Pairing: Severus/Girl!Harry, Albus, Dobby, Hermione
Word Count: 3365
Summary: After the war, Snape is concerned when a member of the Order displays signs of illness and wants to help.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from (and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by) the posting of this fan work.
Author's Note: Originally written in October 2003 after losing a bet to some Snarry 'shippers in an AOL chat room, this is the first Potterverse fic I ever wrote.
The first conversation, a some months after the end of the war:
"Something must be done, Albus."
"And what would you suggest, Severus? Ree has refused to speak of her condition, and continues to deny that aught is amiss. Should we force her to accept help, do you think, when clearly she does not wish it?"
"Has it ever been our policy to allow a suicide to occur, not matter how slowly it is being attempted?"
"You believe she is trying to kill herself?"
"It is clear to me that she is grief-stricken by Draco's death and allowing herself to waste."
"No, it's not so very clear. She may well be grieved that she could not save Draco, Severus, but Ree never appeared to love him in that way. Her friendship with young Malfoy was far too complicated to be explained by romantic love."
"With respect, Albus, it has been too long for either of us to make such statements about the nature of 'romantic love'."
"Do speak for yourself, young man, do. Ree was not in love with Draco Malfoy."
"Forgive me, but I don't understand how you can so blithely dismiss the idea. What else is causing this illness? And what shall we do about it?"
"There may be nothing we can do. That does not mean, however, that I am unwilling to try to prevent her illness from becoming worse."
"You sound certain of the cause."
"You sound desperate to know it."
"Merlin's balls, you don't sound concerned at all! How is that possible?"
"I apologize if I've upset you, Severus. Do forgive me. It was unintentional. I do know something of what ails Ree; I am simply not certain if she can be made well again."
"Tell me what is causing her illness and I will cure it."
"Ree is . . . ill, dear boy, ill because she saved you."
"What? What do you mean by that?"
"Did you not wonder why you were the only Death Eater to survive? No, I see that you didn't."
"Former Death Eater, Albus. I thought the spell didn't take me because . . . ."
"Well, you were wrong, Severus. Ree wouldn't allow an innocent to be claimed by her spell, but she wanted to ensure the end of the Death Eaters with Voldemort's destruction. The spell she crafted initially would have taken you with the then current Death Eaters, and she refused to cast it in that form."
"An innocent? R . . . Harry thinks that I'm an innocent?"
"From the perspective of the spell craft she was manipulating, yes. You were working for the Light, Severus, and Ree was, and is, tainted by a bit of Thomas Riddle's darkness. She knew that she would have to seal the spell with her own death, which gave her the freedom to take yours."
"Are you telling me that Harry has become a true Death Eater?"
"She has. For you."
"Damn it, Albus, after all Harry has been through, how could you do this to . . . Harry?"
"Why can you not bring yourself to accept her as the young woman she has become, Severus?"
"That hardly matters now, does it?"
"Oh, I should say not. Indeed, I should say that your reasons on that score matter greatly."
"Why didn't she die when she cast her spell?"
"Do you know, Severus, that Lily did save Harry when he was an infant, but not entirely without assistance. The raw power in the boy was formidable, even as an infant; I believe he called to his essence, his core magic, to shield himself when Voldemort attacked him. I saw her do this in battle many times—"
"Stop it—can you not keep to the use of a consistent pronoun, Albus?"
"We cannot deny what Harry was before the change Draco's spell wrought, no matter how difficult it is for some of us. Is that the matter at hand, then? She isn't a he anymore?"
"I'm not a molester of children!"
"Sit down, my boy. Please, I know that you are not. Harry may have been too young for you, but Ree was sixteen when Draco turned Lucius' death curse, and that was five years ago. For most of those years, we were at war. With all that has happened, I would not find it unusual for you to have fallen in love with Ree. She's a remarkable young woman, and you've worked very closely with her."
". . . ."
"Severus? Please, I know you are a private man, but I must have an answer. I trust you know that I would not pry if it weren't important."
"What difference could my answer possibly make to Harry?"
"If I have anything to declare, should it not be to Harry—to her?"
"Under usual circumstances, that would be an admirable sentiment, Severus, but we haven't the time."
"What aren't you telling me?"
"What aren't you telling me?"
"Must I confess this to you?"
"I . . . I hated James, Albus. It was . . . pathological with me, hating James and Sirius and Remus. When Harry started school . . . ."
"Ah, you'll work up to it, will you? Very well. Severus, you did behave rather badly at times, but, for the most part, you did what you felt was necessary to prevent the boy from becoming swell-headed and careless. And no, my friend, you didn't hate James, Sirius, or Remus—not at first—did you?"
"I wanted to be their friend for a very brief period of time, Albus, but yes, I did hate them. They were athletic, smart, popular—everything they wanted, they received. I was jealous of them, of James, especially. It didn't seem fair to me that he should have everything, and I nothing. I did hate him—them."
"Perhaps you did. Rejection is a powerful tool for turning hatred into evil."
"It would not be honest of me to blame James or the others for my turning to the Dark Lord, Albus. I was lonely, bitter, frustrated, and scared when I came to Hogwarts; my father made certain of that, but it was my decision to become a 'death eater'. I had no idea what it all meant, when I was a boy, and now I find that Harry has managed a task that dark wizards have failed to achieve for generations. And why? To save me. I am unworthy of her sacrifice. I am . . . unworthy of her."
"Severus, please tell me what it is that you feel for Harry."
"I feel love for her, Albus, and I'm ashamed."
"Because she deserves the love of some bright, beautiful Gryffindor, not a middle-aged satyr—"
"I'll stop you there, Severus. No, listen to me. You will have to forego your exercise in self-loathing for now, and, I hope, forever. You feel you don't deserve her, but I must tell you that your Harry is dying—yes, she is dying."
"No . . . no!
"Yes, dear boy. I'm sorry."
"How? I don't understand."
"The spell that Ree used as the basis of her destruction spell was originally sex magic—dark and ancient and unstable—but useful to her as a means of binding Voldemort and his followers together for the purpose of focusing her magic. When she realized that any bearer of the Dark Mark would be annihilated along with Thomas, however, she couldn't bring herself to complete the spell."
"What are you saying, Albus?"
"I'm saying to you that you must find Ree and ask her why she refused, initially, to complete the spell."
"But she did cast it."
"Yes, she did. Ask her why she decided to do that, as well."
The second conversation, interrupted by the third one:
"Why so many letters, Harry Potter? Why not owl them?"
"I'm not going to be able to owl them, Dobby, and I don't want them delivered until after something in particular occurs."
"But how will Dobby know when it is time?"
"I'm taking a . . . trip, Dobby. When you know that I've left, open the letter that is there for you. It will explain things."
"Oh, Harry Potter has written Dobby a letter! Harry Potter is very good!"
"Harry Potter is your friend, Dobby. Please remember that."
"Harry Potter is in a lot of trouble, frankly. Would you excuse us, Dobby?"
"Miss Hermione! Miss Hermione, don't be mad at Harry Potter!"
"It's all right, Dobby. I know why Hermione is here. You can go."
"Yes, yes. Dobby will go. But Miss Hermione must not be mean to Harry Potter."
"Well, I won't be if you stop avoiding me, Ree."
"I apologize, 'Mione; I've been . . . putting my affairs in order."
"You sound as if you're going to die."
"I am dying, Hermione."
"No, that's not possible! Have you been to see Madame Pomfrey? Have you been to St. Mungo's? Oh, Harry, what is it?"
"Please, 'Mione, it's not something that can be cured. I did it to myself. Sit down, and I'll explain . . . ."
The fourth conversation, with more than one interruption:
"Pardon the intrusion, Professor Potter, but Professor Weasley appeared to be quite upset when I passed her in the corridor just now. Do you know what is troubling her?"
"Hermione would be touched by your concern, Severus."
"I'm always concerned about the welfare of my colleagues."
"Of course. She's had a shock, but she'll be fine."
"As you say. This 'shock' wouldn't have anything to do with your . . . condition, would it?"
"Indeed. I've just spent most of my afternoon discussing it with Albus. He suggested I come to you and ascertain how it is related to the spell that you crafted to defeat the Dark Lord."
"I understand your reluctance to speak of such matters—"
"No, I don't think you do, professor."
"May I ask from what your reluctance stems, Ree?"
". . . ."
"Are you all right?"
"I apologize. I never thought I'd hear you call me by my . . . my girl name. It took me by surprise."
"I hope I haven't made you feel uncomfortable, Pro—Harry—Ree?"
"Yes, I like it when you say it—I mean, I prefer Ree to Harry. And no, you don't make me uncomfortable, not in the way . . . no, not at all. Not uncomfortable, I mean. It's just that I know you're not particularly fond of change, so I was surprised to hear you say it."
"It would be fair to say that I'm not fond of change."
"It would also be fair to say that the alteration in you has caused me some concern."
"No, Ree, let's not do this. You are ill. In fact, Albus would have it that you're dying. . . . Is that true?"
"Yes, Severus. It is."
"Albus would also have it that your dying has everything to do with your having saved me."
"Yes, that's true, too."
"No. It had to be death magic."
"With your death sealing the spell forever, thus preventing the Dark Lord and his followers from troubling the living save as memories?"
"Why? With sex magic, you and Draco could have closed the spell together."
"As sex magic, the spell would have bound you to the other bearers of Voldemort's mark, Severus."
"And would that have been so terrible for you? Damnation, Harry! Why would you sacrifice yourself like this for me, for anyone?
"Could you relax your grip a bit, please?"
"I apologize. I didn't mean to harm you."
"I know that now."
"Ah. I am sorry, Harry."
"We don't have to talk about the old school days. I think I understand you a bit better now. But you clearly didn't understand Draco, did you?"
"I knew that boy from cradle to gra—"
"Exactly. You knew him for so long that you stopped seeing him, I think. Draco was in love with me, Severus. Well, until he saved me. Draco didn't like girls."
"I didn't realize that."
"He didn't want you to."
"He didn't want Lucius to, you mean."
"Yes. When I . . . changed, it was difficult for him."
"Wouldn't it have been difficult for him before you changed?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, you were in love with the Chang girl."
"Oh, Cho. Cho was my excuse for not crushing on girls. I always preferred . . . I was gay, Severus. When I became a woman, one thing that made it easier to accept was that I loved . . . men. I never wanted to add another reason to the list of Why Harry is a Freak, so I was happy, in a way."
"It doesn't matter now. Even if I were going to live, I can't have the man I want."
"I could brew a potion to make Weasley forget that his wife exists, you know."
"You probably could, but that wouldn't help me, Severus."
"Black. I'll kill him."
"Don't be ridiculous! He's my godfather! If you don't mind, I'd rather not be discussing the pathetic state of what passes for my love life. Apparently, I have horribly unrealistic taste in men."
"It didn't have to be love."
"The act that closed your spell. If you had kept the sex magic, you could have—"
"Fucked anyone? No, I couldn't have. I changed it to death magic, and I don't regret it because you deserve some happiness, Severus. After everything you've given to all of us, you deserve a life of your own hoosing."
"And what made you think that I was living anything but such a life? Who gave you the right to make such a decision for me?"
"You spent years telling me that I had no respect for authority; did you think I wouldn't absorb some of that?"
"How dare you be flippant when you're dying in front of me? I feel the energy washing out of you, Ree. Why aren't you fighting this?
"Because I wasn't going to let them abandon you to death just because it was convenient! You were everything to the Order for years! You gave up half your life to it. You deserved better. No innocent was going to die by my hand—that was important to me. It still is. I have to save you."
"Damn it, Ree, you are not responsible for my happiness! After what I've done, I certainly didn't warrant your consideration, no matter how I've tried to redeem myself."
"Severus, I know that you don't understand what I did, and I'm sorry for that. I did it because it was the right thing to do, and I won't undo it—even if you don't believe that you're deserving of any loyalty, or . . . or love."
"Love? What do you know of love? Who have you been with to understand so much of love's sacrifice?"
"I may not have the experience of most women my age, but since I was fifteen-years-old I've loved one man. One. At first, I hoped it was a crush, but it wasn't. And then, I hoped it was a joke—some sort of curse—but it wasn't. Even when I accepted it, I knew that I could never have him. I knew that he'd never look at me. I was too close, too young, too stupid—"
"I may have thought you young and foolish, but I never thought you were stupid, Harry."
". . . ."
"Ree. I cannot bear to think that you've sacrificed yourself for me. I do not wish you to die."
"Because I love you, Ree, and if I hadn't spent so much time mired in self-loathing, as Albus called it, I'd have been able to see how you felt; I'd have been able to help you find another way to—"
"It's done, Severus, and we can't undo it, now."
"But children, that is precisely what you can do. Provided, of course, you don't squeeze each other to death before you attempt to repair this situation."
"Albus, now is not the time."
"No, it isn't, but it soon will be. A grim anniversary is upon us, and on that day, I do not want to see one that I love breathe her last breath. Ree, tell Severus how you were able to take his place in the binding."
"I took your blood, Severus. It . . . it was the only way."
"A sex spell calls for flesh . . . or blood. Because I didn't think I could have you in the one way, I . . . I sent Slrrississa to take your blood."
"You are the one who attacked me with snakes in the dungeons?"
"What good is being a Parseltongue if you never speak the language?"
"What is different about flesh and blood in a sex spell, Severus?"
"Exactly right. The magic you used to bind and destroy is essentially the same kind of magic used to bind and create. Because you and Ree love each other, you may be able to 'put a stopper in death' with a life-affirming act."
"Sex won't do that, Albus. She and I can't—"
"Sex alone won't end this spell, Severus, unless it's a generative act. The only thing that can truly stop death is life. A new life growing within her body would bind Ree to this plane and to you more firmly than her spell could drag her down into death."
"You're saying that I have to become pregnant?"
"Yes, Harry Potter, that is what Professor Albus is saying. You must make a baby with Professor Snappy—Professor Snape. Yes! You must, Harry Potter, or you will die!"
"Oh, Ree, I'm so sorry to intrude, but Dobby made me come back. He said you would need me."
"I believe the only thing Ree and Severus need is privacy, Hermione."
"Well, that just proves that you don't know everything, Professor. It's all very well for you to have decided what to do, but you can't expect Ree to just . . . um . . . jump into things without any kind of preparation at all, can you? Well?"
"That's right, Professor Albus! Harry Potter is a virgin. Harry Potter needs—"
"To learn to remove the anti-apparation wards from Hogwarts!"
"Are you all right?"
"Yes, Severus. I'm just feeling overwhelmed and embarrassed . . . and, and you really love me?"
"Headmaster, Professor Weasley, Dobby—please excuse us."
"I'll be in my rooms, Severus. Well, Professor Weasley, I'm not certain where Severus is taking Ree, but I believe I know what he's going to ask her. . . . What kind of sweets should we have at the wedding?"
"Oh, Dobby has all sorts of ideas for sweets! Dobby is liking them always!"
"You know, Albus, I didn't believe Ron when he suggested it, but now that I know it's true, I hope that they'll be happy together."
"Indeed, Hermione, Severus and Ree have so very much in common, and are so very much out of the common way, that I believe their life together will be greatly enviable.
Not their last conversation:
"Of course I love you, Harry—Ree."
"I never imagined that your lips would be so soft. . . . Sorry."
"For being stu—"
"You've never been stupid. I like hearing how you feel about me, Ree. Say anything you want."
"That's just it. I do love you. I always have, and now I'm afraid. What if we can't close the spell? What if I do die?"
"I won't permit it. You will not die. What you will do, if you agree, is become my wife, bear me children, and bear with me. . . . What is it?"
"I'm just imagining . . . um, imagining you as a father."
"Having difficulty, are you?"
"Not at all—it's actually the . . . becoming a mother part that is difficult for me to wrap my head around."
"Oh, Ree, there isn't anything about making love that you and I will find hard."
"That's not what I remember about being a boy . . . ."
"When we land, I'll take you to bed, and you can show me what you think of being a girl."
"Oh, Severus . . . ."
"Ree, will you marry me?"
"Yes, Severus. I will marry you . . . and marry you . . . and marry you some more."
"And so I will kill Black, after all . . . ."