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Get Back | Tomorrow Never Knows

Monday, 25 April, 1977
11:30 PM



Sirius didn’t look at Snape as he and Lupin followed McGonagall from the infirmary. He didn’t dare. He knew that even the barest glimpse of that treacherous bastard’s face would snap the tight rein he had on his emotions, and he couldn’t let that happen, not here, not now. Not until he was alone. They were ugly emotions, some of them weak, some brutal, all of them shaming, and he refused to share them with anyone.

Nothing had ever hurt like this. He remembered the day he’d read Bellatrix’s letter, the rage and pain he had felt at that perceived betrayal. He remembered how he’d felt this morning — was it really only this morning? — when she’d confessed her trickery. Had he actually believed he was angry at those discoveries, stunned by them, hurt? What a fool he’d been. What a child.

Nothing had ever hurt like this.

He managed to keep himself together well enough. The only time he almost lost it was when McGonagall, leaving them at the entrance to the Common Room, cautioned them to keep quiet about what had happened. Sirius gave her such a scathing look that she recoiled from it a little. As if he’d tell anyone about this night, ever! he thought wretchedly. As if he wouldn’t rather pretend it never happened at all.

He left her and Moony at the Fat Lady, ignoring Lupin’s scramble through the portrait hole to catch up, dismissing Peter’s questions and James’s concern with a tired wave of his hand. He went straight up the stairs, feeling their eyes, hearing their whispers as Lupin joined their little huddle, and he was again reminded unpleasantly of that morning, of Potions class and Bella’s “confession” and another listless, gutless retreat with his tail between his legs.

He got into bed and drew the curtains, warding them as he had that afternoon. He lay back and stared up at the canopy, waiting for the storm inside him to break. It didn’t come right away. Held in check for so long, his emotions took awhile to let go, but when they did, they rolled over him in crushing waves.

He wept. He cursed into his pillow. He balled it up and punched it repeatedly, helplessly. At some point he began to pound it, imagining it was Snape’s face growing bloodier and bloodier under his pumping fists, until he was exhausted. Then he wept again.

He went on like that for most of the night. Punching and cursing, cursing and weeping. At last, close to dawn, he fell into a thin sleep. And he had the dream again.

Everything was the same. The Potions classroom, the red-eyed man, the Slytherin students, white-masked, eerily silent. And Snape, spread naked across the teacher’s desk, trying to escape his chains as the man’s monstrous cock was revealed, trying to scream through the rag in his mouth as the spiked shaft ripped its way into his body.

Sirius’s own screams pounded through his head.
Gods, gods, stop, stop, you’re killing him, stop, for God’s sake—

“Why would you spare him?” the dark man asked him again, and Sirius had no answer for that, really. Why, indeed?

Then the man became the dog, as before, and the dog became the wolf. The dog became
Moony, and Sirius tensed, bracing himself for the killing, the single, almost casual thrust of its jaws that would tear Snape’s throat open and end his life. The wolf lowered its head, and—

—and here, the dream changed. Instead of killing Snape instantly, the wolf pressed its muzzle to the long white throat, the thin skin that quivered with the tortured boy’s pulse. He looked at Sirius and whined, and Sirius understood that it was a question. Snape’s life was now in Sirius’s hands.

The dark man’s words came back, words he had said in another where, another when. Words about Snape.
He has hurt you. He will destroy you. He will kill all that you have ever loved.

Moony whined again. His tongue lapped out, gently tasting the skin over the jugular. His tawny eyes never left Sirius’s.


He has hurt you.

Snape
had hurt him, hadn’t he? And it would be easy this way. So easy to just let the wolf do what it wanted to do.

He will destroy you.

It wasn’t really murder, after all.


He has hurt you.

Wasn’t murder at all. Besides…Snape was dead already. As far as Sirius was concerned, Severus Snape didn’t exist anymore.

Like an emperor standing over a fallen gladiator, Sirius looked at the wolf again… and nodded.

The amber eyes flashed gold; a growl swelled into a snarl from deep in the heavy chest. There was a blur of fangs, a muffled shriek, and then Snape went still, blood spraying from his throat in a gaudy fountain.

In his dream, Sirius smiled.


In his bed, Sirius wept.

***

Friday, 27 May, 1977
8:00 AM



“Don’t tell me you don’t want to, Snivvy,” Black taunted. “We both know you’ve been dying to find out where Remus goes each month for years.”

That gave him a jolt. Dying to find out. What a chilling choice of words. If he took Black up on his dare, Severus could die, easily enough. He wouldn’t, of course — he knew their sick little secret, and he knew what to expect — but Black didn’t know that he knew. Black thought he was sending his unsuspecting ex-lover to meet a werewolf, and if the likelihood that Snape could be killed as a result had ever crossed his mind, it hadn’t touched his conscience. Black knew the consequences of what he was doing — and he was doing it anyway.

Why that should upset him so much, Severus didn’t know…but it did upset him, terribly. Black wanted him dead. Even after all the unspeakable things they had done to each other, even though his own hatred for Black still simmered along with other, more complex emotions, Severus found this a stunning realization. Sirius Black wanted him dead.

“What’s the matter, Snape?” Black prodded. “You afraid it’s another trick, another trap? Afraid you’ll crawl under the Whomping Willow and find yourself arse-up under another dog?” He laughed as Severus flushed brightly. “Well, don’t worry. I’ll never do anything like that again. It’s too cruel to the dog.”

It hurt — those wounds were still very raw, and always would be — but it angered him, too. He welcomed the anger. Anger wasn’t the most pleasant way to feel, perhaps, but at least it was familiar to him. More familiar, certainly, than the shaken dismay of knowing his lover was plotting his murder.

“You never had any complaints,” Severus spat. He made his voice a little higher, a little rougher — a perfect mimic of Black’s husky tenor. “‘Oh, Severus, you’re so hot, you’re so tight.’ ‘Oh, Severus, let me fuck your gorgeous little arse.’ ‘Oh, Severus, please, please fuck me harder.’” He paused, watching Black’s jaw clench tighter with each word, saving the best for last. “‘Oh, Severus, I love you.’”

Black’s smirk might have been slapped off his face, so quickly did it vanish.

“Shut your filthy mouth!” He took a step forward, his hands clenched into shaking fists. “Glad you have so many fond memories, shitbag. Hope you enjoy them. I’ve no intention of touching you ever again.”

“Good.” Severus stepped forward, trying to push past; Black blocked his path.

“’Course, if I did, you’d just have Dumbledore protect you, wouldn’t you? It’s a good job his robes are so long, Sniv — more skirt for you to hide behind.”

“It isn’t my fault Dumbledore finally sees you for what you are,” Severus said coldly. “Now piss off, I have nothing else to say to you.”

“So you are a coward, then.”

Severus arched an eyebrow.

“Tonight?” Black prompted. “You still haven’t given me an answer.”

“My answer is ‘no,’” Severus said. “I don’t think I’m a coward, but I know I’m not stupid.” He gave the Gryffindor a pitying look. “And a bit of advice, Black, if I may: the next time you want someone to do something, act like you don’t.”

Black shrugged. “I couldn’t care less what you do,” he said. “I told you, this is James’s idea. And Moony’s. They’re bloody tired of you snooping around all the time.”

This was patently absurd — Severus had had far too much on his own plate for months to care a fig where the hairball and his cronies went, or what they did — but even a clever lie would have failed, betrayed by Black’s face. It was always in the eyes, Severus knew, and Black’s eyes were too avid, too bright — the eyes of a man contemplating something immensely exciting. Another wave of sick, sinking dismay washed over him. Bad enough Black was trying to get him killed; did the bastard have to look so happy about it?

“Oh, that makes perfect sense,” he sneered. “They’re so tired of it they’re going to show me all their clubby little secrets, is that it?”

Black shrugged again. “If it finally gets you out of our hair, why not?”

Why not. Severus thought about that. Why not worked for him, too, didn’t it? Especially with Black standing there, so bright-eyed and jovial, virtually salivating over the prospect of his dismemberment and death. It would be nice to turn the tables on Black for once, maybe for all. And not just him, either. Lupin and Potter were part of this as well, maybe even that blob Pettigrew…and why settle for reckoning with only one of them when he could — maybe — get all four of the fuckers expelled at once?

He was, he realized, angry again. Very angry. The sheer effrontery of them, the lot of them, was infuriating. Who did they think they were? What gave them the right to play games with his life? What had he done to any of them, even to Black, that their hatred should be so vicious and so violent, that they should want to see him maimed or dead? In the six years of shitty give-and-take one-upmanship that constituted his relationship with the Marauders, it had been Severus who had done most of the taking. And even his worst offense — perhaps his only truly unforgivable offense — had been an act of desperation, not malice.

Severus looked at Black’s face again, the careful handsome blankness of it, the eager, almost hungry eyes. The old hate welled and burst within him like a poison bubble, and he smiled.

“All right, Black,” he agreed. “Why not?”

***

Friday, 27 May, 1977
9:45 PM



“I don’t know who looks more done in,” James said. “You, or me.”

Sirius didn’t know, either — he felt shaken and sickened, and probably looked no better than he felt — but had he been forced to choose, he would have picked James. His clothes were ripped and mud-caked from his scramble under the Willow, and three long gouges on his face still oozed blood, marking his cheeks like war paint; he was also sporting the beginnings of a fairly impressive black eye.

Still, it could have been worse. Much worse. For everyone.

Sirius collapsed into a chair and waved a hand toward James’s face. “Did Snape do that?”

James touched his eye gingerly. “Who else? Your precious damsel didn’t much want to be rescued. He fought me like a wildcat all the way out of the tunnel.” He grimaced. “This must be the happiest night of Snape’s life. I actually helped him, for once, and he got to thump me anyway.”

“He’s not happy,” Sirius said. “He thinks I tried to kill him.”

“Didn’t you?”

“No! No, I just wanted—” He stopped. “Ah, hell. I don’t know what I wanted.”

“Bollocks. You know. You wanted him dead.”

No.” Sirius shook his head adamantly. “No. Not dead. Not dead, just—”

“Merlin’s balls, Paddy! You don’t send someone down a dark tunnel with a fucking werewolf at the end of it just so you can yell ‘gotcha’! If I hadn’t pulled Snape out when I did, he’d be in pieces by now, so don’t try to bullshit me. I was there.”

“Well, you’re quite the hero then, aren’t you?” Sirius flared. “Will a ‘thank you’ be good enough for you, Mr. Potter, or should I just get on my knees and open my mouth?”

James didn’t even blink. “You should shut your mouth, Paddy, and keep it shut. Whenever you open your gob, the rest of us pay for it.”

Sirius was trembling, whether with outrage or something else, he didn’t know. He had expected anger, maybe even horror, from James, but this disgust and quiet contempt were harder to take than either of them. “I never asked you to go after him, James.”

“No. You never asked.”

“I never wanted you to go after him.”

“No? Then why’d you tell me what you’d done?”

Sirius said nothing. James nodded anyway.

“That’s what I thought.” He touched his eye again and winced. “Anyway, I’m glad you did. No, really. I’m glad you changed your mind before it was too late. I can look the other way on a lot of things, Paddy, but murder’s not one of them.”

Sirius shook harder. He moved closer to the fire, suddenly cold to the bone. What he had done— what he had almost done — was finally starting to hit him. “I don’t think I could have lived with it,” he mumbled, more to himself than his friend. “If I actually…you know…got somebody killed.”

“Somebody?”

“Anybody.”

“Snape, you mean.”

“Yes. Even him.”

Especially him.”

Sirius shook his head. “No. That’s over. I’m done with him, Prongs. Done.”

“You’ll never be done with him. You’re poisoned with him, Paddy. He’s all you think of, day and night, for good or bad…nothing else exists anymore.”

“No,” Sirius repeated stubbornly. “Not now. It’s not like that now, not anymore.”

James was silent for a moment. “He saw Moony, you know.”

Sirius winced. “Yeah, I know. He told Dumbledore after you left.”

“He may talk.”

“I don’t think so. He’ll listen to Dumbledore. He’s Dumbledore’s new little pet now, don’t you know?” He couldn’t keep a trace of scorn out of his voice. “Anyway, I’ve a few secrets of his as well. He starts talking, I’ll start talking. He wants to play, I’ll play. The things I know about him, Prongs — things you can’t imagine. And I’ll use them. I don’t care. If he tries to hurt Moony, I’ll make him sorry he was ever born.”

“I thought it was over.” James spoke very softly. “Thought you were done with him.”

Sirius gave him an incredulous look. “I’m done fucking him, James. But if you think for a moment I’m just going to walk away from this and let him win, you’re daft. This is war now. This is personal. He made it personal when he hollered rape, the bastard, the scum, and I’m going to make him pay for it if it takes me the rest of my life.” He stopped, frowned. “Where are you going?”

“Bed.” James had gotten to his feet; now he stripped off his filthy shirt, rolled it into a ball, and tossed it on the fire. He watched it burn; the flames shot higher, lighting his face, and Sirius saw the same expression there that he had seen earlier: frustration, pity, weary contempt. “Like I said, Paddy. Poisoned.”

***

Friday, 27 May, 1977
10:00 PM



“That’s it?” Severus was in shock, staring at Dumbledore in utter disbelief. “Two months of detention, one month’s House confinement — that’s all he gets for trying to kill me?”

“I believe it a fair punishment,” Dumbledore said.

“Fair?” Severus shrieked. “There aren’t even three months left in the term!”

“I am aware of that fact, Severus. Sirius will complete the remainder of his punishment when school resumes next fall.”

“He should be completing his punishment in fucking Azkaban! He tried to kill me!”

Several of the portraits clucked disapprovingly.

“Language, Severus,” Dumbledore rebuked, though his tone was mild, even slightly amused. “You are upsetting the sleep of Headmasters past.”

Severus cast an ugly look all around. “Well, fuck them, too,” he said, and the walls fairly shook with outrage.

“That boy needs a good thrashing, if you ask me.” “The way children talk these days! Why, in my day—” “Foul-mouthed little thing, isn’t he? And would you look at that hair! When I was Headmaster, boys didn’t run about spewing nasty words and looking like girls. I tell you, I wouldn’t have stood for it.”

Dumbledore silenced the chatter with a wave of his hand.

He, and they, watched as Severus prowled the vast room, restlessly picking up and putting down this artifact or that. He stopped at Fawke’s perch, putting out a finger to scratch the phoenix’s head; Fawkes stretched his neck and chirruped softly. Touching the beautiful bird usually soothed him, but tonight it was not calm that descended over him, only a heavy sadness. Perhaps Fawkes felt it, too; as Severus stroked him, the creature’s strange, powerful tears fell on the boy’s extended arm, as if to heal the Dark wound he could sense but not see. “So this is how you’re going to protect me, then.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You told me you’d protect me. That you’d do whatever you could to help me.”

“I did,” Dumbledore nodded. “And I shall.”

Severus turned his back on Fawkes. “But you’re not, and you didn’t! You gave Black a bloody slap on the wrist, you gave Potter nothing at all—”

“James Potter saved your life, Severus. That hardly constitutes a punishable offense.”

“Saved my life!” Severus scoffed. “Saved his arse, more likely! And Black’s as well. He knew you’d have to expel the lot of them if I were killed.” He laughed his bitter laugh. “Though I daresay he needn’t have bothered. You’d have made some excuse for them, even for that, wouldn’t you? Gods forbid you don’t protect your precious Gryffindors at any cost.”

Dumbledore’s face hardened. “Stop it, Severus. It is time to stop this nonsense once and for all. This has nothing to do with mindless House rivalries. I didn’t punish James because I don’t believe he had anything to do with this other than pulling you from that tunnel. And I didn’t punish Sirius more severely because I don’t believe he intended you any real harm.”

Stunned, infuriated, Severus opened his mouth to reply, but Dumbledore raised a hand.

“Any more, Severus, than I believe you tried to send Sirius to Azkaban for a rape he did not commit simply out of spite.” He sighed. “You’ve no wish to hear it, I’m sure, but at the moment you sound uncannily like Sirius himself did, that night. He was quite upset when I told him of your punishment for that little charade.”

Severus looked blank. “What punishment?”

Dumbledore smiled. “Precisely.”

Oh, so that’s it, Severus thought. The old wizard was reminding him of what he owed, the cost to be paid in silent obedience. Bartering, Gryffindors liked to call it, but any Slytherin worth his wand knew it for what it really was: blackmail.

“Calling in your debts, Headmaster?” he asked softly. “Very well. I’ll let it go. I’ll even keep my mouth shut about Lupin, as you’ve asked. But forgive me if I’m not overwhelmed with gratitude. I have a few galleons’ worth of reckoning owed to me as well, you see. I’d have to frame Black for a thousand crimes to make a dent in the misery he and his friends have caused me. Six years of it! Six years of dirty tricks and insults and attacks — and you’ve never done a thing about it.”

“I know,” Dumbledore said, and Severus blinked in surprise. “And I am sorry, Severus. I have been short-sighted to the point of blindness, and you have paid for it. I am just realizing that now.”

“Bloody quick, aren’t you?” Severus jabbed. He was still shocked that Dumbledore would admit any wrong-doing on the Marauders’ part — much less constant, systematic abuse — but he wasn’t about to let the old wizard off that easy. “And you’re still blind if you think this was just some prank that went bad. They tried to kill me — and they would have done, if Potter hadn’t gotten cold feet at the last minute.”

Dumbledore leaned against his desk and folded his arms. “Severus, how long have you known that Remus Lupin is a werewolf?”

Stunned, Severus could only shake his head. The man was unbelievable.

“I surmise that you must have known,” Dumbledore continued. “Otherwise, you would never have gone into the tunnel at all. You are too smart, and too suspicious by your very nature, and you have no cause to trust Sirius Black whatsoever. I therefore must assume that you knew beforehand what you would find.”

Such impeccable logic. Impressive from a Gryffindor. Certainly not lost on a Slytherin. Severus considered lying for all of thirty, forty seconds before deciding against it.

“More than a year,” he said.

“An extraordinary piece of deduction, dear boy, if I may say so.”

“Not at all. All the clues were there. Afterwards, I was ashamed it took me as long as it did.” He gave Dumbledore a hard look. “Perhaps I simply couldn’t believe you’d ever allow an abomination like that into the school.”

“You would be amazed at what I allow in this school, Severus”— Severus stiffened; he could take that personally if he wanted to, couldn’t he? The newest Death Eater, poncing about Hogwarts with the Headmaster’s full knowledge? — “but that is beside the point. You knew about Remus’s affliction all this time, yet you still went into the tunnel. Why?”

Severus frowned. “What difference does that make?”

“A great deal, I’m afraid. You went into this with your eyes open, Severus. You cannot now say that you were tricked or deceived. You deliberately put yourself in a dangerous situation, for whatever reasons, and you must accept at least a measure of responsibility for your own actions.”

“Responsibility?” Severus echoed disbelievingly. “Responsibility? Why are you trying to blame me for this? I was tricked and deceived, damn it! Can’t you see that? Black didn’t know that I knew about Lupin! He thought he was sending me to face that monster blind!” He was astonished, utterly astounded; even he hadn’t thought that Dumbledore could take his Gryffindor bias so far, be so blatantly, absurdly unfair. His voice dropped to a wounded whisper. “You really would do anything to protect them, wouldn’t you?”

“I am trying to protect all of you, Severus.” Exasperation now colored his tone. “I feel that there is ample accountability to go around. And my own culpability is easily the deepest. As you yourself pointed out, I am the one who allowed the situation to escalate to this point.”

“Give yourself two months’ detention, then,” Severus snarled, “and expel those gods damned Gryffindors as you should.”

“And what would that accomplish, Severus?”

“What would it…?” Severus trailed off, amazed all over again. He set his jaw. “Justice, Professor. It would accomplish justice.”

Dumbledore shook his head. “You don’t want justice, my boy. You want revenge. That’s what all of you want; that’s what this has been about, from the very beginning. You want revenge on them, not merely for tonight, but for all of the injuries and slights of the past six years. Sirius wanted revenge on you, for accusing him of rape, for going off with Lucius Malfoy, for God alone knows what else. And on and on it goes.

“I will not feed that cycle, Severus, nor will I allow any of you to, any longer. It has to stop. It shall stop, here, tonight, with me. Forever.”

He sounded tired and sad. He sounded, for the first time in all the years Severus had known him, old.

“So that’s it, then,” Severus said. “That’s the end of it.” He spoke quietly, with little emotion now — a scientist, just trying to get his facts straight. He felt…numb. All the things Dumbledore had said to him that night in the infirmary, about instincts and choices, all those things that had given him a tiny measure of hope even as he agonized over the decisions before him — all of it had been a lie. Perhaps it had been no more than a kindness on the headmaster’s part, anyway, thin comfort thrown to an injured, frightened boy. Or perhaps it had been a purely calculated act of self-defense from the beginning — keep the little Death Eater happy, lest he run amuck and blow up the school, or something. Whatever the reason, it had been a lie. He saw that now. Dumbledore could stroke and soothe, drop warm kisses on troubled brows and murmur all the pretty words he wanted, but at the end of the day, when it came down to making his choice, he would pick his Gryffindors every time.

It hurt. Severus was surprised at how much it hurt. He was used to people failing him — his parents, his teachers, Lucius, Black, even Lily, unknowingly — but, somehow, this betrayal hurt more than any of those. Perhaps he knew, instinctively, that it was the last. There was no one left who cared, no one left he could trust even a little; Dumbledore had been his one remaining hope to save himself, his last line of defense against the bleak future he had chosen. There was no one left to turn on him now.

“It has to be the end, Severus.”

Severus nodded. “Very well. May I be excused?”

“Of course. Though perhaps Madam Pomfrey should take a look—”

“No,” Severus said sharply. He softened his tone. “No, I am uninjured, Headmaster. I am quite well.”

“Are you? You’re very pale, my boy, and obviously still very shaken.” His voice was rich and warm with the same old affection, the same concern. Severus wished with all his heart that he could believe in it again.

As if he could read Severus’s mind — and for all Severus knew, he probably could — Dumbledore said, “I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you, Severus. I know you don’t understand the decisions I have made here tonight, but I hope, in time, that you will. You’re just so young, Severus, and to be very young is to be inherently selfish. You see only your part in this, your grievance and what you have suffered, but I…well, I must see all sides. I must do what I feel is best for all involved. Perhaps when you are older, and your perspective is broader, you will realize that.”

“Yes,” Severus said shortly. “I’m sure I will.”

He turned without waiting to be excused and walked toward the door. For the first time in weeks, the Mark on his arm stirred to life. Severus barely noticed. He needed no reminders, no signs; he knew what he would do. He knew now that he would go to the Dark Lord again — at the end of term, throughout the summer, throughout his seventh year. Dumbledore wouldn’t stop him; that much was clear. Dumbledore didn’t care enough to stop him. Oh, he’d hide it well enough — he’d sugar-coat it and say things like, “It’s your life, Severus” or “I’m not your father, dear boy, I’ve no right to tell you what to do,” but Severus knew better now. Dumbledore didn’t care. Didn’t care if he stayed a Death Eater or didn’t, didn’t care if he chose the light path or the Dark, didn’t care if he lived or died. Certainly not the way he would have cared had it been one of them.

He would go back. Not as he had the first time, ablaze with righteous anger and seeking revenge, and not — as he had imagined it countless times over the last month — with his heart back here at Hogwarts, in Dumbledore’s hands, while he looked carefully, furtively, for a way out. This time, when he went to Voldemort, it would be because he had nowhere else to go.

“Severus?”

He half-turned, his hand on the doorknob.

“This changes nothing, you know. Everything I said to you before, the advice I have given and the sanctuary I have offered, remains as it ever was. You still have the same choices as you ever did, and Hogwarts is still one of them.”

Severus nearly laughed out loud. Gods, he was so bloody predictable! Same old riddles and proverbs, same old pretty, prattling nonsense. “Yes, sir,” he agreed bitterly. “Choices are marvelous things to have, aren’t they?”

Yes! Yes, they are, but they — ” Dumbledore broke off. He took a step toward Severus, then another, his bright blue gaze intense, impassioned, demanding to be met, and in that moment Severus saw what the rest of their world only talked about: the fire and the power of the greatest sorcerer alive. “But they are not always easy, Severus. Not the right ones.”

The blazing blue eyes held his, and Severus could not look away. The old wizard’s thoughts rushed into his head, screamed into his head, the impact like the blow of a hammer, making him sway slightly on his feet.

Don’t go to him, Severus, I beg of you, please, child, for he will hurt you in ways you cannot imagine, in ways Black and Potter and even your father never dreamed. He will destroy you, and your life will be the least of what he takes from you.

Severus trembled. The Mark on his arm flared once, a bright, soaring streak of pain, of protest, before subsiding again. Say it, then! he implored silently, staring into Dumbledore’s eyes. Say it out loud, say it so you know that I hear you. If you want me to listen, if you want me to believe in you again, tell me not to go.

The silence spun out between them, the young man and the old, black eyes on blue, minds Reaching and being Reached. Severus tightened his grip on the door handle, loosened it, tightened it again. Waiting, just waiting—

The flow of thoughts ceased. Severus’s body shuddered slightly as the connection between them snapped like a thread.

“That is all I…all I wished to say,” Dumbledore said. The bright fire had left his eyes; he looked old again, so old. “Goodnight, Severus.”

Severus’s head dropped. His vision doubled, trebled; he cleared it with a fierce blink of his eyes. His hand tightened on the handle of the door one last time, and he yanked it open.

“Goodnight, Headmaster,” he said. As the door closed behind him, Fawkes gave a single, mournful cry.



~finis

Comments

( 46 Things We Said Today — Dear Sir or Madam )
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pimpinellae
Oct. 14th, 2005 12:25 pm (UTC)
Wonderful fic
A most enjoyable and gripping read (and by that I mean that I've staid up through the night to read it)!

I particularly liked how deeply you examined both Sirius and Severus's mind. If I were to choose my favourite bit I'd say it was the scene where Sirius gave Severus the cloak - I was just as astonished as Severus.

One tiny complain though: the ending of Chapter 6 is missing (it looks the chapter was too long for one post).
hb_princess
Oct. 18th, 2005 03:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Wonderful fic
EEK! How embarrassing. I shall see to it at once. (Don't I sound like Dumbbledore?)Chapter 6 is hugely important, too. What an idiot I am.

I'm glad you liked it, and took the time to tell me (and to read it all in one sitting! Wow.) The cloak scene was one of my favorites as well. It felt really erotic and kind of warm-fuzzy at the same time -- a distinct rarity for this pair.
Re: Wonderful fic - (Anonymous) - Jul. 4th, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Wonderful fic - hb_princess - Jul. 16th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC) - Expand
dphearson
Oct. 19th, 2005 01:10 pm (UTC)
Wow.

Excellent fic, all around. I really liked the way you examined the psychology of what was going, the cruelty, and foolishness. And to have Dumbledore admit to his failure, but not be willing to say "Stay' out loud, ended this perfectly.

hb_princess
Oct. 19th, 2005 07:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much! It's fun getting into the heads of charcaters like Snape and Black...though it's dark and scary in there, too. And sad, sometimes.
pervert_bitch
Oct. 19th, 2005 03:14 pm (UTC)
I have already read this before (in isf) AND had reviewed it before but I wished to say my thing once again.
I have (well, not exactly) forgotten how much raw this story always leaves me.
Make me want to scream, and cry and destroy something.
And whereas I want to blame it all on Black and Dumbledore... I must acknowledge the part Severus played.
But still, that part with the bestiality was the harsher one for me, harsher than the rape done in the hands of Voldemort and the Death Eater... because, meh, they are the bad guys and I can expect things like that from them.
Black though, he was supposed to care about Severus and that rape was worst that everything, I wanted to be there a beat Black to a pulp... specially after Severus fell appart in the Prefect's Bathroom. Apparently Black never considered what he DID to Severus was what triggered all the things that happened after... And well, knowing Black, the bastard probably died without having a clue.
I knew something bad was going to happen since the pairing was SB/SS in their student years... and well, it all those fics (unless it some AU) the Shrieking Shack ends it all. But man, what happened to those boys was so fucking bad!
Also, Dumbledore... He knew about the relationship... but did he know about what Black did to Severus before he turned to the Death Eaters? I hope not. Because it would be impossible to me to try to forgive gim (or even understand him) if he did.
*sigh*
I want a sequel right now.
Which is what I always want when I read a damn good fic that leaves me raw.
But when I read the ending again and think on it, I may think, the ending was good as it was... which of course won't negate my wish for a sequel.
Thanks for that.
hb_princess
Oct. 19th, 2005 08:07 pm (UTC)
You read this again? I remember how much it upset you the first time! You must have a little Sev-like masochist in you... :)

Please don't hate Dumbles too much. He knew Severus and Sirius were in a relationship, yes, and he was smart enough to put much together in terms of the nature of that relationship, but he did not know specifics (such as the Padfoot rape.) My DD is a very sharp cookie, and naturally curious, but I don't do TotallyOmniciscient!Dumbledore - my Dumbledore would never go looking into another person's intimate thoughts like that.

To sequel or not to sequel? That's the question that keeps coming up. I think I could do it without destroying the ending of this, but I don't think there would be any intimacy in it. They're past that now. Would you still want it if they just talked?

Of course I would! - pervert_bitch - Oct. 20th, 2005 02:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Of course I would! - hb_princess - Oct. 24th, 2005 06:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Of course I would! - pervert_bitch - Oct. 24th, 2005 07:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Of course I would! - athenakt - Jan. 16th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
acid
Jan. 11th, 2006 09:25 pm (UTC)
Hi. Just wanted to say thank you for writing Miseducation. It's one of the best Snape stories I've read in awhile in terms of characterisation and plot and all the addressed issues and conflicts. I guess everything I could say about it I've already said on regan_v's journal here. So I'll just leave you with a link (http://www.livejournal.com/users/regan_v/14226.html?thread=126610#t126610) and a YIM transcript of my initial reactions to it.

My apologies for not leaving a more coherent review this story deserves.

--------------------
ac1d6urn: Miseducation of Severus Snape. Damn, it's dark and twisted and it messed with my head and it's perfect in terms of character studies. Read it! Skip over the rape scenes if you have to but keep an eye on character development and interaction, if only for the purpose of getting Snape's characterisation right and figuring out all the emotional walls Harry would have to break through later on when he gets to deal with older Snape. ;) ... "You don't know Snape," Black sneered. "He was born with a diabolical master plan." -- grinning like crazy here. Gah that's one dark and twisted tale and I'm loving every bit of it ... Just finished reading [Miseducation]. Ouch. Severus needs a hug. And I need sleep. It's been awhile since I stayed up reading a fic till morning. Awesome character studies. Perfect Snape. Perfect Black. Perfect Dumbledore. Loved James and Lily and Remus and the echoes of canon in Severus' parents. And, again, wow! What a fic, I certainly didn't expect that when I started reading it.
hb_princess
Jan. 17th, 2006 04:51 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I read your comments on regan v's journal, and I know you aren't comfortable giving feedback to someone you don't know (I used to be the same way), so this really, REALLY means a lot.

And I'm sorry I kept you up all night - but I'm glad, too.
poisontaster
Jan. 13th, 2006 08:30 pm (UTC)
I just read this on a rec from crack_broom and I completely lack the vocabulary to describe how I fangirl you after reading this. My mind is blown, my jaw is dropped, and there is quite possbily drool forming beneath my chin.

The absolute tragedy of this story just knocks me flat. I found myself screaming at the screen, shaking my fists and alternately lapsing into sniffles. I've had more than one person ask me if I'm okay...and no, no, I'm not. I love the HP books, but I love them without illusion. There are certain inconsistencies of character that I've never understood--about Sirius, about Snape, about James & Lily--that I feel are really explained her in a way that makes sense to me. Their flaws and their virtues in one big sloppy package (emotionally sloppy; the story itself is both stark and unflinching).

What really stuns me is how well it all fits. It explains...pretty much everything. And I don't think there's anything more difficult or more rewarding a writer can do than to weave their tale into canon so thoroughly that the reader either takes it for canon, or wishes it was. I don't think I'll be able to read or watch HP now without thinking of this story.

Wow. That was really a rather embarassing outburst. But heartfelt. There aren't a lot of authors I would wax this effusive over. I really enjoyed this more than these feeble words can say.
hb_princess
Jan. 17th, 2006 04:57 am (UTC)
What really stuns me is how well it all fits. It explains...pretty much everything. And I don't think there's anything more difficult or more rewarding a writer can do than to weave their tale into canon so thoroughly that the reader either takes it for canon, or wishes it was. I don't think I'll be able to read or watch HP now without thinking of this story.

I can't tell you how happy this makes me! This is exactly what I intended to do: answer some questions and stay as canon-proof as possible. (I'm still annoyed that HBP made parts of this obsolete - Snape's dad's a Muggle? Lily was a potions whiz? How dare she.) I'm so glad it "fit" for you (good word, that) as it did for me.

Now wipe the drool off your chin and go to bed. :D
nearly a year later... - ohmygodmuffin - Dec. 23rd, 2006 04:06 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: nearly a year later... - hb_princess - Dec. 30th, 2006 07:16 am (UTC) - Expand
athenakt
Jan. 16th, 2006 07:39 pm (UTC)
A-ha! I have found your LJ via a story rec. *pets one of her favorite stories*

In case you're wondering who this is, I sent you a review to which you responded that it was the most poetic one you'd ever received. I'd quote it if I could remember it all; there was mention of angst or prose running red like wine or blood. :)

*pets the story and friends the author*
hb_princess
Jan. 17th, 2006 05:02 am (UTC)
"The Miseducation of Severus Snape is an absolutely amazing story. The hot scenes were hot, the cold scenes were chilling, and the frustration ran red like wine and blood."

Ha! Think I remember? ;)

I got such a kick out of your review that I had to save it. In the words of George Carlin, "People remember you when you talk like that."

And thank you again!
changclaire5
Jun. 27th, 2006 09:00 pm (UTC)
Brilliant story
Brilliant Story!

I saved it on my HD for a long time, but never dredged up enough bravery to read it in detail after I browsed it and then peeked at the ending. Until today. At the expense of my work. Now I have to work extra hard (and extra hours) to compensate. But it's all worth it.

You nailed both Snape and Black spot on, as far as I am concerned. And I like how confused both of them were as the relationship progressed, it felt real. I'm not a Snack fan at all and this is the only SS/SB story I ever finished. I generally don't like Black, but the Black in your story collected quite some sympathy from me. More importantly, since Snape is my favorite character throughout the HP books, I can't help buy enjoying your story immensely.

Would you not consider a sequel about Snape in his 7th year? Or after Hogwarts? I'd love to see how Snape would come around and become the spy for DD. Nor would I object to more suffering of him at the hands of LV :-P *ashamed, hides, I didn't just suggest more torture for my fav character, did I?*
hb_princess
Jul. 18th, 2006 01:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Brilliant story
Yes! Yes, you did! Naughty girl! Bad!

Hee. If you didn't like to see Snape suffer, you wouldn't read shit like this, I guess. Umm...I generally don't like Black either, at least not Rowling's Black, but I do love Snack. I just wanted to flesh him out a bit, give him some kind of motivation other than just being the big old Gryffindor bully and all-around prick.

Re/ a sequel? *sigh* I wish. I think this story has been told. I've had a couple of Snapeslash ideas simmering for ever so long, but unfortunately, I seem to have some trouble (OK, major trouble) slashing Snape after HBP. Because I know Rowling's going with the Snape/Lily angle, I KNOW it, and that's all that's coming to me now. Little angsty teenage Sanpe/Lily plot-bunnies. And what slash fan wants to read that?
(Anonymous)
Jul. 10th, 2006 09:02 pm (UTC)
Amazing!
Wow, this is the best Harry Potter Fanfic i've read in AGES, i love the characters, Black's ignorance and madness, as well as Snape's desire to analyze everything. You've given a heartwrenching explanation as to why Snape's hate is so strong after all those years, and ur writing is beautiful and harsh. Honestly, i almost never leave reviews for stories, content to stalk from afar, but this was absolutely amazing and i couldn't help but say something. (I wish i could leave a better review, but i just stayed up all night reading this story, and now i'm a bit woozy) I hope that more people realize what a gem this is and congrats on the multifaceted awards, you certainly deserve it.
hb_princess
Jul. 18th, 2006 01:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Amazing!
Wow, I had to hunt for this one. Thank you so much for the lovely review (you don't SOUND woozy, heh.) The fact that you don't usually comment makes it even better! :D
coppermantra
Aug. 20th, 2006 05:56 am (UTC)
For something so violently deviant, this story has a sublime perfection. It is a balanced work that unbalances the reader. It sickens the mind with love, and fills ugliness with beauty. In short, it is haunting -- a treasure for all true Snape-addicts.

In lieu of a gushing fangirl, simply begging for more, I wanted to offer a thought that occurred to me upon rereading Miseducation. I can see how Sirius and Severus could never engage in a relationship together after this beyond that which we are given in canon-- even after 15 years or more the power dynamics are just too broken to continue. But if you were to ever do a sequel, would you consider the possibility that Severus, in the course of working for the Dark Lord, might take it upon himself to give Regulus Black an "education" in the long history of Black/Snape relationships? It seems that so much of Severus' life is haunted by retribution and repayment. I wonder how the younger brother of the house of Black might fit into that.
hb_princess
Sep. 30th, 2006 05:42 am (UTC)
What a gorgeous comment! Thank you so much.

I like the idea of Regulus/Snape, but I've never been able to get into it as a writer. Your plot suggestion is inherently deleicious, though - Severus taking payback from Regulus is sooo tempting. I don't know...I am on hiatus at the moment from writing ANY Potter fic, partly because I find it disturbing, but mostly - since book 6 - because I'm having a helluva time slashing Snape with anyone. I'm convinced that Snape/Lily is canon after reading HBP, and I can't seem to get my mind around anything else. And as I don't write het, well...there ya go. :/

But I appreciate your interest and your comments more than I can say, and if the bug bites again after Book 7, well...who knows what may come?
sicca
May. 29th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
Awwww......guess what? Yesterday, I was reading this on thin line. I was on my way to give you a review when I checked the bottom_snape community. =P I was happy to see it there ^ ^ because it's such a good fic! More people should read it.

I was totally gobsmacked by your fic. It's so well written. Several times I wanted to stop reading because sirius was so mean with sevy (=P i'm an utterly devoted fan of severus), but the thing is that I couldn't! The plot was so intriguing that I coudn't take my eyes off the screen.

The end was so sad. T.T

< She was still regarding him with that thoughtful, considering look, and he thought he saw a shred of real pity buried deep beneath the mocking gravity. He didn’t like it, not on her: it was too human. “Severus was falling in love with you,” she said finally. > I so wanted to strangle Black for his stupidity…

< Severus closed his eyes against sudden tears. Oh you stupid, stupid bastard! he thought, his chest swelling with heartsick fury. If you had been like this with me before, even once, we wouldn’t be here right now. I wouldn’t be in this mess.> snif snif……that just killed me.


Anyway, this was one of the best sbss I have ever read.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 29th, 2007 01:57 pm (UTC)
Just amazing
I've never reviewed a story. Never. But for this I have to. I'm considering this canon, again, I have to. It's the only thing that makes the hate so strong after so many years conceivable. My eyes are tired and my emotions are drained. Amazing.
scarletscarlet
Aug. 23rd, 2007 06:34 am (UTC)
Oh, wow! I was recc'd this by nehalenia, and it was fantastic. I don't know that it's actually possible to do a cheerful Marauder-era Snack fic that covers a decent span of time, and this was just right. They were so *broken*, so messed up. Also, you write fantastic non-con (which is what we were talking about when I was informed of the excellence of this story :) ), and I *love* that you deal with aftermaths and the emotional repercussions and anger and all this fabulous stuff. This is visceral, complicated Snack at its most wrenching. LOVED it.
driftingwind
Oct. 20th, 2007 01:39 pm (UTC)
This is such a well-written and heart-wrenching story. I was rereading it today, and can't help getting all angsty again. Snack, although often delicious in the hate-sex department, has never been my favourite pairing. The promise of unrelenting hatred, contempt and bullying (if the fic is canon-compliant) often prevents from fully enjoying a Snack fic.

However, I cannot turn away from your story. The glimmer of hope that's dangling from the end of Chapter 2 onwards and the overwhelming sense of doom has kept me reading and reading. I once tried to put myself in Snape's shoes, and cannot imagine how he can accept any affection of Sirius after the first rape, but considering more deeply on Snape's background and situation, I can see how someone who is as depraved of love as him, can grasp on to any droplets of warmth genuinely offered.

Sirius' character seem to be pretty messed up right from the start, going beyond schoolboy bullying to raping Severus. And I'm simultaneously glad and sad that he and Severus did not end up together.

Besides the two main characters, I like how you portray Dumbledore and Bellatrix as well. The maniacal laughter of the later one will be imprinted on my mind for quite some time.

Thank you for the great story.
stickyftf
Oct. 24th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
WoW! Took me 2 days around work to read this! I'm amazed, I've read a lot of great stories but I must say yours is one of the best I've read to date. Great visuals, crazy happenings, enough angst to make my roomate ask what was wrong with me (I must have looked a little misty). Each tiny bit of sugar coated fluff was immediately smashed into a million peices, The way it should be in a good epic Snack fic!

Cheers.
nestfraese
Feb. 9th, 2008 01:53 am (UTC)
WOW awesome story!
I'd already thought that it must lead towards the incident with Moony but I'd never imagined a story so complex when I started reading. I really liked your grab of the characters. I liked Sirius' determined ignorance and Snape's unwilling endurance.
Sometimes it was so awful I had to stop reading but the likewise brilliance had keep me returning everytime :-)

Thank you very much,
yours,
Mel
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