Disclaimer - not mine. All credit goes to the very talented J. K. Rowling.
It's been so long since I have updated this that I wanted to rework the chapters a bit before posting new chapters. Basically the same as before, only with less grammatical and spelling errors. Enjoy and please remember to review.
Severus Snape, Headmaster
Severus Snape looked down at the photograph in his hands. Lily Evans was staring up and him, waving and smiling. He liked to think that she was smiling at him; that she was saying hello to her old friend. But he knew that was just wishful thinking. Lily had not spoken to him since his fifth year at Hogwarts. Lily married that damn Potter and had forgotten all about Severus. He doubted that had she been alive she would have said hello to him on the street.
And it was all his doing.
It was because of him that she had broken off their friendship and what little hope there was for it to grow into something more. It was because of him that she was now dead and Harry had no mother to console him. Merlin knows there were many times throughout his Hogwarts years he needed it. It was all because of him.
Severus blinked back the tears that were threatening to fall. He didn't deserve Lily. Not then. Certainly not now.
"Severus, I didn't think I would see the day when you would finally let go of your emotions." The portrait of Albus Dumbledore smiled down at Severus kindly.
"I just wish things were different. I wish I had never met Lucius Malfoy and the rest of them. I wish I had been sorted into another House. I wish I had never called Lily a Mudblood." Severus paused, staring at the desk in front of him. How odd it felt to be on this side of the desk talking to his old headmaster's portrait instead of being the young professor looking for advice on the other side. "I wish things were different. I wish I could ensure my students' safety."
"Now you sound like the man I always knew you were." Severus looked up and saw Dumbledore's portrait beaming down at him and got a funny feeling that old Dumbledore still had one last trick up his sleeve. Dumbledore always had one last trick up his sleeve, especially when you thought that there was no hope left.
"What do you mean, Albus?" Severus asked, narrowing his eyes.
"What is it you want most?"
Severus wrinkled his brow in puzzlement. What was Dumbledore doing this time?
"Just answer the question, Severus. Look inside yourself and find what it is you wish for more than anything."
Severus closed his eyes and allowed memories to wash over him. He saw Lily smiling at him. He saw the Dark Lord saying he could find another woman of purer blood. Those images didn't last long, though Severus's first thought was of Lily.
He hesitated for a moment, letting the image of Lily linger for a moment longer. Severus was afraid to go any deeper within the resesses of his mind. It was not a place he visited often. But it was the place where he knew he would find the answer to the question which he had been asking himself since he was a child.
Where is it that I truly belong?
Another memory came without warning or expectation. He saw Harry clinging to Cedric Diggory's dead body, crying. Dumbledore was trying to comfort Harry while making him move so he could examine Cedric. Then Mad Eye Moody came and led Harry back up to the castle when Albus said to stay. It was that moment that Severus realized the truth. Moody wasn't trying to care for the boy, comfort him, and play the fatherly role that he so desperately needed. Moody was just doing someone else's bidding.
The scene changed and Harry was chasing Severus through the castle grounds. "Coward!" Harry shouted at him. "Don't call me coward!" The pain and the humiliation of Severus murdering Dumbledore finally broke the barriers he had so carefully kept hidden behind for so many years.
Severus opened his eyes and slowly brought them up to meet Dumbledore's.
"I wish I had never fallen into the dark arts. I wish that I had not been so cruel to Lily. I wish that I could have made her love me. And I wish that I had been there for Harry when he needed someone, instead of letting him struggle with his feelings on his own. Instead of labeling him so quickly as his father's son."
"He is more like his mother than you have realized, Severus," Dumbledore said to the new Headmaster.
"I know." Severus closed his eyes for a second. "I should have listened to you when you first told me that, Albus. I should have seen that before. But I finally have. After Potter has gone off with his friends, risking more than he knows to destroy the man that has hunted him for as long as he can remember. He's given up a home, friends, Ginny Weasley." Severus opened his eyes again and cursed himself silently. "All for what? To destroy evil. To do what I have been afraid to do all my life. To face my fears. To say this is the right thing to do even though I am scared and do not want to do it and don't know what is going to happen."
Dumbledore sat there silently watching Severus vent, finally letting out all of the emotions that he had kept bottled up for so many years.
"I wish I could go and take that all back. To change my past. To be free of my demons."
"Even I can't change time like that, Severus," Dumbledore said softly.
"I know," Severus said, hanging his head.
"We can't change what has already happened, Severus, but we can make up for it now." Severus looked up at Dumbledore's portrait, afraid of what he was going to say next.
"Harry needs to find all of the remaining Horcruxes and something to destroy them with. The students, all those that do not come from the old wizarding families and the Gryffindor's especially, are in danger. Some have gone missing, others into hiding. They need help. You, Severus, are in a favorable position to help both."
"Do you know how hard it will be keeping this a secret from the Dark Lord?"
Dumbledore nodded. "Yes, Severus, I do. But you said it yourself. You want to ensure your students safety. You have stopped thinking like a man and begun to think like a headmaster. Like a Gryffindor."
Severus snorted. "I am not a Gryffindor. I'm a Slytherin. Cowardly, no real friends, tendency to be lured by the Dark Arts…"
"And braver than most men. To lie to Voldemort to his face? To spy on him for me for so long? Many men who claim themselves brave would never dare to do such a thing. It is the men who do not think of themselves as extraordinary that are the bravest. Like Harry. Like yourself."
"But how can I do this when everyone thinks that I am evil, that I'm just another one of Voldemort's pawns?"
"Oh, I'm sure that you will think of something. You always do. And remember, Severus, despite what's happened between you and Harry, he was very close to being your son."
Dumbledore smiled at Severus and then walked out of his frame leaving nothing but and empty chair and a blank background behind. Severus sighed. He knew what he had to do. He just didn't know how.