Severus was watching master Potter play with little master Teddy while he finished placing Potions on the shelves – high enough so that the child would not be able to reach them. Sometimes the slave thought his master enjoyed playing even more than the child did. He remembered what he'd heard once about Potter's childhood.
Teddy was chasing a snitch that his godfather commandeered… so Potter used the moment to come closer and examine the Potions vials on the shelves – Dreamless Sleep, Blood Replenisher, dittany… more bottles that the young Auror could not exactly identify, but knew were used in healing.
'You want to start an apothecary, Severus? I'd thought you wanted to brew for our use…'
'Those Potions are for your use, master Potter, and for your wife's. The career of an Auror or a Quidditch player is dangerous…'
The younger wizard looked from the shelves stashed full of Potions to Severus. The Potions Master saw gratitude in his eyes, and then Potter took his glasses off to wipe nervously at his eyes. Severus wanted to berate him like he would little master Teddy.
He walked away, remembering he has other duties… besides, he did not wish to listen to master Potter's expressions of gratitude. While he was cleaning the drawing room, he watched mistress Potter flying in the garden. He wondered how she can enjoy so much that what is now her job.
Suddenly the doorbell rang. Severus saw Ginny Potter land in order to welcome the guest. He quickly stashed the rags and the mop away. He tried to blend in with the shadows – after all, the guest came to see the Potters.
Mistress Potter led a middle-aged brown-haired woman into the room. If not for the color, Snape would have mistaken the guest for Bellatrix Lestrange – she had the very same face. Her mouth was shaped like Narcissa Malfoy's. The slave knew whom he saw even before little master Teddy ran into the room.
'Nana!' Teddy Lupin cried.
Master Potter followed a few steps behind the boy. His face lit up when he saw Andromeda Tonks.
'It's good to see you again, Dromeda' he said 'I was afraid you got sick again…'
'I feel alright. I just needed some rest' Severus saw a shadow in Andromeda's eyes. The Potters seemed to notice it too, for they exchanged looks.
'Teddy has got a lot of energy, sometimes a little too much'
'Dora was the same' mistress Tonks sighed.
Snape remembered that Andromeda Tonks had lost her husband, daughter and son-in-law in the war. Her only family was the little boy running excitedly at her feet. Severus thought of the three Black sisters. He'd known the eldest, Bellatrix, quite well. The middle one, Andromeda, he knew a bit less. The youngest, Narcissa, had just started when he finished school. Now only Narcissa and Andromeda were alive… Andromeda, who was wiped out from the family tree because she'd married a Muggle-born.
He looked up to find master Potter staring straight at him. The young Auror got up from the table and approached him. 'Severus… do you know Andromeda?'
The slave nodded. He opened his mouth to ask, but he changed his mind and closed it.
'What did you want to ask?'
'Do Narcissa and Andromeda…' he hesitated, searching for a correct word 'maintain a form of contact?'
'Ask her yourself' Potter pushed him towards Andromeda like he would little master Teddy.
Andromeda Tonks turned to face him when she heard footsteps. Upon seeing him, she sank heavily into the chair, her face bloodless. Ginny Potter placed a hand on her arm.
'Severus! I'd heard that you were dead… that Voldemort…'
'The news are not always true, mistress Tonks. You should know this fact well.'
The woman sighed.
'Was it worth it? The Dark Mark? I was in my fourth year when you graduated… when you joined him…'
'What do you mean?' Snape furrowed his brow.
'They said you did it to have your revenge on James Potter, the Gryffindor. Or on Lily Evans…'
'Indeed. Don't think the other Slytherins did not notice how abruptly your friendship with her ended. We were not stupid. Many a person wondered what did you see in that Gryffindor, for you to defend her so determinedly…'
Severus looked away. How well he remembered the day when he'd called her that awful word. It was all James Potter's fault. He wanted to have his revenge on the man… and he'd never achieved it.
'No. The Dark Mark did not give me what I'd wished for'
'Instead, it killed her. Lily Evans… and so many more… my Ted and Dora- Tell me, what did you feel when you heard you dear friend was dead? What did you feel then?… Maybe you'll understand what I felt when Bella killed my daughter!'
Severus barely heard the final sentence of Andromeda's. There was a buzzing in his ears. He heard Albus's voice again, as though from far away, telling him that Lily was dead. The knowledge that he'd brought it on himself was suffocating.
If he'd never taken the Dark Mark… if he'd never wanted to curry favor with the leader… if he'd never heard Trelawney's prophecy… if he'd never passed it on to Voldemort…
Lily would still be alive.