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The Best Disguise for Shame by LovlyRita
Chapter 27 : Turn Away
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 9


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It was so cold on the day that they lowered her into the ground. The authorities had waited so long to let the world say goodbye to her innocent face due to the impending investigations over their deaths. It had turned up inconclusive, as had the mysterious murder of the high ranking ministry official, who had been found yards away from the tragic murder scene of the Aguirre family.

Severus Snape stood in front of her casket holding a single red rose as the ceremony celebrating her life took place.

My insides all turned to ash, so slow
And blew away as I collapsed, so cold
A black wind took them away from sight
And held the darkness over day that night


Tears welled up in his charcoal eyes but he would not give them the satisfaction of falling on his pale cheeks. It was a chilly February day, overcast with light flurries floating down over the small crowd. It seemed as though time moved in small bursts, content to hold still until presented with an opportunity to sprint forward.

It had been like that for Severus in the past few weeks; he had returned to school broken, and Dumbledore helped him to regain the strength to return to his classes.

No one dare speak a word to him; no one would approach him or even offer their condolences. Sullen faces passed him in the hallways, avoiding eye contact and focusing on their own pathetic problems. The only contact he had, the only one that mattered, was the short encounter he’d had with Lily Evans shortly after the tragedy had occurred.

***
Severus sat idly in the Great Hall, unable to eat the meal presented to him on the long house table. Thoughts swirled incessantly in a useless cesspool inside his mind as he stared at his empty plate and goblet. The chatter of the students around him made him hate them more, and it made his current hellish life even worse. So when there was a subtle tap on his shoulder, he jumped to a rather crude conclusion that he’d rather die than turn.

Yet the persistent drum of the fingers on the sore, tender flesh of his shoulder finally prompted his compliance. Turning slowly, he was face to face with Lily Evans. Her green irises were a sharp contrast to the unusual redness of the whites of her eyes. She said nothing; all she offered was her hand as a crutch to lift him from the suffocating hell of the Slytherin breakfast table.

He took her slender hand, his chest heaving with genuine sadness and the horrid anticipation of having to discuss his feelings with anyone but the woman that was supposed to have been his forever. She helped him up as the entirety of the Great Hall abandoned their breakfast time monotony to watch the two. Even the staff table was watching the two seventh years as they crossed house lines.

Standing facing Lily, Severus blocked out the hundreds of eyes focused on him and stared deeply into her eyes, trying to read what could have possibly led her to approach him in front of the entire school. Inching closer, much to his surprise, she slipped two long arms around him and wrapped him in a hug. Pulling him close, he closed his eyes and breathed her in, pretending it was Elise, longing for her, anything that would bring her back, if only for a second.

Lily moved her hands to his stringy hair and gathered it together, as though she were trying to subtly help his composure. His eyes remained closed as he ran them down the length of her back and up again, feeling a single tear slide down his cheek and dropping down on the nape of her neck. Feeling the wetness of his sorrow, Lily felt her own tears fall gracefully down her face as the rest of the Hall respected their encounter. Suddenly there were no house lines, only classmates who had all begun to experience the cruel hand of Voldemort and his followers. Everyone in the room knew someone who had died; the great war was upon them.

Severus sighed deeply, suddenly feeling naked and exposed, and he pulled himself away from her, mouthed a thank you without actually breathing the words, and sat back down, pretending as though he had not just nearly fallen apart in front of the entire school.

***
And the clouds above move closer
Looking so dissatisfied
But the heartless wind kept blowing, blowing
I used to be my own protection, but not now
Cause my path has lost direction somehow
A black wind took you away from sight
And held the darkness over day that night


Severus’s face was blank as the guests of the funeral reached out one by one and laid their flower of choice onto her casket. He followed suit, dropping the blood red rose onto the wood of her casket.

Dressed in ink black robes, his hair tied back with a red string the way Elise liked it, Severus stared at the now closed coffin. The service had been nice enough, but Severus had been dreading it since the final date was announced. He didn’t want to say his goodbyes. He never wanted to be separated from her in the first place.

He was angry. The sadness and sorrow would soon fade, and left in its place would be a shell of a man so enraged by the death of his would-be wife that he could never lead a normal life, of this Severus was sure.

Finally it was time to say goodbye forever. Slowly, her body was lowered into the ground. The first shovel full of fresh dirt was roughly dumped into the hole of her final resting place.

And the clouds above move closer
Looking so dissatisfied
And the ground below grew colder
As they put you down inside
But the heartless wind kept blowing, blowing


He stayed for the entirety of her burial. When the Earth completely covered her, and the cemetery workers went home for the night, he stayed. He couldn’t bring himself to leave her, even if she couldn’t respond to his stories. He left only because it got so cold that evening that he could no longer feel his feet, and even then it was a struggle to continue back to the castle he was supposed to call home.

In his dormitory, he sat down onto his bed, staring into the middle of the room. He had no idea a month ago that he’d be spending this particular day so alone and in mourning.


So now you're gone
And I was wrong
I never knew what it was like
To be alone

On a Valentine's Day


Happy Valentine’s Day indeed.


***
He never went into his laboratory again. There were certain parts of the castle that he had to avoid because they reminded him too much of her. But eventually, as it always seems to do, time progressed and spring was upon them.

In March, Severus received word that his potion was in clinical trials and so far the results had been positive. While the news pleased him, any feeling of joy or happiness made him feel guilty because Elise was not here to be jubilant and excited with him. And as soon as the warm rush of good feeling hit him, they were gone, replaced with the numbness of depression.

When it was time for his N.E.W.T.s, Severus threw himself into his work, trying desperately to forget her. He hadn’t cried since the day after she’d died, save for the tear he experienced in the Great Hall with Lilyr, and now he showed little emotion to anyone who dare attempt communication with him. Most often his replies were soft and firm, devoid of any vocal variation. Everything was the same dull pitch, as his baritone was replaced by a single tone with which he responded to everything.

The four best friends in Gryffindor didn’t even breathe the same air as he did anymore. They never came around him, never talked to him, and Severus suspected this was mostly due to Lily’s intervention as the idiots probably had no shame and took advantage of those who were down. The house of Slytherin were never supportive of the first place, so they pretended as though nothing had happened.

And when the day of graduation finally arrived upon them, Severus was pleased that they issued a certificate for Elise’s graduation, and they presented it to him as he was presented with his own.

While everyone else was having massive celebrations at the start of their new life, Severus sat over in the furthest corner away from the noise, fingering the raised letters of Elise’s certificate. Her hard work and, well, his hard work had paid off in getting her this certificate, though she could not finish the last few months of the term. He would keep it always, tucked inside a book, so he could pull it out, look at it, and know that he would always have something that belonged to her.

Surprisingly enough, Lily made her way over to him, alone. She sat down beside him an he sighed heavily, signaling that he wanted no conversation.

“Oh, Severus, today’s our graduation day. We’ve made it,” she started.

He looked sternly in her direction but said nothing.

“Don’t you think Elise would have wanted you to smile and enjoy your last day at Hogwarts?”

“Elise would have wanted to be here,” he replied gruffly. Lily bit her lip, recognizing that conversing with him would be an uphill battle.

“Of course she would have, but she would have wanted you to smile. She loved life, and she loved you, and she would want you to continue the path you were on.”

“How do you know?” he asked bitterly. “How do you know what she would have wanted for me?”

“Because she was my best friend,” Lily said gently, trying to crack through his hardened exterior. “Because she loved you more than anything else on this Earth. And I know she would have wanted you to be happy at your achievements. You were nearly the top of our class! That’s something to celebrate!”

“I don’t want to celebrate! I just want to be alone,” he said quietly.

“Severus, I can help you. I can be a crutch. Look, I know you don’t want to, and I know I am just making you mad, but…if you ever need anything, or if you want to talk about anything, not just Elise, let me know, okay? I care about you,” she said quietly, patting his shoulder and rising from the table.

Severus stared at his hands, his mind blank. Lily Evans had once again offered to help him when he didn’t want it, and he still didn’t hate her. Rising from his chair, he made his way through happy families and exited the room, submerged in self doubt.

***

Severus could not bear to live in the old shack that served as the home for him and Elise the summer before, and his childhood home. So, with a scant amount of money flowing in from the recent acceptance of his potion into the ministry archives, he packed up his few belongings and moved away from the memories into a new house on a street named Spinner’s End. It was small but that was all Severus needed.

He was unemployed but he managed to find food to eat and stayed mostly indoors with the windows pulled tightly shut. The sun was no longer a friend of his. It was almost as if he felt himself reverting back to the person he used to be, but he was too depressed to fight it. He had no reason to laugh or to smile, or even to wake up in the morning. Some days he just stayed in bed all day. No one even came to check up on him, not that anyone knew where he lived.

So when he received a knock at the door, he looked up from his book with surprise. Rising from his makeshift sofa, he opened the door to his guest.

“Severus, how good to see you.” Eyes wide, Severus stayed rooted to the ground, fear pulsing through every inch of him.

“Well, aren’t you going to invite me in? I am a guest, you know.”

“Come in,” he forced the words through his cotton dry lips, gesturing to the sofa. “Would you like something to drink?”

“I’ll conjure my own, thank you. So, do you have any idea why I’m here?”

“I have an idea,” Severus said blandly, sitting across from the guest in a tattered old easy chair.

“What has happened to your beautiful girlfriend? I fully expected to meet her here, and I was so looking forward to it!”

“She…she was murdered…about six months ago.”

“Oh how awful! And you must be so upset. Did you intend to wed her?”

“I did,” Severus said.

“Do they have any idea who the culprit was?”

“The Ministry of fucking Magic,” Severus said quietly, the words dripping with hate. “They thought she was in a secret society, much like the death eaters, because of her grandfather. So the ministry ordered them to be killed.”

“I can assure you they were not death eaters,” The Dark Lord said, smiling widely. “This is one of the reasons we fight the ministry, Severus. They are prejudiced against people who are different.”

Severus wrinkled his eyebrows but said nothing. That statement had been one of the most hypocritical statements he’d ever heard.

“Well,” Voldemort said, “I suppose my organization does as well, however we are only trying to better the wizarding world. The difference between me and the ministry is that we are purifying the wizarding world, and the ministry is letting the filth survive and killing off innocent people, mostly purebloods. And, of course, the entirety of your girlfriend’s family.”

Severus felt dizzy as the conversation continued.

“My grandfather was the one who cast the spell,” Severus said. “The bastard worked at the ministry.”

“I know, Severus. I know that you killed him, as well. How did it feel?”

This question caught him off guard.

“It made me feel powerful. To be able to taunt him, an aged wizard, with my own spells and make him feel like the smallest wizard on earth was one of the most rushing, revitalizing feelings I’ve ever had,” he said truthfully.

“These spells you speak of, what are they?” The Dark Lord asked hungrily.

“Oh I uh…created some dark spells to manipulate the human body into temporary disease. They are quite tortuous and my grandfather didn’t enjoy them,” Severus said, smiling at the memory.

“Well, how would you feel if I told you that you could seek to avenge Elise’s death everyday? You can feel free to hunt down and slaughter all those you feel had a hand in her death. You can use your spells at will and join a family rather than sitting here rather pathetically all the time. You, Severus, can join the Death Eaters.”

He’d known it had been coming, and there must have been something he possessed that the Dark Lord was aching for because he was making such an effort. He’d be important again. He would have a place where people were just as mad and disgruntled as he was.

“I’m very interested in your work, Severus. You’re a brilliant spell producer, and I’d like you to create some more. I’ve heard nothing but good things about you and you’ll need something to do with your time,” the Dark Lord pressed on. “I think you will be pleased with our organization and our cause. Plus, becoming death eater is a fantastic way to hide the obvious shame you have about your muggle father.”

How was it possible that this stranger of a man could know so much about the shame he had for his blood and his father? Severus wasn’t sure if it was clarity or a fog, but something was persuading him to say yes. What did he have to lose anyway? He had no family, girlfriend or real friends. This scary man was offering more than he could ever do for himself, and so, he accepted.

“I will join you to become a death eater.”

“I thought you might say that,” Voldemort said, extremely pleased. “Come then, we have a ceremony prepared in your honor for this evening.”

***

Severus stared down at the dark mark on his forearm. It was extremely tender and it disgusted him. What had he done? Was this really what he wanted for himself, what Elise had wanted for him? He should have owled Lily, anything but this!

Still, as he looked down on it, he realized how empowered he was by it. After the ceremony, he had given Voldemort full range of his spells. Lucius had patted him on the back and sent him on his way, and now he was back at his home, lonely and sad.

Elise would have never wanted him to become a death eater, yet it was almost as though it was written in the stars for him.

He sighed quietly and pulled his sleeve down, vaguely remembering a time when he’d done the same, trying to prove to her that he wasn’t a death eater.

Now he was. Severus Snape, death eater.

He laid down on his back and closed his eyes, begging for sleep to fall upon him. Soon he was bombarded by dreams of her and her beauty. She was calling for him, leading him to a place they could be together.

And there, in the happiest of his dreams, he found a blissful peace with her. A place the evil could never come. It was a place where he could be with her, he could love her, and he could stay suspended in a time when he was not plagued with his best disguise for shame.


Author’s Note: Thank you to everyone who has ever read and reviewed this, my magnum opus of stories. I am so sorry to see it end, but it has taken two years and finally we’ve reached it. I adore each and every person who bothered to take the time to glance at my story and I hope you are pleased with the ending. The song used for the beginning of the chapter was “Valentine’s Day” by Linkin Park off their new album Minutes to Midnight and it inspired me to write the beginning the minute I heard it.

Thank you so much for reading :) I love you all.

Ashley


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