Prologue: Severed ties
"Call Me When You're Sober" Evanescence
"Sev…" Lily responded in the same patronizing tone that Severus had taken as he attempted to persuade her to skip studying. "I told you, I promised I would help Mary study. You're welcome to come along if you wish," she said, as she continued her walk to the library.
"I think I will pass on that. MacDonald seems to prefer your company to my own ever since Mulciber was joking-"
"That wasn't a joke," spat Lily. "It was a curse and you know it. I still can't believe you're defending him."
"It wasn't… it was no big deal, I've told you-"
"It was… and it's disgusting," replied Lily, as she increased the speed of her steps. Severus ran to keep up with her, sulking as he went.
"I'm sorry," he muttered.
"You didn't do it."
Severus was quiet as they continued their trek. Lily felt bad for snapping at him, but the remembrance of the curse his friends had attempted to place on her roommate bothered her. She still didn't understand why he insisted on performing a balancing act between his friendship with his Slytherin house members and his friendship with her; he seemed to prefer her company, but his interest in her was a conflict with his obvious interest in the Dark Arts. He needed to choose which one to pursue.
"Any particular reason you've been escorting me to and from places lately?" Lily asked curiously, trying to pull her thoughts away from Severus' friends and the bad habits he picked up from them.
Severus shrugged. "We're friends; can't I make sure you travel safely?" he asked. Lily gave him a skeptical glance. "I'm just making sure no one bothers you," he replied.
"Who would bother me?"
Severus shrugged again, staring at the floor and shuffling his feet. "Just… things I've been hearing. That and people pester you… wanting to get to know you better."
"Why shouldn't they get to know me?" Lily asked, attempting to force Severus to address the issue he'd been dancing around for weeks. He had been brooding more than normal, and the constant escort he had turned into concerned her. She had a vague suspicion of what was going on in his head, but hadn't had a chance to sort out how she would approach the subject if it should ever be brought up.
"They wouldn't ever be able to truly appreciate you," he muttered.
"And you appreciate me?"
Severus looked up finally, his black eyes boring into Lily's green ones. "I appreciate everything about you," he said quietly, stepping closer to her.
Lily's breath hitched; she leaned away from Severus hesitantly. Rather than her forcing him to forgo dancing around the subject, Severus was suddenly forcing Lily to examine her own emotions towards him. He was her friend, her connection to the magical world when she went home. She'd often wondered if her feelings for him were more than platonic, and it had been obvious for some time that his feelings had moved well beyond friendship regardless of how she felt. But still, his unexpected advance toward her was unnerving.
Severus continued to move closer to her; Lily couldn't decide whether to move away from him or to stand her ground and see what happened. He was very close now, his nose almost touching hers; his eyes were open, boring into hers with an intensity that made her face flood with color…
"Lily!" Mary's voice called suddenly. "Come on! We only have two hours before the exam starts! I need your help," she said, glancing from Severus to where Lily stood, a look of shock and curiosity crossing her face.
Lily watched Severus' face twist in anger as he sighed deeply and rocked back on his heels. "I'll … um… I'll see you after the exam," said Lily quickly, before turning and darting into the library. She watched over her shoulder as Severus frowned and turned on his heel to walk back down the hall. A pang of remorse twisted her stomach. Would it be such a bad thing to find out how she felt toward him? Yes, he was dark, and yes, his friends could be horrid… but he was always kind to her. Would it be so bad to-
"Lily? Are you okay?" asked Mary, shaking her gently and interrupting her train of thought. "What did he do to you? Did he give you something, or hex you?" she asked darkly.
"No, no, he didn't give me anything. We were just talking," explained Lily rolling her eyes.
"It looked like he was about to kiss you," said Mary, shuddering slightly.
"And why would that be so bad?" asked Lily defiantly.
"Because … you could do so much better! He's got his creepy friends, and his hair, and how he dresses, and he's scary and all his older friends are in league You-Know-Who, and just … Lily, you can't be seriously thinking of trying to make yourself fancy Severus Snape just because he's enthralled with you!"
"He's not that bad, he's just misunderstood," said Lily defensively.
"I didn't misunderstand him when he and Avery shoved Jack Lewis out of their way while walking to Potions. 'Move it, filthy Mudblood'. It was pretty hard to miss," said Mary, opening her book and flipping through the pages. "And don't forget what Mulciber and Avery tried to do to me a few weeks ago…"
"I remember; But Severus isn't all bad, he just runs with the wrong crowd. Though I don't know what he sees in those guys, they're just disturbing and-"
"You can't be seriously considering this, can you?" asked Mary in a scandalized voice; Lily didn't respond. "Lily! You've got all kinds of boys all fawning for you and you're considering Severus Snape? Come on!"
"Who is fawning all over me?" asked Lily curiously.
"Oh, Paul Patterson is talking about you constantly, and he's a seventh year. Bertram Aubrey, has got it bad… and Max Linghold, that good looking Ravenclaw, thinks you're brilliant. Let's not forget Adrian Rollingsfield or James Potter or –"
"Weren't we supposed to be studying instead of talking about my potential dating prospects?" asked Lily irritably, taking out her own book and opening it.
"I suppose," Mary conceded. "But honestly, Lily… Snape? You can't be seriously considering-"
"Right now I'm considering leaving you here to study by yourself if you keep talking about this," Lily muttered darkly.
"Fine, fine. 'Common defensive jinxes and their counter-curses', this is going to be a nightmare," Mary muttered as they began to quiz each other over the spells provided in the text.
Three hours later, the Defense Against the Dark Arts theoretical exam had been completed, and Lily and Mary were walking outside toward the lake to join their friends in the sunshine.
Their other roommate, Julia Tottleham, had taken up residence next to Alice Vanceton and Marlene McKinnon, two sixth year girls who had struck up a bond with Lily and her roommates during their second year. Alice was looking over her the latest edition of the Prophet, twisting her shoulder length black hair absentmindedly with her fingers, while Marlene peered over her shoulder, her eyes narrowed as she read. Julia sat next to them, basking in the warm sun and completely unconcerned with what was going on around her. Lily was surprised that Julia finished as quickly as she had, the silvery haired blonde was usually much more cautious during test taking; but it seemed as though she felt confident enough in her abilities and finished quicker than usual.
"See? It wasn't that bad… was it?" asked Alice as Mary and Lily sat down.
"It was awful," replied Mary, her voice somber as she flopped on the ground next to Julia.
"I didn't think it was too bad; the practical will be worse though," said Julia glumly.
"Really? I actually think that will be the easy part of the test," replied Lily.
"That's just because you're so much better at the wand work than the rest of us," said Mary with a grin. Lily scowled in her direction.
"That could be taken numerous ways," said Marlene, looking up and grinning at Mary.
"Lily has another admirer?" teased Julia.
"Not one we didn't know about already. Snape tried to kiss her before she met me in the library," Mary said in an offhand voice. Alice looked up from her paper as Marlene and Julia immediately sat up and at attention.
"EEW! That's –"
"Wow…the kid has more of a spine than I gave him credit for," Marlene mused.
"Oh, will you all just shut up? He didn't try to kiss me," argued Lily. "I expect he was thinking about it, but he didn't actually do it. Besides, I don't really think I want to go down that path with him or-"
"Thank Merlin," Mary said.
"I was saying," Lily continued in an annoyed voice, "with him, or anyone at this point. I'd rather just get through school and figure out what to do with myself," she explained with a confident tone to her voice.
"Well, you won't have any trouble finding someone to take you to the ball at least," said Julia with a shrug.
Lily let out a resigned sigh and stared out over the lake, listening vaguely as her roommates turned their talk to the coming end of school year ball. She hadn't given it much thought, studying for O.W.L.'s had consumed her time completely; besides, as a prefect she would be working on coordinating the event rather than participating in it. She recalled Severus mentioning it, but other than that nothing had been said.
As she thought about Severus, the thought popped into her mind again as to whether or not it would be a good idea to consider exploring her feelings for him. She didn't want to lose her friend, but she didn't want to miss an opportunity for love either. Her girlfriends would never understand if she did have feelings for him; he was the definition of black character, the epitome of dark. Lily had to admit his friendships and activities caused her concern. Perhaps it was just best to leave things the way they were. She had a confidant when she went home, and here at school she had another influence besides her roommates. Though, with Severus' continued interest in the Dark Arts and idolization of the horrific powers being demonstrated by the Death Eaters, she wasn't sure he was the kind of influence she wanted to have around.
Her thoughts were interrupted suddenly by Mary, Marlene and Julia bursting out in loud peals of laughter. Lily looked around, eyeing the group of people they were laughing at curiously. "What's funny?"
"Potter and Black are over there giving that slimy git a talking to, and it's rather amusing," Mary said, indicating the group that had gathered between a large tree and a small shrub patch.
"That "slimy git" being Severus?" Lily said, getting to her feet.
"Who else?" said Alice. She joined Lily in looking over at the crowd of students with a scowl on her face. "They hate each other; it's so stupid."
"And it's mean," Lily said as she stormed off in the direction of the group.
"Ah, Lily! Don't get involved," called Julia in protest. But Lily was not going to be deterred, she was a Prefect after all, and she had a responsibility to stop it. Whether or not she had feelings for Severus, whether or not his interests were darker than they should be, it was wrong to allow him to be treated like this.
"Leave him ALONE!" Lily shouted as she broke through the circle of students that had formed around the action. Anger rose inside her even more as she observed Severus on the ground, gasping for air as soap bubbles ran copiously down his face. James Potter and Sirius Black were standing over him, sneering like animals gathered around a kill. Potter jumped to his feet and started fidgeting with his hair. Lily's eyes narrowed viciously.
"All right, Evans?" Potter asked in a smooth voice, his restless hand messing up his already tousled, shaggy black hair.
"Leave him alone," Lily demanded. She glared at Potter with such a hard expression that a few in the crowd backed away. "What's he done to you?"
"Well, it's more the fact that he exists, if you know what I mean," Potter explained. Several of the onlookers laughed.
"You think you're funny, but you're just an arrogant, bullying toerag, Potter. Leave him alone," Lily repeated.
"I will if you go out with me, Evans," said Potter quickly. "Go on… go out with me, and I'll never lay a wand on old Snivelly again."
Lily cringed and snorted derisively, "I wouldn't go out with you if it was a choice between you and the giant squid," she said, watching a look of confusion cross James' face.
"Bad luck, Prongs," said Black. "OY!"
Severus had gotten to his feet; with a flourish his wand, there was a flash of light and a loud snap as a bright red gash appeared on the side of Potter's face, spattering blood onto his robes. Lily gasped in shock; what kind of a spell had Severus cast?
Anger crossed Potter's features and before Severus could move again, Potter had whirled around with his wand extended. Another flash of light appeared and Severus was lifted off his feet. He hung upside down, his billowy black robes falling over his head, his skinny legs and graying underpants visible to everyone watching.
Raucous laughter overtook the crowd; Black clapped Potter on the back as little Peter Pettigrew leaned on him for support, both of them roaring malicious laughter. Severus struggled in his position but to no avail. Lily bit back a hint of laughter at the sight – what was he thinking not wearing trousers under those ridiculous robes – before turning on Potter and Black with anger lining every inch of her face.
"Let him down!" she shouted.
"Certainly," said Potter, flicking his wand. Severus fell into a tangle of robes and limbs on the ground, and before he could right himself, Black had pulled out his wand and shouted "Petrificus Totalus" causing Severus' legs and arms to snap together as he fell over into the grass.
"LEAVE HIM ALONE!" yelled Lily. Anger turned into fury as she pulled her wand out from her robes and aimed it at Potter and Black.
"Ah, Evans, don't make me hex you," said Potter, a sympathetic look in his eye.
I'd like to see you try, Lily thought to herself. "Take the curse off him, then!"
He sighed and flicked his wand, allowing Severus to struggle to his feet again. Lily pushed past Potter to help Severus untangle himself. "There you go; you're lucky Evans was here, Snivellus, otherwise-"
But Potter's observation was cut off. Lily had just gotten past where he and Black stood when Severus righted himself and looked up, his eyes full of rage. "I don't need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her!" he shouted. His eyes and words were focused on Potter and Black, but the insult was meant for Lily.
The crowd gasped collectively, a few people muttered angry retorts in Snape's direction. Lily blinked and looked Severus straight in the eyes. She saw for a moment a hint of remorse, but then it turned back into the cold hatred that consumed his face whenever he spoke of Potter and his gang; Severus averted his eyes from Lily's and looked at the ground.
"Fine, I won't bother in the future," Lily muttered coolly. She backed slowly away from Severus and turned on her heel. "And I'd wash your pants if I were you… Snivellus," Lily hissed over her shoulder as she started to walk away.
Potter's face expression was full of fury as he stepped in front of Lily and aimed his wand at Severus' face. "Apologize to Evans!" he roared threateningly.
"I don't want you to make him apologize!" shouted Lily, scoffing at Potter and his attempt at heroism. "You're as bad as he is…" she muttered as she began to walk away.
Lily felt like she had been doused in cold water, and she felt extremely irritated and hurt by what had just happened. A combination of her irritation earlier at Severus' and his conflicting interest in her and the Dark Arts, her roommates' prying and comments about all the boys that fancied her, Potter and Black's torment of Severus, and finally, Severus' own insult of her made her eyes prick and her temper rise uncontrollably in her chest. Memories of Severus sitting next to her in the grass at the play ground saying it didn't matter that she was Muggle-born flooded back into her head. She knew there was prejudice against her, especially from Slytherin, but it hadn't mattered to him. He had been her friend, her sounding board, her source of information about the world that she was only beginning to understand…
And it was all a lie; it did matter to him. Despite all his insistence that he wasn't like his friends, that her blood-status meant nothing, she was nothing to him but a filthy Mudblood.
"What?" Potter yelped, drawing her focus back to the present. He turned toward her, sputtering strangled defensive statements. "I'd NEVER call you a – you-know-what!"
Lily's anger boiled over; he didn't have to insult her, he was a bully and his actions were just as bad as what Severus had called her. "Messing up your hair because you think it looks cool to look like you've just got off your broom stick, showing off with that stupid snitch, walking down corridors and hexing anyone who annoys you just because you can," she hissed at Potter, watching as he stood his ground but his confident expression flickered for a moment. "I'm surprised your broomstick can get off the ground with that fat head on it. You make me SICK!" she screamed, turning on her heel and walking back toward the castle.
"Evans! Hey, EVANS!" Potter shouted. Lily ignored him and kept walking. As she got further away, she heard a bang and the crowd resumed their laughter. She assumed that Potter had started tormenting Severus again, but she didn't care.
Tears were pouring down her cheeks by the time she reached Gryffindor tower. Ignoring the curious looks of the students in the common room, she raced up the stairs to her dormitory and slammed the door. Lily sat on her bed, breathing heavily and trying to compose herself. She had friends, but Severus was supposed to be her best friend; her confidant and connection to the Magical world when she returned home each summer and had to endure the taunting from her sister. She had defended him for so long; tirelessly, loyally, and the whole time he had been insulting her behind her back. The whole time she had been begging him to avoid his narrow minded friends, to give up on the exploration of the evil powers that were so taboo, he'd been letting their influence rub off on him and gotten in so deep that he didn't care for her anymore.
Lily sniffed loudly and collapsed onto her pillow, her shoulders shaking with sobs. How stupid and foolish had she been to think that she'd ever belong here? The one person who had always told her it didn't matter that she wasn't pure-blooded, or even half-blooded, was prejudiced against her all along. Why had he befriended her? Because she was pretty? Because he desired her? Was that it, and if so, how could he because of her blood? It was nothing more than a fancying crush on his part, she meant nothing to him.
As her thoughts turned to self depreciating routes and began to overwhelm her, Lily finally succumbed to exhaustion and fell asleep.
A/N: I took very liberal use of the Chapter from OOTP that this is from, all credit for those scenes belongs to JK Rowling - no credit for the idea is mine. But it's a good starting point for where I want to go from here... which I hope you all enjoy. I spent a lot of time researching time frames for this story, but if dates and numbers don't match up it's completely my fault and I apologize, just take it with a grain of salt and enjoy! AK