All characters belong to JK Rowlings.
When you go home
Tell them of me and say
For your tomorrow
I gave my today
May 19, 1974
Severus Snape was in a rotten mood. Sitting in the common, he had a whole stack of papers piled up beside him. The papers were all homework assignments for the classes he had missed the previously week. He had somehow gotten sick at the worst possible time, and now the consequences were literally piling up.
"ACHOO!" he sneezed. Obviously, he still wasn't completely well, but couldn't put off doing any more work.
The candle beside him flickered as his quill fervently scribbled notes onto parchment. As the second hand of the common room clock ticked, the flame diminished, until it was almost too dark to read what he was writing.
"That's enough for tonight" He thought to himself. Severus leaned back and stretched his whole body. He managed to catch a glimpse of the time, and was shocked to see if was already nine at night. Severus quietly grumbled that common room had always been too dark to get a good sense of the time. As he was tidying up his work, his stomach made an unhappy sound. He remembered he had still not had dinner yet, but it was definitely too late to seek out food in the Great Hall. He sighed and wondered if he could find some house elves to get him something edible
"Looks like I'll have to find something to eat."
He walked out of the common room in search of something to please his stomach. As he passed the potions classroom, he noticed there was someone in there working. His curiosity got the better of him and he decided to eavesdrop. He slowly opened the door, and peered inside, only to see the familiar figure of his only friend.
"What are you doing Lily?" Snape softly spoke as not to startle Lily.
Lily Evans never the less jumped up slightly, not expecting anyone else to come in. She turned around, a playful scowl etched upon her face
"Sev, I'm finishing up an extra assignment potion, which you almost caused me to spill. Next time, maybe try knocking on the door first."
Severus blinked once, and then grinned sheepishly, something that only Lily could somewhat make him do, and that he would only show to her.
"Sorry Lily, I'll be more attentive next time around. Why are you working on an extra assignment potion? You're as proficient as me in potions."
Somehow Severus' confused stare make Lily grin. He always had a way to look so innocent at times.
"I'm just practising for the O.W.L.s coming up." Lily blushed slightly
Severus slowly raised his eyebrows at this statement. It seemed highly unlikely that someone as gifted as Lily need "extra pratise" at Potions. A fair comparison would be like him asking Potter for help; never in this lifetime or the next. Severus was about to ask Lily another question when there was a rude interruption; his stomach. The sound was loud enough in the small room that Lily heard it. Severus watched Lily tilt her heard, and with a lopsided grin on her face, she broke out and laughed. He breathed deep to inhale the lovely melody as if it was an intoxicating scent.
"Have you not had dinner yet?" Lily finally managed to get the words out after her fit of laughter died down.
"I was busy doing work. I missed all of my classes last week because I was sick, remember?"
Lily gave him a sympathetic look and then quickly turned to the clock. When she looked at him again, he noticed she had an odd glint in her eyes.
"I just thought of a wonder idea! Wait for me at the entrance hall in a bit, I promise I won't take long."
Though Severus was curious at what Lily had planned, there was something more urgent that needed his attention first.
'Lily, I really need to get some food first. Can't it wait until later?"
When Lily gave Severus one of her patent looks to trust her, he acquiesced. Somehow Severus could never say no to Lily when she pleaded to him in that way.
"All right Lily, you win. Just promise that you'll be quick about it."
As he was saying this, Lily was already packing up. She quickly gave him a bemused look and rushed out of the room.
"Meet me there in ten minutes!" she shouted as she ran through the hallway back to the common room.
Severus was left standing there to contemplate what sort of surprise Lily had in store and whether he would ever eat that night.
Severus was staring at the Great Lake waiting for Lily. He was enjoying the last rays of sun for the day and marveled at how long these summer days seemed to last, when he heard rapid footsteps behind him. Turning around, he saw Lily carrying a large basket.
"What's in there?" He muttered curiously
Lily gave him a mischievously impish look that made his heart beat just a bit faster.
"Well, you said you were hungry, and I noticed it was such a nice day outside, so I decided to ask the house elves to make some food for a picnic."
Severus stared at Lily briefly in confusion. No matter how much time he had spent time with her, he was constantly surprised at Lily's thoughtfulness. He wondered from time to time, why she cared so much.
"Are you feeling all right Sev?" Lily looked on worriedly at his blank expression. It was just enough to snap him out of his daze.
"I'm fine. I was just amazed at how your brain seems to think"
Lily seemed pleased with his response
"Speaking of great ideas, let's find a spot beside the Lake"
Severus was grateful for the food. There was no better feeling than a satisfied stomach while sharing a special moment with Lily. He felt the warm glow of the sun on his face and marveled at how it added in extra beauty to the scenery around him. He turned to see that Lily had the same dream like bliss expression on her face. When she finally noticed he was looking at her, she gave him a soft lingering smile as he returned the favour. They talked about their childhood as they both laughed at the wonderful memories they shared. They talked about classes and plans for the summer. Finally, the talked about the future,
"What do you think you're doing to do after graduation" Lily mused
Severus hadn't really thought about it. He had heard from Rosier and Avery that they were planning to join the Dark Lord. It was a well known fact that all Slytherins turned into death eaters. Severus couldn't deny the he never thought of learning magic never taught at Hogwarts. It interested him, even it if was dark magic. It was part of his nature, part of his ambition; he couldn't reject the path that lay ahead. Yet looking into Lily's eyes, he felt guilty that she cared so deeply for him, not knowing what he was going to become. The warmth of her trust and devotion hurt. He just couldn't look at her and tell her about his goals.
"I'll probably make potions at St. Mungo's"
Lily beamed at his answer, the dying wind marvelously playing with her hair.
"That suits you Sev. You always excelled in Potions. With all the different treatments needed at St. Mungo's, you'll never get bored"
Severus managed to get the corners of his lips to twitch into ghost of a smile. He could imagine making potions all right, but serving a much different cause than treating ailments. He shook this thought out of his head and concentrated back on Lily
"What about you Lily?"
Lily's expression was gentle and oddly melancholy. Severus had rarely seen Lily like this. Growing up as children, he remembered Lily as always exploring new things, caring for those things that people forgot, and at times extremely stubborn during those brief arguments they had. The look was not the pensive one of a child, but the wisdom of an adult acknowledging the trials and trepidations that the uncertain future brought.
"I'm going to become an Auror. I'll use what I learn here to help the Order fight in the upcoming war."
It unnerved Severus how she could say this without a trace of fright.
"Aren't you afraid Lily? If it is a war, don't you fear dying?"
Lily sighed as Severus noticed a flicker of sorrow pass over her
"I don't fear death Sev. We do the best we can when we're alive in this world. We try to live deep and suck all the marrow out of life, so that when we die, not discover that we had not lived. The only thing I fear is losing people I love before I can fully share all that I am."
Severus had to turn away for a second, as he felt the first trace of a tear. How could Lily be so righteous and self-sacrificing? He was torn at how easy it was for Lily to choose her path and be willing to walk into hell for a heavenly cause, while he had to hide in shadows and lies, knowing that his path was not justified.
He felt a slight pressure, and noticed that Lily had placed her head on his shoulder. She leaned her body against him. It wasn't much, but it made him feel better. He learned closer to her as well.
"You're one of those people I fear losing Sev, so I promise to keep you close to me; we'll always be best friends."
Severus squeezed her arm in silent understanding as they both watched the descent of the last embers of the day.
They watched the sky transform from a chariot of gold to that of pearl. The moon shone on the Great Lake giving it an eerily silver appearance as the stars above twinkled in their majesty. But this night was different from all others.
"Hey Lily look!" Severus nearly jumped.
Up in the heavenly skies, a shooting star was crossing.
"I can't believe we're seeing this. I remember in Astronomy class that there are really few shooting stars that can be seen by the eye. The classes were boring so I slept through most of them. I don't recall the name of this one."
Lily however did pay attention in all of her classes, even the most tedious History of Magic. She recoiled in shock when she recognized the familiar outline of the celestial body.
"It's not a star Sev; It's a comet. It was called the Amaranthia comet. You can tell by the greenish colour tail. I remember in class that this comet only comes around every fifteen years."
"It must be so sort of weird coincidence that we got to see it on this night. Now what do you think of my idea of a picnic?" as Lily playfully poked him
"Why is it called Amaranthia though?" He asked as he poked her back
Lily thought about this for a moment,
"The comet is originally named after a flower; the Amaranth. Legends say that the Amaranth had incredibly healing powers, and it only grew on the top of Mount Olympus."
Lily carefully watched the comet. She grinned when she thought up a perfect story for this.
"Do you know why the rose is jealous of the amaranth?" Lily asked matter of factly
Severus turned his eyes back to Lily and shook his head
"A rose and an amaranth once blossomed side by side in a garden. The amaranth turned to the rose and told how much it envied the rose's sweet scent and beauty and stated that it was no surprise that the rose was a universal favourite. The rose's reply though was sad and mournful. It said it would only bloom for a time, and its petals would whither, fall, and then the rose would be no more. The rose was jealous of the amaranth and its ability to never fade with time; its ability to be everlasting. The amaranth represented immortality, something even the rose with all her beauty and endless admirers could not match."
Severus was bewitched by the story. He stared at the comet with a sense of appreciation. If it would return again and again, then it was eternal, and time could not diminish its presence.
"That was a wonderful story Lily. Makes me think I should pay more attention back then in class. Luckily though, I have you to tell me all these trivial little details." Severus teased
Lily shook her head feigning disapproval
"How about we do this again Sev? The comet will be back in another fifteen years, so as long as we remember the exact date, then we should be able to see it again. Let's make it a promise."
"How do you know we won't forget though?" Severus asked curiously
"Don't worry Sev, I have an ingenious plan, you'll just have to wait and see in fifteen years."
Severus was still not completely convinced though, so Lily continued on
"If on the rare chance the plan doesn't work, and one of us forgets or doesn't come, the other has to promise to be back here. That person will just have to make an extra effort to treasure the moment for the two of us. Maybe even bragging afterwards to the other about how much they missed. But don't worry Sev, even after we graduate and go our separate ways, we'll still be able to share these moments, that's what best friends are for."
Severus looked deeply in those emerald eyes in the moonlight as Lily absorbed those obsidian ones.
"Promise to return here in fifteen years?" whispered Lily
"Will Severus Snape and Lily Evans promise to remain the best of friends?"
And for a brief moment, the night was suspended, as two friends embraced each other closely, savouring the pleasant feeling, and admiring the immortal beauty in the sky.