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Seven years had passed ever since the second wizarding world war ended, even so that didn’t mean the wounds and losses vanished. It became slightly bearable, sure, but it stayed, there in the back of their minds, waiting for an opportunity to resurface, much like mud beneath the lake. There were times, when the past appeared in the form of phantom pain in one’s lost limbs, the absence of their loved ones, and the empty lots where luxurious mansions once stand.

For Severus Snape, the past often haunted him in his sleep, when he’s the most vulnerable. The past would come in the guise of nightmare, bringing his lost love, her limp, cold form. He’d apologize over and over about his wrongdoings, wishing to rewind time, back to when she was warm and alive.

And he’ll be brought back to time when she was alive, where they laid on the greenery, talking. But the scenery was distorted, her voice too high pitched and Severus would feel attacked by her words instead of comforted. And as he tried to stop her words, the sky would change once again.

There he was, standing in front of the Dark Lord, receiving his Mark. He could feel the burning pain in his left forearm, feel the dread as he realized there’s no turning back. His surrounding blurred and he found himself running between the castle’s walls and he felt the familiar desperation running through his systems. This version of Hogwarts was cold, intimidating and unwelcoming. He knew there, at his destination, Albus Dumbledore would be waiting with a frown, disapproving of his actions.

He could hear splashing beneath his shoes as he ran on the stone corridor, and he knew somehow his black shoes were dyed red with blood. He felt rather than saw, dead bodies and he continued to run, all the while murmuring words of apologies to whomever may care.

It was when his breathing turned ragged and his chest heaved uncontrollably, that he felt a soft tap on his shoulder. Those soft tap, tap, tap and the rustling of clothes as he felt a hand rubbed circles on his back continued resounding.

Severus turned his head as he heard a soft continuous hum and was greeted by a pair of silvery, slightly protuberant eyes, watching with a small smile. The scenery blurred and they were in his classroom in the castle’s dungeon, warm with steams coming from a boiling cauldron. 

The potion master relaxed with a sigh. The blonde haired Ravenclaw laughed and ran toward him, holding a large blanket and put it around his shoulder, where it melted and there he was in his sleepwear. The girl before him, now turned into an adult, smiling sweetly in her wedding dress. It was then when he realized everything was not real and opened his eyes. 

His vision was blurry with sleep and he found himself staring at the crook of Luna’s neck, her arms embracing his head and shoulders, blonde strands tickling his cheek. Severus felt her warmth seeping through their sleepwear and was confused for a few seconds. This wasn’t the position they slept in last night. He realized a few more seconds later that Luna most likely tried to calm him as he struggled in his sleep.

Carefully as to not wake his young wife, Severus freed his arm from their entangled blanket and put it around her waist, inviting her to come closer for protection from the morning chills. His lips curved into a slight smile as he heard her appreciative murmur.

He could hear birds chirping outside, it’d be bright soon but he didn’t care. They ‘re allowed to sleep in. There’s no war and the nightmares were over. That didn’t mean the past never happened, nor did it mean his sins forgotten. But as he closed his eyes he vowed, as long as he’s alive he’d atone for everything he did as he protect this person in his embrace.