What really matters


Severus found himself in a valley, surrounded by fog. He followed a stream bordered by willows — no crystal could be clearer than its waters. Suddenly, as if by magic, the whole valley lit up, and everything in it became visible. A familiar figure was coming towards him.


“I am glad to see you, Severus.”

The fog dissipated, and the sun painted the clouds in gold. The vivid green of the grass in the valley was enchantingly beautiful.

Severus shook his head, confused. They stayed quiet for some time. Severus lost himself in his thoughts, and his whole life appeared to him in a new light. “It’s strange how you can get trapped in... obsessions. And then you don’t realise that what you’re looking for doesn’t matter any more.”

Dumbledore nodded. “It’s true. I’ve been there myself.”

“Then, at the end of the day, what mattered was what was happening between you and me. Or was it?”

“Perhaps, at the very end, it is something between you and yourself, Severus.”

“I see. Perhaps it will come to that. At the very end, as you put it. But here and now, it’s between you and me.”

“Well, yes. I’m afraid so. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here, face to face.” They were framed by an exquisite arch, its columns wreathed in ivy. Dumbledore stared at Severus gravely. “I’m sorry for everything that happened. You understand that I had to do what I did?”

Severus made an impatient face. “Ah, that doesn’t matter any more. That doesn’t matter here.”

“Then what is it that matters, Severus?”

“I don’t know. I’m still not used to...” Severus made a vague gesture encompassing his surroundings “...this.”

“Peace? Tranquility?”

Severus shrugged. “Call it as you like it.”

“It becomes boring very soon.”

“Then why are you here?”

Dumbledore gave a sad smile. “I was waiting for you.”

“Ah. Well, I’m here. What’s next?”

“Would you like to join me for tea?”


Ptyx, January 2009

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