A/N: I'm listening to the song Missing and thinking that Severus definitely spends his weekends being a brooding ball o' emo listening to Evanescence for hours on end. Only in my head it's cute, as opposed to being really annoying. Also, I commandeered a new line break.
Severus receives a mysterious package and winds up sobbing into a pensieve.
Gratuitous ignoring of canon. One-shot. Complete. Sily.
Severus sat for a considerable amount of time staring at the package. It was unusual for him to receive any kind of package at Spinner's End, but this one was clearly magical.
There was no return address. It was marked clearly for Severus in large, block letters. He didn't recognize the handwriting.
Though most of the Death Eaters had been caught - largely thanks to Severus' revelations to Dumbledore about who, precisely, needed to be apprehended - no one but the Dark Lord himself would ever know all of his followers. There were probably still people in hiding. It was possible that someone knew that he had defected. It was possible that whatever this package contained...
...was making him absolutely paranoid.
Deciding to suck it up and open the damn thing already, Severus brought the package over to the chair and sat down, cautiously laying it in his lap. He peeled off the wrapping and slowly opened the box. Nothing happened. He peered inside.
There, sitting calmly in the center, was a vial. It was filled with a semi-fluid, strangely silver, moving, swirling...
Severus examined the box, but there was no note. Carefully, he picked up the vial. He had kept a pensieve hidden in his home for some time now, and he finally felt like he could put it to use.
"Leave him ALONE!"
Severus recoiled in horror.
"All right, Evans?"
"Leave him alone. What's he done to you?"
Panic set in. This was his memory, this was the worst memory he had ever lived with until the night he found out that she...
"Well, it's more the fact that he exists, if you know what I mean."
Severus didn't think that his hatred for the man would ever subside. Though he was only a boy in this memory, Severus wanted nothing more than to hex him.
"You think you're funny."
Severus found his only solace in this moment. The way she said it... Lily did not think that Potter was funny. Had things been differently - had he not been sorted into Slytherin, had he not joined the Death Eaters, had he chosen a different path - she may have chosen him over Potter.
"But you're just an arrogant, bullying toerag, Potter."
She knew. She knew what he was, and yet she chose to date him, to kiss him, to marry him, to have his children; at some point in time she had to have...
"Leave him alone."
Those three words were the most beautiful he had ever heard.
"I will if you go out with me, Evans. Go on... go out with me and I'll never lay a wand on old Snivelly again."
Severus looked around furiously, but it was in vain. The pensieve always showed memories from the third person. Even if someone hadn't stolen this from him, there were still people who could have it on their own.
And here it came, the moment that gave him hope above all else before he crushed it, crushed it in his own hands, cursed it with his own words -
"I wouldn't go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid."
Severus and Lily were thirteen years old.
It was summer, and they were both sitting on the riverbank by Spinner's End. The river itself was always slightly gross, but there were plenty of trees nearby so he and Lily would go there to sit in the shade and talk about magic.
This memory, however, was different.
Lily had heard things in the girl's dormitory, things about older students and what they did when they snuck off to broom cupboards and empty classrooms. Mostly they just disgusted her, but she was particularly curious about some things. Turning to Severus was the only obvious choice. Sure, she could have cornered an innocent Hufflepuff, but that would have been stupid. And truth be told, she was more than a little intimidated. In the event that something went horribly, horribly wrong, she wanted to be with someone that she knew was going to be safe.
She knew that Severus was just the boy for the job.
Tuney had made fun of her for the past year, going on and on about how "that Snape boy" was in love with her. Lily just laughed, or glared, or denied it, but deep down she secretly thought that maybe, just maybe, her sister was right.
"So I was thinking," Lily was saying.
Severus remembered that day. He thought he would explode.
"Since you're my best friend, maybe..." Lily was overcome with shyness. He wondered now if it was real.
"Maybe I could try it out with you?"
So furious was his blushing that he didn't see the red tint her cheeks when it happened to him all those years ago. She was also embarrassed.
"Lily..." he whispered. It didn't matter. She couldn't hear him.
Thirteen year old Severus was bright red, muttering, stuttering, choking out his approval.
"Er... yes, I - I suppose, if - I mean, it's only natural that - well, if you want - and it's just curiosity -"
Fear and hope battled in Severus' heart.
"Yes. You can... try it out with me."
They stared at the ground in between them for a few moments.
"Well?" Lily asked.
"Are you going to kiss me?"
Severus watched as the thirteen year old version of himself turned even redder. He was fond of this memory, fond of watching himself lean in awkardly, of the two of them merely smooshing their faces together. Many nights, he thought that if only she had given him another chance, he would have done it better...
Finally, he understood. As he stood with them, a ghost in the hall, he watched the love of his life kiss her future husband and he knew that the memories were Lily's.
He wanted to turn away, but Lily had sent him these memories shortly before she died - probably without her husband knowing. She had wanted him to see and in his self-loathing, Severus wanted to be punished. He wanted to hate himself, he wanted to see how she was happier without him. But when James smiled at her and walked away, all his saw were the tears slipping down her face.
"I don't need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her!"
He was unsure if it was the sob that escaped his throat or the pain in her eyes that tore through him.
"Does it make a difference, being Muggle-born?"
Seventh year. Regulus was howling obscenities after her. Severus stood silently in the corner, no longer able to stand up to her. She could not forgive him, and he could not face her. His so-called friends seemed to chant as she hurried away, Mudblood, Mudblood, Mudblood...
The memories were cycling faster now, and Severus was only getting snippets of conversations, only the really important things.
He watched as his eyes slid over her hair, her face, her body, back up to those beautiful green eyes. She was terrified, terrified that being born to Muggles had somehow diluted her, somehow made her less magical, less special -
"Save your breath. I only came out because Mary told me you were threatening to sleep here."
"I thought we were suppose to be friends? Best friends?"
"We are, Sev..."
"You're... you're a witch."
"That's not a very nice thing to say to somebody!"
"...filthy little mudbloods like her..."
"Does it make a difference, being Muggle-born?"
"No. It doesn't make any difference."
She was at Hogwarts. Severus saw the little gold band wrapped around her finger. It was the end of their final year. She was already engaged to James. It was too late for him.
Looking around, he saw that they were in a room that he did not recognize. Lily was closing the door quietly, careful to lock it behind her. She cast a silencing charm against the door and moved toward the back of the room. Severus followed her, noticing for the first time the mirror.
It was tall, decorated by an ornate gold frame. There was writing in a language Severus didn't recognize, and it stood rather still in the middle of the room. Though it was obviously magical, it didn't seem to radiate it the way most of Hogwarts did. For all he knew, it was entirely ordinary.
But, of course, Lily knew better.
Severus watched her as she walked up to it. He moved behind her to see her reflection properly. When he looked into the mirror, he gasped.
Of course, in real life, he would not have been able to see what Lily had seen in the Mirror of Erised, but this was not real life. This was a memory, Lily's memory, and Lily saw him.
She was standing in the mirror. Behind her, Severus stood. The Severus in the memory and the one in the mirror were almost in the exact same position, standing behind Lily but slightly to the side. He watched as the Severus in the mirror moved to snake his arms around Lily's waist and Severus did the same. She couldn't feel him, of course. She was gone.
He watched in awe as the Severus in the mirror leaned forward to rest his chin on Lily's shoulder. He did the same. Lily leaned her head into the empty space. In the mirror, she was touching Severus. In the memory, she was touching a ghost from another time, someone she could never know to exist.
Severus looked into the mirror again. He wasn't just with Lily - he was smiling. He was happily with Lily. He watched as she sighed, a single tear spilling down her face. In the mirror, as in real life, he turned his head sideways to kiss it away. Only one of him succeeded. In the mirror, Lily smiled, and he rubbed one of his hands across her stomach.
Lily wanted him instead of James. Even now, even after his betrayal, even after everything he put her through, she was in agony over losing him. It had hurt her as much as it had hurt him to destroy what they had. She wanted to be married to him, she wanted to have children with him, she wanted to be in love with him.
"Lily..." he whispered into her ear.
She couldn't hear him.
In the mirror, he was doing the exact same thing.
"I love you."
The memory began to fade.
"I love you."
Over and over, Severus confessed the love he had never shared with anyone. In spite of her marriage, and her love for James - and he did not doubt that some part of her did love him - Lily had wanted him to see this. He did not believe that she would have ever seen him again. He had made his mistakes a thousand times over by the time she had sent him her memories. He no longer deserved to be forgiven.
She was almost gone now. He could feel the tug of reality trying to take him back.
"I love you."
That was what she was trying to tell him, he was sure. In spite of everything, even though he had killed her, she loved him...
On his knees, the tile was hard and cold and lifeless. His house was empty. His home had walked away from him that day on the school grounds, walked away when he had cursed her forever. Severus sobbed his anguish into the pensieve.
"I love you."
A/N: Aaaaaw. Sadness.
Author alerts will let you know every single time I go crazy with the Sily fluff! As I am wont to do.