Disclaimer: No, Harry Potter isn't mine, Severus Snape and his life are not mine...if they were...oh if they were...

Author's Note: This story is a little AU, so don't be surprised if there are many, many events that didn't take place in either books or the movies. And as always, thanks so much for reading! And, oh yes, The poem 'Love Me Not for Comely Grace' is by John Wilbye, it's not mine, though I am making use of it here...and because it's an awesome poem and just embodies Snape...

Love me not for comely grace,

For my pleasing eye nor face,

Nor for any outward part.

No, nor for my constant heart.

For these may fail, or turn to ill

So thou and I shall sever.

Keep therefore a true woman's eye

And love me still, but not know why.

So thou hast the same reason still

To dote upon me ever.

Never in my life, would have thought I would miss him. Never would I have said that a day would come when I would wake in that tiny forgotten cottage, go downstairs and find the house strangely empty without him. Never would I have believed that the world would feel less…well…just less without him in it. I was probably the only person in the world who even noticed his absence—except maybe Emily, who, even at 18 months seemed to recognize a lack in her surroundings. Every now and again she would look at me, in the quiet, and her big dark eyes would voice that wordless question that hung in the air. Why? Why? Why?

Even if he'd lived, I doubt we'd have had an answer to that. Even if the war had ended, and he had survived it (which would have annoyed him no end, no doubt) I don't think he'd have given me the time to answer that question. Would things have been as they are if he'd lived? Where would Emily and I be if he had lived? What might have been? What could have been, if things had been different?

A smile tugged at my lips. I stood, hands thrust deep into the pockets of my cloak, my hood pulled well up against the snowy wind that pulled at it, trying to dislodged the wild strands of my hair. The greenhouse stood before me, a silent, unfriendly character. As unfriendly, indeed, as the man who had once called it 'his workshop'. The frightening title that had kept woman and child alike from its premises, the door had yet to be opened since a week after his death, despite the several months that had passed now. Someone had collected his things when they had dismantled the extensive protective enchantments around the acreage, what had happened to them after that, I didn't know. I could still imagine the ghostly shapes of tables, shelves, workbenches and cauldron through the thin glass. It was empty, but it was as if he was still there.

"Ma!" I turned automatically and looked back at the cottage. The winter garden was swept with fresh snow, the air was cold and crisp and empty. The heavy gray sky seemed to share my feelings, the leafless trees shook their branches at me, as if shooing me away from the empty greenhouse and the ghost of the hateful man who had occupied its space. My child…the child who had started it all, stood at the back door to the cottage, her tiny face pressed against the glass of the lowest pane, eyes frantic and I hurried towards her, knowing I needed to reach her quickly, or else begin a torrent of tears. Sleepy, bleary from her nap, she was always afraid when I wasn't near when she woke. Understandably. I had doubts as to whether or not she would ever forget her rickety beginnings in this cold, empty world.

The cottage greeted me with a blast of warm air as I pulled the door open and swept my daughter up into my arms, crooning gently and wiping sleep from her eyes. The tea kettle was whistling merrily on the stove and a surge of guilt washed over me to realize I'd actually forgotten it in my moment of remembering.

Emily snuggled into my shoulder as I fixed my tea and went to sit at the table. Even at 18 months she had seemed to have acquired my love of languid awakenings, and she was taking her time coming around, sleepy eyes staring fixedly at a point on the table. I smiled gently at her, brushing back a curl, a curl which was midnight black. How like him she looked. It was amusing, ironic and sad all at once.

Of course, the resemblance could easily have come from myself as well, for my own dark hair and dark eyes I had inherited from my mother…but the irony was far more amusing than the logic. She looked like him, which was probably one of the things he'd taken into account in his vile plan to shock the wizarding world. He'd certainly succeeded. Undoubtedly a coup that had appealed to his wry sense of humor. The oddity was that his little joke had benefited a complete stranger too him—and that she would never know him, or be able to repay him. Or even thank him.

End Note: Thanks for reading, and, as always, review! Naja