Eileen Snape was savoring her time alone.

She was curled up in the arm chair, contemplating which of her three books she might like to reread this afternoon. Her husband away to work, her son at his part-time job, Eileen felt at peace.

It was a day like any other weekday, she had exactly nine hours away from her husband. Nine hours that she was liberated from his hateful tirade.

Sadly, Severus was at work more than that, and she only saw him going from his room to his job and going back to his room after his shift.

It hurt Eileen to see him this way, shut away. Though he had never been a happy child, she remembered his long time friend, Lily Evans, who had always seemed to brighten his day.

She could remember the first day they had met each other.

He had come home from the park late that night, smiling in a way he never did.

She had hardly noticed as she cowered against the wall, a finger and red face obscuring much else from her blurred vision. Her head was aching from the last strike of her husband's hand and his shrill accusations did nothing to improve this.

She watched, underneath Tobias's outstretched arm, her son avert his eyes and go to his own safe corner of the living room. It wrenched her heart to see that the scene had not surprised him in the least bit; it killed a piece of her every time Severus saw their fights.

Tobias slapped her again for not paying attention to him and grabbed her face angrily but her eyes had already closed that blissful blackness dominated her vision and gorgeous silence had fallen over her mind.

Later that night, after she regained consciousness, Eileen was in Severus's make-shift bedroom. Bending down to admit her head into the small cupboard she kissed him on the forehead.

She looked over her shoulder before whispering, "How was your day. You looked so happy when you got home."

Through her unblackened eye she saw her son's unused smile that seemed so strange and alien to his sallow face.

"I made a friend today," he whispered back.

"Really That's great."

"She's a witch too, just like you Mum."

As far as Eileen could tell, Lily was the closest friend Severus had ever made. He would come home with whispered stories about what magic Lily had done, about how smart she was, how special.

Eileen sometimes felt like she was being told fairytales by her son. They were always about the same beautiful, red haired Princess and her smart, powerful Prince Charming. About how the Prince rescued the Princess from her awful family, and who taught her everything about magic.

He was always terribly bright and creative.

Eileen had always hoped that Severus might bring the girl by some day, but the part of her that said it might happen was silenced by the part that knew it wouldn't.

Eileen had given up hope a few years back of ever meeting this friend, of ever seeing the Princess.

And now, Severus didn't talk about her anymore.

Actually he didn't talk about anything anymore.

The last two summers had been like this and Eileen knew of only one reason that could be, and it broke her heart every time she thought about it.

It was half an hour before her son would return from Borgin and Burke's and Eileen rose from her spot in the sunken in armchair. She knocked over the spindly little table next to her when a knock came at the door.

Nobody ever came knocking on their door.

With her wand raised, Eileen made her way toward the door and when she peered through the peep hole suspiciously she was surprised.

For their visitor was holding a wand.

Eileen opened the door cautiously.

"Hello," she said cautiously, her wand held out.

"Mrs. Snape," the girl spoke, her voice faint, "is Severus here?"

She looked over her shoulder nervously, her dark hair curls bouncing across her shoulders.

"And what does the Princess look like, Sev?"

"Long red hair, when she moves it looks like autumn leaves when they fall to the ground, when they spin in the air like they're not quite sure they want to fall yet.

"Like you when you don't want to go to bed?"

"Kinda."

She was small in stature, and very slim, her robes hanging off her frame in a very whimsical way.

"Her clothes are always perfect. She wears very pretty dresses."

Eileen looked at her visitor's pleading eyes and looked shocked.

Because standing out against her smooth, ivory skin was her most mystical feature: her exotically slanted, luminous green eyes. There was something in them that made Eileen want to feel happy.

"She has big green eyes, they sparkle at you and give your stomach a weird feeling."

"Does your stomach get a weird feeling?"

"Yes."

This girl was the Princess.

"Why," Eileen asked defensively, to have something to say more than anything.

"Sorry," the girl apologized with her voice growing stronger, "but I'm a friend from school, Lily Evans. I just needed to speak with Severus, it's rather urgent."

This girl that stood firmly on the front step, this girl that was so brave as to come to the dreaded Spinner's End, to come to a known Death Eater's house in these dark times just to talk to Eileen's son.

She moved aside, to allow Lily to come in.

Once inside, those startingly green eyes swept over the dim house. No disgust or pity showing in her frown, but a grim understanding. She looked as if she had just realized a fear come true.

They stood in silence for a few minutes, with Eileen still grasping the doorknob watching this girl stand in the living room.

"Please have a seat," Eileen invited, motioning to the best chair they had.

"No, I won't impose long, I-I wanted to apologize to Severus. We had a falling out, and, well I'm engaged to be married tomorrow. James, my fiancé, and I, we're moving immediately afterward and I j-just couldn't leave without," Lily stammered out of old habit during her explanation, clearly overcome by emotion.

Eileen nodded.

"And tell me about her Prince."

"Her Prince is very handsome. He's smarter than all of the other princes that like the Princess, he's richer and braver and better at everything."

"Really?"

"Yeah."

"Are you sure you don't want to wait for him? I know he'll want to talk."

She already knew the answer.

"No, I don't think I could," she laughed shakily, "I don't even know how I worked up the nerve to come here," her small hand, decorated by a silver band that held three small diamonds, was thrown up, "but if you could please tell him-"

"Of course Lily," Eileen consented, the name tasting strangely natural on her tongue.

"I'm being a coward," Lily scorned herself, regret creeping into her sweet voice, "but I just need him to know that I'm sorry."

Eileen nodded again and walked over to the girl.

The hug was over before either of them could complete it properly. The two women stood in silence, both holding back tears.

"Thank you so much Mrs. Snape," Lily said as she headed for the front door, her green eyes seeming to shine even more brilliantly as they held her hot tears.

Eileen followed her to the door and opened it, feeling an upsurge of respect for the extraordinary witch.

"And what happened after the Prince and the Princess fell in love?"

"He always talked about you, you know. You always meant so much to him."

"They lived got married and lived happily ever after."

Lily gave a genuine smile, "I know."

And she did.

The front door to the small house was snapped shut by habit, for it was never safe these days to leave your home open.

Eileen Snape stood staring at the chipped paint, not knowing quite what to think except that the Princess had found her Prince.

There was a small pop outside on the front porch.

Just not the right one.

A/N: I wrote this story a long, long time ago…and after rereading it I started to edit it a bit, thinking it had some potential, then I got hit by a whole other idea-basically rewrote the whole concept of the story and got this.

If the past tense is confusing, or the choppiness or whatever, I apologize profusely.

Okay, I am eager to get feedback on this (it's a bit different from my usual stuff) and would thank you for reviewing!

Paddy