Title: Can't Stay Like This Forever

Author: Unspoken Tragedy

Rating: PG-13 (pretty much my default rating)

Spoilers: None that I know of

Disclaimer: I do not own Snape. Too Bad.

Summary: He held his mother's hand as she died.

Series: None

A/N: Sorry.

This fic is dedicated to my mother. I miss her like hell.

Can't Stay Like This Forever

He held his mother's hand as she died. Held it tightly in his much smaller one, knowing that it may be the last time he ever held it. It was warm, warmer than it had been before now. He supposed she must have a fever, but didn't know any diagnostic spells that could help him find out.

It didn't really matter. Severus was well aware that the human body, sans a few liters of blood equals death. He'd been surprised to see her last so long.

He closed his eyes and focused on the feel of her hand. There were small calluses along her fingers from the housework, the slight stickiness of her blood. He nails were long and uneven, the ends jagged and almost sharp.

Severus could remember holding his mother's hand before now, and how she would squeeze his to let him know that everything was alright. So he reciprocated the action, with a tiny "I love you." She didn't answer.

Not that he expected or even hoped she would. Really. It wasn't like he was a complete baby. He would handle this like an adult. Even if that meant facing this alone.

Severus recalled seeing his father leave, but couldn't remember what time it had been. How long had he been here, hunched over his mother and clutching her hand like a lifeline? It seemed like forever and not long enough.

Her breath hitched and he watched her with his own bated. After a few moments, he let out the air he was holding. She didn't stop breathing. Not yet. "I love you," he whispered again.

It was the only thing he could think of saying. There was so much he wanted to tell her, but there wasn't enough time, so he said the only thing that mattered now. "I love you."

He lay down on the floor next to her; he didn't care that he was lying in a pool of blood. His grip on her hand never faltered. He looked around the room wanly. Broken furniture. Pool of blood. Tipped cauldron. His dad was going to have a hell of a time cleaning this mess up. Severus wondered if the man could even manage it on his own. His wife had always taken care of such things.

The boy had wanted to scream, call out for help- but there wasn't anywhere to go. The family home wasn't connected to the Floo System and he couldn't Apparate. She would be long gone before he could even reach an outside source of help.

So he lay there, holding her hand. The last thing he wanted for his mother was to die alone. No one deserved that.

There was a time when this home had not been so broken. Severus's father had been okay before…

But that was all history. Now his mother was dying and his father had simply run away. Back to the bottle and away from the mess he created. Severus loathed him.

The woman took a wheezing breath beside him.

"I love you."

A few bitter tears worked paths down his face. The only person who ever truly cared for him- and she was fading before his eyes.

He regretted not being around so much. He shouldn't have gone away for school… He should have protected her.

Severus let out a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry."

Could she feel him beside her? Her hand began to tremble in his, and he now noticed a sudden drop in temperature. Wheeze. "I love you."

More tears. She was breathing more slowly now, and he turned his head to look at her.

Her skin was so pale… She didn't look at all like the mother that had seen him off to school. He would never see that face again, would he? There were so many things he'd never have again, weren't there? "It's okay to go now, Mum."

Silence. She had stopped breathing.

"I love you."

The End

A/N: Many thanks to duj who helped me fix the opening sentence.

Writing has been extremely difficult for me for the past few months. Sorry.

This may not be my best work. Again, sorry. I just had to get this out of my system before I could write again.