"I'm sorry."

"I'm not interested."

"I'm sorry!"

"Save your breath."

It was nighttime. Lily, who was wearing a dressing gown, stood with her arms folded in front of the portrait of the Fat Lady, at the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.

"I only came out because Mary told me you were threatening to sleep here."

"I was. I would have done. I never meant to call you Mudblood, it just-"

"Slipped out?" There was no pity in Lily's voice. "It's too late. I've made excuses for you for years. None of my friends can understand why I even talk to you. You and your precious little Death Eater friends – you see, you don't even deny it! You don't even deny that's what you're all aiming to be! You can't wait to join You-Know-Who, can you?" 1

"I never said that. You're just assuming that's what I want!"

"So enlighten me, what do you want? You know what, never mind. I don't care!" Lily turned her back on Severus and started to walk back through the portrait.

"I saw you laugh at me! Don't think that didn't hurt." The boy's voice caught and he mentally kicked himself. He hadn't wanted her to know how much that hint of a smile had wounded him.

Lily paused. In seven years she had never once heard Severus come close to crying, no matter how bad things were at his home or how much he had been bullied, somehow he had always remained stoic. Now it sounded as if he was barely holding it together.

"Never mind, I should have known you would be just like everyone else." The defeat was heavy in his voice as he shuffled off down the corridor.

1 Deathly Hallows American Edition Pages 675-676