Chapter 42: Halloween
"Do you really have to go this early? Can´t you stay for breakfast?"
"No, sorry. You know how busy the whole school is on Halloween. Dumbledore´s doing so much for us, I don´t want to make him angry by being late."
Severus pulled Lily into a quick hug and placed a gently good-bye kiss on her cheek.
"I´ll come to accompany you to the castle tomorrow at 9 o´clock."
"I can hardly wait."
"You´ll have your divorce by 9:15, be my wife by 9:30 and I´ll adopt Harry by 9:45. You don´t think Potter will back out?"
"No, he keeps his promises. He´ll be there."
"Good. I´m looking forward to tomorrow."
"So do I. I was a bit nervous, we won´t get our wedding in time."
"For the baby."
"You mean to tell me..."
Lily nodded. "Go now, you´ll be late. We can talk tomorrow."
"A baby!" Severus beamed. He kissed Lily again before he was shooed out of the front door.
Lily spent a part of the day examining her robes. What did you wear for a divorce? Were you supposed to chose something grave? Black? No, she wasn´t going to a funeral. But if she chose a too cheerful color, James would be hurt. There was no time to change between the divorce and the wedding. Cheerful was good for a wedding. At last she chose a plain green robe. Green went perfectly with her eyes.
In the afternoon Lily went to her little lab to brew some healing draughts. The order would need them and she wasn´t going to be able to brew much longer. If everything went similar to her first pregnancy, the fumes were going to make her sick soon. Better have a stock.
Lily made spaghetti for dinner. Harry had recently discovered the pleasures of Italian food and spaghetti with tomato sauce were his favorite dish for the time being. Lily cut the noodles and handed her son a spoon.
"Come, you can use the spoon yourself," she encouraged him. "You´re a big boy."
As the food was tasty, Harry dedicated himself to the task with pleasure. Lily sighed. Note to self: tempt the child with his favorite food, but not tomato sauce.
Fourteen cleaning charms later Lily took Harry upstairs for a bath and bed.
She was just covering the boy with his blanket, when a sound from downstairs attracted her attention. Was that the front door? James and Severus always knocked. Something was wrong.
"Lily, take Harry and go! It´s him! Go! Run! I´ll hold him off!"
James? What was James doing here? Him? Not HIM! How could he have found the house? Harry. Take Harry and run. Lily´s thoughts raced. Where was her wand? In the kitchen. She had left her wand in the kitchen! To get out through the front door she needed to get past him. Ridiculous idea without a wand.
Noises came from downstairs. Then a green light. Laughter. Cruel laughter. Steps on the stairs.
There was no way out.
The door was pushed open. It was him. He looked even more evil than Lily remembered. She moved between the door and the crib.
"Stand aside, I´ve not come for you. Stand aside and I´ll welcome you to my ranks."
"Not Harry! Not Harry! Please, I´ll do anything!"
"Stand aside, silly girl!"
A life for a life. No. Two lives for a life it was.
"Don´t kill Harry! Kill me instead!" I´m sorry, Severus. Remember your promise, Albus.
The last thing Lily saw, was a green light leaving Voldemort´s wand.
"Is it true?" Severus was staring out of the window. The first light of morning showed on the horizon but the Hogwarts grounds were still pitch black.
"I´m afraid so." Dumbledore said softly.
"Potter died with her?"
"With her and for her."
"This was supposed to be our wedding day. Now she´ll be Lily Potter forever. She never wanted to be this. Why was he there?"
"Whenever you weren´t there to protect her, he was. Under his invisibility cloak, for she wouldn´t let him stay openly. Did you know that she had a habit of telling Harry how happy she was with you? The poor boy suffered cruelly."
"You´re talking about Potter I assume. – Where is Harry?"
"Why do you ask?"
"I´m the only parent he has left."
"I´m sorry to say, but you´re not."
"It was agreed..."
"Alas, it was. But the papers weren´t signed. His guardian is Mrs Petunia Dursley. His only living relative."
"You can´t send him to Petunia! She despises magic and you know it!"
"Do you wish to ask her whether she´ll give you the boy?"
"No. She hates me. She won´t do anything to make me happy."
"I´m sorry, Severus."
Severus kept staring out of the window. The glow of dawn intensified. Soon the sun would show.
"She was with child. My child."
Dumbledore stepped behind his young potions master. He raised his hand to touch his shoulder but withdrew it. What was he to say or do?
"I quit. You´ll need a new potions teacher."
"You can´t, Severus. The ministry is hunting down the remaining deatheaters. Sooner or later your name will come up. I can protect you at Hogwarts. But I can´t if you leave."
"What would you want to protect me for? My life is over."
"Harry. I promised his mother to protect him. Voldemort´s body wasn´t found, nor was his wand. Oh, Severus, I´m afraid this is not over. The boy will need help and protection in the future. He´s perfectly safe at his aunt´s for the time being. But when he leaves the shelter of her home to come to Hogwarts, we have to be prepared to guard him."
Severus stared at the grounds. Dawn had just touched the Forbidden Forest. After some moments he turned.
"You´ll excuse me, headmaster. I have lessons to prepare."
Slowly Severus Snape headed for his dungeons to wait for Harry Potter, the boy who had – for some glorious weeks – been his son.
Author's note: Thank you for sticking with me to the end. I hope you enjoyed the story and would appreciate a little review. Go ahead, make your author happy!
There is a companion piece to this story which tells the events from Severus's point of view. Watch out for "Give Me A Place to Stand On". If everything goes according to plan, I'll start posting it later in the week.