A/N: This is the prequel, if you will, to Moony's Mate. It was going to be posted separately, but Katmom the Magnificent advised that it could be posted here. So if you wondered what happened to Lily and Snape? Here is my idea.
There is no sexual assault in this story, but there is kidnapping and forcible cohabitation and other unpleasantness. Remember, this is an AU.
And because I keep forgetting, please remember that though I have many copyrights out in the world, this is not among them, nor will it ever be. All things Harry Potter are the property of J.K. Rowling and all to whom she has given license. I just like to, well, stir the pot. Cauldron. Thing.
Severus Snape broke out in a cold sweat, there in the "throne room" the Dark Lord had established at the Avery estate. Killing all those who are Muggle-born? That was the topic of such vituperative discussion?
"Why not kill the Muggles as well?" demanded Macnair, the bastard.
The Dark Lord, gray-tipped hair gleaming in the light of a hundred candles, smiled thinly. "Someone must be here for us, you see. And to appease . . . certain elements." He cast a glance at Fenrir Greyback. "Besides, we must be kept abreast of their doings. They outnumber our kind at this juncture. But it shall not always be so. Killing the Muggle-born, of course, we do, as they have perverted the sacred identity of Magic. They must not be allowed to live. They are worse than Muggles and they can pose a danger if there are too many of them, so . . ."
Snape didn't know if he was the only one who saw how very many weaknesses their lord was displaying. Perhaps fear was a greater motivator than reason, after all.
It was time, he decided, to make his play. To give to his lord a bit of important information and, hopefully, secure the safety of the only person he, Snape, had ever loved.
"A word, my lord," he murmured as the other turned to leave the room.
"Severus. Of course. What is your . . . word?"
Kneeling, his eyes cast to the floor, and endeavoring to control the tremors that coursed through him, Severus Snape repeated the prophecy he had heard, knowing it would spell death for at least one innocent child. As long as she lived, that was all that mattered, in the end.
"St. Mungo's reports five children who have been most recently born, my lord. We could seek all those born in a larger timeframe—"
Severus's words were cut off with a sharp stroke of the Dark Lord's hand. "No. I have a . . . sense about this, Severus. Hmmm . . . The Potters. Damnable fools. Longbottoms. No. Both sets of parents fit the prophecy you shared with me, but the Potters' brat was the only one born on the dying day of the seventh month."
Severus felt as if his heart had been gripped in a vise. "But, Lily, my lord?"
Tom Riddle grimaced and shook his head, forcing his focus upon his minion. Summoning all of his will, he ran a gentle hand over the dark, bowed head before him. "Still, my friend?"
"Always," Severus whispered.
"Then, your reward for alerting me to this prophecy will be the object of your devotion. The child, of course, must die—" He waited to assure himself of Severus's assent to this. If he disagreed, well, Potions Masters could be replaced. At the quick nod, Riddle continued. "And his father."
"But you may take Lily for your own to keep . . . safe." He smiled inwardly to note how relief and something perhaps akin to happiness looked in the younger man's face. For a moment, the careful mask, the stiff guard, were dropped entirely.
"I shall do so, my lord. And . . . thank you."
Severus understood that such a favor put him in this man's power for the duration of his life, but he did not think that was too high a price to pay.
"What's taking so long?" the Dark Lord demanded. "It's time. It must be tonight!"
They had a limited amount of time to slay the problematic, prophesied child before the opportunity elapsed. Voldemort had already seen to shielding the manor, putting all the other homes under a strange, blanketing ward that would keep the residents oblivious to any outside sounds. But the wards weren't permanent and if they disintegrated early, the Aurors could be called and there would go this opportunity.
And then there was the problem of the manor itself.
"Your ward breakers are doing their best," Goyle whispered. He was a bodyguard of sorts for the Dark Lord. His senses were acute, but his ward-breaking skills were minimal.
"Sirius Black is in there. Black wards must have been established," Severus decided after studying the flares of magic. "Might you call Bellatrix Lestrange here? She's got the blood."
In a rare show of familiarity, the Dark Lord clapped Severus on the shoulder. "Excellent."
Bella, of course, was only too happy to spill her blood to overcome the wards on Potter Manor.
Voldemort felt his blood heat with the desire to attack. Destroy. Triumph.
"My lord, they look to be ready," Severus murmured.
"Excellent." His Death Eaters stood at attention, all but indistinguishable from one another save for his lovely Bella's untamed hair which curled out from her, sparking a need in him that he hadn't felt in some time. He pushed it away. "Remember the plan," he told them as they gathered around him. "They're waiting for us, undoubtedly. Overwhelm them. Severus and I will take care of the babe and his mother." He saw the Potions Master touch a pocket as if for reassurance. Perhaps some device for restraining the Mudblood. "Ready?"
"Yes, my lord," they said in a clustered whisper.
Severus Disillusioned himself before they went into the manor. Still, he fired slicing hexes at the werewolf and at Black, hoping to leave them bleeding on the floor whilst he sought Lily.
"Pads! Get Lily!" Potter shouted and Sirius knew all he'd have to do was follow the blood traitor. Easy.
The Dark Lord swept past him, pushing Black out of the way as soon as they heard, "James!" from one of the upstairs rooms.
Severus's heart throbbed in his chest as he Finite'd the Disillusionment for himself, put up a powerful ward at the nursery door where Lily's red hair shone like a warm beacon. No one would enter this room. No one.
"Ah, there is he," the Dark Lord said, his voice ringing with triumph.
"Not Harry, not Harry! Please, not Harry!"
"Stand aside, you silly girl. Stand aside now!"
Mouth dry, Severus watched the Dark Lord hit Lily with a wandless Stunner, so that she fell right into Severus's own arms. He Bound and Silenced her, apologizing in his mind whilst the Dark Lord cast an Avada at the crying toddler in the cot. Then, when the infantile Potter fell over, the Dark Lord executed a Bombarda Maxima! at the wall, causing it to explode outward into the night.
Severus thanked his lord with a quick bow whilst he enlarged his broom and, Sticking Lily to the broomstick itself, leapt to fly from the manor. Looking briefly down, he saw the body of James Potter surrounded by the bodies of three Death Eaters.
The werewolf was binding two more. Severus left them to their fate.
The celebrations were ongoing in the Dark Lord's throne room, but Severus was grateful not, for that night, to be a part of them. The moans of sexual gratification, the wagers being placed on orgasms in a certain time frame, the bets placed on duels and their outcomes. There were, at the apparent victory of the Dark Lord, a million reasons to be optimistic. A call had gone out to round up Muggles for "entertainment", even.
Severus shuddered. He grew up in his earliest years around Muggles. He didn't wish their participation for anything. Thankfully, he didn't have to watch.
Instead, he took his grateful leave from Voldemort.
"I thank you, my lord, for the gift of Lily Potter's life," he said. The woman herself was still and bound, lying next to Severus on the floor. "I am in your debt."
"You gave me something of great value, Severus," Voldemort said, something like affection in his tones. "I have thus given to you. There is no debt, but I do wish your continued service."
"Of course, my lord."
"You are dismissed."
Relieved, Severus bowed again, kneeling on the floor before rising to his feet, gathering Lily up in his arms, and carrying her to the Floo, which had been activated to take him to Spinner's End.
Upon regaining his balance with his precious cargo, he had a couple of options, but decided in the end to close the Floo, take Lily with him to his room, and put a tracking charm on her just in case someone double-crossed him. Then, he showered, put on fresh robes, and prepared a simple meal of eggs and beans and toast from his stores in stasis. It was Sunday and he and Lily would have to come to some kind of an arrangement or he'd have to take a leave of absence from his position at Hogwarts.
When all was in readiness, but before the sky gave any indications of dawn, Severus brought Lily to the drawing room of his small house and revived her. He still, though, left her bound for a moment. He didn't know if she had her wand on her but he was not taking any chances.
She woke up screaming. "Harry!"
"Lily!" Severus begged, dropping to his knees on the floor next to her. She hushed immediately. He swallowed. "You're safe, Lily. Entirely. It was the level best I could do, I swear it."
Her breath came in pants as she struggled against her binding. "Free me, Severus Snape, or so help me—"
"When I am sure you won't hex me or run, Lily."
She ceased to struggle momentarily and closed her eyes. She was wearing a black Muggle jumper and jeans, with trainers. "Harry."
Snape whipped up a silent Protego. "He's dead, Lily."
A tear slid out from under her eyelid, making a small track to her hair, where it was absorbed. "How? How did that bastard kill my son?"
"Painlessly, I swear it. An Avada," he whispered. The death of the toddler meant nothing to him, truly, until he saw the agony etched into the lines of Lily's face. Her eyes were still closed. He cleared his throat. "Your husband . . . died fighting." It killed him to praise Potter in any way, but he felt he had to say something to the grieving widow. "He . . . made a good accounting."
More tears as she clenched her jaw and keened to the ceiling. He let her without hindrance, removing her binding at last and calling a silent Accio wand! when he did so.
Nothing came to him. Likely, her wand was in her hand when the Dark Lord invaded the nursery and it was probably dropped when she'd been Stunned. After a few moments, he remembered he had food ready, and tea in stasis, so he cleared his throat again.
"I know it's not the best time, perhaps, but you do need to eat, Lily. I have some breakfast and tea . . ."
"Why am I here, Severus?" she asked, her voice clogged and broken.
"I was allowed to save you," he declared, remembering to keep his voice humble. He wouldn't tell her why he had been granted that boon, however. "And I brought you to my house. You know, the old place on Spinner's End."
Her eyes shot open, but she didn't look at him, choosing instead to sit up slowly, a hand to her head as she looked about the cramped, book-lined room. "Oh, Sev," she whispered. "Wow. Right. So. I'm here on sufferance?"
"No! I just, er, you know, am the Potions Professor at Hogwarts, so I'll need to be back unless . . ."
Tears were still dripping down her cheeks. "Unless what?"
"Unless, Lily, you and I can come to an arrangement."
She whipped her head around so that her hair flew out like the flame whip. "What kind of an arrangement?" she demanded, drawing her body in on itself in protection. He knew that posture well.
He held up a careful, wand-free hand. "Nothing untoward. I want you . . . oh, Lily. I want you to be safe. Safe from everything. I swear to you, you will get no ill-treatment from me. You know how I despise that."
She huffed and dropped her head. "I know. I am not going to have sex with you, Severus Snape, just because you saved my life."
"No! Of course not! I'd never demand such a thing!" He wouldn't object—ever—if she came to him freely, of course, but he valued Lily too highly to even think of forcing himself on her under any circumstance. "How can I prove myself?"
"You can make me an Unbreakable Vow on your life and magic."
He took a sharp breath. "To do what?"
"To refrain from ever using Legilimency on me and to make sure your lord doesn't, either. And to swear to keep me safe from harm."
He looked it over for a full minute in his mind. It might be hard to keep the Dark Lord from her mind, but he'd suffer much for Lily Evans. He always would. "All right. I'll have to find a binder."
"Do that. Until then, I refuse to look you in the eye."
After a couple of uncomfortable, horrible minutes of silence. Severus rose to his feet and offered her his hand to do likewise. Perhaps it was their childhood friendship that made this easier to get through than he had feared.
He doesn't know. He doesn't know. He doesn't know. He doesn't know.
It was a mantra that Lily chanted to herself over the coming days, weeks, and months.
He doesn't know. He doesn't know. He doesn't know.
Harry was, God willing, still alive. If the Dark Wanker—Sirius had called him that and even thinking of him had Lily's heart aching with memories—had indeed used an Avada and left, thinking the deed was done, Harry was alive. She had finished with the runic protections. She had done the spell. She had done everything she could do. She and James and Sirius and Remus had talked about the various possibilities and they had all agreed that her option was the best option . . . and then she'd Obliviated James's memory about it. Just in case.
He doesn't know. He doesn't know.
The plan that likely held out was that Sirius or Remus would have grabbed Harry and run. Far, far away. She would keep alert to the newspapers and the wireless to see if any gossip caught on about the Black Rebel, Sirius Orion Black himself, off womanizing half of Europe.
So long as she could keep Severus or the Dark Wanker from knowing Harry was alive—he had to be alive, he had to be!—every sacrifice was worth it.
And Severus had sworn on his life and magic that he would not invade her mind nor allow his lord to do so. And he had vowed to keep her safe. And then he Obliviated the Binder for that vow and her secret was safe.
And he didn't know.
"Of course, my boy. She can live here with us. We can keep her safe as well, yes? I am sure that, that your other master will not object your keeping her safe."
Thus the promise had been made and Severus had been almost happy. A feeling so foreign he didn't know quite how it registered. She shared quarters with him, but never his bedroom. That was entirely fine with him. He had asked if they could, perhaps, endeavor to be civil and she said she could.
Sometimes, she would hear news on the wireless about a Wizarding warrior in some other country. One of them had the last name of Black, which was a common enough name in Britain, as well as elsewhere. There were Blacks on both sides of the war, and if Sirius and a cousin were fighting, well, so long as they stayed away from Lily, that was all Severus could ask for.
She helped to organize the Muggle-born Nursery School program at Hogwarts when the Dark Lord set about to eliminate those first-generation magicals from Britain. One of the brightest children to be brought in was a girl by the name of Granger, which stuck in Severus's mind as her name seemed to link back to the legendary Potioneer.
Severus was eager to help Lily with her project; it brought her such joy to be able to help those who were, as she had been, new to magic.
He kept her far away from the Dark Lord, bringing her forth only once a year, to express his gratitude. Lily knew, at those times, to act as his mistress and she did so. Superficially smiling into his eyes as a lover might. Leaning against him.
He kept her close on those nights and they escaped as early as they could.
Once, he had been tempted to dive into her mind to see if she had, at all, softened toward him, but his wrists stung painfully and he stopped.
Her mind was her own. He would give anything if her heart could be his . . . but he was content. And almost happy.
Severus looked at himself in the mirror in the bathroom, that morning in February, 2001. His face was lined with worry, a bit. His hair was lank. He was tired. So very tired. The Dark Lord's Britain had settled into a tense sort of normality, after all this time.
"We knew this was coming," Professor Dumbledore told the staff the night before at an emergency staff meeting. "The wards might indeed be breached, but we are strong, here in Hogwarts. Our home is strong and we have a staff and student body of great power. I have faith in our ability to protect the school."
They had advance notice of the coming Death Eater attack due to Severus himself. He spied for Dumbledore. He spied for Voldemort. He wore himself out playing one against the other, guarding his mind, shielding his thoughts. But he got to come home to Lily, and had for almost twenty years. She healed the wounds he received at the hands or commands of the Dark Lord and fed him potions and helped him rest after a particularly bad session. After all, they had been friends, once. And they were, again.
And she was going to be in danger. Again.
He met her in their common room, studying her as she fluffed short, white-peppered hair out over the collar of her body armor.
"Severus. Do you have your blood replenisher?"
He shook himself out of a reverie. "Yes. We'll be fine, Lily. He knows to leave you alone. My service has been . . . valuable."
She met his eyes, then. Hers were guarded but acknowledged the many hurts he had suffered on behalf of the Order of the Phoenix as well as for her. "He is immortal," she said, the statement almost sounding like a question.
"So he believes. But . . ." He shrugged. He did hope that one of his masters would die, that day. He was so. Very. Tired. He'd prefer it to be Voldemort. He'd rather see his blood spill or his head explode or, well, any manner of deaths for that man.
"Right, then. Just take care of yourself." She approached him, then, hand extended. "I would not want to think of what would happen to me if you weren't here and he was."
It was a possibility that seized his heart on occasion, but he nodded solemnly. "Neither would I."
They met the Death Eaters on the grounds of Hogwarts, but Severus didn't see the Dark Lord anywhere. Word had it that he was waiting for the resistance to be beaten down before he swept in to confront Dumbledore.
Severus stayed by Lily's side and, after all these years, no one gainsaid him.
Dumbledore was slain.
The Wizarding Wireless was full of the mourning of thousands. Lily counted herself among them the day after the Battle of Hogwarts. Wrapped in a blanket, clutching a cup of hot cider, she hunched over the table in the remains of the Great Hall.
Minerva's voice was tight, disbelieving when she twirled her wand. "Wait! Be quiet, all of you!"
" . . . and we have confirmed that Harry Potter, long thought to have been dead, is alive! Yes, he is and, with Sirius Orion Black, Head of the House of Black and Remus Lupin, he is meeting with He Who Must Not Be Named!"
The chaos was extraordinary, and all eyes turned to Lily's own.
Triumph, though, flushed through her veins. She tossed off her blanket and stood, feeling the gooseflesh rise on her skin and her eyes light with the knowledge that her son had lived to fulfill his destiny. "To Harry!" she shouted.
Beside her, Severus gaped, his eyes dark and, for once, entirely vulnerable. "You knew?" he whispered.
"To Harry!" everyone shouted, willing to believe Lily or at least give her the appearance of their support. She didn't care. She knew the truth. Her son lived!
Minutes later, though, her sorrow overwhelmed her.
"Though it seems that he did indeed kill He Who Must Not Be Named," the announcer said, his voice clogged, "he himself was struck once again with the Killing Curse."
Ignoring everyone around her, Lily dragged herself to the quarters she shared with Severus. Her son was dead.
It simply never occurred to her that the runic protections she'd placed on Harry would still be viable. After decades? No.
So she went to her room and found the Muggle firearm she'd had smuggled in from one of the Muggleborn a few years ago. She knew exactly what to do.
Severus would pay.
In the Great Hall, a loud banging resounded, echoing from the ruins of curse-marked walls and burnt ceiling beams.
"A gun?" Hermione Granger asked, her eyes wide as she rose to her feet to investigate.
"Muggle weapon? Shit! Did a Death Eater really bring one of them?"
As a phalanx of teachers and older students stormed out of the Great Hall to locate and neutralize what they thought was a threat, they didn't see Severus Snape stare at his wrists . . .
In moments, he was dead. As dead as Lily Potter.
The sound of a grown man weeping with incredulous joy over the wireless was only heard by the ghosts.
"…Merlin's Beard! He's getting up! Harry Potter is alive! Alive!"
A/N: It is a sad thing that Lily made herself be apart from her son for so long, but she did it believing fully that he would triumph and that her sacrifice would have been worthwhile. And it was, but she didn't know that. Dark stuff, remember.
One can imagine that Harry will one day hear all about his mum from Hermione, Minerva, and other people who knew her. There will likely even be pictures.