"Severus," The dark-haired man jerked visibly, caught off-guard by the gentle woman's voice coming from the hospital room he seemed to be guarding. His dark silhouette had been present at the door, just out of sight from the door and room window, and he had made sure to avoid meeting anyone come to greet the couple within. No one would want to know that he was here.

"..." His mouth dried itself instantly, sending his tongue into hiding, and he didn't turn around when the door clicked and opened. He could feel eyes on his slim shoulders, a certain pair raising goosebumps on his covered skin.

"Do come in, Severus," Called the gentle voice, "you've stood out there long enough."

Slowly Severus Snape turned around in his dark robes and travelling boots, his eyes down and his shoulders hunched against Lily Evans' -no, Lily Potter's- revealing stare. He felt like a haunt now, caught intruding upon her most precious of moments by the very person he hadn't wanted to see, and his sallow cheeks burned with shame. He took slow measured steps, keeping his posture small as if he were trying to hide from her in plain sight, until he was her bedside and she was looking up at him with her bright green eyes.

"Hullo, Severus," Lily smiled, a slight tweak of her pink lips that tripped his heart; she bent her head a little, able finally to see him past his curtain of black locks. "how are you keeping?"

"...fine." Severus managed, his throat tight as a drawstring bag. "A-And you... Lily?" Saying her name for the first time since their school years had ended was freeing, unchaining a bird that fluttered in his empty chest.

"Better," Lily told him, flicking her slender little wand to pull the hospital's chair closer to her beside.

It bumped against the backs of his legs beseechingly.

Severus sat, daring to look at her.

Lily had changed since the Hogwarts graduation he'd suffered through, her hair thicker and a richer red than he remembered, but her eyes -those beautiful, glimmering green forests of compassion- were just as the ones he had fallen in love with in the park that long-gone day. She was stunning, even in the brief hospital gown and pale bedclothes covering her.

She laughed: "Oh, Severus," Lily reached out with one hand, balancing the wriggling bundle in her other arm, and patted his left hand innocently. "it's so good to see you again. Especially like this. Do you want to meet him?"

Severus jumped again, surprised, and the chair legs scraped the floor loudly, urging the child Lily had given birth to to cry out loudly. She whined softly to herself, retracting her extended arm, and tried to quiet the child, her eyes darting to the door faintly.

"Hush, darling," she murmured, rocking her newborn baby. "we don't want to wake Daddy..." However the child continued to cry, quieter now, but it cried nonetheless. She looked up, worry pouring down her face as she grew a little pale; Severus stood up, hurrying to leave. She cried out now, eyes watering, and caught his sleeve: "Please! Severus, don't go! I just- I can't-" She looked from him to he child helplessly, then to the door with more and more concern.

"Lily," Severus' mouth betrayed him and, unable to retract the slip-up, he turned back to the new mother and bent down. "here." She let him take the child fro her arms hesitantly, unable to resist being just the faintest bit cautious, and she watched in surprise as her oldest friend began to rock her newborn baby boy.

One arm steadied the child's head and the other went underneath him to hold him close to the black-robed chest. Severus' voice dropped to an indistinguishable murmur as he gently rocked the baby, bouncing the dark-haired child in his arms with natural instinct; Lily's fear melted away just as quickly as the child fell silent. She watched as her usually-restless son curled close to Severus, dropping his thumb into his mouth, and drifted off to sleep.

When Severus looked back at her, she was smiling and she broke their silence first:

"You're much better at this than James." she told him, "When he held Harry this morning, I thought he would drop him. He's hopeless, but he'll learn..."

"Hn." Severus nodded shortly, his attention diverted to the little baby snoring in his embrace.

"And Severus," Lily said quickly, her delight growing more and more as her friend sat back down with her -this time on the edge of her bed- and looked at her normally for the fist time since school had ended. "it seems as if Harry adores you! Will you come and visit us when I am-"

"LILY!" Suddenly, James and Sirius burst into the hospital room with their wands raised. "LILY! HARRY!"

"SNIVELLUS!" James thundered, seeing his enemy holding his only son. His wife's arms were out-stretched to him, fingers just short of Harry, and the sight made his eyes burn with rage. "I'LL KILL YOU!" His wand erupted in a blast of magic that Severus dodged, earning only a hole in his coat, and before anyone could cast any more the dark-swathed wizard had apparated away.

James watched the air stabilize, clearing from the man's apparation, and then turned to see harry floating gently back into his mother's arms. Though the boy had been born last night, his big green eyes slid open ever so slightly, focusing on nothing, and the baby boy began to scream.