If you think it's over.
The door shuts quietly, almost sedately, but I wished she'd slammed it. Some show of temper, some expression of the passion that lies deep in her veins; just something to tell me that she still cares.
But the soft click as the latch slides home, heralds the view that there is nothing left of the vibrant woman that I have known in one form or another for the past ten years.
My hand reaches for the half-empty Brandy glass in front of me, watching the firelight play with the exquisite cut on the surface of the expensive crystal that matches the Decanter; a present from Lucius Malfoy in my younger days.
The Brandy is vintage and slides down my throat with enough bite to suggest that its reputation for potency is well deserved. But it tastes too much like tears for me to enjoy it. I suspect that even gourmet food would taste like ashes to me now.
I sound so melodramatic that it almost raises a smile, but it will take more than bitter irony to elicit a smile from these lips. I fear, somehow, that it will take an act of God to return me to any state of happiness… no, not God.
I note that the small trickle of Brandy is sliding in slick waves up and down the sides of the glass, and realise, in some shock, that my hand is shaking.
Trauma of a scene too violent for my delicate sensibilities and too volatile for my ideals…or just maybe too damn painful to bear. Too raw; too rare. Too. Damn. Final.
That's it. It's all over and she's gone.
Oh, God, what did I just do?
The shatter of glass by my feet is ignored even as some part of me winces at the loss of the costly crystal. My hands grip the starchy leather of the chair in front of me and I feel the room start to spin and a dark haze threatens to drift down.
I recognise the effects of a panic attack and quickly warn myself against hyperventilating, but cannot stop myself from stumbling forwards and bowing double over the chair as the enormity of my actions crashes over me.
I'm a fool of the first order.
I had blamed others for their nearsightedness and mocked as they let sheer gold slip through their fingers. I mocked Black as he lost Lily to James. I sneered at Albus when Minerva wedded Goldsmith and I couldn't resist a chortle as Longbottom claimed Miss Weasley under the nose of her childhood crush, Potter.
But now, I am the fool and know that all would mock me if they knew what I had just thrown away; what I had just let walk out without a sound.
I know her worth and it is more than gold.
I watched her grow from a child to someone worth having at your side; at your back.
Her childish yearning for knowledge led to an adult understanding that eclipsed most Wizards and Witches of twice her years, and yet it wasn't all head knowledge. That woman had enough heart and courage to shame Godric Gryffindor himself.
That she even deemed me worthy of a word was a marvel. That I was the one that she handed her heart to was impossible; and, yet, she had done so.
And I had just handed it back.
The war had not, as suspected, taken place in Harry Potter's final year but had dragged on for a further two years, until, in a fit of pique, the boy-wonder had taken the fight to his enemy rather than wait patently for annihilation like any good sacrificial lamb would.
Despite all the preparations we had undertaken to ensure that we were primed for battle, our efforts were undermined when he took matters into his own hands.
We all ended up on the front lines, fighting a war that we had begun to think would last forever, and I fought side by side with those I loathed… and those I loved.
Seven years of school had turned my dislike to respect, my respect to admiration and my admiration to desire. I assumed that my feelings would never be reciprocated and so I suffered in silence, until that fateful day when she had turned to me and said those ten romantic words;
"Severus Snape, if you don't kiss me, I'll punch you."
I couldn't resist and neither, it seemed, could she.
Our affair was secret, more for safety's sake than any feelings of worthiness… or lack of it; and the only ones who knew were the two of us. Not even Dumbledore was aware of our liaisons and I had preferred that we keep it that way.
Our encounters were more than just carnal—although we had our share of those—there was much, much more to us than that.
She held my hand when no one could see. She peppered my face with kisses when I felt disheartened. She held my body when I woke from nightmares. She was my tower of strength and she took my attitude and temper and weathered it like a figurehead on a ship, never bowing from the onslaught.
That wasn't to say that we didn't have our fights, with temperaments such as ours it was inevitable, and I enjoyed each and every one.
Once the battle was over and the victory, such that it was, was won there was little need for secrecy.
That was when things went wrong.
She wanted to tell everyone as soon as Voldemort lay in the ground, whereas I wanted to wait. For what, I'm not sure.
Maybe I just didn't want to see the looks that I was given by everyone. The "what is she doing with you?" looks.
The "you dirty old man" looks.
The "does he think he can hold her?" looks.
Because, in truth, I feel that they have a point.
Had a point.
Because it's over.
My eyes sweep around the room I'm in and fall on the little pieces of her that are left behind; the quill that she chews on, despite getting feathers in her teeth; the cushion that she insists on leaning on that still lays on the floor; the fresh smell of her herbal shampoo that penetrates deeper than the house-elves can clean.
I miss her already and she hasn't even had time to reach the Great Hall.
Is this what it feels like to have your soul torn apart? Is this what it feels like to die?
Even Crucio would be a blessing in comparison.
Why did I allow things to get to this point? Why did I allow her to walk away thinking that I didn't care?
What in the name of Merlin were we even fighting about?
Are you ashamed to be seen with me, Severus?
Is the idea of my wanting people to know I love you so anathema to you?
If that's the way you feel, I should probably just go.
And take my heart with you.
I guess it's over.
I, who doubted that I even possessed the organ, have lost my heart to a chit of a girl who lays down orders like a general.
A girl who makes the room light up by just entering it. A girl who makes me wish I was years younger and without a cautionary past.
A girl who I won't let go.
A girl who doesn't know that Severus Snape will not allow her to leave; she's the best thing that happened to me and I will not lose her.
My hands leave the dented leather and I straighten my coat, spinning on my heel and heading for the door.
I will announce our love to the stars; I will kiss her in the Great Hall and drag her back here to stay for all time.
If she thinks it's over, she can think again.