Chapter 31: The Mistakes
The return to Hogwarts was long past, and the House Union had become more and more popular, with help from Frank and Ned's authorities as prefects. But while there were more Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws joining the Union, as well as some Gryffindors, including Isabella Openshaw, there were no other Slytherins showing interest in joining.
Regulus and Melody soon discovered that the reason for this was not because of the prejudice towards Half-Bloods and Muggle-borns, but also because the elder and more elitist Slytherins such as Malfoy and his cronies had become more threatening to the younger Slytherins, warning them that they would not be welcome or left alone if they showed any interest in collaborating with the 'enemy' that was the House Union group.
This made the members of the Union feel melancholic. However, they did not intend to give in.
"We need to make these younger Slytherins see that choosing the Union and being friendly with other types of witches and wizards is far better than feeling a part of a singular House." insisted Alice.
"Yes, but how?" asked Glenn Tozer.
"Reg and Mels are our best bet in getting them to come around." said Sirius.
"Only Reg is feeling that conflict too, aren't you?" asked Severus.
Regulus nodded stiffly. Melody held his hand comfortingly.
Sirius understood. Their parents had warned them both against their new friends since meeting them at the New Year Ball. They did not approve of blood traitors and filthy Mudbloods.
Sirius had no intention to obey their commands, but Regulus was frightened of the Blacks finding out about his disobedience. He had always been the most loved, and now they were showing some disdain towards him, similar to how they alienated Sirius. Now he understood how his brother felt.
The Union were still increasing in numbers however, and when Severus went to visit Dumbledore at the end of Lily's birthday, he found out that the Headmaster approved strongly of their efforts.
"Did you enjoy each other's birthdays?" he asked after congratulating the Union.
"Yes, sir." replied Severus with a less dull tone than usual. "We each got great gifts. Lily's favourite was the Omnioculars James gave her…and my favourite was the set of Potion ingredients for OWL level that Lily and Mary got me."
He sounded a little upset that James bought the winning gift for Lily this year.
Dumbledore swiftly changed the subject.
"We have no further sources on my end about the Horcruxes or Voldemort's movements so far. Perhaps our friends in Heaven can be of further help."
"Okay, sir." said Severus. "Would you like to stay…to see Ariana?"
Dumbledore shook his head with a grim smile.
"I'd sooner wait for that privilege, Mr Prince. Once we have eradicated Voldemort, perhaps."
Without another word, Dumbledore went off to his quarters, leaving Severus with Fawkes and the Resurrection Stone for company.
Severus inhaled deeply as per usual before meeting his oldest friend and turned the Stone thrice in his hand.
Lily Potter appeared, radiant as ever, or as she could be looking semi-transparent.
"Hello, Sev." she said pleasantly.
"Hi, Lils." replied Severus cheerily. "How are things?"
"Boring without you." teased Lily.
"Well, things are pretty exciting here."
"I've noticed." smiled Lily. "Well done on all you've done with the Union."
"We haven't much news to give you." said Lily regretfully. "But we have noticed that the Lestranges are rising rapidly within Voldemort's inner circle. Bellatrix is flattering him no end and is not hesitant to do anything he orders her. He is rather proud of her. We're hoping it's only a matter of time before he gives her one of the Horcruxes."
"The cup." murmured Severus.
"But let's be sociable." continued Lily, diverting the subject. "How are things with you and the new me?"
"Reasonably well and progressively." said Severus with a blush.
"I can see." chuckled Lily teasingly. "I never knew you were such a whizz-waltz on the dance floor."
Severus' light blush turned as purple as Vernon Dursley's extensive neck.
"Don't be modest or shy, Sev!" giggled Lily. "It's only a matter of time. You're teens now, her thoughts and yours are getting more…mature in an immature sort of way, and I have no doubt, judging by your interactions of late, that she is falling for you."
"You didn't." said Severus mournfully. "I therefore maintain doubts that this Lily will."
"But she does!" protested Lily with a shameful expression. "I am her in a way, and I know how she is feeling…I can see it. And besides…I did for a…brief time."
"What?" gasped Severus in shock.
"It-it was not long after we started at Hogwarts. Even though you were in Slytherin, you kept up appearances with me as best friends. I always could tell you were more dedicated than I, and as much as I felt put off by the prejudices within and without Slytherin, I appreciated your loyalty. But then by third year or maybe before, your fascination of the Dark Arts grew and grew, and I eventually fell out of love with you by the end of fourth year, cos by then, we were arguing a lot about James and of your former friends. I hated what the Dark Arts were turning you into, and you were becoming less and less of the boy at Cokesworth that I fell for. The last straw was on that day…"
She didn't elaborate there and Severus was grateful for it. But he nevertheless felt some despair. If he hadn't been so fascinated by Voldemort and his Dark gifts, he and Lily may have had it made from the start, she would not have fallen for James and she would have never told him in Heaven that she could never love him in the way she did James.
The silence was agonising for both of them, and Severus, feeling completely overwhelmed, decided to end it.
"I need to go. See you in April."
"If you have lost all faith or care in me, as I once did unfairly to you, please, please don't lose faith in your future with this new Lily. She hasn't and will not make my mistakes, just as you will not repeat yours."
Severus nodded despondently and dropped the Stone.
It was several hours later in Heaven, where Lily was relaxing, or at least trying to relax in the warm, steamy jacuzzi she wished for while her husband joined Sirius and Marlene for high tea.
The silence and abrupt parting from Severus had affected her badly enough to decline joining James, whom understood that she still felt guilt. And it wasn't like she didn't see Marlene and Sirius most days anyway.
She rested in the hot tub with some extent of destressing. But she found that her memories were becoming deeply depressing. Even now, she was remembering her first day in Heaven, which should in some understandable senses, be a good thing, but to her was not. This was due to the fact dawning on her that she would never be able to raise her son, or ever have more children, never have a daughter or help them with their magic control, dress them for the Balls, never be able to make amends with her best friend (or so she thought); not that she had wanted to at the time.
On that day, Lily had met with one of the Higher Ones. It was one of the male voices, and he had descended to her level of Heaven in a red robe, concealing his features.
"Lily Evans Potter." said the Higher One deeply. "You are deceased at the age of twenty-one. You have been granted salvation in Heaven, and you are to be joined by your husband and soulmate, James Potter. However, you must be made aware of your life errors prior to this welcome, so you may repent."
Lily had been rather indignant at that moment.
"What mistakes?" she demanded. "I tried to keep in touch and be civil with my sister, I was always a good girl for my parents, I never joined the Death Eaters, I married well, I never messed around with him before the wedding, we had a child within wedlock, and I never killed in our battles!"
"But you did express hypocrisy and vanity. You showed bitterness with your sister's insults and you cut off a man whose life is now destined for pain and hardship to the very end." replied the Higher One calmly.
"What?" asked Lily, worriedly.
"Severus Snape." said the Higher One simply and explanatorily.
"He was a Death Eater!" insisted Lily. "He was dark and joined with Voldemort! He would have cut me off first if I had not given him up first. I was getting it over with quickly, so as not to cause more pain than necessary!"
"You realize that you're only referring to relieving your own pain, Mrs Potter?" addressed the Higher One. "Your cutting ties with Mr Snape ruined his life in more ways than you could ever imagine, and my colleagues above can help me guarantee that he would never have disowned you in the way you did to him. As a matter of fact, you were the only link to the light that could have stopped him taking the dark path that he did."
Lily froze. "T-that isn't true." she said, clearly in a state of denial.
The Higher One was silent for a minute, then suddenly Lily found herself in one of her memories, the memory she never wished to look back upon. It was the day Severus was attacked by the Marauders, and she saw herself…what? She was smiling? Or trying not to! And then she looked to Severus. He had seen it, he saw her smile. He saw her spasm of betrayal by showing glee at his sufferings. Then the glazed look of heartbreak and treachery formed in Severus' normally indifferent, dark eyes and then they changed to fury and retribution, with a blind rage shaking within him as he was frozen by Sirius.
James released him, and after taunting Severus, he said the fatal word, 'Mudblood'.
Lily watched her past self show that same look of betrayal and in what she could now clearly see as the aforementioned hypocrisy, she sneered coldly in response and called Severus the equally (to him) painful nickname 'Snivellus.'
Then she saw herself going through the portrait hole, leaving Severus behind after terminating their friendship permanently. Once the door had shut, Severus dazedly walked away from the grim looking Fat Lady and once out of sight of any portraits or skulking prefects, he collapsed and cried freely and full of despair.
"Lily." he murmured mournfully to himself. "Lily!"
Then she saw his reaction to her forming a relationship with James, then saw how James continued to attack him behind her back.
"How could you have done that to him? To me!" she whispered to herself as the next memory took shape.
She watched as James announced their engagement on that wondrous final day at Hogwarts. But glancing round, fully realizing that these memories emphasised her relationship with Severus, she saw the Slytherin boy looking shattered by the announcement and fled the scene, unseen by all except one: a very smug James.
Then the memories began to show Severus being branded as a Death Eater.
"You're fully sure about this, Severus?" asked Lucius Malfoy. "You seemed hesitant back at Hogwarts."
"I have nothing left…I saw to that…" Severus didn't say it was a mistake, but it was plain for Lily to see that he was filled with regret and was still nervous about taking the Dark Mark. But she also saw desperation and in that moment, she realized that had she remained friends with Severus, he'd have had something to turn to, but without her, he felt that all he had was Voldemort's promises of power.
The scene shifted to Lily's wedding to James, but it was from Severus' point of view. He was watching the reception from the playground, the very spot where he had first met Lily. Watching her dance with his lifelong rival was bringing a multitude of tears to his eyes.
Then he saw someone approaching the playground. Sirius Black was trying to drag an equally tipsy Marlene McKinnon to the woods beyond the playground for some privacy, and Severus could not bear to have Sirius announce to the whole reception that 'Snivellus the Death Eater Scum' was spying on them. So, he Disapparated post haste.
Then came the scenes where he had pleaded with Dumbledore to protect Lily, and then her family.
"You were willing to let them die and have me to yourself?!" Lily cried angrily. But then that one word came out, "Anything."
Lily sobbed. Severus was willing to do anything to protect her. He loved her so much.
Then came the most painful memory…a memory that was revealed by the Higher One to actually be a scene of present events, what Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore were doing right now.
Lily cried loudly and pathetically at Severus' grief, and then felt despair at how little he thought of Harry, not wanting him or anyone else to know of his love for her.
"My word that I shall never the reveal the best of you, Severus? If you insist."
"NO! No, make him show his true self! Don't manipulate his guilt, Albus! PLEASE!"
"It is no good, Mrs Potter." said the red-robed Higher One. "They can neither see nor hear you."
After that, Lily saw how her life affected others, but none of those minor mistakes compared in the slightest to how she treated Severus.
After James finally joined her in Heaven, Lily wanted to hate him, but could not. But she kept her objections and anger to herself, as she wanted to spend every moment watching over the baby boy she was forced to leave behind, and the young man she had willingly left behind.
She watched Harry's lack of affection provided by the Dursleys and she cursed Petunia to hell and back.
But what made her feel worse was watching Severus mourn her in privacy. He slit his wrists but would heal them after enduring a considerable amount of pain, not that it helped assuage his remorse. She saw him punch the walls of his quarters, hear him howl in despair, yelling her name, begging for her to hear and speak to him again, unaware that she could and was.
"I'm so sorry, Sev." sobbed Lily when James was not within sight or earshot.
She had watched his relationship with Harry, not that it could be considered one of worth or value, emotionally anyway. The only emotion was kept in Severus' mind, the despair he felt whenever he saw Lily's eyes in Harry. The symbol of everything he had loved and lost.
Even now, with their relationship back to as normal as it could be considering their distance, Lily felt pain at her mistakes concerning Severus, and she was willing to do anything to assuage her remorse, just as Severus had been for all those years.
She lifted herself from the jacuzzi and went to look over the families who would be presented a Horcrux.
"This and your new life is just a start, Sev." she whispered, wishing that her best friend could hear her now, Stone or no Stone.
So here's Chapter 31! Sorry it's late and short. Been moving back into my home with a new bedroom! Hope you enjoy this chapter! 32 coming soon!