A/N: Umm… I don't really consider this a spoiler fic, but if you haven't read DH, you might want to just scurry on by anyway just to be safe. And sorry about the really lame title. I honestly had no idea what to call this. Please read and review!
Disclaimer: All characters belong to J. K. Rowling except for the random ones that I just pulled out of nowhere and serve no purpose whatsoever.
Why Are You Nervous?
The first visit to Hogsmeade was approaching quickly, and the third years were nearly jumping out of their seats with excitement after their final class of the week. While the older students merely looked forward to the trip with a simple yearning, the third years could hardly contain themselves.
"Hogsmeade! My mum's only taken me there once when I was little, but I loved it! I'm so excited to finally get to visit again!" said one Ravenclaw girl to her eagerly listening friend.
"Really? I've never been there at all. Having Muggle parents is kind of a drag sometimes…"
"Oh, it's so neat, you'll love it! They have a joke shop and the best butterbeer on the continent…"
Having Muggles for parents herself, Gryffindor student Lily Evans was no less excited to finally see the legendary village of Hogsmeade. It was not without some jealousy, though, that she watched her friends partner up for the outing with dates.
"Lily! Guess what? Sirius just asked me to go to Hogsmeade with him!" Lily's friend Mary said, her blue eyes sparkling with delight. Lily knew Mary had had a crush on Sirius Black for ages. "He's going to go on a double date with James and his date… And Lily, I think James wants to ask you!"
Lily sputtered. "James? Oh, please. You know what that kind of a date would be like, don't you Mary? It'd just be James and Sirius talking about Quidditch all day long, and you and I would be bored out of our minds!"
Mary ignored her. "Oh, look, Lily, here they come! I have to go ask Sirius about our plans for tomorrow…" Lily watched her lovesick friend happily prance over to Sirius and sighed. She turned around and tried to cover her face with her hair, but it was too late; James had already spotted her.
"Oi! There you are, Evans!" James's irritatingly confident voice boomed out over the Great Hall where students were settling down to dinner. Lily's cheeks flushed. Jealous as she was of her paired-up friends, she was nowhere near desperate enough to sink to the level of going out with James for a day. She turned slowly around, letting her school bag drop from her shoulder.
"Oh, hi, James," she tried to say as unenthusiastically as possible. "What do you want?"
James turned to his buddies, Sirius, Remus, and Peter. They all grinned back. Sirius went so far as to offer a thumb's up. Lily rolled her eyes and prepared herself for what she knew was coming.
"Want to accompany me to Hogsmeade this weekend? Mary's going with Sirius, and I thought maybe you and I could—"
"No thank you, James."
James frowned. "But… come on, Evans! Mary's going with us; don't you want to be with her?"
"I do, but not if she's anywhere near you."
"Ouch, mate," muttered Sirius under his breath. "Tough luck."
But James wouldn't give up. He planted a hand on his hip and stared Lily square in the eye, his glasses glinting under the light of the many chandeliers of the Great Hall. "Come on, Lils, it's not like you've got anyone better to go with! Just come with me, Lily, Remus is going. You like Remus, don't you?"
"Yes, I do like Remus, but I can't much say the same for you. And as a matter of fact, Potter, I do have someone better that I could go with."
"Oh yeah? Who? Snivellus?"
"Oh will you please grow up and stop calling him that? And for your information, yes, I am going to go with Severus." Lily tried not to show James and his friends that she was, in fact, still single for tomorrow's Hogsmeade trip. James frowned.
As if by luck, Severus Snape shuffled by, his long greasy hair a familiar sight for Lily. She breathed a sigh of relief and trotted over to Severus. Placing a hand on his shoulder and turning him around, she grinned as widely as she could while Severus looked confused.
"Oh, Sev, I'm so excited for Hogsmeade tomorrow!" Lily exclaimed loudly as James and Sirius looked on with astonished looks on their faces. Remus merely looked exasperated while Peter appeared to not quite know how to look. Snape blinked and tried to overcome his shock and prevent his face from breaking out into a huge grin. Is she asking me on a date…?
Before Severus could speak, Lily plowed on. "You'll have to show me everything, Sev. I've never been to Hogsmeade, and you'd be the perfect tour guide!"
As James and Sirius continued to gape at the spectacle before them, Remus sighed and muttered, "If that wasn't a blatantly obvious act of jealousy-inducing vengeance, I don't know what is…" Peter looked up and nodded fervently. "Come on, James," he said. "Why don't you take Sirius's cousin, Bellatrix? She's sort of nice once you get past her completely twisted love of the dark arts… She's even sort of pretty when she's not scowling…"
James seemed to snap out of his shared stupefied trance at the mention of Bellatrix. "No way, Wormtail, I don't date Slytherins, unlike someone I know…" He ruffled his hair out of habit and cursed angrily. "I can't believe her!"
"I can't believe you, Wormtail. Suggesting my cousin as a possible date… What's wrong with you?" cried Sirius. "Did Snivellus slip you an 'Essence of Absolutely Nuts' into your pumpkin juice this morning?"
Remus laughed at the joke while Peter pouted. "Well, James, all the pretty girls are running out," he said. "You'll either have to bring a Slytherin to Hogsmeade or go alone."
"You can go with me," piped Peter after recovering from Sirius's blast of sarcastic cruelty. "I don't have a date!"
"Of course you don't," said James bitterly. "And sorry, Wormtail, but you don't exactly… meet my standards, if you know what I mean…"
"Oh, just get over Lily!" shouted Sirius. "Let's eat, I'm starving!" The young Marauders and Mary Macdonald turned and took their seats at the Gryffindor table, James still wallowing in defeat at being rejected.
Meanwhile, Lily smirked to herself and thought "mission accomplished" as she rested her head against Snape's shoulder and breathed in the familiar scent of burnt potions and well-worn clothing. Not quite sure what was going on, Snape instinctively pulled Lily in closer with his arm and stood in between the Slytherin and Hufflepuff tables and listened to his thoughts running rampant.
"She's just using you as an excuse not to go with Potter."
"I'm going on a date with Lily tomorrow… It's too good to be true…"
"She's using you…"
"…I don't care."
"She's only going to hurt you later…"
"As if I'm not used to being hurt…"
"It's Lily Evans…"
Finally seeming to realize that he was simply standing in the middle of the Great Hall, Snape lightly pushed Lily away but still secretly slipped her hand into his, this action hidden from onlookers by the long sleeves of Snape's robes. Lily's green eyes gazed up at him blankly. Severus reconsidered his action and began to release Lily's hand, but Lily quickly grabbed it back; once she had experienced Severus's long, bony fingers caressing her own, she found she had rather enjoyed it. They had, of course, held hands as kids, but once they grew into adolescence, the act of holding hands was seen as a thing for "lovers" to do, and they were not lovers…
Does this mean…? Lily quickly shoved the thought out of her mind. Of course not. This is just for one day. It's just a simple date to Hogsmeade. We'll hold hands then, but after that, we don't need to do it anymore…
Snape's lip curled and he whispered, "Do you want to come and sit at our table tonight?"
Lily froze. "At the Slytherin table?" she asked, although she knew what he meant.
"Um…" Lily bit her lip, struggling for a polite answer. She had never sat at the Slytherin table and had no desire to; there were no other Slytherins she liked except for Severus, and the idea of sitting at the same table with half a dozen of Snape's friends did not particularly appeal to her, especially Mulciber with his tendency to spout fantasies of hexing everybody he knew. "Well… I actually, um, I had some homework to do in the library. I think I'll just skip dinner tonight, Sev. I'm sorry." She let go of Snape's hand with a worried, apologetic look and quickly hurried off to the library.
A sour look crossed Snape's once cheerful face. He shoved his hands into his pockets, his left one still tingling with the feel of Lily's soft touch, and sauntered down the aisle to where the third year Slytherins typically sat. I should have known better than to invite her to our table… I know how she feels about the rest of my friends. What a stupid idea… I let my feelings for her cloud my judgment…
"'Ey, Snape, what was with that Evans girl just then? Why'd she run away? Didja scare her off?" a toothy Mulciber asked as plates, forks, and knives materialized on the table.
"Oh, we were just talking about Hogsmeade tomorrow," replied Snape noncommittally, concentrating on dishing himself out some corn.
"You going with her, then?" said Mulciber, his tone dripping with disdain. Not waiting for an answer, he added, "'At's a shame, Snape. She's a Mudblood. I don' know why we put up with you seein' her…"
"Don't call her that."
Mulciber shrugged and dug in to his pork chops. "You just have weird taste in girls, mate…"
"Look who's talking," retorted Snape quietly as Mulciber's squinty-eyed girlfriend with three missing teeth in front sat down beside him. "She has bad teeth…"
"Ah, but she's pureblood, ain'tcha, Lillith?" Mulciber's girlfriend nodded, making a guttural noise of haughtiness in the back of her throat. Snape said no more and continued with his supper, trying hard not to let his excitement for the following morning show.
Snape awoke the next morning with a floaty feeling his chest as he smiled and pulled the covers off his chest and left them in an untidy heap on his four-poster bed. Dancing lightly on the balls of his feet as he wandered over to his trunk and rummaged for a clean shirt, he allowed himself a smile. He was alone in the dark of the Slytherin dormitory; nobody else was awake at such an early hour on a weekend. Still smiling, Snape reveled in the quiet, respectful solitude of the chilly dormitory and after a brief wash, he bounded down into the common room (which was just as quiet and empty) and sat in a cozy armchair, simply smiling to himself, his thoughts creating fantasies of the beautiful day that lay ahead of him.
She'll meet me in the Great Hall, we'll join hands again, and I'll take great pleasure at the look on Potter's face as we walk past them. It'll be chilly out, and I'll make sure she never gets cold by always keeping her close, and we can get a drink at the Hog's Head… Everyone will be in the Three Broomsticks, so we'll be entirely alone at the Hog's Head… And maybe then I can tell her… I can tell her…
Even in his mind, Severus couldn't bring himself to say it. He couldn't voice how badly he wanted to be with Lily Evans, couldn't tell her how much he admired her charm, her beauty, and her talent...
"I'm an idiot…" he said softly to himself and felt a frown cross his sallow features. I can't do this…
When the moment finally arrived for all of the older students of Hogwarts to embark on their first journey of the year to Hogsmeade village, Snape's heart was stuck in his throat and beating loudly. His palms were sweating, long fingers curling and uncurling in a nervous fashion under the shield of his cloak. At last, he saw Lily gracefully advance into the Great Hall where the students had gathered to be checked off. He smiled coyly and held out his hand for Lily to grasp as they walked together through the teachers with checklists and out onto the grounds.
"Sev," said Lily after a while.
Lily smiled. "Why are you nervous?"
Snape gulped. "Nervous?" He quickly turned his head away from Lily, his shade of dark hair whipping around to mask his beaten expression. She has no idea… "I…" he said after he felt that the reddish hue had escaped his cheeks. "It's just… I've never been on a date before."
"And you think I have?" said Lily skeptically. She touched Severus's face and smiled at his flustered gaze. "Come on, Severus, who do we think we're kidding here? None of us have ever been on real dates, not even James. I keep rejecting him, remember?" The two shared a laugh. "So relax. It's just me, Sev. We've known each other for years, so there's no need to be nervous. It's just a date, that's all."
Snape felt slightly better after this reassurance that everybody else was just as awkward and new at dating as he was, and he animatedly began to tell Lily about butterbeer, which she had never tried.
"Well, we should go and get some then!" exclaimed Lily. "Everyone tells me that the Three Broomsticks has some of the best, and I really want to try it…"
Snape's face fell, but he relented and led Lily to the heavily crowded Three Broomsticks. Halfway through the door, however, he felt grateful that she had chosen the Three Broomsticks since the dense population of people caused Lily and him to be pushed even closer together. Snape grinned as he ordered and paid for two large glasses of butterbeer.
"Let's take these outside!" Lily shouted over the noise of the bar. "It's too crowded in here!"
Snape nodded and pulled her toward the exit. They closed the door to the Three Broomsticks and ambled behind the building to slump down against back wall. The two both smiled and Severus watched as Lily took her first sip of butterbeer and exclaimed, "It's wonderful!" Snape smirked, and the two sat in silence, drinking their butterbeer and watching the Hogwarts students wander about the village, pointing at all the interesting sights, yelling and whooping, excited about the chance to be out of the castle, roaming about the countryside…
Then Lily saw a familiar face and nudged Snape in the ribs. "It's James," she whispered, a tinge of annoyance and fear in her eyes. James and his friends all knew that Lily and Snape had forged an odd rival-house relationship, but surely they would have something nasty to say if they actually saw the two of them huddled behind the Three Broomsticks, holding hands and drinking butterbeer. Snape motioned to get up and leave, but James and his cronies had approached them already.
"Well, look who it is," said James arrogantly. "It's little Snivellus with Lily Evans. Didn't even bother to wash your hair for this important date, eh, Snape? Figures, you little slimeball. I guess not even Evans is good enough for you to clean yourself up for!" He turned to Lily. "Really, you deserve better, Evans. You deserve a guy who will wash his hair for you." He pointed to his clean, well-taken-care-of raven locks and smirked. Lily rolled her eyes at him.
"Right, James. And who's your date since I rejected you?" She looked around the group of six – Sirius with Mary, Remus with a girl from Ravenclaw, James, and Peter. "Oh, I see. So you did take Pettigrew up on the offer, after all."
Sirius and Remus laughed heartily while James and Peter looked mortified.
"Well, I hope you two have fun, James and Peter," Lily said, grinning at her successful attempt at humiliating James. "Don't get too frisky today now!"
"Let's go…" mumbled James as he motioned for his friends to follow him, a cloud of defeat and embarrassment visible as he trudged off in the opposite direction.
Lily smiled at Snape, who also had something resembling a grin on his face despite being insulted by his arch-nemesis. She had finished her butterbeer and tossed it in a trash bin nearby and cheerfully suggested, "Let's go over by those trees over there. I don't think James and his crew will bother us anymore today."
Snape could only nod as he felt Lily dragging him towards a small cluster of pine trees on the eastern edge of the village. When they got there, however, his thoughts were not focused on the beautiful scenery that Lily was commenting on energetically, but only on the way her beautiful red hair swished in the wind and how her gorgeous green eyes sparkled with animation as she chattered on and on about the village. They were still holding hands.
"I think I really like this cluster of trees," Lily said cheerfully. "It's a bit colder over here, but—"
"I can be close to you here and… keep you warm…" mumbled Snape, and he enveloped Lily in a hug, bringing her close – after too close; she could hear his heart beating underneath his heavy cloak. Lily returned the embrace and couldn't help but smile wildly as her own heart began to beat at the same rhythm as Snape's.
After a moment of standing completely still with nothing to feel but the other's arms about their bodies, Severus leaned down to Lily's level and whispered in her ear, "Lily, can… I…"
Severus never finished his question. Lily had nodded and rose up to her tiptoes to kiss the Slytherin boy softly. Snape seemed to melt at her soft touch, and he hoped that this kiss – something he had wanted to do ever since he was young and spent his days spying on the girl from behind bushes – would last forever.
Sirius Black took a time out from bolstering up James's damaged ego to glance behind him at the cluster of trees nearby. He had caught a glimpse of a green and silver scarf in the wind, and much to his displeasure, he saw Severus Snape kissing Lily Evans passionately under the protection of the miniature forest.
And even though he was his best mate, Sirius sternly swore never to tell James what he had just seen.