Fifth and Last Story of The Senses Vignettes, following Taste
By Alecto Perdita
Beta'ed as always by Miguel
Posted: September 16, 2004
Revised: December 29, 2006
Warnings: Pre-slash, slash, HP/SS, meaning possible homosexual relations
Harry Potter is the intellectual property of J.K. Rowling, and is being used in this fanfiction for fan purposes only. All situations, opinions and characters not belonging to J.K. Rowling are the intellectual property of Alecto Perdita.
The sound of a thousand deaths- a thousand horrors overwhelms and consumes my senses. The dust rises into my nostrils and clogs the passage. Dirt and rising ashes coat my tongue and the roof of my mouth. My fingers are so numb- so cold. It's hard to see anything in this darkness. Not even the occasional burst of spell light helps. Everything seems muted, everything except the sound of their screams.
I don't know if it's the members of the Order of the Death Eaters that's screaming anymore. Maybe it's both. All I know now is that... I'm not strong enough. I will never be good enough.
Merlin, I'm really going to die now.
We're all going to die now.
I think I'm still holding my wand. I close my hand around the cracked wood, driving splinters into my palm and fingertips. I feel drained and powerless. Lucius and Draco Malfoy had taken a lot out of me. You stepped in just in time. They thought you had come to join the fun- to put a torturous end to the meddlesome Potter spawn. You killed Draco instead. You didn't even use a wand. You just slit his throat. You just bled him. Blood splattered all over your black robes and white mask. You announced yourself to be a traitor for a second time tonight.
"Go, Potter," you had said as you faced an enraged Lucius Malfoy. "I am still not ready to see you die. Do not allow Albus' sacrifice to be for naught."
Merlin, you would be burying a son- no, sons and a father after all this. If you live through tonight that is. Draco was just that to you, wasn't he? A son, one of your many wayward Slytherin sons. How many of those sons and daughters would you have to bury after tonight? And how many more would you have to watch be stripped of their titles, holdings, names, and pride?
Merlin, I hope you do survive.
And Albus, he was just that to you, right? A father. I knew you hadn't killed him out of malice. Your meticulous nature aside, the spell was all too quick and the death too clean and painless for a proper Death Eater. Was it a plan to put you in Voldemort's confidence and to make the other Death Eaters like Malfoy complacent?
How can you still possibly see that man as a father figure?
Damn the manipulative old bastard! He's done nothing but play with our lives since the beginning. He used us! Both of us! Why do you love him so even in the end? Now he just decides to off himself like some bloody martyr? And leaving the rest of us to pick up the pieces afterwards? And what about you? You could lose everything for killing him even if he did offer himself up. What about the pain and guilt you're going through because of what you did?
A father and your sons- your Slytherin children. How can you give so much to the Cause? I have given friends and surrogate family. What more can either of us give except ourselves now?
Death is easy. It's living that's so bloody hard. It's living with the consequences of our actions that's the hardest. You know that better than anyone. That's been your life for the past two decades. I don't care what the bloody Bible or anyone says. You've redeemed yourself enough times over. You deserve peace of mind. Now you will live forever with the consequences of their deaths- your guilt and self-persecution.
How could Dumbledore do that to you?
You're not ready to see me die. For what reason? Why do you want me to live? My only purpose is to defeat Voldemort. I have no other reason to live after this. Will you give me one? Are you offering me one?
I'm tired, Snape. I know you are too.
A hand chances a touch over my left shoulder. I shiver. My scar and my world burst into a new level of pain. Voldemort is here for me. Merlin, I'm not ready for this.
"Potter." He hisses.
Where are you? I can't do this. I just don't have the will to live. Give me one.
"I finally have you where I want you."
I squeeze my eyes shut. My senses feel like they're in overdrive now. All I want right now is the fell of your warm hands, the smell of potions I can't name, the flutter of your robes at the corner of my vision, the sound of your voice, and the taste of your lips as I've imagined it for the past year. I need something real- tangible- to cling onto.
I can't defeat him. I'm not ready yet. Even my incredible luck can't save me now.
"Come, Potter. Let'ssss put an end to thisss."
I hate the sound of his voice, stretching the sibilant "s" in a ridiculous parody of a snake's hiss. It's nothing like your silky voice, always pleasant to listen to no matter what bitter or hateful words may fall from your lips.
I stand. The entire weight of my body drags down on the heels of my feet. My wand is heavy in my hand.
I want to wish for your death because you want and crave it so much. But it would be wrong to wish your death without you ever living. No. I want for your life in peace and then your death.
I have lived though, if only for a second. After all, a life has no defined time span. It can be a singular moment or a thousand years. Life is to live and to not simply exist for even the shortest second. I have lived, if only or a moment with you, Sirius, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Neville, Remus, soaring on my broom, winning the House Cup, playing wizard's chess, seeing my parents for the first time...
I have lived and I hope you can do the same after this.
Either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.
I think I have always heard the "or both" implied in the Prophecy. If Trelawney has taught me anything at all, it's that Divination is never as simple as it seems.
Either or both must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives.
That, I am ready for.
I look down at the cracked wand in my hand and toss it aside. It won't be of any use against its brother wand in Voldemort's possession.
I am not quite ready when Voldemort casts his first Legilimens.
I stand over Lucius Malfoy's corpse.
"You will never amount to anything but a traitor," he said with his dying breath. "A traitor of blood and masters."
Morgan, how many have I killed this night? My first was Albus. Who will be my last? I will have to dirty my hands with the blood of how many until this can all ceases?
Will you have me now, Potter? Murderer. Death Eater. Traitor. Tainted and broken as I am. Will you?
I move gingerly across the battlefield and field of graves. What will come to be of this land when the sun rises on the morrow? Will it be the hollowed altar where Darkness will dance upon our bones and where more innocents would be brought forth for the slaughter? Or perhaps it will be the venerable memorial where all the heroes of Light will be honored? You must live with me to see either possibility.
I truly meant it when I claim I am not ready to hand you over to the Reaper. Not yet. Perhaps never.
I do not know where I am going. I believe I may be unconsciously seeking you out. I believe I may even fear for your life- fear for your death. I am not ready to let you go yet, Potter.
Where are you?
The battlefield is silent now. The screams of pain have been drowned out by the stagnant quiet. The Dark Mark tingles and then burns.
The Dark Lord... He...
I may not have any link to you, but I do possess one with the Dark Lord. I follow the black thread that binds me to His enthralling presence. Men join His ranks for more than the simple reason of pureblood supremacy. The darkness of this creature known as the Dark Lord Voldemort calls to the darkness in out hearts as well. Darkness follows darkness, and fraternity is founded in blood and slaughter. That is all Death Eaters. It is an intoxicating feeling that's near impossible to break away from. Those who have turned away usually never live long enough to feel the absence of that presence. I have though. I have betrayed my former Master in all form of thought, action, speech, and intent. I have felt that aching void of His presence since that day I first turned to Albus Dumbledore eighteen years ago.
I climb to the slope of a tall hill. From the peak, I can see a field of decay and despair. So many comrades and foes alike struggle for another last breath before their frail lungs collapse in on themselves.
You entered my life some seven years back in a rather ordinary manner. It was no arduous task to find you in a sea full of other faces. Even if you hadn't bore that infamous scar, it would still be all too simple. Your mother's eyes. Your father's features. You appeared so hesitant and unsure, though I failed to feel any bit of sympathy at that time.
Now you are just as unsure, just as vunerable, just as weak. How can you possibly hope to defeat my former Master. He stands opposite you. He is not the man He used to be, but His presence still calls to me all the same. A gaping wound in his chest bleeds profusely- he bleeds your blood. His form is bent and like that of a decrepit old man. Yet, you are the one kneeling before him, trembling under the power of His mind.
"You will not defeat me, Potter," he snarls at you. "Your parentssss certainly could not. What makesss you think you can?"
You do not rise to his bait. Alas, you cannot. Fawkes settles on your shoulder and lets out a high-pitched screech. Phoenixes are not belligerent creatures by nature. One has much to fear when a phoenix makes its challenge explicit. The Dark Lord shrinks back more at the sound of the Phoenix's war cry. He loses what appears to be his hold over your mind. I see your Occlumency training is for naught in the end. Had it not been for Fawkes, you would not meet a pleasant end.
My Master stops and smirks at you suddenly. He turns to where I stand and extends a beckoning hand forward. "Ssseveruss, my most loyal ssservant."
I freeze and my heart drops. The Dark Mark burns ever so slightly in response to the Calling. I find myself moving to answer His Call. It is not a Call that can be heard by the auditory sense, but one that tugs at wicked heartstrings. I do not stop until I am standing next to my Lord. I automatically raise my wand, "Medicor."
The gaping wound in my Lord closes but not completely.
"You have my gratitude, Ssseverusss."
I do not believe it's possible for me to feel any worse. I merely nod and lower my wand.
"What do you have to sssay, Sseveruss? This boy hasss been quite the annoyance, hasss he not? In my plansss, in our plansss."
My Master's words simply flow in one ear and out the other. Instead, I focus all of my attention on the boy- young man before me. On second thought, such a task is one that many including myself have become intimately involved with. You look at me with those pleading green eyes shadowed by pain. So like Lily's. You never quite look so similar to Lily or your damn father anymore, but I can see the faint visages of their last moments in you at times such as this.
I was there to watch them die almost seventeen years ago.
I do not want to stand witness to the same sort of event here tonight.
My steps are hesitant as I approach you and they falter as the distance between us closes. A look of confusion crosses your face. "Potter," you tense at the sound of my voice and then relax. Fool, how would know where my true loyalties lie? It would be too simple a task to kill you now. "I would hope you still remember my earlier declaration."
But I would never do such a thing.
"I would never forget, Snape." You reply quietly. Your voice is hoarse from screaming under the Cruciatus curse.
My breath catches in my throat. It is not "professor" or "sir" anymore. It is simply just "Snape," spoken without contempt or any other malevolent emotions. I am no longer your professor.
"You would do well not to." I answer in the same solemn tone.
I raise my wand and you slowly but surely rise to your feet. I fancy the idea that I am able to inspire you with such determination and strength in the face of adversity. No. Perhaps you are not so much the awkward child I had you conceived as. You now stand before me as a young man with all the burdens of heaven and earth on your scrawny shoulders. What a positively Gryffindor image you make. You are wielding Godric's own sword when you do not even know how to properly wield any blade. Your form needs much work.
We stand at a stalemate for seconds with not a single twitching muscle. You charge forward and I move back. Strange how our footfall remains in sync.
You do not even bother to waste your magic to block that spell. A long laceration appears on the side of your right arm bracing the sword. You only wince- a far less severe reaction than I expected considering the injuries upon your person already. Perhaps all that training has not gone to waste.
An identical cut sprouts blood and torn flesh on your other arm.
My wand cuts through the air with the same sort of brutal efficiency as any blade. I take care not to cut any part of your anatomy of great importance. This task is tedious at best and should be the slightest bit disconcerting. Not even a small moan of pain has escaped from your lips. Red bleeds into the tattered rags you call clothing. You will not bleed to death, not without another few well-placed hexes.
You raise your sword to strike and I swing to the side and around to face my former master. I believe it is time to end this farce.
It is not within my magical capabilities to destroy this Dark Lord. It was never my intent when I cast the spell. I bargained for you the time that you needed. You fly past me with such an intense expression that I have never witnessed in a classroom setting. Fawkes follows as a firestorm of windswept fury. The arc of the path your blade follows is elegant as it cuts through the air.
I am the only witness to the feat of this decade- perhaps century even. Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, beheads the Dark Lord Voldemort, the Heir of Salazar Slytherin.
I suppose the method of execution you have used bears little meaning to you. You were raised by Muggles and your Hogwarts education has not seen fit to teach wizarding traditions. For when one wizard takes the life of another, the consequences can be unpredictable and dire. Such was the reasoning for the prohibiting of the Killing Curse even from Ministry use. Decapitation is a capital punishment reserved only for those who have committed the most heinous of crimes. After all, there is nothing more permanent than the removal of one's head. Even a laceration in an organ as vital as the heart is infinitely easier to heal. Wizards have devised far more ingenious methods of punishment aside from capital punishment. Yet seeing as how the Dementors have abandoned us and sided with my former Lord, Azkaban will never be the quite the same again.
The head of the most fear Dark Lord this century tumbles to the ground and turns to dust. The ashes of my former Master's twisted parody of a body is scattered to the wind and lost to a wave of torment and death.
You drop to your knees and release your hold on the sword. The only blood tarnishing the blade and hilt are your own. Fawkes trills softly. I feel the warm brush of his wings against my cheek before he settles on your shoulder again. Your muscles relax and the tension rolls off you in waves.
I kneel down to meet eye to eye with you, but you simply stare at the ground- still gasping for your breath. I look toward the spot where the Dark Lord last stood before turning my attention back to you. "A rather mediocre climax by your standards, Potter."
"Shatup, you bastard," you lift your head and attempt to glare with all of your remaining strength. "Did you really have to cut me that many times?"
"Should have known you enjoyed it, you sick sadistic prick." There is strangely no venom in your tone, only resignation.
I do not reply and tend to your wounds instead. All of them are superficial, but you still need to see a mediwitch. One never knows what curses and hexes may linger after a long battle. I lend you my support as you stand and try to walk. You wrap an arm around my neck and lean against my shoulder and side. I cannot help but feel you are taking advantage of this situation. I have no choice but to place an arm around your waist so you do not topple over and take me down with you. We hobble slowly across the desolate landscape.
"It's not over yet." You whisper. Fawkes takes off from your shoulders and vanishes in a flash of flames. I assume he has gone to summon aid to us.
I attempt to ignore the soft wisp of your hair against my throat. "Why do you say that, Potter? You have slain the boogieman."
You never cease to amaze me. I didn't even think that word was in your vocabulary. You are right. It shall soon be upon us- the consequences of war, death, Albus' sacrifice, your victory, my trice damned betrayals, the folly of youths, the regrets of old men, our use of the Unforgivables, my survival...
You continue. "But that can wait for tomorrow. When we bury the dead and rein in the renegades. When we try to piece back together what's left of this world."
"Upon further reflection, you may not be such a dunderhead after all, Potter."
You laugh softly. I feel the laughter rumble against my chest. Your hands are sources of searing heat against the nape of my neck.
"What will you do with tomorrow, Potter?"
You look up at me with unfocused eyes and smile. "Live, breathe, love, forget, hate, touch, mourn, smell, laugh, listen, taste, smile, see, kiss, learn, hug, cry, everything and nothing. I have the time now, Snape. I never thought I would ever have the time to." You allow your head to rest in the crook of my neck.
Your grip tightens just a bit and you lean ever so closer. You are right yet again. Consequences can wait for tomorrow. Morgan forfend I should wax sentimental poetry but only with sensation can these horrid events begin to dim in comparison.
For now, I shall allow you residence in my arms to banish the cold from within and without. We will make idle talk in hopes that their screams will fade from our minds. Dream foolishly to ignore the horrors seen in war. Breathe deeply of non-existent flowers to ward off the scent of their decay. Perhaps even kiss and drink of each other to forget the taste of ash and blood on our tongues.
That's it. I hope this series has met your expectations. I'm contemplating on working on a more novella length Snarry piece that would be both post-war and post-Hogwarts.
Thank you to everyone who has reviewed thus far: Aerielle5, Amanda Saitou, ataraxis, Avemtilla, bluerose16, Daylyn, diabolicslugs, EtherealShadow, Every Now and Then, goody2sho, Juliatheyounger, Kirie Himuro, kitsuko, Mara-Jade- Potter, Marauders-Lover, Mimiheart, ptyx, rabidfrog, SeparatriX, SlythKitten, StarryGazer, stellahobbit, SutekhSnape, Thirteen Ravens, and toamanda.
Feedback is very much appreciated. Thanks ahead of time for all reviews!