Disclaimer: It's J.K.'s world, and I just like to play in it because she has the coolest toys, so welcome to the game. And when I'm done, I promise I'll put them all away.
A/N: Wow. I'm sure you thought that we'd never even see the light of day before Chapter 23, so it makes me wonder what you are all thinking now. Could it get much worse? Call me the Angel of Death as I say yes. Do enjoy.
Bright white light met his eyes and for a moment, he was blind. His entire body felt light and almost airy and he seemed to drift as he found himself stepping forward. The space was completely white, no ceiling walls or floor to limit him. Severus stepped forward, a sudden flash of light blinding him once more. Focusing on a dark shadow, he was able to see once more.
A tall thin woman, hair black as the raven, stood facing him, the face pale, expressionless and void of all emotion. Stepping toward her, he touched her cheek but she remained still, silence her given virtue as she turned her back to him, walking slowly toward the source of the bright light. Instinct guided his feet to follow her and as they approached the light seemed to glow brighter. It seemed trusting to follow his sister as she disappeared into it.
"Severus!" came a distorted cry from behind him. A faint voice, the cry of a mother to her child before his is hit in the street. It was muffled, far away as if under water and seemed to echo about. "Severus!" He stopped and turned about, seeing a blur of moving color like a picture screen playing, but a far distance away, too far to decipher images clearly. Again he heard the muffled cry and took a step toward the colored motion. The gurgled echo grew to crescendo as he approached, images sharpening to people from blurred blotches of color.
Almost directly in front of the scene, Severus could see clearly the people's faces. A girl no more then seventeen with soft chocolate brown locks and deep cinnamon eyes was weeping on the floor. She was down her knees, bent over someone, clearly her stomach with child. He could see whom she was hovering over, only that the person wore black, and then he looked down at his own close, a flood of memories hitting his brain all at once. "Hermione!" he shouted suddenly, his voice sounding loud as it reverberated around the white room. Only, she did not hear him and continued to weep over him.
"Severus!" she cried, "Oh Severus! No! You can't leave me! You can't! This child needs you! Our child Severus! Please!" her sobs wracked her as Albus and Minerva stood at her side, a good distance back. They had arrived just moments ago, seeing no one in the room but he and Delilah, the poor girl having already met her fate. "Severus!" her sobs were loud, as she seemed determined not to give up.
He tried to reach out and touch the moving image of her sobbing form as it shook his body's shoulders roughly. A bright zap of blue lightening shocked at him, like a force field, preventing him from reaching into the world of the living. Like ice, a hand was placed on his shoulder and he turned away from the picture of them. Delilah stood, motionless and silent, her hand on his shoulder, a solemn expression upon her pale face of death. She took a step back from him, tugging his shoulder in her direction as she did. Without hesitation, his feet and body drew him toward her, but his eyes were turned back to the picture of the brown haired woman and her child, as his memory seemed to suddenly escape him.
The blinding white light flashed against his eyes again. Waves of memories ebbed from his mind as the raven -haired girl took his hand and led him gently forward. Icy chills radiated into his body at her touch, only he did not feel cold nor disturbance, instead a sense of deathly still tranquility settled over him. Emptiness seemed to fill the room.
But her sobs echoed through his ear as he was led away. A memory flashed in his mind, transcending time and defying the laws of the universe. As if time had frozen and rewound itself, Severus saw himself kneeling at her side and weeping as life slipped from her very lips. As the life of his wife slipped away in his arms.
"Hermione…" the name passed slowly and softly over his lips as if he were speaking it for the first time. A faint twinge of pain stirred deep in the pit of his stomach and he suddenly turned back to the weeping girl.
"Please…Severus!" she was shaking the pale, dark clothed body. His eyes searched the scene, his mind unable to absorb all that he saw. Deceiving his own eyes, his mind could not believe that it was his body lying there lifeless in her arms. Just as he was about to cry out in protest, his attention was drawn away by another harsh scream.
"No!" cried a weak feminine voice. He turned around quickly, the pale faced woman the owner of the cry. Her hands flew out in front of her as if to stop an attacker, an invisible force that unexpectedly knocked her back off her feet. "No!" she moaned again, her long black hair being pulled up by the unseen force and chopped from her head. Blood splattered as this was done, locks flying about and landing beside her. The girl flailed her arms about but seemed was unable to fend it off.
Severus' step was hesitant, moving slowly towards her. Suddenly, the whole area shook, as if a great explosion had just occurred. The bright white light burst across the white, blinding him once more as he fell down on his knees. A moment later, his blindness subsided and he gazed around. The woman's body lay on her back, and he gasped turning his head away.
Clarity came flooding back into his mind, seeing his sister lying before him as he had found her upon entering the church, battered and bruised. "Delilah!" her body laid still as he fell to his knees beside her. Not believing the sight before his eyes, he turned to look at Hermione and saw Delilah lying beside his own body. "No!" Confusion gone and reality setting in, he ran to the edge of the picture, the electric blue force field shocking against him. "Hermione!" he shouted, half expecting her to hear him.
"Oh Severus!" she sobbed and he looked up to her hopefully. But his eyes quickly fell as she kissed his cheek and murmured. "I love you…" and then leaned back, closing her eyes as they wept uncontrollably.
"No! No!" he pounded his fists against the force, each contact shocking him harder then the last. "Hermione! No! I'm here! No! Don't give up!" his cries were desperate.
A dark shadow seemed to loom into the room, turning all of the white to black. A cold hand clamped down on his shoulder. "Severus…" his sister's voice was cold and raspy, as if she had not had a drink of water in a thousand years. Her eyes were red, they had been bleeding, her body still the shambles that he had discovered it as. He reached out to touch her, but she jerked back as if he were on fire. "Don't touch me!" she nearly shouted, her face contorting in pain. "You are not dead! You'll burn me! You only bring me pain!"
His eyes bored into hers, confusion and concern present as he looked at his hand and then to hers. "What do you mean I'm not dead?"
"Come with me Severus…" she took a step back from him. "Please…" another step backwards. "I'm afraid to go alone…" Delilah slowly drifted back into the darkness, clouds of gray swirling around her. "Please Severus…you should be with me…" her voice seemed to fade as she drifted further back.
"No…" he felt himself begin to drift toward her. "No!" he cried, struggling against it. A sudden flash of black and white light mixed in the air and he was blinded again. His eyes flashed open and he was still being pulled toward a tiny white light at the end of a seemingly black tunnel, Hermione's image just a mere vision in the opposite direction. "Delilah?" he searched the tunnel for her frantically. "Delilah!" he shouted, realizing she had been taken.
He could feel the force tugging at him stronger, but he still struggled against it, not wishing to die, not wanting to join Delilah. "No!" he cried again. "No!" Flash, the bright light smacked across him again and everything plummeted into darkness.