Title: Gilded Lily

Rating: T (just to be on the safe side) for a little kissing

Summary: It's Lily Evans' birthday, and Severus Snape wants it to be perfect. Fluffy Lily/Severus. A little James-bashing, but it's from Snape's POV, so whaddya expect. DH compliant.

Disclaimer: I own absolutely nothing Harry Potter, except my own copies of the books!

Reviews are love!


It was after midnight, and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was as silent as it ever was. The House ghosts drifted hither and thither, sometimes stopping for an occasional murmured conversation, and Peeves was busy upending the desks several floors away. Following Mrs. Norris' silent lead, Filch stumped around the castle and muttered about whips and dungeons.

On the pretence of patrolling the corridors for students out of bed after hours, a young Severus Snape paced endlessly, racking his brain on the most difficult dilemma he'd ever faced. I need to find the perfect birthday present for Lily. He turned a corner, saw a flash of white-silver which meant a ghost was floating this way, and quickly returned the way he'd come. At the moment, Severus was in no mood for company. I need to find the perfect birthday present for Lily. When he looked up again, the ghost passed, and he resumed his course. I need to find the perfect birthday present for Lily.

He almost jumped when a door swung open in the middle of the wall, a door he'd never noticed before. No one had ever mentioned finding a door here, and he prided himself on knowing the castle like the back of his hand. It was prefect's duty, he often thought, to know where misbehaving students gathered and sneaked around. Students like the Gryffindor quartet who had acquired the ridiculous name, Marauders. Marauding the kitchens was as far as it went, he sneered inwardly.

Faint yellow light streamed into the mysterious room from a source Severus could not see. At first glance it appeared empty, but then he spotted a bookshelf in a shadowy corner. When he approached it, he saw that it contained hundreds of catalogues, advertising everything from French perfume to magical cookbooks to devices that made him blush when he read the descriptions.

The light brightened a little, and when he looked back around the room, wishing for a table and chair where he could peruse the catalogues, he found a ray of light bright as sunshine illuminating a spacious desk. Feeling slightly uneasy but grateful nonetheless for the room's silent help, Severus waved his wand to Summon the desk and sat with a stack of the magazines. He read for hours, throwing the publications left and right when they failed to provide his perfect gift.

His eyes were blurring the text on the pages, and he decided that he would return to his dormitory after one more catalogue. The next on the pile was His and Hers Herbology, a title which sounded hopeless to his exhausted brain. He flipped sleepily through the pages, and then one of the moving illustrations caught his eye. A man was presenting a potted flower to a woman, who laughed when the petals showered her with golden sparkles like morning sunlight.

The woman's hair was red, like Lily's, and to his astonishment, he saw that the flower advertised on the page was a Gilded Lily. He stared at the illustration, mouth hanging open, for several minutes before ripping out the page and stuffing it under his robes. Half an hour later, he was back in the Slytherin dormitory, dreaming of the upcoming Hogsmeade weekend when he would present Lily with her gift.

They would sit under their favorite tree by the lake, enjoying the peace of a Hogsmeade visit when the older students left the school grounds. Lily would sprawl out on the grass, uncaring as ever if her robe gaped and showed her Muggle skirt underneath. "I'm so happy that everyone's at Hogsmeade today," she would say dreamily. "It feels like the whole lake is ours, doesn't it, Sev?"

"Ours and the giant squid's," he would reply wittily, pointing to a lazily waving tentacle in the middle of the great blue expanse.

She would laugh that low, throaty laugh that sent shivers up Severus' spine and sit up just enough to look at him. Her eyes would sparkle with amusement, and Severus would feel that warm glow he always felt when he made her laugh. "You're right, he might stake a claim to our lake."

Then she might lie back again, and he would inch his way over to sit by her. He never just sat by her immediately; it was not his way. Because this was a dream, she would open her eyes again just long enough to ask if she could lay her head in his lap. He would accept, of course, with just a touch of mock vexation, and she would smile.

Eventually, he would say, "It's your birthday, isn't it?" in his most casual tone of voice. When she replied that it was indeed her birthday and that he was sweet for remembering, he would announce that he had a present for her. Upon hearing this, she would sit up and clap with excitement.

"Oh, do tell me," she'd insist with a giggle.

He might hem and haw for a moment, just teasing her, but he would not hold out for long. "Accio Gilded Lily!" he would cry, and the flower would zoom into his hand. He would catch it just as easily as that stupid Potter caught the stupid Snitch, and his prize would be much better. "Here," he would say, "it's a lily, like you."

She would gasp and exclaim over the flower. "Oh Severus, it's beautiful! I've never seen anything like it! Is it magical?"

"Stroke the petals," he'd suggest in a mysterious tone of voice, watching her in happy anticipation.

She would bite her lip as she glanced from him to flower, trying to decide if he was putting her on. When she decided to trust him, she would extend a delicate finger and very gently stroke a creamy white petal. A cloud of golden dust would burst around her and settle on her hair, her robes, and her fair skin. She would glow, even in the shade.

When the dust settled, she would giggle again and brush it from her robes. "Thank you so much!" she'd say between giggles, "It's the best birthday present I ever received." He might lean forward to help her brush the sparkles from her robe, and maybe his fingers would brush her cheeks. Her laughs might become still as she gazed into his eyes, emerald into onyx as time stretched between them. And then she might lean forward, still glowing faintly, and her hair might tickle him as she pressed her warm, sweet lips to his. She would taste like sunshine and spring and pumpkin juice, and she would never, ever want to leave.

The next day, Severus furtively filled out the order form in the back of the catalogue and sent it off with a school owl and the last of his meagre allowance. He was extra snappish that day, and handed out detentions to each of the four stupid Marauders. Lily had been commandeered by one of the other Gryffindor girls during their double Potions class together, and she'd had time only to smile at him before the annoying bint had whisked her away to a far table. Luckily, Severus had already prepared this potion in secret years ago and could mix it by heart; if he'd actually had to think about what he was doing, he probably would have botched the thing and blown up his cauldron.

Lucius Malfoy, absorbed as he was in snogging Narcissa Black in unused classrooms, noticed Severus' foul mood and asked him what was wrong. "Don't tell me," he drawled, "it's that mudblood you fancy. I've told you before how wrong she is for you, but you're not going to listen, are you?"

Severus shook his head and pointedly stared at the Bloody Baron, drifting about the dungeon with a more hostile air than usual. Lucius shrugged. "All right, mate, but one day you're going to learn." He left to ask Regulus if he knew where his cousin was.

The day passed with agonizing slowness, but finally Severus stumbled to bed, wrung out after the late hours he'd kept the night before. He slept dreamlessly that night and trudged to the Great Hall with a very tentative hope that his lily might arrive. All he could eat was toast, and he was halfway through his first piece when the flock of mail arrived. He tried not to look around the hall, watching everyone else receive letters and packages, but after several minutes passed, he heaved a sigh. Nothing for him.

Just as he drained his pumpkin juice and readied himself to leave, something crashed down on the table in front of him. This time he did jump, to the amusement of Potter and Sirius Black who were staring at him and whispering. He grabbed the carton and stormed from the Great Hall before Lily could meet his eyes and raise her eyebrows in question.

For once in his life uncaring if he were late for class, Severus tore open the package and allowed a small smile to cross his face. It was slightly smaller than the specimen in His and Hers Herbology, but the ivory petals were every bit as lovely. He did not touch the petals, loathe to arrive in Transfiguration with a golden dusting across his front, but he could see faint sparkles inside the lilies.

More good luck, he met Lily alone in the hallway before lunch and asked if she wanted to spend Saturday morning with him. He muttered that he had a surprise, and his lips twitched in that same small smile when her face lit up and she clapped her hands delightedly, just like in his dream. She was still smiling as she hurried off to class, and Severus did not give out one detention that day, not even when little Peter Pettigrew bumped into him at dinner and knocked him face-first into his soup.

He was alternately nervous and thrilled as the week wound to a close, and again Lucius commented on his mood swings. "You're not schizo, are you?" he asked lazily one evening. "Friend of my father says it happened to a cousin of his. One day she thought she was Helga Hufflepuff, but if you ask me, she improved for it."

"I know I'm not Helga Hufflepuff," Severus snapped back. "I'm fine."

The older boy gazed at him for awhile and grinned. "If you're deranged, it must be that girl. Honestly, Severus, it's getting pathetic. Potty's longing to sink his claws into her, why don't you just wish them well?"

Lucius was not helping Severus' nerves at all, so the prefect stood and left the common room huffily in search of an empty classroom where he could practice some wandwork in silence. He heard footsteps around a corner and ducked into the nearest room. To his relief, it was a boy's lavatory, so he wouldn't stand out.

"- going with then, Evans?" His face started to burn as he recognized the voice. James Potter, fair enough Seeker and world-class prat.

"None of your business," she replied icily. "Leave me alone, James. I told you, I'm not interested. Ask Rohini Patil, she would be sohonoured to walk into Hogsmeade with you."

Potter's voice was louder this time. "I don't want to go to Hogsmeade with her, I want to go with you!" He sounded to Severus' ear like a petulant child.

"Well I'm busy!" Lily almost shouted, and Severus beamed. She stomped down the corridor, and Severus slipped out in the opposite direction. Potter was looking after her with a puzzled look on his face.

"You'll figure it out eventually," Severus whispered nastily to the boy.

He almost skipped through Friday and hardly slept a wink that night. His stomach was roiling when he awoke, and he barely choked down half a piece of toast. Even after two goblets of pumpkin juice, his mouth was dry, and no matter how many times he wiped his hands on a napkin, they were still damp. He kept his eyes fastened on his plate, unwilling to risk meeting Lily's eyes in case he was sick on himself.

As soon as he finished swallowing his toast, Severus rushed up to his bedroom and pulled the lily out from under his bed. It was wilting a little, somewhat worse for the wear after a few days under his bed, but it perked up the moment a ray of sunshine from the windows struck its petals. A few gold sparkles glimmered and fell onto his green duvet. He smoothed it and reflected that Lily's eyes were just a shade lighter. She would look divine in green and silver, he thought for the hundredth time. Better than Gryffindor's gaudy red and gold.

Feeling slightly more steady now that he had something to clutch – Severus had changed his mind about Summoning the lily when he pictured it slamming into the tree – he hurried down to the entrance to the Great Hall and tried to linger casually there, watching students trip merrily down to Hogsmeade, chattering like magpies about everything they planned to buy.

He was relieved that he did not see the Marauders before Lily tapped him on the shoulder. They strolled down to the lake, Lily describing the week she'd had and Severus basking in her presence.

"… the stairs turned into a ramp, and he landed in a big heap at the bottom. He looked so silly there, splayed out like a bug on its back." She laughed. "He was just trying to give a bar of Honeyduke's chocolate for my birthday, don't know how he managed it."

A hot knife twisted in Severus' stomach at the reminder that Potter had Lily all the time himself before and after classes. They shared the same common room, sat at the same table, and took the same classes. Severus was sure that Lily was simply too nice to ignore Potter every time he talked to her.

Lily paused in the middle of a sentence and cocked her head to regard him curiously. "Are you all right? You started breathing kinda funny all of a sudden."

"Fine," he muttered. "Probably allergies. Can you see anyone at our tree?" He squinted toward the lake, but it was a green and blue blur that far away.

Lily, on the other hand, had eagle-sharp eyes. "No, thank God. I do not need to see Lucius bare-arsed with Narcissa again as long as I live."

Severus snickered. "I've never been able to take him quite as seriously since then."

As they continued toward their tree, Severus began to relax when nothing unfortunate befell them and threatened to ruin Lily's birthday present. The sun shone brightly upon them, and the aromas of flowers from the Forbidden Forest wafted on the breeze. Just as in his dream, the giant squid in the lake raised a tentacle and waved it dreamily. Lily pointed and grinned and waved back before flopping onto the grass.

Severus eased himself and the box down on the lawn, watching Lily cross her arms behind her head and stare up into the leafy crown of the tree. Dappled shadow played across her body, showcasing her slender neck, her pointed elbows, the curve of her waist, her bare legs peeking under her robes… Severus squinted out toward the lake, forbidding himself to follow that train of thought.

Minutes passed silently as Lily drowsed in the grass and Severus rehearsed the gift-giving in his head. Finally, he could bear the suspense no longer. "Lily," he began in a strangled voice, "I wanted… I mean…" He stopped and cursed himself. "Happy birthday," he said simply.

She opened her eyes again and blinked for a moment before sitting up, wearing a delighted smile on her face. "I was wondering how long you'd make me wait!" As she took the carton from Severus, her fingers brushed his hand and made him tingle. She opened it carefully and gasped exactly as he'd hoped. When she lifted the flowerpot from the box, a burst of gold sparkles showered her, leaving her even more stunning than he had imagined.

She swept some of the sparkles from her robes, laughing all the while. "I can't see!" she shrieked with delight. "They're in my eyelashes." She looked up at him, and he felt his breath catch in his throat. Her big emerald eyes were lined with scintillating gold motes, and gold dusted her lips and the hollow of her throat.

"It's beautiful," she said softly. "No one's ever got me anything so nice."

Severus licked his lips nervously. "It's… it's a lily, like you." He felt stupid immediately after saying it, but she smiled. She opened her mouth to say something, still looking at him through her gold eyelashes, and Severus' heart pounded so loudly he was sure she would hear.

"Oi, Evans!" an all too familiar voice called, ringing in the silence that had fallen around them. "What're you doing down there with that git?"

Severus dug in his robes instinctively, searching for his wand, but Lily grinned at him and set a hand on his forearm. "I have a better idea," she said wickedly. With a wink, she sat up on her knees, leaned forward, and grabbed the front of his robes. "Hopefully he won't talk to me for a week after this," she whispered before pulling him close.

She did taste like sunshine and pumpkin juice, and she smelled like spring. Her lips were warm and very slightly moist on his, somehow firm and meltingly soft at the same time. He laid a tentative hand in the curve of her waist, and when she demonstrated no sign of pulling away, he reverently touched her hair. She set a hand on his chest and pressed still closer until she was almost sitting in his lap.

He heard something in the distance, but the sound of his own heart beating in his ears drowned it out. Lily chortled low in her throat and freed his robes to tenderly cup his jaw in her hand. Her mouth opened slightly under his, and when he attempted to mirror the movement, her tongue darted in to briefly flick his bottom lip. Hardly daring to breathe, he touched her tongue with his and almost swooned at the little noise she made.

Before it could go any further, Lily pulled away and craned her neck to peer around the tree. Potter and his friends were nowhere to be seen, and for the first time ever, Severus could not decide whether or not he was glad of it. He wanted to freeze time and marvel in this moment for the rest of his life. Lily Evans had just kissed… no, snogged him. His first kiss ever, and it came from her. He could die happy. But then again, he was sure that he would be floating on air for at least a month, throwing smug glances at Potter every time they passed in the corridors.

Lily threw her arms around Severus, laughing. "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" she exclaimed. After wonderfully tight hug, she sat back, grinning. "You're such a good friend, Sev." She dropped a light kiss on his nose. "You're a pretty good kisser too."

Such a good friend. Of course. It had all been an act to get rid of Potter. Severus swallowed and forced a smile. "Thanks," he said in a strained voice, followed by, "Happy birthday, Lily," because he could not think of anything else to say.

He turned away suddenly, almost dropping her to the ground. "Allergies," he mumbled, pressing his fists into his eyes.

When he looked back at Lily, she was still shimmering faintly, leaning against the tree trunk and examining the lily. After a bit, she turned to him. "Would you like to go into Hogsmeade for an hour or two? Could get a cuppa or a butterbeer, celebrate my birthday."

He wanted to say no, to go up to his bedroom and sulk, but he couldn't resist those eyes and couldn't tear his own gaze from the lips he had so recently tasted. When he acquiesced, she stood and shook the grass from her robes. She tugged him to his feet, pulling him up with one hand and cradling her lily in the other. Their hands brushed as they walked, and, feeling daring and audacious after the kiss, Severus took her hand. She laughed again and squeezed his hand tightly.

Severus Snape was walking to Hogsmeade hand-in-hand with Lily Evans. Severus Snape had just received his first kiss, and Lily Evans had given it to him. Lily Evans had said that Severus Snape's birthday present was the nicest one she'd ever had. He could live with that. He could hope that maybe one day she would kiss him because she just wanted to kiss him. The corners of his lips quirked in a small smile. Lily Evans had said that Severus Snape was a good kisser.