A/N: As I said, this story has been pretty much re-written for my sake as well as yours. I hope you like this better than the old version! I was really torn with deleting the old version because I got pretty reviews on it and a few people had it in their favorites and it's depressing to have a story on your favorites list disappear. D: Oh well, a new day is here:D
As always, I don't really think that this ship actually happened, though it would have been cool, but it's really fun to write and read. Aaaand… I've fixed it up so that it could possibly make sense in canon. You get the jist of it, I'm sure.
Disclaimer: I own nothing… especially not Harry Potter.
The Lily and the Snake
Chapter One - Severus Unmasked
Peter Pettigrew sat with Frank Longbottom at the edge of the lake, their feet in the cool water. Frank had his books laid out on his lap, as he was studying for the upcoming N.E.W.T's. Peter, who found studying to be a slight waste of time, lay on his back in the grass and stared at the clear sky.
"That was a great game, wasn't it?" Peter asked as he slowly kicked his feet in the water.
"Excellent," Frank agreed with a curt nod, not looking up from his astronomy book. "Those snakes didn't stand a chance. How many goals did James score, anyway? At least ten."
"Eleven," squeaked Peter, "The Slytherin keeper didn't have a chance! He's pathetic."
Frank laughed genuinely, pausing only to give Peter a sly look.
"Pettigrew, you underestimate. All Slytherins are pathetic. I mean, those two boulders Crabbe and Goyle can hardly walk by themselves," Frank said matter-of-factly as he jotted down a note from his textbook.
Peter turned his head to watch across the grounds. He suddenly jumped up in alarm, hs hand flying to his back pocket in search of his wand.
"Well, I hope they're as bad at dueling as they are at speaking, 'cos here they come!"
Frank jumped up as if his pants were on fire and drew out his wand. Peter cowered behind a few paces, his own wand clutched in his hand. As much as he didn't want to fight, and as much as he feared getting hurt, he knew better than to dessert Frank in his time of need. The two boulder-like Slytherins were indeed strolling over with smug looks upon their stupid faces, both with their wands drawn and held out like torches.
"What do you want?" Frank asked coldly as the two approached.
"What do we want?" Goyle repeated in a conceited grunt, "Where did you learn manners?"
"The same place you learned magic."
"Are you trying to say something, Longbottom?"
Frank opened his mouth to reply that he was trying to insult them, but he closed it and turned back to Peter.
"Do you think we'll get points docked if we insult them?" Frank whispered to Peter without taking his eyes off the Slytherins.
Peter nodded vigorously, his watery eyes darting from Crabbe to Goyle. Frank turned back to the black and green-clad Slytherins. He raised an eyebrow.
"No, I'm not insulting you," Frank said coolly, "I am merely insulting in general."
Crabbe laughed. "In general? I don't know what you mean, Longbottom."
Frank raised an eyebrow and coolly said, "What a surpri –"
Sirius suddenly ran up the grass and stopped beside Frank, looking at Peter intently. Frank stopped mid-comment and closed his mouth dejectedly.
"Wormtail, we've been looking for y –!" He started but, caught sight of the two Slytherins glaring daggers at Frank and Peter.
"Who're you insulting then, Longbottom?" Goyle grunted, ignoring Sirius completely.
"Your entire Slytherin house."
With that last comment, Goyle pointed his wand at Frank, whose nose began to spurt blood. Frank, taken aback for a moment, stumbled and then aimed a well-chosen hex at Goyle. Goyle's breath left him, as if he had been kicked in the stomach, and he fell to the ground. Sirius gave a roar and jumped between the fighting pair.
"House points!" Sirius exclaimed as Frank tried to aim a hex at Crabbe from under Sirius' arm. "We were neck and neck this morning with Ravenclaw!" Sirius paused briefly before adding, "Not only that, but you've got a major advantage, Frank."
Goyle attempted to crawl to his feet, panting.
"And what's that, Black?" He grunted through a wheezy breath. He grabbed onto Crabbe and the latter helped him to his feet.
"He's got talent!"
"Sirius, don't get involved in this!" Frank yelled as Peter shrunk away from view, clearly avoiding Crabbe, who had raised his wand menacingly.
"Yes, don't bother your pretty head," drawled an icy voice that made everyone spin around. "You would only lose."
There stood Lucius Malfoy, his pale, pointed face in a sneer and his wand aloft.
"You think so, Malfoy?" Sirius said, brandishing his wand like a sword.
There was a flash of light and Malfoy was dangling upside-down by his ankle with blood rushing to his pale face. He aimed at Sirius. There was a bang followed by a cloud of purple smoke. When the smoke cleared, Sirius was on the ground, boils popping al over his face. Lucius fell to the ground and landed on his face, causing his nose to break. He gave a yell and rolled over, clamping his hand over his broken nose. Everybody could clearly see the blood rushing through Lucius' pale fingers and down his robe-clad arm.
"Stop! Stop it right now!"
McGonagall was rushing forward, her hat askew and her robes sweeping the grass behind her. She pulled Malfoy unmercifully to his feet and fixed his bleeding nose. Everyone stared in silence, watching the professor apprehensively as she fumed.
"This has gone far enough!" she yelled, pointing at the six students. "If there is any more fighting between the houses, I have no choice but you suspend, or possibly expel you!"
Peter covered his mouth in horror, but everyone else just stared back blankly. Malfoy beckoned Crabbe and Goyle, and they followed their leader off the premises, Malfoy nonchalantly siphoning the blood from his face. McGonagall spared the four Gryffindors a severe look before turning on her heel and heading off towards the castle, straightening her hat as she walked. Frank began to draw off the blood from his face while Sirius motioned Peter to follow him. Sirius raised his brows mischievously at Frank before hurrying off, Peter at his heels.
The potions in the dungeons were simmering in their cauldrons, and the rest of the period was supposed to be a quiet study. However, most of the seventh-years were chit-chatting nonchalantly about the upcoming events and the announcement that had been made yesterday. McGonagall's voice had boomed out of nowhere in particular, warning that the fighting amongst the seventh-year Gryffindors and Slytherins was so terrible that if anyone was caught fighting any more for the rest of the year, they would have to be expelled or suspended, depending on the circumstances. McGonagall had sounded weary and tired, as if the fighting was causing her more fatigue than teaching was.
While the students around him chatted, however, Severus was still busy at three cauldrons. One, which was the one that he was supposed to be preparing for class, was completed and simmering away. The other two, which he was creating for extra credit, were yet to be finished, and he was slaving over them. The announcement had bothered him deeply; e was not going to take any bull from James lying down, but nor could he strike back. Not only that, but Lucius had become more and more aggressive over the past months towards the Gryffindors – even more so than deemed 'human' by Severus' standards. He threw an ingredient moodily into the potion, unaware that someone was staring intently at the back of his head. A someone with vibrant green, almond-shaped eyes and long, dark red hair. Lily Evans had nursed the smallest of crushes on Severus since fifth year, and the crush had nearly died when he had insulted her during the post-O.W.L. incident. Those feelings, though, had been short-lived and Lily had happily gone back to watching Severus from afar and in secret. Well, almost in secret. The only person who had figured out her secret was Remus, who, being intelligent and literal, found this revelation neither surprising nor disturbing. Lily knew that her secret was safe with Remus, for he regarded it with, well, utmost secrecy. Unfortunately for everyone, Lily's crush had become more increasingly obsessive over the past year, and this is where the story really begins.
Remus watched as Lily stared at the greasy, unpopular git in front of them. He smirked and leaned over to whisper in her ear, "Enjoying yourself, Lily?"
Lily jumped and turned to face Remus, looking slightly embarrassed. She grinned sheepishly and the two of them looked back at Severus. Lily knew that Severus was far from attractive, but a few of his habits were very appealing to her. Probably the most appealing to her was the way he always tied his hair back when working with potions. She wasn't sure why she liked this so much, but she supposed it was just one of those things.
"In love, Lily?" Remus asked in a semi-taunting voice that he saved only for her obsession with Severus.
"Out — "
"Out of his favor, where I am in love," Lily sighed, picking up her quill and then moodily dropping it back down on the desk.
"You really like him, don't you?" Remus asked, dropping his humor at once upon seeing Lily's mood.
"Yeah, well, of course… but it would never work."
"Why not?" Remus pressed.
Lily turned back to Remus with a sardonic expression. She laughed in cruel sarcasm and several people turned around to see what the cause for laughter had been, but went back to their activities when they saw nothing groundbreaking. Lily glanced around the room and at Severus, who was still busy, and lowered her voice as she spoke to Remus.
"Are you kidding, Remus?" she said, "He's a Slytherin! And not just any Slytherin, either."
She shook her head and thought vaguely of James, who had become a great friend this year, once he had dropped the 'will you go out with me?' act. Lily obviously wasn't interested in James, anyway, and he had a new girlfriend. Though, she liked to muse, he was a lot more attractive now that his head was significantly deflated.
Lily continued, "He's James' worst enemy and he's a greasy slimeball git. It's like Romeo and Juliet, minus the part where he likes me back."
Remus nodded, a slight frown turning in the corners of his mouth.
"Two houses, both alike in dignity, in fair Hogwarts, where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean."
Lily stared at Remus and he gave a small shrug and an even smaller grin.
"Sorry," he said, "it's one of my favorites. Good battle scenes."
"Right…" Lily replied vaguely, her stare drifting back to the man sitting a few feet in front of her.
Lily had recently felt herself falling for Severus more swiftly than before. She wasn't sure why she liked him, either, seeing as she had not exchanged many words with him. She even supposed that she was being a bit shallow, liking him for his looks. But then, she would remind herself, there was not much to look at. Severus was scrawny as hell, thin, weary. He always looked underfed and abused, with dark circles under his eyes and sunken cheeks that made him look sleep-deprived. For some reason, however, this only made her like him more. Whenever their eyes met in the halls, his dark ones with her bright ones, she would get the urge to run over, give him a hug, and nurse him back to health. Once in a while she wondered if she had caught him staring at her, but he always looked away when she turned around. It wasn't as if she'd never spoken to him before. They'd been potions partners on a regular basis and, over a simmering cauldron, had chatted vaguely. None of these chats seemed to have wielded anything more than a reason for Severus to dislike Lily; she often outsmarted him in Potions class.
Lily was so wrapped up in her thoughts that she didn't notice someone come up from behind her and call her name.
"Evans? Hello, Evans?"
Lily jumped and turned around to see Jackson Smith standing behind her chair.
"Hello Evans, could I have a word?"
Lily sighed and turned back to a normal sitting position in the chair without a word. Smith was becoming quite the stalker. In fact, Lily reflected darkly, Smith could probably give James a run for his galleons. Smith ran around to the front of her desk and placed his hands on it as he leaned over. Lily looked up; Slughorn was nowhere to be seen in the classroom. How inconvenient.
"Evans, Lily, please give me a chance," Smith pleaded, "I'm crazy over you!"
Lily noticed that Severus had become intently still with his head turned slightly to the right, as if to hear Lily's conversation better. Lily fought a smile and a blush crept up her neck. She looked into Smith's puppy-dog eyes and tried to look sympathetic.
"I'm sorry," Lily said loudly enough for Severus to hear without turning around, "but my heart belongs to another."
At this, several people turned to watch. Remus became suddenly very interested in his cuticles and Severus abandoned all pretence and spun around in his chair, expressionless. For a moment Lily wondered if she saw worry flicker across his face, but the next second, it had gone. Smith looked as if he had been confunded.
"Who?" he asked in disbelief.
Lily only smiled and replied, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you, Smith, so I'll save my breath."
Smith opened his mouth as if to protest, but seemed to think better of it. He closed his mouth and walked away, his shoulders hunched in disappointment. Severus, however, remained watching Lily for a moment longer with slightly narrowed eyes. He caught Lily's eye and they shared a consequential glance before he turned back to his three cauldrons with his brows furrowed. Without turning her head away, Lily moved her eyes and looked at Remus, who was looking at her likewise. He shook his head, chuckled, and went back to his homework.
Severus tossed his bag unceremoniously and flopped down onto his bed. He buried his face in his cool pillow and sighed. He was exhausted, what with his extra work and N.E.W.T.s looming ahead faster than he felt comfortable. Suddenly Lucius burst into the room, brandishing a piece of pink, sparkly paper in his hand.
"Snape!" he exclaimed excitedly, running forward, "Look at this!"
Severus groaned and reluctantly lifted himself into a sitting position. He snatched the paper out of Lucius' hand and blinked as sparkles fell onto his robes. As he read the paper, he felt himself pale, if possible.
On the tenth of March in the Great Hall
9pm – 12 am
Masks and dress robes required for entry
He looked up from the paper slowly with his eyebrows raised. Lucius stared back in anticipation.
"Are you actually implying," Severus said, "that you want me to go to this, this…" Severus looked back down at the paper with doubt, then back up at Lucius. "Masquerade?"
Lucius nodded and Severus sighed.
"Not a chance in the world, my friend," Severus said plainly, "I don't know what drugs you're on, but I'm not on them. Especially not enough to go to something as pathetic as a ball. I'll bet Dumbledore just planned it to bond the houses."
He handed the sparkly paper back to Lucius with a sympathetic pat on the arm. Lucius seemed to consider Snape's words before shrugging them off without a backward glance.
"Good luck with that," Severus said, and then closed the hangings around his four-poster.
"Come on, Snape! Isn't there someone you'd like to dance with?"
Severus was about to reply that no, he didn't, thank you very much, when he remembered that day's potions class, and the meaningful glance he had shared with Lily Evans.
"Yes." He replied.
Severus smirked in spite of himself and replied, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you, Malfoy, so I'll save my breath."
The night of the ball, Lily stood in the mirror with her best female friend, Anne. They were both donned in beautiful dresses – Lily's was the same color as her eyes and Anne's was white. Anne's blonde curls were twisted into an elegant French knot on the top of her head, breathtaking to any male who dared to look upon her. Lily put her hands on her hips and sighed in malcontent.
"I kind of want to change my hair color for tonight to suit the whole 'masquerade' thing," Lily said as she got close to her reflection to inspect a strand of red hair that she had set into dazzling curls for the occasion. "Yeah, I think I will."
"Whatever you want, Lily," Anne said with indifference as she curled her eyelashes with the tip of her wand. "Let's hope we don't end up dancing with masked Slytherin boys, shall we? That's worse than having red hair, for sure."
Lily drew her wand and pointed it at her head, ignoring the comment that Anne had so casually thrown out with determination.
"What color, Anne? Black or Blonde?"
Anne looked at her friend and bit her polished lip. "Black," she said simply with a nod of her head. "It graces your beautiful eyes." Anne accompanied the word beautiful with the batting of her eyelashes in a mocking manner. Lily laughed.
"Black it is, then," she said, and stuck her tongue out in concentration as she nonverbally cast the charm. Her hair color instantly changed to black. She eyed her reflection for a moment before nodding in approval. "That's better," she said. "Not for a permanent change, maybe, but my red hair sticks out like a sore thumb. This is better than any mask. Let's go, Anne."
"Oh alright Lily, keep your shoes on," Anne replied grumpily as she abandoned her primping session.
Lily grabbed her black and Anne's white masks, which came down to their noses, and headed for the door.
"This mask looks atrocious."
"Well, at least it hides your nose nicely, Snape."
"How would you like this mask up your arse, Malfoy?"
"Geez, Mr. Sensitive, fine. See you there."
When the door closed, Severus put the mask reluctantly back on his face and stared at his reflection.
It could be worse, he thought as he straightened his black dress robes, at least these robes are masculine. There could be frills and things, and Malfoy's right – my nose doesn't look so big under this mask. And, he added with a smirk, I grew Pettigrew's head twice the normal size today for being a twit, so today hasn't been a complete waste.
Feeling slightly happier with himself, he tucked his wand into his belt and left for the Great Hall.
Upon entering, Severus was pleased to see that there was little to no glitter, which he had been afraid of encountering after seeing the memo for the ball. Everything, including the small, round tables, was draped in black and an orchestra was playing some sort of classical music up where the teacher's table once stood. He looked around for any sign of a certain female redhead, but he was disappointed. He sighed and sat down at the nearest table and tried to look like a gentleman. In his normal attire, he was as self-conscious as any other person his age. Underneath this mask, however, and these nice clothes, he was feeling very confident. He had taken time to make sure that his hair was clean (which was usually a losing battle) and he had trimmed it so that it was just longer than his shoulders, and neat. Then he had tied it back into a low ponytail to further make himself unknown to other people.
Severus looked up from his table and saw someone that he didn't know, but she was so beautiful that he could hardly take his eyes off her. She was donned in a flattering green dress and her hair was a shiny black that fell in curls down her shoulders. She seemed to be friends with the Gryffindor clan, but he couldn't remember ever seeing her before. He stood up and grabbed a drink to keep him company, for he had a feeling that this night was going to be a long one. Occasionally he would see somebody he recognized, such as the conspicuous James Potter and her girlfriend, whatever her name was.
It was nearing midnight now, and still he hadn't seen Lily at all. He wondered where she was, and if she was ever going to show – he doubted it sincerely. A pretty girl he hadn't recognized had approached him and asked him to dance, but he had declined before he'd even thought about it, and the girl had run off again with her friends.
He was, however, finding himself increasingly attracted to the woman he didn't know with the dark hair. He had seen her dancing the Twist and laughing with James Potter at one point and he couldn't quite place her, though he had admittedly felt a surge of jealousy course through him. He couldn't help but admire the way she held herself and the way her dress hugged her full curves in all the right places. In fact, like a magnet, he unconsciously rose and began to approach her. He knew that he wouldn't have done it if he hadn't had the cover behind the mask, but he did have the mask and he was feeling quite bold. Adrenaline began to pump through his veins at the prospect of asking somebody to dance. He stopped in front of her, and she and her friends looked up at him with scanning looks. Several of them giggled and nudged one another. One of them whispered something to her friend.
"Hello," Severus said, making sure that his voice was slightly lower than usual so that he would not be discovered. He personally thought that he sounded quite dignified.
Several of the Gryffindor girls began whispering to and nudging each other again. The mystery woman gave her friends a severe look before turning back to Severus.
"Hi," she said, brushing away a black ringlet and looking slightly taken aback, "Can I help you?" Clearly she was hiding her voice as well, for it was lower than most girls'.
"Only if you would be interested in a dance," he replied, and one of the girls let out a small shriek of excitement; they all scampered away except for the mystery woman and he desperately wanted to hex them for their nerve.
He placed a hand on her waist and took up her hand in his. His heart was hammering in his chest, for he was messing about in uncharted, possibly deep waters. He told himself to be careful, lest he drown. The woman smiled slightly and placed her free hand on his shoulder. Severus was idly aware of some sort of classical music playing in the background, but he didn't take much notice.
"Ready?" he asked, and when she nodded, began to lead a dance.
Now, Severus had never danced before, but he found that it was not all that difficult. After a few moments of awkwardness, they were dancing with the rest of the couples in masks, and Severus was glad to say that he never once trod on her foot. What was bothering him this whole time was that he still didn't know who the woman was. Severus wondered who she was, where she was from, what house she was in, how he didn't notice her before (as if he could miss her) and why, why was her God damn dress so low in the front? He focused his eyes on other, less dangerous things, and eventually on her eyes. They talked as they danced, mixed with the other couples and doing a sort of waltz.
"So, what house are you in?" She asked casually, throwing the question into the open as if she didn't really care.
Ah, Severus thought, so she doesn't know who I am.
"The best of them, of course," He replied dryly.
"Feeling secretive, are you?" The mystery woman said. "Everyone thinks their house is best!"
"This whole thing is very secretive, no?"
"Yes, I suppose it is."
He suddenly stopped dancing and stared down at her. Couples merely danced around them in their many colors as if Severus and the woman were not even there. He took his hand away from hers and placed it on her waist and she put her free arm around his neck. As they stared into each other's eyes, he felt bothered. It was as if the answer was staring him in the face (which it was). And he could have sworn he knew those eyes from somewhere, as if they'd stared at him from across a room or in a crowded place. And her scent, too; the familiarity of it was driving him crazy, the combination of cinnamon and vanilla making his mind pleasantly fuzzy.
"Who are you?" he asked in a quiet, demanding voice, puzzled by the emotions that he was feeling.
"I'd ask the same question, but I have a feeling I'll get the same answer as before," the woman replied.
He continued to stare as he asked, "Have you ever kissed someone before, or been kissed?"
She laughed wholeheartedly and he was once again struck by the familiarity of the sound.
"You mean besides by my dear mother? No."
"Never a romantic kiss from a presumed stranger in a masquerade ball, surrounded by peers?"
She looked slightly uncomfortable for a moment and looked away, then back up at him. He was startled by the brightness of her green eyes, and once more felt that the answer was in front of him, yet he was not smart enough to put a finger on it.
"No, I can't say I have."
Severus took his hand from her waist and gently touched her bottom lip with his thumb, marveling at her supple smallness. He cradled her neck in his hand and kissed her his first kiss and her first kiss. And he didn't even know who she was. And the entire time, his brain was admonishing him and his heart was egging him on. He pulled away and she looked upon him, thunderstruck.
"You just kissed me!" she said, and he scoffed.
"Yeah, well you weren't exactly protesting, princess," he said sarcastically.
"Well, I never said I was Romeo, did I?"
The beautiful woman opened her mouth to reply, but her jaw dropped in disbelief.
"You've read Romeo and Juliet?"
"Yes, of course I have."
She paused then looked up at him suspiciously. He almost cringed under her stare.
"You're not Remus, are you? Because if you are, I swear I'll…" she began, but stopped once she saw him glaring at her. "Well, I always thought Shakespeare was a Muggle thing, and Remus is the only wizard I've met who's read it. I just thought –"
He dropped his head down an inch or so closer to hers and she looked pointedly up at him through her face mask, her green eyes sparkling.
"Well maybe you think too much."
He moved in closer and, to his utmost surprise, so did she. Severus was suddenly aware just how close their bodies were, just how close their faces were… He could have sworn he'd smelled her perfume before… he was enticed by everything about her… where had he seen those eyes?
"…Have you ever been in love?"
Just before their lips touched again, he murmured in an undertone, "Ask me again in two minutes."
They broke apart moments later and she grabbed him by the hand. She pulled him outside and into the yard. Severus blinked twice to clear his vision, for he had walked into what he presumed was the land of pink fairy lights. He stifled a groan and the urge to hit himself in the forehead with exasperation. Everything was pink and white in contrast to the black and white inside, and actual fairies hovered and fluttered a few inches above the assorted flowers. Large bushes had been grown around everywhere, and benches and fountains sat randomly in secluded areas of the walk. The mystery woman pulled Severus through a bush of roses, which pulled at his robes uncomfortably, checked to see that they were alone, and then sat down on the edge of a fountain. She pulled her wand out and pointed it at her head, and her hair changed to dark red. Severus gasped slightly. Now he understood why he'd felt like he'd met her somewhere before. How could he have misplaced her eyes? She pulled her mask off her face and sealed his fate without a word.
"I'm Lily Evans," she said quietly.
"I know," replied Severus numbly.
"Who are you?" she asked now, puzzled.
Severus groaned and hit himself in the forehead in frustration. Now that he was alone with her and possibly about to be unmasked, his boldness level and adrenaline rush diminished to zero. He got up and turned to walk away, possibly to another planet, when she grabbed his sleeve. He spun around to see her standing up, her hair beginning to go back to its natural state; her curls had begun to go limp and it gave her a desperate look.
"Wait!" she exclaimed urgently. "You're not going to kiss me and then leave without telling me who you are, as if nothing ever happened!"
Severus stepped back and shook his head sadly.
"No," he said. "Now that I know who you are, I can't tell you who I am. Someone like you wouldn't want to be with a… a git like me."
Lily's eyes widened and she strode up to Severus and pulled his mask off with a snap. As the mask slowly fell to the ground, she gasped in shock. Severus winced as her fingertips found her temples and she closed her eyes and shook her head.
"This can't be right!" she exclaimed to herself and to Severus. "You were never supposed to… I mean, I fancied you, yes, but I was never planning on saying anything about it…" She groaned and finished lamely, "We're from feuding houses, different lives. It wouldn't work."
Severus stood still in half astonishment and half confusion. His brain seemed to be working on overdrive. If she'd meant half the things she'd just said, then…
"You mean you would?" he asked, surprised into speaking.
She looked up from her feet, startled, as if she had just realized he was there.
"I would what?" asked Lily, taken aback at the lack of harshness in his voice.
"Be with me," Severus replied, "Me, of all people. The geeky, greasy, evil git. Do you require medical attention? Would you like an escort to the Hospital Wing?"
Lily looked up at him again and said, "You have no idea what I would give… but it wouldn't work. What would people think?" her voice turned suddenly stern as she snapped, "And did you honestly believe that you could just kiss someone and forget about them? What were you thinking before you kissed me? I'm a bloody female; we don't like being ditched for no reason!"
Severus looked and the ground now and at his polished shoes.
"I wasn't thinking; I was too wrapped up in the heat of the moment," he said, and then looked at Lily with his brows furrowed. "And since when do you care what others think of you?
Lily looked away and sat down again on the edge of the fountain.
"Snape, my friends represent everything that Slytherin isn't. Everything they hate is in Slytherin. If people saw you and me – If James saw, what would he say?"
Severus bent over and picked his mask up off the ground. He straightened up and held the mask out in his hand.
"What if," he said slowly, holding up the mask to represent his symbolism, "what if they didn't know? What if we hit it behind, say, a mask?"
"You mean," Lily replied, taking the mask from him with a searing, thoughtful look in her eyes and on her face, "the night? Dark?"
Severus felt a slight grin spreading across his face. "Nobody would know."
"Brilliant!" Lily said, standing up again and striding over to him. "Brilliant! We can keep it a secret for now, and then get the houses to bond and get along. Then, we reveal!"
Severus raised a doubtful brow.
"I don't think that will work," he said warningly, "You don't know Lucius like I do. He's a proud guy."
Lily was pacing back and fourth now, her black high-heels making a clip-clop sound on the cobblestones. She appeared thoughtful and Severus wondered if she'd heard a word he'd just said.
"Yes," she said at long last. "Yes, it will work. Remus will help, too, I know he will."
At that point, the clock began to toll midnight. Both of them jumped, and then stood in an awkward silence for a moment.
"We've gotta go," she said, and then threw her arms around Severus' neck in an embrace.
He stumbled first, and then returned the hug awkwardly, as he had never hugged anybody, never mind a girl, before. She went to leave, and then turned back, strode up to him, and kissed him swiftly. He felt the hairs on the back of his neck prickle uncomfortably.
"You're not evil, by the way," she said smartly, "And not half as greasy as usual – not that I mind, of course. Goodnight!"
"Bye," Severus replied, slightly dumbstruck, as Lily climbed back through the bushes. He was unable to believe his luck. When Lily had disappeared he turned his face towards the sky and gazed at the stars. "Star-crossed lovers," he muttered under his breath. "Who would have thought?"
Severus pushed open the door to the dorm to see Lucius dressing into his pajamas. Lucius looked up at his friend suspiciously, a punch-drunk smile on his face.
"You look like you've had the time of your life," Lucius observed quietly, for Rosier, Wilkes, Lestrange and Avery were all sleeping.
"Do I?" Severus replied vaguely, changing into his sleeping apparel.
"Yes, you do," Lucius said. "Who's the lucky woman, Severus?"
"What woman?" Severus replied as he climbed into bed and closed the hangings around his four-poster so that his smirk would not give him away.
Lucius made a doubtful "mhmm" noise as Severus closed his hangings.
"Fine, keep your secrets."
"Alright, I will. Goodnight!"
A/N: Okay, so there's chapter one. Thanks to WriterArtist for being my groovy beta and putting up with a ship she doesn't like!