The cavernous room was cold. Everywhere there were dark, wooden bookshelves filled with ancient novels telling tales of something more than magic. It was dark, so dark that everything had blended into a single blackness. Madam Pince was shuffling about; her eyes winced as she tried to make out the last few inscriptions on the wall, but it was no use. She had exhausted her magic earlier that day, and did not have the strength to try anything more.
In the night her skin appeared dark, when in actuality it was pale. Her dark hair had been let loose and there was a hat atop her head. Whenever she walked, her Victorian-styled, puce dress would make a ruffling sound. Of course, she always had a book in hand, as well as a pinched look on her face.
"Up late, are we?" a distinct, low, silken voice sneered.
"Yes, Severus, and for a good reason. Look!" She pointed to the wall, where a red, runic phrase had been painted across the wall. "The wall of my library—graffitied, defaced! Always playing tricks on me…Those students think they can get away with much more, if they trick the librarian."
"Go to bed, I'll take care of this." Before she could reply, he added, "Be thankful that none of your books were harmed in the process of their misbehavior." Soulless black eyes met soft brown, for a second she challenged him with her stare, but she could not compete. She made her way to the door, huffing the entire time.
With a flick of his wand, the runes were deciphered; inscribed was a vulgar message. He scribbled it down onto a piece of parchment, before erasing the message with a spell. He walked away quickly, his black cape billowing behind him. He opened the large oaken door; for a second there was a light in the library.
His black shoes were against the grey, cobbled floor. Each step of his was silent, but meaningful. His hooked nose was held up as he walked, and his lips tightly pressed together in an acerbic sneer. It was nearing midnight, and he knew that the morning would bring him to rise early, yet again.
Red flames were burning brightly on the torches in the hall. For a moment he stopped walking; a pain was inside his chest, heaving more and more. He pressed his long fingered, pale hand against the stone wall. He closed his eyes for the one moment, an image in his head—a beautiful woman with auburn hair, a look of lust, love, passion, all on her impeccable face. If she had been in front of him, he would have reached out for her, but sadly she was only a figment of his imagination.
"I want Lily, I need Lily, please," he thought as he walked, step upon agonizing step. Instead of going down the floors to his dungeon bedroom, he walked up the steps, completely without a mindset. At the sixth floor, he almost turned back, but nearly instantly he took that thought out of his head and walked straight ahead.
On the seventh floor lied a tapestry hanging on the wall. Barnabas the Barmy was failing in an attempt to teach trolls ballet. Though humorous, Severus had hated it more than any other tapestry in the castle. He knew very well what he was doing when he walked passed the tapestry, thinking a single thought, "I need Lily, just for a moment." Three times, he walked passed it. In the opposite direction of the tapestry he went. There was a door made of aging mahogany, with a nearly black steel handle.
The room had known what he had meant, for the room had already known him for over a decade. During his first year of Hogwarts, he had discovered the Room of Requirement, and of course, he had never forgotten it. Tentatively, he grabbed the door's handle and twisted it, slowly opening the door. He edged into it, looking around him, hoping with all of himself that no one had seen him enter.
The Room of Requirement had held many of his memories, and most of them were pleasant. It could grant his every wish and give him his every want, his every need. He had discovered the room alone, but soon he had shared his discovery with Lily. It was the single place in the castle where they were not bothered, where they could have an inter-house relationship without anyone making their personal affairs part of their business.
It was in the Room of Requirement that he had experienced the best day of his entire life. He remembered the day well…
It was Valentine's day—fifth year. Heart shape cards carried by owls were up and about the castle. It was a day where hearts became swollen with love, and others shattered because of loneliness. Severus had not expected anything from anyone, and just as he thought, he had gotten no card via owl. Love potions were given to so many girls that he had to stay away from them for the entire day. Eventually, he couldn't take the romance anymore and ran out of his first hiding spot with indignation boiling within him.
He somehow had ended up on the seventh floor. He knew no one would bother him in a certain room, and so he went to the tapestry he had so reviled. Lily met him there, and waved to him. Dreamily, she walked to him.
"Have you been given any dose of love potion?"
"None at all," she replied.
"Come along then—that is if you want to get away from that all," he said, assuming that she understood what he had meant by "that all".
Inside the room it was cold, despite the fact that there was a large hearth at the northern wall. Lily was first to sit down on the white, carpeted floor. She patted the soft ground next to her and Severus sat down.
She soon wrapped her arms around him, shivering from the cold. "You're warm," she breathed in her slightly lower than average, melodic voice. She breathed him scent in deeply. Severus had wondered what she had been thinking. Carefully, he edged into her mind…
"Bergamot…blackberries…Severus…he smells so…amazing," is what she had been thinking. He immediately exited her mind, overwhelmed by what he had just witnessed.
"Sev," she whispered. "Sev," she repeated, several times.
"Yes Lily?" he asked in a daze.
She ruffled with something in her pocket before taking out a green envelope. "I know you don't like red, so I thought that this would suit you better."
Looking at it, he smiled slightly, a blush threatening to spread on his cheeks. "What—um—what is this?" He took the envelope into his hands.
"You know what day it is…I thought that-well maybe I was wrong. Just give it back!" She leaned to grab it out of his hand, but failed miserably. She ended up on top of him, both squirming in an amusing manner.
"I'll read it then give it back to you."
When he opened it, his eyes nearly jumped out of his skull. Soft cursive written in black ink was exquisitely written across white paper.
We've known each other for so long. We grew up together. We have been friends for so long. Every day I see you, I know that I can't live without you. I don't want to live without you. I need you so much, and you have no idea of how much I need you—
Severus stopped reading there. He brought his head to look at Lily, who was heavily blushing. He leaned into her, his hand on her pale skin. He kissed her deeply, pouring the feelings he had begun to feel just a year or so ago. He had quickly closed his eyes and melted into her, just as she melted into him. At first Lily tensed, but then quickly relaxed against him. Kissing Lily was the greatest feeling the world, or at least, it was for him. He never wanted to stop kissing her. It was like the oxygen he had breathed, the food he ate and the water he drank to survive.
When they had parted it was only to gasp for air, but soon their lips crashed together again. It was the first and only time that Severus had ever really had Lily Evans.
It was later that Severus had read the rest of the letter. After they broke their ties, he had come back to the letter, only to discover that it hadn't been a love letter, or anything of the sort. He had proclaimed his love, while she had said nothing of the sorts. He had misinterpreted it. It was a plea—a final plea from for him to stop his ludicrous, shameful actions and for him to show his true colors. Lily had very well known that beyond his icy façade, was a heart burning with compassion like no other. Ever since that day he had always wondered what would have happened if he had finished the entire letter? Would he have still kissed her? Would he have still joined the Death Eaters? Would any of this have happened?
Severus stood in front of a large ornate mirror—the Mirror of Erised to be exact. The mirror had stood in a plain room. All of it was made of the same taupe colored stone. At first, he could not look in front of him, but slowly his face meandered to the mirror.
In it he could see himself standing there, his sallow skinned face clearly visible, greasy black hair curtained around it. He had worn all black, restricted clothing, on top of it a black cape. His stood stoically. But he was not alone. Beside him was Lily, her arm around him. Compared to him she was short.
The longer he stood, the more Lily had done. Her emerald eyes starred into his soul, accessing it fully, toying with it, learning of the love he held for her. He had always loved her almond shaped eyes—it wasn't that they were beautiful, but because it was always her happiest and most hopeful feature.
She began to kiss his soft neck, just at his pulse point. How he would have relished it, if he could have been able to feel it. No matter how hard he tried to imagine the feelings coursing through him, he could come nowhere near to the enormity of pleasure he would have felt, had it been real. She mouthed what looked the words, "I love you" to him, but he could not hear her say them. In the mirror she was unbuttoning his shirt, though in reality he was still dressed in his concealing clothing. His muscular chest was revealed. Her small hands roamed across his chest, touching it tenderly. She planted kisses across it, pale stains of peach colored lipstick left there. She walked to his side. Only then did he notice that on her abdomen held a baby bump, not too large—perhaps her reflection was four months pregnant, his imaginary child inside of her.
He became hysteric. Tears fell across his face as he sunk to the ground. Her reflection had followed him there, comforting him. She mouthed words of love, words he longed to hear. They were all words of hope, but they were hopes that Severus could never have.
"Please, Lily," he choked out, but the reflection could not respond. He cried maddeningly, the feelings he had bottled up within him all exploding in a liquid form. Brokenly, he crawled away from the mirror, until nothing was left, but his foot and Lily right next to it, sobbing, screaming how much she had loved him, wanted him—how wrong she was to take James instead of him, though he could not hear. Was this really what he had wanted or was it some demented dream, which his sick mind had created only to torture him?
Wiping away his tears, he limped back to the mirror, Lily once again smiling at him. How long had it been since he had last done this—torturing himself with something he knew he could never have? It had been four years since her death, yet his feelings for her had only grown with every passing year.
Once a man had said that in the Mirror of Erised, you could see your greatest weakness, but your greatest weakness is also what gives you the strength you need to live, the motivation you need to do good and the reasons you need to make the choices which create what you will be in the end. The happiest man in the world would see himself in the mirror.
He yearned to be that man—the man who desired nothing, the man who needed nothing out of life, but himself. But there was no such thing, and he was no such man.
Severus knew there was no such thing. There would always be wants and desires. It was in later years that he would hear Albus Dumbledore tell Harry Potter that he had seen himself with a pair of wool socks. Also, he would hear him say "that men have wasted away in front of it, gone mad even". Furthermore, "that it does not do any good to dwell on dreams…and to forget to live".
Severus was not a mad man. He was only disturbed by his own wants. He was so perturbed by it that he could no longer distinguish his wants from his needs, because Lily Evans was his only wanted, and he knew that without her in his mind, he would have surely killed himself long ago.
How he wanted her, but he knew that it would never be. He was in love with a dead woman. There were tales of an afterlife, and maybe then he would have her, if she wanted him too. Was she watching him from above? If she was, what had she thought of him? Pity, he knew that she would pity him more than anything, if she were to have seen him that day.
He left the mirror, and walked out carefully, looking left and right, then left again. He breathed in deeply before he moved into the corridor. He turned back to the room, almost urged to walk back in and look at Lily once again. Yet he could never hold her. He had no use for the room. It was only there to cause pain.
It was only that when he had left the mirror that he realized that she was not with him, standing beside him loyally. How foolish he had been to return to such a horrible place. It was in dreams that he could feel her, that he could want her, because at least then, there was still a possibility that he would never wake again. It would surely be pure bliss if that were to happen.
He turned to walk away, but in front of him stood Dumbledore, wearing a plum colored wizarding robe embossed with golden edges, and a hat sitting on top of his head of silver hair. He looked into the man's pale blue eyes, almost falling into their happiness. His eyes flickered for a moment, and that was when Severus had fought his way back into reality.
"What have you been doing, Severus?"
"Wasting away," he answered with brazen disregard for sane words. He knew that in the years to come he would come back to the mirror and rot right in front of it, until his body would fully decompose into old skin loosely attached to whittled down bones.
"I've been wasting away in front of a mirror in which I had hoped I would have seen my own reflection, but it had brought me more than I asked for and more than I needed. It however, had brought me just what I desire. Erised—desire backwards. Desire, it's nothing—only another one of those wasteful human emotions."
No matter of his hate for himself and for his actions, in the end one thing would always stay the same. He would always love Lily Evans, and he would always do anything he could see her, even if it required looking into a mirror with their reflections in it. If there was a better way, he would have discovered it. If he could have done anything to change the day she died, he would have. But he couldn't. So now, he was left with a broken heart and a shattering mind, because that is what love does to a person—especially when you are in love with a woman who had died long ago.
A/N: If you liked this check out my other stories, The Light and the Dark and Mourning Colour. Harry Potter belongs to J.K. Rowling.
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