As I walk toward the Snape house, I realize how unprepared I felt. My emotions all over the place - anxiety the only constant. My palms are damp and I feel flushed. I seem to be walking quite slowly toward my destination.

Finally standing before the dark house, I marshall all the courage I have and knock on his door. Muffled, I hear, "come in." Entering, I find him sitting in a large chair with a cup of tea. He looks posed.

"Care to sit?" he asks, gesturing to the chair beside his own. I perch on the edge of the chair after removing my cloak. Smoothing my skirt over my knees, I cross my ankles. I felt anxious and somehow vulnerable. I found my arms crossing without thinking.

"Your letter was quite vague. What is the meaning of this visit?" He was nearly businesslike in his tone.

I had already decided not to waste my time or his. Honesty was the only way. I met his gaze. "James has proposed. I have not yet given him an answer."

To his credit, Severus did not appear unnerved in the slightest. He sipped his tea. "Why ever not?"

I glared at him. "I feel I have some unfinished business."

"Really?" His nonchalance was maddening.

"I suppose if you disagree, then I have nothing to do here." I stood abruptly.

His thin fingers wrapped around my wrist and pulled me toward him. I stood there for a long moment, our eyes locked. I waited until I saw something in his eyes, in his face, that was familiar. That was Severus. When I saw it, as brief as it was, I relaxed some. Setting aside his tea, I slid into his lap.

His serenity remained even as I wrapped my arms around him and nuzzled his neck with my face. Breathing deeply, he smelled achingly familiar. It nearly brought tears to my eyes, but his hands on my face stopped my breath and all thoughts.

"Lily," he said, softly and breathily, "you should not be here."

"I had to see you one last time. I didn't know if you would see me, but I had to try." He brought his face to mine and our foreheads bumped together he was so close. His eyes were shut but his grip was like steel around my wrist.

"What made you think of me when your...beau was on bended knee?" His eyes flew open at the mention of James, punctuating his disdain with a sneer, as well as causing an intense pang of nostalgia. No one was ever quite so dramatic as Severus, but instead of being a hissy mess like the school gossip, Severus was sarcastic and brilliantly witty. I had to bite my lip to prevent the tears I could feel coming.

I found myself at a loss for words though, trapped there so close to him, tears threatening, my nerves so frayed I couldn't think straight. Maybe it wasn't nerves.

The silence was thick with tension and after a moment, my eyes slid shut and I listened to him breathe. He seemed to be breathing completely normal and so as I listened, I began to pattern my breathing after his. Slow, deep breaths. I began to feel calmer immediately.

He released my wrists and without thinking, I brought my hands to his chest and opened my eyes, hoping he wouldn't fling me off. He sighed heavily and rolled his eyes, but the slightest smile broke free from his scowl and he hugged me tightly to him in a surprisingly fluid motion. His face was pressed against my neck. I couldn't help but be aware of his lips right near my ear, little bursts of hot breath coming from him.

It felt so good to hug him, I thought I would definitely cry, but instead, I nestled in and tried to enjoy the moment as much as I could. He was satisfying in a different way than James was. Like the subtle, yet nice differences between eating chocolate and eating strawberries. Both good in their own ways.

After a few moments of blissful silence, he finally spoke. "Why are you here?"

Why was he doing this? Was there some reason he felt the need to hear me say it? Had he become a glutton for punishment along with a minion to the Dark Lord? But the words seemed heartfelt and so I said, softly, "Like I said. Unfinished business."

He squeezed me tightly one last time and pulled back a little to look at my face. "Correct me if I am wrong, but you're here to say good-bye."

Tears welled again. "Yes." I felt so sorry for myself right then, but I tried and tried to focus on him. To remind myself that as bad as it was for me, he was worse off. I could go back to James. He would return to an empty bed with memories and nothing more.

His face scrunched up in a most unbecoming way and I couldn't tell if he would cry or yell. After a moment, he seemed to regain his color and his control. "It is for the best. You must not return here."

My eyes slid shut then and I could not figure out what to do. So he had given up. My mind was made up, but...but some part of me had hoped he might...might fight for me. Stupid. Selfish. Yet, I ached like my body had been dunked in a tub of ice water.

He brought his lips to mine, his cool hands cupping my face gently, his lips pressing gently. After a moment, he pulled back. "Promise me you won't return."

Eyes flying open, I started to shake my head, but his hands held fast. "I can't do that." It came out as a whisper.

His lips thinned and his jaw worked. "This place is not safe. No place is safe, but you cannot come here again."

I nodded as much as his hands would allow, but I knew I was lying. I would come back. I would always come back.

"Say it, Lily," Severus said, kissing the tip of my nose before feathering small kisses along the edge of my lips.

"I won't come back." My hands had found the nape of his neck and the feeling of his slim neck beneath my fingers was exciting...

His lips moved to the crick of my neck and a sigh escaped before I could squelch it. "Promise me," he breathed against the moistened skin.

"I...I promise, Sev." Finally he covered my mouth and slid his tongue along the seam once before pushing possessively into my mouth.

The aggressive desire was nearly coming off him in waves and I couldn't help but be swept away by it as his hands scrambled madly with my top. I couldn't find it within myself to resist. All I could think was: this is it, this is the last time...forever and ever. It meant every kiss, every caress was punctuated by an erotic sadness.

I considered speaking for a moment, but dismissed it. Nothing I can say can help right now. Instead, I slid my hands into his trousers onto his hips and continued to snog him, trying not to think about where this was leading.

"Lily," he whispered, pulling back only a bit, "how long can you stay?"

"Few hours," I said, not meeting his eyes. "Why?"

"How would you like to spend our last hours together, Lily?"

His voice sent shivers down my spine and tingles deep inside. I knew my smile had to be sad. "Brew a potion?"

"Look at me," he said firmly. I couldn't help but do so. His eye swere dark and I searched them for some color, some lightness. Nothing but black and spots of deep dark brown. The sparkle was coming from deeper inside. "As much as I despise this place, it would be made more tolerable if you would accompany me to my room."

Whoa. I tried not to appear startled, but he may have seen it anyway, I didn't look at him to see. After swallowing and thinking fast, I said, "Do you really feel the need to ask?"

He shrugged. "I would prefer you ask, but I understand you want to keep some semblance of fidelity to..." He scowled.

I swallowed again. I knew what he wanted and it was such a small thing, really. Tomorrow, James and I would be together again and for every day after that. Then bound in holy matrimony within a few months.

"Severus, will you take me to your bed and ravish me like..." I met his eyes, which were narrowed slightly, "...like you may never see me again?"

He swept me into his arms and hugged me tightly, unable to breathe for a moment due to his hold. "Thank you," he whispered in my ear.

He led me to his room, which was actually the same room he had slept in as long as I had known him. I followed him in, taking in the room.

"Your room hasn't changed much."

"It is only a place to sleep." He pulled the covers back on the twin bed and sat at the edge. "At least, it was until now. Accept my apologies for the size of the bed. I am too tall for it, but I haven't had the time to procure another."

I eyed him, but sat beside him, my shirt still open from earlier. "Have you considered using your parents'--"

He cut me off. "No."

"I understand, just...erm, curious, I guess." Where did my sudden anxiety come from? Was I having second thoughts? Had his childhood bedroom jogged something? I had been here once before when we were about ten years old and it had been a disaster...

Instead, I turned and looked at Severus. He seemed nervous, his eyes darting about the room and his hands twisting in the bed linens. His eyes met mine and he smiled slightly. It was adorable.

I slid my arm around his waist and slid up against him, putting my face against his chest. "I hope you don't hate me, Sev."

He slid his arms around me, but his chest seemed to tighten under my head. "Not a chance."

I scoffed. "I would probably hate me if I were you."

"I have tried. It just isn't possible."

I squeezed him and turned my face to his. "I am so sorry, Severus. You really deserve better."

"Stop."

"I just wish things had turned out differently--"

"Please, I have enough regrets for us both. Now I will kiss you and you will stop speaking."

He was good as his word.

---

It was difficult to leave Severus, but I did. Looking back over my shoulder, I told myself I would not return. I didn't believe it, but it was the right thing to do. Somehow, I can't imagine never seeing him again - never seeing the look on his face when he leans in to kiss me - I don't know that I could live another fifty years without it. Yeah, I'll be back.

It's a comforting thought.

A/N: I had this typed up & I wanted to finish this story so I could stop thinking about it (writer's remorse for leaving it partially finished).