Severus Snape lay prone on the floor, his fingers pressed against his neck where blood flowed freely. His vision was fading, obscured by a thick, dark fog that descended gradually upon the world around him. He fought for a few more seconds, a few more precious moments, his eyes wildly seeking Harry’s. Potter’s son. He grimaced slightly, his hatred for the boy as strong as it ever was. His task, Dumbledore’s order, that must be taken care of. He little knew nor cared why Potter was there, but as long as he was, he need to know what must be done. Struggling to retain consciousness he choked the words out, “Take…it…” before feeling an odd satisfaction, knowing that Potter too would be dead. The last piece of James would die with him.
And the last of Lily.
It was hard to comprehend that fact, the young man beside him bearing such a striking resemblance to James…he had so little of his mother in him. Just the eyes…her eyes.
And suddenly there flared within him the need to see them once more, to see her eyes, to remind himself why he’d risked so much for the boy he despised.
“Look….at….me…” he spluttered, his vision rapidly declining.
Then green eyes met black and for a moment Snape let himself believe that it was Lily who sat beside him in these, his final moments. Lily who held his gaze.
The black fog finally fully cloaked his vision and there was a calm, black nothingness.
Or, not nothing…not quite. He was still there…he still thought, and still felt the floor against his back. Amazingly,the world was slowly coming back, his sight returning as he found he could open his eyes. His first thoughts were that the Granger girl had been clever enough to stem the bleeding, to pull him back from Death’s clutches.
But, no…he had been too far gone to be saved through any means—magic or muggle.
Why, then, was Harry still beside him—for those green eyes still held his gaze. Had he died already too, then? Somehow the prospect of spending an eternity with The Boy Who Lived was sickeningly unappealing…
The green eyes, however, were not framed by untidy black hair and no lightning scar adorned the forehead. His thoughts raced, his heart—did he still have a heart?—leapt into his throat. Could it be? Further investigation of the curious person with green eyes was soon made impossible, his vision obscured once again. This time it wasn’t a dark fog but a large amount of red hair and a familiar scent of meadowsweet.
“Sev, you were so brave,” murmured Lily, her voice making Snape quite sure that he did, in fact, have a heart. She pulled away and his eyes looked past her to the three men standing behind her. That familiar hatred welled inside him at the sight of James Potter, and his friends; Remus Lupin and Sirius Black.
James stood frozen for a moment, his eyes moving from Snape to his wife. Then he was striding across the space between them, hesitating a moment before offering Snape his hand. Severus, stunned, had a fleeting thought of merely turning away with some snide comment. But what good would that do, here in this place where the Hogwarts rivalry and long-held hatred seemed so very far away? He took James’ hand, glad when he did so to see the grin that spread across Lily’s face.
“Thank you,” said James, as he helped him to his feet, “Lily and I are thankful for what you’ve done.”
He didn’t mention the countless things they were not so thankful for, hateful comments and jeering taunts that were so often directed at their son by the very man they were thanking. He had come through, in the end, had succeeded in keeping there son safe until the approaching moment when they knew he must join them.
Snape didn’t reply, nodding briefly and dropping James’ hand as quickly as was considered polite. He didn’t miss the disdainful look that Sirius still cast in his direction, or the way Remus stared at him with a mixture of surprise and mistrust.
A few moments (or was it hours…he couldn’t really tell) passed in an awkward silence before Lily shot a glance at her husband who met her gaze and nodded. Snape suddenly felt even more awkward, seeing the look that the two of them shared and fully understanding that they were (or once had been…do such things really pass with death?) husband and wife. There was something intimate in their interactions, something that Severus would’ve died to have between himself and Lily. He made to turn away, some sense of modesty or embarrassment making the scene difficult to witness. Lily, however, squeezed her husband’s hand, released her grip, and moved her hand to Snape’s arm, stopping him mid-turn.
“We’ve a lot of catching up to do,” she murmured, taking his hand and leading him—shocked—away from the group of Maruaders. James looked torn to see Lily with the man he despised and stood watching them as they moved a little ways away. He turned slightly to glance at his friends behind him, both of whom only shook their heads as if to say, ‘We don’t see what she sees in him either’, before turning back to look at the odd pair. He smiled slightly, seeing not the beautiful woman and greasy-haired man but a young boy of nine years with mismatched clothing and a young girl the same age who sat—her green eyes wide—listening to every word the boy spoke as he relayed everything that had happened since her death. She knew already, of course; knew of her son and his friends, of Dumbledore’s plan, of everything her living loved ones had been doing. Yet she showed the greatest interest in the boy’s slightest utterance, her face rapt with attention.
There they sat, cross-legged across from each other, until Lily had to be called away to aid her son in his sacrifice.
Two children; just friends, once again, the sins of a lifetime washed away in the great expanse of eternity.