A/N: I'm marking this story M just because I want to have the freedom to go as dark as I please. It will get darker as the story moves along. I'm just setting it up right now.

"He's not dead! He's not dead!"

"What do you mean? Of course he's dead."

"He'd have rigor mortis by now if he were dead."

Harry moved Snape's arm and showed Hermione that it was limp.

"He's been here hours. We need to get him to Madame Pomfrey now."

"Alright, Harry," Hermione sighed. "Ron, help Harry carry Professor Snape."

The two of them formed a chair with their arms and Hermione helped lift Snape into it. They carried him to Hogwarts, over the screaming protests of their back muscles. When they reached an inhabited part, Professor McGonnagall came up.

"What's going on?" she demanded.

"Snape's not dead!" Harry explained. "He doesn't have rigor mortis yet. We need to get him to Madame Pomfrey."

"Well, what are you waiting for?" McGonnagall said. "Peeves," she said, addressing the ghost floating near her. "Go tell Madame Pomfrey that Snape is coming and needs immediate medical treatment. Have her get anti-venom of the most powerful kind ready."

"Right-o," Peeves said. Even Peeves realized that this was not the time to be problematic about taking orders. McGonnagall got Harry and Ron some help carrying Snape to the hospital wing. True to his orders, Peeves had Madame Pomfrey ready with every anti-venom Hogwarts had. No sooner had Harry and Ron seen to the delivery of Snape, when Harry collapsed on the floor.

"Harry! Harry!" Ron and Hermione screamed.

Harry woke up rubbing his head. "Ow," he thought. "Let's see, I defeated Voldemort, and then went back to get Snape's body...and he wasn't dead, and we brought him to the hospital wing, and...and then I lose it." He opened his eyes. Glancing around he saw that he was in the hospital wing too. No one was there. Well, almost no one.

"Hello, Potter."

"Hello, Professor Snape."

"I was wondering when you'd finally wake up."

"What happened?"

"The word is that you collapsed from exhaustion. You should be almost ready to go back to your dormitory."

"No, I meant what happened with you? You should have died."

"I'm sorry to disappoint you, Potter," Snape said with a sneer. Harry's eyes narrowed slightly in frustration. Snape smirked slightly. "But to answer your real question, I used a method called anima abscondito. It means that I put my consciousness into my primal brain - my cerebrum. That put me into a state of hibernation really, which slowed all my bodily functions which made it slower for Nagini's poison to penetrate my body."

"I've never heard of this anima abscondito before."

"Of course you haven't, Potter," Snape said. "While not dark in and of itself, it's something that really only Death Eaters, or former Death Eaters would know. But I assure you, it isn't dark."

"Oh." Harry was silent a few moments, thinking about the memories Snape had given him.

"Harry," Snape said softly. "You really should have paid more attention in Occlemency." Harry blushed. "I knew we'd get up to this eventually, if I survived Nagini's bite. Try not to hate me too much for what I did. I don't hate you. It was only an act." Snape let his head rest against the headboard. Suddenly he looked very old, and very tired. His eyes closed, and Harry wondered if he had suddenly taken a turn for the worse. "Only an act," he muttered. Snape's eyes snapped open. "It was my penance. Everything I've done up until now was my punishment for what I did, what I did to you and to your mother."

"Yeah," Harry said quietly. "I know. Thank you."

"You're welcome. But my job isn't over yet. You survived too, although I don't think that was in Dumbledore's plan."

"Dumbledore," Harry scoffed.

"Yes, I know," Snape said. If he had feathers, Harry had a feeling that they would have ruffled. "If you remember in my memories, I did not approve of everything Dumbledore did to you. But anyway, you survived. You don't have parents, and your godfather is dead too." Harry winced. "I promised Dumbledore that I would watch over you, albeit from a distance. Now here develops the problem. I will be a wanted man in the wizarding world. I killed Dumbledore, and I'll be sentenced to life in Azkaban if not the Kiss when I leave this ward."

"I can vouch for you. I can tell them what happened," Harry said looking horrified.

"There is something you need to learn, Harry," Snape said with another slight sneer, "and that is, the world forgets its heroes much faster than it forgets its villains. The cost of my mission is that I will be remembered as a villain. They will not forget me."

"But they can't forget me either! I saved them. With help. But I saved them."

"They will remember you for a little while. But then even they will forget. Now, I have one shot at escaping Azkaban, and that is to enter the Muggle world. I would not be able to contact anyone in the wizarding world. Yet I promised to Dumbledore that I would look out for you."

"So...you're asking me to come with you?" Harry's voice went very high at the end. He was either very confused or very shocked and he couldn't figure out which. Or both, maybe.

"In a manner of speaking, yes."

"But Ron and Hermione..."

"Yes, there is that. But unless I'm sorely mistaken, they have each other. While they would never mean you evil, Harry, they will set up a life of their own, and have a life which you are not part of." Harry nodded. Somewhere deep inside him, he knew that. "Harry, you don't have to come. It's fine if you don't."

"What would you do if I said no?"

"I would stay here."

"In the hospital ward?" Once again, that confused look crossed Harry's face.

"No, you stupid boy," Snape snapped. "In the wizarding world. I'd take a few lessons from Black on hiding out around Hogwarts while avoiding the authorities."

"Because of me?"

"Well of course. I built my life around Lily, and because of that, it's been built around you."

"I'll come with you." Harry didn't know where the words came from. After he heard them it seemed like someone else had said them. Harry supposed it came from a desire to not see his professor, even if he was the most hated one, a fugitive in the wizarding world.

"Fine," Snape said releasing some built up tension in his face. "We'll go to Spinner's End as soon as I'm better. In the meantime, make your farewells, but do not tell anyone what our plan is. I can't afford to be stalked by Aurors."

"What about Ron and Hermione?"

"Seeing as they know everything else, and even Dumbledore trusted them, I suppose you can tell them. You'll tell them anyway. Weasley's probably not bright enough to do much damage anyway." Snape smirked. "Sorry. But they must not breathe a word."

A/N: Please review. I have a certain plan for the story in the long term, but feel free to make suggestions, and there are some aspects of the story I haven't figured out yet.