A/N: The real beginning of the L/J romance -through the eyes of Severus Snape.
Lily Evans had been called out of our NEWT Potions class in the early afternoon. Of course Slughorn was perfectly fine with her leaving since, as usual, she had finished the class assignment far ahead of everyone else. As Lily gathered her stuff and walked out of the room, I caught a glimpse of an utterly bemused expression on her face.
I can assuage my guilt by pretending like I had no clue as to why she had been called, but that would involve lying to myself, which I'm not sure I'm emotionally ready to do at this point.
As soon as she had left, I heard Mulciber snigger quietly at Avery. To my dismay, I realized to some extent what fate had befallen her, or rather, her muggle parents. I closed my eyes and wished instead that it had been my abusive muggle father who had suffered this fate, but that wish hadn't made Lily come back to announce that she had won another award from the school or something (not that she would have announced something like that).
Lily hadn't been in any of the remainder of her classes the rest of the day, but no one seemed to want to openly discuss the subject except for my fellow Slytherins. Some of them were smirking overtly despite the cold shoulders they received from the other houses.
My mind is drawn back to the present now as I study Lily's relaxed, graceful figure skip flat rocks across the pond. The sun's glare reflects off the cascade of her fiery red hair down to her waist. She was never the skinniest or the most full-figured girl in our grade. From a distance, she seems average if you don't know her, if you haven't been mesmerized by those brilliant green eyes of hers.
However, her eyes are blocked as her back faces the bushes I'm hiding behind. I remain frozen in place, torn between two conflicting impulses. Part of me wanted to run over and ask if she's okay and hugging her like I would have done two years ago had our falling out never happened. But it did. My rational half urges me to run as quickly as possible back to the castle before the most amazing person I've ever known realizes that I've been spying on her.
I continue to gaze at her. I don't care that my body is cramping up in my uncomfortable position. My brain continues in its fruitless attempts to get my body to run away to the castle, while my heart persists in pulling me toward Lily's gentle presence. My warring halves inadvertently seem to have turned this bush from a hiding place to a prison.
The memory of our falling out painfully replays quite vividly in my mind, like an eternal aftertaste. Yet on some sick, masochistic level, I crave the sting that I feel every time I remember. The high of visualizing her face looking at mine for more than a second's time is worth suffering the the pain as I recall the hurt in her eyes that I had caused in my moment of weakness.
Somehow, since our falling out, she and my worst enemy (who had been the cause of our falling out), James Potter, had become acquaintances –or "casual friends" who patrolled the halls together after Dumbledore made them Head Boy and Girl. It seems like Potter has somehow even fooled the headmaster with his "I'm more mature now" act.
And that's why I'm stuck here behind the bushes, the closest I'll likely ever get to her again.
After all, the last thing she needs right now is emotional trouble from a former best friend; but that brings up the question: does she feel anything for me still? Did she ever feel anything for me before (beyond the innocent platonic love she feels towards almost everyone)?
I can only imagine the anguish her heart must be feeling right now.
I notice a distant figure –a figure that, unfortunately, I could recognize anywhere –apprehensively approaching this direction. He stops every few moments, as if to gather himself (perhaps to put on a "kind" front to deceive Lily –that's probably why it's taking him so long).
Inevitably, my worst enemy since the start of my schooling at Hogwarts moves toward us (or rather, Lily). She lets him, although she does not acknowledge his presence. She continues to skip her stones across the lake. I can't help but grin at my suspicion that she has cast a multiplying charm on the same rock. Each stone she skips looks remarkably similar to the last, producing a similar number of skips and a similar looking series of splashes.
I note hardly any change in her behavior save the fact that her rocks aren't gliding as smoothly over the water anymore and that the average number of skips per rock has significantly decreased while the size of the splash per skip has significantly increased.
All this is now her response to the same boy she had once called an "arrogant toe-rag," the same boy who we had crucified in many of our long conversations when we had been friends.
I can't help but wonder how she would react if I were in James Potter's place. Would she keep skipping stones like she is now? Would the number of skips per stone decrease as much? Or would she have stopped skipping altogether and have accepted the one-armed hug I would have reluctantly given, afraid the sound of the violent beating of my heart would reach her ears? Would she have leaned her head in and cry on my shoulders while I would have softly run my hands through her fiery-red hair?
The wordless silence is barely penetrated by her soft whisper. Nevertheless, I am still slightly shocked (as I am every time) that she'd be willing to talk to the spoiled scum that had tortured her for so long in the past, perpetually asking her out.
"How was Transfiguration? Did I miss anything important?" She tried to sound casual, but I could tell that she wasn't all right. I could hear the quiver that was so cleverly concealed underneath the casual tone with which she had asked the question.
"It was… good," Potter answers with an uncertainty that was uncharacteristic of him. "McGonagall told me to tell you that we pretty much just went over the basics of how to transfigure food 'out of thin air,' as she had said, but yeah," he trailed off, apparently stalling.
"All right, that's good," she replies, starting to walk back towards the castle, taking unnecessarily long strides.
"Wait –wait, Lily. Are you all right?" He seems to have finally worked up the courage to ask her the question that I'd be asking right now if it hadn't been for him and his little gang.
"Sure, I'm fine," Lily answers shortly, not bothering to stop. Instead she walked faster; I caught a glimpse of a couple of tears trailing down her cheeks.
"Lily," James calls, running up behind her and grabbing her sleeve.
"Oh yeah?" she yells, spinning around to face him.
"Lily, it's okay if you're not okay." James grimaced slightly at her.
"Yeah?" Her voice is barely audible as more tears spring out of her eyes. "Well, I'll make sure to consult the resident expert on this topic, James Potter. You'll have to show me which owl is yours. Then I'll deliver my messages about how pathetically sad I am about the fact that my parents were killed by Voldemort to you. That sound good?" She actually yells after temporarily mastering the lump in her throat.
"Lily," he says quietly, "Trust me, I do know what it's like. My parents were killed by Voldemort last year. He'd infected them with dragonpox and killed them. He made it look like it was dragonpox, but Dumbledore told me it wasn't. He used the killing curse on them before they could get to their wands. Their wands had been downstairs, so they were practically defenseless." He stops abruptly, as if this was too painful for him, but my sympathy is limited.
"He had used the killing curse on them and made it look like a car accident," Lily closes her eyes as she informs him of one of her deepest secrets. "But my sister knows. She thinks it's my fault."
His arms wrap around her neck, and to my horror, she leans into his body and sobs uncontrollably. He runs his fingers through her hair as I had imagined doing, and he pats her gently on the back as if everything was going to be okay.
I don't know how much time passes before she finally raises her head up and faces him, their faces nearly touching. "Th-thanks for being there for me, James. I –I'm sorry about earlier. I was just –"
"It's okay. You're brave. You're a Gryffindor," he smiles at her, stroking her cheek.
A small ghost of a smile graces her face. In the next few seconds, I couldn't help but realize what was happening. Their bodies are far too close to each other for this to be any normal hug.
With a level of hesitation that seemed uncharacteristic of James Potter, he slowly leans in to kiss her. And to my utmost disgust, she reciprocates.
Instead of feeling sorry for the both of them for losing their parents, I feel a hot and poisonous rage spreading through my veins. Her utter betrayal is obviously getting to me. The rage multiplies as I'm reminded that right in front of my face, the life I wanted to have is being stolen by my worst enemy in the world. I want to turn away because this image hurts me more than anything, but I'm frozen, stuck in the second-worst moment of my entire life.
A/N: I hope you guys liked it. :)