Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters are copyright of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros., and they were used without permission. However, they were used with consideration and with no intention of making money. This story is simply an appreciative fan's attempt at writing something to contribute to the world of Harry Potter.

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Sindie Presents a Harry Potter Fanfic:

Her Love, His Regrets

One

The early morning sunlight filtered dimly into the ancient room through barely parted heavy drapes, which had again become infested with doxies. The lone man who inhabited the bedroom in that moment desperately scoured the entirety of the place. He had visited the house on one earlier occasion, but had left when the mark burned onto his forearm had flared to life with the usual pain associated with it.

He wasn't completely sure why he had even bothered to return. Hadn't he already exhausted this avenue? Thinking, in vain, that Dumbledore had perhaps left him a clue in this wretched dwelling, Severus had come to Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, the old headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. Of course, they would no longer be using the place, now that he had been branded a traitor by the lot of them, yet he still knew the location of it.

A clue, anything to help him find the boy … Dumbledore had been as elusive as ever before his death, only giving Severus bits and pieces of information. Had the late headmaster truly thought he was bestowing upon his spy the glorious and honorable task of telling Harry Potter that he had to die at the right moment, when the Dark Lord started protecting his cursed snake?

But Voldemort always kept Nagini near these days. Seeing as it was unlikely that Potter or his closest friends would deign to return to Hogwarts with their blessed presences in a few short weeks when he would take upon himself the illustrious title of headmaster - never once feeling he deserved it, for he had robbed Dumbledore of his life, not just his role at Hogwarts – Severus had no idea how to contact the boy.

His hope was that Potter would come to Grimmauld Place, but would he really be that foolish? Potter might not have had his mother's brilliance, but surely even he couldn't be so dim-witted as to come to the place where Severus could, not when Potter thought him as evil a Death Eater as the rest of them.

So, in one last attempt, Severus had come back to the place of his childhood enemy – at least one of them. Upon first popping into Sirius Black's dusty bedroom, Severus had sneered at the brash Gryffindor colors and unmoving Muggle posters of models from twenty years ago decorating the walls. He quickly refocused his thoughts on the task and began removing moth-eaten robes from the wardrobe, tossing the bedclothes haphazardly to the floor, and then pulling out drawer after drawer from the desk. When the last drawer was upended and the contents dislodged chaotically onto the filthy floorboards, Severus stooped down over them, picking up paper after paper. Every piece of parchment was either tossed aside or crumpled into a wad. Everything was just as useless here as he felt – old journal entries that had been ripped from their binding, written assignments from Hogwarts, missives to friends, but then, a letter with writing Severus never imagined finding among Black's things fell almost fatefully onto his lap. In his haste to tear through the pile of papers, this pair had fluttered gently from the rest to make itself known.

Severus stilled his hand over the two pages of the letter in her lovely script. His hand shaking, the palm sweaty, Severus hovered over them for a moment, his breath caught in his throat. He blinked and swallowed, but the emotional lump had settled there and refused to be vanished. He finally worked up the courage to grasp the letter, taking hold of the pages as reverently as a several thousand-year-old manuscript recently unearthed, its contents precious and sacred, but also likely long forgotten.

Severus turned over the first page and began to read. As his immensely dark eyes roved over every word like a last breath, they drank in the fullness behind each one – the way Lily had looped her "G" and the misplaced commas she had never quite figured out how to use properly. Severus pretended this letter could have been written to him, and how he began to inwardly pant with pangs of deep regret for having disposed of the letters she had penned to him all those years ago, trying to forget her in his bitter anger when he had been so incredibly stupid for turning to the Death Eaters.

Severus closed his eyes, pausing mid-read, imaging her hand moving across the paper, and he almost as soon opened his eyes, finding it harder to focus, for tears were beginning to form. The glassiness was overwhelming, and for once, Severus didn't try to wipe his tears away. She had touched these pages many years ago, and holding them now, Severus thought he might behold something of Lily, however miniscule.

Then he heard her voice. As he continued to read, the voice within that was usually a rich baritone melded into the soft, melodic tones he associated with her, and then came her Christmas-bell laughter. Severus was nearing the end of the letter now, and when he came to her last words, "Lots of love, Lily," he choked back a sob.

Love. Lily.

Nothing else mattered in the contents. What did he care of Potter, both of them? What did it matter that the letter had been written to Black? There had been some mention of Dumbledore, which Severus quickly forced from his mind. He didn't need to be reminded of him, either.

He glanced at his lap, shifting his gaze, and one heavy tear rolled down the entirely of his hooked nose and onto the letter, briefly smearing the ink. Severus cringed and wanted to punish himself for ruining this small bit of Lily. Then, there on his lap, he saw it – Lily's lovely white-toothed smile gazing up at him. She was a part of a small photograph, but the other side contained a baby Harry Potter zooming around on a toy broom with reckless abandon, his father's feet in the background. Lily looked to be laughing, and Severus could easily put the sound of her laughter he had heard in his mind to the picture in front of him.

He beheld the picture more closely, intently focusing on Lily. He took in every precious feature of her beautiful face: the way her eyes crinkled when she smiled, the bounce of her long hair over her shoulders, the smattering of small freckles on her dainty nose and pink cheeks.

In an instant, he tore the photo in half and discarded the unimportant part, not caring where it fell. Likewise, he took the second page of the letter, which bore her love, even if it wasn't for him, and placed the two securely and ardently in his chest pocket. He shook himself from his dismal reverie, swiping his hand viciously across his face as he stood, wishing to remove all traces of his despair and regret. He knew every ounce of remorse by size, shape, and name. He didn't need further reminders in the forms of tears.

There was nothing here for him, nothing but memories, as was everything about Lily. He turned to leave, only to be knocked over in much the same manner he had three years previously in the Shrieking Shack by Potter and his friends. Severus kept his consciousness this time, however, as he made contact with the wall. He made to grab his wand, which had fallen from his grip upon hitting the wall, but two green eyes were staring him down, a wand pointed directly between his own eyes.

"Don't you dare make one move, you bloody coward," challenged the hateful voice of Harry Potter.