He sat on the edge of the dock in silence.
The moonlight reflected in the remarkably still water and he found himself marveling in its simple beauty. It had been a long time since he had seen anything that could make him feel that, and it hurt. He grasped at the ridiculous fact that even when his world was at its darkest a light as bright as this could still be found. It didn't quite seem fair.
She would have loved this.
But it didn't matter what matter what she would have loved, because she couldn't, not now, not ever. He wished she could share it with her, the moonlight. But the truth was, she wouldn't have been with him anyway. She hadn't been his for years.
And now she was gone, really gone. His love, his life, his Lily.
He had sold himself for her safety and she still hadn't been spared. He had been told she would be protected, that his sacrifice and his information had been enough. How foolish he had been to forget Voldemort's cardinal rule: No one ever lived once he decided to kill them.
Except her son.
Her son had lived. Dumbledore had told him of her sacrifice.
It made sense that his sacrifice had done nothing and hers had saved the world. How she had died for her child—a child that would no doubt be as awful as his father. He would be just as haughty, just as arrogant, a clone of the magnificent Potter. He failed to conjure up a sneer to go with the sarcasm.
Instead he almost wished there was a shred of hope for her son, perhaps the boy would be like her: kind, gentle, and willing to make friends with even the most unlikely of people. Maybe Lily's son could be ok, maybe that could be enough.
But the prospect of her living on through the child did nothing. He didn't want some half-Potter imitation; he wanted her back. The incomparable Lily Evans that would always be foremost in his mind and fill the space where he used to have a heart.
He closed his eyes, pretending that it was her hand that gently caressed his cheek, instead of the wind. He imagined how she would have looked like sitting there beside him, long hair blowing, and green eyes flashing at some joke or happy thought…
A twig snapped behind him and he leapt, pulling his wand from the folds of his robes as he spun. Only after he saw a terrified rabbit dash into the bushes did he turn back to the water, back to the moonlight, and back to her.
The sky was lightening now. Along the horizon he could see the same fiery colour her hair had been. Birds sang in the distance and he was reminded of her laugh.
The moon's reflection was fading fast and he found himself hoping with all that was left of his heart that wherever she was, Lily could see the same moon he could, the same beautiful light that had made the stars and the twinkle in her eyes, the same sunrise that had come even though the world had so obviously ended.
Hoping that she could see one last beautiful thing that united them.
The realization that even if she were watching, her view wouldn't be focused on him set a new resolve in him. While the thought killed him, he knew, had known for a long time, she hadn't loved him. But Lily had loved her son.
This boy-who-lived, this child of beautiful Lily, this Harry Potter, could be their connection. She had died for her son, died so he could live. He knew that kind of love. He would have died for her; he wished he had died.
But he was here and he would help. Lily would not have died in vain. He would protect her son, no matter what his last name was. The boy would live because Lily wanted it.
Lily. His beautiful Lily.
No tears fell as Severus turned away from the light of the new dawn. There were none left.