"What are your dreams, Lily?" Alice asks one night in seventh year, as they lay in their beds, on the verge of sleep.
"What...?" Lily asks sleepily, rolling over to face Alice, a cascade of red hair falling over her shoulder, "Aren't you supposed to wait until the morning to ask what I've dreamt?"
"Not those sorts of dreams, stupid," Alice rolls her eyes, "Dreams for the future?"
"Oh, Al... Isn't it a bit late to be having this kind of conversation? Besides, I have no idea – to be quite honest, ever since I've started dating Potter, I have no idea who I even am anymore, let alone what I want for the future."
"You're different now you're with him," Alice mumbles as she pulls the covers up under her chin, like a child, "It's nice. Mmmm, nighty night, Lils."
There is a moments silence, as the dormitory light is turned off, and then Lily begins to talk into the darkness.
"Al-? Alice?" She whispers fervently into the darkness, suddenly awake.
"Whaaaaaaaaat?" Alice groans, shifting and sighing.
"Can I tell you something?" Lily asks, and there is an almost tangible edge of pain to her voice. There is a pause, and Lily takes a deep breath and begins to talk very quickly, "I mean, I used to have a dream once, a long time ago. I dreamt about getting married, and living with my husband, but in a house that wasn't in Spinner's End. I dreamt that we had dark-eyed children and lived happily ever after and–"
The last words come out a rush, and Lily chokes back a sob. Alice murmurs into the darkness, "Oh Lils, don't cry, sweetheart,"
"It's fine," Lily sniffles softly, and there is a pause, "It's all in the past now. Night, Al."
In the morning, Alice seems to have a tirade of questions about Lily's childhood dreams.
"Who was he?" she gushes over breakfast, "Was he handsome? A childhood crush? With dark eyes, hmmm... Well, James still does have brown eyes, so you're not completely out of luck there, I guess..."
Lily rolls her eyes, taking a deep drink of coffee, and Alice shoots her a worried glance, "You don't mind me talking about this, do you? You seemed kind of upset last night."
"It's fine," Lily sighs with a small smile, and Alice grins and begins quizzing once more. It continues through the corridors, and down into the dungeons into Potions.
"Oh, there's one thing I was curious about!" Alice suddenly exclaims in a stage whisper, which isn't much quieter than her normal voice, as the rest of the class are pouring over their copies of Advanced Potion Making, "Why don't you want to live in that place? What as it... Spinney- Spin-"
"Spinner's End," Lily supplies quietly, her ears burning. She is desperately aware that Severus is sitting on the next table. She hopes to Godric, Merlin and whoever else is listening, that Alice will have the sense to Shut Up.
"So why don't you want to live in Spinner's End?" Alice asks, ever oblivious to Lily's embarrassment. Severus is looking at her now, and Lily is determined not to meet his eyes; she wonders just how much of the conversation he's heard.
Lily answers, in barely a whisper, "Because that's where Severus lives."
"Oh," Alice says, looking slightly puzzled, "But why would it matter where he lives? I mean... you don't live with him anyway!"
"Merlin, you're dense sometimes, Alice," Lily sighed. Almost against her will, her eyes pull themselves up to meet Severus' dark ones. They stare at each other for less than ten seconds, and then Severus angrily jerks his gaze away, scowling furiously at his copy of Advanced Potion Making.
"I was living with him," Lily admitted softly, "It was part of the dream."
"OH!" Alice gasps, the pieces finally clicking into place in her mind. Professor Slughorn shot her a very dirty look, which she diligently ignored, "Oh, Lily, I'm so sorry! I'm so thick! I didn't realise... Snape! Really?"
Lily nodded, concentrating on cutting her Sopophorous Bean into as smaller pieces as possible.
"I... wow. I'm flabbergasted, Lils,"
"Mmmmm," Lily replies noncommittally. She is now, somehow, hyper-aware of Severus' every move; he has just walked past Lily and Alice's table to collect something from the store cupboard. Alice's eyes follow him as he leaves.
"It's all in the past now, Al," Lily says, finally looking up from her work, "I... Don't worry about it. I mean, James –"
Alice smirked, peering into her cauldron and stirring the contents idly, "He's really got you whipped, hasn't he, Lily?"
Lily flushes a little, and wrinkles her nose, and says, "James is... James, I guess," but it is accompanied by a small smile, and she drops her eyes, staring at the textbook – however, it's not the words written there that she's seeing.
Alice laughs, and leans across the table to pinch Lily's cheek - "Not Potter anymore!"
Lily rolls her eyes, and then feels something barge into her shoulder very hard; upon looking up, she realises that Severus has just heard everything that had just been said. Somehow, Lily can't bring herself to feel guilt about it anymore – the only feeling she gets in the pit of her stomach is the vague unease that settles there whenever Sev gets angry, and has done since she was nine years old.
Alice watches Severus return to his seat, and then shakes her head, "Why? Why him, Lily?"
"Who knows?" Lily asks wearily, suddenly feeling exhausted – of the subject, of dreams, and of the dirty looks she continually gets from her former best friend, "It's all in the past. It made for pleasant dreaming once, I suppose."