note: And here I was saying I'd never write HP fanfiction. Took some liberties and mashed together both the movie and the book, and all tense changes are intentional.
Snape was not a man with few faults. He hated, deep and true, and for making him that way he wanted, needed to make people pay.
"Where did the Sev I was best friends with go?" she spat, and he wanted to tell her-
Here here here I am the same man the same boy always you always always always only you.
Severus Snape wasn't a man prone to change. His heart moved slow, hard and heavy, the muscle just a useless useless lump in his rattling chest.
It was always cold in the Slytherin dormitories.
He gets the wedding invitation through muggle post. The card is heavy, expensive, and lined with vellum.
She must have sent it to him in secret, without Potter knowing. He throws it into the fire without a second glance.
The Dark Mark burned the worst for Snape when the Death Eaters were branded. The ink was putrid, and so was the magic that began to seep through his pores, looking to invade his body. It warred with this other thing, this other force lodged deep in his heart. It was hefty, it was old, and it hated the intrusion and all the dark.
His absolute loyalty to Lily Evans hated what Voldemort's Dark Mark demanded of him, it wanted anything tainted with Tom Riddle out out out and so it pushed and pushed and pushed-
The Dark Mark almost didn't take for Severus Snape, and Voldemort had had to hold onto his arm for an extraordinarily long time, red eyes boring deep into Snape's own.
Green reflected defiantly back, just for an instance.
In his mind, Lily Evans never became Lily Potter. She still smiles sweetly for him, and they still meet every summer under the willows. Lily will keep calling him Sev and her eyes, those green green green eyes remain soft.
She sent him a letter, once. Just one. It was sometime after the birth of her son, when he was getting deeper and deeper into the dark arts, steeping himself in Voldemort's lore and doing the grunt work that was expected of new Death Eaters
Just like with the wedding invitation, Snape refused to read it, but he did open the envelope (she'd used muggle post again) and reveled in the way the paper smelled of her perfume. He kept it in his breast pocket, sewn close over his heart, and took it out after every mission, creasing the pages with how many times he'd folded and refolded it.
Severus is the furthest he'd ever got, and it hurt him every time that he did not see Dear Sev written in her familiar handwriting instead.
He doesn't have nightmares anymore, because Severus Snape no longer allows himself to dream.
The half-heard prophecy sent him soaring up in Voldemort's ranks. It'd all been chance, really, that he'd chosen the Hog's Head that night, a coincidence that he'd seen Dumbledore and decided to follow, to linger and listen to the Trelawney woman babble.
The way Voldemort now favored him made Snape uneasy, even as he sought to feel pride. It would all be worth it in the end, no matter if the life of one nameless child, of a nameless and faceless family was lost. But then Voldemort opened his mouth, and in his rasping, reed-high voice said, "So it shall be Lily and James Potter," and Snape-Snape and that heavy, langorous weight in his heart that couldn't be driven away by all the dark magic in the world-
Snape nearly died inside.
"Anything," he tells Dumbledore, and he doesn't feel humiliated, or humbled or angry or bitter he just-
Just keep her...keep them...safe.
And it wasn't enough. Despite everything, despite having the protection of the only wizard Voldemort ever feared, the only one Snape had thought he could trust, Lily Evans was dead.
To Snape, he might as well have killed her with his own two hands.
He doesn't Apparate into Godric's Hollow. Instead, he walks, feet sticking in the late October mud. Severus Snape has an approximate idea of what he will find inside. He knows, theoretically, what to expect.
The modest house is ruined, half of the roof caving in, a large gaping wound. The gate is unlocked, and so is the front door. Snape takes a first, cautious, unfeeling step inside, and detachedly notes the comfortable furniture, the scattered books and the half-empty mug on the coffee table. He finds Potter's body at the bottom of the stairs, brown eyes open but unseeing, and he feels nothing. There is no pity, no remorse, no triumph.
What sleeps in his heart lies quiet.
The stairs creak when Snape takes the first step. The hall ahead is dark, occasionally lit by flashes of lightning, and the door to the nursery is open, swinging on silent hinges.
The beat of his heart slows to a crawl, and it takes seconds, it takes an entire eternity to reach the room. It is completely wrecked, three of the four walls blown wide open. Rain steadily soaks the edge of the carpet.
Snape looks at the wreckage, looks at the scattered stuffed animals and the ruined wallpaper for a very long time.
Finally, finally his eyes have nowhere to go but to the shadowy body lying on the floor, on the woman sprawled on the ground, red hair bright even in the gloom, her face hidden from him.
Sometimes loving someone-the burden of it-becomes so real that it gains a physical tangible weight. You begin to feel it pressing against the walls of your heart, year after year, day after day, until it grows to define you. The love you feel becomes who you are.
Severus Snape's mind is blank for a moment, until all of a sudden he's feeling everything, too much, all at once. Her body is on the ground, and it is quiet. it is silent and unmoving and Lily has never been silent or unmoving. Even in sleep her fingers would twitch sometimes, as if reaching for something in her dreams.
She is still face down, and he does not want to turn her over, because then this body would have a face and there would be no question of who is lying dead on the ground.
A small, gurgling cry breaks through the thunder, and his head snaps up to find the teary face of a baby staring back at him. He ignores the lightning shaped scar on the boy's forehead and instead concentrates on the baby's wide-open eyes.
Green, so green even now. Green like lying in the shade of his favorite tree in the summer, the one person he loved the most in the world talking softly by his side. Green like the color of the pyjamas she wears when she whispers "Sev, Sev, it's ok. They'll stop yelling soon."
Snape snaps out of it, unable to help his broken sobs as he slides to the ground. He crawls the last few feet forward, hands gently, reverently turning her over. Her body is cool and he nearly recoils from the touch, because cold had never been a thing he associated with Lily Evans. He gathers her up in his arms, brushing tendrils of red hair away from her face. Her eyes are closed, and she only looks like she's sleeping after all, that maybe this is a joke a dream a nightmare her skin is as soft as it ever was and if he said her name if he could just say her name she will wake up again she
has to wake up again
Lily Lily he says in hoarse stuttering breaths and his heart his mind is screaming her name just screaming it so loud that she has to wake up.
Lily Evans does not open her eyes again, and Severus Snape clutches her cold body to him like he's always wanted to do in life, and this time his wracking sobs finally make it past his throat.
Her eyes are not open, but the infant-the Potter boy's are, and they are the exact same shade of green.
Severus Snape pretends they are the dun brown color of James Potter's until the last moments of his life.
"Look...at...me..." he whispered.
It is dark, and through the haze, through the pain, Snape thinks he can see the smile in her eyes one more time.
a/n: And this is why I usually have a policy of "if the original did it better, don't write fanfiction for it". Blame Alan Rickman and his terrifically perfect acting. I didn't cry at all reading through Snape's chapter in the book, but there I was, bawling my eyes (silently, thank god, or else how embarrassing would that have been) out in the theater.
Second to last line (along with the one about keeping the Potters safe) is lifted directly from the book, which I own a copy of but definitely did not write.