Chapter 1 : Forgiveness
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I don't know, I don't know
You stick around now it may show
-“Something” by The Beatles
(more specifically, written by George Harrison, although sadly he often doesn't get the credit)
Her cherry lips quivered in the cold as she quickened her steps toward the familiar front porch of her former best friend's house. It had been almost a year since she’d spoken to him, but the jubilance of the Christmas season had bested her, and there she stood in front of the door, her frigid white hand pondering the possible outcomes of going through with her not-so-well thought out plan.
It had happened so quickly those many months before; the taunting and embarrassment he had endured at the hands of her insolent housemates; the rage induced blood purity slur he spat so coldly at her. It made her shiver violently despite the cold, and she suddenly felt foolish for coming over. He had made himself clear when he’d called her a mudblood so viciously. His numerous attempts at apology had fallen on deaf ears that evening, and she had folded into her girl friends’ arms, sobbing desperately, if not pathetically, the entire evening long.
He was her best friend; he had been from the moment he had first spoken to her all those years ago. But it was even more than friendship that pulled her to him now. It was a sense of closure; he needed to understand how horribly his words had slashed into her flesh. It was as if a tattoo of the hateful words had inscribed itself on her forehead.
And here she was chilled to the bone on Christmas Eve, staring at the dilapidated wooden door of a modest home down the street from her own. She turned on a heel, deciding that her forgiveness and tears would be better suited for a different night. And as she hesitantly made her way down the front stoop into the blackness of night, she heard a faint click behind her. Slowly she turned and saw a sliver of light where the door was cracked. His point of a nose was visible before anything else, but slowly the light sliver widened, and he was there in full view.
Severus Snape looked mostly the same, but his normally loose hair was tied in a messy knot at the nape of his neck. He was dressed in his old, faded robes, and he looked at her sadly. Her breath hung in the air, the pregnant silence making the moment highly uncomfortable. His eyes bored into hers, and she felt pressure, hot and thick, rising inside of her veins. Someone would make a move, one of the two of them eventually, but it seemed as though time had stopped, and suddenly she realized she was holding her breath.
Finally, his lips parted, and a gruff baritone emerged, quiet and unassuming, but firm.
“If you would like to speak with me, come around to the side and I shall let you in through my window. Otherwise, it is becoming quite cold inside the house and I do not wish to wake my mother.”
Unable to speak, flabbergasted by the fact that she’d had the gall to come at all, she simply nodded at his invitation and made her way to his bedroom window. She’d done it a thousand times; she knew exactly which way to maneuver her legs to get through without ripping or displacing a skirt. When she arrived, the room was dimly lit, and he was there, lifting the window to allow for passage.
She expertly slipped through, landing softly on the hardwood floors. She removed her hat and red pea coat and softly laid them over a wooden chair in the corner of his room, as she had done previously in her life.
He stood waiting for her, backed up against his old deteriorating dresser full of nothing but old volumes and an occasional quill. She was wearing a black skirt that hit just below her knees and a white button-up blouse. Wavy red locks fell just past her shoulders, and her make-up was minimal. Her shoes were black patent leather but had the smallest of heels, and she looked very grown up. He told her as much.
“You look lovely,” he said while staring down at his scuffed shoes.
“Thank you,” was her soft reply. “I was on my way…or I will be on my way soon, to church.”
“Of course, it is Christmas Eve, after all. So I must ask you, Lily, why you were standing at my door for so long without even knocking?”
She was taken aback at the question but answered truthfully.
“I wanted to come and…to come and see you. To talk.”
He was unreadable as he crossed the room and sat down on his unmade bed.
“I know it’s a little odd but I felt like I needed to see you,” she tried again, searching his eyes for anything familiar, anything left over from her time as his closest friend.
“Funny that you chose now, rather than sometime sooner—or later,” he added the bit at the end to sting her, and it had worked. The famous Evans temper began to rise in her, slowly at first but building to a boil as he continued to be cold. After all, it was his fault they weren’t friends anymore. His fault!
“Oh don’t be so condescending, Severus,” she said hotly, taking a seat next to him. “You and I both know the circumstances behind our little ‘feud,’ if you want to call it that. I certainly didn’t call myself a mudblood, did I?”
There it was. Hurt flashed into his eyes, but only for a moment. He still sat calmly on the side of his bed, attempting with every once of concentration to control his emotions.
“I apologized again and again, Lily. And again. I did not know how to make you hear me. Your deaf ears insulted me. I…I have run out of patience.”
But she did not believe him, not for a moment.
“Do you remember what it was like when we were children, Severus? No cares, no grasp of the politics and stereotypes of the wizard world? Just you and me, under a shady tree in the summer time. You and me, dreaming of our time at Hogwarts together. You would have never, never uttered that word then. What changed? What happened between us that you ‘accidentally’ slipped that day? Severus…how could you?”
“It did slip, Lily, honestly it did. I was so angry. I was angry at Potter and Black, I was so utterly mortified, as I still am today. And I looked at you, and I said it. And the instant I said it, I knew what I’d done. And…Lily I’m so sorry, I never meant to hurt you, I would never willingly…ever…” he trailed off, staring down at his hands.
“How embarrassing for me though. The one person at Hogwarts who I defended over and over. To have him call me such an awful name, how horrible for me to have all my friends and housemates point at me and say, ‘I told you so.’ Your apology is so hard to accept because you hurt me in more ways than one.” She cast her glace to the window and it had begun snowing in the short time she’d been there. Big fluffy flakes glided slowly down to the frozen Earth, and she sighed, hating to relive the awful events that surrounded that day.
“Lily,” his voice was barely a whisper, “I am begging you, from the bottom of my heart, please. Please Lily, my life is so lonely without you. I don’t even know why I came home for Christmas this year. Mother locks herself in this house and never leaves…especially since Father left. My friends aren’t really my friends. All they talk about are dark things, and that’s not me. I’m not always dark. You are the light in my life, Lily, and so I am begging you please, to take me back. Please be my friend again.”
He looked like a child now, scared and young. His eyes were full of sadness, and she realized just how horrible his life probably had been since they’d parted ways. Hers had flourished in Gryffindor house, but Severus wasn’t quite as ruthless as the rest of the Slytherins. He was just a quiet boy who was seemingly always in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“Let’s just put this behind us then. But I am sure you must understand now why we simply can’t fraternize as much at school. Look at the pain it has caused us. We can be friends with the understanding that we stay apart at school. What do you think?” she asked hopefully.
“Fine then. That’s probably for the best. For both of us.” He nodded noncommittally, and she sighed, hating herself for having to hide her friendship with her oldest friend. Finally he looked at her then, a crooked smile across his lips.
“Oh Sev, I missed you!” She exclaimed suddenly, wrapping him in a hug. When she released him, she smiled warmly at him and engaged him in conversation about the last year.
As he talked animatedly about his recent academic achievements in potions, she reached up and unknotted his hair.
“It’s a great potion using only the finest—OW! Lily, what are you doing?” he asked, rubbing the spot on the back of his head where she had just pulled his hair loose.
“Just letting your hair loose. It looks better this way,” she said. She shook out the rats and tangles from his jet black mane, and then she started, her eyes wide.
Severus Snape had grown up, at least since the last time she’d looked at him well. His jaw line was set, and suddenly it seemed as though the rest of his face had grown to fit his nose. His skin was creamy white and not nearly as greasy as the last time she’d gazed upon him. He’d grown at least 3 or 4 inches, and his frame was thin. Any sign of acne or other teenage afflictions seemed to be gone. He was a man now, seemingly much older than James Potter, Sirius Black, or any of the other boys in her year.
“What? Why are you looking at me like that?” Severus asked. Lily looked the same as she always did, which was absolutely beautiful.
“I just noticed that…well you’ve grown up a little since the last time we were friends, you know,” she said quietly, not sure of the feeling she was beginning to feel.
“Of course I have. So have you.”
Suddenly he felt self conscious, feeling her lingering gaze upon him, and she could tell she was making him uncomfortable.
“Severus, can I ask you a personal question?” she asked boldly.
“I er…I guess,” he said.
“Have you ever kissed a girl?”
“What? I…I don’t see how that matters at all.”
“Well have you?” she pressed.
“No. I haven’t. There hasn’t been…the right person yet,” he said awkwardly, shying away from her.
“Of course. I haven’t kissed anyone that I wanted to kiss. Just people on dares and stuff. I went out with a boy, well I’m sure you heard about it. Marcus Tonier, the 7th year Ravenclaw. But I couldn’t bring myself to kiss him, we only dated for a month. It never felt right.”
The conversation was forced and raw, and the subject was quickly changed to Christmas day plans.
“Well, we’ll head to my grandmother’s house for dinner and presents. I’m sure it will be lovely,” Lily said, smiling at the thought of tomorrow’s celebration.
“I’ll be here in my room most of the day. I’ll probably make some dinner for Mum. I don’t even know if she knows it’s Christmas,” he said sadly.
“You could come with me. You know Mum and Dad wouldn’t mind. You’ve been to grandmother’s before, though it’s been years ago.” Severus smiled.
“Thank you for the offer, but I need to stay here. I can’t in good conscience leave Mum behind.”
“Of course. Actually, I probably should go. I’m going to be late for the midnight service. I’m really, truly glad that we can be friends again, and I hope to see you again before we go back to school.”
She stood and gathered her coat and hat and embraced him once more before climbing out the window and disappearing into the snowy night.
Severus stood in his bedroom and watched her leave, feeling oddly empty as though he may have missed something. He paced the room for about five minutes before realizing exactly what it was. Without thinking or grabbing a coat, he ran from his room, passing his sleeping mother on the couch in the den, and opened the front door.
Surely it was too late. Surely she would be long gone with her parents to church and he had missed the only opportunity of his life.
He closed the front door and took off at a sprint through the thickly falling snow. It clung to his eye lashes and his cheeks flushed as he ran down the sidewalk toward her house. She was probably gone…but he ran anyway. Out of breath, he reached her house and was dismayed to find the lights out. He had missed his opportunity.
Downtrodden, he turned, chilled from the snow, and walked to the tree they often sat under as children, playing until their parents made them come inside. At least they were friends again. The accumulating snow crunched under his feet as he approached the tree.
He gasped when he saw her, a vision in red, pacing underneath their tree. She started when she saw him, but smiled warmly.
“Where’s your coat, Sev? You’ll catch your death without it.”
“I thought you were off to church,” he said quietly.
“I told my parents I’d walk, it’s just down the way but…I stayed because…” But she didn’t finish her sentence and she didn’t need to.
He walked to her, his blood pulsing rapidly through his body. She didn’t say a word as he approached, and it was though her feet were rooted to the ground. When he reached her, it was as if he’d always known what to do when this moment came. The snow continued to fall around them as he embraced her and tilted her chin up toward him. Her eyelids fluttered and closed as she waited.
His heart was beating a quick cadence as he brushed his lips against hers, lightly at first, before he finally relaxed and kissed her fully on the mouth. She melted into him then, her knees weak as the kiss continued.
When finally their lips parted, Lily opened her eyes and gazed up into his. She had never felt more perfect than she did at that moment. The silence was sweet between them as they both drank in the euphoria of what had just occurred.
“Happy Christmas, Lily,” Severus whispered, looking into her brilliant green eyes.
“Happy Christmas, Severus.”
Soon after that, she realized that their perfect moment had to be cut short in order for her to make it to church on time. She smiled at him as he walked her to Church in the snow, and he felt extremely warm even though he had no coat. And when she disappeared inside singing carols, he smiled to himself. He walked home and went to bed shortly after that, with no doubt in his mind that this Christmas was the best that he’d ever had.
A/N: Thank you for reading my first attempt at fiction in darn near a year :) when I saw this challenge of Bella's, I knew it was too good to pass up. Do be kind and drop me a review so I know if I've still got this writing thing or not :p
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