Day 10

Title: Day 10
Author: tarotgal
Fandom: Harry Potter (Cursed Child)
Rating: PG
Pairing: Unrequited Snape/Lily
Disclaimer: Not my characters. I wish they were mine. I definitely don’t get paid for this.
Summary: Alternate timeline Snape is full of regrets, and then he's full of cold.
Notes: Written during my 12 Ficlets in 12 Days in 2018-19 project project for Anonymous.

Snape shuts and locks the door to his Hogwarts potions classroom then the one to his personal chambers. Privacy is almost unheard of, especially as the Dark Lord is such a gifted legilimens. It is only Snape's own great skill as an occlumens and his ability to invent his own locking spell that no one has yet been able to penetrate that gives him some semblance of privacy once a day. Nonetheless, he feels vulnerable as he readies himself for bed, stripping naked in the flickering candlelight, and begins to confess as he does every night.

“I miss you, Lily,” is how he always starts. “But part of me is glad you aren't alive to see what the world has become. If you had lived... or if Harry had... things would be different, I am certain of that. Today I heard some of my fellow professors here discussing what members of their families had been killed during the war, and most spoke with pride about those noble deaths given in the great service of Voldemort. I remember a time when the wizarding world dared not speak the Dark Lord's name, and now we honor him at every meal, at every parting. Today, one of my students wrote in his essay about a shrinking solution how he hoped one of its practical applications might be to shrink muggles and blood traitors down to the sizes of peas so they could easily be squashed under his boot, for Voldemort and Valor.”

Snape sighs and climbs into bed, his pale body quickly warming to the green, satin sheets. Only the best for one of the Dark Lord's most trusted, most honored followers. “I'm sorry, Lily. I'm sorry I couldn't do more.” And then, quietly, he ends the way he starts. “Oh, I miss you so much.” Then he waves his wand to extinguish the candlelight and drifts off into a sleep full of nightmares. He sees the faces of those he lost in the war, the ones fighting on Dubledore's and Harry's side, the ones he can never speak of to anybody, the ones he couldn't save. They haunt his dreams, just like every other night. 


Snape storms into the potions classroom, where two first years sit, still trying desperately to make the simplest of potions. They've been at it for hours, and he had hoped it would not have to fail them. But they've proven to be completely incompetent, and he has lost what little patience he had. “You're hopeless!” he spits at them. “Get out of my sight!”

They shriek quietly and gather up their things, leaving their cauldron bubbling with a pale mustard concoction. Snape swears under his breath then goes to vanish the toxic solution. For a moment, he considers bottling it and keeping it on hand. It never hurts to have weapons on hand that can easily be explained away. But the solution is so foul-smelling he isn't sure he has a phial and stopper that can contain it. And he doesn't fancy his office smelling of this for the rest of his days. So he gets rid of it, performs the most powerful cleaning spell he can think of on the cauldron, and retires to his private chambers. He locks the door.

“I miss you, Lily,” he whispers, and it's like a great weight has lifted off his chest. Only here, only now, can he be true to his heart and honest with himself. “There will be an inspection by the Augurey soon, and I fear not all of the professors and students will survive it. I worry especially about Granger being so close by these days. She was always a stubborn student, a friend of your son's, actually. A good friend. As good as we once were.” His voice catches, and he splashes water from a basin on his face until he has composed himself and can continue. Lily's memory is patient and waits for him the way the real Lily had not.

Snape takes a deep breath. “I fear she will cross the line one too many times and her muggle-born blood status will be exposed. I fear she will be taken to the Ministry, to Malfoy, and will never be heard from again. I fear this will leave our students in an even more perilous state than they are already in. I fear...” He trails off. He has seen it all and has faced the worst the Dark Lord had to offer bravely, unfalteringly. That is why he is still alive and so many—Lily Evans included—are dead.  “I miss you, Lily.”

He climbs under the covers and hides his head under the pillow. The nightmares find him there anyway.


Snape's head is pounding, which is why he dismisses his N.E.W.T. students early. He assigns them extra work, though. He's not about to jeopardize his reputation by appearing soft. Though he suspects Professor Umbridge will always have him beat in the title of cruelest professor at Hogwarts. It is early for dinner, though he knows food will appear on the table in the Great Hall should he venture there right now. However, he isn't hungry at all and doesn't think he can stomach food at the moment. All he can think about is escaping this agonizing throbbing in his temples.

If Madam Pomfrey were still around, she would be able to brew him something for it. She was the only one who could whip up a potion for a dreamless sleep and manage to pass it to him as if it were for his health rather than for his sanity. Snape supposed that if his head didn't hurt so very much, he might be able to brew his own headache potion. But, as it was, he suspected anything he might try to make would worsen his symptoms rather than alleviate them. So his only real option is sleep.

It is only late afternoon, and yet he begins getting ready for bed. He tosses his billowy black robes on the floor as he takes them off, not even bothering to wave his wand to send them toward the laundry hamper. Either the house elves would find them and clean them tomorrow or he would deal with them when his head wasn't about to split right open.  He climbs into bed, shivering, pulling the blankets tight around himself. “I miss you, Lily,” he chokes out before giving into the pain completely. He has never felt such agony, and he wonders if this might be some attempt at breaking past his defenses and getting to his thoughts. Paranoid about who might be entering his mind and what they might find there, he forces himself to think about the Dark Lord, the two wars. He remembers the tortures and killings he had been forced to commit. He pretends to take pride in them.

And, with that, he falls asleep to the worst nightmares he has ever endured.


“Shhhh!” comes a soft, soothing sound as Snape wake with a start, in a panic. “Shhhh. No. Lie still, Severus.”

A cool towel is placed on his forehead, and he shivers, but he tries to lie still, tries to obey. He finds that his head feels much better if he relaxes.

“Lily?” he whispers before falling back to sleep.


It is still nearly pitch black in his room when he wakes the next time. There are no windows here in the dungeon to let in natural light, and he has absolutely no sense of what time it is. Snape reaches for his wand to light the candles, but his wand isn't on the nightstand where it is supposed to be. He begins to panic again. He is disoriented, naked, and wandless.

He can just make out the shape of someone on the floor of his chamber. He throws off his covers and launches himself out of bed. He gives the someone a strong kick and finds his bare foot meeting only cloth. It makes him overbalance, and he falls back into a sitting position on his bed. He kicked his own robes. Yes. He had left them there. He remembers that now.

“Ten points to Slytherin for subduing your dirty laundry.”

Snape nearly shrieks. The voice is soft and amused, and it's familiar, though Snape doesn't have time to place it. He is more concerned with what it's doing here in his private chamber in the middle of the night—nobody has any business being here but him. “Who's there?” he asks, putting a hand to his head as his world starts to spin.

“It's Hermione Granger. Lumos.” Every candle in the room alights at once, and Snape sees her sitting on the floor, against the far wall, her legs bent, knees tucked under her chin, arms wrapped around her legs.

“What are you... Ohh...” He feels so dizzy he feels he might pass out. And there's something else, too, a sharp pressure in his sinuses that wasn't there before when he went to bed. He crashes sideways, head into the pillow. And he sneezes. “ihhh-hershhhhhh!” He feels his covers being pulled up over him, and he hugs them tight to his chest. He's not quite so dizzy now, and he's no longer chilly. But he does still feel rather like sneezing.

“I hear there's a pretty bad flu going around the school as well as Hogsmeade,” Granger explains. “I think you caught it. Certain people were suspicious when you didn't show up at the staff table for dinner yesterday. You were found here, of course, but word leaked out to the network. So here I am. You've been tossing and turning with a fever.”

“What... when...”

“Two days.”

He gives a start. Two days?!

“It's the weekend, Severus. No classes to worry about, and Umbridge is away on some business. Relax. Fighting only makes it worse.”

Fighting only makes it worse. Those words echo painfully in his head. Once he had fought with everything he was—with his heart and his mind and his convictions—so sure he was on the right side. And he'd lost everything in the fight but his life. He had nothing left. Fighting made everything worse.

ihhhh... ihhh-HKShuhhhh!

“Bless you. Here.” She produces a box of tissues, seemly out of nowhere, gets to her feet, and sets them on the nightstand by his bed. But she doesn't back away. She pulls a few out and hands them out to him to take. “Go on. You need them. I bet that nose of yours could use a good blow.”

He bristles at the comment but snatches them out of her hand because, yes, his nose is running and dripping and he really does need to clear it immediately. But he doesn't thank her when he's done. He just folds the tissues and wipes his nose silently, repeatedly. How is she here? He must have forgotten to lock his door; she couldn't have magicked her way past his defenses, could she? He is full of questions and anger and irritation.

“That's better, isn't it?” she says, conversely sounding full of calmness and kindness and sweetness. He hates her for it, but mostly he hates her because she is right. He does feel better. And the tissues she brought are the softest he's ever felt. Even softer than the ones Lily once used to dry his eyes once after he shamefully cried in front of her when she found him after one of his father's beatings. One of his eyes had been swollen from the punches, but her touch had been so soft it hadn't even hurt when she had dabbed his tears away.

“No,” he lies. He looks up at her. “I want you out of my room.”

Granger stands her ground, as stubborn now as she was when she was a child in his class. “We don't get what we want, Severus. Not anymore.” And then, brave in a way he didn't think possible, even for a Gryffindor, she sits down on the edge of his bed.

She pulls the tissue box onto her lap and then holds her wand to his forehead. Numbers float like bubbles from the tip of her wand before vanishing into the air like wisps of smoke. “At least your fever's broken. That's a relief. I was worried. You were delirious, and your temperature kept rising. You were thrashing about, crying out for... for Lily. That was Harry's mum's name, right?”

He goes cold. His stomach churns. “Get out,” he tries to say, but his voice is soundless from shock. One fever and he's done for, cut open, exposed.

“You said you missed her, said it over and over again. And whenever I put a new compress on your forehead, you said 'Thank you, Lily.'”

Snape doesn't know what to say, how to get out of this. How can he explain? How can he be held accountable for something he did in a weakened, compromised state?

She reaches under the blankets and takes his hand. He tries to pull away, but he finds he has no strength, whether from the flu or from the shock of being found out, he doesn't know.

“I miss Harry every single day,” she tells him and squeezes his hand, as if she somehow knows that he'll understand. “He was the best chance we had, and losing him lost us the war. But I also lost my friend that day, and that is something I will feel in my heart forever. My life, my hopes, my world changed utterly that day.”

“For Voldemort and Valor,” he manages to whisper.

She laughs heartily and looks right into his eyes so there is no mistaking her meaning when she says to him. “As far as I'm concerned, Voldemort and the Augurey can shove their valor right up their arses.”

Wide-eyed, Snape stares at her, not sure if her audacity is bravery or stupidity. And then he realizes it doesn't matter which. She's said it, and she means it.

“Hand me another tissue,” he says to her. “I need to sneeze again. And then you and I need to talk.”

She hands him a tissue.


“I'd heard the rumors of a resistance movement, of course,” Snape says to her as he sips the tea she brought him. The room is sealed with magic, including some spells Snape had never heard before that he suspects Granger invented all on her own. They don't want to risk even a house elf overhearing what they have to say. But Hermione insisted he have tea and a bit of toast. And they would see if he could keep that much down; so far, he had done. “But I always thought it was something Voldemort started to expose traitors within the ranks.”

She shrugs. “Maybe that is how it started, or maybe the seeds of resistance were always there, ever since we lost Neville and Harry and everyone else. But what matters is that's it's real, and it's strong.”

“How st... stroh... bother...” He hands her his teacup and snatches a fresh tissue from the box. “ihhh-KIHTchuhh! Hehkkktshhhh!

“Strong,” she tells him, handing the tea back again, but only after spelling it warm. They've done this so many times now, it's like a strange dance they know by heart without having to practice. “There aren't many of us, but we are dedicated and unwavering. You'll see.”

“I have no inten... intention of... of exposing...”He hands her the teacup. “ihhhkktchuuuu!

“Bless you.”

“Just because sniff! Thank you,” he says, getting the teacup back and taking another sip. “Just because I might share your sentiments does not mean I want a role as an active participant in some fool-hearty activist's movement that will ultimately fail.”

“It might fail,” she agrees, nodding. “But with your help, it might instead succeed.”

He knows she's right. And he hates her for being right. She had always been so infuriatingly right. But she was also brave. Brave like Harry. Brave like Lily. And he knows this is where he's meant to be.

“Quick! Give me your cup,” she says, waving her hand urgently.

The sneeze sneaks up on him suddenly. “hihh-IHktchuuuu!” He spills the remainder of his tea on his blankets.

 She vanishes it and cleans the spot with a simple wave of her wand. Then she hands him a tissue. “Your nose wrinkles when you're about to sneeze,” she explains.

His normally pale complexion goes a bit red at her noticing this.

“Like it is right now.”

He cups his hand and the tissue to his face, realizing he really is about to sneeze. “IHKTShhh! ihhh  ihhh IHPTShhhhhh!

She laughs not unkindly and pats his leg through the blankets. “I'll go get you more tea. I’ve got some hot water boiling in the other room.” She goes, but she puts the wards back up to protect him on her way out. Snape begins to feel strangely grateful for having caught this flu.

And then he succumbs to a fit of sneezes which drives that idea straight out of his mind.


Still feeling under the weather on Monday, Snape does his best to struggle through classes and make all the required appearances at meals so as not to draw any suspicion to him. When Snape sneezes and has to use a napkin to tend to his runny nose, he thinks for sure someone will try to meet his eye to give him a brief, sympathetic look or something. But nobody so much as glances at him.

Granger had been right about the flu spreading through the school. Several of the students in Snape's charge have come down with it, so he pays them a visit in their dormitory rooms, to make sure they are all right and have enough tissues. Every 'for Voldemort and Valor' feels less grating than it had once been, as he remembers Granger’s reaction to the phrase. His smile as he returns the sentiment with the required hand gesture makes it look like he is loyal and fond of it, though, so that is all right.

He hears a gasp behind him and turns to see Draco Malfoy's son, Scorpius, staring wide-eyed at him. “Do you have a problem with something, Mr. Malfoy?” Snape asks. Surely the child hasn't seen something in Snape's expression that he shouldn't. Surely the child hasn't been able to look into his mind at what is really there. Snape is a skilled occulmens, after all.

“No,” replies Scorpius softly and with a sort of gulp, as if he were overcome with some emotion. He had been acting strange lately—stranger than usual, that is. His grades had slipped and he had canceled most of his usual social engagements in favor of staying in his room reading. He has a big history of magic text  in his lap right now, in fact. No, not history of magic... it's wizard history, rewritten and approved by Voldemort himself. It's first year stuff, way below Scorpius' current level. How strange. 

“Good, because I would... I would hate to...” Feeling the urge to sneeze, he takes a tissue out of one of the extra boxes of tissues he brought for the students. “Excuse me,” he manages quickly before burying his hooked nose into a tissue and turning away politely to save Scorpius from seeing his sneeze up-close. “ihhhYIHTchhuuuu!

When he finishes and wipes his nose, he finds Scorpius still staring. Snape narrows his eyes at the boy, who quickly averts his gaze and pretends to look back at his book. But he is the least convincing actor Snape has ever seen. He wouldn't last a day around Voldemort. Snape vows to keep an eye on the boy; he has a feeling that there is some significance in that look, he just can't be certain what it is.

ihhh... excuse... ihhh!” He turns again. “ihh-HIKTchhhh! IHPTShhhhh!

“Bless you, Sir!”

Snape wheels around, almost as surprised as he had been to find Hermione in his room. It isn't like a Malfoy to be considerate or caring. He knew Lucius and Draco too well to ever expect such a thing. But Scorpius looks just as startled at having said it, like he's made an awful mistake. He pulls the book up in front of his face and hides behind it, as if Snape will forget what just happened.

But Severus Snape forgets nothing. With an arched eyebrow he says, “For Voldemort and Valor.” Automatically, he makes the required hand gesture of pressing his palm to his heart and then crossing his wrists, even though he still has a tissue in his hand.

Scorpius drops the book onto his lap and nervously, sloppily does the gesture he should have learned to do smoothly since birth. “Right. Voldemort and Valor and all that.”

Snape decides he's going to mention this behavior to the resistance.


“I miss you, Lily,” he says, as he finishes brushing his teeth and spits into the sink. He studies his reflection in the small bathroom mirror for a moment. His nose is a tad pink where he's been forced to rub and wipe for the past few days. And he looks tired. But, otherwise, he seems to be on the mend. He sees something more, though, someone older than his years. He wonders if he really has the energy in him for a third war.

But he doesn't have to wonder what Lily would say if she were here. She would tell him to fight. She would tell him it can't get any worse than it already is. There is nothing more for him to lose and everything to gain. She would tell him she is proud of him for joining the resistance.

As Snape climbs into bed, pulling the tissue box under the covers with him, just in case, he imagines that she would also lean over, place a kiss on his cheek, and tell him that she misses him, too.