Chapter 30

Spring held many beautiful colours, ranging from vibrant pinks to earthy greens. This was especially evident in the forest. As Harry walked through the trees, he got to enjoy the fresh smell of rain in the air. He touched a few trunks, amazed at the ancient wisdom that he felt they held. They had seen many births, and many deaths. And so had he.

The letter he had received had been short. It was so true to Snape's character, so plain and without ornamentation, that he had felt it was impossible to ignore it. How could he? He had been waiting months for the slightest indication of where to find the man, and now he had received a map to get there.

Funny enough, he felt as though he had been here before. It was almost as though he had dreamt of the forest long ago, perhaps in his childhood, and was here stepping through it. For all he knew, the lush vegetation could well be a figment of his imagination. Nowadays, that wouldn't surprise him.

When he had first received Snape's letter, he had been shocked. Casually sitting at the Weasleys' table, enjoying the fresh air coming in from the open door, he had hardly expected any mail. He had just received letters from Hermione and Ron, and nobody else wrote him.

The script had been small and cramped, nothing particularly fancy. His use of the word "Harry" rather than "Potter" had surprised him, and yet it was to be expected. They had apparently snogged, after all. And really, now that he thought of it, that was not such an unlikely concept. The man certainly wasn't ugly. And Harry was of age now.

At the very least, if finding Snape helped fill the void in his life, it would all be worth it. Even if he had to learn to love him once again. Was it possible to learn to love someone? Was it possible to love someone, forget that you do, and then love them again? Dumbledore had said on many occasions that loved conquered all. But weren't memories part of the foundation of love? One did not simply look at someone and fall in love unconditionally. It took much time to develop those types of feelings, and if all of that time was suddenly erased in one's mind, could love ever overcome that?

Months ago, he had been incapable of imagining his life without the threat of Voldemort. And now here he was, living in a free world, and he was as miserable as ever. He knew not in what direction his life was headed, nor did he know what to do next with himself. He had to return to Hogwarts and finish his education, of course, but he no longer had the drive to do so. Given he had personally killed Voldemort, he would be accepted for Auror training as soon as he was out of Hogwarts—but was that what he wanted? To see more people die, to kill more men and women, to ruin more families? He had had enough of it for one lifetime. He had killed the most evil wizard that had ever lived. Wasn't that enough? Apparently not.

Suppose he went to Hogwarts and finished up his sixth and seventh years. What then? If he didn't go through with Auror training, what else would he like to do? He couldn't be a Healer, he knew that right away. It was too much of a responsibility for him nowadays. Quidditch no longer held the same appeal that it once did. He was tired of being in the spotlight.

At seventeen years of age, Harry felt ready to retire. He was done, both physically and emotionally. Even this small hike through the forest was causing his sides to cramp and his breath to come in small pants; his leg throbbed painfully whenever he took a step. Emotionally and mentally, his mind simply did not function the way it did before. It took him much longer to remember the most simple of concepts than it ever had in the past, and that, the Healers had told him, would most likely be a permanent problem.

He was fit for nothing anymore, and here he was, wandering in the woods, trying to find someone who could make sense of it all. Someone who loathed him, who had teased and taunted him mercilessly, someone he had wanted to give a good kick since his first few days at Hogwarts.

And he was depending on this very person to sort out his life for him.

It made no sense to him. How could he expect this man to be able to fix everything? The moment he had read the letter, he had felt an urge stronger than any he had ever experienced before to go and see him. His mind was somehow convincing him that finding Snape added up to finding the answers to everything in his life. It was ridiculous, preposterous, and yet, it was all he had.

When at last he approached a cabin, he felt again that it was familiar. Not even bothering to try and remember when he had seen it, he travelled up a small dirt path. Smoke was rising from a stone chimney, and a number of cauldrons were set around the door. The house was positioned in a clearing in the woods, and a few yards away was an enormous greenhouse.

He wondered whether he should ring the bell or knock, but it made no difference: as he neared the structure, its owner came out of the door.

Gray was beginning to weave itself into his black locks, and it was odd to see him in a blue Muggle jumper and jeans. Harry walked up to him, heart beating a tattoo against his chest, and he stopped just short of the wooden porch. Snape stood by the house, unsure of what to do.

"You came," he said.

Harry nodded. "I did."

"How are you?"

"Today is a good day."

"I see." Snape paused, then said, "Have you thought of my story? I shouldn't have gone and approached you like that, it was wrong of me, throwing all of that onto you at once."

"No," Harry sighed. "It's fine. You did the right thing. And I've thought of it. The truth is...I don't know what to do anymore. Something's missing, I can't explain it, but something that's supposed to be in my life isn't there anymore. And given I lost my memories about us, I figured it was you."

"Understandable," Snape muttered, coming closer. "And what have you decided to do?"

"Well, first of all, I'm going to call you by your real name," Harry grinned for the first time in months. "Second of all, I want to try this again."

Severus cocked an eyebrow. "Do you, now?"

"I do," Harry replied. "I'm missing something in my life, so this has to be it. And I feel something towards you. It's like my mind knows it's in love with you, it just can't remember the details of why." He sighed. "I spoke to everyone about what happened, and I heard about how I betrayed you. I'm so sorry, I really am. This entire mess, losing my memories, your isolation from society, is all my fault."

"Goodness, I thought I had finally gotten away from your apologies," Severus smirked. "Really, Harry, it's not necessary."

"But it is, it's all my fault—"

He could not speak as he felt hot lips press against his own. It felt wonderful, perfect, as his tongue slithered around Severus' in a tantalizing dance. He ran his fingers through his black hair, unable to figure out why he and his friends had ever called it greasy, and pushed his body up against him. They backed up several paces until Severus was up against the house.

And he realised that this was exactly where he was supposed to be.

"It's just," Harry panted, breaking away. "Now, you can't go out of the house—"

"I hate the outdoors."

"—you can't work at Hogwarts—"

"I have my own Potions business now, by mail order, much less stressful."

"--and you're stuck with me."

Severus ruffled his hair and kissed his brow. "That's all I ever wanted."

In this world you tried,
Not leaving me alone, behind.
There's no other way:
I prayed to the gods, let him stay.
The memories ease the pain inside,
Now I know why.

All of my memories keep you near:
In silent moments, imagine you here.
All of my memories keep you near.
Your silent whispers, silent tears.

Made me promise I'd try
To find my way back in this life.
I hope there is a way
To give me a sign you're ok.
Reminds me again it's worth it all
So I can go on.

All of my memories keep you near:
In silent moments, imagine you here.
All of my memories keep you near.
Your silent whispers, silent tears.

Together in all these memories
I see your smile.
All the memories I hold dear.
Darling, you know I will love you
'Till the end of time.

All of my memories keep you near:
In silent moments, imagine you here.
All of my memories keep you near.
Your silent whispers, silent tears.

All of my memories...

I can't believe it's actually done. I cannot believe it. First of all, I want to thank everyone who read this, especially my faithful readers who gave review after wonderful review. I can't name you all in case I forget someone, and I feel guilty for it, but I hope you know who you are! I love you all so very much, you darling people who have made writing this such a pleasure. Thank you, secondly, to anyone who has put this on an alert list, put it on their favorites list, or who has just plain read the story. It is appreciated, as it is thanks to all of you that I have the oppurtunity to write and share my work with everyone. Finally, I would just like to say that this has been a wonderful adventure for me. I feel the story has improved my writing greatly, and this is the first lengthy story I have actually finished.

Please check out my profile to see what I have in line next. I'd also like to quickly point out that the lyrics at the end are from the song Memories, by Within Temptation, on which this story is based. I take no credit for it, though it is beautiful, and was on repeat during my entire writing of this story (over 4000 times played, yikes). Again, thank you for reading, and I hope you can take a moment to leave a quick review and tell me what you thought! Best of wishes to all of you, and I really do truly mean that.