Hello dear readers/supporters!
I wanted to add a little writer's insert for the end of the story and touch upon a few things I'd like to share before I deem this story finished.
I was always rather heartbroken with the story of Severus, and his tragic story stuck with me for years. In canon, sadly, his death was merciful, for lack of a better term. Although he never stayed alive long enough to see Voldemort's final downfall and Lily's memory avenged, it hurt to think what would have become of him had he have lived. After showing Harry his memories – many of those personal – He would have felt ashamed, and still immensely guilt-ridden. He most likely would have fled, but the frightening thing is, he'd have nothing left to live for. His main life's purpose – the mission he dedicated his entire life to – now diminished, leaving him with a void he could never fill. I fear what would have become of him, and to put it bluntly, he would no longer have wanted to live.
So, I wanted to give him a new purpose in this story – a fighting chance at a possible reprieve, and perhaps find some ounce of happiness where he had none before. I wanted him to reveal parts of himself that he hid for so long, and gradually soften his heart previously hardened with stone. He is so much more than the bitter, spiteful, cruel, vindictive man we've come to know through seven books. So much that even Albus did not want him to hide the best of him. I wanted Severus to find some measure of peace again, and further rectify his wrongdoings. I wanted him to make peace with Harry and the rocky history they shared. Harry would have been determined to reach out to him. Minerva, too. I wanted Severus to find his place in the world again, and realise that he does not have to go through it all alone anymore. He spent so many years being depended on, and yet there was no one he could ever depend on, himself. Especially once Albus had passed.
He lived a lonely life.
He cared for Harry in canon – He never showed it. He never wanted to. But he cared because he would never would have dedicated his life in this way if he didn't have a measure of compassion for the boy. Obviously, this was difficult with the James dynamic as he could never truly love Harry, but for Lily, he grew to respect the boy through the years. And we also know how horrified he was when Albus told him he had to die – That alone told me that he grew to care about him after all. Otherwise, he'd never have been horrified about it.
When I began writing Whatever It Takes in May/June, I had several 'endgame' plans for the stories, and the main one was ultimately, ending Severus' life. I had planned certain scenes, and I knew the direction I wanted it to go back in the early planning. However, the story took its own curious turn, and I went with it. Spending extra time in Severus' mind-space (and Harry's, of course), and their evolutionary character traits, made me realise that I couldn't put Severus' through all this stress and heartache, just to…end him. I couldn't bring myself to go that way because it was too cruel. I adore Severus too much to do that. To be honest, this fic was never originally intended to be a Harry-takes-care-of-a-sick-Severus kind of fic. Well, not to the extent that it did, anyway. Some stories just flow in their own way, and this one definitely did.
I had so much joy exploring this different side to Severus – I wanted him to further grow as a character, and he has so much potential more than just being the usual moody, rude, callous, spiteful dungeon bat. Other than those bad traits, he is also protective, loyal, resourceful, selfless, brave, and not as heartless as he is typically made to be. He cared for his Slytherins. He was clearly worried when Ginny was taken to the Chamber of Secrets. We were told by Albus he spent ages searching the forest for Harry when he and his friends traveled to the Ministry upon the idea that Sirius was in trouble. We spent so much of the series observing his terrible traits through Harry's POV, that we never truly get to see his potential to properly grow. Although, I do find he got less spiteful as the books went on, and that's because the Harry/Snape dynamic changed as Harry grew up. I find drawing his personality best when you read the passages between him and Albus alone – Because that is the truest version of adult Severus you'd ever get to see. The same man who didn't want people to see the best of him.
I love Severus/Harry father/son fics, and I wanted to explore a slightly different, and vulnerable side to Severus than what we usually see in other fics. I'm not ashamed to say that I made him a little more emotional and wounded in this one – but I hope in the context of my story, it makes sense. I mean, imagine dedicating your entire life to this mission in a Second Wizarding War, for it to all suddenly end, leaving you with nothing, or a further sense of purpose? I'd be a wreck if I were him.
As the story developed, and about thirty chapters into it, I realised that it began to take on its own life and pathway. Before I began writing, my father was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, and as I was writing, it seemed to unintentionally influence the way my story developed. Eventually, I came to realise that the relationship Severus and Harry had eventually mimicked the relationship I had with my father. Just by pure coincidence.
For the first five years of my life, I was somewhat of a daddy's girl. I loved him so much. Then family issues got worse, we suffered financially, and we struggled. A lot. My dad changed severely, and a lot of his built-up anger was often re-directed to me (I was the only child at the time), and my mother. He subjected us to physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. Every single day. I couldn't even look at him, without him firing off at me, looking for an outlet for his own anger. It was tough. As my brothers were born, it did get worse. My father and I had a very antagonistic relationship – we were both short-tempered, and I was a bit of a smart-arse because I couldn't stand his bad attitude. Eventually, I learned to fight back, both verbally (and even physically out of defense – trust me, you don't need to know details here). He hated it. Every day was like walking on eggshells, and most of the time, mum would physically have to break us up – Yeah, it got that bad. I also had severe asthma, so the constant stress would bring on severe panic attacks where I couldn't breathe, sending me to the hospital frequently. He was rude, demeaning, racist to others, vile, hated everyone and everything. His spiteful behavior made me so angry all of the time. He was never happy.
He mocked me all of the time and make me feel bad for things that were never my fault. He'd make me cry, and laugh at me when I did. I hated – loathed - my dad for many years, and it wasn't until I turned about twenty-five, did he eventually start to tone down his vile behavior.
Once I ended with a change in careers, and it took him a lot to admit to it, but he was proud of me. I was still unsure, and my hatred for him ran deep. I couldn't accept anything other than constant abuse because I didn't believe he could change or be any different.
In 2019, I embarked on a two-year journey abroad to live and work in Canada. At the airport, he cried. I didn't understand why, and he had never acted that way towards me before. I was glad to get away, but once I arrived, it really got me thinking back on it.
Fast-forward to 2020 with the cancer diagnosis, I raced home a year earlier because I knew if anything had happened and I wasn't there, I'd feel guilty for the rest of my life. Since his diagnosis, we've talked more in the last 8 months, than we did in the last twenty years. I couldn't believe I spent so much time hating him and wished he were never in my life. It just seemed ridiculous to keep that hate going because hate is simply exhausting.
Well now, things are different. He still cries and gets emotional when he sees me, and cries when I leave, and I know he has a lot of guilt for the way he treated me all of my life, unfairly. It's still strange territory for me because I find it difficult to accept any kind of love from him, but we are far more civil now. Hell, we even send each other funny memes now, and he laughs at my stupid jokes and vice versa. But being in his company is less and less awkward now, and I'm glad. And like Harry/Severus, I find myself trying to convince my dad not to give up, as even with chemo/radiotherapy. My dad thinks a lot about death now, as it now looms over his head. Despite our darker past, I'm still willing to be there for him through his illness.
With all that in mind, that is how my version of Harry and Severus has evolved to. I realised how much it was mirroring my own situation with taking care of my sick father and dealing with our issues. We have built a little more trust now. I guess the moral of all this is that with time, and even patience, anyone, even bad people, can change through the face of hardship and adversity, even when it may appear impossible. To go from absolute loathing and wishing ill-will upon them, to understanding, and even respect and love…Anyone has the ability to change if you give them a chance to.
Given my long rant, I just wanted to give you some context and to the evolution of this story, and I do have plans on part 2, which is only a very brief outline at this point in time, and if I go ahead with it, it probably won't be something I tackle anytime soon. This story has been a wonderful escape from reality and the crapfest that was Pandemic 2020, but I do look forward to the break.
Thank you to all my readers for sticking around on this long haul, and I truly hoped you enjoyed the crazy journey as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I wouldn't have had the drive to keep going this far if it weren't for your encouragement, friendly criticism, and guidance. Your reviews were always a blessing to receive.
So, thank you all, you amazing readers! **BIG HUGS**