What If? The Purgatory of Lily

Chapter 1

Talks At The Way-Station

What greater hell is there than to know what heavens you could have achieved?

Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling, nor do I own the Harry Potter Series.

"...inking carefully prevents years of purgatory! Enjoy your afterlife!"

"Repeating...Remember! Walking slowly and thinking carefully prevents years of purgatory! Enjoy your afterlife!"

Lily Potter slowly sat up, groaning; the last thing that she could remember had been Voldemort's shouting of "Avada Kedavra!", and now she seemed to be in...King's Cross? She looked around slowly and saw, to her astonishment, what appeared to be a legion of...herself...

Blinking to clear her vision, the strange sight before her didn't go away, nor did the sound of the PA system, which was rapidly becoming very annoying. There were indeed what appeared to be thousands of people who looked exactly like herself in greyish robes, with golden numbers on them. Each of the Lilys had minor differences to be sure, such as tattoos, different hairstyles, different piercings, but they were all her. Looking more carefully, she noticed that there were subtle differences in the color of the robes, and the different numbers seemed to be related to the different colors. The lower the number, the darker and closer to black the robes became, especially when they got below the number ten, and the higher the number, the lighter the color of the robes, all the way to sparkling white in the numbers of ninety and above.

Frowning, Lily glanced down at herself, finding, to her disappointment, that her robes were a darkish grey, with a shiny, golden twenty-six emblazoned on them. 'Unless a lot has changed, I doubt that being Dark is anything good, although I could be wrong...'

Lily then noticed that, while new Lilys were appearing every second, a great many of them were going through what appeared to be a checkpoint, which was garrisoned by, not even remotely surprisingly to her, five more Lilys, all with numbers of twenty to forty, appearing to be bored out of their skulls as they gave train tickets, pointed out directions, and generally guided the horde of Lilys to their various trains.

Lily opened her mouth to ask what was going on, only to find that she couldn't say a word. With nothing else she could think of, she joined the lines and, within five minutes, arrived in front of one of the Lilys manning the checkpoint. Glancing at her, the other Lily said, clearly bored, "Take the train on Platform 16, once you get aboard the train you will be able to speak again, and you will meet any friends, family, or loved ones once you make it to the afterlife proper. Just go forward a hundred paces, then make a left; you can't miss it."

Nodding dumbly, thoroughly confused, Lily followed the directions, and found a locomotive with a single car, probably able to fit no more than five or six people. Walking inside, she found four other Lilys, who were already talking; as could be expected, they looked pretty much the same, with small variations, save for the robes. One of them had sparkling white robes, with a ninety-six emblazoned, two others had light greyish robes, with a fifty-five on one and a forty-two on the other, and the last one had pitch-black robes, with a golden two emblazoned on them.

Noticing her, Fifty-five moved over a bit and offered Lily her seat, then, as the doors closed behind Lily, Forty-two said, "So...Now that we are apparently all here, do you guys wanna trade life-stories and such? I mean, you guys did say that you were only waiting for the last one of us to arrive..."

Sighing, Fifty-five said, "Fine, who wants to start?"

Ninety-six grinned, then said, "Sure, I will! Ahem...I am Lily Evans Snape, born, like the rest of you guys, in 1960; I met my best friend and future husband Severus Snape when I was seven, went to Hogwarts when I was eleven, got sorted into Hufflepuff, where I was tops in all of my classes."

She paused for a moment, taking a breath, then plowed on, "I became and Auror and joined the Order of the Phoenix when I was seventeen, along with Sev; after a few weeks there, we quit, because of Dumbledore's secretive ways and such, joined the Ministry, and spearheaded the formation of the White Dawn division, then Sev and I managed to slowly overcome Voldemort's Death Eaters via the use of superior numbers, and the creation of a spell to detect and undo the Imperius curse, which helped us prevent him from making use of people who had been mind-controlled. After the war, Severus and I had two kids, Thomas and Marigold. Unfortunately, in a bit of an accident, I got hit by a bus when I was taking a walk and well...died."

Forty-two chuckled a little, saying, "Ironic, she saves the world, only to be destroyed by a Muggle automobile..."

Frowning a little, Ninety-six then said, "How about you, miss...?"

Forty-two smirked, then said, "Lily Evans POTTER, at your service. After my parents died when I was six, I was raised by my grandparents in London until I went to Hogwarts, where I met MY future husband when I was sorted into Gryffindor. Although this Snape kid you mentioned did become one of my best friends too, I never really considered marrying him, and I am surprised that he ever would have felt the same way, as he had a crush on Mary almost since the day I arrived."

She seemed to be thinking on that topic for a moment, then shrugged and said, "Well, the four of us joined the Order of the Phoenix, being all Gryffindors of course, then, after the Longbottoms died, sacrificing themselves for their son, who took out Voldemort, I had a son, Harry. We probably would have lived happily ever after, but, when Voldemort returned, he kind of killed me in a battle at the Department of Mysteries..."

Nodding, Lily was about to jump in, when Two, who hadn't said a word prior, said with a bit of mild surprise, "Huh, you two have sure lived strange lives..."

Fifty-five questioned, "How so?"

Two shrugged, then said, "Well, like the one in the Ninety-six over there, I met Severus when I was seven, then went to Hogwarts with him, where the two of us were sorted into Slytherin; we joined the Death Eaters when we turned seventeen, then got engaged when we were eighteen. After a few months of seek-and-destroy work, taking out the Mckinnons and the Bones in the process, we received word that Voldemort had fallen to some bloody infant. Rather than let all of our hard work go to ruin, we rallied the rest of the Death Eaters...cowards most of them, then led them to victory over the Ministry, and I became Minister of Magic."

Sighing, she then said bitterly, "Unfortunately, Amelia Bones, and the rest of the rebels, killed Sev a month before we were to marry, not giving up even after we took out the ringleader, Dumbledore. After purging them, and the rest of those who tried to challenge my rule, I, with the help of dear Bella, managed to revive our lord, who then took over the wizarding world. Unfortunately, the Dark Lord was a bloody traitor and executed me, so that he could have official control of the country..."

Somehow, no-one looked like they particularly pitied the woman, and after a minute's silence, wherein only the rumbling of the train on the tracks could be heard, as it had apparently started moving during their talk, Lily spoke up, saying, "Well, I am Lily Evans Potter; I met Severus, like most of you it appears, when I was seven, then I became best friends with him and we went to Hogwarts together, where he was sorted into Slytherin and I into Gryffindor. He and my future husband, James Potter, had a bitter rivalry, which lasted until James' sixth year, when James stopped attacking him out of respect to me."

Sighing heavily, she then said, "Severus...started hanging closer and closer to these boys, Mulciber and Avery, who were trying to join the Death Eaters. Desperate, I tried for several years to change his mind about staying friends with them, and it culminated in this incident by the lake where Severus called me...a Mudblood, after I rescued him from Potter. Finally giving up, I ended our friendship, just before he joined the Death Eaters officially, then eventually, James and I got closer and closer until we were wed. We both became Aurors, and joined the Order of the Phoenix, fighting until I became pregnant and had Harry, my first and only son, when Dumbledore suddenly said that we were to go into hiding, having been tipped off by an unknown source that the three of us were in danger. We hid for more than a year, only to be killed when our secret-keeper, Peter Pettigrew, betrayed us to Voldemort. I think that I may have managed to save Harry's life by sacrificing myself though..."

Surprised, Fifty-five then said, "Huh, that sounds almost exactly like my story, until right after the part by the lake. I almost cut him loose as well, but changed my mind at the last minute, when he begged me for my forgiveness. I managed to keep him from joining the Death Eaters, well, not for real anyway, although there was nothing I could do about Avery and Mulciber; eventually, Dumbledore asked him to spy on the Death Eaters on the behalf of the Order of the Phoenix, and he did so until, with the knowledge we gained from him, we were able to bring down Voldemort in 1982, after a long and bloody war. We got married within the week when he proposed to me, out of the blue..."

Fifty-five seemed to grow misty-eyed for a moment, then coughed, blushing, before saying, "...Anyway, the two of us never had kids, as I got a bad curse...there, during the war, but we spent the rest of our lives together, until he died in bed at seventy-three. I went about five years later... I just hope that that TRAMP, NARCISSA, ISN'T TAKING ADVANTAGE OF MY ABSENCE TO TRY AND STEAL HIM FROM ME!"

Noticing everyone elses' looks, Fifty-five blushed again, and was about to speak, when the doors suddenly opened, and they found themselves at a rather dingy gate, with another 'copy' standing there, and Lily found herself unable to speak again. Frowning, Lily walked up to the other, with the rest of her comrades behind her, and the woman then said, pointing to each of them in turn, "You! Far Left! You! Center! You! Far Right! You! Center-Right! And You! Center-Left!"

As she had been pointing at Lily herself as she finished, Lily obeyed and walked into a small, circular room with a single, blood-red stone hovering at the center of it. She heard it then say, "Processing...Lily 18275048, finished in the Twenty-Sixth Percentile. Individual results: pain to others: 5, pain to self: 1, pleasure to others: 5, pleasure to self: 6. Overall Result: -2.5...Would you prefer two times in hell, or twenty times in purgatory as the payment on your balance madam?"

Blinking stupidly, Lily said, "Excuse me? And where the hell is my husband!?"

The stone then said, "Processing...James Potter 18275048, finished in the Fifteenth Percentile. Individual results: pain to others: 7, pain to self:1, pleasure to others: 4, pleasure to self: 8. Overall Result: -6.5...Has chosen one-hundred times in purgatory..."

Pausing, the stone then said, "Processing...Explanation: The sum total of the acts in your life determine how quickly one enters the afterlife; one receives points for suffering or preventing the suffering of others, and loses points for joy and preventing the joy of others. The reason for this is that, when one chooses an action, if it helps them as well as others, then it is not truly selfless, and thus suffers a downranking. If the good you have done and the pain you have received is greater than or equal to the evil you have done and the good you have received, then you may enter your afterlife immediately; otherwise, payment must be made in the form of time in either hell or purgatory until your balance has been equalized..."

Lily then said, "So either I spend a bunch of time in purgatory or not much in hell, correct?"


Lily frowned, before saying, "Hmm, I think that I would rather have purgatory myself, but..."

"Processing...Accepted into Purgatory. You will spend twenty times gazing in the Mirror of Fi-Tahw, then continue on to the afterlife."

Lily interrupted, incensed, "Hey! I didn't say that I accepted!"

"Processing...Mirror of Fi-Tahw; this mirror is designed to show the lives and decisions of (Insert Name Here)'s, or more specifically, the superior versions of those people, so that the viewer may learn of the errors they made in life, and get a better understanding. It is focused towards those who were overly judgemental, naive, blind and/or stupid in their choices..."

Really getting angry, Lily then shouted, "I am not STUPID!" As the room began to glow a bright white, she then shouted, "Nor did I agree to this either!"

"Processing...Lily 18275048 has said 'I accepted', and 'I agree', thus the subject has agreed..."

"I really hate you, you know that...?"

Everything then faded to white...

Author's Note: This is a bit of an unusual fanfic, so I will put it in simple terms; Lily will get the chance to see the lives of a stream of other Lilys, who, at various points in their lives, made different decisions to her, maybe being a little smarter, kinder, more observant or patient, at certain times, which led to radical changes in the outcome of her life. For example, what if, outside of Gryffindor tower, she had given Severus the choice between herself, and he Death Eaters, and told him that their friendship would depend on it?

Each of these different possibilities will receive its own oneshot, which will describe the change made, and tell the story of what came after.

YOU, the readers will get to vote on which differences at key points in the time-line she sees, as well as suggest other changes she could have made. I won't update this fic too often, as I want to give plenty of time for voting and suggestions.

IN ORDER TO VOTE: Select one or more of the possibilities listed, and include them in either a Review, a PM, or an E-mail. You may vote for as many possibilities as you like, but only once for each possibility.

IN ORDER TO POST A NEW SUGGESTION: List the choice that Lily could have made, and your reasoning, and include it in either a Review, a PM, or an E-mail.

ALL SUGGESTED POSSIBILITIES MUST HAVE BEEN ABLE TO OCCUR IN CANON, AND THEY MUST BE DIFFERENCES IN LILY'S CHOICES. For example, having James be just a little too late in rescueing Severus during the Werewolf prank is not an option, as Lily didn't make that choice, but having her decide to kiss him once in fifth year, just to see what it would be like, is.

In spite of the listed pairing, not all of the lives she views will have Severus and Lily paired together in the end, although a majority will.

Here is a starter list of ideas:

Lily decides to kiss Severus once in fifth year, just to see what kissing is like.

Outside the portrait hole, when Severus goes up to apologize to Lily, she presses him until he has to answer one way or another, rather than just heading back to her dormitory in disgust.

When Severus hints to Lily about Lupin in fourth year, in connection to James' 'heroics', Lily gets curious about the possibility of him being a werewolf rather than dismissing Severus' concerns.

When Lily tells Severus off about his friends in fourth year, she attempts to use concrete examples to prove that they are as bad, or worse than, the Marauders.

When the two of them are about to be sorted in first year, Lily, afraid, begs Severus to try to get sorted to the same house as her.

Rather than almost smiling one time during the incident by the lake, Lily doesn't even get amused at all.