Author’s Note: So Kedavra and MidnightzStorm are back again! After going through our old stories cringing through the cliché plots, grimacing at the lack of proper grammar and laughing at the use of Backstreet Boys lyrics, we decided to redeem ourselves. We have grown so much since the time when we decided to spell the word 'too' with the number '2'. We hope you enjoy what our matured selves have written. We are extremely proud. The concept for this story was taken from a plot bunny on and the plot was inspired in part by Episode 3.09 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “The Wish”.
Severus Snape had never considered himself a nervous man.
But now, as he paced around the gigantic foreboding mouth of the cave, he could feel every part of him shaking. His long, pale fingers were shivering with anxiety as he pressed them fervently on his burning forearm.
He had been summoned by the Dark Lord just minutes ago and apparated to the secret home of He Who Must Not Be Named immediately. But the Dark Lord, in his infinite desire to inflict fear in even his faithful followers, had a penchant for making people wait.
It had been a mere day since Snape had faced the one man who trusted him completely, and Snape had betrayed him. The memory still burned on his mind, far stronger than the Dark Mark that burned on his arm. He knew not whether the Dark Lord had summoned him here to praise or to punish him for his actions. He was not the one his master meant to murder Dumbledore, but there had been no choice after the Unbreakable Vow he had made to Narcissa and the promise he had made to Dumbledore himself.
“Snape,” called a high-pitched wheezing voice from the mouth of the cave.
Snape stopped pacing and looked around. Peter Pettigrew stood at the entrance of the Dark Lord’s lair.
“He will see you now,” Pettigrew informed Snape. The smallest smug smirk had slipped onto Pettigrew’s face, as if he knew Snape were about to face punishment.
Drawing himself up to full height and striding past Pettigrew imperiously, Snape didn’t bother to acknowledge the other man. He entered the cave appearing to have all the confidence that he truly did not possess.
Cautiously, he approached the menacing doors outside the Dark Lord’s throne room. He pressed the tip of his wand onto the door, and immediately, green lights laced across the surface of the door, alerting the Dark Lord to his presence.
“Enter,” hissed a voice from inside.
Pushing aside the large doors slowly, Snape approached the towering throne and sank to his knees as soon as he glimpsed the red slit-like pupils of his master.
“Snape,” the Dark Lord said in a decisively neutral tone.
“Yes, my lord?” Snape responded automatically.
“You did not follow my instructions,” the Dark Lord observed. “The Malfoy boy was supposed to kill Dumbledore.”
Snape sunk his head lower. Evidently, the Dark Lord was not pleased with his stepping in, and he was about to be severely punished.
“However, your interference has clearly resulted in desirable effects.”
Snape raised his head in surprise, meeting the Dark Lord’s eyes for the first time.
“I won’t deny that you have done me a great service,” the Dark Lord continued. “Dumbledore is dead, and without his guidance, the Order of the Phoenix will collapse. I suppose I should thank you, Snape.”
“It is my honor to serve you, my lord,” Snape replied, relief evident in his voice.
“I must admit, Snape, I had doubts about your loyalty. But the fact that you were able to destroy the strongest opponent that stood before me has brought you into my good graces. I have decided that you are to be trusted now.”
“I am glad to have earned your trust, my lord.”
“I have a gift for you, Snape.”
Snape looked up, curious.
Raising his wand, the Dark Lord levitated an object that had been lying on the armrests of his throne. Slowly, he floated it downward until it stayed suspended motionless in midair, right within Snape’s reach.
It was a talisman. He grasped it by the chain and held it at eye-level to observe it. The gem that hang from the heavy gold chain was shaped like a teardrop and small enough to fit comfortably in the palm of his hand. It was a brilliant shade of translucent green, but floating inside were a cloud of shimmering gold flecks.
“What is it, my lord?” Snape inquired curiously.
“I am not yet sure of its properties,” the Dark Lord said. “But that is why I am entrusting it to you. Investigate the magical potential of this talisman and report to me when you know its uses. I suspect it may be of use in the future.”
“Yes, my lord.”
“You are dismissed.”
“Thank you, my lord,” Snape muttered as he rose slowly. As quickly as he dared, he exited the cave and apparated back to Spinner’s End.
By the time he was within three meters of his front door, tears were already threatening to fall from his eyes.
Part of him wished that the Dark Lord had killed him for his actions. A man as cowardly and untrustworthy as him did not deserve to live. After all the deaths he had caused, by his hands or by his actions, he was a mass murderer.
He stumbled awkwardly into his house and collapsed into a chair by the fire. Glancing around the room, he saw an unopened bottle of fire whiskey sitting on the kitchen counter.
“Accio whiskey,” he muttered carelessly.
Not bothering with a glass, he took a long deep swig from the bottle and savored the burning sensation as it slid down his throat.
If there was one example as a failure as a human being, he thought bitterly, it would be him. He could not come to terms with the fact that he had killed everyone he had ever loved. Lily Evans (he still could not bear to think of her as Lily Potter) was murdered by the Dark Lord on his evidence. Dumbledore had died by his own hand. He had not even been strong enough to save his mother from the constant abuse of his father.
Another swig from the bottle to dull the pain.
Snape pulled the talisman the Dark Lord had given him from his pocket.
“The lives of everyone you ever cared about,” he muttered to himself. “And this is all you have to show for it.”
He clenched his fist tightly around the talisman, and he let the guilt wash over him. Faces floated through his mind as though intent on haunting him and pointing out his many failures. Through haze of people, he could even spot the accusatory face of Sirius Black. The childhood grudge seemed so petty now, and Snape understood that his goading words had sent Black to his death.
Snape upended the bottle into his mouth, drinking as deeply as he could.
Coughing, he struggled to focus his vision. The bottle was already almost completely empty.
Perhaps, he thought viciously, things would have turned out better in this world if Severus Snape had never existed.
He took another swig, finishing the last of the whiskey.
Yes, all the people he had killed, the Dark Lord he had helped rise to power. They would all have survived had he never been born, never been given the chance to make the mistakes that he made. Quietly, through the quickly approaching haze of the alcohol’s effects, Snape whispered to himself, “I wish I had never existed.”
In response, the talisman still clenched in his fist erupted in a blinding flash of light.
His fist closed on nothingness, and suddenly he felt his entire body hurtling through space. With a dull thump, he landed face first onto dewy grass and promptly lost consciousness.
Many hours later, Snape awoke, groaning as he rubbed the dirt out of his eyes. What in blazes had happened?
Dimly, he remembered drinking the bottle of whiskey in his house. But he was no longer inside; he was blinking stupidly into the early morning light.
“Must have passed out from the whiskey and forgotten,” Snape muttered to himself.
Just then, another voice cut into his thoughts. “Who the bloody hell are you?” the voice asked.
Snape looked up. The rising sun framed a face he had not seen in nearly seventeen years, a face with startlingly green eyes and beautiful red hair: the face of Lily Evans.