The Other Side of the Mirror

Rating: NC17 (M on FF.N)

Pairings: RL/SS, RL/SB, SS/LE(one sided), LM/SS

Warnings: Slash/Yaoi, Angst, Violence, Non-Com, Werewolf!Snape

Notes: Much of the canon timeline will be the same, but tweaked. Much things will be completely different. I intend on using the series as a guide line but not much more.

Summary: In Sixth year, Remus Lupin nearly killed Severus Snape in wolf form. Miraculously, Severus escaped unharmed. But what if he hadn't?

FF.N readers: This story is originally posted on adultfanfiction(dot)net under the name TGPretender. There, it will be posted in full. Here, there will be obvious edits to keep with the TOS. There will not be on-screen sex or gratuitous violence in this version. This story will also be updated in four chapter increments, a little under twice a week. On AFF.N, it is posted to every day with at least one four-page chapter. Feel free to watch both.

Chapter 29

By Yourself

Somehow, they made it to the bed. There they slept, clutching to one another like children. That evening, a house elf woke them and presented a light dinner. They ate in silence.

Severus was still so awkward. He glanced at Remus over the meal, wondering if he was suppose to say something or do something. There seemed to be a heavy feeling of expectation resting upon them. He had asked Remus to stay, after all. So, now he had to do something with him, especially since there were classes the next two days. He couldn't expect Remus to just lay around his rooms all day.

"Severus." He looked up with a slight jolt. Remus smiled softly at him. He hoped some day it would become more genuine again. "Tomorrow. I'm going to visit Diagon Alley. I should be back by the time you're done with classes."

Severus nodded. "...You don't have to share your itinerary with me."

"Maybe. But I thought you would feel better if I did." Still smiling. Slightly amused. Still sad.

"I could care less what you do all day, Remus," Severus muttered, brushing a bit of hair behind his ear as he glanced off. "If you miss dinner, I won't save you anything."

When he looked back, Remus was staring at him. Severus frowned, wondering why he seemed suddenly shocked but then the expression left him again.

"I should be back by dinner," Remus murmured as he turned back to his meal. He'd barely touched it. Severus beat down the faint worry he felt. If Remus didn't want to eat, he wouldn't make him, much as his body probably needed it.

The remnants of the meal were sent back to the kitchens. They stood around the tiny kitchen table for more than a few minutes before Remus went off to shower. Severus stayed, picking at the hem of one sleeve.

It couldn't be this awkward forever, could it? Had he made a mistake, asking Remus to stay? His own feelings hadn't changed. Severus still wanted him, wanted to be with him, but who was to say Remus felt anything at all? They'd fucked, not even two weeks ago, but that really didn't mean anything. Severus had learned that quickly enough.

That didn't mean he didn't want to have sex with Remus again and properly remember it this time. Severus walked slowly to his bedroom door. He could hear the shower easier from there and caught the scent of his shampoo. It probably wasn't right to be thinking about Remus' wet, naked body with how painfully unsettled they seemed to be by one another.

Severus opened the bathroom door that Remus hadn't locked. An invitation? More likely just lack of thought or care. He was used to living with another man, after all. A man he cared about. Loved, even. Severus tried not to remember how the thought of Black touching Remus set his teeth on edge. He wanted to erase the other man from Remus' body.

Remus didn't notice he was there until he'd already undressed and pulled open the curtain. He jerked, eyes wide and hair slicked back against his head, curling faintly at his nape, soap lathered along his tan skin.

"Severus?" He barely got it out before Severus claimed his mouth and pressed him back, entering the shower. Remus was still and shocked at first and Severus had a faint fear. He should have waited. He should never have initiated. Lucius had always moved first, jumping him whenever he pleased, same with Remus. He should have waited...

And then Remus uttered the softest noise as he curled his arms around Severus, drawing them flush against one another. Remus was so warm from the water and slick under his fingertips. Severus couldn't help tracing over the bared body against him, feeling Remus shiver here and there and hearing his breathing hitch. He loved knowing that he was the one causing it.

Remus broke his mouth free only to descend upon his throat with sudden hunger. A groan made it past Severus' lips before he could stop it. This was different, so very different from Lucius. He felt heat burn in his belly, stroked ever higher by Remus' ever touch, and his heart pounded in his chest with anticipation of more.

By Merlin... He'd never been this excited...

When he came down again, they stood as faint aftershocks of pleasure ran through their bodies.

"Severus," Remus murmured, his voice weak and rough. "This is..."

"It can be nothing, like before," Severus responded. It was easy to say with his face pressed to the other's shoulder. "If you want it to be, Remus. I... I don't mind."

Remus made a faint, stifled sound and his arms wrapped around him, drawing them more tightly around him. Severus didn't know what it meant. He was a bit frightened to find out.

Eventually, they left the shower and dried off before retiring back to Severus' bedroom. In silence, they dressed for sleep. Severus stood awkwardly at his bedside, tired fingers fumbling over the buttons down the front of his night shirt.

And then Remus was behind him, hands resting on Severus' own and his chest flat against Severus' back. The potions master stiffened as he drew in a swift breath.

"It doesn't have to be." Remus's voice was so soft near his ear. "Nothing. It doesn't have to be."

Severus swallowed thickly and Remus' hands released his own to wrap around his waist, securing them against one another.

"I can't promise not to think of him," Remus murmured. "And you can't promise not to think of her. But we can try this. We can try to heal with each other. Something... Something greater may come of it."

Severus closed his eyes and rested his hands upon Remus' as he leaned back into the other. He wanted to ask how long but the fear of knowing was too strong. So, he simply nodded. They climbed into bed and Remus pulled him close. Severus tucked his head against Remus' throat, listening to Remus' breathing slow and calm. Closing his eyes again, Severus pressed his lips to his throat and rested.

Chapter 30

And Now

The next days were still awkward but slowly, things got better. Severus taught through the day and Remus went about his own business, always back in time for them to have dinner together. They tried talking about inconsequential things but neither had ever been all that good at it.

Still, it was nice. Peaceful. Severus wondered how long it could continue that way and hoped to Merlin that it would be a very long time indeed.

There was still unease in the outside world. Severus often forgot about it in the humdrum of school life. Death Eaters were still being taken in by the end of February. Aurors were still being injured in captures and battles. It would be years before the wizarding world calmed down with how much the power structure of their kind had been thrown into shambles.

Some days, Dumbledore called him into his office and they talked about such dramatic events. He called upon Severus for odd jobs here and there, usually to find more information about various still at large Death Eaters. Severus didn't mind. It was penance, after all. Penance for failing Lily.

It surprised him, how much he still thought of her. Severus had thought that, perhaps, she would free him from her memory if Remus ever returned his feelings, but she hadn't. He still heard her voice now and then, reminding him that he had no right to be happy. There was still something he had to do for her.

Lily's son had been left with her magic hating sister's family. Severus tried to convince Dumbledore to find someone, anyone else, but he was firm. Harry was to be raised as a normal child with no exposure to magic. Severus stopped listening when Dumbledore went on about blood ties and the importance of humility. He didn't care about that. There was no way Lily's sister would give Harry the family he deserved. Severus would find a way. He swore it.

Mid March, Severus found an unsigned note in his bedroom. He narrowed his eyes, reading over the words. Death Eater code, second cypher. Only one of them would have sent him this. Severus pursed his lips and burned the note once he'd mentally decoded and memorized the message. There was no way he couldn't go.

As soon as Remus was asleep, Severus rose and dressed, dragging out a hooded cloak. He didn't know what to write in a note, so he left nothing behind. Instead, he simply snuck out of the castle and headed towards Hogsmeade. As soon as he'd escaped the anti-apparition veil, he disappeared into the night.

Severus was the last to arrive. Snow whipped around him as icy wind bit at his exposed skin. Severus held his cloak tighter around himself, hood barely staying on his head. This was likely one of the few Death Eater meet points that hadn't been discovered yet. He'd only been there once before and had hoped never to return. Severus hated the bone deep cold. His students sometimes complained about the cool dampness of the dungeons, but they had no idea what real cold felt like.

There was light in the run down shack. Severus headed for it with his jaws locked to keep his teeth from chattering. He was stopped near the door with a wand to his throat.

"Snape?" a rough, grouched voice snarled out. Severus didn't turn to look at the man, already knowing by sound that it was Thorfinn Rowle.

"Forgive my lack of expedience," he answered. Rowle snorted and drew back his wand before letting him inside.

No one was hooded. Severus pushed back his own once the door had been shut against the wind. Rowle stood near by, brutal-faced as ever. Leaning against the opposite wall was Augustus Rookwood, lips quirking into a smirk when Severus regarded him with a glance. Alecto and Amycus Carrow were near him with their near insane grins. There was still blood spatter on the male Carrow's duster. Last of the group was Lord Avery. Severus barely remembered meeting him once, when he was in third year. Avery's father had never much cared for him and now glared with as much hate as ever.

"You kept us waaaaaiiiiiting!" Alecto cackled with a little snort of glee. Her brother joined her with a disjointed, wheezy giggle.

"Maybe little Snapeykins was having a wild night," Amycus leered, his sneer lopsided. "We'll have to 'pologize to Blondie later, hmmmmm?"

Severus didn't let himself respond to that. He lifted a brow, arms folded across his chest. In truth, while he could have been offended that Lucius must have 'kissed and talked', all he felt was relief that no one seemed to know about his relationship with Remus Lupin.

"Cut that idiotic blather," Lord Avery snarled out with a disgusted look. Whoops. Avery hated him even more now. Severus couldn't quite feel bad about that.

"Oh, have a heart," Rookwood crooned. "It's just a bit of fun. Really, it's Snape's own fault, pouf that he is."

Avery gave another disgusted grunt and Rowle looked faintly green under a fringe of blond hair. The Carrows just giggled to themselves. Severus was rather convinced that they, more than any Death Eater he'd met, were absolutely bonkers.

"Ugh, if you're all finished with such childish rabble," Avery grumbled, gesturing dismissively. He glanced around the rather motley group, obviously thinking himself above having to ever speak directly to them at any other time. This was serious. Severus's brows furrowed as he watched the man closely.

"Our brothers are being rounded up like pigs to the slaughter. While some of us have seen fit to denounce our Lord and escape punishment," Severus got a particularly hateful glare at that, which he didn't respond to, "we cannot allow his death to go unpunished. The Potter child must be brought to justice."

Severus' heart stopped. While the Carrows cackled and giggled and Rookwood gained another smirk, he could only think of the young child he'd sworn to protect. Somehow, he would have to diffuse this, or find a way to warn Dumbledore.

"He must be made an example of," Avery continued, beating his fist against his palm. "And soon, before any of those imbeciles think we're well and truly beaten. We'll show them that the Death Eaters will never die. Our Lord lives on within us!"

Alecto gave a shrill cackle as her brother giggled beside her. Rookwood snorted and Rowle's lips quirked barely on one side. Severus just nodded, all the while trying not to reel over the idea of anyone going after Lily's child seriously. He had to stop this. Somehow... even if it killed him.

They bantered over ideas, delegating out jobs and information to gather. Severus didn't let himself react to Avery's eyes boring into him as he was ordered to circumvent Dumbledore and find out what he could of the wards. He agreed to it, though he doubted he really needed to. Once everything was settled, they agreed to meet a month from then and broke off.

The Death Eaters filed out into the cold but before Severus could get out the door, a hand grabbed his arm and jerked him back.

"I know what you are, Snape," Avery hissed and Severus went cold but didn't let it show. He clenched his jaw faintly, giving the older man a narrow look.

"And what, precisely, is that?" Severus murmured cooly. Avery's lip curled.

"Halfblood," he spat out. "I swear to Merlin, if you dare fail us, mudblood, I'll rip out your intestines with my bare hands and choke you with them.

Severus lifted a brow at the rather colorful imagery. For a moment, he'd thought Avery knew something dangerous about him. "I shall endeavorer to be victorious then. Now, if you would be so kind as to release me..."

Another sneer, but Avery let go and Severus escaped back to Hogwarts thoroughly chilled. He woke Dumbledore and informed him of what had happened. There was nothing to do just yet, especially since the cold had sapped what little energy Severus still had after teaching that day. Dumbledore sent him to bed with a promise to do what he could to head off the attack.

Severus didn't tell Remus. When he climbed back into bed, Remus tugged him back against him, muttering sleepily about cold feet, and then went right back into deep sleep. He didn't even remember Severus had gotten up at all in the morning. They woke, had breakfast together, and then Severus went to teach.

The month passed too quickly. Dumbledore compiled information for Severus to feed the Death Eaters. He'd chosen various Order members to circumvent the attack, even listened when Severus begged him not to get Remus involved. All of it was going too smoothly. Severus was on edge.

That night, he waited for Remus to sleep again before he left his rooms. Severus checked in with Dumbledore, who had gathered the Order members in the staff lounge, then left with a communication pin in his pocket. With it, he'd be able to signal exactly when the Order would appear, if Avery decided they were prepared enough to attack that very night.

He still hated cold. It chilled him to bone once more, but at least the wind wasn't as blustery this time. He got to the shack and went in, met with the Carrows going over a joke that didn't make much sense and seemed to have to do with chickens. Avery didn't seem all that amused. Rookwood arrived next with Rowle coming up behind, ever the watchful guard dog.

Not much was argued this time. They pooled information and Severus felt a sudden ease to know that the others hadn't found much, not even the name of the family Harry had been left with. He did what he could to misdirect them, offering both truthful and false information. First of all, he directed them to the wrong area and then the wrong family, noting Harry to have been left with a wizarding family. He had confidence that Dumbledore had already warded up the area they'd been planning on using if the Death Eaters hadn't figured out where Harry was. They took the bait and figured through a rough plan. Severus noticed glaring holes, only a few of which he brought to light. It was a perilous game he played here.

Avery decided to attack. They apparated out to the half deserted farmland of some relative of Dumbledore's. In silence, the six of them approached the main house. There were people inside – Severus hoped to Merlin they were plants – and light shone from only one window as someone puttered about in the kitchen for a midnight snack. Severus, with Rookwood at his side, advanced on the back door and unlocked it with a quick charm. Rookwood went ahead of him and Severus stayed close behind has he activated the communication pin and sent a series of taps before switching it off.

Who ever was in the kitchen hadn't noticed them. Rookwood smirked widely and held at the ready... and then everything went to hell. The person in the kitchen attacked as soon as they came around. Rookwood squawked as he narrowly missed a curse and returned fire. Severus did what he could as the two of them retreated from Alaster Moody and got out of the farm house, only to see the whole area had been filled with Order members. Severus saw Alecto screaming bloody murder after someone clipped Amycus' arm with a blistering hex, then dove for cover when a body bind shot past him.

The anti-apparition ward must have gone up just after the others got there. Severus kept up the fight as he moved towards the edge of the field. Edgar Bones managed to catch his leg with a stinging curse that toppled Severus to the ground before he petrified the man and hissed out the counter curse. His leg throbbed with pain as he limped on. Benjy Fenwick nearly caught sight of him, but Severus managed to duck out of the way and he went on to fight with Rowle.

It looked like things were going well enough. He just had to get out of there alive. Gritting his teeth as a stray cutting curse sliced across his back, Severus continued ducking from cover to cover. The battle was soon enough left behind him. He was losing blood too quickly, but he knew if he could just get to the edge of the veil, if he could just manage that far... And then he reached it. Relief flooded him and he gathered what strength he could to get himself back to safety-

"Oh, don't think you're getting out of this!" Avery roared as he grabbed Severus and apparated them away.

Chapter 31

You'll Live On

Severus ended up dumped into the snow. He tried to scramble to his feet, but Avery's boot smashed against his head and he fell back down with a pained groan as his head swam. Avery's lip curled with disgust as he kicked him again.

"You," he spat out. "I knew it. I knew a bloody halfblooded brat like you would betray us!"

"What-what are you..."

"Shut up when your betters deign to speak to you!"

Another vicious kick and Severus curled in on himself, gasping for breath. Avery leveled his wand and suddenly, Severus' world exploded into red hot pain. It sheered through him like fire, alighting ever nerve with agony. He writhed in the snow, trying to escape inescapable pain as he screamed. His muscles strained, threatening to rip apart under skin that would tear at any minute. Blood coursed down his face as his nose bled.

It ended as quickly as it began. Severus laid on his side, panting harshly as he curled in on himself. The aftershocks of pain raced through him and he shook badly. He could barely feel his extremities at all and his head felt like it was full of cotton.

"Pathetic," Avery sneered out. Severus managed somehow to get his eyes open and look up at the man. "Absolutely pathetic. Just what I'd expect from muggle spawn."

Severus coughed up blood when he tried to speak. Avery snorted as he shakily got up to his knees. He looked obscenely pleased to see that and then cast another quiet crucio again. Severus slammed back into the snow screaming. He didn't know how long it continued. The night seemed to go on forever, punctuated only by short seconds of respite between rounds of Cruciatus. It burned and contorted him, drawing soul wrenching screams until his throat was eviscerated and bloody. Soon enough, Severus didn't even try to get up in the intermediary periods. He could barely move, barely breath. He wondered if his heart would give out before Avery got bored of playing with him.

"Not even a tenth of what's owed to you," Avery growled and knelt down. He grabbed Severus' face roughly, jerking it up to face him. Severus' eyes rolled up slowly, no doubt bloodshot by then. "Look at you. Pathetic little muggle spawn bastard. Can't even defend yourself. Not that I expected any better from a halfblooded brat."

A hard fist across his face opened his lip up. Severus groaned and tried weakly to protect himself, only to have another strike land. Wheezing faintly for breath, mouth tasting like blood from when he'd chewed the inside of his mouth rather viciously, Severus barely managed to roll his head back again and stare back at him. What else could he do? It hurt, everything hurt so much. He wondered if he would ever stop hurting.

"I should just end you right now. It would be a bloody service to the world, ridding it of some idiot, traitorous pup like you." Avery's dark eyes flickered from his face down his body and back before gaining a thoughtful and even colder look. Severus shivered involuntarily. "But maybe you can be of use to me yet."

The wind roared with sudden violence as Avery grabbed a handful of his vest and dragged him bodily across the snow. Severus groaned as snow and ice dragged across his back and side, a rock gouging a deep gash into his arm. He couldn't struggle. His limbs felt like dead weights and it was all he could do to keep conscious.

Avery jerked him through the door and sent him sprawling into the center of the room as he slammed the door shut behind him...

…He sighted his wand, which he'd managed to keep hold of until they got to the shack. Severus threw his hand out and willed with all his being to reach it as Avery kneed his legs apart.

A moment later, wood smacked against his hand. Severus' fingers curled around his wand and he didn't hesitate at all.

"Sectumsempra!"

Avery screamed and Severus didn't wait to see what he'd hit. He scrambled from under the man and rolled onto his side, wand held up shakily as he dragged his pants back up. There were deep gashes in Avery's chest, bleeding profusely, and two fingers had tumbled to the floor. Avery grabbed for his wand, face pulled with pain and rage, but Severus was faster with adrenaline shooting through him. He cast a second sectumsempra that Avery barely got out of the way of. It shot two deep groves into the adjacent wall and wind roared in from outside. Severus struggled to his feet just as a cutting curse clipped his arm before he could get up a shield. Avery yelled with rage when a stinging curse caught him full in the face.

Severus didn't have the energy for this and he knew it. He was shaking so badly he could barely cast. Gritting his teeth at the power it took to keep up his shield, Severus stumbled for the door. The shield failed just as he got there and he yelled as pain erupted along his back from another landed hex. He fell into the snow but managed somehow to get along the wall and out of direct sight. Severus' head swam as he fumbled at the clasp of his slacks together. He was instantly frozen, ripped as his robes were, but there was little he could do for that just yet.

Avery came out in a rage and stumbled past him in the snow. Severus dragged himself up and moved along the side of the shack, getting to the far side without Avery realizing he was still there. He tried to summon up enough energy to apparate but he was in too much pain and too tired. He stumbled half blind in the snow, leaving the shack behind as he escaped into the forest of naked trees. He heard Avery's enraged bellow echo through the sky and hastened himself as much as he could.

He had to get back to Remus.

Severus's legs went out from under him and he tumbled into a snow drift. He hissed as the cold hurt and numbed him. Had to keep moving, but it was so hard to just get up. His limbs didn't want to obey him. Breathing ached as cold permeated deeply inside.

He didn't notice that he'd closed his eyes until he jerked them open at the sound of movement near by. Somehow, Severus managed to get his wand up. He saw Avery's nearly beastial eyes and cast without thinking. A gash opened up across his throat and face. Avery gagged, hands grabbing up his neck as his lifeblood flowed over his fingers. The body dropped as he continued to bleed out and soon enough fell still.

Severus' breathing was hard and painful. His shaking was lessening as the cold set in and he felt absolutely numbed. He was really going to die this time.

He didn't panic. Severus didn't have the energy to. Besides, he thought he probably deserved to die this way. Lost. Alone.

There was faint noise that caught his attention. Severus listened to the vague voices for white a few minutes before he thought back to the comm pin. He fumbled it out of his pocket, icy fingers barely able to grip at all. He ended up losing his hold on it just after he'd activated it and it dropped in the snow next to his face. He could hear clearly from there anyway, even over the wind.

"Severus? Severus, answer me! Goddamn it, Septima, Filius, work faster! SEVERUS!"

Severus smiled, even though it hurt.

"Remus...." he whispered. His throat and face hurt too much for anything better. The voice on the other side cut off abruptly and then began shushing people around him viciously.

"Severus! Where are you? I'm coming. I'll -where are you?"

There wouldn't be time. Severus knew that. But still, he felt warm inside at the thought of Remus trouncing through the snow for him. His pack leader was very devoted, wasn't he...?

"Remus," he whispered again. "I..."

"Please, just tell me. I'll be there in a moment, I swear to Merlin, Severus, just tell me where you are."

Severus laughed softly. He heard Remus make a pained noise.

"It's all right, Remus..."

"No it's not. It's not at all, Severus, where the hell are you?! Hurry up, Septima! Filius!"

He couldn't feel his body anymore and his eyes felt so heavy and tired. He was going to black out soon. Pity. He'd wanted to talk to Remus a little more.

"Severus! Don't stop talking to me! Oh Merlin, how hurt are you? Severus!"

"I'm tired," he murmured as he let his eyes fall closed. He listened to Remus continue to yell at him, letting the man's voice roll over him like a comforting wave. He thought back to the last calm night they'd had. Remus made love to him so gently and he could still remember the feeling of his arms after, so warm and secure. He smiled again even though it hurt. "Remus... I love you..."

"SEVERUS!"

He'd have liked to see Remus before he died, but at least they'd had the time they did. At least he'd been able to tell him he loved him. His consciousness faded with that thought.

Chapter 32

Because That's How

Severus awoke to glorious warmth. Thin fingers carded through his hair and his head rested upon a warm lap. He let himself bask in that for quiet a while. No pain, no cold. Wonderful.

"Severus," murmured a soft, gentle voice. He opened his eyes and looked up. Eileen Snape smiled softly down at him. "There you are, my brave son..."

Severus frowned with confusion. His mother...? He sat up, staring at her. She looked younger, as if the strain of the years had been wiped clean. She was pretty when she smiled, her dark eyes gleaming with health and happiness.

"Mother... how? You're.."

"Yes, Severus." She reached over, brushing her fingertips down his face. "You already know how."

He swallowed thickly. "I'm dead."

"Almost."

Severus raked a hand back through his hair. He should have cared quite a bit. He didn't. Instead, there was simple a deep inner peace inside him. Severus glanced back at his mother, who was patiently waiting with her hands resting on her knees.

"Are you..." He hesitated, then forced himself to continue. "Are you... all right?"

"Oh, yes," she murmured, smiling more brightly than she ever had in life. "I'm very happy now. I've missed you, Severus, but... It's peaceful here. So very peaceful."

He nodded and crossed his legs under him, letting his hands drop limply into his lap. A weight he hadn't realized he'd felt lifted off him.

"Severus," Eileen called as she shifted closer to him. "It's all right. You did so well. I'm proud of you. More proud than I've ever been before."

"Proud?" He blinked at her as she began to softly pet his hair. "But I..."

He looked down at his arms and jerked back his left sleeve. The mark on his arm was more of an ugly bruise than a true mark anymore. He couldn't quite see the lines that made up the tattoo. Eileen laid one slim hand over it.

"Severus, you have done things – terrible things – but all in the name of justice and loyalty." She rested her head against his shoulder. "How can I not forgive such a noble son?"

"There's nothing noble about me," he insisted. He closed his eyes, laying his hand over hers. "I... I spent all of school fighting with idiots who didn't know better. I coveted another man's wife even after she died. I let you and father die. I joined a madman-"

"Shh..." Eileen pulled him to her and he shivered as his head rest against her chest. His arms wrapped round her tightly. They hadn't embraced this way since he was a small child. "None of that, Severus. You're human, my son. Everyone human makes mistakes and every mistake is forgivable here."

He might have started crying then, but he didn't acknowledge it. Eileen pet through his hair, rocking him gently like a child.

"You have done the very best you could, Severus," she murmured softly. "No one could have asked you for more."

He was definitely crying by then. Eileen held him through it as he gave great, choked sobs against her dress, surely clutching her tightly enough to hurt, but she didn't complain. He didn't know how long it lasted, but afterward, he felt a great peace inside.

"Father, is he.."

"He's here," Eileen said gently. "But he doesn't have the courage to face you. He wanted me to apologize to you for him. Just like Tobias, isn't it?"

Severus couldn't return the soft smile he heard in her voice. His father? Afraid to see him? It was hard to believe, Tobias shying from anything. Unpleasant as he was, he'd always seemed so steady and strong.

"Someday, I hope you can forgive us," Eileen murmured. Severus lifted his head and stared at her.

"Forgive you? I'm the one that-"

"No." She smiled sadly and caressed his cheeks with her soft fingers. "No, Severus. There is nothing we have to forgive you for. You've done nothing to warrant it. But we... We wronged you in so many ways."

"Mother-"

"Let me speak, Severus." He fell silent without even meaning to. "We were miserable, Tobias and I. We didn't do our best by you and we should have. You deserved more from your parents."

Severus didn't know what to say to that.

"You should have been loved and cared for and cherished. I... I know you didn't get that. And I'll be forever sorry-"

"Stop it." Severus' voice was strained and hoarse as he dragged her against him. "Don't... Mother, you did all you could for me. I... I couldn't have asked for more from you. There was Grandfather and all of Father's expectations and..."

A faint tremor went down Eileen's back. She held him tightly and whispered against his neck, "Thank you, Severus... That means more to me than you'll ever know..."

They clasped to each other for so long. Severus didn't care about the passage of time. His mother was warm and happy in his arms, at last content with herself and her life. He couldn't have felt happier.

"Severus."

He stiffened. Even after years of not seeing her, he knew that voice. Slowly, Severus lifted his head, eyes widening as he saw her.

Lily was as beautiful as she had ever been. Her soft red hair gleamed with ethereal light and her lips smiled with a smile just for him. The green outfit she wore brought out her eyes wonderfully. He shivered.

Eileen pulled away slowly and got up, giving them space. Lily stepped closer and held out her hand. As he took it, Severus was amazed at how soft her skin felt. Had she ever been so soft? He rose, speechless.

"It's good to see you, Severus," she said softly, still smiling for him. "I've missed you."

"Lily..." He didn't know what to say. He'd failed her so utterly.

"Stop that, Severus. It's unbecoming of you." Lily smacked his hand lightly but her eyes were brimming with good feeling. "No need to look at me so sadly. This is a happy reunion. I'm not here to condemn you."

"I deserve it."

"What? For loving me? No. I'm not nearly that cruel. I'm not even angry at you for hating James. That... It's understandable." She sighed a little. "And you did your best to save me. I know you did. Dumbledore never told us who had warned him, but after we died... We knew. You've been a true friend, Severus."

He swallowed thickly. Lily reached up and took his face in her hands. She drew him down and he followed without question. When her lips reached his, he stopped thinking. She tasted of strawberries and sunshine and her lips were soft as silk. His hands found her own and it was all he could do not to clasp her to him.

Too soon, Lily drew away and smiled so gently at him.

"A reward. You've done better by me than most anyone, Severus."

He nodded faintly, unable to speak around the lump in his throat. Lily drew her hands back as she took a step away.

"I need to ask one last favor of you," she murmured. "It won't be easy. What I'm going to ask will be dangerous and full of pain, but you're the only one I can trust with it."

"Anything," he said thoughtlessly. "Anything at all. I... My life is yours, Lily."

"No it isn't." She smiled. "It belongs to someone else who deserves it far more than I do."

He didn't quite understand what she meant, but she didn't need him to.

"I want you to watch over Harry," she said as her expression grew serious. "His life will be hard and painful, but there's nothing I can do for him except hope that the person who loved me best can love him as well."

"Harry? But I'm-"

"Not for long. They're trying to bring you back even now. Can't you hear their voices?"

Severus frowned in confusion at her and then he heard it. Faint voices, too vague to really get what they were saying or who they belonged to. He looked up into the whiteness surrounding them and tried to concentrate but they were too fleeting. The words flowed together.

"Do I have to go back?" he asked quietly. Leave this? The peace, the quiet... She took his hand.

"I'd like to tell you yes," she admitted. "But it's your choice, whether you wake up or not."

Slowly, Severus lowered his gaze down to Lily's face. There was sadness in her eyes and a longing. Not for him, of course, but rather for his choice in going back or not. She'd have returned in a heartbeat if she could and he knew it.

"He's waiting," he murmured. "Your son."

"Yes. And so is your Remus," she replied with a smile. He blinked and then flushed as he glanced off. "Oh, Severus. There's no need to be embarrassed about loving someone. I'm happy for you."

"I... I'm not sure if he..."

"You'll never know if you don't go back to him, now will you?"

Severus couldn't help but smile faintly at that. Lily leaned up and kissed his cheek, then drew back as Eileen came to clasp his hand.

"I'll be waiting here," she said, smiling gently. "When it's time and I can meet this boyfriend of yours."

Severus didn't trust his voice. He took a breath and then let himself wake up.

Chapter 33

It's Supposed To Be

Severus opened his eyes. The world was bright and painful and real around him. Vaguely, he remembered something that should have been important, something he needed to do... It escaped him. He felt as if something awesome and lovely had happened but he couldn't for the life of him remember it.

There were voices around him, but the curtains had been pulled shut around him. The infirmary, he guessed from the mixed scents of mint, astringent, and spell work. Severus turned his head to listen better, but tried to move little else. His entire body felt like one bruise.

"....sign of the Carrows," someone was saying in a hushed tone near the curtain. Severus could just make out their shadow. "Looks like they got away scott free."

"Damn," another grouched and Severus knew that voice. Alaster Moody.

"At least we got Rowle and Rookwood. Those idiots will be sharing a cell soon as Snape wakes up to testify."

A new voice muttered something but it was too quiet for Severus to hear. One of the others shifted uncomfortably.

"Don't say that. Pomfrey says he could wake up any time now."

No answer, but Severus didn't care to listen anymore. He fell back to sleep.

Sometime later, he woke to darkness. The air was cooler and a faint shiver ran down his back. Severus stared up at the dark ceiling for a while before noticing breathing near by. He turned his head. There was someone in the chair next to his bed, slumped over onto the bed with his head resting on his arms. He knew who it was. He'd never mistake the salt and pepper hair or the particular mix of scents he always found around Remus.

Severus slowly pushed himself up to sit, much as his sore back resisted. He was stifled and though his body felt leaden, he was full of nervous energy. The moon, he realized. It was one night to full. He sighed softly and looked down at the sleeping wizard. Reaching over, he gently brushed Remus' hair from his face.

"You were crying," Severus whispered to himself as he brushed his fingertips down the tear tracks along his cheek. He frowned. The sleeping man continued to rest. The bags under his eyes told of long nights. Had he been there this whole time, standing vigil?

"It's nice to see you awake, my boy."

Severus stiffened but he wasn't really surprised to see Dumbledore open the curtain on the other side and step close. He smiled, twinkling blue eyes flickering down to Remus before returning to Severus once more.

"You gave us quite a scare." Dumbledore conjured up a chair and sat down, making himself comfortable.

"How long was I out?"

"Almost two weeks. We wondered if you would survive the hypothermic shock."

"Avery cornered me. I had no other choice," Severus responded. He didn't bother drawing his hand back from carding through Remus' hair.

"Yes, I had wanted to ask you about that..." The old man trailed off and then smiled. "This feels very familiar, doesn't it?"

Severus gave him a confused look. Dumbledore just waved a dismissive hand.

"Forgive me, I feel I may have suffered a brief feeling of senility." He didn't believe that for a moment, but if Dumbledore didn't want to talk of useless things, he didn't really care. "Avery has been taken care of. Dear Alaster took blame for killing him. It wouldn't do for the remaining Death Eaters to doubt your loyalties any more than they already do."

"Loyalties? Does that really matter anymore?" Severus frowned darkly. "The Dark Lord is dead. Most of his followers are in Azkaban or dead, if they didn't weasel their way out of things like the Malfoys. Why do I have to keep up this charade? I'm done with it, Dumbledore! I'm finished being a puppet to one person or another. I think twenty-two years is enough service to everyone but myself!"

Dumbledore's expression grew very grave. He said nothing for a long while and Severus thought, for once, that he'd over stepped himself. Then Dumbledore sighed softly and tugged at his beard.

"Not yet," he murmured so softly that Severus barely heard it. "I'm sorry, Severus, but I will have need of you for a long while after this. It has to be you."

"Damnit, why?!" Severus' fingers curled tightly in the sheets. "Why me? Why when I finally have something to lose?!"

"Do you?"

Severus stiffened. He hadn't meant to say that. He hadn't meant to admit it out loud. Dumbledore reached out and rested his hand over Severus'.

"That's why, Severus."

He grit his teeth, closing his eyes tightly.

"I don't want to ask it, Severus," Dumbledore murmured. "But I must. And you promised me your life until the end. I can't give up that obligation yet."

"The danger is over."

"No it isn't." The old man sighed and drew back his hand. "I fear we will soon face a danger greater than we have seen before. One that will rend us to the very foundation. I can't give up any edge the Light may wield when that time comes."

"Fine. Fine, keep me in your pocket if you wish, but you will give me one concession."

Dumbledore lifted his gaze, watching him with calm that wasn't quite sincere. Severus lifted his head and pinned a hard glare onto him.

"Put Harry Potter into my care."

To say the old man looked surprised was an understatement. He stared for quite a few seconds before he could even think to respond.

"Severus-"

"This is not negotiable," Severus snapped at him. "I won't have Lily's disgraceful sister raise that child. I swore to watch over him. I vowed to. Leave the boy in my care."

"Severus, he must grow up innocent! As a normal child!"

"He will. I have no intention of letting anyone turn that boy into a soldier. He's Lily's son, Albus. I owe it to him for failing my pack."

Dumbledore drew a slow, strained breath. "And if I don't acquiesce to this demand?"

"You'll have one less spy for your uncertain, dark future." Severus was deadly serious. "I refuse to be your pawn otherwise."

The old man sighed softly. He glanced from Severus to the still sleeping werewolf, and then carefully levered himself up from his chair.

"I will have the necessary paperwork for adoption and change of name," Dumbledore murmured. He didn't sound pleased, but Severus didn't care. "If the boy is to stay within wizarding society, it is up to you to keep him secret and safe."

"I have no intention of shutting him away from the rest of the world," Severus said immediately. Dumbledore gave him a sharp look and he continued. "He will be my son. A Snape, and protected by that name. The details I can manage on my own. After all, it isn't as if my secretive nature is unknown. If I happened to have a secret lover, it wouldn't be at all surprising, now would it?"

Dumbledore's eyes slid to Remus once more. He heaved a sigh. "I will trust your judgment, at least for now, Severus."

"You don't have to trust me," Severus retorted, "but as long as you accept this decision, I don't really give a damn."

The old man snorted faintly. "Someday, you will try my patience to the end, Severus."

"I look forward to that day, Albus, if only to see you lose your insufferable calm."

Dumbledore left soon after. Severus felt tension flow out of him as he was left alone in the dark with Remus' steady breathing to soothe him. He thought about waking him, but didn't. Remus needed the rest.

Severus laid back down. Life would be different now. He'd not realized really that the end of Lord Voldemort signaled the end of the war and the end of having to play the pawn. He'd never thought in his wildest dreams that he'd ever have the courage to stand up against Albus Dumbledore.

Lily's eighteen month old son would soon come to live with him. He wondered if Remus would stay. After all, he'd not told Remus before this that he meant to take in the boy. Remus might leave. Severus sighed softly. He would take that if it came.

Somehow, he felt strong enough for once in his life to go on his own.

But maybe Remus would stay. Severus wanted to think that. Maybe they could raise Lily's child together. Merlin knows, Severus would need the help. He had little experience with young children and even less about infants. Still, he knew this was what he was supposed to do. What he had to do.

Perhaps what he'd been born to do.

Tomorrow, Severus decided, he would worry about Harry and adoptions and raising toddlers. Tomorrow, he would worry about the fall out of the Death Eater activities and his dubious alliances. Tomorrow, he would face the world and all it decided to throw at him.

Severus rested his hand in Remus' hair, comforted by the familiar, rough texture. He listened to Remus' soft, even breathing and let his own fall into the same pattern as Remus' soft scent rolled over him.

Maybe Remus would stay. Severus closed his eyes. He'd be all right if he didn't, but... He didn't want to just be all right. He wanted to be happy. For once, he thought he might deserve to be.

The world was still frightening. Still dangerous. Still utterly infuriating. Severus didn't care. He would carve out his section of it, small as that might be, and fight tooth and nail to keep it just the way he wanted. If Remus stayed, he could be there with him and Severus would fight to keep him as well. It seemed like a pipe dream when he imagined how things could come together.

Severus decided that, for once, a pipe dream was just fine.

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And thus, Mirror ends. Thank you to everyone who has stuck with it this long. :)

There will soon be a sequel started. I haven't quite burned my sound on this story... Anyway. Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed.