"So did you enjoy the game?" Mrs. Black asked Severus as they exited the stadium.
Severus had to admit, he did have a pretty good time at the World Cup. Seeing Orion Black cheer on Ireland, it was easy to tell where Sirius and Regulus gained their enthusiasm for the game. It actually reminded him a lot of how his how father got when watching a Manchester football game.
"Yes, Mrs. Black. Thank you very much for inviting me."
The witch gave a small smile. "You are more than welcome; we are glad you could come, and please know that you are welcome at our home anytime." Sirius still thought his mother was up to something. She was rarely this pleasant with her our family, let alone a half-blood she had just only met.
As they returned to Grimmuald Place via Floo, they were instantly greeted by their house elf.
"Mistress," Kreacher said as he happily took her cloak. "Young Master Severus' mother came by not long ago. She said there was a family emergency and asked if he could be Apparated home immediately."
Severus' first thought was his father. Had an accident happened at work, or…was he somehow drinking again?
"Did she say what the problem was?" Severus asked, trying to hide his anxiety.
"No, just that you needed to come home immediately."
"I'll take the boy," Orion instantly offered.
Severus said a quick good-bye to the rest of the Black family before allowing Mr. Black to Apparate him home.
Eileen sat on the couch with her husband anxiously waiting for her son. She knew the news wouldn't hit him as hard as it did Lily, but he was close to the Evans family, and he was only a boy, after all. She knew, with as close as his relationship with Lily had become, that he would want to be there for his friend, to console her, comfort her, and mourn with her.
Eileen was broken from her thought when the front door burst open and in rushed Severus, along with a rather handsome man in extravagant robes.
"Mum, what's going on?" Severus looked over at his father, who seemed perfectly fine.
Eileen did not answer at first, but looked up at Mr. Black, who seemed to be eyeing her home with disgust.
"Thank you, Mr. Black, for bringing my son home."
"Yes, of course." His grey eyes stayed on the blood-traitor for only a moment before looking back at Severus. "Remember what my wife said, Severus. You are welcome at our home anytime."
"Thank you, sir."
In an instant, Orion Apparated away, not even bothering to exit the house before giving a proper good-bye.
"So, Mum, what's the emergency?"
Tobias rose from the couch, placing a hand on his son's shoulder. "Dad?" Severus looked up at his father and then back at his mother. They both held looks of…sadness, of despair.
"Severus, there was an-an accident," Tobias said slowly.
"An accident. Oh, my God, Lily!" Severus' heart began to race in fear. No. No. It couldn't be his Lily. Lily was at Lupin's. Lily was fine.
Tobias' hand dropped from his son's shoulder as Eileen took her son's hand and led him to sit on the couch. "Severus, Mr. and Mrs. Evans, along with Petunia, were driving back from Petunia's ballet recital and…and their car was hit by a lorry."
Severus had seen enough death in his life to know where this was going. Someone had died. "Lily wasn't in the car, though, right?" He knew the answer, but he had to clarify. Before anything, he had to know that she was okay.
"Lily's fine. I picked her up from her friend's about an hour ago and took her to the hospital to be with her family."
"Who was it? Who died?"
He had figured it out, not that Eileen doubted it, as her son always very perceptive.
Harold Evans had been one of the few positive male role models Severus had, at least in his previous life, and had treated him as one of his own children whenever Severus had been at the Evans' home. Severus Snape had seen a lot of people die over the course of his life, and the only person whose death over whom he ever cried was Lily's, but that was then, and it seemed a life time ago-it was a lifetime ago- and this was now. Unable, or perhaps unwilling to stop the emotions from getting the better of him, a silent tear fell down the boy's cheek.
What he didn't understand was how this happened. He hadn't died this way the first time, but was a victim in a store robbery a year after Lily had finished Hogwarts. What did the family do differently from the first time that led to this premature tragedy?
"Are Mrs. Evans and Petunia okay?" Severus finally managed to ask as he wiped a tear from his cheek.
Eileen nodded. "Petunia is…well, I don't know all the details, but Rose briefly mentioned her spine having been damaged, but I don't know the outcome. And Rose, she broke her left leg and a couple of ribs and her right thumb. I-I promised once she was home, I could heal them straight away for them."
"Can I go see them?"
"Severus, I don't think that's a good idea," Tobias spoke up. "At least not yet."
"Please, please, I-I need to see them. Please." What he really needed was to see Lily, to make sure she was okay. He needed to be there for her, to hold her, to comfort her, to tell her it would be okay, even though he knew it really never would be.
"Sev." Eileen cupped her son's cheek and looked understandingly into his dark eyes. "Let's give them the day, and we'll visit them tomorrow, okay?"
Severus agreed, though reluctantly. He knew his parents were right; the three remaining Evanses needed each other right now. It was simply hard for him to think of his Lily's heart in pain.
Severus didn't sleep that night. Well, maybe an hour or two, but he had gone days without sleep before, so he knew he could handle it. Of course, that had been when he was living the life as a spy, and he had been older and had had access to a variety of potions that would allow him to keep going without rest.
When Eileen made her way downstairs the next morning, she found Severus was already up, sitting at the kitchen table, drinking a cup of coffee.
"Severus Tobias Snape! What in the world do you think you're doing?" she said, grabbing the cup from his hand.
"I didn't sleep much last night, and aside from a pepper up potion, coffee is the next best solution."
Eileen rolled her eyes, and not feeling like arguing with her son, she simply handed him back the cup. "Fine, considering the…circumstance, I will let you this once."
Severus simply smirked before bringing the edge of the cup to his lips and taking another sip.
Two hours later, Severus made his way, with his mother, down the second floor corridor of St. John's Hospital. Slowly, he placed his hand on the door knob of room 204 and turned it.
He saw his love. She was sitting on the edge of her sister's hospital bed, her mother in the chair beside it. They were talking softly.
Lily's fiery red hair swished through the air as she turned toward the voice of his best friend. "Sev." The twelve-year-old girl jumped up from the bed, rushing into the arms of her best friend.
"Lily. I-I'm so, so sorry," he whispered softly.
"Oh, Sev." She began to cry softly into her shoulder. "My-my dad. My daddy, he-he's gone."
"It hurts so much."
"I know." Severus began to rub small circles on her back, allowing her to continue her soft sobs, her tears wetting his T-shirt.
Eileen took Lily's place on the edge of Petunia's bed. "How are you feeling, sweetie?" she asked the older sister.
Petunia's watery blue eyes turned to Eileen's. The witch could tell the girl had been crying recently, not that it was surprising, considering she had just lost her father.
"How do you think I feel?"
"Petunia." Rose placed a hand on her daughter's. "She's just trying to be kind."
"It's okay, Rose. She has every right to be upset."
"Upset. I'm a bit past upset." The girl's lips began to quiver, and the tears that had been building in her eyes fell to her cheeks. "My dad is dead. My legs are…I'll most likely never walk again." Her voice rose steadily and was so close to screaming. "I'm a freaking cripple! I'll never-never be a professional ballerina now! My life is ruined." Tears were now streaming down her red, flushed face.
"Oh, baby."Rose quickly pulled her daughter into her arms. "It's okay, sweetie; you can yell and cry all you want. It's okay."
At this point, Eileen, too, was crying. The wonderful little family had been ripped apart and possibly would never fully recover. She looked back over at her son and Lily, and Severus, too, had tears in his eyes, and they both watched Petunia continue to weep in her mother's arms.
A week had passed, and the now family of three tried desperately to get on with their lives. The funeral had been the day before, and of course Severus and his parents had attended. Severus had been Lily's life line and had continued to be a shoulder to cry on and had been beyond tentative to her and her mother and older sister's needs. In fact, the entire Snape family had helped out wherever they could. Eileen would cook meals and help Rose with the everyday household chores, such as doing the laundry and dishes. Tobias also lent his services by mowing the lawn, taking out the garbage, and tending to some minor repairs needed around the house, including fixing a leaky kitchen faucet and nailing down a lose fence post in the back garden.
Petunia had been all but silent since her emotional breakdown in the hospital. Most days, she spent sitting in her wheelchair in her room reading; she had refused visits from her friends or even to go outside.
"I'm really worried about her, Sev," Lily told her best friend as they sat under a large oak tree at the park. "She barely eats, won't say more than two words to anyone, even Mum, and she spends all her time reading or sleeping."
"She's depressed, Lils. She just needs some time." Severus put his arms around his friend, pulling her close, allowing her to rest her head on her chest.
"She'll never dance again, Sev." Lily's eyes began to water. "All she ever wanted to be was a ballerina."
"I know." Severus placed a gentle kiss atop her head as he rubbed small circles on her back. "She still plays the piano, doesn't she?" Lily nodded her head, which still lay on his chest. "Maybe she can focus on that."
"Mum suggested it, but she refused. Dad taught her how to play, and, well…"
Severus wanted to tell her that the pain would go away, that she and her family would heal, in time, but he couldn't because he knew deep down it would be a lie.