A Severus/Marauders Fanfic
Sequel to "Saving Snivellus"

Written and Illustrated by Atana

(See bio page for hyperlink)

Chapter 1 – Rapprochement

It had been Lily Evans, of course.

Lily Evans had been the glue that held the uneasy new alliance together, and both James Potter and Severus Snape would have agreed that such a statement was nothing but the truth. It was the Saturday before the Yule Break, and Lily and James sat in the Great Hall waiting for Severus to arrive.

The sky (both inside the Hall and out) was a dull lead gray, threatening to spit snow once again today. Lily and James both loved snow, and would have welcomed more. Severus didn't like snow quite as much due to the Marauders' quest to cram as much of it as possible down the back of his neck – preferably when he was pushed face-down, suffocating in all that heavy coldness.

"You make Sev feel bad in any way and I will skin you alive," Lily said earnestly.

James looked up (he had been carving into his notebook the legend "Gryffindor Rules") and blinked. "Always in command of the understatement! Don't hold back, Lily," he grinned. "Tell me how you really feel."

It was Lily now rather than just plain Evans. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is known in the trade as progress.

Lily giggled and looked at him with the confidence Nature gave to girls who instinctively knew they were pretty, and charming, and could command boys to do their bidding with only a smile.


Lily and James' joint rescue of Severus Snape from the Ministry of Magic had been a maturing experience for all three of them. James and Severus had reached a rapprochement of sorts; they were far from being the best of friends, but at least they wouldn't tear each other to shreds.

Lily still clung to the belief that she was too young for a steady boyfriend, and so kept both boys (who adored her to distraction) at a friendly arm's length. What held her back were memories of her nasty older sister 's puling and fawning over that bewhiskered tub of lard she called her "boyfriend". Boy? Better a walrus right out of the Lewis Carroll books! Lily believed that there would be time enough for beaux in the future – her long, long future.

"All I'm saying, James," Lily continued, "is don't do anything to upset him. His mother has gone off on a cruise to the Isle of Crete and the Cyclades with one of her old Ravenclaw chums, and Sev isn't too keen on going back to the family manse by himself. I think the Lestranges invited him home with them, but he's too ashamed at not making the Quidditch Team again to spend a lot of time with them. Those two eat and sleep Quidditch, you know."

James grimaced inwardly. Those two particular snakes were dirty players who used their bludger bats like offensive weapons. "All right, Lily. I get the picture," he sighed. He had dug a heart into the cover of his Charms textbook (he could just remove it by magic later), but had remembered himself in time to avoid writing "JP + LE" in its center.

"And remember – you two took the Wizard's Oath."

James sighed once again. "I know, Lily."

He had done so out of a sense of shame over what he and his friends had done to Sev over the years; James was no monster, for heaven's sake. The Marauders had really been no better than Snape Senior in that regard, and James felt lucky that Severus hadn't conjured up a more powerful demon to blast them all to kingdom come. The Gryffindor boy avoided even thinking the names of such entities; you never knew what you would inadvertently whistle up if you did.

The Wizard's Oath wasn't necessarily a troth of eternal friendship, but rather one of alliance. Back off my Family and I will back off yours. One hand washes the other. You to the North and me to the South.

The other major reason he had taken the Wizard's Oath was to please Lily Evans.

Of course.


Severus Snape now headed for the Great Hall.

Even in the middle of this iron-gray winter afternoon, snacks were made available for the students who wanted an energy boost. But Severus had the House Elves beaten all hollow. He carried a large bag of candy procured from The Sweet Tart (cute name, wasn't it? Sev had shuddered; he hated cute) in Hogsmeade. His mother – now Chancellor of the Exchequer by default due to her husband's incarceration – had increased Severus' allowance considerably. There was money enough for a treat now and then.

"Be sure to buy plenty for all your friends, Sevi," his mother had said (Severus still didn't have the heart to dispel her of the notion that he had made dozens and dozens of friends at Hogwarts). "Don't forget the Headmaster and that sweet Lily and James, all right, honey?" He hadn't stopped to think twice about those three. If he'd bought candy for anyone else, they probably would have thrown it in the gutter, thinking it cursed.

Indeed, Severus had just dropped by the Headmaster's Office to deliver a pound of lemon drops to Albus Dumbledore. He now smiled to recall the old wizard's delighted reaction and the hug and hair tousling he had received in exchange. It had made Severus so happy. He was also happy that his real father now sat cooling his heels in Azkaban Prison. Maybe the nasty old bugger would get a nice Dementor's kiss one of these days real soon. Severus earnestly hoped so.

He also hoped that Lily liked walnut fudge. James, he knew, would eat anything that wasn't red-hot or nailed down.


"Hey," said Lily. James gave the approaching Slytherin boy a nod.

"Hey. Hope you two are hungry for a treat," Snape said, sitting down at the Gryffindor table. He opened the bag. Both students perked up at the mention of "hungry" and "treat".

"Here we are. Bott's Beans. Chocolate Frogs. Fire Sticks. Boggart Bats. Wax lips. Wax teeth. Wax bottles. Gummi Skrewts. Cherry Mash bars. Cornish Pixy Stix. Candy necklaces. Walnut fudge – "

"Oooh," said Lily.

Severus smiled.

"– Pecan fudge. And Divinity, but I'm going to scarf most of that down."

Without another moment of hesitation, all three teens tucked in and ate steadily until Lily caught the eye of Perdita Sanderson, one of her friends and the school yearbook photographer.

"Perdy! Over here!" she shouted, waving frantically.

James – ever the ham – psyched himself up for giving his most dazzling grin ever; Severus commenced crawling under the table. Fishing him up by the scruff, Lily said, "Let's have a nice picture of us for the yearbook!" Draping her arms around both boys, Lily smiled brightly. Perdita raised her camera, took a flash picture, and then made her apologies as she had to make up an exam for Transfiguration (the snapshot was destined to be the only Hogwarts picture in which Severus Snape actually smiled).

The students descended back into their candy frenzy until Severus heard a voice behind him.

"What are you doing over here with the Gryffies, Sev? Slumming?"

It belonged to one of his two cousins. "Take your pick," he said, gesturing toward the wealth of candy.

Rabastan Lestrange took a handful of Bott's Beans and Rodolphus took a Cornish Pixy Stik, even though he knew the massive amounts of refined sugar it contained would make his teeth ache for the rest of the afternoon.

"Still coming home with us?" Rodolphus remarked, sneering at James Potter. They were Quidditch rivals, after all.

"I suppose," Severus said.

"Maybe we can work on those Quidditch skills," Rabastan added, unintentionally hurting his cousin's feelings.

"Maybe," Severus said, breaking eye contact with them and subtly signaling the end of the conversation.

"Well then," Rabastan said abruptly. "See you." Both boys, now chomping away, turned and left.

Severus nodded, revolted by the feeling that his face was burning with shame. He hated it when he couldn't hide his emotional reactions to things. It made him feel vulnerable.

"Hey," Lily said, touching his arm.

Severus jumped.

"Oh, sorry! Sevi, I've seen you play at Quidditch. You're very good, really!"

Lily was all too kind, as was her nature. Severus recalled how Sirius Black had charmed his broom so that it threw him onto his face not once, not twice, but three times during Tryouts this year. Too embarrassed to even react to Lily's compliment, Severus sat silent.

"Well, I must be off," Lily said, not adding to the boy's discomfort with her innate ease at such things. "Thanks for the candy, Sevi. You're so kind."

Sevi? She called him Sevi just now. Twice!

"See you later, Lily," the Slytherin boy returned with the smallest of smiles.

"TTFN, Lily," James Potter replied.

"TTFN?" she exclaimed.

"Ta Ta For Now," James grinned.

"Cute," Lily smiled.

Severus winced.

A few minutes passed. Both boys had felt compelled to dispose of all the unwrapped candy, since it would get all nasty and squished to a paste in the bottom of Severus' book bag. Waste not, want not.

At that moment, James had an idea.

It wouldn't be so bad, would it?.

And Lily would really, really like him for it. He could picture her pretty face lighting up with happiness and pride!

Oh yes. Do it.

"I suppose you could come home with me for Holiday, Sev," James Potter ventured. "Nothing special there as you know, but the candy shop in my town beats the one in Hogsmeade a dozen times over."

Snape looked up as if James had suddenly slapped him in the face.

"I don't like it when people try to trick me," he hissed, his eyes dark with suspicion.

"I'm not trying to trick you," James replied with a noncommittal shrug. "It's an honest offer. We can practice on our brooms, if you like. We can stay up all night playing Exploding Snaps and eat an entire chocolate cake a day. We can go to the Muggle movies until our eyes fall out of our heads. Or, we can sleep most of the time and only get up when Mum makes us a meal. If you don't want to come, then fine." Potter swept up the remaining wrappers along with his books and hurried out of the Great Hall, intent on catching up with Lily.

Severus sat stock-still in wonder. Someone had just given him an invitation.

He blinked.

Potter had just invited him back to his home.

Snape's lower lip quivered the tiniest bit.

Potter's home had given Severus a glimpse into what a normal family was like for the first time in his life. The boy sighed deeply. It hurt his heart to remember something so wonderful.

Potter's mother and father, obviously loving one another and loving James, not corrupting the very air around them with hatred and rage. Mrs. Potter, who didn't mind the children taking what they wanted from the refrigerator, instead of cowering before a tyrant husband. Mr. Potter, who took gentle joking from his son with a smile instead of a curse and a backhand across the face.

And what was more, James' parents – strangers, after all, and neither of them Dark or Slytherin – had welcomed and accepted Severus completely and without hesitation. It had nearly broken his heart.

James' invitation presented a dilemma. It certainly did at that.

Offering kindness to a boy who had only known cruelty -- acceptance to a boy who had only known ostracism – and friendship to a boy who had only known rejection now clawed at his heart, awakening his most desperate wishes and longings.

His heart was still so sore from the loss of Britomartis Vox, the only true friend he'd ever had. He felt warm tears fill his eyes. Looking around to see a few other students still eating their snacks, Severus shoved his feelings down as hard as he could.

He so wanted to chase after Lily and James, his new friends. He so wanted to tell James that he would be happy to revisit a home that seemed a dream to him.

But cheerfulness made him uneasy. Friendship made him cautious. Invitations made him wary.

Now firmly back in control – his face reflecting no emotion whatsoever – Severus Snape put the remaining candy in his book bag and hoisted it over his shoulder.

James was still friends with the Marauders, after all. James could control his own behavior, but held no great sway over the other three Gryffindors. Sirius Black's grudge against him was even greater after being removed from the Quidditch Team by McGonagall and chastened by Dumbledore. James, on the other hand, seemed to have gotten over it and moved on. Severus had no idea, of course, that Lily had been the primary motivation behind his tentative friendship with the Slytherin.

Severus sighed again, deciding that he would go down to the Potions Lab. He could think it through in the dungeons, where he felt safe and shielded because most students didn't like it down there. Professor Sartoris would allow him to work by himself on a potion of his own choice or one he suggested.

Yes. That would be good.

Severus dearly loved the warmth that radiated from bubbling cauldrons. He loved the measuring and careful addition of each ingredient. He loved the final result – a perfectly brewed potion.

Perfect. From him, if one could imagine such a thing.

After all, potion brewing was very precise. Very controlled. It required your total attention and your utmost care. You did a set series of steps perfectly and you were sure to get the predicted result. So unlike feelings, which were illogical, and messy, and –

And what?


With one more cautious glance around him, Severus Snape left the Great Hall.