All the characters belong to JKR, only Tarquinius is mine.
Here it comes, the last chapter. It isn't going to be a final end, not all the questions are going to be answered yet as I'm leaving some things for the sequel (Voldemort especially). If you expected more about Harry here, I'm sorry, I wanted this mostly Severus-centred. The sequel will be about him too (and about Voldemort).
A dark shadow floated across the woods. Lightly, barely touching the ground, it disappeared into the darkened Snape Manor. The hard, wooden floor creaked under his feet as he walked over to a window. With a sigh, Voldemort lifted his white hands and drew his hood back off his head. In the reflection of the window he saw his eyes glow and he smirked. He rested his forehead against the cool glass and watched how his breath misted it. 'What have you done, my child?' he whispered, slowly shaking his head. Neither Lupin, nor Dumbledore had noticed or sensed him. Stupid of them, it was a remarkable stupidity from someone like Dumbledore. He had left Lucius in the manor to wait for Tarquinius and bring him to him when those two had come to save Severus. Malfoy's capture wasn't troubling him much, the man had been getting on his nerves for quite some time, but . . . Why had that senile mudblood-loving fool come? He had seen him crying over Severus's body. Could it be that both Snapes were traitors?
Well, he had suspected him before, he had sensed something, but then Tarquinius had come . . .
Voldemort's eyes darkened as anger began to build inside him. He clenched his fist and bang it into the window, the shattered glass cutting into his hand. 'Severus, you wouldn't betray me. You're loyal enough to die at my hands just to torture your father. No, you wouldn't . . .'
But his voice sounded weak when he remembered the defiant gaze in Severus's eyes. He was a proud man, never really a servant. 'Well, well, well, we'll see where your loyalties lie, my precious child.'
And he smiled into the falling darkness, sure of his skills and abilities. 'When you're well again, I'll come for you. Soon, my Severus, hopefully very soon.'
With a sigh similar to Voldemort's, Harry buried his face in a pillow, then lifted it again to look at the man in the bed next to his. As he hadn't been injured much, he had strolled a bit around St Mungo's corridors and couldn't resist having a look at the new patients. Lucius Malfoy was, of course, watched over by Aurors, but as Tonks was one of them, he was allowed a glimpse at the man. He had glared at him with pure loathing, but then had asked about Snape's condition and something akin to worry had shadowed his handsome face. Tarquinius Snape had been diagnosed as needing a longer medical treatment due to his long stay in Azkaban and its negative influence on his mind. When Harry had poked his head into his room, he had glared at him too as if everything was his fault. Well, if he hadn't run away from Privet Drive, he wouldn't have caused . . . Quickly he brushed the thought away, trying hard not to think about it. Cedrick, then Sirius, now Snape . . .
And who on Earth had put him and Snape into the same hospital room? Must have been Dumbledore's doing, the eternal optimist! Snape lay unconscious in his bed and Harry had never seen him like that. No movement, no sneer, if he hadn't known him, he would think he looked vulnerable. Carefully so as not to make any sound, he rose and tip toed over to the Potions Master. One of his hands rested on his chest and Harry could see the bandages covering his wounds. When he had been brought into St Mungo's, healers had fought for his life in another room, then had brought him stabilised into this one. Harry knew he had almost died, but . . .
The fact that Snape was in so much pain made him feel good. He knew he shouldn't feel that way and he didn't want him dead, but the greasy git deserved his pain. Let him suffer as much as Sirius had!
Hesitating for a moment, Harry sat into an armchair and touched Snape's raven hair. He remembered how in one vision the older Snape had yanked his hair and a horrible coldness seized him, ugly anger mixed with deep sorrow. 'If I could ever kill anyone, it would be you,' he whispered and shuddered. How was it possible he wanted to hurt this man even when he was helpless? How could he hate someone that much? It was evil, it was wrong.
Someone sat next to him, putting an arm around his shoulders. 'Don't torture yourself, Harry,' came Dumbledore's soft voice.
'You have no idea what I'm thinking, professor,' said Harry guiltily, 'I want to hurt him, even now . . .'
'I'm aware of it, though I still hope you two will one day get closer to each other. But it's too soon for that. Don't feel guilty, Harry, Professor Snape has earned your anger by his behaviour, it isn't your fault. I shouldn't have persuaded him to teach you.'
Dumbledore's fingers brushed Snape's pale cheek lightly. Snape stirred, which brought out a smile from headmaster. 'Wake up, Severus. I promise you won't have to teach Harry Occlumency, I swear. And I'll bake you anything you want.'
A small, hardly noticeable smile appeared on Snape's lips, which mirrored in Dumbledore's face. Harry had the feeling that Snape wouldn't like to see him after awakening, so he decided a visit to the tea-room was in order.
'Look at me, Severus.'
But Snape's eyes remained closed. 'Oh, so you want more promises! What about a whole pack of lemon drops and I'll make Minerva return your favourite coffee cup?'
Weakly, Severus smiled again and with an effort looked at Dumbledore. 'Are you trying to corrupt me? No Occlumency?' he whispered and winced as he tried to move. Dumbledore's hand came to his chest to still him. 'Don't move, my dear, those are nasty dark curses working on your body.'
It was burning pain what Severus felt, every cut burnt as if it had just been inflicted. The Dark Lord's masterpiece, he knew it wouldn't be so simple to get rid of these wounds. At least, despite feeling awfully weak, he could think coherently again. The Dark Lord had wanted to kill him and his father had betrayed him. 'My father . . .'
'Hush, you need to rest now. He'll have to stay here longer.'
Snape shook his head. 'He's staying with me, I'll get a healer for him.'
Albus was about to protest, but Snape closed his eyes tightly. He bit his lower lip strongly enough to draw blood and curled into a tight ball. Dumbledore snatched a vial of pain numbing potion from the bed table and poured it down Severus's throat. He would have liked to embrace him and try to comfort him, to ease his pain, but touching him that way would hurt him more and besides, one could never know how would Severus react to physical touch. Rarely had he welcomed it.
'Just speak to me,' whispered Snape as if reading his mind. He relaxed a bit when the potion numbed his pain, 'I think I was unconscious for a long time. What happened? Tell me about it.'
'As you wish, Severus,' said Dumbledore and stroked the raven hair which earned him a frown, but Snape didn't pull away. 'Harry was kidnapped by Tarquin, you know. He had a vision . . .'
Severus snorted and Albus smiled, 'Don't worry, hopefully he'll master Occlumency with me. I believe he can do it. So he saw Voldemort . . .'
Severus flinched, glaring at the headmaster. Did he always have to use the Name? 'Severus, do get used to his name. So he saw . . . him and you and he alerted Remus . . .'
'Do not tell me I own my life to the werewolf, headmaster!' moaned Snape. James had been pretty enough to start with.
'Severus, dear, do let me speak. Then you can choose whether you want a life debt to Harry, Remus or me. So Remus alerted me and we apparated to the manor. Voldemort wasn't there, I think he left Lucius there to take care of Tarquin.'
Before Snape could ask, Dumbledore continued, 'I stunned Lucius . . .'
'You stunned him!' exclaimed Severus angrily. 'He wasn't yet feeling well . . .'
'Severus, you asked me to speak, so will you be so kind to shut up?'
Albus almost laughed at the expression in his friend's face. 'Besides, your friend's doing well, he'll survive. It's not that easy to kill a Malfoy. Tarquinius poisoned you, that's why you were unconscious for so long. Although I forced you to vomit it, some of it went into your blood and . . . No one knew that poison, they had no antidote. I bet it was your doing. A new experiment?'
Severus frowned, then turned his face away. His potion, yes, a new poison for the Dark Lord. Dumbledore at once understood Snape's silence. He wasn't only Hogwarts' Potions Master, Voldemort made use of his skills often too. Quickly he continued.
'And so we took you, Tarquin and Lucius to St Mungo's as Poppy is on holidays. However, now as I think about it, I wonder . . .' he fell silent, unsure whether to voice his suspicions. Deciding against it, he only sighed, 'I'm afraid this is just the beginning.'
There was no answer from Snape who had turned away completely, staring unmovingly at the wall. Only one question was hanging in the air – Where had been Voldemort? – and Albus felt that in his fear for Severus he had completely forgotten their enemy. What if he had been in the manor? The idea made his blood freeze. Carefully he tucked Severus into the bed. 'Sleep now, Severus. We both need to be strong for the times coming.'
'This is going to be your room, your healer's room is nextdoors, there's a bathroom and living room, this is my study, my lab and my bedroom . . .'
Severus was showing his father his quarters in Hogwarts, for they were going to stay there. 'Mimi's staying with us here, but there're many other elves if you need their help. Avoid Peeves, he can be annoying. This is the Bloody Baron . . .'
The ghost bowed politely and Tarquinius rolled his eyes. 'Severus, I studied here, I know the ghosts.'
'Bloody Baron has agreed to watch over you.'
Both the ghost and Severus smiled at him. 'You try to manipulate me!' complained Tarquinius, frowning at the two.
'No, I just take care of you, father. Potter's staying here for a while too, in Griffindor Tower. If you ever feel need to . . . terrorise someone, he's available.'
'How gracious of you, Severus!' laughed Tarquinius, 'But I kind of like the boy. I heard he attacked you. Remarkable boy, isn't he?'
He watched how Severus frowned, the smile vanishing from his face. 'Jealous?' he teased his son. The frown deepened.
'No way!' snapped Severus, but hurt was evident in his dark eyes. Tarquinius walked over to him and despite his attempts to step back, he hugged his son.
'I wouldn't exchange you for ten Potters,' whispered Tarquinius, 'my silly little Sevvie.'
'I'm not silly, not little and certainly not Sevvie,' murmured Severus.
'No, you're my silly, little Sevvie, for the others you're the evil, sarcastic Potions Master. I'm glad we're both alive,' sighed Tarquinius, 'I'll do anything to see you smiling again, my son.'
The Bloody Baron smiled and floated away to inform Dumbledore that the two Snapes were getting along well and without problems.
A/N: As you can see, I haven't finished everything, it will come in the sequel. It should be called 'Venomous II: and something', but I'm not yet decided how to name the story. 'Temptation' comes to my mind as a nice title, but I don't know. I'm afraid that title can tell a lot about the story . . . The sequel should come out sometime after May 19th. It's also possible that the rating will be higher (although I'm not planning much violence, I guess some things will need a higher rating than PG-13).
Thank you all for your reviews, I appreciate them very, very much, thank you.