The characters belong to Ms. J. Ro. Contain spoilers for the DH.
Snape’s feelings at the moment of the awakening could hardly be called pleasant: the head cracked, the throat burned – even the act of swallowing was difficult, even his skeleton was hurting.
“Flu”, Snape mused, not quite fully awakened. “Merlin, what a shame this is for a potions’ master – to catch flu!”
However, flu is no reason to be lying around, rather it is the reverse – to drink quickly the potion and find out what has happened while he was lying here… Stop!
Snape froze. And where’s this “here”?
The man barely managed to open his eyelids and for several minutes just stared into space before him, waiting for the eyes to get used to darkness. He did not know this room, but this was a room, as opposed to the Squealing Shack, a prison cell, or the Purgatory.
Of course, Snape was not so sure about the latter – he did not have anything to compare.
There was only one solution – to get up and carefully look around, and try to remember, what had happened to him.
However, after making this decision, Snape encountered a new problem. He just began to rise on his elbows, when some unknown force pushed him back down, and a voice sounded over his ear:
“You shouldn’t do this, professor Snape.”
Snape was a Slytherin, and therefore never openly argued with anyone whose abilities he did not know. He dropped back on the bed and closed his eyes, after which he spoke at last:
“Who are you?” Snape was terrified about how his voice sounded. Rough and croaking – completely alien.
“It’s irrelevant,” the girl responded. Yes, Snape could swear that this was the voice of a young girl, possibly a student of his.
He broke into cold sweat.
He understood long ago not the underestimate women and kept away from them. However, each meeting with them brought forth a new nightmare. Women knew only how to take: his loyalty, care of their offspring, his truth and lies… All of him. And to give something in return they neither knew how nor wanted to. Terrible beings.
“I know you?” he made one more attempt.
“Let’s suppose that yes,” the girl made a small laugh. “And you grew talkative. Came back to life, yeah?”
Possibly, it was just a figure of speech, but Snape shuddered.
He remembered everything.
“How did I…” his voice quivered. He mechanically wanted to touch his neck, but could not raise his arm. “How did I survive?”
“And who said that you were alive?” asked this mistress of the room, touching with cool fingers his cheek. She had to lean to do that, and some blonde hair touched Severus. Potion master’s eyes got used to darkness, but nothing was visible save the hair.
“Too young to be Narcissa,” he thought idly.
“Therefore I died?” he tried again.
“To the society, you, undoubtedly, are dead,” the girl agreed.
“I don’t give a damn for the society!” Snape snarled so that his throat started to hurt, and little needles began to pick his brain. “Am I alive overall?”
“Overall is impossibility,” his interlocutrix explained in a mentoring voice.
“Very well,” Snape backed down. “And the snake?”
“Some specific snake or the archetypical reptile?” the girl specified.
Snape felt that it was getting harder and harder to deal with irritation.
“The snake of the Dark Lord. Nagini. The huge. Venomous. Animal. Which bit. Me,” he said in a clipped tone of voice.
“Oh, you’re talking about this snake,” the girl perked up. “It’s dead.”
The potion master found it easier to breathe.
“Another question,” he inadvertedly gulped. “P… Potter’s alive?”
“Potter’s dead,” the stranger calmly replied. “Don’t you know that the Dark Lord had killed him?”
“So he did, after all?” it was hard to breathe once more. The eyes began to water, probably as a side effect of the snake’s bite.
“He did,” the girl coolly replied. “Both Potter and his wife. Didn’t you know that?”
“What wife?” Snape stopped understanding what was going on. “Has Potter-?”
“You must’ve hit your head really hard,” the interlocutrix’ voice grew compassionate. “Or the venom’s not completely gone. Don’t you even remember that James Potter died with his wife?”
“WHAT JAMES POTTER?!” Snape no longer cared not to shout. “I asked you about Harry Potter!”
“No,” the girl got insulted. “Don’t confuse me. You didn’t say Harry’s name!”
At that moment, the door into the corridor opened slightly. Light streaked into the room, making Snape’s eyes water. A man stood in the doorway, looking vaguely familiar to Severus.
“My girl,” the man spoke, also somewhat blinded from the transmission from a well-like space into utter darkness, but at the same time, he did not attempt to make any light. “You got yourself another pet?”
“It’s a potions’ master, daddy,” the girl replied in a dim voice.
“So it is,” the man did not start to argue. “It’s only important that he be safe. He won’t hurt you, right?”
“No, daddy,” her voice was full of such genuine tenderness to her father, that Snape’s heart beat faster. “He is not dangerous at all.”
The man shrugged and made a twisted grin, after which he left the room, as if it was perfectly normal – to hold in your home a former Death Eater, considered dead everywhere else.
“Lovegood,” Snape spat out, when the door closed and the footsteps went away. “Why didn’t I realize at once! The crazy family!”
“My daddy’s not crazy,” now the girl’s voice was steely. “He’s just… not quite himself after these events.”
Snape remembered of what Luna was speaking and felt a slight prick from his conscience. He was not the only one to go through a lot.
Simultaneously with that thought came the realization that he does not know a lot, but he must learn. He again twitched, trying to get up.
“Don’t try,” Luna said dryly, wiping her uninvited tears with the back of her hand. “You cannot yet leave this house. For everyone, you’re dead.”
“What about you?” Snape froze, awaiting an answer.
“No, not for me,” Luna replied. “But you yourself, I think, agree that I am not the indicator here, right?”
Snape started to think that he was going mad. He wanted so little – to understand if he was dead or alive! Pains in his head and throat meant nothing. How could he know, maybe it is the norm in the afterlife!
Moreover, the darkness, in which the young jailer – and Snape no longer doubted that that was so – held him, also did not make things clearer.
“Miss Lovegood,” embarrassed, Snape understood that he could not remember the name of his pupil. “Can you turn on the light?”
“Really, it’s not worth it,” she replied, still sitting in the head of his bed.
Unpleasant thoughts crawled into Snape’s mind.
“You haven’t…” his voice broke. “You haven’t made me into a vampire? Or a similar creature to save me from snake venom and blood loss?”
Personally, he decided that if that was the case, he‘d figure out a way to finish himself off. He proved to Dumbledore that he was no coward. He proved it to Potter.
He will prove it… prove it to himself.
“No,” Luna quietly replied after a short pause. “Should I have?” she quietly laughed. “Sorry that I didn’t think so, plus I did not have any creatures back then underhand.”
“Then turn on the light!” Snape shouted once again, simultaneously embarrassed of these hysterical notes in his voice and the cold inside him. “What’s wrong with me?”
“Lumos,” sighed Luna and got off her chair. Snape heard her clothes rustle but could not turn his head. “You’re completely normal, just still weak. You lost too much blood… It’ll pass.”
“A mirror,” Snape demanded, interrupting her sharply.
“You must be a dandy, professor,” Luna grinned, but still uttered “Accio mirror!”
A dusty mirror flew out from a corner and stopped exactly before the potions’ master’s face.
He stared at it, unable to look away.
No, there was nothing wrong with his face, besides the sickly thinness and paleness. The bandages on the neck all brown spotted from blood did not surprise him either. However, at his left shoulder stood Lovegood with a wand in her hands. Moreover, it was exactly her appearance that caught Snape’s attention so.
“What’s… what’s with you, Miss Lovegood?” he exhaled.
The entire left side of the girl’s face was mutilated, as if someone tried to skin it. The neck was also covered in ugly scars. The clothing hid what was below that, but considering how the girl stood, hiding her left hand in the folds of her robes, Snape understood all without explanations.
“It was the war,” Luna spoke slyly, turning her mutilated face away from the mirror.
“Don’t lie to me, Lovegood,” Snape said in a quivering voice. He forgot to say “Miss”, but he no longer cared.
He began to understand.
“You can save anyone from anything,” Luna began to speak in a monotone. Her voice was dim. “The main thing is the spark of life not being gone.”
“And you also must give a lot in return,” Snape, staring at one point, replied in kind. “Lovegood, why?”
“Oh, it’s nothing, professor,” she put the mirror aside and patted the potions’ master’s cheek. “It all heals quickly on the face. Moreover, what does not heal – can be disguised with illusion spells. I know how to cast them very well. I can change your face as well, so that you’ll be able to live as before, when you get well.”
“As before,” Snape repeated dimly. “On the face… Lovegood, and what about the rest?”
“Well,” she again lightly touched his face. “I was never a fan of open bathing suits and besides…”
“You’re still so young,” Snape groaned. “And I am the old ugly teacher who doesn’t even remember your name! Why?!”
“I am as I am,” Luna’s voice rose. “What’s in appearance, a name? It is just the surface, dust! Everyone will, after all, see what he will want to see! Life – now there’s a value, do you understand, professor Snape?”
Snape was silent.
He could tell her, how much misery he got over the years by his own appearance and rough habits. He got just thank her. However, by some inner sense he understood that she did not need either one or the other.
“Tell me… tell me, how did the war end?” he finally asked.
Luna extinguished Lumos and sat back on a chair.
“Now you’re going to laugh,” she warned him.
Snape did not really believe that, but nodded, as if she could see that nod and prepared to listen.
“By the way, I haven’t heard about Luna Lovegood for a long time,” noted Hermione Weasley, after picking up the “Quibbler” from the newspaper stand. “Her father still goes on writing, and what about her?”
“As far as I know, she travels round the world seeking unseen-before beasts,” Ginevra Potter made a giggle. “And her husband follows her everywhere.”
“She got married?” Hermione mechanically asked, as she fished out a couple of coins to pay for her purchase.
“Long ago,” Ginny rolled her eyes. “To Rolf Scamander, the grandson of the famous Newt Scamander.”
“Don’t think of me as a know-it-all,” Hermione rejoined her girl friend and they moved on further down the Diagon-alley. “But does Newt Scamander have a grandson?”
“Why shouldn’t he have?” Ginny was honestly surprised. “How’s Newt worse than anyone else? I saw some of that Rolf. A gloomy long-nosed character, in Harry’s opinion, somewhat like Snape. But I think they got nothing in common!”
“The main thing is that Luna likes him,” Hermione uttered her sentence, and the girl friends changed the topic of their discussion, immediately forgetting both Luna, and Snape, and even the mysterious Rolf Scamander.