Disclaimer: I do not own any characters in the Harry Potter series.
Although Dumbledore has tried to keep the identity of their spy a secret, at an Order of the Phoenix meeting, Snape is unable to avoid seeking help after a particularly bad Death Eater meeting. (I know this kind of thing has been done before, but I've never read any that took place when Lily and James were still alive.)
Lily looked nervously around the room, checking every dark corner and shadow in the kitchen of 12 Grimmauld Place. Frank and Alice Longbottom were already there, sipping tea in the corner and greeting them before going back to talking in quiet, rushed voices. Ever since she found out the amount of danger her family was in, she hadn't been able to sleep peacefully, and was incredibly jumpy. Even James putting his hand on her shoulder as they walked in set her on edge, and she quickly turned around.
"Just me," James smiled solemnly. He understood, of course he did. It was his son, too, after all, that Voldemort was targeting.
"Right," Lily replied. She took a seat at the table while others filed in. She didn't like coming to these meetings much, as they became less reassuring with each passing week. Everything was the same; Voldemort was still a monster, and their child was still in danger.
James had turned away from her to talk to Remus, Sirius, and Peter, explaining the extra protection they had put in place to protect their son, who was upstairs being cared for by Madam Pomfrey. Lily wished he'd keep it quiet; the less people that knew, the better, but James would never leave the beloved Marauders out of anything.
He quieted down when Dumbledore entered the room and closed the door behind him, moving to stand by the rigid Alastor Moody.
"Good evening, everyone, let's make haste. I don't have much time. A Death Eater meeting has been called tonight, and I have an informant who will report back to me afterwards. He has been gone awhile, so I imagine it will be over soon. James, have you and Lily spoken about finding a Secret-Keeper?" Dumbledore spoke calmly, but wasn't surprised to see every mouth open in the room.
Moody spoke first, "I like it no more than the rest of you that someone so close to the Voldemort has been in this very house. But Albus is in charge, and all we can do is stay vigilant-"
Sirius was on his feet, proclaiming, "Dumbledore, why didn't you tell us? You've been having some evil crony lurking around my house?" He turned to James, who had stood as well. "Prongs, do you hear that? Someone who wants to kill your son could walk right in here and finish him off without any of us having a bloody clue!"
Lily was utterly confused by this turn of events, but she supposed it would be smart to have someone on the inside. But still, it raised concerns. Before James could answer, she replied, "How do we know we can trust him?"
Dumbledore locked his blue eyes with her green, saying quietly, "All that matters is knowing that we can trust him. I would not put anyone in danger. If I did not truly know his heart, he would not be meeting with me. It's only important you know that we have someone who is close with the Dark Lord whose loyalties do not lie with the Dark Lord."
James was glowering now. "So he's 'close' with You-Know-Who? And we're just supposed to talk your word for it? Who is it? Mulciber? Avery? I'll kill them. I'll kill them all. All they care about is keeping that sick smile on You-Know-Who's face."
Lily put her hand on James' arm, and he sighed. "Professor, we can't trust anyone on that side. Think of Harry. Think of my wife. This could be his way of getting to us."
Lily slowly nodded, thinking about all the ways this could help You-Know-Who's cause. But Dumbledore shook his head.
"Enough," he replied, "I know his heart." Once Dumbledore repeated himself, Lily thought, it was no use. They must remain vigilant, as Moody said, and hope that what Dumbledore said was true.
"Now, James, the Secret-Keeper?"
"Right," James sighed, but Lily knew from the way that he remained standing that he hadn't quite resolved to let it go yet. "I guess we-"
Suddenly, James was interrupted by a loud crash by the front door. Everyone who was sitting was on their feet in an instant, and every wand was drawn. Dumbledore made to lead the way, but James made it out the door first, and before Lily could reach the hallway she heard a loud "WHAT THE HELL?"
Lily froze at the sight. Having just tumbled through the door of Grimmauld Place, a man was picking himself up using the bannister. Lank black hair shielded his face from view, and he was holding his stomach as he breathed harshly through clenched teeth. The man was obviously in a great deal of pain, but upon hearing James' voice, he quickly straightened up to his full height as though he didn't just collapse a moment ago. Panic crossed his features, but only for a moment, and Lily was probably the only one who caught it before gaining his composure.
It was Severus Snape. He was standing right in front of her, and still she had to blink to realize it was him. She thought he was a Death Eater now. He was a Death Eater now. And yet, when she first saw him she saw the scared little boy who approached her nine years ago on the playground. But no, that Severus died long ago. The Severus in front of her was an enemy, and had to go. She meant to point her wand at his heart, but found it drifted toward his legs instead. There was no point in killing him when he had information they could get out of him, right?
"Is Dumbledore here?" The man's eyes swept around until they landed on Lily's. He quickly looked away, and turned to leave, obviously in a panic about the presence of so many people.
James grabbed his arm before he even got halfway to the door, as Sirius came to block the doorway as Snape tried to leave. "Where do you think you're going, Snivellus?"
Snape spun around and drew his wand with quick reflex, stating in a dangerously calm voice: "Lay a hand on me again, Potter, and I'll kill you."
"Like hell you will, and you can tell your master that too. In fact-"
Everyone turned to allow Dumbledore through to the three men by the doorway, ignoring everyone to stare at the man in the dark robes.
"Albus," Snape whispered, "I didn't know there was a meeting tonight."
"Yes, well, I had to speak to the Order. Let's go upstairs." Dumbledore obviously never wanted the Order to find out who their spy was, and Lily knew that this must be their spy. She wanted to throw up. Severus Snape? Of all people? The one who called her… that? Her first friend, who she slowly lost to his wicked classmates, who surrendered so easily to the allure of the Dark Arts. How could he be trusted?
Snape looked even less enthused about staying on the landing, and started to make his way upstairs, before Sirius yelled, "Screw that, not in my house! He's not leaving our sight, Albus." Before Lily could register what was happening, Sirius grabbed Snape by the shoulder and yanked him back. If it had been anyone else, Lily could understand them being taken off guard, but not Severus. She expected him to catch himself and fight back, but he didn't. He yelped as he fell down the two stairs he had made it up, and crashed to the ground with a cry of pain.
"Sirius! Potter! In the kitchen, now!" Albus obviously reached his limit with the two Griffindors, as they circled the body on the ground as Sev- Snape tried to get up.
As much as they wanted to fight, Lily knew they wouldn't question Dumbledore. As they filed through the hallway, James whispered, "Watch him… don't let him go upstairs."
Moody obviously wasn't leaving either, so it was now a large number of the Order surrounding him, minus James and Sirius, who stalked into the kitchen unwillingly. Lily realized she was no longer maintaining her glare, and instead was gazing at her ex-best friend with concern in her eyes. She did her best to blink it away, but traitor or not, it was obvious he was not in fighting form.
It was then she realized blood was quickly soaking the carpet in the entranceway. His arm holding his stomach was also covered in blood, and his red-soaked hand was shaking uncontrollably. She bit her lip to stop her gasp of worry, as this was a Death-Eater, a servant of You-Know-Who, and he did not deserve her pity. Apparently, he didn't want it, either, because he seemed to be half crawling towards the doorway, where he could Apparate away once he escaped. It was strange seeing him keep dignity on his face while dragging himself across the ground, blood pouring from his wound in his wake.
She had also blocked out the screaming of Walburga Black's portrait, who seemed very unnerved by Snape's sudden appearance. Usually Lily was the target of her chastisements, so she had learned to tune her out. Now, she screamed at the bleeding man on the floor.
"Traitor! Bastard! Pathetic half-blood!"
"SHUT THE HELL UP!" Snape roared from his hands and knees, and a blast of raw power slammed the curtains aside and shut her up for once.
Everyone stood stock still. Lily reminded herself that although he was obviously very hurt, Severus Snape was not a force to be reckoned with.
Moody was on guard, not allowing the state of the Slytherin to deter his skepticism, and seemed relieved when the hushed voices in the kitchen stopped and Dumbledore walked out with James and Sirius trailing behind, rage still written upon their faces; however, their mouths remained closed this time. James hurried up the stairs without another word; Sirius came to stand next to Lily with his wand once again drawn, but with less visible hostility.
"Severus," Dumbledore knelt before the injured spy. "Come. Poppy will be meeting us on the grounds in a bit." He knelt and put Snape's arm around his shoulder. With surprising strength, Dumbledore heaved him upright, and before Lily knew it, she was at the door, moving to hold it open for them.
"Thank you, Lily," Dumbledore smiled as he led the thin man out of the doorway. Snape didn't acknowledge her, but whether out of pride or incapacitation, she did not know. In hindsight, she thought as she closed the door upon their exit, she could have opened the door wandlessly. Her thoughts were still muddled as James swept downstairs, baby Harry in his arms, with Poppy Pomfrey on his heels. She swept out the door as well, while James grabbed her hand to lead her towards the kitchen. They were travelling by Floo, apparently. And she had a lot to process…
Authors Note: I haven't published fanfiction in years, constructive criticism is definitely welcome. I was thinking this would be a one-shot, but if people want me to continue, I am open to it. Thanks!