She peered up at the tall lanky boy; his long black hair was a piercing contrast to his shockingly pale skin. Deep black eyes stared back at her, devoid of life. They seemed to drink in the light around them leaving only shadows in their wake. Although his hair acted as a curtain for his face she could make out his sharp cheekbones. And he had a nose too big for his gaunt face, no he wasn't handsome in the conventional way but he was intriguing.

Severus crossed his arms over his chest and brushed past her as he skulked away towards the slytherin common room. He belonged in the depths of the dark dungeon. He would read something, a spell book, perhaps even classic muggle literature if the desire struck his fancy, anything to not think of her.

She looked around and took in the sight of the castle. Floating candles hovered above her and she often wondered if the hot wax had ever dripped down and burnt some poor soul's head. The thought made her laugh aloud. Everyone stared at her as if she were mad. She stood up and made her way to find Severus.

She caught sight of him turning a corner and disappearing down a deserted corridor. He hadn't gone to the common room after all, but towards the astronomy tower. He had changed his mind and stalked off in search of solitude that the common room would not provide. Lily felt his presence before she caught up with him. He was angry still, a bitter coldness shot through him but she approached him nonetheless. Severus didn't look up from his book, he focused on the yellow pages, old and worn knowing he would be unable to take in the words with her so near.

"Sev?" He didn't respond. "Severus, look at me please?" grudgingly he met her bright gaze. "Are you alright?" "Terrific." He sneered. She just stood there not knowing what to say to make everything alright again. He lowered his gaze back to his book and resumed his inspection of the torn up pages.

"They should have never done that to you, it was wrong-" he slammed the book shut. "Never speak of it. Never." Then his voice softened. "Besides…I'll get them back, Potter and Black." His dark eyes narrowed. She reached her hand out and placed it upon his which rested on top of the book.

"And what is your plan?" He drew his hand away from hers.

"Will you be staying at Hogwarts this Christmas break?" He asked instead, changing the subject, though he knew she wouldn't, she never did.

Taking the hint she tilted her head to the side and gave him an understanding look. Then she seemed to brighten up once again and spoke excitedly.

"About that I was wondering if…well you see I talked to my mum and she thought it would be alright if you stayed with us for Christmas this year."

He stared at her blankly. She twisted her finger around a red curl suddenly a little self-conscious,

"um of course if you don't want to that's alright…"

"What's the catch?" he asked slyly and she gasped, "Sev you think just because I'm inviting my best friend over for Christmas there must be a catch? You honestly-" His look of disbelief silenced her. She sighed.

"Alright Sev, besides wanting to spend Christmas with you I want you to go see your family." Severus glared off into the distance. "Why?" "It's been three years, I know they haven't been the best of parents but- (he sneered) they're still your family and I feel like if you never go back- as you keep telling me, you'll regret it one day."

Severus snarled; "You don't understand. I don't have a family; I have a blood-relation to two people, one a stranger, the other my enemy. I hate my father and I know nothing pertaining to that distant woman who calls herself my mother."

"I know it's been hard, but I really think you should go see them. And if it goes as horribly as your foreboding expectations foretell, then I'll never bring them up again." She added cheerfully.

Severus said nothing, simply continued to glare into the distance. At last he spoke, "And this is the only way I can spend Christmas with you?" "Yes." She said as a smile spread upon her face. He sighed, "I suppose."

She threw her arms around him and hugged him tightly. Severus hesitantly wrapped his arms around her. He let himself relax and breathed in the scent of her hair. Lily smelled like wildflowers, she always did. It reminded him of the days when they were children and would play together in the meadow.

She let go of him and he held on to her for a moment longer, a moment too long perhaps and she stood there awkwardly. But she knew better than to say anything. Once he let go he wouldn't touch her again for a while. He would avoid all physical contact with her if possible, all the while she would carelessly brush her fingertips against his when she passed him in the halls, or pick some imaginary piece of lint out of his hair and he would feel her hands warm on his neck and her fingers gently pull through his hair- it drove him mad at times. It was her favorite game; she never could understand why he acted so strangely.

He let go of her and returned his attention to his book, now able to concentrate and actually read the words on the old torn pages. Yet she was restless. The cold December air beckoned her, its winter wind whispered to her that change was approaching. It told her she was on the verge of something yet unknown.

"Put your book away and follow me, I think it's about to snow." He raised an eyebrow but did as she requested.

She linked her arm through his and led him outside. "Now just wait." She whispered as if the winter would overhear her and refuse its blessing of snow to fall. Soon enough snowflakes trickled down from the heavens. She giggled with delight and let go of his arm. He watched her as she danced and spun around. Muggle-borns were so strange.

Yet he enjoyed watching her spin in circles, her hair flying about her face, her eyes bright and gleaming with sheer childish delight. The snow began to fall heavier. Her nose was turning pink from the cold but she continued to play.

"Dance with me Severus!" He shook his head. "I think we should head inside now, before you catch a cold." He teased her lightly. "Just one dance?" She had stopped twirling and was staring into his coal black eyes, her emerald ones pleading. "Very well." He agreed reluctantly and led her further into the falling snow away from the sight of the world and near the edge of the forbidden forest. They began to dance. She was laughing wholeheartedly. Time passed quickly, the sun grew further and further away. They danced for a long while both smiling and her giggling. He spun her around and she followed his lead. She felt as if she would follow him anywhere at the moment and paid no mind as they danced closer and closer to the forbidden forest.

It was getting dark, they should've been back in their dorms by now but the call of the wild enchanted them both. He led her further away from civilization and danced with her closer to the edge of the unknown. He wondered what she would do if she passed into the forest on her own. Suddenly he spun her then let go. He watched as she twirled away into the darkening forest. He lost sight of her momentarily. Then he heard her scream.

Severus ran to her. "Are you alright?" he bent down and tried to help her up. She limped, her ankle tricking blood. She had fallen over a branch. His eyes filled with worry and he swore. "I never meant to hurt you!" He picked her up easily in his arms and carried her light little self back into the castle. "It's nothing Sev, really just a bad cut, I'm fine." "No! Damn it I wouldn't have let you go if I thought for a moment you would get yourself bloodied up". As they entered the castle he spotted a bench and placed her down gently. "Let me see your ankle." He gently took her ankle in his hands and examined it. "You're right; it's nothing serious I can heal you in a moment." Severus slipped out his wand and muttered a healing spell. His voice was low and gentle, as if he were quietly singing her a lullaby. Instantly her ankle was as good as new. Still he kept his eyes lowered and wouldn't met her gaze.

"Thank you Sev." He stood up and turned away. "Go to bed little girl, there are things in the darkness you should never know." "I'm not afraid of the dark." She whispered. He turned to look at her and said with all seriousness. "Then you are foolish." And he walked away, his slytherin robe billowing behind him with his long strides. She felt the suffocating darkness of his soul leave her, felt his intense presence fade from her. Tonight when he led her into the forest, the thrill of potential danger he had put them both in had stimulated his senses, only he never thought she'd end up hurt. Severus would never let anything happen to her which was why he was so cross with himself at the moment. She smiled sadly to herself before making her way to her dorm. "I will save you Sev, I promise you."

The next day, a bright Saturday morning revealed a heavy snowy blanket to be lying upon the earth. Lily and Severus walked through it; it glittered as if it encompassed countless little diamonds. She looked around at the beauty of winter with bright eyes which held a deep fascination for all that surrounded her.

Unlike Lily who seemed to emanate a light of her own Severus appeared out of place in this early winter snow. His long black hair fell into his coal black eyes and his long black robe trailed slightly behind him seeming to stain the purity of the white ground.

"What does the winter remind you of Severus?" "Death." He muttered. "Everything dies in the bitter coldness, withers away and fades to nothing. The trees lose their leaves and always look hungry with their bare branches reaching out greedily to whoever passes them by."

Lily stopped walking and stared at him with a sudden sadness in her large emerald eyes. "But it is so beautiful, look around you, I don't see death. I see the earth resting and I see the trees calmly waiting to begin life anew. It is a change but not the end."

Severus scowled, she was heartbreakingly innocent. She always found loveliness in the most trivial things.

She smiled up at him and shivered lightly. "You are cold." He stated in his soft spoken tone.

"Only a little." She confessed, adjusting her red and gold Gryffindor scarf around her. Without another word he shrugged off his slytherin robe and placed it around her shoulders. "Oh Sev I couldn't, you will just freeze!" He shook his head. "I am used to coldness, you forget I'm not like you Gryffindors, I reside within the dungeons." The corners of his mouth tugged upward slightly as she pulled her arms through the sleeves.

"Well how do I look?" Severus stood back to take it in, she was quite the sight. His robe was much too long for her and dragged helplessly in the snow, her hands were completely hidden and the contrast of her red and gold Gryffindor scarf, her long red waves of hair and reddening nose to the green in his robe reminded him of Christmas. He reached out and rolled up the sleeves of his robe so that her hands were visible.

He nodded, "Lovely Lily." She giggled and linked her arm with his once again. She leaned into him, and whispered: "Sometimes I wish with all my heart for a single moment to last a lifetime…no more than that, I wish for it to be everlasting…" she sighed "Do you ever feel that way."

He gazed at her for a long while then murmured…"Yes, I have known such moments."

As they walked back towards the castle arm in arm it was no question she belonged to him in some unspoken way.

Severus ran after Lily down the path towards the forbidden forest, a bottle of firewisky under one arm. They were laughing wildly. Filch's yells echoed in the distance, they had lost him splitting up and taking unusual routes, their plan had worked marvelously.

Lily dogged into the forest and Severus followed, slowing his pace. They both collapsed on a fallen tree, trying to regain breath. Lily blinked back tears of laughter as she clutched at her aching sides. "That-was-close. Too –close!" She gasped. Severus shrugged. "I told you that we wouldn't get caught…now getting back into the castle will be another escapade entirely." He popped off the top of the firewhiskey and took a deep swig. Lily playfully snatched it from him and gulped down an equally impressive amount before fainting dramatically on to Sev's shoulder, "Then we shall stay here forever and you can build us a house. We will ride the centaurs and become friends with the fey and then we will have 6 babies and they will all be named Sily, for Sev and Lily!" She squealed in joy at her brilliant plan.

Severus raised an eyebrow. "Are you drunk after one sip Ms. Evans?" She narrowed her eyes. "No Sev, it's called humor, you should try it sometime." He smirked, "Ah-that was humor was it? Must have eluded me." She stuck her tongue out at him. He tsked, "How pretty." Lily raised the bottle in the air. "We must make a toast! To sneaking out with good company!" She took another swig then handed the bottle to Severus who shook his head, "To friends who will be there, always." And he drained a fair portion of the bottle.

They drank through the night laughing and carrying on. Lily threw her arms around Severus' neck. He tensed and felt a strange feeling in his stomach, though that could have been all the whiskey. Her face was close to his as she leaned in closer. "If I-if I told you something, would you promise not to laugh at me?" Lily slurred lightly, resting all her weight against Severus, leaning off his neck. He placed his arms around her waist to steady her; again he felt that nervous sensation in the pit of his stomach.

"I wouldn't laugh at you…well not this time anyway." She laughed, burying her face in his chest. "You smell…strange." She said after a moment. Severus laughed quietly, "Should I say thank you or be offended?" Lily giggled and raised her face up to his. "Not in a bad way just…different, you smell like…night."

She was thoughtful now he raised an eyebrow, as best he could, hoping he wasn't making some stupid drunken face. Lily leaned her face down into his chest once more and inhaled deeply. "I can't place it, but it reminds me of…trouble." He nodded, "You're most likely referring to the scent of cloves, I was smoking a few earlier with Lucius."

Lily raised a finger pretending to scold him. Then added, "That could be part of it…anyway wasn't I telling you something?" Severus nodded again. "Yes, we were talking about-we were talking 'bout…I'll be damned if I know!" He swayed slightly and change positions so that he leaned on lily. She ran her fingers through his hair hopelessly attempting to work through the tangles. "Oh yes my deep dark secret, I was gonna tell you!" She hiccupped lightly. Severus tried to focus on her more clearly, what dark secret could Lily Evans have? Perhaps she collected endangered butterflies or something. He snorted in amusement. Lily cleared her throat.

"So here it is…Sev, I've been thinking, and I think-I think we should try kissing. I mean every-one does it and I haven't and I think you'd have told me if you did so…lets snog, just to say we did." Suddenly Severus' mind became sober. He narrowed his eyes. "You've had too much to drink; you've lost your mind." He grabbed the near empty bottle from her hands and downed the remaining drops. Lily shook her head.

"No, I wanna try it, with you! I want my first time to be with my best frieeeend." She managed a wink. Severus scoffed, "Are you feeling alright? Your vision must be horribly blurred if you can look at me and say you want to do that." She pouted. "You don't want to? You don't want to see what all this talk of snogging is all 'bout?" Severus' head was spinning for more than one reason. "No it's not that I just"- his words trailed off as lily brought her lips close to his, almost touching. Her radiant green eyes were fixed on his deep dark ones. Then she closed her eyes. Severus did the same.

The next instant Lily was doubled over, retching. Severus opened his eyes to see she had thrown up all over his shoes. She was crying. "Oh my god, I'm so sorry, I'm so stupid!" Severus placed one hand on her back and rubbed it gently in small circles; with his other he clumsily reached for his wand uttering a cleansing spell and the mess vanished. "Hush Lily, it's alright. But I think we've had enough excitement for one night, I'll take you back to your dorm." She looked devastated and couldn't meet his eyes. But she nodded and let him pull her up. She leaned against him and he stumbled back towards the castle.

They stood outside the Gryffindor common room. "Are you alright Lily? Can you make it safely to your bed?" She smiled weakly. "Yeah, thanks Sev." He looked at her with a deep concern and after deciding she would be alright on her own he said goodnight and made for his own common room, nearly falling over his robes more than once. It had been a miracle they hadn't been caught sneaking back into the school with all the noise they had made stumbling through the halls.

Severus walked quickly towards the dungeons when he heard voices nearby. He ducked into an open class room and crouched down. He felt a sense of relief as he realized that the voices belonged to students.

"You're going to do what now?"

"I'm going to make her like me; I mean how could she not?"

Potter. His mere voice grated on Severus' nerves. Severus peered out at the gang of Gryffindors who had stopped to continue their chat. Severus growled. He just wanted to go to his common room and go to bed. He was rather drunk and was in no state fit to tackle Potter and his hexes. Severus found himself trapped, waiting for Potter to lead his little admirers away.

"And how are you gonna do that mate? She's always hanging all over Snivillus!" Black stated chuckling. Severus tried to shake off the wave of nausea that had come across him. They were talking about Lily.

As if to confirm this Potter cursed than spat on the ground glaring at Black. "Evans is just too nice for her own good. I'll show her what a real man is like…why do you think she spends so much time with him anyway?"

"Maybe she has a thing for grease, just don't wash your hair for a week and she'll come prancing along throwing herself all over you." Severus rolled his eyes. He did wash his hair but he didn't waste hours on it. He had better things to do than spend every waking moment primping it like Potter and Black.

Lupin sighed, making himself known for the first time. "It's getting late let's go to bed guys."

Potter ran his hand through his hair, tousling it. primping, Severus thought mockingly.

"Look I really, well like Evans, she's different from the other girls." How cliché, the preppy jerk wants the one thing he can't have. Severus thought bitterly, feeling his mouth curl into his infamous sneer.

"Then go get her, she's a nice piece of-

"Don't go there Sirius." Remus warned. Black glanced over at Potter who had bawled his fists and raised his eyebrows. He sighed.

"Wow, she must really be special." Black mumbled sarcastically then strode off towards the Gryffindor common room. Potter and Lupin exchanged irritated looks before following him.

Once they were out of sight Severus angrily traveled to the dungeons, swept through the Slytherin common room and found his bed at last.

Lily sat beside Severus as usual in potions class the next day. She peaked at him to find him sulking over his books. He always loved potions and was brilliant with it. But today his mind was elsewhere. Lily pretended to focus on her recipe for the love spell. She noticed his tie was loosened and was brushing against the desk as he grudgingly read the directions for the day's assignment. She slyly took hold of his tie and twisted it around her quill.

He shot a glare at her and snarled. "Release my tie at once, Ms. Evans." She looked innocently away and tugged at his tie forcing him to lean into her. "And what will you give me?" she teased. "How about I don't slip a few drops of this ridiculous potion into your morning pumpkin juice along with a hair of professor Slughorn's thus resulting in you becoming infatuated with him?" he said, snatching his tie away from her. Lily winked at him and in response he narrowed his eyes and hissed, "You are truly no better than a Cornish Pixie!" She laughed aloud.

The professor turned to them. "Now what are my two brightest students up to causing so much racket?"

Severus shot Lily a look of death. She smiled sweetly. "Forgive me professor, I was thinking about what a delight it would be if I used this love potion on Mr. Snape. Perhaps that way he may lighten up and actually seem pleasant, if only temporarily of course.

The entire class laughed and even the professor cracked a smile. "Well in that case, carry on!"

Severus stood up. "You are all pathetic," he spat through clenched teeth. And forgetting his books he stalked out of the room. The class silenced, stunned. Snape was always the quiet one who did his work and stayed to himself. People would over hear his snide remarks here and there but he never lost control and raised his voice to anyone. Lily looked up the professor with pleading eyes, and he nodded once in understanding, returned to the lesson.

Lily picked up Severus's forgotten books along with her own and swiftly made her way out of the class. She wasn't sure where to begin but she had a feeling he would go somewhere quiet and out of sight. She thought for a moment and knew just where to find him.

Snape sat under the willow tree by the glittering lake, his nose buried in some spell book. Lily approached him. "What is the matter with you my friend?"

He said not a word, of course. She sighed and sat down on the cold ground beside him. "Remember when we were children and we would sit just as this, Sev?" He paused then nodded slowly. She continued, "And we would tell each other fantastic stories?" Again he nodded. She rested her head against his shoulder. "And tell each other all of our secrets." "Yes and we would speak for hours until you were called home for dinner." He recalled. There was a comfortable silence. Then Lily gazed out at the bright snow around them and whispered, "I'll never forget how you found me, seemed to have appeared out of thin air and told me I was a witch." She closed her eyes, head still resting on Severus' shoulder.

He looked down at her; there was a little smile upon his lips. Her bright red hair shone in the sunlight like wild fire, but her face was serene. He stayed there while she rested, not daring to move and disturb her. He reached over and took a strand of her hair in his fingertips. He was still bothered though, struggling with the knowledge that Potter fancied her. She was too kind and may fall for his trap. He'd make a fool out of her, and Severus would not let that happen, ever. In fact he would do anything to keep Potter away from Lily.