Doomsday2012, Professor Radar, bbu22, and Sharecrow, I'm so glad to hear from you, it's like a phone call from an old friend. Glad you're still with me after ALL this time! The DarkCorner, Missyick, Mrs. Potter, you're newer but just as important, and I'm so glad you've joined my crazy little world. Saint Snape, your play by play of chapters made my Saturday! Grapes, I always look forward to hearing from you! Thank you all so much for your words of encouragement. I love the guidance offered to the characters. Hopefully one of these two hardheaded individuals will listen to some kind or reason…or maybe not…

Emotions he didn't know were possible began to battle in Severus' head. His heart felt like it was beginning to crumble in his chest as he watched Lily's back retreating up the stairs. Then he felt the anger swelling; white hot vicious anger that was clouding his thoughts and his mind.

"Lily!" he called. She didn't acknowledge him and the anger only got worse. "Lily, damn it stop!"

His tone was harsh and she jerked around to face him. "What?"

It was as though he'd used all of his common sense trying to discuss the situation with her. She'd wanted the truth and when he gave her what she wanted and she just used it against him. She was turning her back on him.

"You can't just walk away."

"Do you expect me to just stay? To put my life in danger? To put the twins?"

"I expect you to stand by me," he snarled. "Do you understand that there is nothing you could do that would make me turn my back on you?"

"I haven't almost gotten you killed," Lily spat.

"When has your life been in danger?" His was barely moving his lips; he could feel his fist shaking with the effort to control himself. "When I was in the woods? When I went on a mission? When I was making potions and diagnosing things that if I got the potion wrong I would be killed? Please enlighten me, Lily. When have I put your life in danger? When Potter attacked my house and tried to destroy it? Because I didn't do everything possible to protect you that night, right? I haven't tried desperately to protected you have I?"

Lily's face was turning a dark red to rival her hair as her green eyes narrowed to slits. "And do you think for a moment that any of those times I didn't feel like a part of me was dying? Do you think that part of me wasn't shattered? All I could do was sit like I was impotent and wait for news. News that you'd been injured or killed. All the while a voice in my head taunted that if they did kill you I'd never know!"

Severus threw his hands up in disgust. "Why don't you just admit that I'm never going to be enough for you?"

Lily crossed her arms. "You won't," she growled.

Despite his anger, Severus felt like she'd elbowed him in the gut, he started to retort but she cut him off.

"You can't be because I'll never have all of you. You're always going to be dedicated to something other than me, other than our family. No matter how much I love you, no matter how much I try, nothing is going to change that you have that mark on you."

"It doesn't define me!" His voice was rising to a tone he rarely ever used with her.

"Oh it doesn't? So that means that when I go into labor that you'll be right by my side the entire time? That even if it starts to burn you're not going to leave me?" She was still on the stairs; the height difference between them compensated by a couple of steps.

"It's a job, Lily—"

Her shriek of laughter cut him off. "A job?! A job? Are you that stupid, Severus? Are you really that ignorant? It's control over your entire life. You're never going to be able to fight him! Ever! He'll kill you if you try!"

"So what exactly do you want me to do, Lily?" he barked. "Do you want me to turn in my resignation? Do you want me to tell him that I'm finished? He'll probably kill me himself. Then you can't threaten to destroy me every time you get mad at me!"

"What?" she snapped, leaning back against the wall.

"Every time we hit a problem, you want to run. It's the most damage you can do to me; like ripping my heart out of my chest every time you threaten to walk out that door. You can't just separate yourself from me now. Those are my children too and I have every right to be in their lives!"

"If you think that you're going to put my children in danger—"

"MY children!" he snapped. "They are my children too, Lily! How are you going to protect them? You're a single witch on your own. Don't you think I've considered the benefits of staying with them? I will know what they're planning. My children won't be targeted."

"But you're in an organization that will do all of that to someone else's child!"

"I can't protect children across the world! But I can protect my own! He's getting too powerful, Lily! He's going to destroy those who fight against him!" Severus stared at her in exasperation. "You still haven't said what do you want me to do? Are you really going to walk away from everything that we are?"

Lily shook her head and raked her hands through her hair. "I can't stay, Severus."

He opened his mouth and felt the searing pain shoot up his arm. That familiar pain; that horrible pain that he could not ignore. He grabbed his forearm and turned his head toward her. "Lily, please, I have to go. Can we please just talk about this when I get back?"

Lily looked disgusted and furious. She said nothing as she turned and stormed up the stairs.

With a sickening feeling in his stomach, Severus succumbed to the darkness and was pulled through time and space.

Lily wiped furiously at her eyes. She couldn't believe she was crying. She couldn't believe she was fighting with this many emotions. She didn't feel like she could handle all of the sensations battling inside of her.

Her stomach gave a mighty heave and she leaned against the wall trying to pull herself together.

He was gone again to do who knew what and she was stuck alone again waiting with her stomach typing itself in knots until he came back.

She didn't want to leave.

She didn't want to be without him. But she was starting to think staying with him was going to tear her apart.

Lily reached down and traced her hand across her stomach. If she were to leave him then what would that mean for her poor children? Could she do that to them?

She pushed off of the wall and was starting for the bedroom when the chime of the doorbell echoed across the house.

Momentarily confused, Lily started back down the stairs. She hesitated in front of the door, suddenly wishing that there was a window. It's just neighborhood children, she told herself as she reached for the handle.

"Oh, hello!" she said, surprised to see Bellatrix standing at the door. Lily was suddenly self-conscious about her surely puffy eyes as she faced the beautiful witch.

"I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd say hello," she said, softly.

"Come in," Lily answered, stepping back and letting her into the house. She sniffed quickly hoping Bellatrix wouldn't notice.

"Is everything all right, Lily?"

Lily forced herself to attempt a smile as she nodded. "Would you like something to drink?"

"That sounds great," Bellatrix nodded, following Lily to the kitchen.

Lily started to pull the kettle out of the cabinet and glasses.

"Why don't you let me do that?" Bellatrix asked, gently taking them from her hands. "Why don't you sit down and tell me what's wrong?"

Lily sniffed again and sat down at the kitchen table. "I got into an argument with Severus."

There was a clang as Bellatrix set the kettle onto the counter. "Really? About what?"

"I think we want the same things, but we don't want them the same way," she said, looking at the dark hair of the woman at the sink. She didn't know Bellatrix well but the woman had a way of showing up when Lily was feeling particularly weak or vulnerable and right now, she was just enjoying the company of someone she didn't want to throw a plate at. "Is it even possible to make something like that work?"

"Well, if you have the same goals, why does it matter if you get to them in different ways? Isn't it about the end result anyway?" Bellatrix brought the tea to the table.

"But what if the methods are wrong?"

"Is there really a right and a wrong when it comes to getting what you want?"

Lily narrowed her eyes. This wasn't where she'd expected the conversation to go. "There should be."

"If you are always worried about the happiness of others, you will never be happy yourself," Bellatrix answered. She looked at Lily's cup. "Drink up. You look like you need it."

Lily spun the cup in her hands, then lifted it to her lips and took a drink. The tea was sweet with vanilla and something else she couldn't put her finger on. She smiled wearily at Bellatrix. "This is good, thank you."

"My special recipe just for you," Bellatrix purred, leaning back on the counter, watching Lily.

Lily titled her head and raised her eyebrow. Her fingers weakened, she couldn't hold onto the cup. It tumbled from her grip onto the floor. Her eyes struggled to focus on the cup as it shattered on the ground. The last thing she heard was Bellatrix's anxious cry of "Lily!" Then the world went black.

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