The Seer's Diary
Chapter One: An End
Notes: Hello, and welcome to my newest story! I really hope you enjoy. ;D
And thank you to Tangerine on MNI for beta reading for me! 3
She looked up from the morning's copy of the Daily Prophet which she'd been reading half-heartedly. On the page she had been skimming was a picture of a noble-looking man with greying hair, half-smiling and waving regally. Lily was frowning at the photograph because it seemed so unreal, topping some ludicrous article about the Minister for Magic and how well the war against Voldemort was going—not that they really admitted they were in fact in a state of war. She was certain that the only reason people believed that it was all going well was that the Ministry constantly withheld information about the war they were supposedly not in. They were keeping the mass murders and Azkaban breakouts she only heard rumours about all a secret. It was ridiculous what they were doing, not to mention completely, undeniably wrong.
Lily smiled as she saw a girl approaching her from the door of the dormitory. "Yeah, Mary?"
The girl had her blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail and her school robes still on. It was obvious she was coming to their room for the first time during the evening. She bit her lip, beginning with caution. "Well—er—" Mary paused, sighing. "I don't know how to make it sound more pleasant, so I'll just get on with it. Snape is outside the portrait hole and wants to talk to you. He says that he's going to sleep there unless you come out and see him."
Lily's face contorted as though there was an overwhelmingly sour taste on her tongue. She'd seen this coming, but it didn't exactly make the prospect of speaking to him any more enjoyable. She knew that Snape would come back to her, to try to say something, but it didn't make any difference to her. "Rotten git." She slapped the newspaper on top of her bed, the Minister still looking up at her indifferently.
"You don't have to go out there," Mary told her hesitantly, but Lily immediately shook her head.
"But I do," she muttered quietly. She knew she had to do it, no matter how much she didn't want to. She wouldn't stand by and let him torture her in this way, wouldn't let him insult her without making a single protest. "Can't have him sleeping there..."
Lily slowly pulled her dressing gown over her shorts and t-shirt. Despite how warm it was in and outside the castle, she felt slightly exposed in her pyjamas. She sighed, leaving the dormitory and walking down the stairs into the empty common room. It was late, she knew, and she didn't like the idea of getting in trouble for being out in the hall, losing points for Gryffindor and possibly serving a detention miserably with him. She hoped that he would make it quick so Filch wouldn't catch them.
She pushed against the portrait hole and it opened, revealing Severus nervously pacing in front of it. He jumped slightly as the door opened, glancing up at her with wide black eyes, his lips slightly parted.
"Lily—" he gasped, rushing towards her.
She raised her eyebrows coldly at him, folding her arms angrily across her chest. "Come to reiterate the fact that you no longer give a damn about me, Sev?"
He gazed down at the floor, unable to look at her that moment. "I'm sorry."
"I'm not interested," she spat, staring at him.
He looked back up at her, rubbing his elbow awkwardly. "I'm sorry!"
"Save your breath," she snapped back, glaring at him through emerald eyes. She watched as he opened his mouth and quickly shut it again, which only made her angrier. He was fumbling probably just to apologise again, which she couldn't take. Why couldn't he see that no matter how many times he said that he was sorry, it wouldn't change what he'd done? "I only came out because Mary told me you were threatening to sleep here," she finally told him, making sure he knew that there was no other reason she would want to see him after what had happened by the lake earlier in the afternoon.
"I was," he said quickly, taking the chance to speak freely, attempting to explain himself. "I would have done. I never meant to call you Mudblood, it just—"
"Slipped out?" Lily inquired coldly. "It's too late. I've made excuses for you for years," she said with a cool laugh that made him shiver slightly. "None of my friends can understand why I even talk to you. You and your precious little Death Eater friends—you see, you don't even deny it!" She took a deep breath, trying to steady her head, which was spinning. It didn't feel real, to think that her best friend in the world was actually siding with Voldemort. After all they had been through, Severus was choosing him over her. It couldn't be real. "You don't even deny that's what you're all aiming to be! You can't wait to join You-Know-Who, can you?"
Silence rang through the corridor. Again he seemed to be on the verge of speaking but didn't say anything. She wanted more than anything for him to say that it wasn't true, that he was still her friend, that he didn't care about Voldemort or the Dark Arts at all. She wanted it to be just the two of them again, back when they were little and they ran down to the stream near his house, picking wildflowers as he told her all about Hogwarts and the Magical world. It had all sounded so good to her then. It sounded like the entire idea was so pure and innocent, but now she saw that even magic was tainted with evil wizards and dark spells, and there was nothing she could do to go back to the days when it wasn't.
She shook her head after a few moments when he still said nothing. "I can't pretend any more," she said in a pitiless voice. "You've chosen your way, I've chosen mine."
He reached out to her but she took a step back, and he dropped his hand back to his side. His black eyes were pleading. "No—listen, I didn't mean—"
"—to call me Mudblood?" she laughed coldly, glaring at him. "But you call everyone of my birth Mudblood, Severus. Why should I be any different?"
He opened his mouth, about to say something, but she turned her back on him and quickly clambered back through the way from which she had come.
The portrait hole slammed shut behind her, and she slipped her dressing gown off her shoulders, carelessly throwing it across the back of the sofa in the common room. Anger was boiling inside her veins as she thought of the exchange which had happened just moments ago as she fiercely brushed her messy red braid over her shoulder. She let out a shout of frustration, swiping at the top of a decorative table next to an arm chair. This sent the vase sitting on it toppling to the floor, shattering on the hardwood panelling with a horrible-sounding crash she hoped none of her sleeping housemates had heard.
"Oi, Evans!" came a voice from the stairs. Her head jerked up reflexively and she noticed James Potter, standing in confusion. He descended the stairs cautiously, his eyes locked on the mess of fresh flowers and shards of glass on the floor. "What the hell's going on?"
"None of your business, Potter," she spat, folding her arms reproachfully. "Get back to bed."
He was in his pyjamas, just as she was, and on his nose were perched thick round glasses, behind which his hazel eyes were now surveying her. She wished he wouldn't because she thought that he might know more than he was letting on, that he could see in every one of her features how hurt she was. She angled her face away from him to obscure his view of her, squeezing her eyes shut for a moment and licking her lips. She felt the familiar prickling sensation in the back of her eyes when she opened them again, furiously trying to blink back tears. She refused to cry, not there. Not in front of Potter.
"Lily," he suddenly said, using her first name upon recognising her distress, reaching his hand out slowly to her. He looked concerned but she ignored it—she was feeling vulnerable and wasn't about to let him notice that she did in fact need somebody at the moment.
"Don't touch me," she snapped, pushing his arm away. She walked past him, staring at the fire. If she looked at the flames and concentrated on them hard and long enough, she wouldn't think about Severus, she convinced herself. She could just watch the flames licking the stones of the fireplace, the wood curling into ashes before her eyes. She didn't want to think about how much he had hurt her. She didn't want to think of how her heart was aching at that precise moment because he had once promised that it didn't matter if she was a Muggle-born because she had plenty of magic in her, and they were friends—best friends.
It proved to be a fruitless endeavour, however, because almost immediately she was reminded of him. She shut her eyes and two tears seeped out of the corners, feeling cool as they rolled over her warm, rosy cheeks. No, she thought desperately, she couldn't do this, not then, not there, not with him standing so close... She willed herself to stop immediately.
Suddenly she felt James's hand on her cheek, brushing her tears away. Unconsciously she leaned into his touch, feeling the warm comfort of his palm as his hand lingered on her cheek, his fingers in the hair which was falling out of the messy plait down her back. Tears continued to fall down her cheeks which he would quickly wipe away. She wanted to remain there for as long as humanly possible, feeling so safe and calm. However, remembering after a moment who it was that was touching her so comfortingly, she withdrew. She turned away from him and hugged herself awkwardly, her hands clutching her elbows so tightly that her knuckles were as white as snow. She took in a very shaky breath, screwing up her face in a strained effort not to cry.
Almost immediately she sensed him approaching her once more. Sure enough, he moved toward her, wrapping his arms around her and stroking her hair.
At first, she fought violently against his body. She cursed him and beat his chest as she struggled and squirmed in vain to remove herself from his grasp. "Don't touch me, Potter!" she told him angrily, trying to push him away, but his arms tightened around her, clutching her to him closely and comfortingly. "Keep your filthy hands off of me!"
"No," he told her forcefully, grunting slightly in an effort to keep her. "Look, Evans—Lily," he went on in the same firm tone of voice, still holding her tightly, "I know you hate me, and that's just fine. Hell, I deserve it after what I did today, but... I'm not stupid. You're upset, and I'm not going to leave you alone right now to—to break more flower vases or—or something worse."
His words surprised her, her pounding against his chest slowing and she suddenly found herself openly sobbing into his t-shirt as he rubbed her back awkwardly. She cursed herself for it, feeling so weak in front of one of the people she despised most, but she couldn't prevent the inevitable tears any more. She trembled violently and her knees buckled, her legs crumpling beneath her, James keeping her as steady as he could. After a few moments he gave up supporting her, the two gently falling to their knees, onto the rug beneath them.
"Shh, Lily," he cooed softly in her ear, his hot breath tickling her skin as he did, "it's all right..."
She grabbed fistfuls of the back of his shirt, pulling him even closer to her. She felt their bare legs brush against each other, both clad only in shorts on that hot summer night. It wasn't all right, she knew, but couldn't force herself to speak and tell him any differently. But she knew that she wasn't supposed to be so angry with Severus. She wasn't supposed to hurt so much because of him. She wasn't supposed to be feeling so completely weak. She wasn't supposed to to be sitting on the common room floor, sobbing into James Potter's chest.
It felt like some strange, parallel universe to her; it couldn't possibly be real. She was half-sure, or maybe just hoping, that she had stayed up studying for the Defence Against the Dark Arts O.W.L. too long and was really out cold on one of her textbooks. Certainly at any moment she'd wake up with her face slightly stuck to one of the pages of a massive tome with sore eyes and a headache—crying to James Potter was just some peculiar dream she'd wake up from any moment. It wasn't actually happening.
The seconds wore on, however, quickly turning into minutes, and nothing changed. This was in fact her reality, she realised, and the tears subsequently came harder and faster.
Finally, her tears seemed to subside as she cried herself out and James gently tried to pull himself away from her.
"Please don't go," she pleaded breathlessly. She felt so childish doing so, part of her unsure what had made herself say it in the first place.
He looked down at her sadly as she still clung hopelessly to his shirt. She could tell that he was also certain it wasn't really him that she wanted, but just the company.
"Just going to get you a handkerchief from my trunk," he told her softly, delicately. He reluctantly left her sniffling on the floor to quickly run to his dormitory. She stared blurrily around the common room as she waited. She felt so completely strange, almost like she could reach out to the crackling fire and it wouldn't burn her hand, or if she walked across the room she would go straight through the furniture instead of colliding painfully with it. The sad truth, however, continued to wash over her, constantly reminding her that it was all real. James finally returned, and she took the handkerchief from him graciously, dabbing at her tender eyes which burned from crying for such a long time. Her face felt warm and she was sure that she was rather red, but she wasn't too concerned, her mind on more than her appearance in the dimly lit common room, so late at night.
"I'm sorry about today," James muttered, gazing at her with a mixture of sadness and guilt. She looked up at him, watching the flickering shadows the fire was casting upon his face, the flames reflecting in his hazel eyes and glinting off his glasses. "I shouldn't have done that to Sniv—to Snape."
She looked down at the floor, unable to keep his gaze any longer because of the sudden stinging in her heart and painful pounding in her forehead. She swallowed hard, breathing shakily. "Don't."
"What?" he asked her, completely nonplussed.
"Don't apologise," she said firmly in a strange sort of strangled croak, attempting the same tone he'd used when he'd spoken so calmly to her earlier. "Please, don't."
He stared at her for a moment, trying to make sense of what she was saying. "But—"
"I don't forgive you for it, Potter," she told him quietly, staring at a lose thread on the carpet, coiling it around her finger absent-mindedly, "but I certainly can't forgive him, either." He was quiet for a moment, and she suddenly blurted out, "I shouldn't have been so rude to you for defending me." The thread snapped, leaving a minuscule hole in the rug.
"You had every right," James assured her kindly, rubbing his arm guiltily. "I was being a downright prat."
"Yeah, you were," she agreed, giving him a watery smile as she balled the thread from the carpet up between her thumb and forefinger, flicking it and watching it bounce beneath the sofa. She looked up at him and could see how relieved he was at the prospect of her returning to her normal self, as sarcastic and hateful she might be.
He sighed dramatically. "You wound me, Evans."
She laughed softly, now hugging her knees to her chest, pointing her socked feet in toward each other, resting one set of toes on top of the other. "I feel a little guilty," she murmured off-handedly, closing her eyes for a second or two. "He tried to apologise, but I wouldn't listen."
"Is that why you were so upset?" he asked her delicately.
She nodded, unsure why she was suddenly telling him all this. "He was threatening to sleep outside the portrait. He... he said he didn't mean it, calling me what he did, but it doesn't matter. I shouldn't be any different from the other Muggle-borns he insults and tortures with all his Death Eater friends." She looked up at James sadly. "I tried so hard for so long. I always defended him to everyone else when they tried to warn me how bad he really was. I just couldn't see it. He was my best friend and I loved him like he was my brother, but now..." she trailed off. Her voice dropped, sounding close to tears again. "He doesn't really care about me any more, that's obvious. I'm just like every other Muggle-born to him."
"You're not any different from any Pureblood or Half-Blood, either," James told her, righteous anger ringing throughout his words. "All this nonsense about blood has gotten out of hand over the past few years—good blood and bad blood, clean blood and dirty blood... You're just as much of a witch as any Pureblood out there, if not more." He hesitated for a moment, shyly reaching his hand out to her cheek again, stroking it cautiously with his thumb. "Don't let anyone tell you any different."
He quickly withdrew his hand, his cheeks burning scarlet in the firelight as he looked at the rug, biting his lip. She'd never seen him like this, so sweet and easily embarrassed as he reached out and tried to help her. It was strange, so peculiar to see him acting this differently. Perhaps he'd always been that way somewhere deep down only she'd never taken the time to notice, or maybe he'd never taken the time to show her.
"Thanks," she mumbled, suddenly feeling just as sheepish as he was acting. She tried to shake the sensation off, remembering that this was James Potter, after all.
"Your cheek," she said, suddenly remembering the spell Severus had cast earlier. She looked carefully at James, noticing the cut, hidden slightly by his hair. "You didn't go to Madam Pomphrey?"
He shook his head and shrugged. "She would have asked questions and he would've gotten into a heap of trouble. It wasn't worth it."
"Thank you," she said softly.
He looked up and smiled at her. Without notice, he stood up, offering her his hand. She took it and he pulled her to her feet with ease. "I suppose we ought to get to bed, now," he said, yawning and stretching, then glancing casually at his shining wristwatch, stars ticking around Roman numerals. "Merlin, it's late," he mumbled to himself.
She smiled graciously at him, nodding in agreement, taking her wand from her dressing gown pocket and quickly repairing the vase which she had broken earlier. It soared back onto the table, flowers and all, and she admired it for a brief second. Her robe in her arms, she looked back at James, taking him in for a moment before making any movement. She half wanted to say something else. She wanted to thank him properly, but she felt exhausted, emotionally and physically, unable to think of a single thing to say. Maybe on some other day she'd be able to do something more to thank him.
She tried offering the handkerchief back to him, but he simply shook his head and said, "Keep it."
She smiled, nodding.
"G'night, Potter," she said at last, waving her hand and walking past him. Finally, she went up the stairs to the girls' dormitory. She felt so tired and couldn't wait to just curl up in her bed, underneath her scarlet blankets and sleep away all the hurt she continued to feel. After all, it was an end to her most treasured friendship; somehow, though, it had also brought about an end to the hatred she felt toward James. There was still so much that she despised about him and the way he acted, so many things she wished he wouldn't do, so many things she wished he wouldn't say; that didn't change. However, something... perhaps his persistence against her violent struggling, or the fight to calm her down and comfort her, tugged lightly at her heart. It felt like something completely different from the pain she'd been wallowing in earlier. Certainly James wasn't as bad as she had always convinced herself, after all. He'd shown her that by acting so kindly in her time of most desperate need. One day she hoped she'd be able to tell him more properly how much his comfort that night had meant to her.
"Good night, Evans," she heard him mutter quietly in her wake.