Severus had been drinking a lot ever since he had lost his
family. He was sitting in a pub on Christmas Eve with a glass of Firewhisky and
taking great pleasure at scowling at anyone who happened to cross his path.
People learned to steer away from him, and after a while, it was like he had an
Invisibility Cloak on – nobody saw him. He did not exist. And he liked it that
But then a very short man with a funny blue hat on – you
know the type, the kind with big wings coming out of it – sat down at his table.
Severus glared at him, but he did not go away. Instead, the man smiled at him
and said, “It’s Christmas Eve, and I have a present
“I don’t want a present,” Severus said, downing his
Firewhisky and glowering at the man.
“Be that as it may,” said the man cheerily, “you’re getting
one anyway. Go home and wait, and three spirits will
come to you and say what they will.”
“Why are you giving me a present? I don’t even know you!”
But the little man with the funny hat only winked at him and
So Severus went home to a very small, very lonely flat and
waited for these spirits that would come to him. He wondered who they would be,
and what they would have to say to him. He thought that it might not be very
good, but then he remembered that the man said that their visit should be a
pleasant one. He hoped it would be.
Severus washed his face and behind his ears, cleaned his
teeth, and put on his pajamas. He got into bed and read a book, trying to keep
himself awake so he could meet the first spirit. But he was very tired, and so
he fell asleep.
awake when he felt someone sit down on the edge of his bed. He rubbed his eyes,
astonished – it was his sister Eurydice, whom he had
not seen for years. “Eurydice!”
Severus,” she said with a small smile.
a spirit – are you really dead?”
“No,” said Eurydice. “I am still alive – this is just a bit of magic.
We should get going now.”
out of bed. Eurydice snapped her fingers, and the
next thing that Severus saw was a fireplace. There was a warm fire crackling,
and Severus reached out his hands to warm them – his own flat was very dark and
around and saw that he was in a room at Mistraldol
with the people he considered to be his real family – Geoffrey and Melisande Klarion, and their son
Errol, and a very much younger version of himself and Eurydice.
“This is that Christmas – ”
Errol had his trial,” finished Eurydice. “I wondered
if you would remember.” She looked sad.
the last really happy day I had,” said Severus. “Of course I would remember.”
said Eurydice, and she gestured to the happy family
in the process of opening presents.
watched as Errol opened a rather lopsided sweater made for him by Eurydice, and he smiled. It didn’t hurt to think about
Errol as he was then – as long as he didn’t remember what Errol was like now.
watched from present-opening to sharing Christmas dinner to going to bed,
thoroughly stuffed and happy. When the Klarions had
retired to their various rooms, Severus looked at Eurydice.
“Why are you showing me this?”
you that you were happy once, and you can be happy again.” She smiled at him
sadly. “Not now, but eventually you will be happy. Have faith, Severus –
we’ll keep working to make sure that the Dark Lord is gone forever in our
separate ways. I love you.”
Severus suddenly found himself away from Mistraldol
and back in his bed. He lay awake for a while, remembering that Christmas and
how wonderful it had been to completely relax, even though it had just been for
a day. Eventually, he fell asleep.
he woke, a dark figure stood over him. Severus saw blue eyes and dark curls
framing a pale face. “Esme,” he said softly.
she said. She did not look happy, but he didn’t think she was there to do him
you here to show me?” he asked.
seen the past; I am to show you the present.” Without warning, she waved a hand
and they were off.
he saw Geoffrey and Melisande Klarion
in the drawing room of Mistraldol, laughing over some
old memory, looking very much alive and together and happy. He watched them,
wishing that he could join them – if it hadn’t been for the Dark Lord –
will never make things better,” Esme said softly. She
gave him a sad smile. “Come – there is still one thing left to see here.”
silently down eh halls. Severus took in everything he could, remembering the
days he had spent with the Klarions – they had been
stopped him outside the library (“—this very room – ” said Errol to the
wondering Garlands) and said, “You won’t like what you see in here.”
not look,” said Severus.
opened the door to the library and gestured for him to enter. He did.
was Errol, sitting in a chair, holding little slips of paper in one hand and a
larger, yellowed square in the other. Severus moved closer, wondering what the
larger paper was.
He saw that
it was a picture – a picture of himself and Errol as children. For once, they
were both smiling, not just Errol.
the grownup wasn’t smiling. He was looking at the little bits of paper, reading
them over and over, and glancing at the photograph, seemingly trying to
reconcile what was on the little papers with the picture.
looked over Errol’s shoulder at the smaller papers. The words Severus, Dark
Lord, and Death Eater jumped out at him immediately. So did spy,
good man, and friend.
fell back, staring at Errol. He had known that Errol had lost his memory, but
suddenly threw all the papers on the floor with a violence Severus had
forgotten that he could possess. “I can’t remember!” Errol cried, and
buried his head in his hands, shoulders shaking.
turned to the door and ran.
waiting for him. She did not ask any questions; rather, she looked at him
“Is he always like this now?”
“He has bad
days. This is not the worst.”
“Will Aunt Melisande do nothing for him?”
tried. On days like this, he will not see anyone – including his mother.”
stood there outside the library, unable to say anything. Esme
said, “It is time to go.” She leaned forward and kissed his cheek. “Have faith,
faded from around him, and he was back in his bed. This time, he could not go
to sleep as easily – he kept remembering Errol’s misery.
into an almost-trance, thinking and staring at his ceiling. It was only when he
heard footsteps entering his room that he looked away.
“What are you doing here?” Severus
snarled. He didn’t want to let James know that he was really scared. He knew
that Eurydice and Esme
weren’t really dead, and it was unsettling to have his last apparition be a
to show you your last vision,” said James Potter. “You may as well come and get
it over with, Severus. I know you never liked me in school, but just come and
see what I have to show you and I’ll leave.”
right,” Severus growled.
go to Mistraldol this time – this time, they were in
the dungeons at Hogwarts. “This is Professor Borgia’s
classroom!” said Severus to James.
classroom,” said James. He pointed at the head of the classroom, and there he
was – but he looked so much older and sadder and unhappier.
is what I have to look forward to?” hissed Severus. “I may as well go ahead and
kill myself now! I don’t have anything or anyone to live for now, and from the
looks of this, I certainly won’t have anything to look forward to in my
“Just look who you’re teaching – and what that means.”
looked at the students. They were young – first-years. And there, a few rows
back from the front –
Harry,” he said to James. “It’s your son.”
smiled sadly. “He certainly couldn’t be anyone else’s, what with that hair of
grunted and said, “What does this mean?”
sighed. “Don’t you see, Severus? You’re free of the Dark Lord. You’re teaching.
You’re at Hogwarts, doing what you love most – you’re free.”
considered this. James continued, “All you have to do is have faith that things
will turn out all right. You’ll still have people who care about you – the
Headmaster and your other colleagues. You’ll be fine, Severus – just have
watch out for Harry, Severus,” said James in a sudden rush. “I know you won’t
like him, but you – you owe me, Severus. Please.”
Just get me out of here!” Severus suddenly felt that he couldn’t bear to stay
any longer – that seeing his future was too painful. Even though he would be
doing what he loved, as James had said, he still looked so lonely…
Severus,” James said. He waved a hand, and then Severus was back in his bed. He
was tired, and he fell asleep.
But he was
woken up one last time – that same funny little man in the winged blue hat was
bouncing up and down on his bed. Severus barked, “What are you doing here?”
to see what you thought of your present,” said the man, still bouncing, the
wings on his hat waving back and forth.
said, “I didn’t see the point.”
smiled. “Didn’t you?”
looked at him.
still using the mattress for a trampoline, did a somersault in midair. “Have faith,
Severus! Magic happens on Christmas!” And then he disappeared.
up in bed for a long time that Christmas Eve night, thinking. Somehow, things
didn’t look as bad as they had when he’d started out that evening. Yes – he
would have faith, and things would work out.