((The last two pages are far more polished than the rest of the chapter. Please just grit your teeth and suffer through the beginning, the ending is worth it.))
All I Ever Wanted In This Life Was Peace... And I've Got A Pretty Good Idea Where Fate's Hidden It.
Is it really too much to ask, Fate, that you be kind to me, just this once? For old time's sake, perhaps? You know, since you've always been so ridiculously unfair to me in the past.
Of course that's too much to ask; I keep forgetting that you're a raging bitch. There must be nothing in the world you enjoy more than stacking the deck against me, considering how often it occurs.
Well, consider my lesson learned. I'll have to do this the hard way.
Just like I always do.
I'll see you soon, and I'll be sure to thank you in person for allowing me to play with the hand you've dealt me; the worst possible hand in the deck. You've made no secret of my odds; I am fated to lose. I was always going to lose.
The only freedom you'll allow me is how much I want to bet on this one hand, being fully aware of how the cards will fall.
So thanks for nothing. I'm "all in".
I won't run from you. I won't fold. Not when I'm so close to finally getting the chance to lay these cards back down on the table.
But you already knew that, didn't you?
Severus kills the last Horcrux, Slytherin's locket, and starts hunting down Voldemort. He's slippery, Severus gets in a lot of fights between here and there. He gets cut and bruised and tortured a bit, perhaps. He doesn't say he's fighting for his life, or for the Wizarding World.
He's doing this for Lily Potter.
Because you couldn't just leave well enough alone. That's it.
It leads up to the final confrontation with Voldemort.
He finally finds out where Voldemort's staying that night, at Malfoy Manor. He goes there, Voldemort's waiting for him. He's got his own Felix Felicis, says it's quite a magnificent potion. He wants more of it. Everything seems to go so much smoother when I've got this miraculous liquid in me... And I have you to thank for opening my eyes to it, Snape. Everything just seems to go my way now... I wonder how it will work against you? I've tried different dosages, it only seems to affect the duration of the effect, and not the potency. So we'll see who is truly the luckier one of us.
Snape reminds Voldemort that he once told Avery/Mulciber that Lily Evans was not to be touched, under pain of a gory, atrociously sticky death. They must not have passed that on, then. Pity.
You could've been great, Snape. You could have joined my struggle. But instead, ever the Gryffindor, you had to go and believe in a silly thing like "Justice."
"This isn't justice, Tom. This isn't honorable or virtuous. I'm not trying to save the wizarding world. They can all rot, and I wouldn't care. What I do care about is that girl you're holding hostage right now. That's it.
This isn't some heroic duel between good and evil: this is just two mangy junkyard dogs in a cage, fighting to the death like savages.
Come on, then, Tom. Let go of the girl—you'll need both your hands to deal with me."
When it comes to the final duel, Voldemort has Lily tied up and gagged, holding her by the throat in front of him. Severus's eyes widen as he raises his wand skyward.
I'll let her go right after this, I promise. You just have to stand there and let this happen... Points his wand at Severus and fires a black bolt at his stomach.
Sev steels himself-feels the impact seep into him, rather than merely hit him. He can feel the skin where it impacted, it chars and cracks. Pulls aside his robe, it's blackened three inches in every direction. He thought it would be the killing curse...
Did you really think I'd kill you so quickly? With the damage you've inflicted on my cause, I'll not be so merciful. Your death will take an entire hour, and I'll take my time paying you back for destroying my horcruxes!
Voldemort hit him with a curse that will slowly kill him over the course of an hour. He wants to test Severus, wants him to suffer for destroying his horcruxes. He tosses Lily into a chair, bows mockingly to the injured Snape. Duels him.
Voldemort disarms him, to toy with him more, and smirks as he catches Severus's wand.
Severus smirks right back and wandlessly casts his spell. Surprise. You always were too dependent on that wand of yours.
Severus wins, hits Voldemort with his new spell (create something in latin for it, like true love), summons his wand from him, then conjures bindings to hold him. Stay there a moment.
He rushes to Lily's side, undoes her gag. It's not her voice. Just some scared muggle. Polyjuice potion. He smiled in defeat, cuts her ropes. Thank God... it wasn't really her... I'm so glad she didn't get kidnapped... Tells her to relax, he won't hurt her. Portus. Creates a portkey to the Ministry of Magic, drops it on her lap. She shrieks and disappears. Let the obliviators deal with her.
I realized, standing there in that cold, stone archway, that even though Lily had married someone else, I wanted to live anyway. I wanted to stay beside her a while longer. I wanted to see her again...
I wished, more than anything, that when I opened my eyes I'd find the Sorting Hat being pulled off of my head, and I would realize that my adventure had only just begun. And I'd stand, flushed with the exertion of my test, and smile at Lily as I sat with her again for the first time at the Gryffindor table.
I wanted so badly to sit beside her, to see her smile back at me toothily, untroubled and innocent as only a child could be.
I felt the curse inside of me, seeping inexorably into my organs. Killing me.
I could have left Voldemort there, or side-alonged the two of us to St. Mungo's and hoped someone there knew a way to stop this curse from taking me. There was always a possibility, wasn't there?
No. I knew that this curse was terminal. I'd encountered this precise curse, in fact, when I destroyed the Gaunt Family ring. latin for prepared death It would end my life. The medi- witches at St. Mungo's might have been able to delay my death by seconds, perhaps a minute if I was incredibly lucky.
Not once in my life had I ever been accused of being incredibly lucky. I wouldn't have needed to brew nearly a gallon of a bloody potion if I had been.
And I wouldn't allow anyone to intrude on this moment. It was solemn, sacrosanct. I would avenge Lily Potter today. I sat against the wall facing the Dark Lord, conserving my energy.
Voldemort, rolling on the ground below his throne, screamed hatefully as he clawed at his chest. It must've hurt immensely. I hoped I made the thorns big enough. "What magic is this? What have you done to me?"
I smiled at him, a dark twisting smirk. This man was my enemy, and I hated him. He would have murdered Lily. I wanted him to suffer endlessly for that, but I'd have to settle for killing him. "I was told by Albus Dumbledore that your one weakness was that you could not love. So I created a spell to clearly illustrate what you're missing. I've long considered love to be a noose of brambles, cinching ever more tightly around my heart. The noose, in your case, is transfigured from your small intestines. But I feel that this is still an inadequate description of love. The emotional aspect is, in my estimation, far more painful than this crude spell can express physically."
"Here, let me show you some carefully selected examples. Legilimens!"
His screams subsided half an hour later, when the noose had finally squeezed his heart until it burst. I'd have hoped it would take longer, really. Explain what happens when a heart ruptures, medically.
I wished it could've lasted a bit longer. Voldemort felt it for perhaps a half- hour... but I'd felt that noose for a decade. He hadn't even gotten the full measure of it, since he'd never had to wake up feeling it cinched just as tightly as it was the night before.
At long last, I dropped my wand. I'd shown him every single memory that had cut into me the most, every single example of how terrible love truly was. Amazingly, I felt sadness when his screams ceased. For a brief moment, I had shared the pain that had been locked tightly inside of me for so long. It had been liberating.
I felt better than I had in a long while. Years, probably.
Strange, that killing a Dark Lord would bring such release...
I still didn't want to go to St. Mungo's. I didn't want anyone to see me like this, I didn't want to leave this place.
I just wanted to sit here against this wall, alone in the cold. I just wanted to take stock of my life and prepare for the best end I'd been hoping for; a good death. A death that was worth something.
I'd done everything in my power to ensure Lily Potter's survival, and that was worth everything. I would die ten thousand times before I allowed her to leave this world before me.
I didn't want to see her again, strangely. I thought I would, but not like this, not so close to death.
No. If I was to die today, then I would rather die alone in this silent, elegant manor, next to the cooling corpse of a former Dark Lord.
I hadn't wanted it to end here, not like this. Not with so much left undone. I was still so unsatisfied with life. I wanted so much more than I'd ever been given... As I mourned for everything I'd lost, and everything I'd never have, I felt hot tears trickle down my cold face. I leaned my head back against the wall and let out a wet chuckle.
So many regrets to carry to the grave.
So much I never did in this life. . .so little I left behind.
Was there anyone out there who would remember me? Would my name just become something common and mundane, perhaps a footnote in a history book, or would anyone out there remember who I truly was?
If more than a decade of living for Lily Evans wasn't enough to make her remember me... would dying for her be enough to keep her from forgetting?
I was not a good-natured person; that much, at least, I had always known. I was not nice, I was not fair, I was not caring or sympathetic. I was not warm- hearted.
I could've been, with Lily, but that part of me had burned to ashes the day she fell in love with James Potter.
Instead I was cold, and I was cruel. I had distanced myself from the rest of society because I knew I had no place in a warm and affectionate environment.
I wanted everyone to forget all my faults, all my flaws. I wanted them to forget about what a mean bastard Severus Snape had been. If they could forget my flaws, then perhaps the part that remained would be remembered fondly.
Perhaps the shabby little shard that remained of my soul would be worthy of emulation, after all.
I had loved; that had to count for something. I had felt such deep and powerful emotions that even now, as I fought for each breath, I thought only of her. And all those emotions, all that pain. . .That was what I wished for the world to remember.
If the Wizarding World forgot everything else about me, forgot that I had killed Voldemort, forgot that I had attended Hogwarts or lived at Spinner's End, I wanted them to remember my pain.
I wanted them to remember that Severus Snape had loved Lily Evans, and still loved Lily Potter with every fiber of his being. If they could just remember that much, then I would be satisfied.
I loved Lily relentlessly, eternally. I would love her after the sun had collapsed in on itself, after humanity had vanished from the universe. My dust would be tethered irrevocably to hers after even our souls had decayed.
That love was the only legacy I wanted to leave. It was the very best of me, the only thing in the entirety of my worthless life that I'd ever truly been proud of. It had been the only heroic part of me.
It had been magnificently painful. I had every right to be proud of such a beautiful trial.
I could only hope that someday. . .somewhere far away from here. . .I'd see anew those tender, innocent eyes that I loved so much.
I gasped as the curse touched my heart and its dark fingers burrowed greedily inside. It was almost painless, and I felt profoundly grateful that it hadn't been a more exotic and grotesque curse. I would still look whole afterward, at least.
Whoever had said that dying was hard, they obviously hadn't ever died before. I just had to sit here and let it happen. This wasn't hard at all. . .It was so much easier than watching Lily love someone else. . . .
Then those dark fingers squeezed, and panic surged through me for one brief moment. I gasped and shuddered jerkily at the incredibly painful shock.
Then certainty washed over me, calming my mind.
My heartbeat faltered, and then everything grew still and silent.
My lungs relaxed, releasing the last of my oxygen.
My vision swam as the tears spilled over, blurring the world around me once more.
The darkness finally enveloped me.
Don't worry, okay? I won't let you go it alone, Lily-I'll always be right by your side. I'll protect you, no matter what.
You promise, Sev?
I saw Lily Evans, wide-eyed and vulnerable—her trembling, eleven-year-old hand reaching out for mine.
Reaching for her hero.
I felt tall enough to wrestle a dragon as I proudly puffed out my thin, bony chest.
We shook pinkies on it.
It's a promise!
Peace, at last….
In the small, lonely cottage on the hill at (wherever the cottage is), in an old, dusty mason jar, a small blossom of bluebell flames finally flickered out.