Oh hell...

Thoughts filtered through the brilliantly aching mind of Severus Snape ... what now?

Quickly his hands moved to his neck, ah, no pain, no holes, no blood, so far so good.

So I am dead. Yes, at last...

The Potions Master sighed as golden waves of sweet relief rippled through, his body and mind relaxed for the first time in what must have been years. He ached. His bones ached, his hair ached. It wasn't as if he'd exactly been longing to die, it was just that he was simply bored of living and it being the only practical alternative he was ready and willing to give death a try.

Of course in life there had been no shortage of engaging challenges to keep him fully occupied. Being a former Death Eater, a Potions Master, a double agent spy between a dissembling manipulative ego maniac and an utter psycho - respective titles on occasion alarmingly interchangeable- and the secret sworn guardian of an irksome boy whom he would rather have dealt with in Death Eater mode, he had after all led an eventful life.

Never a dull moment, the only drawback to this being that for this particular Wizard almost every significant moment had been at best stabbingly painful or at worst a grinding sodding nightmare.

It was the monotony of the quality of experience- misery- that he was well and truly weary of. If emotions were an ass his was well and truly kicked.

Death... Severus thought fondly... nice bit of quiet.

Its over

Silver waves, ruby waves of relief. Warmly and gently his sinews cracked, tendons stretched, muscles softened.

He did not recognise the feeling in his body, it was like he imagined a strong stress relief potion would feel, if in life he could have taken one he would, but his mind had needed clarity at all times, hyper-vigilant, focused and crystal clear, all day, every day for years.

He had ventured a winsome yet speedily averted thought towards a sleeping potion after that downright God awful episode when the headmaster had informed him...not asked, informed ...that he, lucky Severus was to have the honour of murdering him -impeccable Albus- hopefully in the most public place possible, so as to quash any doubts about the identity of his killer.

Severus Snape knew he would have got the blame even if he was five hundred miles away in a different time zone and able to supply Veritaserum plied witnesses...ah well.

He stretched.

It is all over

Shifting slightly, he felt his back propped up against what strangely felt like some kind of pole. He was at least no longer sprawled on the floor of that filthy shack,

'I knew that bloody place would be the death of me one day' he murmured, mildly surprised at the tenor of his voice which sounded somewhat, younger.

Too tired to investigate further Severus rested back and felt warm rays of sunshine dapple his dungeon paled skin, golden light seeped pinkly through closed eyelids... I wonder, is it possible to get sun burnt in the afterlife?...

At that strange thought a bizarre image formed in his mind of a long stemmed frosted glass containing a lurid blue liquid. Momentarily confused he quickly remembered Albus cheerfully handing such things out at one of his ''Muggle style' staff office beach parties'. They had been dreadful events he had been obliged to attend.

The Potions Master had point blank refused the drink not wishing to be seen dead holding such a ridiculous affair. But he was dead now and there was no one around to see and Severus did rather fancy one. The glass floated, trickling condensation ran down the sides, sugar crystals glinted seductively about the rim. The cherries on vicious little sticks were rather nice but, he frowned, the imbecilic umbrella would have to go.

Maybe if I focus hard enough I'll get one, he wondered, after all this is my party... thankfully with no guests...

In his ear a voice whispered, 'Severus.'

Severus yelped as his eyes flew wide at the familiar voice, '...Shit!' He screeched as he met the emerald green gaze that had haunted him for years. Feet furiously back peddling him upright he grasped the metal pole as his knees buckled.

'What the fuckare you doing here?' Snape spat, pointing horror struck at...her.

Lily Evans looked shocked, then coughed and frantically swiping away the gritty cloud his boots had kicked in her face managed to splutter,

'Cheers Severus, charming as ever, I've been waiting for you since I got blasted by your mate the Snakey Git, and all you can do is swear at me. Nice one. '

Oh hells tolling bells how long a woman will wait to get her revenge obviously surpasses even my liberal estimation...

Hauling herself up Lily began to dust off her dress. She looked at him appraisingly,

'Wow that was some swift move you made for someone who's just carked it' she hacked.

'Thanks, but what did you expect!' hissed the panicked man,... what indeed did I expect, a life fated where everything I touched turned to ordure, did I really expect it to end even after my death... ? But still he did feel a little put out.

'Well, I'll sadly admit it is not quite the greeting I had hoped for' murmured Lily, looking decidedly affronted, 'I take it you're not pleased to see me?'

A severe understatement...

And anyway where was he? Familiar... broken swings, a battered roundabout... oh great... he surveyed the playground of his childhood with a grimace, he sniffed.

It still reeked of dog wee.

'Severus Snape, are you going to pull yourself together or shall I just go and leave you to self absorbed pity, so unlike you, of course'

Oh –fuck- off...His world weary eyes said it all but still a part of him flinched, no he did not want her to go...she may not come back...he just did not need what he knew must be coming.

A touch of humour played about her mouth as Lily pondered the black clad wizard standing glaring at her. With the tell tale peeking white collar and cuffs this was after all Severus Snape, brilliant proud and powerful, predictably unpredictable, guarded armoured and dangerous as a Horntail, heart soft as a peach and easily bruised. She knew this man. Anyways he'd only just died and exceptionally nastily at that. Softly,

'We need to talk.'

Oh no...the very words that could strike terror into the bravest and most foolhardy alike. In his experience they had usually been followed up with words such as 'I need you to murder me' or even 'Now Severus about your hair.' The horror. He coiled, ready to run at any moment.

However much he felt he deserved it, was this not just a little ...off?

He knew very well that life was not fair, but that the after life was to prove equally so had never occurred to him. It was disappointing. Could not the ensuing wrath of a red haired banshee have been postponed for one moment while I enjoyed my death? Just one damn moment of peace and quiet? But oh no, lets get straight to it, no escape for Sevvy, it was going to be Severus you did this, Severus you did that, yak bloody yak, bad Severus, you bad man , until... the... end... of... time...

Lily, her head tilted to one side stood in wonder and watched the grown man silently mimicking a telling off, some things never change. Mouth sneering, head wobbling, just as he had when they were young and he relayed to her the latest torrent of nastiness spewed forth by his father, and on occasions his mother. She shuddered at their memory. Gently,

'Severus,'

Warily eyeing the woman before him Severus stopped muttering. There was nothing for it but to get it over with, quickly. Sighing miserable resignation he drew himself up to assume a more dignified posture. He let go of the pole and shooting it a venomous look of distaste wiped his hands before folding them neatly at his waist. His eyes slid from side to side, marking his escape routes,

Control your emotions, discipline your mind...damn... He blanched at the memory of the last time he'd used those words and the nauseating humiliation that ensued, he growled inwardly,

The little bastard....I'd still like to...

'Sev!'

Severus snapped his attention back and composing himself once more faced the woman who was without doubt about to give him hell.

Here we go... But ah the sweet irony..., his mind drifted.

Not minutes ago on the misinformed order of a jumped up wazzak he'd been attacked by a monstrous snake and then to cap it off that featherweight brained little sod Potter and his cavalry of chaos Weasley and Granger had witnessed his dribbling death throes. It was indeed hard to be such a picky stickler for appearances. Still he'd finished the job.

Wow was that one rubbish death,

At least he hadn't wet himself,

Whilst I was alive...oh God was it possible that I... These things did happen, he'd seen it himself. He groaned out loud.

'Severus!'

Swiftly crushing the thought of posthumous humiliation he refocused on Lily, this was going to be worse than any snake, his shoulders swayed minutely. Ok lets get this over with...be polite,

Snape focused on a spot of thin air, his eyebrow rising fractionally,

'You will pray excuse my apparent lack of appreciation for this, ah, unexpected pleasure, but it seems I cannot escape a bollocking even after getting my throat ripped out. However as they say, I'm all ears'. He had at least tried. He snapped his gaze straight on her. Severus glared daringly.

Lily Evans looked at the tall gaunt, tired man standing before her. Those black eyes, angry solemn and dignified. Severus.

Severus Snape looked at her, watching as her green eyes were both smiling and deadly serious, a singular feat he remembered only she could pull off, damn it, Lily.

They stood for a long while simply looking at each other. Neither one moved.

Time stilled.

The dust settled.

Lily Evans held his eyes. Quietly and slowly she said,

'Severus Snape you beautiful, beautiful man, I know what you're expecting me to say, but you are quite wrong, I am not angry with you'

.