As I Stare On and On Into the Past
First in the 'Unending Love' series.
Author: Angel (Adlina)
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Severus Snape x Harry Potter
Genre: A dollop of Angst and a drop of Romance
Word Count: 1,388
Disclaimer: I'd buy the copyright if I were richer than the woman who owns Harry Potter universe.
Warning: Deathly Hallows spoilers. You have been warned.
Severus Snape was supposed to die when Nagini's poison gleefully invaded his bloodstream. Somehow, he lived.
"Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age old
It's ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever."
Unending Love (line 6-10)– Rabindranath Tagore
Dark pair of eyes fluttered open in slow motion, blinking wildly as it tried to adjust to the invading light. His body felt numb all over. He heard voices all over the place but he did not dare look, did not dare turn his head. He was not stupid enough to believe that he was in the afterlife. Hell surely did not provide its new occupant with something comfortable to sleep in, and there was no perturbing heat that he could pinpoint anywhere. Even if at some point the Power that Be decided he had actually done something good to deserve going to the lowest level of heaven, he was pretty sure it would not be so full of noise.
He, Severus Snape was supposed to be dead, he thought. He was pretty sure he felt his life force drained out of his body the moment he felt Nagini's poisonous teeth sunk gleefully into his flesh – he felt the venom swimming in his bloodstream, racing towards his rapidly beating heart to rip his life away. There was no way he could survive the monster's poison. He had seen how fast the giant snake killed its preys in the past. Granted, he should be dead long ago. And where was he anyway? Surely it was not the Shrieking Shack.
Before his succumbed to darkness, Severus remembered a flash of green. Did someone cast a spell? No, there was no one there after the Dark Lord left the shack to let him die alone. There was only his profusely bleeding self, and…
Green. Green eyes.
"I'm surprised you're already awake."
Severus blinked twice, unsure if the voice had been real or simply his delusional mind trying to placate him. With much effort, he turned his head to the left. On a battered stool next to the makeshift bed which housed Severus sat Harry Potter. He looked relatively older than the last time Severus saw him. Harry was looking at him with a small smile; his green eyes held a lingering tinge of sadness that made Severus choke on nothing. He wanted to reach out to Harry, wanted to touch the boy, wanted to make sure that Harry was not just a figment of his pitiful imagination.
He tried to sit up. "H – Potter," he croaked. A part of him was horrified at the sound of his almost unrecognisable raspy voice.
Harry pushed him gently back to his sleeping position despite Severus' protest. It was not like he could do much when his voice and body refused to cooperate; making whatever gripe he tried to make fell second to his feeble state.
"Don't move yet," Harry admonished. "The poison may be gone from your system, but that does not mean you've fully recovered. And if you're going to ask me how you survived Nagini's poison, I'm not sure I can answer as I'm not sure either."
Severus looked at Harry as if he was seeing the young man for the first time in his miserable life. He had long been preparing himself for Harry's hateful scorn – he was prepared for Harry's contempt and disgust. After all, the boy had been there when Albus Dumbledore met his death. Harry Potter was there when Severus Snape cast the killing curse on the former Headmaster. He was not, however, prepared to face a gentle, more reserved Harry Potter. He never prepared to face the Harry that touched and even reproached him gently like he would break at the littlest harshness.
He did not trust himself to speak. In his state of vulnerability, he might say things he would later regret or refuse to acknowledge ever came from his mouth. He figured it was best if he kept his peaceful silence and listen to whatever Harry had in store. He owed Harry that much.
"I've gone through your memory," the young man confessed, not at all shaken. "Your memory… of Dumbledore's death. Your Unbreakable Vow. My mother. And us."
Severus clenched his eyes shut.
Harry did not drop his smile though his voice had somewhat turned bitter. "I always felt like I've forgotten something important. Something that involves you. One moment I wanted to shout at you and your unfairness, and another moment I found myself wanting to do nothing but look at you albeit from afar. It's like I've forgotten something about me. About you. That night when you – The night Professor Dumbledore died, I felt totally lost. I could not believe that you betrayed us all. I could not breathe. It felt as if you've killed me too.
I wanted to avenge Professor Dumbledore's death. While in search of the horcruxes, I was indirectly searching for you too. Even before I look into the memories you gave me, somewhere deep down in my heart, I know you were only doing what you had to do. Still, I wanted to see you again. I wanted to hear the truth from you."
Severus opened his eyes when he felt Harry took his right hand and gave it a light squeeze. "Thank you, Professor Snape, for allowing me to go through your memories. Thank you for giving me the truth I sought. I understand everything now."
'I understand now that you refused me because you were in love with my mother. I understand now that I was destined to die from the beginning to allow us victory over Voldemort.'
The older man squeezed back the gentle hand that held his. Severus could almost hear what Harry left unspoken. He wanted to speak, to tell Harry that he had not seen all of Severus' memories. He wanted so much to tell Harry he did not refuse him because he was in love with Lily Potter. There were so many things he wanted to tell Harry, but he knew if he were to open his mouth, the first thing he would do was to cry. Beg for the young man's forgiveness, that was what he wanted to do.
Harry stood up, not letting go of Severus' hand. He leaned down to place the softest kiss Severus had ever received on his lips before straightening up. He let go of Severus' hand.
"I have to go."
"Where – "
"To victory." 'To my death' was left unspoken.
It was agonising to watch Harry walk away. It was even more painful to watch Harry go while knowing it was probably going to be the last time Severus would ever see him again.
"Harry!" Severus rasped, horrified to hear his voice cracking. "Harry."
He could see Harry stiffened where he halted his pace, reaching for his Invisibility Cloak. "We do what we must do," Harry spoke softly. "And I must do what I must do."
Severus bit his lip. "For the greater good."
"For the greater good," Harry echoed, giving Severus one last lingering smile before disappearing completely from view.
"You're mad, Potter."
The younger man smiled at the other man's sneer, choking back a somewhat girlish giggle that threatened to break free at the sight of the other man's scowl. The scowl would have been more threatening had the man not look like he had only moments ago been thoroughly kissed.
"If kissing the person one adores makes him mad, then I shudder to think of the total number of people who are mad in this world."
The man sneered. It only made Harry want to kiss him again. And again. And again after that.
"Mr. Potter, I demand you return to your room right now! We shall forget this 'incident' ever took place, and neither you nor I should tell anyone about this nonsense. Is that understood?"
Harry shrugged nonchalantly, smile on his face in tact. "No, Professor Snape. I'm afraid I can't go back until I properly talk to you."
"We have absolutely nothing to talk about, Potter!"
"I don't think so, Sir."
"And I don't think so as well, Mr. Potter."
"Wait, Snape – "
Severus heard Voldemort's triumphant cry and Hagrid's anguish yell and knew exactly what had happened. He forced his eyes shut, willing his ears to not listen to the noise around him that grew stronger by the second. Despite his best effort, however, he could not drown a soft whisper that caressed his ears with familiar tenderness.