Hey guys! I'm back again. This one was written for the Ready...Set...Write! challenge down at HPFC. The category I asked for was Slytherin, and I got Severus Snape. Written in about a day, I think. I'm not sure. I wrote a little, went to bed, got up, went to school, ran some personal errands, came back, showered,ate dinner, etc. and just got this finished. Anyway, this is 948 words (if you're curious). So yeah, I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

His eyes swept over his classroom. Black met with green, and, not for the first time, he felt a stab of something in his chest.

"Potter," he snapped, "what is the charm you would use if you found yourself face to face with inferius?"

The Potter boy only stared at him, before giving him a shrug and quipped, "I don't know, sir."

"Pitiful," Severus Snape drawled.

The thing was, he couldn't tell who was the pitiful one –the Potter boy, or him?

He gave the class a short lecture on the usages of fire, and then set them to work with various spells that produced flames. He swooped in and out of the groups of students like a hawk, before eventually –having taken enough points from Gryffindor for one lesson –returning to his desk, from which he silently watched on.

His eyes roamed about once more, and once more they came to rest on the Potter boy. Their eyes locked for a brief moment before the Potter boy looked away.

Severus Snape hated seeing those eyes where they were –on the boy who had James Potter's hair and nose and everything else. Everything else, but the eyes. For whether he liked it or not, Harry Potter had Lily Evan's eyes. And even though he'd assumed it as his duty to protect the boy, it hurt to look into those eyes. They were a reminder of her –of Lily. They were a reminder of everything that could have been. Of what could have been.

They were also a reminder of what he could not protect.

Things could have been different –yes, Severus Snape knew that things could have gone very differently indeed. Many times, he found himself wondering what might have happened had he not made that error that day. Calling her a mudblood proved to be the fatal mistake in their relationship. He thought he'd have the next two years after that to make up for what he'd said.

He was dead wrong. Somewhere in the first year, Lily Evans, his childhood friend, had stopped hating James Potter. And in the second, she'd started dating him. Just like that. It happened so quickly he didn't even have the time to process it. And every time he managed to get enough guts about him to talk to Lily again, James was always there. Back then, James being there was enough to deter him from approaching her.

Now, though, he wouldn't have let anyone stop him.

Now, though, it was too late.

And every time the black of his eyes met the green of Harry James Potter's, he was reminded of that. He was reminded of the fact that he was too much of a coward –too much of a Slytherin –to fight for the love of his life.

And really, what was his life without her? Even as they lived on in growing conflict –even as war surely approached –to Severus Snape, nothing mattered, because he'd already lost the most important battle of all.

The battle for Lily Evans' heart.

One year later:

The man lying down on the wooden floor was not a fool.

Severus Snape knew that the snake's bite was fatal. He wouldn't last more than a few minutes longer.

And then who should run into the room but the Boy-Who-Lived himself, followed by the know-it-all Granger?

Armed with the knowledge that he wouldn't survive to see the next sunrise, Severus Snape drew out his memories, and gave them to the son of his worst enemy.

The son of the one who still held his heart, even in death.

He had nothing to lose, now. There was so much that the boy needed to know –so much that Severus Snape should have told him personally. But he couldn't. He didn't have the time to. In getting bitten, he realized, he had failed Lily Evans again.

For how could he protect her son if he was dead?

But her son was to die, he realized. And though he loathed to admit it, his sworn enemy's son was capable of taking care of himself –in most situations. And where he couldn't, Harry James Potter was privileged enough that he had friends who'd pick up his slack until it was time for him to go.

Not long now.

It became harder to breathe, and Severus Snape knew he was going soon. Maybe a minute. People rarely survived Nagini's attacks. He doubted that he'd be one of the lucky ones.

And the thing was, he didn't mind, really. What did he have to stay for? The past seventeen years, he'd mourned the loss of one Lily Evans, while working to keep her son alive.

Seventeen years.

Seventeen years was a long time.

And Severus Snape had spent six of them looking into Harry James Potter's eyes, being reminded of the girl he didn't fight hard enough for. Reminded of the girl he failed to protect.

There would not be an eighteenth year.

"Look… at… me…" he croaked out. He couldn't help it; he craved some part of Lily Evans to be with him as he welcomed death.

Black met green for one last time, and Severus Snape felt no pain in his chest. Just an overwhelming sense of peace, and thoughts of Lily and him as children.

He'd always known, but in that moment, he affirmed it to himself. His words had been absolutely true. He'd loved her. All this time.

When the darkness came, a split second later, Severus Snape didn't fight it.

He welcomed it with open arms, knowing that he'd lived his life loving someone he could never have had.

And he didn't regret a thing.