A/N: This is a new story idea that has been plaguing me for a while. I admit that I have always been fascinated with the idea of Lily and Severus together and Severus being Harry's father, though, for the most part I remain unsatisfied with the fanfictions I've read on the subject -- my own attempt included. Anyway -- please bear with me as I muddle through!

Summary: A mother will do anything to protect her child. Lily Potter is no exception. The only thing she didn't count on were the long stretching ramifications of her actions.

Pairings: Past Lily/Severus, Lily/James, no pairings decided for Harry and any of the gang.

Disclaimer: Do not own any of it. I do, however, own the few - well, one - original characters.

Warning: May be highly AU though I will attempt to keep it as IC as possible with the exception of Harry who will not be like Canon!Harry given he grew up in a completely different environment.

A Mother's Love

By Koinaka

"Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love."

Hamlet. ACT II Sc. 2.

Prologue:

In which Lily makes a decision

Lily Potter nee Evans stumbled along the darkened pathway to the house being careful not to jar the sleeping infant in her arms. It was nearly a half-mile from the nearest apparition point to the front door of the majestic manor house, but now they were nearly there.

A quick tempus told her that she must hurry. James would return home in less than an hour, and he must not discover that she had gone. He would be furious with her for leaving the safety of the Fidelius Charm.

She took a deep breath, but before she could raise her hand to knock on the door, it flew open.

"Come in," bellowed a deep voice. "Hurry up, you fool of a woman," the voice added when Lily hesitated momentarily. She summoned all of her Gryffindor courage and stepped into the room, throwing back the hood of her cloak as she did.

The furnishings in the foyer she found herself in were much more elaborate than anything the young woman had ever seen before, and she felt a pang of despair at the realization that Severus – her beloved Severus – had never experienced this. Instead, he had been forced to live in near squalor with his mother and abusive father.

The man, Severus Prince – her Severus's uncle and namesake – stepped out of the shadows and gave her a speculative look. He was tall and thin like her Severus was, and had the same inky black hair, though his was streaked with grey. His eyes were the same fathomless obsidians that both her son and Severus shared.

"So, we meet at last, Mrs. Potter," drawled the man. "I take it that's the boy?" He gave a jerky nod to the child in her arms.

"Yes, yes, of course. This is Harry," she replied, her voice growing steadier despite her anxiety. It was one thing to make these plans, but quite another to put them into motion. James would never forgive her – she knew that without a doubt – as for her, well, she would miss him always, but she knew that it must be done. She had no misgivings about her role in all of this. She would not outlive this war – if, indeed, she even outlived this month – but there was still a chance for her son – their son.

Prince sneered. "Such a filthy, common, mudblood name. You do realize I will change that, don't you?"

Lily's face flushed softly with anger, but she buried it deep inside. She hadn't thought he'd change the name, but in the end, it was such a little thing. There was no use in protesting it now. It had taken weeks for him to even agree to meet with her. She did not want this meeting to end before it even truly began. Instead, she simply nodded. "Of course," she answered him.

"Well, let's see him, then," the man said after a moment, holding his arms out to receive the boy.

Lily smoothed back the sleeping boy's ebony locks before, reluctantly, handing him over.

The man studied him for several long moments, and finally, after finding whatever it was that he seemed to be looking for, he handed the child back.

"And your husband, he is aware of your… indiscretion with my nephew, is he not?" asked the man in cold tone of voice, the smirk on his face growing as Lily blanched.

"Yes, of course he is," she snapped. "How could he not be?" There was too much of Severus in Harry for him to be James's son, but he had always known there was no possibility of his being the father.

"And my nephew? Is he aware that he has sired a half-blood bastard?" continued Prince.

Lily's eyes narrowed as her anger grew. "How dare you," she sputtered. "I thought you said you would help us – him!"

"So I did, and so I will, but come now, girl, surely you knew what my feelings would be on the matter?" asked Prince, savagely, grabbing her arm. "You listen to me now, girl, and you listen closely: my sister was disinherited for taking up with that filthy muggle, Tobias Snape, and I've never cared one whit for her half-blood son. The only reason I have agreed to help you is because I am growing old and, without an heir, the Ministry will seize control of the Prince estate. I will take him and keep him out of harm's way, as I've agreed, but beyond that, I will raise him as I see fit, and if that is not acceptable to you, you may show yourself out. Now, I ask you again – is my nephew aware that the boy, this boy, is his son?"

"No," she said, brokenly, "he doesn't know. He's too far gone, too lost in the Dark Arts, too deeply entrenched with… Voldemort. I didn't know if he could be trusted."

Prince sucked in a harsh breath at the mention of the Dark Lord, but he nodded tersely. "See that he remains ignorant."

"All right," she replied.

"Are there any others who know of his parentage?"

"No," she murmured softly. "No one else knows. We've been in hiding since his birth, and even those who've been around him – just our friends – don't know. If they have suspicions, they've never voiced them."

He pulled a thick packet of parchment out from his robes and pressed them into her hand. "I've indicated where a signature – your magical signature, that is – is needed. Simply touch each mark with your wand to endorse it," he explained at her confused look.

She did so, her green eyes darting quickly across the page reading as much as she could.

"Very well, I think that should do. Give him here," he said when she was finished.

Lily gasped. "Now?"

"Yes, now," said Prince, mockingly. "Unless you've changed your mind and wish to keep him? I care not; either way, just quickly make a decision and be gone."

Closing her eyes against the tightening in her chest, she pulled the sleeping boy closer to her. He had slept soundly through the entire exchange, as he always did. Such a good baby, he was. She inhaled his sweet scent and placed a kiss on the top of his head, twisting a lock of his hair around one of her fingers before handing him to Prince.

"How touching," he sneered. "Now, I believe that concludes our business, Mrs. Potter. If you've nothing further, then it is time for us to part ways."

"Wait!" cried Lily as the door opened.

"Yes?" asked the man impatiently.

"Just… please, may I have one more night with my son? Just one more and then I promise to return him tomorrow. I know James isn't his real father, but he's as good as. He deserves to say goodbye."

"I think not," replied Prince, cruelly.

"But – he's…"

"No longer your concern as you have just signed over all of your parental rights to the boy, now, good day, Madam."

Without further ado, Lily was pushed out of the door. She blinked furiously at the tears that had welled up at the door's resounding thud.

"It's for the best," she murmured to herself as she made her way back to the apparition point. Harry would be safe now, away from Voldemort and all those who served him. Even Dumbledore had not been able to promise them that. Her own happiness was a small price to pay for the life of her son.