"What the hell were you thinking Sev? You're-"

His hand roughly covering her mouth cut off her words. She glared at him as he peered over both his shoulders before pushing her backwards until her back hit the wall of small, stony alcove behind her. When he still didn't remove his hand in a timely manner she opened her lips and licked him. He pulled his hand back as if stung, wiping his offended hand furiously against his robes.

"You didn't have to lick me."

She glared, "You didn't have to cut me off."

"Oh yes I did," He glanced back into the deserted stairwell, "you were yelling loud enough to wake the dead."

"Well maybe I wanted to because maybe they'd knock some sense into that egotistical, arrogant, self-pitying head of yours."

His mouth formed a thin line, "What are you talking about?"

"I know what you did Sev."

"What?"

She turned her head to the side and stared out the thin slit of a window beside her shoulder. She needed to calm down enough to talk clearly and without yelling. But just the thought of what he'd done made her blood boil to such a level she was surprised she hadn't burst into flames or melted on the spot already.

"You joined the Deatheaters." She spoke without looking at him but when she heard him hiss in a quick breath she looked back at his drawn expression. "And I know why you did it."

His face turned ashen white and he took a step back, "H-how do you know?"

"Sev," she resisted the urge to reach out to touch him, with her anger dissipating in the face of his horror, "we've been friends for so long, you've read my mind for so many years, I think that's managed to leave behind a residue of you and that residue let me know that shit was happening somewhere. I just managed to find that shit in time to see the grand finale." She sighed and looked back out the window again. "I don't know why you felt the need to join them though. There are other ways, Sev."

He growled and his face began to harden again, "You aren't a true Slytherin if you think that." She heard a sinister chuckle and she turned to see an expression of disdain, something he'd never shown her before. "In fact, you've never been a true Slytherin."

Her blood boiled again, "No I'm not. I never really have been have I? I told you before it was only voyeurism that got me in here! But guess what I'm the true odd ball in this bloody house. You just thought you were the only one picked on, teased, and spit upon, both literally and figuratively." She grew quiet a moment before she carefully spoke again. "Sev you have never once asked me why I always have bruises on my body."

His eyes immediately traveled to her neck and arms and his eyes widened when in truth a nasty looking bruise peered out from just below her shirt collar on both her neck and wrist. His face lost its hardness but his lips drew into a thin line.

"Why?" his voice wavered a bit.

She sighed once more, feeling a heavy weight on her shoulders, "I could ask the same of you and your hasty decision."

At the reminder of their argument, he stiffened again. Why did he have to be so bloody stubborn? Why did he have to have an ego as big as the world?

"I thought long and hard about my decision, it was not hasty."

She scoffed, "Neither was their decision to beat me and curse me anytime they found out I tried to influence you to be human and not a hate-filled patsy for their whims!"

His eyes widened again. Shock came first then suddenly his hands were like brands on her upper arms as he pressed her harshly against the stone behind her.

"You would lie to me? You would betray me so?" She saw the anger building within his eyes and at the same time she saw her friend and crush loose himself in that anger.

She swallowed, "Sev the fact that you think I'm lying is proof enough to me that you're beyond my reach."

His hands loosened just a fraction, "What do you mean?"

"I mean," her throat caught and damn her eyes but they grew misty, "that I cannot continue to be your friend and confidante while you are in their midst. They have unofficially tormented my family for centuries, even though we are a distinguished family." She hesitatingly reached up and lay one of her hands over one of his where it held her fast. "I will not stand by and watch your soul be sucked from you in your pursuit of this 'righteous' anger that you feel."

His hands remained where they were but the bite was no longer in them.

"What are you saying?" He sounded closer to the friend she knew but she also understood that he wasn't truly there anymore.

"I'm saying that if you choose to remain with them, Sev, then we are going to have to say goodbye, for good." Despite her better wishes a few tears fell then and she watched his gaze follow their journey down her cheeks.

"I don't understand."

She closed her eyes and took a calming breath, "Sev you need to let go of me." When she opened her eyes, she saw such a pained look on his face that her heart broke into millions of pieces. "Both right now and in your heart and mind. You need to realize that they can use you against me or me against you. They would too if they knew that we'd been such close friends. We can no longer be in contact with each other. You can no longer even think about me. If you ever felt any affection for me, Sev, you will forget me, for my sake and yours."

He hesitated, in both body and mind. She saw the hesitation, felt it actually. It was during that hesitation that she boldly learned forward and pressed her lips against him. The rest of her dormant tears fell as she closed her eyes, making the kiss even more bittersweet as they fell across her cheeks and lips. He didn't pull back but he didn't respond either. She didn't try to deepen the kiss beyond one of farewell but she didn't pull back immediately either. In the time she kissed him she felt his hands momentarily tighten then loosen, and through her hand on his she felt his pulse spike then settle back into a steady rhythm. Then his hands fell, breaking contact. She took this as the signal to leave.

When she did finally pull back, his face was blank of emotion. She shared a long, soul searching gaze with him for a few moments longer before she moved past him. With every step she took away from him she felt her heart break a little more. She would never have her love, and he would never find peace. He would die from this, she knew and she just hoped he'd realize it before it was too late...

Breath came back into his body so forcefully that tears sprang into his eyes and he had to clutch at his chest to make sure it didn't burst open. The memory had been so vivid that the almost felt that he'd time traveled in his moments of death. Now he lay in a broken heap on the ground, barely alive, but still that barely was enough. He thrashed on the ground as his body came to life again, pain mixing with hope as reality fell close behind bodily sensations. He felt hands grasp his shoulders to hold him down as the last of the convulsions passed through him. She'd been right, his quest for vengence had almost killed him. But before that, she'd been right, his misguided hate had almost cost him everything he held dear. But now...now he had a new chance.

When he finally managed to open his eyes, he saw a blurry outline. The more he blinked the more the figure came into focus. But even so, with the light behind the figure all he could see was a glowing shadow. He heard voices, garbled unclear voices, but one closer began to make sense and the sound of it brought peace into his wounded soul. A slight smile fell on his lips. He was alive, he was alive! The hands on his shoulders grew soft and he felt fingers brush hair from his face. He opened his eyes again, this time with the figure coming into focus. His sighed in contentment and reached towards the figure with a prayerful name on his lips.

He was alive! He was battered and beaten, in body and soul, but he was alive and he was hers. As he reached for her with her name like a prayer on his lips she knew then that everything would work out. It would be a struggle, constant and threatening at times, but it would be worthwhile as long as they faced it together. Tears of joy fell down her cheeks as she kissed him. Though the kiss tasted salty it held so much hope and love that if it had the power of desctruction it could have destroyed the world ten times over. Neither of them were thinking of destruction though, even though they were surrounded by the remains of great battle and destruction. All they could think about was the hope of a future they now had together. Sev would later laugh at her description of this moment, accusing her of being overly romantic and quite patheticly sappy, but she wouldn't care. As long as he was there to criticize her sappiness, she was content.