Look At Me
The Bell and the Black Dragon
Summary: A series of moments where she would not, and the moments that she did.
A shock of vibrant red hair in the hallway between classes.
She turned at the voice, but upon one glance at the owner, she averted her eyes from his.
"Lily... look at me. Please."
Look at me.
He willed it with everything he had. Her lips pressed tightly together, and she turned and walked away.
He couldn't summon up the ability to call after. He merely leaned against the wall weakly as hundreds of students brushed by, somehow not hearing the deafening cracking of his heart.
"Please, look at me. I'm so sorry, you know that I didn't, that I don't—"
"No. Severus... I need to get away. I… don't like who you've become."
Look at me.
Once again she turned from him. This time he found the strength to walk away. But not to quell the lump rising within his throat and the prickle of tears behind eyes that would not allow them to fall.
She was resplendent in her fine white gown. Radiant. And so full of joy. Even in this time of war her eyes shown, alight with happiness on her special day.
She was to be married to James Potter today.
Severus stood in the cover of a tree and watched as she pledged eternal love for the man who had made Severus's teen years a trial to be suffered through.
He did not wish to be seen. He just wished to be there as the greatest person he had ever known, and had ever lost, became the wife of another. Perhaps it was his way of punishing himself. But mostly it was to see her smiling once again. He hadn't seen her smile in so very long.
She seemed to sense him behind the cover of the tree. And for just a bare second, she saw him.
Look at me.
Part of him had desperately wished she would see him, but it was a foolish part he did not heed. He knew his shock was reflected in his face when he realized her eyes were upon him. She could tell instantly he did not mean to be seen there, just to watch.
She felt oddly grateful.
She knew that this man she had known as a lonely, unloved child was on the other side of the war she was fighting… but she could not hate him, nor summon any other emotion for her old best friend at this moment other than gratitude. That he would come, not meaning to be seen, for his own gratification, to share her happiness… she sent a small smile his way.
He understood, and did not take it as anything more than it was.
He gently inclined his head toward her, lips tight with emotion, then turned away. She watched his black hair swaying gently in the wind for a moment, and then he was gone.
"—Severus, if you would remove your hood now, please."
Pale hands rose and removed the hood. And there sat Severus Snape in the midst of the Order of the Phoenix, eyes downcast, hands coming to refold themselves in his lap as he waited quietly for the outbreak and persecution.
And they did not disappoint.
"Albus! This is the spy you were talking about? Are you daft?" Mad Eye Moody, pleasant as always.
"I can not believe you let him in here! Damned dirty Death Eater is probably trying to get information for their side! And you let him in?!"
"Oh, Sirius? Do you think I would be so susceptible to such a lie, then? And the rest of you?" Twinkling blue eyes, yet a hint of warning. "You know I would not let him in here unless I had the utmost confidence in his sincerity."
Half the room was convince within five minutes, simply because he had Dumbledore's trust. Despite his refusing to tell them what made him so sure about Snape in the first place. Yet there was of course much more shouting and angry tones about how Dumbledore had put them all in danger and was going to get them killed.
Look at me.
Yet none of the voices were the one he was listening for, searching for. He had to look. He had to see. He lifted his eyes from his clasped hands. From the voices all through the meeting, he knew where she sat. Even if he had not, he felt his eyes would have automatically moved to her, drawn magnetically to those eyes that had captivated him since the first time he saw her, when he was but seven years old.
The eyes that had not left him since he was unmasked and revealed, staring with an unreadable look somewhere between wonder, slight relief, and sadness.
Here was the confirmation she had not previously had that he was a Death Eater. Here was also the confirmation that he was still good and wished to help the Order. Here was a mix of emotions, all coming to a point of surprise when he actually looked up and into her eyes.
Perhaps he had been so still that she forgot he was real, sure that she watched a statue pf her old friend.
Then she spoke. Her eyes looking into his, she said, "I believe him too. I… I trust Albus."
Albus was likely beaming at her, but Severus couldn't think of anything else other than what had just happened.
Slight shock from him. Then an almost imperceptible turning of his lips upward, the kind of smile only she would have recognized for what it was; no one else had ever bothered knowing him enough to tell the subtle differences in his facial expressions, which he had always tried to mask.
Their eyes stayed connected, for a moment before she ripped hers away and went on as if nothing monumental had taken place.
Look at me.
Perhaps nothing monumental had. He felt his heart racing anyway.
After the meeting.
"Severus! Please stay a moment. Ah, and Lily and James, you too, please."
Glaring. "What's this about, Albus? What's he doinghere?"
"The same thing as you, James. Helping fight a war." The twinkle had gone from his eyes, replaces with a degree of seriousness that was saddening.
"Now, I could not speak of this amongst the others. It must remain secret."
And it was then that Albus Dumbledore, speaker of 7 different languages, tried to find words to articulate that Snape had told him that the world's darkest wizard was going to try to murder their child. None of the words he had ever learned in any language he had ever heard seemed fitting.
Look at me.
As Dumbledore explained the uses of the Fidelius charm to two pale, fearful, determined parents, he heard nothing. He had eyes only for her. As if sensing his eyes upon her, she looked up and into his. A gentle smile. A thank you for their son's life. Forgiveness.
Damned to hell and knowing he would likely die day one day soon at the Dark Lord's vengeful hands… he could not help but breathe easier than he had in years as the pieces of his heart silently fit themselves back together. Because whatever happened to him, she would be safe.
He had become a spy for Albus Dumbledore one year before the Dark Lord's fall. He had always known that the Dark Lord would return, and he had no illusions that he would die when that happened, fighting in this war.
Now that the time had come, he felt an inordinate amount of pride that he had not ever been doubted. It was likely the inappropriate time to feel something like triumph, yet he had always expected that he would be found out as a spy. And he would be tortured, and he would die, painfully, and alone. Yet he had managed to fool Lord Voldemort… until his very last breath.
Somehow, nothing mattered more at that moment. This man murdered Lily and hundreds of other people's Lilys. He hoped someone would SHOUT it to Voldemort that his right hand man had betrayed him years ago, and he had been too blind to see.
Yet his work was not done—the boy had to be told. He hastened. There was no time to waste. He tried to staunch the bleeding in his neck with one hand long enough to complete his one, final mission, grabbing onto the boy and pulling him close with the other.
He used all his will, all his fading magic to push his last thoughts, his most important memories, his knowledge of the boy's fate, the truth of Dumbledore's death, the truth of himself—to the front, and outwards, to Potter.
Gasping through his pain as the venom spread through his body, the burning becoming more numbing as he lost more and more blood, he used everything he had to gaspingly tell the boy to take it. The boy understood and when it was done he felt a wave of relief so large as he had never felt before. It was finally done. The boy would know. And he… he could rest.
He had never had much reason to live on, except that there always seemed to be a cause keeping him alive. Saving Lily, saving Draco, hindering the ministry's interference at Hogwarts in Dumbledore's absence, sabotaging the Dark Lord's plans from the inside after Dumbledore's death…
And now it was over. He would finally die. He had never spared much thought as to what would happen after he died. He had expected no heaven for this fallen villain, yet no hell for this tragic champion either. Perhaps he would simply cease. It would be nice change from the hell life had been.
But he knew she would be somewhere wonderful, and he just wished he could see her again.
Look at me.
"Look… at… me."
And she did, turning her eyes toward him. And those beautiful green eyes were the last thing he saw, and he heard her voice in his head.
We're waiting for you, Severus.
And when Snape's hand fell from Harry—Lily's? robes, and he finally rested forevermore, it was with a small smile on his face that he did so.
For a silent hero now at peace.