Part I - Recollections
I was examining tomatoes at the grocery store, checking to see which ones were perfect. I had managed to absorb myself in this task, which I was thankful for. The pain that I had been feeling for the past few days was becoming impossible to deal with. I needed to be numbed by something, anything. Even something as simple as doing the groceries had me content. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay without thinking for long.
My head jerked up and my cold hand clenched the bag I was holding. The voice. It was one I would recognize anywhere, it was one I had not managed to get out of my head even after a full four-and-a-half years. Still, I didn't want to believe that I would run into him here. Not now. With a deep breath I took a glimpse over my left shoulder, to confirm what I already knew. Sure enough, it was him.
"Lily?" he repeated, black eyes questioning.
I examined him, my eyes running over him quickly. He was the same person that I remembered. Black hair falling into his equally dark eyes, a shocking contrast to his pale skin. He was slightly taller than I remembered, but still lanky and angular. He remained dressed almost head to toe in black, the only slight colour coming from his emerald green sweater.
"Hello." It was the first time I had been completely civil since that day in June at the end of our Fifth Year in Hogwarts. I was not in the mood to argue with him. I was too determined to remain numb to allow my hurt and anger to take over me in the produce section.
He did not seem as shocked as I was by my reply. "Remember me?" he asked, a slight tone of humour in his typically cold, even voice.
"Yes," I replied simply. "How could I forget?"
He shifted, looking uncomfortable, and his cart slipped forward a few inches. "I was hoping you had," he said, his voice quiet.
"I don't think I've forgotten much about what we used to have," I admitted.
"So you remember the deal we made about if we reached 35 and were still single then?" he asked. His serious tone was added to by his gaze, his eyes unmoving from mine.
It was my turn to shift from one leg to the other. "Yes," I admitted slowly. "I do."
It was a Saturday evening in October and we were walking around the grounds at school. We had just started our second year at Hogwarts and were glad to have, finally, gotten out of being the littlest kids in the school. As we reached the Quidditch Pitch, I turned and looked up at Severus.
"Are you going to try out this year Sev?"
He looked at me with what could only be described as utter shock, like I had lost my mind. "Are you kidding?" he spluttered. "I'm only a second year, I'd get creamed! There's no way I'd make the team, especially as a Keeper. And that's the only position open this year."
"Second years don't always make idiots of themselves," I said firmly, rolling my eyes. "James Potter made our team this afternoon. I heard him and his idiot friends celebrating."
"Lils," Severus whined. "Don't compare me to that asshole."
I glared at him. "I wasn't," I said firmly. "I was just saying that if he could do it, it couldn't be an impossible task."
"But you know that he's… er, he's…" Severus trailed off.
I knew what he had been hinting at. "Really good?" I supplied.
Severus glared at me. "Lily! You can't say that about him!"
"I can too!" I insisted as the wind flared up and blew my red hair across my face. "I don't like him, I still think he's an complete prick, but I can admit that he's good. You didn't see him, you were with the Hufflepuffs for flying lessons."
Severus grumbled something indecipherable. "Sev, what!?" I snapped. I hated it when he avoided telling me what he was thinking.
"It's just that everybody knows he has a huge crush on you!"
stopped walking and blinked. As the realization of what he had just
implied said hit me, a grin slowly spread over my face. "Sev,
you're JEALOUS of him, aren't you?"
After opening and closing his mouth several times, Severus managed to spit out a "No!" The pinkish tinge that had crept up over his usually sallow skin gave him away though.
ARE," I insisted with a laugh. You think that I'm going to ditch
you and fall head over heels for Potter sometime, don't you?"
"Lily…" he whined, his voice trailing off.
"I'm not going to marry him Sev, he's a loser!" I proclaimed, shoving my hands, now freezing from the autumn breeze, into my pockets.
This seemed to cheer him up a bit. "You promise?"
"Of course Sev," I assured him, walking closer to his side and putting my head near his shoulder briefly in comfort. "Don't start planning the Potter-Evans wedding, it's not going to happen."
This made him laugh. "So, who do you like then?"
"Nobody," I answered promptly. Severus gave me a weird look, but I just looked right back. "It's true, I swear," I insisted. It was, I had not had a crush on any of my schoolmates. "How about you?"
"Nobody," he replied, just as swiftly. Something about his tone made me think that he was lying, but I knew better than to push him. If Severus Snape decided that he wasn't going to tell somebody something, that person had no chance of ever getting the truth out of him.
"Liar," I said, before I could think about stopping myself.
He just laughed. "Maybe I'll tell you later," he said vaguely. I knew what this meant though, he tended to hope I would forget conversations he didn't like. Before I could say anything else, he changed the subject. "So, since we don't like anybody, I have a proposition for you."
I paused, wary of what this offer was going to be. "Okay…"
Severus grinned. "Well, you don't want to die an old maid who never gets married, do you?"
I glared at him and, risking my hand freezing, pulled my right hand out of my pocket and gave him a shove. "I'm not going to die without ever being married."
"Thanks to my plan you won't," he said, correcting me. "How about if you and I both aren't married by the time we're 35, we get married to one another?"
I giggled before I realized he wasn't laughing with me. Blinking several times, I asked, "Wait… are you serious Sev?"
He huffed and rolled his eyes. "Yes," he grumbled.
"Oh," I said, well aware of how my one syllable managed to convey a lot of my shock at the sudden, strange suggestion. "But Sev, we don't turn thirteen until January. We have over a twenty years before we're 35!"
"I know," he said. "But I just thought it was a good idea for both of us to have a 'just in case' thing. You know, a backup plan."
I intended to sound upset, but the effect was sort of ruined as the wind blew my hair in my mouth and I spluttered to get it out. By the time I had gotten it back into place, Severus was trying not to laugh at me. This only added fuel to my fire though. "So, I'm going to just be some back-up you can rely on if you don't get married?"
He rolled his eyes. "Lily, don't be ridiculous. I didn't mean it like that. I doubt you'll be single at 35 anyway."
"Suck up," I muttered, which he laughed at.
"Seriously though Lils, I don't think you'll be single. It was a 'just in case', a Plan B. It was more for me than you anyway."
I rolled my eyes. "Sev, are you trying to tell me that you think that the only way you're going to get married is if I am not married at 35 and I choose to marry you then?"
Severus's cheeks went pink again. "I…"
"I'm sure you'll meet somebody Sev," I told him.
"Sure," he said, looking rather miserable. I could tell that he didn't believe me.
Smiling at the memory, I decided that I might as well be polite. "So, are you seeing anybody?"
Instantly, I saw that this was the wrong question to ask. A look of… was that pain? Well, certainly a look that implied some sort of hurt crossed over Severus's face. Even though it only lasted for a moment, I could never have mistaken it. Over the seven years of our friendship, I had seen that look many times for reasons scattering from his parents to bad grades to girl troubles. "Sorry," I apologized. "I see that your romantic life is still a secretive subject for you."
He nodded twice. "Yes, it is," he said simply. "How about you?" A look of subtle hopefulness came across his face as he asked, "You and James Potter, did you…"
The end of his sentence could have been one of two extremes, but from the look on his face, I knew that he was hoping that I had broken up with James. I knew that, in his eyes, breaking up with James would mean that I was coming to my senses.
"Well?" he prompted.
"We got married the August after we graduated from Hogwarts," I informed him, a smile coming across my face at the memory.
"The August after we graduated from Hogwarts," Severus repeated. After watching me nod, he added, "You mean that you got married two months after we graduated."
"Yes," I said, my voice even.
His eyes widened and he looked at me as though I had lost my mind. "You were married at eighteen to James fucking Potter."
I glared at him. I had been told many times over that I had the face of an angel but a look that could kill and I had every intention of using that to my advantage now. "Actually, his middle name is Charles not 'fucking'. But yes, I married him when I was eighteen. I don't see why this is such a surprise, it's not like twenty is so old."
"I know it's not," he half-said, half-hissed back. "But does this mean that you were engaged while we were at Hogwarts and you never actually told anybody about it?"
Trying to keep my breathing even, I shook my head. "It's not really any of your business, but no. We got engaged on the last day of school."
Severus's eyes widened. "The last day of school."
"Yes," I said, not quite sure where he was going with this.
"So, when Potter was spinning you around before we got on the train…"
"He had just proposed, yes."
"And when Black was yelling after we boarded…"
"About James and I being together forever? Yes, it was true."
Severus tilted his head to the side, his black eyes narrowing slightly. Even though he was now in very different clothing and in a completely different setting, his expression reminded me exactly of a look that I had seen before.
James and I were standing just outside of the doors to the castle, watching as most of the students exited onto the grounds happy for summer to start. The few seventh year students who had already left were continually looking over their shoulders back at the castle. I could see my own feelings of nostalgia reflected in their own faces. While it was nice to think that we were finally done school, I wasn't sure that I could feel entirely happy when I had to leave Hogwarts. This was the place I had done a lot of my growing up, where I had lost my best childhood friend, and where I had gotten my education. Perhaps, most of all, it was where I had become friends with people I knew were going to be my lifelong friends and met the man I couldn't imagine spending my life without now, even though two years ago I would have told you that you were insane for suggesting that I would one day feel this way.
As the students exiting the castle were getting older and coming less frequently, James and I started to get more antsy and anxious. Even though I had been expecting it to be difficult to leave what had become my home over the past seven years, I had not been expecting it to be quite this hard. Simply thinking about everything that I was going to miss was enough to make me sigh.
I looked up at James to see him starting to look down at me in return. He could see my somewhat stressed expression. "Lily, calm down," he whispered with a laugh. He leaned over and gave me a kiss on the forehead and placed his arm securely around my waist.
"I'm trying," I whispered back, trying to laugh as well. I could feel myself starting to blush as I said a soft, "Sorry."
He rolled his eyes at me. "Lils, sweetheart, don't worry."
"Okay," I murmured, reaching upwards to gently kiss his lips.
Just as James started to kiss me back, a loud cough startled me. Pulling away to see who it was, I was not surprised to see a massive group of seventh years. My five best friends were in a group with James's three best friends, who he told me called themselves the "Marauders". The five Gryffindors, two Hufflepuffs, and one Ravenclaw were standing in their school uniforms for the last time and appeared to have either just been discussing something humorous or laughing at James and I.
"Jamesie boy," Sirius said in a booming voice, his trademark grin spreading across his face. "I think I speak for all of us when I say, please keep your pecker in your pants and your tongue in your mouth."
I rolled my eyes and James made a face. "Well Sirius, I have a few things to say to you. First off, I'm pretty sure that everything is in its proper place. Secondly, I'm still your Head Boy for a little while longer and I am going to use all of my power over you as long as possible. Finally, and I mean this with all due respect, which I hope you interpret as 'none', fuck off."
the exception of Sirius, everybody laughed. My Ravenclaw,
super-model like friend Liv looked Sirius in the eye and grinned.
"You can't say you didn't see that coming," she said. "You
were being a bit of a… um… how do I put this nicely…" "Dick
with a tendency to exaggerate?" Peter supplied.
"Dick with a tendency to exaggerate?" Peter supplied.
Liv nodded excited. "Exactly, thanks Pete."
I sighed. "Okay, don't make me have one of my last power trips. Get your bums moving and get a couple of compartments on the train."
"Will do," Popuri said, being her usual agreeable, sweet self. "But this time, I am not sitting on somebody's trunk. Especially if it has a curved top."
Whenever my group of friends and the Marauders ended up talking to each other on the train, we had a tendency to try and squish into one compartment and shove all of our luggage into another. For the earlier train rides in seventh year, we had managed to do it fairly well for a couple of hours at a time. Not willing to make somebody else take one of the more uncomfortable seats, Popuri had ended up sitting on the most uncomfortable of the seats much longer than everybody else.
"Picky, picky," Sirius tutted. However, he started off across the grounds and was followed by the rest of the large group.
After a couple of more minutes, the flow of students from the castle had pretty much stopped. After giving me one more kiss on the forehead, James's beautiful hazel eyes met my green ones. "Are you ready to go?" he said, a note of sadness in his voice.
Not trusting myself to talk without starting to cry, I merely nodded. Letting me lean over to pick up my purse, James took my right hand firmly in his. We had only made our way most of the way to the train when James stopped dead in his tracks.
"Sweetie?" I said, the only amount of talking I trusted myself to do without my voice breaking.
James game me a gentle kiss on the lips. "It's nothing bad love," he assured me, his adorable half-smile lighting up his face. "I was just thinking about how this is the place where I first insisted that I was going to date you and make you fall in love with me one day."
I smiled despite my sadness. "You did that hun," I said softly. "You definitely did that."
"I know," he replied. "But I just wanted to do one more thing before we left."
"Sure," I said, looking up at him with concern.
James took my other hand and backed up, to look at me from a couple of feet away. Pulling me close and placing another gentle kiss on my forehead, he let go of my hands and slowly got down on one knee.
I gasped, my hand flying up to my mouth. "James…" I trailed off, starting to shake slightly.
"Lily Alice Juliet Evans," James began, looking up at me with a smile. "I know that saying we got off to a rough start would be an understatement. But, from the very beginning, I had developed a crush on you. I would even go as far as to say that it was love at first sight. I knew that you were the girl I was destined to spend the rest of my life with, but I didn't know how to come out and say it properly. I thought I had ruined my chances with you, so you don't know how excited I was when I realized I hadn't. The day that you said you would go on a date with me was the happiest day of my life up to that point, only to be replaced by the day that we first said 'I love you'. The day that we first mentioned being together beat that and every day we spent together I fell more and more in love with you, even though I didn't think that it was possible.
"Today, I can't imagine my life without you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you, Lily. I will do whatever I can to make you happy. I would give my life for you and I swear that I will be the best husband that you could possibly imagine. You are my everything, my Lily. I love you so much and I don't know what I would do without you."
James reached into his pocked and pulled out a deep green velvet box. "Lily Alice Juliet Evans," he repeated, pulling open the box to reveal an amazing, sparkling diamond ring. Taking my shaking left hand into his left hand gently, he placed his lips on the top of my hand. "Will you marry me?"
It was only then that I realized a couple of tears were rolling down my cheeks. After opening and closing my mouth several times, I managed to give my give a breathless, "Yes." James burst into an amazing grin, his entire face ecstatic. With a more firm voice, I exclaimed, "Yes, yes of course."
I pulled the simple promise ring he had given me off of my finger swiftly, after which James eagerly slipped the diamond ring on and capped it off carefully with the promise ring. After gently giving the two rings a kiss, he stood up and took me into his arms. "We're getting married," James whispered in my ear excitedly, spinning me around in his arms.
My face broke out into a wide smile and I laughed, feeling utter joy. My heart was pounding a mile a minute in my chest and I buried my face in James's neck, kissing him repeatedly. After a few more spins James placed me down and kissed me firmly on the lips. Pulling away, I caught an unmistakable face out of the corner of my eye.
A small bag in his hand, Severus Snape was standing perfectly still on the grounds, even his somewhat greasy hair was perfectly still and unruffled in the slight breeze coming off of the lake. From the distance that I was at, I thought that his eyes looked pained. I knew that, even now, he felt somewhat hurt by the fact that I was with James. Even though I was still hurt by his name calling two years ago, I still didn't want to hurt him. He was my first best friend at Hogwarts, I couldn't change that.
"You looked so happy," Severus said, sounding somewhat confused.
His confusion left me equally as puzzled. "Of course I looked happy," I said softly. "I had just gotten engaged to the man of my dreams. What was there not to be happy about?"
"It's just…" he began, trailing off. "Lily, you know how I've felt about James Potter from day one. I don't see why you're surprised that the news of my best friend from childhood, hell, the best friend I've ever had, getting married to one of my tormentors bothers me."
I shifted, somewhat uncomfortable at the comment. "You must have seen it coming though," I told him softly. "It wasn't like our relationship was kept a secret, it was always something we were open about."
"You certainly weren't open about your wedding."
"There are some things that are best left private in these times," I snapped. "Especially among people like James and I. Mudbloods and blood-traitors aren't well liked."
Severus flinched at the word "mudblood", as I had been expecting. I knew that he was still touchy about that word, as was I. While I had known, probably all along, that he hadn't meant it, that did not numb the sting of his words. And, though I hated to admit that I was so nasty, seeing that I had caused him some pain left me with a feeling of satisfaction.
Yet he kept his cool, which I had to give him credit for. "Yes," he said softly. "I suppose that it is best for Muggleborns, like you, to try to stay as far away from conflict as possible right now."
The stress that he had put on the words 'Muggleborns, like you' did not go by me unnoticed. I turned so I was looking at him head on, finally meeting his eyes in a continuous gaze. After several seconds of looking into his black eyes, which I had not done for years, I began to feel slightly uncomfortable. He had always seemed to be able to read me well and, at this point, I was not sure that I should risk it. I averted my eyes, unnecessarily looking down at my purse for a moment, before looking back up at his face. I was surprised to see that he was no longer looking at my face though, but my bloated stomach, which I had unconsciously placed my hand over protectively.
I bit the corner of my lip, as he gave me a curious look. "Lily, are you…"
He trailed off, waiting for me to finish his sentence. Refusing to put words into his mouth, I simply raised an eyebrow. He sighed, before repeating, "Lily, are you pregnant?"
I hesitated, but I knew that he was simply waiting for a confirmation. "Yeah," I whispered, as though it made revealing the news any less major.
Severus gaped at me, eyes wide, and I rubbed my thumb over my stomach again. "When?"
My mind began spinning, running over the events in my head. James running his hand across my bare stomach and whispering in my ear as I unlocked the door. Being shoved up against the closet door within seconds of taking my shoes off. His tongue swirling around mine, hungry and desperate. James picking me up and making his way to our bedroom so quickly that I wasn't quite sure how we got there. Lying back on the bed, shirtless, as he kissed his way down from my lips… my neck, between my breasts, down my stomach, until he reached the button of my jeans.
My mind snapped out of my memories and I flushed. "Um…" I said, stalling for time. I knew that everything I had just thought of was not what he wanted to hear. "This past fall. I'm due this summer."
"Oh," he said, his eyes drifting back to my stomach.
The silence that came after that was slightly uncomfortable, with neither of us quite sure what to say. I was the one who decided to break it, by saying the first thing that came into my mind. "So, do you live around here?"
He chuckled. "Yes, why else would I be grocery shopping here?"
I shrugged, realizing how dumb the question sounded. Severus asked, "Do you? I haven't seen you around here before."
I shook my head. "No, James and I just had to come back here for the next few days. We don't live in the area. Neither do Petunia and Vernon."
"Are they back too?" he asked. After I nodded, he asked, "Why did you both choose to come back at the same time? Do you get along again?"
"No," I said. The anxious, nauseous feeling was starting to creep up again, but I tried to brush it off. "We had to."
Not surprisingly, this answer wasn't enough for Severus. "Why?"
I balled my hands up and clenched my teeth. I broke eye contact and looked down, swallowing hard. It was only after he said my name again that I took a deep breath and looked up slightly. "Our parents died," I said softly. "We came back for the funeral."