Malfoy Comes to Call
The days passed quickly after Lily was released from the infirmary. She resumed her classes and with Severus' help, was quickly brought up to speed. Life seemed to fall back into its regular routine, except for the fact that she and Severus...she and Severus...how she loved that...that they were together, officially. Lily's friends had been hesitant to accept the fact that she was dating the Slytherin, but well...Lily did what Lily wanted they said. The other Slytherins didn't really bother to have an opinion, assuming there must be some strategic benefit to their coupling. Except of course, for the purebloods, who found no possible profit in 'one of our's' if only by half a measure, stooping to 'play in the dirt.' In any case, neither really cared what anyone else had to say.
Lily, in an effort to keep the peace had taken the map back to James, under the threat that if he did anything to Severus, he'd find himself minus his favourite appendage. Severus had been reluctant to relinquish the map, and outright against Lily having any interaction with 'the swine,' but she convinced him it might help quell the animosity of Black and Potter and less time messing with them meant more time with her. As it happened, the bloody thing ended up in Filch's hands three weeks later anyway.
March had rolled around and spring was blooming around the grounds in a flourish of green grass, soft flowers, and lush, tender leaves. Severus stared up at the arcing branches of the tree as the sun cast dappled patterns on his body and the grass beneath him.
"You're too far away."
"What's that?" he said, turning his head to the voice beside him.
"You're too far away from me, come closer."
Severus moved over towards Lily and slipped his arm under her head. She turned to him and kissed him gently, running her fingers through his hair.
"I love you Sev..." she said in a breath between kisses.
"I love you too Lily."
He brought his lips to hers again, parting them with a gentle sweep of his tongue, tasting the heat of her flesh, the sweetness of her mouth that spoke of no other flavour but her own. He loved these stolen moments. He knew they were being fairly flagrant in their display, out in the openness of the grounds, but they'd been spared the wrath of the staff for the most part. Pomfrey's grace had eventually run out with him in the hospital ward, but Lily'd been released a few days hence. Now, it was all a matter of covert audacity and he felt it was something he might be quite suited for actually.
The sun seemed to eclipse as he lay there with his mouth nibbling at Lily's, his eyes closed, his hand pressed firmly to her hip, drawing her closer. Or maybe it had just passed into night and they'd spent the entire day under the tree, time with her always seemed like minutes and hours and too short and endless all at once.
*Ahem* came the throaty sound of a familiar voice.
Severus cast any eye upwards and saw why the sun seemed to disappear. Lily gasped as she took in the form of the tall, black robed figure, snake headed cane in hand, long blonde hair cascading down the shoulders as the pale, well angled face looked down with an air of reserved disdain.
"Lucius!" Snape said, scrambling to his feet, brushing the grass from his robes and his hair. He rushed to offer his hand to the blonde man who took it in his own, though with little enthusiasm.
"I see I've caught you during, ah, extra curricular activities, Severus," he said, eyeing Lily who stood blushing behind Severus, keeping her distance from the former Slytherin prefect. He leaned in close and whispered "Mulciber tells me you've agreed to attend the next meeting. We've had to keep ourselves quiet for the last couple of months, but this Saturday, we are gathering; you will be expected."
Snape thought back to his conversation with Mulciber after Lily's awakening. It seemed ages ago now.
"I said I'd think about it, I never actually agreed to anything, that was Mulciber's acquiescence, not mine. …Look, Lucius, is what I hear true? Are the muggleborns truly at risk in some way?"
Lucius sniffed heavily, the sound of it was thick with haughty condescension.
"They might consider it 'risk.' We would consider it...'establishing a proper order.' Severus, listen, I'm a diplomatic man; you know this. How many times did my quick tongue and agile thinking benefit you while we were both students? The Dark Lord has seen the value of my talents. He appreciates my opinion and the opinions of those I appreciate...and he knows I appreciate you. You're a skilled Wizard Severus. You've not let your handicapped blood impede you. There are surely others of..." he glanced at Lily who shrank back further at his appraisal, "unfortunate birth that would be granted certain liberties due to their connections or abilities as well. It would be a shame if those connections were never made, don't you agree? Think of it like this Severus, the dispensation of grace is like a river; it trickles down from the purity of its source. It would be best to find yourself swimming in the stream than standing in the mud of its banks as it turned to parch. Surely you see the wisdom in that my friend? I would hate to have to carry your regrets to the Dark Lord, he would be…ever so displeased to have to look at you and your…acquaintances with ill regard."
"...What, what time do I need to be there Lucius?"
"There's a good lad," he said, slipping an arm around Severus' shoulders. "We'll be getting started around seven. Arrive with Mulciber and Avery."
"Excellent! I shall see you then Severus."
Lucius clapped his hand against the one holding the cane and smiled at Severus. Something about it turned Severus' stomach...though Malfoy's lips were upturned and pleased, his eyes were as cold and ruthless as ever.
"Miss Evans, a pleasure to see you, as always," he said, affecting a deep bow that spoke more of sarcasm than respect, as did the smirk he cast at her as he turned.
"See you Saturday Severus. I must be off, I'm to meet Cissy and her parents for tea."
He strode away; cane steadily thumping in time to his footfalls, black cloak swishing as he walked. Severus stood watching as he vanished at the far side of the gates. He could feel her eyes washing over him with a hundred questions; she didn't need to say a word.
Sirius glanced at his friend as he sat huddled over his transfiguration textbook. He looked thin, weak, pained. The skin of his hands was stretched thin and taught like the membrane on a drum. His eyes had a hollow, cavernous look, and a few angry scars were jutting from his cheeks, scars that had not been visible a few short months ago. Remus leaned back against the pillows of his bed and rested the book on his chest. He let out a weary sigh and ran a weathered hand along his jaw.
"Eh, not too good Sirius. The past couple of months have taken a bit of a toll on me I'm afraid. The transformation has been…much more violent than it's been in ages. Honestly, I don't even want you all to risk coming with me to the shack this month."
"Rem, come on, you'd never hurt us, we're your best mates."
"I know that now Sirius, but I don't know it…then. Even in your animagus forms I'm afraid…if…well, if I lost control, if the monster took over even more so than it already has. I…I'd never forgive myself Padfoot. Please?"
"Alright mate, if it's what you want, but go see old Dumbles, maybe he can do something for you, ease the pain you know."
"Right, of course, later though; I've got Professor McGonagall's essay due in the morning. So do you come to think of it."
"Yeah, so I do, so I do," Sirius said as he looked around himself for his textbook. He cracked it open to the dogeared page and began to read. He swept the lines of instruction and paused, looking up at his friend once more, his eyebrow raising as he appraised the werewolf. "When is the full moon this month Rem?"
"Oh, it's ah, next Wednesday. All too soon I'm afraid."
"Wednesday…" Sirius said, in quiet repetition as he turned his attention back to the book.
"What was Lucius going on about Severus? I couldn't make it all out; are you going somewhere with Mulicber and Avery? You know I don't like them, we've already had that discussion."
"It's an…an obligation Lily. I don't really have a choice in the matter," he said, his voice flat and tinged with an air of defeat.
"We always have choices Severus. Always."
"No Lily…" he said as he stepped to her and ran his fingers through the red waves of her hair, "…not always."
A/N: Sorry it's taking me a while to update...just trying to plot out an end.