I forgot to mention in the first chapter that all credit and ownership of characters goes to J.K. Rowling. Enjoy the chapter!
Severus tossed in his sleep that night as images from his past invaded his thoughts.
Dec 14, 1976
Severus woke up that morning in a gloomy mood. Routinely everyday started and ended the same. He got out of bed and was struck how he looked in the mirror. His complexion that had always been pale seemed to verge closer to deathlike, and his hair looked more messy and greasy than before.
"I wonder why I am always surprised by this. I look the same every morning, yet every time I look at myself I think how much I've changed." He thought solemnly "That's what happens over time, things change."
He smiled miserably at the word "change". He knew it had started on that lovely blue sky June day, and by the end of that year, things were not the same. He had lost something irreplaceable, and inside something had shattered which a simple "reparo" spell could not mend. He no longer could look at the world with the same eyes, nor feel with the same touch.
Severus shook his head angrily, surprised that he was caught in a daze,
"Why am I thinking like this? I was foolish back then, and now that I've left all that behind, I've become stronger and ready to capture my destiny."
Without another thought, he got ready for the first class of the day; potions.
Severus made his way to his regular seat. Though most of the class was already there, his potions partner had not shown up. He scowled at Potter and Black at the back of the class playing Exploding Snap without a care in the world.
"Potter! Always thinking that the world revolves around that massive head of his" he seethed.
Just then, a familiar figure arrived beside him. Severus instantly knew who it was just by the sweet scent of spring flowers. Lily Evans, without a sound, took a seat beside Severus. To an outside observer, it was hard to imagine they had been best friends by the way that neither seemed to acknowledge the other.
Severus noticed the way Lily made her way to her seat avoiding all eye contact in the process. She sat farther away than usual and her once warm presence seemed to radiate an aura of coolness. He saw she had her copy of Advanced Potions making out and was patiently waiting Slughorn's instructions, completely oblivious of his presence. Severus was used to this treatment of indifference, yet he always anticipated that today would be the day she would say hello to him.
"Good morning class" bellowed Slughorn enthusiastically, "Today is going to be a special class. Since Christmas is right around the corner, I'm going to diverge from the schedule and give you an opportunity to win a prize."
The noise had died down and all eyes were focused up front. Slughorn's mention of a prize had caught the attention of the class.
"Anyone who can make the finest type of potion from the textbook will receive a vial of Felix Felicis to celebrate the holidays. I will judge your potions on the degree of difficulty as well as the end product. Good luck to you all."
As soon as Slughorn had finished talking, a nosy bustle filled the room. Severus wanted to win the potion, thinking it might be useful helping Voldemort somehow. He flipped through the pages of the book and decided to brew the Essence of Euphoria. As the potion was turning the distinctive sunshine yellow colour, Severus glimpsed that Lily was creating the same potion with the results equally as impressive. He frowned slightly as this knowing full well that Lily's abilities at potions was on par with his own, but he did not want to lose this contest. Severus rummaged though the ingredients and put in sprig of fresh peppermint to counter act the side effects of excessive singing. With this secret ingredient, he knew that he would have won.
"Time's up. I'll go around and take a look at what amusing potions each of you decided to brew." Slughorn said excitedly.
Slughorn went along and commented a bit on the various potions, and arrived last at Severus and Lily
"Well, well, well. It looks like brilliant minds think alike." He nodded approvingly
"Both these Euphoria potions look exceptional. The colour scheme and aroma matches perfectly with what I expect. But what's this?" Slughorn's smile broadened
"It looks like Severus here decided to add a sprig of peppermint. Stroke of genius! Well, I obviously know who gets a little surprise gift before Christmas."
Severus lazily acknowledged Slughorn's praise as Slughorn proudly handed over the small golden vial.
"At least something good happened today" Severus murmured to himself. "Now I just have to get through the rest of this pointless day."
As he packed up his belongings into his bag, most of the class had already left and Slughorn had already retreated back into his office. From the corner of his eye, he noticed a flicker of bright red dash off.
"Another pointless day indeed…"
Severus spent the rest of the day in his room contemplating what he should do with the Felix Felicis. He knew that if taken in excess, it would not only cause extreme recklessness and overconfidence, but also lead to death. He only need so much for the upcoming war against the Order.
"What could I possibly need a potion for success for right now?"
The more he dwelled upon the options, the fewer reasons he could think of. He did not need success in his school work because he was already clever enough to get through all the meaningless work. He did not need it for anything back home as he left that chapter of his life behind long ago. Painfully, he stopped wondering, and the sad truth of the matter hit him. He did not need anything, did not need success, because he originally did not have much that mattered. His frown grew more intense. Severus either spent his time with his Slytherin friends or he spent it in the library doing school work; that was his life.
"Is that all that really matters to you?" a small voice deep inside his mind questioned
Severus knew this voice as his conscience that always made it harder for him to make a decision.
"Don't you have something else, right here and now, that's important to you?" the voice droned on
He did not want to acknowledge it, but some part of him did not forget the past that readily. Most of the time, it remained dormant and did not bother him, but sometimes on a lonely cold night, it ached inside and attempted to make itself heard. The voice would become louder as it fought bravely to push the rest of his thoughts out of the way. On select occasions, it would even be victorious over all other things in his mind, so that only one thought was in Severus's head. And it was always that one question.
"What about Lily?"
During those times, it was difficult for him to sleep. He could not help but think about Lily and the times they shared. He could not help thinking about their friendship and how it had abruptly ended; one image kept on appearing.
Severus smirked mirthlessly at those feelings. He would crush those thoughts before they could take flight. Whenever he felt this way he knew his weakness was being exposed. In a life or death duel, a trace amount of sympathy for your opponent would be your undoing. He could not, and would not allow such foolish emotions to cloud his judgment. However…
He sighed. It was always a constant battle and usually his conscience lost, but he found that the more time he spent without contact with Lily, the more the balance would shift. It was like a garden full of flowers with one weed, and if not dealt with, would slowly but surely infest the entire garden. Lately, the weeds had managed to gain an equal holding of his decisions, ever since the mudblood incident.
"Enough of this!" he yelled at himself for being so ambivalent "I will use a couple drops of the Felix Felicis and ask for Lily's forgiveness, and then maybe I'll finally have peace of mind. I'm tired of these petty arguments with myself. I'll use the potion and then have no more of these ridiculous thoughts."
He brushed that matter aside, and began to finish the work assigned from today's classes.
The next morning, Severus decided to put his plan into action. He knew the quicker he got it done, the less time it would give his conscience to nag at him. From past experience with Lily, he knew where she would be. However, he didn't count on how many people would be following along with her.
He saw her about to enter the Great Hall, and waited for an opportunity to approach her.
As Lily went around the corner, and was about to bump into Severus, a voice behind her spoke up,
"Oy Lily! What's the rush?"
Lily turned around promptly, meeting the eyes of her good friend
"Morning Alice. I just wanted to quickly get breakfast. I'm starving." Lily cheerfully remarked,
Alice Longbottom grinned at her friend,
"Oh that really sounds like you! You're always the first one at the Gryffindor table in the morning either reading a book or eating. I know how much you love breakfast. As they say, it is the most important meal of the day."
"Enough stalling then, let's go and get some food." Lily beamed as she and Alice made their way into the Great Hall clearly enjoying the first part of the day.
Severus took in this whole situation and thought that this would be harder than he had first imagined.
By the end of the day, Severus was growing increasingly frustrated. Lily seemed to be perpetually surrendered by a legion of her Gryffindor friends. He couldn't remember a time when he had tried so hard on something without success on his first couple of attempts. He tried waiting outside Charms class, hoping that Lily would come out alone, but again his plan had been foiled by two Gryffindor girls that Lily was in happy conversation with. He later spotted her at the library working, and as he slowly moving towards her table, Potter had arrived. Though disgusted by his presence, he thought maybe Potter would eventually leave, and he would get a chance to speak to Lily. He hid behind the book shelves and listened.
"Working hard Evans or hardly working?" James smirked at Lily's intense focus on the book
"What do you want Potter? I would think that the library not entertaining enough for such a big Quidditch star like yourself." Lily retorted, still not diverting her attention from the book.
"Come on Evans! You can't spend your entire life studying. We finished our O.W.L.s last year. Why don't you come take a walk with me to the lake instead? I promise that it'll be more fun, besides, the books in his library will still be here when you come back."
James got on his knees, starring at Lily with puppy dog eyes, "Pretty please?"
Though Lily was trying hard to concentrate on her book, James's gesture had caused her lips to twitch into a half smile.
James noticed the smile, and seized upon this chance. He hastily tried to seem even more desperate as he bowed his head down and began to beg,
"Please Evans, don't make me beg. Don't make the star Quidditch player cry because he did not get a chance for a simple walk. Don't make me have to sing to the moon and tell my tale of woe when Evans refused to take a walk." James tried to be playful, but also sincere at the same time.
Lily could not help but grin at James's silly boyish attempt to win her over.
"Fine James! I'll take a quick walk with you to the lake, but only because I don't want to get kicked out of the library. I don't think I could handle it, if you started singing in here." Lily said briskly, though her emerald eyes had softened and twinkled with
With that, James joyously exited the library with Lily thinking that this was the start of something beautiful.
Severus watched the entire scene as a lump began to form in his throat. He couldn't imagine that Lily would ever say yes to Potter about anything. Didn't she hate him as much as he did? Didn't they use to sit by the lake on those nice summer days and laugh together at Potter being nothing more than a "toerag"? Why had she called him by his first name? The familiar cold feeling began to sweep through his body. Not only had Lily agreed to Potter's request, but Severus also saw that she enjoyed the attention he was giving her. Lily seemed amused in returning Potter's affections. Severus knew it well, because it was the same expression that she used to look at him with. The same soft eyes and the same teasing smile.
"What are you doing? You were supposed to just take a few drops of the potion, ask for forgiveness, and be done with it. Get on with the job and stop thinking about what is already past." A menacing voice in his thoughts commanded him.
After a long while, Severus collected his thoughts and made his way to the lake. As he started to walk to the lake, he knew that this would be his last chance for the night to use the potion. Severus made a quick decision to use the potion now rather saving it for tomorrow. He raised the golden vial and dripped three drops into his mouth. Suddenly, a sensation of confidence poured through his body. He felt like asking for Lily's forgiveness was just too simple and needed a more challenging task. He puffed out his chest and marched out to meet Lily.
Severus knew the potion was working. As soon as he got close to the lake, he saw Potter strolling back into the castle, while Lily was meandering around. Now was the time to act! He made his way close to Lily and finally spoke up,
She turned around swiftly. Severus could see that she was still in a good mood by how exquisite her smile was, but it quickly seemed to dull as she noticed who had spoken to her.
"Is that you Severus?" Lily's spoke questioningly.. Even in the darkness with the only light coming from the moon, her eyes still stuck Severus as the small breeze accentuated her hair. The moment seemed perfect.
"Lily…I wanted to apologize. I know I can't take back what I said to you last year, but I want you to know that I truly regret my words."
He tried to make his voice as sincere and solemn as possible. However, one look at Lily's face told him he was not forgiven.
"Shouldn't you be in the castle with your Death Eater friends? I'm sure they all miss you terribly." Lily coldly replied.
Severus had never thought such cruel words could come from such a pretty mouth.
"Please Lily, I don't want to lose you. I know we haven't spoken since the incident and I've been trying hard to find words to tell you how I feel, can you not forgive me?"
"And why should I forgive you Severus? I remember I asked you once why I was any different from all those other mudbloods that you so fondly like to point out? Did your dark magic brain finally think of an answer to this?" She snapped, her emerald eyes full of cold hatred.
Again, Severus found it hard to speak and answer that question, but he knew he would never get another chance at this. He said the first thing on his mind, the thing he couldn't say back on that June night.
"You're different because…..I care for you" Severus felt somehow purified after saying this. The thought had weighed him down all this year and he finally managed to get it off his chest.
At first there was a silence. Then, a slow contemptuous chuckle filled the night air; A female's heartless laugh full of bitterness and sarcasm.
"You care for me? You care for me so you call me a mudblood? I didn't know that friendship extended that far. I'm sorry Severus. If I had known that was the depth of friendship then I should have called you Snivellus instead of Sev. Can you forgive me for that? " Lily retorted mockingly, her fury and resentment mixing into a fine blend.
The look on her face, made Severus's heart drop
"Please listen to me Lily. Won't you let me explain?"
"Why would I listen to half truths and lies? I don't want to hear your pathetic words and excuses. I can find better stories of deceit in fiction books."
Lily's disdainful smile grew larger contorting her beauty. Severus could feel that every sense of her being emitted malice and disgust towards him
"What's the matter Severus? I thought you were quick tongued. I would think you get enough practicing tormenting mudbloods that you would know how to say the most hurtful things. You obviously need to spend more time with your friends Evan and Avery, but why should you listen to the words of a mudblood?"
"STOP IT!" Severus screamed, his quiet fury exploding at last.
"What do you want from me!?" Severus yelled, dropping to his knees, exhausting any last energy he had. He started to feel the familiar tingling sensation in his eyes.
"Just tell me what you want from me…" His voice was barely audible; full of remorse, full of deep hurt and accusations from the person he used to call his best friend. He didn't think he had enough strength to get up.
"Hey Sev?" nine year old Lily Evans innocently turned her head to the frail shy little boy.
Severus slowly looked up from the book he had been reading,
"What is it Lily?" he asked curiously
"What is the wizard world like?"
Severus turned to meet those green eyes and a smile crept upon his face.
"It's wonderful Lily. It's everything like what you would read in books. You can fly on broom sticks, cast spells using a wand, and see all sorts of magical creatures like unicorns."
"Really unicorns?" Lily asked excitedly, her eyes twinkling in the sunlight.
"I wouldn't lie to you Lily. Even if you are gullible" Severus playfully laughed.
Severus grabbed a small twig and started to splash at the pond water as the fish quickly fled. The afternoon had been another glorious one, with a warm breeze and endless blue skies that only summer could create. Severus had always enjoyed the secret pond area that only Lily and he knew about. They would spend their time either on the playground swings, or lying on the cool grass watching the fish swim back and forth. Severus dreamily took in all the beauty around him as he heard a gentle voice ask him another question.
"What if I don't do so well in school Sev? If I have troubles or problems, will you help me back up if I fall?"
Severus heard a touch of pain and uncertainty in Lily's voice. As he turned to face her again, Severus saw doubt in her normally mischievous confident eyes, and replied as warmly and comforting as he could
"You'll do fine Lily. You're bright, skillful, and I'm sure you will make tons of friends that can help you out too. You probably won't even need me"
Seeing Lily was not pleased with his answer, he continued on,
"But I promise if you ever need me, I'll be there to take your hand and help you back on your feet."
With this, Lily's face lit up, and before Severus knew what happened, Lily was tenderly hugging him. The hug seemed to last an eternity, before Lily let go. She then put her hand to her heart and started to recite.
"I promise the same thing to you Sev. If you're ever feeling sick or sad, and don't think you have enough strength to get back on your feet, I'll wrap myself around you, like a warm blanket, and help you back up."
Severus was touched by this gesture, and couldn't help but smile at the defiantly loyal expression on Lily's childish face. She was still such a little girl. He stretched out his hand and extended his pinky finger to Lily,
"Always Lily?" Severus grinned at his friend
"Always!" Lily beamed as she locked her pinky finger with his.
And they both burst into laughter and tears…
Severus knew that Lily would not come and comfort him. He had already broken too many promises and told too many lies. There would be no warmth from Lily's body helping him up, only the cold night air. He felt too tired to even look up, wondering if Lily had already left him to his fate.
Just then, he saw Lily had not abandoned him. She had taken a seat beside his kneeling body.
"Severus…" Lily's said slowly. Severus heard the thawing of her cool tone and she sounded remorseful.
"Do you really want to know what I want?" Lily asked tenderly
Severus still could not lift his head and only mustered enough strength to nod
"I want my best friend back. I want back the person who would fight for me when I was being teased. I want the person who I could share smiles and laughs with. I want the person who knew what was right from wrong." Lily paused for a moment. Severus felt a warm hand lift his chin up so he was once again looking into her eyes.
"I tried my best to hold on to you Sev. I had hoped you wouldn't spend any more time with those Death Eaters, and listen to the words of your friend. I thought I could persuade you to return to the way you were. But it felt like the harder I was trying to pull you back in, the harder you tried to reject my help. I noticed you grow more distant and become more interested in the Dark Arts. I saw myself losing you to your own ambitions. No matter how I tried, I could tell your desire for power meant more to you than I did. I made a choice then, the hardest choice I've ever had to make; I had to let you go. I told you this before, we are going on two separate paths and you have chosen yours and I have chosen mine. Sev, we were never meant to be together."
The moon's light reflected off of Lily's teary eyes. All Severus could do was stare back and hope she wouldn't look away. Silently, Severus saw Lily more her body closer to his, felt the delicate touch of a kiss on his forehead, and heard the last words that Lily ever said to him.
Severus sat motionless by the lake and watched Lily gradually walk back into the castle. He knew no words or explanations were needed this time. He would remember this night as a first and a last. It was the first time that Felix Felicis had not worked, and was the last time he would look into those sweet emerald eyes.
The rest is silence
Hoped everyone liked it. The last quote from Hamlet when he dies near the end of the play.