Author's notes: I nearly forgot. Thank you so much to Felicia, my friendee and fellow Snape fan girl. To snapegirl (kathy) who helped loads with the first chapter. Thank you! To Rose who helped beta. To the best beta in the world Sindie... you are truly awesome! Any mistakes are mine because I do the final edit. To Irin, thanks for letting me bounce ideas off you! You girls are all so awesome and this fic wouldn't happen without you!
October 31, 1979
Severus Snape moved silently through the cool night air, in his hand a crumpled wedding announcement.
His rage had quelled somewhat. He really couldn't blame her. He had practically pushed her into the arms of another man, a man he loathed. The streets of London were brightly lit around him, even at this late hour. He had to see her, just one last time before she belonged to him... It was no secret she was staying at the Leaky Cauldron tonight and would Apparate to Godric's Hollow tomorrow afternoon to be married in the small church there. No doubt Sirius Black and James Potter, along with the rest of the Marauders, were drinking themselves into a stupor, and Merlin only knew what other debauchery they were up to tonight at Potter's bachelor party in Godric's Hollow.
He hesitated at the door he knew to be hers, his hand raised to knock, then changed his mind and tried the knob. It was unlocked; Severus sighed. "So careless...What if it had been someone out to hurt you?" he murmured. He crept inside and moved silently around the room until he found her asleep in the bed, the sheet tangled around her ankles. Her long beautiful red hair fanned out across the pillow. The fireplace was lit, giving the room a soft, warm glow. Severus peered across the room at the ivory wedding dress hanging on the closet door. The sight of it caused bitter bile to rise in his throat.
His broken heart began to ache again at the mere sight and smell of her. Never had a woman made him feel so alive inside. For so long he had danced around his feelings for her. Gingerly, he caressed a strand of her silky hair, letting it slide between his fingers.
He carefully leaned over her as she slept and breathed in her scent. She slept peacefully, her lashes lying in crescent fans upon her cheeks. He tenderly brushed a stray lock of hair back from her face. The white T-shirt she wore scarcely covered the smooth curve of her hip and thigh. He could see the lace edge of her knickers peeking out from beneath the hem. Severus deliberately forced his eyes away, carefully covering her with the sheet on the bed. He could see James Potter in his mind, touching her, kissing her, doing everything he had longed to do for so many years. It was maddening, and once again, he pushed down the rage building within. He all too soon found his eyes wandering back to her, watching the pale thin material of the sheet slowly settle and cling to the outline of her form, enveloping her with a warmth and intimacy he feared he could never share. If it were possible to be jealous of a mere piece of cloth, then he was wickedly jealous. As he stood looking down at her, overcome by the futility of his insane impulse, he lost his nerve. Why had he even come here? He could give her nothing but pain and death.
He leaned over her and gently kissed her rosy lips and whispered, "I have to go now; if I don't, I don't know what might happen." He quickly moved across the room to the door, prepared to leave. Suddenly, he sensed movement behind him. He slowly turned and saw her sitting up, calmly gazing at him with sleepy eyes.
"Sev?" Lily breathed, her voice heavy with sleep. "What are you doing here? This is very odd, even for you."
He began to form a lie, and then found it wasn't worth the effort. She knew him too well. He said nothing, merely looked at her, allowing his many tumultuous emotions to play across his normally stoic face.
She slid out of the bed and moved toward him, her skin luminous in the milky light of the moon pooling through the window. The scent of her surrounded him, filling his senses until his mind spun helplessly. A jolt of desire and passion coursed through him.
Gazing deeply into his eyes, Lily took a tentative step forward, so that their bodies touched. Shoulders, legs, hips... He felt as though someone had cast Incendio upon him. He was on fire. He spread his hands across her back, feeling the warmth of her skin.
"Sev?" Lily whispered, her voice slightly trembling.
"Lily, I-I-" he said, his breath stirring the fine hairs at her temple.
He began to lie to himself, to ignore his conscience, to push at the boundaries that separated them. He wanted to turn his back on the dark half of himself that cried out that this could not happen, that this must not happen. He tilted her face up to his and kissed her. For a brief moment, he thought the world had taken a half-turn around him. He pulled her impossibly closer, feeling the warm length of her body press maddeningly against his. He tore his mouth from hers, kissing his way along her cheek and down her throat to the spot where her pulse hammered beneath the skin; he lingered there, torturing himself with the thought of what could lie within the breath of her consent. Stop! She's not for you! You don't deserve her! the sensible part of his mind screamed. Wrenched from the summit of lust and desire, he turned his face from her.
Lily felt the length of his body stiffen against her as he turned his face away. She caught a glimpse of his face and saw the anguish there. She looked away quickly, ashamed and a little angry at herself.
"Lily, I shouldn't have come here," he said as he turned to leave.
"Then why did you come here, Sev? To torture yourself a little more? Or to hurt me a little more?" Lily asked sharply.
"Why him?" he said simply, his voice low, almost guttural.
"What?" Lily asked, turning away from his dark burning eyes.
"Why must it be James Potter?" Severus spat.
Lily whirled around. "Is that what this little visit is about? Jealousy? Old schoolyard grudges? Severus Snape, you are really unbelievable. It was not so long ago you were ready to write me off and run away into the horizon with your Death Eater mates. Now, here you are, right on time-"
"No, you're wrong-" he began.
"Save it, Sev-"
His eyes blazed with anger at her unjust accusation. "I left you? I beg to differ, Lily Evans. That's not the way I remember it. I remember coming and begging you to forgive me and you telling me to save my breath! You wouldn't even listen to me. Me, your best friend, who defended and protected you from that bloody bastard all those years, and yet you were willing to throw all that away for a damn rich prat who only wanted you because you played hard to get!"
"He loves me! Can you believe it, Severus? Pureblood James Potter loves a Mudblood!" Lily retorted, sarcasm dripping from every word. "Guess what else? He is not ashamed to love a Mudblood. Can you say the same, Severus?"
"I was never ashamed of you, Lily. That word was not something I ever intended to say; it slipped out in the heat of my temper-"
"I would have never called you that—" she began.
"Well, pardon me for not being so bloody perfect," he snarled. "Have you never said something you regretted during an argument, something you wish to hell had never passed your lips? Something hurtful and cruel to the one you least wanted to hurt? I did. There is nothing I regret more in my life than using that vile word against you. I love you more than my own existence," Severus said in a gritty low voice. "He cannot love you more than I; that would be impossible."
Lily moved away from him and stood by the window, immediately wishing she could reach out and pull those words back inside herself. He was right. She had no right to judge him. Her fingers clenched upon the windowsill, wishing he had spoken those words years ago. Why can you say them now and not then? she wondered. What might have been if he had?
"Tell me you are in love with him and you will never see me again," Severus said evenly.
"I c-can't, but it does not matter anyway. What would your friends say if you suddenly admitted to being in love with a Mudblood? What would your Dark Lord say?"
Severus moved in a blur and yanked her away from the moonlit window. His fingers dug painfully into her shoulders. His eyes were wild and feral. She had never seen him so uncontrolled...so emotional. "Hear me now, Lily. I am not one of them. I never was. I joined them out of bitterness and anger, but I never believed as they did. I do not worship him. I do not belong to him; he believes I do, but he was never further from the truth. If you know nothing else about me, then you should know that."
"Sev, I don't-" Lily began, but her voice stilled as Severus pulled his wand from his cloak.
"Expecto Patronum," Severus murmured softly and a small silvery doe leaped from the end of his wand and cantered gracefully about the room before disappearing. Lily's eyes widened in understanding of the significance the Patronus.
"Oh Sev, I don't know why I ever thought—"
He kissed her into silence, and for a brief moment she halfheartedly attempted to pull away in shock, but passion and fate tend to have minds of their own, and they both fell to the floor. They writhed wildly together, turning over and over. In a whisper their clothes were gone, leaving only the cool night air between them. His mouth closed over hers, a demanding touch that set out to quell her doubts and fears. All the loneliness, the need, the urgency of their long pent-up emotions swept over them. He kissed her with a tenderness and a passion that spoke to her far more than his words had.
A yearning ache invaded her body, spreading through her like wildfire; all thoughts of anyone or anything but him was swept from her mind. She wanted to be one with him...if not forever, then just for this brief stolen moment in time. She gave herself to him without reservation, her bare skin overwhelmingly aware of his touch so foreign on the intimate parts of her body, yet so familiar. Even though he might have harmed people in the past, she saw beyond his darkness to the sweet light in his soul. His lips claimed hers again. She felt her body fill with him. She trembled with the ecstasy of their union. Never had she imagined it could be like this, never, not in her wildest dreams. They moved together as one. Severus groaned and allowed his emotions free reign, allowed himself to feel all of the passion and adoration he had been smothering for years. This was his one true love, and he cherished this forbidden interlude as he did nothing else in his life. He found sweet release in her arms.
They reluctantly drew apart after an eternity and stared at each other, their faces flushed from passion and shock. Neither spoke as they pulled on their clothes. He didn't have to say he was sorry; it was broadcasted in the way he fumbled with his clothes.
"Lily, don't hate me," he whispered, pulling her so tightly against him, it made her ribs hurt. "Please don't hate me. I didn't mean to do that to you-at least not like that. I swear... I didn't mean to do that to you. I hope I am struck dead this instant if you hate me."
She pulled him as close as she could. "Sev, I don't hate you," she whispered as she leaned against his chest. "How could I? I do love you. You didn't do anything I didn't want. I could have stopped you if I had really wanted to." They both knew the latter was a lie. "I shouldn't have said those horrible things. I shouldn't have pushed you."
Severus stared at her incredulously. "How can you say that? After what I've done, you should be trying to curse me!"
Lily gave him a slightly wicked smile. "Who said I wasn't going to curse you? Severus Snape, you are a good man; you just don't know it yet."
He shook his head as he pulled her close. They sat together in silence for what could have been forever or just minutes. This has been a strange sort of night, Lily thought, as she leaned against him; it was as if the stars had planned it long ago and it was their fate, right or wrong.