All right, so I borrowed what is probably Snape's most famous line. And that, of course, does not belong to me. Nothing really does, in this fic, if you think about it. Thank Ms. J.K. Rowling.

There was darkness. Minerva sat in her room, head bowed and fingers curved over the delicate sapphire necklace that Albus had given her just yesterday. In her head, she replayed his last words to her.

"Do you have to go, Albus?"

"Yes, darling, I'm so sorry. Look, it doesn't matter how far I go . . . I'll be right here with you, carrying your love in my heart."

"Hold me, Albus. Never let me go."

Albus had dropped his hands from her face and crushed her slender body against his. Her eyes shut and her lips sought his hungrily. His mouth came down, warm and sweet and lingering. It would be their last kiss.

Too soon, Albus released her. In his eyes was a lifetime of pain, of a reflection of the pain that Minerva was feeling in her heart. He touched the tip of her nose with his finger and attempted to smile at her.

"Look, sweetheart. I have something for you. I always meant to give it to you." Albus brought from underneath his robes a delicate necklace with sapphires threaded through with a silver-wrought chain. Minerva took it, speechless.

"Albus! It—It's beautiful!"

"It's a little something for a very special lady on a very, very special day. H—Happy Anniversary."

"Will you put it on me?" Minerva swept her hair up as Albus' gentle fingers secured the clasp. The pale blue stones glittered against her pale skin. He looked at her with a heartbreaking sadness.

"I'll always remember you the way you look now. You look beautiful."

"Thank you, Albus." Minerva's eyes filled with the tears that she had struggled so valiantly to keep at bay.

Albus very gently kissed the single teardrop edging her eyelashes.

"The people who love us never truly leave us, Minerva. Always remember that. I love you."

"Minerva. Why are you sitting here like this?"

"Even if I wanted to, I wouldn't tell you, Severus."

"Why?" Severus hissed, black eyes darkening with rage.

"Because you wouldn't understand!"

"Oh, I understand you, Minerva McGonagall. I understand how you're feeling. I know what's going on in your mind. You miss Dumbledore, don't you?"

Minerva's heart wrenched in pain. "Don't say Albus' name!" She gasped, realizing what she had said. Her face rose from the shadows and her eyes hardened as they found the man standing in front of her. "What do you want?" She asked wearily, putting her necklace back in the white box. She stood up and walked closer to Severus, who watched her with an unfathomable expression on his face.

"I want you," Severus said simply. "It's time to put our pasts behind us, Minerva. You cannot resurrect the dead. You know what Dumbledore would say: 'Do not pity the dead. Pity the living, and more so, pity those who do not love.' Are you afraid to love again, Minerva?"

Minerva's mouth thinned into an angry line. She rounded on Snape, who looked almost bored.

"It's you who should learn to love again. Lily Evans is dead now…"

Severus' face contorted.

"DON'T! Gone . . . dead . . . I thought your . . . your precious Albus would keep her safe! He promised me…

The reason why I even resumed my will to live after Lily died was because of you. Never mind what Dumbledore told you about all that bullshit with Potter and his son . . . you're the only woman who's ever had eyes close to the color of Lily's. Bright, beautiful green. I'd look into your eyes and it would be as though Lily was looking at me. I took the position of Dumbledore's man so that I'd always stay close to you. Yes, I promised Dumbledore I'd protect Harry Potter, but more than anything I wanted to protect you."

"Protect me?" Minerva looked at him incredulously. "What do you mean?"

"I saw the way you looked at Dumbledore; the way your eyes sparkled like emeralds, I knew you were in love with the man. Every time you looked at him, I wanted to shout at you that it would be dangerous to love such a powerful wizard. But I never did. Why? Because I was entranced by the sparkle of your eyes. I saw Lily in your eyes: the young Lily who, I had dared to hope, loved me for who I truly was.

Minerva was silent during this whole time. Tears had streaked from her eyes down her cheeks; she took a deep breath and placed her hands on both sides of Severus' flushed face. Bright green eyes met inky black ones. It was the first time Minerva saw Severus actually crying; tears dripped off his hooked nose and gave his eyes a glossy, sable look.

"I love you, Minerva," Severus spoke brokenly, beseechingly.

"You . . . love me?" Minerva breathed out, unsure of if she heard correctly.

"Always."