Disclaimer: The usual stuff. Not mine. JKR's. blahblahblah.

        

A/N: This story is turning out to be a lot longer than I had planned. There are at least two more chapters to go. But I like this chapter. I think it is the best so far. I wish that was saying something.

Oh, and not beta-read. I'm just too impatient- once I get a chapter done; I want to post it right away. I hope I caught all my mistakes. I try to proof-read a lot. I'm open to all advice/criticism on the story, though.

So, please review!

The Farewell

By Coesius

Chapter-5

He found himself standing by the window, his forehead leaning on the cold glass, gazing at the street below. His shoulders shuddered for a moment; a tremor passing through his body, down his spine- and it had nothing to do with the cold. Flung across the room in a dusty corner were a white mask and a dark cloak.

****

He woke up to find a pair of large green eyes watching him. She was looking up at him through wild red curls, propped up on her elbows with her chin resting on the palms of her hands.

"Good morning," he whispered, fighting the urge to cover himself up with the sheets.

There hadn't been much time for any thought last night but he felt his insecurities creep up on him in the morning light as he gazed down on his chest. The random network of scars, old and new, flashed white against his already pale skin despite the light dusting of black hair.

Lily followed his eyes, frowned softly and then laid her head back on his chest, her hand tracing the rough lines on his skin. Severus shifted uncomfortably and said, "They won't heal. They're magical and you know how magical scars- especially those from dark curses-" He stopped and drew in a shaky breath as he felt her lips on his chest.

**** 

He almost crumbled down on the wet pavement as soon as he appeared in the dark alley, out of thin air, as it would seem to an outsider. But he didn't think he'd find muggles wandering around at this ungodly hour, especially in this particular part of the city. He leaned on a dirty wall and wiped his forehead to get rid of the hot sweat trickling down his hairline. He cursed in a raspy voice when he saw the redness on the back of his hand. Cruciatus he could deal with but an open wound presented new problems. Apparently it was deep enough that the bleeding hadn't stopped even after the time he had spent lying in the middle of the opening, trying to get his bearings long after the Dark Lord and his cohorts had disapparated. He couldn't risk an infection- he had to get to his flat soon and right now it seemed farther than he could walk. He cursed the Apparition wards he had set up around the apartment. If only he hadn't had to disapparate, he wouldn't be this drained.

Maybe if he could somehow send a message to Lily. She had insisted on waiting for him back in his place. "Sure, Severus, we'll just send an owl to her," he thought, snorting to himself. The effect was somehow ruined when he felt blood trickling down his nose, too. It seemed that his nose was broken. Once again, like it wasn't crooked enough. He was sure that had been Malfoy. Bloody bastard with his prefect little French nose.       

He pushed himself away from the wall and started walking with shaky steps.

****

"I need to go, now," she said.

"I know."

There was a tense silence and she disentangled herself from his embrace, sitting on the edge of the bed. Looking back over her shoulder, she saw him lying on his back, stubbornly staring at the ceiling.

"Severus," she called, "Severus." But he didn't look at her. She sighed, pulled her legs back up on the bed and crawled over to him. Then she sat on his hips, straddling him. Wiggling seductively, she leant down and gave him a kiss. "When can I drop by again?"

She'd had his attention from the moment she had touched him again but now, he couldn't help the slight widening of his eyes as he stared at her incredulously.

"Surely you don't mean to continue this? I am a spy- I can't afford to be with anyone much less a Mud- Muggleborn," She frowned slightly at his slip and he continued apologetically, "It's just habit- you know I don't care for that stuff. Never did- not even when… Not even when I wasn't a spy."

"It's okay."

"No- no, it's not. I mean, even Dumbledore can't know about us. Plus what about Potter?" he asked.

"You sound as if you don't want to see me again."

"Lily," he said. "Lily, come here."

****

His body screamed in protest as Severus slowly got up. He had simply thrown himself down on his bed as soon as he had stumbled in last night. After downing a considerable amount of painkillers and some healing draughts, of course. If he had had enough strength, he now realized that a shower would have been a good idea as well. His sheets were sticky and stained where he had collapsed and his robes seemed as if they were stuck to his skin permanently. He was surprised to find though, that he had had enough of a mind to take off his cloak and mask. He saw them on the floor in the corner of the bedroom but couldn't bring himself to pick them up yet. They'd have to stay there for a day or two until last night's memories faded a little.

Lily hadn't been waiting for him last night after all. He knew he shouldn't be disappointed. He could hardly have expected her to stay for as long she had anyway. She had been bound to come to her senses and go back to Potter. Obviously she had finally seen how tainted he was when the Dark Mark on his arm had flared up. He doubted he would ever see her again. How that idea could physically hurt more than the leftovers of yesterday's torture session, he couldn't fathom.

****    

Love,

J sent an owl; apparently he's on his way back from Scotland. Turns out he finished his business there faster than he thought he would. I've got to go. Please send me an owl when you return. I'll try to see you as soon as I can. Be safe, please be safe.

Yours,

L  

He held the note almost reverently. He knew he should burn it; if found, it could cost him his life and maybe even hers. But he couldn't bring himself to do it. "Love," she had written. He read the first line again. Love. He put the note in an obscure ancient Potions tome. Love.

****

He immediately spotted her fiery hair whipping about her. She drew up the hood of her muggle coat that had fallen back in the wind and continued her determined walk up the narrow street. Occasionally she'd cast a furtive glance about her, notable only by the slight turn of her head. She glanced up for a moment and their eyes met. Her steps grew more hurried as she approached the building. Soon, he couldn't see her anymore. A few seconds later, the doorbell sounded in the dark flat. He turned on the lights and opened the door.

A/N: Getting the replies to my college applications on the first week of April. Wish me luck. Maybe I'll get into Yale or Barnard. As if.