No spoilers, but this is not a happy fic. Character death. Mild AD/SS slashiness. That means there will be a relationship between two men that goes beyond friendship so please read no further if you have a problem with that. Otherwise, enjoy!
Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own these characters. But if I did...
"Something so Impossible"
Ravenaiya (a.k.a. samuraiheart)
His hands had been shaking.
Albus hadn't noticed it at the time, but now the image is sharp and clear in his mind.
Severus had sat there, in front of Albus's large wooden desk scattered with scrolls and quills, with his hands resting calmly in his lap. But there had been a moment, in the middle of their conversation, perhaps near the part where Albus had asked him to keep Harry safe at all costs, when Severus's hands had twisted in the dark fabric of his robes, and the slender fingers had shaken slightly, but Severus's gaze had never faltered. At the time, Albus had thought nothing of it. It is only in retrospect that Albus notices the shaking at all.
It reminds him so much of the other time he had seen those hands shake like that - the time that Severus had marched up to Albus's office, swung open the door and blurted out his feelings - announced that he was in love - with Albus. Shortly after, they had shared their first kiss, and as Albus was leaning forward, just inches away from Severus's lips, he had noticed Severus's hands, trembling at his sides, and then their lips met and their lives changed. Albus knows both these things share a connection - Severus did both things out of love.
Foolishly, Albus had not seen it at the time - the extent to which Severus was willing to go - the amount that the younger man was willing to sacrifice merely because he believed that was what Albus wanted.
I never wanted this.
Albus can't seem to leave his side even though Severus is long past noticing his presence. The younger man is laid out on the small hospital bed, dark hair plastered against his pale face. He's so still. His hands are so cold.
The room still smell's of his blood and that antiseptic smell one associates with the very ill.
If Albus closes his eyes, he can still smell Severus the way he wants to remember him - smelling slightly of the forest, fresh from some scavenger hunt for potion ingredients, a woodsy smell.
If Albus closes his eyes, and closes his mind, and closes his heart, he can convince himself that none of this was his fault. He can believe that this heroic act was justified by its outcome. The Dark Lord has been banished, for good this time, thanks to Severus's sacrifice and Harry Potter's quick actions.
But things are not that simple.
The history books tell stories of great sacrifice with such certainty, but in the moment, there are a thousand doubts. And if Albus had had a choice, he would have sacrificed a thousand lives to hold Severus close to him one more time. Even if it was not the noble choice or the right choice or the good choice. History can make a certainty out of something merely because it has already happened.
Albus doesn't ever want to let go of these hands again. These innocent hands, manipulated by two masters, one willingly followed and one not so willingly. Albus is no longer sure which one that makes him.
He marvels at the thought that he had always expected to be the one to sacrifice himself for this cause. And then, he would have asked Severus to go on without him - would have expected no less from him. But it is much harder to ask such a thing when you realize you have now moved to the other side of it. How could he have expected something so impossible?
Thus ends my first HP fic ever. Comments very much appreciated. Many thanks to all of the other wonderful HP fic authors out there who I have had the privilege of reading over the years.