Title :: Consumed

Summary :: He is passionately disliked by many, admired by few, and beholden to so many secrets that sometimes, he feels he may succumb to them. Once inside his mind, it is impossible not to pity him – but he didn't deserve this. At least, he tries to believe that he doesn't. It's hard, when those green eyes have been haunting him for years. He regrets it. These are the dying moments of Severus Snape.

I am strong, but not this strong.

My mind is an impenetrable fortress. I alone have been able to judge who is a more accomplished wizard, I alone out of the entire Wizarding world, because of this simple fact. The Dark Lord has not once believed that I turned spy against him, not for a single moment – excepting those two hours I delayed in returning to his side, on the order of Albus Dumbledore, which he thought was merely my own clever innovation. No, it was not. I have been merely the puppet of two great wizards for a long seventeen years. All I remember of the time before that is a pair of green eyes that will haunt me to my death.

Well, that won't be long now.

I did not expect Dumbledore to be the man who would so ruthlessly and thoroughly manipulate me. I can protect them. We can save them. I heard only his offer of help, felt relieved, surely, after all, under his protection, she would be untouchable. It mattered not that she was far beyond me now, that we hadn't spoken in years, that she belonged to James Potter, that her son was the primary concern. To keep him safe, we would have to protect her as well. It wasn't lost on me. I didn't care if the brat and his father died. But I wanted her alive.

He looks nothing like her, except for the eyes, and every time I've seen him glare at me with hatred and disrespect and anger and pain I see her. I see the flash in her eyes at the lakeside when I uttered that unforgivable word: Mudblood. It repeats, time and again, over and over, whenever his eyes meet mine, because there has not been a day that has passed when I haven't attempted to make his life miserable. For surviving. For making her the sacrifice.

But it has been my fault, all mine. Had I not relayed a prophecy that had gone half-unheard to the Dark Lord; had I not consented to become a Death Eater; had I not ruined my relationship with my best friend by being an insufferable, ambitious, cruel boy; it could have all been prevented. I am consumed by regret. No one, no one but Dumbledore has ever known; they see a cruel, bitter professor, someone to be hated and avoided, never pitied. If they knew, if they relived the moments and hours and years of mistakes as I do every day, they would pity me.

I am a spy, and this set of circumstances is impossible. I have no confidante, not since murdering Dumbledore, another part of his brilliant plan to make me the perfect double agent.

Perhaps Lily would have stayed with me, and James Potter would have remained an arrogant toe rag, unable to claim her attention. Perhaps I would never have strayed down the Dark Lord's path. Perhaps I would never have been afforded the opportunity to be twisted and turned by the two strongest, most terrifying wizards in our history.

I want to die. I welcome this. The hot pain, the already distant voice of my one-time master, cold and high, uninterested in my suffering. I have been waiting for this moment, when I will finally be released. I would be glad to simply melt into non-existence. Everyone else has used this body, this mind, quite enough. I am uninterested in reclaiming it.

But in some regards, I have failed, though not in my opinion. I needed to get to Harry Potter, Lily's son, before the Dark Lord decided to dispose of me. I needed to give him valuable information, information that he would need in order to truly end the Dark Lord's life. Information that would only lead to his inevitable death. To both of their deaths.

He is not an exceptional wizard. Average, perhaps – brave and daring like the rest of the Gryffindors, but painfully average. He does not approach the calibre of Dumbledore or the Dark Lord; he is nowhere near their ability. I am dying to protect Lily's son, a sheep raised for slaughter, a boy formed to rid the world of a wizard so much more powerful than he that it is laughable. The information will go unnoticed. If he gets out now, he may still live.

There is a scrambling of footsteps across the floor. My eyes focus. Green eyes swim into clarity before me. Dumbledore has seen every nook and cranny of the mind that I hide from Voldemort. He knew my weaknesses, and how to exploit them. That's why I give Lily's son the memories, because her eyes are too much for me, because there is nothing I can do. There is nothing more of this. I will fade into nothingness. There will not be another dangerous fight, another attempt to see past my layers and layers of charades and façades. There will be only death. The only place that I can ever have peace, or something like it.

Look at me...

I can hardly hear my own words. His eyes are green. He is dying to ask questions. He doesn't understand. But he will. Yes, he will know everything soon enough. That he was wrong, and I was right. That I was always, always loyal to Dumbledore, to his mother; that I even regretted knowing that Harry Potter, too, would die in the end; that I didn't agree with it, that Dumbledore, not Voldemort, had pulled the strings; that I loved his mother, that I wished things had been different. But wishing had never changed anything, and it was too late to do anything more than hope.

My mind has been a fortress, and my body has been a prison, not a strong one, either, but one that crumbles as the snake's venom rushes my veins and blackens my sight. I still see green.

I still miss her.