Seems to matter what I do, so I'm saving this for you
Cause it seems to be the last piece there is
And you haven't had chance yet to taste this
Fragments of a life you shouldn't miss
Seems to matter what I say, so I'll hold my tongue at bay
And use my mouth to kiss your frown away
So your doubts can no longer darken your day
So you can hold your head up high, come what may
So please remember that I'm gonna follow through
All the way, all the way
Cause it seems to matter where I go, I will always let you know
That the place where I am is never far
You know you're not alone, don't be alarmed
I'll find you no matter where you are
So please remember that I'm gonna follow through
All the way, all the way
All the Way For You
Five Years Later
Severus sat at the writing desk in the cottage, typing on the laptop, something that he'd never thought that he would be doing, but he had discovered that he was quite proficient at it. It was merely being deft with the fingers, something that he'd been good at for years as working as a Potions Master.
He was finishing up his thesis in order to finish his degree in Practicing Psychology. He'd taken several aptitude tests after he'd first entered into the Muggle world, and had been surprised to find that he was good at reading people, but after a little while he'd soon realized that it made perfect sense after all. As a spy for most of his life, he'd learned how to accurately read body language and read between the lines of what people said, and soon found that the field of Muggle Psychology was quite a rewarding one for him.
Over the last year, he'd had to actually work with patients and had soon discovered that the pain he'd felt through his life had been a form of depression, something they didn't really talk about in the Wizarding world. Knowing the problem, he was able deal with his own issues, as well as empathize with the people that he worked with.
There was something incredibly self-rewarding with helping people move on with their lives.
Because the sessions were private, he was able to divulge parts of his past, carefully edited of course, and he'd had an incredibly high success rate with helping his patients who had severe depression and survivor's guilt.
His associates were mostly shocked by the fact that he achieved all of his results without having to medicate a single patient, which was why he'd only had to do a single year of residency.
Of course, even though he acted entirely like a Muggle, he was never truly without his magic, as he could still do wandless magic, but he only used it when he was alone, and never when he was at the office or in any large Muggle venue where there were a lot of people present.
Even at home, he only used it rarely. He found a strange satisfaction in doing things the Muggle way.
Cleaning and cooking by hand, for instance. There was a strange feeling of accomplishment whenever he saw the counter and floors shine because of his time well-spent.
And cooking was like being a Potions Master again, but with edible results. Far more rewarding, he privately thought.
However, whenever he made soup from a box, he was reminded of why he was doing what he was doing. He spent virtually no money, saving a good portion for the cottage and putting the rest of it into a Muggle savings account, which was quite ingenious, he thought, and he didn't have to spend any of it on travel as he still Apparated to a private spot near the campus nearly every day.
His fingers slowed on the keys, and he glanced towards the wall, staring at a photo of a familiar face and two unfamiliar ones.
They were wearing Muggle skis and they were standing at the base of a snowy hill, their arms wrapped around each other's waists and they were all smiling brightly at the camera.
He had found that Muggle photos were much less unsettling than Wizarding ones. It truly felt like the moment and emotions had been captured, and you weren't left with the uneasy feeling that the figures in the image were listening to every word that you said and watching you constantly.
Severus had stared at the photo too many times, and knew it intimately. He knew that she had her father's eyes, her mother's nose and mouth, and a chin inherited from a grandmother, he suspected, as he'd seen the other photos on the walls and had come to a careful conclusion about the parentage of her own parents.
Finally, he gave up on writing any more of his thesis, and hit the save button before flipping the laptop closed.
He couldn't concentrate any longer.
Whenever she came into his thoughts so suddenly, he could never focus because she blurred over all of his thoughts.
Sometimes it hit stronger than usual, and this was one of those times. He closed his eyes and let out a breath that he wasn't even aware that he'd been holding, and then inhaled deeply, trying to clear his thoughts, but all it did was worsen it…for a moment he thought he could smell her nearby, and it made his heart ache slightly.
He'd assumed, in the beginning of everything, that the memory would fade with time and that he would eventually see that it wasn't love; just a passing indulgence…
But all time seemed to do was sharpen the memory; colors were brighter, edges were sharper, voices clearer, sensations intensified.
And the emotion strengthened.
Suddenly, in the middle of his indulgence, he heard the distinctive creak of the weather-worn front steps.
Barely able to breathe, he wordlessly cast a Disillusionment charm over his body, a silencing spell on his shoes, and crept up to the window that looked out onto the front porch…and he could barely believe the sight before his eyes.
Distinctive bushy curls and slight frame showed him all that he needed to see to identify the person.
It was her…
…she was here.
He wanted nothing more than to reveal himself, but he knew that to do so would be the wrong move. He wasn't ready for her, yet. He wasn't yet the man that she needed him to be. His heart ached as he stared out at her and then nearly broke in his chest as he saw her shoulders start to silently shake.
She was crying. Oh dear Merlin, she was crying.
It was testing him beyond measure to simply stand there and watch her suffer alone, and not stand out on the porch and reveal himself to her. But he said nothing.
After what was probably only a few minutes, but what felt like an eternity to him, she stood, wiped her face with the sleeve of her coat, and then stepped just beyond the house and disappeared into the air, leaving nothing behind…but then he noticed something lying on the front porch that hadn't been there before.
Curious, he stepped onto the porch, ending the spells, and reached down to the gray boards and picked the slip of paper off the splintered wood.
It was a photo…of her and her parents.
As he walked back inside, he absently ran his thumb across the photo, realizing with his heart in his throat that she'd been holding the photo only moments before in her own hands. For a brief moment, he thought he could feel the lingering warmth of her hands on the glossy material.
He sat back down at the desk, photo still in his hand, and he couldn't help but notice faint smears of liquid across it, and he quickly realized that they were tears.
He could feel the pain in his chest resurface, but he quickly quashed the feeling, using a small bout of wandless magic to fashion a frame for the photo and place it on the desk.
What he would give to have a photo of the two of them together, but he could still find solace in seeing pictures of only her. So long as he could see her, he could be happy. They were constant reminders of what he was striving for.
To be worthy of her.
With his inspiration rekindled, he flipped the laptop back open and started typing once more. The sooner he was done with his work, the sooner he could finally be with her…the sooner he could love her.
A faint smile appeared on his lips as he worked.
Lyrics by Poets of the Fall