Disclaimer: I don't own the HP universe; it all belongs to JKR and the moviemakers at Warner Brothers.

AN: I got the urge to write this one day in class and I'm really hoping it turned out well. I've never written anything for this pairing before, but Lily/Severus is one of my favorites, so please leave a review and let me know what you think.

Summer Sundown

by Luna Plath

That summer, it is hotter than any in her recent memory. Lily lays on her bed, hand on her stomach, the curtains hanging open at her mother's insistence.

"It's like a tomb in here," insists her mother, Callista Evans, drawing the blinds open while Lily eyes her over the top of her potions textbook. She had just gotten to the chapter on antidotes, half her book already underlined and scribbled in, a habit she'd picked up from Sev.

"Will you be going to Spinner's End today, dear?" Her mum is lingering, and instead of engaging in conversation, Lily plucks her quill from behind her ear and scribbles something in the margin, something snarky.

"Not for a while," she says, sucking on the end of the eagle feather. "Sev's a late riser."

This seems to be enough of an explanation for her mum, because she leaves her alone after that, a small smile on her face. Lily pretends not to notice.

They're sitting on one of the few patches of grass in the back of his yard, slouching in the shade of his neighbor's oak tree. Her red hair is tangling in the splintering wooden fence, her pale forearms—freckles and all—are turning a light shade of pink from the heat, sweat dripping down her chest and settling between the cups of her bra.

Sev has a surprisingly well-fitted muggle T-shirt on. It's gray, only a stone's throw from black, but it's something, and Lily likes the way it looks on his shoulders. She's used to seeing him in flowing school robes, his lanky frame exaggerated by the looseness of their uniforms, and it's surprising to her that this other Severus has been lurking beneath them this whole time, sharp in the protrusions of his bones but soft in other places—his lips, for instance. Not that she knows what they feel like, but they look soft, almost as full as her own, even.

Lily imagines what it would be like to kiss him, and blushes, but its hidden by the heat. She decides that he's probably a smooth kisser with lots of pressing and sliding, not like James Potter, who is full of a kind of biting urgency that both exhilarates and frightens her.

Instead of shamelessly staring at his lips she turns her arm over to show her wrist, playing the Skin Game, a competition she used to have every summer with Petunia, one that had also been lovingly lilted Whose the Palest.

Knowing where this is going, he relents, comparing his wrist to hers.

"I win," she says, sighing and plucking a blade of grass from his mother's abandoned flowerbed.

"You always win," he bemoans, hiding his wrist by crossing his arms. She is distracted by the slight definition that has emerged there. The sun-warmed skin on his forearms is healthy-looking, different from the sallow color his skin takes on in the winter months after being shut up in the castle for too long.

"I wish I tanned like you," she nudges him, a blatant violation of their usually hands-off friendship, but she is curious.

"I don't." Sev hates the olive undertones to his skin, and Lily has a right mind to think that they remind him of his father, who is as dark as she is light.

His hair is pulled back into a low ponytail at the base of his neck and she has a sudden impulse to pull it loose, to see her usual Sev, but she knows that he wouldn't appreciate it. He may tolerate her ribbing, but Lily knows that he hates it when people touch his hair.

The air is thick around them, pressing down on her like a warm pillow, or a gloved hand. Her eyes feel heavy under the balmy sun.

She knows they've never done this, but the idea excites her, makes her wonder. Lily imagines his cool skin pressed against hers under his cotton sheets, imagines his scent all around her, that Boy Smell that is painfully absent from her own house but present in his.

"Hey Sev," she says, looking at him through her lashes. "Lets take a nap."

His dark brown eyes widen but she pretends not to notice, ignores the tingling in her stomach that definitely means something.

After a minute he meets her green eyes, a look there that she doesn't recognize. "Okay."

His mother gets migraines—bad ones, the kind that zap her powers for a day afterwards. When that happens, it's up to him to take care of her, to make poppy tea and do everything around the house so his father won't have a fit. The house at Spinner's End is small, which makes it easy to clean, but Severus doesn't mind doing it because when his mum is sick she lets him look through all her old school books. Her own copy of Advanced Potion-Making, his grandfather's ancient texts on blood purity and the virtues of arranged marriage, and the palm-sized black book entitled Defensive Dueling that has taught him every special dueling tactic he knows.

But today, he isn't reading the old spellbooks. His mum is asleep in the farthest bedroom, a heavy sleep, the kind of sleep that she only gets to after she has had a few cups of pain-relieving tea, and she doesn't wake when he ushers Lily in through the back door, telling her to be quiet because his mum has one of her classic migraines.

She nods and follows him down the back hallway to his bedroom, which is white and sparse but clean. There is a twin bed by the square window, an old dresser, and a desk on the far right wall that looks well used. Severus has piles of books on the shelves above it and she is as tempted as always to examine them, but now is not the time.

Lily crawls into his bed, tucking herself beneath the soft sheet and light blanket that he sleeps under every night. He looks at her for a lagging second and follows, both of them small and skinny enough to fit on the twin bed without touching too much. She likes the warmth he gives off, likes the smell of his sheets—the smell of him all around her.

And, showing some of her true Gryffindor courage, she lightly tugs at the band he's used to pull back his hair, and when he doesn't scowl or object or twitch to correct it, that is when she knows that things between them are at least a little bit different than they used to be, a little bit more grown up.

His hair falls around the both of them, a black curtain shielding them from the reality of their friendship. She tucks it behind his ear, revealing the sharp line of his jaw.

"Sweet dreams, Sev."

It is sundown when they wake up, much later than she had planned to stay. Lily is sure that her mum is disappointed that she didn't make it home for dinner in time, but knows that she'll have saved some for her. Mrs. Snape is still asleep, and will probably remain that way until sometime tomorrow, thanks to Severus' high potency tea.

Stretching, Lily arches her back and extends her whole body, eyes closed, missing the look of reverence that crosses his face at her bare arms and taunt neck.

She blinks, exposing green eyes so vibrant that they rival the Slytherin banner tacked up above his bed. "I have to get back," Lily says, her rich auburn hair a tangled mess.

"I'll walk you," he offers, sitting up in his narrow bed that will forever hold this fantastic memory of Lily underneath his sheets, warm and sleepy, painfully close to him.

He gets up, laces up his black trainers, and waits for her while she snatches his comb off the dresser and drags it through her wild hair. Lily whips some chapstick out of the pocket of her denim shorts, wiping it across her lips in the mirror, both of them watching her reflection.

She says, "Okay, let's go," and they leave, long shadows dogging their frames in the setting sun.

On their walk from Spinner's End to Lily's house, only a few neighborhoods away, they walk closer than usual, their shoulders brushing against each other every now and then.

Normally insignificant things like this had begun to happen with more frequency during the months leading up to their O.W.L.s. They'd spent hours together studying, cramming in spells and potion recipes and tediously related facts about wizarding history. He remembers shaking her awake over her textbooks, seeing that sleepy look that she'd shown him today while he dragged her back to Gryffindor tower, his arm around her tiredly swaying shoulders.

They pass the park where they used to play as children, deserted at this hour, the swings more worn down than he remembers. It is their halfway mark, the place where they used to meet when they were younger, before they went to Hogwarts and complicated their friendship with other people and rivaling houses and unhappy families. He looks down the street, at the streetlamps that need replacing and the less-than-brand-new cars parked in nearby driveways.

The houses get nicer the longer they walk, with his end, Spinner's End, being the worst.

He takes a few more steps before realizing that Lily is holding back, holding her arms close to her chest like she's cold, an impossibility in the sweltering heat. By now, the sun is nearly obscured by the treetops, but he can still see her fairly clearly, her red hair a beacon in the evening light. Severus approaches her and she doesn't shy away.

Lily bites her lower lip, her almond-shaped eyes trained on his face. Normally he would look away, break the eye contact between them, but things are easier in the dimming light and he holds steady, his back straight, imitating the confidence that he has seen in his friends—in Mulciber and Avery and Evan Rosier-and does his best impersonation of what he believes to be self-assurance.

"What?" he asks, but she doesn't give him time to further his question, crossing the small distance between them and reaching up to her full height to kiss him. He freezes, his mind blanks at the feeling of her lips on his own, the impossibly soft pressure of her warm little mouth held against his.

She pulls away slightly and looks at him, realizing what she has just done. Before she can scamper off and change her mind, before she can say anything, he snakes his arm around her waist and pulls her closer, the heat of the summer air artic in comparison to the burning desire that has welled up in his chest. Memories of nights thinking about her in his dormitory at school or even this summer in the bed they shared this afternoon flash through his mind and he presses his mouth to hers, hard, and her lips part.

Lily breathes a slight breath of air into his mouth and he pulls her lower lip in between his, sucking on it before darting his tongue inside, stroking it against hers. She's surprised by how well he kisses, wondering who he's done this with before and forcing herself not to think of her own first kiss, which was a spontaneous fiasco between herself and James during their fourth year. Lily had always suspected that James had only kissed her because of a bet, and she's never forgiven him for taking that experience from her without her consent.

She reaches a hand up to his cheek and holds it there, his hands pressing into her lower back. He can feel the swell of her breasts against him, the smooth skin between the low rise of her shorts and the hem of her camisole underneath his fingertips. Lily pulls away and kisses his cheek, two, three times, and he is amazed by the dizzying sweetness of it.

The excited warmth that she associates with flowering relationships is tingling through her like a poison, making her breath come in heavy spurts, her heart racing. She thinks she can hear her body opening like a key clicking into place and wonders if he can hear it too.

In the dirty light from the streetlamp, Severus' face looks hungry in a way that she's seen before in the eyes of her male classmates. It is a hunger she feels some nights, her fingers moving rhythmically inside her panties, breathing heavily into her pillow. His thumb presses into her exposed hipbone, grazing her skin and pulling away before traveling too far southward.

Severus steps back, tall, lanky, but full of angles and smooth planes and arches of sinewy muscle.

She licks her lips, exhales. "I'll see you tomorrow, yeah?"

He nods. Kicks a rock with the toe of his scuffed trainers. "Yeah," he says, trying to act like what has just happened between them is nothing, like it doesn't mean the world to him. He's never felt more transparent. "I'll see you."

Severus' hands are in his pockets, his shoulders straight. His father will be getting back from the pub soon and his mother will need him to brew more tea and Lily's parents are already waiting for her, but he wants this moment to stretch out a little bit longer, a string pulling taunt between them before it snaps from all the pressure.

Just as he's turning to leave she finds his mouth again, kissing him once more before dashing away, her sandals smacking the pavement, hair like the streaks of color in the long-forgotten sunset.

He watches her go, arms at his sides, a sixteen-year-old boy fighting back a hundred-yard stare. Lily runs past the range of the streetlight and disappears into the sultry darkness.