First off, much thanks to LadyDunla for being a wonderful beta and making this story looks so awesome and polished!
I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it and I really appreciate all the wonderful comments and support for this fic. I've read this Severitus or Severus/Harry Gen genre for some time now and wanted to make my own contribution. I'm glad this first experiment was met with such wonderful readers and is the final chapter for Unsaid. I wrote this story about a year ago and never really intended a sequel of any sort.
So, while there is no sequel to Unsaid, I do have another fanfic of this genre in the works. It has more of a melancholic mood than this fic and is definitely Severus-centric. Here is my 'unofficial' summary:
In which Severus Snape is given a second chance at living. Accompanied by the spirit of Lily, he relives the first year of Harry Potter's Hogwarts education. Guided by the memories of his previous life and the wisdom given by Lily, he strives to change his fate by changing Harry's. A re-imagining of the the first book.
So, one last time, thank you for reading!
He was gone and Harry Potter was ripping the letters from the walls. He stuffed them angrily into his desk drawer. He couldn't throw them out, but he couldn't stand to look at them anymore. He took sealed letters that he had written to Snape, all laying so neatly on his desk, and ripped them to pieces, throwing them in with the rubbish.
He felt like an idiot, he felt angry, he felt sad. Harry used to have hope. The first week, he thought maybe the man was just busy. The second week, he was worried that something had happened. Then the third blended with the fourth and fifth. Harry saw fragments of his letters scattered on the floor.
The teacher praised me in class for the first time… I'm the best at spelling in class now… Dudley gave me a black eye today… Aunt Petunia cut my hair, but it grew back by the morning. Do you think it was magic?
He shoved the scraps away. He had been so stupid, checking his spelling very carefully in every letter. He had even rewritten them over again, all in the hopes that some stupid owl would come to his window and take them away. But there was no owl and Harry was beginning to wonder if there ever was one.
Harry stomped down the stairs, ignoring his uncle shouting at him. It was almost summer, but he wasn't looking forward to it. The Dursleys were back to normal. Uncle Vernon locked Harry in his room. Aunt Petunia coddled Dudley and made Harry do all the chores. Dudley was out playing with some friends in the backyard, so Harry decided to go to a park.
He wanted to go to the one near school, with all the trees. The other park meant he would have to pass by Mrs. Figg's house. He had been there a couple times too, but she would just shut the door on him without telling him anything. He didn't want to talk to her anymore.
On the way, though, he passed by Lucy's house and she was out front, making chalk-drawings on the sidewalk. He stopped and watched her until she looked up. She hadn't talked to him ever since Dudley hit her. He didn't blame her.
"Hi," he said softly.
"Hey," she answered, sitting back on her ankles.
They both didn't know what to say to the other. "Nice drawings," Harry muttered.
She smiled, a little. "Thanks. I like your glasses."
Harry tugged on them, making sure they were still there. Dudley had made a great effort to break them, and though they've gotten a bit bent in the process, they still worked. "I like them too," he answered.
"You want to draw with me?" she asked, leaning forward to add another petal to her flower.
"I'm not good at drawing." But he knelt down. He didn't like standing above her.
"Yeah, you are. I've seen you drawing during free time."
He did, but that was usually Snape or Dumbledore or Hogwarts. He wasn't very good at drawing, but it made him feel better to be able to remember what it all looked like. "What colors do you have?"
She had a little bucket. "A lot of them are broken," She fished around for another color and began to make more flowers.
Almost all of them were broken, but there was a black one that was untouched. Harry took it and began to draw Snape. Black hair, black eyes, black clothes. He was easy to draw, but only because Harry had already done it so many times. Next to it, he drew himself, even adding in glasses, which he sometimes forgot.
"Oh? Is that you with your daddy?"
Harry quickly looked up at Lucy, who was pointing to his picture. He didn't know what to say, but she suddenly looked panicked.
"I'm sorry! Don't cry!"
But Harry already was and he didn't know why. He dropped the chalk and pressed his hands against his eyes. Lucy scrambled over and patted him on the back, saying she was sorry over and over again.
"Let's draw something else? Okay? How about a house?" She was trying to hand him the bucket.
Harry didn't want to cry in front of a girl. "A castle," he murmured, trying to wipe his eyes clean.
"Okay, a castle sounds cool." She chose a purple and began drawing a castle with lots of towers.
Harry smiled a little and took the blue. "It needs a lake and a forest."
Lucy was digging through the bucket. "I know! An enchanted forest! Then I could draw fairies."
They worked for a long time, covering most of Lucy's sidewalk and drive. She drew fairies and unicorns and many more flowers. Harry drew broomsticks and wizards in purple robes. After a couple of hours, Lucy was delighted and lay down in the grass to rest. Harry sat down next to her. It was very hot and his hands were colored from the chalk. He looked at them, remembering how Snape's were also colored from making potions. He found his eyes wandering to his first drawings, of him and Snape. He felt sad, but they looked better surrounded by the other magical drawings.
"He's not my dad," he said suddenly.
"Huh?" Lucy sat up and looked at the drawing too.
"He's not my dad. But I don't mind that you thought he was."
She shrugged. "Okay." A woman came out of her house and called Lucy in for supper. Harry didn't even realize it was late. Lucy stood up, putting the rest of the chalk in a bucket. "I'll see you in school, I guess." She smiled. "We have only a week left until summer. You should come over again." She ran inside, giving him a brief wave. It hurt Harry, but he knew she wouldn't talk to him at school. That was okay though; he didn't want her to get hit by Dudley again.
Harry walked back to the Dursleys' house slowly, even though he knew Aunt Petunia would be angry at him for not being home in time for dinner. He didn't know why she cared, since they seemed to hate having him at the table anyway.
Later that night, he sat at his desk and finished up his homework. It was easier now. He guessed it was because he had an easier time in class. He did find himself looking out of his open window, absently wondering if there would be an owl tonight. It was warm and he could leave the window open anyway. But he wanted an owl. He wanted a letter from Snape, even though he hated the man. But he didn't want to hate him and it made Harry feel tired.
The next day at school, Harry was being chased by Dudley and his gang. Dudley had managed to break his glasses that morning on the way to school. Harry used sellotape to fix them, but some kids were laughing at him. He got so angry that he managed to punch Dudley at recess. And now the entire gang was going to kill him. Harry ran all the way around the building and tried to jump behind the dumpsters.
Instead Harry suddenly found himself on the roof of the school. He clutched the ledge, breathing very heavily. Dudley and his friends came around the corner and he pointed up to Harry. They all shouted until a teacher came. Harry was too stunned to move. He didn't know how he got there and it kind of scared him.
Eventually a janitor came up and led him down the roof stairs. His aunt and uncle were called by the headmistress. Harry was in a lot of trouble and was sent home as punishment. Uncle Vernon could barely contain himself until they got through the door. But without warning, he shoved Harry into the cupboard and quickly locked the door. Then he proceeded to shout at Harry for about an hour.
Harry tried to argue that he didn't know what happened. He even demanded to be put in his room instead. Uncle Vernon seemed too enraged to even hear him and, by the time he left, Harry knew he was going to be stuck in his cupboard for a very long time.
At least his bed was still in there, so he had some place to lie down. But Harry felt awful. The room upstairs was larger and had a window. He hated the cupboard and he didn't think he should be punished.
He pressed his face into the dusty pillow, trying not to cry. Above all, he suddenly wanted his family tree. Whenever he felt really sad like this, he would look at it and feel a bit better. Not completely, but better. He wanted to look at his family tree and pretend that his parents were smiling at him.
Severus Snape was exhausted. Exams had been more disastrous than usual. though nothing had exploded, thank Merlin, there had been many close calls and many failing marks. And though he spent many hours on his feet, breathing down the necks of Hufflepuffs, he was still awake at nearly midnight.
It was the damned Enlightenment potion. Nearly every book suggested that it was impossible to make. Those who had come close had dubious results of its actual effectiveness. But it shouldn't be impossible, Severus had argued with himself. It is only an evolved product of the Clarity potion, which was used mostly whenever a Quidditch player suffered from a concussion. The Clarity potion improved brain function, but only if the mind was damaged. The Enlightenment potion was meant to focus the mind on only the most important details, even when the mind was working to full capacity.
It depended entirely on balance and precision. Both were important in most potions, but the Enlightenment potion was especially finicky. Not even Severus' best problem-solving could repair a batch once defunct.
The current concoction before him was failing quickly. There was too much ginger root, or perhaps not enough pixie dust. Severus was grabbing at straws. The pale blue color he was hoping for was fading rapidly to green. It was the beginning to a futile night and Severus felt drained.
There was a flash of light and Severus thought momentarily that his potion had exploded. But it was a phoenix feather that had materialized out of the air. He stared at it, feeling paralyzed, as it fell slowly down and landed in the liquid. He looked at the potion, almost hypnotized, as the color cleared and became an almost translucent blue. Not quite believing it, Severus transferred some to a vial. He examined it, it seemed perfect. It seemed perfect.
He had to test it; he was beyond considering of why the phoenix feather appeared in the first place. So he slowly let a few drops land on his tongue. It tasted salty, yet like honey, and he couldn't quite describe what else.
And suddenly it was like a weight settled on his chest. A warm, soft weight. And it hurt to feel and to not feel. His hands were shaking and the world was swimming around him. But he saw green, green eyes. They were looking at him. They were looking for him. And the weight hurt and it didn't hurt.
Severus was running, though he wasn't sure why. But he was at the headmaster's office and Dumbledore stood up at his abrupt entrance. "Severus, good… Are you okay?"
"No, no I'm not." He could hardly look up, he was staring at his shaking hands. "What is it? What is it?"
"Well, I… Severus, you are quite pale." The headmaster placed an hand on his shoulder, but he shrugged it off. It wasn't right.
"What is it?" He kept repeating, his head pounding. The edges of his vision faded into blue, or was it green?
"It was an alarm. I told them not to place Harry Potter in the cupboard, but apparently-"
But Severus was gone. He was gone at that name. And if he were in a better mind, he would know that he automatically stepped into the floo. But all he felt was fire that was not as warm as his arms.
Then he was standing before the cupboard as it unlatched. And there was a boy there. There was a boy.
And Severus Snape could finally think clearly.
"Harry," he whispered in the dark hallway. "Harry."
The boy slowly opened his eyes, trying to see Severus. "Am I dreaming?"
He was tired. "No, but I think I am."
Harry sat up and fumbled for the light. His hair was messy and his glasses looked to be broken. "It really is you," he whispered.
Severus felt a bit numb. He couldn't quite remember how he got there. He vaguely remembered flooing, but he must have apparated as well. He felt very aware that he was standing in a muggle household in the middle of the night and Harry Potter was sleeping in a cupboard. He couldn't move; his legs suddenly feeling stiff.
"Have you come to take me away?"
Harry smiled and Severus found himself responding. When Harry raised his hands, Severus was suddenly lifting the boy into his embrace. Harry wrapped his arms around Snape's neck, his legs locking around his waist. Severus looked into the green eyes.
"I'm sorry," he whispered to the boy.
"It's okay." Harry pressed his forehead against the man's neck. "Are we going home now?"
"Yes." Severus didn't know why he kept answering that, but he wasn't about to let the boy go now. His arms no longer ached and his head felt so clear, it was almost dizzying.
"Is this what it's like?"
"What?" He was trying to gather his thoughts, but all he could think of was leaving. He was more than ready to apparate, he realized.
Harry's arms tightened a bit more. "Is this what it feels like?"
Severus' thoughts came into clear precision in that moment. And he suddenly understood why Harry kept that family tree under his pillow and drew his parent's faces smiling. He understood about climbing trees or asking all those strange questions about his mother. He knew what Harry had been asking, or trying to ask.
Severus Snape held Harry Potter very close, closing his eyes against the messy hair. "Yes, this is what it feels like."
And they disappeared.