The Love That Shattered a Man


Rating: PG

Summary: Love, hatred, and death all spin a web of pain into Severus Snape's life and only one person can save him

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by J. K. Rowling. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. It's just fan fiction!

Author's Pre-Note: Thanks to all of you who have read and reviewed this story since December 1999. It always surprises me to find out how many people remember it and how many people like it. In fact, a lovely lady named Carol Graymalking liked it so much, she translated it into Portuguese! Here's the translation.

< >That said about how this story is, it was obviously written before Goblet of Fire and doesn't completely connect to what we learned about Severus Snape in that book.

< >Severus Snape sat at a table the Hogwarts library, his hand wrapped tightly around a quill, gritting his teeth in anger. He stared down at the parchment in front of him, not being able to see it because of the red, boiling bubbles in front of his eyes. He could hear his classmates, James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, all laughing about him, still in fresh memory of what had happened in Transfiguration earlier that day. They didn't know he was behind a bookshelf, listening to their every word, though he highly doubted that would have mattered.

< >Severus was good in all subjects, especially in Potions and Defense Against the Dark Arts. The only exception was Transfiguration, where he was struggling a bit, and that fact was the soul purpose for the entire class laughing earlier that morning. What Severus had done would be, he knew, laughed about and reflected upon for many years to come. He had inadvertantly turned himself into a rabbit. He wasn't Animagi, though, as he figured certain people were. His wand had backfired at the exact moment he had been about to attempt to turn the object in front of him into a rabbit itself.

< >Truth of it all, Severus hadn't completely turned himself into a rabbit; he'd grown whiskers; large pink and white ears; and a large, stark white cottontail. He'd also gotten a terrible case of fleas, which had made him scratch himself constantly as the professor had helped him to the infirmary, laughter trailing behind them.

< >When he had finally emerged from the infirmary, the whole school knew. Even some of the professors had to hide their amused smiles as he hurried past them to the library, where he still was at that very moment.

< >Severus squeezed his eyes shut for a moment, then opened them, the red disappearing from his eyes, but the feeling still there, as one might well imagine. He looked across the room and saw a seventh year Gryffindor who Severus hated along with the rest of the filthy lot, staring past Severus, his angry eyes on the bookshelf behind him, also listening.

< >The seventh year got up after a moment, collected his things, and left, swinging his robes angrily behind him, not even caring to look behind him when he knocked a few books from a bookshelf onto the floor. His name was Thomas Erwin, Head Boy of the year, but he was another story all together.

< >Severus was about to leave the library himself when he heard, "Can you believe that? I mean, how stupid can you get? I'm surprised myself that McGonagall didn't burst out laughing herself! She about turned purple! And when the whole castle had heard, it nearly shook in laughter!"

< >James Potter.

< >That was all Severus needed that day. A self-assured arrogant sodder like James Potter mocking prefect, award winning, soon-to-be-Head-Boy Severus Snape. Severus angrily jumped up from his seat and stormed to where the four Gryffindors sat. They stared at him in surprise, obviously not knowing Severus had been listening to their entire conversation.

< >"If you even think that I did that - " Sirius stifled a laugh, failing to keep a somber expression, " - on bloody purpose, you maggots, you’ve got another thing, you - "

< >"You what?" James asked steadily, rising.

< >Severus smiled at him sinisterly, causing James to blink. The boy looked conflicted, mixed between his own enjoyment and an actual threat. "Laugh all you want, all of you. Maybe you'll eat something at dinner one night and your skin will crawl, Potter. Literally."

< >"Is that a threat, Snape?" Sirius asked in a slow, calm voice, standing up next to James, the others following suit.

< >Severus glared at Sirius. "It's a reality, Black."

< >Lupin laughed, albeit somewhat nervously. "How will you even reach the kitchens?" he asked, a grin growing on his face as his confidence returned.

< >"I know one of you has his ways," Severus replied slowly, making all four of them immediately uncomfortable (all smiles fell to the wayside in silent realization), "and I have mine." With that, he turned on his heel, stalked back to the library table. He swiftly gathered up his things and left the library.

< >Severus knew that he would have no way into the kitchens without anyone seeing, but he doubted the fools that called themselves wizards would realize that. For a while, anyway. Only cooks, House Elves, and those with a bit of help actually managed to wrangle their way into the kitchens.

< >He was walking toward the Slytherin Common Room in the dungeons, when his heart stopped and he nearly dropped his books. Papers fluttered every which way and Severus immediately lowered his eyes away from the sight causing him such turmoil. He scrambled to pick up his papers which had fallen from his grasp.

< >"Can - "

< >Severus fell to his knees as he reached for his History of Magic homework, concerning the voice above him.

< >" - can I help you?" asked a voice. That voice was music to Severus' ears; he wanted to fall into that song, let it carry him far beyond his dreams . . .

< >Severus looked up and felt his face flush in embarrassment. "I - uh - no," he said flatly, glancing down at his scattered papers. Avoiding eye contact with this person was not easy, but he always forced himself to do so. "I - I can manage." His voice faltered as he stuffed his potions paper hastily into a book. "Thanks anyway."

< >Samantha Halloway smiled at him kindly, making his heart race when she looked at him. "Of course you can manage, Severus. You always do." She walked away and Severus stared after her, watching carefully as her long brown hair flew around her in the drafty corridor, and wishing she’d look back at him.

< >He remembered her eyes as he remembered himself. Encrusted like a precious jewel, Samantha was inlaid with dark sapphire eyes. They sometimes looked even like the stars on a clear night. Adorned with her starlight eyes were soft red lips, a perfect nose, all surrounded by lush brown hair. He loved those eyes, he loved that hair, he loved that face, he loved . . . her.

< >Severus shook off these feelings, his face returning to a normal color - he hoped - and gathered up the rest of his papers quickly, then practically running to the Slytherin Common Room.

< >The common room was full of people who gazed sourly in Severus' direction as he strode through the wall. What had occured in Transfiguration was funny when it happened, but now the Slytherins had been told by their Head of House that the incident brought shame to all Slytherins. So, of course, Slytherins young and old alike believed it, and their infamous loathing broke easily through the clouds.

< >"Nice going," a lusty fifth year sneered as Severus strode by.

< >The common room hushed, thinking that Severus, however being smart and resolved most of the time, would surely do something. Severus stopped and looked at the younger boy, staring deep into his eyes, not saying a word. The boy shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

< >Severus finally took his eyes away from him and hurried to his dormitory. He dropped his things on his chest and stretched out on his bed, drawing the curtains, so no one would be able to see him.

< >He slowly pulled out a small piece of crumpled parchment and smoothed it out with his hand. Severus read it over to himself.

Dear Samantha,

< >We've known each other for years, before Hogwarts, as I know you know very well. This letter's purpose is to show how much I love you.

< >I know it sounds absurd. How could Severus Snape ever love another human being other than himself? Well, this is to show I can. I've loved you since we were young, though I never realized it until just recently. I can barely stand to look at you without wanting to blurt out everything I feel. It's madness how much I love you. It nearly drives me insane just to think about you.

< >If you would, would you just please tell me it isn't true for you, since I know you would never be able to love me - no one can. I keep trying to tell myself that you cannot - but I must hear it from your lips, your sweet lips, that you don't love me. I could take it then. Please tell me.

< > < > < > < >Sincerely yours,

< > < > < > < > < >Severus Snape

< >Severus read the letter over in disgust. How juvenile, how ridiculous. God, had he actually written that? Yes, you did, said a nasty voice in his head. What will dear Samantha think? She'll laugh, you know, and tell everyone. The whole school will be laughing at you - again!

< >"Shut up, Samantha wouldn't do that," he muttered to himself, but he couldn't help wondering if what the voice was telling him was actually true. But she probably knew anyway, or at least she suspected. The way he was acting . . . why wouldn't it be obvious? Severus was disgusted with himself and a sneer grew on his lips. He took his wand, crumpled up the paper and tapped the letter, mumbling some few choice words.

< >The letter burst into flames with a small explosion and deteriorated in the air in seconds. Severus caught the last few ashes and stared at them in the palm of his hand. He leaned forward and blew them away. They burst into tiny particles and disappeared from his sight, never to be seen again.

< >The next day, the whole school was still sniggering about Severus's incident. He ignored the taunting laughter and soon it was forgotten momentarily, but he knew in his heart that the incident would be talked about for years to come.

< >Professor McGonagall was edgy around Severus, hardly letting him touch anything, as if he was a ticking time bomb. Severus nearly screamed, "My wand backfired! Get over it, all of you!" . . . but he didn't, of course. That would show disrespect and he usually never showed disrespect to a professor.

< >Severus was in the library again later that day, studying his astronomy charts. He was startled out of his chair when Samantha sat down at the table, across from him, a smile on her face.

< >"S-samantha?" he stuttered. Severus looked down again so she wouldn't see his red face.

< >"Hello, Severus," Samantha said, putting her books on the table in front of his own. "Mind if I sit with you? Since the finals are coming up . . ." She let her words go as she sighed.

< >Severus managed to finally look at her. "Yes, they are," he agreed, his voice faltering once again in front of her. He gulped and looked back at his work.

< >"Are you?"

< >"Am I what?" Severus asked slowly, not looking up.

< >"Going to tell me?"

< >Severus jumped and stared at her, startled.

< >"Going to tell me," Samantha continued slowly, "that I'm going to have to study more, like you always do around these times? Even though I am one of the top students, like you?" She smiled at him and he nearly melted.

< >Severus looked back down again, relieved. "You know you will have to, I cannot get you out of it." He allowed a small smile. "I figure that I must study more for Transfiguration."

< >Samantha laughed. "I heard from a group of Hufflepuffs that your nose was twitching for hours!" She smiled at him, obviously not believing that was true - and it wasn't; it had only twitched while he was trying not to smell the awful medicine given to him, and that had been only for about a minute or two, as he protested.

< >Severus's eyes darkened in anger, though. "My wand backfired," he said quietly after a moment. He gripped his quill tightly in his hand, staring down at his paper, not able to look up.

< >Samantha looked down at her work, not replying. She looked abashed, almost ashamed she'd even brought any of it up.

< >They worked in silence for a while until Samantha got up and left the library, bestowing upon him a simple yet ever sweet good-bye. Severus gazed after her lovingly, watching her every move until he could not see her anymore. He closed his eyes and imagined himself in her arms, just looking into her eyes, forgetting the world around them, just the two of them and no one else . . .

< >Suddenly, someone knocked into the table, shattering Severus's thoughts.

< >"I am so sorry, Severus," the girl said sincerely, bending down to pick up one of his books that had fallen in the collision. She set it back on the table.

< >"Thank you," Severus said vacantly, staring hard at her.

< >"I should be going now," the girl said after a moment of silence. "Good-bye, Severus."

< >"Good-bye, Lily," Severus replied quickly, looking down at his work once more.

< >As Lily Evans walked away, Severus lifted his head, and watched her leave the library. James is lucky to have her, he thought to himself rather enviously. They love each other - it's obvious, no matter what they say. They know it. I know it. Everyone knows it.

< >Severus closed his eyes, miserably melancholy and full of pity for himself. He finally opened his eyes and went to dinner, but he wouldn't speak to anyone, just kept watching Samantha at the Ravenclaw table, wishing he was eating with her.

< >His friend, Dorian Pawel, nudged him after a while. "Severus, stop acting like a zombie! Eat! It's one of our last nights before finals! Enjoy it while it lasts! And stop brooding about the rabbit thing!"

< >"Yeah!" chorused a lot of first and second years, nervous about their own finals.

< >Severus, despite looking sour, ate a small dinner to satisfy Dorian. He wasn't hungry, though. He was in love - and love is more powerful than anything, even evil - or, that is, he thought, most evil.

< >He was up early that next morning, before dawn, and no one was ever up that early. He showered and dressed, then left the common room, walking out onto the school grounds.

< >Severus noticed the Whomping Willow out of the corner of his eye, memories clashing into his head like the warring knights of Medieval times. He cursed to himself and continued to the lake and sat beneath a tree, watching the sun rise through the clouds, turning the sky pink and orange in the lush light of the early dawn.

< >Suddenly, he woke up - he didn't even know he had fallen asleep until that exact second. Someone was shaking him and he pushed their hand away. "Mmm," he mumbled sleepily, rubbing his eyes.

< >"Wake up, sleepy head," said a kind voice.

< >Severus jumped, startled, and stared. Rubeus Hagrid, the gameskeeper, stood in front of him, holding a kettle in one hand, and a pastry in the other. He was smiling down at Severus.

< >"Yeh missed yer breakfast, Severus," Hagrid said, handing Severus the pastry. "C'mon to me hut, I'll get yeh some coffee."

< >Severus pulled himself to his feet and followed the gameskeeper to his hut, which was quite small - it should have been to small for the large man Hagrid was - but almost everyone had to admit, the hut was quite comfortable.

< >"Thank you, Hagrid," Severus said as he was handed a cup of stifling hot coffee.

< >Fang, Hagrid's dog, sat at Severus's feet, his head between his paws, eyes closed.

< >"What were yeh doin' out there?" Hagrid asked as he sat down, shaking the hut.

< >"Sleeping," Severus said simply.

< >Hagrid laughed. "Well, tha' was quite o'vious. All las' night, eh?"

< >"No. I came out at dawn."

< >Hagrid eyed him sharply.

< >Severus shook his head. "No, I didn't come out to spy on anyone. Not this time, anyway." He smiled slightly as he sipped the hot liquid that few drank at Hogwarts. "I daresay! No!"

< >Hagrid laughed again. "'Member, if I catch yeh again - "

< >"It's Azkaban for me, for sure, isn't is?" Severus demanded with a growing smile.

< >Hagrid nodded, serious. "Sure, kids can go to Azkaban. For sure. So, what were yeh really doin' out there, Severus?" he asked.

< >"Thinking, I guess." Severus set down his cup. "Thinking."

< >"'Bout what?"

< >"You pry a lot, don't you?" Severus asked a bit sharply.

< >Hagrid laughed softly. "Son, when yer in my house, I ask questions. It's call’ conversation, Severus."

< >Severus sighed and leaned back. "Maybe I just haven't been around enough people to have conversational skills," he replied softly. "Or maybe it's just me . . ."

< >Hagrid shook his head dismissively. "Let me tell yeh something - every year, I get a bunch of sixth and seventh years comin' down here, askin' advice." Severus looked up and Hagrid pointed at him knowingly. "Now, I been 'ere at 'ogwarts a while, yeh hear? I 'ave an idea 'bout what's goin' on with yeh." Hagrid smiled mischievously.

< >"Yeah?" Severus asked, sneering, suddenly uncomfortable. "What?"

< >"Yer in love."

< >Severus stared at Hagrid, disbelieving. He hadn't truly believed what Hagrid had been saying. "How - ?"

< >Hagrid slapped the table, laughing. "Severus, what di' I jus' tell yeh?"

< >Severus was speechless and Hagrid laughed again, then smiled kindly at him. "Don't think it's sum kind o' disease, Severus - 'veryone falls in love sometime in their lives! It's normal!" He slapped the table again and laughed.

< >"What about you?" Severus asked curiously.

< >"Whatta 'bout me?" Hagrid replied loftily, looking to the ceiling as if there was something interesting up there.

< >"Have you ever fallen in love?" Severus could see that the giant was trying to avoid answering the question and he did.

< >Hagrid shifted uncomfortably. "Yeh'd better go, Severus, the professors will be wonderin' where yeh are."

< >Severus blinked, surprised, but left graciously, thanking Hagrid.

< >As he strode across the grounds toward the school, someone yelled his name. He turned toward the voice and his mood - which wasn't that bright in the first place - was brought down excessively.

< >"James," Severus said coldly in greeting as James stopped in front of him.

< >"Severus," James replied with the same coldness.

< >"What do you want?"

< >"What were you doing in Hagrid's hut?" James demanded instantly.

< >Severus glared at him. "I don't see how it's any of your business."

< >"It is my business, Severus; Hagrid's my friend."

< >"Really, James, if you must know, Hagrid brought me breakfast. I missed it and he invited me in," Severus said, exasperated. He sighed. "Are you satisfied? Or are you devastated that your friend invited me in?" Severus pushed past James and hurried into the castle, leaving James behind to stare at his back.

< >He was hurrying down an empty corridor more than ten minutes later when he heard soft crying and he stopped. "Hello?" Severus called, squinting his eyes in the darkness, trying to get them to adjust.

< >There was a pause in the crying and sniffling. "Severus?" someone called.

< >"Samantha?" Severus asked, his voice failing him. He looked around a turn and there was lovely Samantha - sitting against the wall, face buried in her hands. She raised her head to look at him, her eyes red from crying.

< >"Oh, Severus!" she wailed, burying her face in her hands again.

< >"Samantha?" Severus asked again, stunned.

< >She didn't answer; just kept sobbing.

< >Severus debated with himself - though he knew it was stupid - about what he should do. Finally, he decided to speak. "Samantha, what's wrong? What happened?" he asked shrilly, startling himself at the sound of his worried voice.

< >"No, no, no," Samantha said softly through her hands, oblivious to him, talking to herself. "It's impossible. Why did it have to happen to me?" She looked up at Severus, trembling.

< >"What?" Severus demanded, suddenly frustrated.

< >"Why did my parents have to die?" Samantha nearly shrieked. "Haven't you heard? Or are you just taunting me because your parents are still alive?" Her hands were in tight fists and her knuckles were white.

< >Severus stared at her, stunned. "W - w - what?" he said in a high voice, not about to correct the fact that his father was dead.

< >Samantha turned her head away and shook her head indigantly.

< >"Oh, mother of . . ." Severus kneeled beside her and stared at the cheek facing him. "Samantha . . . oh, God . . . I didn't know . . . I was outside all morning. I am such an idiot!"

< >Samantha looked back at him and closed her eyes. "No, no you're not."

< >"Yes, I am!" Severus said miserably. "I should be comforting you - not the other way around!" He grabbed his wiry hair angrily. Stupid, stupid, stupid, he whispered harshly to himself. Idiot! Her parents are dead and she is comforting you!

< >Samantha's closed eyes leaked with tears and she leaned against his chest, surprising him, but he didn't protest. He felt his heart beating against hers as she sobbed quietly.

< >Slowly, Severus put his arms around Samantha's shaking body and she gripped his arm with her hands, unable to let go. Her eyes were squeezed tight, trying desperately not to let any tears spill, but her strength gave out on her, and her face was suddenly flooded with tears again.

< >"Severus," she whispered softly after a few minutes of silence.

< >"Yes, Samantha?" Severus asked tenderly, looking down at her sweet face.

< >"Stay with me?"

< >"Always and forever, Samantha," Severus whispered into her ear. He leaned down after a moment and kissed her forehead, stroking her soft hair, wishing he could see her beautiful eyes, no matter how horribly tear-stricken they were, just to see her eyes looking into his . . .

< >They stayed in their positions for nearly three hours. Severus's knees ached horribly, but he didn't complain or shift around, even though his dear Samantha had fallen asleep in his arms.

< >After the three approximate hours - there was no clock in the corridor, but Severus was just estimating - Professor McGonagall came around the corner, looking sour.

< >"Mr. Sna - " Her voice faltered instantly when she saw Samantha in Severus's arms. "Oh, dear . . ." She slowly turned back to Severus. "Is she all right?" the professor asked slowly, looking down at Samantha again.

< >"Of course," Severus sneered, surprising himself. "Her parents have just died, but she is just fine." He shook his head in disgust, disregarding his mantra of never speaking back to a teacher. "What happened?" he demanded after a moment. "What happened to David and Florence?"

< >"You - you knew them?" McGonagall faltered.

< >"Yes," Severus said, struggling hard not to sneer again. "I've known Samantha - and her parents . . . nearly all my life . . ." He looked back down at Samantha, still in his arms.

< >McGonagall gulped. "You wanted to know what happened - " Severus snapped his head up - "and I will tell you, since you are seemingly telling me that you two," she gestured to Samantha, "are nearly like family."

< >Severus looked down again, embarrassed. Does Samantha agree? he wondered.

< >"It - I suppose you've heard of Lord Voldemort?" McGonagall continued when Severus nodded dimly. "He is growing, fast, and he's . . ." She gulped. "He's killing every one who goes against him."

< >"Did - ?"

< >"No, they were . . . they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time, sadly," McGonagall replied, somewhat stiffly. "He went on a rampage two days ago - not even half of the bodies have been found . . ."

< >"Will he rise even farther?"

< >"Yes, I believe so, Mr. Snape."

< >"He will kill more?"

< >"Yes, again, it is believed."

< >"Leave us, then, professor." Severus looked up, a menacing glint in his eyes. "I will take her to her common room when she awakes. Go, please, just go." He looked down, not wanting to look McGonagall in the eye again.

< >The professor stayed silent for a moment, then slowly walked away down the corridor without a verbal answer, but Severus knew she had consented. He listened until he could no longer hear her footsteps and turned back to Samantha.

< >"Samantha," he whispered softly, nudging her gently.

< >She groaned softly, protesting her awakening.

< >"Samantha," he said more urgently.

< >"Hmm?" Samantha asked, her eyes fluttering open to look at him. She stared. "How long - ?"

< >"I think about three hours," Severus replied quietly.

< >Samantha sat up, dazed, and looked back at him, seeing he was still on his knees. "Oh, Severus," she breathed in amazement, staring at him. "I bet you can't even walk, let alone stand up."

< >Severus shook his head, though he knew she was probably right. He pulled his legs out from under him, his knees aching. He grimaced as he straightened his legs out in front of him.

< >Samantha stood up shakily, putting a hand on the wall to steady herself. Her knees shook violently, but she stayed on her feet; barely, though.

< >Severus took the last of his strength and pulled himself to his feet, his whole body aching - muscles cramped in places he didn't know could ache. "Let's get you to your common room," he said softly, taking Samantha's elbow.

< >He lead her all the way to the Ravenclaw common room entrance. He turned to her and asked, concerned, "Are you sure you can make it? All the way to your dormitory, I mean?"

< >Samantha opened her mouth to speak, but her shaking knees gave way, and tears formed in her eyes again, a sign of impeccable grief. She looked up at him from the ground, her blue eyes shimmering in the torch light. "Why? Oh, why, Severus?" she sobbed. "They weren't even saying or doing anything to him - they never did! Oh, why?"

< >Severus crouched in front of her and took her hands in his, looking her in the eye. "I don't know, Samantha, I really don't know. I am very sorry, for your loss, you know that, don't you?"

< >Samantha gulped and nodded. "Yes, yes, of course I do. You always told me they were like family to you." She pulled out a handkerchief and wiped her running nose, dabbing blindly at her flowing tears.

< >Severus turned toward the Ravenclaw entrance and rapped harshly; someone was bound to hear it, he knew. And, sure enough, a Ravenclaw pushed through the entryway, and stared at him.

< >Severus helped Samantha to her feet. "Let me pass," he ordered in a low, menacing tone. His eyes flickered with malice at the boy, making a meaningful impression on the boy that he wanted in.

< >The first year kept staring. "B - but . . . but you're a Slytherin!" he nearly cried.

< >Suddenly, loud, angry shouts rang out behind the boy and he was shoved away from the entry. A seventh year prefect took his place, glaring hard at Severus, looking at him as if he was the scum of the earth.

< >"Let me pass," Severus repeated in the same tone he had used with the boy.

< >The seventh year laughed scornfully. "Hardly, you imbecile! Why would I let you, a Slytherin, into my common room?" he demanded, his voice abruptly but not unjustly cold as he glared at Severus sanctimoniously.

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