A/N: Well, this story is officially non-canon. Oh well, the show must go on. And, by the by, this story happens to be a companion piece to my other fic, Nightmares. You don't have to read that to enjoy this, but it contains the seeds of at least four other fics that I intend to write (including this one), so you might want to.

Scenes from a Different Romance

Chapter 3 – Lily's Visit

Lily didn't think she'd ever seen Severus so smug or vindictive as he was as he introduced her to his father, Sextus Snape. "Sextus," said Severus, with the biggest shit-eating grin probably in the history of Ever, "Allow me to present my friend, Lily Evans."

Sextus surveyed Lily coolly, and Lily felt a stab of trepidation under his gaze. She tried to calm herself by remembering what Severus had told her earlier.

You have nothing to worry about, he had said, smiling more reassuringly than Lily had thought possible for him. Sextus clings to the same archaic code of ethics as all those other pureblood bastards. It's very medieval and too complex to be told in brief, but rest assured: as long as you're my guest you have to be treated cordially.

Sextus' cold voice brought her back to the present as he said, "So, Severus, this is the guest you invited to stay at our house…without consulting with me."

"Slipped my mind completely," answered Severus flippantly.

"Indeed," said Sextus, glaring at his son, who glared back with even more hatred. Lily watched the spectacle in shock, wondering how a father and a son could hate each other so much. It was Sextus who looked away first, tearing gaze back to Lily, who quickly wiped the look of shock from her face and tried to smile sweetly. "Still, I cannot blame you for inviting Ms. Evans. She is quite lovely."

Lily felt herself start to blush uncomfortably under Sextus' gaze, and she looked desperately at Severus. Severus, for his part, was looking suspiciously at his father, frowning. When he noticed Lily's look, he looked away from Sextus and smiled at Lily, regaining his normal, confident visage. Snaking his arm around her waist and drawing her closer, Severus looked defiantly up at Sextus and said simply, "I agree completely."

Sextus narrowed his eyes at the couple, and a look of disgust crept its way onto his face. The look disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, however, and he tried to cover his slip by asking, "So, Evans, you must be foreign, from Ireland by the looks of you."

"Um…no," stuttered Lily, confused. "Why do you say that?"

Sextus' eyes narrowed, and he glanced at his son, whose previous grin had come back with a vengeance. "Then who are your parents?" asked Sextus mildly, though Lily could tell there was barely controlled rage right beneath the surface. "I had thought that I knew the lineages of all the pureblood families of England, but one must have slipped by me."

"Oh…" said Lily, realization hitting her like a manticore. She cast dirty look at Severus, whose grin had widened to epic proportions, but he was too busy gloating to notice. "No, you didn't miss any. I'm not pureblood, I'm muggleborn."

Sextus instinctively took a step back in disgust at her statement. Realizing his error, however, he quickly recovered his composure and said, "Are you indeed? Well, I must say this is the first time a mud…muggleborns has every set foot in Snape Manor." Though his voice was civil, the look on his face told Lily exactly what he thought of her, and she felt the familiar fear creep back into her heart. Sextus ripped his eyes away from Lily, and, to her surprise, the look of disgust on his face only increased as he looked at his son. "Who ever would have thought it would come to this?" he asked rhetorically, his voice a hateful whisper, his eyes slicing into Severus like blades.

It all looked very painful to Lily. Severus, however, only grinned into his father's fury and crooned, "Only someone as brilliant as I, Sextus." Severus suddenly removed his arm from Lily's waist and bent down to pick up her bags. Straightening up, he addressed his father again, "Now, if you'll excuse us, I'll show Lily to her room." He favored his father with a pointed look and said, "I'm sure you want to run off and brag to your friends about your illustrious houseguest. Just think…you'll be the first kid on the block to have a muggleborn in your home."

Without waiting for a response and without a single glance backwards, he began crossed the room and began to ascend the main stairway, beckoning Lily to follow him. She chanced one last look at Sextus, who was apoplectic with fury, before scurrying after Severus. He was waiting for her on top of the staircase, just out of earshot of his father, and she attacked the instant she reached him. "What in the name of God have you gotten me into, Snape?" she hissed furiously. "I came here to spend some time with you, because I thought we had the beginnings of a friendship started, not to be killed by your father! I'm not going to be some pawn in some insane game of hate between you and him! And what the FUCK were you doing acting like we're dating?"

"Don't you trust me?" asked Snape with a smirk, still on a high from humiliating his father.

"Fuck no!" exclaimed Lily, fuming.

"Good," answered Severus, still smiling. "I've given you no reason to trust me."

Feeling the beginnings of a migraine coming on, Lily pinched the bridge of her nose and tried to calm herself down. "I swear to God, Snape," she said, frustrated but resigned, "I'm going to kill you if you don't explain yourself."

"Alright, alright," Severus said placatingly, grasping her by the wrist and leading her into an empty guest room near them. They sat down on the unused bed, and Severus looked at her seriously for perhaps the first time since she'd arrived. "Look, I'll tell you what you want to know," he said, almost sounding scared, "but when I do you'll know more about my personal life than anyone…at all. So you have to promise me that you'll never tell anyone what I'm about to tell you. Do you promise?"

"I promise," she said quickly, sincerely.

"Alright," said Severus, drawing in a breath. "There's no pretty way to put this, but my father beats my mother. A lot. It's really a miracle that she's still alive." Seeing Lily opening her mouth to say something, Severus held up his hand to stop her. "Just let me say what I'm going to say," he said, causing Lily to close her mouth. "For a couple of years, before I went to Hogwarts, I was able to goad him into beating me instead of her by learning Dark Arts curses and using them on him. That worked for awhile, but while I was at Hogwarts he started in on my mother again," here, Severus grimaced, "and he never really stopped. He's even worse to her than he used to be, actually, because he knows how much it hurts me. You see," he said, when he noticed Lily's confused expression, "he hates me. Not only for the attempted curses I still try to inflict upon him whenever possible, but also because I'm such an embarrassment to the family. Ugly, rude, hateful, uncouth, gauche, introverted, and, worst of all, I have the makings of a blood-traitor. Making me the ultimate black sheep of the pureblood world…except maybe for your friend, Sirius. When you sent your letter, I had been locked in my room for three days and he'd been torturing my mother for just as long. I saw a perfect opportunity, and I just had to take it. I'm sorry if you feel used, I really am, but I would still make the same choice if I had to do it over again. As long as you're here, Lily, Sextus won't dare to touch my mother because that would be breaching the code that controls his life. It makes no sense, I know, but I'll exploit it just the same. Once you're gone, Sextus will be furious with me, probably more so than he's ever been; so mad, hopefully, that he'll forget all about my mother and take it out on me. And I'm going to milk that for all it's worth, every single punch and curse that he has to offer. Maybe, if I'm really good, I can get two weeks of abuse from him."

Severus' eyes were locked with hers, and they were pleading. He was more vulnerable than she'd ever seen him, probably more vulnerable than anyone had ever seen him; she might have been imagining it, but she swore that there were unshed tears at the corners of his eyes. "That makes a month in total, Lily. I know it doesn't seem like a lot to you, but try to understand: I don't think my mother has gone a month without being beaten for almost five years. I'd do anything to give her that, Lily, and I'll do anything for you if you help me."

With those words he turned his gaze downward, staring at the floor, waiting for Lily to either reject him or become his partner in crime. Lily, for her part, felt sick to her stomach. The idea that a month off from being brutalized was a sort of…paradise for Severus' poor mother was horrible beyond anything Lily had ever heard. She wanted to march downstairs and castrate that miserable excuse of a wizard that dare call himself a husband. No, she wanted more. She wanted to kill him. No, she wanted to torture him, somehow make him feel every single twinge of pain he'd ever caused his wife and son. Her thoughts were so furious, so savage, that without realizing it, she let out a low, fierce growl.

Severus' head whipped up in surprise, and, seeing her staring out the door…growling…a relieved grin came to his face. "I take it you have no objection to helping me?"

Lily looked at him, her eyes furious, her expression diamond-hard. "None at all. I want to fucking destroy that bastard."

Severus nodded in approval and said, "Good. You really don't have to do much, except be you. The mere idea of a 'mudblood' being in his home, touching his things,spending time with his son, maybe sleeping with his son," Severus said with a raised eyebrow, "is more than enough."

It was Lily's turn to grin at Severus. "Sleeping with his son?" she asked playfully.

"Paranoid delusions of an inbred pureblood, of course," he said dismissively, but with a roguish smirk,"but...a boy can dream, can't he?"

"That's quite an outlandish dream," she said, "considering this is only the second civil conversation we've ever had. But," she said, taking his hand into hers, "I suppose it's not altogether impossible that someday I'll do more than barely tolerate your presence."

Severus tightened his fingers around hers and said, "What more could a boy hope for?"