A/N: Just a short one-shot I've been mulling over in my head for a few weeks. Nothing fancy. I apologise for any OoC-ness, this is the first time I've done any Harry Potter writing.
----For Better or for Worse----
It wasn't often he had someone like Lily Evans in his house.
Severus looked around the living room and wished that he could use magic to make it tidier. The Snape household, in case one was curious, was a very dismal setting. With their frequent arguments his parents didn't really clean up as often as they ought to have. Well, that wasn't true; His mother attempted to tidy, but with a man like Tobias over your shoulder– Severus shuddered as he began to dust the massive shelves– you didn't want to turn your back on him.
It was very lucky that they had such a small house, he reasoned to himself as the cobwebs were brushed away with practiced ease. If it was a large house, well, he would have a much larger job ahead of him. Already the ebony bookcases were much more acceptable, which left only the heavy, silver drapery, a lengthy and rather dented coffee-table, a loveseat(Young Severus' sallow cheeks flushed) and a couch. The final two were old and patched, making the shy boy that much more ashamed to be playing host.
To dust was a simple task. It was menial and tiresome activity that required no more effort than to gut a flobberworm. His black-brown eyes traveled toward the carpet and a grimace flitted across his pasty visage. The 60's style, threadbare mess was a motley of reds and greens. Stains riddled the entirety and once again Severus felt his self-esteem drop. Lily would laugh up a storm at his expense.
He looked over at the antique telephone in the corner(Living in a muggle community it was at times easier to use the 'normal' modes of communication) and debated mentally the advantages and disadvantages to calling Lily and telling her to meet him instead by the river instead. She would probably agree. It wasn't like anyone would like to spend any time in the Snape household. Severus certainly didn't. Even with his parents gone conducting whatever business they were the structure seemed to be soaked with ill-tidings. With another dark sigh, the fourteen-year-old dropped his dusting cloth and retrieved the underused vacuum-cleaner from within the hall closet, brushing several spiders away with an expression of contempt.
The clock rung in the time of two o'clock and Severus groaned under his breath. She would be here in only half-an-hour. The deep-green hall walls hadn't been scrubbed down, nor had he managed to remove the stains on the third step of the old, creaking staircase that led to him and his parents separate bedrooms. He'd never get it all done in time for her arrival . . .
The majority of carpet on the first level of the house, at least, was well-groomed by the time the bell rang. Severus glanced at the clock as he made his way to the door, unaware that he still had a mess of dust in his hair, and a vacuum in his hand. Two-fifteen . . . she was early. Severus hastily tucked his overlarge shirt into his pants and pulled open the door.
"Hi Sev-er-us." Lily Evans was a sight as always. Wearing a flamboyant blue shirt baring the Beatles and knee-length shorts, he for one thought she looked undeniably cute, and a rush of happiness ran through to his toes at the luck of having such a girl as his best friend.
He looked up blankly and gave a start, having been lost in thought. "Hello," He said with a delay. "Er . . . come in . . . " He hastily shook out the dust and pushed the vacuum into a rejected corner.
Lily looked him over rather skeptically and laughed sweetly, "I figured you'd go all clean-freak on me." She joked. "Maybe you should get a shower." She watched as a torrent of dust fell from his straight, albeit rather greasy locks. "I brought Exploding Snap!" She wiggled the card deck and he smiled. "Okay." He looked around. "But I don't want to leave you down here by yourself . . . " He shrugged rather dismally and she just smiled wider. "I'll be fine, just be quick." She then settled down on the sofa and began setting up the cards for their upcoming game.
Quick he was. Severus hastily washed and scrubbed, having entered the water before it was even warm, and had it off before the heat had come in. Pulling on a new pair of undergarments and pants, he strode swiftly from the bathroom. The old-aged mirror reflected his face, which was expressly anxious. Time was not to be wasted, especially where Lily was involved. She could only stay until four, that was when his parents were to be home.
As he walked across the hall, shaking a towel through his hair all the while until he entered his bedroom. The silver-gray walls gloomed down on him as he stood at the doorway, a monument of shock. Sitting bold as brass upon his bed(His!) Was Lily, happily reading through his old, second-hand copy of Advanced Potion Making. They wouldn't need that book until sixth year, but already he'd begun scribbling different methods and notes on the margins.
That wasn't important right now, however. What was important was that he was naked from the waist up with a girl looking at him as though it were a regular occurrence. "You're going to catch a draft if you keep standing there, Sev." Lily pointed out genially. "I'm sorry for coming in here without permission, but I was curious." She grinned cutely. "Gryffindor, right?"
Somehow Young Severus managed to smile back, albeit very tensely, and skitter across the warped floorboards to his ancient dresser, pulling one of the drawers, which stubbornly remained shut.
'Not now!' Severus bemoaned silently. He hadn't wanted Lily to see his room. Everything was so old, and broken. Embarrassment filled him as he pulled and tugged fruitlessly at the furniture, though it would not budge, even as his face turned bright red in humiliation, knowing all too well that Lily was watching with interest from behind.
This wasn't how he'd wanted it to be. He had hoped against all hope that this visit would go well. That they would stay in the Living room downstairs, and nothing like this would happen. He pulled again and felt a familiar prickling behind his eyes, but he determinedly ignored it. Severus Snape might have cried his fair share in the past summer, but not today. Not with Lily nearby.
"Hey . . . Severus?" Lily tapped him on his shoulder and held out a shirt she'd noticed that was folded on his bedspread. "Don't worry about that, okay? My dresser locks up all the time too."
She was so sweet. Severus accepted the article of clothing and pulled it hastily over his head. The overlarge T-shirt just had to be one of his rattiest ones, didn't it? With his head bowed in shame, Severus sat upon the floor and gestured meekly at her. "Go on . . . I know you probably don't want to be here anymore."
His heart felt as though it had broken when Lily laughed brightly. She was making fun of him now, just like Potter and his gang. "You don't have to act like that!" The boy spat miserably. "Just . . . Just go away."
The broken pieces of his timid heart seemed to rejoin when he felt her arm across his shoulder in a friendly gesture. "Hey, don't get like that, Sev." Lily said kindly. "I don't care."
"Don't be stupid. You must be embarrassed to be in here."
"Oh, shush, you git." Lily said amiably. "I'm glad you invited me over!"
It was his turn to snort humorlessly. "That's rich, Lil . . . I'm sure you've heard all sorts of rumors about my family already." He rested his head on his forearms as he hugged his legs. "How poor we are, and how weird we are, and–"
"Being less well-off than other people doesn't make you a bad person!" Lily said sharply. "And I don't think you're weird at all. I think you're a lot sweeter and nicer than everyone gives you credit for." She smiled at him and he offered her a half-hearted turn of his lips.
"What about my clothes though . . . Petunia always says–"
"Petunia wouldn't know a good person if they danced naked in front of her."
A smile finally flitted across Severus' face. "Please don't ask me to do that." He chuckled.
Lily smirked, "Of course not. She's only interested if Vernon Dursley started stripping–" She laughed as Severus adamantly closed his hands over his ears.
Forty-five minutes passed playing Exploding Snap, and Severus found himself in a much better mood when it came time for Lily to leave. With a small but real smile on his face he walked her to the door and opened it wide to allow her to exit. She grinned back and stepped outside into the thick summer air. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow?" She said slowly.
"I don't see why not." Severus responded slowly.
Before he could respond Severus found himself tightly embraced in her arms and she clung tightly to his chest. "Take it easy, Sev." She said softly. "And don't let them get to you, okay?" Before he could return the gesture, Lily had stepped away. "I'll see you tomorrow." She said as a cute pink flush crept across her cheeks.
"Yeah . . . " Severus said distantly, waving as she hurried up the street.
That night, even as his father yelled, Severus was, if not blissful, at least at peace. He retreated to his room with a sense of contentment, even as his parents roared and hollered downstairs. His mind was set on the feeling of Lily's arms about him and a dopey smile spread across his face, making him look, at last, like the child he was meant to be.
Perhaps things could get better, he mused to himself, plucking a book at random from his shelf and settling onto his bed for the night.
He would see Lily Evans, the most fantastic and wonderful creature ever created within twenty-four hours.
Of course things would get better.