Sometime in the Future

It was the anniversary of Lily's funeral. Like every other year on that day, Snape left Hogwarts, discarded his usual robe attire for a three-piece suit, charcoal gray, with a crisp, white Oxford cloth shirt, tiny silver cufflinks molded into Slytherin-like snakes, and a powdery blue tie. He even rubbed some pomade through his hair to give it a shinier, slick look.

Like every other year on this day, he apparated into Spinner's End and boarded a train on the Stansted Line with a stop in Cambridge. He carried a copy of the latest Henrietta Harrison book: Plenty of Fish in the Sea: Diving Into a New Love after You've Been Dumped.

Snape never liked the expression, "plenty of fish in the sea." He thought it cheapened the great loves out there, implying that anyone could just magically find a replacement love of the same caliber after having lost one. Perhaps that could be true, but years and years after his days with Lily, nothing ever came close, so for him, there really weren't plenty of fish in the sea. For him, he really felt like there was just one.

Maybe that was okay… maybe not.

He laid his head back and closed his eyes, not even noticing the train's movement as it left the station.

Like every other year on this day, he fell into a deep sleep and always seemed to dream the same dream. He was back on this very train with Lily (Petunia had been conveniently deleted from the scene, an amazing benefit of his subconscious), and they were sitting next to one another, sharing laugh after laugh as the train sped to Cambridge, then Stansted. They talked for hours about anything and everything ,and it just felt like home, even the moments of silence, which for many could feel like an awkward pause, but not for them—they were so comfortable together, the silence was just another shared moment. Like all of those years ago, Lily fell asleep and her head softly fell onto his shoulder, and after some time when the train PA announced that they had entered Cambridge, she awoke and asked him if he wanted to travel with her to see Caspian the Great's Walk on Water act. In this dream, he didn't leave for Cambridge alone. He asked her to come with him, and they could see Caspian's second act later that day in Stansted. When he asked her his, she seemed pleased, and they left the train hand in hand.

Of course, this was only a dream, and when the real PA came on, the voice wasn't as sweet and soft as it announced the arrival into Cambridge. And of course, Snape wasn't leaving the train hand in hand with anyone—he walked into a light rain alone.

Like every other year on this day, he made a short trip to the Fitzwilliam Museum, climbing all of the steps in front of it, purchasing a ticket, and making his way down the long, brightly lit corridors to the section showcasing a silver collection donated by the Arrow family.

He'd always wondered what happened to Miss Rouge Arrow and was hoping he'd see her again. He wanted to thank her, tell her that although he made many mistakes in love in his life, she saved him from making the biggest one of all, and that was trying to place love where it could no longer be.

But he never saw her again, or at least he never saw anyone he thought was her. (He'd only seen her with the amber hue disguise when she was working undercover.) Occasionally there were articles in the Daily Prophet about the success of various auror missions, details always sketchy on the aurors involved, which was a bit odd for the day and age. The reporting today was always about celebrity ,so whenever the champion auror was conveniently left out of the article, Snape guessed that Miss Rouge Arrow was likely the driving force behind the success, secretly working magic in the shadows, garnering quiet recognition from the select few in the know.

The Arrow family silver chalice was still in the case, which was good. Voldemort hadn't found it yet, nor after the destruction of Willow Gorge, had he had much luck finding any doppelganger root. Out of all of Willow Gorge, one tree had partially survived the night of the Yule Ball—not a bad result, especially since the tree died a few days later when a surprising bolt of lightning struck it down.

Snape always wondered if Voldemort suspected him, though it was pretty easy to deflect the attention to Miss Rouge Arrow, Dumbledore, and Slughorn given what happened in the classroom during the Christmas Challenge. He planted plenty of seeds with Voldemort that the trio had figured it all out, the whole plan with the doppelganger root. And he foolishly thought that by removing the Dark Tourist from the picture, Voldemort might use more legitimate means to carry out his plans for a world governed by magic. He convinced himself—rather lied to himself—far too long that Voldemort's plan could work. His eyes were opened much too late when Voldemort planned to take Lily's life.

Snape looked at the silver chalice a moment longer and sighed.

Like every other year on this day, he left a stuffed animal, a doe, in front of the glass case. It made him feel better, if only for a moment.

Snape walked out of the Fitzwilliam Museum, even gave a wink to the attractive curator in the office by the door, making her blush. He went back to the train and fell into a deep sleep, where he dreamed of Lily. And in this dream, they continued on the train together—to Stansted to see Caspian the Great? To London? Somewhere else? For Snape, it didn't really matter. In this dream, her head was on his shoulder and her hand curled in his. There was nothing more he could want.

Author's Notes

I want to express my sincere gratitude for everyone who's chosen to read and comment on "The Last Thoughts of Severus Snape." There are some 600,000+ Harry Potter stories to choose from, so I am truly humbled that you've continued to read mine over the course of a year.

If you are interested in reading any of my upcoming work, please add me to your author alerts. There are a number of ideas that I have for one-shots, and one idea in particular for a larger work (all Harry Potter). Also, if you have any interest in reading an original work by me, I've started writing a novel on fictionpress called The Protectors (counterfeitmoon is my profile name there as well), so please add me to your alerts. And of course, I would love to hear any feedback, good or bad, that you have on the last installment of this story.

Final thoughts…

When I read the Harry Potter novels for the first time, the idea that Snape loved Lily was an eye-opening moment, a real game-changer for me. It explained so much, and yet it raised so many more questions in my mind, particularly the details around how / why he might have lost that love. For me, the feelings associated with finding and losing love are complex and endlessly interesting (and always surprising when they do happen.) In my experience, there really isn't anything in this world quite like it.

I hope you've enjoyed my take on what might have happened here. Maybe we'll get lucky, and JK Rowling will give us the official version one day.