Those Damned Eyes

AN: Hello, everyone! If one does not know a lot about me, then let them know that I absolutely love Severus Snape; I must say that he was a complete blast to write. This was written as a contest entry for The Pottermore Chosen Ones Facebook page (go check them out if you have an account and if you don't, do it anyway!) because I figured Ravenclaw needed some representation. If you particularly enjoyed/have feedback for the story, then may I suggest clicking that little button at the bottom...? Something about a review? Anyway, none of these characters belong to me except perhaps Lilian, but she's really just a slightly morphed version of a HP character. I hope you enjoy it!

Snape was sitting comfortably in his favored black leather armchair that had worn down over the years, reading a newly bought 2nd Wizarding War memoire; it was a favorite pastime of his since the final battle all those years ago. (His newest addition to the collection happened to be generously titled, The Man Who Gave Everything: A Biography on Severus Snape.) He had managed to escape the desperate whining of the youngest resident only an hour ago and he relished every moment alone to himself and his literature. He used to have a lot more time to do so before his young charge came into his life, as a matter of fact.

'Came' really is unsuitable. A more accurate description would be 'barging through in a violent manner, permanently putting a halt on everything else', Snape thought resentfully.

Though despite the airs he put on, he really didn't mind all that much. If a certain Potion's Master were to be completely truthful with himself, he would have recognized the fact that he hardly had better things to be doing, especially since the Dark Lord fell. He would also acknowledge that having the child around brought him something new every day and that he borderline enjoyed it, though that particular tidbit would require a level of honesty that he frankly didn't possess.

Just as Snape started to let himself relax and delve into his book with no assurance that he'd bother to come back out, he heard the sound of a loud crash upstairs very clearly. Frustrated beyond words, he forcefully slammed his book onto a mahogany coffee table next to him and began to march upstairs.

From the sound of the crash, the little tyrant must be meddling around in my chambers.

With that thought, he reached the top of the stairs and made a mad dash for his work office. As if life simply hated to disappoint him, he did indeed catch the culprit red-handed- literally. The vandal had spilt a dark red potion all over their grubby paws and Snape snidely hoped the effect would remain permanent.

"Pray tell, what exactly are you doing rummaging through my personal stores...?" His voice took on a low, dangerous tone reserved for situations just like this.

The young girl could only stare back.

"Aaah, yes. Decided to play it safe with the silent game. You'd be better off simply telling me what the devil your intentions were and accepting your punishment accordingly," he said all knowingly.

Somehow, the girl gathered the audacity to stick her tongue out at him. With that particularly outrageous act of defiance completed, she ran by him to escape through the door. On her way out, she made a nasty face at him and proceeded to retreat into her room as fast as humanly possible.

Snape stood in a thoughtful silence. When exactly did I lose all control over a minor living in my house? Snape mentally moaned and pinched the bridge of his admittedly large nose.

However, the thought proved to be too embarrassing and he chose instead to storm off to where she had scuttled. As he reached the end of the hall and stood in front of her door, he was mentally restraining himself from cursing whatever obstructed his path from the thin, fragile neck he so desired to wring at the moment (At the thought of necks, he rubbed his own scarred throat subconsciously). In fact, the idea of doing so to the door in front of him started to sound better and better by the second.

"I say we discuss this and unfortunately you being involved in said discussion is mandatory," He drawled.

"If I've learned anything from you it's that nothing is required of me in life. We always have a choice." Though her voice was muffled through the thick door, he was able to interpret her know-it-all tone perfectly.

Unfortunately for her.

"Lillian Harper Snape, let me in this instant!" This time, it came out as a harsh bark.

"Oh, so it's 'Lillian' all of a sudden? What happened to 'Lily'? Am I now too much of a brat to be called a name so pure or whatever bogus you believe?" Her voice was filled with bitter pain, but that didn't stop the utter rage he was feeling.

"I swear, if you don't open this door in the next 5 seconds I will blow it off its hinges and come in after you myself!" Snape hissed through the door.

As much as she might have people think otherwise, he doubted 'Lillian' really wanted to have her head cursed off her shoulders. This theory was proven correct when he managed to catch various mumbling headed his way, and only half of it was suitable enough to document. He heard the clicks of locks being undone and the violent twisting of a knob. The door swung open and he took a moment to observe her, now slightly chagrined.

Her golden-red hair was pushed up into a messy ponytail that left stray hairs sticking out all over her head, though most of them were harmlessly pinned to the sides of her face with her thick-rimmed glasses. Her small lips were set into a pout, slightly marred by the years' worth of gnawing and picking at while her nose was perfectly intact in contrast. He was able to see her small ears now only because they weren't lost in a sea of red mane as usual (Aaah, so she has ears, she just chooses not to use them? Lovely.) and they were bare of piercings. If he looked dead center in her awkwardly shaped frames he could spot her special redeeming quality: Her emerald green eyes. At the moment, the very eyes appeared deeply troubled by an unknown burden.

When she started to notice that Snape was staring at her, Lilian shifted a little due to the uncomfortable silence. Finally, he spoke.

"As much of a troublemaker as you tend to be, you seem unusually rebellious today. May I ask what exactly is influencing your inner demon to torment me this fine evening perfect for a night alone?"

Lilian, having lived with the man for the past 11 years of her life, was able to read the hint of hidden longing in his voice. It almost made her feel guilty. Almost.

"I was just… looking for some papers or something. That's all," she mumbled.

"Papers…?" He left the question open for her to elaborate.

"Well… I was just looking around, you know, and I found my, erm…" She was rapidly losing her confidence fueled by conviction.

"Found your what?" He snapped.

"My birth certificate."

There was not a sound to be heard in the house right at that moment. Snape blinked once, the only indication of his shock. Of course; what a fool he was! He left it out after examining it last night after a particularly upsetting argument they had last night. He prepared himself for what came next.

"And… it listed Ginevra Weasley as my mother. I'm not stupid; I've read those books you buy about the 2nd War. I know that you were involved and I know she was too. I also know that she was the supposed girlfriend of Harry Potter. Isn't he the big hero, the Boy-Who-Lived? And why is there no father on my certificate? Why did you steal her away from Harry and have me?" At this point, Lilian was near hysterics.

His manner softened dramatically when he realized what troubled her. He put a hand on her shoulder and guided her to the plush violet bed in the center of her small room. She plopped on it with a rather sullen expression on her face. He chose to lower himself right next to her and turned to face her.

This day has come too soon.

"Lily, I did not steal Ginny. She was indeed Harry's and Harry's alone." He said clearly.

"Then… what does that make you? Why am I with you?" Her face was contorted with confusion and sorrow, her whole world changing abruptly.

"I'm your Protector, and if you choose it to be, I'd be content to still be called Father," he saw her unsure face and continued, "And I can explain why you're with me, but it is a long story."

She laughed a little, and nodded. "I have time… Dad."

He snorted a little and a smirk found its way to his face. "As it so happens, I do as well."

As he started his tale, his mind began to wander and sift through his own account of events; as it turns out, Snape did get to delve into a story of his life that night after all.

It was late into the evening of June 3rd, 1998, that Severus happened to be lounging in his newly bought leather armchair, reading a book (The Man Who Nearly Ruined Everything: A Biography of Severus Snape; how flattering) by his crackling fireplace. He had just taken several potions to ease the pain in both his head and neck when he decided a trashy biography would be the perfect thing to distract his mind from the rancid taste in his mouth.

Thankfully, the wound Nagini had mercilessly inflicted was starting to heal up quite nicely the last week or so. He didn't dare complain, knowing he was unusually lucky to have survived the attack, despite having taken precautions beforehand by carrying around his Potions "First Aid" under his cloak. With a quick Apparition to his office and a hastily done mending completed, he managed to narrowly escape the confrontation with his life.

After making it to his humble abode in more or less one piece, he spent his days trying to recover whatever form of normalcy life had in store for him. The quaint, cobbled building he dare called home was sufficient enough to meet his needs, but it retained the same manner of disrepair found in the heart of its lone dweller.

Sudden, loud explosions from outside interrupted his thoughts, followed by the drunken bellowing of several men and women.

These idiots are why I have hourly migraines… Snape thought maliciously.

Severus had always imagined that if the Dark Lord was ever defeated, the world's serene nature would be restored and he'd finally be able to simply lie in his cot and sleep away his living nightmares. Instead, every night for the past month was filled with the ruckus of grand celebration. At this rate, he had no doubts in his mind that he would go mad and kill them all, wasting his newfound freedom from the evil clutches of Voldemort and the conniving plots of Dumbledore.

He heard the sound of several women shrieking in delight and even more explosions. He gritted his teeth in complete annoyance and set his book down. Severus jumped out of his chair to head for the door and give the drunkards a piece of his mind when out of the blue a woman rapidly dashed in and slammed the door behind her. She stood there for a moment to catch her breath, and without hesitation Severus took the opportunity to draw his wand to her throat.

"Who are you and how did you find me?" He growled menacingly at her. When she looked up at him, her rosy hair fell out of her face and unveiled a pair of annoyingly familiar brown eyes.

He lowered the wand upon recognizing the girl, albeit grudgingly, and they stood in momentary silence.

"Ah, Ginevra… Pleasant surprise." His tone made her think otherwise.

"Hello, sir. May we talk? It's… very important. I need your help." Her manner was quite urgent, leaving Severus slightly taken aback.

"If it's as imperative as you make it out to be, then I-"

"Yes, it is." She cut him off without hesitation or fear. Obviously, the month apart had to have been quite eventful if she had already forgotten just how one was expected to behave in his presence.

He directed her to his ebony sofa while he set off into the kitchen to make the abrupt intruder a cup of tea (If being forced into the role of a host, I might as well be a gracious one to show her what real manners are like; no doubt there is a severe lack of it in the Weasley house).

After a few minutes of awkward silence, he returned with a cup in his hand. He set in gently into her outreached palm and he walked over to his own armchair, sitting himself quite comfortably. He watched as she carefully took a sip, most likely wondering if he slipped a poison in or not.

The fact she thinks she could detect a poison that I personally brewed is unendingly insulting. Snape thought with a huff.

"Sir- Severus," Ginny corrected herself, "I know who you really are. I went back to the Penseive after Ron told me. I just couldn't believe it; that you were a good guy all along. But I guess that means you did your job well, right?" She joked nervously.

"All right, girl, enough rambling. Get on with it," He said coldly. He didn't need a rendition on how well he managed to fool his colleagues into thinking him to be a bloodthirsty murderer.

At his chastisement, she sat up straight and took one deep breath. Apparently gathering her nerves back, she looked him straight in his brooding eyes.

"You see, I… I was able to trust you after that. When I experienced through your eyes the pain of unrequited love, of seeing others take the joys and bliss that you've longed for, of losing that love to something you could never hope to challenge, of the finality of never seeing their face again, I…" She lowered her face a little to obscure her tearing eyes with her curtain of locks.

"I've been forced to go through all that myself. And because of that, I knew that everything you felt was raw and honest pain. I knew what you had gone through; I knew I could trust you. And I know that if you still have a heart that beats for Lily, you'll accept my 'outrageous' request."

Though she started quite somber, she smiled riley at that last part; her tone implied she knew how Severus would react to this news, and he personally didn't like that smile on her face. He used that smile from time to time.

"That entire speech of yours is horribly presumptuous and I'm tempted to throw you out at this very moment," He said, affronted.

"I'm pregnant with Harry's child, Severus. Surely you wouldn't manhandle a woman with child?" She said rambunctiously. Almost as if she enjoyed the way he hissed in a breath and how his onyx eyes widened a bit.

"That's impossible Ginevra, and as you full know, I'm not one for blatant jesting." His voice was full of icy venom, potent enough to stop most in their tracks. However, she appeared to be beyond her Potion Master's intimidation. Her jaw was set in stubbornness; she was a true Weasley if he ever saw one, and unfortunately he'd had the displeasure of meeting more than his fair share of them.

"Please, call me Ginny. We're going to become very good friends I'd hope in the next 8 months, what with me raising the baby in secret and all." She smiled like the dirty minx she was.

"I hate to be the one to burst your delusional bubble here, but I simply am not comfortable with harboring a Weasley who is an apparent pathological liar."

Severus started to stand up to escort his "guest" to the door, but she crossed the room and put a hand on his forearm. All hints of amusement were gone from her face.

"It did happen, I swear, Severus. Please, I'm telling the truth. We were stupid and in love and we were afraid we'd never see each other again and," she choked on her words at this part, "And what do you know, we never did. He left me; he dared to die on me and left me alone with impossible promises and a child to raise. How am I supposed to hold my head high while I carry the love child of my 17-year-old fling? I've got the world ahead of me and I can finally live in a world free of fear and terror, and instead I'll be spending it being the mom of a dead war hero's bastard child. Please, please help me. This isn't a job meant for one person, and I know Harry would have wanted you to be the God Father!"

As she finished her emotional tirade, a single tear fell slowly down her cheek; the condensed form of all the girl's hidden sorrows resided in the lone droplet. He took the moment of reprieve to gently remove her hand from his limb.

"What makes you think Potter would have wanted me to have anything to do with his child?" He hadn't liked the boy in any shape or form, but the thought of the last remaining piece of Lily having fled from this world cut through him like a jagged blade, resurfacing old grief he had buried within.

"I speak on his behalf when I say that you're the bravest man we ever knew," she answered readily.

Though he gave a nasty smirk, he secretly wondered if anyone had really thought of him in that manner. Shaking off his old insecurities dating back to childhood, he focused back on the topic at hand.

"Flattery, though it has its uses, will get you nowhere when it comes to me, Ms. Weasley." He wasn't about to be cowed into raising a child; he'd had enough of babysitting Potters for a lifetime.

"So I've been demoted to 'Ms. Weasley' now?" She inquired softly.

"Yes, and worse will surely follow if you continue to pester me in my own home."

"Not much of a home, if you ask me."

"So says the girl who lived in the Burrow her whole life."

"It's not really 'home' without love."

Severus thought he'd end the nonsense right about there. "Get out of my house."

She looked troubled for a moment, but the facial expression disappeared in a flash and she instead cleared herself of any visible emotion. She began to wander slowly towards the door, occasionally stopping to examine a book or two along the way. She found her way to the front door and sluggishly began turning the knob, opening the door inch by inch, unveiling the sounds of the raging party outside he had forgotten about.

"You mean right now?" She asked, innocently.

His impatience was at an ultimate high right about then.

"No, at your fucking leisure." His words dripped sarcasm.

"Oh, I suppose if that's the case…" her voice drifted off and came back, "I know the relation is distant, but if you think about it… the child will be Lily's grandchild. But since you obviously don't care for the wellbeing of those Lily would love and cherish, I'll just leave her only living descendant in the hands of the wild pack of Weasley's, as you like to call us. She'll grow up just like my crazy brothers probably; I doubt she'll be anything like her grandmother. Shame, really…" She shrugged at all this, as if she really didn't care if her child would end up a Weasley monster.

The heartless wench. The Sorting Hat really does sort too early.

She knew he'd crumble; he couldn't fight against the ghost of Lily, no matter how small the connection was. It was the curse laid upon his soul; if there was Lily to be found, he must seek it and preserve the purity within it, by extension cleansing his blackened soul bit by bit of the countless sins committed in his lifetime. Maybe someday he would be rid of his greatest sin of all: In his endeavors to catch Lily, the epitome of light, he grasped too tight, leaving him only the broken body that meant to him all his hopes and desires.

"You will have moved your things into the vacant room upstairs by tonight's end, and do not expect me to assist you; pregnant or not, you're perfectly competent with a wand." His voice came out rather harsh; she had won, but he wasn't going to be pleasant about it.

She had a sad smile on her face in response. She nodded once in thanks, and Apparated out to supposedly pack. He looked around his now vacated home and sighed. He made an uncharacteristic plop into his seat and rested his face in his palm.

Was his house really that starved of affection? He shook off the foolish thought with a grimace. His issue wasn't lack of love.

Severus Snape loved too much.

While Severus scrambled in his Potion's room, hurrying like a madman to assemble various pain killing brews, the bloody screaming of Ginny could be heard throughout the whole house. With each new scream came a new pitch that Severus didn't think to be obtainable by the human vocal chords.

Women in labor are capable of many wonderful things, He mused.

"Severus Bloody Snape, if you don't scurry in here with your God damned potions like the slimy man you are I can promise you that you won't have a face to sneer with anymore!" Ginny's roar reverberated through the halls, almost making Severus bring his hands to cover his ears.

"Why, that wretched, ungrateful little witch…" Severus muttered under his breath while "scurrying" over to her side of the house.

When he opened the door to Ginny's room, he took in everything with muted horror. Before him wasn't a pretty sight.

Her hair clung to her face, held in place by the layers of sweat on her skin. Her usually bright eyes were suddenly dimmed with weariness and unimaginable pain, though he could see a reflection of her fierce nature fighting for dominance. Her normally colored face was now deathly pale, fit to compete with his sallow skin. Even her hair seemed several shades paler, as if the red was slowly bleeding out of her body.

As it so happened, that was exactly the case. Besides Ginny herself, the second thing most concerning him was the amount of blood all over the sheets of her bed. Sure enough, he researched the subject of birth and midwives quite extensively during the several months Ginny stayed as she gradually grew larger and larger, and he knew the copious amounts she was spilling was neither healthy nor natural.

In fact, if a certain Potion's Master were to be completely honest with himself, he would have recognized the fact that one simply can't regain that much lost blood in a reasonable matter of time. But that particular tidbit required a level of honestly that he frankly didn't possess.

He rushed over to her side, trying to recall what he was supposed to do next. The logical first step would be to administer the anesthetics, he reasoned, so he brought ones of the vials up to her mouth.

"If you'll take a respite from your shrieking for but a moment, I ask you to drink these," He said softly.

She looked at him and gave him a single, terse nod. He lowered the contents of the first, then second, then finally the third vial down her throat. She began to cough violently in response, colored fluids now staining her lips and throat.

"You look awful, Ginevra. You know how people always say that women in labor glow with the beauty of motherhood? I can now proudly declare them blind as a bat," Severus said with a small smirk.

"You hardly look any better, and you're not even giving birth," she managed to retort back in between a wave of unbearable pain.

"Ever the eloquent one in the face of danger."

"You're hardly one to talk, Severus."


She had a small smile on her face; pleased to just pretend everything was fine and well at the moment. Severus imagined for a moment this must have been the expression Lily donned as she spoke her last words to her beloved child, and his heart lurched in a moment of livid agony. He suppressed it though, as he had learned to do for all these years, by drowning out Lily's hauntingly sweet voice with Ginny's anxious one.

"…Severus? Are you listening to me? I need to talk to you about something very important," she huffed.

"If I might recall, that's exactly what you said to me downstairs about 8 months ago and the news you delivered then proved to be less than delightful," he noted wearily.

"I can promise you this won't be any more pleasant than before," she said in a very blatant manner.

How utterly Gryffindor. And here I thought she could have been Slytherin! Severus chastised himself mentally.

"If something happens to me- and at this rate, it'll happen very soon- I want you to take my child under your name. If it's a boy, I want it to be named after my father, Arthur. And if it's a girl… You may choose her name." The look in her eyes left little doubt as to whether she meant her words.

"Don't be so stupid," he hissed, "You're not going to die under my care-"

"You're a wonderful caretaker, but you can't 'put a stopper in death' forever, Severus. You of all people know this," she said wistfully.

He didn't really know what to say to this; even she couldn't deny that she was rapidly losing blood, and all the Blood-Replenishing Potions in the world couldn't make up for how it was affecting her system.

"But… me? Name your child?" He managed to splutter out. Seeing Severus so obviously out of his element made her smile again.

"Why not? You've done so much for us and you're going to be its parent from now on. Why shouldn't you get a say? Just don't name it something awful like Fanny, or Tiffany, or… Severus." A light chuckle escaped her stained mouth, inciting even more hacking.

Before he could say a retort back, she resumed her previous moaning with a fervent passion. As the screams grew more frenzied, her body became wracked with sobs. Tears were pouring down her messy face as she gritted her teeth in concentration.

"Oh, God! I can't do it! All this time and preparation and I can't deliver my own baby!" She wailed.

He simply stood there, repeating the phrase over and over, "Push goddamn you, push!" hoping it would hold some miracle effect over Ginny and aid the process. Just as he suspected, it didn't.

And then, quite suddenly, something he somehow wasn't suspecting was crying its little heart out, and he determined that the faint cries weren't coming from Ginny any longer.

In fact, not a sound was coming from Ginny, but this escaped his notice. He was instead concentrating on the small being at her feet. It was very tiny, for a human; Severus only just realized that he'd never seen a newborn in his life. It was beet red and making quite a ruckus; classic Weasley. He noticed something about her eyes when Ginny made a sudden gasp. He set the baby down gently and ran back to her side.

"Bring… bring my baby to me," she panted through lidded eyes.

Only pausing to nod, he picked the infant back up again, wrapped it in a nearby towel and handed it over to its exhausted mother. When she looked down at her newly born child, Ginny's old vitality was restored in an instant; as if she couldn't bear the thought of having her child see her so weak and fragile. She wore a smile that he supposed only loving mothers wore, he not being very well acquainted with such a smile.

"Aha… so my little Potter is a girl. The deal's still on, Severus. Pick a name," she said cheerily.

"Well I hardly see fit to name a child that I've hardly looked at," Snape debated. He really didn't want to be the one blamed for picking an unsuitable name, having grown up resenting his parents about 'Severus' his whole life.

"Then get a better look," she said simply. She handed over the bundle with the utmost care, and the baby was now in his arms once again.

She really did have Ginny's face, he mused; at least no hooked nose ruined her complexion. Finding nothing particularly special about the child, he almost rattled off a simple name like "Sue" when he noticed her eyes.

And here he thought he'd finally managed to escape those shimmering green eyes.

He shivered slightly, and decided without a moment's pause. "Lilian Harper Snape. That is what she'll be called." His voice rung with finality.

He looked up, expecting to see eyes filled with motherly pride, but instead was greeted with a pair of dying ones.

"Ginevra? Wake up this instant!" He was about to pull out his wand and cast a rejuvenation spell when her eyes fluttered open again.

"Calm down, calm down. I'm awake; no need to fuss," she mumbled sleepily.

Severus was enraged by just how easily this girl was giving up.

"Don't you dare fall asleep! You have a child now to look after; you can't just leave her behind like this!"

In return, she only gave him an exhausted smile. "I'll send your regards to Harry… and your love to Lily." She reached out and grabbed his hand, squeezed it once, and let go.

Ginny Weasley, covered in her own blood, had managed to die with a smile on her face.

A moment slipped by, as did another. Many more passed Severus Snape in no apparent hurry and he didn't particularly care; he had all the time in the world, didn't he? He took one sweeping look at the baby and thought:

I don't have to take this child in.

Yes, it was true. The first thought on his mind was that his promise to Ginny was hollow, now that her corpse lay before him. It would be simple enough, he reasoned. He could just drop it off on the steps of the local Orphanage, Apparate home and finish that bloody biography he never got a chance to start. And the best part was that no one could blame him.

Well, I suppose they could, but I couldn't give less of a damn if they did, he thought with indifference.

He had fought his War; he protected Potter, by hiding in the shadows of lies and deceit, murdering his most trusted colleague, and now he had helped birth his bastard child. Indeed, he had already done far beyond what was really expected of him.

And yet…

He looked down at 'Lilian', stared into her emerald eyes and in that moment lost the battle of wills. Severus liked to think himself to be strong; a hardened soul amongst the pathetically weak and direly needy. And yet, it only took a pair of painfully familiar glittering eyes to reduce his resolve to rubble, to make his knees go weak with defeat, to conquer his heart's darker desires.

"Lilian… Lily…" He muttered, afraid of the consequences of someone so sinful as he uttering a name so divine. Seeing as how he hadn't combusted into holy flame or the like, he decided to push the bundle further against himself. The word 'snuggling' had not dared cross his mind.

Though those eyes had the ultimate power over him, they also held an unending beauty he could appreciate until the ends of time. The thought of having them bore into him every day at first sounded like awful torture, but as he thought more about it, it could be seen as a blessing as well. And if he played his cards right, he might finally gain a kind hearted, green-eyed girl that loved him someday. Albeit, not the kind of love he had intentionally sought after, but love nonetheless. After all, was it not in the name of love did Severus sacrifice everything?

So be it, then. He would raise the child in his name; attempt the role of father figure as best as he could, and give the orphaned girl he would call Lily the love she deserved. Perhaps sharing a mutual love with another person could fix the broken part of him on the inside that rattled its demented cage, shrieking for retribution to all those who locked him up…

No, I doubt that anything could ever fix a part of a person that twisted and destroyed, but it could bring me salvation in other ways, he supposed. He looked down at the child and noticed she had begun humming; Lily had always hummed when content or troubled with life's burdens. Though he knew there would be plenty of the latter in Lilian's life, he promised himself he would allow as little of it as possible. For now, he chose to think the girl was pleased for some unknown reason to be in his arms.

He stared at her once again, and he chose to read what he thought to be her thoughts through her forest green orbs. Go ahead, they seemed to say, I know how you feel. Cry with me; I won't tell a soul.

And so Severus did. He cried and cried, past the point he thought possible for himself. He cried for his unrequited love, he cried for his pain, he cried for Lily's corpse, he cried for his abusive parents, he cried for the crushing guilt suffocating his torn soul, he cried for the lies and the bitterness, he cried for the lost child of his sweetheart, he cried for everyone who had ever felt like him and most of all:

He cried for Lilian Harper Snape.

Several hours flew by since Lilian had discovered her true heritage; it had gone much better than he had hoped. Snape was never good with tears and Lilian wasn't an exception to this rule, but she had saved him the trouble.

With a bittersweet expression, she had responded quietly with this:

"My biological parents sounded like wonderful people. My father fought valiantly for the rights and freedom of other people; my mother sacrificed so much to give me a proper life; and I will always owe them for that. And yet… Harry may be my Father, but you're still my Dad."

She smiled awkwardly, knowing her "God" Father was never one for much emotion, but was completely taken by surprise when wrapped in his fierce grip. Her crimson hair obscured his face and he was perfectly content to sit there, his daughter tucked inside and safe from the dangers of the world that took his first Lily away. He could tell that she was partially scared by his sudden outburst of affection, but he wasn't quite sure if he cared or not. After many minutes raced by, she finally spoke.

"That said, I still would like to pay my final respects to both of them," she said cautiously.

He lifted his head to look into her face and spoke with deliberate preciseness.

"Are you sure that's what you want?"

She thought over it for a moment, biting her bottom lip without really thinking about it. Agitated, he swatted her mouth lightly with a slight frown.

"You've already ruined enough of your would-be lovely face as it is. Quit that," he chastised.

She chortled a little at his crabbiness and said, "Luckily I got enough spare good looks from your side of the family."

"Ha. Ha. Ha. Clever, Lily."

"Anytime, Pops."

She cleared her throat and her face took on a more serious expression. "My answer is yes; it's really what I want to do."

He nodded once and stood up to make his leave.

"If it is your will, my dearest." He followed this with a deep bow.

"I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not, but I'll choose to believe you all the same," she said contentedly.

He took one last look into the eyes that he loved and hated most, and before he knew what had happened, he had blurted something out.

"You have Potter's-" he stopped himself, "Your father's eyes. And he had his mother's. You have her eyes, you know." His voice had softened to nearly a whisper as he said this.

She responded steadfastly, "And you have her heart."

His breath quickened and he shook his head.

"If you knew everything that I've said or done that hurt the world and those who inhabit it, would you still be saying such a thing?" His tone became bitter and icy, threatening to close up this newfound floodgate of openness they managed to build.

Her eyes shone with glistening tears of pure sympathy and love for her Dad. She jumped off the bed and ran across the room to meet him and grabbed his forearm, unknowingly so much like her mother. She gazed into Snape's cold eyes with her warm ones with such intensity that he swore he could feel his soul thawing out. And in the next moment, he was sure it did.

"Always," said Lily.