A.N. - This is an EXTREMELY depressing story, but it has a somewhat light moment at the end. I swear it's worth it…please read it! For the proper mood, listen to Twilight and Shadow by Howard Shore. It's from the LOTR: Return of the King soundtrack. It really sets the mood for the story. Please enjoy!
Black, White, and Red All Over
They had waited until today.
Hermione knelt on the ground with his blood across the white silk and lace of her dress. His head was in her lap, and she ran her hand through his blood soaked hair. No, no…he could not die, not like this. He was supposed die withered and old, not young and in the prime of his life. She had just watched him get cut down by three Death Eaters, three different curses at once hitting his body and causing him to fall at her feet. This was not how this day was supposed to go. He was not supposed to be dying in her arms. She was supposed to be in his arms, dancing the evening away. Making love.
It seemed the universe had a messed up sense of humor. Either that, or it was trying to tell her that their union was not meant to be. But how could it not be? They fit so well together, in almost every aspect of who they were. He was the quiet one, she the outgoing one. They both craved verbal stimulation, and could throw verbal insults at each other for hours without running out of steam. His walls were made of steel, hers of wood.
She rocked him back and forth in her lap, ignorant of the fact that his blood now permanently stained her dress. She felt a hand on her shoulder and she quickly lashed out with a wandless spell, hearing the person hit the ground behind her. There was a groan, and she realized that she recognized the tone. It was Remus Lupin.
She heard him walk back towards her and was vaguely aware of the fact that he was saying her name, trying to get her to let Severus go, but she remained resolute and did not let go of her now dead husband.
The word ricocheted in her mind for a few moments. Husband.
They had only been married for a minute, and he was now dead. She ran a surprisingly steady hand across his jaw line, desperately wishing to see him take another breath. Her fingers slid down to his unmoving mouth, caressing his lips, the blood-red stain moving from her hands to his skin.
No…it wasn't fair.
She now felt the tears running down her cheeks, and she lifted her hand, brushing the back of it across her face and then dropping it back down to his unmoving body. It was almost symbolic, the way that her tears mixed with his blood. He was wearing black, and her dress was white…the red seemed as though it was trying to add the color that was missing. A color that, to her, was completely unnecessary, but seemed to encapsulate the meaning of their lives.
Death. Hatred. Anger. All of these had destroyed both of their lives for the longest time, but now they'd had the chance to change it all. The chance to change it to better things: Life. Love. Passion.
They had found each other in the pain and the suffering; they had found a common ground. Both of them had made extreme sacrifices. He had given up practically his whole life, and she'd had to let go of the only to people in her life who truly loved her. She'd sent them away to Australia, and they were never coming back, leaving her almost completely alone in the world.
She continued to run her fingers across his face, unwilling to break her connection with him, however tenuous it was.
She felt Remus gently place his hand on her shoulder once more, almost with hesitation, and she barely leaned into it. An unspoken apology for the way she had reacted earlier to his actions. His voice was low as he spoke, but steady.
"Hermione…I know that-that…that he loved you. I would have never thought he would get married, let alone let anyone in. But he let you in…" His voice drifted slightly, but then his hand tightened on her shoulder as he found his resolve once more. "I've never seen a man so…so utterly enamored of a woman. Believe me when I say that it was quite a singular sight to behold. Of course, at first, it was hard to accept, but then I saw how happy you made him…"
Her tears, which had somewhat dried by that point, suddenly began again at Remus' words. He was already using the past tense, and it hit her with all the subtlety of a freight train derailing. Severus wasn't simply gone…he was dead. It seemed that she had somehow managed to convince herself that if she stayed with him long enough that he would simply wake up…but he wasn't going to.
She let her head fall forward to her chest and she let the tears flow even faster than before.
How was she going to live without him?
She wasn't even sure that it was possible. Something inside of her seemed to snap out of place and she had a sinking feeling that it would never be put right again. She dropped her head, lifting his body so that her lips could rest on his forehead.
"Don't leave me…"
She was given no response and it felt as though her heart had broken just a little bit more.
She tightened her hold, not willing to let go, but Remus pulled at her shoulder, trying to urge her to leave, knowing that the Death Eaters could reappear at any moment. She pulled out of his grip, unwilling to let go of her dead lover.
Suddenly, she heard yelling. Remus was suddenly screaming her name, but it seemed as though it came from a great distance. She felt something sear through her, straight through her spine and throughout the rest of her body. Then…nothing. She was floating, away from her husband, and she cried out, reaching for him, but she was still floating…fading.
Then she heard it. Someone was calling for her.
That voice…it was familiar. She turned, trying to see who it was...but there was nothing but bright whiteness.
Then it began to clear. She faintly saw green shores, and someone was standing there. It was a man, and he seemed so familiar. Then she realized that he was the one that was calling her name. It was faint, but she could feel it in her bones.
Soon she was at his side and he was reaching a hand towards her. As she took it in her own, she saw the ring on his finger. Wait…that was…
Hermione looked up and she felt her heart overwhelm with emotion.
He nodded, and then reached down, sliding his fingers along her jaw, and she leaned into his hand, relishing his touch, not sure if she was dreaming.
He leaned in, letting his breath brush against her lips and she found herself almost sobbing with relief as his lips finally touched her own. He deepened the kiss, sliding the hand into her hair, angling her head, letting his tongue slide between her lips.
She returned the kiss as much as she could and then slowly pulled away, letting her hands rest on his chest, one of them sliding up towards his face.
"Severus…it's really you."
He nodded. "Yes, it's really me."
She let her fingers run along his jaw, trying to reassure herself that he was really there. He skin was warm and soft, and she marveled at the fact that he was standing in front of her, alive. It was a miracle, and she had no idea as to how it had happened, but she was grateful it did.
She shook her head in wonder. "How-?"
He cut her off with a finger to her lips. "Don't ask."
Hermione looked at her husband in shock. "But you're alive! Remus needs to know…" Her voice faded as she saw the look in his eyes.
Severus regarded her with a solemn look, and then let his hand cover her own where it rested on his cheek. "No, luv…I'm not alive." He paused for a significant moment, and watched as she tried to process the information that he'd just given her.
"But that means…"
He nodded. "Yes, luv."
With that realization, she wrapped her arms around his waist, and he returned the gesture. At least, she thought to herself, We're together. And that's all that matters…