Chapter 16 : Misery Loves Its Company
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Only a couple more chapters of this left. I absolutely love this chapter by the way. Hope you do too.
Kind of short, but very deep and important.
Title and Summary song:
“Misery Loves Its Company” by: Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
The absence of my tears is my sobriety
I have a growing fear and you're not helping me
Am I the only one who realizes it is true?
For the first time, I was the one unrelentingly pissed at Severus Snape. There had been a few times in our history that Snape had made me angry, but that had only be for a short amount of time. Now that I knew of his infatuation with Lily Evans, it was a completely different story.
Of course I was angry, I had every right to be! First and foremost, this proved that Severus was the biggest hypocrite and liar on the face of the planet. How many times had he bashed my feelings for Julien? And how many times had he said that love was for faint-hearted fools? Not only were those utterly valid reasons for me to be angry, but at that fact that it was Lily Evans! For so long Severus had been running around with his nose in those dark texts and associating himself with kids of Death Eaters, who were soon to be followers of Voldemort as well. Though I was neutral on the subject of pureblood superiority, I was not daft enough to notice that his love for Muggleborn Evans totally contradicted all of his ‘Let’s Follow Voldemort!’ BS.
Snape’s hypocrisy enraged me the most.
Why did it have to be Evans anyway? She was just some know-it-all, Muggleborn Gryffindor that absolutely everyone loved. What was so great about her anyway? I mean, Potter was dating her...and we all know how low his standards are. He dated nearly all the girls in Hogwarts. She clearly couldn’t be that amazing if she’d fallen under the spell of James Potter, arrogant prat extraordinaire.
I wouldn’t say that Snape deserved better. He just should have picked someone other than Evans. Someone who understood him. Evans wasn’t at all his type. She was too giggly, type-A, perfectionist. Severus Snape was a lot to handle, and no one knew that better than I did. I’d been his only companion for so long. True, he’d known Lily before me, but she’d abandoned him, hadn’t she? It had been years since they’d had an actual conversation. She didn’t know him like I did.
I was entirely aware that my argument could be completely misconstrued.
There were no romantic feelings between Severus and myself at all. None. However, we were two cynics alone together in a world of dreamers. He was my only anchor to the real world, and I, his.
We were the only two people who were not fooled by the kaleidoscope fabrications of the rose-colored lenses.
Months passed since my realization of Severus. We still spoke, but the words always seemed even more bitter than usual. There was a palpable resentment between us, but neither dared to take the step and end all ties with the other, effectively casting us both out in open water, floating alone. Though we could never admit it, we needed each other. We were all we had.
The ill-will we felt was obvious, as though a sudden veil had been lifted from our eyes. I saw Severus as the hypocrite that he was and he saw the unrelenting cynicism the betrayals in my life had left. It all sounded very dramatic, and it was. There was a quiet disappointment, a quiet hatred we had for the other, though we couldn’t let go. Maybe it was because we really had no one else. Or maybe it was just that we could both trust the callousness of the other. I never had to pretend for Severus, for he always knew that I was cruel.
Hatred was probably a strong word to use for the way I felt. It could have just been impatience. I was waiting for Severus to realize that Lily Evans would never love him and that my problems were way worse than his. Because that’s how humans behave; we always have pity for ourselves before we have it for others, if we have enough left over for them at all. It is human nature that we all believe our problems are more terrible than yours.
We’d made it all the way to April with this ‘silent treatment’ thing. The days began to dwindle and the conversations remained short.
As graduation loomed closer, I contemplated what I was going to do.
“I’m leaving England.” I stated over my baked ham during a noisy dinner in the Great Hall. Severus was, as usual, across from me, staring down his casserole.
“I’m going to France. I want to be with Lucida when she has her baby. She’s due right around graduation. I love France.” I said, trying to brag.
“Good for you.” Were his only words as his eyes remained fixated on the strange mass. I nodded in agreement.
“Isn’t it?” I said through a forkful of roasted potatoes, “I cannot stand this godforsaken country anymore.
“Not to mention this ruddy Voldemort business, too,” I added a few moments later, as I saw there were no signs that Severus was paying any attention, “You joining in on that crap?” He looked up from his plate, his black hair framing his sullen face. It was odd just how much his skin contrasted from his onyx eyes.
“Yes.” Severus said slowly, in an almost patronizing tone, though his dull tenor gave little sign of it. I clucked my tongue at him, smiling deviously as I knew I was beginning to annoy him.
“I don’t think Evans is going to appreciate of that,” I commented innocently, though I saw his jaw lock and he began to grind his teeth, “I hardly think she’ll be able to run with that crowd...”
The affect my words were having on Severus was evident. His face gradually began to flush as his anger simmered. Was it wrong for me to say such things to him? That was subjective. If he didn’t want to get teased about it, he wouldn’t like her, now would he? I saw his fingers gripped onto the sides of the table, as though he were trying to contain himself. I scoffed, rolling my eyes at his reaction.
“I never said I felt anything towards her.” Severus spat at me through gritted teeth, his dark eyes narrowed to mere slits. His words were slow, as though he were warning me to take it a step further.
I leaned across the table at him, so our faces were close together. I could almost feel the heat of his rage radiate from him. It was probably a huge risk to offer up an exposed spot to him if he decided to attack me in his unadulterated fury. But I was willing to take the chance. The next few words I said to him were whispers only he could hear,
“You never said you didn’t.”
Severus’ reaction was not what I expected. I half assumed that he would stand up abruptly and stalk out of the Great Hall like the overgrown bat he was. But instead, he stilled. His entire body stiffened as the truth washed over him and it hung in the air like dirty laundry. Disgusting, indecent, yet it was so far above our heads, it was impossible to dispose of it.
“And how would you know this?” He seethed more venom at me and our faces were so close I could count the red veins in his eyes.
For a moment, I couldn’t remember what I was talking about. I didn’t know where I was and I didn’t even know my name. For a split second, all I could see was a pair of pale green eyes, matched with a magnificent smile that made angels sing. In that moment, I could taste the familiar flavor that I knew as love.
“Because,” I said, my voice vague as I felt a strange sense of vulnerability. I lingered in my nostalgia, recalling when I was naďve and tender, “you looked at her that way Julien used to look at me.”
Severus laughed at this confession, his acid burning through my reminiscence and I began to feel the familiar sting of Julien’s deceit. Immediately, my scowl reclaimed my features and my eyes narrowed in defense.
“And we all know how loving he was.” Severus retorted, his words biting.
“What do you know about love, anyway?” I snapped.
“Clearly more than you.”
“At least he loved me at some point.” I countered, but I knew the argument was a lie. So did Severus.
“He loved the idea of breaking the bitch.” He said crudely and I felt the words burn my skin. I’m sure I involuntarily flinched, but Severus showed no sign that he cared.
No matter how much time had passed, it was impossible to forget what Julien had done to me. I was faithless now, and an even bigger cynic than I ever had been.
“Sit down.” Severus coldly commanded, and I then noticed that his previous comment had actually made me abruptly rise from my seat. Hardly anyone noticed as the feast was noisy and energetic. Only a couple of first years beside us looked at me like I had gone crazy.
“We’re leaving soon anyway.” I stated automatically. I was right; as dessert disappeared, students started to stand and head for their common rooms. We stayed later, waiting for the hall to clear out.
I felt strange. Maybe it was the fact that we had brought up Julien that prompted the almost-sick feeling in my stomach. The nostalgia left me empty. I had loved the way Julien treated me and loved me. It had all been fake, but I couldn’t shake just how happy it had made me. I had never been so deeply connected with another human being the way I had been with him. Julien had made me feel like I mattered, something that no one else had done for me before, and that, I could never forget.
What I had with Severus was not love, or anything like it. It was companionship. Two people who hated humans had found a common bond with each other. That in itself was amazing. We could hardly stand each other and could care less what we had to say. And yet, we still tolerated one another because there was no one else we could stand to suck the life from.
We leeched off of one another like Dementors, our independent apathy fueling the other. It was a disgusting relationship, but one nonetheless. We were all each other had and would ever have.
I was suddenly struck by something Severus had said to me in September, at the beginning of the school year. I had simply asked what kind of people we were and his answer was mocking; Why...the kind of people who claim to hate humans, but cannot admit to the fact that they crave the presence of a person to stifle.
He had been exactly right. We both hated people, yet needed each other to feed off of. We were parasitic.
“Where are you going?”
I was suddenly stopped by Severus’ incredulous inquiry. I took a moment for inventory, getting entirely confused as I realized that we were no longer in the Great Hall. Instead, we were in an empty Slytherin common room and I had been halfway up the staircase to the boy’s dorms, automatically following Severus. I collected myself for a moment, trying to logically put together how I had walked all the way from the Great Hall without realizing it. Severus looked at me as though I were an idiot savant.
“Confused?” He countered icily. I nodded dumbly, still lost in my thoughts.
The common room was completely empty; everyone must have already gone to bed. It was late, yet I was alert.
People of our kind flock together like birds of a feather... He had said.
I hesitated for moment and then finally said it:
“Why can’t you just love me?”
My question hung in the air for ages. We stood, staring at one another for centuries. And then, something totally unexpected happened: Severus’ face softened into a sort of gentle anguish.
“Because it would be a lie.” He said finally, his eyes searching mine. I didn’t even realize I had started to cry until I felt the hot tears on my cheeks.
Severus came down from the stairs and stood before me. Faltering slightly, he cupped my face in his hands and looked me in the eyes.
“What difference does it make?” I whispered, my voice quietly desperate, “All we do is lie.” He shook his head, disagreeing.
“This is one thing I cannot lie for.”
He turned from me and began to ascend the stairs again. I had one more chance to say something.
“Severus.” He stopped but did not turn to me. I swallowed the lump of pride that had long since festered in my throat.
“I would lie for you.”
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