Fic: Severus Snape and the Disorderly Deathly Half-True Print Title: Severus Snape and the Disorderly Deathly Half-True Print Author: florahart Type: Fiction Length: about 4750 words Pairings: Snape/Harry, though no smut. Warnings: none. Well, maybe that there is a little bit of crack. Rating: PG for fairly gentle innuendo Summary: Severus finally (this week) got around to reading DH. He has a few comments for Jo. Notes: Written for the “Snape After DH fest." I chose a prompt involving Severus writing his own fic to "fix" DH, but it mutated slightly. I'm thinking of it as more of a guideline. Thanks to vimeslady and regan_v for beta and typo-corralling help; errors and inexplicabilities that remain are mine.
Severus Snape and the Disorderly Deathly Half-True Print
Severus had known, way back in the summer when Harry had put the book down and chosen his vague words of commentary carefully, that he wasn't going to much like how it ended, but he'd thought it would be hard to be too upset about it finally ending.
He'd never imagined, back at the start of the whole affair, that they'd still be dealing with their--mostly Harry's, probably because he'd been the one originally most willing to talk, but still, in the end, their--story being told, a decade later. The last chapter, so to speak, had arrived by messenger-owl on their doorstep in July, and Harry, having conveniently timed his holiday just then, had picked it up and read it straight away, commenting only that it wrapped up rather differently than their real story had.
And then, before Severus had found time to pick it up, they'd got busy: the baby had been sick for a week, and then they'd needed to get on with various harvesting of herbals for tonics and the like, and the school year had started up so Harry had been up at the school and Severus had been occupied with the children. It had been a typical autumn, in many ways, with one thing after another. So here it was, nearly Halloween, and finally, Severus had a quiet evening and had thought of the book. Harry had helpfully agreed to see to the evening chores and left him to it; he did want to see how she'd altered the ending.
It wasn't bad, so far--a bit of overdramatization here and there, and an interesting choice of excerpt, regarding the Doge book, neatly skirting overt reference to the old man's sex life--probably just as well, in a book ostensibly for children, he mused--but he wasn't quite to the climax yet, so he assumed whatever it was that was going to annoy him was yet to come.
He turned the page and commenced reading chapter thirty-two. His relative calm quickly fell by the wayside.
Harry came running hurriedly down the stairs, shushing as he did, then scowling when the baby screeched anyway. "Damn it. He's been up twice already. I just got him resettled."
"That one is definitely all yours, with the scowls and the stomping and general surliness, I swear. I keep expecting him to demand more buttons and a tattoo."
"Oh, yes, I don't recall any period of your life during which you were inclined to shouting and stomping about and rejecting overtures of all sorts." Severus pointed to the lined-up series of signed hardbacks on the shelf. "I believe it's in the blue one. And it's not a tattoo; I merely didn't escape my misspent youth without permanent marks. However, back to the topic at hand…" He held up the last book and waved it about, finger marking page 555. "I cannot believe you didn't think I needed to know--"
Harry started to warm to the fight, pushing up his fringe and pointing, and opening his mouth to shoot back before he reverted to a grimace. "Oh, hell. You've got to the part with the leaking eyeballs, haven't you? Shit. Just. It kind of gets worse, if you're expecting anything sort of like what happened. I'll go deal with Al again since he seems not to be calming down on his own; you finish reading. But do try not to bellow again?" And he ran back up the stairs to Albus Severus, who was still doing his best impression of a banshee on …what was it the Muggles called that stuff? Ah, yes. Crack.
Severus idly considered the theoretical problem of what Muggle stimulants would do for a magical creature as he waited until the wailing lessened, to be sure it hadn't also wakened Jamie, then shook his head and opened up the book again to see what could be worse than evidently killing him off and making him exude physically-represented drama out his ears. The very thought made him shudder.
He did manage not to shout again, even when his fictional alter-ego offered the over-the-top doe Patronus, and Albus mournfully, sorrowfully, pathetically implied that alas, the doe, it was the Meaningful Physical Outpouring of his Desperate Love for Lily Since the Beginning of Time, and even when Harry's fictional self told the whole bloody world (and coincidentally Wendell "Voldemort" --Jo had thought from the start that Wendell was just not an adequate name for a villain) about the Tragic and Doomed Love of Severus's Life.
He finished the book, alternating between grimace and groan and occasional gape as he went, and clapped it shut. Harry still hadn't re-emerged from upstairs, so he had a few moments to stew, which, if he didn't get to shout, was just as well.
Most of the wizarding world hadn't actually read the books; the war had still been far too fresh when she began in the early aftermath, and now, ten years later, they were in an odd lull between "too soon" and "old news." Still, the general high points were all over the Muggle internet, and wizards who didn't care about being "spoiled" (Severus had repeatedly threatened to personally eviscerate anyone who spoiled him; he'd been present for most of the tale's original iteration, but watching it unfold as near-fiction was its own experience, and of course he would never actually eviscerate anyone; that was what the sung counterspell was for) gossiped with the Muggle-borns about the whole thing anyway. They'd all known, more or less, about the ending for months. It was no bloody wonder everyone they knew had been casting pitiful looks. He'd thought it was because of what a difficult baby Al was turning out to be, or because they were all finally coming to terms with how hard Severus's role in the war had been, but no, evidently it wasn't that at all. God, and probably half the sodding town had drawn the conclusion Harry was some sort of horrid replacement for Lily, which, well. Jo had got enough right to make the wrong plausible, and the story hadn't strayed far enough from the publicly-known truths (except for killing him and a few other details). Their neighbors and even, he thought, some of those they counted as friends, were buying the parts of the story that were insane: the oozing memory, the nauseating sappy history, the genesis of his Patronus's form.
When Harry still hadn't returned half an hour later (and why was it no surprise that a child named Albus would manage such thorough disruption and distraction? He'd been a handful from the start, though at least his manipulation fell into the normal range of self-centered babydom), Severus amused himself beheading and repairing the various official Ginny Weasley action figures and dolls they'd been sent over the past several years, as there was no Jo doll and this was the closest he had to hand.
Finally, nearly an hour later, Harry crept back down the stairs. "I think he's really down now. Finished?"
"Evidently, in every way."
"She was just going for drama, Sev. I mean--"
Severus groaned. "She even took your name for me and stuck it in your mother's mouth. God. I had thought giving her such unrestricted access would lead to something true but. Fuck. Now the whole town thinks I'm the sort of man who would take his beloved's… I don't even know how to describe the hundred kinds of wrong."
"No one thinks that."
"Oh, please. Have you seen people staring?"
"Maybe they're admiring."
"What, my astonishing manhood?"
Harry smirked. "Your robes hide that."
"What-- no." Severus rolled his eyes. "You may have observed I rarely use euphemisms for that sort of thing. If I had meant penis, I'd have said so. Not that I much think there would be a crowd of admirers. It's not special."
"I like it."
"Yes, but in objective terms. Quite average. And stop distracting me. I seriously doubt the stares and whispers are admiration. I'd hoped they were the quite-overdue recognition of how much it …I believe the colloquial phrase would be 'sucked to be me,' but on consideration, I find it more likely it's much less appealing than that. It's a nasty dose of pity, commingled with disgust, revulsion, and sick curiosity and seasoned with an appalling mix of glee at my demise and wonder that you keep me around."
"Oh, honestly! People…" Harry paused, for what felt like just an instant too long, and then plowed ahead. "know you now! They know--"
Harry blinked. "Occlumens. What the hell?"
"What are you hiding? You've heard them talking, haven't you?"
Harry cocked a brow and folded his arms. "No. Nothing to hide on that front, but I believe we have a rather long-standing arrangement under which you don't go rooting about in my fucking head without so much as a by-your-leave. However, as you seem concerned, all right, go ahead and have a look. I'm sure I won't mind a bit if you stroll right in and paw about."
He dropped the block holding Severus out of his mind, but to Severus's profound irritation, he was right, and Severus backed out of his head. "Damn it."
Harry shook his head. "Seriously, there might be a few who think we're perverts, but for one thing, I'm not one of them, and for another, most of them think so on the basis of us both having dicks--after all, this does preclude you ever having had a thing for my mother, don't you know?"
Severus smirked. "I will concede that of the people who find us appalling on that basis, most of them don't have minds large enough to encompass the concept of bisexuality. But I never had a thing for your mother."
"Duh. Now. Are you better?"
"…No. I realize she wanted to bring the story to a big thundering climax for the sake of sales and her publisher's fiscal orgasm, and I suppose killing me off has a sort of pathetic purpose to the drama, but I can think of thirty better ways to make use of the scenario, from a dramatic perspective, than a rather spurious and unsupported decision to have Nagini off me and then leave me spewing some sort of fountain of skewed history."
"Fiscal orgasm? That may be a bit over the top. Though I will grant that her publishers may be occasionally inclined to bathe her feet, that sort of thing." Harry pursed his lips. "Well, if it'd make you feel better, I could make you spew other things. You'd forget all about the fountain of skewed history."
"Oh, now you learn to retain what I say."
"I believe you indicated your intent--"
Harry winked. "Not mutually exclusive. I could help by putting on a show way over here. As I recall, you like that sort of thing."
"And you, oh light of my life, breath of my breath, he who creepily owns the emerald eyes of his sainted mother, are trying to distract me again."
"All right, please, please never call me that again."
"Well, then, no distracting me from my entirely righteous and rightful outrage."
"What's the other choice? You can just be pissed off for a while, I suppose." Harry grinned. "Which also is sometimes to my benefit…"
"No, I want it fixed. I don't want people thinking we're perverse." Severus held up a hand. "--No, I know. More perverse than they already think."
"The book's already out, Sev. People who've been following have read it. There's really no changing it."
"Oh, please. She's still out giving interviews to people hanging on her every word, discussing Albus's sparkly underpants and what sorts of charms one might perform on a goat and for all I know the secret to Charlie Weasley not having nine kinds of venereal disease, which, if the world were a fair place, would be a bare minimum."
"No. Unless you count watching him with that floozy in the forbidden forest, during the tournament."
"You watched? Pervert."
"You would have, too, had you caught a glimpse of that arse. Anyway. I'm writing to her and telling her she can bloody well correct her failures of logic. Honestly. Why would I "still" have a doe Patronus and have it relate to your mother, given that I demonstrably--even in her slightly off-center description of four books earlier--had no bloody clue until well into adulthood who "Prongs" was, and therefore what anyone's Patronus had to do with anything? My Patronus was always a doe, and she knows it. Making that fact have anything to do with the astounding coincidence that my friend turned out to marry a boy who could turn into a stag is just absurd, and implying that it has kept this form all these years as a result makes no sense."
Harry frowned as he spoke. "She said you didn't know? About Prongs, I mean. Because you're right, the logic fails unless you did. I guess I assumed her point was that my mother's Patronus was a doe, and you copied it. Or, I don't know, not copied, so much as you were close, and they were the same."
"You and Miss Granger were close in a similar way; her Patronus is an otter."
"Besides. Your mother's Patronus--have we never discussed this?--was a leatherback turtle. And no, Jo didn't exactly directly say I didn't know, what with the point of view nearly always being yours, but since I wasn't aware your mutt was an Animagus in the first place, and didn't recognize the origin of the little toy they left you, even when it addressed me and introduced them, it's hard to settle on an explanation in which I did."
"Oh. Huh, right. Don't call him a mutt, and that logical failure, as you refer to it, hadn't occurred to me. Still, she's not going to change the book. She's richer than the Queen. It's working for her. And you gave your bond five books ago that you wouldn't do anything to her."
"Only because you made me."
"And because we get a percentage. We're hardly struggling. The boys will have--"
"Oh, about that. Was there something you wanted to tell me?"
"I observe in that nauseating epilogue there's another? Have you and Miss Weasley come to an arrangement again?" Severus re-crossed his arms and sniffed, which was not, given his nose, a delicate sound.
"What? No! I'd have told you! Besides, we get it done by a Muggle doctor, so it's not like we do anything untow--and now you're fucking with me."
"That wouldn't create precious Lily junior."
Harry rolled his eyes. "No, no plans; I'm pretty sure that was poetic license. Symmetry, you know--one for my father and one for my mother, and one for you. And fine, you go right ahead and write to Jo about her failings. She won't change it, but I suppose then you'll be less tense and more willing to come up and see about more important things." He gave a wink, and then, startlingly, Apparated close enough to drop a kiss on Severus's forehead before popping right back out of reach again.
"I'm pretty sure this comes as no surprise. Here." He Summoned parchment and quill and levitated them to Severus. "Have fun. I'll be waiting. Unless I wear myself out before you get there." And with that, he turned and left the room, taking the stairs two at a time.
Severus harrumphed and put quill to parchment, then set that aside and stood, pacing for a good fifteen minutes before he settled down at his desk to write.
Dear Miss Rowling,
I have finally had opportunity to read the last of the books, and I am troubled. As you know, I have never been fond of the extent to which the narrow point of view, Harry's, aged appropriately for a child storyteller, has required me to look even more the villain than I was, but I have tolerated the requirements of fiction and drama. However, this time, I fear you have overstepped the bounds. I do wish I had seen a draft version of the story, because honestly, the holes gape, and the story is not the one that is true.
And before you say it, fiction is, and should be, to some extent, true.
It is my hope that you will incorporate the corrections I will suggest herein in your next interview, preferably whilst wearing a sufficiently sturdy blouse so as not to distract from the words with unexpected cleavage.
1. The most egregious error, one which I cannot see my way 'round, is that you have made my Patronus representative of Lily. As I have told you at least a hundred times, Lily was my friend. My friend, and I betrayed her. I believe you liked that notion enough to have your young actor shout something quite similar about that mutt Black, once upon a time, so I'm certain you recall. However, as I did not know who "Prongs" was until some thirteen or fourteen years ago, when I was in my mid-thirties and Lily had been gone for over a decade, the concept of it representing her as the mate of a stag is absurd. As you well know, my Patronus remains a doe, as it has always been, because it is the mate of Harry's, and we are together. It's really that simple, and this hole in the explanation of her is inane.
2. Magical cages cannot perform the maneuver to which you ascribe Nagini's. You've set it to engulf my head and shoulders without letting her out; however, since she was a magical being, and I was an unwilling magical human, the seventh law of magical tension and fluidity quite clearly makes this impossible. I expect you've somehow got the cage tangled up with the bubble-head charm, which, being as it is an exclusionary device, is altogether different under the seventh law. Nagini did strike, of course, scratching my neck well enough to leave quite a reminder, but the bleeding was minimal, and the intent was for me to die of poisoning. Wendell, being a man of self-important posturing and little actual foresight, believed it impossible I would be prepared and didn't plan accordingly, so there were no gushing spouts of blood, only a trickle and general ruination of flesh until I could get the poison neutralized.
3. Honestly. The point of the entire Legilimency and Occlumency issue went astray. As you have cause to be aware, they are quite real, and I do wish I had made use of the former during your last visit here that I might have seen how badly you would muck this up. There is no need for spewing gouts of memory all over the room when one can merely calmly express all the necessary history in one (much tidier and faster, fast as thought) mind-to-mind interaction. We use it rather often, and you've seen it in action, so there was no need to destroy the carpet.
4. While we are discussing plots and magics gone astray, I would like to point out that there is still no such bloody thing as a Metamorphmagus, but as long as you had gone and invented the concept, I fail to see why you didn't just have the girl morph into one of the seven. Had this been an option, that entire battle would, I promise you, have gone quite differently indeed, as there is great likelihood she'd have drawn more fire. I could draw you a diagram regarding the theory, since it is entirely impossible to produce a practical example.
5. It is easy enough for those around me to dismiss the news of my death, as they can see I am, not to put too fine a point on it, not dead. However, you've managed to make my relationship with Harry quite twisted indeed. Dying staring into his mother's eyes, my pasty arse. For one thing, for all the use you made of him 'having her eyes,' I'd have thought you'd have gone ahead and kept that story. You know as well as I do what happened to Lily's eyes: they were the Horcrux; the scar was misdirection. I agree, it's much less dramatic the way it really happened, as they just more or less fell free, but you could have worked with it; it certainly hits on the 'ew' factor so widely leveraged in American films. In any case, I certainly did not die staring into them. I didn't even know Harry was present until I had the situation well in hand, and at that point we worked out the certain death he was to undergo.
What I fail to see here is why on earth you left the eyes in place, mocked up a ridiculous empty train station (and while Harry appears not to have taken offense that you reckon in his imagination there exists nothing but endless benches and blank walls, I believe I do), made the scar itself the important bit, and let Narcissa off the hook in a vast sequence of nonsensical fantasy, none of which has any more basis in reality than the pink bow with which I tie up my hair every Tuesday for my ballet lessons (hint: that is to say, "none"). You got the rest of it right; neither of us knew he didn't actually have to die. And you certainly came up with a great deal of rigmarole as to what went on between the moment Voldemort saw Lily's eyes die and the moment Harry revived, without ever going into the much more interesting and magically-supportable luminal Arithmantic principles regarding the attraction of like refractory arcs (alas, Wendell had never bothered to consult a physics text. Shocking) . So. You gave Narcissa a role in the sham, left Harry for dead (I believe we discussed at length the issue of magical death, so you should know perfectly well why this is objectionable; he is nothing like Wendell), and went off onto a rather lengthy expository tangent just so he could remain green-eyed. I like his brown eyes just fine.
6. Furthermore, while I do understand your reluctance to impose a long-winded discussion of sexuality and alternative family structures in a book marketed to children (not that it would have had to be long-winded or complex, but I shall extend the benefit of the doubt), and I suppose I can see the tidiness of giving "the Potters" a third child, a girl, to balance things, giving him (and me, in a rather disturbing way) an image of his mother to go with his father and …me, more or less, I do wonder where you got the notion a third child was on the way. I've no objection, of course, to Harry honoring his agreement when Ginevra is ready for children to raise, but it muddled the end needlessly, and last I checked, you are decidedly not a Seer.
7. As you well know, per the agreement we reached in the Shrieking Shack after Wendell left, I remained out of the way letting the healing potions do their work until Harry called me to create the Backsplash Shield. I was to deal with Wendell after he died, and attempting to do so while weakened by the poison would have been foolish. Mysticism is all very well and good, but good defensive spellwork is better. Two layered backsplashes combined with the connection between their two original wands had a perfectly reasonable outcome. It was a good outcome, with plenty of fascinating theory. I fail to see why you applied what I've heard termed "hand-waving" to the issue.
8. Draco Miller would rather cut off his own left testicle than name any child of his Scorpius. You are well aware his generation no longer widely carries the traditional Latinate names, of which I am certain because you and I discussed the issue at length while we were waiting for Albus Severus to greet the world. Draco endured an inordinate amount of gr
"Still writing? Goodness, Sev. You might as well go ahead and write your own book. You could call it Harry Potter and the Trouble with Half-Truths." Harry, wearing only loose pyjama bottoms, had come back down, apparently tired of waiting.
"I'm not writing a book and sticking your name on it!"
"All right. Severus Snape and the Half-True History? Oh, or, Severus Snape and the Not-at-all-Deathly Snake? Ummm Severus Snape and the Final Betrayal?"
"I think not. Though that last feels quite accurate. However, I'd probably be sued for plagiarism."
"For telling the story of your own life?"
"I believe we sold the rights."
Harry picked up the list, snickering several times. "All right, so she got a few of the details wrong."
"I'm given to understand 'a few' means a figure less than 'nearly all,' Potter."
"She got the kids' names right, Snape. The ones that actually exist, I mean. Well, except for Stephen. Did Draco really get hassled?"
"You didn't notice?"
"Bit busy, much of the time, and also, not usually present in the Slytherin dormitory."
"True." Severus took back his letter and scowled at it. "Damn it."
"It's really bothering you." Harry took the letter out of his hand again and set it on the desk, then maneuvered his chair backward, turning Severus to face him. "Isn't it?"
"She killed me. Of course it's bothering me. Severus Snape and the Random Death Scene, she ought to have called it."
"I expect her publishers wouldn't have liked her spoiling her own story."
"Yes, I actually would rather she'd not killed me. She turned me into a footnote. A dead, pathetic, unlovable, unloved, obsessive, unnecessary footnote."
Harry wrinkled his nose. "Hadn't really thought about it like that."
"Of course not. You got to be the bloody hero. Again." Severus tried to turn back to the desk, but Harry held the back of the chair firmly.
"That's not why," he said, reverting to the old habit of sliding his finger up the bridge of his nose to push up glasses he'd not needed for a decade, then rolling his eyes at his hand for doing it. "I was too busy avoiding thinking about you actually dying, to think that."
"Yeah. I mean. For one thing, her way, I'd have been screwed. Not the good way."
"There was always Miss Weasley."
"Yeah, uh, no. But also…" Harry paused. "It's weird. All the way through, telling her the story, reading it as it almost happened, because, I mean, she's been embellishing all along. We knew she was going to rename certain people, even if a couple were slightly over the top."
"Slightly. Scorpius, for instance."
"And Lupin. Anyway. I was too busy not thinking about it being you to notice how horrible she was to you." He held out a hand. "Come up to bed? Let me demonstrate how not dead, pathetic, unlovable, unloved, or unnecessary I find you."
Severus lifted a brow. "You forgot obsessive."
"No, that part was accurate. Just not the focus. Come on. You can write the story of what really happened in the morning."
"And do what with it? Read it to Draco's house-elf?"
Harry grinned broadly. "You remember my 'useless' computer?"
"Yes. It's good for learning cricket scores and viewing pornography."
"Pervert. It also has, and I was going to show you this some evening when you had time for a good laugh, a place for 'fans' to post 'fan fiction.' Their own takes on various stories. Including ours. Anyone can post there."
"With no editorial oversight? It must be a nightmare." Severus was, despite his long-standing resistance to even entering the room in which the miserable machine stood, intrigued.
"The place I'm thinking of, yes, but there are others. With editors and rules."
"And you think I should write the true story and place it amongst the fiction." Severus thought about that for a minute. "I suppose there is a certain appeal."
"Good." Harry pulled him upright, and jerked his head toward the stairs. "In the morning, I'll teach you to navigate the web. By afternoon, you can be starting your masterpiece."
Severus snuffed the candle, but picked up the letter and quill as he followed Harry out of the room. He might have further thoughts during the night.
A/N: I do of course know Jo started the series in real time before the end of the war in wizarding time. More with the poetic license. *nods*