Epilogue:

Truths and Lies
To Self and Otherwise

I thought, for a moment, that I had died. The veil was soft and slippery like silk, and there was simply nothing behind it. Not dark nor light nor fear nor comfort. Just—nothing. And then – a feeling. A question, I guess you could describe it. Or maybe not, maybe I just knew, for no reason, what to think.

I thought of my parents. I thought of my friends. I thought of home and school and—

—and there was a sudden slam of concrete on my back and bright sun in my eyes and someone was shouting, loudly, for the nurse. I stared at the person who had rushed over – long brown hair, brown eyes, and, after a moment's thought, I realized that it was one of my friends. People crowded around me and the nurse rushed over and took my pulse and my friends, all of them, pushed to the front of the crowd.

"Amanda—it's Amanda!"

"She's back!"

"Is she alright?"

"Am, you okay?"

"—she looks okay—"

"—is she bleeding—?"

"—good god, someone get--"

"—call her parents—"

"—Headmaster—"

"Amanda!"

I think I must've passed out. The next thing I remember was white hospital walls and flowers. And later, my parents. I was so happy to see them. I cried all over them, and they all over me, but I knew better then to tell them my story. I'd been gone for two months, they'd sobbed, and been so happy that I was alright.

I was amazed. Because I remembered being gone five months. But I didn't say anything.

The next few weeks flew by in a frenzy of news reporters, police and questions. Was I alright? Where had I gone? Who had kidnapped me – could I give a description? How did I just appear like that?

I had no idea how to answer. I gave them a description of Belatrix, because I didn't know what else to do, and I said that I'd been kept blindfolded most of the time. My story slowly developed – I was kidnapped by a psycho – And, blindfolded, held hostage who-knows-where. Then a man, older, I said, saved me. He used some sort of technology on me, I told them. I didn't know what.

Top secret, they said. Wow.

The news reporters and the fascination lasted for about two weeks. I didn't really want to talk about it – I couldn't tell them the truth. How embarrassing! To say I was transported into book land – to Harry Potter land? No one would believe me. So I didn't bother with that story. They took the made-up one much better.

But the frenzy died down, eventually, as no kidnapper was found and things got back to normal. People acted like they forgot.

I didn't.

My parents and friends didn't.

One of the first questions they asked me, aside from the general, "Where'd you go- are you okay?" was "Where'd you get that necklace?"

Which was awkward. I couldn't very well say "Severus Snape gave it to me."

So instead I spun them a story of a kindhearted spy who saved my life and who found the vial and gave it to me as a sign of friendship. I told them I'd given my oak leaf necklace to him, although I, blindfolded, had never seen his face. They seemed to accept that.

Things went back to normal. No one forgot, really, but we moved on. Time passed, in the same way it always does.

I slept in my own room, not in the Black house or in a wardrobe. I put one of Severus' candles in the Blacks' candlestick and put it by my bed. I wore the vial.

And, a few years later, I read Book Six as fast as I could get my hands on it, as I promised Severus I would do. I was shocked when he seemingly betrayed Dumbledore for Voldemort's side.

But I also knew him.

Severus works for himself. He doesn't work for Dumbledore or Voldemort. Perhaps he has loyalties I don't know of, but I doubt it. He's just trying to survive, as he promised he would do. He is no brave Gryffindor, or a loyal Hufflepuff, or a book-smart Ravenclaw. He's a Slytherin and cunning, self-motivated and self preserving. He wants to live.

So there's a reason he killed Dumbledore, I think. A better one then "he works for Voldemort." I know this man – he is not loyal. If anything he is possessive, but he is not loyal. He hates being owned. He's got a trick up his sleeve, I feel. Maybe there was some secret between him and Dumbledore, some promise he's keeping. Maybe there's not. I don't know.

So here I am, waiting for him to wink at me and show me the ace up his sleeve. He'll do me proud, I think.

Believe me if you will, and scoff if you wish. It doesn't really matter to me.

I know I speak the truth.

Finis

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Endnote: Yay! So, that's that. I hope you had as much fun reading this as I did writing it - this is the longest story I've written that's not embarrassingly bad :) It's also my first attempt at not telling the reader everything up front. Some things you might've missed, then: the chapter titles are symptoms of the Stockholm Syndrome, and you'll notice that Amanda exhibits every one of them. This makes her not the most reliable of narrators. She has idolized Severus, and he her in return (Lima Syndrome, on Snape's end). I also think that he would very much like someone friendly but submissive to him, someone he can trust. He is a very lonely person, after all, although he hides it well. So, yes. I'll stop analyzing my own story :) Anyway, thanks to my beta -waves to beta- for all the help, and thanks for the reviewers - 'specially Duj - for all the additional help and for following along. It's been fun!