Chapter 4 – I Think We’re Alone Now
A girl was screaming. It was Ginny. Why wouldn’t she stop? She was joined by another, a masculine voice. Then another voice joined, and another, until there were hundreds of voices screaming in pain. It hurt to listen. Please Stop! He couldn’t take all the suffering. They just grew louder. He couldn’t get away from the screaming. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt anymore if he were dead…
Severus woke with a start. Where was he? It took a minute to gain his bearings. He was in his armchair in his private sitting room. Why had he fallen asleep here? Why hadn’t he cleared his mind before sleeping? Slowly, the events of the day came back to him. The talk with Minerva, the students arriving, the interminably long Welcoming Feast, brooding over his brandy about the events of that fateful night, 5 years ago.
He looked over at the table beside the chair. At least he had set the brandy down before he fell asleep. He would not have been happy to wake up drenched in wasted brandy. He hadn’t prepared for bed as he usually did and had not cleared his mind before sleep. As always when this happened, he had the nightmare.
Great, now Potter is affecting my sleep! he thought angrily. If Potter hadn’t come here, I wouldn’t have been thinking of the night Voldemort was vanquished. I wouldn’t have fallen asleep in my chair without first clearing my mind and I wouldn’t have had that nightmare. I wouldn’t have this terrible crick in my neck from sleeping upright. But that describes Potter perfectly, doesn’t it? A pain in my neck.
That small voice answered him again, Is it really Harry’s fault, or are you just upset with yourself for letting him get to you?
Severus firmly pushed this thought aside and started to pace. “This is ridiculous,” he mused aloud. “I’m having the nightmare again. I do not have nightmares anymore. How old am I? 12? I stopped the nightmare years ago! How could I be so stupid to forget to clear my mind tonight? Well, it’s Potter’s fault for coming back, and if I can’t sleep, neither will he!”
With that, Severus threw on some clothes and stalked out of his rooms to wake Harry up. But on the way from the dungeons to the Gryffindor tower he began to have doubts and second thoughts.
No, he thought. I will not be frightened of talking to Harry Bloody Potter!
He finally reached Harry’s rooms and began pounding on the door. Within moments a very sleepy Harry opened the door.
“What is it? What’s wrong? Who’s in trouble?” he asked. It took a moment to realize who it was at the door. “Oh. What do you want, Snape?”
“We need to talk.” Severus replied.
“You dragged me out of bed, and scared the wits out of me by pounding on the door of my rooms like a madman, at 2:30 in the morning, just so we could have a little chat?” he asked incredulously. “I know you don’t want me here, but I didn’t think you’d stoop to sleep deprivation techniques just to get me to leave.”
“We need to talk.” Severus repeated.
Harry glanced over his shoulder. “Fine, but not here. You’d wake Oliver. It’s a miracle he isn’t awake already. Meet me in the Staff Lounge in 10 minutes.”
Without a word Severus turned on his heel and strode off towards the staff lounge. So he and Oliver are back together again are they? That’s interesting. Severus tried to ignore the strange feeling that that information gave him. Also interesting is the fact that Potter obviously sleeps in his boxers… Stop that, he mentally admonished. You are not interested. Still there was no denying that Harry Potter was an attractive man and he looked quite good standing in the doorway in his boxers and his sleep tousled hair. As he grew up, Harry began to look less and less like his father. He had longer face and he was more muscular than his father had been. He had also gotten rid of those awful glasses once Hermione discovered a vision correcting spell. I wouldn’t mind waking up next to that-
Before Severus could finish his thought, Harry walked into the staff lounge, now fully dressed and looking somewhat more awake.
“Well, I think we’re alone now,” Harry stated. Would you mind telling me what was so important that it couldn’t wait until morning?”
“We need to talk about what happened that night.”
“Oh,” Harry sighed. “So we’re going to be here for a while. In that case, I’ll make some coffee. Do you want some?”
“Coffee? No. How can you drink that stuff?”
“What?” Harry asked.
“Coffee tastes like garbage. Why don’t you drink tea like a normal, civilised person? Or is that too much to ask of the great hero, Harry Potter?”
“Look, I don’t have to be here. I came here to be nice, in the hopes that we could reach some sort of truce. I do not need you insulting me or my choices. I don’t even know why I bothered coming. You obviously haven’t changed.” Harry started walking towards the door.
“Wait!” Severus called out. “Stay. You make your coffee, I’ll make some tea and we’ll talk.” Severus desperately tried to keep the pleading sound out of his voice.
Harry knew this was the closest thing to an apology he would get. Snape must be really distressed to go even this far. “Fine, I’m already up, so I might as well stay.” They each made their drinks and settled into a couple of armchairs in the corner.
“So why do you want to go back to that night?” Harry asked.
“We are the only two people that know everything that happened that night. With you gone and out of my life I have been able to block out that night from my mind. Your return has brought back some rather unpleasant memories.”
“You mean Ginny.” Harry stated.
“I still hear her screams sometimes,” Harry said, his voice barely above a whisper.
Severus frowned. “You mean that you can still remember hearing her screams, right?”
“No. I mean I have a dream where I can hear her screaming again. And then her voice is joined by Draco, and then someone else-”
“-And then another, until there are hundreds of voices and you feel like your ears are going to explode. Just when you think you will die from the pain, you wake up.” Severus finished.
“You get them too?”
Severus nodded. “It’s always the same, never anything different. If I clear my mind before bed, I’m fine. If I forget, the nightmare comes.”
What do you think it means?” Harry asked.
“I don’t know,” Severus sighed. “I thought it was just my subconscious acting out, but it you are having it too, it must mean something more.”
“Why would we both have the same nightmare? It doesn’t make any sense.” Harry wondered aloud.
Severus sat in quiet contemplation before answering. “Perhaps because we were there at the Dark Lord’s end. Perhaps the souls of his victims are trying to contact us.”
“You think that they aren’t at peace?”
“It’s possible. Their bodies vanished with him. Maybe they need us to set their souls free.”
“Even in his death he manages to cause suffering. Why can’t he just leave us alone?” Harry shook his head in disgust. “So how do we free the souls of his victims?”
“I don’t know, yet. We need to do some research. I’ll check the library at Snape manor and I’ll contact some people I know who might be able to help. You should check the library here and at 12 Grimmauld Place. If nothing else, the mutt left you a great library.”
Harry ignored the slur against Sirius. Arguing would get them nowhere and might end this frail peace they had created. He had more important things to do right now than fight with Snape over past feuds. The souls of his parents, his friends, and countless others needed help.
*End Chapter 4*
A/N: I do not own the song “I Think We’re Alone Now” or Tiffany. (Sorry for the slightly misleading title!)