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My Dearest Boy by Annie Talbot [Reviews - 5]

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“Not dead,” they said coldly.

“Not yet,” one added.

They wanted to take him away from Hogwarts, but I wouldn’t allow it. Instead, they carried him to the chambers where he had slept the previous night… if he slept at all.

Healers bustled around, testing, treating, potioning. Yet no-one held his hand. No-one stroked his brow. No-one begged forgiveness for condemning him.

I should have known better. Should have guessed.

How was I to make it up to him? Would he ever forgive me?

Would I ever forgive myself?

My dearest boy...


Finally, they left. The castle was silent—tomorrow would be another day. For these few hours, I had him alone.

He slept.

For the longest time, I sat by his bedside, watching him sleep. Gazing at the dark lashes against the palest skin I’d ever seen, the bandages that covered his torn throat, the long, slender hands that rested motionless on the blanket.

I spoke to him then, though I knew he could not hear. About Potter and how he defeated our enemy. About Hogwarts and how it would be rebuilt. About my regrets for misjudging him.

My dearest boy...


I had been his teacher. I’d known what a sensitive child he was and had railed at Albus for not protecting him. I’d been his colleague and had appreciated his brilliant mind and sarcastic tongue. I’d been his lover in that too-long last year and had worried at the lines of care that tunnelled deep into his harsh features.

When Albus died—when Severus fled—I was devastated. Betrayed. And the caring I had felt for him turned to hatred.

This past year must have been hell for him.

I spat loathing at him with every glance.

My dearest boy...


His eyes opened. He listened as I whispered apologies. He blinked as I promised to protect him.

He did not look at me.

His pain must have been terrible, but he made no sound. He merely stared beyond me, showing no response, not even anger. His hand lay limp within mine, cold.

I begged his forgiveness; he said nothing.

Finally, his eyes closed and his breathing deepened. Sleep had returned.

I transformed and leapt onto the bed, padding my way across the blanket to press tightly between his arm and his body.

I’d keep watch for him.

My dearest boy...


Over their protests, I took him to my home.

He would heal in a Highland cottage, far from those who would vilify and judge him. Safe from those who would idolise and importune him.

Poppy visited every day, and a member of the Order stood guard whenever I was away. He never spoke. Never looked directly at us. He merely submitted, eating when fed, turning his head to be treated.

Poppy said he could speak, that the faculty had not been destroyed. It was his choice.

He was indifferent to me. To us all.

Heartbroken. Soulbroken. Broken.

My dearest boy...


Every night, when all had left, I leaped into his bed and fitted myself into the curve of his sleeping body. And each night I would awaken to find him stroking me, finding the spot behind my right ear that sent me into joyous transports.

I never came to his bed as a woman. He no longer wanted Minerva the witch. Minerva the cat was another story.

I could feel his body heal as I purred life into it, feel his soul unsunder.

Each night I felt forgiveness in his fingers, although he never said a word.

My dearest boy...


For nineteen years , I spent weekdays at the school, returning home each Friday, leaving the school in Filius’s capable hands.

He never truly recovered from his injuries, although he could move about the house and the gardens without assistance. He never said a word. Ever.

I was meeting with Professor Longbottom when the young man looked over my shoulder and gasped. I turned to see a new frame on the wall behind my desk. The other portraits moved aside to make space.

The canvas was entirely dark, its inhabitant invisible.

I knew I’d lost him, then.

My dearest boy...


Five years later, pain crushed my chest. I fell willingly into darkness and drifted awhile on warm, tranquil breezes.

Finally, I opened my eyes. I looked over Longbottom’s shoulder as he worked at my desk. Severus’s desk. Albus’s desk.

Glancing around, I noted the dark portrait hanging silently beside mine. I stood... stretched... transformed... leapt.

Strong arms caught me; long fingers stroked, caressed.

I let myself change. Minerva again. He never stopped stroking. I arched against him, feeling his touch on my skin for the first time in nearly twenty-five years.

A dark chuckle sounded above me.

“My dearest boy.”

A/N: Many thanks are due to ariadne, without whom the final drabble would have been far less than it is, and to FerPorcel and machshefa, who read through these drabbles and gave me the courage to post them.

My Dearest Boy by Annie Talbot [Reviews - 5]

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