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The Prince Is Dead
He dares use my own spell against me?
Severus, no, Severus, no, draw your wand, draw your wand, hurt him back –
He will kill you he will kill you
He is killing me.
This is all I am to him? Disposable, valueless, I thought I meant more –
What did he say?
I don’t speak it but I know.
Thump. Pressing me hard against the glass. Blood.
Don’t close your eyes don’t close your eyes
Thump. Poison, hot and acrid, shooting in.
Don’t cry out don’t cry out
It’s gone. It’s gone? It’s gone.
Antidotes. Severus, you know antidotes. Now, here’s what you’re going to do. You will get up. You will walk, even though it hurts, even though it’s bleeding but you’re strong and you have to walk. You will reach the castle, and you will go down the stairs, down into the dungeons where you used to teach Potions. You will go into the storeroom, and you will look in the box for a bezoar, and you will swallow it even though it hurts, even though it’s hard, you will swallow it because you have to and then it will be better. Everything will be okay.
I’m still here. I’m still here and I’m bleeding and I’ve closed my eyes. No.
Footsteps, footsteps. Hushed voices, someone kneeling close to me. Potter. Potter? The little hero, come to make sure I do not die in peace. Hate curls up inside of me.
I can’t see past him, it’s too blurry, but I know it’s that Granger girl, I know it’s that moron Weasley.
It’s too blurry.
“Professor,” he says, or I think he does. “Professor, it’s okay, you’re going to be okay.”
Etched on his hand next to my face are the words:
I must not tell lies.
Now I wonder things. Now I wonder where the Dark Lord is, whom he is killing now. I wonder where my godson is, and if he will be among the number who lay still and unblinking by the sunrise. For a moment, I can see him like that, lips slightly parted, his pale, pale eyes awake with emptiness. The picture does not frighten me: death, for him, would be a sweet release. Lately, I have only killed those whom I could not save.
Remember Lily, Severus? You could have saved her. You didn’t.
You killed her, Severus.
I want to cry. I don’t want to cry. Something rises, sharp and heavy, in my throat, but it is memory that leaks from my eyes. And I hear Potter’s panicked voice, feel his shaking hand brush my cheek as he lifts it into the glass.
“Take it to the Pensieve.” It hurts, it hurts so much to speak past the rattling of blood in my throat, but I do, because I have to.
There was red hair, a red deeper than blood or fire, different, stronger than the Weasley orange. There were green eyes, sparkling, green like emeralds, green like Slytherin House.
There were green eyes that widened with fear at the curse that matched them exactly.
There was the way she laughed.
“Look at me.”
Look at me, Lily, look, watch, please watch me, please, please be my friend, Lily, please kiss me, oh Lily, didn’t you love me?
(She didn’t love you)
I loved you, Lily.
I protected your son, I kept him alive, even though I hated him, even though he was every bit as bad as his father.
Because Lily, I had to.
I made so many promises, and somehow I kept them all.
(Dumbledore falls from the tower, small and broken in death)
But I could not keep you.
Potter hasn’t blinked, Potter hasn’t looked away. Blood rises on my tongue.
“You have your mother’s eyes.”
It hurts so much, it hurts so much, but I do not cry out. I close my eyes, shutting in the emerald, trying so hard to remember.
I do not wish to die with my eyes to the stars. I do not want the picture of her to escape to the heavens.
I am so tired.
My name is Severus Snape. I have the Dark Mark on my arm, but I am also part of the Order of the Phoenix. My name is Severus Snape; I am a heroic villain, a villainous hero, a paradox, a man.
I pretended to love many people. I had a godson whom I never intended to protect. I had fellow professors at Hogwarts whom I never counted as friends. I had debtors, great giants benevolent and wicked, and I never intended to repay them.
I have seen the greatest wizard of all time killed by my own hand, an empty shell against the moon, because I had to. I have seen the most evil wizard in history dissolve in rage. I have seen a boy, a mere child, curl up writhing on a stone floor, sobbing and begging his master to stop, please stop, and I have watched coldly, unflinchingly, because I had to. I served every master. Always, I obeyed.
Forgive me, please.
I had to.
There was one friend, one imaginary lover, one name that ate away at the throbbing of my blood, one woman whom I killed because I loved her, one girl who destroyed me and cared for me more than anyone else in the world.
And she is gone.
My name is Severus Snape, and I hate Harry Potter.
My name is Severus Snape.
I’m scared of death.
I don’t want to die.
Maybe there’s no afterlife. Maybe this blackness on the inside of my eyes is all there is left for me. Maybe I’m going to hell, but I don’t want to go to hell because I know you won’t be there, Lily.
You kind, you sweet, you beautiful and terrible girl, you destroyed me, and in return I tried to save your life – oh wonderful Lily, I tried so hard. But hard wasn’t enough, was it? Not in the end.
This world has been so cruel to me. It has been cruel to the both of us, always.