He had just voiced the exact question Minerva McGonagall was asking herself and she wondered if he had dared to violate her mind…or if he simply knew her too well. She certainly had not felt the invasive touch of Legilimency. Her eyes narrowed in suspicion nonetheless as she stared down the length of her wand into Severus Snape’s black eyes. He was on the floor at her feet, his wand several feet away, where it had fallen when she had disarmed him.
“You killed Albus,” she said coldly in answer. ”Why, Severus?” she couldn’t help but add.
He fixed her with his inscrutable gaze and she wondered once again how she could have misjudged him so badly. He had been a colleague, if not a friend, and she had thought she knew where his loyalties lay, but then he had proved her spectacularly wrong.
“The world isn’t black and white,” he said. “There are shades of grey too.”
“And where, may I ask, does that leave you?”
“In the shadows,” he replied, not missing a beat. “If you kill me, you’ll come to know those shadows well.”
Minerva felt a chill run through her and suddenly she felt very old. She wondered what she had thought she was doing. She was just an old woman; why had she thought she could bring Severus to justice. Because Albus deserves that much, a small voice in the back of her mind reminded her.
“Ah, yes, dear Albus,” Severus mocked her. “What would he think of you killing me?”
“How dare you!” Minerva was not sure if she was more incensed by the intrusion into her mind or the casual way in which Severus spoke of the man he had killed – of her friend. Her wand shook in her hand. One spell and she could avenge Albus and prevent this man before her from harming anyone else.
But, as she stared at the pitiful excuse for a man at her feet, she realised that even now he was playing her for a fool! “You want me to do this,” she said, realisation heavy in her voice. “You're trying to goad me into killing you. You don’t mean it; any of it. Do you ever stop playing games, Severus?”
“None of it has ever been a game,” he said quietly.
“No, it hasn’t.” Minerva met his eyes again, knowing she had finally found a trace of the truth and that her decision had been made for her.
“Incarcerous!” As the ropes bound Severus, Minerva stooped to pick up his wand and knew she had made the right choice. Whatever he had become, it was not who she was and he had been right, if she killed him, she would become no better. Albus would never have wanted her to kill.