A Harry Potter Alternate Universe fanfiction
Description: You'd have thought that after Snape's death, that it would be the end of him. Well, not quite, exactly. Given another chance to live the world under a rewritten fate, Severus believes this will give him the chance to avoid all the mistakes of his past life. Yet, despite this new chance, nothing, not even Destiny, could have foreseen all the shadows ahead...
J.K. Rowling owns this stuff. I'm just borrowing it.
I could feel the numbing cold radiate from my neck, as Nagini's venom spread and my own lifeblood collecting itself into a warm pool around my head. I shivered, my chest constricting as I laid there dying, each breath becoming harder and harder to obtain. I clutched at the wounds with my steadily numbing hands, desperate to cease the bleeding, the dots that were beginning to cloud my vision, and my own slowing heartbeat thudding loudly in my ears.
I didn't deserve to die like this... No, not like this...
I began to feel myself grow weaker by the moment, the dirty and disparate ceiling above me beginning to blur and fade as death began its descent. The pain at least, was receding, but I was cold, so terribly, terribly cold.
Then he appeared beside me.
Harry Potter. Vivid green eyes gazed down upon me behind round eyeglasses. Dried blood and smudges of dirt were splattered cross his face, yet his stare did not waver as he knelt down beside me. Renewed strength surged through my dying body then, and I grasped the front of his robes, pulling him closer.
My throat, though numb as with the rest of my body, began to burn and tickle uncomfortably as I fought to speak, and I felt a trickle of warmth spew forth from my lips.
"Take... it... Take... it..." I gasped.
She would be my last thought, as least. Her smile, her laughter, her warmth, her beauty... and her love... Peace that had nothing to do with death filled me then, as bright and as vitalizing as sunshine filled my thoughts. I gathered all the memories that the boy would need, not just for knowledge, but for understanding. I could not leave the world without revealing my past, my mistakes, my secrets, or my passion. Watching him fill the flask with my memories, I sighed a little, knowing that my death would not be in vain after all. I grew light headed, and knew that my time was near.
There were no thoughts of remorse or sadness as I stared at Harry, aware that he was slowly standing up, and that my hand had now become dead weight at my side. I stared into his eyes, but it was not him I saw.
"Lily..." I breathed, as I felt a cool sheet gently placing itself on top of me, my life as Severus Snape dissolving slowly into nothing...
My eyes opened, and shut them again quickly as bright light shone into them. Moaning softly as the pain ceased, and I opened them again once more, this time slower, and sat up as I did, rubbing my head. I looked around my surroundings, taking in all the sights without really seeing them until my mind caught up. I blinked.
The forest around me was ancient, the nearby trees must have been standing for several thousand years, judging by the immense width of the trunks. Aged ivory had entwined themselves along the trunks and ascended high into the trees, where some had begun to form a canopy of vines ahead. Moss, as green and as healthy as any I'd ever seen clung to the surfaces of the ancient trees, shivered as a warm breeze blew past, the rustling of the leaves overhead whispering a moment after. Birdsong and the babble of a nearby brook caught my attention as well, and I paused for a moment, listening to the songs of nature.
I sighed softly, then got to my feet, brushing off my robes as I did. Looking down, my eyes widened.
"Oh, this has got to be some cruel joke."
Dressed in robes of valiant red and gold, I felt my eyes grow larger as my fingers traced over the symbol on my breast, the roaring figure of the lion, from the House of Gryffindor. Clean and not a wrinkle in the sight, the robes looked new but carried the familiar feeling of being constantly worn. I brushed my fingers against the soft material, and I closed my eyes to stem the onslaught of emotion that rushed through me.
There was a rustle of leaves, and a soft voice murmured, "It is all right to cry."
A woman stepped out from between two elder Oaks, her footsteps leaving no trace of disturbance behind her. Her skin was fair and light, and she appeared to be glowing in contrast to the green dress she wore, which hung about her like an ethereal garment. Her silvery hair had been pulled back into a long braid and tossed over her shoulder. Her delicate features bordered on breathtaking, and her dark green eyes spoke of tremendous wisdom. She made no move forwards, and I could see dust motes floating lazily in the air above her, twinkling in the sunlight.
I stared at her silently, and dimly noticed that the forest around me had become quiet, hushed. Waiting.
"Who are you?" I asked at last, breaking the silence. I could not look at her directly; her eyes were too much like Lily's, even if this woman did not look like her at all. I fixed my gaze on the flower entwined in her hair instead. The leaves rustled once more.
"My name is Alera. I am Guardian of the Sanctuary, forged by the elders to be the caretaker and the keeper of this realm. This," she gestured around her, "is a world beyond the world, a place of refuge or decision. A waiting room in simpler terms, if you'd like."
"Waiting room?" I asked softly. "What, is there a queue to wait in til it is my turn to be tossed into damnation?"
Alera's cheek flushed as if she had been slapped, but only shook her head and sighed. "No, dear Severus, that is not its purpose at all. The Sanctuary is home and refuge to many not unlike yourself, those not ready to move on, or simply... those who are given choices they must decide on. And no," she added, "Damnation is not what awaits you. You have done much good in your life, despite the events that lead to your fall."
I closed my eyes, suddenly weary. Could this apparition be right, about my actions? I had been foolish as a child, and those very mistakes had often created trouble in my stead, created a world filled with lies and treachery... The tears came steadily now, streaming down my cheeks like the water in the nearby brook, as the pain and the relief of the finality of it finally taking over me. I wept, and could feel Alera's warming presence suddenly touch me, envelop me.
For how long I wept, I did not know. The warmth and the comfort of Alera lulled me into a state of peace that I had not felt in years. I sighed softly, and smiled as her scent of wildflowers filled my nostrils, invigorating and fresh. At last I pulled away from her hold, and she released me easily, her gaze now locked with mine. I felt as if I could explore the depth of Alera's eyes forever, but something in them bade me not, and I understood that it could never be.
I had woken up here after my death with a purpose.
"I have a decision to make, don't I?" I had sat down crosslegged in front of her, running my fingers along the grass underneath me. Alera knelt down, and I could see her nod sadly from the corner of my eye. I nodded as well.
Her hand gently grasped mine. "This decision will be hard to make, you must understand."
"I'm aware." I smiled bitterly.
"At first thought, it might not seem so difficult, but you must devote time and patience to seek out the right decision."
"What if I make the wrong choice?" My voice was a whisper now, slightly awed and frightened at her words.
Alera shook her head, and quiet birdsong filled the air with a sad tune. "There are no wrong choices, never that. There is balance in everything, and thus order to all. No matter how... outstretched it is."
I snorted in sour humour, reflecting back to my life. Such a waste...
She nodded, sensing my thoughts. "There was still balance in your life, was it not? Even if you were delved into the darkness as a youth, your heart remained pure and whole to the light, to balance, even if you did not understand it at the time. It is all just a matter of perceivedness."
"Now," she said softly, "I will tell you your choices, and you must dedicate time to make your final decision, all right?" Smiling sadly at my eager nod, Alera continued. "You may either choose to stay here in Sanctuary, as another inhabitant of the world beyond the world. You may also continue on to the Beyond, the finality of yourself, Severus. Or you may also..." her voice faltered slightly as she continued, "Choose to relive your past."
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