Forbidden Emotion

Summary: The Mauraders Era: Lily and Snape have barely spoken before in their lives; when Lily defends him from James. Snape calls her THE word…will Sev and her ever become friends? Or perhaps something more…? Lily/Severus

Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.

Author's Notes: I love the idea of Lily and Snape; Severus is so interesting, and you can do anything with Lily really. Please bear with this; it's my first SL fic: Read and review!

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Chapter One: An Expectation, A Disappointment

He blanched. Lily Evans defending him?

He would never hear the end of this.

He was sitting in his usual spot, surveying his peers with his usual contempt-filled sneer; they were all so immature, so childish, laughing inanely about nothing of any consequence. Especially Potter and his cronies, who were still occupying the opposite end of the grounds, across the lake, probably still trying to catch Evans' gaze…Evans was in her usual clique, closer to the castle than Potter's gang, seemingly deep in conversation.

"Snape! Is it true?" He looked up, startled – it was Avery, his dull eyes alight with excitement.

"I'm not a mind reader, Avery," Avery looked blankly at him and blinked. Severus sighed, "Is what true?"

"Oh, right," Avery glanced towards the other end of the grounds, "Did you called Evans mudblood?" He looked so eager it was sickening.

"Yes," Severus looked away. He kept his face inscrutable…but ashamed, that was how he felt, deep, deep down.

"Seriously?" Avery grinned. He seemed to look at Severus with new respect. "I can't believe it! I mean, I can, but Evans is the prettiest girl in our year and even the seventh years wouldn't have…"

"Avery," Severus interrupted, "As fascinating as this is I am busy…"

"Oh…sure – wait 'til the rest hear this though!" He laughed and stumbled off towards the castle with his massive feet.

Severus felt ill. The whole of Slytherin would know by the time he got back to the Common Room…

How could she have defended him like that? Didn't she know or at least have some inkling about the repercussions they would have to suffer? His scowl deepened. Not that he cared what happened to her. It was he who would not hear the end of this. Soon the whole school would know that he had been defended by a witch, worst still, a muggle-born…Slytherin would have marked him a blood traitor if he hadn't reacted like that…and maybe someone would have unearthed his deepest secret…

No, he couldn't think like that. He would do what he did best; watch silently, take in his surroundings, be calculated, cool-headed. The complete opposite of that berk Potter, he allowed himself a small smile of satisfaction; Potter had been fuming at Evan's reaction. What had she called him again? Ah, yes, an arrogant little toe-rag with all the talent of a flobberworm. He had watched Potter's inflated ego lose all air, punctured with those words. He had to admire her for that particular insult. Perfectly well-thought out…

He brought his pale fingers to his mouth, shocked. He was smiling because of her. He busied himself with his scribblings and felt disgusted with himself. Maybe hanging upside down had addled his brains…

Suddenly he saw Evans leaving the usual gaggle of girls she hung around with, her auburn hair flying behind her. She disappeared into the castle…why did she always do that? Just run off, away from all these people, who clearly cared for her…

A figure he identified as the somewhat idiotic Sirius Black suddenly jumped up and seemed to be arguing with a figure sitting by a tree; Lupin continued to read and replied without so much as a glance. Even from a distance he could see Potter was asking something of them both…

Black obviously lost the argument. He trotted to the castle like the obedient dog that he was…Snape scowled. Perhaps he should be thinking about getting to the library; it looked like it was about to rain, the sky a dramatic canvass for darkening clouds. A rain drop hit his book and he looked up, thinking about why anyone would defend a stranger, what motivated such a person…

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She was curled up on the deep windowsill, in the common room, gazing below at the beautiful grounds; but all she could see was that lone figure, who seemed to take everything in without any effort, without even looking. The first specks of rain freckled the window and she wrapped herself in her arms, trying to stop feeling so low…she'd never felt this low before. Severus didn't seem to notice, or care about the rain…he looked up from his book, at the sky…he seemed deep in profound thought.

There was no one in the common room but a few muted study-freaks (she was usually one of them), a young couple who appeared to be sucking each others faces off and the common room cat, Merlin, who was presently taking up his favourite spot on Lily's lap. The atmosphere was morose, quiet and contemplative.

She heard someone tumble through the Fat Lady's portrait but ignored it, trying to work out why she felt so betrayed…she had barely even spoken to him before today…why did she even care?

"You're not still upset about that are you?" Lily turned defiantly to face her accuser. Sirius Black's handsome face bore an expression of ill-disguised confusion. He leant forward, resting his forearm on the wall beside the windowsill. He grinned, "You do realise it was just a bit of a laugh…"

"How can you say that?" Lily scowled at him, her eyes sweeping unconsciously over at the solitary figure by the lake, leaning against that solitary tree…everything about him was stark, alone, cold. She felt her inner warmth, a warmth that attracted James Potter more than he dared to admit, reach out towards that lonely figure…she thought she saw him jerk up, just a bit. Maybe she just imagined it…

"He called you a – he called you that," Sirius snarled, straightening up, "And don't you forget it." She looked at Sirius with narrowed eyes.

"And that makes it okay to hang people upside down I suppose?" She asked tartly, trying hard not to break her gaze from his, to admit defeat.

"Look," He leaned heavily on the wall beside the window and looked away from her accusatory stare, "I just came over because James wanted to check you were okay…"

"Since when did you do his bidding?" He suddenly appeared infuriated.

"Since when did you get so lippy? He's a mate and…" She smiled a bit, and again her eyes were drawn inexplicably towards that lone figure.

"Lupin refused then?"

Without missing a beat, "Yes. For some reason he thinks James is dreaming."

"I've always liked Lupin because of that – very astute," She dragged her eyes away from Snape, "Because James is dreaming, believe me."

"Why?" Sirius looked at her with his most puppy-eyed look, "Come on, Lily, it's obvious you both fancy the pants off each other!" Lily paused; she'd have to stoop to some pretty dirty tactics to get him off this topic and away from her.

"Speaking of fancying the pants off people, was it true what I heard about catching you in a – well, compromising position – with a certain someone in a certain closet…?" A very foreign expression marred Sirius' handsome features; it took her a moment to work out it was embarrassment. He quickly shook his head and laughed a bit too light-heartedly.

"I thought I'd done a pretty successful memory charm on Danielle…she shouldn't have walked in on - that…" He faltered, his eyes darting to Lily's face.

"Oh, I was just guessing," She said brightly, "I didn't know it was true! Just a stupid rumour. Thanks for confirming it."

Sirius blanched – his hand twitched. He appeared to look very conflicted; one part of him seemed very tempted to draw his wand out and let rip with the memory charms…another part of him deeply relieved another human being knew about – that – without seeming particularly judgemental, the way James was bound to be if he ever did find out…shit.

"You won't…" Sirius' throat seemed dry. "…tell James…?"

"Look, I don't care what you do in closets, or with whom for that matter…" Lily suddenly sighed at the ineptitude of boys to deal with their emotions. She knew that look on Sirius' face; forbidden emotion. It was true Snape had pushed her away…but why did she care? Surely that was a forbidden emotion too. She just didn't understand anymore. "Just butt out of my business and I'll return the favour."

"Because – I mean…" He swallowed hard, "If you tell James I…"

"Like I said," Lily was enjoying this power more than she cared to admit, "It's really none of my business. The same way you shouldn't be here doing James' dirty work."

Sirius took the hint and nodded. He appeared to regain some of his usual haughty composure, "Next time I'll tell him to do it himself, right?" He grinned at her outraged expression – but he'd tripped off out of the portrait hole before she could reply.

She sighed and said to Merlin, "Just what I need; more boy trouble." Merlin purred in reply, his eyes opening slightly in a very listening sort of way. She saw Severus had disappeared; she felt something catch in the back of her throat. It didn't seem fair she couldn't…

Couldn't what? Talk to him…? Like friends…?

She sighed a little. She knew that it could never be so. Firstly he hated her, without reason, and she should now dislike him intensely after what he had called her…but what if he was just reacting…? Maybe he was just scared?

Then again Potter had a point, as much as it pained her to admit it. Maybe he was just like the rest of slithering Slytherin, intent on evil and hating Griffindor? She had tried to defend him, for God's sake, there was really no need to have reacted so aggressively, and call her that …

But…but…she just couldn't get rid of the feeling they'd get along well. Anyone could see they were both the top students of their year and…they were both loners; Lily because her good-looks alienated girls, her brains intimidated boys (Potter could have at least tried to come here himself…coward…) and Snape because of his strange, mysterious appearance and his…his…coolness. And then, of course, was his obsession with the Dark Arts.

She decided he was a lost cause. Anyone who could be so terrible to a person that had clearly only wanted to help wasn't worth her time.

Feeling very high and mighty with her decision she leapt up (Merlin hissed loudly, having thoroughly enjoyed the warmth of her lap) and skipped out of the Common Room, receiving some very dirty looks from the couple who were just as disturbed as Merlin by her suddenness and noise.

Where to go now…? She needed to do some extra research on that fascinating potion of Dreamless sleep. Professor Slughorn hadn't asked them to, but he'd mentioned it and potions had always fascinated her…their subtlety, their power to intoxicate minds and ensnare the senses…it was a beauty lost on most people…

Her feet had carried her to her usual haunt: the library. At first it appeared empty… Her eyes widened. Just what she needed:

Severus Snape was silently poring over books in her favourite corner.

Their eyes met. Lily frowned a little but he didn't look away; he surveyed her coolly then went back to his book, as if nothing had happened.

Something about this annoyed her.

Lily Evans loved a challenge, and hated being ignored. She narrowed her eyes.

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"Severus," he took as long as he possibly could to drag his eyes up to meet hers. Pitch black and spring-mint green meeting for the first time – neither one blinked.

"I believe my name to you is Snape," He said silkily.

"Well, I believe you owe me an apology," His eyes bored into hers; she felt almost naked under his intense gaze, but she refused to look away.

"And why may that be?"

"You know exactly why!" To her surprise his cheekbones coloured ever so slightly and he went back to his book.

"Please, enlighten me."

"You – you called me…" She shook with indignation, "You know what."

"And you wish for an apology?"

"Well…of course!" He sighed deeply.

"If you came simply to hear an insincere apology from my lips you will be disappointed, Evans," She knew the cold softness in his voice disguised an anger she didn't understand. "And if you need an apology you are insecure in the extreme. Many of us do without."

She suddenly understood, and her anger left her. She was quiet for a moment. "Look, I know what Potter did was wrong, but there's no need…"

"I find it quite amusing," He cut through, with a malevolent smile that didn't reach his eyes, "That you feel the need for this conversation at all."

She blinked. She did not expect this; then again, what had she expected? Snape apologising, maybe them talking about the Dreamless Sleep potion, or discussing the difficulty of human transfiguration…? She nearly snorted. It was obvious that Snape was not…like that.

"I see…" He looked up quickly, hearing a strange note in her voice – defeat. "I know a lost cause when I see one. Sorry for disturbing you, Snape."

Snape watched her retreating with an emotion he had not felt for some time: a quiet prick of remorse was burgeoning in his chest. He thought she might continue, thought she might fight her corner for a little longer. He shook his head, attempting to rid himself of the image of those emerald eyes sparkling dangerously; full of power and allure and…just a hint of vulnerability. She had come here for an apology…this seemed absurd to Severus. Was there some kind of plot to embarrass him into making a fool out of himself?

And what had she meant by him being a lost cause? He was no such thing. Indeed, anyone who expected useless apologies from a stranger was just that: a lost cause.

He scowled and began scratching out more superfluous instructions from his copy of Advanced Potion-Making a little more aggressively than before. She had unsettled him - that was all; how many people came looking for apologies? It was as if she thought he was…a normal person. Not an outcaste, or someone to be disgusted by. Not even just a human being, but an equal.

He packed his books up; he'd been sitting there for hours, contemplating potions, her motives and why he felt like he owed her something…perhaps even an apology…

He rose silently; surprised by the darkness of the empty library, the empty corridors…he reached the Entrance Hall and turned to the dungeons, having missed dinner. But he didn't feel hungry…

He felt strange.

He entered the deserted Common Room through the secret wall and dropped into his favourite armchair, relishing the warmth of the fire and the emptiness of the dark room. He stared into the kindling fire and thought of Lily Evans' strange request, then of the way her hair, just as bright as those flames, fell across her shoulders…and those bright, emerald orbs of emotion, so full of life and vivacity…

And slowly those thoughts turned to the illicit as his subconscious took over rational thought and Severus Snape was alone with his secrets once more…