"I'm not interested."
"Save your breath."
It was nighttime. Lily, who was wearing a dressing gown, stood with her arms folded in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady, at the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.
"I only came out because Mary told me you were threatening to sleep here."
"I was. I would have done. I never meant to call you Mudblood it just-“
“Slipped out?” There was no pity in Lily’s voice. “It’s too late. I’ve made
excuses for you for years. None of my friends can understand why I even talk
to you. You and your precious little Death Eater friends—you see, you don’t
even deny it! You don’t even deny that’s what you’re all aiming to be! You can’t
wait to join You-Know-Who, can you?”
He opened his mouth, but closed it without speaking.
“I can’t pretend anymore. You’ve chosen your way, I’ve chosen mine.”
“No—listen, I didn’t mean—”
“—to call me Mudblood? But you call everyone of my birth Mudblood,
Severus. Why should I be any different?”
“You are different Lily. And I never meant to call anyone else Mudblood either, really.”
“So it’s just been slipping out completely against your will these past few months? Along with the Dark Magic hexes?” She was at her most sarcastic- and most dangerous. “Or maybe Malfoy had you under the Imperius Curse?”
“It’s not as terrible as you make it sound Lily. It just-“
“Just nothing! No Severus, those people are disgusting! Did you see what they did to Mary the other day? It was evil, real Dark Magic. I can’t!”
She turned to storm away, but he caught her by the sleeve. “Lily please…” his voice was pleading.
She looked into his dark eyes, her own emeralds softening slightly. "Look Sev," she said, using his childhood nickname again. "I don't want to lose you as a friend. But I can't be friends with someone who subscribes to that vile ideology."
"I'll change, Lily," he said desperately. "Swear to me you'll stay my friend and I'll leave them. I just don't want to be alone..."
"You had me," she insisted, blazing up again. "I've always been your friend, haven't I?"
Severus sat down on the stone floor, bracing himself for a long debate. "Look Lily, I don't particularly like MacNair, or Avery, or even Malfoy. I wasn't friends with them for the first few years. But... things happened, and I needed them. We've been doing an exchange of services."
Lily slid down to sit across from him, crossing her arms stubbornly. "Don't get all vague on me, Severus. What kind of "things" came up that would make you be friends with Slytherins?"
"And therein lies the problem," he said wearily.
The green eyes narrowed dangerously. "Severus Snape if you don't stope being cryptic I will just-"
"-Alright, alright," he said, breaking into what was sure to be a long rant. "I'll be straight with you if you'll promise not to interrupt." She nodded tightly, and he continued. "Gryffindors see us as dark, twisted, and evil, when in truth, they are far worse in some ways. I won't deny that Malfoy dabbles in Dark Magic, but he is also fiercely protective of every single Slytherin; he'd die before letting them get hurt. We’re people also- and in case you’ve forgotten, I’m a Slytherin too!”
“Yes, but you never acted like one,” Lily said sadly. “And now you are.”
“Lily, there is no such thing as “acting like a Slytherin”,” He explained. “There are good Slytherins and bad Slytherins, good Hufflepuffs and bad hufflepuffs, good Ravenclaws and bad-“
“Alright, I get your point,” she interrupted. “But my point still stands; most Slytherins are evil, and most Gryffindors are good.”
He shook his head in frustration. “It’s not true. It’s just not. Some of the greatest accomplishments in our world have been made by Slytherins, and Gryffindors have been the scum of the earth!”
Severus began to tick off on his fingers, “Gunhilda of Gorsemoor who discovered the cure for Dragonpox was in Slytherin, Phines Nigellus was the first Headmaster to do thorough background checks on his teachers and he was in Slytherin, and even Merlin himself was in Slytherin! You can’t possibly say that there haven’t been noble Slytherins.
"As for Gryffindors, you don’t need to look farther that your own Common Room. Take, for example, Potter and Black. They’re Gryffindors and they don't practice the Dark Arts, but they're a far cry from innocent. They pick on the weak, the small, the outcasts. They have made my life a living hell from the time I entered school, yet they call us the evil ones."
Severus was getting very worked up now, and Lily was watching him with her mouth slightly opened. "There are three first year girls, first year girls, Lily, who are afraid to leave the dormitory because they were in the Hospital Wing four times in their first two weeks because of those bullies. And that was just for a passing laugh.”
“Severus,” she interrupted. “I understand that you dislike Potter and his crew. But that doesn’t explain or excuse your actions. I thought you were going to tell me why you were associating with the future Death Eaters.”
He sighed and looked at his hands. “You know that they dislike me Lils- they’ve hated me since we met on the train.”
She nodded, a flash of hatred igniting her eyes. “Good for nothing,” she growled. “But yes, what of it?”
“As they got older, so did their pranks. I’ve been the butt of more jokes than I can count and they’ve become less funny and more dangerous as the years proceed. It was really getting unbearable.” He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts.
“I had no idea,” Lily said, her eyes wide with disgust.
He pressed on relentlessly. "As their favourite victim, I needed muscle behind me- I just couldn't take it anymore. Malfoy approached me with a proposal that I couldn't refuse...and it just progressed from there. I never meant it to get to this point, Lily, but I might have otherwise offed myself- that's how bad it was."
He looked over at Lily who was watching him in horror, tears coursing silently down her pale cheeks. "Severus, I'm so sorry...I never knew," she said quietly. "I'm so, so sorry."
"I just don't want to be alone," he repeated.
"I'll never let you be alone," she breathed. "Just come back to me Sev. I feel like I've been losing you this year."
He drew closer, and took her hand in his own. "Never again Lily," he promised. "I'll take their scorn and their hatred...I'll never go back there. You’re worth more than a thousand Malfoys to me."
She smiled up at him, feeling as if a great weight had slipped from her shoulders.
He smiled back, reaching out to cup her face in his hands. His lips pressed against hers for a few seconds and fireworks exploded in her stomach. It was a soft ,sweet kiss, hesitant and shy, but it was everything she could have hoped for.
And then as quickly as it had happened, it was over. Severus pulled away and practically fled, astonished at his own boldness.
"I love you Sev," she called softly after his retreating figure.
She turned back to the portrait hole, to find the Fat Lady sniffing and wiping her eyes with a lacy handkerchief. "Your first kiss dearie?" she asked.
Lily nodded, running her fingers through her long hair. Secretly, she had hoped that he would be her first kiss, and it had been as amazing as she had dreamed. And to think that she had considered agreeing to a date with Potter!
"Ah, young love." The Fat Lady was still teary eyed. "Well, go on in and tell your friends. I’m sure they want t hear all about it."
She swung forward, and Lily entered the Common Room, still floating on her cloud of joy. She wasn’t going to tell anyone just yet, she decided. Let them see when she went to Hogsmeade with Severus…
Four years later
Severus Snape paced back and forth outside of his bedroom, trying to resist the urge to enter. He could hear Lily's cries getting softer, and he was going mad from not knowing what was happening.
The blasted mediwitch had been in the room for hours but refused to let him in, claiming that Lily needed quiet. Alice Longbottem had been allowed in to see her earlier, but no men were permitted to enter. Imagine being locked out of his own bedroom!
Suddenly, Lily let out a loud shriek, and he lunged for the doorknob, determined to go in and be with her. Before he could unravel the complicated locking charm, however, the door flew open and a smiling mediwitch beckoned him inside.
"Congratulations Mr. Snape," she chirped. "You have a beautiful son."
"And Lily?" he demanded tensely. "Is she alright? What’s with her?"
The mediwitch looked surprised for a moment, and then laughed. "Ah, the nervous husband. Mrs. Snape is quite fine, you can go in and see her if you wish."
Severus pushed past the smiling woman and rushed to the bed where Lily lay, eyes closed, her beautiful face still bathed with perspiration. She opened her eyes and smiled up at him when he came near.
"How are you feeling?" he asked, stroking her long red hair tenderly. The nurse handed him a wet cloth and he began to sponge her face gently, wiping away the sweat and ...tears?
"I'm fine," she whispered, her eyes drifting shut once more at the touch of the cool cloth. "And so is little Harry." She gestured to the white wrapped bundle lying in the cot beside her bed.
"Harry, is it?" Severus chuckled. He barely spared a glance for the baby- his eyes were all for her.
Lily smiled and reached up to place a hand on his chest, like she always did when he laughed. She loved the way that his laugh rose up from deep inside his chest. "We discussed this Severus. We are naming him for my father."
"Certainly we are, but he needs a middle name."
He sat down on the edge of the bed, and she half-sat up to lean against him. He carded his fingers absently through her damp hair, just enjoying the feeling of her curled up next to him. He chuckled again as the scent of her perfume drifted up to his nose- only Lily put on perfume before going into labour.
"You know," he murmured after a while. "Everything that we have now is really thanks to James Potter."
She sat up straight at that, the top of her head colliding painfully with his chin. "Oops, sorry," she giggled. "But...James Potter? How do you figure that?"
"Well," he replied. "If not for that incident, I probably would be a Death Eater now, and you could very well be married to Frank Longbottom!"
She didn’t have to ask which incident he was referring to- they referred to it as The Incident, if at all. "True." She was silent for a moment, and then suddenly twisted to face him. "How about James then?"
"James," she repeated. "As a middle name for Harry."
As if on cue, the baby began to wail, and Severus picked him up awkwardly. He handed the precious bundle to Lily, studying the little person in amazement. His hair was definitely ginger, and his straight nose seemed reminiscent of Lily's rather than his own.
Then the baby opened his eyes, and Severus found himself staring into deep black tunnels, which looked out of place in such a small child's face.
"Harry James Snape," he said aloud, as if tasting the name. It would kill James Potter to know that Lily's child by someone else was named for him.
"I like it. Welcome to the family, Harry James Snape."