Severus stood very still as Dumbledore walked past him, out the door, and down the revolving staircase to the griffin three floors below.
Snape was alone in Dumbledore's office.
He glared around at the many shiny, and very delicate instruments that lay on the small, rickety tables, and shelves all around the room. His eyes had just passed over the dilluminator, and an old snitch, when they fell upon a gold ring with a small black stone cut in a diamond shape. There was a triangle, and circle, and line set into the top of the stone. He caught his breath.
It had been years since he had heard his mother's sweet voice telling him the ancient tales, but he could still recite them by heart. There sat the Resurrection Stone of Cadmus Peverell.
He took a step closer, and reached out to touch it. After the slightest hesitation, he lifted it from its resting place on the table and held it in his hand. He tilted it closer to the light, and noticed a very fine crack cut diagonally on the face of the stone, splitting the Sign in half.
Without even realizing what he was doing, Snape turned the Stone thrice in hand.
He looked up. No one was there. He bit his lower lip and sighed. Then he put the ring back on the spindly little table next to the snitch, and made to leave.
He turned around to face the door, and there she stood. Her red hair fell below her shoulders, and her green eyes stared at Severus' shoes. She had a silver sheen to her - almost like the ghosts of Hogwarts Castle. Despite that, she was just as beautiful as the day she departed this world, but there was something different.
"What do you want, Severus?" Lily Potter whispered, not raising her eyes from the floor.
"Lily, I-" Snape's throat seemed to close up, and no sound could get around it. He swallowed. "I'm sorry, Lily. For all of it. For everything."
She glanced up, and their eyes met for a very brief moment before she turned them back to the floor. "I know, Severus. I've always known."
"Why did you never tell me?"
"How is my son?" Lily asked him, clearly avoiding the question.
"I know that you have been watching him." She whispered. "I know that you sent a message to Sirius that night fifteen years ago." Lily paused. "I know what you have done."
Snape choked back a sob. "Why did you choose Wormtail, Lily? Why?"
"Sirius persuaded us to choose him. He thought that Peter would be a less obvious choice." She chuckled darkly. "I suppose we should have made him roll up his sleeves first."
"Harry has so much of you in him, Lily." Snape whispered. "He is an uncommonly kind wizard, even if his arrogance comes from James." He saw a faint smile cross Lily's face. "He has your eyes."
Lily glanced up at him, and their eyes met again. "Thank you, Severus, for watching over him." She said, softly. "I will always remember you for that."
Then, Snape realized the difference. Her eyes didn't have the same glow as before. They were distant - as if she were distracted, or her mind was elsewhere.
Two voices drifted up the stairwell. They would be here in under a minute.
"Lily, I-" There was so much he wanted to say to her, but there wasn't enough time. The voices were getting closer. Now they had paused just outside the door.
Snape turned back to the table, and swooped up the Stone. He began to turn it again in his hand.
"Severus," Lily began as Snape turned the Stone over for the third time.He looked back at her, and saw her begin to fade. "Severus," She repeated, almost completely gone now. "I forgive you." And then she was gone.
Her voice echoed inside his head as he replaced the Stone on the table. The door swung open and he took a deep breath, and turned back around. There stood Dumbledore, with a knowing look in his eye. When he stepped inside, he revealed another figure.
He had Lily's eyes.
Snape stared into those eyes for a moment. Then he bowed to the Headmaster, and swept through the door and down the stairs.
Those green eyes did not possess the distant quality that Lily's did. Those eyes were fully rooted in the here, and now.
And, he felt a bit more at peace with that now, despite the tears trying to tell him otherwise.