Title: Hidden Truth

Part: 1. Darkness Creeps In

Author: MajinSakuko

E-Mail: MajinSakuko@yahoo.de

Beta-Reader: Natara, kind of ^^

Disclaimer: I own nothing, JKR everything else

Fandom: Harry Potter

Pairing/Main-Chara: SS, HP, RW, HG/DM

Rating: PG-13

Genre/s: General, Drama, Angst

Summary: Voldemort's finally defeated, but Snape can't remember what happened exactly. He decides to brew a potion to reclaim his memory ... and something utterly unexpected, too.

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It was cold, too cold in fact, and there was too little space, even though it was enough, somehow. He couldn't tell anymore if it was really cold, for his senses were dulled to the point that he doubted he could feel anything at all. Even when he was awake he wasn't capable of differing between what should be cold and what was considered as hot. It was the same for him - there was no difference anymore.

His mind was on full alert, albeit he was soundly asleep, trapped in his own nightmares - or were it memories? He couldn't know, he wasn't able to find out what he was dreaming about. Restlessly tossing and turning, he couldn't find any peace this night, like so many others before.

All of a sudden, a sharp pain shot through him, starting behind his forehead and spreading throughout his whole body. Bolting up into a sitting position, shivering fiercely and glistering with sweat, his hands clenched around fistful of sheets in a vain attempt to regain his composure back. While his breathing stayed ragged, trembling fingers tentatively touched the scar on his forehead, at the very moment hidden behind a veil of black, dishevelled hair. Slowly the panting subsided and he was glad he hadn't cried out loud earlier.

With a quick movement of his wrist, he illuminated a match to light a candle, he shoved the left sleeve of his nightshirt all the way to his elbow to reveal ...

"Nothing ..." Severus couldn't hear the softly if not incredulously spoken word properly over the frantic pondering of his heart, which caused the blood in his ears to rustle deafening.

Somehow mesmerized, the professor stared at his forearm, but even after endless minutes of intent looking, he couldn't make out anything other than skin too pale to be healthy covered with fine hairs, which were currently standing due to the chilly air - not that he recognized that.

Still, Severus couldn't believe that it should be finally over, for good this time. The time of forced sub-ordinance at last ended. No need anymore for his abilities as a spy, for which he'd had to sacrifice so much.

Severus snorted softly. It hadn't been too many sacrifices to become Dumbledore's spy, it had been his only possibility to rescue his ... What had he rescued anyway? His life? His sanity? His 'friends'? More likely his environment, more or less.

But no more. He could scratch together what was left of his body, mind, heart and soul and try to go on, try to live a decent life for a change. Well, as decent as he could become, anyway.

There wasn't anything left to worry about. Voldemort's terrible reign finally had come to a stop. It was there, the sign that confirmed his mingled thoughts, or more like the lack of said sign on his forearm.

Absently rubbing the rather fresh scar on the left side of his forehead, Severus settled back into bed and blew out the candle to let the room get dark again. Knowing that sleep wouldn't come another time that night, he gazed unseeingly through the dark up at where the ceiling of his chambers should be and pondered on questions, where he still had to find the answers to.

What did happen exactly those four nights ago? How had You'll-Soon-Forget-Who been finally defeated? What had he meant as he said, that he knew something important and that he, Snape, wouldn't get away as unscathed as he'd like?

Neither he nor Potter could remember coherently - and these two had been the only surviving fighters, who'd been close enough to could have possibly seen anything significant. But where Severus wanted to know exactly who delivered the final blow to kill Voldemort, Harry couldn't care less. He was, in fact, utterly delighted, he couldn't tell what happened and due to the fact that his own fire-bolt scar had vanished shortly after, he hadn't any nightmares of the actions. A pleasant change.

As Severus recalled the events of the final battle, he wasn't aware that the sun slowly crept in through the tiny windows to light the murky dungeons.

The attack of Voldemort and his Death Eaters hadn't been totally surprising. The Dark Lord had given false information to the Potions Master and after figuring that out, Severus and the rest of the Order of the Phoenix had been sure that he'd been unmasked and that his service as a spy wasn't needed anymore. Being prepared and weeks on end on edge had payed off, eventually.

-+-+-+-

Harry lay sleeping, blissfully dreamless, in his bed in the Gryffindor boys' dorm and was oblivious to the world around him. His cheeks, though unseen behind the curtains of his four-poster bed, were dry. There weren't any tears left to cry. To cry for those he lost.

Life wasn't fair, he'd been the first to know through experience. As far as he could think back, he had to endure the Dursleys and their mistreatment of him. But weren't they supposed to love him or at least care for him? They were family, after all, weren't they? It had taken a lot of time, but at last Harry understood what kind of 'family' they were to him.

You could call it poetic justice, if you'd like. Funny, really, though he wasn't in the mood for it.

Voldemort had managed to erase so many lives throughout his own life - even after he had died. If it weren't for his twisted mind, Harry would have admitted that He-Whose-Anniversary-Of-Death-Will-Be-Celebrated had been a brilliant man. He'd been a genius; a sadistic, gruesome, sick, cruel, bastard-like genius, but a genius nonetheless.

At least, it had been quick for Poppy. The countless severely injured students, teachers and Aurors hadn't been as lucky. Many of them could have been rescued.

Foolish Cho, dear Draco, poor Ron. Most people couldn't escape the devil twice.

Or even once.

Harry was truly alone now, no-one was left of his Merlin-damned family. It was so ironic, he couldn't stand it. He was finally in his seventh and last year at Hogwarts, after which he would stay in the magical world, he wouldn't have needed a guardian any longer, he would have been rid of the Dursleys ... now he was truly rid of them, wasn't he?

But Harry wasn't that kind of person, he couldn't even wish Snape to oblivion, even if he tried - very hard.

At least Harry had been able to prevent Voldemort from killing him in the end. And even though neither he nor Snape himself were sure how they had managed it, the boy was more than thankful to having forgotten. He had enough to deal with, after all.

Now that his scar could have been removed, he was free, and nobody would recognize him anymore walking amidst groups of wizards and witches.

All links and ties were cut.

He was free.

He was alone.

He was afraid.

-+-+-+-

The hot water cascaded freely over his back and massaged softly the tense muscles. His hands pressed flat against the cool tiles, Severus leaned back and let the water wash away the weary expression on his face. He hadn't slept half of the night and it bothered him to no end that he couldn't figure out why.

Wincing slightly, as he brushed the fresh scar on his forehead, Severus wondered how much longer he would have to endure it before he could remove it finally.

He'd hoped that it could help him to retrieve his memory, but it hadn't worked. Even the Pensieve hadn't been a help. It seemed almost as if he were cursed - Severus snorted at the irony - it was obviously a curse, but he couldn't detect what kind and what its purpose was.

And although Albus was seemingly unfazed by the lacks of coherent memory of both Harry and him, Severus couldn't shrug off the feeling of foreboding. Something wasn't right about him, obviously, but it sure as hell wasn't as secure as Albus would like it to be.

As soon as he was out of the bathroom, he'd begin with his research. A little over a week was still left of the 'extraordinaire holidays', and that would be enough to brew the potion he needed.