Disclaimer: Harry Potter is the property of J.K Rowling.

The hospital is bright but seems dark, is here but seems far away. It must be the drugs. He's almost asleep now, but it's better than the sharp pain before. Now its just a dull throb deep in his abdomen. He's familiar with that kind of pain, that barely-there-sore-pain-the-day-after-that-he-can-almost-ignore. A warm, gentle hand takes his cold, clammy one. He smiles, glad that the doctors didn't make her leave. Her hair is the only clear thing in his vision, a spot of bright red in the stark white of the room. He leans into her soft, friendly smell.

He's too proud to thank her for ignoring him when he told her he wasn't sick, too proud to tell her how scared he was. He's only 10 years old, but he's been trained in stoicism by his father. But Lily…Lily can see through his expressionless façade, and Severus loves her for that.

Her hand's still warm when he grasps it, desperately feeling for the pulse he knows is gone. He grasps her limp shoulders, shakes her, begs her to wake, whispers for the first time into deaf ears: I love you. He leans into her for comfort, wanting her to stop the pain the way she did when he was ten. But the pain burns stronger, becomes a torrent of grief and guilt that twists his stomach into a hard, unyielding knot. He pulls himself into a ball on the floor of the destroyed house, his knees pulled up to his chest to block his own remorse, to hide in a wall of denial and prevent this knife from destroying him. Surely he is bleeding out. Surely he is dying. In a desperate bid to stop the pain, to stop his own life if possible, he pushes his fist into his stomach, on top of the scar where they took his appendix out eleven years before. She was there for him that time. And he betrayed her.