DISCLAIMER: I own the plot and Poppy Johnson. Everything else was created by JKRowling.

***

"Now you'll be careful, won't you Sevvy darling?" fussed Angela Snape.

"Mother! I'm fifteen-years-old! I can take care of myself! Anyway, I'm going to school. I'm not off scaling a mountain or anything." Sev loved his mother dearly but she could be a right fusspot at times! "Why couldn't Dad come to see me off this time?" He added, bitterly.

"You know your father's very busy at the Ministry right now, Sev."

"He's always busy. Anyway, I've got to go now. I'll guess I'll see you next at Christmas."

"Oh, didn't I tell you, Sev? Your father's taking me on holiday at Christmas. You'll have to stay in Hogwarts all year. I could've sworn I told you."

"You didn't." Sev said shortly, "Well, I'll send you an owl soon. Bye." With that, Sev jumped on the train. Bloody Lucifer Snape, thought Sev. Perfectly willing to take his wife on holiday but not his son. Won't even come to the station to see his son of when he knows he won't see him for nearly a year! Jesus!

"Watch where you're going, Sev!" Said a female voice. He'd just walked into a pretty girl with green eyes and dark red hair. Lily Evans.

"Sorry, Lil. I was miles away."

"Evidently." She grinned, "Come and sit down. There's an empty compartment over here."

Sev and Lily had been friends since their first day at Hogwarts. It had caused quite a scandal since Lily was a Gryffindor and Sev was a Slytherin. But neither of them cared. But just before the summer holidays, at the end of their fourth year, Sev had started to become worried. He had started to develop feelings for Lily. He wasn't worried because of the Slytherin-Gryffindor prejudices, he was just worried how it would effect their friendship. The two of them sat down in the compartment next to each other. There was an awkward silence which Lily broke.

"Look, Sev, I have something to say which I feel really needs to be said. But it may spoil what we already have so if it does, I'm sorry, OK?" She took a deep breath and continued, "Since the end of last year, I've, well, I've fallen in love with you..." She trailed of and looked up at him miserably.

"Really?" Sev smiled. Lily nodded. "Lil, I love you too."

The look on Lily's face at that moment was adorable. If you could bottle that look, thought Sev, who'd need potions? He leaned towards her and kissed her. She kissed him back. Her lips were so soft. Sev felt as if he were melting into that kiss. When they broke apart they realised they must've been kissing for ages. The witch with the food trolley was already on her way round.

Sev and Lily grinned at each other. "The Marauders won't like this." He whispered, "They could barely cope with us being friends."

"Who cares what they think? James is arrogant, Remus is weird - he keeps disappearing, Peter's thick and Sirius is frankly dangerous! They don't matter to me. You do."

"You're right, as ever, Lil. I don't care what they say to me but I don't want them giving you a hard time."

"They won't. Remus has a huge crush on Poppy Johnson and she's a good friend of mine. They wouldn't want to spoil his chances with her by laying into me now, would they?"

Sev and Lily passed the rest of the train journey talking and kissing.

In fact, that's pretty much how they spent the next three months.

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Christmas was drawing close when Dumbledore announced that there was to be a Christmas Ball. "You will all be bringing a partner, naturally." He had grinned at them all, his eyes twinkling. "I don't think I remind you that the Quidditch match between Slytherin and Gryffindor will take place the morning before."

"So who'll you be taking?" Lily joked with Sev.

"I don't know yet. There's this redhead who's been pestering me all year. I was thinking I might ask her..." Lily playfully punched Sev in the arm.

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"I'm sure it was an accident, Sev..." Lily trailed off.

"Oh, sure it was, Lil!" argued Sev, "Potter just knocked me off my broom, causing me to fall seventy feet to the ground, breaking both my legs and an arm, by accident. I'm sure it could happen to anyone."

"Look, Madam Pomfrey can re-grow your bones overnight. All you'll miss is the ball. I'll stay up here with you if you like."

"No. Go to the ball. You've had your heart set on it since you found out about it. You'll be able to have fun with Poppy and your other friends anyway." Sev really wanted her to stay but he knew he had to let her go. She'd talked of nothing but the ball since Dumbledore had first mentioned it. To take it away from her now would be cruel.

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Sev lay in bed. The music from the ball was drifting up from the Great Hall. He wished he was there so much! That damned Potter. Why'd he have to knock him off his broom? It just wasn't fair!

He wondered if Lily was dancing with anyone. He'd told her he didn't mind if someone asked her to dance but he hoped she wouldn't. What had gotten into him? He'd never been jealous before! Quite the reverse in fact. He'd always revelled in Lily's popularity. Knowing that he was with her when so many others wanted to be was a thrill. And he'd always trusted her with any of them. He didn't mind her talking to them, even when they were trying to flirt with her. He knew she loved him and no one else.

But then there was James Potter.

James had always liked Lily. It was obvious. He'd been one of the most outraged when Lily and Sev had become friends in the first year. He'd tried to make my life living Hell since Lily and Sev had become and item this year. Now he had knocked Sev off his broom, getting him out of the way for what was bound to be the most romantic night of the year.

Sev didn't know if he could trust Lily with Potter.

He was charming, good looking, an amazing Quidditch player and a brilliant student. Why wouldn't Lily be bowled over by him? Sev felt he wasn't anything special. Shy, handsome in a "way", an average seeker and good in some subjects but awful in others. He wasn't special at all. Not compared to James Potter.

His legs were better now. So was his arm. Madam Pomfrey wanted him to stay in bed but she wasn't in the room to tell him off if he got up for a bit.

Sev walked stiffly over to the window and looked out. Down below was a grotto of fairy lights which were made of real fairies. Couples strolled around. Some kissing, some just talking. Sev could see Sirius Black kissing a girl he recognised as a Ravenclaw. Lucius Malfoy was holding hands with Narcissa Blaise. Remus Lupin was dancing slowly with Poppy Johnson, they didn't need music. Sev wished he was part of the scene. He could imagine himself and Lily embracing in the moonlight, holding each other so tightly.

Then another couple caught his eye.

Sev could see James Potter his back to the school. He was talking to someone, but whoever it was was enveloped in darkness. He assumed it was a girl because he moved forwards all of a sudden and kissed her.

Then Poppy Johnson and Narcissa Blaise yelled at once. "Lily! What do you think you're doing?"

Potter sprang away from the girl and revealed that it was Lily. Sev's Lily.

Sev felt sadness and anger well up inside him at once. He wanted to look away but he couldn't tear his eyes away from the scene by the grotto below. Narcissa had strode over and shouted at Lily, "I thought you were seeing Severus? I'm no friend of yours but don't dare treat Severus like this!"

Meanwhile, Poppy was also yelling, "Lily! How could you do this to Sev? He dotes on you. Lily! You can't go off kissing any old boy you feel like!"

Lily just stood there looking abashed. Sev saw Potter turn to her and say, "Look, Lily. You're going to have to choose. It's either me or Snape."

Choose me, choose me, choose me, Sev repeated over and over in his head.

Then Lily spoke to everyone assembled in the grotto, Potter, Poppy, Lupin, Black and his Ravenclaw girl, Malfoy and Narcissa. "I know I'm seeing Sev. You don't have to lecture me. But it's become boring, OK? We were better as friends. Now we're stuck in a rut. I'm sure he feels the same. I'm crazy about you, James. You know that. I'd rather be with you. You know that too. I'll talk to Sev in the morning. Right now, I'm going to bed. Goodnight." With that, she swept into the castle.

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The next morning, Sev was getting ready to go down for breakfast when Lily arrived in the hospital wing.

"Sev, I -"

"Just don't, Lily, OK? I saw you and James last night. I heard what you said. I agree with you. We were better as friends. We should stay that way. No hard feelings. We can carry on being friends."

"Do you mean it, Sev? Really?"

"Of course." Sev lied.

"Oh, thank you so much!" Lily flung her arms around Sev's neck and gave him a kiss on the cheek, "I'd better go to the Great Hall. James is waiting for me. I'll see you later then."

"OK. See you later."

When she'd gone, Sev sat down on the bed, tears streaming down his face. What could he do? He loved Lily too much to let her go completely. He couldn't fight with her. This way they could continue as good friends.

Just good friends.