Disclaimer: Always just the usual. J.K owns all the characters, the basics of the plot and my soul. I only struggle to own my imagination.
Author's note: So this is the last chapter, I have never actually ever completed a fic like this before. This story has reached 1000 hits, so I am extremely proud, yet also feel weird finishing it. Thank you to all my faithful reviewers who have stuck with me, until the end. I would love this fic to reach more than 23 reviews, because that is my personal limit; I've never had more than that on anything I've written. So that would be wonderful.
This chapter is dedicated to Lily and Snape and JK Rowling, because without them, this story would not be possible (duh!)
What Lies Ahead: Epilogue
Lily visits the empty playground at Spinner's End after Hogwarts, the brightly painted children's swings seem to mock the loss of her childhood and seem to reinforce the adult she has become. She sits in the hidden grove, shuffling her feet in the warm earth, thinking of days that are gone and a friendship that is lost. The warm summer sun beats a shady pattern across her bent form, catching the deep red of her hair. She fingers the golden needle that sits in her open hand, remembering lost promises and the meanings that they had carried, he had always proclaimed his love in the smallest of ways yet Lily cherished them more than big declarations and exclusive presents.
Lily draws an assortment of articles out of her small bag; a bundle of old and weathered letters, a stuffed toy that was missing an eye, a small collection of moving photographs. Breathing heavily in the warm air, she digs a small grave with her bare hands, the hot soil scorching underneath her nails, strands of her hair inhibiting her eyesight. Biting her lip, determined not to show emotion, she lowers the items into the shallow hole, she kisses the hole of the needle before letting it tumble in amongst the other reminders.
Hastily refilling the grave, she rocks back on her heels, wiping a dirty hand across her sweating forehead, smearing it with soil. And she allows the tears to fall, not out of loss but out of regret, a simple regret that the love she had once felt was no longer there.
Severus caresses his dark mark, a deep hatred born of unfulfilled desires fuels his actions, his foolish actions. He had always wanted to belong, wanted to be loved, and this was as close as he had gotten, becoming a servant to a man whom he detested.
Severus glances towards his mantelpiece, his gaze lingering on a muggle photograph, frozen in time, an eternal smile etched amongst her delicate features. She had given him the photo as a reminder of feelings that would stand still, yet he knew that it was a foolish notion; the world did not stop for love. And it hadn't, he had watched it spiral helplessly out of his control, his fingers unable to hold onto the hope that it promised.
He had placed a vase of lilies beside the photo, vowing to never love another, to never change his mind.
They made their own way home.
be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet
And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.'
– Richard Bach 'Illusions'