A/N: This is actually a one-shot for a challenge on SAYS. Hopefully this meets the requirements. Please let me know what you think! Thanks to Scrib for helping me with some of the parts. *hugs* Huge spoilers so if you haven't read Deathly Hallows yet, please do not read. Quotes at the end are not mine but JK's. No infringement is intended.
In the End
The secret of a good life is to have the right loyalties and hold them in the right scale of values.
At the time of judgment, where did his loyalties lie? Was his heart as black as the midnight sky? Did his blood run cold as a winter stream? Could he shake the fear when he was in his presence every time? He could act, of course, as any one could. But he could sense fear. It would roll off of him if he didn’t play it right like a thick fog after a storm. The Dark Lord would sense it in waves. There would be no running from his wrath if he allowed himself to falter. There could be no mistakes. There was no turning back from this…not this time. He was too deep to retreat into the darkness that wanted to take him into its arms.
In the end…did it really matter? Would there be a white light waiting for him? Would there be warmth and forgiveness? All he ever wanted, he never received. How hard was it for someone to love him? His father never had. His mother could barely hold it together, managing everything and keeping her wits about her. All he wanted, ever, was to be loved. Yet life never provided him with that. He wanted to feel the warmth that everyone else felt. He wanted it to embrace him lovingly as a mother would a newborn child.
Yet, here he stood, a grown man, touched by something else other than love. For years many thought he had been taken by the darkness that many of the Dark Lord’s followers had welcomed into their lives. In the face of it all, he was afraid of the darkness. He was afraid of what he could become if he fully delved into it – making it his own. Yes, he was considered to be the Right Hand of the Dark Lord himself. He was loyal and obedient. He did whatever he was asked, yet he was betraying that dark loyalty for his values. He was giving up his life to hold true to what he always believed in. In the end, he knew that love would always prevail. It was the white light at the end of the tunnel. No amount of magic would ever allow him to feel it, so instead he imagined what it would be like.
He imagined the arms of the woman he loved more than life itself wrapped around him. Her lips would gently touch the back of his neck as her fingers caressed every inch of him. His soft moans would only allow her to continue on with her exploration. With his eyes closed, he imagined how she would whisper in his ear of her love for him. There would be no worries about who would make fun of him. All there would be was the warmth of love radiating through him. She would provide that. Even just the thought of it made him smirk. It was a smirk that no one would understand. It was a smirk that allowed himself to be free of the restricting binds of being straight faced and always sulking. It was a freedom, he knew, that was allowed only once. In this time, during the wake of what was about to occur, he knew that he needed it more than ever.
In the presence of greatness, he sold his soul to amend his past…to amend his wrong doings. He would do it all again just to make sure that the right people knew who and what he was. There was no doubting his past. There was no doubting where he had wanted his loyalties to lie. But in the end…his values had won over what he wanted for himself. In the end…his fear of the dark became his light to guide him home.
I am fortunate, extremely fortunate, that I have you…
He held his head high as he heard the words resound in his ears. No, it had not been muttered during that moment, not in that exact moment, but it felt as though it had. Those words always meant something to him – something that got him through the dark times. It was Albus Dumbledore’s courage that got him through the times where he wanted nothing more than to give into the temptation that life had given him. It was much like the Muggle’s view of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Yes, he had been given an apple…had been tempted by the devil himself. For years he held the apple in his hands, trying to debate if he should bite into it – savor its sweet nectar. Would it soon be rotted? Would the temptation disappear, or would the snake merely slither round once again and find another way for him to give in?
The dread was slowly rising within him. The moments, the seconds, were growing too far and in between. There were no doubts in his mind of his fate. He knew what it had been years before this. It had been destined, fated, before everything came crashing down around him. Once he had seen that eleven-year-old boy stroll through the doors of Hogwarts, he knew then that in the end he would be no more. There had been so much done, so much accomplished, yet he felt like a complete and utter failure.
Harry Potter…the son of the woman he loved. The son of his mortal enemy. How had it come to this? How had he become the one destined to watch over a boy that was truly a bond between a woman he loved and a man he despised? There were many others that guarded him, kept watch over a young boy who had quickly turned into a young man. His destiny had been fated as well. Instead of his being with the darkness, he was fated to fight it. If he lost, he would travel into the light without the fear of it abandoning him. He wouldn’t have to worry if others would perceive him as being loyal or not. He was always loyal to the cause. He was Harry Potter – the Boy-Who-Lived. The boy didn’t have an evil bone in his body. He was surrounded by people who loved and admired him. They helped him in his time of need.
Who would be there for him in his?
You have been a good and faithful servant, and I regret what must happen.
He knew then that his feeble attempts of trying to persuade the Dark Lord was merely a waste of his breath and had been for quite some time. The Dark Lord only cared about one thing – power. For him it was more than that. For him he wanted to feel complete. His life, up till now, wasn’t anything. In this very moment, he knew that there would be no way to change that. It was the end. His life was over. The apple had rotted. The snake had slithered away.
Instead it was Nagini, the pet of the devil himself that had killed him. Sharp fangs sunk deep into his neck. He could feel his life flashing before his eyes – not as if he had one. But what he had of it, he felt it sink deep into him. His heart sped up, feeling time slip away from him.
The Dark Lord had actually said he regretted it.
There was no regret in the Dark Lord’s voice. He knew that there was no regret and never would be. He might have been loyal to the Dark Lord, but in the end he had triumphed. In the end his loyalties were to the trio of people that meant the most to him.
He had completed his task to Dumbledore. Dumbledore’s death upon the Astronomy Tower was one of his greatest regrets. He had to kill the man that had been his salvation. Even though Dumbledore’s days had been numbered, he despised the fact that it had to have been him to do it. They both knew Draco would have never succeeded in the Dark Lord’s task. It was always going to have to be him and he would forever be marked as a murderer and a traitor to the cause. But Dumbledore knew where his loyalties lied and that was all that mattered.
Lily…his sweet Lily. No, she would never understand the love he felt for her. But even as children, he couldn’t fight the pull he felt with her. She was the only one who truly understood him. Even though she loved a man that he never understood…never wanted to understand…he loved her just the same.
His eyes slightly widened even amidst the pain searing through his body. Just for a split second, he had thought she was there. Piercing jade green eyes stared down at him over wire-rimmed glasses. It was the one connection he had left to the love of his life. Harry’s eyes would guide him home.
Letting his hand dart out and grab the young man’s robes, he pulled Harry close. He willed the boy to take it, take what he was offering him – the truth.
He could feel the warmth of his own blood pooling beneath him. But there was something more coming from him. He hoped that the boy understood what it was. He hoped that he would take it and understand what he needed to before the Final Battle.
The strength he once had was dwindling. He needed this. He needed to see it.
Harry’s piercing gaze turned to his dark, cold, and almost dead eyes. In the end, Severus Snape, saw the love in Harry’s eyes. Not for him, but for what was coming. He understood that the boy knew what his fate was. There was no turning back now. He felt warmth and saw the white light. There was no protecting Harry. The boy would have to be on his own now – rely on his friends to guide him to the bitter end.
But in the end for Severus Snape…he saw Lily’s eyes one last time before his black eyes closed and saw no more.