I Don't Remember

The Real Problem

Severus

Friday's classes went well. Friday night went awfully. I was working until the sky was turning light, literally falling into bed after an all-nighter helping Professor Flitwick capture creatures for his third year's finals. Exhausted had a brand new definition for me. I just managed to spell a note on my door and Floo that anyone bothering me for the next 12 hours would be subjects of experimentation for my next batch of poisons. With that standard set, I passed out still in my teacher's uniform.

A loud set of knocks on my door pulled me out of a blissful dream where it was vacation already and I was on a nice, snowy mountain peak somewhere far away from work. I pried open my eyes to see the sun still in the newly morning position. The knocking continued. I sat up with what strength I had, fueled by anger only someone desperately needing sleep and being woken up has. I stumbled to the door and put my wand to my throat.

"WHAT DO YOU WANT?" I magically bellowed, my usual smooth voice coming out in a rasp.

"T-t-t-t-there's s-s-someone to s-s-see you, S-s-sir." a tiny squeak of a house-elf said behind the door.

"TELL THEM TO COME BACK LATER!" I dropped the wand and fell back into bed.

A few moments pause, and then another, louder, knock. "SEVERUS SNAPE OPEN THIS DOOR IMMEDIATELY."

Lucius's magnified voice caused me to sit up again. How dare he tell me what to do? I crawled out of bed with as much dignity as I could muster, and then swung open the door.

"How dare you tell me what to do?" I screamed.

He tossed something at me and then walked in, cane first. I nodded to the house-elf, who looked relieved I wasn't going to stew him on the spot, and then closed it, examining the bottle.

"A Pepper Up Potion? You brought ME someone else's work?"

"Relax." His icy words floated to me from down by my fire, where he was magically stoking it. "I had Madame Pomfrey make it, so it's technically yours." He sighed loudly, and then bent down. "I can't believe how out of date your furnishings are. Are all the teachers' rooms like this?"

"I'm sure you'll be able to think of something to suit your standards," I growled. "What are you doing here?"

"Besides trying to warm this tomb you call a bedroom, I came to talk." He stepped away from the now-roaring fire and turned steel eyes on me. "About yesterday."

I wasn't swayed. "If you mean about your suddenly heart-felt apology for past offenses, I don't know how to help you."

"No you-" he started to raise his voice, then took a deep breath. "No. I do not mean that. I mean about your sudden infatuation."

I groaned, rubbing my head. "I am not prepared to discuss that."

"Which is why I brought what I did. Drink up."

I placed my hands at my sides. "Why do you even care?"

"I care because you're the only person I know who isn't dead, in jail, or friends with me for power and/or a member of my family. Also, I saw you making puppy dog eyes at that Mudblood. Drink up."

I drank. I would have liked to break the bottle, to throw it at his stupid face, but I didn't. When I was finished, I took a seat across from him.

He folded his arms. "Good. Now, explain."

"You remember all the papers? Talking about how I'd lived, and been pardoned for all my crimes? A few small notes to the treatment used? They grossly understated it." I moved to my desk and sat down, keeping my eyes on him. "After you more or less handed me over to my death, the only thing keeping me alive was a magical promise; quite literally, my job. If I hadn't been Headmaster of Hogwarts at the time and kept alive by the school's magic, I would have perished long before Hermione noticed I was alive."

Lucius's suspicious eyes widened slightly. "Granger noticed?"

I nodded. "After at least 2 other people had picked me up and tossed me around. And she stayed with me. True, McGonagall ordered her to, but she did. She didn't even leave to go find her parents. She stayed with me up until we finally got to Hogwarts, after I'd seen my reflection for the first time."

He scoffed at that. "Fifteen years taken off."

I motioned to my visage. "You think this is a gift? I thought it was a curse. A slap in the face for all the years I'd sacrificed. The battle scars I'd earned. It hadn't been pretty, but what was? I'd done my best to make something of myself... At least, that's what I thought." I slapped my hand down on the table. "Lying to myself, all of it. I had no idea how to live. I'd been running for almost twenty years."

"You seemed perfectly fine at our meetings." He said stiffly.

I shrugged. "Of course i did. Why wouldn't I?"

He turned away from me towards the hearth. I couldn't see his face, it was hidden by his curtain of nearly white hair. The fire popped. "It wasn't as though you couldn't have come to me. I know we weren't... I understand I'm not the warmest of people, but for all it was worth, we were friends."

"Yes. Because you reacted so pleasantly to knowing my uncontrollable emotions about a female."

He turned back to me, his eyes flaring. "Why that female, Severus? Two women, just two, you've ever been interested in, and both of them have been Mudbloods."

"So that's what it's about." I said, wondrously. "You are worried about me. About my bloodline."

He looked uncomfortable, his eyes flitting back and forth. "It's not just that..." He lifted looked at his wand, shifting it this way and that as he sat across from me. When he spoke again his voice was low "Severus, she was there. At my manor. Bella tortured her. I watched. Draco watched. My wife watched. It's... embarrassing, on my levels, for you to be interested in such a creature."

I sat, staring at him. When I managed to respond my tone was incredulous. "Embarrassing? You're trying to tell me that the biggest problem you have with me being in love isn't that she's a student, or her blood status, but it's the fact she had an Unforgivable Curse bestowed on her at your house... Because it's embarrassing?"

"Well-"

"Don't you think it's a tad 'embarrassing' for her that you're even in the castle right now?"

"Why should I care about that?"

"Why indeed." I rose, looking disgusted. "I think it's time you left."

He looked at me angrily, but as the moments passed, he didn't say anything. Finally he stood. Silently, we walked to the door, where I held it open for him. I stopped him with a hand as he prepared to walk through it.

"One last thing, Lucius." I began, looking him in his eyes. "You wanted to know what made me change. I was forced to think about someone other than myself. It opened my eyes to how little I'd been thinking about everything. I suggest you learn to do the same."

He glared at me, raising himself up to his full height. I wasn't intimidated. He walked out of my rooms, and I slammed the door.



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