Written for the 2011 LJ Wishlist
Requested By: Blueyes
Characters: Snape, Willow
Prompt: He sees the dark of himself in her.
Disclaimer: I don't own HP or BtVS, this was written purely for enjoyment. Braving the Storm
Snape was losing blood fast, he knew. Too fast. But as his blurred vision stared at those green eyes so like Lily’s he willed what strength he had left into collecting the right memories. He shouldn’t care about what the boy thought, but somehow, laying there dying, he did anyway.
“Take them,” he rasped as his memories spilled down his face.
And for once, instead of questions or suspicion, Potter did what he asked. His vision faded as he stared into those eyes, Lily’s eyes. He might’ve said something about that out loud, but it was hard to tell. Everything was getting so distant…
Pain yanked his eyelids open again, and after a moment of gasping disorientation, he found himself staring at a redheaded woman. Lily’s name was on the tip of his tongue, but he caught himself before it escaped. That was wrong, the hair was wrong, too bright of a red. And the eyes, they were a different shade of green, the kind that could be more blue or brown in different light.
Her lips were moving, he noticed, and like a switch being thrown, he could suddenly hear her.
“Don’t you leave me,” she was saying desperately, her hands sitting warmly on his chest while magic pumped through him in heavy, prickling waves. “Don’t you leave me like she left you…”
She loved him. He’d known for a while, but his heart was broken - the cracked pieces attached to a woman long gone. He couldn’t be what she’d wanted him to be. But her words, the thought of her living her life like he’d lived his, broken and alone, sent a pang of regret through him. A moment of hesitation.
He was just so tired.
He closed his eyes, shutting out her desperate pleading.
He found himself in grassy field, gently rolling hills around him and the sky clear and blue above. At his feet was one lone lily. A fiery orange, it stood out against the landscape - daring and bold. A shadow suddenly fell over them, a chilly wind picking up. Looking up at the sky, he saw dark storm clouds rolling in overhead. A particularly nasty gust of wind bent the lily’s stem, the delicate flower smacking into the ground once, twice, before snapping off completely and getting carried away in the breeze.
“No!” He shouted, running after the quickly disappearing flower, irrationally desperate for it not to get away.
Cresting the top of a hill, the sun suddenly came out again and he looked below to see Lily and himself under a tree. They looked so young… Laughing and smiling as magic transformed falling leaves into twisting, flying little bird-like creatures. He wanted to stay there forever. That one moment of perfection.
The lily he’d been chasing drifted over the children’s laughing faces and suddenly they were gone, leaving only the tree they’d laid sheltered under - a willow tree. As before, the sun disappeared suddenly and the wind picked up. The long graceful branches whipped around under the assault. It bent dangerously, making his eyes burn for some strange reason. But it didn’t break. It bent and bent and bent, but it never broke. Eventually the wind stopped and the tree still stood. A little battered maybe, but whole and strong - ready to face another hundred years of the same treatment.
“Are you looking for something, Mr. Cloak Guy? It’s a nice look on you, by the way. Very intimidating.”
He turned around at the sound of those familiar words to find himself face to face with Willow. She’d said the very same thing to him the first time he’d met her. He’d needed a particular ingredient and the only place to get it that time of year was from a group of witches that ran a type of rehabilitation center for those tempted by dark magic. She’d been there, sitting in that field, the light glinting of her vibrant red hair and the smell of an approaching storm in the air. Another moment of perfection.
He’d told himself it had been the red hair and the green eyes that drew him in at first. But as he found himself coming back again and again, he had to admit that it wasn’t. He saw the darkness in himself in her. That it could be in someone so… bright
… That it could be beaten back by someone like her… It had made him feel hope for the first time in a very long time.
Lily had been his one shining moment - a memory that helped him press on, day by day. A regret. A missed opportunity. A wish for redemption.
Willow wasn’t what could have been, she was what could be. A light. A shining chance. A hope for something more.
As soon as that thought crossed his mind, the vision of Willow in front of him disappeared. The field stretched out in front of him, clear except for two things. To the right was the lone lily, a splash of brilliant color on the horizon. To the left was the willow tree, graceful and somehow sad, but still strong and beautiful.
He made his choice.*******
Willow leaned against the balcony of her Parisian flat, watching the last of the day’s light disappear and the night slowly come alive. She closed her eyes and let the breeze play across her face and through her hair, relishing the peace. A warm presence soon joined her, a cashmere sleeve brushing softly against her bare arm. She opened her eyes and smiled over at Severus, glad for his company.
Now, weeks later, it was still a little strange to see him in slacks and a sweater instead of the flowing black robes. Strange in a good way though. Just like the way that hard look of his would sometimes melt into something a little softer when he looked at her. Just like many of the changes these days.
Looking at his face, she had a moment where she saw him pale and bleeding on that dusty floor, resignation in his tired black eyes. She wondered if she’d ever get that image out of her head. But as much as she hated it, it kept her from taking anything for granted. Every time that picture flashed through her mind, she was reminded how lucky she was. How grateful. He’d chosen her
. To stay with her
. To live for her
It was a heavy weight to carry - being the sole reason someone chose to keep going on. But as he looked down at her, giving that rusty smile that was slowly getting more effortless, she knew it was worth it. It was worth it a hundred times over.