The "I Like Her, She Likes Him" Relationship
Severus Snape has always loved Lily Evans.
He was quite young the first time he ever saw her. He and his mother were just leaving the park—back when he was still young enough that she tried to keep him out of the way when his father got in one of his moods—and they happened to pass another woman with two children of her own in tow. His mother and the woman had exchanged polite nods as they passed each other, but it was the two little girls who Severus had paid attention to.
For as unhappy as his home life always seemed to be—something he recognized, even as a young child—he'd always wanted a sibling. A sibling would be his friend, a ready-made playmate, a distraction from all of the yelling.
He saw the two girls often over the next few years, though he was certain they never saw him. After all, no one ever wanted to play with the weird Snape kid and other children tended to ignore him. That was alright with Severus though, for the most part. He would be far away from the rest of them soon enough, for Severus Snape was a wizard. And being a wizard would allow him to finally escape from Spinner's End.
He still watched the two little girls playing together, though, and quickly discovered that their names were Petunia and Lily. And by watching them, he discovered something wonderful. Lily…Lily was like him. Lily was a witch.
Even though it all turned out okay in the end, he did regret how he sprang that revelation on her; it hadn't exactly immediately endeared her to him. She'd gotten over being called a witch easily enough, though, and for that he was glad. Because Severus liked spending time with Lily.
Lily was better than a sibling. She was funny and smart and fun to spend time with and she didn't think he was weird, like other children did. She was, quite simply, the best friend imaginable.
And she was his.
She was his friend even when they did go to Hogwarts and ended up sorted into different houses. And she stood by him even when their fellow students would make fun of him, just like back home. And she definitely stuck with him when James Potter started harassing her to go out with him.
Lily was first and foremost Severus Snape's friend. Always.
Until one day she suddenly wasn't anymore.
It was the greatest regret of his life. He hadn't meant to call her that word. He would never refer to her in such a horrid way. Never. But it was an unfortunate fact of life that people lash out at those who are closest to them when they are only trying to help.
As if the end of fifth year hadn't been stressful enough with O.W.L.'s looming over him, he was sick and tired of being bullied by the Marauders. They went too far on that fateful June day, and Severus had finally had enough.
Lily had only wanted to help her friend. But he had been blinded by his rage and he had lashed out at the only person who had ever stood up for him. And suddenly his only true friend wanted nothing to do with him anymore. And when she rightfully refused to accept his apologies, he was forced to watch from afar as she moved on with her life without him in it.
He hates himself for it every day.
But nothing could have prepared him for this. Nothing on Earth could have ever prepared him to watch from afar as Lily slowly fell for someone who wasn't him, someone they had both sworn to hate forever.
Sometimes he thinks she does it just to spite him; she still hasn't forgiven him, after all. But he knows that is impossible. Lily is not as fickle as him. She wouldn't use Potter like that, no matter how much she had claimed to hate him over the years.
So yes, Severus Snape has always loved Lily Evans. And even if he is miserable about the fact that he and Lily will clearly never be together, there is some comfort in the fact that she is happy…if only it wasn't with James Potter. That said, Severus will never stop loving Lily. He will always love her.