Disclaimer: all belongs to JK Rowling. I'm just having a good time with them!
The new portrait was wider than the others. This was the most obvious difference upon first glance, but other differences immediately became clear.
Black framed instead of the usual gold, its interior was darker, lit by flickering torchlight. All the other portraits included comfy chairs that their occupants could snooze in, this one had only a tall wooden stool, currently shoved out of the way, which one had to look for in order to find it at all.
It was a rather crowded portrait compared to the others. The others were simple, with a spacious desk or other decorative furnishings being the only other items aside from the comfy chairs. One had a low table with several bottles of firewhiskey and the appropriate glassware. They all had the look of leisure.
A large room had been painted in the new one. A long, stained worktable stood in the center. A door, barely noticeable, stood closed in the back corner. Every inch of the back and side walls were covered in cabinets in varying degrees of antiquity. Some were tall and wide and reached to the ceiling. Some were short and narrow with much clutter on top. A closer look at the clutter revealed pestles and bowls, flasks and empty vials.
Several large and battered cauldrons were stored safely under the table.
It was a potions lab, old and rather dumpy-looking but still neat and tidy.
The door in the back opened and a sallow-skinned, hook-nosed man entered, or rather was shoved forcibly into the room.
He looked to be in a murderous rage, and immediately turned around to exit the room, but the door had slammed in his face. His wand was in his hand in a split-second and curses flew, but the door failed to open. Muttering angrily to himself, his foul look gave way to wary confusion when he looked around the lab.
He wandered around it in a dreamlike daze, trailing his hand lovingly over the worn wood of his worktable.
And then he looked out into the broad expanse of the office beyond and blinked in bewilderment.
The Headmaster's office. Albus's office. He had never ever thought of it as his own.
"Well, Severus, what do you think of it?"
He lifted his eyes to a portrait on an adjoining wall. Dumbledore. Glancing around the room again, he noticed the other portraits of past Headmasters all smiling and waving and winking at him.
Looking down, he seemed to be hanging above a massive bookcase, with several chairs scattered about. Facing the bookcase. Facing him.
He scowled again and looked at Dumbledore's portrait.
"So I am dead, then?"
Albus looked at him sadly. "I am sorry, my boy. I had hoped . . ."
Severus just shrugged. "Voldemort? Is he . . ."
"Gone. For good this time."
Severus nodded, but looked pained. "And what of . . . what of Potter?"
Dumbledore beamed. "Harry is fine. He did what he had to do, thinking to sacrifice himself. Voldemort destroyed his own soul fragment, never knowing it existed and Harry destroyed Voldemort. I am sorry I could not confide the complete theory to you. I could not risk Harry knowing, and having any doubts. I was not even certain, myself."
Severus just shrugged again, but closed his eyes briefly in relief. Gazing around him once more he turned back to the Headmaster, a perplexing look on his face.
"I don't understand."
"What's to understand, my boy?"
"This!", he said in exasperation. He waved his arms around him. "Why am I here?"
"Do you like it? I took the liberty, and rather hoped you wouldn't mind, although I had rather hoped not to have you hanging in here quite so soon . . ."
"Again Albus, why am I here?"
"Why, you were a Headmaster! You must take your place among us, of course!"
"Headmaster?!" Severus laughed a rich sardonic laugh. "I was never a Headmaster . . ."
"Of course you were."
"I was appointed by the Dark Lord", Snape said with a snort, rubbing his left forearm absently."
"And I approved, in advance if you recall. I believe it to be the only time I agreed wholeheartedly with Tom." Dumbledore gave a low chuckle.
"They won't acknowledge it. Minerva will blast me into bits . . ."
"She'll do no such thing! Harry looked at your memories. They all know what you did for us. For the Light."
He shuddered at the thought of others dipping into his memories and did not reply. Instead he went looking through his cabinets, not really surprised to find all his stores so well-stocked. He began pulling ingredients, rummaged for the smallest cauldron, and began brewing, which always calmed his nerves. No need to start anything complex, though. He would not be here that long. Nothing too volatile, it wouldn't do to have Minerva's screech of outrage sending toxic substances raining down upon his head. Even if he was just a painting.
"I believe you may be in for a surprise", Dumbledore said with an air of bemusement, as if reading his thoughts.
He got another scowl in reply. Being a painting, he could only feel a trace of the guilt he knew he had for the dark wizard's tormented life and subsequent death, but he twinkled at the thought of all the arguments they would share in the future. They would surely drive Minerva mad. He settled himself back in his chair and popped a lemon drop in his mouth, looking forward to eternity with Severus Snape.
"Oh! Severus! Can you ever forgive me?" Rarely had he ever seen Minerva so overwrought and tear-streaked. She rushed to his painting with such a distraught look that he shrank back against the cabinets in trepidation; for one wild moment he thought she might pluck him out of his painting and hug him.
"Why didn't you tell me?", she rounded on Albus, furious, and then her expression crumbled when she turned back to Snape. "Oh, I was horrible! Just horrible!"
"And have you give the game away?", snarled Severus. "You're a Gryffindor", he said with disdain. "You have no cunning, no shrewdness, and I very much doubt you capable in situations calling for quick-wittedness. It would have been a disaster."
"It would not. I most certainly could have helped", sniffed Minerva, who looked ready to fight a great battle, and then, remembering the battle had already been fought, deflated like a balloon.
"Oh, but Severus. You're . . . you're . . ."
"Dead, woman. Dead and gone. As I expected to be."
"And my last words to you", she went on, as if talking to herself, not listening to him. "Oh, Severus, I called you a . . . I called you . . ."
"Enough babbling, woman", Snape bellowed. One more 'Oh, Severus' and he would start throwing things. Even though he was secretly pleased and hopeful that this meant his portrait would not be destroyed. There was so much to do here. Experimental revisions of potions, researching new ones. He looked out at Minerva, who was wringing her hands.
"Don't you have work to do? A school to rebuild? Professors to hire? If Slughorn retires, I wish to know about it immediately", he growled. "I have some thoughts of who could replace him, when the time comes. Although I'm not sure if they would make a good Head for Slytherin House. And you will NOT make Sinistra a Head of House. The woman spits numbers and theory and not much else from her brain."
"Of course, Severus", Minerva said, lips curving up in a small smile. She sniffed once more and then composed herself carefully. Of course painted Severus would be just as abrasive as the live one had been. Poor Severus, it had to have hurt, all those nasty things she had said and done. But painted Severus would not understand nor accept her grief for his real self. But she could treasure the presence of his portrait, consider his advise, and use the knowledge of his brilliant mind.
Albus, now feigning sleep, watched her as she began sorting through the many papers on the desk and tried not to chuckle to loudly. He moved a little, as if shifting in his sleep, so he could watch Severus as he brewed. Painting or not, the young Potions Master had yet to accept his own value and worth. But there was time. An eternity of it.
He heard the Savior Boy talking to Minerva before they came into the room and tried to shut out their quiet murmurs. When the door closed again, he thought they had gone and was quite startled to turn around to find Potter gazing at him intently.
Drat his painted self and it's limited senses. He would have never been caught this unawares when alive.
Potter was alone. With him. Okay, alone with him and a dozen other portraits, all snoring softly. He had been reduced to a painting now, he doubted he could be very intimidating anymore.
"Er", said Potter. "I . . . um . . . well . . ."
"Articulate as ever, Potter", Snape said in his soft, silky voice. Potter winced, and flushed a dull red.
Maybe a painted self could be intimidating after all.
Snape speared him with a dark glare. "What do you want?"
Potter scowled back and lifted his chin. "You were friends with my mum", he said defiantly.
He felt a strange sensation that most likely would have been rage in his real self. "Yes, I was", he spat. "For a time."
"Could you tell me about her? Sir?" Potter looked down and scuffed the toe of a shoe, all defiance gone. "I don't know much about my mum", he said more hesitantly. "Please, Sir, will you tell me what she was like?"
He looked at the boy with a baffled expression. Surely he was not about to have a cozy tête-à-tête, reminiscing with the bloody Boy-Who-Lived-To-Be-A-Bloody-Pain-In-His-Arse about his mother.
But the boy was giving him a silent pleading look and oh, those eyes. Lily's eyes.
He sighed. "Sit, Potter", he commanded, pointing to the chairs below him, and Potter sat. "What do you want to know?"
Albus smiled in his sleep, keeping his eyes closed to hide the twinkle.
And now it was the Know-It-All. Would there ever be any end?
Hagrid had deafened him with his loud sobs, and had nearly washed his utensil cabinet away with his tears.
Flitwick, Sprout, and Hooch had all paraded by, muttering condolences and looking grim. Poppy had sent hers with them, not able to come herself. They said she didn't want to break down and cry in front of him, and thus embarrass him. Thank Merlin for small favors.
Trelawney had drifted past murmuring in her tragic sing-song about her seeing eye and all the doom that had been foretold.
And now a tearful Granger. Although this visit was slowly morphing into something better than slow death. She, of all of them so far, successfully launched herself into a tolerable conversation; it seemed she was pursuing a profession as a Healer. They wound up with a not-to-shabby discussion of Dr. Ubbly's Oblivious Unction, and it's potential uses when combined with Murtlap Essence. She sucked up his expertise like a sponge, although once or twice she annoyingly almost raised her hand.
He grudgingly agreed to allow her back to 'pick his brains' if she had any questions in the future.
Dumbledore smiled and nodded to her as she went by, surprisingly the girl glared back at her old Headmaster. He, however, seemed to take no offense and beamed across at Severus.
"What?" demanded the dark-haired wizard.
"Nothing at all, my boy. Nothing at all."
He waited until the dead of night, when the office was dark and empty. Phineas was out visiting somewhere, the rest were snoring. He sat on the stool by the table and laid his left arm out before him. Closing his eyes tightly, he slowly pulled the sleeve back to expose the forearm, before opening his eyes again.
His Dark Mark. Still there, still as black and sharply defined as when it had burned last. His everlasting shame, now his to carry for all eternity.
He bowed his head, black hair curtaining his anguish.
A hand on his shoulder made him stiffen, it circled around his back gently. Another arm around his front pulled him into an embrace and trapped him against a long white beard. He felt too weak to struggle against it, and was horrified to feel his own wracking sobs escaping from the depths of his being.
He wasn't supposed to feel like this, was he? He was a painting, for Merlin's sake.
"I am so sorry, Severus", Albus whispered into his hair. "If only you had survived. If you would have survived until after Voldemort's defeat, it would have been gone."
Severus nodded against the scratchy beard. He knew this, knew the imprint would have been made at the time of his death. A mere three hours and he would have been free of this.
But he has accepted this. He chose this, chose to be a Death Eater long ago. It was only fitting to bear the mark of disgrace for eternity.
Albus sighed and hugged him tight.
The castle was rebuilt in a year's time and school started once more. When not brewing potions or giving sage advice, past Headmasters Dumbledore and Snape played a fascinating new game called 'Drive Minerva Crazy', taking turns to rile the Headmistress while she was trying to work. Snape was enjoying a comfortable lead of 162 points to Dumbledore's 86. The Headmistress was not at all amused.
The day came when Potter came breezing in, proudly displaying his newly acquired aurors robes.
He felt a pang of apprehension and took an involuntary step back. They couldn't arrest a painting, could they?
While Potter chattered on about his new duties, Albus studied his friend sadly. Would the poor boy ever overcome his dark past?
It was galling to be excluded again, untrusted and ostracized. Potter, Minerva, and Albus had been meeting quietly for over a month now, murmuring quietly and obviously planning something of import.
He supposed that was the reason his portrait was stuck back in a shadowy inconspicuous corner, to keep his dark painted self controlled and out of the way. He had liked his location before this, it offered a certain privacy, even in the large office. Now he resented it and fumed.
Minerva and Potter were coming up the staircase again, this time laughing and in good spirits. Albus smiled triumphantly at them when they walked into the office.
"Good news, then Harry?"
The Boy-Who-Still-Lived smiled broadly. "We got it. And all charges were dropped."
Potter walked over to his portrait, who was staring at him, his face an implacable mask. And then he felt all the air rush out of him when he saw what Potter was placing on the frame of his portrait.
"It's yours", Potter said grinning. "It's your Order of Merlin, First Class. We couldn't get it until they cleared your name, which they did, today."
He could only look at the boy, stunned.
"Umbridge tried to cause trouble, though. Ever since Shacklebolt was elected full-term, she's been a nightmare. And we haven't been able to get enough evidence against her to prove she was in league with Voldemort." Potter looked down, and seemed a little chagrined. "She found out about you. I mean you . . . portrait you that is. I think she might try to get support to get rid of you, somehow. But don't worry", he added quickly, "We won't let anything happen to you".
He stared at the boy for a time before finally finding his voice. "I . . .I thank you . . . Harry".
He snarled at the embarrassing looks of endearment that suddenly appeared on all their faces. "And don't worry about Umbridge", he added in his soft silky tones. "Whatever would I do without at least a few enemies?"
"That time when you entered my portrait", Snape began uncomfortably, "Just how did you get in? Or back out? Surely you didn't climb over the cabinets?"
"Of course not. I used the door".
"So I am locked in here, but you can come and go as you please?", Snape demanded.
"That door was only locked your first day here, Severus. We knew you wouldn't be cooperative, and so took precautions."
"It is about time you decided to get out some, my boy. You're looking a little peaky."
Which meant only one thing - he was to be the subject of another unwanted conversation.
A very uncomfortable and unwanted conversation.
"I'm sorry", said Potter, looking blankly at the red and gold carpet.
"Whatever for?" demanded Snape, although a surprised expression flitted briefly over his brow.
"I didn't . . . I could've . . . I should have tried to save you. I mean, you could have been saved, right? Mr. Weasley was bit and . . ."
"Potter!", Snape stopped him, feeling an unfamiliar sensation roll through his gut. "I am only an imprint. I am not Professor Snape. Not your counselor, your confident, or your priest. I have no feelings on the matter."
"But . . ."
Snape sighed, drug his little stool out from under the table and sat, running his hand through his hair. "Did you know what was to happen?" he demanded. "Did you just happen to have the correct anti-venin with you at the time? No, of course not", he answered his own question scornfully. "You had a job to do, and you did it. That is all that matters."
Potter gave him a look that eerily resembled admiration.
"Thank you, Sir".
"Harry, you may feel better confiding in another", Dumbledore said gently, pointedly looking out the window.
"What . . . oh, right. I didn't think to go to his grave", said the boy, glancing uneasily at Snape's suddenly immobile portrait.
"You did know, didn't you sir?"
From the portraits frozen and pale form staring uncomprehendingly out the window, Harry guessed not.
"We buried you beside Headmaster Dumbledore", Harry said softly. "It just seemed fitting, somehow. I hope you don't mind."
The Potions Master blinked rapidly a few times but still said nothing.
"You're in a white tomb, just like Professor Dumbledore's. But we edged it with green and silver. The lining is green as well and . . ."
"I had just assumed my body was rotting where it fell", Snape whispered. "Or that the ministry disposed of it with the other De . . ."
"You were not a Death Eater", Harry said hotly. "I brought you back to the Great Hall where Remus and Tonks and . . . and . . . how could you think that, after all this time?"
Snape rubbed absently at his left forearm and hung his head, letting his hair fall forward to obscure his face.
So his body, his life, had been paid respect to after all. He had to wonder how his soul was faring, after all this time of burning in hell.
He was very uncomfortable leaving the sanctuary of his portrait. It felt safe what with Dumbledore's painted but still commanding presence and McGonagall's firm determination. He still half-expected someone from the Ministry to show up any day to curse his painted arse out of existence. Headmaster Everard had informed Dumbledore that there was indeed a group protesting the survival of Severus Snape in any form when he had visited his portrait at the Ministry of Magic. They had thought he had been too engrossed in one of the many books he had found in his cabinets to listen in.
As if. He hadn't been a spy for nothing.
And so he contemplated the risks involved in skulking about the castle, flitting from painting to painting as if he were a burglar. But he needed ingredients, and apparently there were quite a few new ones of forests, herb gardens, and the one in particular he wanted to visit, of Greenhouse Five, which had always been his favorite.
And so here he was, in bloody broad daylight because he wouldn't very well be able to see anything at night, even with his wand, but at least it was during class so no one should be out and about.
Jumping from one painting to another was going to take some getting used to. He had fallen flat on his large nose the first time, and had skinned a knee the second. But no one had seen and he was getting more adept and making progress.
He made it all the way to the Fourth Floor unseen except for the other portraits' subjects, some of whom greeted him enthusiastically, pumping his arm up and down, while others huffed in indignation. He regarded them all back with suspicion and curt politeness.
Needed ingredients retrieved, he started back, hopping into a peaceful landscape and then froze when dozens of students began filing into the corridor, laughing, shouting and shoving like the little miscreants he remembered them to be. He even recognized most.
His first impulse was to hide, but that was ridiculous. He was a grown man. Painting. He had been a man, a Professor, a Headmaster for heaven's sake. He stood straight and tall, thanking Merlin he was painted in his full black teaching robes, and gave them his most withering glare.
And they scattered, terrified.
The most wonderful feeling of elation washed over him. He had not gotten that reaction since before the Dark Lord had made him Headmaster. At least not by many students other than his Slytherins. He had missed it.
But, to his astonishment, a small group had remained. And had the nerve to approach him. They nodded at him, bade him a good afternoon, remembered to add Sir, and walked off, as confident as you please.
Bloody Gryffindors, of course.
Hermione looked at Dumbledore, then to Snape, and swung back to Dumbledore, mouth hanging open in disbelief. "He can do that?", she asked incredulously.
"Why ever not?", Dumbledore replied mildly.
"That's . . . that's . . ."
"Don't", Snape cut in sharply, "reveal to anyone where those revisions came from. I have come to rather like it here and would prefer not to give a reason to those idiots who would see me sunk to the depths of some shark-infested ocean. Claim them as your own, make a fake identity, I don't care. Just do not mention my name."
"Of course, sir", she said faintly, and smiled a little at him. "Thank you, sir. This new elixir should be perfect for dealing with all types of spell damage wounds."
"It needs tested first, girl".
She wasn't a Granger anymore, but Weasley was just, well, to overdone and Mrs. Weasley brought to mind ample bosoms and motherly affection that he just didn't want to associate with Granger. So Girl she became.
"Yes, Sir. We will. And thank you again."
She received a grunt in reply and so turned to leave. Headmaster Dumbledore regarded her kindly, but she barely nodded to him. She was still angry at how he had manipulated Professor Snape and Harry both. It just wasn't fair, especially to the professor. He deserved so much more.
Hermione's fury, once ignited, sometimes took years to cool. Her mother-in-law even approved.
A glowing Harry Potter stood showing off his second born child, who was squealing with delight at the colored sparks Minerva was entertaining him with.
"Albus, Severus", he said, glancing cheekily up at them both. "Meet Albus Severus!"
Albus twinkled in delight at the boy and his son, Severus looked astounded.
"You . . . would give him my name?" Severus asked in a haltingly choked voice.
"I wanted to name him after my heroes", Harry said softly. "Two great wizards who made a difference in my life, who protected and supported me and who I think were very brave. I learned so much from you both".
"I . . . I am pleased, Harry", Severus said in a whisper. "I am pleased . . . and honored."
"Hold that thought, Severus", Harry said with a grin. "Just remember how pleased and honored you will be if your namesake gets sorted into Gryffindor!"
Albus was nagging at him again. He was almost getting used to it.
"Francine gave me a plate of biscuits and the most mouth-watering lemon scones. Why don't you come over here and have some?"
Francine's portrait hung just by the kitchens, she was always busily baking goodies in her painted ovens.
"Yes, why don't you both stuff yourselves so I could have some peace", muttered Minerva from her desk.
Albus and Severus both ignored her. "When was the last time you had anything to eat, my boy?"
Snape thought for a moment. "Two years ago, I believe. Boxing day before last . . . no . . . that was firewhiskey I had then."
He scowled darkly at the Headmaster at the memory. "Why didn't you tell me I could get drunk on painted firewhiskey?", he demanded.
"Ah, was that the time Phineas and Armando had to carry you back home?", questioned Albus innocently.
He had woken sprawled on his worktable with his head thudding madly. And then he had rolled over and fallen off with a thud. Minerva had not been amused.
She snorted now from her desk, her stoic expression quivering with a suppressed snigger.
Severus ignored them both with a huff and went back to work.
Being a painted dead man, he really didn't need to sleep. He had never slept all that much when he was alive. But the cozy bedroom scene he found in an unused storeroom off of the dungeons looked so inviting. And it was ever so wonderful to finally be able to sleep peaceably, with no nightmares.
Why he had let Albus talk him into visiting him in his portrait, Severus didn't know. All he knew was that this had turned into one of those very distasteful 'healing' sessions that Albus was determined to make him endure. An unbearable salvage operation designed to reassure him that his penitence had been lifted at long last.
His soul was undoubtedly a charred ruin by now. He was a painting, it shouldn't really matter anyway.
But Albus seemed confident that his soul wasn't in hell, that he had somehow made it through the Pearly Gates and into the light.
He had always trusted Albus to be right. And he so yearned to believe in him, one more time.
The past Potions Headmaster paced about his frame until Albus slipped back into his, at which time he hurriedly sat down and acted as if he had been nonchalantly reading the whole time.
Albus, curse the old man, refused to grant his curiosity with any initiated information, directing his twinkle at the ceiling instead, and so he was forced to speak first.
He stood up suddenly, his mouth open in surprise. The boy had sorted into Slytherin? Harry Potter's son?
"Oh, yes", Albus said, again reading his mind uncannily. "And Minerva overheard him talking to Draco's youngest daughter that the hat would have put him in Gryffindor, but that he chose Slytherin instead.
Why would he have chosen Slytherin over Gryffindor?
"It seems Harry told him something about a brave wizard being from that house and that he had the power to choose. I imagine Harry will be rather surprised to find that he chose Slytherin instead of Gryffindor. It seems that little Albus Severus is making a break from his older brother. It should prove an interesting seven years indeed".
Severus smirked and returned to his reading. A Potter in Slytherin. Interesting indeed.
"What do you want now, old man?"
Severus, there's a lovely young lady on the third floor who would very much like to meet you. It seems she saw you in passing on your way to the painting of the forbidden forest in the North Tower corridor."
"And why ever would I want to do such a thing?"
"Well, it seems she is mightily taken with you. She's been hanging around that lovely seascape across from the gargoyles downstairs, hoping to get a glimpse of you again. She told the gray lady that you were . . . 'hot' . . . I believe is the term she used.
Dilys Derwent huffed in disapproval, while Phineas Nigellus guffawed heartily.
"Got to be better than the Fat Lady", Armando Dippet muttered, and then grinned. "She shrieks like a banshee!"
Severus looked at all of them, appalled, colored slightly, and retreated stiffly to his cauldron without saying a word.
"We need to find a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor", Minerva announced one spring day. "Professor Jones wants to spend more time in the Antarctic chasing after Peddlywigs".
"Ah", said Albus sadly. "It is always so hard to find good candidates for that position and then keep them".
"Bullocks", snapped Severus. "You both know Harry would jump at the chance. Just floo him and have done with".
"Fine", said Minerva with a half-smile. "I'll let 'Harry' know we have your approval".
Severus, Albus and Minerva were discussing the application of a young centaur for the Astronomy opening when Minerva remembered her news.
"You'll never believe what happened to Umbridge last night", she said primly. "Apparently she was chasing after the Headless Hunt. Said they didn't have a permit or some such nonsense. They ran her down."
"She's in St. Mungo's now with a permanent hoof print on her forehead. Must have concussed her good - she can't remember a thing. They put her next to Lockhart".
"Good God. Let's hope they don't reproduce", Snape said dryly.
"What do you want now, Potter?"
"How did you cope all those years teaching these kids? They don't listen. They don't show any respect at all. They are driving me crazy!"
Professor Snape threw Professor Potter a knowing smirk.
"You're too nice to them Potter. Take points. Give detentions. Instill the fear of Merlin in them. Terrorize them. You may, if you wish, copy after my own example. It did work, after all."
"Of course, Sir. But I don't think my voice can do that sinister thing that you did so well".
"Headmasters", Minerva addressed them all. "I am retiring at the end of this year".
Her announcement was met with silence for a moment, before the expected babble broke out.
She looked at her two most trusted advisors. "Well?", she asked with a smirk. "I wonder who you two would recommend to replace me? Campbell perhaps?"
"Certainly not!", snarled Severus. "You know perfectly well who is most qualified, and who would have the board's approval. Just get on with it and call him in here".
Albus twinkled merrily from his frame. You do realize, don't you my boy, what this would mean?"
"No, but I'm certain that you will tell me", growled Severus.
"It would mean, in some distant future, that not only will Minerva grace us with her presence someday, but Harry as well. How do you feel about spending eternity with Harry?"
Severus made a choking sound and turned away. Outwardly he growled and banged around his lab to show his displeasure; inwardly he felt a twang of gratification. He considered them all his friends now, even if he never would admit it to their faces. Albus twinkled madly.
An eternity with painted friends sounded just wonderful to the painted Potions Master.
A/N: This started from an idea I had in the shower and then grew and grew on paper. Sorry for the length, but once started, I couldn't stop.
I need to vent just a little about book 7 - here's what I feel: Albus was a cold manipulator who used Severus and seemed unforgiving of him, but his reply, "My word, Severus, that I shall never reveal the best of you" to Snape gives me some hope that he did know Snape was a good person. Plus, after years spent together, he hopefully grew fond of or at least respected him. Lily, on the other hand was cold, unforgiving, and selfish. I can't believe she would make him choose between her and his friends, knowing how few he had and his position in Slytherin. And to not accept his apology! I don't like cannon Lily at all! There, now I feel better.