The street is quiet, silence blanketing even the whisper of the trees. The house is still. It looks exactly as it always has, down to the leaves littering the gated lawn. It is so picturesque that for a fleeting moment, Severus almost believes that nothing has happened, that he will walk in to see the Potters alive and well.

But he touches the gate and the aura of Death is so thick, Severus knows it is a fool's hope to believe that anyone has been left alive. The gate swings open silently, and Severus' feet make little noise on the walkway. It may have taken an aeon or a second to travel from the gate to the front door; either would be too long and too short for Severus. He pushes the unlocked door open and is greeted by silence.

His old rival lies dead in the next room, features transfixed in the familiar expression that all victims of the Dark curse wear. His round glasses sit perfectly straight on his face, and Severus half expects James to jump up at any moment and laugh; there is only silence as Severus ascends the stairs.

The walls on either side of him are clean and white, hung with family portraits and photographs, most of them unmoving. The door at the top of the stairs is shut tight; this is not the room he is looking for. He turns and sees the door of the nursery hanging halfway open. The silence is deafening as Severus approaches the room.

Her face is stoic, serene; her eyes are colder than he has ever seen them, colder even than that night just a few years before, when she rejected him for the last time. He sinks to his knees. Here is the proof, sprawled on the floor. He breaks; the wall is his only support as the full force of her death washes over him.

He crawls to her, lifts her into his arms and cradles her head against his chest, holding her in her death as he never held her in life.