An Unexpected Change
A/n: To anyone who cares, I'm sorry for not updating. I'm just not too happy with how the story has been going so far. I don't even know why I posted it at all since I have like no clue what I want to do with it or where this is going. So, I'm really sorry if it doesn't satisfy you. I know that my story sucks so there's no need to tell me that in a review. And I'm sorry for that too.
(Thanks for all the nice reviews by the way, they motivate me to continue writing it.)
Lily didn't know how to react. She didn't feel angry or even sad; she just felt numb.
And who could blame her? It was quite a shocking revelation. And before she could even make up her mind about it, she received orders to leave.
This was what the Imperius felt like, she supposed. Finally, she understood why it was tempting to just give in to the curse without a fight. Not having to think could be very liberating sometimes.
That was how she found herself in front of her secret place in the library, without any recollection of how she had gotten there.
"How did it go?" She heard a voice ask right away. She looked towards it, startled.
Oh… She had almost forgotten that Harry knew about this place too… Sweet, innocent Harry who had lost his parents as a baby… who had lost his parents because of a prophecy…
"Are you okay?" Harry queried worriedly. She nodded and sat down across from him.
There was silence for a while. Lily was looking at some insignificant dot on the floor while running through the whole conversation again and again in her mind.
Out of the corner of her eyes, she could see Harry wringing his hands and shifting nervously. It was easy to see Harry's hesitancy to ask her anything; his indecisiveness on how to proceed. Arrogant? She almost chuckled derisively; Sev couldn't be more wrong.
She actually managed to smile weakly, more with the purpose to calm Harry down than anything. She didn't want him to think she was angry at him.
There was one question was weighing on her mind more heavily than any other at the moment:
Should she tell him?
She had told Harry several times that keeping secrets wasn't the right way to go about things; that it was best to talk about what was bothering you. It would be hypocritical of her to not do as much… but at the same time she was sure Sev wouldn't want her to tell anyone, especially not Harry.
Even though she thought it concerned Harry a lot more than it did her since he was actually living in a time where this had already happened, it wasn't her place to tell.
It was not her secret.
"I…uh…I just found something out about Severus." Lily spoke up suddenly, breaking the awkward silence.
Harry looked up at her, obviously relieved about her finally saying something. "Oh, what was it about?"
"It was about a stupid fight that ended our friendship that I can't really imagine is truly worth ending our friendship over at the moment." Lily explained half of the revelations truthfully.
"So, you forgave him?"
"There is something else he told me…" She took a deep breath. "It's about him hurting me terribly after we weren't friends anymore without knowing that it was me who would be hurt." She oversimplified it, but she couldn't tell Harry more than that. "And I don't really know what to think about it…" Her desperation crept into her voice. "I wanna feel angry about it, I really do! And I know I should, if not for me then for the other people he hurt with that decision…" Harry, the people he hurt as a death eater and even Potter. "But the way he told me…" She looked into Harry's eyes, silently pleading for understanding and forgiveness about something he didn't really know about. "He looked so sad, guilty and bitter, in so much pain…" She trailed off, remembering exactly how broken the much older version of her childhood friend had looked. "So, even if I want to hate him, I can't, because he's been doing it for way too long already…" Her voice was full of so much emotion; sadness, empathic pain and fear the most prevalent. She was afraid that no one would understand her side: Why, now that she really thought about what had happened, she felt the urge to run back to Severus and comfort him if just to get his painfilled expression out of her mind.
Lily felt a hand touch her shoulder, making her look up at Harry again. That she hadn't even realised that he had walked over to stand next to her seat, just showed how caught up she was in her thoughts and emotions. In all the time she had known him (which admittedly wasn't too long), Harry had only reluctantly accepted human contact, so for him to voluntarily initiate it… She must have looked really upset.
"I understand." He said quietly. His eyes mirrored that statement. He obviously didn't know what exactly he was supposed to understand, but he had apparently understood her desperation for him to understand. And that was what true friends did; they understood. And Lily wasn't ashamed to call Harry that already.
He stayed silent for a while, conveying his understanding through his actions alone.
Then he added, "You shouldn't feel guilty about being too forgiving, that's a good thing. You won't hurt anyone by minimising the hurt one person is going through."
She searched Harry's expression, still finding nothing but sincerity there. It would probably be a lot different if he knew what she was really talking about, but she took his words to heart anyway. Yes, it wouldn't hurt anyone if she made Severus feel a little better. He had been punishing himself enough as it was.
"You're right." She got up. "Maybe he's still there…" She was about to leave, but stopped when something that she hadn't thought about before occurred to her. She turned back around to look at Harry and frowned, "Why are you here? It's been only a few minutes since I left dinner."
He didn't seem to expect that question, "Err…I just wanted to read some stuff..." She smirked, finally catching Harry in a bad lie felt so good.
"Yeah, so much that you didn't wait for your friends to finish dinner like you usually do."
He pouted, "It was important stuff!"
"Thanks anyway." Lily said sincerely.
"For being important to you." And with that she left the secret place without even giving Harry a chance to say anything to that.
Severus hadn't opened the door that day.
She had gone back to the library after continuously knocking on Severus' door for what felt like an eternity to see if Harry was still there. And he actually was. Still waiting for her.
"Hey," She greeted, not even sitting down. "What are you reading?"
"Just some interesting spells." Lily looked at the title of the book he was holding in his hands. It said '101 spells to conceal diseases'. She raised an eyebrow in question.
"It's to conceal, you know…" He lowered his voice. "…my diabetes better."
"Your glamour charms seem good enough."
"Well, you can never be prepared enough." His words were final and Lily knew that there was no point in arguing anymore. Harry was way too paranoid and stubborn.
"I think we should head back." Lily proposed. "It's almost after curfew."
"Hmm," Harry said affirmatively, already packing his stuff and getting up to leave. "How did it go?"
She shook her head. "It didn't go at all. He wasn't there." Or he was, but didn't open the door.
"It's okay." She shrugged. "Tomorrow is a day too. Besides, we have potions."
And as the next day passed, Lily got more and more nervous about that.
Luckily, classes were there to distract her from her anxiety over another conversation with her 20 years older childhood friend after conversations that had left her hurt or sad.
But, during lunch break, her worries had time to catch up to her full force.
She shouldn't have left when he had asked her to leave.
That must have made him think that she would never forgive him. To be fair, he HAD looked like he wanted nothing more than for her to leave him alone.
At least Harry was eating properly again, which meant that she at least didn't have to worry about that.
Hermione was also very pleased with that turn of events and wasted no time praising him for that. Ron and Harry just looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
"I told you 'Mione," Ron was smug. He had even swallowed his food before speaking, proving that he was indeed capable of doing so. "I told you that there was nothing wrong with him. Harry can't do glamours."
"While I am eternally grateful that Harry is consuming a nutritious meal again, it doesn't necessarily mean that he isn't wearing a glamour." Harry didn't show the worry he felt at that statement. "Neither does it mean that he couldn't apply one since Harry is quite a capable wizard."
"Come on Hermione," Ron said playfully. "You just don't want to admit that you were wrong."
"Unlike you, I am capable of admitting my faults, Ronald."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
As the two of them continued their usual lunchtime bickering, Harry turned to Lily, "Nervous?"
"Yes, a bit." Harry raised his eyebrows. "Okay, more like about to have a panic attack nervous."
"Don't worry," He tried to comfort her. "He'll be happy that you forgave him so fast."
"IF he even hears me out."
"He has to," Harry pointed out. "You're new and you have a question about his class after all. As a teacher he's obligated to answer."
"From what I heard, he doesn't seem to care about stuff like that."
"Well, he can't just run away from you." Harry said in fake horror. "That would damage his reputation."
Lily chuckled, "Yeah, that's true."
After that, they finished lunch and left for potions.
Harry had managed to cheer her up for a while, but as she entered the cold potions classroom, her fears returned.
At least Severus seemed to be back to normal.
Only his paleness and the rings around his eyes were more obvious today, which actually made him scarier to the majority of the class.
Otherwise, he was behaving the same way he had been behaving the previous lesson with the only difference that he was avoiding Lily's table more fiercely.
They were brewing the calming draught today.
It was a miracle, really, that Lily (just like Hermione) managed to brew it perfectly despite how nervous she was feeling. Harry's potion on the other hand was a bluish shade of grey, similar to the colour of Ron's, instead of the clear blue it was supposed to be.
It had been predictable, but it still horrified Lily that someone could screw up their grades on purpose. She was a bit like Hermione in that aspect.
When she went to the front of the class to hand in a sample of her potion, she spoke up, loud enough for the entire class to hear, "Sir, I have a few remaining questions about the Hogwarts curriculum. May I stay after class?"
Severus stayed silent for a moment until answering in a low, emotionless voice, "Yes, you may, Ms Jackson."
She nodded and walked back to her seat, not believing that he had actually said yes. She smiled back at Harry, who was smiling at her, correctly guessing that the first successful part of the plan took away a bit of the fear she was feeling.
Once everyone else had left, Severus used some complicated silencing and locking charms to ensure their privacy. "I understand that asking you to leave yesterday had been unreasonable on my part." He spoke smoothly without giving Lily a chance to say anything. "You deserve a chance to express your feelings towards my actions."
"It is understandable if you decide not to attend potions classes anymore."
"You will repeat the school year back in your time anyway. Your absence from some of your classes is easily excusable-"
"Severus!" She raised her voice to interrupt Severus' weird type of rambling. This finally made him listen to what she had to say. "I don't want to skip potions."
"Then, tutoring from one of the older students can be arranged-"
"No, you don't understand." She said, a lot less nervous now, after realising that Sev felt at least as nervous as she was. "I want to attend YOUR class." She almost chuckled at the completely baffled look that came onto his face at that.
"But… why? I am responsible for your death…"
There. The painfilled, hopeless look on his face was back. And Lily was prepared to do anything to wipe it away.
"No, Voldemort killed me."
"If it wasn't for me, he wouldn't have tried to!" He sounded angry at being contradicted; completely convinced that it was his fault alone.
"If it wasn't for you, he would have got to know it from somewhere else."
"But I was the only one-"
"Regardless, you didn't know that it was about me." She couldn't believe that she actually had to argue about this. Shouldn't the roles had been reversed in this argument?
Then again, this just showed how much Severus regretted it. "It was a horrible thing to do, yes. But it was only one mistake. You shouldn't punish yourself your whole life over this, you've been doing it long enough."
"You can't just-"
"I forgive you, Severus." She announced firmly, leaving no doubt at all in her voice. Severus finally looked up at her. His eyes showed so much pain and desperation that Lily was sure that it was the right thing to do.
For a moment he was too shocked to speak. Then he said in a quiet voice, "I don't deserve your forgiveness."
"But you do, Sev." She said shakily. She was sure that there were tears in her eyes; it hurt to see him like this. "You spent the whole time since that mistake trying to make up for it, right? That's why you're a teacher here, right? You wouldn't have become a teacher otherwise and Dumbledore wouldn't let a death eater teach here. You changed your whole life because of this. You deserve my forgiveness." Severus shook his head. "I forgive you and you can't say or do anything to change my mind, so you should better stop trying right now." She smiled. "You know how stubborn I am."
His eyes were shining traitorously now too.
"How could I ever forget that, Lily?" He asked both sadly and fondly. "You were… you were my best friend." The pain in that sentence showed that he was still grieving over her death.
"I am here now." She comforted him. "And we could use this chance to spend some time together. Despite the age difference."
Sev just shook his head again, still in disbelief over everything that was happening. Over being forgiven.
"Are your Mondays still free for tutoring lessons?"
"No…you have no need for them, " Lily deflated at that. "Your potions work is as excellent as it has always been." He smiled in remembrance. "I could, however, arrange some extra classes for one of my extraordinarily gifted students."
She was smiling brightly at that. "Thanks, Sev."
"You should leave now, before your classmates wonder whether I am the cause for your untimely demise."
"I won't disappoint you in those lessons!" She said as she hurried outside.
"I know you won't, Lily." Severus whispered fondly after her leaving form.