Three years later, an old wizard strolled into Gringotts when he saw a familiar figure.

"Severus," he said shakily.

The younger man looked up. "Headma…ah, that is not correct anymore, is it? Mr Dumbledore," he smirked.

"Yes," Dumbledore said sadly, "I have retired to my family's home as part of the settlement with the Wizengamot and Hogwarts. And you?"

"I live a quiet life. Research, potions. Take on the jobs I find interesting and leave the rest."

Dumbledore nodded his understanding. He was quiet for a moment. "Where is Harry?"

"In New Zealand at the moment. He said something about it being a great place for a movie. He is travelling, enjoying life, that sort of thing. You know, the activities you never allowed him."

Dumbledore ignored the barb. "I thought you had rented a place together after you left Hogwarts."

"For a while we did, though our relationship wasn't as…intimate…as the papers would have had it," Severus clearly wished to leave but decided to get this conversation out of the way, though the thought of what Harry had done when the Prophet announced their alleged upcoming wedding still made him laugh when he thought of it. "We had lived in such close proximity for such a long time that after our imprisonment, we needed to slowly learn to live apart again, though we remain close friends."

"But you shared rooms at Hogw…oh." Dumbledore had the decency to blush when he remembered that Hogwarts, to those men, was also part of their imprisonment. He sighed.

"I thought that at you considered me a mentor and father-figure," he said sadly, "I was wrong."

"No, you weren't," Severus's eyes became distant, "for many years you were just that. And you could have been again, even after Azkaban."


"You locked us up and demanded forgiveness, or rather, told us there was nothing to forgive. If you had apologised, acknowledged that you did wrong, I, for one, would have given you the benefit of the doubt. If you had asked for my forgiveness instead of demanding, I would eventually have given it to you. You meant that much to me that I could even have forgiven you for Azkaban had you given me the time and space to come to terms with it. You did not. You thought only of yourself and not of us. You took what wasn't yours, and now you pay the price."

He turned around and left, but not before giving Dumbledore a note.

Curious, the old man opened it and groaned.

On the parchment was a recipe. For mustard soup.