East of Eden
Chapter 8

A/N: I want to thank every reader and every single reviewer. I love you all.
I also became kind of addicted to writing HP fics, especially sad ones. Read my new story "Fortuna's Bitter Smile", and you'll see what I mean. Don't worry, in real live I'm a very happy and optimistic person. But in real live I'm not writing stories either, I brew potions and torture little innocent cells *laughs evilly*.

Special thanks to Darkwing, who was beta-ing most of my chapters. Only this one went up without having been under her critical eye. I'm a very impatient person.

There is a good chance of prequels, sequels or just totally unrelated fics.

##########################################################################################
Disclaimer
Everything, every location, every character belongs to JK Rowling, Bloomsbury Pub., Warner Brothers or whoever
might currently hold the rights of Harry Potter. There are exceptions- The title is taken from a John Steinbeck novel,
the Epilogue quotes the Holy Bible.
I swear, I don't make money out of this.
##########################################################################################


Chapter 8
The Land of Nod
by Clio, Summer 2001

"You lied in the courtroom!" Harry blurted out as soon as his eyes focused again on Dumbledore, sitting across from him in the Headmaster's office. Instantly he was ashamed of his rudeness towards the Headmaster.

"Yes, Harry, I did. I lied to protect Severus, and I never felt sorry for it. He has repaid me fully since then. You might find it hard to believe, but he is the best Head Slytherin has ever had." Dumbledore grinned mischievously at Harry, but became serious again only an instant later. "Although I tried everything, I was not able to keep Sirius out of Azkaban, but at least I could save Severus from the same fate. He surely wouldn't have survived it longer than a few months. You know, too many of my former pupils already fill the cells of Azkaban."

Dumbledore fell silent for a while. Deep in thought he continued: "Yes, I did the right thing then. I have made mistakes earlier, when I didn't watch over the Slytherin students properly. You see, I'm not without fail, Harry. No one is."

"Was Professor Snape really innocent of all those other charges he was standing trial for?"

"It doesn't matter anymore, Harry."

"So he wasn't?"

Dumbledore looked out of the window. "Two years later, well after the downfall of Voldemort, Severus came into my office late at night, his breath smelling of whisky. We talked about the crimes he committed as a Death Eater until sunrise. He confessed that some of the accusations you heard were true. Others were made up by Rookwood to make sure he would be found guilty by the jury."

Harry was silent for quite some time.

"Believe me, Harry, Severus has paid for his actions. He has placed himself outside of every community. He doesn't belong to the Death Eaters anymore; he has betrayed his friends and schoolmates among them. And in the Gryffindor dominated wizarding community he will never be fully accepted. To be a wanderer between all lines, that's a punishment in itself. He lives in a hell of his own making, mistrusting each and everybody."
Dumbledore looked Harry straight into the eye. "Maybe you could penetrate that cloud of hate and darkness around him for some moments, if you went and told him, that you don't regard him your enemy anymore. And that you don't hate him for what he has done in that fateful night in 1981. You don't, right?"

"No," Harry answered hesitatingly. "Do you think he is down in the dungeons now?"

Dumbledore smiled. "Most likely. You know the way, Harry. Oh, and maybe you shouldn't mention that you witnessed his whole trial through my Pensieve. He surely wouldn't like that."

After Harry had left the room the Headmaster remained silently looking at the door of his office. Then he turned to Fawkes, his phoenix, with a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth " There are moments in which I really sound like a darn wise man, don't I? "

~~~~~~~~

Epilogue:

[...] Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? [...] If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"
The LORD said, "What have you done? Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground.
Now you are cursed from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from
your hand. [...] You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is more than I can bear. Today you are driving me from the land, [...], and whoever finds me will kill me."
But the LORD said to him, "Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer vengeance seven times over."
[...]
So Cain went out from the LORD 's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.

Genesis 4.1-16 (abridged)


END