A/N: Hi! I'm going to skip all of the apologies, because I figure I did enough of that in the last chapter (aka A/N update) and everything about that I would say is already in there. Basically, I'm sorry this has taken so long, but I'll briefly tell you WHY it took so long if you aren't aware...this is the 3rd time I've completely re-started this chapter, and a fair few drafts into the 3rd attempt too. It will make a bit more sense after you've read it, but re-reading the books and then watching the final movie (amazing, btw) made me realise that the way I had originally intended to structure this chapter soooo wasn't right, at all. I stopped writing for a while just to get my head around it all, tried again and realised I was still too off the mark, but eventually came back in with a fresh idea and banged it out! I'm feeling really happy about it now, so I really hope you guys like it too - that's what reviewing is for, so PLEASE let me know what you think! As always, much love to Rhet who I'm sure I've thoroughly disappointed by taking so damn long to get this done (hopefully it's not too mediocre! haha) and I really hope you enjoy it! And, dear readers, let it be known that Rhet is paying me a visit very soon, so if the next chapter (the FINAL chapter!) is not done by then I'm sure she will give me a stern talking to or a clip behind the ear to get me going again haha. I haven't started it yet (just finished skimming this one and wanted you to get it NOW) but I'm really looking forward to the last ever chapter of this story, so get ready for it! Anyway, enough of that, enjoy this chapter and PLEASE review! Also, longest chapter yet - yay!
Disclaimer: haha, I wish.
People were staring.
Lily was painfully aware of their gazes as she stood up awkwardly in the middle of the corridor, her bag still at her feet from the fall. Adjusting her skirt slightly, she reached down to grab her bag just as another hand darted out, brushing hers as it picked up her bag and held it out. Taking it with a small 'thank you', Lily felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand on end with the feeling of so many eyes on her.
Of course they were staring. It was common knowledge that she and Severus had not properly spoken for months, let alone been confronted by each other in the middle of the sixth floor, and people were clearly keen to see how they reacted to each other. Lily could distinctly make out Bertha Jorkins, a gossipy seventh year Hufflepuff student, whispering loudly to the person next to her; she heard the phrase 'lover's scuffle' and nearly lost her head.
After such a cleansing experience with James just minutes before, Lily felt suddenly weighed down by the presence of Severus and what seemed like half the school in the corridor that, all of a sudden, was far too small for Lily's liking. She knew that they needed to talk about their slowly fading friendship, but Lily couldn't bear to let go of the happiness she had just felt with James, something that had become fleeting in her life these past few weeks.
"What's going on?" cried a voice loudly over the hoard of students, followed without delay by James himself, who had just pushed himself to the front of the crowd. His eyes narrowed immediately at the sight of Severus, whose hand jumped to the pocket of his robes instantaneously, and realising what was happening just as quickly, Lily winced in frustration.
"Don't you dare," she directed towards James, whose own hand had slipped into his robes faster than she thought possible, "either of you!"
Severus seemed torn, not cursing James like he so obviously desired but not putting away his wand either; James at least had the decency to look embarrassed as he pocketed his own wand, but was keeping a sharp eye on his opponent.
"If you have any sense left, you'll put that away right now! I'm a Prefect, for goodness sake, I should be docking points right now!" Lily continued, eyeing Severus expectantly. She watched his gaze flicker towards the far wall where she noticed a rather large group of Slytherins watching their exchange with avid interest, some sneering when they spotted her. Turning incredulously away, she found Severus still with his wand out, peering over at the group apprehensively.
"What's this?" came another boisterous call from the group, and suddenly Sirius Black emerged next to James with Remus and Peter in tow. "Snivellus fighting in the hall? Why, Moony, I'm certain that there is a school rule against any such activity!"
Lily distinctly heard Peter murmur "That's because you've broken it that often..."
"Something must be done!" Sirius continued, either oblivious to the comment or choosing to ignore it. "Moony, I insist that you take points right away – we wouldn't want anyone getting ideas now, would we?"
"I didn't do anything," Severus spat.
"No, and I suppose it's a good thing Evans is here," James replied coolly, "for your sake, that is."
All four Marauders turned their gaze to Lily, who purposefully resisted the urge to look at Remus despite noticing how peaky he appeared. "Evans," said Sirius, "my apologies. We Marauders will, of course, step aside and allow you to continue with your punishment." He paused, and then added, "That is what you were doing, wasn't it?"
Ignoring the tone of Sirius' voice, Lily turned back to Severus who still had his wand by his side. "If he puts his wand away right now, I won't have to." She heard a muffled 'Ooooooooooo' come from somewhere in the crowd, and turned to find the gang of Slytherins still standing there and smirking between her and Severus, who was now staring at his shoes and seemed greatly uncomfortable.
His wand arm seemed to twitch slightly, to which Sirius quickly called "go on, Snivellus, do as the pretty Prefect says!" Shooting Sirius a look of great contempt, Lily noticed Severus wince a little as he slowly slipped his wand back into the pocket of his robes, clearly trying to ignore the rise in volume of the comments coming from around them. The Slytherins in particular had begun to jeer at Severus, who looked like he wanted nothing more than to sink into the ground, and while Lily could not fully understand his desire to fit in with them she felt a sudden wave of sympathy towards her old friend.
She approached Severus, ignoring the added noise as she did so, and said quietly, "we need to talk – tonight. Meet me after dinner in the Entrance Hall." With a brief but clear nod in return, Lily turned on her heel and walked towards the staircase. Her gaze flitted towards the crowd out of the corner of her eye, noticing movement, and found James approaching her as she moved through the corridor.
"What was all that about?" he asked as soon as they were out of earshot of the remaining students. Lily knew exactly what his tone was referring to, but did not let her thoughts linger on that moment in the library; she would have plenty of time to dwell on that tonight.
"We need to sort some things out, as you very well know, so don't you dare go meddling."
Sirius emerged beside him almost as quickly as the remaining two, who were keeping a distance back from Lily but very clearly listening to the conversation. "Don't worry your pretty little head, Evans, we're otherwise previously engaged tonight – taking these two to the Hospital Wing for their stomachs, aren't we Pete?"
Lily watched the small boy nod weakly, and he did indeed seem a little ill, but standing next to Remus he looked positively coloured – if it weren't for Peter's appearance, she would have vowed to check the ceiling at dinner for the presence of a perfectly round moon. Sincerely hoping that whatever it was wasn't too contagious, Lily sent a small smile James' way before moving towards the larger group of people making their way down the array of moving staircases towards the Great Hall for dinner.
While eating her steak and kidney pie, Lily found her attention constantly drifting towards the Slytherin table where she would meet the eyes of Severus every time, his small smiles reminding her of her first year at Hogwarts when he was her only friend. She remembered huddling together with him and whispering of all the wonderful things she had learnt in their classes, his expression never once bored or exasperated no matter how many times she managed to tell the same story out of excitement. Throughout the years their relationship changed, of course, but for a moment Lily was transported back to being a timid little first year seeking out the one pair of eyes she knew were seeking for her in turn, and she liked it.
Sooner than she really expected herself to, Lily had stomached her last bite of custard tart and forced herself to sit for another few minutes before giving into her jittery legs and rising from the Gryffindor table, only now noticing that Severus' place across the room was already empty – perhaps she was not the only one eager to have this conversation.
She found him by the grand staircase fiddling with the clasp on his robes, seemingly unaware of her appearance until she was directly in front of him. He immediately dropped the front of his robes and smiled almost shyly, nodding upwards as an indication to follow. They ascended together in silence, Severus only vaguely leading as they climbed through the castle, but soon Lily began to recognise their path and couldn't stop herself from practically beaming. Stopping halfway along the third floor corridor, Lily instinctively reached out for a doorknob directly to the left of a large and overbearing suit of armour, unsurprisingly finding the door to be unlocked, and let herself inside.
The Charms classroom was a vast and open room with high ceilings and large bay windows that were rarely covered by its thick curtains. Instead, and much like tonight, the windows allowed for a great deal of light to spread throughout the room, and even in the moonlight Lily could still clearly distinguish its layout. She watched as Severus sat down at one of the desks near the back of the room, possibly the one he sat in during classes (Gryffindors and Slytherins never shared Charms classes), but was cast into shadow by his position and looked rather uncomfortable. Lily herself sat in one of the window seats, looking around at the classroom once more.
"Do you remember the first time we ever snuck in here?" Lily asked quietly, a small smile on her face.
Severus' face lit up at the memory, and quickly began saying, "It was our first week here..."
"And we had just been through flying lessons -"
"And you nearly managed to decapitate half of Gryffindor before you realised how to touch back down-"
"I told them not to let me on a broom!" Lily exclaimed loudly, red with embarrassment.
"That was the one class you weren't absolutely brilliant in and you swore never to do it again-"
"Until you stole one of the spare rooms during our break and brought me up here until I wasn't complete rubbish," Lily said, thinking back to those days when Severus would gently help her float above the ground without tearing apart the classroom. He showed absolute patience and kindness towards her during those sessions, never once teasing her for being poor on a broom, for he too had never flown on one before attending Hogwarts – his father had been very strictly against it. "You've taught me everything I know about this world, Sev, and I am forever grateful for that. Who knows where I'd have been without you?"
"Top of every class, still, I've got no doubt. You wouldn't have let anything or anyone best you," Severus replied with conviction, though Lily thought she might have seen colour on his cheeks as he spoke. "Looks like nothing's changed then," he added cheekily, watching for her reaction closely.
Her mouth opened to retort, but a giggle escaped before Lily could do so, and soon she was laughing loudly along with Severus. Of course she knew he was only joking, as they had with each other for years, and somehow the memory of James insulting her earlier on flashed in her mind. There was an obvious difference between the two of them in that respect – Severus was always careful not to upset her, and always had been, which Lily greatly appreciated. James, on the other hand, was not afraid to upset her if it meant speaking his mind and a part of her admired that too, but now was definitely not the time to be comparing them. After all, she had come here in the hopes of reconciling her oldest friendship, and while spending time with Severus like this was comfortable and familiar for her, there was still clear evidence that they were drifting apart.
Lily heard her laughter die away at that thought. "Only everything has changed, hasn't it, Sev?"
"It doesn't have to."
"But it's already begun, and you know it," she stressed. "We used to speak every day and now I barely see you anymore. What's happened to you? Where did you go?"
Lily saw his brow furrow at her words, and he quickly rose and moved over to sit next to her in the window seat. Taking her hand lightly, he whispered, "I'm right here, Lily."
"You haven't been here. I've needed you and you haven't been here!" she cried, as shocked by her own admission as Severus clearly was – he leapt back slightly at her tone but kept a grip on her hand and quickly recovered.
"I've tried to be, I swear I have. But you have to understand, it's not the same for you in Gryffindor. In Slytherin, they all have expectations about what classes we take and how much time we spend in the common room and who we study with. Those first few years here, when I spent all that time with you, they..." he seemed to struggle with his words, "they didn't treat me badly, but I got it a lot worse than everyone else. I'm not saying I blame you, because I don't, and I don't regret it either, but since I started spending more time with them in the evenings they've lightened up a bit on it all. Evan Rossier even invited me to stay at his family's vacation home over the holiday break, and it's the first time anyone's ever asked me to join them ...every other year I was the only one left out. "
Lily tried not to cringe at the thought of Severus spending time with the other Slytherins – Rossier was always rude to her, always sure to point out Lily's blood status, even when she had done nothing to him. The entire group was full of prejudiced bigot's who believed people like Lily were below them (even if Lily did beat Rossier and the rest of them in every exam), and the thought of Severus spending the break with them made the prospect of healing their friendship even more unlikely.
"What's wrong?" Severus said, clearly sensing her unease.
"I'm honestly really happy for you that you've begun to fit in with them, Sev, but they despise me and I'm scared you're going to end up despising me too," Lily said, barely a whisper, naively hoping that the gentle tone of her voice would mask the impact of her statement. She really didn't want to think badly of Severus – he was her best friend, after all – but if he continued to spend time around people who constantly said horrid things about her, how could she expect Severus to keep defending her and risk losing his new friends? She didn't want things to be harder for him than they already were, but if he didn't always stand up for her, then maybe his beliefs would begin to change, and he would start to look at her blood status rather than at her.
"I could never–why would you think–they don't–" Severus spluttered, his cheeks flamed with anger.
"Yes they do! I've heard what they say about me, Sev, the names they call me. They call me a Mud–"
"Don't say it!" he hissed.
"They do! And one day you might too!"
Severus drew himself up to his full height, fiery emotion clear in his eyes as he cried, "NO! I would NEVER call you that, Lily, NEVER!"
The look Severus gave her was possibly the most impassioned she had ever seen him, and to know that hatred against her caused it was comforting. "I know, Sev. You're my best friend. I'm just scared, and...I miss you."
Severus' shoulders slumped slightly, his brutal expression slipping away to nothing as he stared at her. A small smile flickered across his face for a brief moment, but then he began to walk back and forth in front of the window, seemingly deep in thought. Lily tried to watch him patiently, unsure as to why he was pacing, and thought she ought to say she missed him again; it appeared to have calmed him a little last time.
"Sev?" she asked quietly, pulling him from his reverie.
He stopped his pacing immediately, sitting back beside her on the window seat and staring down at his feet before whispering, "I miss you too." He shuffled a little closer to her on the seat, eyes still keenly averted, before he took a slow, deep breath; Lily felt his exhale tickle her hand gently as he seemed to struggle with his thoughts for a moment. She watched his hand slip into hers again and looked up to find Severus looking at her with an odd expression on his face, almost as if he was nervous. "I'm here now. I know that something has happened, and I want to help you. Just tell me what happened and I'll help you, I promise."
The absolute sincerity in his voice almost sent a chill down her spine. Lily had not heard Severus speak in such a long time, let alone with this much sincerely, and it made her realise just how much she missed her friend. She had always been able to rely on him for anything in the past, and this interaction felt the same as it had before, if not with a slight hint of desperation from each of them. They clearly both wanted this relationship to work, and surely that desire would be enough to get them through this rough patch, wouldn't it? It had to be; Lily didn't know what she would do otherwise.
"It's not my secret to tell. I found out something that I shouldn't have," she said, and Lily herself could notice the lack of conviction in her voice, "and I still haven't quite come to terms with it, but I've sworn not to tell anyone about it."
And so have you, Lily couldn't help but think. After all, Severus knew Remus' secret too, but they had both promised Professor Dumbledore never to speak a word of it to anyone. Lily didn't know whether trying to tell Severus that she knew would constitute as breaking that promise, especially considering the similar conversations she had had with James and Sirius, though those circumstances were obviously quite different to now – she was under no pressure or obligation to talk with Severus about the matter. But even with that in mind, Lily still wished to confide in someone who was on her side, in a manner of speaking. James and Sirius were Remus' best friends, and had his best interests at heart above all else, and while James had been so kind to her and helped her through it all as best he could today, he was not her best friend. He didn't know her like Severus did, and Lily thought that perhaps he would understand her reaction better than anyone else given that they had both stumbled upon the secret rather than being told outright. Lily had a strange feeling in her gut that she would be able to continue her recovery, so to speak, all the faster if she did speak with Severus on the matter, and that she would be somehow better prepared to finally admit her knowledge to Remus when the time came.
"I...I want to tell you, Sev," she all but whispered. "I know that I shouldn't, but surely it's not wrong to tell you if you already know the secret?"
She watched his eyes flick up to meet hers at the statement. There was a gleam of intrigue that she wasn't partial to, and for a fleeting moment she wondered if she should keep quiet like she promised, but pushed the thought away – she knew, deep down, that Severus was a good person. He wouldn't do anything wrong just because she spoke to him about it, and besides, the more she considered it the more it seemed like the right decision. After all, Severus surely wanted to talk about it too; he had been keeping the incident quiet like he promised, even when he experienced far worse than Lily had herself, but didn't he deserve some form of closure over it, even if it was just through a conversation with her? Especially when Lily had not been there for Severus through it all, had honestly never noticed a change in him except for perhaps an even greater dislike for James and his friends. They would be helping each other, and where was the harm in that?
"You can tell me," Severus urged suddenly as he squeezed her hand, his complete focus on her.
Lily shut her eyes for a moment, pushing away the rest of her doubt, only to reopen her eyes and find Severus a little closer than he had been before; clearly he realised how important this moment was, how incredibly secret.
"I found out by accident, but I know something about Remus Lupin. He..." Lily paused for a moment, watching Severus' expression carefully; he appeared to realise what she was trying to say, eyebrows creasing together. "Remus is a werewolf."
"How do you know? Did Black tell you? I swear if he even tried-"
"I figured it out on my own; Sirius had nothing to do with it! But I know why you're upset, Sev, and I'm so sorry I wasn't there for you. It must have been terrifying!"
Severus' face paled noticeably. "He told you, did he? Told you how Lupin nearly killed me? How they set out to have me killed!"
"Sev, it was nothing like that! They would never want to kill you! Sirius was very upset that night and he just snapped. I'm certainly not condoning what he did, because it was beyond cruel and thoughtless, but he never wanted you dead, Sev. None of them did."
"So they spun you the same story as Dumbledore, then? And you believe it?"
"Yes, I do. I know you don't get along with them, but-"
"Of course I don't get along with them! They've had it out for me since the day we got here! Just because I was put in Slytherin they've tried to make my life a living hell, and you know it. We used to laugh about them, remember?"
Lily winced at his tone; their conversation had taken a turn for the worst far earlier than she had expected. "Yes, I do. But please don't make this into an argument against them, Sev, because you know very well that I get along with Remus just fine. We both know that he would never hurt anyone of his own choice."
"Do I? He might not have actually done anything to me, but he was sure never to stop Potter or Black from cursing me in the hallway or stealing my bag or whatever else they thought was amusing at the time. Everyone seems to think that he's better than the rest of them but he's just as bad, worse even! He's a danger to everyone here and Dumbledore was a fool for allowing him to come. If people knew was he was there would be an uproar! Imagine what they would think of him then? I couldn't see him getting an invite to Slughorn's stupid little parties after that..."
Lily could hardly stand to listen to Severus continue. She understood that he was upset, but he was practically threatening to tell students about Remus' secret despite being sworn to silence on the matter. Yes, they themselves were talking about it to each other, but they had both previously known and were only discussing it as a matter of closure; Lily had a horrible suspicion that Severus would actually do what he said in order to get some form of revenge over Remus, and that scared her.
"He didn't choose to be a werewolf. He's making the most of a terrible situation and I admire him for it. It can't be easy to go through all of that every month and still manage to keep his grades up, maintain a normal life the way he does." Lily paused for a moment. "But is that why you haven't seen me, because I speak to them? That would be completely unfair of you–"
"Who you speak to isn't my business," he replied curtly, obviously holding himself back.
"You're right, it's not."
"That doesn't mean that I don't worry about you. The other week, you looked awful, and I saw you in the library and I had to see that you were alright."
"But I wasn't alright; you scared me half to death!" Lily exclaimed. "Why didn't you just come and ask me yourself?"
Severus suddenly appeared very hesitant, if not a bit embarrassed, and struggled for a moment before admitting, "I didn't know what to say."
Lily was stunned. "Why? I mean, I know we haven't seen much of each other lately, but we were best friends for years and that can't be changed. We still are best friends, at least on my end. I know we haven't really acted like it; best friends talk all the time and tell each other everything and look out for one another, but we just lost our way. I want to go back to the way it was before, when we did tell each other everything and talked all the time, but only if you're just as willing to try."
"I am," Severus replied eagerly.
"Good. That's great, Sev. So no more avoiding each other in the halls?" she said, only half joking. She recognised that she was at fault too, but the extent to which they grew apart in such a short span of time was still surprising to her, and she intended to fix it once and for all.
"I only avoided you because the other Slytherins would make fun of you, and I couldn't stand listening to them saying those things about you."
Lily knew exactly what he meant. The Slytherins were never shy when it came to insulting her or other muggleborns. They were especially cruel towards her, given that she was a Gryffindor no doubt, and Severus had always seemed uncomfortable around them when it happened. And yet, he had never once defended her in front of his housemates, never did more than shoot her sympathetic glances from behind the group as if he couldn't change anything and that she was doomed to experience their barrage of taunts forever. Lily knew that he would be putting himself in a dangerous position doing so, but a small part of her was still furious that Severus never once spoke his true beliefs to them; she wondered briefly if they knew the real Severus at all, or if he was always so withdrawn around them. She would probably never know, given their circumstances. She just wished with all of her heart that Severus could stand up for her, and for himself.
"What?" Severus asked, clearly sensing her mood change.
"It's just...you don't ever stand up to them. No matter what they call me, you've never stopped them."
"It's not as easy as you think," he mumbled quietly in reply.
"Just be brave, Sev," Lily said.
"I can't be," he said morosely, looking away, "not around them. I'm not brave like you. That's why you're a Gryffindor and I'm not."
Lily couldn't help but laugh at his seriousness as he spoke. "But you are. You're one of the bravest people I know."
Severus looked as if he had been given a particularly hard question in class. "How?"
Lily scooched closer to him on the window seat and said simply, "look at what you've done. You deal with all the stuff your parents go through without losing your mind like I surely would. You're the best in Potions by far, and you don't hide your talent like some would want to. You befriended me, even when your father didn't want you to, and stayed friends with me when all the Slytherins teased you," Lily stopped briefly, thinking through her words carefully. "You care about me, I can tell. Even though they all think I'm scum you still care about me, and that's brave. So long as you care for me, Sev, you'll be brave." Lily reached out and grabbed his hand again, squeezing it lightly and watching as Severus' face lit up with a smile she hadn't seen in a long time.
"Thank you," Severus whispered eventually.
"Thank you," she replied, bumping his shoulder lightly.
"So...we're alright, then?"
"Of course we are," she said, giving his hand another squeeze, "I have my friend back." Lily knew it sounded a bit pathetic in her head, let alone out loud, but it was exactly how she felt. Her concerns for meeting with Severus seemed stupid now, looking back. She still didn't quite know what she had been afraid of, but regardless, Severus appeared to be just as relieved as she was to have dealt with the issue and put it behind them. They would be alright, at least for now – she was sure of it.
She whipped around at the sound of his voice directly next to her ear, not expecting him to be that close, and felt her elbow come into sharp contact with his face. A dull cracking sound was the first thing she heard, followed immediately by Severus' grunt of pain and her own gasp as blood began gushing from his nose without warning.
"Oh, Sev, I'm sorry! Here, let me–"
"Its fine," he muttered thickly, one hand coming up to catch the blood dribbling down his chin and onto his shirt and robes. The other was soon in front of his face with his wand, pointed directly at what was obviously a broken nose.
"What are you doing?" Lily asked softly, still apologising profusely in her head as she stood him up from their spot in the window seat.
"I'm fixing it."
"No, you most certainly are not! I'm taking you to the Hospital Wing – now!"
"Don't argue with the girl who broke your nose," Lily snapped shortly. "I did this, and now I'm going to fix it. Madam Pomfrey should definitely be the one to heal it, trust me. Please?"
Severus nodded slowly in response before leaning his head back again, allowing Lily to grab his wand arm and lead him from the Charms classroom steadily while trying to avoid dripping blood anywhere. As they made their way towards the Hospital Wing, Lily attempted several more times to apologise, but was cut off by Severus each time with a quick shake of the head; he wouldn't even allow her to clean off the blood as they walked.
Feeling terrible, Lily finally pulled Severus around the corner and knocked heavily against the Hospital Wing door. A few moments later, she could hear footsteps coming steadily closer until the door swung open to reveal Madam Pomfrey in her dressing gown.
"Good grief, Snape, what's happened? Miss Evans got in a good swing, did she?"
Lily tried to deny her, but Madam Pomfrey had already begun to lead Severus towards the closest bed before rushing off to collect some potions from her cupboard. Lily tentatively made her way over to Severus' bed and perched herself on the end, still not making eye contact with him as she sighed deeply.
"I'm so Sorry, Sev, I really–"
"Stop apologising! It's just a broken nose, no big deal," Severus stated. He reached to take her hand but stopped short when he realised it was covered in blood, retracting it with a bashful smile.
"Alright...but I am sorry I wrecked our night, sending you here."
"Don't worry. It's definitely not the worst night I've had in here," he muttered darkly just as Madam Pomfrey returned with a small tray of potions. Before Lily could respond, Madam Pomfrey took out her wand and pointed it towards Severus' face, a sharp click defining his fixed nose as he groaned.
"Now, you'll need to take some of this for the pain," Madam Pomfrey began instructing to Severus, but Lily was already distracted by a thought. She knew well what Severus had been referring to when he spoke, her mind snapping back to Sirius' story from more than a week ago. Once her train of thought reached him, though, a nagging voice in the back of her head reminded her of the story she had been told only hours before about the four of them spending the night in the Hospital Wing, two with ill stomachs. Well, it was clear that they were not present; she and Severus were the only two occupants in the long line of beds, and Lily's gut told her that they had not made their way here tonight at all.
Remembering her vague inkling from earlier, Lily turned slowly to face the row of windows along the Eastern wall of the school, finding them all to be covered by thick heavy curtains apart from the furthermost one directly by Madam Pomfrey's office door. Unable to see through it without moving, Lily chided herself internally. Why had she not taken one look towards the moon all night? And even so, could she be true? Lily could not identify the exact date that she had first followed James up here, but was sure it would have to be about a month ago. And if she was true, that meant that the four of them were out there right now.
Lily's stomach dropped at the thought. She had to know.
Trying to appear relaxed, Lily began to wander down towards the end of the Wing, glancing back over her shoulder to find Madam Pomfrey still speaking with Severus. Her heart felt heavy in her chest as she slowly made her way over to the window, trying to ignore the butterflies in her stomach and the sudden moisture on her palms.
Why was she so nervous? After all, she was not even supposed to know about Remus and the others, and James had said himself that they were able to look after him once he transformed. But even the thought of them being out there with Remus made her heart speed, and Lily's mental photographs of their injuries only reaffirmed her concern. What would happen if one of them got seriously hurt? How would they explain that to Madam Pomfrey? They would surely be expelled, and Remus along with them, and Lily was surprised to say that the thought genuinely scared her. After all, the four of them all deserved to be at Hogwarts regardless of all of that, but Lily was not so sure that everyone would feel that way; Severus' reaction was a testament to that. So much was riding on their ability to help Remus without getting attacked.
She hadn't even seen the moon yet, and had no real evidence that they were even out there, but somehow Lily felt like she knew. As soon as she stepped into the light of the large window, looking out at the sky and instantly spotting the perfectly round moon glowing back at her, Lily felt like her heart stopped altogether. She couldn't hold back the loud gasp of shock that escaped her, and both Madam Pomfrey and Severus turned towards her.
"Are you alright, dear?" Madam Pomfrey asked, looking over at her with a concerned expression.
"I...yes, I'm fine," she stumbled, taking another quick look out at the full moon before deciding that she had indeed seen it, and that her mind was not playing tricks on her. "I just realised I forgot something upstairs, that's all." She hoped that would be enough to please Madam Pomfrey, and it appeared to be as the matron turned back to Severus and said that he was free to leave.
Lily was already half way down the corridor by the time Severus caught up with her, pulling her up as she neared the staircase. "What's wrong? What happened back there?"
She found herself in line with another large window, allowing her the perfect view of the vast moon once more, and without realising it, had moved close enough to touch the glass. Lily heard that Severus quickly in tow, and from the tone of his next remark, she knew he understood.
"Oh, right, of course."
Lily shook her head in frustration. "You knew it was tonight, didn't you? You knew and you didn't say anything."
"Why would I? It's not like it affects us."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Lily demanded. "Aren't I allowed to worry about them?"
"Why should you? They chose to be heroes."
"Not all of them have a choice, Sev! Remus doesn't deserve this, no one does, and they're only trying to make the experience easier for him. What's wrong with that?"
Severus barked humourlessly. "What's wrong? You mean other than the dozen school rules they break to do it? The Ministry laws? What about the fact that they risk someone getting hurt just so they can have their little bit of fun?"
Lily didn't know what caused it to happen, whether it was Severus' harsh words, the situation itself getting to her or just her immensely tired body, but she was surprised to find her breathing coming in small gasps as her eyes welled up with tears. Before she even realised what was happening, a small sob escaped her and Severus was there, pulling her into a tight hug.
It was close to five minutes later that Lily's crying began to subside, her breathing evening out as Severus continued to hold her, rubbing comforting circles on her back and keeping his head close to hers. She took one hand from around his back to wipe her face dry, discovering that she had left a large wet patch on Severus robes, but somehow sensing that he didn't mind. He held her for another minute more before letting her step away and regain her composure, but kept a grip on her hand.
Quietly, Lily whispered, "Thank you."
"Thank you," he responded with a small smile.
Exhaling softly, Lily said, "We should probably go. It must be close to curfew now, if not over it."
"Alright," Severus said, but did not move from his position beside her.
"Come on," she said more firmly, tugging him towards the staircase.
"Alright, alright, I'm going," he relented, taking half the staircase before turning back and calling, "See you tomorrow, yeah?" The brilliant glint in his eyes as he spoke made Lily's face light up.
"Of course. I look forward to it," Lily said, waving briefly before turning and heading up the opposite staircase towards Gryffindor tower, still with a smile on her face. That is, until she remembered the situation at hand and moved even quicker towards the common room; even Severus couldn't stop her from worrying about the boys.
Finally emerging through the portrait hole, Lily made to head towards the girls dormitory but stopped short when she saw the stream of moonlight on the common room floor. There was no way she would sleep tonight with everything on her mind, not until she knew they were all alright.
Instead, Lily shuffled over towards the fireplace and climbed up into the comfiest couch, making herself comfortable as she watched the few remaining candles burn down to their stump. She let her mind wander as the moonlight coming through the window crept across the rug inch by inch, agonising evidence that she had a long night ahead of her.
And yet, without realising it, Lily slipped into a deep sleep after ten minutes and would not wake until the morning.
A/N: There you go! Lily and Snape have always been a really interesting friendship/relationship for me, and I'm sure you now realise why it changed so much after the movie - The Princes Tale montage part was genuinely the most emotional part of any HP movie for me - I was sobbing like a baby the whole way through, all 4 times I've seen it! Also, sorry for the excess use of 'Sev', but I love the little nickname and I pretty much overuse them in real life anyway, and I apologise if it got annoying! But yes, up next in the final installment is what you've all been waiting for (hopefully) - Lily will FINALLY talk to Remus! Thanks so much for sticking with me and making me feel like someone actally cares about my writing; if you want to make that warm and fuzzy feeling inside of me continue, PLEASE REVIEW! Much love, Lucia-Swanne :)