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The Art of Breathing. by AC_rules

Format: Novel
Chapters: 45
Word Count: 386,117

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Romance, Angst, Young Adult
Characters: Lupin, A. Longbottom, F. Longbottom, James, Lily, Sirius, Pettigrew, OC
Pairings: Sirius/OC, James/Lily, Snape/Lily, Remus/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 12/12/2008
Last Chapter: 10/02/2012
Last Updated: 10/02/2012

Banner Les.Miserables @ TDA

I’m going to die.

And not even in the ‘can’t believe current situation with Sirius Black’ or ‘blackmail coming from all sides’ or ‘evil step mother’ this-is-so-bad-going-to-die sense.

I mean an actual physical, literal ending sort of death.

Dobby finalist 2009, nominee 2011 & 2012. TGS finalist

Chapter 11: Unforgivable.

A/N - Hello! Sorry it's been so long, at least it feels like it! Here is the long awaited 11th chapter, though it's not what you wanted I expected :P So please don't kill me! The next chapter is almost written so as soon as this one's up the next one will be submitted :) Thanks for all the lovely reviews last chapter too, keep them comming!

Lily's P.O.V.

I walked quickly thought the corridors of the castle I’d long since called home. I loved Hogwarts, I truly did. Everything about it was just so amazing and magical. Every brick screamed character and I’m positive you could spend years and years walking around and still keep finding new and exciting things within the walls or even on the grounds. I loved exploring, even if it made me sound like a Marauder, but there was just something about finding new places that made me smile. Mary was just the same, always wanting a new place to be in having gotten old of the other. Mary got bored easily though and was happy to only visit a place once. I liked returning to them and just sitting there and absorbing the character of the place through the walls and thinking back to all the memories I’d had there. Anyway...Hogwarts: the second I laid my eyes on the castle I was sold. It didn’t hurt that the place I lived in at this point was a two bedroom terrace house in a rough area in Yorkshire, so it only seemed bigger and more magical on that tiny boat with Severus by my side.


I’d long believed that when you fell in love with something, you can’t just stop loving it. When I was thirteen I feel in love with muggle country music, then I fell in love with wizarding rock music, but it didn’t mean I didn’t love country music still, it simply meant that I loved another genre too. In the same way I’ll never stop loving Hogwarts and the same way that I’ll never stop loving Mary (even though she drives me up the wall with her excessive complaining) or Charlotte (the words gossiping, blunt and bitch come to mind, but I still love her the same) or any of the others! The point of my excessive rambling is that I never stopped seeing Snape as one of my best friends, and I still loved him to pieces, I just couldn’t stand to see him ruined in such a way.

Severus, despite popular belief, wasn’t a bad person. He was just trying to make the best of the bad situation he was put into by no fault of his own. His life was harder than most people’s which is why I’d found myself wanting to make his life just a little better. I tend to be attracted to people I can help it seems, but I don’t want anyone to help me, I’m stubborn and silly like that.

Stubborn: that sums me up very well. When I’ve judged someone the judgment tends to stick simply because I’m too proud to let it slip. For example the Marauders; ever since they scoffed at Sev on the train I decided that they were big headed prats, Potter especially. I try my best to push back the judgement but they generally haven’t done anything to make me regret that first judgment apart from on a few rare occasions. Potter with his misguided (otherwise none as evil) intentions insults me on a regular basis, Sirius breaks my friend’s hearts and yells completely out of order things, Peter is awkward and inappropriate and Remus is... well.. Remus is okay, but I never had a big issue with Remus in the first place.

 The only person I ever changed my judgment for was Severus.

I instantly thought he was a nosy, rude, slimy git. Then we became best friends. Then he called me a mudblood and broke my trust in him. Now I was breaking my judgement again and going back to see him.

Bad idea Lily.

Still I couldn’t keep a slight spring from my step as I walked to the Library as quickly as my legs could carry me: I hadn’t talked to him in ages – my best friend – Severus Snape.

Sev was already sitting at the desk in the library when I walked in. I found myself smiling in spite of myself – I’d firmly decided that I wouldn’t get my hopes up. I’d made myself promise that I wouldn’t show any emotion, I wouldn’t be pleased to see him, I’d let him talk and then decided if I could forgive the unforgivable. Still I couldn’t control my lips as they tilted upwards into a smile.

I know I smile too easily, I can’t help it. My parents always fawn over my smile a lot, they say it’s beautiful, but I only see it as I sign saying TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME PLEASE. I smile when it’s sunny, I smile when someone laughs, I smile when I do well, I smile when I like the food for breakfast and I often find it gives out far too much emotion. My face is very expressive Charlotte told me, she said it was a bad thing because everyone can read me like a book, but really I don’t think that’s completely true. The only emotions that ever really stood out on my face were happiness and anger, the other’s all slipped behind my piercing green eyes and thus no one really noticed them. Sev knew me better than most and I wanted him to think I was angry at him because I knew full well that otherwise he’d just decided I’d forgiven him when I hadn’t. Why was I here?

Because I was drawn to Severus Snape, because he was my best friend, because I love who he was.

Sev’s profile wasn’t exactly an attractive one but it was one I knew and loved from all those years ago when he had become my friend. His nose was slightly crooked (that I could blame fully on Potter: the arse.) and his skin was a ghostly white which challenged even Mary’s complexion. The difference was Mary’s skin always looked soft and pretty where as Sev’s didn’t so much... his had a more yellow tinge that proved just how little love he had received. Then there was his hair. It was undeniably greasy, but it wasn’t due to lack of washing it, but more to do with lack of decent shampoo and conditioner. His eyes were a beady black which didn’t suit his pale skin in the slightest and in all honest he couldn’t be called attractive – average at a push. A big push. A much bigger push than most had the muscles for.

 None of that mattered to me of course because he was Severus Snape. My Sev. Best friends forever.

At least we were.

 Sev was my first best friend and there’s nothing anyone can do to replace that – he was the one who told me I was a witch and was there for me when Petunia decided I wasn’t worth her time anymore and Sev was the one who truly understood me and everything about me. I, in turn, could tell you every single detail about Severus’s life.

Severus Snape lived on the bad side of my town. There wasn’t exactly a good side, considering both sides were pretty rough areas, but Severus’s side was definitely worse off than mine. The fact was that we both knew what it was like to grow up in a less than pleasant area, even if his situation was a lot worse than mine... 

Both of us used to live in relatively nice areas to begin with: we had a four bedroom, four bathroom house with a sizeable garden in Sheffield until I was eight; Severus had a three bedroom, two bathroom semi-detached house in Leeds until he was four years old and then it all changed due to reasons outside our control and we ended up in the same rough little town.

“Lily,” Sev said acknowledging my presence stiffly. His eyes told a different story to the cold indifference he was treating me with however – the blackness was dancing with unusual grey tinge as he looked at me. He was glad to see me too.

“Sorry I’m late,” I breathed excitedly, I was just so relieved to be back in the presence of my best friend that all those thoughts of pretending to be angry and keeping my emotions hidden within disappeared from my mind and I simply beamed at him. Yeah, that’s me; Lily Evans the idiot.

“We can’t talk here,” he said stiffly, his eyes darting around to look for what I expected to be another member of Slytherin. His eyes fixed on Avery, who watched him carefully, and I scowled. This got my back up already – I didn’t like the fact that he wouldn’t be seen talking to me in public because of his stupid friends, because I was a dirty little mudblood. I held in my anger however as he shoved his books back in his bags and walked out of the library giving me a look of distaste.

Even though I knew that look was fake I still found myself feeling horrible inside. I sat there for a few minutes trying to sort myself out before and had to take a deep breath. I looked in my bag and making out that I’d lost something before following him out the library. My good mood was already deteriorating, I scalded myself for getting my hopes up and expecting him to have changed in the four months it was since I hadn’t talked to him.

God I missed him...

I didn’t know where he had been planning on talking to me I realised as I shot the librarian a friendly smile shutting the door behind me. Maybe he had realised that it was a bad idea and scarped before I could interrogate him. Maybe he realised that I wasn’t worth the hassle of risking his own neck. Or maybe just maybe he’d loved having me gone as much as I’d missed him. 

I sighed in annoyance, more at myself than anything, before beginning my way back to the dormitory. It was only eight thirty, I could still easily catch up Mary and accompany her and Sirius, and Potter I reminded myself shaking my head. Alice was on a date, even the thought made my lips turn up into a wide smile, Alice deserved someone to make her happy and call her gorgeous after all the things she’d gone through more than anyone, except perhaps Mary. Alice was dreadfully sweet and had so much personality just waiting to burst out when the right person came along, and maybe Mike Longbottom would be the one? Rachel – she’d be too busy spying on Sirius to be any fun and Charlotte and her date (did she tell us his name?) would probably be at it by now. I sighed again. I’d just have to go back to the Dorm and actually do some work...

Then a white hand grabbed my arm and pulled me into the shadows of a disused classroom. First I was too taken a back by how sneakily and expertly he had grabbed me and how I hadn’t seen him coming at all before I looked around the room and realised this classroom wasn’t any old disused classroom. Of course, how could I forget? This room was the one which we had met up and chatted for the first year and a bit, which I had completely forgotten about until I had been ceremoniously dragged in.

Don’t get your hopes up Lily one side of my brain was saying while the other screamed he remembers! That means he still cares!

I decided to let my lips smile if they wanted to as I looked around the room. Already I could feel the memories washing over me as visions of my complaining about Potter, talking about classes and other silly little things.

“So why were you so late? It’s not like you.” Sev asked, but his voice was still so awkward and closed off from me. Not the normal tone he used with me. Still I was pleased he remembered I was punctual (even if everyone in the world knew that) because it meant that he hadn’t blocked every little thing about me away and got on with his life... as a death eater.

“I was helping Mary get ready,” I said fighting the urge to wrap my arms around him and give him a hug.

“Mary? The one who died her hair purple and made a scene about her mother being a witch?” He asked with extreme distaste in his voice as his lips twisted into a sneer.

“Yes! That Mary who happens to be my friend!” I snapped angrily. Already he was turning into an arse and insulting my friends. He didn’t know anything about Mary and what he’d gone though!

“Some friend.” Sev commented and he wouldn’t look at me. He knew full well I hated him talking like that, and maybe that’s why he did it.

“And what is that supposed to mean?” I asked, already affronted by his mannerisms.

“I mean she’s been too busy stuck in her own head to be a good friend.” He said standing up and walking over to the window. I watched his retreating back as he walked towards the window his cheep old robes blowing out behind him.

“Well she’s been a damn better friend than you have!” I snapped but regretted it a second after. He didn’t react. He didn’t turn around and instead stared out of the window.

“What did you want Lily?” He asked his voice heavy with regret and some sort of pain that I wanted to fix completely. My best friend was suffering and I just wanted to make it all go away.

 “Why...?” I began and then stopped because although it was a stupid thing to ask, I wanted to know so badly. “Why do you want to be a death eater Sev?” I asked and he winced. He full on winced. Of all the things I could have asked I knew that question caused him the most pain. It seemed over the past few months we’d both faced some facts. I knew where he was heading, but for some reason I was still here. Severus knew our friendship was doomed for failure and was doing a much better job and not setting himself up for disappointment. We both knew us being friends was too dangerous for the both of us.

“You know why.” He said flatly and in a way I did.

When we downsized from our house in Sheffield it was because my dad’s business failed. Dad had put a lot of money into his green grocers business which he was absolutely in love with. He loved the satisfaction of hard work, manual labour, as he slaved away over patches of tomatoes and apple trees showering every last piece of fruit and vegetable with more love than most humans ever got. It was all he could ever talk about – Lily have you seen my strawberry plant, give it a week and they’ll look marvellous! He was popular for awhile because no one could not appreciate his obvious love for the shop, and the fact that he had us playing in the garden where he grew all his fruit for that cute factor meant that he generally made a marginal profit. The problem came after one very hot summer, a very cold winter, and a supermarket moving into our village. Next thing we knew we’ve lost several bedrooms and a few grand. Stuck in a crappy village with a large debt.

Severus’s case was entirely different. His mother, a witch by the maiden name of Prince, fell utterly in love with Tobias Snape despite the fact that she was from a strict pureblood background and thought nothing good of muggles. It began apparent after she had been dating him for awhile that he didn’t love her and in a desperate attempt to get him to stay she didn’t take her contraption and fell pregnant. Due to this they got married and all financial support from his mother’s side of the family was cut off. From here on in, things went from sort of bad to terrible.  Tobias Snape it turned out was not a nice man, and was in fact a raging alcoholic. Thus Sev was brought up among yelling, screaming, punching and all the money earned going straight to the grotty pub down the road.

Severus’s childhood was a mess because his mother had married a muggle and in a way I could see why he didn’t like muggleborns because they were the cause off all that suffering he went through.

Still, there’s a line.

Sev is like me in the fact that once he’s made up his mind, that’s that. I was the only one who he altered his judgement for many times, and vice versa. I had no idea why things had played out that way, but they had, and the only reason I could explain it with was that we both had a simple desire for each other’s company. Sev and me just seemed to work, I didn’t know why, but once we’d got into the flow on conversation it was lighter and freer than with anyone. He could make me smile and could make me angrier than anyone else. I didn’t want to lose that, but I guess I knew deep down that I had to.

I didn’t reply to his statement because I could neither approve or condemn it, because I had known what Sev had gone though I felt far too much sympathy to his plight that I should do. I knew that Sev was a Slytherin though and though and there was nothing I could do about it. Being a Slytherin didn’t make you bad, the people in Slytherin made you bad, and although I could still remember times when Sev was obviously annoyed that I was a mudblood when he was little his disgust for mudblood increased tenfold under the influence of the others.

I had heard he had written off his mother and sworn that he wasn’t a muggle lover in any way, thus out meetings had generally been in secret for the first year, I had agreed because I wanted him to fit in where he was. After the second year though I was annoyed, I figured that if my friends could deal with it, so could his and eventually I persuaded him to be seen with me but we will still closer in private.

“Your friends know your here?” Sev asked and I wave of guilt hit me. Here I was criticising him for making sure I wasn’t seen in public with him (in my thoughts at least) and I had done just the same by making sure all of my friends were out.

“Mary does.” I answered as he walked back and sat down on the table. “You have new robes,” I said looking at the new black material that was most obviously expensive. I was used to seeing him dressed in unclean, torn and rather scatty clothes for it was all that he could generally afford.

“Mary was your cover?” Sev asked ignoring my last comment. I nodded. “The other’s don’t even realise you’re not at Hogsmeade.” He looked annoyed by the very thought that they should care so little. That’s what I love about Sev, he always thinks that I should be treated the best (even if he doesn’t always live up to it himself) and constantly makes snide comments about how my friends should treat me better, and the truth it is makes me feel better. It makes me a horrible person but when I get frustrated with them it’s good to know that someone, at least, thinks I deserve more. More than this.

“Potter probably does.” I retorted and he scowled, I knew that would get to him, like he knew that insulting my friends got to me (even if it was for different reasons than he assumed).

“Oh yes, perfect Potter and his mates.” He said looking mutinous. “And Black? The dirty traitor-”

“I don’t want to listen to your opinions on them.” I said snidely and his eyes darkened.

 “Because they’ll taint your perfect view on the Marauders,” Sev mocked.

“No, they’ll only make your friends look even worse.” I snapped crossing my arms over my chest.

“I doubt that much can make Black look more appealing. The other day I heard him ask a forth year if she wanted to ride on his broom stick.” Sev retorted harshly. I found the corners of my lips lifting upwards as I fought the desire to laugh. I could already picture Sirius saying just that with his trademark smirk on his face and the fit Mary would throw if she knew.

Sev looked at my in disbelief as I burst into laughter. I couldn’t help it.

“Ride on his broom stick!” I exclaimed breathless from laughing too hard. Sev looked at me disparagingly and stood up.

“Glad to know you find Black oh so funny,” He said crossly. “Why don’t you go join him and his other funny mates? It’s obvious you don’t want to be here!” He exclaimed which sobered me up in an instant.

“Because you seem so enthusiastic about the whole thing!”

“You’re the one who cut me out!”

“You’re the one who called me a mudblood!” I said sharply and he shut up instantly and began pacing around the room. We were both silent for a few minutes as we both wondered just why we had come.

It was apparent that we weren’t going to get along. It was evident that my best friend was gone, and this was all that was left of him and I just wanted to cling on for as long as I could. So was that why I was here?

I always had that heroic quality that made me want to save people. It normally happened to be from their problems rather than grave danger’s but I still wanted to help them and fix them so before today I had decided that it was because I wanted to save Sev from the choices he was going to make. I wanted to give him something to grab onto, so I could pull him to the other side before it was too late. It was because he was my best friend and I still loved him because he had been there for me. At least that’s what I had thought. So far however I hadn’t even tried to convince him that the choices he was going to make were wrong ones. I had barely even got near the subject and instead I was skitting round the edges, avoiding the things that really needed to be said.

Now, standing in front of him, I could see my intentions were a lot less pure. I knew Sev made me feel good about myself, Sev made me comfortable, he kept me sane when everyone else was loosing their heads and he made it so much easier to just get on with it. He knew it as he looked into my sharp green eyes, he knew it wasn’t about him, it was about me.

“I told you I was sorry,” He said softly as he sat down beside me.

“But it makes no difference.” I put in sadly because it didn’t. We were from different leagues now, different circles of life entirely and neither of us were prepared to cross that line so we could still be friends. “Where did you get the new robes from?”

“I got a job.” He answered and I knew from his tone I wasn’t meant to ask what the job was because we both knew I wouldn’t like the answer. “Worked all summer,”

“I thought you had to look after your mum?” I asked softly and he winced.

“She doesn’t really need looking after any more,” He said not looking at me, but his hand smoothing over the sleeve of his robes. “Ten feet under,” he finished and I found myself gasping in shock. Another wave of sympathy hit me as thought of poor Sev, now without a mother.

“Your Dad?” I asked and he laughed humorously.

“Scarped.” He said as I considered all the connotations of that phrase. Was it Thomas Snape who had finished off his wife in yet another drunken fist fight? I didn’t ask. I knew Sev didn’t want to talk about it anymore than I wished to discuss Potter with him.

“What about you, was Petunia being a bitch?”

“She was too preoccupied to bother me much: her new boyfriend, he’s bigger than Slughorn and looks like a quaffel only not as attractive.”

“Well, I’m sure she deserves him completely.” I hit him lightly but smiled all the same.

Then we settled into a silence once again and I realised I was smiling again, a lot. None of what I had intended to ask had crossed my mind since I’d been dragged into this classroom. I sighed and lay back on the desk I had been sitting on, letting my head rest on the cold desk and stuck to the easy thoughts. I considered the room carefully from where I was lying: I was at a loss as to what this classroom would normally be used for as they only had four large tables in it which was vastly impractical for doing anything much.

It reminded me of my muggle primary school’s and the way they tried as hard as they could to make them homily and welcoming but only managed to create an over bright fake atmosphere. I liked sensing the atmosphere of a building which was always so much easier in a magical place. Severus always said it was because I had so much magic I could feel it coming from the walls and it made me at home. I guess he was right. I closed my eyes and just listened to the silence of the room.

“What did you come here to ask me?”  Sev asked after a few moments and I turned my head to find he was watching me carefully.

“I... I don’t know,” I said softly because all those irrelevant thoughts about not getting my hopes up were stupid. Ridiculous even. How could Sev ever let me down like that, Sev was my best friend for ever, he understood me more than anyone and here I was giving him one of my rare second chances and he was going to accept it. I could tell. I just knew.

“Yes you do,” He said lying back on the desk so he was level with me.

“Do not.”

“Do too.”

“Do not!” I protested laughing at the childish games.

“Do too!” He said giving me a rare smile. With Sev every smile was earned which made them so much more rewarding and special.

“Do too!” I said laughing.

“Do not!”

“Severus Snape! I so do not!” I protested.

“Lily Marie Evans, yes you do!”

“Ooo! Middle names!” I said in my most childish voice. He smiled back at the childishness and silliness of the game. Back in first year we’d occasionally have these childish quips and Sev revelled in them; having never had much love given to him when he was a child it was with me when we could mess around and have fun.

“Oh shut up,” He said pushing my lightly.

“You shut up,” I retorted although there was a grin plastered on my face.

“I missed you,” Sev said and I found my grin widening just knowing that he cared enough to miss me made me feel so much better about missing him so much that it was unreal.

“I missed you too!” I said and he smiled again, but sadly this time.

That sad little smile brought reality along with it. I sat up quickly realising that the boy in front of me wasn’t my childhood friend but a teenager intent on pursuing a group of people that killed muggleborns like me. Someone who hated muggles so much they were prepared to kill them for their own pleasure. Someone who was prepared to join a group of forces who ripped apart people’s lives because they could. Someone who would eventually torture people and murder people for enjoyment.

I recoiled away from him as the reality hit home and I realised I had made yet another bad judgement. Or maybe I should never have changed my judgement on Severus Snape and should have told him to go away that first time when he spied on as at the swings all those years ago.

Still. I couldn’t regret it.

“Lily!” Sev said obviously catching my train of thought as quickly as the repulsion showed in my eyes. “Lily, I’m sorry!” He claimed and I jumped of the desk and stepped backwards.

Why had I come here? Why had I let myself get carried away with memories and whimsical hopes when there was no hope left here? Then an even more terrifying thought than the last one flitted across my brain and I took another step away from him.

“Lily! It’s not like I’d ever hurt you!”

“Just everyone else of my birth!” I said panicked and scared; not because of Sev, I trusted him with my life, but what I was scared of was exactly why I would trust Sev with my life when he was a murderer. Or at least planning on becoming one.

“You’re different!” He exclaimed walking towards me, his black eyes begging me to believe him with unquestionable deaths. “You’re good, kind, clever and true!” He protested.

“So are other muggleborns! You don’t know them do you!?!” I asked loudly and his eyes flashed with pain at my words. “If Voldermort asked you to kill me, would you do it?” I asked and he took one final step towards me and looked into my eyes shaking his head.

“Never Lily!” He said and that’s when I realised something so terrifying and obscure that I swear I stopped breathing. Why was it that with Severus Snape I felt more comfortable and at home with than anyone else and I bent my judgement for him and only him?

“Lily?” Sev asked softly and I found myself looking into those dark black eyes with a new found interest.

When had that happened? I thought as he looked straight back into my green eyes and I saw something more in his gaze than our close friendship. That’s why I’m here. I realised although it was entirely too late for me to run away and hide now. I knew that this trip wasn’t about him, but about me, but what I definitely hadn’t considered was why I wanted to be here.

Because he was my best friend?

If that were the sole reason then I would be able to remove a great number of the thoughts spinning round my head in a big wave on confusion, the main one being what would happen if he kissed me.

I knew full well that there are many things in life that are unforgiveable. I knew that Severus Snape wasn’t destined to be on the same path as me. I knew we’d already gone our separate ways and I should never have tried to fix it between us because it was only tearing my heart more apart.

I knew I loved him as my best friend, but was there something more behind the amount I’d missed him?

Of course not.

I hated myself for thinking it. I really did. It was stupid that I would be risking my heart this way when I knew it would never work out: I knew it, I really did. Still my emerald eyes were glued to his black ones as I looked at him in fear; I didn’t know what I felt anymore and I’m not sure if I wanted to find out. Most people will tell you Lily Evans is a control freak and not having this control was driving me crazy.

Then I did what any self respecting Gryffindor would do (Or Gryffindor traitor as some might say): I took the plunge and moved forward that extra inch until our lips were touching.

Oh my god, Lily Evans you are a complete idiot.

A/N - Don't kill me please! I know, I'm evil and this story is going to end up in cannon I promise but I just started writing this and it just happened! So how do you think I did at being Lily? Don't worry, Mary will be returning next chapter :) Review please :)