Title: Dreaming With A Broken Heart
Pairing: Severus/Lily, some James/Lily
Summary: On the day before her wedding, Lily decides to risk everything for love.
Warnings: Non-canon, alternate universe, character death, mild language
Disclaimer: The character belong to JKR. I don't own them. I only write down the lives they lead in my head.
Author's Note: Inspired by John Mayer's song. I know I am breaking a canon-law that Snape CANNOT be Harry Potter's father, but in a world full of magic I was determined to find a way. I think that throughout the Potter series, Snape has been a kind of dark father/guardian figure to Harry, in his own twisted, misguided way.
1. The Meeting
When the knocking on the front door can be ignored no longer, I enter the living room through the secret stairwell hidden behind the largest bookshelf.
"I am not expecting anyone else tonight," I say over my shoulder. "Remain as you are until I deal with this." I carefully shut the hatch in place, making sure that not even a sliver of light can escape before attending to my uninvited guest.
The front door is practically shaking off its hinges by the time I pull it open a crack. I peer into the darkening evening, my wand ready at my side. It will happen like this one of these days.
I freeze. "L-Lily?"
A woman in a white wedding dress pushes past me with a strength that is surprising. Temporarily stunned by her presence I do not try to stop her. Whatever I had been expecting, this certainly is the furthest thing from my mind.
"Lily. This, uh," I stammer, "this isn't a good time for me." Then I remember to shut the door. Merlin's balls, if someone had spotted her coming here!
"You may not have noticed, Severus, but this isn't exactly a good time for me either," she says as she paces the room. Her dress swishes around her like mist as she moves this way and that, not focusing on anything particular and yet unable to remain in one place. Her red hair is elegantly coiled on top of her head and pinned with a lacy veil. She seems to light up the gloomy hallway with her very presence, glowing from the inside out.
"You look lovely." Damn! Did I just say that out loud?
She glances up at me, her expression softens before she resumes her nervous pacing. What the blazes is she doing here? On this night of all nights? She was not sent by the Ministry, I am fairly sure of that. Then again, wouldn't it be just like those bastards to send the best Auror for the job? You want to slay the dragon, you must use the right bait.
"You, ah, got married then?" I say. "Congratulations are in order, I suppose."
"It was only a rehearsal." She does not look at me this time. Instead she busies herself with the books on my shelves, rearranging them in an order that must make sense to her somehow. "The actual thing's tomorrow. James thought I'd be less nervous if it was in full dress. But I didn't come to discuss that." Her attention falls on a battered old school book, Advanced Potion Making. She leafs through it and gives a weak laugh. "I can't believe you kept this old thing."
I tug awkwardly at my robes, pretending to straighten them. "Just an old habit. Can't seem to throw anything out."
"Don't give me that." Lily holds the book in her arms like a child. "We used to write to each other non-stop in this thing. Even invented a few new potions together. It was a part of us."
I clear my throat. Damn, she's not making things easy. If she isn't here to kill me then I may be in worse danger than I fear. "Well, that was school." I say quickly. "Things have changed since then. Obviously." I gesture at her gown. It makes a swishing sound whenever she moves. I find it strangely comforting.
Again, with a speed and strength that I would not connect to her small size, Lily rushes forward, seizes my left arm and forces up the material to reveal the mark there. "You've changed, too, it seems," she hisses.
I cast her aside and correct my sleeve. I glower at her, the oh-so-high-and-mighty-Gryffindor about to chastise the fallen Slytherin. Some things have not changed after all.
"How could you?" she asks tonelessly. "You were the most brilliant boy I ever knew, Severus. How could you join those… monsters? They're nothing more than a bunch a murderers. You knew that! You knew and you joined them anyway."
"Lily, you really should not be here," I say as calmly as I can. Lily had been a fair hand at dueling, a skill her training as an Aura could only have intensified. Anyway, I do not want to duel her. Not yet.
"And all that business about pure-bloods being superior, about cleansing the blood lines for the greater good. How can you buy into that tripe? It's all just bunk to raise an army for You-Know-Who. How can you support him?"
"It's not… not as easy as you think. You really should leave now."
"Not until you tell me why." She stands in front of me, hands squarely on her hips. Her green eyes are flashing lightning. She only comes up to my chest, and that is with those uncomfortable-looking high heels she chose to wear for effect. Not intimidating in the least, and yet my fists are trembling at my sides.
I want to rage at her. I want to throw spells at her, to tear that dress, crush her against me and….
Damn! Where the hell did that come from? Until now my mind has been like stone. Is she really that pretty? Or am I really that weak when it comes to her?
"You used to tell me that blood didn't matter. When did that change for you? Was it in school? Hanging around with your pals, Mulciber and Avery and Malfoy? Impressing the lot of them with your skills in the Dark Arts?"
"Lily, you really have no idea what you're—"
"Was it because of me?" Her eyes are full of pain now. "I tried to stop you from going down that path, but then I gave up and left you to your choice. Is that why you did it, Sev? Am I to blame?"
I stare at her. She used to be such an intelligent woman. It was part of what I loved so much about her. Pity. Life with Potter has dulled her, it seems. Given her a soppy, melodramatic view of things. Then again, Gryffindors were always an overemotional lot.
"What do you want me to say?" I find myself exclaiming with more venom that I anticipated. I will not get another chance to speak to her after this. "Do you really need your guilt dissuaded this badly? For what reason? So you can get married with a clean conscience? Go back to your fiancé, Mrs. Potter. He must be wondering where you've slipped off to, unless this is a custom of yours."
She pales for a moment, but she had always been made of stronger stuff and shrugs it off. "Is this truly what you want? Is this what your life has been reduced to? What happened to the boy who was my best friend?"
"What happened to you I wonder?" I shout and she jumps back, startled by my anger. "The independent girl who gave into her own popularity and chose the safe, easy path with her Golden Gryffindor stooges. You are about to marry the man who dedicated his life to make my existence at school a living hell, remember? Of all the ways you could have chosen to hurt me…. And now you come here expecting sympathy?"
"It… it's not the same as becoming a Death Eater. And I didn't fall in love with James just to hurt you. Maybe I did it to get even, maybe, at the very beginning, but things changed between James and I. Besides, you never spoke to me again after fifth year. You can't expect me not to have moved on."
I snort. She ignores this. "Anyway, I didn't come here intending to cause pain. I… I had to know if there was anything… anything…." Her face is the exact color of her hair now.
"You mean you got cold feet and thought you'd try to find a way to crawl out of your situation? Sorry to disappoint, Mrs. Potter, but the days when you could manipulate me are long gone."
"Severus, you can't mean this. I… I still love y—"
"Get out!" I am shouting now. She is crying. Good. "Get out of here! You expect too much of me. Just get out!"
There is a sound from the bookshelf behind us. I curse and vow to Hex whomever that is into next week.
Lily's eyes go wide. "They're here right now, aren't they? Your Death Eater mates. Having a right jolly Might-Makes-Right party? Already plotting which muggles and muggle-borns you intend to kill first? Can I expect you to come breaking down my door one day?" She reaches for the bookcase. "What are you up to exactly?"
I seize her arm and begin to drag her back to the front door. I have to get her out of here. "You're leaving right now!"
"Severus, I believe the lady has asked you what you are up to."
Lily breaks free of my grip and spins around; her wand is raised in shock. "Pr-Professor Dumbledore?"
A very old man with a long white beard steps out from behind the hidden passageway, his arms raised in greeting. "Hello, Lillian. What a pleasure it is to see you again, and may I say that you are a vision."
"Headmaster!" I exclaim, furious at this open act of betrayal. I may end up killing the both of them tonight. "What are you doing? I thought that we agreed—"
"Times have changed, Severus," Dumbledore say with his usual nonchalant grin. "As I said, Lillian has asked you what you are up to and I believe it is only right to give her a truthful answer."
Lily does not lower her wand. "How do I know that you are the real Albus Dumbledore?"
He chuckles. "Glad to see that you remember your basic Auror training, my dear. You might ask me a question only the real Dumbledore would know. Or you might persuade Severus here to provide you with some Veritaserum, which I am sure he keeps an ample supply of at hand."
"Seventh year," Lily continues, "I was called to your office for something I did. What was it?"
"Why, I believe that Madame Hooch said it over a disturbance in the Hufflepuff locker room, over a… how shall I put it delicately? A lack of proper dress code?"
He twinkles. Lily turns bright scarlet and my jaw, unconsciously, drops to the floor. Where was I when this had happened at school?
"It wasn't about what you think!" she quickly says to me. "It was just a dumb bet. James bet me that I would flash the Hufflepuff team if they won the Qudditch Cup. So, you are the real Dumbledore, then. What are you doing here?"
"Sir," I interrupt again, resolved to detour this train wreck from occurring. "The risk! You cannot… she must not know!"
"Know what?" Lily glares at the both of us.
Dumbledore puts an easy hand on her shoulder. "Come. Let me introduce you to the Order of the Phoenix." He opens the secret panel all the way and escorts her up the narrow stairs.
Torn between blind rage and dread for the two people I have foolishly let get too close to me, I have no choice but to follow them.