He stood in the shadows, hidden by a Disillusionment Charm, watching as the joy and merriment rose all around him. People were walking into the church, wide smiles on their faces. After all, today was a wonderful day, wasn't it? It was a happy occasion, was it not? James Potter, the James Potter, was getting married to the most beautiful, loving, kind woman in the world, Lily Evans. They would be joined together in holy matrimony, and this ceremony was the beginning of their life together. They would be happy, and love each other till death did them part.
But the man who stood in the shadows felt completely the opposite emotions. His anger, hatred, and sorrow were so enormous they filled up his entire being; he thought he could feel it, literally, in his skin. His heart thudded painfully, and with each beat, it splintered a little more.
How could she do it? he thought, clenching his fists. How could his Lily, his gorgeous, lovely Lily, want to marry such a vile, repulsive man as James Potter? The fact that James, whose face had given Snape nothing but nightmares for many years now, who spat out the name "Snivellus" like it was the most foul curseword in the world, could get to glow in Lily's happiness, could get to kiss her sweet, rosy lips and hold her small delicate hand within his foul, Quidditch-calloused one ... the thought was enough to make bile rise up Severus's throat.
He remembered back to their school days, where he and Lily had sat under their favorite beech tree by the lake. There, Lily had taken Severus's hand within hers, given him a soft smile and said, "Don't worry. We'll always be friends, Sev. Always. I swear a witches oath to you, Sev, that I will never, ever fancy such a rotten, despicable person as James Potter. Even if we were the last two people on Earth, I would spend my time alone. He's nothing but an idiot who struts around the school, thinking he owns it. He's so arrogant, he's got an ego the size of all the solar systems in the world combined. The worst nightmare I could possibly think up would be to marry him. Can you imagine? Me and him?" She'd scrunched up her face in all her twelve-year-old glory and exclaimed, "Eeeeeeeeeeew!"
And Severus had laughed, knowing and content with the fact that he had the one thing James could never have. The other boy had everything in the world, except the one thing he wanted desperately. And his enemy, Snape, had it, and he treasured her more than any diamond or pearl he would ever lay his eyes on.
But he had ruined it. With one simple word, two syllables, he had ruined everything they had ever had. And now, as he looked at the man standing in the church waiting for his bride to arrive, he knew Lily had broken the most sacred oath she had ever sworn to him. Lily had started dating, and was now marrying, James Potter.
Suddenly, a hush fell over the church. Harmonious music began to play, filling every crevice of his heart with loneliness as Snape knew what was about to happen next. Part of him wanted to run, run, run from the shattering of his world, but he was rooted to the spot, unable to look away. He knew he was about to watch his life go up in flames, but it was as if he was glued there by a spell.
So, unable to do anything else, Snape looked around, and his heart jumped into his throat as he saw ... her. Lily, breezing down the aisle on her father's arm, absolutely glowing with love and happiness. She was beautiful, in her long white wedding dress, her halo of red hair shining and her mesmerizing emerald green eyes sparkling with a joy that Snape had never seen before, not even when they had been friends.
Well, if marrying James Potter is her worst nightmare, she certainly looks as if she's happy to be in Hell, Severus thought, fury and sorrow and hatred and love twisting through him. He felt like he could barely hold himself up - he wanted to collapse to his knees and sob until blackness claimed him and he stopped breathing. This was torture of the worst sort - for when he had imagined her in a white wedding dress, she was walking down the aisle towards Snape himself, not the bastard who had ruined his life. And the love in Lily's eyes, her complete, euphoric happiness - Snape felt like screaming, howling, banging his fists until there was nothing left but splintered bone and muscle, because that was truly how his heart felt.
After the music had stopped, Snape continued to watch as the man who was marrying them began the ceremony. When it came time for the vows to be said, Snape was trembling. His entire body quivered and quaked, desperately wanting to release the emotions he was containing inside of him.
"Do you, Lily Marie Evans, take James Henry Potter, to be your lawfully wedded wife?" the Minister asked. "For richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part?"
Snape looked desperately into her emerald eyes, pleading silently that somehow she could see him. Please don't do this, Lily, he thought, the last shard of his heart teetering on its axis.
"I do," Lily said softly, a world of love contained within those enchanting, beautiful eyes.
And with that, the last sliver of hope Severus Snape had was destroyed. As James drew Lily into a tender, warm embrace and a fierce, passionate kiss, he felt as though he had no heart anymore.
Lily had done it. His childhood friend, the one his soul cried out for, the love of his life, was now forever Mrs. James Potter. Tears streaming down his face, he left the church as quickly as he could, never looking back.
It was over. His life was over.