Chapter 1 : The Truth is a Terrible Thing
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I stood at the top of a staircase, my eyes flickering between the tunnel entrance beneath me and the room in which I could see Voldemort sitting ever so comfortably in a chair tapping his wand against its edge in a frustrated kind of way. I knew why, I knew the secret Dumbledore had fought so hard to protect. How could I not when I could see anything that I wished and I was the one standing over the life of my son.
A smirk rose at the corners of my mouth and momentarily I was pleased that it was not working for him, that he did not realise the truth as I did but then his rage only made him more powerful and I knew what the truth really meant, I knew what was coming. It was not only Harry I waited for in this place.
He walked into the house with purpose, with a heavily footfall and a billowing cloak. I knew that he was more scared than he wanted people to believe. He was walking into the lion’s den and the only way out was one he was not willing to accept. I knew this but he did not and my heart ached for him. I wished I could tell him to run away, to turn in the other direction and leave so no one could find him. I wanted him to stay alive; he could not join her as the other man she loved had and her best friends had and her son surely would, even if it were for the briefest of seconds.
But she could not stop him and she had to watch as he walked up the stairs, his hand shaking on the bannister, something only I would see, something that killed a small part of my soul. He was facing the Dark Lord and he was scared when he should be fearless. He knew, he must have known or he would not be so careless in his display of fear. I knew this man and I knew how he behaved. This was Severus Snape showing fear yet when he stepped past me he no longer had a trace of fear in his eyes and he was ready to face Voldemort.
“My Lord,” where the first and last words I heard come from his mouth before my gaze was distracted.
I could feel him coming, as though a wave of pure love had washed over me and my heart swelled. My boy was here. My boy had come to protect the world. I only wished I could help, that I could kill the snake myself so he could face the Dark Lord on his own as a mortal man and rid the world of his terror but I could not so I simply watched as the image of my son and his friends appeared briefly before they were covered over by my husband’s invisibility cloak. I was glad he had the cloak. It kept him safe.
I should have listened to the exchange between Snape and Voldemort but I was too busy keeping an eye on my son, or at least where my son was sitting to my knowledge. You would think invisibility cloaks wouldn’t work on spirits seeing as we are invisible ourselves, apparently not, they work just as well on us as on any living creature.
It was over before it began. I knew that I was going to happen but I did not believe that it would be quite so brutal. It was the hiss that alerted me first, the hiss of Voldemort giving his snake orders. My head span to the room only to witness the lunge of the snake at my beloved friend’s neck, blood gushed from the wound and Voldemort simple smiled and left the shack, leaving my boy and his friends alone with the dying man.
Just as I knew he would Harry snuck from the tunnel and made his way up the stairs towards where Snape lay dying and alone. As he passed I placed a hand on his shoulder and followed him into the room. I wanted to be there with him when it happened and I wanted to be there when he passed on like James was there for me.
He was lying on the floor as the trio and I gathered around him. Harry kneeled at his side and lifted his head carefully and on Severus’s instructions took the memories from him and stored them in something that brilliant girl had conjured for him.
But my heart soared and stopped at the same time the moment Severus turned to face Harry and spoke three words.
He was looking at Harry the way he used to look at me. In his final moments Severus Snape had looked into my eyes and begged for forgiveness and as I turned my back to the scene I looked into his and gave it.
“Lily,” his horse whisper shot through my skin.
“Sev,” I replied holding out my hand. He took it and pulled it close to his chest.
“I never thought I would see you again,” he said gently and I instantly felt guilty, I was waiting for him but my husband was waiting for me.
“I am here to help you,” I said pulling my hand away and glancing over my shoulder where my boy was standing and walking from the shack leaving the corpse of Snape on the floor.
Sev gazed over at his body and a look of pain shot across his face but then it disappeared and he looked back at me the same way he used to all those years ago before our awful fight and those terrible words were said. He realised for the first time what has happened and why he could see me and his whole body relaxed. I knew he was glad that it was over and he didn’t have to pretend anymore.
“Which memories did you give him?” I asked trying to distract him from his dead form on the ground. As much relief as he may have felt I knew that seeing your dead body was never something you could get from your head and he shouldn’t have to look at the bloody corpse for longer than needed.
“The ones about us,” he said quietly, “and the ones he needs to know about.”
“Why show him us?” I asked taking Sev’s hands and turning on the spot as if to walk from the room.
Instead we ended up in Dumbledore’s office. It was dark and all the headmasters had disappeared from their portraits, more than likely to try and get a front row seat to the devastation outside of the castle walls. I walked away from Snape and took a few steps towards the pensieve running the figures that could not touch along the stone edge of the basin.
I could feel it; he was almost with us so I walked back to Sev and put a hand on his shoulder.
“You shouldn’t have shown him about us,” I said starting to feel the tingle on my neck that meant James was about to jump in. He was jealous; he wanted Snape out. He hadn’t wanted me to come in the first place but I had insisted and now I was starting to regret it. I had a feeling Sev expecting more than I was willing to give. I came as his friend, someone to help him but I knew he wanted more.
That creep is trying to make it look like I took you from him James’s voice sounded in my head.
I shook it off and Sev looked up at me.
“I wanted him to know why I protected him all these years,” Sev said quietly.
Protected him! More like abused him! James’s voice rang again. I shouted at him to be quiet but he was right.
“You may have protected him but you did not love him like you should have,” I snapped at my old best friend. Here he was standing in front of me. He had died, just died and all he could do was stare at me and all I could do was wish I had never come. I had just wanted to help like my parents had been there to help me.
“You know I could never…he is his…”
“Yes he is James’s son!” I snapped back, my anger starting to creep up, “but he is also mine! After how much you have professed to love me Sev you could have treated him with the affection he so badly needed his whole life.”
Snape’s eyes narrowed and he looked me straight in the eye and a cold shiver shuddered down my spine, the first time I had truly felt something physical since my death.
“You know I have loved you since I first met you!”
“You couldn’t have loved me Sev otherwise you would not have thrown it all away to be one of his minions!” I cried.
“I did love you! I still love you! I died for you, I let him kill me because I knew it would bring me to you!”
I took a step back from Sev and I knew that he had said too much. James appeared beside me a threatening look spread across his normally calm face and though I grabbed his arm he shook me off and levelled himself with Sev just as he used to when we were teens only this time Snape did not flinch.
“I am not scared of you anymore Potter,” he spat at my husband and all I could do was watch. Harry was getting closer and I needed to be here for when it was over and he finally realised what was happening to him but James’s first instinct was to protect me and though he was acting on his jealously I loved him all the more for it.
“You should be,” James hissed, “stay away from my wife.”
“Your wife came to me,” Sev replied narrowing his eyes.
“If we weren’t dead Snivellus then I would kill you for how you are behaving right now!”
“Oh, yes, great example to set to your golden son,” Snape snapped back.
James was agitated and he wanted to defend me but had no way of doing it. Sev was being arrogant and stubborn. They were as bad as each other but there was only one I wished to hold me and tell me that everything was going to be okay when Harry realised his fate.
I could feel Harry getting closer and part of me wanted to jump between the two men and tell them to stop it in case he saw but then I remembered that we were dead and Harry would not see any of us.
“James,” I whispered nodding over to the door where Harry had just walked in.
He looked scared, as if he had the world’s weight on his shoulders. I needed to be there for him but Sev was distracting me. I knew it was my fault for insisting on being there when he died but…well there were no buts…it was my fault.
James faded off into the background after sending another warning glare to Sev and we were left alone.
“I did my best Lily,” Sev said slowly.
“You could have done better,” I snapped back not taking my eyes off the back of my son who had plunged his head into the pensieve.
Sev stepped in front of me to make sure I had his full attention and I started to get annoyed. He could tell but he carried on anyway and the more he fought my distain the more he annoyed me.
“Look Sev, I came here to watch over Harry but I also came to make sure you were safe, don’t push it.”
“If I don’t tell you now then what has been the point?” he asked holding out his hand and brushing it down my arm.
James’s presence prickled in the back of my mind but I warned him off.
“The point is that we were friends, you blew it and you have spent these years making up for it; that is the point. I don’t want to hear anything else!”
I walk away from him, my anger starting to bubble up. What right did he have to start saying all of this. It was too late, too late to start telling me how much he loved me. I had been happy, I had a family and now he wanted to muscle his way into my life.
“Lily…” his voice cracked and I had to fight the urge to turn around and hug him, “please I love you… I thought…”
“You thought what Sev?” I cried, “That when you died we would be re-united and sail of into the afterlife together forgetting everything that has happened, forgetting that I am married! Well tough, just because you are dead doesn’t mean I have magically fallen in love with you and I don’t care about my family anymore. Just because you have done all these things to ‘protect’ my son doesn’t mean I am going to fall swooning into your arms.”
“I just thought once you knew how I really felt…” he said.
I could see tears in his eyes. He was making me feel guilty and he knew it. He knew that I would never be able to forget that he risked his life with Voldemort or that his patronus was a doe after I died but he would never make me feel something I didn’t.
I’m here flower, James said reassuring me, making me know who I loved, who my loyalties lie with.
“It was a mistake to be there when you died,” I said looking him in the eye, knowing I was destroying his soul with every word.
“No…” he whispered, “Lily please, I don’t know how else to make you see.”
“I see Severus. The truth is a terrible thing but it is the truth and I am no liar. I see a boy who latched onto the first person who looked up to him because she was scared and didn’t understand. I see a boy who dropped that person as soon as something better came along and then when it went sour came running back. I see a boy who can’t bring himself to love a child because of a petty school grudge even though that child needs someone to look up to more than anything. I see a boy who says he loves me…”
“I do Lily…”
“You stopped loving me the day you chose Voldemort over me, the day you called me a mudblood, the day you threw everything we had away. What you have done since then, that is just a guilty conscience, not love.”
Always my feisty girl, whispered James and I smiled.
“You have nothing to say, you need to go, move on. There is nothing left for you here. I know where my loyalties lay and they are with my son not you. It was a mistake to think you had changed, to think you weren’t selfish anymore. I even forgave you, I forgave you for everything!”
Tears were starting to run down my cheeks and I wiped them away quickly.
“I have changed. Everything I have done has been for you. Please believe me,” Sev begged.
“I have made my choice…”
I looked him straight in the eye and as a single tear fell down his cheek I knew that the truth truly was a terrible thing but it needed to be said. He could not go on thinking we would be together. My heart belongs to James and though I loved Sev he needed to hear it.
Slowly he turned and began to walk, fading into the background as he did but just before he disappeared from my view he turned to look at me.
“One day you might realise how much I truly to love you, I’m sorry you cannot believe that my love for you is as pure as the memory of the day we first met. You will always be Lily Evans to me.”
With that final sentence he left Harry and I alone and I let the tears run free down my cheek.
I had come to him to help him with the fact that he had been killed by Voldemort but inside I knew that it was I who had really killed him and that, that killed me because I knew that he would never forgive me for not loving him the way I was supposed to.
Disclamier - 'look at me' belongs to J.k. Rowling, Chapter the elder wand, pg 258
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