It had only been two days since the final battle. Severus tried not to glanced up at what was left of the mutilated bodies strung around the Great Hall. His students and colleagues had fought their hardest but it had not been enough. Harry was worst of all, he was still alive. Voldemort had figured out that he had became a horcrux that night so long ago. Now Harry would live to a ripe old age, tortured and mutilated but alive. It made Severus sick to know that he could do nothing for him short of just killing him. After dinner had finished he returned to his potions. He was responsible for the potions that would keep the boy alive and healed just enough. He debated several ways to kill Harry mercifully but none would work. Another death eater was always used to test the potions before they were administered to Voldemorts most important prisoner. He had them tested just in case there was a traitor in their midst that wanted to free Harry. Voldemort trusted no one with Harry's life. Harry was his last Horcrux, he would survive only long enough for Voldemort to find a way to move the soul piece to some other container.
Months had passed and all that remained in the great hall were the skeletons of the dead. The most gruesome of them was the one that was still alive. Every night Severus would comb through his library trying to find a way to release the boy from his torment. He also took every opportunity to search the Hogwarts library. He could research all he wanted because he was one of the people responsible for finding a way to remove the horcrux. On this night he was in the section that used to be called restricted. Nothing was too dark now. There was no restricted section. Even the books that talked about Horcruxes had been returned so that they might find a way to remove the one in Harry. Severus was randomly pulling potion texts off the shelf and sitting them on the table he was going to work at. Later as he was flipping through the pages of one such book not really looking at it, something caught his eye. Reversal of Fortune the label read. Just what he needed Severus thought as he scanned the instructions quickly. Part way through he stopped and read closer. It is even possible to turn back time if the need is great enough. He couldn't believe it he went back to the beginning and read about the potion in its entirety. When he was done he couldn't help the slight smile and nod.
He took the book with him leaving the others for someone else to deal with. Back in his office he checked his store of supplies and was sure he had everything but he decided to ordered extras just in case he needed them. Rechecking the directions he started filling a cauldron with water. As he worked on the potion he readied his mind with the reasons why Voldemort should want him to go back in time. If he was caught before he finished with the potion that excuse would be all that stood between him and death. Since the potion would take six months to brew it was quite likely someone would stumble upon his idea and question him. Then the thought occurred to him that someone could duplicate the potion and come after him so he began to figure out a way that he could prevent that from happening too.
An hour into brewing Severus was struggling with the book. It didn't want to stay open. He picked up his wand and quickly duplicated the pages and almost closed the book. Stopping he glanced at the pages and then back to the book. The potion needed to steep for the next ten minutes so Severus picked up a quill and some black ink and carefully altered a few characters in the book. It wasn't much but no one would be able to duplicate what he was doing. He folded the parchment and put it in his pocket only pulling it out when he needed to refer to it. Otherwise he kept the book at hand with the page bookmarked. When the inevitable happened Severus was prepared.
"Sssseverussss, what has kept you from your meals today?" Voldemort had made his way down to the dungeons to check on the potions master himself.
"Sorry my Lord." Severus stated, "I have several potions at delicate stages and could not leave."
"What are you working on?" he asked picking up the book and opening it to the bookmarked page.
"I have an idea about moving your precious cargo from Potter." the last word was said with a sneer, "I don't know if it will work yet so I was testing it out a bit before I brought it to your attention. I did not wish to bother you if there was no hope in it working."
"What will it do?" he continued to prod at his potions master.
"It may allow me to go back in time." Severus told him a partial truth, "I can wait at the Potter's house and prepare a proper container and catch the soul piece before it makes it to the boy. Or prevent him from harming you at all. I want to test it first as I'm not sure I can even go back that far. I would not take a chance with your life my Lord."
"I sssee." the snake like man always hissed his words. He did it on purpose to strike fear in all who heard him, "When will it be ready?"
"I've only been working on it for a week my Lord." Severus replied, "I had to wait on a few ingredients that I was low on. It shouldn't take more than seven to eight months."
"I am pleassssed." Voldemort turned and left the room, "Keep me up on your progressss. Don't make me come back down here."
"Yes my Lord." Severus kept in his shudder until the man was truly out of his rooms.
In truth he had been working on the potion for four weeks and it would be ready in five months. One of the changes he had made in the book made six months look like eight. Severus didn't miss another meal and he regularly updated the Dark Lord on his progress with the potion. At the end of six months Severus was ready to go, he was sure the Dark Lord suspected him of wrong doing. The last step in the potion was to add some of his own hair and concentrate on when he wanted to go. He had already decided to return to early 1981 and stop Lily's death. He had just added the last ingredient when his door flew open. Voldemort and Bellatrix stepped into the room and started to question him. Before any answers could be given the potion started its reaction which was violent bubbling and rattling the whole room. The two closest to the door clamored to exit Severus closed his eyes and thought "Lily." the explosion rocked the entire castle. When the dust settled and smoke cleared nothing remained of the cauldron, potion nor of the man. A slight smile could have been seen on the face of the live skeleton in the Great Hall if anyone had cared to look.
Severus felt himself fall forward and land in grass. He looked up when he heard a shriek and saw two young girls, one blond and the other with red hair both looked vaguely familiar. Severus went to stand up when the red head spoke, "I know who you are."
Her voice made him gasp. It was Lily. He looked at her and then down at his own ten year old self then promptly fainted. He woke up some time later to hearing Lily's voice, "Is he alright mum?"
"I think so, but let's let the doctor look him over to make sure." a woman answered. Severus felt someone touching him but he wasn't awake enough to stop them.
"It's definitely abuse." a man's voice stated calmly a few minutes later, "There is evidence that he's been beaten not long ago, perhaps a few weeks."
It had actually been earlier that day he recalled but the magical healing his mother had performed erased most of the marks. Severus struggled to get up. But the man held him down, "Don't try to move too much son. You want to tell me who made these marks on you?"
"Father. He hits mum too." Severus answered. If he was going to change the past he might as well make it big and save himself some hurt, "She won't tell you though, she's too afraid. I'll be punished again if you tell them I told you."
"You're that Snape boy right?" the man asked.
"Yes sir." he replied, "I'll be leaving for boarding school the first of September. I've already been accepted and my Grandparents paid. If you can wait to have him arrested until after I'm gone it would be best."
"Can you and your mother survive the rest of the month?" he asked.
"Yes sir. It's just when he gets drunk and that's usually around payday at the first of the month." Severus sighed, "Mum won't be happy if she loses his income, what little he doesn't drink away in any case."
"I'll work with the constable and see what we can do." the man said, "I don't want his case to fall through and put you or your mother in greater danger."
"Thank you sir." Severus answered and then looked at the clock and hurried to move, "I've got to get going or I'll be late."
"Petunia and I can walk him part of the way to make sure he gets there." Lily volunteered.
"I don't know." her mother started.
"I'll follow in my car to make sure they get there and back." the doctor volunteered. He wanted to know exactly which house the boy lived in just in case.
Severus managed to stay out of his father's way for the rest of the month by spending as much time as possible at Lily's house. He had no inclination to snoop in Petunia's things this time, he already knew about her letter and rejection. On September first he was on the platform standing next to Lily. When the whistle blew Petunia gave her a hug and told her to be careful. Severus looked confused for a moment, he knew that wasn't how it went last time. Petunia had called her a freak if he remembered it correctly and he was sure he did. He wondered what had changed.
His next chance for a big change came on the Hogwarts express. He had put on his uniform just as soon as possible to get out of the horrid muggle clothes and he found Lily in a compartment with four rowdy boys. He knew who they were and he decided he wasn't going to make them target him right from the start. He didn't want to repeat the war they had between them. So he just sat quietly and was determined not to mention Slytherin. When the group had gotten around to talking about houses Severus sighed.
"What's wrong?" Lily asked him.
"My whole family has been in Slytherin and I'm not sure I want to be." he stated, "But I'm afraid of what they'll do to me if I'm not put there."
"Me too." Sirius tossed out, "I don't want Slytherin but I'm not sure I can make Ravenclaw and I don't want to be in Hufflepuff. What about you three?"
"Gryffindor for me." James said pretending to brandish a sword, "House of the brave."
"Me too." Peter squeaked.
"I'll be happy if they don't tell me to just get back on the train and go home." Remus looked slightly forlorn.
"They won't do that." Severus offered, "You wouldn't have gotten a letter if they weren't going to let you stay."
Remus smiled slightly in answer and the group talked the rest of the way to Hogwarts covering houses and other school things. They all stayed away from talking about families. Finally Peter brought up the topic he was most worried about.
"I'm worried about what actually happens during the sorting." he stated.
"My dad said I'll have to wrestle a troll." James shrugged, "But I think he was just teasing because the girls would never make it past a troll."
"I beg your pardon." Lily glared, "I bet I could do just as well as you."
"You would." Severus laughed, "Both of you would be completely flattened."
The rest of the group broke up laughing with him as the train pulled to a stop. It felt good to be part of a group, make that a happy group. They left the train and turned towards Hagrid's booming voice. As they moved across the flow of students one gave Sirius a push and knocked him off his feet.
"Watch it." the dark haired girl in Slytherin robes growled at the boy, "You better not mess this up or it will be your funeral."
"Leave him alone Bella." said a girl slightly older with similar but friendlier features, "Get to the carriages."
"Thanks Andy." Sirius stood brushing off his robes.
"If you're not in Slytherin I'll do what I can to help you." she whispered as her friends left, "I know you're braver than me and you'll probably get it done."
"You know it." Sirius nodded.
"What was that about?" James asked.
"Cousins." Sirius said, "I told you my family was in Slytherin."
"Well you're nothing like the first one." Severus stated, "The second one seemed ok though."
"Andy's great." Sirius said and they all continued to move towards the boats, "She wanted to be in Ravenclaw but was too scared to go against the family. Her boyfriend is from Ravenclaw though."
The sorting went the same as Severus remembered until it got to Peter Pettigrew. The hat yelled Hufflepuff and Severus almost fell over. When it got to his own name he was very nervous. The hat was plopped onto his head and it started talking to him, "Well this is interesting. Did you mean to come back this far? No I didn't think so. Well you are fit for any house do you have a preference. Not Slytherin like before? You would do well in Ravenclaw but I think you really need to be in Gryffindor." the last word yelled out for all to hear.
Stunned he got up and headed for the table that was clapping for him. Sirius was laughing when he sat down, "You look a little shocked."
"Yes I am." he replied, "I've never thought of myself as particularly brave."
"Well I'm glad you're here." Lily said, "Maybe you can help keep Potter under control."
"Wish me luck on that." he said. Remus and Sirius laughed from the opposite side of the table while James who was sitting next to Severus pretended to pout.
The year passed and things happened just as he remembered or had been told about. The biggest difference being that he was on the other side of it all now. They didn't seem to prank quite as much as Severus remembered but he guessed it was all the pranks they had pulled on him that was missing. He became close friends with Lily and the only question about it came from James and he just wanted to know how to become her friend too. He realized around Christmas that he loved Lily but like a sister not the other feelings from before. Two things had made his feelings different. First he wasn't nearly as lonely in Gryffindor as he had been in Slytherin. Second was James. He like him this time and it was fun to watch and laugh as James made a fool of himself over and over again trying to get Lily's attention. First and second years passed and Severus found himself thrilled that he was in Gryffindor and friends with Lily and the other Marauders.
Third year started and with it the realization that not everything was quite as perfect with this new world as he thought. Just like last time Voldemort started his reign of terror in earnest. Muggle attacks had increased significantly and people were disappearing. Reality had intruded on his thirteen year old life and he knew he had work to do. First and foremost on his mind was fixing Wolfsbane. It tasted foul, was expensive and time consuming to make, couldn't be given to children under seventeen and it did nothing for the physical abuse a body was put through during the actual change. He sequestered himself into the potions lab and worked during all his free time. This went on for a whole month before his three friends drug him outside and plopped him down by the lake.
"Why are you avoiding us?" James asked.
"I'm not." Severus looked confused. He hadn't been avoiding anyone.
"Then why are you always down in the potions lab?" Sirius asked.
Severus glanced at Remus and then said, "I'm working on something."
"What could be so important that you have to spend all your free time down there?" Sirius asked.
"I'm trying to fix a potion." Severus tried to evade the question somewhat.
"Doesn't answer my question." Sirius pushed harder.
"I'm working on a potion for a friend." Severus said hoping they would drop it. But he was hoping in vain.
"Is it for a prank?" Sirius grinned.
"No." Severus said angrily, "It's Wolfsbane you idiot. You don't prank with something like that."
"Why are you working on Wolfsbane?" Remus asked trying not to sound worried, "That's a NEWT level potion isn't it?"
"Yes it is." James agreed, "How are you trying to fix it?"
"Well right now no one under the age of seventeen can take it because it's too hard on the body." Severus instructed, "Not to mention it's expensive and I've heard foul tasting. But worst of all it's not a cure."
"You think a thirteen year old can find a cure?" Remus doubted anyone could find it.
"No. But if I start now then maybe y-people won't have to suffer." Severus almost slipped, "I'd like the idea of curing a child before he had to even transform once."
"Noble gesture." Remus smiled, "But you still need to be a kid too. You can't spend all your time on this."
"What brought this on?" Sirius asked, "Do you know one?"
"Yes, he's really nice and hates being a werewolf." Severus said evasively looking at the lake, "He's never bit anyone and he never will if he can help it."
"Aren't you scared to be around him?" Remus asked.
"Not in the least." Severus turned to his friend with a smile, "I only stay away on full moon nights. Otherwise he's mostly harmless."
"Mostly?" James asked.
"He does like to play tricks." Severus laughed at the grins that lit three faces.