Another part of my "Again" series. Someone suggested I do Snape and Dumbledore, and I wasn't actually going to because I don't like Snape. And then I wrote Her Eyes, another one-shot I've put up today, and this just had to follow on. I think I've been very nice to him here.
So I think I'm going to work through most of the characters, and if anyone has any specific character they'd like me to write one of these for, let me know and I'll see what I can do.
Looking At Her Again
Summary: Snape died looking into emerald eyes that were so much like hers. And now, he's looking at her. Related to Where They Belong Again and the others.
The pain that had been spreading through him had died. The greyness around the edge of his vision had died. The fear of his own impending end had died.
And Severus Snape had died.
It wasn't that much of a surprise to find himself in that old park where he'd first seen Lily Evans. It wasn't that much of a surprise to see it like this, either, exactly how it had been all those years ago, even when he knew that nowadays it was overgrown and dirty, with rusty, broken equipment.
But he was dead, and therefore the setting was how he wanted it to be.
He was alone. Despite this, he had dressed himself. Because even though he knew he was alone, he knew this wasn't it. He knew he wasn't supposed to stay here.
He knew someone would come for him.
He expected Dumbledore. That would make the most sense, wouldn't it? Dumbledore would come, and explain, and guide him, just as he had done for years. And so, when Snape heard footsteps, he turned, a greeting almost out of his mouth.
But it wasn't Dumbledore.
She still looked twenty-one, young and somehow innocent. She'd always looked innocent, and often he'd wondered if people thought he forced her to be friends with him, to trust him, because she looked far too sweet and innocent to hang around with Severus Snape.
He hadn't. She'd never been controlled, never done anything unless she wanted to.
When he realised it was Lily Evans - no, Potter, Lily Potter - walking slowly towards him, the greeting he'd been about to utter died, and he just stood, watching her, waiting for her to reach him. And hit him. He was sure she'd hit him for what he'd done.
Instead, she lowered herself to the swing a few feet away from him, and waited. Because he knew that's what she wanted, he moved towards her, sat on the swing next to her.
"Why are you here?" He asked after a few seconds of silence.
"Because I'm the one you wanted to be here." She replied simply. After another pause, she spoke again. "Do you understand why you're here? Severus? You're dead."
"I know." He replied softly. He was still waiting for her anger.
"You expect me to be mad." She said quietly, looking directly into his eyes, as her son had done just a few minutes before.
"You're waiting for me to start shouting, to hit you even, and for you to have to beg for forgiveness."
"Yes." He admitted, because lying to her had never been an option.
"I've already forgiven you." She said softly, and the surprise made him jerk as though she had hit him.
"You've paid for your mistakes. You've helped. Dumbledore never told us it was you who'd heard the prophecy, you who'd told him to protect us."
"You." Snape amended, because somehow he wanted her to be mad at him, he wanted her to know the true extent of his crimes against her. "I didn't care about Potter or your son. Only you."
"I know." She sighed. "I've watched Harry, watched you. You never...forgave him, for being James's son as well as mine."
"I couldn't." He said quietly.
"I know. I understand, I guess. I also understand how guilty you've felt all these years. It's OK. You lost your way, and Voldemort's was the path you stumbled upon. But you've tried to make amends. You've kept Harry save, even while you hated him, and he hated you. It's OK." She repeated. "I forgive you, because I know you'll never forgive yourself."
More silence passed, because he had no reply for that and she had no more to say. Finally, he spoke.
"You and James are together, still, then?"
"Yes." She replied simply.
"I suppose he blames me for...you dying?"
"No." She shook her head, and smiled a little at his obvious surprise. "He doesn't, actually. He says Voldemort would have come after us sooner or later - and your warning at least kept us safe for a short while. I suppose he blames you a little." She said thoughtfully. "But I don't think you're in his thoughts much, unless you're being horrible to Harry. He blames himself."
"Himself?" Snape repeated, and frowned, because it was so much easier to imagine James Potter as the selfish schoolboy he remembered him.
"Peter was his friend. Peter betrayed us." Lily explained. "James thinks that it's he's fault. So does Sirius. They're both rather tedious when they get into that mood. And James also thinks if he'd held Voldemort off for a little while longer, or if he'd stopped to get his wand, me and Harry could have got away safely. We couldn't have, of course."
Snape hesitated, then could hold the words back no longer.
"So there's no chance for - for me and you, then?"
It saddened Lily, the way he spoke. There was pain and disappointment in the tone, because he already knew the answer. But, unbearably, there was hope. He still, after all this time, hoped that her answer would be different.
"No, Severus. There's not." She replied, as gently as she could. "Another time...another place...maybe. But no."
He nodded, trying to appear as though it didn't matter, while his heart broke all over again.
She didn't apologise for not loving him back; they both knew she didn't have to.
"Are you ready?" She asked quietly. "To move on?"
He hesitated, because it was harder than he'd thought to take this final step into the unknown.
"What comes next?" He asked softly.
"It depends. It depends on you."
"Punishment?" He asked, a little afraid. For all the things he'd done, punishment could only be what waited.
"No, no. It depends on what you're ready for. What your soul is ready for. The next life, maybe."
"You watch." He said, as her earlier words came back to him. "You watch your son?"
"Yes. We're not ready to leave him properly yet."
We. Her and James. He closed his eyes, because looking at her was just too hard right then.
"Severus...I don't mean to rush you. I understand that this is hard. But my son is still back there...I need to..."
"Watch." Snape supplied. "OK. Let's go."
Only for him would he face his fears when he wasn't quite ready for it. And she must have sensed that, too, for as they stood she took his hand.
A gesture of friendship. He couldn't ever hope for more from her.
"This way. You'll be OK, Sev. Believe that." And she led him away, away from the life he'd had, and all the pain it had held for him.