Word Count: 1665
Summary: Severus works with silver to understand green.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling; various publishers, including, but not limited to: Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books; and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: Written as a pinch-hit for the 2008 Snarry Author Games. Genres: AU and Postwar. Prompt: Pensieve. Team: Phoenix! *\O/* Thank you, alisanne, fodirteg, and unbroken_halo, for beta'ing.
I don't know when the eyes gazing into mine became Harry's and not hers. It wasn't when he returned to the Shrieking Shack to collect my body and found it gone. That, I do know.
Albus taught me to be invisible, just as he taught me many other vices of survival.
Watching Harry then, Lily's son, victorious but not celebrating, I saw too much guilt in his expression for me to separate him from his mother. The guilt bled into his eyes, leaked down his cheeks, confused me. I told myself he was just another Gryffindor who took too much of the world's burden upon his shoulders. I told myself that his feelings weren't meant for me, but for himself. I told myself that he wasn't her.
What I never thought to tell myself, even in the privacy of my own mind as I knelt in one musty corner's dark neglect to eavesdrop on the brat's "apology," was that I should leave him.
Those eyes, I couldn't look away from them, but then, I've always preferred green—and replenishing one's blood supply is an exhausting affair.
Yes, that's why I stayed to listen to him.
He had the temerity to brand me a hero. My deeds were nothing in the face of Potter's assurance of my "nobility." Foolish, thoughtless, stupid boy! But I dogged his heels like the mongrel I am, searching his eyes when I could for signs of his mother. Grudgingly, I came to acknowledge the compassion—Lily's compassion—that I saw in his gaze as genuine.
But the Order of Merlin, First Class that he secured for me was no honour of mine.
I kept to the shadows of the Forbidden Forest and emerged only when I knew he'd returned to the castle and was about the grounds.
Flying has its advantages.
I followed him as he took to his broomstick to survey the damage beneath him and found that, in between sitting for lessons he'd missed, Potter wasn't above doing the work of reconstruction. In the conjured silver bowl into which I'd wrought the runes of Sieving, I moved as close to his facsimile as I dared; peering into his eyes, I saw Lily's contemplative aspect reflected.
Always Lily—it was damning to see her goodness emanating from the face of an enemy.
Damn James' Potter and his passable Potions skills!
Obviously, any idiot can brew a love draught.
I never would have done that to her, not to Lily. She deserved to be free. She didn't deserve Potter's golden band and brew of "love"—shackles, both of them, and ones I was powerless to remove.
Why I refrained from sharing that memory with Harry, I cannot say, even now.
Living amongst the trees is not the bucolic balm to the soul that poets would have one believe: it's just enough interrupted silence to allow one to meditate upon grief.
The boy felt it, too.
Most mornings, and not far from my warded den, I would find him at a small, calm pool of water, bathing. The water running in rivulets down his head and into his eyes did nothing to obscure Lily's sadness shining from them. I'd memorised Potter's every feature, the ones that belonged to him, after only a few short days: the muscles of his back as they rippled with tension, the strength of his fingers snapping sticks one-handedly, his flat, russet-coloured nipples hardening in the breeze, the curve of his arse—at some point, his physique wasn't his father's any longer, but, as those fingers curled around his cock and stroked, more slowly than I would have credited a boy his age, his eyes were still hers.
Even though I'd never seen lust reflected in Lily's.
Not for me.
The first time Potter—Harry—choked out my name as he came during one of his poolside idyls, I thought I'd imagined it. I dipped again and again into my small silver bowl, cursing the device for its faults.
He would never have . . . not for me, not when he had someone proper, someone good, someone like his mother, to love. He couldn't have called for me. He didn't want me. No, it was his grief. I couldn't believe it.
I didn't want to believe it.
Belief is a lie.
But I didn't break my bowl. I drank from it with my own eyes and ignored my weeping prick.
A pathetic teenager I was not. I yet mourned his mother.
And still she haunted his eyes, his lust-rounded eyes, when he came.
When Potter left Hogwarts for Auror training—he gave his thoughts freely to the trees, not to me—I lived on my collected memories, eye-gazing, for weeks. I didn't eat. I didn't bathe. I didn't sleep.
I had to find something I'd lost, and it wasn't the boy hero.
But it wasn't her, not Lily, for whom I was looking.
Strong enough to work a glamour, I left the forest for the environs of the novitiate where Potter was training. Security was unsurprisingly lax.
What dunderheads are the victorious!
I didn't dare the novitiate itself, not for days, and distracted myself by cataloguing its weaknesses, only to walk through them in the Pensieve at night. Seven changes would have secured the compound and the novices, and I wrote of them.
What else had I to do?
Lily was hiding from me, in my Pensieve and darkening mind, both, and a man will run wild without something to occupy him.
Even reading the book of poems Lily gave me Third Year, I couldn't call her eyes to mind.
It was maddening.
I don't know why I stayed.
When Harry wakes in the mornings, his eyes are brightest. I spent many nights after having found his room—note that his window was open and unwarded, the fool!—hovering over him and waiting for dawn. One morning, one morning I knew he'd flutter those ridiculously long lashes and show me my Lily again.
Only, one morning he reached for someone, certainly not for me, before opening his eyes, and his mouth was upon mine before I knew what was happening.
I kissed him back. What of it?
Lily's lips, they would have been as soft as Harry's, I'm sure of it.
"I like this dream," Harry said.
I made him say it repeatedly in the Pensieve. I liked hearing it. I enjoyed the idea that someone might speak of dreams and include me amongst them.
No doubt he was speaking of his Weasley, though which one, I could never discern.
At least James' obsession never wavered. I'll give him that.
For him, it worked.
I knew well enough whose body I was breaching that morning I found him writhing for me, nude, on his stomach, his arse rising in a rhythm dictated by the slide of his prick against the linen.
There was nothing feminine about him, nothing like Lily, in his entreaty. I've always been weak: I took what he offered the incubus of his dreams.
Sweet. The grasping sweetness and heat of him—it didn't matter.
It didn't matter that it wasn't Harry whom I loved.
It was merely release.
And his own fault for not securing his quarters.
I won't be blamed for it.
My name on his lips.
He begged me.
The other novices teased Harry about his "spectre," and he laughed it off, although his eyes remained hooded, darkened by desire.
I liked seeing that expression on him. I still do, but I hadn't yet learnt who was staring back at me when I slide inside, pinched a nipple, and drank the sounds of his mouth.
I came to love mornings.
And then came the morning that Harry wasn't there. His bed was cold, unslept in, and the linen, clean. His belongings, almost tidied. His training manuals, opened next to fresh sheets of parchment and a quill upon which the stained tip's ink had dried.
The letters, or I should say, the letter, was to his "beloved." He'd written that word, stricken it, pierced the parchment.
He was telling her about me, rather, about his dreams, telling her goodbye.
That was the morning that I ceased seeking Lily's eyes.
I waited three days for Potter's return. Three days without food, without sleep. Water, I took from a jug on his desk. It was enough. It was something.
It was his.
The novitiate, it stilled. I heard whispers beyond the walls, a susurrus of concern that did nothing to ease the frantic flight of my mind.
I've never had to imagine the horrible.
It wasn't a dream, the sensation of being stroked. Gentle, firm pressure from yet hesitant fingertips roused my body to rigid knowledge. I may have moaned. I kept my eyes closed.
"No glamour today? No invisibility charm?" Potter whispered. "That's not what I'd call a proper haunting."
These words were spoken against my lips. Warm words, warm breath, warm tongue—I snaked mine into his mouth and allowed my discovery to provide what benefits it could.
I never expected . . . .
The memory of Harry's body leaning into mine, hot, sticky, yielding—I admit to having poured it more often than others into my crude little device, and I still perceive the scene as if it were happening to someone else: it can't be me.
Even these many years later, I can't believe it's me, it's him, Harry, staring into my eyes in approbation of what he finds in them.
And I still don't know when I abandoned my perverse battle to find James in Harry's form and the love I never knew, Lily's love, gazing back at me.
Of course, it's been years since I didn't see Harry's love falling, green and as if freshly felt, from his eyes.
He would laugh, perhaps, to know of my journal, to know of the Pensieve I still keep, laugh to know that I summon shades when there is a living man loving me now. He'd laugh, but not at me. Not Harry.
This, I do believe.