Why Should I Be Any Different?

Hello! This is my very first fan fiction story! I have several that I am working on, but I just can't get them right. This one is one that I have imagined actually happened in the story. Your opinion may differ, but I hope you like it anyway! I am DEFINITELY not JKR or even close, but I hope you find it entertaining anyway! Thanks for reading!

* indicates a line taken from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Prince's Tale

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Lily stormed back to the safety of the Gryffindor Common Room, fuming. Shouting the password at the Fat Lady and crawling through the portrait hole as fast as she could, she collapsed into a plush armchair near the fire place. The Common Room was mercifully completely empty, as most people were outside in the sunshine. They were all tired of being cooped up studying for O.W.L.'s, so between exams, everyone was making up for lost time outside. Lily was just glad no one was there to see her crying.

Severus had finally done it. He had finally gone too far. He had actually called her…that. She supposed she had always known it would happen eventually, because he said it about everyone else like her. But it still shocked her. And it had hurt. Immensely. She let out an exasperated sigh at her own naivety. She had convinced herself that Severus wasn't like the other Slytherins, that they weren't rubbing off on him, that he was different. She had actually defended him! A million times over, when the other Gryffindors (or Hufflepuffs or Ravenclaws for that matter) had insulted him, she had spoken up. She had come to his defense. She had always been by his side. And worst of all… she had thought he would always be by hers.

More silent tears came unbidden to her eyes as she remembered how different he always was during summers. He was so considerate, so kind. They had spent so much time sitting by the bank of the river near their neighborhood and discussing magic. He had confided in her about his troubled home, his horrid father, and she had confided her sister's growing dislike of her. They had been so close. She had even let herself…fall for him. She let her head drop into her hands and the tears became sobs as she admitted it, if only to herself. She had loved him. She had harbored secret feelings for quite some time, unable to make herself jeopardize their friendship. She had even begun to believe he might have felt the same for her… now she felt ridiculous.

She stared into the fire and remembered the innocent little boy who had told her she was a witch. He had introduced her to the magical world, opened her eyes to what she was. Even arriving at Hogwarts, they had both found it ridiculous at first that Slytherins and Gryffindors could dislike one another so much when the two of them got on so well. She could not imagine that the Severus who had told her in her first year it made no difference being muggle-born was the same Severus who had just called her what he had. Then she realized…he was not the same.

The Severus she had known for years was no longer there in the black eyes of the boy she could still hear screaming 'Mudblood'. No longer weeping, she stared into the fire and contemplated where to go next. How would this affect them? How should she react (besides the insults she had hurled at him instinctively)? How much would things change between them?

Drastically, that was for sure. He had shown his true feelings about her and what she was today. She had always put up with his antics and horrible friends because deep down, she had always thought maybe there was hope for them. If he felt as she did, perhaps they could work past it. Maybe he would change. Maybe if he loved her too, then…

Ugh! She pushed that thought out of her head. It was too painful. Obviously, she repulsed him. He thought he was so superior to her. How could she ever have thought that a Slytherin would condescend to care about a muggle-born like herself? She continued to stare into the fire as the tears slid down her face.

. . . . . . . . . .

Lily had tried to act calm and normal as the students had started trickling back inside to the Common Room. She had collected herself as well as she could. No need to let everyone else know what a fool she was.

Then, she overheard Mary MacDonald talking to Remus Lupin, Lily's fellow prefect, about the incident earlier today. She successfully ignored them until Mary started on about not understanding why Lily had ever put up with the Snape boy in the first place. Remus was trying to shut her up, as he had noticed Lily's proximity, sitting firmly in the same plush armchair by the fire.

"Honestly," Mary ignorantly prattled on, "he's a Slytherin! Of course he was a git! I even heard that he, Avery, and the Mulciber boy are planning to be…" she looked around the room before whispering, "Death Eaters! Why she ever considered herself his friend I'll never understand."

Me either, Lily thought ruefully as she stood up suddenly and stalked up the steps to her dorm. Mary looked appalled at being overheard, but Lily didn't really blame her for disliking them. Mary had had quite a horrible encounter with Avery and Mulciber, which Severus had laughed off when Lily brought it up. Looking back, she couldn't believe she had forgiven him for laughing at Dark Magic so detestable. Lily knew Mary was only trying to defend her with her chatter, but she was not in the mood to talk… or listen.

Lily changed into her pajamas and lay in her bed, the crimson curtains firmly closed. No one had dared bother her all day. She even skipped dinner as she didn't think she could bear to see Severus. She might scream at him, slap him, or just cry.

She couldn't face him yet. She had come to a firm decision while fire-gazing. It was over, friendship and all. She could not put herself through more pain and humiliation, and she certainly wasn't going to put up with him if he thought himself so high and mighty. She had more pride than to be a doormat for anyone. She would push aside any misguided feelings and simply act as if he didn't exist… she just didn't feel she could do it at precisely that moment.

"Lily?" Mary came striding into their shared dorm room hours later and Lily realized she'd fallen asleep.

"Yes?" she answered back groggily.

"That prat is outside the Common Room demanding to see you," she informed as she pulled back Lily's curtains and sat down beside her. "I told him you'd rather kiss a Dementor than see his stupid face, but he won't go away. I wasn't going to bother you with it, but the Gryffindors coming in and out of the Common Room are going to start hexing him soon."

Lily shook her head and sighed, "I really don't want to talk to him Mary. I may curse him myself," she finished angrily.

"Well I'd love to see that. And you have every right to! That word! I could just kill him! You throwing a good hex or two would be very satisfying. I'd also love to see him sleep out there all night waiting for you to come down."

"What?!"

"He says he's not moving until you come down and he'll sleep outside the portrait if he has to," Mary shrugged.

"Good Godric!" Lily vented, sitting up suddenly. "What in Merlin's name does he want from me!?"

"I don't know, but you'd best go see. And you'd best do it before Potter and Black realize he's out there."

"I suppose…though I'm tempted to just let them have a go at him," Lily muttered mutinously as she grabbed her dressing gown and put it on. "I'll go, but I'm sick and tired of him, Mary! This is it, I've had enough."

Mary looked at Lily dumbstruck, this was the first time Lily had ever not defended Snape. "About time! Don't let him lie to you, and for Godric sake, girl, please don't let him off easy again," she called as Lily retreated down the spiral staircase.

Lily stopped in front of the portrait hole and took a deep, steadying breath. I will not let him see how much this hurts me, how much I want to forgive him. He has gone too far, and I just can't take anymore. She took three purposeful steps, pushed the portrait open, and climbed out into the corridor.

. . . . . . . . . .

Severus stood up quickly from his seated position against the wall as Lily exited the Common Room and snatched her head around to face him. She almost cried at the look upon his face. In the mere seconds before he spoke, she read repentance, fear, and even a little hopefulness. Apparently he hadn't even expected her to come out, and took it as a very good sign that she had appeared. She forced herself to keep her face as hard as stone and crossed her arms to keep from reaching out to him in forgiveness as she always had.

He stared at her for a long second, looking as though he expected her to scold him, but she didn't trust herself to speak yet. He began before she could, "I'm sorry."*

She was utterly insulted that he thought that was sufficient enough. "I'm not interested."*

"I'm sorry!"* he persisted.

That's all there is to it to you, isn't it? she thought.

"Save your breath,"* she replied with as much acid in her voice as she could muster. "I only came out because Mary told me you were threatening to sleep here."* Don't let him think he's going to get off this time, she chanted to herself.

"I was. I would have done," he insisted. From the look on his face, she believed him. "I never meant to call you Mudblood, it just –"*

"Slipped out?"* She could not believe it… he was trying to act as though they could move on and act like it never happened… again. No, she thought, not this time. Not again. No matter how I feel. "It's too late."*

She almost took it back when she saw the horror and panic in his eyes, but she would not allow herself to be walked on. "I've made excuses for you for years."*

Then an idea struck her, to find out the truth once and for all. Terrified of the response, she worded her next sentences cautiously.

"None of my friends can understand why I even talk to you. You and your precious little Death Eater friends –"* she paused, begging him to contradict her. Anyone who did not have such a goal in mind would have instantly been outraged and protested. He did not. Shock, panic, fear, and finally acceptance flowed through her as she realized this was truly a different person than the one she had fallen in love with.

Now she was angry. "You see, you don't even deny it! You don't even deny that's what you're all aiming to be!"* Still incensed that the boy before her had so thoroughly warped and destroyed the innocent, caring person she loved, she yelled, "you can't wait to join You-Know-Who, can you?"*

Again, he did not respond. Keeping a clam exterior was difficult when so many revelations and emotions were coming to her, and she felt weak as her knees started to buckle. It was really over. She had really lost him to them. Sounding much more determined than she felt, and forcing herself not to cry, she declared, "I can't pretend anymore. You've chosen your way, I've chosen mine."*

His eyes widened and he looked the way she felt; devastated, terrified, and alone. What if I'm making a huge mistake, she thought quickly. What if he means it? What if he really is sorry? What if he feels the same…what if he loves me too? Can I let that go? Can I give that up? She watched his face grow even paler as he desperately sputtered out another meager, half-apology.

"No – listen, I didn't mean—"*

It was not enough. She had to know. To ask as outright as possible. If he loved her, she would consider forgiveness. If not, she would not allow herself to have feelings for, or even be around, someone who hated her so much simply for her birth. She cut him off...

"— to call me Mudblood? But you call everyone of my birth Mudblood, Severus."* She took a deep breath and asked him very carefully, "Why should I be any different?"*

Answer, she prayed, please answer. Say you love me! Say I'm special to you! Say that I mean something to you… anything!

But he did not reply.

Lily thought she felt a part of herself die, the part that had held onto him for so long, through so much. It had finally reached its limit and could take no more. She fled. Before she could start crying, before she collapsed in front of him and admitted the truth, she fled into the Common Room.

. . . . . . . . . .

Lily did not make it further than the inside of the portrait before she finally did crumple onto the floor in tears. Mary, who was waiting just inside, looked horrorstruck at the state of her best friend and cleared the Common Room of people in seconds.

Lily shook violently and sobbed into Mary's shoulder as she came to comfort her. Mary did not ask what had happened; she was simply there for her friend. She helped Lily up off the floor, led her to their dormitory, and helped her into her bed.

Lily cried as her world fell in around her. For as long as she had known magic, as long as she had known Hogwarts, she had had Severus. He had been the one to inform her that she had powers, that she was not just a freak. He had answered her never-ending questions, helped her through her sister's taunts and insults, and shared every experience at Hogwarts with her.

He had been the one constant in her life, and she had come to depend upon and care for him much more that she had even noticed. But apparently it had been one-sided. He did not care for her, did not value her in any way if he could call her… Mudblood.

She would have to move on now. It would be difficult, it would hurt, and she would have to start completely over in some areas of her life, but beginning tomorrow she would not allow herself to think of Severus Snape ever again. She would not waste away or wallow in rejection. She had to be stronger. She would miss him, but beginning tomorrow he would not exist for her.

She cried herself to sleep, allowing herself to wish for one last time that he had answered her question.

Why should I be any different?*