Chapter 1 : The Playground
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“The green eyes found the black, but after a second, something in the depths of the dark pair seemed to vanish, leaving them fixed, blank, and empty. The hand holding Harry thudded to the floor, and Snape moved no more.”
--HP and the Deathly Hallows, chapter 32
He opened his eyes and had an intuition that he had been here before. He was lying on the ground, staring up at a clear blue sky dotted with patches of fluffy white clouds. He could smell the grass that tickled his hands and neck. Off in the distance, he heard a high-pitched creaking.
Turning his head in the direction of the sound, he saw that it came from a children’s swing set, the pair of swings swaying with the breeze. But at the same time he saw this, he pushed it to the back of his mind and focused on the sight of the young woman with long red hair walking gracefully towards him.
She looked to be around twenty. She was beautiful. And she had striking green eyes.
It was impossible.
He quickly got to his feet and stared as she moved closer. He had no words for what he was thinking or feeling. He knew that, had his death not been painfully drawn out and obviously final, this would have made it clear that he was dead. Because this was surely an angel, and it was a face he knew he would never see again in life.
He was vaguely aware that he had harbored feelings of bitterness and hatred in his life. But now he felt, all at once, joy and sorrow, jubilation and shame.
The angel took both of his hands in hers. Then she spoke, smiling.
“You are a brave man, Severus Snape.”
“Lily…” was all he could manage to say. He turned his face, averting his eyes from the source of the praise he did not deserve.
She took his face in her hands and gently turned it back to hers.
“Thank you,” she said, her smile still radiant, “for watching over my boy.” She gazed at him intently.
He shook his head. “I have betrayed you in the worst ways possible,” he said in a cracked voice. “I’m sorry, Lily.”
“Let the past be past. What’s important is the person you have become.”
“One who doesn’t deserve what you’re saying.”
“Not true. I am so proud of you, and so grateful.”
With great difficulty, he wrenched his eyes away from her face a second time to take in their surroundings. He thought he could hear the faint laughter of a small red-haired girl and black-haired boy coming from the trees that lined one edge of the playground.
“Why are we here?”
“I’m here to bring you home. Will you come with me?”
He felt a twinge of something – was it hope?
A thought occurred to him.
“And Potter?” was all he could ask in his confusion. Some of the old bitterness seeped back into his consciousness.
“This is about your heart’s joy, Sev,” she replied simply.
He gazed silently back, not entirely understanding.
The angel’s smile faded, and her brow crinkled in concern.
“What is it that will bring peace to your soul?”
“I think…” he drew a long breath, “…I think I would like nothing more than to look at you forever.”
She smiled. “Will you come with me, then?” She grabbed his hand again.
He hesitated. “I have…so many regrets.”
“Leave them here, Severus,” she implored him. “You have no unfinished business. You have nothing to fear in this life, I promise you.”
He nodded, and in a squeeze of his hand, he said everything else that had been left unsaid. And the man who had always been taught to fear death finally believed – in the presence of the only person who had brought any kind of joy to his troubled life – that death really might be the next great adventure.
A/N: I would be very much appreciative of reviews - thank you!
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