Green….she had always loved that color.
Maybe it was because it was the color of her eyes…maybe it was because people had always said that the color had looked nice on her…or maybe it represented life or the forest in spring or summertime. Or maybe because it reminded her of someone.
As long as she could remember, as soon as spring time had come she and her sister had gone down to the park near their house to swing on the swings and use the playground equipment. It was an older park so not as many people came to it which suited the girls just fine because it meant they had the entire place to themselves.
It had bordered on the edge of a forest which was always a brilliant shade of green for at least six months of the year. There were emerald, vermillion and jade colors as far as the eye could see and the forest was filled with flowers and sweet smelling shrubs that fair near overwhelmed her senses at times.
Half the time Lily had been more interested in going into the woods rather than playing. Petunia with her rather superior attitude and annoying habit of calling her on everything she did wrong would always call her back and then tell on her when they got home if she didn't listen.
But at the time her sister's snitching didn't seem to matter as there was an entire adventure between and under those trees that had just been calling to her.
Come to think of it, maybe she liked the color because it reminded her of her best friend, a best friend she had never forgotten even though he had disappeared a long time ago. He was a best friend who she had unresolved issues with and he had always been clad in green as befitting his house colors. Every time she saw the color she couldn't help but think of him.
Maybe Severus was part of the reason Lily loved the color green so much. Maybe he had been the reason for many things that she was just now beginning to realize.
Maybe he was the reason she had married James…not all of it perhaps but maybe deep in her heart his actions had been what had driven her to James.
Maybe that had been because she didn't know who he was anymore with his constant bitterness and obsession with revenge.
She missed the boy she had met in the park who had been her best friend for years and who helped her study, who didn't care that she was a Gryffindor which had gotten him a lot of grief from his house members. He was brilliantly smart and incredibly loyal, something her sister had never been.
Other than her, he had been the top in his year in potions but he had never bragged about it.
At least at the beginning he hadn't. She was certain that before her, potions had been all he had held on to.
And then after the mudblood incident….she hadn't been able to look at him the same way again. She had wanted to…merlin had she wanted to go back to the way things were but her friend had done a right proper job of convincing her she was better off without him.
To her shame she had listened.
How might things have been different had she still been friends with Severus? Would James even have been in the picture if Severus was still her friend and hadn't left the country as soon as he had graduated?
At least he hadn't joined the Dark Lord…she did take some comfort in that.
Professor Dumbledore had informed her that Severus had taken a job teaching potions at Salem Academy in Boston and had made no plans to ever return.
And even though she would never see him again, he was going to be the person he should have been. Not who he thought he should be, not who she thought he would be and certainly not what James and his friends had made him out to be.
Severus would be his own person…and she was quietly proud.
Of course she could never tell anyone that, but she held the memory of him dear to her heart all the same…and the memory of those sunny green days…those green moments that represented memory, life and happiness.
Strange wasn't it that such a color was the last thing she would see before she died?
"There is irony everywhere it seems."
At the sound of the strange voice, Lily jerked slightly and looked up, flinching as if she had been awakened from a deep sleep.
She was no longer in the nursery….she wasn't in Godric's Hollow at all. In fact she was nowhere that she recognized.
The room itself was pure white and there were no windows in it. White walls, white ceilings, white floors, everything was bones pearls and ivories to such a bright degree that it hurt to look at it all at first.
There were only two distinguishable features about the room. The first was that there was an enormous fireplace sitting just to her right that was taller than Lily that was blazing with such light and heat that she was surprised that she wasn't dying from it. The crimson flames rose over her head in such a way that it could surely engulf the largest creature that were thrown into it.
A fire like that could surely warm up all of Hogwarts, Lily thought absently to herself.
There was no grate to keep the flames from spilling out onto the floor but not even the marble tiles were singed with soot.
She almost imagined that someone could walk right into it if they wanted to.
It was a bit of an unsettling thought.
Just then there was the sound of someone clearing their throat and Lily jerked back around to see that there was a desk just in front of her in which someone was seated behind. There was an enormous stack of books placed in front of them so she could not see their face, but Lily wasn't sure that she wanted to.
It was then that she found she was sitting in a chair before said desk as if she had come for some sort of appointment.
"Where…Where am I?" she stammered.
"Tsk, the same question. There is absolutely no originality among you mortals," the other voice said.
It was a creaky one and sounded as if an old woman was speaking. It wasn't frightening but at the same time, it did give Lily an unsettled feeling. "Who are you?"
"Another unoriginal question," the voice said sounding strangely irritated. "I was told you were the brightest witch of your age Lily Evans Potter and yet you can't even ask the right questions."
Now Lily was bewildered and becoming a little annoyed. "Look, I don't know who you are but – "
"No you don't," the voice interrupted. "And you will never know because you are not asking the right questions."
Lily stared at the stack of books, her eyes narrowing. "I just decided does it really matter who you are? You're not going to move that bloody stack of books so I can see your face. Who cares who you are? And I think asking where I am is a very legitimate question seeing as how I am nowhere familiar."
"Ha!" said the voice. "Again not seeing the bigger picture. I would have thought better of you Lily Potter."
That was it. Lily opened her mouth to unleash her famous temper on the bastard behind the books when all of a sudden she froze a sudden realization coming over her.
"How… How do you know my name?"
"Finally, a good question!" the voice said displaying no small amount of exasperation at her inability to understand what he was getting at. "It took you long enough. This is a question that I will answer. I know who you are because I know the name of everyone who comes to see me. And why do I know that you ask? Well because you're dead. I am supposed to know all of the names of the dearly departed."
It was like a punch to the gut that knocked all the breath from her lungs and sent her gasping and reeling almost to her knees.
And suddenly she remembered it all.
The damn prophecy….
The return of Voldemort….
The secret keeper…..
And then the green light….and no more.
"Harry," she whispered before somehow gathering her strength and all but flinging herself forward.
Or rather she tried to but she could barely move the chair as her hands were suddenly stuck to the armrests as if she had been tied up.
Looking down in disbelief, Lily could see that there were no manacles wrapped about her wrists and her feet were not lashed to the legs of the chair.
"What is this?" she demanded. "What have you done to me?"
"I thought we were getting somewhere," the other voice said in a condescending tone. "Now we're back to the unoriginal questions. You're not shackled Lily Potter, you can get up if you want to."
The red head glared at the stack of books on the desk masking the annoying voice and then shook her arms again. "Don't be a fool. I want to get up now and I can't. I want to go back and I can't. So what have you done?"
"How is your death on my head?" the voice asked again. "Let me rephrase this in case you can't understand. You are dead therefore you cannot return. Harry and James Potter are gone and no matter how much you may wish to go to them…you cannot. The laws of death are very clear. It is a shame though."
He seemed to be speaking through a long tunnel at that point and Lily found she had stopped listening.
It couldn't be true…it just couldn't….
She remembered barring and warding the door to the nursery and muttering some sort of magic and casting a spell around the crib hoping that it would protect her son.
And then she remembered the door behind her exploding into a million pieces and then the cold cruel reptilian voice of the dark lord demanding that she step aside so he might do away with her son.
She had begged and pleaded with him to kill her instead and then there were those murmured words as soft as snow.
"So be it…."
And then there had been a flash of emerald green before everything had gone black.
It was with terrible certainty that the truth crashed down upon her like an ice bath on a person in the throes of dreams.
"No," she whispered with horrible. "It can't be."
"Unfortunately it is," the nonchalant voice replied in a voice that betrayed that he didn't think it fortunate or unfortunate. "In the world you came from you have been gone only a few moments, but it seems that people are already beginning to take notice."
"And…And Harry?" Lily asked in a daze.
"Your son is fine," the voice replied and Lily released the breath she didn't even know she had been holding. If her son was alive then nothing else mattered.
"What will happen to him?" she asked in a small voice.
"That I can't tell you, I can only tell you that he's alive. His future is in someone else's hands. I only deal with the living and the dead."
This was making no sense whatsoever and Lily wanted to then posit that it was all a dream and she would awaken in her bed in Godric's Hollow with James beside her and the distant sound of cooing coming from Harry's room down the hall.
"And if you're going to burst out with some nonsense about this all being a dream," the voice said. "You can take those notions and toss them into the fire to burn up. You are not dreaming, this is not some sort of vision or delusion. You are dead Lily Evans Potter and the world you know is gone. What you choose to do with that knowledge is up to you."
Again the words seemed to be coming through a long tunnel and Lily felt as if she were floating away. She couldn't even be aware of her own breaths as it didn't seem as if her chest was rising and falling.
She didn't even know that she was shaking or that the pile of books on the desk were blurring from silvery tears. The fire in the hearth seemed to blaze hotter as her temperature went up.
As if she were some sort of robot on command, she turned her head towards the fire and stared at the dancing flames. In her almost hysterical grief she imagined those flames forming demonic shapes and mocking her about her failure.
She someone who had succeeded in everything she did since she could remember but especially since coming to Hogwarts, had failed when it counted…and she had failed spectacularly.
Harry may have been alive yes. But she couldn't protect him now…she couldn't do anything for him other than move on to some damn afterlife that she wasn't even sure existed. She had failed as a wife because she hadn't helped James and she had failed as a mother because she couldn't protect Harry from whatever horrors awaited him in his life without parents.
Despite the fact that it was one failure…it was the biggest failure of all and she couldn't stop the thick sobs that works their way out of her as she hunched over head almost against her knees, trying to forsake the feelings of helplessness and utter self-loathing.
And in doing so without even knowing it, her hands somehow let go of the armrests and came to rest around herself almost as if she were trying to hold herself together like she would fly into a million piece if she didn't.
Heart wrenching sobs were new to her as the last time she had cried like this was the last time she and Severus had ever spoken.
She hadn't cried when her relationship with her sister was over and she hadn't cried when she found out that the Dark Lord was targeting them. All she had felt was a burning determination to not give up….to not fail and to not be what everyone thought her to be, some jumped up muggleborn with her head stuck in a book.
And now she would be remembered for something far worse….failing her child when she needed him most.
Who would answer Harry's questions about life now? Who would hold him when he had a nightmare or fell down? Who would help him with his homework and teach him how to ride his first broom? Who would be there when he graduated from Hogwarts or when he waited at the end of the aisle for one special lady?
The questions kept coming and the sobs accompanied them in a tearful cacophony that was a symphony of grief.
Fortunately the voice behind the stack of books hadn't said anything for a long time. That was a good thing because Lily didn't think she could handle anymore dry or sarcastic statements of fact.
After what seemed like hours she somehow managed to raise her head and was confronted with a handkerchief sitting at the edge of the desk.
Gratefully she picked it up and blotted her eyes and nose which was running.
"I need to go back," she said in a quiet voice that was also somewhat hoarse.
"Unfortunately, that's not part of the deal," the voice said. "No one is allowed to return from the dead, no exceptions."
Lily shot to her feet and slammed her hands against the desk, shaking off her momentary surprise that she had somehow been freed or else freed herself. "Listen you prat! You don't understand, I need to go back. My son needs me. The world is a dark and scary place and he is just a child, barely three months old. Merlin knows what they would do to him out there. Do you even have children?"
"No," said the dry voice. "But seeing as how I am not human and am unable to carry out the process of birthing screaming greasy bipeds from a uterus, it would not be something I am eager to experience."
Lily stared at the stacks of books in bewilderment which were blocking her view of her bizarre tormentor.
A wordless snarl slipped from between her teeth and she made to push the stacks aside with her hands and send them tumbling to the floor when the voice, this time as hard and grim as steel stopped her. "I wouldn't do that if I were you."
"And why not?" Lily demanded. "I'm already dead. What sort of problem would I create if I were to want to look on the face of the one person who took my life before I was ready to go?!"
But just as she was about to send the books tumbling, a force like she had never felt wrapped around her arms and sent her tumbling back into the chair with enough force to knock the breath from her lungs.
"You foolish mortal!" the voice boomed. "Do you think anyone can look in the face of death and retain their sanity? Do you think you're somehow better…more evolved than any other human that has tried? You know nothing!"
Lily was so stunned she was left sitting in the chair blinking as her slow mind tried to take in what had happened.
There was a long silence in which the room was deathly silent and there was no sound but for the crackling of the fire.
Gradually Lily's fear began to dissipate but she still didn't know what she should say or if she should say anything. Cold tendrils of panic were still slowly sliding up and down her back at how close to this primordial creature of infinite shadow she was.
Her mouth opened and closed like a fish for a moment and the voice took that opportunity to keep on speaking.
"You will not look upon me as you have not earned that honor nor that torture. But you will not be returning to your life. Do you know how many people have sat before me and begged to go back to their old lives on account of unfinished business or unresolved emotions? How many mothers? How many fathers?"
Dumbly Lily shook her head. She was feeling somewhat mute at the moment and prospect of no return.
"Billions," the voice snapped. "Billions upon billions of people from the dawn of creation have sat here and tried to bargain with me, making all sorts of promises about what they would do to go back to their old lives. And I've given them all the same answer. What makes you think your answer from me will be any different?"
Again Lily didn't have an answer and feeling suddenly fatigued she slumped back into her chair, a hollow certainty of gloom and sheer melancholy overtaking her.
"This can't be it," she whispered.
"Unfortunately it is, the voice said. "Your life is over and now you are here awaiting further instructions."
"In…Instructions?" Lily asked in a daze.
"Yes Mrs. Potter keep up," the voice said dryly. "You followed instructions all the time in school. Why should this be any different? You see, every mortal who comes to see me I need to decide to do with. Most I just send on to the afterlife or eternal punishment, but perhaps I'll do something different with you."
"Haven't you already tortured me enough?" Lily demanded.
To her surprise, the creature behind the books laughed. "You don't know torture. But perhaps you will."
"What does that mean?" the red head asked.
There was a long pause and then a deep chuckle from behind the tall volumes. "It means that I do believe I have decided what to do with you."
"What's it to be then?" Lily asked, no longer sure that she cared. "Eternal rest or eternal punishment?"
She blinked, unsure she heard the voice correctly. "I beg your pardon?"
"I've thought of a better use for you Lily Potter. Or perhaps I should simply begin calling you Lilian Tully…yes that will do nicely. It has a nice ring to it I think."
This made absolutely no sense and Lily opened her mouth to tell him so when she was stopped yet again.
"Oh and before you go, there is one more thing I need to do."
From behind the stack of books, a shrivelled gnarled age spotted hand appeared. It was so white, so bony and the fingers and nails were so sharp that they appeared to be talons.
The sight of it made Lily shudder and she was suddenly very glad she had never succeeded in looking behind the books.
But then she registered that the hand was holding something and she blinked in surprise.
It was her wand.
"Where did you get that?" she demanded.
"Another foolish question," the creature said in exasperation. "I have my ways Lady Lilian and it doesn't matter at any rate. The only thing that matters is what I am about to do."
"And what is that?"
In answer there was a swift and decisive snap and Lily watched with astonishment as her wand was suddenly broken in two.
Before she could even protest however, a swirling sphere of light appeared from the remains of her wand which the creature took in his hand.
She opened her mouth again to ask questions but was stopped once more when all of a sudden the sphere of magic that was contained in the wand was flying at her and had entered her mouth before she could close it.
Instantly a feeling that was both pleasure and pain filled her. Lily was able to wonder if this was what a heart attack felt like but it was also paired with the most wonderful feeling of euphoria she had ever experienced. For a moment the red head began to wonder why she had been sad at all.
The feeling was one of swallowing a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie as well as a mouthful of broken glass at the same time. The taste was delicious but the feeling was awful.
"What…did…you…do?" she asked through gritted teeth and the creature only responded by picking up the broken pieces of her wand and tossing them into the blazing fire. "You won't be needing that silly stick any longer. And now it's your turn."
All of a sudden Lily found herself standing with her back to the flames of the fireplace. She was able to register that she had been moved to stand just in front of the fire and could feel the flames licking at her back as if to gobble her up. What was worse, she couldn't move to get away from them no matter how she struggled.
"What are you doing?" she demanded of the creature who still hadn't moved from behind his mound of books.
"I am about to send you off," came the voice. "Yes I think you'll do nicely in this world. You're bound to shake things up there Lady Lilian."
"Why are you calling me that?" the red head demanded. "My name is Lily. Lily Potter."
"It'll take some time to get used to," the creature replied. "But you'll have all the time in the world. Now be off with you. Some other pitiful soul is waiting at the door. I wonder if their performance will be better than yours. But somehow I doubt it."
And the last thing Lily ever saw before she was pulled into the flames and the world was engulfed in red and pain became her companion, was the stack of books and the bony white hand of the creature lying limply on the desk.
Right before everything disappeared and her eyes closed, she heard a distant creaky voice in the back of her mind.
"We're going to have fun Lilian Tully...lots and lots of fun."
I would like to give a big shout out and thank you to SpeshMeh for this awesome story idea. It was sent to me a few months ago and the idea just wouldn't leave me alone. I've always wanted to try a Lily centric story and now here it is. The Tullys are also a family I have not yet used and as my dear subscriber pointed out, Lily will be a perfect fit for them. I am certain you guys will be wondering about a pairing so I will be upfront and tell you what it is right now. Lily will be paired with Robert Baratheon. This is an interesting idea but as SpeshMeh pointed out to me, they think it could work. And after doing a lot of thinking about it, I am inclined to agree. While I was not fond of Robert Baratheon in the books, I realized he is the one character in ASOIAF that is a perfect combination of both James Potter and Severus Snape. I say this because Robert has an unbelievale arrogance just like James Potter did. Robert's house sigil is also a stag which makes for an interesting parallel too. Now I'm not certain of how deeply Robert loved Lyanna, but I am inclined to think it was genuine. Most of you guys know I am not a huge Lyanna fan. And speaking of Lyanna she was the proverbial Lily to Robert's Severus. He never loved another woman for the rest of his life and spent it miserable and pretty much alone despite the fact that he was married to Cersei Lannister. Their relationship was toxic so that doesn't really count. Anyway, I think someone like Lily would be perfect for someone like Robert because she would be the sort of strong honorable woman he needs to look past Lyanna and Lily never took crap from anybody so she certainly wouldn't take it from Robert! She was the sort of no nonsense muggleborn witch that didn't care about blood purity or superiority or anything else of that sort. Anyway, those are my thoughts. I hope you guys like this story and don't forget to drop a review. Happy reading everyone!