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Chapter 1: Bittersweet Partings
The rain was pounding down on the castle grounds, which was extremely uncommon for this May afternoon. It fell in a pattern, lightly at first, then stronger, and then it got progressively stronger until it went back to the beginning of the cycle. The rain seemed to mock the moods of many of the students attending Hogwarts, who were eagerly anticipating the end of the year. To there dismay, they were all tucked away in the castle, sheltered from the bitterness outside. This was, however, all but 3 people.
Two of these people took refuge under what seemed like a weeping willow. Its leaves hung limp, as if they were tired, and its tangled roots spread out for a couple of feet on each side. Standing on the outskirts of the tree were two cloaked figures, with their hoods drawn up, over their heads. The two figures were huddled against each other, and it would seem as if there was rain splattered across their face. This was, however, not true. Both were crying, but for different reasons, unknown to each other. They stood in silence for a few moments, before the smaller of the two; a petite redheaded girl turned her head towards the rain pattering down next to them.
"It's almost as if the world is crying along with us, isn't it?" she said softly, and gazed into the man's eyes softly. This girl, Lily Evans, was faced with one of the hardest decisions in her young life. Her young heart was torn, between 2 people she never would have to choose between. This man, James Potter, adored her, loved her even, but her heart was failing her. It would seem as if that it was a perfect situation for her, a man who loved her, and was willing to give up his all for her, but no. Lily knew someone else who loved her all the same, if not more than this man did.
She would have to make up her mind soon, but she didn't know what to do. This was the reason for her tears, her misery. Whoever she picked, she would leave herself heartbroken and the other heartbroken as well. She couldn't bring herself to say anything else; for fear of uttering words she didn't need to.
The man paused for a moment before responding to her question. He rested his chin on her head, and pulled her closer to him. Just the warmth of her body made him feel as if it was okay, and that he had nothing to worry about. It was as if his worst nightmare, the very occurrence he had been dreading for the past few years, was becoming a reality. If his Lily left him, he had no idea He had worked so hard just to win her over, it was almost impossible for him to lose her. He loved her more than anything, he simply could not bear being without her now.
He pondered her question. Yes, it did seem as if it were. It was as if the world wanted them to drown in their sorrows. He nodded softly into her. His lips were chapped shut from the cold breeze blowing, and his numbness. He couldn't bring himself to say anything.
Lily broke away from his embrace a tiny bit, just enough to look up at him again. "James, we need to talk," she said in the same soft tone. She felt as if she was stating the obvious, but she had no idea how to better approach him. She needed to talk to him, it was inevitable. But what was she supposed to say? That she loved him, but her heart belonged to someone else? That she was torn between him and someone else? She couldn't bear it. She couldn't face him, not here, not now.
James looked down softly at her, with a worried expression on his face. It was true, now. She was going to tell him she didn't love him, and she would leave him, forever. Sudden emotion came over her; she pulled out of his embrace completely, and simply started running. She was unsure of what happened at that very moment, but she couldn't bear being with him anymore. The ground under her was slippery and she could feel herself slipping easily, but she didn't cease.
He was taken aback by her reaction, and instantly took off after her. She heard the thump of his footsteps behind her, and shook her head vigorously. "Please," she yelled behind her, "If you really love me… please… stay away," she pleaded, and continued running. He heard her plea, and the desperateness in her voice, and his footsteps came to a halt. She ran on, with tears and rain hampering her vision, but continued forward.
Unknown to her, there was another hooded figure who heard her plea, someone other than the green eyed boy behind her. This other man was the other reason for her tears. When he heard her say that, his first reaction was to hide, to get away from his current hiding spot. His other reaction was to chase after her.
Lily heard these new, heavier footsteps behind her, and sharply turned around to face this newcomer. Upon seeing this face, she came to a halt. Her eyes widened in shock, and she was unable to say anything.
The hooded figure nodded curtly at her, and took a solemn step towards her. "Lily," he said in a deep tone, and took one of her ice cold hands in his.
The wind howled around them, calling them inside, but the calls were ignored. They were frozen in the moment, three figures, all smoldered in misery, all with a common purpose.
When she heard his call, Lily was snapped back into attention. His single word sent electrical jolts through her, his simple touch caused her to go insane. She was losing control of her senses, and he knew none of the effect he had on her.
"Lily," he repeated softly, as silent tears slipped down from his face. He knew perfectly well what was coming up next, but all he wanted were these last few moments, alone with her, so he could cherish, and make them last forever.
She let out a small sob before replying, "Severus," she cried in a shaky, torn up voice. Her heart, if possible, was breaking further, which every word he uttered. Her gaze was fixed on the ground next to his feet. This was unbearable; she knew she would crack soon. "I... I can't…" she muttered finally, still looking down. She couldn't say anymore, with fear of her words failing her.
"Can't do what?" he asked immediately, even though he knew this answer perfectly well. He didn't love her anymore, nor had she ever loved him.
"I… I can't… I," she stumbled on her words, unsure of how to phrase them. "We can't be together anymore," she said finally, followed by a heartfelt sigh.
"Lil," he whispered cautiously. Did she actually say what he thought she did? No, it couldn't be! She was his everything, the force that kept him sane through all this, the rock that anchored him down when his world was spinning around him. "Please, don't do this,"
Deep down, Lily new, she was doing the right thing. She loved Severus; she truly did, but what about James? James needed her, and she knew there was no way she could live without him. Her attraction to Severus was… in a way one sided, but she hated to be the one to break his heart. She finally came to a realization, she didn't love him. James was the one who held her heart, the one who had her at his mercy. James was her everything, not Severus.
"Severus, I'm sorry," she said earnestly. Her mind was flooded with thoughts of them, all their good times, all their cute little arguments, all the moments they had shared. All the sweet little things he did to please her. She then thought of James, how much he actually did love her, how much she meant to him, and vice versa. She slowly looked up at Severus. "I really, truly am sorry. It's just that... James… you… I can't take this anymore," she shook her head softly.
A part of her was afraid he would not accept her leaving him, and a part of her knew that he would understand. "James?" Severus asked questioningly. It was too late to act as if he didn't know this was coming. James loved Lily, perhaps even more than Severus loved her.
Lily nodded softly, and brought her lips up to his lightly, and planted a bittersweet kiss upon them. "I… I'm sorry," she said finally, and turned away from him, back to where she knew James would be waiting for her.
Snape stood, numb, unable to say anything. Minutes later, or perhaps hours, or even days, he parted his lips, just enough to mutter, "Lily, I love you," His confession was drowned in the howls of the wind, and washed away in the rain.