Severus Snape lay on the cold, hard ground listening to footsteps hurrying off as his life slipped further away. He was glad he was able to give those memories to Harry. Maybe Lily would finally forgive him once he finally succumbed to death. Severus was only asked to tell the boy at the right moment about his fate, but Severus just couldn't do that when Harry entered the room and looked at him, all he could think of was Lily.
Those green eyes he had missed so dearly, looked at him with such shock and sadness he couldn't help, but be reminded of the woman he had loved. The woman he had thought of being so forgiving, but never received that forgiveness. Those eyes had looked at him with genuine concern that he thought it was his friend from his dark childhood promising to always be there.
But it was not. Severus had been brought out of his painful memories as pain of a different kind coursed through his blood, drenching his skin, and Harry standing over him trying to help. However the only way Harry could help him was to watch the memories he had entrusted to the boy. Memories filled with what the headmaster had done and what he had done. As convulsions began tearing through his limbs, Severus could not muster the feeling of humiliation over what he had willingly shared with Harry.
Severus believed that when Harry took the memories he was close to being forgiven for his actions over the past twenty-odd years. He believed he would be forgiven for not listening to Lily and dabbling in the dark arts, that he would be forgiven for holding his dark past against innocent people he had never met, forgiven for joining the Dark Lord and taking the revolting mark on his arm, forgiven for listening to that prophecy, forgiven for repeating that prophecy, and forgiven for not having the strength to stop a young boy's life from being ruined.
Severus welcomed death as a long over due appointment as his body began to seize and stiffen, his cooling blood sticking to him as the last few flickers of consciousness passed through him. During his last few breaths Severus did not notice a gentle trilling noise and someone's feet hitting the stairs, running loudly towards the room.
Charlie Weasley was shocked to be approached by the infamous, and missing, phoenix while he battled against various creatures and Death Eaters. When it seemed that the firebird was there for him and wanted Charlie to follow, he pulled out his shrunken broomstick, re-sized it, and hastily followed after the phoenix. He had been well aware of the missing familiar of the late headmaster and understood that something was extremely urgent for it to seek someone out and lead them away to a place like the Shrieking Shack.
Charlie was stunned when he got to the top of the steps and found what appeared to be a dead Severus Snape. There was blood staining his clothes and the man did not appear to be breathing. But Fawkes was sitting next to the fallen man, with its neck craned and head titled to the side above Severus's neck. He watched with fascination as the phoenix released tears into the damaged skin of his ex-professor. Knowing the man worked as a spy, Charlie began searching the many hidden pockets for any type of anti-venom that the old potions master may have brewed for any such event. He shouted in triumph when he found a small vial filled with a black liquid labeled 'anti-venom'.
Charlie propped himself against a wall and pulled Severus onto his lap, tilted the man's head, and poured the contents down the newly healed throat. He patiently to see if there was any change in the man. It felt like hours had passed until he noticed the man's chest was moving. He propped Severus up and opened the top few buttons of his robes as Severus began taking in bigger breaths.
Fawkes stayed close to Severus for reassurance as the man's eyes flickered open. He was unsure what he was meant to feel. He should be dead, he was fairly certain he was dead. But alas, here he was, body filled with pain, still inside the Shrieking Shack. He didn't understand. The only way he could this about how he survived was if he took the anti-venom, but he did not. He only had that in case he was betrayed and had not completed the mission he as given. So how had he lived?
Severus looked around the room and was appalled to see the phoenix next to him. He found himself filled with rage at the sight of those fiery feathers. How dare that menace bring him back! He had killed the firebird's master and it had saved him. He reasoned it was to ensure he suffered the memory of that day in the tower. Saving him was obviously meant to mock him. It appeared that he would not be forgiven as quickly as he had hoped. Death was easy and quick, it absolved all the wrong he had done. But now he was forced to live through everything. He became fatigued at the thought of having to actively live the rest of his life seeking forgiveness. He wanted to curse that bird for making him live this hell.
Severus was pulled out of his murderous thoughts by the sounds that could be heard outside of the shack. Becoming curious as to what was happening, Severus pushed himself off the floor, ignoring the grunt of pain behind him, and stumbled towards the steps. He was unsure why the sounds outside was pulling him away from his self-loathing thoughts, but they were. Still experiencing small affects from the poison, he fell down the last few steps as his muscles ceased to keep working.
Charlie ws baffled as he followed close behind Snape. The man did not seem to realize he was there, even as he helped Snape stand back up after falling.
When Severus slowly reached the battle ground, he was shaking and sweating profusely. Why did he feel the need to come down here? All over was the evidence that he could never be forgiven. He believed the headmaster when he had said it would get better once he gave Harry the necessary memories to stop everything. All around were bodies from both light and dark sides, creatures dead or dying, friends and family mourning their loss.
In one hand, he was thankful no one noticed him, but he also wished they would and end this lonely misery. He wished someone would see the despicable, empty shell of a Death Eater that somehow escaped death while children had not escaped that fate.
Severus's arm began to burn as he felt his master's presence leave the forest. He turned to the forest as he heard the last of the Dark Lord's army march towards everyone. Fear did not cut into him. Dread did not freeze him. But devastation did. Devastation cut into his already broken heart and froze all of his thoughts. Devastation pushed him to his knees, harder than any command from the Dark Lord.
There, following closely behind the Dark Lord, was Hagrid. It was not Hagird that had in the throes of despair. It was the small, frail looking body of one Harry Potter.
"Harry.." Severus whispered, tears falling across his face for the first time since Lily had died. Everything he had done was for naught. What did he do wrong? He had put his entire life into the moment that Harry would be able to win, to live. But like everything he has ever cared about, Harry had died. And it was all his fault.
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