Severus Snape walked to the Great Hall in a bad mood. Today was Halloween, the Gryffindor/ Slytherin classes that day had driven him mad, and to top it all off, he had received a summons from Avery, one of the followers of the Dark Lord, for the next day. He took his usual place without saying a word to any of the other staff members. His eyes fell on Harry Potter, now in his fifth year, sitting down with that insufferable know-it-all, and the Weasley boy.
Thunder crashed above. He looked up to the artificial sky and saw another lightning bolt flash before another thunder crash shook the table. He watched as the food appeared on the plates, and scowled as the students stuff their mouths full of sweets. Suddenly, the doors to the Great Hall crashed open, and a wet young woman entered. Snape looked at her—he didn’t believe his eyes.
The young girl’s eyes caught him by surprise. She was a ghost of his past, the girl who haunted his dreams almost every night. He remembered those eyes, but he remembered them filled with fear and grief—he had seen her hiding as a little girl. He could have killed her. He was supposed to kill her, but he couldn’t. He had said she wasn’t in the house after they had killed her parents. He wondered if she remembered him.
The way her eyes filled with terror gave Snape a definite answer of yes to that question. She gasped. Dumbledore was already with her, but even as she talked, Snape’s eyes stayed locked with hers. He knew who she was now. Not just the little girl he should have killed as a Death Eater, she was now an expert charmer, specialized in Defense Charms. Dumbledore had asked her to come to add a few new wards to the castle.
Snape realized now that he had lost his appetite and left the Hall just as Dumbledore was announcing the new guest. He went straight to his bedroom, locked the door and shut his eyes, thinking of the new charmer who would be staying for the next few days.
He remembered vividly the night that her parents were killed. They were important people in the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic. They had come too close to uncovering a Death Eater scheme, and Lord Voldemort had asked Snape to take care of them, along with anyone else in the house.
At first it seemed like any Death Eater raid. Another Death Eater, Jonathan Powell, was sent with him. They used a simple Unlocking Charm, and strode casually into the house. The wife, Sarah Archwood, was taking care of the dinner dishes, and Anthony had just emerged from the hallway; Snape now realized that he had probably just put their daughter to bed. Before Anthony had a chance to react, Powell had used Avada Kadavra on Sarah. Anthony withdrew his wand, but Snape already had his out.
Snape’s own words rang though his mind along with the screams from the man. He looked past to the eyes full of tears, the eyes that belonged to the little girl. They were a strange shade of greenish blue; a strand of blonde hair fell in front of her eyes as she watched her father roll in agony on the floor and stared in horror at the man causing him pain. She couldn’t see past from her little door, to the man laughing at the screams, but she heard him. Only a single tear emerged from the five-year-old’s eyes. Snape removed the curse, and before the man could recover cast Avada Kadavra.
"Search the house," reminded Powell. Snape walked to the door where the little girl had been; she fled upon hearing those words. He saw her trembling underneath her small purple bed. Her eyes stood out somehow, and he knew that saving her life was up to him. He chose to leave her there, checked the other rooms, reassured Powell, and left the house. He turned before leaving and saw the girl’s eyes through the window.
He needed to walk, he couldn’t bear the thought of her, and he couldn’t stand locking himself up. He decided that he would to walk along the edge of the Forbidden Forest, and give himself some time to just walk and think.
Just as he was leaving the school towards the grounds, helocked eyes again with the young girl.
"Severus, why don’t you introduce yourself? I don’t believe you two have met," Dumbledore called to him merrily.
"Severus Snape, Potions Master," he said coolly.
"Lorelei Powell, Defense Charms Specialist." They shook hands briefly. Her hair was strawberry blonde, and her smile reminded him a lot of Lily Evans.
Lily—another ghost from his past. Her face now stood out among the shadows of his mind. She had been the reason that he’d left the Dark Side. He couldn’t bear to see her killed, so he went to Dumbledore. He did everything in his power to save her. But, in the end, she was still killed.
He strode outside and thought of Lily. He thought of the night she died. He had heard the news from Dumbledore, and he all but ran out of the large office. He remembered going through every poison in his mind, some strange ingredient keeping him from efficiently taking his own life. He remembered that they had used the last of one ingredient, wolf’s bile, in a lesson, and that was the base for over half of the poisons he knew how to make. The complicated ingredients to complete any of the poisons in the remainder of those he knew were not usually kept on hand at all times and had to be specially ordered, so there would be no possibility of concocting them either—at least that night.
Back to reality now, he realized that he was in the forest, and that he was covered with rain. And that a thunderstorm was still raging above him. He couldn’t bear the thoughts of the Death Eater meetings that occurred to him as he sat there, staring into the dark trees, and soon he had convinced himself to think about Monday’s lessons instead of his past.
He went to the kitchen, and had the house-elves make him a cup of hot chocolate. He remembered the first time he had hot chocolate. It was after his trial. He was talking to Dumbledore about taking up a teaching career at Hogwarts. He was still grieving for everyone he had killed, and everyone that had died at Death Eater’s hands. He went into the kitchen, and got Lily’s favorite drink, hot chocolate, and he remembered her as he drank the warm liquid; it seemed to calm his nerves, and when everything became too much, it helped him to forget.
He ran into Lorelei as he headed back to his chambers. "Sorry," he told her, after bumping into her.
"I know who you are," she said quietly.
"And I, you," Snape answered with no hint of sarcasm. "I am sorry about your parents."
It was not what he was expecting. He looked at her eyes—they were the same ones that haunted him at night, but they were different, more mature. "Yes, I am."
"Oh, I didn’t expect to see you again, but as I got older, I always imagined what I might do. I used to plan on killing you, but that doesn’t quite seem nice, right? But what I always wondered—why?"
Snape sighed, and to even his own surprise he talked to her. "I really don’t know why, I guess there was pressure, and a need for power. Power—that was what I really wanted when I joined the Dark Side, I was promised it. But, after killing enough people, you see that power isn’t really that important."
"Well, I just wish you could have thought of that before my parents died," she answered distantly.
"As do I," Snape answered. And finally the ghosts of his past left him alone—for now anyway.
A/N: Thanx as always to NightZephyr, who is an awesome beta-reader. I might make this into a series—later.