Celebrating Voldemort's Downfall
Severus woke up late next afternoon, the setting autumn sun bathing his bed in light and warming both his body and soul. For several moments, he lay there with his eyes still closed, feeling well rested and comfortable for the first time in many weeks. He was not thinking, simply enjoying this moment of peace, on some subconscious level well aware it wouldn't last long. And indeed, it didn't.
A fly landed on the top of his left hand and Severus tried to move the limb to chase the annoying insect away – without success. Alarmed, he opened his eyes and stared at the line of a Muggle IV Madam Pomfrey insisted he had last night. Snape shook his head in disbelief, abruptly recalling what had happened the day before. At first, he felt simply disgusted with himself for having proved himself unreliable to the Nurse when she had finally needed him. And then it kicked in, the reason why he had been so upset as to dose himself with an almost lethal dose of the Draught of Living Death…
His first friend. The shy little girl who was amazed by the strange magical world he was introducing to her, awe and admiration for his superior knowledge in her glittering green eyes.
His unlikely Gryffindor friend. The smart, increasingly popular teenage witch who loved studying Potions and Charms with him; the two of them hidden in a less frequented corner of the library or in Slughorn's classroom. Her green eyes sparkling with pride and happiness when they were praised for their achievements.
His estranged former friend. The girl whom he had thought to see value in everybody previously, including the werewolf Lupin or the good-for-nothing Pettigrew. The girl who started to date his childhood nemesis, Potter, after having hated him – or claiming so – for almost 5 years. The foolish Gryffindor who trusted the wrongest person possible, Black.
The beautiful young woman who refused to forgive him.
For one single word.
Her green eyes flashing daggers at him as he called her the terrible name.
Lily was dead.
And then he cried, his thin body shaking with each painful sob.
This was how Madam Pomfrey found him some time later, curled on himself, his immobilized left arm with the still connected IV line the only part of his body that seemed still.
"Oh dear," she whispered and walked towards the bed. She sat on the edge of the mattress, gently patting the shaking shoulders. "There, there, Severus," she whispered in a soothing tone, "let it all out. It's alright to grieve."
Her younger patients almost all discharged by now and the rest slumbering peacefully in the main Infirmary ward with the help of sleeping potions, well guarded by the Emergency House Elf, Poppy kept sitting on Severus's side, running her hand gently up and down the boy's back until his crying slowed down and he finally whispered: "I am so sorry."
It was not clear whom he was addressing, but the Nurse replied anyway. "I know you are, dear."
They were quiet then, he remaining curled on the bed and she keeping now a still hand on his back in silent support. Finally, many long moments later, he looked up at her, his eyes unmasked for once and said, genuine gratitude clear in his voice: "Thank you."
She nodded back, sounding as sincere as he: "You are welcome."
As simply as that they closed truce – the past wrongs forgiven and a way to a tentative friendship open.
Madam Pomfrey left for a moment to arrange delivery of dinner for both him and the still infirmed children. Suddenly ashamed for his moment of weakness, Severus decided that it was the highest time to leave the ward – only to become once more aware of his still immobilized arm and the IV line connected to it.
The boy attempted to pull the line out – but found out he couldn't even touch it. Some sort of protection charm was cast on the devise so that the patient couldn't disturb it, or so Snape thought. But with the help of his wand… he might be able to deliberate himself.
Normally, his wand would be under his pillow – but since he wasn't thinking clearly last night, Madam Pomfrey took care of disposing it for him and left it most likely on or in his bedside table. Severus reached to there – but his wand was neither on the top of the tiny table, nor in any of its drawers. Sudden panic shot through him at this realization – to find himself completely defenceless didn't bore well with the spy in him, despite he would normally consider the Infirmary a safe place.
Severus's abruptly accelerated heart beat didn't go unnoticed by the Nurse who still had a monitoring charm on her patient. Well aware that the boy was not completely out of woods yet, Pomfrey instantly appeared on the threshold of the private room, worried for the boy's health – only to find herself stopping there at the sight of him, searching the room with frantic eyes.
For a moment, Poppy didn't quite know what to think of it, if the boy was lost in some kind of hallucination brought by the overdose of the hypnotics or if something else was happening – but then the boy's eyes fell on her, he frowned and – in a very different tone than earlier – demanded: "Give it back to me."
Taking in the harsh order, Poppy suddenly understood. The boy was searching for his wand. Greatly relieved, she couldn't help it but laughed; dismissing the boy's current bad manners without comment.
"Oh Severus," she said as soon as the outburst of her laughter died out and admitted: "You gave me quite a fright. I am sorry but you cannot have your wand back yet – I am not discharging you today and I would prefer you to not use any magic until tomorrow at least to give your body some more regeneration time. While the Draught of the Living Death should be metabolized by your body now, I would like to take this opportunity and treat you also for the poisoning I detected yesterday."
When he did not protest – pondering out what of the many healing and strengthening potions he had consumed during the last months of war could cause a strong enough poisoning for her to detect – she smiled a bit mischievously and said teasingly: "Be a good boy now and stay in bed for me. I will finish the evening rounds in the main ward and then I shall be right back to explain everything to you."
Severus stared at her retreating back. He would not be handled as a child, he thought annoyed, no matter how kind the nurse was to him otherwise. But even as this thought crossed his mind, he continued musing about the possible source of his poisoning, for the time-being forgetting his previous misery.
Later, he would silently thank to Madam Pomfrey for this time of respite – for it was one of the things that helped bring him safely through the turmoil that was to follow…