*The following fanfiction was written by Stacey Lannigan and can be found on the AO3 website as well as on Wattpad*
/The words were simple but spoken with severity and a heavy tone as her smile saddened. She was regarding him now, aware of the price he had paid to allow her son the chance to live./
In death, Severus Snape is confronted with a ghost from his past who has just one thing to say about his actions over the past few years.
“You have your Mothers eyes.”
Severus Snape watched as the pair of eyes before him widened, their gaze softening ever so slightly, and Severus allowed for the eyes to meet his own and force him one last time down memory lane. It was something which Harry Potters eyes had always had the ability to do since the moment Severus had clamped eyes on the boy. Long ago, Albus Dumbledore had informed Severus that Harry Potter had inherited Lily’s eyes and Severus had only just noticed when young boy had come to Hogwarts – having paid no attention to him when he had arrived at Godric’s Hollow on that dreadful night… Severus had been foolish to doubt Albus, to think that perhaps the elder had been lying to him simply to trick him into assisting him in protecting the boy but when Severus has met those eyes with his own he had seen the truth for himself. It was at that moment in the Great Hall, not in Albus’s office, in which he had agreed to protecting Harry Potter.
Protecting Potter… Protecting the result of Lily’s love for someone other than himself, someone who had made it their mission to torment Severus to no end. He took no shame in hating the boy who resembled his Father so closely. He had watched as the similarities between the boy and his deceased Father grew more and more uncanny every day for the six school years in which the young Potter had attended Hogwarts. All those years of teaching Harry Potter, having to face the mockery which the boy’s existence was with each passing day… It had seemed that even in death James Potter was tormenting him and reminding him of who he had lost.
The boys eyes had then, in Severus’s opinion, became his only refining feature as they had, in those times when Severus had needed to look at the boy, provided him with something of a gateway to a time more pleasant, a time when the boy did not exist and Snape was only a boy himself and there had been no James Potter to steal his friend, his love…
He could see her now as he considered the young man kneeling over him and for a moment Severus was grateful that he would soon learn the truth, that he would learn Severus’s life story and perhaps could understand the true meaning behind Snape’s actions throughout the years, as well as the meaning behind his observation. He was sure Harry Potter had been told that he had his Mother’s eyes countless times and by those perhaps worthier of speaking of her to him, but Severus was not interested in how the young man might react or be feeling now as his well-known to be least favourite teacher lay dying.
In this moment, Severus was looking up into those familiar eyes and Lily Evans was looking back at him. He wished then, in silent desperation, that it was a moment which could last forever but the sinking feeling in his chest was there to accompany the knowledge that it would not.
Slowly the darkness that had been creeping in from the edge of his vision made the sight before him blur and he blinked, the image of Lily’s beautiful face disappeared, and he found himself looking at Harry Potter once more. A small sigh escaped his lips before his head grew heavy and everything went black…
Then came the blinding white light and a deafening rushing sound which grew louder and louder. It seemed to go on forever and only when it stopped did Severus’s eyes snap open. It took him a moment to realise that he was standing, standing on a small grassy hill which he recognised immediately as the place where he had spent countless days watching Lily, where he had met her and where they had spent happy hours discussing Hogwarts and the magical world of which they were both to enter. His surroundings looked so real and even felt real, something which he discovered when reaching out to run his fingers gently over the bark of the tree beside him. Severus moments passed in which Severus continued to examine his surroundings with a new-found curiosity, considering what seemed to be his fate with an odd form of acceptance.
He was dead, that much he knew. There was a lack of pain radiating over his body and he felt a wave of relief overcome him. It was selfish to be glad that, for him, it was over. His own sufferings could no longer be built upon and he no longer held the weight of having to endure the sufferings put upon others in the world which he had just been taken from. He had done what he could to assist Potter, done what Albus had desired of him and provided Potter with the information what was needed, and now he no longer needed to be concerned with the consequences. There was something in the selfishness he felt that was almost peaceful…
Despite the softness of the voice, the sudden sound of it breaking the silence made Severus flinch and then he froze again. The voice was familiar, even if it had been years since he had heard it. He would never forget that voice… Could never forget that voice…
Turning slowly, he fought against the anticipation and hope which was slowly building within him, afraid of the disappointment that would drown him upon seeing nothing but expected scenery of the landscape behind him. That disappointment did not come…
Standing before him now was none other than Lily, smiling warmly at him and her eyes filled with appreciation and just a hint of sadness – emotions which, Severus decided then, he was no longer worthy to evoke from her. He remained rooted to the spot as she approached him and wrapped her arms gently around him. Severus, who had expected to feel nothing at all or perhaps just the usual icy feeling that normally came with making ‘physical’ contact with a ghost, jumped slightly when he felt the warmth of her touch. He supposed now that they were both dead, he could feel her touch as he would have done had they been both alive. Severus felt like a child again, being held in Lily’s friendly and consoling hug. Another beat of silence passed before Lily finally stepped back, withdrawing her arms from around him and meeting his eyes confidently.
The words were simple but spoken with severity and a heavy tone as her smile saddened. She was regarding him now, aware of the price he had paid to allow her son the chance to live.
“It was for you.” He replied matter-of-factually and although he attempted to keep his expression unreadable then Lily gave him one of her famous knowing looks. Her talent at being able to read the unreadable had not faded one bit… He stared back at her, unable to curb the feeling of longing which grew inside him. Even though he was dead, the feeling still clawed at his insides as though trying to tear at his very heart. “I’ve been a coward.” He stated heavily, expecting her soft expression to harden with disappointment as she agreed. It was the first time that he had admitted it to himself and out-loud, openly finally agreeing to the label which others had branded him with.
“No coward would have done what you did.” Lily said softly, her head moving from side to side as she shook it slowly. “You’ve been exceptionally brave, and I couldn’t be any more grateful.”
“I don’t deserve your gratitude.” Severus was quick to argue, cutting Lily off toward the end of her own statement.
“Then at the very least you deserve recognition.” There was a firmness in her tone that was reflected too in her stare as she dared him to argue with her again. Severus was unable to stop his lips from twisting up into a gentle smile of his own – the genuine notion felt alien to him after all these years.
“And now?” He quizzed, taking a moment to tear his eyes away from her face and gaze around them once more. Oh, how he wished he could remain here and with Lily once again. However, he had a feeling that doing so would not be possible, or at least not the answer which he would receive.
“Now you can rest, in a peace that’s well deserved.” She smiled, and Severus looked back to her to see her eyes were upon something behind him. He turned to follow her gaze and his eyes rested on a door which seemed to have replaced the tree in which he had spent his time hiding within. Severus knew what it meant, and he quickly had to stop himself from scoffing. A door to the beyond. It was always such a Muggle idea of passing over and moving on but standing here with Lily now, who’s life had collided with him in the Muggle world at the mere age of nine, he couldn’t help but think it was in fact rather fitting.
Severus edged towards the door cautiously, unable to push aside the tickling sense of fear overcoming him now as he reached out to open it. Beyond the door was… nothing and Severus was both disappointed and hesitant now to cross over. He knew that once he stepped beyond the frame that Lily would fade into nothingness as well, leaving him completely alone once more. He turned back towards her as that thought crossed his mind, entwined with another.
“Come with me?” The determination in his tone was snuffed out by the rise of the end of his request, turning it into a question and he watched with a growing sadness as Lily dropped her gaze, remaining silent. The expression on her face now told Severus all he needed to know, that she could not.
Drawing in a deep breath, he tried not to let the emotions coursing through him now get the better of him as he stepped toward the door. When he glanced over his shoulder, he could already see Lily fading but rather than the sadness which he had felt in the build up to witnessing her disappear once more, he was soothed by a wave of relief washed over him yet again. A sense of closure overcame him now as the door eased shut and Severus sighed, smiling genuinely for a second time as he accepted his fate – as a true hero would.