Cold November Rain
oOo The Snape Twins oOo
Harry and Professor Snape had a complicated relationship. To Harry, Professor Snape was a complete conundrum. On the one hand, he was cold and cruel, but on the other hand, there wasn't a single person that had watched over Harry and protected him from harm the way Snape did. This led Harry and Ron to wonder if the man had a twin – a less grumpy, less irritable twin that seemed to have the life goal of protecting Harry from the more sadistic and evil Snape. After that fateful potions lesson, Harry had a very set view of the dark professor. Until the troll incident that is:
OoO Flashback OoO
Harry looked up from his position on the ruined bathroom floor; Professor Snape had a face like thunder, and Professor McGonagall's expression wasn't any kinder. He had fallen and landed with a crack to his skull after Ron had taken out the troll with a rather spectacular Wingardium Leviosa. His head throbbed, as his hand gently reached up to touch the tender spot and felt the dampness. Seeing the crimson blood on his fingers made him feel dizzy.
It was Professor McGonagall that rushed to Harry's side, conjuring a bandage and fussing over his wound, but she wasn't alone. Harry had thought that he had imagined the look of concern, perhaps even fear in the Potions Master's eye, but later that night he found that this simply wasn't the case.
Harry, who had been given a potent sleeping-draught, woke in the early hours of the morning. What he saw confused him; Professor Snape was in the chair beside his bed. The man was fairly ill at ease, fidgeting and the like; he was also reading an article in some sort of magazine: 'Lasting Effects of Head Trauma in Young Witches and Wizards.'
"Professor," Harry whispered confused.
Professor Snape's dark eyes were again soft, gentle almost. There was a look of concern as he analysed Harry.
"What are you doing here?" Harry asked.
The hook-nosed man leaned over Harry, staring intently into his eyes. The intense gaze made Harry feel like he was looking straight into his mind, but it was not cruel or sadistic as usual; it was caring. Then the expression changed, there was a brief look of relief, and then the other twin returned.
"Someone has to make sure you survive the night, Potter," he spat, his usual look of contempt back in place.
OoO End of Flashback OoO
This event had confused Harry a great deal, but it was quickly brushed aside after a few more encounters with 'Dark Snape' as they had later chosen to refer to him. It ended up being hard to ignore the kinder twin after his first Quidditch game. Again, Harry overheard a conversation when he was attempting to get his broom back from Professor McGonagall:
OoO Flashback OoO
Harry had finally been allowed to leave the Hospital Wing, and his first stop was Professor McGonagall's office. Harry knew she had kept his prize broom, and he was determined to get it back.
"I insist that you check it again, Minerva!" a cold, harsh voice demanded.
"Severus, I assure you that Harry has been thoroughly checked over, and so has his broom. There is no lingering curse!" Professor McGonagall was using her most scolding tone.
"There is a serious case of neglect with that child! He roams the halls at night; he is allowed to play dangerous sports when others cannot —"
"Severus, is this because he beat Slyth —"
"No! No, it is not! This is about the child's safety!"
Harry had never heard Professor Snape raise his voice before, but it seemed that the professor was especially angry today and he was dangerously close to bellowing. Harry was shocked, and couldn't stop himself from listening in some more.
"I have done everything that you have asked! Harry has been thoroughly checked over, and his broom has been rigorously examined by Filius and Rolanda!" Professor McGonagall's tone was furious at the accusations that Snape was making, and her tone was biting. "Harry is well looked after. I can assure you of that!"
"The damage is done! It was done the moment you awarded him points for the damn troll incident! You have taught him that his reckless, life-risking behaviour is a good thing!"
"And you have taught him that he can do nothing right!" she retorted.
"You cannot understand the reasons behind such actions," Severus replied.
There was the sound of scraping chairs across the floor, and Harry took a few steps back, preparing for what sounded like Professor Snape's angry exit.
OoO End of Flashback OoO
It was after this conversation that Harry, Ron, and Hermione had started to analyse the relationship between Harry and the Head of Slytherin house. Hermione had argued that it was Professor Snape's job—as Potions Master—to work with Madam Pomfrey and to provide potions and healing remedies. However, Ron doubted that this included sitting by Harry's bed all night. In fact, Harry noticed that Snape did a lot of hiding in the hospital wing when he was hurt.
Currently, Harry was in his fifth year, and he had Sirius and Remus to talk to about such things. The problem was that Sirius would only insult Snape, and Remus would go suspiciously quiet. As far as Harry was concerned, there was more about his life that they were hiding, and as far as he could tell it involved one of the Snape 'twins'!
The longer things went on, the more confused Harry became. He verbally ripped Harry apart — far more than bullying. It was crystal clear that the man hated him, and yet he would repeatedly place himself in danger for Harry. The man clearly seemed to have a split personality, or there really was a secret twin, (Ron's favourite theory).
Professor Snape was the biggest contradiction that Harry knew of, and he was determined to find the truth. The secrets over the summer and everything that had happened in their fourth year had built up so much that Harry had become a huge ball of anger, and he wanted answers. Occlumency lessons were approaching, and Harry knew that this was the perfect opportunity to find out which Snape was the real deal. A small slice of truth in his life of lies, and he was determined to get it, no matter what.
oOo The Crimson Journal oOo
Severus sat at his desk, a leather book before him. The crimson leather was soft beneath his fingers. It was a book that he never, ever opened; it was too heartbreaking. He knew when he opened the book, there would be pain, but with that pain would come a simple truth that would comfort him:
"I would know that you were mine," he whispered, stroking the crimson leather with the embossed initials in gold across the front: S.S. and L.E.S.
He had never been a particularly warm man, but he also hadn't been what everyone had thought; prejudiced, hateful or a Death Eater; these lies ran so deep. Severus needed Lily, and the crimson journal to help him know the truth.
'I know that you can love me,' she would say. ''Cause nothin' lasts forever, even the cold November rain.'
She had lied. Some things do last forever; death lasts forever. Severus had been sorely tempted to join her and had it not been for Harry; he would have. He couldn't give in to such desires because in his heart he knew that Harry would be hunted for the rest of his life, or at least until the Dark Lord was dead. Despite his facade, and the cold, hard hatred that everyone saw, he loved Harry more than anything, and he would do anything for him; his son.
This attitude that Severus had adopted was the price that he was willing to pay. He had slipped up on occasion when his heart got in the way, and he knew this had caused much confusion for Harry. Harry was not stupid; he saw the change in the way that Severus treated him when they were alone and when they were in public, and Harry wondered.
Severus needed to stop that wondering. He needed to show Harry the darkness within him, show him in such a way as to make him walk away completely. Harry needed to have one view of Severus in his mind, an unfavourable opinion. Harry needed to be sure in the belief that Severus was a hateful, prejudiced, Death Eater. Occlumency lessons were the perfect way to do it.
He finally opened the crimson journal. He needed the hope, and he needed the memories to give him the strength to show Harry the lie that he had been building for the last fifteen years. There, on the first page was a photograph of her; Lily. She smiled and waved; her brilliant red hair, as vibrant and crimson as the red leather of his most precious possession. She was the most beautiful thing in the world. In her arms was a baby, was a baby that shared Severus' raven hair, but had her piercing green eyes. A single tear ran down Severus' face, and he turned the page.
He spent the night before occlumency lessons this way, perusing the memories that he would need to hide from Harry. This was evidence that was necessary to remove from his mind, proof that he ever cared or loved.
oOo Secrets and Regret oOo
"I need a break!" Harry complained.
Professor Snape paced the dungeon, and retorted frustratedly, "The Dark Lord isn't resting! Do you not know what is at stake? Your life!"
"But I can't—" Harry began before being interrupted by a sharp knock on the door.
"Come in." Severus slipped his wand away and moved towards the door, pulling it open. "Ah, Mr Malfoy."
"Professor Umbridge needs to see you!" Draco said, he had clearly run, his cheeks were flushed, and he was out of breath. Professor Snape followed Draco out of the room.
Harry grinned, he knew exactly what had happened. Ron and Hermione had let off a weird and wonderful Weasleys Wizard Wheezes product in her office. None of the other members of staff would help the walking toad, and so it was a given that Professor Snape would be called.
As soon as the door closed, Harry rushed for the cabinets, pulling open all the doors, while he searched for the pensieve. At first, he found nothing but dusty books and piles of scrolls. The last place he explored was the desk, and he assumed that he had hit the jackpot when he found a locked drawer. Obviously, Alohomora didn't work, but Harry had been prepared with a long list of complicated alternates. This was where he found the crimson journal.
Harry looked at the leather book curiously. The crimson leather was soft to touch, and on the cover was the embossed a series of letters; 'S.S.L.E.S.' All thoughts of the Pensieve were gone. Harry opened the book, and there she was; Lily Potter, holding Harry in her arms. All thoughts of discovering secrets were gone. He was engrossed in her face, her smile and the way she held baby Harry so close. He turned the page, hoping to see more, and he did. There was the image of his mother in glorious white robes, and next to her was Professor Snape. It was strange to see him so — happy!
It didn't take Harry long to realise what the series of letters meant; Severus Snape and Lily Evans Snape. He turned pages and saw more images of himself, sometimes he was cradled in the professor's arms, others with his mother. There was one where Snape held them both; Harry was engrossed. Could Professor Snape really be his... father?
"How dare you!"
Harry turned and looked up; there was Professor Snape, and it was not the nice version.
"I —" Harry began, unsure of what he could say.
The Head of Slytherin stood there, arms crossed, his eyes wild and his face deathly pale. Despite the man's words and his attempts to show his anger, he looked afraid.
"Sir, I don't understand," Harry finally managed to mutter.
"Why would you think that snooping in my desk is appropriate behaviour, Mr Potter!" the professor snarled as he reached over and snatched away his treasured journal.
He glanced down at the picture that Harry had been looking at, knowing that there was little he could do now to stop the truth. He remembered the night vividly; the night he had lost everything, even if he didn't know it at the time. It was the night he wished he could take back the most, a night that he regretted above all others.
"What's going on?" Harry cried.
The room was silent, and Severus just looked at Harry. He was frozen, lost in a memory, lost in the many regrets of his life.
"What are you keeping from me?" he yelled now. "I'm sick of the secrets and the lies! Tell me the truth!"
"You know I am a spy," he stated the words simply, though he sounded weary now, broken down and unable to keep up his pretence any longer. "I have been a spy ever since my graduation at Hogwarts. I worked my way up the ranks of the Death Eaters, and as your mother was a prominent member of The Order of the Phoenix, our relationship could not be public," he paused there. He let the words sink in, let Harry absorb the fact that he had been in a relationship with his mother.
"So you're my dad!" Harry stated indignantly, almost as if the very idea offended him. "Where have you been for the last fifteen years? Where were you while I was sleeping in a cupboard?" he shouted, the rage that had been building up all year starting to spill over.
"Silence, you ignorant boy!" he snapped, a knee-jerk reaction, and then his eyes saddened. "If you don't realise that is one of the greatest regrets of my life, you can think again."
"If you regretted it, why didn't you come and get me?" Harry asked through his clenched jaw. The rage rolled off of him and tears tumbled down his cheeks.
"Because you could have died!" he shouted, his dark eyes staring at Harry as if they longed to tell him all his secrets. "I have many regrets in my life, but I had people watching you, and the fact that you are still alive is proof that I did the right thing." His eyes never moved from Harry's, even as he clutched the crimson journal, the keeper of all his secrets. "Remus Lupin has been watching you for a long time. Every time you were in trouble, you didn't know it, but I was there, waiting to act when needed."
"So Remus knew!" Harry scoffed.
"I regret many things in my life; I regret becoming a spy; I regret fighting this war, but keeping this secret is not one of them, this secret kept you safe."
"It kept me safe?" Harry asked, looking at him with an expression of confusion and disdain. "I lived in a cupboard!"
"And that is on me, but not because I gave you up, but because of my greatest regret. I gave the Dark Lord the intelligence that led to your mother's death," he spoke, and his voice was heavy and thick like he was holding back a dam of emotion; Harry could almost hear the lump in his throat.
The secrets, the whispers, and all the half-truths that Harry had been told flooded his mind and he was forced to ask the question that had immediately started to grow in his mind, "The information that made him come after us, was it about me?" Harry asked, calmer, but more afraid of this answer than any other.
The professor nodded.
"That's why you hate me, but you always try to help me, isn't it? I'm the reason mum died, but you have to save me 'cause I'm your kid."
Severus frowned, and getting up he knelt before Harry. "No, Harry. Nothing could be further from the truth. I watch over and protect you because you are my son and I love you. I am forced to show hatred towards you because a genuine Death Eater must hate Harry Potter. I am only a spy to keep you safe; the rest of the world can burn as far as I am concerned."
Harry looked up and smiled a sad smile. "You're not going to let me remember this, are you?"
Severus shook his head sadly. "I'm going to tell you something your mother always told me; 'nothing lasts forever, even the cold November rain.' Someday, the war will pass. Then we won't need to hide behind secrets and lies, and I will be able to let you know that you are mine."
"Don't you think you need somebody, you're all alone," Harry said, begging and pleading to be allowed to keep this simple truth.
"It won't be forever, so never mind the darkness, we still can find a way," Severus whispered before taking out his wand. He looked at Harry one last time and then whispered, "Obliviate."