reactions to them."
She was quiet for another long moment, allowing Snape and Harry to digest what she was telling them. Snape could feel his conscious attempting to convince him to feel uneasy, but surprisingly he did not. Instead the larger, more relaxed part of his brain allowed her words to wash easily through him, keeping him anchored and completely at ease. His hands were stretched out comfortably on either side of him, and although they were not touching, he could feel the warmth of his son's fingers close to his own. He sensed the same energy emanating from Harry, and he knew that the boy was just as relaxed as he.
"Good," Lily murmured. "Now… In a moment, I am going to ask you to tap into the energy of your mind's eye. Allow this energy to lead you as I guide you with my voice. There is no right or wrong, as your mind knows exactly what needs to be healed. So give it free reign and allow it to help you."
She paused for another minute before continuing, "In your mind, I invite you to picture a room filled with mist. The mist is thick, like being inside a cloud, and you clearly understand that you are alone. However, you are not afraid, as you feel a sense of unconditional love swirling through the fog, completely enveloping and shielding you within its presence.
"Suddenly the mist begins to lift, and you see a door. I invite you now to move towards that door, knowing that you are safe and protected. Grabbing hold of the door's handle, you push it open and step outside into a natural, blessed place, hidden away by Mother Earth specifically for you, and you alone. What does it look like?"
As Lily's voice died away, Snape used his mind's eye to look around himself, knowing immediately where he'd come: it was the park that he and Lily Evans had frequented as children, the place that Harry had first met Lily and Jillian. It was here that their family had been born. The park was quiet and peaceful, the bluish hue of the soft, watery light reminding him of the last few minutes before dawn. There was no one there save himself.
"This is your sacred place," Lily continued, "somewhere you can visit any time – a place in which nothing and no one can harm you. Get to know it intimately, like a close friend. Explore every inch of this place on a very personal level using all your senses. You can see what it looks like, but what does it feel like?"
Suddenly Snape realized that he could feel the texture of the soft, springy blades of grass as they tickled his bare feet. The deep green lawn was covered in a fine layer of cool morning dew, dampening his feet and ankles in a cleansing way as he made his way slowly toward his favorite willow tree.
"What does it smell like? What do you hear?"
On a spring morning such as this, the scent of blooming wildflowers was strong. He couldn't help but admire the delicate blossoms forcing their way through the rich black soil on this small patch of earth beside the river. His gaze drifted down toward the water's edge, and he listened to the sound of the gentle current moving slowly against the rocky riverbank. Reaching out, he placed his palm against the grooved bark of his favorite willow as the breeze rustled gently through the leaves.
"You begin to deepen your sense of connection – of belonging – to this place. Lengthen your spine as you stand tall, coaxing up the purest light energy from deep inside the earth. Its warmth pulses with ancient power as it envelopes the toes of one foot, making its way up your ankle, covering your calf and knee. It wraps itself around your waist, hugging you from the middle before making its way down the other thigh. Moving past your knee and calf, it melts across your ankle and toes until finally entering back into the earth from whence it came.
"You are now grounded here, united to the spirit of this place for all eternity."
Strangely, Snape could feel the warmth she spoke of. It was as though the sun was shining on his uncovered skin, filling him with a comforting, blissful feeling. He felt… safe. Protected in a way he'd never in his life experienced before.
"Now… I want you to think back to a time when someone injured you."
And just like that, the feeling was gone, and Snape was suddenly nine-years-old again.
. . . . .
Severus was helping his mother clean the kitchen after their meager dinner of a few small potatoes and undersized carrots from the back garden. They'd waited hours for his father to come home with the weakly groceries, before concluding that he – and his father's meager paycheck – had probably disappeared into the local pub next to the mill. More than likely, they thought, his father wouldn't appear until the wee hours of the morning, just like had happened many times before. Severus was relieved as he went into the back garden to gather the small vegetables they'd eat for dinner, not caring a whit about the missing groceries and his empty stomach. Personally, Severus hoped that his father never came home again…
But his wish – the same one he'd fervently thought a thousand times over the course of his young life – was to go unanswered. For as Severus and his mother stood silently washing and drying their old, chipped dishes at the kitchen sink, the drunken patriarch of the Snape family tripped over the broken, uneven front stoop and practically fell through the door.
"It's him," his mother murmured in a wide-eyed, frantic whisper. "Up to your room!"
"Mum – no! What if… what if he hits you–?"
"Don't worry about me. I'll be fine," she rushed. And with a slight shove she hurried, "Get to your room. Now!"
Hating the thought of leaving his mother alone with that monster, Severus ran past his father's face-down, groaning form and scrambled up the stairs to his bedroom.
"T-Toby," he heard his mother say as he slid into his darkened room, leaving the door open a crack so that he could listen. "Here. Let me help you."
"Gitoff me, woman!" His father slurred drunkenly. "I don' need yer help!" Severus stiffened as the sound of a body hitting a solid surface echoed up the stairs, and he knew that his mother had been shoved against the wall. "Get yer ass t'tha kitchen and git dinner!"
"But Toby, you were supposed to get groceries after work, remember? There's… there's nothing left–"
His mother let out a cry as his father's heavy fist connected with her face. Severus was already hurling himself down the stairs as the man started screaming at his cowering, terrified mother, "Whaddya mean there's nothing left?! You fat, useless cow, what th' fuck do I keep you around for–?!"
The surprised look on Tobias' face would have been laughable, if his features hadn't immediately darkened when his eyes turned to gaze menacingly upon his son.
"You got somthin' t'say, boy?" He growled ominously.
Severus wanted nothing more than to bolt back up the stairs, but the sight of his mother's hand covering her blatantly swollen and quickly blackening eye steeled his resolve.
"Leave her alone!" he yelled fiercely, standing up to his father for the first time in his life. "It's not her fault that you're a – a pathetic drunk!"
"Wha' did ye jus' say t'me?!" Tobias snarled, Severus' mother huddled at his feet and completely forgotten.
"You heard me! You're a drunk who can't even keep his family fed!"
It all happened very fast after that. Severus' father launched himself at his son in the same moment that his mother jumped to her feet and desperately tried to grab his arm.
"Tobias, NO!" his mother screamed, desperately yanking on the man's arm as he cocked it back. But there was no stopping the enraged animal that had become her husband. His father elbowed her fiercely in the face, dropping her like a stone behind him before he hurled himself at Severus and punched the small boy as hard as he could across the face.
Severus' skull nearly shattered in pain. A wave of blackness covered his eyes before a sheet of white stars exploded all throughout his clouded vision. He choked on the coppery taste of blood, and the ringing in his ears was loud enough that it took a long moment to comprehend that his father was screaming at him.
"–ye scrawny piece o' shite! A drunk, am I? What abou' yer – yer magic, eh? Why don' ye just magic us more food, more money?! I'm jus' one man! But yer just as useless as yer whore mother!" And he kicked Severus hard in the stomach with his dusty, steel-toed boots.
Severus rolled into a tight ball, gasping for breath before moaning in pain. But as his father began to cruelly laugh, Severus clenched his jaw against the agony in his ribs. With an arm tightly hugging his waist, he stumbled to his feet and glared at his disgusting excuse for a father.
"You're nothing but a psychopath who beats his wife and – and touches his own son! You sick bastard!"
Tobias' laughter died away, and the gleam in his eye was predatory and suddenly very, very sober. He took a large step toward Severus, bringing his face close enough that Severus could smell the whiskey still lacing his breath. But unlike in the past when he had merely been a terrified child, Severus refused to back down. He knew what was coming, but he never moved. He'd had enough.
"You think I'm a sick bastard? Me? I see the way you lust after that little redheaded slut you're always hanging around." An evil smile spread across the man's lips as Severus' hands fisted at his sides. "Not that I blame you. That little whore is a pretty one, way out of your class. I'm just teaching you how to get what you want from that sweet little prissy cunt of hers, that's–"
But before he could finish his sickening thought, Severus shot at him like a whirlwind. "SHUT UP, GODDAMN YOU! Don't you talk about her!" he screamed, clawing at the man's eyes and satisfied to see the lines of blood welling where his fingernails had raked across the bastard's skin. Without thinking as his father bellowed in anger, he ran to his mother's side and desperately tried to haul her to her feet. "Mum! GET UP!" But the blow to her temple had done more damage than Severus realized, and she only moaned in response.
As he attempted to drag her limp body towards the door, Severus was suddenly hit in the head again – this time from behind – and he crumpled to the floor once more. But before he could draw a ragged breath into his lungs and clear the dizziness, his arms were yanked painfully behind him and he was wrenched to his feet with an agonized cry.
"You little prick!" his father roared, using his painful hold on Severus' thin arms to force him toward the dining room. "You think you can do that to ME – in my own house?!" His father used a large, sinewy forearm to sweep everything from the battered old dining tabletop, then shoved Severus roughly down until he was bent over at the waist and laying across the wood. "You think I'm a psychopath, you little fuck?" he hissed, and Severus heard the metallic click of his buckle as Tobias removed the heavy belt. "You're about to learn the meaning of respect, boy."
Severus was terrified for his life. But the terror was nothing compared to the agonizing pain inflicted on him only a few moments later. He screamed, he whimpered, he even broke down and begged… But nothing he did halted the horrific brutality inflicted on the small boy.
For that was the first night he was raped by his father.
. . . . .
Snape gasped, his eyes flying open in absolute dread – only to find that he was back in the riverside park. He spun on the spot, looking desperately for the door that brought him here, frantic to find a way out. Frantic to get away from the agonizing memories.
Frantic to get away from his monster of a father.
He ran. He wasn't even sure where he was going – he simply knew he had to get away. But as his lungs began to burn in his panicked sprint, the mist suddenly engulfed him, thick and swirling as if to offer him a place to hide. He fought to throw off the feeling of calm that attempted to wash through him at the foggy presence, knowing that more than anything he needed his wits about him. He wouldn't be able to think – to escape – if the mist stole that from him.
Suddenly, Severus heard a familiar voice penetrate the thick foggy swirls, and he unintentionally slowed.
"Do not run from this pain," the voice whispered urgently. "You are not alone. There is always someone by your side to protect this version – this injured version – of yourself. Often we isolate ourselves after experiencing a trauma… But even then, we are never alone."
A small body burst from the mist in that moment, running as if from the devil himself, and roughly colliding with and bouncing off of Snape's side. On instinct, he reached out to steady the young figure before it could fall.
But as he gazed down as who he realized was a small boy, he froze. Because the boy was… him. He wore the same tattered, oversize clothes – even sported the same battered and bloody face – from where the bastard had beaten him senseless on that horrific night so many years ago.
Strangely, his younger self seemed to recognize him, as well.
"It's you…"The boy murmured.
"You know me?"Snape asked in surprise.
The boy hesitated a moment before admitting, "I think so. My name's Severus." He took an involuntary step closer to Snape, gazing fearfully into the mist behind him over his thin shoulder.
Snape immediately looked to the mist as well, trying to see what Severus was so afraid of. "What are you running from?" he asked, his eyes still searching the swirling fog.
Severus looked up at him with haunted eyes as he instinctively sidled even closer. "Not what – who. I'm running from him," he answered simply, and his gaze flicked fearfully back to the mist surrounding them.
Snape felt oddly protective of this skinny, terrified child. He placed an arm around his shoulders without realizing, as together they silently examined the mist for signs of danger.
After a while young Severus looked up at him again. "Do you… know somewhere I can hide? Somewhere… I'll be safe?"
"I do," Snape responded instantly, thinking of the park beside the river. As the thought crossed his mind, the mist began to thin once more. The boy edged closer in fear, practically hugging Snape's leg. "It's alright," he murmured, kneeling to look the child in the eye. "I won't let anyone hurt you, Severus. I give you my word." For some reason he couldn't explain, he wanted the boy to believe him – even though he wasn't sure if he would.
Young Severus gazed at him with a hard challenge dancing in his eyes, unsure if he could trust this strange man when no other adults in his life had ever protected him before. But the child must have seen something in him that Snape hadn't realized was there, for suddenly he grinned and launched himself into Snape's arms.
"I believe you."
The sincerity in the boy's voice moved Snape to his very core, and he felt something swell within him as if a dam had broken deep inside. The child really did believe that he would keep him safe. Hot, unbidden tears welled within his eyes, dripping into the boy's shaggy black hair as he pulled the small, trusting child roughly against his chest.
They stayed like that for a long time, each taking comfort from the other's embrace. But when next they opened their eyes, the pair found themselves in the middle of the riverside park on a brilliantly sunny day. The boy gasped.
"I know this place!"
Snape smiled at the radiant joy on Severus' face, feeling lighter than he had in years as he watched the child look excitedly around. But sight of the child's wounds, as well as the way he limped painfully around, suddenly dulled his grin.
"Severus," he asked gently, careful to keep his tone casual so as not to frighten the boy. "Would you allow me to… heal your injuries?"
The boy cocked his head, but Snape was relieved to see there was nothing but trust in his dark, probing gaze. "You can do that?" he finally asked. "Mum tries but… she's not very good at healing spells. Sometimes she accidentally makes it worse… so I don't ask anymore."
Snape's heart lurched, and it took him a moment to gather his emotions before he said, "I won't make any mistakes that will make it worse, I promise. You see, I'm a professor."
Severus stared solemnly up at him for another long moment. "Ok," he finally replied.
With a smile, Snape reached for his wand – only to realize with a cold, sinking shock that it wasn't there.
"The Earth's energy," a familiar voice whispered on the breeze.
Snape felt a sudden warmth coursing through his body, feeling like liquid sunshine as it made its way from his shoulders, down his elbows, and finally engulfing his hands. There was a strange tingling in his fingers, as if his very nerves were growing and regenerating. He lifted his hands, strangely not surprised to find a golden amber light glowing beneath his fingertips.
Reaching for the child before him, he somehow knew that he could heal him with this borrowed elemental magic. As if to affirm his thoughts, the magic in his fingertips brightened into blazing white light the closer they came to young Severus' face. The boy squinted as Snape ran his fingertips along the cuts and bruises.
"Close your eyes," he murmured to the child, and Snape did the same as he allowed his instincts to guide his movements. Cupping Severus' face within the palms of his hands, Snape bowed his head and focused all his energy into pouring the Earth's elemental magic into the small boy before him. Snape felt it coursing through his fingers in every point where his skin touched the boy's. In his mind's eye he could clearly see the bright amber light pervading the boy as if he were simply a vessel being filled with a holy substance. The light easily overpowered every swirling dark mass within the boy, in places Severus knew were injuries both old and new.
As the last of the magical light drained from Snape into his younger self, he felt a strong wave of dizziness and his legs gave way beneath him. Collapsing onto the grassy knoll, he heard the boy cry out in surprise.
Snape's eyes fluttered open, and he felt nothing but joy at the sight that greeted him. Young Severus knelt beside him, his brow furrowed in concern – but it didn't escape Snape's notice that it was a clean brow, free of blood from the cuts that had marred his face only a few moments before. Cuts that, like the blood, were completely healed as if they had never existed at all. Dazed and exhausted, Snape gazed happily at the boy above him. The child grinned as he took Snape's larger, calloused hand within his own.
"You did it, professor. Thank you…"
Snape managed to squeeze the boy's small fingers before his eyelids fluttered closed, and a velvety, comforting blackness eased him into oblivion.
**AUTHOR'S NOTE: So there we are. Like I said, I tried to fluff it up in the beginning (mainly because the thought of Snape doing yoga was adorably hilarious.) ^_- I love bringing family moments into this story as much as I can get away with, for it gives me the opportunity to explore the happiness that I always believed canon Snape so rightfully deserved.
The therapy that I used in this chapter is a combination of yoga and a technique called CRM (or Comprehensive Resource Model). After living with an active duty combat soldier husband who has suffered from Complex PTSD since 2005, I've encountered many, many different types of therapies over the years. This one is by far the best. If you or someone you know is suffering from Complex PTSD, I HIGHLY recommend researching the CRM method and finding a CRM-trained therapist in your area. It's changed my husband's life, which is saying a lot after all he's been through. Lots of love to you and yours, my dear readers…