Since I was a little girl, something that amazed me more than the wonders of the world that I lived in were the people that inhabited it. I had witnessed, literally my whole life, all of the different kinds of evil that it had to offer. Whether it had been someone ripping off my beloved father from a deal they had promised him, to someone bullying my younger brother at school, to the most ugly kind of evil that our world had witnessed in its darkest times.
In the midst of evil, however, there is always someone that is a hero to another person. The world I lived in had an infant as their savior to make the darkness temporarily bright. When that baby grew into a man, he had rid the world from the most hateful person it had ever seen for good. While he may have had the power to do so, he also had help from some of the bravest people of our kind.
Whether it's the darkest times, or even the brightest moments in life, there would always be a hero for someone, even if it took years for one to see them. Sometimes it took devastation and destruction to reveal one's true colors. Sometimes someone you thought was heroic ended up being the villain from your childhood nightmares.
Then sometimes...the ones you never believed in surprise you for the better, and finally show their inner lion. The ones you thought to be the most cruel people on the planet ended up being the unsung hero of the day, or your lifetime. Most of my peers feared the man that ended up playing a role in saving us all from a reign that would change our lives for the worse, thinking him to be the scum of the earth before the war. I, however, took to his defense when others would say the most vile things about him.
This man...was my teacher, my brave hero, and the love of my life. He just didn't know it at the time.
The sun, bright and warm, illuminated the most brilliant shade of forget-me-not blue that I had seen in years. Not a cloud was in a sky which, mind you, was a rare thing to see in England. For a little over a week straight, there was not a cloud across Britain. Just clear, hope-filled skies that reflected the souls of the magical world and our recent end of a dark era, and the dawning of a beautiful new beginning.
Harry Potter, only seventeen years old at the time, had defeated Lord Voldemort, for the final time to free all of us from his takeover, over a week ago. The Dark Lord was the most evil wizard in our recorded history, and to finally see light in the endless dark tunnel...it seemed too good to be true. Of course, Harry did have help from many witches and wizards along the way, and many did die trying to protect him and the rest of our world.
There were endless celebrations across Britain, all in honor of Harry Potter and those that had lost their lives in Battle. Pubs were filled with wizards and witches, toasting to Harry and the fall of the Dark Lord for the last time. They drank to their deceased loved ones, crying tears of both joy and sorrow.
Those that had fallen during the Final Battle were honoured like those surviving them, and those that had faced life-threatening injuries were recovering with optimism, even if some of their injuries would have had no hope before. Many were laid to rest under the setting sun, all those that attended with their wands in the air, sending their soul skyward to be freed from the agony they had faced in their lives, and as a proper thank you for giving their own life to protect many more of the innocent and helpless.
In the midst of all of the glory and all of the pain, I felt complete relief that those that I cared for had survived the Final Battle. One of my closest friends fought alongside Harry Potter and had witnessed the life being taken away from one of the most important people in my life - thankfully, she was one of the brightest and most talented witches of our generation, and had managed to save him before it was too late. For that, I owed her my whole life.
Hermione Granger, the brilliant witch, had only made contact with me twice via owl and patronus since the battle ended and we had parted. The last time I had seen her was in the Great Hall of our school, Hogwarts, just shortly after it was announced that the Dark Lord was dead. I would never forget the scene... countless people that we had gone to school with laid before our very eyes, dead. Alex, my younger brother, was devastated by the loss of his fellow Fourth Year Housemate and friend named Trynt Garson.
We were given orders by Harry Potter himself to leave the Castle and to go home. Being seventeen at the time, but still in my sixth year due to being born so late in the year, I was able to apparate my brother and myself back home in Clavering, Essex while our friends remained in Scotland.
I was walking down the dirty, busy streets of London with my boyfriend of two months, Robbie, close by and a wrapped parcel tucked under my arm. Being in Muggle (non-magical people) London, we didn't wear our wizarding cloaks so we wouldn't draw attention. We arrived at our intended destination: Purge and Dowse Ltd. Well, it was mine, anyway. Robbie was more fixated on going to Diagon Alley, which was a bit of a distance away.
"Lucy, you know that I'm about to try out for England!" Robbie whispered to me as we walked alongside the building through a dirty alleyway. "I've got to visit Quality Quidditch Supplies to get a new racing broom! My Nimbus Two-Thousand and One just ain't cutting it anymore."
"Later," I said in a slightly annoyed voice.
Robbie had already completed his education at Hogwarts and, at age eighteen, was planning to play Quidditch for England. He was the Ravenclaw House Beater since his Third year at school, and he was very good. I was never too big into Quidditch, but I did occasionally attend a game if I knew someone that was playing.
"What'd you buy for him, anyway? I thought he hated you," Robbie said as he tried to grab the package from under my arm.
I jerked it away from him and hugged the rectangular gift to my chest.
"It's a book, Robbie. It's a 'Get Well' gift that I thought he'd like."
Robbie rolled his icy blue eyes.
"He doesn't like anything, Luc! The old dungeon bat'll probably use it to wipe his greasy hands on after he itches that oil well of a head..."
My blood was boiling as we reached the front display window of the old, broken-down building. Robbie could get like that sometimes (or...often...), so I just ignored him when he was being childish.
"How do we even know that he's here?" Robbie questioned as I stared at the dummy with long, peeling eyelashes that wore a hideous green dress.
"Hermione told me," I said quietly as I quickly glanced around at the muggle shoppers that didn't even give us a glance.
"Well, before we see the git, can we see my nan real quick? I haven't seen her since I was about twelve, but she might like the company..."
"Alright, alright," I muttered as I turned toward the glass again. "What's her name?"
"We're here to see Edna Springfield," I said quietly.
There was a short pause before the dummy nodded. It reached forward and took hold of Robbie and me and pulled us through the glass, making us appear in the front reception area of a waiting room, which was quite crowded for a Thursday afternoon. I paid no attention to the witches and wizards that had managed to do some sort of strange disfigurement to themselves, or to those that were blowing odd shades of purple snot out of their noses.
"Where would she be?" I asked as I looked up at the floor guide.
"Spell Damage - Fourth Floor," said Robbie as he led me through the double doors that were a few feet from the receptionist desk, which was currently being taken up by a young witch with an arm growing out of her head.
We climbed four flights of stairs, then made our way down the hall and stopped at the second to last door on the right: Ward Forty-Five.
Robbie knocked twice, then went inside; I followed him closely behind, peering over his shoulder as we entered quietly. A very small, slightly shriveled witch was sitting on a bed with a licorice wand in her hand, attempting to bewitch teacups and bedpans.
"Hi, Nan. How are yeh?" Robbie asked as he closed the door behind us.
The elderly witch, who I thought appeared to be at least a hundred, looked up at him with wide, unnaturally light blue eyes.
"Eh?" she muttered as she stared at us. "Oliver? Is that you?"
"She once had the holy hell hexed out of her when I was a kid. Lost her marbles, so we stuck her in here," Robbie muttered to me. "No, Nan. It's me, your grandson, Robbie."
"Bobby?" she questioned as he stared at him with those puppet-like hollow eyes.
"Robbie," he said in a louder, clearer voice.
"Robbie? Are you the son of the shit-ass gamekeeper that wants to take my Galleons for a cheap night? Dream on!"
I was...well, not fully surprised, but just sort of put-off by her kind words. It was a touching moment to see this grandmum and grandson get reaquainted with each other, really.
Robbie didn't seemed surprised. In fact, he didn't seem to care at all.
"Meh, she don't remember me. Let's go see the dungeon git so we can get out of here. I hate this place." He forced a toothy grin at his grandmum.
"Bye, Nan. See yeh in six years."
"Tell Jimmy that he needs to fix a better cup of tea! Last time I had to use Fire Whiskey as a chaser to wash that horrid shit out of my mouth." She muttered some nonsense under her breath, seeming to think that it was going to bewitch a lonely piece of cheese that rested next to a chipped teacup on her nightstand.
We left her room and made our way down to the ground floor to ask the receptionist where we were supposed to go.
"First floor - Creature-Induced Injuries. He's in Ward ten," she said in a bored tone. "Next!"
We made our way back up the steps, Robbie complaining the whole way about how he was getting hungry and wanted some of the hospital's steak and kidney pie.
I ignored him because...well...he was just a pain in my ass that day.
I tapped on the door before slowly entering the ward, bracing myself for what we would see. A Healer was looming over his patient, updating his chart while bandages wrapped themselves around the injured neck of the unconscious man.
The Healer looked up from his chart and raised his eyebrows, seeming to be surprised.
"Hullo. Wasn' expectin' anyone. Haven' seen a visitor in 'ear since this poor bloke got 'ear. 'Ave a seat. Whazzat?" He pointed at the package I still had tucked under my arm with the end of his red quill.
"It's a book - a 'Get Well' gift for him," I said as I handed it over to the Healer.
"Lemme 'ave a look. I'm sure it ain't anythin' dang'rous, but y'know the rules..." he muttered as he opened the package to examin the Potions book.
"I've bin try'na get me hands on this fer a bit! 'Choo find it?" he asked as he flipped through the pages.
"Had a friend owl it to me. The Apothecary in Diagon Alley's supposed to be getting copies next month," I informed him as Robbie leaned against the wall, looking bored.
"Oy, lucky bloke, this one... I'll keep me eyes out. 'Ear yeh be. Sorry for undoin' the wrappin's. Lemme fix that." He pulled out his wand and gave it a quick wave over the package, which instantly wrapped itself, looking as though it'd never been touched. "'Ave a nice day. Doubt 'e'll be wakin' anytime soon, though..."
"You too," I said, watching the Healer leave the room.
Once the door closed, I conjured a wooden chair and sat next to my Potions teacher, who seemed almost innocent as he laid there, seeming to have more color to him in that condition than I'd seen during my six years at Hogwarts.
"So, you've seen him, you've dropped off the package. Wanna get outta this place?" Robbie asked as he snooped around the room.
I turned my gaze onto Robbie, giving him a dull look.
"We just got here! Besides, you heard what that Healer said, we're the only ones that have visited him since he's gotten here." My hazel eyes shifted back to the man Robbie used to run away from with fear in his veins.
"For a Slytherin, you sure act like a Hufflepuff," he murmured as he stared out the window.
I ignored him and lowered my gaze to our unconscious teacher, who probably hadn't a clue what was going on or what great he had done for us. There was so much that I wanted to say to him, but couldn't. Especially with Robbie in the room.
After about half an hour had passed of me watching the Potions master, Robbie got fed up and made his way toward the door.
"I'm starving. I'm going to go get some food, so come out when you're done staring at the bat like he's a zoo creature." Robbie left, slamming the door behind him, which surprisingly didn't wake our professor.
I sighed as I stared at him. His skin was still pale, but didn't have the unhealthy grayish complexion that it once had. It was more of a milky glow, making him look more alive. Perhaps, in his coma, he was more at peace? His black, shoulder-length hair was the cleanest I'd ever seen it - it was shiny, and looked as healthy as his skin. He was wearing a white hospital dressing gown, which was a change of pace since I was used to only seeing him wearing black teaching robes.
"Professor? I don't know if you can hear me, but... I hope you get better soon. And I hope, after they rebuild the school, that you'll continue to teach. You're brilliant and there needs to be more teachers in the world like you. And no, I'm not trying to suck up." I smiled weakly at him, imagining all of the insults he'd be hurling at me if he had been hearing me speak. I slowly frowned.
"Professor, I just want to say...on behalf of the entire wizarding world... I'm sorry for the way you've been treated. Everything you've been through must have been terrifying and so lonely. But now, the Dark Lord is gone. You're free. You don't have to be an espionage anymore."
Hesitating, even though I knew he wouldn't know it, I reached forward and took hold of his much larger hand. His skin was rough with scratches and bruises. For a moment, just a miniscule of a second, I thought I felt his hand twitch.
"I got you a little gift... I figured you'd probably be bored in here once you wake up. Of course, you could always harrass the Healers..." I snickered. "But for the first week or two you might want to be less snarky with them."
He remained still as a board, looking so innocent. It was heartbreaking.
A few minutes passed in silence, and I continued to hold onto his hand. Finally, I looked around the room and gave his hand a gentle squeeze.
"I'll go now. If you can hear me...you're probably annoyed and forcing yourself to stay asleep for a little while longer. ...and you're probably calling me a 'dunderhead.'" I smiled weakly again, then stood up and pulled my wand out of my pocket and gave it a quick wave, making the chair disappear.
"I don't know when or if I'll be able to come back... But I hope I'll see you soon, and I'd prefer it if you were awake."
I pocketed my wand and hesitated for a moment, wondering if I should dare to do what I'd been wanting to do since I was twelve years old.
He won't know, I thought. It's safe. He won't hex the hell out of me or anything...
Slowly, in case he woke up (which seemed highly unlikely), I leaned down by his ear and rested my forehead against his temple.
"I appreciate everything you've done to protect us and save us from the Dark Lord. You're a true hero, even if you don't want to be recognized as one." I took my hand off of his and rested it on his bruised, scratched cheek. "Thank you...Severus Snape."
I lifted my head up enough to leave a soft kiss on his cheek, hoping he wouldn't know about it so he'd have a reason to curse me.
As my lips left his cheek, I felt something grab my hand. I pulled back and looked down at him, only to see him staring back up at me with those hauntingly dark eyes, weakly holding onto my hand that cupped his cheek. I swallowed hard, afraid of his reaction and what he could have been thinking.
"H-Hi," I whispered, feeling like someone had dumped a thousand butterflies into my stomach.
He parted his dry lips and made an odd grunting noise, like he was trying to form words. He closed his mouth after a few failed attempts and continued to stare at me in his glassy trance. Slowly, his eyes rolled a bit and he was out again, his hand losing whatever weak hold it had on mine, and fell back down to his side. His chest slowly rised and fell with each breath he took, looking peaceful once again.