Disclaimer: All character contained therein are the property of JKRowling and I am not making any money from borrowing them.

Just a little epilogue to show Severus' point of view. Please leave a review in the little box.

I could have run, could have pushed her away and retreated behind the cold wall I have built from my persona. The opportunity presented itself many times over the course of that evening, to escape the responsibility of the new relationship. I never did, and as I look back at that time I realise it was when I was bravest.

The first step that she took, a smile, a caress, a soft kiss of blush red lips, soft as velvet upon my cheek, was a new beginning. She knew I wouldn't, I couldn't make that step. Partly is not in my nature to be so forward, but also because it had not honestly occurred to me that she would welcome my attentions. She gave no indication, no smiles of affection, no lingering looks, nothing that I could recognise at least. Her first step came from out of nowhere, and changed us both for eternity.

A moment never seemed to last so long before, as I gazed at her, questioning her, trying to find out why she was acting as she was. She had smiled her secret smile and simply told me she had to do it. We drew apart slightly, and hands still connected we sat on a hastily bespelled couch in my office and tried to communicate.

I was never very good at communication, rather ironic for a teacher I suppose. Children are different, simply tell them what to do and award detentions and point loss if they get things wrong. Adults are more difficult to deal with. It is not that I am not fluent, my diction is clear and my vocabulary larger than the average wizard, even the average well educated wizard. The problem is more related to my lack of socialising skills.

Communication is an art, and requires practice, something I am not willing to do. I detest people, the inane chatter about subjects I care little or nothing for is deeply irritating. As soon as I was able to suit myself I stopped communicating, except from necessity and my school duties. It gave me more time with my beloved potions, but mainly it gave me peace, a quiet loneliness that I revelled in. Until that first step of hers, I had not allowed myself to realise just how lonely I had become, how starved of affection, how cold.

She had smiled gently as I told her this, and mentioned something about standing too close to myself. I queried her meaning, and that is when she began to tell me some of the reasons behind the scene we had just played through.

She has reprimanded me for standing too close to see the person behind the mask, but now I am unsure whether she means herself, or me. Did I stand too close to myself, did I lose sight of the man I was, and start to believe in the persona I projected? How much of this is due to my childhood, the need to wield power in a world I seemed to have no control over?

The affection I needed as a child was not forthcoming. My parents, for all their lack of cruelty, were typically Slytherin in their own upbringing. They raised me as they themselves had been raised, I was obedient, diligent in my work, respectful and mainly absent. The bond I see between the other houses and their parents were not the same for us. We were tolerated as the children of the house, but little more than that toleration showed through the behaviour of our parents. There were no open displays of affection, no spontaneous hugs or gentle kisses. Only the reprimand of a disappointed father if my grades fell below perfection, the censure of a mother if my tablemanners failed to come up to her standards. It lead partly to my need for power, to perfect myself, to become beyond the reproach of others. It was what lead me into his clutches, what made me give up my soul for the promise of power, for control.

I think she understands this, although I can never make her feel the shame and humiliation I feel, she seems to empathise. She is one of very few who have wanted to try. She is making me stand back now, to view all my past, the actions and reactions, as if they belonged to another. I can see the thread of consequence as it knits my life together, I can see where one slight tug will unravel the pattern, allowing me to weave it anew. I can forget this past, leave the memories and the complexes in a tightly locked pensive. She is offering me a chance to change. She is offering the chance to be included, in her life, in her bed and in her heart. And, if I am truthful with myself, I see that I have craved this, although I have never allowed my conscience mind a chance to whisper its discontent.

Even after her explanation I have no understanding of her motivation, what has driven her to make this move, what game she is playing? But, I find I am eternally grateful that she has tried, and I take her hand as she steers me away from my past. Where ever this action takes us, it must be better than what has been, for both of us.

I am willing though, on this one point, to concede to her knowledge: for, although I am stepping back, I am focusing upon the reality of us, not the facades, and in doing so I make the circle complete, finally becoming close to understanding us both.

Closure, for this episode of my life is complete, and I have no wish to return to the man that was. I have found the other half of my soul, the part I thought for so long I had given to darkness, is now renewed by her. And, in this love, I have recognised the truth about myself and grown to tolerate the being I am, if not to like. It is, I realise, the most I can concede. I will always be too close to events to view objectively the person I played. And her, my sweet rescuer, what would she say about my reformation? She, I think, has no complaints, but rests her head upon my shoulder as we sit before a roaring fire and focus on tomorrow.

The End

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