This is a random, drabble-y little fic about Harry and Snape, who I am always obsessed with. It's not my favorite that I've written but I rather like it.
The last thing Severus Snape remembered was dying.
It had been all the clichés that he had always heard about – the white light, the mixed sense of peace and regret, his life flashing before his eyes. He remembered drawing in his last, shuttering breath, staring up at emerald green eyes, so foreign on a child rather than the woman he loved, and thinking, Lily.
In the next moment, he woke up in the Hospital Wing of Hogwarts.
He stared up at the ceiling for a few long minutes, noticing the crisscrossed beams and the way the light hurt his eyes. It took him a moment to realize what was wrong – the truth that was somehow missing from this situation.
I should be dead.
His mind had just begun to process that information when he felt a cool hand on his brow, and a voice broke through his thoughts.
"Oh, Severus! You're awake!"
He turned his head mere centimeters to the side. The first thing he noticed was Madam Poppy Pomfrey, standing over him with a concerned look on her face. The second thing he discerned was the excruciating pain in his neck.
"Don't move, Severus." The woman spoke again. "You have a very serious neck injury, but it's healing nicely."
Severus closed his eyes for a moment before speaking. "I should be dead."
There was a moment of silence, before the mediwitch answered bluntly. "Yes, you should be."
Severus found he couldn't help the broken question that escaped his lips. Perhaps, perhaps, it was too much to hope. "Is he – is he–"
"He's gone, Severus," The woman said sympathetically, instantly realizing what he was asking, as Severus' mind nearly exploded with emotions. Joy freedom peace no more fear he's gone…
Poppy's voice dropped down to a whisper. "Severus, why didn't you tell me? I could have helped you."
He knew what she meant instantly – why hadn't he revealed the truth about his loyalties, about his bitterness, about his internal pain? About what he went through for so many years?
He was quiet for a moment and then decided on a response that would half-answer her question. "I can heal myself adequately."
She nodded. "Yes, but not exceptionally. Severus, your body has–"
"Been through hell," he growled, straightening and trying to place the pain in his neck. "You don't have to tell me."
Poppy was silent for a long moment, and then she leaned down so she was once more in his line of sight. "Thank you, Severus, for all you have done."
Severus found he wasn't quite sure how to respond to that. He didn't want pity, and he wasn't even positive he wanted gratitude. Really, he just wanted to be left alone.
Instead, he settled on ignoring her comment and asking a question of his own. "How am I alive?"
Anger shot through Severus, and he had to work to keep himself still. "That boy has a regrettable hero complex," he spat. Saved by a child, after so many years?
He was surprised when Poppy agreed with him. "Yes, he does, the poor child," she said, turning her head to look across the room. "He is our hero, and yet he has paid dearly for it."
Severus felt annoying predictable as he slowly, slowly turned his injured neck to face the other side of the room. Laying on the bed two down from his was the precious Boy-Who-Lived.
Even from his distant vantage point, Severus could see the angry scars that crossed the boy's arms, clearly from torture. There were bandages across his forehead, as if his scar had split open. He appeared to be sleeping.
"He's in a magical coma," Poppy said briskly, turning away from the sight and back to her current patient. "Now, Severus, you need sleep. And I don't want to hear any arguing from you," she said sharply, anticipating an argument from the man. "We can talk more after you've rested."
Severus sighed softly and obediently allowed Poppy to tip Dreamless Sleep Potion into his mouth. After that, she left him with his thoughts as he began to fall into the first truly peaceful sleep he had had for years.
Three days later, the boy still had not woken. He had, however, had a flurry of the expected visitors – the entire Weasley clan (what was left of it, Severus supposed), Granger, Lovegood, and Longbottom. Severus steadfastly pretended to be asleep when they appeared, but was surprised to hear no disparaging comments about him coming from their lips.
From their conversation and Poppy's brief explanations, Severus was able to piece together what had happened the day of the battle.
Severus remembered his side of events – the Dark Lord calmly explaining and talking him through the reasons for his coming death, and then Nagini's attack. Severus even remembered the moment he died, at least theoretically. The boy – Potter – had been staring down at him with those heartbreakingly green eyes.
What came after was what he didn't know. It appeared that Potter had been doing more research than anyone except perhaps those closest to him knew, and had been able to save him.
"There is no cure for a snake bite that lethal," Severus had protested, squinting his eyes when Poppy had told him. The mediwitch had sighed.
"There is," she said softly, "when accompanied by an exchange of magical energy."
Severus was shocked to silence. "He didn't–" He began to say.
Poppy interrupted him. "He did," she responded with another sigh. "Between your healing and Voldemort's attacks, his magical core was nearly depleted. It's slowly coming back, but it was touch and go for quite a while. He's stable now, but…" She looked pained. "I'm still concerned that he won't wake."
Severus was once more left again with his thoughts. The fact that the Potter brat had saved his life, even at personal expense, left him confused. One part of his mind knew that he should be grateful for the boy's sacrifice, and even sorry for the current misfortune he was facing. However, the other part, the one that had been ruling his actions and emotions for so many years, was furious at the child. He did not want to be indebted to James Potter's spawn, even if the child did have Lily's eyes! How foolish could the boy possibly be, to give up precious parts of his magical core in order to the save the life of an old, bitter man who had tormented him for years? Why had he done it? The boy undoubtedly had a hero complex; but in the end, he had won.
Two days later, five days after Severus had woken for the first time, Harry Potter came out of his magical coma.
Madam Pomfrey had fussed over him much as she had with Severus, who she was still refusing to let leave the Hospital Wing. "Harry? Can you hear me?" She asked loudly, hoping the child would respond. Snape listened with a disconnected interest.
He was shocked when he heard the child repeat the exact words he had spoken five days ago.
"Is he – is he–" Potter's voice was small and almost inaudible to Severus, from across the room.
Poppy had smiled warmly at the boy, just as she had at Severus. "He's gone, Harry," she said softly. "He's gone."
The boy's face had visibly relaxed back onto the pillows. He had closed his eyes once more, and hadn't spoken again.
That was two days ago, and Severus couldn't figure out why Potter was still staying silent. Shouldn't he want to jump out of bed into a wheelchair, to go meet his adoring public?
It was late evening that night when Harry broke the silence. Poppy had already retreated to her office, monitoring spells set on her only two patients.
"Professor?" Potter's voice was slightly hoarse with disuse. Without even looking, Severus could tell that the boy was still very weak.
"What?" Severus said. He couldn't very well deny his savior a reply, especially when it was the first word he had spoken in days.
He was silent for another long moment, and Severus rolled his eyes. Even in such a weakened state, Potter was still capable of annoying him to no end.
He was surprised when Potter did speak again.
"I'm glad he's gone," The boy whispered, staring up at the ceiling.
The statement was childish and simplistic, but so heartbreakingly honest and – if Severus allowed himself to admit it – humble that he found he couldn't snap back at the boy.
Severus didn't speak for a moment. When he did, his voice lacked his usual sneer.
"I am, too."
The next day, the boy had chatted with Madam Pomfrey and his visitors, much to the delight of all. He was on the mend, they all claimed, to which Severus only rolled his eyes. He was able to stay awake much longer and carry on a conversation, but Severus knew better. Injuries like Potter's did not go away overnight.
If experience was any indication, they probably never would.
The nighttime seemed to draw a strange reaction from the boy, who once again spoke to Severus that night, this time with a much bolder message.
"It's a shame we hate each other so much."
Severus was surprised by the boy's statement, and couldn't help but resort to his old insult. "It's only to be expected, Potter," he sneered. "Your father was a –"
Harry interrupted him. "I don't remember my father, and I have no idea whether or not I am like him," he said softly. "You are insulting my pride and nothing else." He stared sullenly up at the ceiling, his green eyes obscured by the darkness.
Severus found that he had no retort.
The next night, Severus knew what to expect, and this time he was ready. He had a question of his own for the boy, and he was quite positive that no answer would be good enough.
"Why did you save me?" Severus said abruptly through the darkness, his voice low. He could see Potter start across the room, shocked by the sound of his words. He smirked appreciatively.
"It was the right thing to do," The answer finally came, and Severus couldn't help but roll his eyes. That was such a typical answer from Potter; he was always about what was right and good, never about what was appropriate and easy. Never about anyone but him.
His next few words came out darkly, as if in the form of a threat. "I should have died."
Potter was silent for a few moments, as if considering. When he finally answered, his words were so quiet Severus could barely hear them. "Perhaps I should have too."
The room fell quiet then and remained that way; there was nothing more that could be said, after all. Severus lay staring at the ceiling, half wondering why in Merlin's name Potter would say that, and half when his neck would finally be well enough for him to rise.
"Are you truly as blind as you seem to be?" Was the next night's question.
Severus blinked, and returned the jab. "Are you truly as dimwitted as you seem to be?"
"Are you truly as jaded?" Potter replied.
"Are you truly as arrogant?" Severus questioned, enjoying the insult game. What happened next, however, surprised him.
"No," the boy said. "No, I wouldn't say I am."
Silence reigned a moment longer. "I would beg to differ," Severus finally responded, remarkably uncomfortable with the silence.
"There is a difference between arrogance and confidence."
This game constantly surprised Severus, how both of them could reply so quickly, so easily, and talk about difficult things with such abandon. "The line is hard to decipher," he reasoned.
"So is the one between confidence and reckless abandon." Potter rolled over on to his side, the noise of his shifting audible to Severus. The conversation was over.
Severus rather thought the boy had never truly discovered that particular line – the one between confidence and reckless abandon.
Potter was a Gryffindor, after all.
He wasn't surprised the next night when Potter showed up. He had finally been released to go back to his own quarters, to finally find some peace. A knock on the door indicated otherwise, however.
He rose, careful of his still-sore neck, and flung open the door, fully anticipating to growl menacingly at whoever waited beyond it.
Severus still wasn't used to the newly scarred form of Harry Potter, and rather than growling stood in silence, staring at the boy waiting in the doorway. Finally, his voice returned to him. "What are you doing here, Potter? I highly doubt you were released from the Hospital Wing."
The boy just shrugged and looked up at him. Severus stared back for one long moment before sighing loudly and pulling the door open wider, allowing the boy to pass. When had he become the boy's Confessor? He was tired of Potter screwing with his head, making vague and cryptic comments that went against everything he had previously believed.
Potter stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, and Severus sighed impatiently. It was obvious the boy was in pain, and yet he refused to be seated. Was that the arrogance he had so vehemently denied, needing to be offered a seat? Or was him simply trying to be polite? Severus couldn't be sure, but he knew that a week ago he never would have come up with the last reason.
"Sit," he said abruptly, taking the seat across from the boy's chosen chair. "What is it?"
Potter was silent for long moment, as he always seemed to be before he said something deep, dark, and bloody confusing. Severus sighed.
"I wanted to say thank you," he finally said, daring to glance up at his former professor.
If it were possible, Severus' black eyes would have darkened. "I don't want you gratitude," he growled, ripping his gaze away from Potter's. He needed nothing from him – not his thanks, his admiration, his pity –
Once again, Potter surprised him. "No," he said softly. "I'm sure you don't. But you deserve it."
Severus glanced at the boy quickly and looked away. "I don't know what you're going on about, Potter," he said sternly. "You're the one who defeated the Dark Lord."
This time, Severus was utterly shocked. Harry laughed. "Oh, yes," he said, collapsing further into the chair. "Something to be proud of, isn't it? That's what I'll be forever known as. 'Who's that?' 'Oh, that's Harry Potter. He murdered people. But don't worry, it was only Voldemort and some Death Eaters. I'm sure it's not eating apart his soul.'"
Severus was silent at that, but his mind was reeling. Never had he considered that Potter would have such a conscience on him – and compassion, even for enemies, and something beyond the arrogance he had expected. Apparently, the boy had a heart, one that strongly ruled his actions.
Severus' eyes were low when he spoke, finally revealing something personal. "It… It never gets easier."
Harry's eyes met his, emerald green piercing fierce black. "No," he said. "I don't imagine it would." His words were heavy. He rose, taking a deep breath and wincing slightly from his remaining injuries. Severus rose, too.
"It's a shame we hate each other so much," Harry repeated his words from the first night they had spoken. "We really are quite similar, you know."
With that, he turned and walked slowly, painfully out the door to begin the long trek back to the Hospital Wing. Severus was left in stunned silence, half offended and half in agreement.
Perhaps they were.
The next night, it was Severus who sought out Harry Potter, wanting to share cryptic little moments of his own secrets.
Perhaps, perhaps, they could be each other's Confessors.
Maybe then they could both forget the scars the war had left behind.