“I knew you’d show up eventually. You always seem to be around whenever I need you. I don’t know how I’d make it through without you.” Snape gave me a scathing look. Funny how something like that could make me feel so immensely relieved. “Nice to know you’re normal here.”
“You are under the impression that I am imaginary.”
“Aren’t you?” I asked, tilting my head. If none of this was real then Snape wasn’t real. He was just some mutation of what I had in my head.
“I suppose I am not a true being. However I assure you I am not just a figment of your imagination.”
“I don’t get it.”
“I thought you were supposed to be smart?” he mocked.
“Well you’re definitely not a figment of my imagination or you’d be nicer.”
“You don’t like me nice,” Snape said, disgusted.
“Are you here to help me or not?”
“Help you? I’ve been helping you.”
“How have you been helping me?”
“Really?” he questioned, narrowing his eyes. “Have I not been helping you forward? Pushing you when you needed it the most? I will admit it is a bit difficult communicating with you in here.”
“In here? Like in my head?”
“Obviously. Where did you think you were?” Snape asked incredulously.
“I thought you said you weren’t imaginary,” I said, confused.
“I really don’t get,” I confessed.
Snape rolled his eyes before giving me a condescending look. “I am a part of me that I gave you.”
“Oh…what?” Snape cast an annoyed scowl my way. “Try explaining without the snarky attitude,” I added. He sent me a scornful glare but complied.
“Over ten years ago the physical me, the one you know, took a piece of you.”
“I already knew that.”
“Well obviously to complete the connection you needed a piece of me.”
“Alright, that makes sense. Why are you like…this though?”
“You have a body,” I explained.
“Would you prefer a floating ball of light?” Snape asked sarcastically.
“Can you do that?” I questioned curiously.
“I’m not changing into a bloody ball of light,” he spat.
“I suppose that would ruin your ability to glare at me.” He did indeed send another glare my way. “Yeah, just like that.”
“You’re absolutely obnoxious.”
“Huh, I was thinking more inquisitive. How come I’ve never interacted with you before if you’re supposedly inside of me?”
“Are we really going to stand here and play twenty questions?” he questioned, motioning around to the dull grey world.
“We can go somewhere else?”
“Why wouldn’t we be able to? It’s your mind.”
“Where should we go?”
“It’s your mind. Pick wherever you want to go.”
“As disgusting as it is to say aloud, your imagination truly is the limit.”
“So anywhere?” Snape gave me a look that plainly said ‘didn’t-I-just-say-that?’ “Hmm.” I thought for a minute about where to go. Eventually my mind landed on a place. “How do I change it?”
“I assume visualizing the place will be sufficient.” I closed my eyes, remembering every detail about the surroundings. Snape let out a groan and I opened my eyes again. “Really? Out of all the places we could have gone and you pick Hogsmeade?”
“I like it,” I replied, shrugging. The shops were all closed and the streets were deserted. It was early summer and the grass was very green with flowers blooming in peoples’ gardens. The sky was bright blue and sunlight was pouring over us. I thought it was quite nice.
“Your imagination is severely lacking. We could have gone anywhere. Even Tsukino’s estate –”
“You know Tsukino?” I asked quickly.
“I know everything about you.”
“You didn’t know about Dimitri or –”
“I do. The me you are normally with does not.”
“I thought you were Snape.”
“We’ve been separated for over ten years. That doesn’t make us any less Snape. I just happen to be privy to everything you do. He is not.”
“He as in physical you?”
“Wait, does that mean there’s a bit of me who’s…er…independent inside of you? Well him you, not you you.”
“That would seem the logical conclusion.”
“How come I can’t interact with her…er, me?” Boy, this was confusing.
“When you choose to.”
“Me who?” Snape rolled his eyes and began walking down the main street. He turned and indicated that I should follow. When we were side by side he attempted to explain.
“The piece of you as well as myself are both independent of our original minds. However we are capable of sending bits of emotion. You remember last year, you knew your Snape was lying about teaching Defense? Presumably your piece wanted you to know that. One would assume it was intuition, that was not the case. It is rather difficult for me to pick out which items are from her though. She could be vastly more knowledgeable from over a decade in your Snape’s mind.”
“Can you communicate with my Snape then?”
“It is not that easy. It takes considerable effort to connect with the mind I’ve been detached from for this long.”
“Have you ever told him anything though?”
“You have, haven’t you?” I narrowed my eyes. “Dimitri.”
“That particular name slip was your own fault.”
“I would lean towards a joint effort.”
“You’re just passing the blame,” I accused.
“Hardly. I willingly admit that keeping your me unaware of the events at Durmstrang was probably a wise idea. I would have been overly suspicious and might have attempted to track down Mr. Pravdin.”
“You wouldn’t have trusted my opinion?”
“Thanks for the confidence boost,” I muttered sarcastically.
“I’m not a trusting person. Possibly even less so after being with you for so long.”
“Me? What have I done?”
“Not you,” Snape said, waving his hand impatiently. “The you inside of him.”
“That still doesn’t explain –”
“She has all the knowledge he does and possibly all the knowledge we have.”
“There haven’t exactly been long term studies of a situation like this. It is within the realm of possibilities that she alone fully understands things.”
“Why not just tell us? Or Snape? The one she’s in.”
“Perhaps she does tell me. It’s possible she doesn’t know anything about us. She might not even be capable of passing substantial information.”
“Which one do you think is likely?”
“That is difficult to say. Personally I am leaning towards her holding back items from everyone. Why she feels this is necessary is another matter entirely. Though I am quite certain she knows considerably more than the two of us.”
“What makes you think that?”
“When I repeat the spell we are…very close. I’m sure she is aware of my presence just as I am of her. I’ve gotten the impression that she’s blocking me from fully reaching my own mind. It could just be the spell I suppose. I have managed to pick up on a few things that she and I know that we do not, well you do not.”
“Like?” We had slowly reached the Hogwarts gates by now. They were open and Snape continued through so kept pace with him.
“You can’t not tell me now,” I said, slightly aggravated.
“Let me guess, you have no idea, you just want to sound impressive.”
“Do you truly believe reverse psychology is going to work on me?” Snape asked, sounding amused.
“Worth a shot,” I muttered.
“Answer a question of mine and perhaps I will tell you.”
“It’s not blackmail. It’s negotiating.”
“Whatever you say,” I replied, rolling my eyes.
“Why Hogsmeade?” Snape asked. I shrugged. This made him stop and give me an annoyed look “Everything is for a reason. At least attempt to give me a plausible one.”
“I chose it on a whim?”
“You’re not even trying.”
I let out a frustrated sigh and turned around, looking back up the path towards Hogsmeade. “It’s nice?” I said lamely. Snape let out a disapproving huff and continued walking. “Don’t you like Hogsmeade?” I asked, catching up with him.
“I don’t dislike it.”
“That’s not really an answer,” I argued. “I think its nice being able to walk around with you. Not having to worry about others.” This made Snape look displeased. “What?”
He gave me a quick glance as he continued walking. “You’re being sentimental.”
“How?” I asked in disbelief.
“You wish you and your Snape could be this…open. That all your meetings didn’t have to take place during phony detentions.”
“Everything I do with you–him is in secret. I accepted that a long time ago.”
“That doesn’t mean you don’t wish things were different.”
“They never will be though. I know that, you know that. I don’t see a problem. Only you could see some sort of…conspiracy behind me picking Hogsmeade. It was the rational choice. I did leave from the Quidditch pitch so obviously I would want to get back there and the village is just the first place my mind latched onto for its close proximity.”
“You always try so hard not to seem venerable.”
“Now you’re going to get sentimental,” I said mockingly.
Snape scoffed but said nothing. He was walking in the direction of the Black Lake and I silently followed him. “You know,” he said after a bit, “you are surprisingly resistant –”
“Pleasantly resistant,” he amended with an eye roll. “You’re stronger than you know.”
“Oh don’t you bloody well that with that,” I threatened. Snape smirked and we reached the edge of the lake. A bench appeared in front of us, about a foot from the water. I raised an eyebrow, “Did you do that?” I asked suspiciously.
“Perhaps,” Snape answered mysteriously as he sat down. “Do you wish to know what our other halves are keeping from us or not?”
I sat down next to him thinking that of course I wanted to know but I couldn’t help feeling hesitant about what I might learn. Still not knowing would definitely be worse. “Go for it.”
“You sound reluctant.”
“I’m worried about what more there could possibly be,” I admitted. “Come on, just tell me. Our team needs to catch up.”
“You and me, we make a good team against my you and me.” Snape looked skeptical. “What? You don’t like being on my team?”
“I suppose I could do worse.”
“It was a compliment.”
“You should work on them,” I suggested. “Or not,” I mumbled as Snape looked revolted. “Just tell me.”
“Hmm…it is something you should have noticed before. Something perhaps we both should have noticed years ago.”
“Which is…?” I prodded.
“You are not just connected to your father.”
“Well no,” I said simply. “I’m connected to you as well.”
“It’s more than that,” Snape said frowning. “I believe you are connected to all the Death Eaters.”
“All?” I asked doubtfully.
“All of the ones with a Dark Mark.”
“That doesn’t make –”
“It explains things more clearly,” Snape cut in.
“The second task for starters. Your behavior during the third task as well.”
“How can I be connected to all of them? I’ve only ever been inside of my father’s head.”
“That you know of. There have been times when I believe you’ve latched onto someone else. When you felt the need to help Potter with the second task.”
“You think I…what, tapped into a Death Eater’s mind? One who wanted Potter to have some gillyweed?”
“They could have just wanted him to do well. And you didn’t know why you helped him. Isn’t that what you told me? That was likely why I was so persistent that you find a reason.”
“So I can be controlled by any Death Eater?” I asked, alarmed by the idea. “How would that even work? My father caused the link, how can it possibly include every Death Eater?”
“The Dark Mark.”
“How would that –?”
“It is not just a tattoo. It connects all of the Dark Lord’s trusted servants to him. When your father bound you to him, it is likely that the Dark Mark, which is in turn bound to him, became part of you as well. However from watching your behavior, I do not believe you are easily able to connect to them. It’s more of a…nagging thought, an idea in the back of your mind.”
My chest suddenly felt very heavy. “Is it –?”
“No,” Snape said quickly. “That is something else completely. You haven’t heard him in years, do not let it consume you.” ‘Easier said than done,’ I thought bitterly. “No the Death Eaters do not seem that…forceful.”
“I still acted on it,” I pointed out. “Whatever they want, I’ll just do it for them? Sounds –”
“It isn’t on a whim or you would have been doing Lucius’s bidding years ago.” Well that was a good point. “Whoever this Death Eater was, it is likely that he was obsessive enough to plant the idea of what he wanted in the back of your mind. It was innocent enough that you didn’t think it was an odd idea.”
“How am I supposed to know their ideas from mine?” I asked fearfully.
“I would suggest a journal. Write down any miscellaneous ideas or odds dreams or desires that you have and share it with your me.”
“You want me to keep a diary and then let you read every random thought and dream I have?” I asked doubtfully. “I think you’ve spent far too much time in here. There’s no way you–any you would enjoy reading a fifteen year olds’ diary.”
“I hardly think it’s about enjoyment,” Snape said stiffly. “It’s a precaution so that you will not have to second guess yourself on everything. Which I know you will do. Not to mention the fact that I may pick up on things that you do not. I am certain I am more than willing to do this for you.”
“Fine,” I conceded sullenly, “I’ll write a diary and let a thirty-five year old man read through it,” I said derisively.
“Thirty-six actually,” Snape quietly corrected after a short pause.
I stared at him a minute before suddenly asking, “When’s your birthday?”
He gave me an irritated glance before speaking. “If I told you, you’d be unbearably obnoxious every year it came around.”
“Not unbearably obnoxious,” I insisted.
“The fact that you even care already makes it unbearable.”
“Always have to be difficult, don’t you? I might start thinking you don’t like –” Wait a minute. “Karkaroff.”
A/N: I do apologize, there was no good place to cut off for this chapter. It was originally planned for 1 but it would have been huge. And after the massiveness of chapter 24 a couple smaller chapters will be nice. That also means this story will end with chapter 28.
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