I crunch the parchment in my fist into a ball, distorting the familiar, spiky writing on it. Again, I run through its words in my head.
We need to talk. Meet me tomorrow at noon in Hogsmeade. You choose the venue.
I glance around the teashop in satisfaction. He told me to choose the venue, hadn't he? So what if he'd expected the Three Broomsticks or the Hogs Head – I chose Madam Puddifoot's, purely because I know that there is no place in Hogsmeade that he would detest more. Immature, I know, but if he's going to drag me all the way here from Godric's Hollow without even a proper explanation, then I damned well will cause him whatever discomfort I can manage. Sure, I don't really like the place either – it's pink for one thing, and the waiter is taking far too long with my tea for another – but it's worth it if it makes him second-guess me.
There is a faint tinkling as the door swings open. I glance automatically to see who it is, as I have been doing for the fifteen minutes that I've been here. This time, it is him.
Severus enters with a look of disgust on his face, and I feel a brief flame of childish triumph. He doesn't look like he's changed much in the couple of years since we were at Hogwarts – his hair is still in need of a wash, his long nose is still wrinkled in perpetual disdain, he still moves like a spider that's permanently wary of being attacked by a cat. Narrowed black eyes dart around the room, eventually settling on me.
Looking like a bat attending a butterflies' tea party, he picks his way over to my table, weaving between chattering couples.
'Lily,' he greets me, sitting down heavily.
'Severus.' My voice is chilling. 'It's been a while.'
'Too long, Lily.' I try to ignore the sincerity in his voice.
'Funny, I was about to say 'not long enough.' I haven't forgotten our last conversation, Severus. Whatever friendship we had… Well, that's the only reason I'm here now. So please, don't prolong this. James is at home waiting for me.'
I hear his quick intake of breath and catch myself before I can feel a brush of guilt. That was a low blow on my part, I know. But I wouldn't take it back if I could.
'Lily…' He shifts uncomfortably, trying to draw out my name. I wait impatiently. 'Lily, my… my… friends, they don't like you. Or Potter.'
'Oh, I know exactly who your new friends are! I know who you swear allegiance to, and I know what the sleeve of your robe is covering. Forget the dancing with words, Severus. You're a Death Eater, and we both know it.'
He winces, but sits up straighter, and when he speaks again there is more of a purpose to his voice.
'Your days are numbered, Lily. Yours and that Potter's. The Dark Lord wants you dead... He's picking off all the members of your little Order – or hadn't you noticed? You're not safe, as long as you're with them.'
His little speech is halted as the waitress finally appears, setting down my tea. She turns to Severus, opens her mouth to ask for an order, thinks better of it once she sees Severus's expression, and promptly flees. I continue the conversation.
'Oh, and you really think that even if I didn't associate myself with them – didn't fight for what I believe in – cut myself away from everything and everyone I care about, didn't involve myself in anything, he'd leave me alone, do you?'
His retort is instant, but the individual words are hesitant. 'The Dark Lord… doesn't harm the family of the ones who serve him.' He pauses, looking to see my reaction. I frown, not seeing what this has to do with anything. 'What I mean is… If you were… Lily, if you married me, became my wife…'
He trails off at the expression on my face. I don't know what it is – anger, shock, disgust… pity? My mouth has popped open and I'm staring at his face without seeing it. I drop my eyes to my teacup, absently tracing the design of a bird in flight with one shaking finger.
'Sev… I don't think… That is, James and I…' I push my left hand across the table, towards him. I don't lift my eyes to his, don't see what he feels at the sight of the ring decorating my fourth finger. 'We're engaged, Severus.'
I hear only the noises from the couples seated around us; the man opposite me is silent. I peek up tentatively. Severus's face is twisted with fury.
'You're marrying that – that filth?' he spits the words out in contempt. 'What will he give you, Lily? A guaranteed early grave? When I could give you safety – happiness – love – '
'Severus, I didn't come here for you to – '
'He'll kill you, Lily! You and that man. You know what he can – will – do. How can you just sit back and not care, when I – '
'That's enough, Severus.' I am standing now, and the teaspoon rattles against my still-full cup. I ball my fists, trying to calm the rage. 'I've heard enough. I should have known not to come today – you never were worth my time, you know that?'
'Lily, I didn't mean – '
'I'll see you 'round, Severus.'
I push through the crowded room, breaking through a kissing couple, and stumble out into the street where I Disapparate with a painfully loud crack.
A/N: This was originally a drabble I wrote for a MNFF "I Challenge Thee" activity - I had to write a "missing-moments" scene in which Severus proposed to Lily. It ended up being a little bigger than a drabble, so I thought I might as well post it here! As usual, I have to thank my brilliant beta Anna for her help. And no, I don't own Lily, Snape, Hogsmeade or any of JRK's inventions! Please leave me a review to let me know what you think. :)
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