I Must Not Tell Lies
'What're you doing out this late?'
Harry skidded to a stop, immediately hiding his scarred hand behind him.
'Harry? Why're you out so late?'
'I was in detention,' Harry replied bitterly, 'thanks to you.'
'Me?' Elizabeth asked incredulously. 'Harry, I'm not the one who lost my temper in front of a ministry employee who already has a grudge against me.'
'But you didn't help.' Feeling the skin on the back of his hand ache, his temper rose. 'You could've talked to her. Stopped her. Something. But no. You just stood by and let her talk, and - '
'What's wrong with your hand?'
Caught off guard, he tripped over his response.
'What? N-nothing. Nothing's wrong. Stop trying to change the subject, you – '
'Harry.' Moving closer to him, she reached for his arm.
'Don't touch me,' he bellowed pulling away, 'else I'll make your version of "inappropriate fraternisation with a student" seem tame.'
Elizabeth jumped back, her face gone pale, and tears filled her eyes. 'Harry – ?'
'Just leave me alone.'
As he walked through the cold, dark Hogwarts hallways, Severus' mind drifted back to the first night he met Elizabeth cowering in the library. She'd seemed so small and helpless then, and had grown so much since.
He thought it curious that tonight of any night his mind would drift so far back. Nothing had triggered this thought; he wasn't even in the same area of the castle. Something about tonight, however, had the distinct feeling of years past.
This in mind, he turned down the last hallway on his shift, and heard the distinct sound of someone sniffling from a deserted Charms classroom. Making his way into the room, he found none other than Elizabeth sitting with her head on the front desk, her shoulders shaking with sobs.
Walking up the alleyway between the students' desks, he stood beside her and put his hand on her shoulder. She jerked, and lifted her head to look at him.
She was a wreck. Eyes and nose red, tears streaming down her face, she wrapped her arms tightly around Severus' waist and for once did not let go. Though his slim body could not have been particularly comforting, his presence seemed to be enough.
'He h-hates… me,' she choked out after a long bout of crying. 'He… I can't do it anymore, Severus…"
Reluctantly, he allowed his arms to slither around her shoulders. 'I'm sure you are overreacting, Elizabeth.'
'He screamed at me not to touch him; he threatened my position here; he wants me gone…'
Seething, Severus' reluctance to hold Elizabeth evaporated. He could not tell whether this was from anger at Potter, or a fear of losing her, but there was a sudden ache in the pit of his stomach which urged him to keep her close. 'He would not do anything of the sort.'
'He did. He hates me. I don't know what to do with him anymore, Sev. I just… he's so…' Her voice faded, and she held his waist tighter, the tears now coming in one solid, though silent, stream.
Holding her, enveloped in the dark quiet of the deserted classroom, Severus felt a calm wash over him, one he had not felt since…
'What would Lily and James say, Severus, if they saw what a mess I've made of their son?' she muttered quietly into his robes.
Swallowing his hatred, he replied, 'They would say you have done all you can, and it is up to him to get over his pigheadedness.'
She sniffed. 'But – '
'Elizabeth.' She looked up at him again, and saw one eyebrow raised in supreme scepticism. 'They could not complain about your treatment of the boy. You are the most unselfish person I have ever encountered. '
'Have you look in a mirror lately, Severus?' she asked softly from her place on his stomach.
She smiled gently, 'Severus… are you letting your kindness show again?'
'I could let go, Elizabeth.'
'You could,' she replied, returning her head to his stomach again, 'but I don't want you to.'
Time ticked on, and the two held their embrace for a long while. All too soon, however, light began to creep over the mountains and into the window.
When the sun hit Elizabeth's back, they both came out of their trances. Severus removed his hand from where it had rested in Elizabeth's hair, and in turn she released his waist, allowing him to move away. He didn't move from his position, but she gathered her things and moved quietly to the door. Her hand on the knob, she glanced back meekly over her shoulder and muttered, 'Thank you, Severus,' before exiting into the empty school.
After she'd gone, Severus sat in the same chair from which she had clung to his waist. He could feel the damp spot on his robes where her tears had fallen, and could smell her perfume still clinging to his robes. Something had happened that night, but what it could be, he didn't know.
Watching the sun rise over the mountains to which he had grown so familiar, he thought he did not want to know.Because what he did know was that it would change everything.