The dungeons were dark and silent by the time Severus Snape had returned from dinner in the Great Hall. His students, namely those in Slytherin, knew quite well that anyone caught lurking in that area of the school after hours would be severely punished—Snape was notorious for being obsessive about his privacy.
He liked the dungeon best; it had been his home ever since his previous home had left him, had left him and married James Potter.
"You were my home," he said in a conversational tone, giving a cauldron in the corner a calculated stir.
I never promised you anything, she whispered.
He frowned. "Your son is as arrogant as his father—traipsing around the castle trying to frame me for the attempt to steal the Sorcerer's Stone. He and his ridiculous side-kicks are too stupid for their own good."
And Draco Malfoy isn't insufferable? You haven't forgotten that I watch you, Severus?
"Draco Malfoy is confident," Snape said, trying futilely to hide his smile. "He doesn't try to nose his way into business that doesn't concern him." He stood up from his desk and went over to the black board, examining the lesson prepared for tomorrow. It was such a simple solution that he didn't know why he bothered—but to pass the time he began to collect the ingredients to prepare a sample batch.
Oh, and his meddling that got my son a detention from McGonagall wasn't shoving his face into other people's business?
"Your son was out of bounds, flaunting his new Invisibility Cloak," he said snidely, not looking up from his potion, stationed at his large desk. This particular solution didn't require flame, and Snape was content to mix the moss at regular intervals.
My son was trying to help a friend. Draco has never done something as noble.
Snape raised an eyebrow. "Are you telling me you would let him go unpunished?" He stopped halfway through the sentence, only to continue after rephrasing it. He would not think about that.
Of course punishment would be inevitable. However, I do think it's important to realize that in this argument, I am right and you are wrong.
"How do you figure?"
Well, I obviously gave birth to him, and therefore half of my DNA. And if you love me, it's only logical that there would be something about Harry you could find tolerable.
He smiled at this, and did not try to hide it. "He is too like his father, the imbecile. In looks and demeanor, he is the spitting image of the person I would much rather forget I ever knew."
You should heed the words of those who are wiser than you. I believe Professor Dumbledore has already had this discussion with you? He truly is my son, gentle and kind but as tenacious as I always was. Harry is intelligent as well, though he doesn't study perhaps as much as I would wish.
"Is there no one else you know who possesses brains but no ability to apply himself?"
My husband is a
"Yes, yes," he cut her off, annoyed enough that the calming draught splashed onto some of the parchment on his desk. "He became an Animagus before you could spell it; do you have to say that once a day?"
"Three guesses," Snape said dryly.
I must admit, I thought Harry would be a girl—but James was, for once, right. I've said that phrase once a day since…"
"Don't," he pleaded, running his hand through his greasy hair.
Some day you will have to accept both truths.
"Pray tell, what truths am I trying so hard to avoid?"
I married another man, Severus and I was happy with that man. More importantly, you must accept the fact that I died, Sev. I loved Harry enough to give my life for him. Is that why you hate him?
"Who, Potter? Or Harry?"
Do you hate Harry because I died for him?
He was halfway into his private study before he answered, stopping just at the threshold. "Why would I hate him because of that?"
Maybe because that meant I loved him more than I loved you.
"You love everyone more than you love me," he said, deliberately changing the tense—unable to handle so much at one time.
Love isn't a competition. I loved you as much as I could for as long as I could.
"You don't still love me?" He could feel, rather than hear, her sigh.
Of course I love you.
He leaned back in his chair, a churlish expression on his face. "Don't humor me. I am a grown man." She didn't reply, and his heart ached with the knowledge that their moment together—one that was precious to him though it should have been only one of many—was over.
"I love you, Lily Evans."