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Gratias Ago Mortem

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“Take me to her,” you ask softly

The tears in his eyes are evidence enough of the years of suffering he’d been through.

His hair falls in black curtains around his head. You walk to him and brush his hair away to look into his dark eyes. 

 

Without saying a word, he turns towards you, an air of questioning in his eyes. You nod, sure of your decision. 

 

Silently, the two of you make your way to the entrance of the school. He waves his hand and the doors swing open for him. 

 

In the pale moonlight, two dark figures could be seen sweeping across the grounds towards the gates. If one looked closely enough, they would notice how the shorter figure’s hand found the other’s and grasped it tightly

 

Making your way toward the gate, you watch as he lays his hand on the gate, and it swings open, granting you both access to the outside world. 

 

Looking back at the castle, you see how vibrant and alive it looks, with all of the festivities going on inside. “The Halloween party must be in full swing,” you think. 

 

You had not attended the party. Instead, you had decided to spend the night brewing with Severus. From the moment you had stepped into his private lab, you had felt the tension. You didn’t say a word as he grunted in acknowledgment of your presence, intensely focused on the potion he was brewing. Ignoring his lack of a greeting, you had gotten straight to work, helping Severus with his new brew by cutting and arranging the ingredients he would need. 

As the night went on, you could hear the music from upstairs, garbled as it passed through the many floors of the castle until it was only a faint melody resounding in the lab within the bowels of the castle. 

 

You could tell Severus was on edge tonight, and for what reason, you could not say. Something was obviously troubling him greatly, but he was refusing to talk about it. 

You sighed in exasperation. In your time of knowing him and loving him, he told you only a few things about his days as a Death Eater, but not much from before those days. You knew of his father and some of the things he was put through as a child, but not much else. Your heart clenched at the thought of your Severus being so helpless. You decided to say nothing for the moment, but as the minutes ticked by you could feel Severus growing tenser and tenser. You looked at the clock on the wall and noted that it was growing close to midnight. You had yawned and put down the work you were doing and rubbed your sleep-filled eyes with the back of your hands. 

 

Glancing at Severus, you could see how extremely tense he was. His shoulders were drawn to his ears, and his movements had grown quick and jerky. You crossed the room to him and laid a hand on his shoulder, which made him startle. 

 

¨Merlin!¨ he shouted, followed by a string of curses with your name mixed in somewhere,¨please just warn me next time, or wear louder footwear.¨ he shook his head, letting his hair fall over his eyes. He lifted a hand to pinch the bridge of his nose 

 

¨Only me, love. I would have thought that your ´super-spy senses´ would have heard me coming,¨ you chuckled. After he didn’t respond, you looked over at him and saw that his eyes had grown unfocused and distant. 

 

¨Severus¨ you called gently, coaxing him out of his stupor. ¨Severus, what’s the matter?¨

 

¨It´s nothing,¨ he growled, his onyx eyes focusing once again. He turned his back to you, resuming his potion

 

You straightened your back, bringing yourself to your full height, which was still very small compared to his tall stature.

 

¨If this is about something that I don't know about, please, don’t hesitate to tell me. We’ve been through so much together, and I wish you would just confide in me about more things.¨ you blurted. As he turned back around, you looked him dead in the eyes, challenging him with all your strength.  

 

Looking down at you, he spat, ¨You mangy Gryffindors, always sticking your noses into things that are clearly not your business.” He began to resume his potion. 

 

You hadn’t flinched at his harsh words. You were used to his scathing remarks, and you knew that he didn’t mean any of it. Taking a breath, you pushed forward. 

 

¨Who has mended nearly every bone in your body, after your bloody meetings with- with Him ?¨ you said, your voice raising after every word, ¨ Who stayed up night after sleepless night, waiting and praying to anyone that would listen that you would come home alive? Who didn’t give up when they saw you dying in a pool of their own blood that night?¨ you were now yelling, vision blurred from the tears streaming down your face.¨I have never, ever left your side, Severus. And shouldn’t that say something?¨ you had quieted, ¨And I feel I barely know you¨ you whispered. 

 

When you looked into Severus´ eyes, you saw that they had changed. The icy glare had been replaced with an intense longing tinged with sadness. His softened eyes had looked down at you as he brought both hands up to your face, cupping your cheeks, his long dexterous fingers soothing the hurt. He wiped the tears from your face with his thumbs. Once your cheeks had been dried, he had then pulled you into a fierce hug, his body practically enveloping yours.

 

¨I just care about you so much, Severus. More than you could ever know.¨ you murmured into his coat, grasping at his lapels. 

 

He then gently pried you from his coat but let his arms slide down your arms until he was holding your hands. 

 

¨Look at me,¨ he whispered, and you did. ¨There is so much I want to tell you, but I can’t find the words,” his deep baritone resonating in your chest. "It's too-"

 

¨Then show me.¨ you had interrupted. 

 

He nodded gently, and you looked into his obsidian eyes, raised your wand, and said, ¨Legilimens.¨

 

----------

 

You had felt as if you were being pulled into his eyes, and the world began to spin until everything suddenly stopped and you were standing by a dark lake. You were inside his mind. Slowly, images began to rise to the surface. 

 

You saw a little girl with fiery red hair swinging on a swing set in a playground. 

 

A tall, hook-nosed man in a white shirt drunkenly swinging his fist

 

An empty bedroom 

 

A Hogwarts letter

 

A bespectacled boy

 

A crowd of upside-down faces

 

Tom Riddle

 

Dumbledore on a cliff

 

You saw it all unfold

 

Until finally, you saw a Halloween celebration. The streets were flooded with orange light but Severus was not there to celebrate. He was frantically running down a neighborhood that you recognized as Godric’s Hollow. You could hear his heaving breaths as he ripped open the front gate of one of the houses to find that part of house had been blasted away by a powerful spell. He ran to the front, kicked in the door, and ran to the stairs, stepping over the body of the boy -who was now a man- with glasses. He ran up the stairs, calling out her name. 

 

Lily was her name

 

Lily

 

You watched as he opened the door to the nursery with shaking hands to find her body sprawled on the floor, her vibrant red hair flowing about her head. You saw the baby boy crying in pain with a lightning-bolt scar burned into his forehead.

 

You watched him drop to his knees with a strangled cry as he reached for her body

 

You watched him hold her, and you felt his pain, echoing like a resounding gong in his head

 

And you now understood 

 

You drew yourself gently from his mind to find him, his face passive, but tears streaming down his face. You realized you were crying too. 

 

How your heart ached and bled and broke for him. You wished you could have whisked him away before anything happened, and given him the life he deserved. But you were too late, you realized, and the best you could do was be there for him now. 

 

You took a step closer to him and placed a hand on his neck. You didn have to say anything. You understood now. It was October 31st, the night of Lily’s death. 

 

Overcome with sympathy, you pulled him close. Wiping the tears from his eyes, you drew him into a kiss full of understanding. 

 

Breaking the kiss, you stepped back, looking into the depths of his eyes. 

 

“Take me to her,” you asked softly



----------



You steal one last glance at the castle, promising it you will be back soon. You feel the thrum of magic in your core from its response. 

 

Taking a few steps away from the gates, you turn to Severus and nod, looking deeply into his eyes and projecting all your love onto him. His cloaked body practically radiated heat as you draw yourself closer to him. Linking your arm in his and giving him a tight squeeze, you disapparate. 

 

The world comes back into view as you and Severus arrive at your destination. The gates to the cemetery are rusted and creaking in the bitter October wind. Leaves whisper on the ground a silent prayer that you echo to whoever is listening. The children who were trick-or-treating had long gone to bed, and the festivals were over. In the distance, a yellow street lamp flickered, and the sound of an engine could be heard from far away. 

 

You hold Severus tighter, to comfort him but also yourself. A twinge of nervousness pangs in your stomach. You both enter the cemetery and a shiver runs up and down your spine. Steeling yourself with all the Gryffindor courage you can muster, you carry on through the grounds. Severus helps you up a small hill and at the top, you see it.

                                                                              James Potter               Lily Potter

Born 27 March 1960       Born 30 January 1960

Died 31 October 1981     Died 31 October 1981 

The Last Enemy To Be Destroyed Is Death 

 

The stark headstone stands out among the other graves. This one is obviously taken much better care of, and small vases of flowers are perched along the top. You feel Severus tense as you approach the grave. Turning him you give him a small reassuring smile and ask, “May I have a moment to meet her?” 

 

Shocked at your question, he nods with wide eyes and backs away to a tree nearby 

 

“Hello there,” you whisper softly, kneeling next to Lily’s side of the headstone, “I know who you are, but you don’t know me.” You introduce yourself. 

 

“Thank you for taking care of Severus for me,” you sigh, tears brimming in your eyes again. “You saved his life. I’m not sure what I would do or where I would be if I never met him. I know he was a bastard, he still is,” you smirk, “but he deserved so much better than the life he got. You gave him a reason to live for all those years, and I am eternally grateful for that.” a single tear cascades down your cheek but you wipe it away with your sleeve. “I know he loved you very much, and I do think that a small part of his heart still lies with you. I must admit, I am a bit jealous,” you smiled weakly, “but I love him just the same. Did you know that when Severus and I first met, I was soaked to the skin from flying in the rain? He walked into the Safe House that day, and-” you pause, “Merlin did I look stupid that day. I apparated to Kings Cross that day, but I had missed my train to 12 Grimmauld Place, so I had to fly in the pouring rain because of the damn Fidelius spell,” you chuckle, “I was called by Dumbledore to train new Order recruits and help Severus with any extra potions he needed brewing. And the rest is history.” you smile at the grave. "I love him so much. I can't imagine my life without him. And it’s all thanks to you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for watching over him and keeping him safe."

 

A warm wind blows behind your back and causes a few leaves to dance on the ground. You know Lily is in that wind. A silent “you’re welcome” resides in the back of your head. You smile and whisper, “Thank you. Rest easy now, I’ve got him.” 

 

Standing up, you stretch your limbs and wipe your eyes. Pulling out your wand, you wave it in a figure-eight pattern, and a vase of white carnations appears on the top of the headstone among the other flowers. You smile in satisfaction at your creation. White carnations symbolize purity and admiration, the perfect message for Lily. You walk to Severus, smiling. Grabbing his arm once more, you both exit the graveyard on the night when the Veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. 

 

Turning to Severus, you say, “Let’s go home,” and he nods in agreement, smiling lovingly down at you. 

 

Before you disapparate, he turns to you and places a warm kiss on your lips. Pulling away only slightly he says to you, “I love you,” and all is well.