How many times can you save the world?, he asks her gently, but she pretends she didn't hear him and goes off to do it just one more time.

She wishes he would understand that it was not the world she was saving, it was herself. From that small, irrational fear that she wasn't good enough. It makes her feel better to see the grateful light in their eyes when they look at their savior, and she is everything they want her to be. Young, beautiful, talented, and untouched.

Her beauty in his eyes is everything she wants it to be, and she honestly forgets for those precious few hours that she is married to somebody else. But the bitterness in his eyes is everything she doesn't want to remember, and instead of guilt she just feels pity. He hates that, the knowledge that she feels sorry for him. He is not beautiful, he knows it, but every day he wonders if it is worth it, just to be in love.

The day comes when she tells him she is pregnant, and his arm, completely of its own accord, wishes to slap her. He doesn't do it, but it scares him to know that he could. He senses something fade in his respect for her, and he turns away wishing she wouldn't come back, but hoping she does.

She comes in again one night, when he is leaned over yet another poison, would you like a taste?

He hopes it is to tell him that she never wants to see him again, and he prays that she will turn around and leave before he blurts out something stupid like I love you.

He does, and she knows it.

She grants his wishes, but not before he feels the emptiness rise up inside of him, bubbling with acidity and he sits down and goes to sleep, not wanting to wake up again.

She keeps coming back every other month or so, as if to prove to him that she can do fine without him, but he knows that her return is just proof that she isn't fine, that James Potter is not living up to her expectations, and she crawls into his bed like slow-acting poison, he can't turn away.

He is a master of the most subtle arts, he can liquidize love and stopper death, but he cannot figure himself out. Plucking petals to decide seems a foolish thing to do, so he does it.

She loves me, she loves me not…

When his last petal is for she loves me not, he tears it in two, and counts both the petals.

She loves me.

What a fool he was, to guide his wishful mind in such a direction, and there is no turning back, because his deepest desire is for her red hair to fall once again, in the curtain over his face.

It is with this bitterness and emptiness that he turns against her, and walks towards the one whom he knows will change the world he knows. The one who can make him feel pain other than the kind he feels every time Lily Evans—Potter—walks away from him to go back to her husband and her son. What is wrong with her?, he thinks, that she could betray her family this way, and keep returning to him, only to mislead him as well.

It hurts the most to know that she will be remembered as a heroine, and he will be remembered as the villain who killed her. Nobody will know it was out of love.

And lust.

And most of all spite.

It's almost worth it to know that he will die too, the one who stole her away from him. He knows the reality is that there was nothing to steal, because she was never his to start with.

He sleeps with his eyes open, and feels his skin grow paler by the day. He is awake all the time, and circadian rhythms are lost upon him, for his grief is eternal.

Save the boy.

That's what he did.

Nobody remembers Severus as a hero, and he wasn't one. He was selfish and hurtful, and really just a child, but older than time.

He closes his eyes and allows silvery memories to come pouring out of his skin, allows himself to be taken over by the pain he has wanted to feel for all these years.

His heart is a supernova, brilliantly explosive across a midnight sky.

A/N Yeah, another giftfic. Prompt was anything Lily/Severus. I took a few creative liberties here in making Severus kill Lily and James on purpose, rather than how it is in the book. I hope you like it. Oh yeah, this one was a giftfic for Artika.

First two reviewers get to request fics!