So, hi. Both those newly converted to the ship and those who have believed since forever, I'm so happy about the revelations in the seventh book it's ridiculous. While I initially was going to write some missing moments (and probably still will) a lot of people have gotten on that and are doing fabulously, seriously I love you all.
What I realized, though, was that in my previous fic I was giving Lily too much credit, in a way- she wasn't able to be the bigger person and forgive Severus, and she hadn't yet learned about the nuances of life (or anyway that's my interpretation) i.e. that not everything is or should be black and white, us vs them etc and there are shades of gray… and she died before she figured it out, I think.
And since at heart I am just a fangirl and want them to be happy, I had an idea about an AU fic where Lily, not Harry, was the only survivor the night that Voldemort came for her family and how things might have progressed then. I really am testing the waters with this chapter so if you guys could let me know what you think I would appreciate it a lot, even if you think it sucks.
Thanks as always and happy reading!
He gazed at the girl in disgust for a long moment, realizing how easy it would be to just shove her out of the way but annoyed by her foolish impulses to be heroic, her lack of a wand. As she cried out something about taking her instead, as though there was an instead, he lazily weighed Severus's loyalty against her clearly uninspiring qualities before making a decision, barking, "Petrificus Totalus" before turning his attention to the child in the crib, saying the words 'Avada Kedavra' with no hesitation and smiling as there was a flash of green and the baby went still before turning his attention back to the girl, saying almost lazily, "Enervate' before disapperating.
Severus Snape walked uneasily down the grand staircase of Hogwarts, realizing he should just go to bed but unable to, feeling somehow that something wasn't right even as only the silence of the castle echoed around him. As he continued down the stairs he resented for the millionth time in the months since he had come to teach at the Castle how full of memories it was. It would be so much easier to just walk the halls unencumbered, not forced to think of the fact that this was the stairwell where James Potter had caused him to break out in warts, that if you were to turn right at the bottom you would reach the corner where Lily had kissed his cheek, so softly, fourth year, right before the Winter Holiday-
And then he instinctually leapt backward into shadow as the front door to the castle banged open, unable to believe his eyes, thinking it was some sort of vision as the very woman who haunted his every waking moment burst inside, slamming the door shut behind her, breathing hard.
"Lily," he cried out, unable to stop himself, and as she swiveled toward him he began practically sprinting down the stairs, stunned as she said with unnatural calm,
"Why, hello, Sev. Is Albus here?"
And though she almost seemed unaffected he could see in her eyes that she was anything but as he ventured a step toward her, taking in the dirt on her clothes, the small cut on her cheek, wondering what she had gone through to get there as he blurted awkwardly,
"He- he should be, can I get him for you? Can I get anything for you-" and she shook her head, seeming unsurprised as Albus himself came silently but with speed Severus wouldn't have guessed he possessed down the stairs.
"Lillian, what a pleasant surprise. I came as soon as my portraits informed me of your arrival- what has caused you to come here? Surely you realize what a danger it is to leave your house-"Dumbledore began but was silenced as Lily trembled, seeming unable to speak before she took a small step forward.
"I need-" Lily began, biting her lip before near whispering, "to talk to you alone."
Dumbledore looked at her kindly. "Surely anything you have to say can be said here-"
And Severus felt his heart break in two as she looked between the two of them uncertainly before biting out with more venom than he ever remembered hearing from her, jerking her head in his direction,
"Not in front of Voldemort's minions."
And to Severus's outrage Dumbledore didn't even look to him for his permission before saying with calm conviction, "I don't think Severus would mind my telling you at this delicate juncture that he has been acting as an informant to the Order at great personal risk for almost a year now. Of course," he continued with easy confidence, "you will understand the necessity of no one else from the Order finding out this rather scintillating bit of information-'"
And to Severus's shock Lily's knees buckled under her and she sank to her knees, seeming to laugh and cry at once as she exclaimed "Oh God Sev I always knew you would" before her cries turned anguished as she moaned, seeming to forget he was even there "Albus, he killed my family. Voldemort came and he just- he just- oh god why aren't I dead too?"
Severus didn't understand for a long moment but when he finally did it was clear to him from Dumbledore's anguished expression that he had suspected this from the second he knew she had arrived in the castle, that it was devastating to him even as Severus himself could feel nothing more than relief-
Until he saw the anguish on Lily's face, and, unwilling to analyze it too closely, said in a voice schooled to hide his emotions, "We should get her upstairs."
Dumbledore nodded, and Severus saw him raise his wand to utter a mobilizing charm, held up a hand to stop him even as he hardly knew why before he knelt next to the sobbing girl and carefully, carefully scooped her up into his arms, hurt as she protested loudly, "Don't you touch me, please, please, don't let him touch me," and Severus was unsure if she was imploring to Dumbledore or lost in other memories as he carried her up the stairs, almost relieved as she seemed to pass out before he deposited her onto the most comfortable chair in Dumbledore's office and turned to the man himself.
"You knew nothing of this," Albus said quickly, and Severus was slightly offended before realizing it was a statement, not a question.
"No," he confirmed softly and Dumbledore's brow furrowed slightly before he said sharply,
"Let us hope this doesn't mean he is losing confidence in your loyalty."
"I think not," Severus fired back definitely. "He trusts no one, I'm not an exception and he knows I am- that I have feelings for-" he shot an uneasy glance at Lily, relieved as Albus seemed to understand, before the older man mused slowly,
"Most remarkable that he spared her," his eyes snapping up to meet Severus's own. "It seems he thinks highly of you indeed." He smiled sardonically, biting out, "Doubtless he expects you to bed her at the earliest opportunity," and Severus felt sick before he muttered so softly he didn't know if Dumbledore would hear him,
"Then he doesn't understand at all-"
"Indeed, Severus," Albus said suddenly, quickly, "What I have been trying to impress on you since you were a child is just this: Tom Riddle does not understand at all-"
And suddenly Severus felt a burning pain where the dark mark was located on his arm, shot an uncertain look between the mark and Lily, stunned as Albus said shortly,
"You must go at once. You are to tell him that Lily has sought sanctuary at Hogwarts. You are to tell him she has said nothing and is in shock. You are to tell him you believe she will leave here to go into hiding elsewhere at the earliest opportunity with myself as her new secret keeper. Go now."
Severus didn't hesitate.
"Severus," the Dark Lord greeted almost jovially as Snape apperated. "Come, and join the celebrations."
"My Lord is gracious," Severus said slowly, careful to keep his eyes lowered submissively. "Might I enquire as to the cause of our celebration?"
"Indeed," Voldemort smiled almost eerily. "Tonight is the night on which the last remaining threat to my power was eliminated. The Potter boy is dead and I am invincible."
"I am overjoyed to hear it, my Lord," Severus said slowly.
"And let it never said that Lord Voldemort does not reward his followers," he leered. "I have spared the mudblood bitch as you requested. I contemplated bring her here for your immediate enjoyment, but decided against it. She should be easy enough for you to locate, however-"
"Indeed, my Lord," Severus replied, careful to keep his tone submissive, "I bring you news. Lillian Potter has already sought sanctuary at Hogwarts. She collapsed almost immediately and was able to say nothing, but it is clear to me now what has happened. I believe, knowing her and Albus, that she will go into hiding at the earliest possible opportunity with him as her new secret keeper."
Voldemort's eyes flashed before he said softly, excitedly, "Believe that I hate to send one of my most loyal supporters from me at such a time of triumph, but I require you to go back to the castle and tell me all that occurs there."
Severus felt a surge of gratitude which he fought to hide as he murmured agreeably, "My only desire is to serve you, my lord."
"Mark him?" he could hear Lily say blankly as he returned to Albus's office and Severus was amazed at her ability to be near calm as she discussed the horrifying events that had occurred mere hours before, realized for the millionth time how strong she was as she shook her head definitely even as her hands shook nearly uncontrollably as she handled a teacup and Severus wondered despite himself what Ablus may have put in it as Lily continued, "No. Nothing like that. I'm positive. He just…" and she bit her lip, swallowing a sob, "He just killed him."
"May I enter?" Severus asked almost hesitantly, surprised at how hurt he felt as Lily let out a half grimace before shrugging, clearly deferring to Albus's judgment, and his hurt increased as Albus seemed to really deliberate for a long moment himself before sighing.
"Yes, if it's alright with you, Lillian, I think he had better."
She shrugged, smiling hollowly. "Alright with me?" she echoed blankly. "As though I could care less about anything at a moment like-"
"That will be enough," Albus interjected mildly but firmly and for a second Severus was sure Lily was going to burst into tears.
"Forgive me," she bit out before biting her lip uneasily.
"Severus, you remember, I trust, the prophesy," Albus said quickly.
"Yes," he retorted briefly, unsurprised as Lily's eyes narrowed and she seemed to contemplate before bursting out,
"How does he know? My god, Albus, is there anyone who DOESN'T know? And what makes you so sure you can trust him? I'm not sure if you've noticed or not, but in some circles he's called a death eater-"
"Silence," Albus said softly, but in a tone that allowed for no argument before continuing as though her outburst hadn't happened, "You remember the part where it said, then, that the Dark Lord would mark him as his equal?"
Severus nodded. "I do."
"There can be no doubt that this has not happened here. It seems obvious to me, therefore, that the prophesy did not refer to Harry after all, but to Neville Longbottom- it is imperative that we refocus our attentions on his and his family's safety, and-"
"So it was all for nothing?" Lily questioned incredulously, standing up. "My child was killed because the Voldemort was WRONG? How'd he get the prophesy anyway, I swear, I could kill whoever gave it to him-"
"Severus, you may go," Dumbledore said quickly, but not quickly enough as with one last anguished look at Lily Severus fled from the room.
"Lillian!" Dumbledore said sharply as soon as he was sure the other man had gone, "I know how you're feeling-"
"You have no idea how I'm-" she began, voice raised, but he merely arched an eyebrow gently before saying somberly,
"Don't I? But regardless of whether I do or not, I must tell you something right now and I need you to try to be strong enough to hear me."
She took a deep breath, composing herself as best she could before nodding with difficulty.
"I cannot explain and so I need you to trust me when I tell you that a very great deal may depend on your kindness to Severus in the coming months-
"The hell with Severus," she burst out in a mixture of fury and agony. "My husband is DEAD. My child is DEAD. Why should I give a shit about the man who betrayed me when we were younger-"
Albus looked at her searchingly before saying softly, but with certainty, "It was my understanding that a series of unfortunate decisions led to you betraying one another, Lily. You may think I've forgotten how the two of you were when you first arrived here, but I haven't. You were inseparable, bringing out the best in one another. I am not such a fool as to believe that that will happen again, but I assure you it is IMPERITIVE that you show him some kindness. His continued cooperation with the order depends upon you more than you will ever realize-"
"Me?" she replied blankly before starting to laugh hollowly, "ME? Severus hates me and everyone like me. He chose his way and I chose mine-" she began, almost automatically, with what Albus recognized as the ease and outrage of someone who has repeated something many, many times for many, many years regardless of whether they truly believed it-
"And you think it to be that simple, really?" Albus replied in a tone that made it clear he didn't believe her at all before continuing, "I would have credited you of all people with a greater appreciation for subtlety."
"Subtlety?" Lily snapped incredulously before a tear trickled down her cheek and she whispered, sounding defeated, "I don't understand at all- it will just be a waste of time-"
And he looked at her closely before half-smiling as though he knew something she didn't before saying, almost sadly, "I rather think not, Lily."
Comments of any kind are treasured… thanks!