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The Swing



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Old September 27th, 2007, 10:49 pm
Fleur du mal  Female.gif Fleur du mal is offline
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The Swing

This is actually a piece I wrote as a chapter for a story, but I think it works individually, and I like it very much, so...


*******

The pain ebbed away and he suddenly felt light, and unjustifiably easy. He ought not feel easy – there was a battle going on – and he had just sent the kid to his certain death – Lily’s little boy – into the wide-open arms of the enemy – if he wasn’t stubborn as usually…

The image still lingered on his retinas; those incredible eyes, resembling his mother’s so very much that it had always hurt Sev to look into them, just like he hadn’t managed to draw his gaze away at other times. The image of the green eyes was supplanted though, by the back of the boy’s head, the unruly, jet black hair, which in turn resembled his father’s, but strangely enough, Sev didn’t care about that striking similarity anymore in this moment. Not only did he see Harry Potter’s head – he also saw Miss Granger’s brown bushes. And his own hair, come to that, sticky with congealing blood. His features dead white – his eyes wide-open, but empty and somewhat dull.

It didn’t amaze him that he was dead. After that injury, death had been inevitable, of course. And he didn’t mind the fact that he was no more, so to speak, either. For half a minute, he had been sick with fear that he would die before fulfilling his last, his most important mission, but luckily, Potter had been there already, quick enough for Severus to give him all he needed to know, more than that, even.

Really, he would have hated it to be forced becoming a ghost, only because he hadn’t managed to tell Lily’s son. Lingering here until the end of time – he had always thought he’d been here far too long already. How glad he was that he was spared that fate! He would be delivered. Any moment now. He had never died before, he wasn’t quite sure how it would happen, but there was one thing he staunchly believed in – he would be delivered by blissful oblivion and nothingness.

His vision drove away from that weird scene, Potter’s and Granger’s heads became smaller and smaller, now he saw the roof of the Shrieking Shack, and a few moments later, that, too, was as small as a needle pin. He wasn’t actually flying, nor hovering, nor anything he could have described with words. He perceived the warm breeze of the night, but differently than ever before – of course, after all he was dead. In the distance, he saw the castle with blazing fires lambent out of windows here and there… The sky was sprinkled full with stars adorning the blackness of the night, he watched them feeling at utter peace; how pretty that sight was… He didn’t know when he had last taken the time to take a look at the stars. It must have been decades ago. Before her death, of course. After that, he hadn’t taken a look, a deliberate, open look, at anything much.

He was moving, and faintly noticed that it felt like rocking on a swing. He broke away from staring at the night sky, finding himself sitting on a swing indeed, but what was even more wonderful – mysterious and wonderful – Lily was sitting on the swing beside his own, swaying back and forth in the same pace and rhythm. She gave him a smile, a broad, kind, only-Lily-could-smile-like-that smile.

“Welcome, Sev!”

“Lily! It’s – I’m – gosh, where to start! You must know how sorry I am – sorry isn’t nearly strong enough a word to express how –”

“Shhh.” She put a finger to her lips and indicated him to stop, then smiled again. “It’s okay, Sev. I know. I know it all. You needn’t tell me, there’s nothing I don’t know, down to the bottom of your heart. I know everything.”

In life, he wouldn’t have managed to suppress a blush, but curiously, he didn’t feel embarrassed now, but simply smiled back. “I’ve always loved you. Always. You were everything to me from the first moment I saw you, and I only grew to love you even stronger than then.”

“I’ve loved you, too, you know?”

In life, he had been far from suspecting any such thing, but death did change everything, oh yes. Swinging back and forth here – and Lily reaching out to take his hand – he did know that it was true. He would have believed that this would shock him, dismay him, that he’d bemoan everything they had lost without ever having it in the first place, but the serenity didn’t wane, quite the opposite.

“Did you forgive me in the end?” he asked, remembering the last words he had ever got from her.

She laughed brightly and lifted his hand up to her lips to kiss his fingertips. “Long ago, Sev. Dumbledore then told me about your pledge – about your courage to spy on Voldemort – I saw you that night… Thank you for trying to recover my body, Sev. Thank you for rescuing my baby, too… If I had a shred of grudge still left then, it was wiped away in the same night. And since then – since then, I’m completely in the picture. There’s nothing that I wouldn’t know. Death is like that, you see? Once you’re dead, you bloody know everything.”

He found it was true, again. He knew, for example, that just now, Harry Potter was storming into Dumbledore’s office and crammed for the Pensieve. He also knew that in a few minutes, the boy would brace himself and march out of the castle to face his own end, he knew that the Killing Curse wouldn’t work again, and another thirty minutes, and a third Killing Curse would be deflected on the one casting it, and Voldemort would finally be undone, once and for good. Lily’s son would live! Harry Potter would live!

He found himself laughing in a way that he hadn’t heard in two decades either. Lily joined him and exclaimed exuberantly, “You, Severus Snape, are a hero! Hengist of Woodcroft is nothing to you. Heck, you’d have made an exemplary Gryffindor!”

“Gryffindor, pah.” But he couldn’t stop s******ing in genuine merriment.

“I believe you paid back every morsel of injustice you’ve ever suffered through from Gryffindor. We’re square.”

“No, we’re not.” For a swift moment, he lost that felicity suffusing him. “I know that I… If you know everything, you also know… Please, allow me to say it out loud. I never said it. I never felt like saying it, either. Your son – Harry – I… It hurt me so much to look at him, Lily. I know it sounds feeble, but that’s how it was. It tore me asunder to look at him, reminding me of everything all at once, you, how I lost you, how I betrayed you, how you were torn out of my life for good. He so looks like – like James, and quite often, he was like James, too. I – I didn’t know for a very long time, Lily. I didn’t know what Petunia would put him through. I took his timidity as secretiveness, that he knew nothing, I thought to be due to laziness and vanity. And his cheek –”

“Oh, but that he got from me,” she cried and pressed his hand.

“I tried as good as I could, Lily, I did. I know I failed very often.”

“You protected him, Sev! You rescued him, you saved him, you supported him without him even noticing, and I don’t think you ever got a word of thanks. Accept it from me now, Sev. Thank you. Without you, my son would not live. He would have died by Voldemort’s curse. He would have suffocated in the burning house. He would have broken his neck by falling off his broom. His soul would have been taken by the Dementors. Crouch would have murdered him. Voldemort, or his guys would have murdered him many, many times if it wasn’t for you. But now Voldemort is dead, and Harry lives, and he’ll live the life he’s dreamt of, he’ll be an Auror, he’ll have a family, he’ll know what you have done and name his child after you.”

He smirked. “Foolish child!”

“You mean Harry, or little Albus Severus?”

“If you know everything, Lily – you know the answer to this, too!”

They both laughed again, swinging higher and higher. The night sky slowly lightened up in the East. Before long, the sun would be rising; that notion filled him with a tad of sadness once more. “It’s over when day breaks, I assume?”

“Smart as you’ve always been, dear. But it’s not going to be over. Just different. It’s never over.”

“How is the afterlife?”

“Pretty much as you've already imagined.”

“So I’m not going to spend eternity on a cloud next to you, seeing you united with – well, not me, at any rate?”

“Course not. Afterlife would be a wretched state to be indeed if it only carried on like life, don’t you think?”

“Will you be there, nonetheless?”

“Oh, yes! Yes! We’ll all be there, somehow, but in no way comparable to life. The anger, the disappointments, the fears, the hurt – it’ll all go away. Only the love, the joy and the wisdom will remain. We will be united in eternity, Sev. You and I will never be apart again.”

“One more thing…”

She giggled, squeezing his hand once more. “Yes…?”

“You know…”

“Yes, I do! And yes, I will kiss you, of course I will! This is your death, Sev, you’ll have it all exactly like you wish.”

“Do you wish it, too? Because I don’t –”

“I do wish to kiss you, Sev, and don’t make a fuss now!” She kissed his hand. “I ought to have plucked up the courage to kiss you in 1975.”

“Nothing of this – at least on my part – would have happened if you had kissed me in 1975…”

“Seeing that this is how Voldemort was undone, we should be grateful then for my cowardliness. That aside – I’m very sorry that I didn’t do it then. I had such a terrible crush on you.” He felt that it was true and pressed her hand in turn in the greatest animation. The first rays of sun light emerged on the horizon, they swung higher and higher still, more light, more height. “Just tell me when you’re ready, Sev.”

“I thought you’d know?” he asked playfully.

“Course I do, but I want to hear your voice one last time.”

He was completely relaxed, thinking that death meant peace indeed. He had never in his life experienced such complete and utter bliss. Nothing remotely as happy as this. And before he let go of the swing, he did say what she knew he would, the one thing that had kept him going on since he was seven.

“I love you, Lily.”

“And I love you, Sev.”

If anyone could have been privy to this scene, they’d have seen a man with a very young, boyish face, ruled by a hooked nose, a wild smile and sparkling black eyes, and a young, beautiful, smiling woman with ample of flaming red hair, soaring skywards and holding each other’s hands. Ascending, the woman cupped the man’s face and brushed a gentle kiss on each of his cheeks; he opened his eyes, looking stricken, and she kissed his lips, very softly, very tenderly. The were rising higher and higher, their shapes became indistinguishable from another, and in the moment when the solar orb had finally edged over the Eastern horizon, they appeared to have disappeared.

*******

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Last edited by Fleur du mal; September 27th, 2007 at 11:01 pm.
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