Disclaimer: The entire story belongs to JKR. I only added a background story with some of her characters. I make no money on this story and all but the characters you don't recognise belong to JKR. I have also made good use of Harry Potter WIKI for things I have forgotten over the years. If anything sounds familiar with any other posted story on this or any other fanfiction site I assure you it is unintentionally.
AN: English is not my first language even though I now live in an English speaking country, so if some of this sounds a little strange, especially when it comes to grammar, please forgive me. This is my first FF and I have no Beta. Please be gentle.
AN2: To some of you Severus may seem a little OOC, but I believe, even though he had been abused and bullied most of his life, he could be able to change if he would find the right person. After all, we now know that he had been in love before with Lily. I think he only is putting a hard shell around himself because he is afraid of getting hurt again. I do believe there would be some insecurities left over though, because he would have a hard time believing after all these years that suddenly there is a person who is truly sincere.
AN3: I always thought Severus had the most miserable life in the whole HP universe and I wanted to write a story where he was actually loved. If his love interest comes across like a Mary Sue, so be it. I tried to work her into the background of the story we already know from JKR. I haven't read a Harry Potter book in years and forgot a lot, so if you guys find anything that is out of line, let me know and I'll try to fix it.
AN4: I figured I'm getting all my AN's squared away in the beginning so you guys have smooth sailing after that. This story has been going around in my head ever since I read the first FF with Severus, which was about 7 years ago. I finally started writing it down about a year ago. Since it always drives me crazy when I start reading a story and then find the author just dropped it, I decided to write the whole thing first before posting it. Basically the story is finished but I have a busy life and don't know how fast I can post each chapter.
AN5: Oh, before I forget to mention it, this is a story where the epilogue in Deathly Hallows didn't happen.
Professor Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sat at his desk deep in thought and with a frown on his face while scrutinizing his black shriveled hand turning it slowly back and forth while doing so. He slowly wiggled his misshapen, achy fingers then finally let out a long breath and sat his elbows down on his desk, laced his fingers together and rested his chin on his hands. His gaze caught on the vial sitting in front of him on his desk. Severus had placed it there, telling him that it was a stronger pain potion just before he had blown out of the office with a huff. Albus let out a heavy sigh before his eyes went to the stained-glass window and the inky black night sky outside. He stared at it without focus, thinking back to the argument he had gone through a moment ago with the Potion Master about what had to be done. It had been just one of numerous disputes about the same thing, so many in fact that Albus had lost count. The Headmaster knew he was slowly wasting away from the dark curse in his hand. It wasn't that he had given up but even Filius Flitwick with all of his knowledge in curses wasn't able to reverse it. Filius had exhausted all information that was out there, including the Dark Arts tomes in the restricted section of the library... There was nothing! And then there was Bill Weasley, one of the best curse breakers in Britain. He too was at his wits end. Severus had been able to slow the process down with his potions but wasn't able to stop it entirely. The best he could do was to brew stronger and stronger pain potions. That was when Albus chose one last decisive move in the great game of good vs. evil. It would all be for the greater good. He knew it would cost Severus dearly. The poor boy would be hunted by the light side - the side he was actually helping. But they had to be looking out for what would be the best course of action for the long run. Voldemort would trust Severus even more, and in turn Severus would be able to extract more information for the light side. Yes, it would be for the greater good!
Albus blinked a few times to moisturize his eyes from the long stare and leant back in his wingback chair with a long sigh. He glanced at his cursed hand once more before placing both of them onto the armrests and continued with his unfocused gaze out of the window. This time he had felt that he had actually gotten through to his headstrong Head of Slytherin House. He knew that he could trust Severus implicitly even if it meant to do the unimaginable. Unfortunately it didn't make Albus feel any better. It was something nobody should have to do. But nevertheless, it was something that had to be done when the time came, and preferably before he would show serious signs of weakness. Before his body would finally give out from that dark curse, and it would look like a mercy killing. It had taken him some lengthy discussions to finally wear the Potion Master down. Severus had argued that they may find something in time, and before it was too late. He had begged him not to make him do it. But Albus felt he was running out of time. Last night he knew he had finally broken through Severus's obstinacy and won the debate.
There was only one more thing to do. He needed to make sure that somebody was there who knew the truth, just in case Severus would make it through the war. Somebody who would be able to clear his name, and he knew just the man to do it. His old friend Anton Silvers who had stood by his side in the fight against Grindelwald. Anton had left Europe after the war and was living in a small village in a remote area in the Muggle World in Canada. There were still too many in the Wizarding World who wanted him and others like him dead. Anton was a Nevari. The Nevari were almost hunted to extinction in the war. Only a few of them had survived. Albus had stayed somewhat in contact with his friend over the years, and hoped that the threat of Voldemort would motivate Anton to come out of hiding.
The Headmaster sat up from his somewhat relaxed position and opened his eyes he hadn't realized he had closed while going through his latest string of thoughts. He removed his half moon shaped glasses and rubbed his good hand over his tired face. He finally pinched the bridge of his nose, replaced his glasses and opened the top right drawer on his desk and removed a piece of parchment. After closing the drawer Albus selected a quill from an ornate tray on the right side of his desk and pulled his inkwell closer to him which stood next to the tray and commenced writing.
For the next few minute all that could be heard in the Headmasters office located in one of the highest towers of the majestic castle was the scratching of a quill and the whirring of some curious silver instruments on a spindly-legged table in a corner. When Albus was done he sat back, replaced quill and inkwell, and before folding the letter he read it once more and finally nodded to himself yes, this should do! He conjured a final cup of tea before calling it a night and summoned a house elf to take the letter to the owlery and have it sent on its way. Now, all he could do was wait...
Two evenings later and the Headmaster had just sat down behind his desk after coming back from his meal at the dinner table in the Great Hall when he heard a scratching noise outside his window. He saw a magnificent Barred Owl sitting on the sill with a letter tied to its leg. He sighed at the disturbance but nevertheless got up and dragged his tired bones to the window to let the bird inside. He untied the letter and gave the owl a treat from a small dish on the window sill and a drink of water. After a brief rest it spread its wings and swooped out into the dark evening sky.
A quick glance at the envelope told Albus that it was the eagerly awaited answer from his old friend Anton. A little more upbeat with this knowledge the Headmaster shut the window and made his way back to his desk. He sat down in his chair, waved his hand to summon the small dish of Honey Dukes sherbet lemon drops closer to him. After dropping one of them into his mouth he broke the seal on the letter while sucking on his sweet and began reading.
I was delighted hearing from you again, old friend. I only wish it would be under better circumstances. We are keeping a wary eye on the situation in your corner of the world. Who would have known that once again you would have to deal with a dark Wizard similar to Grindelwald? It seems Voldemort is even more ruthless in his pursuit of ruling the Wizarding World.
Unfortunately I won't be able to lend you a hand. My health isn't what it used to be. My oldest son Albus (your namesake and godson) would have been a good choice but he and his family are occupied with another matter at the time. You know we had to bury my second son Robert and his wife a few months ago due to a car accident and you also know that my youngest, Brutus, doesn't have "the gift" (or at least not as strong as we would like him to have). You mentioned that your matter would be out of the way of danger. What about my granddaughter Roberta (Bobbie)? She is Robert's child and you met her once when she was a little girl. In between the accident of her parents and a second failed marriage to yet another man we thought was "The One", it has hit poor Bobbie very hard and it might do her some good to get far away for a while and have some other things to keep her mind occupied. Bobbie did inherit the strong gifts of her father, which seem to be what you are looking for. You may also want to consider that she is trained as a psychiatrist. It could come in handy during a time of war. Bobbie is back in Canada for the time being and I could ask her.
Please let me know if you would rather have a male participant for your cause before I inform my granddaughter of the proposition. Knowing her she would be more than eager to get into some excitement. The child has always been in trouble when she got bored. We have long ago resigned ourselves to the fact that there is no stopping her when she has set her mind to something. Let me know if Bobbie would be a candidate for you or I will find a male member of our community. After all, your troubles with Voldemort could eventually affect us all if he gets his way.
Your friend, Anton
Albus folded up the letter absentmindedly, placed it onto his desk, dropped another sweet into his mouth and walked back to the window to once again stare into the dark without really focusing on anything. He thought about Anton's reply. He didn't really need a male participant for the job. He just had thought that he could have worked one more time together with his friend. Even though the work he needed to have done wouldn't be very strenuous or dangerous, it turned out that his old friend was simply too frail to travel. He really only needed the "touch" of a Nevari. A powerful Nevari could touch a person and immediately knew what had happened to said person during his or her entire life. Almost like watching a Muggle movie very fast. There were some other traits, and one of them brought the Nevari to the edge of extinction because Grindelwald and his minions were afraid of it - erroneous as it may be. But he didn't need that, at least he hoped not. Then his thoughts went to the part about his friends granddaughter being trained as a psychiatrist and decided that Anton was right! That could come in very handy even though she was trained in the Muggle World. The pains of the soul were very similar in the Wizarding World. Poppy was a sublime mediwitch but she was no therapist... not by a long shot. A small smile made it onto Albus's face thinking about Poppy's disposition. Yes, she was good in bossing her patients around if they didn't want to stay in bed or take their potions. She sure was getting the job done when it came to that, but sitting with somebody and trying to heal the bruises of the soul... no! It just wasn't her style.
Yes, his old friend Anton had an excellent point. Albus could kill two pixies with one stone by having Roberta ...err... Bobbie work with Poppy. She could counsel children and incidentally find out everything about Severus. Severus would just think that she was a new addition to the Infirmary. She could clear his name and he wouldn't even know what hit him. Bobbie could shake his hand on greeting and she would know everything she needed to know to do so. This was even better than he had intended. He knew that his acerbic Potions Master would never accept help otherwise. He was afraid that the boy wouldn't even try making it through the war because Albus suspected that Severus felt there was no redemption for his sins. There was also a very good possibility that nobody would believe him if he said that he killed his Headmaster on Albus's own orders. 'Once a Death Eater, always a Death Eater' was the general belief in the Wizarding World. Severus wouldn't have a chance, no matter how hard he tried - IF he tried.
Albus walked once more back to his desk, sat down and fetched another piece of parchment out of his top right drawer and wrote his acceptance to Anton right after popping another sherbet lemon into his mouth.
Severus Snape, Potion Master of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry sat in his dungeon room marking essays. He had a hard time concentrating on the pile of drivel in front of him and read the last paragraph on the top one for the fifth time. He sighed and rubbed his tired eyes. Damn Narcissa and Bellatrix for tricking him into that unbreakable vow, he thought for the millionth time. And damn Albus for his hare-brained idea how to save Draco from having to fulfill the task the Dark Lord had demanded of him. Severus would much rather die from breaking the vow than having to lose a friend and mentor - his ONLY friend - to be precise, and in such a horrible way. Why had he let the Headmaster talk him into it? Albus had told him that he was the only one he could trust with the task. Why did it have to be him... why? It just about broke his heart when he only thought about killing Albus. He would somehow have to summon the courage. Would he even be able to? You needed to conjure up hatred for that person to make the killing curse work.
"Damn it all!" he roared in his pent up misery, and in the next second quill, essays and inkwell went flying off the desk and against the wall and the door with one swipe of his arm. Severus ran his hands through his hair in desperation. He felt a stinging feeling in the back of his eyes and jumped up with a force that toppled his heavy desk chair and knocked the back of it into the wall behind him. He made his way in long strides to his fireplace where he retrieved a bottle of firewhisky from the mantle. He yanked out the cork and didn't even bother getting a snifter and took a long swig right out of the bottle and in the next moment hurled it with all his might into the fireplace. "Why, Albus... why?" He couldn't stand that helpless feeling that had gotten over him and rushed with billowing robes into his bedroom. He would deal with the mess tomorrow. Grabbing the vial which was sitting on his nightstand, he pulled out the stopper and downed the contents in one swig. It was an extra strong dreamless sleep potion. He knew that prolonged use of even the normal strength would be addictive but he didn't care, not even that it was already the second night in a row that he took it and not to mention mixing it with alcohol. He knocked off his dragon hide boots and didn't bother taking off his clothes before collapsing onto his bed and falling asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.