Lungs completely empty, Severus stared at the expansive, wooded property. The large house that her family occupied groaned from its injuries. The roof had caved into the living room, and the entire west wall was strewn far into the trees.
Leaving his rationale behind, he began to run again. No footprints lay in the snow around him, but he had a foreboding feeling about what he might find if he inched closer to the damage.
His fears nearly confirmed immediately, he saw a body lying close to the east side. Face down in the deep snow, it was next to the front door, as if the person had answered the door only to meet death straight in the face.
Upon closer inspection, his breath caught in his throat as he realized that it was the body of a man. Reaching down, Severus slowly turned the body and was dismayed that it was Elise’s father who had succumbed to evil. His countenance was one of surprise, and it looked as though a wizard had been the one to end his life.
Severus studied the body carefully, remorse for Elise filling his heart. Looking ahead into the house, dread filled the core of his body. Incredulously, he stepped inside the shell of a house, feeling the blood drain from his face.
The smell of burning bread filled the stale air, and Severus could see that flames were just beginning to shoot out of the oven. Strewn across the living room floor were three bodies, belonging to Mrs. Aguirre, still in her apron, and the young children, Katalina and Philippe. They were seemingly unharmed, save for the lifeless emptiness inhabiting their cold eyes.
Who could have killed innocent children? Who would hurt Elise’s family? One name swam to the forefront of mind ─ Voldemort.
Gingerly, he lowered the eyelids of the slain children and their mother. Then, he took care to stop the fire in the oven so as not to destroy any of the evidence that might lead to the capture of the killer.
A quick inspection of the house left Severus without answers regarding Elise’s whereabouts, and he quickly moved back outside, frantically yelling his love’s name.
He covered ground quickly, screaming as he went through into the forest. He looked for footprints or anything that would lead him to her. Oddly enough, there were no footprints anywhere, and as time quickly passed the snow fell harder, making his search ever the more difficult.
As he ran, he couldn’t focus on what could have happened; instead, his energy and efforts were focused on finding her. She was his love, she was the reason that getting up in the morning had become so sweet, the reason that finishing his potion had been so incredibly important. When he had crudely proposed marriage he had meant every word, and life without Elise seemed trivial and useless. So, he pressed on, urgency defining every step.
Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, footprints appeared, though quickly they were being filled in from the snow. Their direction followed one that was sharply different than the course he had originally taken, and so he followed them deep into the bowels of the forest.
His mind was a cesspool of vacant thought, searching anywhere for a sign. He might’ve been acting foolishly, running into potential danger, but he didn’t care. They were going to have a life, he was going to be successful, they were going to have everything. That’s just how it was. That was how it would be.
He became frenzied and delirious as exhaustion tried to edge out the adrenaline coursing through his veins. She was here somewhere in this woods, he could sense it. When he found her, he’d have to scold her from running away, from scaring him.
She’d been right to come for her family, and she probably ran away because she was so upset. That had to be what it was, because he had plans with her, and nothing would mess that up. No one could take that away from him.
The wind and snow was beating his face raw. It had been fifteen minutes since he had apparated and where he currently was. How had she come this far so quickly?
Up ahead, he saw a mess of black tainting the snow. Eyes watering profusely from the cold, he ran more quickly to reach it, but stopped abruptly before he got there.
The black was robes.
The hair was a shiny dark brown.
It was Elise.
Groaning, he rushed to her, his body dropping heavily beside her.
It was a dream sequence, a slow motion, torturous nightmare. She was face down, her hair whipping in the wind. Her hands had turned to a sickening bluish tint from the freezing cold temperatures, and a reddish hue stained the snow around her due to a cut from falling onto a rock.
“Elise?” he asked, panic rising in his voice. No answer. No movement. No motion.
“Elise!” he yelled, touching her arm. Nothing. He turned her over and, upon seeing her, doubled over in panic and distress.
Her beautiful chocolate eyes were open. The muscles in her face were still contracted in fear, and her lips were slightly parted.
“Elise!” he screamed, grief overcoming him. “Elise…” Tears spilled from his eyes and froze on his cheeks, as he lost the bet he’d made on his first date with her so long ago. As sorrow and realization washed over him, he briefly remembered that gorgeous day when he’d first fell in love with her.
“I can see it in your eyes. You’re changing, Severus Snape. Pretty soon, I’ll have you crying, you just watch.”
“Well, my dear, the best of luck to you in that endeavor. But I think I could teach you to be cold and heartless before you make me cry.”
“You want to bet on that, sir?” she asked, her eyes sparkling in jest.
“And what are the terms of this bet?” Severus inquired.
“If I win, then… you have to be nice and smile all day long… and sing happy songs. And… give me a foot massage.”
“And if I win, you have to… spend an entire day without talking.”
Elise opened her mouth indignantly and then shut it again.
“I ― well, you know, this could be years before this is finished,” she commented.
“Yes, and I’ll make sure I’m there when it happens so I can bask in the sound of silence.”
“Elise,” Severus sobbed, “Oh, God, no…” But she did not answer his desperate plea.
He gingerly picked up her still body into his lap, taking care to brush the hair out of her eyes as he clutched her to him tightly, his tears flowing freely on her.
“No…no,” he moaned. “Oh, God, no, I was going to…we were going to…I was going to marry you. You were going to be my wife! For God’s sake, Elise, you are my forever. Oh God…damnit!” he choked, crying harder.
A final, heart stopped realization finally gripped him. There was no subtle rise and fall of her chest, no warmth in her face or hands. Elise Aguirre was dead.
“Oh no…oh no…I love you so much, Elise, please, oh please take me instead, please, please,” he said, rocking back and forth slowly, being completely and totally selfless for the first time in his entire life.
Suddenly, there was a quick beating against his wrist as he put his hand against his chest, and happiness swelled within him.
“Elise!” he yelled, shaking her. But then, he realized that his hand was on the locket he’d given to her over Valentine’s day the previous year, and all he was feeling was his own strong heart beat.
He lowered his head to her chest and cried there, listening to his own heart beat, wishing more than anything he could give his own heart to her just so he didn’t have to bear the agony of another breath without her.
After what seemed like forever, his tears unexplainably dried as he stared at her, sorrow quickly being replaced with rage as he strove to find the person who had done this to her.
He looked down at her and used his hand to close her eyes. She was gorgeous, even in death.
“I love you, Elise, and there will never be another person in my life who I could ever love or give myself to as much as I love you,” he said quietly, sorrow infiltrating every inch of his being.
He held her there, time stalled around them.
He didn’t hear the footsteps inch behind him.
“It had to be done,” a familiar voice said coldly, “they were part of an illegal organization. They had to be disposed of for the safety of wizarding Britain. We cannot have support for any Dark Lord, be it Ferrous, Grindelwald, or Voldemort, remain alive. I’m sure you understand that.”
Turning slowly, Severus faced his grandfather.
“Prince,” Severus snarled, taking care to protect Elise. “What have you done?” he hissed.
“You were stupid by fraternizing with these people,” Prince said, drawing himself closer to Severus. “Now look how guilty you appear.” He laughed sardonically.
“Get away from me!” Severus yelled, anger boiling in his blood. He laid Elise down, kissed her forehead, and stood, cowering at least two inches over his grandfather.
“Look at you,” Prince snarled, “a spitting image of your dirty muggle father. How very appropriate.”
“Don’t,” Severus began, his words like knives issuing from his tongue, “Ever. Talk to me. About him. He was a stupid bastard of a man, a waste of human flesh and oxygen. He is not worthy to ever have time wasted on his memory.”
“I’m glad we agree on something,” Prince said, an ironic smile dancing on his lips.
“Don’t ever compare him to me, because I am a force to be reckoned with. I am great. I know how to treat women, and I don’t run away from trouble. I don’t desert people who I love just because they are different!” Severus spat.
“Ah, repressed anger surfaces. Unfortunately for you, I don’t give a shit about how fantastic you think you are. There are greater things in this world that you.”
“That is something I’ve come to understand. But compared to my father─”
“You’re just as average as he was! A lowly, poor, commoner. Just as much of a waste. A filthy half blood. You, Snape, do not deserve to breathe!”
A pain like he’d never known before started in his body, stalling his organs, stimulating the pain receptors in his body. Severus’ neurons were firing thousands of knives throughout his body; it was as though his limbs were being pulled in all different directions.
When the pain finally subsided, he panted, tears in his eyes, his head pounding from the tension he’d kept restraining the overwhelming urge to scream.
“Did you like that?” Prince asked, the dusk of evening casting shadows around his eyes. “The cruciatus curse? Still feel like you’re on top of the world?”
Breathing deeply, Severus stood again. The snow was falling lightly now, and it allowed Severus to see lines of hate etched in his grandfather’s face.
Severus’ life was on the line; the old man would surely kill him.
Severus put his hand in his pocket and grasped his wand. Suddenly, Prince walked toward him, his wand pointed at Severus’ throat.
“I should kill you for your insolence, but I─”
“What? Too scard?” Severus boldly stated. “You killed the love of my life. I have no family, I have nothing. Kill me, then.”
“You’re a fool. I won’t give myself the satisfaction.”
“Oh no?” Severus asked, drawing his wand. A large gash appeared across Prince’s face.
“What about now?”
Prince stared back at Severus, blood oozing down his cheek.
“How did you do that?” he asked, seemingly more unsettled by the ability than the actual action.
“Nonverbal curses. I’m 18 years old. Do you think I don’t know nonverbals?”
“That’s an unregistered curse you just used. How do you know it?” Prince asked curiously, his demeanor changing slightly.
“The curse is the property of the Half Blood Prince,” Severus replied, his lip curling. A sense of power washed over him.
“The Half Blood Prince? I’ve never heard of this man. How do you know him? How many spells has he created? Are they all dark?”
“His spells are all very dark, yes. He’s created 15 spells for enemies, most of which he hasn’t tried yet, but would love to,” Severus snarled, the power overtaking his senses. He felt evil, he wanted to hurt his grandfather, who had murdered the only woman he could love. He would avenge her.
Narrowing his eyes, he drew his wand and cast a levicorpus spell on him. His grandfather grunted as he was turned upside down.
“The Half Blood Prince would love to share with you his many accomplishments.”
Severus laughed, a wild fire burning through the goodness in his eyes.
“The Half Blood Prince’s main focus of work is the human body ─ how it works, why it works, how to…interrupt, shall we say, normal functioning. Citatus Pectus!” Severus cried. The old man gasped sharply and shoved his hand to his chest.
“M-my heart!” He exclaimed. “What have you done…I…I can’t breathe…”
“Relax, you weak fool, it’s only supraventricular tachycardia. You’ll only die if it goes on for hours and hours. You’d pass out before then and not even feel life slipping away. But I’m far to generous to allow death to take that long.”
Prince began to wheeze annoyingly, and Severus lazily flicked his wand. His grandfather dropped to the ground with a thump.
With another flick of the wand, his grandfather was standing.
“What’s next? It gets worse…magically induced strokes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, disembowelments…I’d like to try that one, I think.”
The voice that emitted from his lips did not even sound like Severus anymore. The warm tones that had painted his deep melodic voice were gone; left was the shell of a heartbroken vengeful maniac.
“NO. What the hell is this, magical biological warfare?” Prince yelled loudly, searching for his wand.
“Don’t even think about it,” Severus said quietly.
Suddenly, his grandfather gasped. He couldn’t bring air to his lungs, he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. A wave of Severus’ wand, and the man finally breathed deeply.
“A choking curse.”
“Not even the darkest of wizards would─”
“─what? Mess with the body? What do you call the cruciatus curse, which is an affliction of the peripheral nervous system? Or the Avada Kedavra curse, which ceases human life? The Prince does not appreciate his work being criticized! Crucio”
Writhing on the ground, Severus laughed as he cast his first cruciatus on the same day he’d first received one. He lifted it moments later, his weakened grandfather sprawled out on the snow covered earth.
“You’re not dead yet, but I bet you wish you were.” Severus laughed as the man brought himself to a vertical position.
“Who is…the Half Blood Prince? Where is he? The Ministry ─ arrest ─ Azkaban ─”
“Why, grandfather,” Severus began menacingly, advancing on the old man, “I am the Half Blood Prince. And you ruined my entire life.”
Fear crossed the old man’s face. His eyes began to water, and he realized how powerful his grandson had become.
“Severus─” the man gasped, but Severus no longer cared for the man’s well being. His mother, his love, his youth, all wasted at the hands of this man.
“You must realize,” Severus whispered, face to face with his ailing flesh and blood, “that I don’t give a fuck about you or your pleas for life.”
He drew back his wand, eyes flashing without any thought of consequences.
“AVADA KEDAVRA” Severus screamed with conviction.
Prince’s mouth parted, his eyes wide, as his soul vacated its shell.
Realizing what he’d done, feeling the loneliness, stress, and sorrow, Severus began to cry, the events taking a toll on him.
He fell to his knees, abandoning the body of his grandfather and crawling back over to Elise. He picked her up and held her again, unaware of an intrusive pair of red eyes, staring from a few yards away, exceedingly pleased with the events that had occurred.
Severus stayed there, his life completely in shattered ruins.
It was there Dumbledore found him before the aurors, clutching Elise in the snow, his body at nearly hypothermic levels.
It was Dumbledore who would protect Severus from any action taken against him. It would be claimed that Severus was acting in self defense, that he didn’t know what he was doing at the time.
Dumbledore was the only person who knew what Severus had truly done. Dumbledore and one other person, who was most interested in the Half Blood Prince’s very creative work.
A/N: I am so exceedingly sorry about this. I was so attached to Elise, but I’ve known about her death for over a year now, and writing the sweet stuff made this even more difficult. I’ve wrote this so many times, and I still don’t think I’ve got the right version, but I wanted this to be up for you. Constructive criticism is very important for this chapter, so if you think I should have done something differently, let me know.
I want you all to know that this was so hard for me to do, and I appreciate your support.
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