Chapter 1 : There Cannot Be Evil
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For those who don’t know, ‘omniscience’ is ‘to be all-knowing’. It ties in with ‘omnipotence’, which is ‘to be all-powerful’ and ‘benevolence’, which is ‘to be all-loving’. The three together are called The Inconsistent Triad and it’s all to do with a giant RS debate over whether or not evil exists.
Also, any referrals to Snape being in Godric’s Hollow before are from a one-shot I haven’t posted – it’s where Snape visits Lily when she’s pregnant, of February 1980.
Hope you like it~
The rain pours as he steps slowly through the streets, but he doesn’t feel a thing. His hood is down, the stinging drops flowing freely down his back and through the thin material of his cloak, but he barely notices the weather at all.
It is surely not right that there should be so little life after such a great disaster; but on the other hand, maybe it is fitting that the people of Godric’s Hollow have all disappeared indoors and cannot be seen. It makes sense to be inside, commiserating alone and in silence, though he knows that for most, they are doing quite the opposite.
Him, celebrating? Never.
It is the worst thing in the world to be here, tonight, but he cannot go back. Just like he could not go back on his new-found knowledge, and the choices it brought him. The choices he made to get to this point.
Once upon a time, he had walked these streets before, dreading to be thrown out by the inhabitants of the same house that he was walking to now.
Tonight, he dreads the meeting so much more because there is definitely no chance he will be pushed away.
He doesn’t look up from the rain-slick pavement as he crosses the street and turns a corner before pausing to glance at a road sign. The letters he can barely read cause him pain as he registers he has come to the right place; there will be no more searching for the place he already knew the location of.
There will be no more searching after tonight, just a dead pain in his chest as if he had a rock for a heart. He is sure of it, and so, why is he here? But the answer is already there.
He could not go on living without knowing for sure. And he cannot know for sure until he has said his own goodbye within the shell of this place, where such a range of emotions and such a vibrant life has been held.
Held… without him. He never thought the pain of his being rejected in favour of such a bully could pale in comparison to something else, but here he was; crippled in the knowledge of what he had done with that crossroads he had stood at, once he had heard just a few lines of supposedly harmless conversation.
At least she had been alive and well, had a life, been happy… it might have been without him, but had loved her and tried to let her go. By God, he had loved her; she was the best thing in his life, always had been and always would be.
He walks up the street to roughly the middle, where a house sits. It’s not too big, and not too small; it holds a family of three, who were going to live there and grow up with more children and become the perfect idea of a happy family all together, with him no more than a passing shadow on her mind; a memory pushed to the back in favour of brighter things.
For him, she was and is the brighter thing.
Slowly he stops in the middle of the road, directly in front of the house, and pauses for a moment to examine the shards of glass and splinters of wood at his feet. Nobody has cleared it up yet; it will be moved away during the morning light in several hours’ time, when there are no more monsters in the dark to be scared of. He screws up his courage, ignoring the shades of his face in a particularly large chunk of glass, and inch by inch, he raises his head to look at the house.
It’s her house. It’s her house, and he shouldn’t have known, but for someone mentioning it in passing several years ago. If he hadn’t visited her once before, he couldn’t have told him; but even that would not have mattered if he had not been the one chosen to find out that awful prophecy, the one chosen by the Dark Lord.
Another choice. Another wrong choice.
The image of the house as it used to be is beating through his mind like the mantra of a clairvoyant trying to resurrect the long-gone image of someone, something, else. If he stares long enough without blinking, he can almost see the golden glow on the lawn as the light spills from the windows; he can almost smell the roses and honeysuckle that grow in abundance around the home, albeit a little wildly.
She always was the most beautiful and shining bloom in the tangled and overgrown garden.
But when his eyes start to sting from the dry, he has to quickly snap them shut and open again… and it’s gone.
For that moment, the concrete surrounding his heart was levered just a tiny bit. Now, as he places a foot on the ground in front of him, and then the other, the casing is slowly gripping his heart instead. It squeezes, tighter and tighter, as he places a foot in front of the other.
He knows that if he stops this graveyard walk at any moment, he will never restart. The only thing harder than carrying on will be just that, trying to start again. He will not manage it if it comes to that.
This time, as he forces himself through the tiny wrought-iron gateway – the gate itself is lost in the rubble on the front lawn – he is seeing a rather different set of memories and pictures flashing through his mind. The feeling when he and her were separated, deemed enemies, and the tensions that led to the eventual break. How he had finally felt accepted somewhere.
How it had felt to be branded with the Dark Mark. Being told to listen to a certain prophecy that had been predicted for centuries. Having to relay it back to his master, and the sick knowledge of what he had told.
Not her. Surely it wasn’t her, he had reasoned.
But his master merely stated that his infatuation with the Mudblood was getting tiring.
That was his first wrong choice; to join. His second; to listen. His third; to relay it. His fourth; to have gone to Dumbledore yet still be here.
But no, the night was his and hers, for one last time.
He finally reached the empty doorway. The once-cheery scarlet-painted wooden structure hung off half of its hinges, cracked down the middle, and a ‘Happy Hallowe’en!’ sign is still miraculously intact and whipping in the howling wind.
He still does not see. He remembers, and his eyes blindly search the floor he has stepped onto…
Without meaning or thought, his eyes latch onto the outline of a person, in the corner of the living room just to his left. He tilts his head, eyes frantically searching, before he realises – no. It is her husband.
Suddenly, there is something so pathetic and awful about the crumpled body of James Potter, who has tormented him all his life, and now lies here on the floor. His glasses have come half-off his nose, and he has only one sock on. There is no wand.
He feels suddenly the most keen pain as the shell tightens further around his heart. It isn’t right, to see the bully toppled so entirely, so totally brought to the bottom of his game. This person has always been the one doing the hurting, making his own self so humiliated and pain-filled that he never thought to hate anyone more.
Then he had hurt him by taking the woman he loved… loves. Their happiness only gave him such awful pain that he searched for acceptance elsewhere, in the wrong place.
Slowly, he bends down beside the fallen man, and pauses. He doesn’t know what to do, because it is not for him that he came. He feels nothing for the man except a slight sorrow, a pity, which is more than was ever shown to him in life.
So he straightens up and turns his back, feeling like a coward, and hating himself for not mourning the dead yet not wishing him dead either. He cannot pledge his allegiance and he feels as though he has failed some unwritten test, because he has declared himself to be part of the black yet stands in the twilight.
But he walks away, heading towards the stairs where the nightmare continued. He slowly steps up each one carefully, carefully, perceiving the happy photos that line the stairs but have been tipped crookedly, many fallen off and lying in shards at his feet as he ignores it all and just walks.
Before he could breathe, he is at the top of the stairs, faced with more doorways; another decision. But for this one, there is only one obvious answer.
He turns to the left, and he takes four, five, six steps to the doorway. There is only part of the roof, and it just about covers her.
He freezes, and so does time.
There she is. Lying crookedly in front of a baby’s cot, though it is empty. Her beautiful hair is spread about her, and she is so completely still, yet somehow, he still finds the strength to walk through.
The wrong choice.
He knew… he knew it all; he was omniscient; all of the prophecy, and what it would mean for her and for them and for him. He knew what he was doing for this acceptance; what did it come to? Nothing.
Everything has turned to ash around him, and she is the wine; beautiful by herself, but deadly when mixed together.
He loves her. He loved all of her; benevolence, to be loving everything… the one thing he could not love were her choices. Her choices of him, of separation…
And as he steps through, crumpling to the ground, and crawling to her, he knows he had all the power. He had the power to stop it, to stop it all… but he didn’t. He took his knowledge and he used it for evil. His omnipotence was a paradox.
Around him the wind howls, snapping at his robes and whipping freezing sleet across his side, but he knows none of it. He is sitting beside her, staring at her face, as if he is an infant again. He doesn’t know, he doesn’t know what to do. Without her, does anything have a meaning?
He reaches out a finger to touch her cheek, and where they connect, he feels a shock go through him. Her skin, always so white, is truly cold and like ice against him.
Before he knows what he is doing, he has her in his arms like he always wanted her to be, like they never got to be.
His mind is as frozen as her skin, and as first one tear drops, his black eyes are suddenly overflowing with all the emotion left in his heart, while the rock surrounding it is squeezing out the last feelings…
He felt nothing as he was drained, and he thinks nothing, and knows nothing except the greatest pain that numbs him; shutting down the last things he can think and feel. He wants to die, to be with her. But he cannot. He cannot.
And as he rocks her, he can feel the last of himself twisting and shattering, breaking away from what was left of him until he is barely even a shell. He is nothing anymore.
It is said that if one is omniscient, and omnipotent, and benevolent, then evil cannot occur. He had been all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving – he had been those for her.
But she was no longer. And that was surely the greatest sin of them all.
Therefore evil existed. Therefore he could not have been all-knowing; he could not have known how soul-draining her death would be. He had not known that he could do it all for some measly acceptance he did not truly crave from others, but from her.
He does not know.
He does not know how or when he stumbles back out of the house, somehow pulling himself into spin to disappear from the place of such misery, never to return again. All he knows is the blackness pushing in on all sides, the blindness that he cannot recover from.
It may be darkest before the dawn, but for Severus Snape there will be no more light.