|snarryhols (snarryhols) wrote in snarry_holidays,|
@ 2007-12-13 08:52:00
|Entry tags:||fic, post-dh: ewe, rated: r|
All We Have Left, for lizardspots
Title: All We Have Left
Word Count: 4366
Pairing: Snape/Harry, implied Snape/Lupin
Warnings: Spoilers for DH.
A/N: lizardspots, I hope you enjoy this! Beta’d by G and L. All remaining mistakes are my own.
Summary: Sometimes memories are all you have left.
Severus Apparates with a loud crack into the dark forest. Stumbling against a nearby tree, he takes a moment to regain his equilibrium. The healing draughts and anti-venom are performing as required, but he's still lightheaded from the blood loss.
Satisfied that he's able to continue, Snape sets off through the woods. His feet pick their way through the trees by memory, following a path not easily discernable. It feels like hours in his weakened condition, but it's a matter of minutes before Snape arrives at a clearing. There, nestled in the ancient woods, sits a small cottage. Severus approaches the cottage and reaches out. He is relieved to find the wards still admit him after all this time.
Closing the door behind him, Snape casts a complex set of additional wards and hexes upon the cottage. Judging his protections to be sufficient, Severus looks around and is assaulted by memories: mornings spent in the small kitchen savoring a cup of tea before heading to Hogwarts, reading near the small hearth in the evenings, the lumpy loveseat he'd sworn to never sleep on again after too much firewhisky and an enthusiastic session of lovemaking.
He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, dragging himself back to the present. Squaring his shoulders, Snape heads for the kitchen. He checks the cupboards and finds supplies for a few days and enough chocolate to keep a small army of children content. Continuing his inspection, Severus is slightly alarmed that everything remains unchanged from his memory – there's a worn cardigan draped over a favorite chair, as though Remus had just stepped away.
Just thinking of his lover leaves Severus bereft. Ex-lover, he reminds himself. Two years have passed since he last saw Remus. Time enough for the werewolf to have clearly gone insane with grief from Snape's absence and apparent betrayal, falling into the arms of one Miss Nymphadora Tonks. Snape snorts. As if even Remus was that desperate. But then, stranger things had happened. What if Lupin had actually impregnated the most accident-prone witch in all of Britain? What if –
Enough. I'm getting positively maudlin, worrying about Tonks of all people. When Remus arrives we shall speak at length, and deal with the aftermath of the war together. Like sensible wizards.
That decided, Snape sets off in search of a change of clothes and a very long bath.
After three days of waiting, Severus is long past anxious and is settled on insanely paranoid with a dash of desperation. Remus had not returned to the cottage as he'd hoped. He had no news of the war's outcome and he was almost out of provisions. There was nothing else for it; he would have to venture out.
The cottage was close to a small wizarding village, Gorse Galley. Severus had accompanied Remus into town several times and found it adequate if a bit rustic – the people too friendly for his tastes and far too interested in business which did not concern them. Lupin, of course, thought it charming, a throwback to the old ways or some such nostalgic twaddle.
The one thing this antiquated outpost did have going for it was that it was far from the goings on at the Ministry and Hogwarts. Sure, some subscribed to the Daily Prophet and listened to the wireless, but by and large these were simple wizarding folk, proud of their community and loathe to leave it. Even for excursions to Diagon Alley.
Snape arrives at the village close to noon, hoping to take advantage of the open market and the lunchtime hour to both replenish his supplies and discreetly inquire about the war. He is shocked to find it deserted, market stalls vacant and the few shops boarded up. He stands, unmoving for quite some time, unsure of how to proceed. As he is planning his next course of action, Severus senses someone approaching. He looks up to see an elderly witch slowly making her way towards him.
The witch stops mere feet in front of Snape and cranes her neck up to get a good look him. She stares for a moment, then two, and Severus holds his breath, feeling judged and measured. After long, silent minutes of contemplation the elderly woman suddenly breaks into a large grin.
“Severus, is that you?”
He blinks and searches through the recesses of his mind for –
“Madam Mindathrotton, it's been too long.” He bows before the witch.
She waves off his gallantry. “Never mind all that, let's get inside. Would you like to join me for a cup of tea?”
“I would be delighted, Madam.” Taking her arm, Severus matches her unhurried pace as they make their way to her home.
Settling onto an inordinately comfortable stool in Madam Mindathrotton's lounge, Severus savors a cup of Assam and regards his hostess. She is a puzzle. Despite her appearance of doddering old witch, he knows there is more to her. She had taken Lupin under her wing shortly after he'd moved to the area, looking after him as some sort of lost child, and had done the same with Severus during their first few meetings.
Now he sits in her home as she speaks of the War, the Ministry, and the rebuilding efforts. Though she doesn't say anything outright, Severus has the distinct impression that she knows more than she is letting on, especially about his own role in the conflict.
“Enough of this, it's been too long, too much has happened, and I grew weary of espionage during Grindelwald's time.” She puts down her cup and leans forward to clasp the wizard's hand with a concerned look on her face. “How are you really? With Remus gone and the war finally over, I imagine you must be feeling a bit lost but…” She trails off as Snape freezes, paling considerably.
No. No, not my – not Remus. Severus couldn't move, couldn't think.
“You didn't know?” He manages to shake his head no. “But I thought that's why you had returned. Merlin! And here's me going on like it's yesterday's news. I'm so sorry, child.” She squeezes his hand and gives him a moment to regain his usual blank façade.
Eventually, Severus resumes sipping his tea. “Forgive me, do you know what ... how he...” he looks at her trying to convey with his eyes what he could not bring himself to say aloud.
“I don't have any details, I just know it was during the Battle at Hogwarts.”
Snape closes his eyes, images of Remus' corpse lying broken on the grounds of Hogwarts flash through his mind. He knew he should have stayed at the battle, Dark Lord be damned! If only he'd been there, then perhaps… He ceases that line of thought with some effort; it would only drive him mad, imagining what might have been. Realizing he has withdrawn, he takes a cleansing breath and attempts to restart the conversation.
“You said you believed I'd returned here because of Remus? To what end?”
Accepting the change in subject, the elderly witch replies, “To grieve, of course. And to start again.”
“I beg your pardon.”
“Severus, please. I've known who you were since Remus first introduced us. Sebastian Prince, indeed. Hadn't you noticed I've only addressed you by your real name.” Snape is ashamed to admit he hadn't. Suspicious by nature, he wonders what this knowledge will cost him, but then she's known for years and never asked anything of him.
“I'm sure you're wondering what payment I want for my continued silence. I assure you my intention was not blackmail when I broached the subject. I am an old woman and have no need of worldly goods. Other than those I already possess, of course.” She favors him with another of her crooked grins, which reminds him of someone, but he can't quite place whom.
“No, my boy, I'd hoped you'd consider staying among us. Indefinitely.”
Snape raises an eyebrow in response. “You want me to remain here. Why?”
“You've seen the village, it was decimated by the war. With families disappearing in the night, and others on the run, folk went underground even in a small village like this. Closed up their shops, kept to themselves or took themselves elsewhere. All of wizarding Britain has rebuilding to do, but that's not my concern, just this village.
“I won't insult you by trying to appeal to your sense of fair play, and I won't blackmail you into cooperation. But I would like you to consider my proposition. You're a powerful wizard with skills in potions and healing, all things this village lacks. And here you could make a home far away from the Ministry's prying eyes, surrounded by wizarding folk who won't care where you came from, but how you support this community. It's the ideal situation for someone looking to start again.”
Finished with her proposal, the witch sits back in her armchair and sips the remainder of her tea while Severus considers. He is truly shocked by what Madam Mindathrotton is proposing, but then with Remus gone, what does it matter where he resides?
After a moment he replies, “All right, I'll stay."
She looks up from her cup, “Yes?”
“Excellent! And please, call me Mathilda,” she replies with that crooked grin. “Now that we've gotten all this business of Death Eater and Dumbledore's murderer out of the way - ”
Severus explodes, “What do you mean Dumbledore's murderer?! I haven't done anything to Albus! Unless he fell during the battle, he's most likely eating a sodding sherbet lemon at this very moment. Even if he has passed on, his shade is no doubt carrying on the tradition.”
She gasps. “But Severus, Albus Dumbledore has been dead nearly a year now,” replied Madam Mindathrotton.
He looks at her as though she is mad. “What on earth are you talking about? How could Dumbledore be dead? I just spoke with him yesterday.”
Mathilda's smile fades a bit and she regards him worriedly as she replies, “My mistake, sorry, must have gotten the information wrong.”
Severus lowers his wand, swaying alarmingly before he settles in a chair conjured by one of the local witches. Hyacinth, he believes her name is, rushes over with water and some food.
Mathilda was right when she said there was rebuilding to be done. He'd worked from sunup to sundown for weeks repairing homes and shops, casting protective wards and Muggle repelling charms on the village itself. He had even begun setting up a laboratory in an abandoned shop Mathilda directed him to.
It was tiring work, but satisfying in a way teaching had never been. As Mathilda conveyed him around the village and introduced him to his neighbors, Severus found himself relaxing and enjoying his new community.
Harry groans, pulling his legs higher, allowing him to be penetrated more deeply. At this angle, Severus' thrusts assault his prostate and it's perfect. The hands on his hips tighten and the pace increases as the older wizard speeds them both towards completion. Harry clutches him tighter, nails gouging skin as Snape grips his cock, stroking in rhythm. Pulling two of the long, slender fingers to this mouth, he licks and sucks as he feels himself about to –
A shrill noise wakes Harry abruptly and he is upright, wand in hand, squinting around the empty room before he realizes it is his new alarm clock making the horrid sound. Feeling around on the nightstand, he locates his glasses and after putting them on picks up the offending item, attempting to find the off switch. When that endeavor proves unsuccessful, and after another minute of the deafening racket, he mutters a quick silencio and unplugs it.
He glares at the blasted device for having interrupted a lovely dream. Although his former professor often made an appearance in Harry's dreams, the, er, adult versions had begun to plague him more and more in these seven years since the war. He'd figured it was the whole wanting what you cannot have thing, but that didn't make them any less vivid or his longing any less powerful. Plus, Snape was dead sexy. He just needed a little maturity to finally appreciate him.
Sighing, Harry heads off for a shower and a date with his five-fingered friend.
LTB Designs, headed by one Harry Potter, had done extremely well, with sales of the Lightning Bolt 1000 having gone through the roof – without doubt due to his fame and moniker as “Savior of the Wizarding World.” Or so said Rita Skeeter. Harry had known something was fundamentally wrong when he'd found himself agreeing with her.
But even the skeptics had to agree that the LB1000 trumped its competitors. Improving upon the Firebolt's precision and aerodynamics, with a slim, ergonomic handle of beech and impervious, double-fine diamond varnish, the LB1000 was able to reach speeds of nearly 200 mph in ten seconds. In short, it was the broom of Harry's dreams. Sales of the LB1000 were only surpassed by the 1500 and 2000 models.
Now, though, Harry finds himself lacking inspiration. Having made all the improvements he ever dreamed of as a young wizard, he is now completely out of ideas. Six months without a single complete design results in him sitting in the library at Grimmauld Place, nosed buried in A Pastoral History of Wizarding England by Mathilda Mindathrotton.
After reading every book, essay, and informational pamphlet he could on Quidditch and brooms, Harry has branched into dusty tomes on ancient wizarding culture. He thinks that perhaps he might uncover some secret or custom lost to the ages that he could incorporate into his next design.
He is halfway through the history and three-quarters of the way to full sleep when something catches his eye. A listing for a wizarding village, Gorse Galley near Bramdean in the valley where the brooms grow. Hang on. Harry shoots forward in his chair, rubbing his eyes and rereads that last bit. A huge smile lights his face. Well now. This is interesting.
An hour into his journey, Harry decides that he hates Gorse Galley and all the witches and wizards living in it. Upon arriving in the small village, he'd made for the local pub, The Queer Quaffle, treated himself to a pint and made an attempt to get to know some of the locals. To no avail. All his polite inquiries were ignored and any attempt to join a conversation was strongly rebuked. This was not the cautious wariness of outsiders he'd seen in other small villages. These wizards seemed to genuinely not want anything to do with anyone not born and bred in their unremarkable little town.
Harry has had enough. He is walking through the bustling market, on his way back to the small grove of trees he'd Apparated to when something – no, someone – catches his eye.
Harry reels as if dealt a physical blow. He pinches himself to be sure, and no, this isn't a dream. He is standing in some backwater Wizarding village looking at his ex-professor. Who is alive. But then this is Severus Snape, of course he's alive. He can fly for Merlin's sake! Without a broom.
Looking the man over, Harry realizes that Snape doesn't so much look different as he does less ... menacing. Oh, he still projected an air of formidable wizard, but out of his trademark voluminous robes and in simple wizarding attire the man just … walks. He doesn't sweep, loom, or dramatically appear. The man merely walks through the small crowd, nodding to some, stopping to exchanging pleasantries with others, his steps unhurried, with an economical grace.
Harry watches Snape chat with an elderly wizard, listening patiently, then sparing the man a smile as he continues through the market. Suddenly he is struck by the fact that Snape is happy. Or content at least. And it suits him.
Making his way across the market, Harry steps into Snape's path and is surprised when the older wizard looks right past him. Confused, Harry follows and taps him on the shoulder. Snape turns back and regards him inquiringly, “Yes?”
Taken aback, Harry just grins stupidly for a moment. That voice. Oh, how he'd missed hearing that voice! Shaking off his reverie, Harry notices that Snape has begun to look a bit uncomfortable.
He sticks out his hand, “Snape. It's me, Harry Potter. Been a while, eh?”
The older wizard shakes perfunctorily, “Harry Potter, yes.”
The words and actions are right, but something is off, Harry can feel it. He notes how the dark eyes take him in and sees … absolutely no recognition there. He might've introduced himself as Celestia Warbeck for all the man would've cared. Well, other than the bit about him being a wizard.
“Perhaps you don't remember me, sir. From Hogwarts,” Harry prompted.
“Hogwarts, yes,” the wizard nods. A spark of recognition lights his eyes with the mention of the school. “It's always pleasant to run into a former student. Might I inquire what brings you to Gorse Galley?” Snape is polite and distant, like Harry is a complete stranger, making the sort of small talk Harry himself does with unwelcome admirers.
“Well, I design brooms now, sir. And I stumbled across a mention of this village in an old Wizarding history, it mentioned 'Gorse Galley, in the valley where the brooms grow,' so I thought I'd come check out the village. See if I can find an experienced broommaker willing to take on an apprentice.” Harry waits for Snape to berate him for rushing off yet again with little or no information. The lack of ire only confirms his suspicions.
Snape frowns, “I see. Unfortunately, Mr. Potter, I don't know of any broommakers in the village. You might want to try Diagon Alley as I'm reasonably sure there is a broom shop there.”
“Oh. Well, I guess I'll be on my way then. It was good seeing you again, sir.” Harry is disappointed, and pretty sure it shows on his face. Hopefully Snape will assume he's just frustrated about wasting his time.
“Indeed. Good luck, Mr. Potter.” His name is said as though it were any other, empty of the threats and malice that used to color Snape's pronunciation. Surprisingly he misses it.
Harry manages a quick thank you before heading for the small grove and Disapparating.
Mathilda regards Severus over her teacup. The man had settled in well and become an invaluable member of the community, even a close friend. She knows the man is lonely, though, even if he hides it well. But there's something else, something missing. And she fears it may have something to do with his missing memories.
From that first conversation after the war she'd known something was wrong, but assumed it was just a result of his injuries, something that would correct itself with time. With gentle and methodical questioning, she had ascertained that there was no problem with his mind as such, simply that certain persons and events were … absent. It was quite a puzzle, but one which did not affect Severus day to day. She was loathe to cause him anymore harm considering all he'd been through, so she convinced herself that the merciful action was to let it be.
Now, though, she's not so sure.
“Was that Harry Potter I saw you speaking with today?”
Severus refills their cups, adding a splash of milk to his and two sugars to hers. “Who?”
“The man with you in the market today. Harry Potter?”
He frowns, recalling the odd conversation in the market, “Yes, I believe that's what he said his name was. A former student apparently.”
“You don't remember him?” She stares at him, shock clearly written across her face.
“Am I supposed to remember every child that ever attended Hogwarts in the twenty years I was teaching? Merlin forbid.” He shudders dramatically. “I wake every morning grateful that I no longer have to deal with the tiny terrors.”
Over the next few days, Harry thinks about Snape incessantly. He still can't believe he is alive and living in the least hospitable wizarding village in all Britain. Although, put that way it actually makes a lot of sense.
The wizard that gave everything to ensure Harry would live and defeat Voldemort is living in obscurity in a tiny village. He should be at Ministry dinners held in his honor and feted throughout the Wizarding World. Instead he's shopping at an open-air market and living – Harry didn't even know where he was living, but he imagines it's rather modest judging by that village.
But that isn't even the worst part. Snape doesn't remember him! Something or someone had tampered with his memory. What if he was hexed? Or cursed? Any stray Death Eater could have taken a shot at Snape in his weakened state after Nagini's bite. There's no telling what spell it is. Maybe he should call Bill.
No, the man seemed healthy. And content. Just a problem with his mind, then. The damage could be extensive. But he'd had no trouble holding conversation, from what Harry could tell. So he has to assume it has something to do with Snape's memories.
Hmm memory. Memory. Something that removes his … no. Oh no
Snape answers his door, surprised to see Mathilda and that young man, Harry Potter, on his doorstep.
“Mathilda, Mr. Potter, come in.”
“I can't stay Severus, just showing Mr. Potter the way to your home. I'll see you tomorrow for tea?”
“Well. Until tomorrow.” She suddenly hugs both him and Mr. Potter before leaving.
Severus watches her go, unsure of what just happened. A small cough reminds him that he has a guest. He steps back from the doorway, “My apologies. Please come in, Mr. Potter.”
The young man enters and follows Snape to the living room.
“Can I get you something to drink?”
“No, I'm fine, thank you.”
Severus makes himself comfortable in his usual chair. Seated on the loveseat, Harry's eyes take in every detail of the cozy room.
“Have you lived here long, sir?”
“About seven years. It belonged to my – to a friend before that.” Severus tries to cover his stumble, but he can see the young man notices his slip.
He crosses his legs, uncomfortable with the conversation. “May I ask what brings you here, Mr. Potter?”
“I wanted to return something of yours.”
He raises a brow. “Something of mine?”
The young man flashes a crooked grin. “Yes sir. If I may?” He motions towards the coffee table and Severus nods once in response.
Pulling something from his robe, Mr. Potter places it on the table, enlarging it. It's a pensieve. And a wide jar filled with silvery memories.
“I know you don't remember, sir, but you gave these to me. There were things I needed to know and no time to explain things properly. I figured it was only right to return them.”
“You expect me to believe those are my memories? Preposterous! I think I'd know if there were gaps in my memory.”
A smirk. “Are you sure, sir?”
No. He isn't sure at all. But why should he trust some stranger who claims to know him? Then again, what if the boy is telling the truth? Half his life could be gone judging by the size of that jar. Plus, memories can't be faked so he'll know right away if the boy is lying. There's nothing else for it. He's going to have to see those memories.
”You're … you're a witch,” whispered Snape.
“You know how and why she died. Make sure it was not in vain. Help me protect Lily's son.”
“No,” agreed Dumbledore. “You are a braver man by far than Igor Karkaroff. You know, I sometimes think we Sort too soon …”
“And my soul, Dumbledore? Mine?”
“Look … at … me …” he whispered.
Harry had a clear view of the bodies lying next to Fred: Remus and Tonks, pale and still and peaceful looking …
“He is dead!” Narcissa Malfoy called to the watchers,
“Severus Snape wasn't yours,” said Harry.
Severus' hands flew across the worktable, sorting and chopping ingredients.
He was on all fours in Snape's office again. The wizard loomed over him and he looked up taking in the long line of the man.
Harry hummed and sucked, lips stretched wide around the thick cock. “Look … at … me.” Green eyes met black as Severus came.
Severus falls back from the pensieve with a groan. Hands catch and maneuver him onto the loveseat. He looks over to see Harry Potter watching him with concern.
“Are you all right, sir?”
Severus can't respond. Harry feels the man's unnatural warmth and conjures a cool cloth, applying it to his brow.
After a few moments, Severus begins to feel normal. A migraine is forming behind his eyes, but his hands have stopped shaking and his breathing has leveled out.
He looks at Harry, remembering the boy that was and taking in the man beside him. Not much taller, a little broader, but with an unnamable edge that the boy lacked. Lily's brilliant green eyes regard him just as steadily. The moment stretches between them, filled with questions and longing.
Severus clears his throat, breaking contact. “That was quite a lot to take in at once. Thank you.”
Harry blinks, trying to focus on the conversation, “You're welcome, sir.”
“Although, I'm not sure all of those memories are mine.” Potter suddenly finds the floor rug fascinating. “If it weren't illegal and morally reprehensible, I would think someone was attempting to influence me.”
Harry's head snaps up, a guilty look on his face, “Well, you see, the thing is … ”
Severus smirks and leans forward, capturing Harry's lips in a gentle kiss. Pulling away briefly he replies, “Honestly Potter, if you wanted something all you had to do was ask,” before wrapping his arms around the younger man and kissing him breathless.