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Rickety Steps by ohmymerlin

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Format: One-shot
Chapters: 1
Word Count: 1,909
Status: COMPLETED

Rating: 15+
Warnings: Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: General, Angst
Characters: Harry, Snape, Lily, James
Pairings: James/Lily, Snape/Lily

First Published: 09/12/2012
Last Chapter: 12/03/2012
Last Updated: 12/03/2012

Summary:
banner by amoretti @ tda


If Severus hadn't jumped down those rickety steps, a certain red-head would still be alive.

First in PhoenixFlame8629's Harry Potter Quote Challenge!
For WhisperThroughTheWind's Pretty Little Liar Challenge


Chapter 1: Rickety Steps
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“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ...”*

“The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies ...”*

He remembers jumping away when he heard Dumbledore walking towards the door. He remembers running down the rickety staircase and apparating out of sight to tell his master of the news that he had just heard.

He remembers telling his master of the news. He remembers his master twirling his wand in his thin fingers. He remembers the way his heart stopped when his master decided who would die. He remembers the way he pleaded not to kill her. He remembers his master taking it in consideration.

He remembers going to Dumbledore, begging him to keep her, them safe. All of them. He remembers how disgusted Dumbledore was at his behaviour. He remembers Dumbledore forgiving him. He didn’t deserve it. He wishes someone had stopped him when he went to deliver his master the news.

Maybe if someone had, a certain beautiful girl would be alive.* If someone had stopped him, arrested him, killed him – anything that could have prevented her death, he wouldn’t feel this way. He wouldn’t feel like his heart was ripped out of his chest. He wouldn’t feel immensely guilty. He wouldn’t have cried when he saw her husband, the boy he hated at school. He wouldn’t have sobbed as he held her lifeless body. He wouldn’t have heard her son – with her eyes – crying for his parents. He wouldn’t have gone to Dumbledore in a mess, blaming them for not protecting her, them.

He wouldn’t be as cruel as he is today if someone had stopped him. She would be alive and happy. She would be watching her son grow into the brave man he is. She would be laughing with her husband when they read their sons letters about Hogwarts. She would have smiled and sent her son another letter, saying how much she and her husband loved him. Their son would read it and roll his eyes at such sappy nonsense, but secretly keep the letter. Her son wouldn’t have had been forced to grow up, he’d be exactly the same as her husband, getting in trouble constantly but be well-liked.

He hated watching her son grow without her and her husband. He didn’t deserve it. But he couldn’t contain himself when he was around him. He had to snap at him about his arrogant father, he had to constantly put him in detention.

But then he’d look at him with those eyes and he could feel himself breaking. His – her – eyes would stare at him, fuelled with hatred and he’d feel like a fifth year all over again. He’d go to Dumbledore and complain about him and his father, but never his mother. He loved his mother and it hurt him more than anything that he was the reason for her death.

He caused her death. He caused her husband’s death. He caused her son’s horrible upbringing. He caused the celebration that went through the wizarding world when her son survived his master’s curse. He caused all of it, and he hated it. He hated looking at her son. He looked so much like her husband and for a small moment, he could hate him.

Then her son would look up and he couldn’t hate him. He couldn’t hate something that was a part of her. If it had been anything else, the nose, the cheekbones, he would be able to hate him. But it was her eyes. Her eyes. Green. The colour of Slytherin. But her eyes weren’t that colour. They were a beautiful emerald colour that flashed different colours depending on her mood.

Seeing them on his face. It was cruel. It was as if the gods were purposefully being spiteful. He couldn’t hate him. He wished he could. It would make it that much easier. Her son would have his head down and he could hate him. He looked exactly like his father, he could hate him.

Then her eyes would be glaring at him and he could feel his heart breaking all over again. Her eyes looking at him, scrutinising him through his face. It was wrong. He wished he never had jumped those rickety steps and rushed to his master. Then he wouldn’t be living through this agony every day. Watching him, hating him and not hating him.

It was a vicious cycle. He would watch him and start hating him when he saw that familiar messy head. He could hear the jibes that her husband threw at him. His lip would curl and then her son would look up and he could see the familiar, haunting green eyes.

Then he’d hear her trying to reason with him. He’d hear her husband apologising and offering to be friends. He remembers how he hexed her husband. He thought he truly lost her then.

He could have laughed remembering the way he thought he lost her because he hexed him. He thought that was it. That he’d lost her forever. If only! If only he could go back to that time!

He had truly lost her, now. She wasn’t on the opposite side of the hall anymore. She was ten feet under in a grave yard, lying next to her husband. He couldn’t look at her anymore; feeling satisfied that she was happy but angry that it was with her husband. He wanted her to be happy; just with anyone else would have been that much easier to get over her.

Who was he kidding; he could never get over her. Being with him just made it that much harder. He hated that he made her laugh and snort unattractively, but then he was thankful he made her happy because that’s all she deserved. She deserved someone who treated her like a princess. She deserved someone who treated her like she was the most delicate thing in the world, but still let her fight her own battles. She was a warrior that needed to be treated like a princess. She was delicate, but she could hold her own battles. It sickened him to say it sometimes, but she deserved him. She deserved the way he would ruffle her hair and then press a light kiss to her cheek. She deserved the way he took her flying at night. She deserved the way he helped her with transfiguration. She deserved to call him her husband.

She deserved anyone but him.

That made it harder for him to bear, but he knew it. He knew he didn’t deserve such a kind girl. He didn’t deserve something so beautiful; he would crush her in a second. He wanted her, oh how he wanted her, but he couldn’t have her.

He shouldn’t have lived, but he lived. She should have had a long, happy life with her husband and son, but she died too young. Twenty-one. She was only just entering her youth but she already had a child and husband. She deserved more. She deserved a normal, happy life where she taught her son to walk and talk. Where she taught him what was wrong and what was right, then her husband would teach him how to play pranks and she would scold him, but still have that warm smile and familiar twinkle in her eyes.

He deserved to die. He sent the only woman he ever loved to her death. He sent her husband to an early death. He hated her husband, but he never wanted him dead. Her husband was everything he was not and fit perfectly with her. Her dark red hair fit perfectly with his messy ebony hair.

She didn’t suit him at all. She suited the tall, messy, careless man rather than hunched, withdrawn and dark boy. She didn’t suit him at all. He knew that and everyone else did.

That didn’t make it hurt less, however.

He wondered how her husband did it. How did he change so dramatically, yet not at all? He stopped being arrogant, yet he was still confident. He still teased people but it was light-hearted and fun. When he saw others bullying someone, he didn’t join; he stopped it and gave them a talking to. He was respected and of course she would see it. Of course she saw it, everyone saw it.

That was when she started falling for him. Everyone noticed. They always sat together and she always laughed. Her laugh would be considered unattractive but in his eyes, it was the most beautiful laugh he’d ever heard. She’d laugh softly and then rise in volume, with a snort at the end. One of her eyes would narrow so she looked distinctly lopsided but she was still beautiful to him.

She always swore. She swore like a sailor and it always warmed his heart when she’d come to the library, storming over to him, grumbling about him. He would join in and watch when she got angry, how her cheeks bloomed red so they clashed with her hair. Her hair would get distinctly frizzier and then she’d swear about how she looked like a hedgehog.

He always assured her she didn’t but she ignored him. He heard her complaining about it to him once and instead of disagreeing and saying that she looked beautiful, he agreed. He was furious at how he treated her so poorly but then she’d laugh her unattractive laugh and he would run his hands through her hair, his fingers getting caught in the knots.

He was instantly jealous of him at that point. He’d always wanted to be able to run his hands through her dark red locks. He’d played with the ends of it but never was he able to feel the way her hair felt between his fingers. He was sure it would knot up but he wanted that feeling. Her hair was iridescent and he’d always loved it. He loved the way it would frizz up when she was hot or angry. He loved when she wore it down, it suited her eyes perfectly.

He hates that he caused her to die. He wishes he was braver and he could have prevented her death. He wishes that they realised Pettigrew’s real loyalties. He wishes that Dumbledore could have stopped his master.

He wants to look in her eyes one last time. He grabs her sons hand and wishes he didn’t have to grow up without her. He looks into his – her – green eyes and feels the sharp sting of regret.

He wishes that he hadn’t jumped down those rickety steps.


*Quote from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix page 741 English/Australian edition by J.K. Rowling.

*Quote from the Pretty Little Liar Series: Wicked by Sara Shephard. 

My two quotes were: "Maybe if someone had, a certain beautiful girl would be alive." 

and "The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches."

Hope you enjoyed! :)

EDIT: 18/10 - Many thanks to SnitchSnatcher, pennyardelle, Elphaba and Boyfriends, Siriusly89, PhoenixPulse, Violet Gryfindor and caoty for helping me out! :)

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