Disclaimer: I’m borrowing some of Jo Rowling’s characters and am not making any money with them.
Hermione walked into the room with trepidation, nearly expecting some ward to reach out and harm her. After all the searching they’d done throughout the castle, she’d been the one to find the hidden rooms: Snape’s private sanctuary. While she’d not yet divulged the information to Harry, Ron, or even the headmistress, she knew that she should have, but she wanted to savor her victory a little while alone. She’d done what they’d said was impossible.
By rights, she should be allowed to venture in first for a bit of exploring. Mentally, she told herself that Harry and Ron would probably do more damage than good, destroying things either accidentally or purposely—things that they might be able to use to find him and his Dark Lord. The headmistress would probably call the Order in to go through it, leaving the same results.
Wouldn’t it be grand if she could find something of use? Some clue? That would show Harry and Ron that I should be allowed to go on with them! Prats! How dare they think they can do this without me after all we’ve been through. Part of her was flattered, though, that they worried so much about her that they’d asked if she’d remain behind. However, the indignant side won out, and she’d let them have a good tongue-lashing. They worked best as a team—the three of them.
After doing another sweep to try to detect any wards, she felt comfortable enough to start looking through his things. The logical place to start was in the room that looked to be his study. Unfortunately, the desk drawers were locked shut with spells that Hermione couldn’t budge.
“There must be something of importance in there. Surely he wouldn’t lock away the students’ dismal essays or anything like that.”
It was then that the three massive bookshelves on the walls behind her caught her gaze. It wouldn’t hurt to have a little look, would it? “To know what Snape knows…” she whispered excitedly. Sourly, she thought of Harry’s Potions book and how all of Snape’s suggestions seemed to be better than the book’s teachings. If he’d been that brilliant when he was a student, imagine what one could gain from reading the texts he scribbled in as an adult. With that, she lost herself in the vast sea of texts.
Hours later, she realized that the fire in the grate had lit and a tray of food had been placed next to her. Had a house-elf popped in without her noticing? Possible. The current book she held discussed remedies to poisons, and most of them were unheard of to her. Naturally, she eagerly soaked up everything she could. However, if it was mealtime in the Great Hall, as indicated by the timepiece on his mantle, then she’d better leave—for now—so her friends wouldn’t be suspicious. She quickly placed the book back on the shelf and made her way to the door.
“Hang on! What’s this!” The door wouldn’t budge. A flick of her wand wielded the same results. “Bloody hell, I’m locked in!”
Panic filled her, and she began to pace frantically, trying to think about wards that locked a person in once he’d entered and how to reverse them. “I’ll starve to death! They’ll never find me.” She stopped suddenly. “No. No, I won’t. There’s food here, a loo, everything… books.”
If she read more of the books, she would likely run across the spell he’d used on his quarters. Secretly, this pleased her. She’d attempted to go back to her mates, but now she had no choice but to read a bit more. Eyeing the sandwiches and pumpkin juice on the tray, she grinned and made herself comfortable in the same cozy chair she’d just exited.
Journal entry upon journal entry was read. Snape’s personal thoughts—things that had happened to him. If his own words didn’t prove him to be something more than he portrayed, nothing would.
January 9, 1969
My father is such an arse. Yes, an arse. I can say that here if no place else. I wish my mother would leave him and this poor excuse for a life. He has to ruin everything—even my birthday treats. I don’t know why she loves him. How could she have left her parents’ home for him? For this? I will never love anyone, for it will only be my destruction.
What a sad thing for a nine-year-old boy to be writing about.
June 11, 1973
Slytherin is ahead by nearly seventy points. We’re going to win the House Cup this year. I can feel it! Oh, I can’t wait to see the looks on those pathetic Gryffindors’ faces! Black and Potter will rue the day they began to mess with me! Nobody will get away with it. I will not be weak. I will not let my lack of fortune dictate the outcome of my life. I will rise above and be better than them
Not all Gryffindors are so bad. Why couldn’t Evans have been in Slytherin? She is kind enough and is a strong girl, not allowing anyone to shape her opinions. I wish my mum would be that way. If she were, she’d leave Da and make amends with her family.
We’re a powerful lot. I will live up to their name and make myself known to the Wizarding world. They will welcome us back into the fold and be proud of us.
Had regaining power always been important to Snape? If he’d thought so much of Lily Evans, why did his actions lead to hurting her and ultimately lead to her death?
September 25, 1973
I’ve kissed Lily Evans. It was more than I’d expected. Is this how my father felt when he first kissed my mother? That hum of magic, that spark of need, that feeling of pleasure mingling with uncertainty?
If so, why did he turn against her once he realized she was magical?
Why did she allow it? She could have been so much more. She could have been a woman like Lily.
Good Lord! Snape and… no, not possible!
June 22, 1974
I’ve turned Lily away and hurt her badly. Those wankers attacked me for no reason. In my anger and humiliation, I said things to her that I didn’t mean, shouldn’t have said. I tried to talk to her tonight, but she wouldn’t listen.
That’s fine with me!
I don’t need some girl distracting me anyway. That’s right. She’s been a distraction. Nothing more. Let her go off and be the Gryffindor that she truly is. She’s unworthy anyway. My mum fell for someone less worthy than a Prince. I’ll not do the same—ever again.
Bastard! How dare he think so much of himself?
February 14, 1975
I was nearly killed by Lupin tonight. He’s a werewolf! If fucking Potter hadn’t felt guilty about Black’s trick at the last moment, I’d not be here. I hate them all, the lot of them. Vengeance will be mine. What’s worse? Lily saw me in the hospital wing after. Her look of confusion and concern disgusted me. How dare she try to make amends now? How many times have I lowered myself to try to talk to her? How many times have I been snubbed for my attempts?
No, it’s too late for that, Evans.
I told her to bugger off. Unfortunately, her look of pity was then directed in Potter’s direction. He was a pale and as shaky as I. Like it or not, I suppose I owe him for saving my life. Maybe.
The idiot was too proud to say how he felt and lost her. Good for her. Glad she didn’t put up with that shite.
May 10, 1977
My God. Regulus was killed tonight! What have I got myself into? Lucius never said anything about all of this six months ago when he told me about how I could take part in setting the world right again, in regaining the respect of my family, of making my mum’s life and mine more comfortable.
Regulus’ own friends—and family—have turned against him because the Dark Lord branded him unworthy of the name Death Eater. Because he’d wanted to leave his service. It’s too late for all of us, isn’t it? What will my rise to power cost?
The cost was too much, eh? Pity that was realized too late.
December 12, 1980
What have I done? I’ve condemned Lily and her child to death. Surely the Dark Lord will kill them all, and it will be by my doing. I must help her—even if that means helping Potter. So be it. Our debt will be fulfilled then. If I’d known that it was Lily, I wouldn’t have said anything. I had no idea they’d got away from the Dark Lord three times or that her boy was born in July. I’d thought it was sooner than that.
I cannot allow this to go on. I shall have to go to Dumbledore. Each time I close my eyes, I see hers staring back at me. She was the only one who came to my mother’s funeral. I’d thought to dismiss her, but in my moment of weakness, I’d found that it was good to have her there—even if she does belong to Potter now.
I will save her like I couldn’t save my mum.
So much for that.
November 1, 1981
It’s done. She’s gone. Somehow her child survived. I am uncertain as to what’s gone on exactly, but I will find out once Dumbledore has a moment to explain everything. I should have insisted on being told her whereabouts. Why did I not follow Black? He’d have led me straight to them. I will kill him. This is his fault. How could he betray her?
I’ve never regretted anything more in my life than to lose her this way. Pride, the seeking of power, and the need for revenge have done this to me. Had I been a better man, I could have been the one to have her in the end. That boy would be mine—not bloody Potter’s! Why did I not snatch her away when I had the chance?
That would have been impossible, and she would have still lost her life. The Dark Lord would have found us. He’s far too clever in finding his followers, thanks to our Marks. I’ll find a way around that one day. That bastard! He’d promised to let her live. I should have never trusted his word. Why?
So, Snape’s biggest regret was his part in Lily Potter’s death. This was something unexpected.
“Oi, Harry, why don’t you get your nose out of that book,” Ron said, interrupting his thoughts. “We’ve still got to look around for clues. Finally finding the bastard’s quarters took us long enough.” His eyes lost some of their spark. “I only wish Hermione could be with us.”
“She’s here in spirit, mate,” Tonks said.
“Wish I knew what happened to her,” Ron said sadly. “She was with us one moment, and then she was gone—said she needed to get something from her rooms. I should have gone with her. Can’t believe some ruddy Death Eater snatched her right from under our noses!”
“You don’t know that’s what happened.”
“Don’t we though? She’d have come back otherwise.”
In an obvious attempt to change the subject, Lupin asked, “What’s that say, Harry?”
“It’s Snape’s personal journal, and it was sitting here right on his desk. He… he talks about Mum and Dad… things he regrets.”
“Blimey!” Ron said. “Maybe we’ll find out something from that.”
“Turn to the last entry, Harry! It’ll say what he was planning with the headmaster and the other Death Eaters,” Tonks said eagerly.
Harry flipped through many pages to the last entry. “What the hell? This was dated yesterday!”
April 22, 1999
I once wrote that my greatest regret was the death of Lily Potter and my part in it. That is still something I shall never forgive myself for. However, I’ve done something far worse, dear journal. You must forgive my lapse in writing these past couple of months, but I’ve been otherwise occupied with my guest.
Hermione Granger reminds me so much of Lily: the studious nature, the need to do well and prove herself, the want to gain approval, the desire to help others and see the good in things. When I saw that she was seeking entrance to my quarters, I selfishly made it easier for her to do so, wanting to be near someone—anyone at all—for at least a small amount of time, having been holed up here since the night after Dumbledore’s death, which is what he’d planned for me until everything blew over, until Potter finally did his part of the prophecy. Once she’d gained entrance, however, I just couldn’t allow her to leave. I made certain that she couldn’t as soon as I’d realized this and put the wards back in place.
It was easy to win her favor after she’d read this journal. I made myself known to her, answered her pesky questions, and explained my actions more thoroughly. We coexisted for a long while, but she soon wanted to return to her friends, wanted to clear my name. Potter would never believe her or me… Hell, I doubt he’d even believe Dumbledore, who said he’d leave a Pensieve with memories of our plans. That’s yet to be found. I am starting to wonder if the old man had been prepared at all.
Could I lose another woman? And to a Potter or his cause? No, I couldn’t. I won’t.
What I’ve done is unforgivable maybe… and definitely selfish, but I just couldn’t help myself. It’s time to take care of me and do something for myself for once.
I’ve Obliviated her entirely, and I’m taking her away from here. The loss of such a brilliant mind is something dreadful indeed. With some study and reading, I’m certain she’ll be able to gain some of that brilliance back before long. She’ll not know anything other than she’s my wife, that there was an accident that has caused her memory loss, and that someone evil is chasing us, making us have to leave the land we love so dearly. This plan wasn’t hatched without some thought, and I’ve prepared some memories and some stories for her benefit. When I glanced into the Mirror of Erised and saw myself sitting in a chair reading the evening paper, Hermione sitting on the floor making a cheeky comment about my stiff posture, and a young girl—possibly our daughter—lying before the fire while reading a book, I knew that I had to do this. It was the only way to make that possible. What I couldn’t have with Lily, I could have with her.
All that’s left now is to unward my rooms for Potter and to leave this journal as a record of my life, finally fulfilling my vow to the headmaster.
If you’re reading this, Potter, I will take care of your friend. The dagger locked in the top drawer of my desk is the final Horcrux you’ve been searching for. Once you’ve destroyed it, you may find the Dark Lord nestled away inside the vast caverns hidden within the Skellig Islands. It doesn’t pay to search for us, for you’ll never find us. I’ve found a way to make my whereabouts untraceable, even through my Dark Mark. Pity I didn’t discover this all those years ago. It would have saved Lily… and you.
This was written for Ozratbag in response to her prompt (Dark, introspective Snape at his best, who has but one regret in his life. What that regret is, is up to the author, but it must be dark, gritty and bitter. How Hermione comes into the picture is again up to the author. Any rating.).
I’m not sure it’s too gritty, but I hope that he acts darkly enough in what he does and his regret seems genuine to how he’s portrayed here. I did some artwork for an art prompt (the Snapes in their private study) she requested and wanted to include that scene in here someplace (hence the vision in the Mirror of Erised).
And here is the vision that Snape saw in the Mirror of Erised.