A/N: This is really more of a teaser than an epilogue… (shrugs) …Hope you enjoy anyway!

Epilogue

Severus sat at the dining room table, sipping tea and reading the morning news. He had slept almost thirteen hours the night before. For the first time in a long time, he felt rested. So when Sirius came barging into the room shouting accusations and threats, he merely lowered his paper and stared at the mutt with a disdainful eye.

"Well, Snape? What's your excuse this time?" Sirius snarled. He had all his weight on his hands pressed flat to the table, leaning forward toward Severus' face with blue eyes blazing and his mouth a vicious sneer.

"Is his body refusing treatment?" Severus asked calmly, crossing his legs under the table and leaning back. His hair was damp from being freshly washed and hung almost to his shoulders. His black button-down shirt still smelled of the drying spells.

"He isn't responding! He lays there staring and doesn't react to anything we say or do! I think it's obviously a step back in his recovery! What did you say to him, Snape? He's a sick child, you stupid bastard! How could you just…"

"Enough." Severus stood, and Sirius flung himself backward, his wand snapping up, ready to defend himself. Severus sneered at him. He wouldn't have projected an attack were he about to indulge in one. "Harry has merely retreated in his Occlumency shields. I believe he is barricading himself from his two remaining alters, which is a necessary move for his mental health. He is well, so stop blathering like a maniac and go find a more productive use of your time. My own is precious."

Sirius spluttered, shocked. He watched Severus leave the room and sighed, leaning on the table again. Pocketing his wand, he shoved his hand into his thick wavy black hair. He felt stronger than he had since he had escaped prison, but seeing Harry so… shredded, chunks of flesh missing, dozens of bones fractured, almost mortal blood loss… He felt his recently regained mental stability trembling at the edges. His precious godson was tortured almost to death, and the all too familiar panic and terror bubbled under his skin. He felt about ready to snap.

"Can I fetch you some breakfast, sir?" Omi asked softly. He didn't much like Sirius Black, but he was a guest in his Master's home and was helping Master Harry, so he would do his duty and do it well.

Sirius jumped in surprise and faced the little elf. "Ah… No… No, thank you, Omi." He didn't wait for a response and hurried back upstairs.

Remus was at his place beside Harry's bedside, having just finished applying ointments and potions to the battered skin and re-bandaging him. Sirius felt guilty for leaving, for not witnessing his godson's suffering. But it had just been too much this morning with Harry staring up at the ceiling like he were dead inside.

"You didn't do anything stupid, did you, Siri?" Remus asked evenly, taking his seat again and putting the thick tomb of medi-wizardy into his lap in preparation of reading it. That was his eighth such book so far. Sirius suspected that by now Remus was as knowledgeable as Pomfrey, just lacking in experience- though after Remus finished healing Harry, he would have plenty of it.

Hanging his head, Sirius came over to stand by the bedside. "Maybe… But I got information out of him. He said Harry's just doing Occlumency and setting up barriers to protect himself from his alters."

"I suspected something like that," Remus answered easily. His brown eyes warm and exasperated as he watched his best friend. "I would have told you so if you had asked before running from the room in a snit."

Sirius flushed and looked up at his friend. Remus' light brown hair was even more gray at the sides than it had been last summer, and his face was too thin, but he still looked kind and capable. For the millionth time, Sirius felt envy, wishing he had Remus' strength of character.

Seeing some of this in his face, Remus stood and placed pulled Sirius into a hug. "It will be all right, Siri. Harry is healing. It will just take some time."

"I can't lose him, Moony," Sirius gasped, clutching to his friend, tears burning down his pale cheeks.

"You won't. Severus and I are not going to let that happen. You have to trust us."

Sirius knew he normally would snort at the idea of Snivellus doing all he could for Harry, but he couldn't pretend any longer. Severus was a genius at potions and he loved Harry as if he were his own, and if Sirius were going to be honest with himself, Harry looked to Severus as a father. He wouldn't be able to break that, and he wasn't sure he wanted to. He had lost his chance to be Harry's father. And as much as that hurt, losing Harry altogether would hurt worse.

---End---

A/N: If you liked this story, and you liked the epilogue/teaser, continue on to the sequel Shadows Within The Light. A warning before you go, however. SWtL will be slash, D/H. Also, Severus will adopt Harry, which in turn will alter his physical looks but not his personality. I will try to keep him as "Harry" looking as possible. Further warnings pending.