This challenge kicked my butt, but this last little piece has emerged from listening to the DH2 soundtrack, courtesy of bulletimescully , and watching Half-Blood Prince in order to prime the pump before going to see it in the theatre.
It’s also in answer to something savine_snape wrote earlier about how no fictional character had ever moved and inspired her like our dear Potions master, and that she just wanted to wave a wand and give him his HEA. Well, we can. and we are the ONLY ones who can. How. Cool. Is. That? We are the ONLY ones who can. And, yes, I will. As many times as my Muse entices me to. Because no one deserved a Happily Ever After so much.
Title: Losing The World To Gain My Soul
Challenge: Angel of Death
Team: Death Eaters at minne_con
Length: 100 X 7
Pairing: Severus/Hermione, with a little Ron and Harry thrown in for extra seasoning
Summary: There is no statue of limitations on grief
Author’s Note: JKR owns these characters. She should have loved some of them more. I know I do.
You can stop crying now, she told herself resolutely. She stared at her face in the mirror, grimacing at her swollen eyes, her snotty nose, her reddened, tear-stained cheeks. Luna says every tear you cry means one less you will need to shed…
Luna was lovely but sometimes she talked complete pants.
She stood alone at the modest black stone that marked his grave. Nothing grand for him, oh no. No flowers or tributes or throngs of mourners.
Just a bushy-haired know-it-all, standing at a forsaken grave, mourning a man she had desperately tried to get to know and understand.
When does mourning become a way of life? When do you think of dying to the point you stop living? Hermione thought she might be there. She stopped taking care of herself, bathed only when she could smell herself, retraced steps and studied pensieves and wrote Arithmancy charts in her sleep.
Ron wanted to have her committed after the first month. “It’s just survivor’s trauma, Ron,” Harry had insisted, understanding her more than he was willing to admit. “Give her time.” Both of them watched her, muttering away to herself, her hair a rat’s nest of determination and stubborn denial.
“No! Hermione, that’s Dark Magic! Stop it!”
She looked up at Ron with eyes blank and flat. Her wand was in her hand, and she was calmly slicing three-inch gashes in her arms. “Go away, Ron,” she said, calmly, watching in fascination as the blood beaded from her wounds. “I’m busy.”
Harry watched her with growing despair. They were moving on; why couldn’t she? What was in that brilliant brain of hers? “Hermione, I think we need to talk.”
“No, not now, Harry,” she replied, as if in a trance. They all watched as her blood pooled into the cauldron.
“It’s for the best.”
“I know. I just can’t bear to see her like this,” Ron wept, as he watched her disappear into St. Mungo’s.
“In time, perhaps she’ll recover. The strain, you see. Too much for her. Better to do this before she harms herself, or someone else.”
Harry and Ron watched Hermione fade daily. It was as if she’d decided that she was going to die. When they asked why, she said, “Someone has to mourn. Someone has to atone. Someone has to pay.”
They didn’t know how he knew to come. They didn’t know he was alive.
He swept in as if he’d never lay gasping, coating the air with his bloody, misted breath as he gave his last secrets to his old enemy’s son. He simply walked past them to her bed and looked down on the girl, wasted away to a dull rag with enormous sorrow-filled eyes.
“It is time to stop, Hermione,” he said, his deep voice brooking no argument. “As you can see, rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”
She looked up at him, and smiled. Really smiled for the first time. “It worked,” she said, licking her cracked, dry lips.
He sighed. “Yes, it worked, but at what cost? I think you’ll find it wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t worth it.”
He raised his wand and muttered an incantation. Colour flooded her cheeks, and she passed from exhausted unconsciousness to peaceful slumber. He turned to her stunned friends.
“Potter, Weasley, stop gaping like two gigged frogs and say goodbye. She’s going to die.”
Harry, the first to recover, turned Lily’s eyes on him, furiously. “What did you do to her?”
Snape looked at him, then turned back to Hermione. With surprising gentleness, he whispered, “She called me back to her.”
Harry and Ron rushed to her side. She opened her eyes, and looked past them to the dark man in the corner of the room. “I just wanted to stop hurting.”
He nodded, as if they were the only two people in the room. “I know, Hermione. We’ll talk soon.” In his most insistent, silvery voice, he murmured, “Now, say your goodbyes.”
She looked at the ‘boys’, and smiled. “Don’t mourn me now. I’m ready.”
Holding her hand, Harry cried, “Hermione, why?” She smiled, but she was already with him. Snape.
“Because I couldn’t bear for him to be alone.”