Remember Your Heart
DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Chapter One: Thoughts on Snape
"Bloody hell," mumbled Harry Potter. He knocked backed his tumbler of firewhiskey and brought the glass down hard on the side table. "Snape is in my house. Willingly admitted at that." He continued to mumble, stretched out in an overstuffed armchair, his system buzzing with the alcohol rushing through it. A peak through his shuttered lashes revealed that day had turned to night while he had sat lost in thought before the fire crackling in the fieldstone fireplace. Memories of the Gryffindor common room came to mind and all those nights he had stared at the flames there. But Ron and Hermione weren't coming to shake him out of his reverie, busy as they were with their own lives now. "Besides, they'd only say I'm mental for having Snape in my home!" Harry lifted up the bottle but stopped himself. "Can't be pissed if Snape needs something tonight."
Professor Severus Snape, Potions Master, and the bane of my existence. Harry snorted. How cliché. It may have been seven years since he laid eyes on Snape, but that sneer, the hatred burning in those cold black eyes, and the condescension in that silky voice, those memories had never faded. Harry had believed, even near to the end, that Snape would betray them all to Voldemort. But Snape had proven him wrong. He had stood next to Dumbledore at the final battle with Voldemort and was as equally responsible for Voldemort's destruction as Dumbledore or Harry. Yes, Harry fulfilled his prophecy by actually destroying Voldemort, but it was through the tutelage and assistance of many that the day was one. And a bloody load of luck, Harry thought. Snape had protected his backside, seemingly pleased with hexing his former comrades. It was the first time I can remember hearing Snape laugh and it wasn't a pretty sound.
In the aftermath of that final, horrific battle, Snape wasn't to be found. The Ministry had instigated an official search, but either due to typical government bureaucracy or mere apathy, no trace, no leads, no evidence, nothing was ever found of Snape. The search was abandoned.
Harry spent a brief time after the last battle recuperating before being caught up in a whirlwind of parties, awards and honors. Although every speech he made downplayed his involvement and gave credit to the hard work and perseverance of many others, it was difficult not to be overwhelmed when surrounded with ceaseless celebration in his honor. He rarely thought of Snape then, an utter killjoy in his opinion.
Until the reading of Dumbledore's will.
Dumbledore's death was a grief that he hid from the cameras, smarmy politicians and adoring public. Far too personal, he tucked it away in the back of his mind, sometimes brushing along its edges late at night alone in bed. It felt too large a thing to truly contemplate, greater by far than Sirius' devastating death. So he sealed it behind a door in his head, plastered a smile on his face and joined the post-Voldemort revelry.
The reading of Dumbledore's will, nearly six weeks following his death, forced Harry's pain to the forefront. He had left Harry only two things. The words "remember your heart" and his pensieve. Harry sat that night in his overpriced luxury hotel suite (ministry paid) and filled the pensieve with his tears. As the night wore on, Harry couldn't help but reflect on the time that he had invaded Snape's pensieve.
"I wanted to believe Snape a traitor, because if he was false, then perhaps so was his memory of my father and Sirius. Even after confronting Sirius, I wanted any excuse not to believe them capable of such behavior," Harry told himself. "I've wronged Snape time and again. Maybe it's finally time for me to grow up, accept my father was, at one time, an utter prat, that Snape was something better than what I believed. Can anything redeem the Potters to Snape?" Harry snorted at the idea that Snape might forgive him or James Potter. "Not likely, but I've got to do something, for the sake of my own soul at the least."
Harry began with the ministry investigation, scrapped that quickly for uselessness, and launched his own search. Seven years later, after countless hours, magical and Muggle investigators and a sizeable fortune, Snape was found in a Muggle mental hospital, restrained, heavily sedated and diagnosed with some type of delusional condition. Snape hadn't convinced anyone of his claims of being a powerful wizard and he had tried to hex a great many health care workers. The hexing had not been particularly effective as Harry had found his wand destroyed on the battle field.
As of this afternoon, Professor Severus Snape had been interred in Harry's guest bedroom and rendered nearly comatose by a variety of beneficial potions to induce a deep healing slumber. The mediwitch from St Mungo's had said that Snape would remain in this state for some time while he healed. "Just check on him from time to time, but you shouldn't see any changes. I'll be back in the morning," she had said cheerfully before departing earlier that evening. Harry had made a large donation to St Mungo's for the private service. He wanted to keep Snape's existence quiet, for who knew what enemies the man still had. The mediwitch had assured him that treating Snape at home wouldn't endanger his recovery.
"Shit!" Harry started from his chair. The room had begun to brighten with the coming dawn and Harry realized that he had been ruminating all night.
"Shit, shit, shit!" Harry took the stairs two at a time, stopping outside the guestroom door. "Of all the irresponsible things I could do..." he muttered and eased the door open. Snape was lying on his back, just as he had been when first brought to the house. He looks like he's laid out in a coffin, Harry thought and a shiver ran through him. He quickly went to the bedside. Snape's chest slowly rose and fell and Harry let go of the breath he was holding.
Snape's hair had been shorn close in Muggle care and was liberally salted with gray and white; his face was gaunt and sickly pale, making his nose all the more out of proportion; his thin body seemed all sharp angles even through the softness of the blankets.
Harry had arranged for black pajamas for Snape to rest in. He couldn't see Snape in anything but black; the mediwitch thought it was morbid. Harry, with the mediwitch supervising, spelled the bed so that Snape was actually slightly levitated off the mattress, so as not to exacerbate his bedsores any further.
Scooping up the parchments resting on the nightstand, Harry began reviewing the written instructions the mediwitch had left, to be sure he had not forgotten to do anything. Other than check on him, he thought miserably A strange prickling sensation made him glance over at Snape, where Harry metintent black eyes.
The instruction parchment slowly fluttered to the ground.