Title: Proof of Life

Author: Emily Waters

Betas: Rettavex, whitehound

Brittpicker: whitehound

Pairing: Severus Snape/Harry Potter

Rating: M

Summary: Seven years after the Second Wizarding War, Severus Snape is found... alive.

Warnings: Abuse, Torture, Slavery, Character Death (not Snape or Harry)

Disclaimer: I do not own anything HP related. It all belongs to JK Rowling, Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Inc., Warner Bros., and any other entities involved.

Characters: Harry Potter, Severus Snape, Ginny Weasley, Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Draco Malfoy, Marietta Edgecombe, Amos Diggory, Neville Longbottom, Hanna Abbott


He knew he was dying. He was practically drowning in his own blood, as it continued to gush out of the gruesome neck wound, running onto the floor in rivulets.

His vision was fading, but he could still make out the shimmering strands of his own memories hovering in the air. Everything he was, everything he ever held important or significant, was being placed into Potter's hands. For a brief second, Severus Snape wondered if those memories would be lost, dissipated in the dark of the night; if all of this was for naught...

And then, relief flooded him, as he saw that the memories were being caught, retrieved from the air, and collected carefully. The ever-vigilant, all-knowing Granger had conjured a flask and handed it to Potter. Severus could have awarded ten thousand points to Gryffindor, if he were in any condition to do so.

His memories were being collected. They would be viewed. Potter would know what to do. The war would end. The Dark Lord would be defeated.

Above him, Harry was clutching the vial, the memories. Granger and Weasley were already heading out of the Shrieking Shack. Yet, Potter lingered. What was that look on Harry's face? Was it pity? Was it scorn? Nagini's bite notwithstanding, as far as Potter knew Severus Snape was still the enemy. Or had Potter made the correct guess?

It was ridiculous and irrational that Severus would care so much what the young Gryffindor thought of him, but he did.

A part of him still screamed in denial, but the part of him that had noticed death hovering nearby forced the moment of truth. Now, as it was all about to end, nobody's opinion mattered more. The offspring of his nemesis, the son of his only childhood friend, Potter was the bane of his existence and his only reason to exist.

No... who was he fooling? Potter was not just his reason to live; like it or not, this young person was his entire life.

Severus looked upwards, his vision growing dimmer every second. What would he see in Potter's eyes? Revulsion? Relief at an enemy's death? Gloating at his imminent demise?

"Look at me!" Severus begged with his last breath.

The luminous green eyes were glaring in the dark, shining like quasars against the darkness of the void. Severus searched those glowing bottomless eyes and found no contempt, no pity, no gloating, and no fear. The only thing showing in that gaze was acceptance. That was it. That was what Severus needed to see.

Potter knew.

Severus would have tried to say something else, but his lips were refusing to move. He was about to slip into oblivion when he saw Harry's wand pointed at him. What was that all about?

He wondered if Potter was about to finish him off. Had Severus, ever skilled at reading people's body language and expressions, misjudged him?

"In Sanguine Tuo Vive," Potter said softly.

In Thy Blood, Live.

Severus wanted to scream in despair, and had he still been able to he would have. He recognized the spell, of course. How could he not? It was one of his own. Ah, Merlin on a crutch! Out of all the possible spells in the world, what were the odds that Potter would think of casting that one on him?

"Harry, please, it's too late for him," Hermione whispered from somewhere. "We've got to go...''

Severus could only watch helplessly as Harry stood over him, those green eyes holding his gaze for what seemed like an eternity.

"Coming," Harry answered finally, and then, cast Severus one final glance. "I'll be back for you," Harry said.

Severus knew otherwise. Harry was not coming back for him. Once those memories were viewed, Harry would be on his way to face death at the hands of the Dark Lord.

Severus shut his eyes and simply listened to the sound of retreating footsteps. Watching Harry leave was more than he could bear.

To Be Continued...