For a minute, things seemed like they might actually be okay. I didn't know what was to happen would be, in hindsight, a very obvious turning point in my life.
I awoke that Saturday quite early, as was my usual. Severus and I would spend the day together, outside, weather permitting, or in an unused classroom or the library. Today the drafts coming from the windows was enough to tell me we would be meeting inside. I waited for him by the front doors, knowing everyone allowed to go to Hogsmeade would be at the other exit.
He arrived carrying breakfast as I had hoped. We walked aimlessly, looking for a room to duck into. When one wasn't readily found, I joked with him that we would have to reschedule. His response was to sweep me up against the wall and kiss me, his hands on my wrists, not letting me move an inch. It was very hot and pleasantly unexpected.
"Bloody hell, Snape!" came a surprised voice. Of all people, it was Mulciber and a few other Slytherin first and second years. He moved away from me quickly and I was engulfed with a feeling of anger. I didn't yet know where the indignation was directed, but I could feel my face heating up.
"You didn't listen to me at all, did you, Snape? What are you? Stupid?" Mulciber said, his deep voice booming through the corridor. Severus scowled, but said nothing. Mulciber continued berating him, "You bloody idiot!"
And suddenly the whole group of Slytherins turned and began taunting and teasing Severus. "Greasy!" "Blood traitor!" "Idiot!" I had never seen a face get so red. Severus looked like he might erupt like a volcano.
"Leave him alone!" I yelled and grabbed his arm. He flung me off.
"Shut up! I don't need a mudblood to protect me from my housemates!" He turned away from me. I stood stunned for the blink of an eye before turning and running. I did not stop until I couldn't breathe anymore and I didn't know where I was.
As I sat there, beside a painting of two dogs, panting, the only thing going through my mind was: how could he? We had barely discussed his "politics" and he seemed to prefer it that way; now he had basically slapped me in the face. I wish he had.
After collecting myself and willing my legs to stop shaking, I made my way back to Gryffindor Tower. The tears came from anger, as well as sadness. I did not even bother to wipe them away as I walked. Each felt like a badge of honor for being gullible and trusting Severus.
I stopped in stunned silence six feet from the entry to the tower. Severus was standing outside it, a blank look on his face, his eyes boring into me.
"Lily..." he reached out a hand, "please let me explain."
There was still so much anger in me, but seeing him there lessened it some. It helped that he looked scared. In the long moment I sat there, his face began to fall. He wasn't even trying to hide it. He looked so sad.
"Okay," I whispered and took his hand. For a moment, I felt like a giant fool, but as we strolled the halls, finally finding that empty room, I realised how scared I was. Part of me knew I should not accept any apology or explanation Severus could offer. The other part only wanted him to say he was sorry so I could kiss him and convince him to do the right thing.
After he had spelled the door, he sat beside me on the floor. To my surprise, he spoke immediately.
"I am so sorry, Lily. It just slipped out and...I didn't mean it." He glanced at me. "My housemates, they..."
I cut him off. "I saw it, Sev. I can't believe you would stoop to that level though. Why not just walk away?"
"It's just...just not that simple," he said softly. His frustration was obvious. His hands were clenched so tightly, the knuckles were white.
I grabbed his hand, holding it reverently, caressing it. "Would you try? For me?"
Our eyes met and I saw him struggle, but he acquiesced and nodded slightly, his hands gripping mine tightly in response. His lips met mine and I mumbled "thanks" against his lips. Severus slid his arms around me and with awkward movements, he pulled me into his lap. After being so angry with him, being so physically close to him was good, but not satisfying enough. I threaded my arms about him and hugged him as hard as I could. I could feel the tension ease some, but now his hands were holding so tightly to me I swear I could feel each finger. And the kissing was getting passionate and uncontrolled.
He pulled back suddenly, breathing hard, panting really. The look on his face in that moment sticks in my mind. His mouth hanging open, his eyes wide and slightly glazed, chest heaving, his arms still wrapped around me. He looked exhilarated. If only I could always remember him like that.
That evening in the common room, I was having real trouble concentrating on my notes. Monday was the start of a week of OWLs and try as I might, I could not keep my mind on my studies.
Finally, I shut my book and began to pack away, ignoring the guilt I felt that I wasn't studying anymore.
"Evans! I didn't see you in Hogsmeade," James spit, flopping onto the couch beside me. I didn't see any of his pals around, but that didn't mean they weren't somewhere close.
"What do you want, Potter?" I just continued packing my bag.
"I was just hoping to see you there. I did see Lucius, though." He mussed his hair. "He didn't ask you to go with him?"
I narrowed my eyes, but finally looked at him. To my surprise, his face was open and honest...and confused. Maybe his friends really weren't around. He was looking directly at me with his mouth slightly open, his eyes seemed to be almost twinkling behind his glasses. "I think you know the answer to that." I tried to sound as calm as possible.
"Do I?" he asked, grabbing my wrist. I shook him off easily, but he held my gaze.
"Yes. I don't have any interest in Malfoy."
"Or any Slytherin, right?" The tension at this moment was nearly awful. I owed absolutely nothing to James, but I was surprised that I felt...nervous. I was torn between telling the truth and keeping the secret for Severus.
"Look, I don't have to answer to you or anyone else, Potter. What do you care anyway?"
He got mad. I so very rarely saw his temper that I cowered at first.
"Are you daft? I mean, don't you think..." his hands clenched into fists and his face reddened. "Lily, I..." He took a deep breath and tried to calm himself. I was just trying not to smile at the scene before me.
"Yes, Potter?" I stood, slinging my bag over my shoulder.
"Just...be careful," he said, his shoulders slumping, his face dropping. He looked defeated. It shocked me, honestly. All I could think was: it had to be hard for him to be kind to me right now. He probably wanted to shake me.
"Sure, James," I said and to my definite surprise, I reached out and touched his arm. He looked at my hand, then at me. I gave him a small smile and dashed away up the stairs to the dormitories. I couldn't bear to see his reaction to my kind gesture. I knew he would probably read too much into it and I couldn't exactly take it back now.
I flopped onto my bed, dumping my bag on the floor. My mind was buzzing with the events of the day and something about the way Potter had looked at me had struck a chord. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw his soft hazel eyes glowing with life and energy. So different from the black pools I was used to gazing into.
"No," I said aloud, shaking my head. "Stop, Lily."