As always, J.K Rowling owns the characters and anything that has to do with Harry Potter.
I would like to dedicate this story to Onyx Scorpio.
It had to be worth it; didn’t it? Why did everything happen if the outcome was going to be terrible? It was worth it right?
The only way you’ll find out is if you open your eyes!
Easier said than done! My eyes fluttered open for a blinding second before the heaviness of my eyelids caused my eyes to be plunged into darkness once more.
Please, I pleaded, just let me sleep.
The finality in the voice made my eyes fly open, half expecting my wife to be standing over me annoyed that I had slept in instead of being ready at the same time as her and the kids.
My wife was not there. Instead, I faced a sky of blackness with white pinpricks of stars splayed across it. A cool, nightly breezed brushed past my face laden with the smells of pine and…dried blood?
I quickly sat up and paused. The attendant pull of my body hadn’t accompanied that movement…and I was outside.
“The Dark Lord…snake…pain…Harry Potter…silence. How the…?!”
“Watching you try to figure this out is pure entertainment.”
The light, aerial movement of turning caused a slight bit of discomfort that was immediately erased from my mind as I saw the person standing behind me.
That smile, that hair, those eyes; all were trained on me.
“But you’re…and I’m sure I was…”
She smiled sadly. “Nothing has changed. I’m still dead and so are you.”
“I thought that you’d like some time to say goodbye.” She reached a hand down. I reached up to gratefully accept and stopped. My transparent hand offered a shimmering view of the horizon.
“Damn!” I angrily spat out.
She sighed. “No Severus, you’re not a ghost.”
Not exactly trusting her statement, I resolved to take the proffered hand and have her help me up. Once upright, I brushed off imaginary flecks of whatever off my clothes. Feeling a bit more like myself, I stared at Lily Potter.
“What am I then?” I hadn’t meant for a sneer to enter my voice.
Her voice became colder as well. “Think of it as a temporary sojourn before your final destination. A temporary spirit, if you will.”
“The point being?”
“As I said before, to say goodbye,” and she pointed over my shoulder.
I turned and saw my wife talking with Harry Potter.
“To say goodbye?” I whispered.
“A little daft tonight, aren’t we?” She shook her head and continued in a calmer, nicer voice. “I’m giving you the ability for your own closure over your death; something I never had the chance to do. It helps, Severus…at least, that’s what I’ve heard from others.”
I dashed off not caring that I hadn’t heard the rest of what Lily had to say. I wanted to be near my wife; to hold her, to reassure her, to just let her know…something.
“Lydia!” I kept yelling as I drew near. “Lydia!” She never looked up.
I stopped running and walked the rest of the way to where she crouched, holding my corpse’s hand and the hand of…
“Selena! Oh dear God, no, please, my daughter! Please!” I sank to my knees near my dead daughter. Hot, salty tears coursed down my cheeks and I let them; not giving a damn about who saw me.
“Lydia, I’m sorry. This is my fault! Lydia…please…forgive me…my daughter…I never meant,” the tears came harder, the sobs louder, as I reached for my wife.
My hands went right through her. I tried again, with the same effects. I tried again and again and again, but it was useless.
I felt a hand on my shoulder. “Severus, she can’t hear you or feel you,” Lily’s soft voice whispered behind me.
I whipped around and roughly pushed her hand off me. “Then why allow me…” A sob chocked off my words. I tried again, “Then why allow me to see her?” I screamed it at her.
Lily stood quietly for a moment as I continued to sob.
She then whispered, “You deserved a chance to say goodbye; for everything you did, you deserved at least that.”
“But…I…can’t…” I reached to touch my wife and watched again as my hand went through her. Fresh tears followed the tracks that previous tears left.
“I can’t change that Severus. God knows I would if I could.”
I continued after a moment of silent sobbing. “I loved her. I let her know everyday and still that wasn’t enough. Every chance I got, I told her I loved her, and still that wasn’t enough. She and the kids were my world; I would’ve done anything for them.”
“You did do anything, Dad. Look at what you did.”
My eyes blurrily focused on a smaller transparent figure that stood beside Lily. Through my tears, I smiled.
“Selena,” I whispered.
“Daddy!” She cried as she flung herself into my opened arms. I pulled her close and we both cried.
“Don’t worry, Daddy. Mom knows that you always loved her.” A child reassuring her father just like she sometimes did when she was younger. Just like they all did when they were younger.
“Sometimes I wonder…I started dating her so soon after…”
Lily answered. “She never considered herself second place.”
Selena was nodding against my chest. “We all know you loved her.”
With my daughter still in my arms and tears still slowly weeping from my eyes, I took another look at my wife. She was stained and bloodied with rips and tears in her clothes. Her hair was in disarray and she kept absentmindedly pushing it out of her face every so often. There were tear tracks on her face that had washed away the dirt and every so often I heard her mutter, “Severus…I love you…I always will…Severus.”
I knew I had done everything for her but, in death, I only felt that I needed to do more because I could not erase the look of pain in her eyes. How to say goodbye to her? I didn’t think I could. I was only thinking of how I would have comforted her when I was alive; taken her in my arms and kissed her forehead as she cried. But I couldn’t do that now. The alternative…?
“Dad, we need to go now.” I hadn’t realized that Selena had left my arms and now stood again with Lily.
That is when I realized the only thing I could do was kiss her cheek and say goodbye. Staying was not going to help her or me come to grips with our new “lives”; only my passage with Selena into the great beyond was going to help both of us grieve properly.
I leaned over and whispered in her ear. “You were never second place believe me, my love. I loved you and will continue to love you as no man has ever done before. We will only be away from each other for a little while.”
I kissed her on the cheek, knowing she would not feel it. “I’ll be waiting for you. I love you Lydia.”
I stood up. “Goodbye,” I whispered down at her before turning and taking my daughter’s hand.
Lily smiled. “See, I told you saying goodbye would help.” I smiled back.