Betaed by Barbara.
Content: Post OotP. Harry remains homeless. But why on Earth does Snape worry about it?
Warning: this is a post OotP fic. Full of spoilers. Almost a spoiler-fic. ;-)
AND THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT A PART OF MY 'HAPPY DAYS IN HELL' STORIES. Be warned. This is just an idea plopped out of my mind.
I won't write a sequel. Don't ask me, please.
Reviews are appreciated.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. I'm just playing around with the characters and places JRR Rowling created for us.
Oh, and I give you an alternate title:Coming to your senses
I'm sure you'll understand, why... ;-)
So: let the story begin (and end)! Enjoy (if you can)! Oh, another warning: it's not a piece of my sappy stories!
****************************************************************************************************************************************************** Where your mother's blood dwells
Harry didn't know how much time had passed since that fateful day when he had woken to see a rather large group of Death Eaters encircling his bed with wands in hand – all pointed at him steadily and mercilessly. He was lost both in time and space, he was somewhere out of this world, of the REAL world, the living people's world: out of the world of sunshine, warmness, laughter and hope. Losing hope was the gravest thing had ever happened him, he felt dead already and he really didn't know whether to embrace this feeling or fight it.
He was dying in a dark pit of death without clothing, meals and just with minimal water, beaten and abused in every way from day to day and he gave up.
He gave up.
Why should he fight anyway? Sirius was dead and his mother's family had cast him out once and for all. He had no place to go. He had no protection left in this world. Dumbledore, after making so many mistakes with Harry, let him return to the Dursleys who finally had got rid of him for good.
'While you can still call home the place where your mother's blood dwells, there you cannot be touched or harmed by Voldemort...' Dumbledore told that in the end of the last year, right after Sirius's... but it didn't matter now. He would die and that was it. Dumbledore made his final mistake when he didn't recognise his so-called family's strong hatred and anger, which finally had caused this situation: Harry in Voldemort's captivity waiting for the Dark Lord to kill him.
It would be the best of the possible choices, Harry thought bitterly. He had no family, no support remained and he really didn't want Dumbledore's care any more. In reality he didn't want to see the old fool either. Dumbledore had always wanted him to survive. 'My priority was to keep you alive.' Was his survival worth of the fuss? He hated his life. Survival, being alive were not as important as being loved – even for a short time...
He curled into a ball and cried without tears.
He hated Dumbledore. And as the time went by, he realised that he hated Dumbledore more than he hated Snape or Malfoy. Only his hatred towards the Dark Lord surpassed that hatred. To the Headmaster, he was nothing, just a piece in his puzzle, just a pawn in his war-chess, and however strongly the man had stated that he cared for Harry, the boy couldn't help, but smirk at that statement. Caring for – it should mean more than just 'keeping alive', shouldn't it?
Of course, Voldemort had been the first to notice that he, Harry couldn't call 4 Privet Drive his home any more, that the magical walls and wards had crumpled into nothingness, not that pitiful excuse of a wizard, Mundungus Fletcher, who now, probably, lay dead somewhere near his ex-home, perhaps under a car. Or more likely, he hadn't been there, of course, but he had been out selling stolen cauldrons to unsuspecting witches. Even Mrs Figg would have been a better guard than that idiot, but it didn't matter now.
He would die. Thank God, he would die via pains and beatings and curses, but without any more fear, because even the fear had left him somewhere in the way... And Harry understood just now that fear is a vital part of life, that without fear life was unbearable, that without fear he was already dead, a living dead. Voldemort, apparently, still didn't know about the prophecy's precise content, because if he had known, Harry would have been killed already. From time to time, Harry had played with the thought of telling him, to finish this pitiful and painful comedy called life.
It was a pity that Snape couldn't see him like that. The disgusting man would be so pleased – and Harry wouldn't care if he was seen weak and dying, Snape would have his pleasure. But Snape hadn't come in the past days (weeks?) and to tell the truth, somewhere inside, Harry was grateful. He would die in peace without a last glimpse of the yellow-teethed, greasy, filthy potions git.
Harry reprimanded himself immediately when next time the door swung open and Snape stood in the frame. Speak of the devil... it was his thought that summoned the git here. But he didn't open his mouth: it was completely dry from the lack of water, and the slowly clotting blood on his lips shut it even more. He tried to swallow, but it was a stupid idea: his aching throat made a tentative movement, which only caused his lungs to churn and a dry, painful cough to shake his body. Blood came again as he coughed, and he couldn't move his hand to sweep it away: his left was broken and the right was caught under his body.
"Some good curse, Severus. Something spectacular," Harry heard Voldemort's voice and time seemed to stop for a minute. He tried to prepare for the possible blow. It didn't come.
"Is he conscious, my Lord?" Snape's tone missed its general nastiness and harshness; it must be because of his master, Harry smirked to himself. A good servant had to lick his master's boots, didn't he?
"Why do you want to know that, Severus?" Voldemort's tone was soft, but in a very unpleasant, slimy way, which made Harry shudder.
"It's rather useless to waste a good curse on somebody unconscious, Master," the same, sly, slimy, nauseating tone as the 'master'. Harry now transferred his whole hatred from Dumbledore to Snape again. 'Waste a good curse'! As Harry's anger began to rise in his chest, his coughing grew harder.
"He is coughing," Voldemort noted the obvious.
"It means nothing, Master," Snape said humbly. "He could be uncon..."
"Enough. Cast that curse, now!"
Harry was surprised for a moment. Surely, Voldemort couldn't believe that Snape was only stalling for time, could he?
Well, why not? This second thought stopped Harry's racing mind. Notwithstanding their mutual hatred and disgust, Snape was still a member of the Order. Had he come to save him? Honestly, Snape had never wanted to kill him before. But since that unfortunate accident with his pensieve... Harry wasn't sure now how to react or what to expect next. It was best not to hope. Snape wouldn't save him. At least the man's worst memory would remain secret for ever...
"Crucio!" Snape yelled, and Harry's body tensed as he waited for the blow to hit him.
It didn't come, however. He sensed a slight, passing pain, but it wasn't too serious, it didn't even reach the level of the weakest curse of the past days. What had happened to Snape? Surely, the man hated him enough to cast a normal, full-grown Cruciatus on him!
"What was that, Severus?" Harry heard the surprise in Voldemort's voice. "First, I wanted to see something spectacular. Second, I thought you've already learnt how to cast such a curse properly!"
"I have, my Lord," Snape bowed, Harry could see it from the corner of his eye. He cringed watching the disgusting submissive manner in which his teacher behaved. "But I think the boy need a little... nudging. He probably had became too injured to feel the cast curses. I have a potion..."
"Why don't you cast an Enervate, then?" Voldemort asked bored and pulled out his wand.
"Because you wanted to see something spectacular, my Lord," Snape bowed again and Harry suddenly wanted to spat in his face. Slimy greaseball!
"Oh," Voldemort smiled and pocketed his wand again. "Then do it!"
When Snape stepped up to him and knelt down, Harry struggled to keep himself away from the man he loathed so strongly. But he couldn't really move: he just shuddered and rolled on his back instead of moving away. This move, apparently, was the most stupid thing he could have done: now Snape could freely slip an arm under his back and lift a tiny bottle to his mouth. Harry tried to turn his head from the vial, but his neck hurt, and he hissed.
In an instant Harry could see that the vial was uncorked and perfectly empty, then Snape's half-embrace became stronger around his chest, the vial touched his lips and a sudden tug showed Harry that the Portkey functioned well. The last thing he heard was Voldemort's angry yell, which faded away, as the world was whirling away around them.
By the time they arrived at their destination, Harry was pressed entirely against Snape, and he couldn't help but shrug with disgust as he smelt the odour of sweat on the man. His common sense tried to tell him that it was only the nervousness Snape felt in Voldemort's presence, but his hatred didn't want to accept it. The man was filthy, and he had to touch his uncleanness until he decided to put Harry down.
At least he hadn't sprawled on the door when they arrived.
"Severus!" Harry heard the Headmaster's voice, while Snape slipped his second hand under Harry's knees so that he was lying in his arms like a child. He grunted in protest, but nobody seemed to pay attention on his reactions. "Is he alive?"
"Barely," the man snapped, this time his voice was the usual guarded and cold, instead of that slippery one, "and he needs medical help. Immediately."
Harry felt as the man's grip strengthened around him and he began to walk away, followed closely by the Headmaster. He felt as they descended the spiral staircase (so they had arrived to Dumbledore's office, Harry realised) and passed the gargoyle, but they almost fell over Moody who was standing in front of the office's entrance.
"Oh, Severus, so you've found the young Potter!" he said contently. Harry through his blurred vision could see him smile, but with the smile on his face his expression was more frightening.
Snape just nodded and stalked away. Dumbledore stopped Moody and called after them.
"We have some things to discuss. We'll see you later in the Infirmary."
Snape nodded again, and Harry could hear "Come in, Alastor, I think it changes quite a lot of things..." and the voices faded away.
"Harry, are you awake?" Harry almost fainted as he realised it was the git, who asked the question. Harry? Why on earth was he Harry to him? His surprise wasn't too visible, apparently, because Snape continued to speak to him. "Potter, Harry, can you hear me? We'll be in the Infirmary in no time. You can rest there. Everything will be all right."
Oh, the usual lie. Nothing would be all right, of course. Nothing. Ever. Harry struggled to keep a little more distance from the man, but his movement just made Snape press him against himself even more.
"You'll survive," Snape said and this sentence finally was able to give Harry enough force to croak some words.
"I don't want to," but his tone betrayed him. He sounded too much like a snivelling child rather than the determined man he wanted to sound like.
"I'm sorry," Snape blurted out suddenly and moaned as he arranged Harry in his hold again. "I'm so sorry. It was my fault."
The apology somehow hushed Harry into a daze.
Snape was sorry? What for? If anything, his capture wasn't HIS fault. Well, Sirius's death, Lupin's firing, five years of being ridiculed and thoroughly humiliated were the git's fault. But this situation... was more his aunt's sin since she was the one who had finally renounced him. And his uncle's since he had decided to punish him properly for the last years – and for things that weren't really Harry's fault. Well, the punishment hadn't been more than some forceful slaps on his face, but his feeling of being beaten and rejected combined with being humiliated in front of Dudley boiled his blood enough to lose the last home-like emotions he ever had towards the Dursley house.
While these thoughts crossed his mind he felt as Snape laid him cautiously on a bed, shouting for Madam Pomfrey, and he sensed as his ridiculous excuse of clothes were stripped off from his slim body, softly, and a damp, warm towel touched his skin to remove the clotted blood, the filth, the salt of sweat. Some minutes later, another towel joined the first, and Harry let himself enjoy the warm touches, the first touches that didn't cause harm and pain for days.
"He's half asleep, Severus. Can you bring here those pyjamas on the other bed over here?" Pomfrey's voice was tense, but warm, just like the towels. Joints crackled as somebody stood up, and Harry could smell the fresh odour of a newly ironed pyjama top as the man pulled it on over Harry's head, and the bottom caressed his abused legs and thighs. And he was lifted again and placed down to another bed.
"I think we should send that sheet to the trash," Madam Pomfrey was speaking most definitely about the sheet Harry was laid on previously, but he didn't care: somebody was tugging the light, fluffy blanket around him, and the downy pillow under his face almost swallowed his head. He snuggled into the bed's embrace, and he still noticed tentative fingers touching his face and smoothing locks from his forehead, but he couldn't wake up any more...
When he woke up the first thing (or better to say: person) he noticed was Snape sitting still in an armchair next to his bed with a very, very strange and unfamiliar expression on his face.
He seemed sad. And guilty. And his face was missing every previous sign of annoyance and anger or even coldness. His eyes were watching Harry's face with a little bit of discomfort, but he tried to crack a half-smile when he saw Harry opening his eyes.
"Good morning," he said and slipped Harry's glasses to his face. Harry shut his eyes in shock.
The world was about to end. Snape was civil. Or even more: Snape was friendly with no other than Harry Potter? Harry even forgot to reply back. He heard a loud sigh from the bed's side.
"I'm sorry," Snape said and Harry's eyes flung open. His pupils were dilated in shock. The man stood up. "Sorry, I didn't want to shock you..." But you managed, Harry thought to himself. Snape tried another smile. "I go to find Madam Pomfrey..." his tone was still apologising. When he disappeared towards the nurse's office, Harry slipped into a sitting position and stretched slowly. He felt almost completely healthy, at least physically. His broken arm was mended like his ribs, the main part of his bruises faded notably, and all in all every part of his body appeared to be less sore and painful. And the most important: his mouth wasn't dry as the Sahara desert any more. He could swallow, and the disgusting, metallic taste of blood and filth had disappeared from his mouth.
But all this still didn't mean he was all right. In the Infirmary's brightness the past days' darkness towered over Harry more heavily and depressingly and still, he could feel no future for him. With Sirius dead, whom could he go to live with? He needed his mother's blood to protect him, but his own blood and flesh had betrayed him, handed him over to Voldemort. He had no future, but he was alive. Again. Apparently, Dumbledore was a professional at keeping him alive, the only problem was that after every rescue Harry felt more fed up with life than before. Now, he really didn't want to live. Not, with those memories he brought from his captivity.
The office's door opened and Madam Pomfrey, Dumbledore and Snape strode out. This time, fortunately, Dumbledore didn't smile as jovially as he normally did, because that, Harry was totally sure, would increase his hatred towards the white-bearded man to an unbelievable level.
Harry cast a hostile glare at them, then he turned his face away. For more protection, he pulled his knees to his chest and hugged them close.
"I don't want to talk," he said first. "To anyone. About anything," he added as an afterthought.
"I came to apologise, Harry. For failing you," the Headmaster said. "I didn't..."
"I don't want to talk," Harry repeated without looking at the old man.
"Mr Potter you have to eat first of all," the nurse said matter-of-factly, "and since Professor Snape here is very determined to stay with you, I agreed to let him help you in the next few days."
Harry cast a sideway glance at them, and he noticed both men standing with slumped shoulders and somehow... in an apologising way. It didn't erase Harry's hatred towards them, but his curiosity won over his loathing towards Snape. The git wanted to stay with him? Very well, then. He could – as long as he could restrain himself from sarcastic remarks and evil humiliating comments.
He nodded slowly, but didn't utter a word. Under his piercing glare, the Headmaster left the hospital wing. In the meantime a house elf appeared with a tray of food and rolled it next to the bed Harry was occupying. There was just a cup of thin broth soup on the tray, which excited his curiosity.
"How long was I..." he couldn't finish the question. In Voldemort's captivity? In Hell? In the underworld?
"Sixteen days," Snape said softly, tugged the tray closer and sat down on the bed next to Harry. Harry tensed and moved away. The professor sighed. "Calm down. I just want to help you. If you let me..."
The expression on the git's face hushed Harry again. The guilt was so clearly written that Harry could recognise it without any skills of Legilimency.
Harry nodded again, silently staring at Snape with disbelief. The man helped Harry to sit properly and put a plate on his lap. When Harry realised that he was too weak to lift the spoon to his mouth, Snape took it from him and fed him cautiously.
The first spoonfuls were better than anything Harry'd ever eaten in his life. His starved stomach relaxed greatly as the warm liquid filled it. He had to wait after every spoonful of the first few as he tried to keep it down. Madam Pomfrey watched the two men seriously while Harry was eating, then she left without any further comment or orders.
When Harry finished his soup (it wasn't even more than a half plate) and leaned back, signalling, he couldn't eat more, Snape took the plate and placed it back to the tray. Then he rasped his throat.
"Po- Harry, I have to talk to you..." he began unsurely, which was highly unusual for him.
"I don't want to talk to you," Harry said and slipped into a lying position and turned away from the man. "I don't think there would be anything we have to talk about."
After a short silence, Snape said-
"Well, there is. A lot of things, actually."
"I don't think I want to talk to you nevertheless," Harry mumbled. "I don't know what this sudden change in you is, perhaps because you pity me now, I don't mind, I don't care, just leave me alone."
"No, I... don't," Snape said quickly. "I can't."
"Can't what?" Harry barked and turned to the man.
"I'm sorry, Potter. It was entirely my fault and I want to tell you everything..."
Harry sat up.
"What was your fault, Snape?" his eyes were burning with anger. "My aunt's renouncement? My uncle's hatred? Voldemort's ability to discover the wards disappearing before Dumbledore? Your fellow Death Eaters' tortures?" he shook his head. "No. You have your faults, but this was entirely not yours!" he finished, a little appalled over his words. Was he defending Snape? Was he making excuses for Snape? Had he gone nuts?
"Yes." The man's voice held so much finality that it jolted Harry.
"Don't be ridiculous, professor," Harry snapped, and he noticed that he was almost polite now.
"I'm not," Snape's whole expression tensed. "I could have prevented it. All of it."
The air froze. Harry blinked in embarrassment. Surely, one of them wasn't in his right mind.
"Look," Harry began, "just because you knew that my home life wasn't entirely perfect, because of those... remedial potions lessons, you couldn't be sure that they would renounce me!"
"Don't defend me!" Snape yelled suddenly and lifted his glance from the floor. "I don't deserve your defence, Po- Harry," he added a little calmer.
"And what's this 'Harry' stuff?" Harry noticed the slip of tongue, which reminded him to ask this very question. "What's going on?"
"Let me tell you, please?" Snape again seemed apologising. Harry shrugged.
"Well, if you want to blame yourself who I am to stop you?" It was most certainly an impertinence, but Harry couldn't enrage Snape with it. Instead, the man lowered his head again.
"It's a long story, but I want to tell you as quickly as I can..."
"We have time," Harry suddenly said surprising even himself. Snape looked at him with astonishment. Then he nodded and flushed with fluster.
"I didn't behave as a mature adult towards you, Potter," this confession surely didn't come easy to him, and still, Snape didn't turn his eyes away. "I acted like a stupid, idiot six-year-old. From the very first moment." He gulped and shook his head. "And I was so proud of being a rational man!"
The repeated shocks over the Potions Master attitude somehow washed Harry's hatred away. He was now only curious.
"Well, if I think that you hate me just because of my father..."
"No." Snape's voice stopped Harry. "I didn't hate you just because of your father. I hated you more because of your mother."
Harry was lost.
Snape put his elbows on his knees and covered his face with his hands. Later, he lifted his head and ran his hands through his oily hair.
"Yes," he said finally. "And I couldn't see through my childish hatred for too long." He looked directly into Harry's eyes. "I was an idiot... and now I don't know how to repair our relationship, how to repay you those lost years, how to compensate you for these two weeks in the Dark Lord's prison – and how to forgive myself..." his voice faded leaving Harry breathless and thoroughly scared.
If he hadn't been sure that this man was indeed Severus Snape, his potions teacher for the last five years, Harry'd never recognise him by his attitude. Something was going on, and Harry couldn't place a finger on it.
"Professor," he said calmingly, and myriads of emotions swirled around him, "I- I can understand that you hated me. That's okay – I mean that's not a problem. You have nothing to do with these weeks..."
"I could have taken you under my protection," Snape said and Harry shuddered.
"Well, sorry, sir, but I don't think I would have accepted your protection," he muttered in fluster. "Our relationship wasn't good enough to accept such an offer..."
"Which was my fault again," Snape said firmly. "I did everything not to have even a civil conversation between us not to mention a human relationship, just because I couldn't forgive for my childhood to my father –and your mother."
Harry furrowed his brows.
"It was my father who harassed you, not my mother!"
"Yes, but..." Snape stopped and for a short time he was lost in thought. When he opened his mouth again, Harry could hear the determination in his voice. "Potter, I'm sure you remember some things you saw in my memories, don't you?"
Harry blushed violently and turned his eyes to his hands.
"I apologise for my... curiosity, sir. I..."
"No, I didn't mean the Pensieve. I know you saw some of my other memories..."
"Yeah," Harry mumbled and he suddenly saw Snape's parents quarrelling, his father was leaning menacingly towards his mother. "Yes, I saw some..."
Snape, again, seemed to know what Harry was thinking about, nodded.
"My parents' marriage wasn't good. It was an arranged marriage, they didn't know each other before their wedding day – and they didn't like each other from the very beginning. My father soon decided to look for somebody else to- to..." for the first time in life Harry could see the infamous Potions Master in loss of words.
"I understand," Harry whispered embarrassed.
Snape let out a relieved sigh.
"He left my mother when I turned six and disappeared totally from my life taking away all the money we had, even my mother's own funds, leaving just our house and the furniture behind. He moved in with his lover leaving the wizarding community once and for all. My mother told me that my father's lover was a Muggle woman, and from that very moment I hated Muggles with all my strength. As a child I assumed they all were evil and unworthy to live. My mother always supported these thoughts, and after a while, she entered the Dark Lord's service. Her life's main aim was to find my father and his new family and kill them all. She left me alone many times when she went to Death Eater meetings and I was bored. After a while I began to read just to prevent going mad from loneliness. My mother adored Dark Arts. By the time I began my studies in Hogwarts I knew almost every existing Dark spell and practice. But we were poor and I wasn't too social a person – I had barely met children of my age before – so from the first moment I found myself alone and excluded from the students' society. Your father singled me out on our second day, and from that point I didn't have any peaceful minute. I hated my childhood. And my father was one responsible for... for everything. I hated my father and I think I can never forgive him," his eyes went unfocused as he was lost in thought again.
Harry's astonishment grew with every passing minute. Why was Snape telling him all these things?
"In our third year an accident happened in a Potions lesson. Your mother, Lily Evans, managed to explode a cauldron in such a way, that the explosion threw her bag at my feet. It turned upside down and all of its contents spilled over the floor. I leaned to help her pack the things back up, when a photo caught my eye. It was a typical Muggle photo of a typical Muggle family... just one thing wasn't typical: I saw my lost father standing happily next to a smiling, brown-haired woman, his left arm on the woman's shoulder, with his right he embraced your mother and smiled at her so warmly... I could barely move then. I was froze, my heart was racing, and from that moment I hated Lily Evans with all my heart..."
Harry felt his limbs going numb and the world became so distant. Did it mean...?
"I asked her about her father's name. She told me. That night I couldn't sleep. I was staring at the written name before me and trying to understand something... to prove my fears. To find a proof that he is not... But Lily Potter told me his father's name was Perseus Evans – not only a little bit strange name for a Muggle, it's more a typical wizard name, but my father was always so keen on unnerving people and my mother told me he loved Greek mythology as well... everything seemed to prove my suspicions. And I didn't have to wait more to have the final proof. Look!"
He pulled out his wand and began to trace it through the air, writing two shimmering words:
Then he waved the wand once, and the letters of the name rearranged themselves:
"I was named after my father," he explained, but Harry's heart was racing now. First, the little show reminded him too much of Voldemort's stunt in the Chamber of Secrets, on the other hand it meant...
"You... are..." he stuttered foolishly.
"Yes. I'm your mother's half-brother. I've never told anybody. Except for Dumbledore, but it was much later. And I never told my mother, of course. I- I hated Lily Evans, but I didn't want her killed. She was my sister after all. Even if I didn't want to accept it. That was the truth. And when he married that Potter git," Snape shuddered. "That was the worst day of my life. By that time I was one of the Dark Lord's servants. One day my mother found my father. I joined her in her hunt. I tried to save your grandparents, my father... But the only one I managed to save from my mother's wrath was your aunt."
Harry shook his head.
"When I learnt that the Lord wanted you and your parents dead I tried to alert them. They didn't listen to me. Then I went to Dumbledore to warn him. He asked why I did that. I told him the real reason, but I made him swear to keep everything secret. I didn't want more people to know about my, our 'filthy' secret. Fortunately, my mother died before finding out the sisters' identity and spilling out information about her ex-husband's marriage. Petunia was safe with her new husband, and the only one I had to look after was your mother. I helped her and Potter many times to break free from the Dark Lord's traps. The last time I failed..." he sighed deeply. "The thing I hated most in your mother was that her father – my father – loved her. She talked a lot about him with her friends and I caught a lot of things then." Snape's jaw clenched. "My father loathed me. I was too much like my mother for him. He never said a good word to me. And finally, he left me."
Both were silent for some minutes.
"When I saw you the first time, you were so much like the James Potter I loathed, and when I looked into your eyes, I saw your mother's eyes – and my father's eyes, because you inherited your grandfather's eyes, and I couldn't help but hate you for everything you made me remember... Your father treated me like shit for years; your mother stole my father from me... And there you were, at the centre of attention and admiration – I... I was blinded by my prejudices. I wanted to prove that you weren't worthy of the admiration and special treatment you received, but you always proved the opposite – and I hated you even more. I have no excuses. What I did to you was unfair and perhaps unforgivable as well. I was biased and unjust." He sighed and Harry could see that he was about to confess the hardest part of the story. "After your parents' death Dumbledore asked me to raise you. I refused without a second thought. It was my fault that you had to grow up with those... Muggles," he spat the last word. "But the worst is that the Headmaster asked me to take you this summer. He had evil forebodings – but I was so mad at you about the Pensieve stuff and your stupid, foolhardy behaviour, which almost killed you, that I didn't even ponder about things I should have. It's my fault that you almost died. And it was my fault that the Dark Lord caught Black – I stopped our Occlumency lessons because I was afraid of your curiosity. I didn't want you to find out my secret. But many times, you were so close..."
Harry didn't react. He was too shocked to say a word or make a movement. He just stared dully at his lap, and everything was too distant and large and empty... Snape looked at him worriedly.
"Potter, are you all right?"
"It's too much," Harry blurted out. "I want to be alone."
"I want to be alone," Harry repeated, but feeling Snape's distress, he added, "please, sir."
After Snape retreated, Harry turned over, buried his head into his pillow and let himself cry.
Harry didn't know how to feel any more. He couldn't hate Snape after the story the man had told him, but... he felt the injustice of the whole situation. He had to pay for his parents' deeds dearly – and even more for his grandfather's cheating for God's sake! – however, the only thing he wanted was to live a quiet life away from publicity and Dark Lords... But all this was denied him.
How would his life have turned out if Snape had raised him? The man wasn't totally deprived of human feelings, Harry could see many of them now, so he could assume that even if he probably wouldn't have been loved, his well-being would have been secured surely. He would have been in Slytherin as the nephew of the Slytherin Head of House, and... but Harry had to stop.
He was the nephew of Snape! It was not a possibility – it was the truth.
In the last two days while he was lying in the Infirmary healing from his wounds, his thoughts always returned to this point. He was Snape's nephew. Bloody hell!
Sometimes, when he thought of the past Potions classes or any other occasions he had had a row with Snape he felt his hands clenching into fists – then he calmed himself down and asked himself again and again what to do with this ultimate confession.
Or more so: what did Snape want about all these things he confessed? Surely, the man didn't want Harry around him, did he?
But Snape behaved so strangely in these days... He was soft and calm and very guilty, he offered his help to Harry in every situation – and Harry simply didn't know what to say, what to do.
One day Harry received his OWLs results: he was happy to see that he had passed all the exams he needed to become an Auror – even his Potions' grade was Exceeds Expectations – and Harry didn't know whether to laugh or not: to pass the potions exam with better than an A(verage) exceeded his every expectation as well. Snape assured him that he would take him into his NEWTs Potions class and offered tentatively to tutor Harry during the holidays as well.
"Will I remain here for the remaining part of the holiday?" he asked back and Snape flushed slightly.
"Well, we... I... so..." he stuttered, but when Harry didn't interrupt him he went on. "I thought you could come to live with me."
"WITH YOU?" Harry gaped at him. "But..."
"I'm a blood relative of your mother, Potter. You will be safe with me, if you can consider my house as your home..."
"Oh," that was the world's end. He, Harry Potter going to live with Snape of all people! "I don't think that's a good idea."
"Why?" Snape asked.
"Because we don't like each other. I'm not sure I can ever call home the house er... you are living..."
For a short moment, rage crossed the man's face. Then the rage went, leaving behind a slightly sad expression.
"I see," Snape said. "Well, of course you can go to the Headquarters if you want..."
Was that disappointment in the man's voice? But why? Surely, after the last years' treatment he couldn't think possible that Harry would go to live with him willingly?
"That will be fine, sir," Harry said. "For both of us."
"You can't spend the whole August in Grimmaud Place, Harry. It's not safe enough. Too many people goes by. I think I should insist you go live with Professor Snape."
Harry hit his leg with his fist.
"Well, I don't think so! I want to do what I like! I don't want to live with him! I don't even like him! How could I feel myself home in his house?"
The Headmaster cast a thoughtful look at him.
"I thought you got through your past animosity."
"Yes, we have, but it has nothing to do with the fact that I don't want to live with him! He treated me like shit for years and now he comes and confesses his faults to me... It's too late, sir, don't you think?"
Dumbledore let out a long, barred breath.
"Harry, I had to confess something. Severus wanted to take you after your fourth year. We had a quarrel about you, but we didn't have any other spy amongst Voldemort's organisation. He was worried that you couldn't digest the events of the Tournament, but I thought it more important to have a spy... You can add it to my many mistakes, Harry..."
But now, Harry wasn't angry or feeling any hatred towards the old man. Snape wanted to take him, willingly, without any internal or external coercion (not like now that Harry practically didn't have any place to go) in order to help him through...
"I should have been more steadfast against the Headmaster," Snape later told Harry when he questioned him about that decision. "But after a while I managed to convince myself that you are all right, you didn't have problems about the events, that you were just an idiot child, like your father was... Last year's events just increased my hatred so that this summer, when the Headmaster offered me the same I refused it without thinking..."
This information overloaded Harry. He still didn't want to go to live with Snape, but he wasn't as sure as he used to be.
"Certainly, Headmaster, there must be another solution," he said angrily.
"Perhaps there is, but I don't know that," Dumbledore said. "But now I'd like you to tell me what happened."
Harry shook his head vigorously.
"I'm not ready," he said and he thought that he could never tell Dumbledore. This wasn't the first time the Headmaster pressed him to talk about the events, but it just increased Harry's hatred towards the old man. He WOULDN'T tell him anything. Ever.
"You must tell somebody, Harry."
"But not you!" Harry yelled and jumped out of bed. "Not you!" He ran out of the hospital wing still hearing a loud 'Harry, wait!' called after him. He didn't stop. He left a castle in a hurry, going directly to Hagrid's hut, which was now empty, and collapsed on his friend's cot. What did Dumbledore think? That after so much cheating and lies, Harry would do willingly everything the Headmaster wanted him to do?
Snape found him some hours later fallen sleep from exhaustion. The man didn't wake him, just sat on Hagrid's favourite chair and watched him with a strange expression.
"What are you doing here?" was Harry's first question as he woke with a start sensing that somebody was watching him.
"I didn't feel it safe to leave you alone outside the castle," the man said simply. "The Headmaster told me that you..."
"I don't want to talk about it," Harry interrupted him.
"I don't want you to talk about it," Snape shrugged. "I know precisely what happened. The only thing I don't know is why did the protection wards disappeared from the Dursleys' house."
Harry scrutinised him for a long moment then he sighed.
"Aunt Petunia didn't want me any more. She was afraid of Vol..."
"Don't say his name!" Snape warned him without the usual harshness. Harry lifted an eyebrow, but he didn't protest.
"She was afraid of You-Know-Who," he said the name with an acid irony. "She announced that she didn't want to be my guardian any more and that I would have to go to an orphanage. She hoped she could save her family that way," Harry's eyes darkened with anger. "Then I couldn't restrain myself any more. I told them my opinion of them, perhaps a little bit brutally, but it was so good... but I did a mistake. I called Dudley, my cousin a fat pork, and it infuriated uncle Vernon to no end. He slapped me so many times that my lips were bleeding and when he finished, he ordered me to my room. That night Vol... You.Know-Who caught me."
They looked at each other openly.
"I'm sorry, Po- Harry," Snape said again. Although the boy's tale was told in a neutral tone, the man could sense the pain of being rejected in Harry's whole behaviour.
Harry rolled his eyes in annoyance.
"It wasn't your fault, professor. Really. You couldn't guess it. It was the Dursleys' fault, my aunt's fault. And my own stupidity, when I made my uncle infuriated." Harry leaned back to the wall and closed his eyes. "Perhaps you were right all the time. I'm just a stupid, little, nasty boy..."
"You were a child. I should have been more mature."
"Don't you think I'm still a child, sir?" Harry smirked.
"No, not after... after what happened..."
Snape left his sentence open so that Harry could feel the invitation, not the pressure to elaborate precisely what had happened. Harry leaned his head to his bent knees to hide his face from Snape and began to talk, in a hushed voice.
"They didn't give me water. I was so thirsty... and there was cold, inside and outside... you know Voldemort" a short snort from Snape's direction, but Harry shrugged it off, "made me guarded by Dementors. I could see my parents dying, Cedric dying, Sirius dying... They cursed me, and..." Harry shook his head. "You know that, don't you?"
Harry lifted his gaze and their eyes locked. Snape nodded slowly.
"I think I know," the man said. Harry inhaled deeply and muttered much more quietly-
"They tortured me. Physically. Every day. And the Dementors made me re-live the whole thing again and again. After some days I became totally burnt out. I couldn't feel fear, just pain. I didn't want to live any more. I gave up. Then you came and saved me – again."
"No, professor. I owe you an apology. You saved my life in my first year, and I never thanked you. By the way, you didn't do it for my father's sake, did you?"
Snape reached his hand and patted Harry's shoulder awkwardly.
"No. I did it for you. For my father's sake and for your mother's. I couldn't save them." Snape looked out of the window. "I think I wanted to compensate for my hatred somehow."
"I hated you as well."
"Because I made you hate me. As I said I'm the one to be blamed here."
Harry cracked a half-smile.
"Sir, don't think the whole world is about you."
A shadow of a sneer appeared on Snape's face.
"Does Dumbledore trust you because you are my uncle?" Harry asked suddenly.
"Er... not precisely. But almost right." Snape focused his eyes to Harry's face. "I saved Petunia and your parents before I'd changed sides. From that point I wasn't safe in the Dark Lord's presence. He knew that one of his servants had worked against him and he was quite a skilled Legilimens. I needed to learn Occlumency in order to protect myself from him. It was just one obvious way: I went to Dumbledore and asked for his help. He asked me to be his spy in return. I agreed."
They stared at each other for a long time.
"It's a pity I didn't know you before," Harry finally said.
"The same goes for me," Snape muttered and stood up. "Come on, Potter. You have to return to the hospital wing. You need to have a rest."
Harry followed him without protest. While they were walking in a comfortable silence Harry scrutinised the man from the corner of his eyes. Could he trust him after so many sarcastic 'Potter!'s, so many sharp words and hurting sneers? Was it a game again, or was it something more? But why, why did Snape decide to be human with him? Why?
Without noticing he asked the last question aloud.
"Why what?" Snape stopped and turned to him.
"Why do you care now?" Harry asked in confusion and anger. "Why? You still don't like me, do you?"
Snape's lips pressed into a thin line, but Harry couldn't decide what the man felt. For a long minute he thought that Snape would sneer at him and yell in his usual manner, but nothing similar happened. Instead, Snape lowered his head and whispered-
"Because I'm the responsible for all you had to suffer."
"Nonsense!" Harry snapped. "I told you that..."
"Whatever you told me Potter, I know precisely what I did and what I should have done," for the first time in days Snape seemed really annoyed. "I owe you this!"
"But why do you think that living with somebody who dislikes me would do me any good?" Harry kicked the ground furiously.
"I don't dislike you."
"Well, I should have said 'somebody who hates me', shouldn't I?"
"And I certainly don't hate you," the man said firmly. When Harry cast a sharp glance he hastily added. "Not any more."
Harry folded his arms over his chest.
"What's this sudden change? Seeing me utterly humiliated satisfied you enough to want something else? Or what? Do you pity me? Or did you find your conscience?" he couldn't help but cry the last questions.
"NO!" Snape yelled back. "No," he repeated more calmly. "I don't know why," he muttered. "When I heard that you were kidnapped, suddenly, I could see everything I did to you very, very sharply and distinctly. I could see all my stupidity and childish reactions and I realised what an irresponsible idiot I was. But it seemed too late. I was scared that you would die before I could apologise to you, without being... I don't know, what that was. Guilt? Yes, but not only that. Fear of losing my only living family? Perhaps. I... I really don't know. I wanted and still want to justify what I did."
Harry nodded and they turned to walk again.
"Thank you," Harry said when they reached the school's gates.
"For what?" Snape raised an eyebrow.
"For telling me."
After this conversation Snape didn't press him any more to move in with him. Probably, the man told the Headmaster about Harry's other confession, because even the old man left him alone, for which Harry was extremely grateful.
He needed time to think, to ponder.
He wasn't so sure he didn't want to move in with Snape.
Snape – who was his relative. Shocking revelation, but entirely understandable now. Harry asked himself many times what he'd done in Snape's place. Could he love the offspring of Draco Malfoy and – for example – the daughter of Dudley? He couldn't answer his own question. But he was almost sure it was a 'no' rather than a 'yes'. Especially if that boy was like Malfoy. With Dudley's eyes... Harry shuddered with disgust.
He almost came to terms with Snape's previous feelings.
But it didn't make his present situation easier. Could he be anything more than a walking reminder to Snape? Could the man overcome his memories to accept – Harry, just Harry, not James Potter's son, not Perseus Evans's grandson, just Harry, a mere boy without a second thought?
"I will always be like my father. And I will always have my mother's eyes," he once told Snape, who looked at him in mild shock in return.
"I know that. Why?"
"Why would you want to see my face outside the school year as well?" Harry asked. "Why would you want to face those memories I raise in you?"
Snape massaged his temples in clear distress.
"I'm afraid you now raise other memories in me than those you're thinking about."
Harry looked at him questioningly.
"When I look at you I remember my behaviour towards you and its consequences. You almost died. Those other memories are... too old to nurture. You're not like your father. You're more like your mother, and she wasn't responsible for the fact that my father loathed me. I hated her without reason. I was wrong."
They both fell silent.
"I see," Harry said later.
That night he couldn't sleep. Madam Pomfrey wouldn't give him any more Dreamless Sleep potion, she said that even his possible nightmares would help him to cope the previous events, so Harry just lay with open eyes staring at the shadows, which were dancing on the ceiling in the dim torch-light.
He was clueless. Dumbledore didn't want him in the Headquarters before the 23rd of August. Snape on the other hand wasn't a spy any more, so he could watch him properly. His relation to Lily Evans gave Harry the proper protection. And Harry didn't hate him any more.
Was that enough to feel at home with him in a house?
Harry smiled. Well, he never loved the Dursleys, or more so: he hated them. But somehow, Privet Drive had been his home for almost fifteen years. This side of Snape, on the other hand, was much more sympathetic than any side of his aunt and uncle. Perhaps it would work. They didn't like each other very much, but they could tolerate the other. If Snape gave him food and proper clothes he would grow to be more of a family than the Dursleys had ever been. And if the man stopped humiliating and ridiculing him in front of his classmates, even Hogwarts would become a more supportable place. Perhaps even Malfoy would stop harassing him...
Harry stretched himself and let his eyes fall shut.
Let's give it a go, then.
They moved into Snape's house the day before Harry's birthday. Snape came to fetch him from the hospital wing. Harry couldn't see anything with him, just a quill (it was supposedly a Portkey) and a little bag.
"I don't have any clothes, sir," he smirked apologising and waved his hand over his pyjamas.
"Here you are, Potter," Snape said. "Take them. I hope they'll fit you."
To Harry's embarrassment Snape pulled a set of typical wizarding robes out of the bag: a pair of pants and large robes – both were green with gold patterns – but they fit Harry properly. There was a pair of comfortable shoes as well.
"I'll pay for them," Harry looked at Snape, but the professor shook his head.
"As long as I'm your appointed guardian I should provide you with clothes, dwelling place, meals and the required school things as well."
"The Dursleys never paid for my school stuff."
"Well, I will," he said. "Your other things are in my house with your owl."
"How is she?" Harry became more vivid.
"Excellent. The Dursleys set her free after you disappeared. They didn't even dare throw out your things until they wouldn't get any news from you. I guess they didn't want to enrage your godfather – they naturally didn't know about him..."
"I didn't have enough time to tell them. The evening I got home..." Harry stopped and his face darkened, "I got there," he corrected himself, "they told me I would have to go to an orphanage for the next two years. I tried to tell Aunt Petunia that it would be a disaster for me, but she was so scared about her family that she didn't listen."
"I know, Po- Harry. I talked to them yesterday. I told her about," he rolled his eyes with disgust, "our relationship. I mean that she and I are siblings. She nearly blacked out. His husband seemed so shocked with my revelation that he couldn't utter a word as long as I were there."
Harry imagined the whole scene and smirked widely.
"It's a pity I couldn't be there," he said. "I don't think I've ever seen my uncle wordless. What did Dudley do?"
"I told him I'm his uncle. He grabbed his butt, squeaked and fled upstairs," Snape furrowed his brows. "I understand that he was scared of me, but why did he hold his arse in his hands? I surely don't look like someone who... er... molests whale-like overgrown babies!"
Harry choked out a laughter.
"Oh, no. I SHOULD have been there!" he cried. "To miss such a good sight!" His smirk grew even wider. "But don't worry, he didn't think you to be a rapist. It's just..." he stopped and cast a serious glance at Snape. "You won't tell anyone what I'm going to tell you, will you?"
"I won't," Snape swore and became more curious.
"Hagrid once wanted to turn him into a pig, but he was unsuccessful with the transfiguration. He only managed to give Dudley a pigtail. It had to be removed with medical assistance. Since then Dudley is terrified of wizards..."
"But that accident didn't improve your acceptance by your family," Snape added darkly and Harry had to agree with him.
"Well, it perhaps worsened my situation," he confessed and gulped. Perhaps, it hadn't been such a good prank as he'd thought before. Suddenly, another embarrassing scenes came to his mind: the twins' trick on Dudley, or their idiot way to free Harry from his room with the flying car – they could have asked their parents for help instead, Harry's own play to turn Aunt Marge into a ball, his blackmails with the murderer godfather and even the way the Order members had taken him away last summer... These accidents were stages on the way, which had led to Aunt Petunia's renouncement; Harry saw it very clearly. But many of those events weren't his fault! And he was just a child for God's sake! Harry collapsed to the bed, the new robes in his hand.
"Perhaps I'm really an idiot, as you always stated," he said very quietly.
A little hint of satisfaction crossed Snape's face, but it passed away quickly.
"I think we, the adults around you are more to blame than you," he said finally. "Now, put on these robes. I don't want to stay here until dawn."
When Harry finished dressing, Snape cast a mirroring charm and Harry watched his own reflection with satisfaction. He seemed undoubtedly a wizard, and an adult wizard at that, only his wand...
"Er... I think we should go back to the Dursleys, sir," he turned to Snape who looked at him questioningly.
"My wand... It was under a..."
"I've found it. Here you are," in Snape's outstretched hand lay Harry's wand. He reached his hand tentatively toward it. "Take it."
"I..." the words got caught in Harry's throat as the smooth piece of wood slipped into his grasp. He felt his hand, arm, body warmed with the touch. "Thank you, sir. But... how did you find it?"
"Summoning charm," Snape said simply. "May we go then?"
"We may," Harry nodded and pocketed the wand. To his astonishment there were a lot of pockets in the robe.
"It's a wizarding robe, Harry. It has to have enough place for the necessary wizarding equipment, like wand, portkeys, emergency potions and such things."
Harry nodded. He felt as if he was in the 'Introduction to the Wizarding Society' class.
"Let's go," Harry sighed. Here followed a brand new part of his life. The part, which had been always denied him. A proper wizard-life.
Snape's house wasn't bigger than the Burrow, but it was more precisely constructed. From the outside it seemed nothing extraordinary: it was a little, two-floored cottage in the centre of a small and rather untidy park. But Harry had the same feeling he had had when he first saw the Burrow: he found it beautiful. The park wasn't large, but full of old trees, the passages were half-covered with various kinds of plants and flowers, the bushes were tousled.
"I'm sorry, I had only one house-elf to help and he was too busy cleaning up the house," Snape apologised when he saw Harry looking around scrutinising in the park. Harry turned to him.
"How do you mean you had a house-elf to help? Don't you have a house elf of your own?"
"No, I don't. A creature, named Dobby, however, seemed enthusiastic when I asked the Hogwarts' elves for help."
"Is he still here?" Harry smiled.
"No, he isn't. He was here only for two days then he returned to Hogwarts."
Harry felt a hint of disappointment, but the other new experiences made him forget about Dobby soon. The cottage was wonderful, not rich and overstuffed, but modest and showed the good taste of its owner. The pavement was made of coloured stones in the kitchen and the entrance hall, but in the other rooms there was parquet, highly polished. On the first floor Harry found the kitchen, the living room, which served also as the library and Snape's laboratory.
"This is my room," Snape opened the first door on the second floor. It was simple and cosy: a bed, a night table and some wardrobes. "And this is yours."
Harry stopped in the doorway with astonishment. The room was... was like the room Harry always wanted to have: a four-poster bed, a large desk with a comfortable chair, bookshelves, a wardrobe, another armchair in front of the fireplace, rugs on the floor... It was perfect.
"Do you like it?" Snape sounded tense.
Harry stepped in unsurely.
"Is it... is it really mine?" he looked around slowly.
"It's all yours."
A sudden thought occurred to Harry.
"It's a pity I have only one and a half summers to have it..."
"It can be yours as long as you want," Snape's expression was stunned. "I won't kick you out after graduation..."
Harry stepped to his trunk to check his personal things. The trunk was empty.
"Your things are in the wardrobe, Potter," Snape said guardedly.
But in the wardrobe, it wasn't Harry's stuff. At least, the clothes were all unfamiliar.
"These..." Harry began, but Snape interrupted him.
"I left your rags at the Dursleys. I've bought some robes in Diagon Alley, but I think we'll have to buy some more soon. I didn't dare to buy you muggle clothes, because I didn't know the size you wear."
Harry turned around and looked at Snape again. The man was leaning on the doorframe as he watched Harry exploring his room.
"I invited your friends, Mr Weasley and Miss Granger for tomorrow," he said suddenly.
"What?" Harry gaped with serious shock. "You – what?"
"Tomorrow is your birthday. And they wanted to see you anyway once they learned that you're alive."
Snape's expression was unreadable, but Harry could sense precisely the amount of effort lying behind this offer. Snape didn't like his friends, at least as much as the Dursleys didn't. But he had invited them nevertheless.
"But this way they will know about... us, and about the things you wanted to keep secret," Harry said softly.
"I don't want to keep it secret," Snape shook his head slightly. "But, of course, if you want..."
"Why would I?" Harry asked surprised.
"I'm still the man I was," he said and turned to leave. "Lunch at 12 sharp," he added and left.
Harry shook his head to clear his mind, then continued to explore his new world.
He found the bathroom with Snape's – and supposedly his – items (he couldn't imagine the red and gold towels could be Snape's), and he returned to the room and sat on the bed. In his new bedroom almost everything was new: the bedclothes, the bookshelves (with some illustrated and definitely new Quidditch books), the rugs on the floor, the desk, not to mention the robes... Harry had to confess that he really hadn't imagined this. When Snape had offered for Harry to stay with him, Harry thought that he would receive a small, impersonal guestroom to spend the necessary amount of time there, or Snape's second bedroom... but he hadn't thought the man would try to give him a real... well, home. Sitting on the bed, for the first time since Snape had made his offer, Harry was sure he would be able to call home the place he was going to live.
At 12 sharp Harry made his way towards the kitchen. The meal was already steaming on the table.
"Who cooked it?" Harry asked curiously.
"Me," Snape said.
"You," Harry smirked. "I couldn't imagine you cooking."
"I've been living alone since my mother died. I learned how to care for myself," Snape snapped.
"But... that was long ago," Harry mumbled.
"That was fifteen years ago," Snape nodded.
"And you..." Harry himself didn't know what he really wanted to ask.
"I've never married."
"You never had a family," Harry couldn't help but shudder.
"It's none of your business, Potter," Snape said coldly, but this time, Harry sensed the pain and the resignation behind this sentence.
"I never had a family either," he said and sat down.
As they were sitting facing each other, waiting for the other to say something Harry felt the remainder of his dislike disappear to be replaced by a mix of curiosity and respect.
"I don't hate you," he blurted out and blushed.
Snape raised an eyebrow.
"It will make our situation easier to bear," he said with a little hint of sarcasm.
Harry sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Yes, I can see that you're still the man you were," he grinned. "But I want to thank you nevertheless, sir."
"What for this time?"
"For my room. It's wonderful."
"I'm glad you like it," Snape said a little dryly. "And no need to call me 'sir' as long as we are here. You can call me by my name."
Harry froze. This couldn't be happening. Snape was offering to let him use his first name?
"We are related, Harry," Snape said accentuating the last word.
"We were always related, professor, but you never offered a first name basis before."
Even Harry could feel that that was a low blow, but it was already out. Watching Snape's expression closely Harry was sure for a moment that the man would erupt. But the man finally shrugged.
"I see your point," he said finally. "You don't have to call me Severus, if you're uncomfortable with the idea."
Harry sighed and leaned back.
"Sorry. I didn't intend to be rude. I'm just too confused, Severus."
The man's eyes stared at him widely.
"Well, I..." he babbled, but Harry interrupted him.
"Thank you for bringing me home, Severus."
"Home?" he looked at Harry intensely.
"Home," Harry nodded.
For a long moment the time seemed to stop.
"Welcome home, Harry," Snape whispered, and both of them felt as something around them adjusted itself, as the sacrifice of Lily Evans, which once saved her son's life now stretched over both of them: the unwilling brother and protector, and the slightly confused, but nevertheless happy boy. "Welcome home."
So, that was it. Since I learned that Perseus Evans – Severus Snape trick from Naja (thank you very much, Naja, and please don't be too mad at me!), I felt a nudge to create my own explanation of it – and of Severus Snape's absolutely childish and revolting behaviour. I simply have to get it out of my system. I hope I managed it.
I hope you liked it.
And about killing Voldemort: I won't do it in this Universe. You have to read my trilogy if you are curious how I kill a Dark Lord. Anyway, you have to wait for Rowling's seventh book. I hope also that she will kill Voldemort and not Harry in the end.