Chapter 12: A Word of Advice

PrologueChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10, Chapter 11.

Snape’s blindness only made his mood sink further into darkness. Harry tried to do what he could for him, but of course that only made things worse; the incorrigible man interpreted every attempt at consideration as an act intended to humiliate him, intended to extend a half-hearted, contemptuous pity which he could not abide. It was almost as if their past weeks of bonding had gone down the drain, and they were right back to square one.

     It came to a head when Harry tried to help him with a bowl of oatmeal. The concept that he needed assistance getting the spoon to his mouth had rankled to such an extent, he had deliberately flipped it over on the boy.

     “Damn you, is that the thanks I get for just trying to be decent to you?” Harry blurted.

     “Then if you don’t like it, get out, why don’t you?” Snape spat. “Get out, and don’t come back, you damned Marauder’s spawn, get out!”

    “Fine! Have it your way!” Harry shouted. “I’m certainly not wasting any more time and strain on you! I’m going for good, and you can bloody well enjoy yourself, dying all alone!”

       Dying alone. It hit with the same thumping realization as the door slamming shut as Harry left. He always had assumed that would be the way his life would end, knowing fully the extent of disconnection from everyone and everything. But now…but now…

     Now the boy was gone. Gone for good and no returning. Was that not what Snape had wanted for so many years…to cast out his enemy’s child? He felt a chill run through him. He had done it again. In his pride, he had banished the only person in the world who he had any connection to whatsoever. It seemed to be his most consistent talent…making people leave him behind.

     He found his crushing thoughts drifting back to 5th year, the year of his final break with Lily. When he had gotten off at the station in Aberdeen, he wondered…he wondered if he should go over to her, if she still would want him to. He had not seen her since the spring when her father had pulled them apart and told him that he had gone bad.

   Indeed, he was now questioning whether he really wanted to go over to her himself. He had spent more and more time with his Slytherin cohorts, and sensing his grief at the cruel separation, they had put the pressure on him to move on from her, that he had great things in his future, far surpassing that of any muggle-born. But though his head had been nigh deluded by their words, his heart could not be.

     But before he could approach her that day, he had seen saw her standing there on the platform with James Potter.

     “Oh, go on, don’t tell me I haven’t shown you a good time in Cardiff, because I know I did,” James was crowing.

     “Well then, if you’re so sure, you don’t need an affirmation from me,” she retorted slyly.

     “Come on, be nice to me; I spent a pretty penny showing you a good time every night.”

     “Yes, and it was fun, and you were better company than I thought you’d be, and I thank you,” she admitted, yet maintained some reserve.

     “So you like me a little bit then, hmm?” James arched his eyebrows.

     “I rather thought you were more interested in courting my parents’ approval,” she noted “You seem to have quite won them over.”

     “Hey, just that flawless Potter charm I guess,” he beamed.

     “And bank account,” she slipped in.

     James shrugged. “You’re just being a prude because you’re still moping over Mr. Tall, Dark, and Greasy.”

     She looked at him sternly. “James, you promised you wouldn’t…”

     “Oh, wake up, Lily! He’s got you under some sort of a spell if you can’t see him as everyone else does!”

      “I know Severus,” she stated. “You don’t.”

     “Okay, so I don’t know him, and I don’t care to figure him out either. He gives me the creeps.”

     “That’s just infantile.”

     “Oh, yeah?” James challenged. “Well, maybe it’s no coincidence that your parents feel the same way. And almost everyone else who comes into contact with the slithery git, except for his delightful Slytherin associates.”

     “He’s just…trying to find his way.”

     “And you’ve signed on to be his perpetual guardian angel?”

     “I – am – his friend.”

     “Maybe so, but is he really yours? I bet he’s snickering all kinds of things about you behind your back with his pure-blood pals.”

     “Severus would never do anything to hurt me.”

     Even as she said it, though, Snape detected a hint of question in her voice that made him feel instantly ill. If she could not manage to trust him, than who ever would?

    “You just watch him, Lily; I’m convinced he’ll show his true colors soon enough to you. And I’ll be there to catch you when he pushes you away.”

     “How gallant of you,” she muttered.

      He smiled at her teasingly, and then promptly yanked her close and stole a kiss. She turned red and raised her hand to him. But he was smiling still. And her look was one of secret pleasure that makes one feel ashamed. Her face beet red, she turned away, and then spotted Severus watching at a distance. But before she could come near to him in any effort at an explanation, Snape turned and walked away from her…

     This just led the way down the days to the moment when it all fell apart, when in the midst of his humiliation, wounded pride, and shattered spirit, as Potter’s Marauders taunted him and suspended him with their wands and hung him upside down, he had lashed out at her as she tried to defend him. Why had he done it? Because for the first time, her words felt halfhearted, patronizing, something done out of duty…nothing deeper…

      And everything the Slytherins had told him stuck in his mind…she was tainted, tainted by her muggle birth…after all, was it not her muggle parents who had made him out to be dirt? But the pure-bloods, they recognized the greatness in him, they would raise him high above all memory of such things…she didn’t care about him, she was going to go off and leave him for a rich, charming, shallow suitor, and abandon him to his own demons…she was going to do it, he knew she was…

      And all his anger had flown out of him in force, and he had spit out, “I don’t need your help, mudblood!”

     There. He had said it to her. The term of utmost contempt, of disrespect, of scathing disregard. And as soon as it struck, and he saw the look of shock and sorrow come to that beautiful freckled face of hers, he wished himself dead for uttering it. But there was no chance to tell her that…no, by the time the taunting spell was broken, and he found himself dropped hard on the ground, she had already run off in tears.

     The days that followed had been torture for Snape. He wanted desperately to apologize for what he had said in his flush of passion, but Lily was too hurt and confused to face him in the aftermath. She avoided him, day in and day out, almost seeming to wish that he didn’t exist.

    Then Snape made the error of trying to trail her. He was insecure and panicking and guilt-ridden, and just wanted desperately to talk to her and apologize to her and get it off his chest. But what she really needed was time to be alone, some space away from him to sort out her mind.

    If he had allowed her, perhaps she might have in fact calmed down and been able to accept a sincere if imperfect attempt at an apology. In truth, he would have made any concession to repair the damage. Perhaps it might have worked itself out in some way, after all…

    But he could not stop himself, and it all came to a head one afternoon when he caught up to her in a hallway between classes. Neither one of them was thinking straight; they were both far too young and emotionally overwrought for that. All he could do was beg.

     “Lily, PLEASE…let me talk to you…”

    “No, no! I don’t want to hear anything! Leave me alone!” She tried to turn away from him, but he grabbed her arm to keep her from running off.

     “Lily, won’t you let me even say how sorry I am…?”

    “No! I don’t believe you!” she screamed. “You don’t care about me at all…you think of me like…like a worthless old coat, too comfortable to get rid of…or worse, like dirt to be walked over, just like you think of all muggle-borns…”

     “It’s…not true…”

    “Yes, it is true… you want to live in a world of power and blood purity at the cost of everyone and everything else…everything we meant to each other, don’t you see? They’ve turned you into something awful, and I’m afraid…”

     Just then, James turned the corner and bellowed, “Hey you, get your damn greasy Slytherin hands off her!”

    Before Snape could respond in any way, he was knocked down via a blast from Potter’s wand.

     “I told you, Lily,” James trumpeted, standing in front of her protectively. “Now he’s grown dangerous…”

    Snape forced himself up on his hands and spat, “I didn’t DO ANYTHING TO HER, you lying bastard!”

    Realizing that the situation was fast intensifying and someone was bound to get hurt, she tried to pull Potter back. “James, it’s alright, really, he didn’t hurt me or anything…”

    “Of course I didn’t hurt you,” Snape blurted, struggling to his feet, and feeling broken by the very thought of Lily considering him capable of it.

     James hissed, “You keep your damned dark arts to yourself, and stop stalking young ladies like Jack the Ripper!”

     “I – was not – stalking…ANYONE.”

     “Yes, you were! You have been this whole week, and don’t deny it! It’s because you’re obsessed with her! You want to destroy her life just so she can pleasure you! You’re going down, and you want to pull her down with you!”

    “SHUT UP!” At that, Snape drew out his wand menacingly, and prepared to strike with all the force of his wrath. “I…am going to kill…”

     But then Lily threw herself in the path of the curse before it could be uttered, and her eyes were wide with horror. “STOP! Stop it, you evil boy!!”

     Snape froze in the midst of his fury, struck as if by a mortal blow, and lowered his wand.

     “I can’t stand it anymore, I can’t!” she shrieked, experiencing a visible emotional meltdown. “I’m done with you and your dark world, Severus Snape! I’m done making excuses and defending you! Don’t ever try to talk to me again!”

     Snape tried to swallow, but it stuck. “Lils…” The term of endearment bled off his lips, and his voice was shattered, aching.

     She herself was obviously shattered, aching, and the tears starting to fall down her cheeks. “I’m going…I have to go…I can’t do it anymore, I just can’t…can’t bear it…can’t stay…have to go…”

    Her face bore a look crossed between anguish and exhaustion, and even…was that fear? That hurt Severus worse than anything imaginable. For if his Lily had come to fear him…if she had lost her will to love him…then he was truly and forever lost.

    As she took off down the hall, her sobs still echoing at a distance, Snape felt as if all his strength had been siphoned, and he leaned against the wall with a shudder. Then he saw Potter’s face…and there was a satisfied smirk on it.

    “Snivelus, you just saved me a lot of trouble,” he declared. “You win the award for best plan and execution to turn off a girl to your abundant charms.”

    Snape could barely breathe, but he choked out, “You did this deliberately, didn’t you?”

    “No, you did it for me, all of your own free will.”

    Snape squinted. “Is it all just a little game for you, or do you love her at all?”

     “In fact, I do love her,” Potter stated. “Probably have since she started…coming into her own, if you take my meaning. The fact that I could get her away from a slimy git like you didn’t hurt, either.”

    Severus squeezed his eyes shut. “I don’t think… you know what it means…to love, Potter.”

   “What? And you do?” James challenged. “Don’t play holy-roller with me, demon’s bait; you should have your mouth washed out with something far stronger than soap. It’ll be easier than dealing with your heart; that’s too black to ever come clean.”

     Snape wanted to shout back, but he couldn’t, he couldn’t, not as all his own mistakes flashed through his mind and gleefully laid him low. So he just staggered off, speechless and distraught, and Potter called after him, warning him away from going anywhere near Lily, unless he wanted to face him off. The threat didn’t move him. But the realization that she didn’t want anything further to do him did. So…he just silently succumbed…to being alone…

     And now, blind and bitter, he was alone again.

    It felt like forever had passed by, weighed down by a sinking realization of worthlessness at the heart of despair, when the sound of the door creaking open met his ears again.

     “What are you doing back?” Snape snapped.

     “I…collected some plants with healing properties for the hospital. But as you know, I’m not exactly an expert at this.”

     “Having personally stamped a failing grade on any number of your pathetically constructed papers, I can corroborate that general point.”

     Harry exhaled. “So…are you going to tell me what’s what so I don’t poison somebody?”

     “In case you’re too dense to acknowledge the full ramifications of my condition, my optical capacities are nonexistent.”

     The boy huffed contemptuously for dramatic effect. “And I thought you were some sort of expert.”

    “What’s that supposed to mean?”

    “If you were anything more than a half-baked crazy professor, you’d know these plants by second nature…you’d be able to identify them, even by touch alone!”

    Snape’s blind eyes glinted with fury. “Miserable scumbag, I’ll teach you…”

     “Yes, by all means, prove your mettle, and teach me what these plants are for!” Harry emptied out the bag of his findings on the folding table next to the bed.

     Snape snatched out his hand and ran his fingers along the leaves and stems and blossoms of the given plants. He took his time about it, and then blurted out in a run-on sentence, “Marsh Fern, Black Spleenwort, Wall-rue, Wolf’s-bane, monk’s-hood, purple clematis, creeping buttercup, and river moss…”

     “You see,” Harry said quietly. “You’re not so very blind after all.”

    Snape froze, all at once struck by the boy’s true intent. He was just trying to help him, to give him back a measure of his pride, even after Snape had been so coarse and crude with him earlier in the day. And he found himself…silently appreciating it.

     Solemnly, he touched the petals of an ice-blue flower. “This is used…for the staunching of wounds, packed into the bandaging to stop the blood flow and reduce swelling. It’s also used for making flavored tea. It blooms in the first week of April…” Snape stopped, thinking. “Then according to this year’s calendar, this would be…Easter week?”

     “I suppose so,” Harry conceded.

     Snape’s hand squeezed the flower automatically, and some of the blue liquid ran down his palm. “I know so.”

     Let the wind blow, let the waters know, tell the earth, the stars, the sun…

     “There has never been an Easter when nature’s moanings did not make it known to me.”

     The appointed hour has come…

    Snape shook the meaning and the memories off of him, and moved on to the next object on the folding table.  “And this…this is a wrapper…from a cereal bar…which I gather was blueberry cobbler flavored…” He grimaced in disgust. “Littering on Hogwarts grounds costs ten points to the house of any students responsible. Therefore…ten points from Gryffindor.”

     “Hey, I didn’t do it! If anything, I’m an anti-litterbug, since I retrieved it!”

     “Granted, but it had to be a Gryffindor…reckless, irresponsible…”

     “The true qualities of a reprobate candy bar consumer,” Harry exhaled. “However, it should be noted that Hufflepuff holds the distinction for highest junk food intake, so it was more likely one of them.”

     “No Hufflepuff would have a strong enough stomach to go hiking through that danger-fraught forest whilst cheerfully munching snack food, so…has to be Gryffindor.”

     Harry sighed. “If it will somehow put you in a better mood after your little tirade this morning, I’m willing to concede.”

     Snape blinked. “I told you to go away. You said you would. You should have really stuck to that bargain.”


      “Why not?”

     “I told you, it was…plants. You know, walking in the woods…and…plants. Someone had to sort them out for me so I didn’t get locked up for poisoning people in hospital.”

     A long silence fell between them, a knowing silence. “Tell me…about the day,” Snape broke in unexpectedly. “What was it like outside?”

     “It was…sort of sunny,” Harry offered.

     Snape raised an eyebrow. “You can do better than that.”

     Harry exhaled. “I’m probably not going to be very good at this sort of thing.”

     “Just tell me…what left an impression on your eyes,” he clarified. “Tell me what lingers on in your mind…shapes, colors…light and shade…”

      Oh. Now it made sense. Wanted Harry’s eyes, which reminded him so much of his mother’s, to serve as his own.

     “It was…one of those days where the wind was blowing warm, and the clouds kept shifting across the sun. They were…big, white clouds that had an underbelly of gray, like they were holding rain inside them. It rained a little bit, but really soft, and it made this pattering sound against all the leaves, and they turned darker green. And the wind blew it off, and then the sun broke through the clouds again. All the water that coated everything sparkled when the light ran across it…” Harry inhaled, wondering if Snape was going to mock his efforts, but decided to just ramble on till he was cut off. “I like to look at the open sky, out beyond the woods. It’s like…there’s no border to it, just a sea of blue, and the clouds, sometimes they look like sails moving along, all white and gray. I never had that in London. I always used to think that if I had a real home, it would be out where I could see the sky, but…I don’t know. Sometimes I feel lost in it out here, and it almost scares me…like it’s seen so many horrible things, maybe it’ll just remember me as part of it all, and swallow me up or something…” He smiled wryly. “Okay, you can commence telling me how lame all that was and how crazy I am.”

     There was a look on Snape’s face hard to identify. Then he said lowly, “Potter, take a word of advice. As soon as McGonagall has gotten things in basic order, leave this place…leave it for good.”

     Harry blinked. “You mean, leave just Hogwarts, or…?”

     “You know what I mean,” he countered. “Leave…all of it.” He exhaled. “Sometimes I think we taught so much magic in this place, we neglected to…make you see. There are other things to learn, Potter, other things to…understand.”

     “But you hate muggles,” Harry reminded him. “You always have.”

     Snape closed his eyes. “If you stay…in this place, you will become their savior and slave, Potter. They will raise you on such a high pedestal, you will never be able to climb down, and they will move you across their chess board as they see fit. This world…is dying. It is clinging to life in whatever ways it can. They will bleed you dry like a leech, if they get at you. They will use you to play politics, to keep their petty powers sustained.”

     “The ministry already asked me to…affirm their power, to calm the populace,” Harry admitted.

     “You see? They won’t let you…really live, Potter. There is no future for you here, unless you work for them and their broken, useless powers that can dry up in a twinkling and leave you with nothing but cracked, parched earth. Go out, away from here. Go, before it collapses in, and crushes all beneath its shadow.” Snape inhaled. “I know, damn well, how it can crush…you fight to climb so very much, you break yourself with the pen in hand, and the late nights running together, and they won’t take you if you be rough in the tongue or with the scent of chemicals on your clothes…they won’t take you fair, if you’ve bruises about the face and a poor penny in your pocket. They won’t take you, and you have to take whatever scraps fall, and then they drag you under, some way or other, as sure as the stairs will trip you up. But it is not just for the hard brought up…it is for the well-reared too. The magic counts for nothing in the end, Potter; it is farce and show, manipulated by men grown too full of themselves to contain it, and who use all the world as a stage for their plays. And God’s grave, they beat you out of you!”

     And for once, Harry heard something break through that voice of his, always so perfectly restrained, falling into lockstep with the codes of the Queen’s English. He heard the rough and tangled underbrush of the Midlands pushing its way through the cracks, with the rough and untamed accent of hard living, of hard work and the fiery willingness to rise above being squelched by the stagnant waters of a system long since run its course, devised to break the spirits of free men, of those whose voices had been stifled in an effort to become something other than their true selves.

   And in Snape’s eyes, darker than the factory smoke, there seemed to blaze the strange reality of finding one’s hidden self after so many years forcing it down, deeper down with each passing year. But now it was rising, the crux of himself, and those eyes, with sightless flames in them, screamed “REBEL.”

      Harry swallowed, then nodded. “I’ll…consider what you’ve said.”

      “You do that. And when you finally come to your senses, take that girl with you.”

     “Er…what girl?”

     “What girl do you think? Haven’t you started going about with the know-it-all yet?”

     Harry snorted. “Hermione is going out with Ron!”


     “For a headmaster, you’ve been keeping very bad tabs on the romantic end of Hogwarts culture…”

     “For record, I was never particularly keen on being headmaster of this wretched place to begin with,” he clarified. “The post came only under duress by a horcrux-possessing psychopath, remember?”

     “Well, yeah, but I thought you had some inkling of the goings-on…”

     “So you’re just going to let this travesty unfold?”


     “Weasley and Granger…seriously?”

     “They came to an understanding, Snape,” Harry exhaled. “Who am I to butt in?”

     “You’re the one she’s had eyes for, this whole time,” he stated.

     “I…don’t believe that…”

     “And you’ve had eyes for her.” Snape clicked his tongue. “Think I was so very blind all this time, do you? I knew you would make a thoroughly obnoxious pair when you finally saw clear to each other…”

     “It was always a trio,” Harry corrected him.

     “Eh, a third wheel,” Snape scoffed.

     “Since when have you taken up the role as on-campus cupid?”

     “I am simply telling you what you already know. You need that conceited, wild-haired little she-wolf by your side to keep your head on straight, and she needs you…to have something to…nurture, I suppose. Or else, beat into shape.”

    “What, and she can’t nurture Ron?”

    “Fine, you can both adopt him.”

    Harry couldn’t help but laugh a little here. “Yeah, but did I mention I was going out with Ginny Weasley for a while?”


    “Why? What do you have against Ginny?”

    “First off, she’s too young for you, and secondly she’s…nondescript.”

    “And you just said Hermione was obnoxious, and you treated her terribly through most of your classes!”

    Snape grumbled. “She is obnoxious…intolerable, actually. Mark my words, she’ll turn into one of those intelligentsia female liberation sign-carrying types, protesting everything, and being a waking nightmare for her husband…”

     “Then if that’s your chauvinistic perspective on her, why are you trying to foist her on me?”

     At this Snape actually made a wicked half-grin, and Harry buried his face in his hands exasperated. “Why do I ask these things?”

    “You richly deserve each other, Potter, let’s face it,” Snape concluded. “Whatever else she may be, she has sharp enough skills to make a man out of you, while the little Weasley chickadee only has worshipful stardust in her eyes when every time you enter a room. And…” He paused for a moment, and a certain strain of melancholy crossed his face. “It’s easy enough to let the things you really want in life…slip by, failing to realize it until they’re gone beyond recall.”

     “Sometimes it’s not that easy to know what you really want,” Harry reminded him.

     “If there is any trace of authentic love, that rarest of realities to be grasped at, you will know it,” Snape assured. “If it truly exists, there is no second guessing it. It will wound you deep, and you will never heal from it.”

     “They say time is supposed to heal all wounds,” Harry retorted.

     “Time cannot heal wounds based in eternity, and you should never wish for such a healing. There are two parts of oneself…the first level, the part we refer to and call by name, the part that we mark down on transactions of paper and ink, the part that changes from minute to minute, nothing of which can last forever, for it is based in time. Then there is…the second level, which we rarely pay any heed. If something sinks into that level, it becomes a part of all that is eternal, and can never be rooted out.”

     Harry shook his head, trying to make sense of this latest analysis on the nature of love, something which, until recently, Harry was sure this man was quite incapable of experiencing or extending much less understanding in such depth.

    “So what’s your big hypothetical plan for me to completely transform the entire current romantic trend?” the boy queried, rolling his eyes. “Challenge Ron to a wand duel or what?”

     “Talk to the Granger girl.”

     “What’s that supposed to…?”

     “Just…talk to her.” He grew serious. “Look her in the eyes. You’ll know by the look in them what you should do.”

     “Eh…I’m not making the first move. If she really wants to switch things up, she’s gonna have to do the switching. I’m not being a romance or friendship wrecker.”

     Snape blinked. That…that wasn’t like his father at all…

     “All I ask is that you remember…to keep your eyes open,” he counseled him.

     “I’ll…work on it,” Harry conceded. “So…can we change the topic yet?”

      “Change the topic…to what?”

     “So, like…how did you make that flavored tea stuff you were talking about?”

    And so they talked. They talked about very random things until it was very late, but Harry didn’t seem inclined to leave. Finally Snape spoke up.

     “Is it just me, or have you been here for a long time?”

    “Yeah,” Harry admitted. “About…five hours.”

     “What time is it?”

     “Closing on midnight, I think.” Harry rubbed his eyes. “I had no idea I could talk that long. I guess I’m just tired. Tired people talk a lot because they forget when to stop. Lose track of time.”

     “What’s been the main topic of conversation anyway?” Snape demanded. “It all feels jumbled…”

     “Uh…plants, remember?” Harry mumbled. “Getting a real job, flavored tea…the way the sun can paint an open sky…”

     “I remember…you said the wind blew the clouds back, and the sun kept glinting, off and on…” Snape gasped oddly, then cleared his throat to cover it.

      “You alright?” Harry asked.

      “Never felt more alive, for being half-dead.”

      “You’re not dead yet,” he countered. “I’ll know the end has come when you do something bizarre, like call me by my given name or some such breach of protocol. Then…it’s over.”

     “You’ll have an eternal wait for that,” he grumbled.

     “Fine with me,” Harry mollified him, starting to quietly head over to check his patient’s neck. He used his wand as a light to observe, and what he saw disturbed him. It had swollen a lot since the day before, and had taken on a strange purple color. He made the mistake of deciding to prod it. Snape jerked at the pain, obviously having been unaware Harry had gotten that close to him.

     “Don’t…do that!” he sputtered. “You know I can’t see you!”

     “Calm down, will you? I’m just trying to take a look…”

     “I don’t need you…to look at it!”

      Harry rolled his eyes, and muttered a Latin incantation whilst flicking his wand accordingly.

     “Did you just conjure up…ice?” Snape queried.

     “It is known to help with swelling, you know,” Harry responded, wrapping the chunk of ice in a towel and holding it up against his neck.

      “Och…” His patient reacted to the cold and the pain. “What are you turning into, Potter, a bloody American?”

      In spite of himself, Harry started giggling. Maybe it was all the emotional intensity he had been through, or the medication for his slight concussion. But whatever the reason, he was suddenly finding Snape terribly funny.

     “Why are you cackling like a maniacal magpie?”

     This monotone inquiry did nothing to halt his laughing fit. In fact, it added fuel to the fire.

     Snape sighed, pulled Harry down slightly with a mechanical tug on his shirt, and pressed the back of his hand to his forehead. “As I suspected,” he announced, pushing him back up. “Your already addled mind is now overheating. You should be in bed, young man.”

     “How many times do you think you’ve told me I should be in bed when I can’t sleep?” Harry challenged. “It’s like the story of our lives…”

     “A sleeping Potter is generally easier to keep out of trouble, and more intellectually adept, than an awake Potter, I’ve observed.”

    Harry shook his head, but still had a somewhat giddy smile on his face. “It would be a dream come true if I got paid every time I put up with a snide remark! I would be the wealthiest wizard in the country!”

     “Dream on. Seriously, do…in your own bed, away from here.” He swatted him in the stomach. “Go on, disappear, vanish…make yourself invisible.”

      “Okay, okay,” Harry conceded, standing up and heading towards the door. Then he turned his head back briefly. “Thanks…for figuring out those plants, and…the talk.”

     “Apparently there wasn’t a way to get rid of you for good, was there?”

     “Guess not,” he shrugged. “But still…your advice…well, I’ll be giving it a think.”

     “So glad you approved,” he snorted.

     “You’re not going to let me say anything nice to you, are you?”

     “Not if it can be prevented.”

     Harry exhaled. “Well…see you tomorrow, I guess.”

    “If cruel fate must have it.”

     The young wizard paused for a moment. “Snape,” he addressed him quietly, “I…” A long silence cut him off. “I hope I do see you tomorrow. Truly.”

     He waited for Snape to snap back a retort. But his old teacher only shifted slightly and muttered, “Get some sleep, Potter. You’ll feel better in the morning, to be sure.”

Avellina Balestri (aka Rosaria Marie) is one of the founding members and the Editor-in-Chief of The Fellowship of the King, a literary magazine with a strong Tolkienite influence (which, by the way, is open to submissions). She reads and writes extensively, and eagerly seeks out the deeper spiritual significance of popular fandoms such as The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Trek, Star Wars, and The Hunger Games. And yes, she does have a soft spot in her heart for classic Disney movies, The Princess Bride, and Merlin 😉 She is also a recording artist, singing traditional folk songs and her own compositions as well as playing the penny whistle and bodhran drum. She draws her inspiration from the Ultimate Love and Source of Creativity, and hopes to share that love and creativity with others.