LbN: Written for an I Never challenge.

Snape smiled up at the team of Aurors who walked in, wands raised. "And I was beginning to think you'd forgotten about me."

"You trial is set for this Wednesday. That means you have three days to explain your demented mind to us."

Snape chuckled. "I don't feel the need to explain myself to any of you."

"What about to me?" James Potter strode into the room and sat across from his former schoolmate.

"Well, things just got more interesting. I suppose, Potter. I did see the poetic justice in your catching me, and it was your fiancé I killed."

James reddened, but held himself together. "What. Happened."

"In all honesty, Potter, it started as a hobby. I grew up in a Muggle neighborhood, not far from where Lily lived. I retained my house after my parents died, so there was never a lack of… playthings."

"It was raining that afternoon, and I'd walked down to the shop for a paper. I saw this…woman. One of the most vile Muggles I'd ever seen. She had her spawn with her, and she was screaming at it. And I started thinking about how peaceful the place would be if she just…disappeared. So I bought my paper, and a coffee, and I waited. The wait was always the worst part for me. Wondering if they'd notice… If they'd fight back. But they never did. All too wrapped up in their ordinary, simple lives to pay attention." He watched Potter fidget across the table. He knew Pottter only cared about what happened to her, but he was going to be heard this time. "So I concealed myself one night by the window of their shack. Rather reminded me of my upbringing—the man screaming at the woman, the woman screaming at the kid. I almost went for the man too, but I saw into his mind, his… memories. He'd never hurt the kid. Never betrayed his son. It was just her… so while he put their spawn to bed, I went to visit her. Made it so much easier that they had separate rooms. I silenced her easily enough, but beyond that I didn't give her the honor of the wand. I found it only fitting that her blood be spilt the crude, Muggle way—"

"WHAT does this have to do with what you did to Lily?" James demanded.

There was a tap at the window, and Snape chuckled. "It seems your colleagues want justice for everyone, not only your dearly departed. Really, Potter, we mustn't be selfish."

James reddened. After taking a few deep breaths, he said, "Fine. I'm sorry I interrupted. Please continue."

Snape grinned widely at the sudden formality. Potter was ready to play by his rules. "Indeed. And to answer your question, it's necessary you understand all of this, if you are to believe what I have to say about Lily. Back to the first night, I was sloppy. This was my first murder, after all. I tucked the knives back into my boots and looked around. There was blood everywhere. It was…exhilarating. I had a stroke of brilliance as I heard her husband knocking. I conjured a blue scarf and draped it over her. As you know, this became my signature. It was delightful, I must say, watching the police bumble around the neighborhood the next morning, trying to sniff out the killer. My more than slightly antisocial attitude made me the prime suspect, of course, but I had an airtight alibi. I'd been in Wales, visiting a sick friend, you see, and I had the papers to back it up." He chuckled. "It's astonishing what Muggles will believe, provided you wave the right papers in front of their noses. Anyway, it was another couple of weeks before I found my next target—another vile creature the world could do without. It went the same as before, except I didn't make such a mess this time. With Annabelle. That was her name."

"I know," James said. "Annabelle Caple, the second victim of the Bloody Scarf."

"Which is ironic, because the scarves were never bloody."

"She had three kids—"

"Whom were terrified of her very presence. I don't expect you to understand, but I did them a favor. But then, the papers started getting it all wrong. Making me out to be some kind of woman hating monster with Mommy issues. I couldn't have that. Which is why I decided that my first killing within the magical community would be a wizard. This man had ties in the Muggle community as well, so I knew my notoriety would grow.

Another knock came at the window, and this time a skinny, nervous looking Junior Auror peeked in. "Captain Potter, sir? We have to leave now."

James gave the boy a curt nod and turned back to Snape. "I'll see you in the morning."

He had him. Severus repressed the urge to laugh, but barely. Instead, he gave Potter a small, evil smile and nodded. "As you wish, James."

The younger man looked stricken at the use of his first name and hurried from the room.

Severus couldn't take it anymore. He let out a loud, cackling laugh that echoed around the cell and out to the guards.

"I brought you breakfast."

"I see. Civilized of you, but I'll stick with the coffee."

"Where were we yesterday?"

Severus put the cup on the table. "I was about to explain why Lily became my next target."

"May I take a guess?"

"Merlin knows I can't stop you. But you're wrong."

"It wasn't because she told you she was marrying me?"

"In fact it wasn't. I knew that was coming, and I didn't care. It was something that happened after that."

"Severus! You frightened me," Lily said, smiling.

Severus didn't return the smile. "Sorry. I didn't mean to. I wanted to make sure you were okay."

"You're sweet. Come in?"

"Only for a minute. I have to be somewhere." He followed her in slowly, looking around. He loved her flat. It was always bright, and warm. "You didn't return my letter. I got worried."

"I know. I'm sorry. I've just had so many things to do for the Prophet. This is crazy, right? James has been working round the clock with Magical Law Enforcement."

"How is the brute?"

"Be nice. He'd have a few things to say about you and your friends as well."

"What things?"

"Don't worry about it," Lily said. "Tea?"


"Have you been to see your—"




"He wants to see you. He says he misses you."

"That's rich. Don't go to see him again. He's not worth it."

Lily sighed. "Since when do you tell me what to do?"

"Since it's my dad you're visiting. If you care about me, you'll stop going."

"I do care about you, Severus," she said, setting his tea in front of him. "That's why I want you to fix this—"

"Why should I have to fix something he broke? Was I the one getting drunk every night? Was I the one beating my mother? Or telling my son that I wished he was dead? No, he did all of that."

Lily nodded, and put a hand on his arm. "I know. I know it was terrible."

Severus pulled away. "I have to meet a friend. I have to go."

"Fine. Be careful."

"I will."

"You killed her because she wanted to make peace with your father?" James asked quietly.

"She was…infuriating. A contrast. She cared about me—but not enough to do what I told her. She expected me to listen to her, but wouldn't listen to me. I just wanted her to stay good. To not turn into you."

"So it was about me."

"I knew that even after she married you, she'd keep meddling. It was only a matter of time before she figured it out—and then she'd hate me. But she didn't fit my list. She wasn't abusive. She hadn't betrayed anyone. I knew I had to kill her, to preserve our friendship, but I couldn't do anything unless she deserved it. So I followed her. Followed her for weeks."

"But she never did anything," James said earnestly.

"No. She didn't."

"So you broke your own rules… just so you wouldn't get caught."

"But as you know, I am the Half-blood Prince. And princes are held above the law. When it got serious enough, I decided that my rules were…irrelevant. If she married you, she would betray me. It would come—I knew."

"When did things…get serious?" James asked. He was sweating, and jiggling his leg. His supervisor had told him to leave if he felt himself losing control. He wasn't leaving. He had to know.

"The night I killed her."

"What's with the flowers?"

"I realized I hadn't given you a proper engagement gift," Severus said. "I didn't know what else to get you." He watched her as she put the flowers in a vase. Moving closer, he said, "Lily?"

"Yes?" she turned around, and he kissed her. "Sev!" she said, pushing him away. "Enough. We've been over this. I can't hang around you if you don't get over this. I'm marrying James."

Severus took a few steps back. "I'm sorry," he said clearly. "I love you."

"It was quick," Severus said, watching James turn white, then red. "I didn't…do anything to her. It was fast—Avada Kedavra. She wasn't a victim of The Bloody Scarf—just of Severus Snape. And then you ruined it."

"What do you mean I ruined it?" James growled.

"You caught me before I could bury her."

James stood suddenly, knocking his chair over.

An underling in a Magical Law Enforcement cap rushed in and held him back. "Captain…."

"I'm fine," James said. "Let me go."

The MLE boy let go, but stayed close by.

"I've told you everything." Severus took another sip of his lukewarm coffee.

"Fine. Then sign this," James snarled, pushing a confession sheet across the table.

"Karoline…Annabelle…Warren…Brenda…Caspian…Danny…Anne…. And, of course, Lily. Yes. This looks right." He signed it and pushed it back toward James. "One more day until I'm out of your hair forever."

James stared at him for a long moment, before taking the paper and bolting from the room.

Snape laughed. It was beautiful, really. They'd take his memories just before they executed him. Then they'd see all of it. What had really happened. He almost wished he could be there to see it. To see Potter's face when he saw the truth about that night.

Snape laughed.