Disclaimer: Not mine, just the idea.
A/N: This is AU and I warn you it is bittersweet and you will need your hanky.
He was such an unbelievably, moronic dunderhead! How could he have said that vile word when Lily had only been trying to help. He wanted to apologise. He almost had, but then he saw Potter embracing her.
Odd that. He never realised that one could hear their own heart breaking.
"Snape! Quit brooding, will you?" Michael Mulciber nudged him sharply and he scowled at the tall, stout boy. "Now that you've seen that Evans bit for what she really is, you can come and meet the Dark Lord tonight."
Severus shrugged. What did it matter now? Follower of a madman, or a mess at the bottom of the Astronomy Tower? He really didn't care.
"James Potter! You give me that map this instant!" Lily, her green eyes blazing and her red hair free about her shoulders, looked like some beautiful Irish banshee.
"Who cares who they are, Evans?" laughed Potter.
Lily suddenly stepped up close to James and right in the middle of his fit of laughing, she punched him in the nose. There was an awful crunching sound, and blood spurted. Lily ignored it as she snatched the Marauder's Map from James' lap where it had fallen the second he grabbed his broken nose.
Tapping her wand to the parchment and saying the password, the corridors and rooms of Hogwarts was revealed, as were the staff and students. Lily's eyes traveled to four dots that were approaching the Forbidden Forest. Quietly she read the names over the dots, "Mulciber, Crabbe, Goyle and..." she breathed a sigh of relief, "Avery!"
Lily studied the map further until she found the dot she was looking for. Tossing the map back to James, whose nose was currently being healed by Remus Lupin, she ran upstairs to the boys dorm and soon came down again.
"Evans! That's my invisibility cloak!" James protested.
"Want me to hit you again, Potter?" he shook his head, causing the bleeding to start again. "Then quit whining." Lily ran out of the Gryffindor common room and made her way to the south side of the castle. Severus was in the Hollow, a large grouping of boulders that had formed a natural hollow. She and Severus had found it their first year at Hogwarts and they had turned it into their private place to talk and do homework.
Severus had planned to join Mulciber and the others tonight. The taking of the Dark Mark sounded very appealing and for once and for all, he could have his revenge on Potter, Black, Lupin and Pettigrew. As he followed the other four boys out of the castle, though, he found himself sneaking away from them and heading to his and Lily's old hideout. They hadn't been to the Hollow for almost two years, and he could see why; it was rather cramped now. He ignored it, though.
He'd messed everything up and he had no idea how to fix it. Lily would never talk to him again. Not after he'd called her a Mudblood. And, she'd hugged Potter. She'd probably marry him, too. Why couldn't anything ever go right for him? Why did it always have to turn into such a...
"Severus?" Lily's voice, sounding shy and timid the way she'd sounded the very first time he'd spoken to her, filtered into the hollow space where he sat.
Severus stared through the cracks between the boulders, but couldn't see anything. "Great!" he muttered to himself. "Now I'm hallucinating!"
"No you're not."
As he felt something brush against his side, Severus jumped and hit his head against the ceiling of the Hollow. "OW!"
Lily removed the invisibility cloak. "Oh Severus! Are you all right?" Lily examined Severus' head and saw a small cut. She quickly healed it. "Better?"
"Uhm... yeah." He tried to glower at her, but failed. "Shouldn't you be with your friends?"
"They aren't my friends, Severus. You are."
Remembering the embrace he'd seen later in the afternoon, he snarled, "Don't lie to me, Lily!"
"You stop that this instant, Severus Snape! You've no right to accuse me of lying after what you called me today! Now, apologise to me at once, or those morons will become my friends."
Severus stared at Lily and was almost tempted to have her repeat herself. "Did... did you say, apologise?"
"I certainly did and if you're my best friend, ever, you'll do it. I'd hate to think that all these years of friendship means you can't apologise to me when you should."
"But, I... I... called you a M... and you were only trying to stop them... how can I apologise for that?!"
"Were you angry because a girl was trying to help you?" Lily demanded.
"I... well, sort of."
"Did you mean what you said? Do you believe it's the truth?"
"NO!" he nearly shouted in her face. "Lily, no! I'm horrified that I let my anger get the best of me. They caught me off guard and in front of everyone... it was just even more... more..."
"Humiliating that I spoke up for you?"
"It's stupid, but... everyone was laughing and when Black started shouting 'look a girl is going to save Snivellus'... I just broke inside. I'm so very sorry, Lily."
Lily smiled gently and put her arms around Severus' shoulders and squeezed. "Severus, you're my best friend, forever and always. My only friend that's worth everything to me. I know the pressure of Mulciber and his cronies is really hard for you and to have me as a friend only makes it harder. I knew someday you might do that, but I know you'd never mean it."
For a long moment he leaned his head against Lily's and silently thanked all the gods for her wonderful, endless compassion. Had their roles been reversed, he would not have been so forgiving. "How did you find me, Lily?"
"I was in my dorm and saw four figures headed for the Forbidden Forest. I was so very scared that you were with them. That maybe I drove you to it, that I punched James, took his map and his cloak, and went looking for you."
Severus suddenly snorted. "You punched Potter?!"
Lily smiled and chuckled. "I broke his nose. I hope Remus' healing spell is a good one or James' isn't going to have a pretty face anymore."
Severus laughed some more and finally spoke while smiling, "Oh someday, we have to get a pensieve so I can see that!"
"I promise, I'll share it when I can, Severus." Lily was very happy that she'd gone after Severus. She hugged him tighter, never wanting to let him go again.
Severus sobered a bit and turned slightly to better face Lily. "Lily, I need to ask... later, after the lake, I saw Potter hugging you... did... why...?"
"Oh! Ugh! I was so very upset at him, Severus. I was yelling and can you believe it? He Stupefyed me! He wasn't hugging me! He caught me so I wouldn't fall and smash my face! He's got detention with McGonagall for doing that to me. The git!"
Severus' heart became light as a feather. With a smile on his face, he wrapped his arms around Lily and hugged her tight to him. Before he knew what was happening, Lily was kissing him. There was a startled shyness to the kiss that made it brief, and still in each other's arms, they pulled back slightly and stared at each other. With one hand, Severus lightly touched Lily's cheek and then he drew her closer. This time, the kiss was more fervent. There was no fumbling, but there was a perfect rightness as they held each other close and discovered that friendship could be so much more. When they finally parted, both were flushed and their hearts were beating a matched, rapid rhythm. Neither one felt awkward or had the need to apologise. It was what they both had held secret in their hearts for so very long and it was good that it was now free.
Lily laid her head against Severus' chest and he stroked her fiery red, silken hair. He drew her fingertips to his lips, lightly kissing each one. She turned her head just enough to look up at him. "None of them matter, Severus. Not when I love you."
Severus leaned down and kissed Lily, again. This time, his kiss showed her what was in his heart; that he loved her as well.
Fate was cruel. Severus Snape never thought he'd hear his heart break a second time in his life, but it did. Away at an Order meeting on Halloween night, the Dark Lord had attacked his home, taking his beloved wife from his side forever. He wasn't certain how he could move forward and as he stood staring at Lily's gravestone in the pouring rain, he so very desperately wanted to lie down beside her, close his eyes, and never open them again.
"Severus, my boy, come away. Lily would not want you to catch your death here in the rain." Albus Dumbledore put a hand on the younger wizard's arm firmly.
"What am I to do without her, Albus? She was my life!" His tears mixed with the raindrops as he wept. The older wizard drew the grieving husband into his embrace and allowed him a moment of despair.
After several long minutes, Albus drew Severus away from the grave. "I know it is hard, Severus, but you can't turn your back on him now, can you?"
They had walked to the edge of the cemetery where Minerva McGonagall stood with a large umbrella over her protecting a small bundle she held in her arms. Severus stiffened his spine and held out his arms for his son. Minerva handed over the baby and stood closer so baby and father were now protected from the rainfall by the umbrella.
Touching the baby's cheek, he stared at the tiny, lightning bolt scar that reminded him of the sacrifice Lily had made to save their son. His heart might not ever recover from the loss of his beautiful wife, but he had his son who had his mother's bright green eyes. In him, she would live on. Kissing the baby's brow, he whispered, "Someday Harry, I'll tell you all my stories about your mother, and you'll fall in love with her, just as I did."
A/N: For those reading my novel length story, Back In Time, no worries, I have not given it up. This little plot bunny was plaguing me, and so I had to succumb and write it.