A STOPPER IN DEATH: A HARRY POTTER FAN-FICTION STORY
Word Count: 6,143
Rating: PG for thematic elements, brief violence, and moments of peril
Summary: Professor Snape has an ace in the hole when he faces Voldemort, providing a very different ending.
Author’s Note: This is my first Harry Potter fanfiction. I’ve watched all of the movies, and of course, Snape is forever my favorite. I thought he deserved better, so this came about. I apologize for any discrepancies with spells and the like as I have not gotten my hands on the books yet. I did my best to keep Snape in character. Sorry if he isn’t!
It was also pure coincidence that the writing of this work happened to correspond with the one year anniversary of Alan Rickman’s death, but what better way to cheer up than to read some Snape lives fanfiction?
RIP Alan Rickman. We’ll miss you always.
Severus Snape knew working for the Dark Lord—or against him—was highly dangerous. That was why he never failed to carry a small vial of Felix Felicis on him, whether he or perhaps someone else who had gotten themselves into a dangerous situation needed to use it.
In the darkness of the Shrieking Shack, barely recovered from being thrown out the window by McGonagall, he knew the Dark Lord was coming. He knew the Dark Lord would try to gain full control of the Elder Wand, for it had been Severus who had slain Dumbledore. From beneath his robes he drew the tiny vial, which glittered like a star in the night.
“Don’t fail me,” he muttered, and downed the potion.
The effects were almost immediate. Though Severus knew the feelings were induced, for once in his life he felt that all would be well.
It was not a minute later that the door to the Shrieking Shack banged open and the Dark Lord himself swept in, Nagini following close behind.
“You have preformed extraordinary magic with this wand, my lord, in the last few hours alone,” Severus told him, certain this was the right thing to say.
“No,” Voldemort croaked. “No. I am extraordinary, but the Wand resists me.”
“There is no wand more powerful,” Severus assured. “Ollivander himself has said it. Tonight, when the boy comes, it will not fail you, I am sure of it. It answers to you, and you only.”
“Does it?” Voldemort asked.
Severus feigned ignorance. “My lord?”
Voldemort began to circle him. “The Wand…does it really answer to me? You’re a clever man, Severus. Surely you must know: where does its true loyalty lie?”
“With you, of course, my lord,” said Severus.
Voldemort stopped circling. “The Wand cannot serve me properly because…I am not its true master. The Elder Wand belongs to the wizard who killed its last owner.” He stepped towards Severus. “You killed Dumbledore, Severus. While you live, the Elder Wand cannot truly be mine. You’ve been a good and faithful servant, Severus…but only I can live forever.”
Severus braced himself. It was coming. “My lord…”
Before he could finish, Voldemort lashed out and cut him. It was not an incredibly deep one, but enough to cause him to fall back against the wall in shock.
Voldemort regarded him coldly. “Nagini, kill.”
The snake struck, burying her fangs in the side of Severus’ neck. Terrible pain lanced through him, but he did not cry out. It’s not working! he thought to himself.
Satisfied with her work, Nagini slithered back to her master, and they Apparated away without another word.
“Vulnera Sanentur,” Severus whispered weakly to himself, briefly raising his hand to touch the wound on his neck, his hand coming away bloody. “Vulnera Sanentur.”
Just then, the door flew open, and the Potter boy and his two lackeys entered. As soon as Potter sighted him, he was at his side instantly, pressing a hand to his neck.
Severus’ vision was growing fuzzy. Perhaps I’m dying after all, he thought to himself. The potion didn’t help me. He wasn’t sure if it was emotion, the urgency of the situation, or purely because of the pain, but tears leaked from his eyes.
“Take them…” he gasped to Potter. “Take them, please.”
Potter looked back at his friends. “Give me something. Quickly, a flask, anything!”
Granger dug around in her pouch and pulled out a tiny glass vial, handing it to Potter. He pressed it to Severus’ face, gathering up a few of the precious tears.
“Take them to the pensieve,” Severus said. He still had that feeling that all was well, though he was dying. “Look at me,” he told Potter.
Lily’s green eyes met his.
“You…have your mother’s eyes.”
Darkness overtook him.
He was surprised when he next opened his eyes to find himself still in the Shrieking Shack. He didn’t know what he had expected to find when he died, but the Shrieking Shack was certainly not it. He tried to sit up, only to growl in pain as his wounds complained. He looked down to see the cut inflicted by Voldemort crusted over in dried blood. He reached up and carefully felt at his neck. It too had scabbed over, possibly because of his spell.
Maybe the Felix Felicis did work, he thought. It seemed that he had fallen in such an awkward manner that Nagini only managed to pierce the side of his neck, not puncturing the major veins.
“Vulnera Sanentur,” he growled, placing a hand to his neck and the other on his chest. “Vulnera Sanentur.” He repeated the incantation several times until he felt the wounds begin to close up completely. The pain he had previously felt subsided, and he managed to push himself up into a better position.
For the first time, he noticed the sunlight streaming into the Shrieking Shack. Normally he did not care much for it, but for some reason it felt good to gaze upon the light. He was lucky to be alive, literally.
With a jolt, everything else came crashing down upon him.
So…when the time comes…the boy must die?
Yes. He must die.
Had Potter seen his memories? Had he gone to face the Dark Lord? Had he died? Thousands of questions stormed through Severus’ head. He stumbled to his feet, disregarding the pain that still throbbed throughout his body. It didn’t seem right that he would cheat death and Potter would die. Worse yet, maybe the Dark Lord had won! He grappled for his wand within his robe, getting ready to Apparate into Hogwarts, when he stopped to listen. He did not hear a sound; rather it was the lack of noise that gave him pause.
All was calm and quiet. Had the Dark Lord won, surely there would be a ruckus like none other. But no, there was nothing. There was stillness.
Hope sparking within him, Severus raised his wand and Apparated away.
He did not expect several things.
For one, he did not expect the Great Hall to be turned into an infirmary when he appeared in the middle of it. He also did not expect Apparation to have such an adverse effect on him, as he stumbled and nearly fell over. Lastly, he did not expect to see a majority of Hogwarts’ residents to be present in front of him, watching their Potions Master stumble about like a fool.
For a small eternity, there was not a sound. Then a voice said: “Severus?” Minerva McGonagall’s stunned face appeared in his dizzy line of sight. “Severus, is that really you?”
“No, I’m an impersonator,” he hissed irritably, trying to gain his balance but failing. “Of course it’s me!”
Minerva took him by the arms, steadying him as she peered up, studying his face, still looking stunned. “Oh Severus, it really is you!”
Before he could get a word in edgewise, she had seized him in a hug so fierce it caused him pain, and then she began to sob. He could only stand there in confused silence as she cried, unable to formulate any words. All the while he was consciously aware of the students’ gazes fixed upon him, they too seeming as stunned as Minerva.
Fortunately, Madame Pomfrey came to the rescue, saving him from further embarrassment. “There’s nothing to see here! Get back to work!” Carefully, she led the pair to a far corner of the room, beyond the reach of prying gazes.
“What are you crying about, Minerva?” Severus growled at her.
The Professor finally broke away from him, wiping at her eyes. “Harry told us all that you were dead!”
The realization settled over Severus. “Oh. What day is it?”
“The 3rd of May,” Pomfrey supplied, her eyes looking watery as well.
I was out for quite a few hours, he thought.
“He told us that the snake got to you,” Minerva said between sniffs. “I was going to send out someone to get your body soon.”
“The Dark Lord,” said Severus. “He is…?”
“Dead,” said Minerva.
Severus closed his eyes. He knew he should feel relief, but there remained the one dreadful question. “And…and Potter?”
Severus’ eyes snapped open, staring into the other Professor’s tear-filled ones. “Alive?”
She nodded, her smile growing. “The boy lives, Severus.”
He stumbled backwards, suddenly feeling very dizzy again. Pomfrey helped him sit down against the wall. “How?” His voice was barely above a whisper.
“He found the Resurrection Stone.”
Of course. Once Potter revealed he had to die, the Stone would come to him. He was so relieved he could have laughed.
Pomfrey ran a quick diagnosis on him. “You’re all bruised and cut, Severus!”
“What would you expect from being attacked by a snake?” he replied.
“I’ll get you a healing potion.” Pomfrey bustled away.
“How did you survive, Severus?” Minerva asked quietly.
“I had a little bit of luck on my side.” He stared at her, waiting for her to catch the meaning.
She let out a laugh of pure disbelief. “Liquid Luck?”
“And you thought me foolish for carrying it around,” he said.
Her eyes grew tearful again. “I will never call you foolish again. Or a git, for that matter.”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “Don’t go assuming you’ll have to be nice to me now that I’ve cheated death.”
She shook her head with a laugh, wiping away a few stray tears. “It’s not that, Severus, it’s just…he told us. Harry told us about what he saw in your memories.”
Severus scowled. “Those were confidential.”
“Don’t worry, he only shared with Hagrid and me.” She paused, drawing in a shaky breath. “I want to say I’m sorry for calling you a coward or for ever doubting your loyalty.”
“And for throwing me out the window?”
She smiled. “Yes, that too. Will you forgive me?”
“Of course,” he said, putting on an air of nonchalance. “You didn’t know. No one did. I don’t blame you.”
Minerva sighed in relief, a few more tears escaping.
Normally Severus would have jabbed at her sentimentality, but for some reason he could not bring himself to do it. Admittedly he himself was feeling rather emotional, and it was certainly not because the Potter boy was alive.
At that moment Pomfrey returned, giving him a healing draught. “This should help you.”
He accepted the potion and downed it quickly. Almost immediately the stinging of his cuts faded and his head cleared.
“How do you feel?” Pomfrey asked.
“Almost normal.” He made to stand up, but Pomfrey pushed him back down.
“Don’t even think about getting up. Some bedrest is in order.”
“I hardly believe that will be necessary—”
“Don’t give me that, Severus Snape!” Pomfrey waggled a finger under his nose. “Don’t tell me bedrest isn’t necessary after you’ve just narrowly escaped death!”
He scowled at her, looking for all the world like a petulant child. “I wish to speak with the Potter boy, Madame.”
“I’m sure the news of your presence will reach him quickly if it hasn’t already,” Minerva said. “I will see to it that he comes to you. Besides,”—she smiled fondly at him—“I don’t think I’m ready to let you out of my sight again, just yet.”
Severus felt almost relaxed in the bed Madame Pomfrey had made for him. Though he largely preferred silence, the sounds of the students chattering away in the Great Hall soothed him. Perhaps it was just the mere fact that they were alive, and not enslaved under the Dark Lord.
Though many undoubtedly had questions, Madame Pomfrey had strictly ordered them to leave him alone. Even if she hadn’t, he got the feeling they would be too scared to approach him. Just as well.
His peaceful reverie was broken by the slam of a door and footsteps pounding on the stone.
“Where is he?” an all-too-familiar voice asked.
Severus did not hear the response, but the next thing he knew, the Potter boy was coming to a halt in front of his bed. Green eyes wide with amazement and disbelief, Harry gaped at him.
“Snape!” he cried, forgetting his title of “Professor” in his shock. “How did you—how did—”
“Professor McGonagall filled you in, I trust?” Severus queried. He felt a weight lift off his shoulders as he saw the Potter boy standing in front of him, alive and well.
“Yes, she did, but…” Harry stared at him. “I thought you had died.”
“Clearly not,” Snape retorted. In a slightly softer tone, he added, “For a while there I thought I was dying, too, until I woke up.”
“Professor, I…” Harry trailed off.
“Well, speak up, Potter!” Some of Severus’ snappishness returned. “Just because I’m not teaching doesn’t mean I have the time to listen to you stammer!”
“I wanted to say I’m sorry,” Harry blurted out. “I saw your memories and I wanted to tell you how sorry I was because I never realized—”
Feeling rather abashed, Severus held up a hand, stopping him. “Enough rambling, Potter. Your apology has been accepted, though I feel it is I who should be apologizing to you.”
Harry’s brow furrowed. “Professor?”
“My actions towards you over the years were not kind, and for that I must ask your forgiveness.” Severus briefly felt a pang of uncertainty, wondering if he would actually accept.
“Of course, Professor!” Harry said. “After all you’ve done, it’s the least I could do. You’re the bravest man I ever knew, and I’m just so glad you’re alive.”
“Of course,” said Severus drily. “I told you in the first year that I could put a stopper in death, but you weren’t paying attention, of course.”
Harry flushed. “Actually, I was paying attention. I just didn’t believe you.”
Severus snorted. “Insolent boy!”
Harry only smiled at him, eyes glittering behind his glasses.
“Potter?” he said after a long pause.
“I’m glad you’re alive too.”
There was a pounding of footsteps in the corridor, and suddenly the portrait door to what remained of the Gryffindor commons burst open.
Hermione jumped at the sudden intrusion, turning to see a red-faced, heavily breathing Harry Potter. “What’s the matter, Harry?”
He grinned at both her and Ron, who was nearby, searching for salvageable items in the still battle-torn wreckage. “I need to show you something.”
Hermione frowned in concern. “Has something happened?”
“No,” he said quickly. “Well…yes and no.”
“What is it, mate?” Ron asked, coming to stand beside Hermione.
“Just come and see!” Harry started out the door again, not leaving time for any more questions.
Hermione gave Ron a quizzical look, and the redhead shrugged. “Best do as he says.”
They followed him out the door and made their way to the infirmary.
“Harry,” Hermione started worriedly as they entered. “Are you sure something isn’t wrong?”
“Of course not!” Harry said, still grinning like a loon. “Like I said, I just want to show you something.”
Most of the minor injuries had been taken care of, leaving the infirmary somewhat empty, save for a few of the more severe cases. Harry led them to a curtained-off section far in the back corner. Still grinning, he threw aside the curtain.
“The bloody dungeon bat is alive!” Mortified by the exclamation he couldn’t help, Ron slapped a hand over his mouth.
“Yes, so it seems, Mr. Weasley,” said Severus Snape from his bed, not taking his eyes off his copy of the Daily Prophet. “Since I am feeling generous, I will not deduct points from your house this time, but call me that again and I assure you that you will regret it.”
“Professor!” Hermione exclaimed, her voice coming out squeakier than she would have liked. “You…you were dead! We all saw you!”
“Clearly you were not looking hard enough,” Snape said. “But then again, I would expect nothing less from bumbling Gryffindors.”
Hermione blushed furiously, and Harry stifled a laugh behind a cough. “How?” she asked, ever inquisitive.
Snape laid down his paper, realizing that he would probably not be left alone anytime soon. “If you three are going to bother me, you might as well come in.”
Ron and Hermione shuffled closer, and Harry let the curtain drop behind them.
“How, Professor?” Hermione repeated.
“Luck,” he said flatly. “And spells of my own invention.”
“Liquid Luck, Professor?”
“Obviously,” he said.
“When did you find him, Harry?” Ron asked.
Before he could answer, Snape cut in. “If you think I would rely on Potter for rescuing, you are sorely mistaken. I Apparated here myself.”
Ron scratched his head. “Blimey, you’re a tough old gi—er—wizard. I’m glad you’re still around.”
Snape’s face softened almost imperceptibly. “Your care is appreciated, Mr. Weasley.”
Hermione inched closer, peering at Snape’s neck. “Are you still injured, Professor?”
He reached up unconsciously to touch the spot where Nagini had struck him. “No, though that insufferable medi-witch insists I stay here for a while. Regrettably, my injury will leave a scar.”
Hermione brooded over this momentarily. “Professor, do you like scarves?”
He gave her a hard stare. “I am indifferent, Miss Granger, so long as they are my house colors. Why?”
She found herself grinning at him. “No reason.”
At that moment, the curtain flew back and Madame Pomfrey’s face appeared. “What are you three doing in here?”
“Visiting Professor Snape, Madame,” Harry offered.
“That is rather kind of you, but Professor Snape needs his rest. You’ll have to go now, but you can come back and visit him later.”
After they had said their goodbyes, the trio left with giant grins on their faces.
“Glad to have you back, Professor!” Hermione called over her shoulder.
“Were they bothering you?” Pomfrey asked as she preformed diagnostics on Snape.
“No,” said he. “As you insist on keeping me in this bed, I find their company quite…bearable.”
Pomfrey hid a smile. “I’m glad you seem to find them less irritating.”
Snape snorted. “They are no less irritating. Perhaps even more so. However, a brush with death gives me a certain appreciation.”
“I think you’re happy they’re glad to see you alive.”
“Don’t be ridiculous, Pomfrey,” he growled, picking up his paper again.
“As you say.”
When she had left, Snape closed the Daily Prophet with a sigh, leaning back on his bed. He replayed in his mind the looks of astonishment—then joy—he had seen on Weasley and Granger’s faces when they had first seen him, and the happy grin on Potter’s face. It felt oddly good to be appreciated. Perhaps Pomfrey was right.
He sat up slightly, looking around and listening. No one was around. There was not a sound in the infirmary. He let himself lay back again, closing his eyes.
Snape swept down the hall, glad to be out of Madame Pomfrey’s presence. She had begrudgingly let him out of the infirmary, but not without countless warnings and dire threats about what would happen should he hurt himself again. He held back a smirk. She made him feel like a student again.
“Professor Snape! Professor Snape!”
He stopped, fighting the urge to roll his eyes. He did not have to turn around to know that it was the Granger girl. “What is it?”
She came up beside him. “Someone is here who I think would like to speak with you.”
He looked down at her. “Who?”
He was ashamed to admit it, but after all that had happened, Snape hadn’t even spared a thought for the Malfoy boy. He had been so caught up in living that Malfoy had been forgotten. Even if he had remembered, he would have supposed that Draco would have suffered the same fate as the other Death Eaters, regardless of whether or not he had wanted to become one. Thus, he found himself greatly relieved as Granger led him in the direction of the Slytherin commons.
The painting that guarded said commons had been burnt, a black starburst defiling the canvas. Therefore, Granger had no trouble in entering. Snape drifted in behind her.
The commons, though still quite untidy, had been fixed up from its previously disastrous state. Draco sat in one of the couches with his back to the pair, seemingly deep in thought.
“Draco,” Hermione called out softly. “I brought him.”
He started at the sound of her voice, and rose, turning to face Snape. “Professor,” he whispered. He rounded the couch swiftly and caught him in an uncharacteristic hug.
Hermione smiled at the scene and departed silently.
Snape, surprised as he was by Draco’s display of affection, found himself hugging back. He would be lying if he said he did not care for the boy.
Draco pulled away, studying his professor’s face. “I heard you were dead.”
“It seems many heard that,” Snape observed drily.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Draco said. “Hermione told me all about it.”
Snape narrowed his eyes fractionally. “That was several days ago now. Where have you been?”
Suddenly Draco looked uncomfortable, and he dropped his gaze. “After Voldemort was defeated, Father and Mother took me away. I decided to return on my own accord.”
“Ah.” He knew there was more to that statement. Lucius Malfoy had always demanded obedience from his son, and it must have been hard for him to go against his father’s wishes. “Why did you return?”
“I wanted to see if I could somehow make it up,” Draco said. “I never wanted to be a Death Eater, but my father…”
Snape stopped him. “I know. Now that the Dark Lord has been vanquished, you are a defector.”
“What about the Dark Mark?” Draco asked.
“I assume it will fade away,” he surmised. “You needn’t worry about it any longer.”
Relief flickered across the young man’s features. “Do you think they’ll ever accept me again?”
Snape spread his hands. “I’m here, aren’t I? I have done far worse than you, and yet here I stand, mostly—if not wholly—accepted.”
“You’re right, Professor, but I still can’t help but feel guilty.”
“Sit,” said Snape. “It appears we have much to discuss.”
Some time later, the two parted ways, Snape off to his dungeons and Draco to speak with his former Slytherins. Snape had shared with him a bit about his own time as a Death Eater, and had attempted to help him with his guilt. Draco left the Slytherin commons feeling far better than he had when he first arrived.
“Professor Snape! Professor Snape!”
He stifled a groan. “What now, Granger?”
Hermione ran up to him, bearing some sort of package. “This is for you.”
Mildly surprised, he took the parcel, eyeing it curiously. It was rather shoddily wrapped in plain green paper, and a tag hung off it. “Why?”
She smiled at him. “We’re just glad to have you here, Professor.” Before he could inquire further, she was retreating back down the hall.
Mumbling something about insufferable children, Snape held up the tag to read it. ‘To Snape from Harry, Ron, and Hermione’ was scrawled in somebody’s—probably Potter’s—atrocious penmanship. Though his curiosity was piqued, he held off opening the package until he reached his chambers, which he had not set foot in since before the battle.
He was surprised to find it untouched, though it did make sense, as it was nestled in the farthest reaches of the dungeons. After a thorough investigation through all his belongings, and finding everything satisfactory, he lit a fire in the fireplace and settled down to open the package.
He stripped the paper away, revealing a plain box. He opened this, and was surprised at what he found. A long scarf lay neatly folded in a bed of tissue paper, and it was striped with the colors of Slytherin.
He reached out a hand to feel the material. It was soft and looked warm, but it was not so thick as to cause overheating. At first he questioned why those three would give him such a thing, but his mind flew back to the conversation he had with them a few days prior. Granger had inquired about scarves.
Smirking to himself, he raised the scarf from its bed and settled it around his neck. It was perfect for hiding his scars.
The next day, when Snape appeared in the Great Hall wearing a new scarf about his neck, nobody said a word. However, he could see Potter, Weasley and Granger smiling to themselves, and that was all he needed.
The victory celebrations promised to be unparalleled. The air of happiness was almost unbearable to Snape as all the residents of Hogwarts congregated in the Great Hall. From his vantage point at the teacher’s table, he swept his gaze across the crowd, picking out faces he knew. He saw the gaggle of redheads that could only be the Weasleys, with Potter and Granger among them. Hagrid was nearby, laughing raucously with Lovegood and Longbottom.
“I’m surprised my presence has not been greeted with more outrage,” he muttered more to himself than anyone else.
“I have made sure your position in the fight against Voldemort was clear to all,” Minerva McGonagall said, having overheard his comment. A smile tugged at her lips. “It seems you are hailed as a hero now.”
Snape scowled and slumped farther into his chair. “That’s almost worse.”
Minerva ignored him and stood, calling for the attention of the Hall. When the talking had died away, she began a speech on victory and other such things that Snape didn’t find all that interesting. Tuning her out, he continued to survey the crowd, taking in all the familiar faces.
A flash of light hair caught his eye, and he focused in on the possessor of said hair. Draco Malfoy sat at one of the tables, with both his mother and father. His expression was one of apprehension, but if Lucius and Narcissa felt likewise, they did not show it. Snape could not help but notice the glares shot their way from the surrounding people.
“…with that, let us celebrate!” Minerva finished. Confetti burst from the ceiling and the crowd cheered as it rained down upon them before turning to eat.
Snape leaned over to Minerva. “You invited Lucius and Narcissa?”
She nodded, not taking her eyes off the crowd. “Yes, I did. Lucius has promised to testify against the remaining Death Eaters, and Narcissa did lie to Voldemort to protect Harry. I thought it was the right thing to do.”
Snape settled back in his chair, resolving to make an attempt to enjoy himself. Yet he kept an eye on the Malfoys all the while.
When the festivities had died down a bit, Snape rose from the table and made his way over to the Malfoys, coming up behind them silently.
“Malfoy,” said he, addressing Draco.
Draco turned, all traces of uneasiness vanishing at the sight of Snape. “Professor!”
Lucius and Narcissa turned as well, looking more inquisitive than apprehensive.
Lucius gave him an appraising look. “Severus, you’re looking…well.”
“Likewise,” Snape said distractedly. “Mr. Malfoy, I wish to speak with you,”—he glanced at his parents—“alone.”
Draco nodded silently and followed his Professor to an empty corner of the room.
“What has happened since we last spoke?” Snape asked. There was no need to lower his voice in the loud hall.
The apprehension returned to Draco’s face. “Well…I tried speaking with some of my old friends, but they either got scared or mad. Some…some even threatened to curse me.” He lowered his gaze to the floor. “I guess I deserve it, really.”
Snape’s scowl was thunderous. At that moment he felt nothing but contempt for Lucius Malfoy. Fool. You forced your son into becoming a Death Eater and now he suffers!
“You do not deserve it,” he snapped. “If I hear you say that again, I’ll have you scrubbing cauldrons, regardless of whether or not you are still my student.”
Draco actually laughed at him. “I see the war hasn’t changed you at all, Professor.” Then he sobered again. “I don’t know if I’ll ever be accepted. There are many who think me and my family deserve to go to Azkaban, and the only reason why we’re not is because we’re providing information on the remaining Death Eaters.”
“There are those who think I deserve Azkaban as well,” Snape said. “I make my way in the world nonetheless.”
“Yes, but your allegiance was always to the Order. You were a spy. I was just…just a Death Eater through and through.”
“You were a misguided boy. So was I, in my day.”
Draco shrugged. “I guess…”
“Did you ever actually want to become a Death Eater?” asked Snape.
“No, not really.”
“Then anyone who hates you for your previous allegiance should seriously rethink their opinion.”
Draco snorted. “Try telling them that.”
“I will, if it comes to that.”
Draco gave him a crooked grin. “Thanks, Professor, though I’ll try to fight my own battles, if you don’t mind.”
Their conversation was interrupted as a voice called out to Draco. They both turned to see Harry coming towards them.
“Catch!” Harry called, and tossed a chocolate frog towards Draco, who caught it with ease.
“Thanks,” he said a little apprehensively, a small smile working its way onto his face.
Harry grinned back at him. “Why don’t you come sit with us?” he asked, then glanced at Snape. “That is, if you’re not busy. Ron and Hermione are dying to talk to you.”
Draco cast a questioning look at Snape, who nodded. “You may go, Malfoy.”
“You can come too, Professor,” Harry offered.
“As much as I appreciate your offer, Potter, I think I will leave the storytelling and idiotic jokes to you Gryffindors,” Snape declined. Truthfully, he did not want to intrude on the happy group. In his experience, his presence always had a way of dampening the mood.
“All right, Professor. By the way, that scarf looks great on you,” said Harry, indicating the green and gold that encircled Snape’s neck, effectively hiding his scars.
Snape nodded. “You have surprisingly good taste, Mr. Potter.”
“It was Hermione, really,” he explained. “She got the scarf, Ron wrapped the package, and I wrote the tag.”
“Obviously,” Snape replied. “Only you would have such horrific penmanship.”
Harry only grinned at this and shot a look at Draco. “Want to come talk with us, then?”
Glad at feeling accepted, Draco smiled and nodded. Snape watched as the two boys—no, men, he realized—retreated to the table. Weasley and Granger greeted Malfoy with smiles, and Mrs. Weasley undoubtedly made some comment about how handsome he was, because his face flushed red.
Feeling convinced that Draco would undoubtedly find his place, Snape turned back to go to the teacher’s table. Minerva caught his eye with a look that seemed to say go on, and she tilted her head towards the Weasleys.
He scowled back at her. No. It’s not my place.
Yes it is. Go.
Eventually Snape caved and found himself amidst the Weasleys. Molly wrapped him in a rib crushing hug and muttered something about how glad she was that he had lived. George made a snarky, yet not unkind comment, and Snape snarked back, causing great hilarity amongst those present.
They talked and joked long into the night. A couple of times—though Snape would deny it when accused by Potter—he found himself smiling at some ludicrous tale.
He found himself glad he had put a stopper in death.
Roughly eight years later…
Snape was rather surprised when his fireplace flared green and Molly Weasley’s head poked through the flame.
“Mrs. Weasley,” he said, setting down the horrific first year papers he had been grading. “Do you have any idea what time it is?”
“Hush up and get over here, Severus! It’s important!” Molly said severely.
“What could be so important at this unseemly hour?” Snape challenged.
Molly let out a sigh of utter exasperation, stepping through and letting the flames die. The next thing Snape knew, his arm was in an inescapable iron grip and he was being almost bodily dragged to the fireplace as she muttered something about men.
“Molly!” he spluttered. “What—“
“Shut up, you git!” Molly growled. She grabbed a handful of floo powder and yelled, “The Burrow!”
Snape was unceremoniously shoved into the Weasley family home.
“Professor!” called Harry Potter from his spot on one of the couches. “We were afraid you’d be asleep.”
“I doubt that would have made a difference,” Snape muttered, shooting a glare at the still-annoyed Molly Weasley. “Now why on earth have you called me here at,”—he glanced at the magical clock—“one in the morning?”
Before Harry could answer, a thin wail cut through the air. Snape’s eyes snapped to Ginny Potter, who sat nearby Harry, reclining on the rest of the couch, looking rather disheveled. In her arms she held a small, wriggling bundle.
Oh. Snape swallowed. No wonder Molly had been so annoyed at his delay. He had of course known that Ginny was with child again, but he had gotten so caught up in school at Hogwarts that it had gone to the back of his mind.
“It’s a boy,” said Ginny softly, smiling at Snape.
“Did you decide on a name?” he asked, suddenly feeling the need to keep his voice low as well. Every time he had asked Potter about the child’s possible names, he had stated that they hadn’t decided yet.
“Actually we decided long ago,” said Harry. “But we wanted it to be a surprise, Professor. His name is Albus Severus Potter.”
His mind went blank. Albus Severus Potter. He was the living namesake of the firstborn of none other than the Boy Who Lived. Suddenly he felt quite emotional.
His throat went tight as he choked out, “C-can I…”
“Hold him?” Ginny finished graciously. When he nodded dumbly she said, “Certainly.”
The squirming bundle that was the Potters’ second child was handed over to him. “Never trust a child to be born at a seemly time of day,” he muttered as he cradled the child to him, attempting to diffuse the emotion within him.
Tiny fists waved free from the blanket around a puckered, red face. Snape barely noticed them, however, as he stared at the defining feature of the newborn child.
“His grandmother’s eyes,” Harry said.
Much to his horror, a smile was forming in his face. “It is nice to meet you, Albus Severus Potter,” said he, his voice thick. Sure he had been happy when James was born, but this moment far outshone that. He felt his heart swell as he looked down at the newborn.
Suddenly he found himself flying back to that fateful night in the Shrieking Shack, where he had stopped death. What would have happened had he not lived? He would not be here, holding the boy who was named for him. He would not be looking into the tiny face. He would not be looking into Lily’s eyes.
He was released from his memories when Albus let out a cry. Ever at a loss with handling small children, he swiftly handed the child back to Ginny.
“Potter, I—I don’t know what to say.”
“You don’t have to say anything, Professor,” Harry said, smiling. “Your face said enough.”
“Yes, well…” Snape cleared his throat, attempting to school his face back into its usual cool mask. “It was a kind gesture.”
“Oh, why don’t you just admit it, you old bat!” Molly cried out. “That’s about the happiest I’ve ever seen you.”
Snape ignored her. “If you don’t mind, I’ll retire for the night and leave you two with your son.”
“Of course, Professor,” Harry said. “But won’t you come back tomorrow? James will be here and I’m sure he’d love to see you.”
Snape looked over his shoulder and flashed him a tiny smile. “Gladly.” Then he flooed away to Hogwarts to rest. Even as he lay down to sleep, he was still smiling.
He never once regretted putting a stopper in death.