It was The fifth year since she had departed this world. Severus sat in the aviary holding a single black daisy, twirling it in his fingers. To be exact, he was only mostly in the aviary, his long legs hung off the edge of the balcony as he leaned on the cold stone wall at his side. It was raining.
It felt like it had rained every day since she had left this world five years prior. Even on sunny days he could hear the rain tapping on the windows. Lily had been his everything. Severus let out a sigh and held the daisy to his nose.
There was sort of a running joke between them about daisies... well, there had been. When he had first learned potion making as a child he had first learned a simple life potion that caused the favorite flower of the user to bloom when it was poured on the ground.
Through most of his childhood the potion produced daisies, and he had never really questioned why. The day he met Lily, he showed her the potion and for the first time it grew a lily instead of a daisy. It had never bloomed with daisies since.
It grew lilies in every color of the rainbow... but never a daisy. As a birthday gift when they were children, Severus bestowed a vial of the flowering potion on Lily. He had told her about the change in blossoms he had experienced and she had laughed... but that was all. To both of their surprise it blossomed with black daisies.
With all the blazing passion, fire, beauty that rested in her heart... It amazed him that the flower in her soul was a black daisy. In school when they passed noted she would swirl a perfectly drawn lily into the Y at the end of her name... Everyone else assumed it was just a cute thing she did because of her name, and that made it perfect.
Severus wrote back and signed his name with a six point star. The top two branches acting as the V in his name. To any other reader, it looked like a normal, if not strange, signature. Lily knew the six point scrawl of a star was his way of placing the black daisy carefully into his name.
Much to James' annoyance Lily had even had a black daisy tucked into her bouquet of white lilies on her wedding day. Before she tossed the bouquet she had slipped the flower out and tucked it into a bit of ribbon on her dress. She told Severus later, that it was her way of holding onto him through that life changing moment.
Anything they celebrated was done with the exchange of a lily for a daisy. The flowers grown by the potion were ordinary flowers, and just in case Severus had numerous times collected the seeds from the flowers... Because he didn't know what he would do if they suddenly vanished from the world.
Though... by vanish he had assumed that one day her flower preference would change. Not that she would... That she would... Severus couldn't even bring himself to think about it. His trousers were sodden with rain water, and it briefly crossed his mind how cold he was. Only briefly.
As most close friends did, he and Lily met in the aviary whenever they had something pressing to talk about. The aviary was perfect not only because of the lack of human traffic, but also the constant hooting kapt any conversation from being overheard.
Whenever James had done something more offensive than usual, Severus knew without a doubt that Lily would be found here. In the very same place he occupied now. He had even stolen a school broom a few times so he could meet her here without being followed. Severus attributed the moisture on his face to the rain and refused to consider it further.
Severus had arrived at the spot on the wall before the morning mist had crept back into the forest it had crawled from, and now the midnights full moon was creeping out from its cloudy covering. Raid had fallen for the entire day, and Severus was grateful Last year, half the day had been filled with blistering sunlight and he had ended up with a horrible burn.
Just as he had done for the past five years, severus drew a letter from inside his cloak and slipped the black daisy into it. Sealing it tightly without crushing the flower. He had tossed a longevity spell onto the flower, so it would never wilt.
With a shaking breath, Severus reached his arm out and waited for an owl to land on it. It didn't matter which owl came... but every year it seemed to be the same owl. A large ugly grey owl, with a damaged wing and a few missing toes. It was a school owl, and it was a pretty obviously unwanted one.
The owl was always there, and Severus assumed that no one else would use the old thing. Really, who would give an important letter to an animal that looked like it would die two miles past the school gate. Regardless Severus patted the head of the faithful owl and gave it a treat.
With a last lingering look at the letter, he handed it to the ugly creature. The owl hooted, took the letter, and waited for instruction. "Take this-" Severus' voice cracked after having not been used for the entire day. "Take this... Somewhere. To someone who needs it more than I do."
Severus couldn't even picture who he was describing, but as it had for the past several years the owl gave a solemn nod and took to the sky. With its damaged wing it flapped awkwardly, but continued off into the distance.
The letter was simple. It had a poorly drawn lily flower scribbled on the top, and was signed with a black six point star. It read only this: "When you think the nightmare will never end... Remember, its only a dream. All dreams are silenced by the rising of the sun. Night will never last forever, But I will. Always."
This year was more poetic than some years. Last year it was a four page essay describing the misery he felt. The year before only a sheet of paper, with the two drawn flowers and grey smudge spots where tears had destroyed most everything else.
The first had been the love letter he had written in his school years and never had the courage to give. As the owl completely disappeared into the clouds and old friendly dog walked into the aviary. It trudged its way over to Severus and put its head in his lap.
For a few more minutes Severus stroked the creature before finally climbing down from the wall and turning his back on the pain and sorrow that rested in that spot on the wall. "Lets be off Dog." Severus said solemnly. His next plan was to pull out the ale he had purchased from the pub in town the day before.
During this time of the year was the only time he took a vacation from his new teaching position. He took exactly three days off. The first day was the anniversary of Lily's... Departure. The second day he would spend locked in his quarters in a drunken stupor. The third day he would spend locked in his quarters nursing the murderous hangover he had incurred.
The house elves were kind enough to bring him food, and clean up any messes he made while he was drunk and even brought him hot coffee the next morning. Alcohol had been banned from school grounds, but by unanimous vote of the teaching staff, Severus had been granted permission to have it on that one night.
It was a kindness that Severus was very grateful for. For the next week most of the staff would make a conscious effort to politely not talk to him. For now... It was time to stop thinking. Severus arrived in his chambers and pulled out a bottle of firewhisky and a bottle of ale. He gave the dog that had followed him a weak smile and a shrug.
The dog tilted its head, sniffed the firewhisky and panted happily. Severus nodded, pulled out a bowl and poured some of the firewhisky into it, and set it on the floor. The dog strode purposefully to the bowl and lapped up the liquor. Severus smiled at the animal and turned the bottom of the bottle skyward.