AN: I do not own Harry Potter or any of it's characters, though I wish I did xD. I make no profit from this and all characters belong to the genius, J.K Rowling. This is for pure entertainment.
"LEAVE HIM ALONE!"
Someone was shouting.
He was falling into the abyss, drowning in the darkness.
"NO! WHAT HAS HE EVER DONE TO YOU?" It sounded awfully familiar. Then, he heard his own voice echoing through the murky atmosphere. Everything felt as though it were distant, and he were looking through a glass pane that could not be penetrated. He was dropping at an alarming rate, and utterly trapped.
"Thought we were friends, best friends?"
He tried to shout, tried to free himself, but he could not stop plunging downward.
"We are, Sev… We are.." Lily, his precious Lily. He tried to touch the glass, but could not reach, he wanted to see her, feel her, tell her all he had to tell.
"Sev… Sev… Severus."
"Keep her safe…"
His voice made no sound, as if his throat had been stuffed with cotton.
He woke with his fingers clenching the bed sheets, holding on for dear life. His nails dug into the cot, and he took a deep breath of crisp air, trying to compose himself. He was shivering, and desperately searching for warmth. Everything ached, and his eyes were heavy-lidded, daring to close.
"Severus, you're awake. Relax, please." It was Madam Pomfrey.
"Your fever spiked, which was to be expected. You're at your worst right now, but you'll recover from this point," Poppy comforted, mopping his face with a cold washcloth.
His teeth chattered as he spoke, "Y-You call this a b-bloody flu!"
Poppy gave a meek smile. Oh yes, he'd be just fine if he was complaining again. His silence was what frightened her most.
It was nearly midnight, but she wanted to make sure he wasn't delirious, so decided to keep him talking, "I suppose you had a bad dream? You were rather fitful."
Severus attempted to pry his eyes open more fully, but was unsuccessful, "I do not think it should be any of your concern. I'll be fine, Poppy. Go to bed, and let me be."
She shook her head, "Who's the mediwitch here? I will decide what is best for you at the moment, since you are my patient. There is no need to worry about me. Now, would you like a Dreamless Sleep potion?"
He did not have the stomach to tell her his body was resistant to it. In the past, he'd had an addiction to it, using it each night to control memories from his encounters with a certain "Dark Lord".
He'd have to go with plan B, "Don't be ridiculous. I'm perfectly fine."
He could feel himself lying through his teeth, but it seemed to be enough for Poppy to nod and back down, no longer pushing on with the recommendation.
"Rest then," she ordered, dipping the washcloth in the basin of water at his bedside, then wringing it out thoroughly.
He hoped he wouldn't have another nightmare, which seemed improbable. He hadn't slept "normally" for who knows how long. Each night ran the same routine, but he kept it to himself, and that was the way he liked it. He could take care of himself, and no one would ever have to know.
His eyes slid shut, and he found himself vulnerably wishing for some peace, just for once. Just once without a nightmare, and the constant reminders of the mistakes he had made during his life.
This time he was walking in a barren forest, the leaves on the trees howling in the wind. Ahead of him lingered a silvery mist, carrying voices that grew stronger and stronger.
"Severus, I can give you all which you desire. You can have power. You can control all the ones who have faulted you in the past…."
It was the voice of Voldemort, but he was hissing in such a soft tone, that it made him cringe.
"Follow me, and you shall have everything you have ever dreamed of…"
The mist grew thicker, and the shrubs and flowers on the forest floor began to wilt.
"You are young, but you shall be useful. You shall be wanted…"
Severus sprinted across the dirt ground, chasing the mist. They were empty promises. He had to save himself. He had to save himself from making the same mistake again, one that he could never undo.
When he was a few inches away from the mist, it exploded into a glittery dust, and the leaves off the trees began to rip away, circling the place in front of him. The leaves became blood red, and pleading cries filled the air, including his own.
"M-My, Lord… Please, spare her," his distant voice gasped.
Then the voices of all the ones he had not been able to save had engulfed him.
"Severus, my friend, help me.. Help me…"
"Help me… Please…"
Screams pulsed through his ears painfully. There was nothing he could do.. He could not save them.. He had failed…Voldemort shouted, "CRUCIO", and a new, piercing shriek cut through the air around him. Then, the person was wailing, "JUST KILL ME!"
"Save me…. Save me, Severus.."
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" Voldemort casted.
Then, he woke.
Morning sunlight had streamed through the windows, and the very first thing Severus noticed was that he could now open his eyes fully. His throat was still sore, but no longer as raw as it had felt before. He could still feel traces of a fever coursing through him, but all things considered, he felt better.
"Good morning, Severus!" Someone greeted enthusiastically.
It definitely wasn't Poppy, and he soon registered the voice as Albus.
"Good morning, Albus," he replied, his voice still hollow and weak.
"Have you made any progress?" Dumbledore smiled mildly, reading the chart Madam Pomfrey had filled out, recording her findings.
Snape had to admit his mood had enlightened when he saw Albus. No matter how manipulating the headmaster could be, he knew that it was usually for the best. "I daresay you'll be returning to your quarters by tomorrow," Dumbledore grinned.
"It's all your fault. I suppose I will just leave you to tend to all the assignments that need grading," Severus smirked, "I am sure there is plenty to keep you busy for the remainder of the week."
Dumbledore smiled, but did not respond. They sat in the stillness for a few moments. Then, Albus' features lost the amused tone they once had, replaced by a calculating furrow.
"Severus, you and I both know that you cannot go on in such a way forever," his voice was low, so low that Snape had to listen very closely to hear what he was saying.
"Sorry, I do not know what you are talking about," he retorted, sitting up swiftly.
Albus gazed into the dark pair of eyes. What should he feel for the man? Sympathy, pity, or nothing at all? He'd made mistakes, many mistakes, of that he was aware, but did he truly deserve such a life of endless worry and misery?
He did not want to make a fuss over him, nor did he want to leave him alone all the time, secluded with his own emotions. Maybe he could find a way to discreetly help him.
"If you do not mind me asking, what are your plans for after you leave this lovely ward?" Albus smiled, a hint of mocking in his expression.
"Grading, teaching, grading, and perhaps more teaching," Snape replied bluntly.
"In that case, I wonder if at some point in the near future, you might help me brew a certain potion that I have found to be rather curious," Albus suggested. Brewing potions always seemed to relax Severus, and if he couldn't get him to leave his chambers, he could at least find a way to give Snape more time for himself to do things he enjoyed.
Severus knew what the headmaster was trying to do, but he was too weary to mind. Instead he gave a lazy, "If you insist".
Albus smiled once more and stood up, "Well, I best be going. Recover quickly, Severus. I am sure your students are deeply missing you."
Snape scoffed, but nodded as a thanks to Dumbledore before the headmaster made his way out of the room. As soon as he was out of sight, Severus made an attempt to get out of bed. Just being here was making him ill. Besides, he was well enough to handle everything by himself from this point.
However, he did not plan on Poppy coming in so soon.
"Where do you think you're going?" she demanded.
"Honestly Pomfrey, I really should get back to my chambers too-"
Poppy shook her head fiercely, "Stubborn man. I assure you that you will not be going anywhere until that fever breaks. It's nearly as stubborn as you. Now, I think some breakfast would do you well. I'll order the house elves to bring something up, and I expect you to actually eat it. When you decide to stop being bull-headed and allow me to take care of you for once, then maybe you'll make it out of here by tonight."
Severus scowled at her, but resulted in making the best of the situation. It was rather nice to lie around all day doing nothing, even if it wasn't productive in the least. He hadn't had a moment like this in a long time, and he promised himself that as soon as he was released, he'd catch up on everything.
Maybe he'd start walking more, leaving the privacy of his chambers. He seemed to forget the beauty of the grounds. He could also start brewing more, which he hadn't done unless he was forced too. When did he stop enjoying all these little things?
Perhaps, Albus was right, he needed an outlet for his stress. He really couldn't go on like this forever.
After all, Lily wouldn't want him to perish like this. She'd had such a kind, loving heart, and he'd been a mess ever since she had passed. He had to hold on a bit longer, and maybe all would somehow fall into place, though he had many doubts.
"Severus! Oh, Severus, look! Look at those pretty stars above the castle!" the eleven year old exclaimed fervently.
Snape smirked at her enthusiastic nature, "Yes, they are very nice, Lily."
"Oh, will you make a wish with me? Please, oh please?"
"What do we wish for?"
"I wish for everyone to get what they always wanted," Lily grinned, "Then they could always be happy, and no one would fight."
"But Lily, people are always going to fight."
"I don't think so," she said confidently.
Severus sighed and gave a little smile, "Alright, Lily, we'll wish for whatever you want to."
She nodded and closed her eyes, the moonlight shining on her face and over her dark red hair.
She would have wanted him to be happy as well, but he didn't feel worthy of such a thing. Still, he'd make sure that he'd do all in his power to protect Harry Potter. She would have wanted that the most.
Then they would be happy, and would never fight.
That's what he wanted most as well.
He would never stop loving her, no matter the circumstances, and of that, he was positive.
It was time for him to keep going.
"You can shed tears that she is gone, or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back, or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her, or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone, or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back, or you can do what she'd want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on." ~David Harkins