Hi everyone, this is my first fan fiction and English isn't my first language, so please excuse any mistakes. I would really appreciate it if you would take the time to try this story and leave some reviews so that I can improve and write more! If this chapter goes well, Chapter 2 will come very soon. Thanks xx

Disclaimer: I don't own anything

He stared, capturing the image of those emerald green eyes in his mind for one last time. He felt at peace. He had done his part and was ready to greet Death. It was time to let go. He heard the Dark Lord speaking in the background, his voice echoing off the walls, but he no longer felt the tingling fear that normally accompanied the high, cold voice. The floor beside him shifted, as the three young Gryffindors turned and finally left him to rest in peace. With his dying breath, he sighed, content for the first time in his life. His eyes fluttered shut as he felt his consciousness slipping away from him.

"Professor! Professor, please! You have to hold on!" His peace was shattered. One minute he was floating blissfully in oblivion, and then everything came rushing back to him. The distant sounds of grief and anger, the urgent pleas of the soft voice telling him to wake up, and the pain, the excruciating pain. No. He did not want to wake up. But the voice would not relent. "Professor, please!" He opened his mouth and managed to rasp, "Leave me be. Let me die. Please." Then suddenly, the voice broke. He heard her whisper, "Severus, don't leave me. I love you." His heart almost stopped. Lily. It couldn't be. But no one else would say his name with such tenderness. With that last thought, his world went black again.

Beside him, a young witch with chocolate eyes and curly brown hair poured a potion into his mouth and made him swallow it as she choked back a sob. Steeling herself, she tore a strip off her tattered robes and gingerly wrapped it around the man's neck, staining her hands with his blood. Casting a time-freeze charm around the figure lying unconscious on the floor, she roused herself from the man's side and sent up red sparks to alert the castle that someone needed help. With a last pained glance at the unconscious man, she turned and hurried from the Shrieking Shack.

He opened his eyes and his vision swam. He blinked and few times, and the pristine white walls of the Hospital Wing shifted into focus. He tried to sit up but immediately his head swam. Madam Pomfrey noticed his movement and bustled over saying, "Now now, professor, stay still! You have to rest. You've been out for a whole week. All the venom has been removed and your wounds have been stitched close, but you're still too weak to leave. You have to stay here for a few more days, and then when you're strong enough you can leave. You'll be glad to hear that there will be no lasting problems from your injuries. Also, the Ministry has been convinced of your innocence, so you will be able to resume your post as Potions Master once you recover." He didn't have the strength to argue, so he just asked the one question that has been bothering him since he regained his consciousness, "Who found me?" Madam Pomfrey eyed him carefully before saying, "No one knows, professor. Minerva saw red sparks above the Shrieking Shack and came to get you. Whoever it was saved your life. Now rest, you want to regain your strength as quickly as possible don't you?" He closed his eyes obediently and Madam Pomfrey left, pulling the curtains around him.

He tried to rest, but he was angry. Whoever saved his life took away his last chance for peace. He had nothing to live for, and now he would be alone again to live his years in bitter loneliness and anger. People would keep bothering him and no matter what he did for the world, he would always be hated. But then her voice came back to him, and in his mind he heard her quiet plea once more, "Severus, don't leave me. I love you." His saviour. Who was it, he wondered. Who would speak to him with such tenderness? Who would want him to live? Who would love him? He drifted off to uneasy sleep, his dreams haunted by the voice beckoning to him, whispering tender words of love and adoration.

In the week he stayed in the Hospital Wing, nobody visited him, and no one noticed the small kitten with chocolate brown eyes slinking into the hospital wing in the silence of the night to stare at the sleeping man and guard his sleep, not ready to show her real self. The kitten saw everything, how nobody ever visited him, how he moaned and thrashed about in his sleep as nightmare after nightmare attacked him, how he muttered out his remorse and pleaded for forgiveness, how he woke up in the middle of the night with tears running down his face, eyes wide in terror. The kitten saw all this and her heart broke.

The familiar voice kept coming back to him, in his dreams and thoughts, but he couldn't place it. On his last night in the Hospital Wing, he felt his full strength come back to him, and with it his usual ill temperedness. And suddenly, he was angry with the owner of the voice. She lured him back to life, and now she's left him to deal with life in loneliness again. He should have known better than to believe that anyone would look on him with love and tenderness. He retreated into his bitter, spiteful mask once more, banishing the voice to the back of his mind, and braved himself for the coming morning when he would have to finally face the world. The kitten retreated to the Gryffindor Tower and nursed her broken heart, knowing she could never penetrate that mask again.