Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Harry Potter. No money is being made.

Author's Note: I guess you could say I was inspired to write again. I haven't tried writing fanfiction in seven months, not since finishing my longest story ever. This was originally intended to be a one-shot, but I think it will work better as a few short chapters. This story will not be very long.

After watching the sixth movie, I was thinking about the interaction, or lack thereof, between Snape and Harry in the last book. Book six set everything up, and after witnessing Snape trapped serving two masters, I found myself needing to write this. I know there are several other stories where Snape somehow survives, but this is being written mostly for my enjoyment. I will not go into great detail about how he survives exactly, as that is not meant to be the point of this story. I wish for some reconciliation between Harry and Snape... and for Snape to live and finally truly live (not having to serve anyone)!

Autumn Life

By Sindie

Chapter One

The first rays of sunlight filtered into the room, illuminating the dust that was floating above. Beyond the almost-opaque whiteness, the cracked ceiling further obstructed any view of the blue promise of a sky that marked another dawn.

He tried to blink, to shift his eyes slightly downward to see if he was indeed somehow still clinging to life, but paralysis had set in, and he wondered how he was still here.

It had still been night when he had fallen, and all had utterly become black. How he had hoped for sweet release from his pain, both physically-induced by the snake's bite and loss of blood and the years upon years of the much worse mentally-induced type.

Had the venom made him delusional, even in the afterlife?

It would seem his vision wasn't the only sense fooling him. A creak from the right, followed by a shuffling of footsteps, could be heard. Then a voice.

"He's just as we left him."

Someone was now kneeling at his side, and he felt the gentle ministrations of delicate fingers pushing his matted hair away from his forehead and cheek. A face swam into view, a girl's visage surrounded by a halo of untamed hair. She drew closer and gazed into his eyes for a long moment and then felt around his neck. If he could have, he would have withdrawn with a sharp intake of breath, but oddly, there was no pain.

"Harry!" the girl suddenly shrieked.

More movement and the familiar face with those penetrating green eyes was upon him once again.

"What is it, Hermione?"

"I- I think he's alive," Hermione said shakily, and once again, her hands went to the man's neck.

Harry's fumbling fingers joined hers a second later, confirming the truth.

"How is that possible?" Harry asked, shocked. Leaning into view, Harry questioned, "Professor? Sir, can you hear me?"

There was no response.

Dropping all pretenses, Harry continued, more frantically, "Snape?"

For his part, Snape could, of course, hear them, and a part of him was growing annoyed with their incessant questions. Could he not, at least, have been granted some pardon from having to see Harry Potter again? He supposed it was too much to ask: death. The smallest part of his mind that he allowed to indulge in childhood dreams had even gone so far as to believe he might be reunioned with his dear Lily, but no...

"Harry, we've got to get him back to the castle," Hermione was saying, trying to keep her tone reasonable and calm. "We came here to get him, anyway, but now that he's alive, we can't waste another moment. I'm going to put him under a Stasis Charm to keep him stable."

Harry gazed down into the unblinking eyes of the man he once hated, who he had loathed only mere hours ago, but now a man who he wanted to live. He had so many questions, but more than that, Harry's wishes to tell Snape what he truly thought of him now, how brave he was, could be spoken directly to his mother's old friend... should he survive.

A pleasant warmth washed over Snape, followed by darkness, and he knew no more.

x x x x x

When consciousness returned, the sun's brightness was overwhelming. Snape squinted, turning his head away from the light, not even realizing the miracle that he could move again. He had not a moment to compose his thoughts before he was inundated with more questions.

"Professor! You're awake! How do you feel?"

Snape would have groaned had it not hurt to make a sound with his ravaged throat, and unfortunately, that also meant no speaking on his part. Instead, he kept his gaze turned away from Harry, staring stonily at the wall.

Harry sighed. He stood from his seat, announcing some rubbish about getting Madam Pomfrey and a Healer.

Snape felt the pain returning with a vengence. Apparently he was no longer numb, but he had no firm idea what potions had been administered... probably a blood-replenisher and an anti-venom, though. A pain reducing potion would be nice right about now, however.

Why everyone felt the need to fuss over him with their hands was beyond him. To his irritation, Madam Pomfrey released a relieved sob and checked him over, and the Healer did likewise, only in a thankfully much more clinical way.

"Will he be all right?" Harry insisted of the mediwitch and Healer.

"Time will tell, but the fact that he's returned to consciousness is very promising. It will take some time before he recovers his voice... if he recovers it," the Healer stated baldly.

Snape grimaced. How dare they speak about him as if he weren't there!

The only good thing to come out of this inspection of his person was a vial of pain reducing potion, although Madam Pomfrey practically shoved it down his throat. He supposed he was too weak to move his arms, anyway, but that didn't prevent the wounding of his pride.

Refusing to look upon the others, Snape willed his eyes closed. Before returning to blissful sleep, Madam Pomfrey was murmuring in a tearful voice, "It's a miracle that he survived, the poor man. You did the right thing in bringing him here when you did."

"Yeah... a miracle," Harry whispered, wishing Snape would have looked at him.

Snape's mind, however, was as bitter as ever, for his last passing thought before he fell asleep, wondering if Madam Pomfrey had laced the potion with a sleeping draught, was, You should have left me die, Potter. Now you are no doubt basking in your glory of having played the hero again. At least it would seem you defeated the Dark Lord after all.

In some ways, Snape was still numb.