The rain pattered against the glass, accompanying Harry and filling the silence of the room. The storm that was falling was typical of the time of year, heavy but brief, so he closed his eyes for a moment, enjoying it while it lasted. It had only been a few days since the war had ended, since Ron and Hermione had brought Snape to the infirmary, but Harry felt as if it had been months.
The Weasleys, with the exception of Ron, had returned to the Burrow that morning. Harry remembered Mrs. Weasley's hug and the kiss Ginny had given him on the lips, promising to see him again in a few days at the funeral. But the farewell that had shocked the boy the most had been George's. Harry had approached him carefully, planning to give him a squeeze on the arm and a few words of encouragement. Before he could do so, however, George had wrapped his arms around him and squeezed him so tightly that Harry had run out of breath for a moment. He quickly returned the embrace with the same intensity, trying to show him everything he felt. When they pulled apart, both their cheeks were wet, but George's eyes were less empty than before.
And so, the Weasleys had returned home to prepare for Fred's funeral and to welcome all the family that had travelled there. Only Ron had stayed behind, which Mrs. Weasley hadn't been very happy about at first. Her husband made her understand that everyone deals with grief in their own way, and eventually Molly gave in. Ron was going to return to the Burrow in time for the funeral, after things had calmed down at Hogwarts.
Politicians, journalists, and celebrities had come to the school. But also, relatives of the victims, healers and people who wanted to help rebuild the castle. Because Harry, Ron and Hermione had played such an important role in defeating Voldemort, their presence was somehow required. They had to give their side of the story to various authorities in the magical world, as well as shaking hands and helping to boost the morale of the wounded. Of course, they could have refused, but all three felt responsible. Had they not returned to Hogwarts for the Horcrux, the battle would never have happened.
In this moment, though, Harry was back in Snape's room. The Professor had not yet awoken, but according to Madam Pomfrey his wounds were healing. As time passed, it had become easier for Harry to leave Snape under the watchful eye of his friends. Both Ron and Hermione had replaced him in his chair by the professor’s gurney so that Harry could sleep in a bed, spend time away from the infirmary, or attend to his responsibilities. Now, however, it was his turn to be there.
He didn't know exactly what time it was, but by the moonlight coming in from the window, it must have been late. Still, he didn't mind. He felt strangely calm and at ease, with Snape still asleep on his bed and the rain falling hard against the glass. He had checked out several books from the library and was reading them sitting cross-legged, the light from his wand illuminating the pages.
He knew that, if he so desired, he could start working as an auror at any time. But Harry didn't want to have any gaps in a knowledge that might one day save his life, so he had gone to the library to get several advanced books on Defence, Potions or Charms. Mrs. Prince had cleverly created powerful protections on the books at the start of the battle and thanks to that most of them survived the fight.
So, Harry sat there, next to Snape, reading in a silence broken only by the rain and the turning of the pages. He knew that when dawn came that quiet would be replaced by the coming and going of healers, the noise of the owls and the crowds of people wandering around the school. He was also aware that in the coming days he would be attending many funerals of loved ones, which would be painful. And that as soon as Snape woke up, he would have another fire to put out. But at that moment he felt strangely at peace.
He read on for a long time, well into the early hours of the morning, when suddenly the door opened, and Madam Pomfrey entered the room.
The healer was not surprised to see him, having grown accustomed to his presence over the past few days.
“Madam Pomfrey. Has something happened?”
“I'm not sure.” She approached Snape slowly and watched him for a moment. “The charms I placed have alerted me that a change is taking place.”
Harry got suddenly out of breath.
“A... a change?”
“That's right.” She said. “Give me a minute.”
She made some complicated movements with her wand, whispering different words in a language Harry didn't know. As the seconds ticked by, the boy began to worry. He didn't want to distract Madam Pomfrey, so he didn't say anything, but only the most pessimistic scenarios were running through his mind.
Just when he thought he couldn't take the uncertainty any longer, Madam Pomfrey turned around and Harry could see her face. She had a tired smile on her face and her eyes were shining with satisfaction.
“It will be all right, Potter.” She said, reassuringly. “His breathing, as well as his pulse, are quickening. That indicates that his body is preparing to wake up. I can tell you that he will do so shortly.”
Those words dispelled the anxiety Harry had carried with him since he had discovered that Snape was alive. The twinge of nervousness in his stomach disappeared and he had to take a deep breath to keep from getting dizzy with relief.
“Are you alright?” Madam Pomfrey asked, watching him closely.
“Yes, yes. Of course. This is fantastic news. It's just...” He hesitated for a moment, not knowing how to explain himself. “It's been so many days of nerves; I can't believe it's really happening.”
“It's perfectly normal, Potter.” She said, reaching over and patting him on the back. “Take deep breaths and it will pass.”
Harry did so, and slowly regained his composure.
“Okay, I’m good. I'm all right.” He said, more to himself than to Madam Pomfrey.
“I'm glad, because you only have a few minutes until Professor Snape wakes up.”
Harry nodded, suddenly nervous, anticipating the moment. He looked around and saw the mess in the room. He decided that the last thing he wanted was to upset Snape as soon as he woke up, so he set to work. He gathered up his books and stuffed them into his backpack, which he then left leaning against his chair. Then he folded up the blanket he had covered himself with and put it in a drawer indicated by Madam Pomfrey. When he was done, he sat down again, fiddling impatiently with his fingers.
“Potter.” The healer said when only a few seconds had passed. “I want you to listen to me carefully. I know you probably have a lot to talk to Severus about, but it's important that you don't upset him too much. He'll still be very weak and, considering your history with him... I don't want to have to throw you out of the room, do you understand?”
Harry nodded, though he couldn't help but to smile with humour.
“I understand, but don't worry. I don't mean to pick up a fight with Snape. I don't think I ever will again.”
Now that the war was over and Harry knew him better, he hoped to be able to maintain a cordial relationship with the man. Their days of childish bickering were behind them, at least as far as Harry was concerned.
“Good,” Was all Madam Pomfrey said.
The next few seconds passed in silence, as Harry's heart pounded. Behind the windows the rain had stopped, but he didn't notice, he was too focused on Snape. He watched his face, waiting for some change.
When it finally happened, it was as if time slowed down. Snape's eyelids fluttered and his eyes opened. It took them a few seconds to get used to the light, but when they did, they quickly went to rest on Harry.
Green met black, just as it had nights before, in the Shrieking House. Harry had thought it would never happen again, and so he shivered when Snape's dark eyes looked directly at him and, after a few moments, recognized him.
“Potter?” His name had only been a whisper, a sigh in the silence of the room, but Harry could hear it clearly.
He wanted to reply, but the lump in his throat was too strong, so he could only smile. Some part of him realized that this was the first time he had ever smiled because of Snape.
“Severus.” Said Madam Pomfrey, her eyes a little blurry with emotion.
Snape's head turned in her direction and the movement must have caused him pain, as a grimace appeared on his face. Then he seemed to realize where he was because his eyes widened in alarm, and he began to look around nervously.
“It's all right, it's all right.” Madam Pomfrey said quickly. “You are safe.”
But Harry could see the fear on the Professor's face. Used to the man's impassivity, it worried him and made him take a step forward, approaching the bed.
“Professor, Madam Pomfrey is right: all is well. Voldemort has been defeated. The war is over.”
He hoped those words would calm him, but Snape continued to look at him, fear on his eyes, and shaking his head weakly.
“You're still... you're still alive, Potter.” Snape's voice was hoarse, Harry didn't know if it was from lack of use or from his injuries, but the panic in it was clear. “As long as... you live...” he had to pause for a moment to catch his breath, “… so will he...”
And then Harry understood.
“Oh, of course... You don't know.” The expression on Snape's face made him continue speaking quickly. “Eh... It's a bit of a long story, but basically, I did what Dumbledore wanted me to do. I let him... kill me. And that killed the part of him that lived in me. And I don't quite know how, but somehow, I survived. I was able to come back, to wake up again as if I had just fainted.”
Snape was still looking at him, sceptical, but a little calmer than before. Harry interpreted his silence as a sign for him to keep talking.
“And when I woke up again, I managed to... well, defeat him.” He didn't want to use the word ‘kill’. “There was a battle with a few Death Eaters that were left, but most of them tried to run away or surrendered. And... that was it. The war was over.”
He had been averting his gaze as he spoke, but when he finished, he turned his attention back to Snape.
Snape took some time before answering him. Although the fear was gone from his features, his gaze was lost somewhere on the ceiling and for a few seconds he didn't move from there. Still, Harry couldn't blame him. He could imagine what Snape must have been feeling at that moment. Probably something similar to what he had felt when he saw Voldemort's body touch the ground.
“He's dead.” Snape finally said, and Harry did not know whether he was asking or affirming.
“Yes.” He answered, anyway. “He is dead.”
Snape's eyes met his, once more, and Harry could see the relief in them.
“Good.” He said simply. Then, surprising Harry, he gave a small smile and closed his eyes, resting his head on the pillow.
A few seconds passed in silence until Madam Pomfrey approached the bed and softly said:
“Severus, I have a few questions to ask you, if that's all right.”
Snape's eyes were still closed, but Harry could see the irritation emanating from him.
“Alright.” He said finally, sitting up with Madam Pomfrey's help.
She conjured up a pillow and placed it behind Snape's back. Once he was settled, she moved aside to make room for him.
Meanwhile, Harry felt completely out of place, watching. It had been different when Snape was asleep, but now that he was awake, he felt like an intruder.
“Let’s see.” Madam Pomfrey began. “I have noticed that you are having some difficulty speaking. It's probably due to the wounds you received to your neck.” Snape tried to hide a slight shudder, but Harry saw it. “I'm not too worried about that, though. They are healing well, so you should be able to recover your voice without any problems. Alternatively, it could also be dryness from lack of use. Which reminds me...” She waved her wand and a glass of water appeared.
Madam Pomfrey took it in one hand and helped Snape drink. When he had finished, he thanked her with a slight nod.
“Okay.” She said, placing the glass on the small table. “Another thing I wanted to know is if you remember anything about the attack.”
She had asked it gently and carefully, but Snape was not amused.
“I remember.” He said dryly.
“I'm asking because sometimes losing a lot of blood or even trauma can cause memory loss and…”
“I said I remember.”
Harry could see Snape's right hand gripping the sheets tightly.
“Alright.” Madam Pomfrey nodded, putting the matter to rest.
“Yes, just a question.”
Snape sighed, but didn't complain. Meanwhile, Harry was trying not to draw attention to himself. He didn't know if they had forgotten about him, but he didn't want to be thrown out of the room.
“I would like to know how you're feeling. Are you in any discomfort? Are you in any pain? More than would be normal under the circumstances.”
“No, I'm perfectly fine.” Snape said sarcastically.
Madam Pomfrey pressed her lips together but nodded. She must have been used to dealing with difficult patients.
“Very well, then, that will be all. Now I will change the bandages and give you your potions.” Snape started to speak, but she silenced him, waving a hand. “Yes, before you start: they are potions prepared by you.”
That must have satisfied him, because he nodded and Harry could see something resembling a smile on his lips.
“Well, I'll get everything I need, and I will be right back.” Said Madam Pomfrey, heading for the door. “Mr. Potter, I think it's time for you to go back to your room, don't you think?”
Harry felt his cheeks redden and hurried to pick up his backpack. Madam Pomfrey left the room, and he was about to do the same when Snape spoke.
“Stay, Potter. At least until she returns. I have some questions.”
The surprise on Harry's face was evident, but he did as Snape had told him. He put his bag back on the floor and sat down in the chair he already considered his own.
Snape said nothing for a few moments and Harry began to get nervous. Clearly, he would have been more intimidated had he not been lying on the stretcher, wearing white pyjamas and bandages around his neck. But even so, Snape's silences were always frightening.
“Have you been staying here long, Potter?” Snape's gaze went to rest on his backpack.
Harry wanted to play dumb, to deny it, but he knew it would do no good. So, he nodded.
“Yeah, a bit... We've been taking turns since you were brought to the infirmary.”
Snape watched him silently, processing that answer. He looked as if he wanted to say something, but then changed his mind and instead asked:
“Turns? You and who else?”
“Ron and Hermione.” Said Harry.
“They were the ones who found you, sir. The ones who realized you were alive.”
Snape's sarcastic smile disappeared.
“I suppose I should thank them...”
He seemed to be speaking more to himself than to Harry.
“Tell me, Potter, how did you survive?” He said suddenly.
Harry tried to gather his thoughts, as even he was not sure.
“It's a bit of a long story...”
“I do not know if you've noticed, but I've got time.”
Snape seemed to be slowly regaining his voice, and though Harry was glad, it had also brought back his sarcasm.
“All right.” The boy sighed. “First of all, do you know what a Horcrux is?”
Snape's white skin paled even more, but he nodded.
“I thought you would know, after all…”
“I'm a former Death Eater who knows too much about the Dark Arts?”
Harry didn't know what to say to that, so he just kept explaining.
“Basically, Voldemort,” Snape grimaced at the name of his former master, “created seven of them.”
“Seven?” He whispered in horror.
“You didn’t know, sir?”
“Dumbledore never told me directly. Though after I knew you were supposed to die... Well, it wasn't hard to figure out. But I never thought there would be so many. Is that what you have been doing all this year? Destroying them?”
“But how did you...?” Suddenly something clicked in his mind. “The Gryffindor sword... That's what you needed it for.”
“It absorbed the basilisk's poison.” Harry explained.
Snape ran a hand over his face, looking very tired.
“Thank you for giving it to us, by the way.”
Snape pulled his hand away and watched him. It was a curious expression, as if he were looking for the trap in Harry's words. But the boy meant it with complete sincerity. Obtaining that sword had been key to their mission. Being able to destroy the Horcruxes had been a much-needed boost of positivity for the three friends. Besides, he still remembered Snape's Patronus and the feeling of familiarity he felt when he saw it. The doe had made him feel safe and secure, and though he hadn't known why then, he understood now.
“Actually,” Harry continued, “I wanted to thank you for everything you've done. For the magical world, but especially for me.” He had wanted to say that ever since he had looked at Snape's memories.
“Potter...” It was only one word, but it caught Harry's attention.
He had heard Snape say his name with hatred or anger, but never like this. This time, his voice was full of guilt and sadness. Looking into his face, Harry could see the weariness of a man who had lived for thousands of years.
“You shouldn't thank me.” He said finally.
“Of course, I should!” That had angered Harry. “You have put yourself in danger over and over again for years without anyone knowing about it. I've seen your memories, I've seen everything you’ve done, so I know perfectly well...”
“You know nothing!” Snape had raised his voice and it sounded hoarse and raspy. “If you have seen my memories, then you should understand why I don't deserve your gratitude. I killed your parents, Potter.” He spat, trying to hurt Harry, trying to make him hate him as much as Snape hated himself. “I've been a Death Eater, I've done horrible things. I still would be one if it wasn't for that stupid prophecy! Do you think I would have cared about you if you were not the son of who you are? Do you think I would have protected you if you weren't ‘the famous Harry Potter’?”
That hurt, Harry had to admit. He felt like snapping back, like shouting at him and agreeing with everything that he had said. Telling him that he was a soulless Death Eater and that he deserved everything bad that had happened to him. He wanted to flee the room and never see the man who had caused so much misfortune in his life ever again. Once upon a time he would have done it. But Harry had matured, he had grown up and learned a lot. And, above all, he had lost. And he had had enough. Snape may have wanted Harry to leave him alone, but he wasn't about to.
So, he took a deep breath, calming his heartbeat, and said:
“‘Lately, only those whom I could not save’.”
“What the hell are you talking about?” Snape looked up at him blankly.
“It's something you said. Dumbledore asked you how many men and women you had seen die. And you replied, ‘Lately, only those whom I could not save’.”
Snape was speechless, and Harry took the opportunity to continue.
“I have seen your memories,” he repeated, “so I know that everything you have said is a lie. I do not believe it. Not for a moment. You tried to save Lupin and Charity Burbage. You protected Ginny, Neville and Luna this past year. You have kept me and my friends safe who knows how many times. You even stopped Draco from having to kill Dumbledore. And that's not even counting the number of lives you must have saved thanks to your role as a spy.”
Snape shook his head, trying to deny it. Any other time he would have answered, but he was tired. Tired of fighting and pushing people away. He was exhausted. So, he kept silent.
“Besides, no matter what kind of man you were twenty years ago, you have changed. I saw it in your memories. How you told Phineas Nigellus not to use the word ‘mud-blood’. And, for what it's worth, I also found out about Dumbledore, about his past. He, too, once believed in magical supremacy.”
Though he hid it well, Harry could see the interest in Snape's features.
“That's right.” He continued. “He did once, and then he became the Muggles' greatest advocate.”
“I am not Albus Dumbledore.” said Snape, frowning.
“No, you are not. But you both changed your minds. You both put your misguided ideas behind you, and in the end, you were instrumental in saving the magical world.”
Snape shook his head again and looked away.
“As far as I'm concerned,” Harry continued, “I think that even without the Prophecy, you would have given up on the Death Eaters in the end.”
“Potter... Do not talk about things you don't know anything about.” Snape muttered, very seriously.
“You're right, I don't know what you were like when you were young... But my mother did.”
That made Snape look him straight in the eyes, and Harry saw such pain in his that he had to look away.
“She saw something good in you, she was your friend for years.” he said, despite everything. “And even if I did not know her well, I trust her judgement.”
He finished speaking and waited. He was aware that so many years of loneliness, pain, and self-hatred had taken their toll on Snape, but he hoped that his words would resonate with the man.
Several seconds passed in silence, but Snape said nothing. So, finally, Harry decided to speak again.
“Look, I realize that our relationship has never been easy.” He said. “But now that I know the truth, I would like to.... I don't know, come to some sort of truce? Try to get along as amicably as possible?”
This caused Snape to snort sarcastically, but Harry took it as a good sign. After all, he hadn't shouted at him to leave the room.
“I'm here.” Madam Pomfrey said from the door, startling them both. Harry had almost forgotten about her.
She placed the potions and fresh bandages on the table and turned to Harry.
“Mr. Potter? I thought you had gone to your room.”
“I told him to stay.” Snape explained. “I had some questions.”
Madam Pomfrey's eyes twinkled.
“Has he answered them yet?”
“He has. Most of them, anyway.” Snape said, though Harry would have liked to say otherwise. His conversation with Snape wasn't over yet.
“Well, then I must ask you to leave the room.”
Harry alternated a hesitant glance between Snape and Madam Pomfrey. He had grown accustomed to spending hours in that place, and now that the Professor had woken up, he wasn't sure when he would be able to return.
“Severus will sleep until late with the potions I've given him.” The nurse said with a small smile. “It's almost dawn, Potter. Go to bed. You can visit Professor Snape again after lunch, once he's awake.”
The man wanted to reply, but before he could, Harry nodded. Knowing he could come back made him smile. He bent down to pick up his bag and, before heading out the door, he turned once more.
“We still have some things I would like to talk about, Professor. I'll come back later.” He said. “Good night.”
And he closed the door before Snape could answer.
“Don't think I don't know what you're doing, Poppy.”
“What do you mean?”
“You're no good at lying. You knew perfectly well that Potter was still here. I may still be weak but I'm not an idiot; it doesn't take that long to fetch a couple of potions and some bandages.”
Madam Pomfrey was silent as she removed the used bandages and applied the new ones. When she had finished, she stepped back a little and looked at Snape gravely.
“The poor boy has been here for days. It took his friends a while to convince him to leave you alone, even for a moment. I wasn't going to deny him the chance to talk to you for a few minutes.”
Snape said nothing.
“Look, Severus... We have known each other for years, but at the same time I get the feeling I don't know anything about you. Potter said something about your loyalties. When he was confronting You-Know-Who. He explained that you have always been on our side... I don't know how, but now he knows you better than most of us. And that has made him care about you. The boy has already lost a lot of people, it's only natural he'd want to hold on to the few he has left. Don't push him away, Severus.”
Those words caused Snape to close his eyes and turn his head in the opposite direction, ending the conversation. That was the last thing he needed. After all these years it was ridiculous to imagine a friendly relationship between him and Potter. Suddenly, something said by the nurse made him open his eyes and turn around again.
“Wait. You said: ‘he has already lost a lot of people’.” Repeating that sentence made his blood run cold. “Who? How many died in the battle?”
Before being attacked by Nagini, Snape had been able to watch the fight from the castle grounds. He couldn't tell the number of casualties, but from the explosions and the screams, he was sure there had been many.
“A lot, Severus.” Madam Pomfrey said grimly. “There's a list that appeared in the Prophet, I'll bring it to you later. It lists all the victims, both on one side and the other. Potter insisted.” She added, seeing the look on Snape's face. “And Minerva agreed. But I suppose you will want to know the names of those you knew best.”
Snape prepared himself for the worst but nodded.
“Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Tonks, Fred Weasley...” Her voice trembled as she listed the victims, and with each name, Snape could feel a new stabbing in his chest. “I'm sorry, Severus...”
Snape didn't know how to react to that. He closed his eyes and swallowed, trying to undo the lump in his throat. He thought of Lupin, the young boy who had done nothing when his friends tormented him. The man who had thanked him time and time again as he brewed his wolfsbane potion. Another member of the Order, just like him. Always polite, even if Snape hated that politeness. The last of the Marauders. Someone Snape had come to respect. For whom he had almost revealed his true loyalties by protecting him from a Death Eater's attack.
Silent tears fell down his cheeks and Snape did nothing to stop them. What was the point? It no longer mattered to show weakness. A lifetime of hiding his emotions had brought him nothing but misfortune.
He kept thinking of the victims. Of Tonks, so young, who had been his student. Always joking, bumping into everything, so much that it was annoying. But smart and cheerful, trying to include Snape when the others wouldn't. He had heard that she and Lupin had recently become parents. That hurt him even more. Another war orphan, like Potter once was. History was repeating itself.
And finally, the Weasley boy. Snape had hurt the other brother without meaning to. He remembered it well. When he saw the blood gushing from George's head, he had to make an effort not to fall off the broom he was flying on. Back then, he had pictured the whole family gathered around the boy. Molly and Arthur worried and angry, the siblings looking after him and joking to make him feel better. And now one of them was dead. The lump in his throat tightened at the thought of what Arthur and Molly must have been going through. Lily had died to protect her son. He was sure that, if someone had given them the choice, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley would have done it too.
“Severus?” Asked Madam Pomfrey, snapping him out of his thoughts. “Are you alright?”
Snape took a moment to answer, but finally nodded.
“Yes... Yes, I am.”
“I am sorry. “The healer said again. “It's not easy, I know.”
“I'm tired, Poppy.” Snape said suddenly, not wanting to talk about it anymore.
“Of course... It is normal.”
She picked up the first potion and held it to his lips.
“Here you go.”
Snape turned away.
“You don't have to give them to me, I can do it myself.”
Madam Pomfrey hesitated for a moment, but then nodded.
She put the potions back on the table.
“I'm sorry, Poppy.” Snape forced himself to say, immediately regretting his rudeness. “I did not mean to be ungrateful.”
“It's okay, I understand.” She smiled sadly. “When you wake up, let me know, all right?”
Snape nodded, as she walked towards the door.
“I'm going to lie down for a while too.” She said, opening it. “Rest, Severus. Merlin knows you have earned it.”
When Madam Pomfrey left the room, Snape let out a sigh. He had not been awake for more than an hour, but he was already exhausted. He had a lot to think about, and he knew that when he did manage to fall asleep, his dreams would not be pleasant ones. He picked up the potions from the table and looked at them carefully. He drank first the one that replenished the blood he had lost and then the one that helped his wounds heal. Then he took the last vial between his fingers. It was a potion that allowed him to sleep without dreaming, preventing nightmares for those who drank it. Though he was grateful for the healer's gesture, he could not drink it.
He bent with effort to pick up his wand from the table. He supposed they must have found it next to his unconscious body. He was glad he had not lost it.
“Evanesco.” he whispered, and the potion disappeared.
He placed the empty vial back on the table and lay down on the bed. He was aware that he had just condemned himself to an unpleasant sleep, but he didn't care. He owed it to those who had not made it. He didn't deserve to sleep peacefully while they had died, and he was still there. If he could trade his fate with any of the victims, he would do so without hesitation. Once the war was over, he felt he no longer had a purpose to follow. But Snape had learned, much to his regret, that nothing can change the past. So, he did the only thing he could do in that moment: close his eyes and, once managed to fall asleep, dream.
In the dormitory of the Gryffindor Common Room, Harry was still awake. Ron was snoring next to his bed, and Hermione was sleeping next to him. After spending so many months together, it felt strange for the three of them to be apart. So, Hermione had decided to break the rules and use the bed of one of the seventh-year boys who had come home after the battle. No one had noticed, or at least they hadn't complained, and Harry was grateful for it. He slept more peacefully knowing that two of the most important people in his life were safe. And he also felt more protected, lying next to them. In that moment, however, he was still awake. He was staring at the ceiling, lit only by the moonlight streaming through the curtains from the window. His conversation with Snape had given him much to think about. He replayed it in his mind, thinking of things he could have said and things he should not have. Finally, he realized that it didn't matter if it hadn't gone as well as he'd hoped: Snape was alive, and he could talk to him a thousand more times if he wanted to. That was if the professor did not finish him off first, he thought with a sleepy smile.
Slowly, sleep had begun to take its toll on him. Before he fell asleep, however, he realized that he felt safer and more optimistic than he had in a long time. For the first time he could think about the future, and though there were still many wounds to heal and a long road ahead, he was excited and hopeful for what it had to offer. He leaned back against the pillow and closed his eyes, letting his mind wander until he fell asleep.