Disclaimer: I own nothing; it is all the property of Jo and a whole host of other people. But I really appreciate being given the opportunity to play around in the world that she has created.
I am dying. I can feel the life slowly leaving me as surely as the sun must rise. The fangs of the serpent release. "I regret it," I hear the voice of the Dark Lord say. He regrets what, that my life must end? That he was the one to end it so prematurely when there was so much else I had to do? I do not believe him, nor do I think he expects me to do so.
I hear the rustle of a cloak. The starry cage with his monstrous pet leaves me and I know he is gone. I am alone. I am alone with my thoughts, and with the knowledge that my task is incomplete. I have failed.
There may still be a chance. Perhaps the snake venom will not kill immediately. Perhaps I still have time. My fingers find the wound on my neck. I feel liquid warmth there, blood. I know my time is limited. If only there were a way still to warn the boy, to tell him all I know, all that I am required to do.
"Harry!" I know that voice. Could it be possible that in my final moments, fate has seen fit to bless me with this one act of kindness? There is a crate before my eyes and I see it move, slowly, silently, an inch at a time.
It reveals a tunnel through which I see eyes. They are green as the greenest tree in the height of summer and I see her face. Lily, my Lily, is smiling at me in a forest glade. For a moment I am home. And then I realize they are not her eyes for they look at me from within the face of a man I had grown to hate with every ounce of my being.
I remember the first time I saw those eyes looking out from his face. I felt such an intense loathing that it was all I could do to remain in the same room. The boy, eleven years old at the time, represented everything that I had lost. I hated the boy with a power even I did not know existed. I wanted to retch. I wanted to hurl things into that innocent face so full of wonder for the world he had not known to be real. I saw him laugh with a boy whose red hair I would recognize anywhere. His brothers had been a nuisance at the best of times; no doubt he would be the same. Harry Potter did not deserve such happiness, and I hated him all the more.
I had an entire week's worth of classes in which I could prepare myself for his entrance into my classroom, yet I stood shaking and trembling at the thought of teaching the boy. I was nervous, I did not know why. It made no sense to be nervous to teach an eleven-year-old, I had done it for nearly as long.
I waited in my office as I heard the students enter and find seats. I peeked out and there he was. The hatred bubbled up inside me once again and I wondered if I would be able to stand before him. It was then that I realized, it was not the boy I hated. I hated myself.
I hated what I had become, what I had allowed myself to become. Life could have been different. There was a time when I was sure that Lily had loved me in return. Perhaps if I had chosen a different path it might have been me in miniature sitting there in the seat with bright green eyes that looked at me with pride. I was revolted by the thought and it fueled my anger, my hatred for the boy. I would show no signs of weakness, and I never did. I made his life as miserable as I possibly could, and I was proud of the fact. Protect him? Oh yes, Albus, I protected him, but that did not mean I had to like it.
Footsteps bring me back to the present. The boy is approaching me. It is time for me to do what I had been tasked to do. I try to speak, yet no words make it past my lips.
It is nearly the end now, life is slipping away from me, and I must do what I was charged to do.
I reach for him and clasp his robes in my blood-soaked fingers. "Take…it…Take…it." I am barely able to make the words come from a throat that is closing in upon itself. Memories leak out from my entire being, they pour from my lips, my eyes, my ears. It is time that he must understand, he must know everything.
A conjured flask is thrust into the boy's hand and he carefully siphons my memories into it. The look on his face is not one of revulsion as I would expect from him, it is one of pity. He pities me. He does not hate me. This surprises me, for I expected to see hatred there. It has always been there. Perhaps that is why I have always hated him. To see such an emotion coming from those depthless green eyes that once belonged to someone so dear…
I have given him the last of the memories, there is little left to me now. I feel my heart slowing, my breath comes in short, frantic stabs.
He looks away for a moment and I can't see his eyes. For a reason even I cannot fathom I need to see them, I need to know. I can not hold him much longer. "Look…at…me…" I whisper. I feel blood on my lips. He looks and his eyes are no longer filled with hatred or pity but tenderness and compassion. I allow myself to drift, finding myself lost in the eyes of not Harry Potter, but his mother's. They are Lily's eyes.
On the wind and in a distant place I hear her voice. "Thank you, Severus," she says. "Thank you for protecting my son." I see a light and in the light I see a woman more beautiful than I remembered her. I go toward the light. I feel myself leave my body behind.
I hear a thud. The hand that was clutching the boy's robes has fallen to the floor. I look back at him. He is staring at my body. He does not move. He only stares.
I turn away from the boy and the world that held so little for me. I turn back toward the light. The woman speaks again, "Come home, Severus, come home."
"Yes, Lily fair," I whisper. I have never called her that before, but now, it seems fitting. She holds out her hand and I take it. Together we move into the light and onto the next great adventure.
AN: alright, I know what you are thinking right about now: where is James? Rowling has beautifully hinted at the after-life in nearly all of her books. I believe that our loved ones will be there to help us transition from one existence to the other. As Lily was the only person that Snape really ever loved, it is only fitting that Lily be the one to help him move on.
I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Let me know what you think of it.
One last note, I need to thank my lovely and wonderful beta guruvee. She is amazing and wonderful and I can't sing her praises loudly enough. So thank you, for fixing my mistakes.