Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter nor anything otherwise related. I do, however, make claim on NM Harry's personality as well as those of all the other canon characters and my original chars.

Author's Note

Many thanks to James Milamber, who volunteered to beta this and did a great job.

Pray, we who are cursed

with the memories of War,

pray for us, please, thou who would.

Pray for us that are beaten,

torn to shreds by memories of Loss.

Pray for us that have stood

with our cold memories at our back.

Pray for yourself

that you should never have memories as we.

"Memories" by Saerry Lillianne Snape

Chapter 1 – Memories of War

…blood-stained hallway…a black wolf tearing apart a still living man. A WOMAN. No! NO! Not that woman…it can't…it can't…

"NIAMH!" shouted Harold Jamison Snape as he sat bolt upright in his bed – the bed he and his beloved had shared until thirty-two years before. When she was taken from him.

Sucking in air that his lungs seemed to have decided to forget during his dream – no, nightmare – he closed his eyes, wishing…

A vision of Niamh at their wedding, her blue eyes dancing with laughter at him, flashed across his mind's eye and his own green eyes snapped open. Harry let out a low, keening howl like an injured wolf before dropping his head into his hands. The rough pads of his fingers brushed over the jagged slash that had almost completely blinded his right eye as well as the four slash marks on his left cheek that he'd earned from Ariana Finnegan.

His broad, scarred shoulders shuddered and he let out a sob as his soul cried out for the soul that had matched it – a soul that no longer dwelt in the world of the living.

His sob turned back into a keen and then rose into a howl that swiftly changed from human to animal.

The heavily scarred black wolf that now stood on the king size bed shuddered then collapsed as its legs refused to hold it up any longer. It slumped into the mass of wrinkled blankets and stared with mournful emerald eyes across the room to a picture perched on the fireplace mantle.

In the picture, a younger Harry grinned as he swung his nine-year-old son Severus in a circle. From the other side of the frame, Niamh smiled at her husband as she cradled a squirming baby Saerry in her arms.

The picture showed a happy family.

Something he hadn't had in thirty-two years.

Whimpering, the wolf shifted, turning itself away from the picture. Tucking its nose under its tail, the wolf closed its emerald eyes and shuddered once before it went still except for its sides rising and falling with each breath.

- - -

"Saer? Saerry, are you home?"

"Uncle Sev!"

Severus winced at the ear-piercing voice then smiled at his nephew John, who was now nine-years-old.

"Hiya, kiddo. Where's your mum?"

"In the kitchen," replied John.

"Can you go get her for me?" asked Severus as he shifted uncomfortably on his side of the fireplace. With so many old scars, he wasn't cut out for kneeling in front of a fireplace. But to talk to his little sister as quickly as possible, he'd go through any amount of pain.

John nodded several times before dashing off. Severus could hear his little feet pattering on the stone floors of the Longbottom house right up until he hit the swinging door of the kitchen.

A minute later the door swung open again and the soft sound of bare feet more practiced at walking silently came to his ears. His sister Saerry entered the room then and smiled at him, her blue eyes warm and welcoming.

"Sev," she said as she sank down to a knee in front of the fireplace. "Why don't you come on through? I know how kneeling in front of a fireplace does you no good."

Severus smiled inwardly and chuckled. In more ways than one, his little sister was just like their mother.

Especially in the fact that she had inherited some of the woman's telepathic and empathic powers.

"Alright," he said, pulling back from the fire. He then stepped through his own fire and came out in front of his sister's – with her standing directly in front of him.

Saerry smiled warmly up at him and threw her arms about his broad chest, laying her head against him.

"I've missed you," she murmured.

"And I you, Ry," whispered Severus as he gave her a brief hug. He then gently pushed her back and sighed, saying, "But I'm not here to reminisce."

Saerry frowned then her eyes widened.

"Father?"

"He's getting worse," said Severus. "With every year he just gets worse. Last night…last night he dreamed of Mum again. I think he fell asleep in his wolf form because of it."

"But his isn't like an Animagus form," said Saerry with fear in her voice. "He can't lose himself in the animal, Sev!"

"I know. But…I don't know what to do, Saer! I don't know…I don't…"

"What? Sev?"

Severus closed his eyes and turned slightly away from his sister as he whispered, "I don't know that I could keep him from taking his own life if he so chose. I…I don't think I could do it."

"Sev…"

"He's hurting, Saer. More than any of us have ever thought. Without Mum he's nothing. Nothing! He's lost!"

Saerry placed a hand on her brother's arm and found it to be shaking. Smiling sadly, she said, "So are you."

Severus' face fell and Saerry saw the fierce hurt in her brother's eyes for the first time in many years. Her heart ached then for her brother as well as for their father, for whom she knew the pain was a thousand times worse.

"Let's go to him," she finally said. "He's still at the manor, isn't he?"

Severus just nodded then cursed as he glanced across the room at the grandfather clock that was a Longbottom heirloom.

"Bugger! I'm supposed to be at the Ministry!"

"Problems?" asked Saerry, her eyes darkening as she remembered the exact incident that had taken their mother's life.

Severus smiled reassuringly and bent to kiss her forehead.

"Nothing for you to worry about, Ry. Just some security measures the Commander wants me to go over with him and Shacklebolt."

"Oh. Are you sure you can't come with me?"

"I would if I could," assured Severus. He took her hands in his own and kissed each before squeezing them gently. "He may respond to you more than me. I think I remind him too much of Mum."

Saerry frowned in confusion and Severus shrugged, saying, "I don't know why, he's never explained. But I haven't been able to talk sense into him for years."

"Okay," said Saerry softly. "You go on to the Ministry and do your job before Uncle Draco sends Marcus after you."

"Aye, m'lady," said Severus as he kissed her hand again. He then turned and took the pot of Floo Powder from the mantle, throwing a handful of it into the fireplace.

"Ministry of Magic!" he shouted into the green flames. "Minister's office, Severus Jardin Snape, Head of Security entering!"

He turned to smile reassuringly over his shoulder at his sister then stepped into the fireplace to disappear in a swirl of flames. Saerry stood in front of the fireplace until the flames returned to their original color before she turned and went to find her husband and inform him of where she was about to be going.