For the Sake of Old Love
Lily paused, the tip of the quill hovering over the paper, a ball of red ink expanding on the end of it. It splattered on the paper with a tiny plop. She wiped it with her sleeve.
i Dear Severus… /i
She couldn't do it. Or could she? It would be so hard…she could just tell him how she felt. Yes, it could be as simple as that. Even though it had been a couple of years, he would respond, wouldn't he? And even if he didn't, he would most likely read the letter…
i I dunno, /i she thought. i It's risky business. If it's intercepted by Voldemort… /i
"No," she said aloud. "Peter's the secret keeper. He'd never divulge it."
More confidently, she picked up her quill and began to write.
i Dear Severus,
How are you? I know it's been a while since we've talked. Has it really been a year? I know the last time I owled you was to send you pictures of Harry. He's grown so much! He has my eyes and his father's nose. I wish you could come and see him, but it's kind of a sticky situation. I really can't explain.
About a month after Harry was born James and I decided to get a divorce. It's been really rough. We decided to stay together a bit longer for Harry's sake. The poor little tyke hasn't got a clue what's going on. I tried to convince Petunia to help, but she never returned my calls. I suppose she's too busy with her own son.
I just wondered if you'd be willing to speak to me. Maybe come to my flat in Godric's Hollow. I could pick a time when James would be out or asleep or something if it would make you more comfortable. I'm really sorry, I know we've had a nasty history, but I really want to start fresh, Severus. Please reply.
She took one look at the letter, crumpled it up, and tossed it in to the roaring fire next to her.
Severus was milling around in his cottage, thinking. He needed a favor from Lily. But did he even dare contact her? Good god, it had been a year, and the last thing she sent him he had torn to ribbons…
He had switched sides at great risk and become a spy for Dumbledore. He was sure that at any moment Voldemort would simply pop into his house and Avada Kedavra him. It really wasn't too far-fetched an idea. Voldemort didn't treat his deserters kindly, as Severus had seen with his own eyes…
He picked up a quill, straightened out a piece of parchment, and began to write.
i Dear Lily,
I am in need of help. I am asking you this one thing and I am well aware I will be in your debt forever. I have become a traitor to Voldemort and I am now working for Dumbledore. I need you to become my Secret Keeper. I am truly sorry to burden you with this, but I didn't know who else to contact.
He blew on the ink, rolled up the letter and gave it to his owl to deliver. Then he laid down on his cot and slept for two days.
The next night, the letter returned to Severus. He gave the owl a funny look.
"Why didn't you take this to her?"
It cocked its head.
"Could not you find her, you incompetent stool-brained twit?"
It let out a shrill shriek.
"Very well. I will take it to her myself."
The owl shrieked again, as if to say, 'Suit yourself'. It dropped the letter in Severus' hand. He put on his cloak and rode out into the night.
As he appeared in front of Lily's flat, he felt he should keep his hood up. He knew it really wasn't safe to be wondering the night as he was, but he needed to see why his usually capable owl was unable to deliver a letter to his former lover.
He never really could forget what he saw that night, but then again, a chunk of it was always blurry. The house was in perfect ruins. Smoke rose hundreds of feet in the air. The stench of raw death lingered. He sprinted closer to the burner pyre.
"Snape! What're ye doin' here? Get out a' this place immediately!" Rubeus Hagrid was yelling. He was clutching something black and charred that looked horribly like a body. Screams of that night echoed in the back of Severus' mind for the rest of his life.
"Snivellus." He heard Sirius Black growl. He ignored it all. He didn't care about any of the rest of them. He just wanted to smell her freesia perfume one last time, feel her skin again. He dug through the rubble with a sick eagerness, his hands soon black and blistered. Hagrid and Black watched the pitiful man with morbid curiosity.
After hours and hours, he gave up. He could not find her. He broke down in silent sobs. He didn't care who saw. He didn't care that the burning house was about to collapse. He sat, cross-legged on the accursed site, and wept for his old love.