Disclaimer: As will soon be pretty obvious, I'm not JKR, nor am I making any money off of this story.

Introductory A/N: Rated M for violence and disturbing imagery, language, and sexytimes. I'm not kidding about the violence; it pops up throughout the story. I'll put up violence warnings for individual chapters as well (there's nothing in this chapter), but please consider yourself warned!

There's also smoking, some drinking, and a possibly OOC Lily and Dumbledore, depending on how you read them. Oh, and I eschew the Wizarding-streets-are-adverb-puns thing.

This story is an AU with a couple of points of departure. The big one is that the "mudblood" incident never occurred, and so Severus and Lily stayed friends up until the point that he joined the Death Eaters. The other is that Lily reciprocated Severus' feelings for her, although she never acted on them.

As I mention on my Author's Page, I tend to play fast and loose with canon, and I've extrapolated bits of canon to suit my purposes. The big thing in this story is my approach to Dark Magic.

Finally, the first 25,000 words or so of this story were originally posted on Livejournal for the Silverdoe Fic Fest as "A Spy, A War, A Curse, A Kiss."

Lily joined the Order in October, two weeks before Halloween. James Potter was there at her inaugural meeting with his pretty blonde wife and their baby boy.

"Evans!" he said when he walked in and saw her. He blinked a couple of times, shook his head. "Lily, I mean - it's good to see you."

"James," she said, and for a moment they stood there looking at each other, not speaking. Lily waited for him to say something about Sev, but he didn't.

"How've you been?" he asked.

"As well as possible these days." She flicked her eyes over to his wife -Joanie, the Hufflepuff seeker he'd been seeing during their final year at Hogwarts. Lily'd heard the rumors about the pregnancy, of course, everyone had. The boy looked about a year old. Lily could count back. She wondered if he'd been conceived in the astronomy tower or behind the rose bushes, and then she wondered why she cared.

"Joanie," she said, turning to James' wife. "It's lovely to see you."

"Yes, you too." Joanie smiled and shifted her hips. The boy blinked at Lily. "This is Lawrence. Larry."

Lily smiled at him, but something must have shown on her face, because James said, "We don't like leaving him alone. You know."

"Oh. Of course."

"We figured this is probably the safest place -" James and Joanie looked at each other and smiled nervously, and Lily suddenly felt for both of them. There had been no love lost between James and herself during their seven years at school, but she couldn't imagine bringing a baby into this world, not right now, not when it was so full of terror and uncertainty. She wondered if James thought about all that horror whenever he laid his son down to sleep. She hoped not. She hoped he looked at his son and saw only possibility, the possibility for a world free of a darkness.

Baby Larry gurgled, and Albus Dumbledore stepped into the room.

"Glad to see you're all on time," Albus said, and all the Order members tittered like it was a joke. Lily frowned. No one explained it to her.

"We have a new operative," Albus said. "Another Hogwarts student. Gryffindor, of course."

More tittering, and Lily's frown deepened.

"I jest, of course. Lily, Lily, don't be shy." Albus held out one arm and Lily stepped up beside him. The room erupted into applause. The sound of it made Lily dizzy, but she forced herself to smile as she squinted out across the room, flushed with rosy light. She recognized more than half the Order members - many were fellow former students, others had faces she'd seen in photographs in the newspaper.

She wondered how many of them recognized her.

She wondered how many of them were thinking, There's that girl who used to hang around with Severus Snape.

"-An excellent witch," Albus was saying. "Very talented, and loyal to our cause -"

Lily watched their faces, looking for flickers of doubt. But the light in the room washed out all expression, leaving just those frozen bright smiles.

What am I doing here? she thought.

But she knew. The year and a half since she graduated had been filled with more doubt and loss than she would ever have thought possible as a student - but she had no doubts about this. It was Right. For a year and a half she had moved mechanically through her life, going to work at the robemaker's shop in Everthorne Alley, eating her meals at the pub on Merrythought Street, smoking one cigarette after another while she stared out her flat's grimy circular window and listened to old sad songs on the wireless. For a year and a half the only vividness in her world had been in the memories of her past - the green light in their secret place in the woods, the smoky, papery scent of his Potions textbook. But she was tired of the past. The past was dead.

He was dead.

And the present would be dead, too, if the Death Eaters won, and that was how Lily knew she couldn't sit in her flat and watch the War burn out from her window. That's how she knew she had to fight.

"Let's give her another round of applause," Albus said. "Make her feel welcome."

Applause flooded the room, and the Albus leaned close to her and whispered, "Let's get the introductions over with, shall we?" and took her arm like a gentleman.

Lily had to remind herself to smile, but it wasn't so different from working in the robemaker's shop, where sweetness was a requirement if you didn't want Betty Vane the robemaker to hex a smile permanently into your face.

I'm fighting, she thought. I'm fighting.