From last chapter: “Okay, so he used to be like that,” Mandy said. “But not any more. And I haven’t really seen him acting like that around you that much the past months, either. And I can’t remember him tormenting Snape since sixth year. I think he’s grown up. He wouldn’t hurt Snape now, I think. You should give James a chance. Talk to him.”
Lily bit her lip. “Perhaps I’ll do that.”
Then they heard a shout of pain in the hallway outside of the bathroom.
And a yell from a voice they had heard several times that day. “Now I’ve got you, Snivellus!” That was definitely James Potter’s voice.
“What?” Mandy shouted.
Lily stared at her. “’James, oh James wouldn’t hurt Snape now,’” Lily mimicked.
“Well, I didn’t know –”
But Lily wouldn’t stand there, doing nothing. She stormed out of the bathroom, screaming. “James Potter, he’s done nothing to you! Stop it! Stop it right now!”
James had forgot everything about magic, it seemed. He was hitting Severus in the stomach. Again. And again and again. Snape let out a groan. He couldn’t get his wand.
“Stop it, Potter!” Lily yelled, pulling James away from the innocent victim.
“But Lily -!”
“Shut up! You’ve already ruined my birthday and now you’re hitting my friend! I just started to believe that you were innocent, and now – Severus, are you all right?” she added gently.
Severus nodded curtly, but didn’t meet her eyes.
“Friend?” James spat. “Some friend!”
“He’s better than you!” Lily said venomously.
“You think!” James let out a bitter laugh that sounded like a bark. He had probably got that from Sirius.
“What d’you mean?” Mandy, who had just arrived, asked. “Lily? Is Snape your friend?”
Lily stood there, not knowing what to do next. It was actually a miracle that she had kept that a secret until that moment, but… now she had to tell them. “He is.”
James looked at Snape in disgust. “I can’t believe it, Evans. Really. You’re too good for him.”
Snape opened his mouth for the first time (if the shout didn’t count, that is). “He’s actually right.”
Lily stared at him. Severus, agreeing with James Potter? “What?”
“You are too good for me.”
“Come on, it’s not like you’re my boyfriend or anything! We’re friends!” She regretted what she has just said immediately. She was afraid to hurt him, but he didn’t give any signs of being sad or angry.
Except narrowing his eyes slightly. “Can we talk about this in private?” he asked.
“No!” James said at once.
“Yes!” Lily said. “For heaven’s sake, Potter! Don’t you dare deciding over my life!”
She took Severus by the arm, leading him away. They left a puzzled Mandy and a furious James alone.
When they were safely inside the empty Charms classroom, Lily turned to Severus. “What’s this about?”
Severus didn’t reply at first. He just stared at his feet for a while, before saying, “I’ve done something.”
Lily nodded encouragingly (which Snape failed to see since he was staring at the floor).
“And I assure you, I wouldn’t have told you if I wasn’t certain that it hurt you,” Severus muttered. “And Potter will force it out of me. You know that I don’t like Potter –”
Lily couldn’t help but say, “It’s no wonder we’re friends! Do you know what he’s done to me? He gave me a poe –”
“No,” Snape interrupted. “That was me.”
“I did it.”
“No,” Lily said. “No, you didn’t, you can’t have –”
“But I did. I was jealous. After you had rejected me, I saw that you became closer and closer to Potter while I was barely a friend. It doesn’t matter how, but I got hold of the owl that sent you that present, or the poem or whatever you want to call it. I read the poem, and I couldn’t help but thinking that you’d become flattered by it, so I changed it. Potter understood that it was me, for some reason. And as I told you, I wouldn’t say this to you if I didn’t know that you were hurt by it and that Potter would find a way to force a confession out of me. So there you are.” Severus had muttered all of this to his feet. He didn’t dare to meet her eyes, her green eyes that used to make him melt inside.
He had got hold of that owl, yes. And it was not weird as it was his owl. He knew Potter would (he had heard him telling Black) use an owl instead of a house-elf to deliver his present. Severus had charmed his owl, Batty, so that Potter would feel the need to use that exact owl as soon as he entered the owlery. It was rather complicated, and Severus did not quite understand how he had done it. Batty then flew to Severus and he wrote a new poem but kept a bit of the original text. He charmed it to be in Potter’s handwriting. Hours later, Potter had finally found him and assured Severus that he knew it was him and if he didn’t tell the truth he would personally feed him to the Giant Squid. He knew Potter enough to understand he was serious.
He was a little sad that he had caused Lily pain, but he wanted to take revenge on both her and Potter. It was only for one day, anyway.
“S – so y – you,” Lily stuttered, “did all the oth – other stuff as well?”
“What?” Snape snapped when she interrupted his thoughts. “Yes, I did.”
“Why?” Lily asked weakly. “I can’t have meant that much to you. Severus…” she added when he didn’t answer. “We can still be friends, can’t we?”
“I don’t know why I liked you so much,” Severus said coldly. “You’re not anything special. Why would I be friends with you? Goodbye… goodbye, Mudblood.”
He turned and walked out of the classroom, slamming the door behind him. Closing his eyes, he wondered if he had just done that. He still liked her, she really was special and he wanted to be friends with her. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t look at her without feeling bitter, furious… unloved. And Potter was about to win her over, he saw it. James Potter would get her, just as he got everything else.
Severus didn’t see why Potter was special. Potter came from a wealthy Pureblood family, he had good friends, he was liked by almost everyone – students and teachers – and lately, he had become more popular with girls, even though he didn’t care. He was intelligent, fun, smart, brave and (sometimes) even kind in other peoples’ opinion. He was everything Severus wished he was.
And now the guy, who had named himself Prongs, would get the one thing that had been denied him from day one; the girl who had despised him almost as much as Snape hated him. Severus saw it.
He opened his eyes, knowing he would love Lily Evans forever, and slowly began to make his way to his common room.
If Snape was sad… well, so was Lily. When he slammed the door after him, she sank down to the floor, completely shocked. What had he just said? She couldn’t believe it. The words, the meaning of it, finally found their way into Lily’s confused brain.
Lily’s eyes burned, and then tears flowed from them.
That was the first time he had called her a Mudblood when they were alone.
Goodbye, Mudblood. She would never forget those words. They would haunt her for the rest of her life. She knew he meant it. They’d never become friends again, and he said goodbye to her… because they would never talk like that again. He said goodbye to their friendship.
She sat there, crying silently, for what felt like an eternity.
And the cold words wouldn’t leave her.
A/N: One more chapter. :)
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