Severus's point of view, two years after the war:

I just laid there once again, not wanting to move. Every morning it was the same where I never wanted to get out of bed. Maybe I was making up for the countless hours I spent getting only a few hours of sleep I got each night if I was lucky. It was nice, for once, not having to rush out of bed to go deal with spying issues or irritating students.

It had been two years since the end of the war, two years since they found me barley alive, a year since I recovered from my injuries, and a year since I started confining myself to my rooms in the dungeon at Hogwarts. So much had changed for everyone. The wizarding world was a peace. People could go about their lives once again, start families and what not. They could go back to their lives. Since I never had a life of my own, I didn't know what to do with my time.

I was awarded Merlin First Class. I knew the Potter brat had something to do with it, but I chose to ignore it. I felt grateful they didn't insist on some pointless ball for me to attend to. I, at least, had to thank Potter for telling them to leave me alone in peace. I suspected he had something to do with the offer I was given of living at my Hogwarts rooms with full teacher salary, which I took.

After a year of physical therapy, I was able to return to the one place I felt at home, Hogwarts. Since then I had spent my time how I had always wanted to. I restricted myself to my rooms, since I didn't have to deal with the high demands of being a death eater, teaching, and trying to protect Potter. I was free.

I always thought I'd want to do some kind of research either with potions or the dark arts, since I finally had all of this time I found I didn't want to do much of anything other than, and for a lack of a better word, mope. At least I could take care of me and not obsess on how to repay my debt to Lily.

Lily. The thought of her left me depressed and lonely. The one person who cared for me more than anyone else, other than Albus and Minerva, was now gone. I had told her things, things that I hadn't told anyone else. She got to my heart when no one else could. When she had died, I died as well. I knew her death was my fault. I loved her so much, and I repaid her by getting her and her husband killed. Her son was cheated out of a normal childhood because of me.

These thoughts consumed me for a long time. I thought of how I could have, should have done things differently. I'm sure I would have never called Lily mine, but she deserved to live in happiness, even if it was with James Potter and his son. I felt so guilty that it seemed like I couldn't focus on anything else. I ended up staying in bed for hours, even after I was fully awake.

Over time, I eventually got out of bed realizing that Lily wouldn't me to stay in bed all day. I had to get out for her, and this would cause me to get up, put on clean clothes, and eat. I became healthier than I had been in years, physically at least. I gained weight and I got plenty of sleep.

After getting out of bed I would read, and I had time for that now. I got to read many different types of books from the dark arts to potions to fiction books, both Muggle and wizarding. Reading was the only thing that kept me sane. This routine made the days fly and creep slowly by at the same time.

This new life, however, would change to give way to a new life.

"Severus," I heard a familiar motherly voice call from outside my doorway, knocking soon followed.

I stood, putting my book down on the seat. I opened the door to find Minerva standing outside the door.

"Severus," she said smiling at me gently.

"Minerva," I said, quietly turning from the door I allowed her to follow me.

I sat in my seat, and I heard Minerva close the door and take a seat across from me.

"I wanted to see how you were doing Severus," she said, in a kind voice.

"As well as one can expect," I told her.

"That always seems to be the case," she said, nodding.

"Did you have a point in coming today?" I sensed that this was more than one of the rare social visits.

"I wanted to offer you a position at the school."

"No," I said quickly before she could go on.

"Severus," she said her mouth going into a thin line. "I don't like how much you spend alone, it's not healthy. I want you to live again."

"Live again," I said bitterly. "As if that is what I did before."

"This has got to end Severus," she said her eyes narrowing giving me a look that was usually reserved for student. "You don't even know what job I am going to give you."
"I'm not teaching potions again," I said. "You know I won't teach it again."

"It's not a potions job."

"What is it then?"

"I've hired a teacher that has a young daughter," she explained. "She needs someone to watch over the girl while she teaches."

"And naturally you thought of me to do it," I said sarcastically.

"This could be good for you, Severus."

"What if I'm happy with my life now?" I asked, telling her a half truth. "I finally have peace and I am getting the rest that I want."

"I don't buy that," she said sternly. "You need to get out. It's not healthy to keep yourself locked up in your rooms all of the time."

"No, Minerva."

"At least meet them." She urged me.

"No," I said, pinching the bridge of my nose.

"You are always so stubborn," she said, shaking her head. "Please, at least join me for dinner tonight."

"I will not go to the Great Hall," I told her.

"You may come to my rooms for dinner."

"Fine, as long as you drop this idea of me watching the brat."

"I will see you at six then," she said, rising, and walking out of my rooms.

I let my head fall back, as I looked at the clock resting on the mantel. It was three. I frowned trying to think of ways I could avoid going to dinner. Maybe Minerva was right, I had to get out of my rooms. Dinner would be … nice. She was my old friend. The next three hours went by too quickly for me, and I soon found myself walking to Minerva's rooms.

As I walked down the hall way, I came across a small figure walking towards me. Her head came up to my knee and she had blond curly hair that fell down to her shoulders. I looked around to see who could belong to. As we approached one another, I could hear her humming and she looked up to smile at me.

"Who are you?" the girl asked.

"Severus," I said quietly. "Where are your parents?"

"Well, I am trying to find the kitty," she said, looking up at me with her large eyes.

"The kitty?" I asked.

"Yes," she said. "My mummy was using the potty and I saw the kitty and I was trying to find him and ask if he wanted to be my friend. My mummy and I could look after him and love him forever."

"Oh you mean Mrs. Norris," I said. "She has a home."

"Oh no," she said looking around. "I still want to be her friend though."

"Maybe," I said. "We should find your mother."

"And we can look for the kitty later," she said looking at me hopefully.

"Maybe," I repeated sighing.

We walked down the hallway and I slowed my walking so she wouldn't be alone.

"What's your name?" the girl asked.

"Severus."

"Sev-us," she said. "That's a funny name."

"Severus is not a funny name." I scowling at her.

"I like you," she said. "You my friend."

"I don't have any friends," I said, rolling my eyes not believing this conversation.

"Karina!" We heard a woman's voice yell from behind us.

We turned to see a young woman walking towards us quickly.

"Where have you been?" she asked looking down at the small girl.

"I was looking for the kitty," she said.

"What kitty?"

"Mrs. Norris," she said, and then looked at me. "Right Sev-us."

"That is the caretaker's cat," I explained. "She then found me, and I agreed to stay with her until we found you."

"Well thank you for your help," she said, lifting the girl into her arms.

"He is my friend mummy."

"Thank you again sir," the woman said, giving me an apologetic smile. "We must be going to dinner."

"You're welcome," I replied.

We started walking along the same hallway. After a few moments, I thought it strange that we had not gone in different directions yet, since I was to go to Minerva's and they to the Great Hall. I didn't say anything but lengthened my stride to get away from the chattering child. I got to Minerva's rooms and knocked on the door. She opened it and gave me a warm smile.

"You're late Severus," she said. "It's not like you."

"I got held up by something."

"Go ahead have a seat," she said, gesturing towards a couch near the fire place.

I sat as Minerva busied herself at a table behind us as she gibbered about the school year while I listened politely. After a few moments we heard a knock on the door and Minerva looked at me nervously before answering the door. She opened the door to the young woman and the little girl that I had met briefly in the hall way.

"Sev-us," the little girl cried.

"So you've already met Severus," Minerva said smiling the girl.

"He's my friend," the little girl said.

"Oh is he now?" Minerva said, letting the two in while giving me a smile.

"I was just helping the girl find her mother," I said scowling.

"I was naughty and got lost," the girl piped up. "Sev-us was my friend who helped me be a good girl."

"Well, I am glad that you got help from him," Minerva said.

"Thank you for inviting us to dinner," the young woman said.

"I want you to meet my old friend Severus," Minerva said. "This is Anna and her daughter Karina, but I know you've met Karina already."

"Nice to meet you," Anna said and I nodded and her.

I stayed calm on the outside but inside I was fuming. I was mad at Minerva for inviting me here to have dinner with them. I felt tricked. The girl came and sat down on the other end of the couch with a book Minerva gave her. She started flipping through the pages. Minerva and Anna made small talk as they prepared the dinner behind us. I stared into the fire still feeling frustrated by Minerva's actions.

"Sev-us?" the girl asked.

I grunted looking away from the fire and at the girl.

"When are we going to find my kitty friend?" she asked, looking at me with her large eyes.

"You should ask your mother to help you," I said to her before looking back at the fire.

"But you are my friend," she said and I looked back to her, "and friends help each other."

"I am no one's friend," I said sternly.

"Sure you are," she said her eyes growing wider. "Aunt M said you are her friend. You helped me find my mummy and that makes you my friend too!"

I looked away from the child again ignoring her thinking that she would leave me alone.

"Sev-us," the girl said moving closer to me. "Will you read me my book please?"

I looked at the girl who had crawled closer to me on the couch and was now sitting very close to me while sitting on her knees.

"Can't you read it?" I asked.

"I'm only three," she said. "Mummy said I'm too little to read."

"You speak well for a three year old," I told her, unsure of why I said it.

"My mummy said I started talking before I was one," she said, puffing out her chest.

That would explain the constant annoying chatter I thought.

"Please read it to me," she said her large eyes boring into mine. "Please Sev-us."

"Fine," I said, "but just this one book."

I quietly read to her and she looked at the pictures in rapt attention. I could feel Minerva's eyes on me and I knew I would not hear the end of it. After we finished the book the little imp went and got another book and read it on her own for which I was grateful. We ate supper together and I ate in silence while the women chatted. I mainly ignored the conversation and focused on eating so I could get back to my rooms as soon as possible.

Anna and Minerva started clearing dishes while I was left with Karina who hummed and swung her legs back and forth.

"Aunt M and I made ice cream for dinner," she said, smiling at me.

"That's nice," I told her and I crossed my arms.

"She even let me have a some," Karina said. "It's yummy and Aunt M said that even you would love it."

"I'm sure she did," I said, as Minerva (or Aunt M) and Anna came back in the room.

"I said no such thing," Minerva said turning red.

"Yes you did Aunt M," Karina said, smiling at her honorary aunt.

"Let's have your mum and Severus try some of this," Minerva said, trying to distract Karina.

"Can I have a big bowl mummy," Karina asked.

"No you can have a little so we can make it last," Annie said.

"Ok mummy," she said, watching her mother dish up the ice cream.

I watched Anna as she put the ice cream into four bowls. She had black curly hair and was tiny. She wore Muggle clothing which showed her curves. I looked away from her. She wasn't Lily, and I flinched at the thought of my old friend. I had never really gotten over her. I gave a small thank you to Anna as she gave me a bowl. I ate again in silence feeling grateful for the distraction of the food.

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