Two things amazed Severus Snape.
First, that the endless war with the Dark Lord was finally over.
Second, that he lived to see it.
Not that he had a great many illusions about his future life. Only Harry Potter's testimony had kept him out of Azkaban. The boy was worshipped on a level beyond even Albus's fame in 1945. The Headmaster had managed to survive as well and shared a bit of the limelight as 'mentor' of the Boy Who Lived To Win.
He threw a few more books into his trunk. The Headmaster had certainly not wasted any time getting rid of him. He had called him into his office this morning, the first morning everyone was out of the hospital wing and he was no longer needed to brew potions.
"Ah, Severus. Do come in."
The twinkle in the old man's eyes was almost blinding. He had declined a chair, having an inkling about the direction this conversation would be taking.
"Now that Voldemort is finally defeated, we can go back to the lives we wanted to live, without the choices war forced upon us," the Headmaster said contently, "I for one am glad for it."
"I can imagine, sir," he muttered.
"You never pretended to like teaching, and I am sure you are glad to be done with it," the old man continued merrily, "I have already arranged for a replacement."
He paled. Despite his dislike for teaching, and especially teaching children, Hogwarts was the only home he had known since he was eleven years old. Besides that, he had no other means to generate an income. The little money he had managed to save from his salary would run out soon enough, and who would buy potions from a former Death Eater?
"When…when will this replacement arrive, sir?" he asked with only a slight tremble in his voice.
"Tomorrow," Dumbledore replied, "I thought it best not to delay things."
No. Having him in the castle was bad for publicity. The Headmaster probably needed to be seen doing something about the horribly mean spy NOW, but he did wish the old man wasn't so…happy about it.
He had expected it, but still it hurt. He had known Dumbledore did not truly care for him, and would discard his tool when he had outlived his usefulness, but he had hoped to be allowed some time, at least, to arrange his future.
With a heavy sigh he closed the trunk. His replacement would be here soon. He had better leave.
As he levitated his trunk, he passed the Great Hall on his way out. Dumbledore was doing announcements and bits of it floated into the Entrance Hall.
"…am overjoyed to announce that a new Potions Professor has been found..."
Swallowing the lump that suddenly seemed lodged in his throat, the ex-Professor stalked away to Hogsmeade Station, sparing only a single glance at the place he had called home for so long.
A week in Spinner's End brought him no closer to any means of living. Through interference of, again, Harry Potter – curse the brat a thousand times – his vault had been released to him. However, the amount in it was not nearly enough to start his own potions shop, not even by mail order. He would need a good supply of ingredients for that and his budget just did not stretch that far.
Applications to work for several apothecaries or even St Mungo's came back negative. Under the terms of his release he was not allowed to leave England. The Aurors planned to check up on him regularly, to keep him from 'dark activities'. As if he hadn't seen enough death and destruction. With them constantly on his back, he could not change into an alter ego and work under that name, either.
Perhaps if he couldn't live overseas, he could still sell his potions there. It was worth a try.
"That was a very insensitive thing to do," Neville commented to Harry, "I mean – not that I mind having another Potions Professor, but it was very harsh to Snape to kick him out like that. I thought Dumbledore cared about him?"
Harry shrugged. "There are times when I doubt Dumbledore cares for anyone at all. It was unfair and harsh. He could at least have allowed him more time to pack and make arrangements. The man has been brewing like crazy for weeks after the final battle. Did you ever hear a thank-you in all of Dumbledore's speeches?"
Neville shook his head. "Do you think he is alright?"
"He will probably start selling potions on his own. He's one of the best brewers in Europe. After we take our NEWTs we should check up on him, see how he's doing."
"Alright," Neville agreed, then he laughed. "Never thought I'd voluntarily agree to contact Snape. But after he saved my life…"
"Yes, exactly. Even though he doesn't like us and we aren't all that fond of him, I want to make sure he is alright, so I can go back to disliking him in peace. I tried to see if Dumbledore knows where he is, but he just tells me not to worry and 'enjoy my new life', as if I didn't owe most of that new life to Snape."
"And once the commotion dies down…"
"He might well leave me to rot like Snape, yeah. Good thing I have made sure he has no say over me in the future."
His savings were running out quickly. His attempts to sell his potions oversees failed. His reputation kept potential customers at bay. In the Wizarding World no one would hire him, except some Knockturn Alley shops who had some rather dark connections that he preferred to stay well away from.
In the end, he had no choice. With no papers except a birth certificate and a Ministry issued social security number, he found a job as a night guard at a Muggle factory. The pay was low as he was untrained, but his forbidding appearance, even in Muggle clothes, had persuaded his employer to hire him. So he sat long hours in an uncomfortable uniform, staring at monitors or working in secret on the Potions book he was writing. There was no hope of getting it published, but he had to keep some connection to his old art, or go insane.
Like Dickens' favourite child, nothing could describe the agony of his soul.