A/N: Unlike many other stories of mine, this one is not one of my hopelessly wishful Lily/Snape love fics. This one is purely Lily/James, though James is not who the story is about and love is mentioned. What is it about? Why don't you read it and see for yourself?
Disclaimer: I own nothing… especially not Harry Potter
On The Astronomy Tower
The Astronomy Tower was one of Lily's favorite places to go after nightfall, when everyone else was obeying curfew. Sure, she was entitled to go places after dark because she was Head Girl, but the Astronomy Tower was always off-limits except for lessons. Lily, however, couldn't help herself; she loved the breathtaking view of the grounds and the cool breeze that stirred the otherwise hot night air.
At four in the morning, Lily slipped out of bed and out of the Gryffindor Common Room. She, wearing her pajamas, a bathrobe, and slippers, quietly shuffled across the school and up many flights of stairs. She slowly pushed open the door with the intention of going to sit in her favorite spot overlooking the lake, but found that someone was already sitting in it. It was Severus Snape.
Severus jumped up and whipped out his wand, aiming it between Lily's bright eyes. Lily, who was very surprised, jumped back a few steps.
"I don't think you want to be doing that," Lily said quietly. "I'm Head Girl, you know, and you're not supposed to be up here. Imagine what they'd say if they found my body up here."
"You're not allowed up here, either," Severus said, his lip curling.
"Then I won't tell anyone if you don't," Lily replied. "There's enough room for both of us up here, you know."
Severus looked very much as if he'd like to leave, but turned and sat back down in the same spot he had been previously occupying. Lily didn't move for a moment, but then shrugged and sat down next to him. He looked down at her over his hooked nose and through curtains of greasy black hair.
"If there's enough room up here for both of us," He said mockingly, "Then why must you choose the spot next to me?"
"You just so happen to be in my favorite spot," Lily replied smoothly. "And I'm entitled to sit wherever I want."
Severus rolled his eyes and turned back to face the view.
"Typical mudblood," He said.
Lily didn't reply. She always acted as if it didn't other her, but being called something so rude as 'mudblood' was, in fact, very painful. She hated it, she really did.
"You wouldn't know."
Severus turned again to face her, this time with a look of surprised interest on his face.
"What are you talking about?" He sneered.
"You've never been called 'mudblood' before," Lily said calmly, not meeting his eyes. "You don't know what it feels like to be a 'typical mudblood'. You don't know the ridicule you have to go through to gain respect – all the name-calling."
"It's not my fault that I don't have muggle parents," Severus said with indifference, once again turning away from her.
"But, surely, I mean, you've been called other things, so you'd know?"
There was a pause, in which Lily wasn't sure where the conversation was going.
"Surely you feel bad when people say those things to you?"
Severus ignored her and began walking around to the other side of the tower. She followed closely, waiting for an answer that she wasn't sure was even going to come. Severus stuffed his hands in his pockets and hunched his shoulders, as if trying to hide behind his hair.
"You know nothing about how the mind of a Slytherin works," Severus said quietly. "You don't know the feeling of success or craving for power. You Gryffindors are too proud and brave for that."
He paused, shaking his head slowly. Lily watched with fearful eyes, again wondering where this conversation was going to take her, if anywhere. Severus stopped walking and leaned close to her, as if people were listening from the ground below.
"When school is over I'm going to join a powerful, powerful group."
Lily looked at him quizzically and he leaned closer still.
"Do you not know of the whispers that run through this castle? They all speak of a Dark Lord, always growing stronger and more powerful. There will be training far more advanced than I ever learned here, and my skills will be indulged upon, not scorned at! Imagine the possibilities!"
Lily gaped in terror, for she knew exactly what Severus was speaking of. But why would he disclose this information to her? A 'mudblood'. An unworthy fool.
"Why are you telling me this?" Lily asked, not wanting to know any more.
"Because you're a dab hand at potions, are you not?" Severus said quietly. "Isn't Slughorn always ranting and raving about your ingenuity?"
"But I'm not a pure-blood!" Lily exclaimed.
Severus smiled almost wickedly.
"Do you think he knows that?"
"But – but people will get hurt. How could you live with yourself knowing what you've done to someone?"
At this, Severus grew very somber and surly. He walked away a few paces, back to where they had started. He pulled his hood up and placed his hands on the cool stone of the tower wall. The sun had begun to rise, casting a dazzling pink and gold glow over the horizon.
He whispered in a weakening voice, "I don't… feel. I'm not like you."
He turned and Lily saw that he had an angry, yet almost sad look in his cold eyes. She, who believed that everyone had inner good and beauty, took his hand and placed it over her heart, and then held it there. He furrowed his brows.
"Do you feel that?" She asked.
He nodded once with uncertainty.
"That's the sign of life, Severus," Lily said. "If you're heart is beating, you may be living, but you may not necessarily be…alive. There's so much more to life than vital signs and breathing and power."
"What is there?" Severus asked with a hint of incredulity in his voice.
"There's love, Severus," Lily replied, half smiling at his naïve behavior.
He shook his head slowly.
"I know nothing of love. I was not raised with it, nor was I treated with it here," Severus said.
"But I love you, Severus," Lily said in earnest.
"You don't love me!" Severus replied bitterly.
"Of course I do! Maybe not as you would think, but I have a place in my heart for everyone. You can feel it beating, can't you? It beats for everyone, not just me," Lily said, smiling warmly.
Lily placed a hand upon his heart, and laughed slightly.
"See? You've got one, too! And it's beating a mile a minute," Lily said.
"Not everyone is a brave or bold as you, Evans," Severus said in reply. "We weren't all sorted into Gryffindor, you know."
Severus dropped his hand and turned once more to face the sunrise.
"Besides," he murmured, "I can't love anybody."
"Can't love anybody?" Lily repeated, "But a life without love, that's – that's terrible!"
"No, getting stricken down, that's terrible!" Severus snapped in reply, turning to face her with an angry expression.
"But, love is like oxygen! I'm in love, why can't you be?" Lily said.
"Do you call what you have with Potter 'love'?" Severus sneered, "Oh, someone fetch me a sick-bucket."
"It is love, Severus; I'm in love with James Potter and you know it." Lily persisted. "Love is a many splendored thing, you know. Love lifts us up where we belong. All you need is love."
Severus rolled his eyes.
"Please don't start that again; you're beginning to sound like Dumbledore," Severus replied. "Love is just a game."
Lily shook her head, smiling slightly. She went over to the edge, heaved herself up, and sat down on the edge of the tower. Severus made as if he was going to pull her back, but he stopped himself.
"You'll fall," He warned, eyeing her warily and seeming to hold himself back from pulling her down.
"No, I won't," She replied, "I'm fine."
She patted the empty spot next to her.
"Come on, sit down, it's a lovely view," She said.
"I can see it from over here, thanks," Severus spat in reply.
Lily chuckled and watched as the sun slowly rose up over the grounds. It was still very early, and they had plenty of time to get down before people began walking about. After a minute or two, Lily, who had her eyes fixed upon the horizon, saw Severus heave himself beside her from her peripheral vision. She smirked.
"Lovely view, isn't it?" she asked.
"Yes, quite… for lack of better word, lovely."
Lily noticed that Severus wasn't watching the sunrise. His hood blew back and freed his hair, which whipped about his face with the breeze.
"So," Lily said conversationally, though her heart had begun to pound. "Have I talked you out of joining that gang?"
"If you're talking about the Death Eaters, then no," Severus replied shortly. "Like I said – to me, there's nothing else to liv- work for."
Lily looked at her watch and almost toppled off the edge of the tower. It was nearing time when the professor's began their patrol. She quickly hopped down onto safe ground and headed for the door.
"There's plenty to live for, Severus," Lily said simply as she opened the door. "Remember, we'll always be friends."
Severus didn't reply as she walked away, but he did remember.
He remembered for days, weeks, and then it began to fade as he joined his power-hungry companions in their quest for supremacy. He forgot up until the day he relayed the prophecy, and even after that he forgot again.
The last time he remembered was when he first saw a pair of bright green eyes that he remembered from somewhere else – and something rang in his head. It wouldn't go away, and he knew exactly where it was coming from and what it said.
Severus rolled over at approximately four-thirty in the morning. He got out of bed, pulled a traveling cloak on over his black pajama bottoms, put his hood up, and padded out of the room. He met Albus on the way, and he was carrying a mug of hot chocolate. They stopped and Albus smiled slightly as he saw Severus standing in his nightclothes and a traveling cloak.
"Please, Severus, tell Minerva I'll be late to the meeting in the morning – I have other matters to handle for the time being."
Severus nodded and the two people went on their opposite tracks. He walked up many flights of stairs and pushed open a door. He stepped out onto the Astronomy Tower and looked around, marveling at how the cool breeze stirred the otherwise warm air, blew off his hood, and tousled his greasy, black hair.
Severus heaved himself up over the edge of the tower and settled himself in a familiar spot. He stared at the just as familiar, but empty spot next to him and wondered to himself why the view was not as, for lack of a better word, lovely as it had been once before.
Rubbing his left forearm with uncertainty, he slowly turned his head to face the door of the Astronomy Tower.
"Yes. Always," Severus said quietly.
He hopped down from his spot and left the tower for the second to last time, pausing only to take one last look at the magnificent sunrise, which had begun to cast a dazzling pink and gold glow over the horizon.
A/N: Yeah, and there you have it. I love irony.