Above and Beyond

the Housecall

JAMES

I was laughing with Sirius in my kitchen, the best room in the house apart from the bedroom, happy as larry, because I had all the (good) Marauders back in my life, when I suddenly thought about how Lily had gone to answer the door, Nikki not far behind and they hadn’t come back to join us yet.

“Hey Padfoot?”

“Hey Prongs.”

“Don’t you think Lily and Nik have been gone a while? I mean how long does it take to answer a door?”

He frowned, “You’re right, my antlered friend. Should we go see who it is? It is your house after all, and you have to be a gracious host to what ever slimeball comes in, and perhaps hits on your woman.”

I rolled my eyes, knowing that he was kidding, but I still couldn’t help but feel defensive about Lily. Hey, it was a habit.

I hit him on the arm as I got up and headed to the door. As I walked down the hallway, I saw Lily still standing at the open door, Nikki behind her, her arms crossed angrily with our guest in front of them. Only when I saw who our guest was, did I stop dead.

“Jamesie,” Sirius sang obnoxiously as he walked up behind me, “who’s at the—oh.”

Our unexpected and extremely uninvited guest looked up then, once Sirius had announced our presence. I locked eyes with him, and glared.

“When I said slimeball, James, I had no idea that it would be so accurate.” Sirius said quietly, dislike strong in his voice. I ignored him and continued glaring.

There was a strained silence, until Lily said, in a slightly shaky voice, “I’m going to ask you for the third and final time, Snape. What are you doing here?”

He ignored her and continued to stare at me hard. Sirius then said loudly, “Oi greaseball! She’s talking to you!” When Snape didn’t answer, Sirius yelled, “What the hell are you doing here?!”

Only then did he break the contact with me and looked at Lily. He swallowed, suddenly seeming very nervous, “I-I wanted to come and see you. I…needed to see you. I just wasn’t expecting such an audience.” He added snidely.

I snorted, offended, “What? You were expecting that I wouldn’t be here? You thought Lily would be here all on her own? I did die with her you know.”

“James.” Lily murmured quietly. She hated me talking like that to people rudely, even if it was Snivellus.

“No, Lils, James is right.” Said Sirius, “I think that he didn’t think about what he was doing, before he did it. You didn’t realise that we would all be together did you, Snivelly? Did you not realise that even in death, we would still be friends? Now you got yourself in a rather sticky situation, I must say. And you have to explain your quite rude intrusion on our already rocky evening to all of us.”

He folded his arms and stared at Snape, daring him to retaliate. I didn’t know what I was expecting Snape to do, but what I wasn’t expecting was for him to look at the ground humbly and almost whisper. “I came to see Lily, I-I wanted to t-tell her something, something that I never got to say before she…well, before. I know I have come on a bad night, and I am sorry for the people that have arrived tonight and I know what you are thinking. But you don’t know the whole story—”

“No, that’s where you’re wrong, Snivellus.” I said, walking slowly towards him, “Dumbledore has been a regular visitor here over the past year. You remember him right? The one you killed.”

“James.” Lily warned again. I ignored her, I was on a roll.

“Well, he told us all he knew about Harry, about our friends, and about you. We know you were the one that heard the prophecy, you were the one that relayed it back to Voldemort. And we don’t care,” I said, over the top of his protesting, “that you felt remorse for it, just the fact that you did it. That you are really the reason I am dead, the reason the Lily is dead, and the reason we are not with Harry, who is still down there fighting your Master.”

“Really,” I continued, “I knew that you hated me, and trust me, the feeling is mutual, but I would never pass along information that I knew would mean the end of life for someone. No matter whose life it was.”

It was silent. Snape looked down at the floor, and didn’t look up for several minutes. I was too mad to say anything, and Lily didn’t seem inclined to speak, so no one did. Not until Sirius, evidently bored and uncomfortable with the tension, and sick of Snape showing regret said loudly, “Somebody say SOMETHING! And Snivelly, be a dear and look up, your hair is leaving grease stains on the carpet.”

Snape’s head snapped up, and his eyes flashed, “Well Black, even in death you can’t think of any original insults. I expected a substantial improvement, but I see nothing has changed. What a pity.”

Sirius laughed, “Finally! There’s the Snivellus I know and hate. What are you going to do Snivelly? Give me a detention like you do the poor Gryffindors who were stuck with you as a teacher? Personally I would have rather have McGonagall for the whole day.”

If I wasn’t still angry, I would have laughed with Sirius, but I couldn’t help but smile a little. Snape took a deep breath to calm himself, he evidently didn’t want to fight with us tonight, but I on the other hand, was quite in the mood now for a bit of a duel.

“Look Snape,” Nikki said, “Just tell Lily what you wanted to tell her, get it off your chest, and leave before you permanently stain the carpet. Plus, we have had a trying night and we are expecting more people to be back any minute.”

“Yeah, that’s right! Remus is here. My buddy Remus. Remember him Snape?” Sirius commented snidely, “He arrived tonight, thanks to your pals with the Mark. Oh, and his wife Tonks. They’re both here! And their baby boy is still back at home. Remind you of anyone?” I know Lily hated it, but I couldn’t help be rather impressed with Sirius’s jeering. Seems it had been building up in him quite solidly over the last few years, and now he could just let it all out. “So we are quite happy that the third Marauder has joined us. He should be here soon. He was rather good at the insults, if you remember. Maybe you’ll get lucky and he’ll honour you with some tonight! Wouldn’t that be a hoot!”

I laughed, feeling the need to join my mate in his little game. I easily fell back into the old school pattern, “That would be fun, Padfoot.” I said, in a cheery tone, “But what would be more fun would be seeing the expression on Snivelly’s face when he sees Fred Weasley with Remus and Tonks Oh look! There it is! Yes, that’s right Snape, Fred is also here. You know, the really funny one? The one that is part of the Weasley family that Harry adores, like his own. Because he can’t live with us, because we are up here, so he lives with his best mate occasionally, and the seven—whoops, I mean six other Weasley kids.”

“JAMES!” Lily yelled suddenly. “Stop it. Just stop, please? Shut up so that Snape can say whatever he came to say, then he can leave us in peace. You too Sirius, I don’t want to hear another insult come out of your mouth.”

Wisely, we did as we were told. I didn’t want to push Lils too far, especially after such an emotional few hours. We all turned to look at Snape who was now staring at Lily with a look that seemed slightly familiar, but I couldn’t think of what it was. There was a long moment of silence, in which Snape continued to stare until…

“NO!” Sirius and Nikki suddenly shouted together, making me jump.

“I can’t believe this! You-you actually…” Nikki stuttered, to angry for words.

Sirius, on the other hand seemed to have no trouble getting words out, “You think you can just come into this house and say what you are about to say to James’s WIFE! Get out!”

What? How did Sirius know what Snape was going to say?

“Sirius!” Lily yelled at him, clearly thinking along the same lines as me, “What are you talking about? What is going on?!” Sirius ignored her, glaring daggers at Snape.

“Mate,” I said, “you can’t just tell someone, even if it is a greasy lump like this one to get out of my house. It’s MY house!”

He didn’t answer, he was too focused on Snape, who hadn’t moved an inch. Snape was facing Sirius defensively, his chin up, but I could tell that he was secretly regretting giving himself away, whatever it was that he gave away. “GET OUT!” Sirius shouted again.

“SIRIUS!” Lily and I yelled together.

He finally turned to us. “James, I can tell you now that Nik and I know exactly what Snape is going to say. For years and years I saw that look in someone else’s eyes, looking at the very same person. I watched it grow everyday. You’re not going to like this one bit, Prongs. I am telling him to get out now, because you will probably want to kill him. Not that I would mind so much if you did, but I’m trying to save you the energy.”

“What?” Lily said, then she shook her head. “Sirius, shut up. If Snape is going to tell me, he has to tell me himself.” She turned and looked at him expectantly.

He looked back at her hesitantly. “As I said before, I wasn’t really expecting an audience, I wanted to tell you privately. They don’t need to know.”

Nikki laughed darkly, “No, trust me, James needs to know.”

Sirius nodded, “And if you didn’t say what you are about to say in front of him, I would tell him. And you knowthat I know what you are about to say.” I had no idea what he was talking about, but evidently Snape did because he paled slightly as Sirius continued, “And also, if I told him, I would miss out on the enjoyment of watching him try to kill you.”

“Fine.” Snape grumbled, and I was suddenly nervous about what he was going to say. I waited anxiously as he turned back to face Lily. “Lily…” he said quietly, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you this sooner. I really wanted to, but after we weren’t friends, I didn’t get to see you as often, and then you married him,” He shot a glare at me, “and then I did something I regretted for the rest of my life, and I still regret doing now. Never in the entire world did I think that the Dark Lord would go after you and your son. When I found out he was, I tried to stop him, I really did. But he wouldn’t listen, then Dumbledore tried to save you, but that didn’t work either. When I found out that you were gone, I just… I couldn’t…” he looked down, and was quiet for a minute before he looked up at Lily again.

It was starting to dawn on me. How had I not noticed it when Sirius and Nikki did? That look, the way he stared at her…it was the same way I had stared at Lily for 7 years. No...oh no. He doesn’t—

“I…I love you, Lily.” Snape said quietly, “I always have and I’m sorry you had to find out now, after all the bad things you think I have done. But if you give me the chance to explain—”

“NO!” I roared, I couldn’t think, couldn’t see anything except a red haze of sudden fury. “You will not have a chance to explain! You have to get out of my house right now! Go on! GO!”

He didn’t move, he just stared at me angrily, as if I had ruined a beautiful moment for him. I might have, but I really couldn’t care less. I was so murderously mad, that Snape was in love with my wife. With Lily. My Lily. The girl that I had gone after for over 6 long years, and when I finally got her, I was the happiest man alive. There was no way that I was letting anybody come in and tell her that they loved her too. No one loved her like I did.

“I will give you 3 seconds to get out of my sight you greasy bastard!” I yelled when he hadn’t moved.

He ignored me and turned back to Lily, only enraging me further. Maybe I was being a bit irrational, but I couldn’t help it. I had always been defensive when it came to Lily, even when I wasn’t officially with her. If a man even looked at her in a way that I didn’t like, it would always make me mad. So when someone says that they love her. Well, you can imagine my level of anger…

“Lily, please listen to me.” Snape pleaded, “After your death, I switched sides. I forever followed Dumbledore. I spied on Voldemort for him, I pretended to still be his follower so that I could relay information back to Dumbledore—”

“Just like you did with the prophecy, except the other way around!” Nikki cut in.

“No! That was a mistake that I will forever regret. Lily, please believe me. I promised Dumbledore that I would take care of Harry, for you. I made sure that he was safe and happy at school, I even—”

“You did not!” Sirius yelled. He was probably wondering why I still hadn’t said anything, but I was so furious I couldn’t speak. “You made his life hell!” Sirius continued, “He hated you! You hated him! You gave him detention on his QUIDDITCH GRAND FINAL for Merlin’s sake!”

Snape ignored him, “I helped him this year, when he was on his quest from Dumbledore. I showed him where the sword was. I helped him.” He looked down again and he even had the nerve to take Lily’s hand…which was when I snapped.

“That’s IT!” I shouted. I ran at him, grabbing his cloak and shoving him against the wall so he was forced to look at me. I heard Lily scream and Nikki shriek and Sirius yell my name, but I was well past caring. “Now listen here, you slimy piece of shit.” I hissed at him. “You do not come into my house uninvited and expect to be treated like a guest. As far as I am concerned you are still a Death Eater and always will be. And you can’t possibly think that you can just tell my WIFE that you love her, because there is no one in this world, including you, that could possibly love Lily more or even the same as I do. Now, I know what it is like to love someone who you can’t have. I had to live through it for almost 7 years. But you better get used to it bloody fast, because she is mine and she always will be.

“You are never going to touch Lily again, do you understand? If you do, if you come within one hundred feet of her, I will personally beat you into a pulp. It may not have occurred to you, but the fact is that she married me, which means by some miracle, that she loves me back and I will never let her go for anything.” I thought that he would have realised that already because I never gave up on her, even after all that time, but obviously not.

“All this on top of the fact that one of my best friends has died tonight because of your master, not to mention 2 other people my son loves. I don’t care if you are not a Death Eater anymore. I don’t care if you haven’t been for 17 years. You used to be.” Snape managed to show some regret, but I was really past seeing it. “And as for everything you say you did for Harry. If it is true, then thank you. That is the only good thing you have said tonight, and if you have truly done some good things for Harry, then I have the decency to thank you. But really, I don’t care about that right now. I want you to get away from me and my friends, stay well away from my wife, and get the fuck out of my house.” I dropped him and turned away, running my hands through my hair in aggravation, taking deep breaths to try and calm myself.

When I turned back around, he was still standing there at the door, staring at me, but not leaving. “Is there too much grease in your ears?” I yelled, “GET OUT!”

He nodded and turned for the door, but Lily’s voice stopped him, “Snape.”

He turned back around slowly, hand still on the door knob. “Thank you for telling me everything.” Lily said shyly, “Thank you for all you say you have done for Harry. It means a lot to me, and to James, though he doesn’t really show it.” She shot a look at me, “And as for the other thing…well, I must admit I am rather shocked, so it might take me a while to really process it.”

He nodded again, and turned back for the door.

“And…Severus?” Lily called after him. He froze on the door step, obviously at the use of his first name, which she hadn’t used since fifth year. “I’m sorry for your death. If Harry knew all you had done for him, I’m sure he would be very grateful.”

“He will know.” Snape muttered as he turned back to leave. Then he looked up at me, “If it makes you feel any better,” he said, “Voldemort killed me. I was obviously no use to him anymore. Even he doesn’t seem to think that Death Eaters are his forever.” Then he shut the door behind him, leaving us with our thoughts.

Silence.

“Wow…” Sirius said, giving a low whistle, “That was…unexpected.”

Nobody laughed, I didn’t even give a smile, I was still glaring at the door, thinking about everything, or at least trying to through the haze of rage in my brain. Lily was quiet, and I could feel her watching me, but I didn’t look over at her.

“James,” she murmured, but I still didn’t turn my head. Her tone worried me, it made me think that she was upset at me. So I didn’t move.

“Uh, I think I will see if there is anything to eat.” Sirius muttered quietly.

I heard him retreat swiftly, almost run, and there was another tense, silent moment, then Nikki said, “You know, I think I would like some tea.” And she ran away from the scene that they thought we were going to create. They were worried that Lily and I would get in a huge screaming battle. But we wouldn’t. I knew we wouldn’t. I was tired, Lily was tired, and—even though I was still murderously enraged—we were both shocked about Snape’s arrival and confession.

“James,” Lily repeated, laying her hand on my arm. I sighed and looked over at her then. Her face was tired, but not as though she needed sleep, it as if she was worn out, like she had lived through a lifetime of events in one day. I knew the feeling.

“Lily, I’m sorry.” I started to apologize immediately, “I know I shouldn’t have acted the way I did, but I couldn’t help it. Just the fact that he would even say those things to you, in my house, I just got mad, because nobody would ever—”

“Shhh, honey it’s okay.” Lily sighed, putting her fingers to my lips to stop my rambling. “I forgive you.”

“You do?” I mumbled against her hand.

She smiled, and moved her hand from my lips, to my cheek. “Yeah I do. You shouldn’t have overreacted like that, but I know that there is a lot of bad blood between you and Snape, and I know that played a part.”

“You are the most incredible person, you know that, right?”

She rolled her eyes, but blushed slightly. “Thanks James, but I’m just exhausted. I want to go to bed. I want this night to end, and I don’t want anymore people we love to arrive here. There have been enough deaths already.”

I nodded solemnly, “I know, but I have a feeling it may be over soon. It’s alright,” I said, when I saw that her eyes started to fill with tears, and I wrapped an arm around her, brushing her long hair away from her face with my free hand. “Everything’s going to be fine.”

“I know,” she sniffed, “but I just can’t help but worry about him. What if something happens, and another one of his friends die? What if it’s Ron or Hermione? Or Ginny? What if he can’t kill Voldemort? What if–”

“Hey, where did all these ‘what ifs’ come from?”

“I don’t know, I just worry, I can’t help it.”

I smiled, “It’s okay to worry. I’m worried too. It’s natural for parents to worry about their kids. But you just have to have faith in him. And try not to let the ‘what ifs’ enter your mind.”

“Thanks James. You’re an incredible person too, you know.”

“I know.” I puffed out my chest proudly.

She laughed quietly, and I smiled, loving the fact that I could still make her laugh even when she is stressed and tired beyond her limits. “Lils,” I said quietly, needing to get it off my chest, “I know you said that you forgive me, but I just want you to know that I really am sorry for the way I acted—No, no let me finish—I can’t help but act irrationally when someone tries to hurt you, or take you away from me somehow, it’s an automatic reaction. And I know you don’t like it, but it’s really just a very strange way of me showing how much I love you.” I smiled at her, “Because, if waiting and chasing you for 6 years has taught me anything, it’s that you are the only person for me, and I really would do anything for you. Even yell at you and antagonize you so that I could get you to talk to me.” I laughed.

She laughed with me gently. “Thank you, James.” She murmured, leaning in and putting her head on my shoulder. I wrapped my arms tightly around her, and it made me feel so much better. “For everything. For protecting me and for defending me, even when I don’t want it or need it. And thank you for not giving up on me for those years, because eventually I came to see what a great guy you are, and I let you finally catch me.” She looked up and me and smiled. “And I love you too. So, so much. I did marry you, you know, and that has got to mean something.”

I laughed softly, hugging her tighter. “It does, Lilyflower. It means the whole world.”


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