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Chapter 5 : Stolen Moments
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"Sev! Don't be such a wet blanket," Lily teased gently, her emerald eyes sparkling. "Here. Give Decius a cracker." She handed him a wheat wafer.
He stared at it, feeling like an idiot. They were all looking at him. He hurled the cracker into the lake and the squid caught it in midair.
Lily and the girls whooped, laughing, and even Regulus grinned. Slowly, Severus smiled slightly. Maybe it was a ridiculous game, but it was harmless fun, and it brought to mind the times when he was younger and he and Lily used to throw bread to the ducks that sometimes swam in the creek behind their house. Back when they were young and innocent and the only enemy he had was Tobias and his temper. He turned and gazed at the object of his affection and suddenly he was chuckling softly, her mood was contagious. All right, so we're behaving like six-year-olds again. But who cares? Lily had told off Potter for him, she had admitted in front of a large number of students that she preferred him-Severus Snape-to the ultra popular and handsome rich-boy Potter. At that moment, he felt like walking on air. And that kiss . . .ah, God, it had been so sweet! He wished it had never ended.
"Want another one, Snape?"
He turned to see Cindy Graves offering him another cracker for the squid. She struck him as a bit of a bubblehead, but at least she wasn't sneering or talking down to him like most of the girls in Gryffindor. And some in Slytherin and Ravenclaw too, if he was going to be honest.
He took it and thanked her politely. She looked startled, and he tossed the cracker in the lake, thinking, Bet you're surprised I have good manners, aren't you? He fought to keep a sneer from his face and from blurting sarcastically, Yes, Graves, my mother taught me how to say please and thank you like every other good mother does. Just because I'm a half-blood and a Slytherin doesn't mean I'm gutter trash. We might be poor, but that doesn't mean I act like a buffoon. But he reined in his temper, which lately was prone to take everything as a slight. There had been enough arguing today, he didn't want to start quarreling again.
The squid had finished off the rest of the crackers in a matter of minutes and Alice wiped her hand across her brow and said, "It's getting like an oven out here. I feel like an ice cream cone melting. Let's go back inside."
"You can come to our room," Regulus offered suddenly. "We've got cooling charms on it and we can play cards or something if you want."
The three girls looked at each other. "Yes, that sounds like a great idea, Reg," Lily said. Then she looked at Severus. "Do you mind, Sev?"
Severus bit his lip. He normally didn't like other students in his room, he was very private and didn't like anyone prying into his personal life. Regulus and Lily were the sole exceptions to that rule. But maybe he could start to relax a little, after all he would be right there with them, and make sure they didn't touch any of his potions, or the experimental spell scrolls he was working on.
"All right. Follow me."
"Yes, my lord," Regulus drawled lightly, and they laughed.
Severus rolled his eyes. "Funny, Black." Then he led the way back to the castle and down to the dungeons.
Their room was fairly large, it had originally been a single prefect's room, but when Severus had agreed to allow Regulus to room with him, they had cast a space warp spell on it to make it comfortably house two people, so it was now the size of a large suite. It was decorated in Slytherin emerald and silver, of course, with silver walls and emerald curtains at the fake window, which was charmed to have a view of the grounds, even though the dungeons were below the lake. Some smart individual had figured students would go stir-crazy down here without some kind of view of the outside world, and thus had charmed the dorm rooms to display appropriate scenery. The scene changed depending on the weather and the season. Right now it showed a beautiful sunny day.
The first part of the room was a sort of den and study area, with an old leather couch Snape had scrounged from the rubbish heap in High Bentham and used magic to clean up and mend so it looked nearly new. There was an upholstered chair that Reg had brought from his home, it had been shoved in the attic after his mother had redone their living room for the third time and wouldn't be missed. The same was true of the clawfooted mahogany table and the serpent and sword patterned rug. It was an old Celtic design, Regulus thought it had once belonged to a distant ancestor, and it too had been gathering dust in the attic.
Against the lefthand side of the room was Snape's desk. The aged rolltop, another rescue from the rubbish heap, was crowded with pieces of parchment, quills, ink, and books. His bookbag and cauldron were stacked neatly in a corner, along with a shelf of potion ingredients, ready in a moment's notice if he needed to whip up a salve or an elixir in a hurry. The mini lab wasn't strictly legal, but Severus was careful to only brew healing elixirs, for the most part, and hide it with a Concealment Charm if Slughorn, his Head of House, chanced to do an inspection.
Regulus' desk was across the room, in the opposite corner, and it too had books and parchment scattered all over it.
To the right of Severus's desk was a large bookshelf filled with books. He had scrimped and saved to buy most of them, and they were much treasured and lovingly handled. There were four rows of magical texts, mostly dealing with potions, herbals, and defense texts. But there were also some Muggle volumes as well-the complete set of William Shakespeare's works, Dickens, Dante, some of John Locke and Rousseau, several British and Roman histories, including Plutarch's Lives, Homer, Virgil, Ovid, there was even a small volume of Byron and Keats and Coleridge. They rested next to Hogwarts: A History and other wizard texts, including a rather battered copy of Tales of Beedle the Bard, which had been given to him when he was five by Eileen.
When Regulus had first moved in, his jaw had nearly hit the ground when he saw Severus's collection. "Merlin, Snape, you've got your own private library."
"I wish. This is nothing compared to what I wish I had," Severus had answered, his voice sharp with longing. "Someday . . ." he trailed off, not wanting to sound like a daydreaming fool. Someday, when I've got a decent job and moved away from Spinner's End, I'll be able to afford any book I want. And then I'll be in paradise, all right. He had glared defensively at the other wizard, daring him to make a derogatory comment about his beloved books.
But Reg had just laughed and said, "Good thing I like to read too." And he had summoned his own library from his trunk and arranged them across from Snape's own. Then he had given his new roommate a pleading stare and asked, "Mind if I borrow a few? You have some I've never read before."
"Yes, so long as you don't damage any of them," Severus had agreed sternly.
"I promise I won't get jam on them, Professor Snape," Reg said slyly, prompting a reluctant chuckle from Severus. He knew he was a bit of a fanatic about his books. But books had been his only companions for years, his solace and joy, until he met Lily, and in a way they still were.
They had placed a large tapestry of Merlin instructing a class of apprentices upon Glastonbury Tor across half of the room, dividing it from their bedroom and the small half bath. The tapestry had been a chance find, the castle steward, Filch, had been about to toss it because it had become threadbare, and they had persuaded him to let them have it.
The beds were the standard four-poster with Slytherin green hangings and Regulus had nicked two small armoires from guest rooms in Grimmauld Place and expanded them so they could hang their robes and school uniforms in them. Those and their trunks were the only bits of furniture in the bedrooms besides the beds. Here Regulus had placed a picture of his family crest above his bed and some posters of Quidditch players and wizard rock bands.
In contrast, Severus had a single piece of framed parchment above his bed, with a single quote by the great Merlin-Magic's greatest strength comes from within, so be true to thy self, and thy will know true power and harmony.
Alice and Cindy looked thunderstruck when they entered "The Bookworms' Lair", as Avery, a Quidditch Chaser, had dubbed their room, after seeing the amount of books in it.
"Merlin, but this is like . . .like . . .wicked!" Cindy finally managed to say after glancing about like a bug-eyed fish.
Alice nodded. "We don't have anything like this in Gryffindor Tower. Even the prefects still share a dorm with their yearmates."
"Not here," Reg said with a touch of superiority. "Slytherins know how to give the privileges of rank to those who deserve it. The prefects have their own rooms and so do the seventh years." He pretended to bow to the trio of Gryffindor ladies. "Welcome to our humble abode, now take off your shoes, Sev hates mud on the carpet."
"Stuff it, Reg," Severus mock-growled, cuffing the other playfully about the head.
"What? It's true. You bawled me out for twenty minutes last time I came back from Quidditch practice and forgot to wipe my feet," said Regulus, mischief dancing in his eyes.
"You looked like a bogman and the stench was unbelievable," Severus objected.
"So I fell off my broom and landed in a mud puddle." Reg shrugged, smirking. "There was no need to tear into me like my mother, Snape."
Severus gave him an exasperated glare. "If you'd quit acting like an eight-year-old, Regulus, I wouldn't need to lecture you that way. Now get in here and tend to your face, before you give some first year nightmares." He dragged the younger wizard into the room and closed the door.
"Hey! It's not that bad. Sirius only managed to get in three good ones," Regulus protested.
"Bad enough. Sit." Severus ordered briskly, summoning his potions and a cloth and a basin of water with a flick of his wand. Regulus obeyed, sitting in his desk chair.
Regulus eyed Snape's array of vials warily. "You going to put any of that stinging stuff on me? Because I really hate that crap, Sev."
"Don't be a baby, Black. The antibacterial salve only stings for a minute." He took Regulus's chin in his hand and began to wash the bruised and bloodied face.
"Like hell." Regulus made as if to jerk away.
"You're not putting it on me this time, Snape."
"Black, act your age! Or do I need to Stick you to the chair again?"
"Here. Let me do it," Cindy suggested.
Severus eyed her critically. "Have you ever had any healing courses, Graves?"
"No, but I've got three younger brothers and a sister, Snape, so I think I know how to fix up a couple of scrapes." She took the cloth from him and began cleaning Regulus up expertly.
The younger wizard remained still then, allowing the witch to doctor him without a whimper.
"Figures. He gives me a hard time and not her. He forgets who fixed him all those other times," Severus grumbled, half under his breath.
"That's 'cause she's a cute girl, Sev," Lily murmured into his ear. "He'd let her cut off his arm and not make a sound."
"Merlin save me!" groaned Severus, though he admitted to himself that it made sense. No self-respecting boy wanted a girl to think he was a wimp and couldn't take a little pain. He beckoned Alice and Lily to sit down on the couch, leaving his friend to Cindy's tender mercies. "Uh . . .do you two want anything to drink? I can have some pumpkin juice or butterbeer up here if you'd like," he offered shyly.
"Please," Alice said.
Severus summoned a house elf by tugging on a small tassled bell pull and requested several pumpkin juices and butterbeers, one for each of them. "And some shortbread too, Watson. Thanks."
"Right away, Master Snape," the elf bowed and disappeared.
Alice raised an eyebrow. "You thank the house elves, Snape?"
"Yes. They're performing a service for me," Severus answered.
Two minutes later a tray appeared on the table, filled with the drinks, shortbread, small sandwiches of bacon and watercress, and strawberry tarts.
"Help yourself," Severus gestured at the table and the girls eagerly took a drink and a sandwich.
Regulus and Cindy soon joined them, Regulus now looked much better with his face cleaned and magical salve applied. "Well? Looks like you survived," Severus drawled.
"It makes a difference, a woman's touch," Regulus pointed out, sitting down on the other end of the couch. Cindy sat beside him, giggling, her hand resting lightly on Black's arm.
"Why do I get the feeling more than just applying salve went on?" Severus wondered aloud, sitting next to Lily.
"With Graves, that's a given," Alice laughed. "She probably gave him a kiss for every cut he had. Like she does to her little brothers and sister."
"And what's wrong with that, Stewart?" Cindy demanded. "A kiss to make it better."
"He's not your brother, Cin."
"Thank Merlin for that!" the other grinned.
"You can say that again," added Regulus, his hazel eyes dancing. He gave Cindy a very appreciative look.
"See what we have to put up with?" Lily groaned. "She's impossible."
"So's he," Severus remarked, and Regulus glared at him.
"Works like a charm. I feel great now," Regulus said, smirking.
"Wonderful," Severus rolled his eyes. "Now where did you put the deck of cards, Reg?"
"Uh . . .somewhere," answered the other helpfully. "Hang on a moment." He summoned the deck of Exploding Snap and laid it on the table.
They played several hands, until all the drinks and snacks were gone, and then Alice yawned and said she wanted to go back to Gryffindor and take a nap before dinner.
"Yeah, got to get your beauty sleep, Stewart. You want to look good for Longbottom later," Lily teased.
Alice blushed, but came back with, "How about you, Lil? You don't want Severus to see you looking like an old hag."
"Beauty is only skin deep," Lily sniffed, pretending to be insulted. "Right, Sev?"
"Absolutely," he murmured, then kissed her goodbye. "Meet me later at the lake," he whispered, and received a nod in return.
Cindy gave Regulus a kiss, much to his delight, and then followed Alice out the door.
"See you at dinner," Lily waved and then departed as well.
They passed several Slytherin boys, mostly fourth and fifth years, lounging in the common room as they made their way to the portrait hole, and as they were leaving, they heard one exclaim, "Merlin's bloody arse, Snape, what were you having, an orgy or something?"
"You could have invited us," whined another.
"Three girls! Merlin! Maybe we ought to let the Marauders beat us up."
Severus cast them a withering glare and shut the door. "Barbarians, the lot of them!" he muttered.
"Jealous," Regulus told him, and the two exchanged identical smirks, for until that afternoon the only thing their Housemates had ever envied them for were their brains and potion-making skills.
"Stupid. There are wards to prevent any student from having sex in the castle."
"Good thing too, else Potter would probably be a father by now. Or Sirius, Merlin help me!" Regulus said, then added with a sigh, "Ah, well. One can dream. Right, Sev?"
Severus did not answer, he was already wishing he knew of a spell to speed up time.
* * * * * *
By the time the first stars of evening brightened the sky, Severus was only too happy to flee the castle and follow the path down to the lake, where Lily awaited him. After dinner, he had planned on studying for his last OWL-Transfiguration, but his plan had been shot all to blazes when Regulus ended up getting into another quarrel with Sirius at the dungeon entrance.
Sirius had accused Regulus of going dark again, being Sorted into the House with the most dark wizards ever, including You-Know-Who. "Otherwise you'd have been in Gryffindor, like me, and maybe you'd learn how to be a real man, instead of a nerdy bookworm that hangs around bad influences like Snape, Rosier, and LeStrange. Learn any good dark curses lately, Reg? I hear Rosier knows some nice ones."
"Shut up, Sirius! You don't know what the hell you're talking about!" Regulus had screamed, totally losing it. "Just leave me alone." He had turned to go down the stairs, but Sirius had grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him back around to face him.
"Don't walk away from me, Regulus. I'm not finished talking yet." Sirius growled.
"Well, I am! Let go of me!"
"No. For once you're going to shut that damn mouth of yours and listen to me. Quit hanging around rejects like Snape and the rest of them, little brother. Start thinking for yourself and don't just be a pureblooded arsehole, like Mum wants you to be. It's not worth it. You hear me?"
"I hear you, Siri," Regulus said sullenly, hunching himself away from his older brother. Then he gathered himself and cried, "For your information, big brother, Snape isn't dark and neither am I. And it's not a crime to be proud of who your family is. What's your problem, Sirius? You're always going on about thinking for yourself, but you don't practice what you preach. You follow Potter's lead like a puppy---you, Lupin, and Pettigrew. If Potter says hex someone, you ask who, if Potter asks you to jump, you ask how high, hell, if Potter told you he wanted to kick your arse, you'd bend over, I'll bet. The lot of you get your jollies by bullying other students, and then acting like it was a big joke. So where do you get off telling me how I should act, or who I ought to be friends with, huh?"
Regulus's pointed barb struck home, and Sirius lost his temper. He punched his brother in the jaw, nearly knocking him down the stairs. Regulus was saved from a nasty tumble only by Severus's quick reflexes, casting a Levitation Charm. Once he was assured Regulus was all right, Severus had spun on the elder Black, confronting Sirius nose to nose.
"Merlin's staff, Black! You nearly knocked him down the stairs! If he'd hit his head . . ."
"Too bad he didn't. There'd be one less Death Eater in the world, Snivellus."
"Black, you stupid imbecile! Weren't you listening to a word he said? Just because he's Slytherin doesn't mean he's a dark wizard."
"No? With the way he's going, it won't be long." Sirius gritted out. "Like I said, too bad he didn't break his neck. It'd save me the trouble of telling my father his precious baby boy joined You-Know-Who and watching him fall apart." Then Sirius stalked away, leaving Severus to deal with Regulus and longing to throttle Sirius for being such a stubborn dunderhead.
He had managed to get the younger wizard into their room before Regulus self-combusted, but only just.
"I HATE him! I bloody damn HATE him!" Regulus howled, hitting the wall so hard several books on his side of the room fell onto the floor and the cabinet with Severus' potions shook and threatened to spill.
Severus hastily cast a charm on them to fasten them to the shelf, then a Muffliato Charm so Regulus could rant in peace without the rest of the House overhearing him, and lastly he locked the door.
Regulus continued to swear for several minutes, slamming his hand into the wall over and over until his knuckles bled, until Severus cast a Cushioning Charm over it. He hit the wall a few more times before halting abruptly and leaning his head against it, breathing harshly. "I hate him," he muttered, his voice catching sharply.
"Reg, stop," Severus ordered softly. He tugged on the other's shoulder, leading him over to the couch. "He's not worth it."
Regulus sat down at Severus's urging, but abruptly he turned away, drawing his knees to his chest and hiding his face in them. "Go away, Severus. Please. I want to be alone."
Severus hesitated, not sure if he should leave his friend in this state. "Regulus . . ."
"Leave me alone, Snape! Just go! Go meet Lily or study or whatever. Get out!"
"All right. But I'll be back soon. Don't do anything stupid, Black." He rested a hand on Regulus's shoulder for a moment.
There came a muffled snort. "Don't worry, I'm not going to off myself. I wouldn't give him the satisfaction."
Severus listened hard, and upon hearing the sincerity in his voice, decided it was safe to meet Lily. "I'll be back."
"Fine. Go, Snape!"
Severus did, but not before casting another silent charm that blunted any sharp object within a five foot radius of Regulus. Better safe than sorry. When he glanced briefly over his shoulder, he saw Regulus lift his head from his knees, and the hazel eyes were filled with desolation and tears. Then he put his head back down, his shoulders shaking.
Severus nearly stayed then, but he knew Regulus would be mortified if Snape witnessed him crying. He shook his head, wishing there were something he could say to help his friend, but for once his clever brain couldn't come up with a remark to salve Regulus's wounded spirit. Damn you, Black! You and your stupid Gryffindor prejudice! You're going to drive him straight down the dark path if you don't lay off, you bloody fool!
He closed the door behind him, leaving Regulus alone to cry and curse his brother in peace, and slipped out of the castle by a secret passage.
Once outside, he paused to collect himself and take several deep breaths, not wanting to see Lily as he was now, all angry over recent events and longing to hex certain individuals till they howled. When he had calmed somewhat, and the only racing his heart was doing was because of anticipation and longing, he set off across the lawn towards the lake.
Lily and he had stumbled upon a semi-private spot inbetween two willows and a screen of some kind of hedge Severus didn't know the name of, it was cozy and pleasant and just right for a meeting between two friends. Make that my . . . girlfriend, he amended with a flash of pleasure. That was not something he had ever dreamed he would ever have . . .a girl who cared enough about him to call him hers, and be seen in public with him, holding hands and kissing and laughing with him, not at him. And willing to defend him from the popular crowd, like Potter and Black.
Musing on the events of the afternoon made him flush hot and cold, partly in embarrassment at the way Potter and Black had humiliated him, although by now he ought to be used to it, he thought disparagingly. It occurred almost every day, unless he was watchful. And he hadn't particularly cared for having to be rescued by a girl, but the twinges of embarrassment were eclipsed by the sheer delight in knowing that Lily truly cared about him as more than just a friend. She likes me better than Potter, who has girls falling at his feet and in his lap every time he turns around. Potter, the brilliant Quidditch Chaser, teacher's pet . . .Dumbledore's Golden Boy. And she said I was worth ten of him. Me, Severus Tobias Snape, the sarcastic sharp-tongued outcast with barely two Knuts to rub together, the half-blood freak, as my father would say. And she likes me.
He pinched himself hard, just to make sure he wasn't dreaming. Then he winced and snorted at his own foolishness. Still, it was hard to believe that the girl he had always admired and adored now liked him as . . .well . . .a boyfriend. He couldn't quite recall when it was that he started looking at Lily, bright sweet Lily, as more than just a friend. One day he had been in class, brewing a potion with her, and their hands had brushed and he had felt . . .a shock, like lightning, run up his arm. And suddenly he couldn't take his eyes off her. It had utterly bewildered him at first. And scared him, for he didn't want Lily to think he was being forward, and would start slobbering all over her and groping her like some of the other boys did their girlfriends . . .but he longed to run his fingers through her hair and to cup her face in his hands and kiss her until they were breathless. But he hadn't dared.
Until last December, when she had accepted his awkward invitation to the Yule Ball. Then he had known it was all right if he allowed his true feelings to show, that she wouldn't reject him flat, and he had danced with her and kissed her and that evening had been one of the happiest of his fourteen years.
He smiled reminiscently and slipped on cat's feet to the willow that overhung the lake, peering warily around before climbing halfway up the tree and looking down into the little hollow made by the trees and the hedge.
Lily was there, sitting upon the ground, tapping a finger against her knee impatiently.
Smirking, Severus slipped around the tree and landed on the ground behind her, soundlessly. Then he reached out and playfully tapped her on the shoulder.
She gasped and nearly fell over.
"Waiting for someone?"
She spun around. "Severus Snape! You nearly gave me heart failure. What were you thinking?"
"That you were getting sick of waiting for me and I'd better get my arse down here quick," he replied, laughing. "Sorry I'm late. Reg got into another fight with Sirius and I had to calm him down."
"Not again! Is he okay?" Lily groaned.
"Not really. His prat of a brother punched him and nearly sent him flying down the stairs, but he's more upset than hurt. The git said he wished Reg broke his neck, that way he wouldn't need to explain to their father why Reg ended up a Death Eater."
"He didn't!" Lily cried. She had enjoyed meeting the younger Black, finding him clever without being arrogant and witty as well, but not cruel. "That's awful! How could he say such things to his own brother?"
Severus shrugged. "He's Sirius Black, that's how. Thinks he knows everything, like his best friend, Potter. I'm surprised Reg hasn't throttled him by now. Merlin knows, I would have."
"Poor Regulus! I'd like to smack Sirius upside the head," Lily declared angrily.
"Hey, take it easy." Severus murmured, stepping very close to her, his hands reaching out to take her own. "Forget about Black, you can slap him silly later. He isn't why I asked you to meet me here, Lily."
"Oh?" She tilted her head back until she was looking directly into his eyes. "Why did you ask me here, Sev?"
"So we could talk and I could do . . .this." His hands released hers swiftly, coming up to cradle her face and then he was kissing her, a gentle flirting at first, uncertainly, but then she clasped his head and kissed him back, and fire ignited in his blood and his awkwardness vanished as he realized that she wanted him.
The kiss deepened, and Severus drowned in the sweetness, unable to recall where he ended and she began. He had never known such overwhelming desire in all of his life and it both frightened and awed him, that one little red-haired witch could cause him to feel so . . .incredible.
Lily tightened her hold on him when he would have drawn away, not wanting it to end. Merlin, she had been kissed twice by other boys, though one of those had been stolen by Potter and she didn't think it counted, but none of their kisses had ever made her feel as if she was going to spontaneously combust. She felt as if she had just fallen off the top of a high mountain, there was an odd sensation in her stomach, like falling, but she was not afraid. Merlin, but who knew he could kiss like this? Where did he learn? She wondered dizzily, gasping for breath.
He drew away, his dark eyes burning with barely leashed passion. "Lily . . .I . . .are you all right?"
"All right? Sev, I'm ten times better than all right," she laughed.
"Oh, good. Because I was afraid I was . . .too rough."
"Never. Where did you learn to kiss like that?"
"Like what? It was horrible, wasn't it? I did it wrong . . " he felt the old inadequacy well up and he jerked away, his face burning. Snape, you idiot! You should have looked at that book Reg had, instead of assuming you could learn on your own. Now look what you've done. She probably wishes she never came here tonight, you hopeless git-
"Severus!" Lily grabbed his shoulder, pulling him around to face her. "You didn't do it wrong at all, love. You were perfect."
"I was?" he repeated dazedly. "But I've never . . .this is the first time I've ever really kissed . . .well except for the Yule Ball . . ."
"Sev, trust me. You're a natural." She twined her fingers in his hair, which was silky, not greasy like everyone assumed.
"Don't believe me, huh? All right, let's try it again. Practice makes perfect, not that you need much practice," she whispered and then her mouth found his again.
When they could breathe again, she snuggled into his arms and laid her head on his shoulder and said, "Now do you believe me, you silly snake?"
He gazed down at her, wonder mingled with desire in his eyes, and answered, "Yes. Lily, I . . .I . . .you make me feel so . . .I don't know how to say it . . .but when I'm with you, like this, I feel . . .complete." Inwardly, he cursed his awkward tongue. Why was it that he always managed to sound like a blithering idiot around her, when at every other time his tongue was lightning quick to give an insult or the answer to a question? Some romantic you are, Snape! You've read Shakespeare a hundred times and you can't come up with anything better than that? "I can't believe that you're here, with me, when you could have been with any other boy in Hogwarts."
"Severus, no other boy is you, don't you see that?" she inquired softly.
He laughed softly. "Amazing. That you choose the Slytherin outcast, who most girls wouldn't give the time of day . . ."
"Stop it, Sev!" she ordered. "Don' t talk that way! You're none of those things." She moistened her lips, then quoted passionately, "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind. Remember that, Sev?"
"A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 1," he responded automatically.
"Exactly. And that's how I love you, Severus Snape. I'm a Seer, I saw you true the first time we met, down at the park. I always have."
His mouth twitched into a reluctant grin. "Seems like you know me better than I know myself."
"Of course. I'm a woman," she chuckled. "We know everything."
"I know one thing, though."
He drew in a breath, then said softly, "That I shall love you always. Doubt thou the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love you, Lily."
"I never will. Because any boy that can quote Shakespeare to his girlfriend really loves her," she whispered. She shifted in his arms. "Kiss me again, Sev."
He dipped his head, his heart soaring. The ancient wizards and witches had been right when they said a midsummer night had magic in it. He could feel it with every beat of his heart, with every touch of Lily's hands, with every kiss they shared. It flared like wildfire through him, consuming him, but he welcomed its sweet ecstasy.
Somehow, he ended up on the ground, Lily in his lap, laughing like an idiot, drunk on sensation, every nerve in his body quivering. "Dear sweet Merlin, Lily!"
"You can say that again, love!" she smiled lazily, both temptress and goddess, and he knew then he was lost, his heart given into her keeping, never to be reclaimed.
"Lily flower, what should we do now?" he murmured, one hand caressing her fiery tresses.
She leaned back into his hand. "Mmm. You have magic hands, Sev."
"Why wouldn't I?" he asked playfully, his voice going husky. "I am, after all, a wizard."
"What should we do about what, Sev?"
"Us. I don't mean just at school. I mean at home. Now that we're dating."
"Well, I guess we should tell our parents. Or at least you could tell your mum," she amended, knowing full well that his father wouldn't be interested in his son's social life. She giggled softly. "Will she be surprised, do you think?"
Severus shook his head. "No. She's like you sometimes, Lil. She knows things without being told. I couldn't get away with anything when I was little, she always knew when I was up to no good. The only one she was never able to read was my father, don't ask me why." His lip curled in disgust. Then he shook his head. "Anyway, when you tell yours, should I be there?"
"If you'd like. Mum will be over the moon, she was beginning to worry since I didn't have a boyfriend yet and I was nearly sixteen."
"She think you were a lesbian?"
Lily burst out laughing. "Merlin, who knows? I don't think she even knows what that is. I think she thought I was just being too picky. But I wasn't going to date just anyone. She used to try and fix me up with some of her friends' sons."
"Oh God, that must have been awful."
"It was. I felt like a prize peacock at a fair. And none of them were right for me. It used to annoy her so. "Lily Anne, what are you waiting for?" she used to ask and I would say "the right one". Little did I know the right one was two houses down from me." She gave him a flippant grin. "Don't worry, Sev. It'll be all right. Mum always liked you."
"Felt sorry for me, you mean."
"No. She likes you, Severus." Lily corrected firmly.
"And your father?" he asked uncertainly. He had only met Henry Evans a handful of times, the man was usually at work when he came over Lily's house.
"Umm . . .Dad might be a bit . . .intimidating at first, but he'll get over it. He grilled Vernon for about fifteen minutes before finally agreeing to let him date Tuney, and that was it."
Somehow, Severus was sure it would not go as smoothly with him, though he hoped it would. "Your sister's still dating that fat prig?"
Lily made a face. "Yes. I really don't like him. He's an overbearing snob. But Tuney thinks he walks on water and won't listen to me when I tell her he's too controlling. She thinks a strong man makes all the decisions. I say a strong man lets his girlfriend decide for herself and doesn't need to boss her about like a puppet."
He traced her cheek with a finger. "You're right. I will never act like that, Lily. I love your independence. And I'd never ever hit you. I'm not like Tobias."
"Oh, Sev. You think I don't know that? I could never love a man who hurt a woman. You might be his son, Severus, but you're nothing like your father."
"Not quite. I have his damn temper, and his mouth too. But I'm working on it, Lil. And you can tell your dad that I don't drink and I never will. That's why mine is the way he is. But not me. That much I can promise. And I always keep my promises."
"I know. Quit worrying, Snape, you'll give yourself gray hairs." She relaxed into his chest, feeling warm and safe and utterly cherished.
He lay back against the trunk of the willow, Lily cradled close, and vowed not to dwell on tomorrow. Tonight was all that mattered. For the first time in his life, Severus Snape was truly happy. His lonely heart had found its home at last. And nothing was ever going to come between them, he vowed. Not House rivalries, or disapproving parents, or anything.
They sat together, reveling in each other's presence, not speaking for several long moments, until they heard the bell ring for curfew. Severus groaned. "Blast! We have to go back."
Lily sighed, reluctantly rising to her feet. "I know. I wish we didn't. I could just sleep out here all night in your arms," she suggested wickedly.
"I wouldn't mind that at all," he smirked mischievously. "But your mother might." He stretched and climbed to his feet. "Come on, Lily flower. I'll walk you back."
They slipped from the hollow, running quickly and silently over the grass. Both were sorry their little interlude had come to an end, but somehow that made it more precious, for stolen moments were rare and therefore cherished.
Severus walked her all the way to Gryffindor Tower, giving her one last scorching kiss before bidding her good night. "Pleasant dreams, Lily."
"Good night, sweet Prince," she laughed, knowing he would get the reference, punning on his mother's maiden name.
He smiled, smothering a laugh, then turned and hurried back to the dungeons, hoping he would be able to manage to get some sleep, otherwise Merlin only knew what kind of grade he would get on his OWL tomorrow.
He crawled inside the Slytherin portrait hole. Some of his yearmates, like Avery, were still awake, playing chess. Avery glanced over and flashed him a knowing grin.
"Where you been, Snape? Snogging that hot little number Evans?"
Severus ignored the question, he wasn't one to brag about his conquests. What was between him and Lily was not for public gossip. He headed to his room, pretending not to hear the whistles and catcalls.
"Looks that way, Avery," hooted Rodolphus LeStrange, a handsome brown-haired boy. "He looks like a cat that swallowed the canary."
"Yeah, only time I've ever seen him look like that is when he's been brewing potions for Slughorn," remarked another.
"Looks like little Snapey has finally figured out what to do with a girl besides look at her," roared Evan Rosier. "Was she any good, Snape? I hear those Gryffindor girls are like animals. She bite you much, Snape?"
Severus felt his temper spike. He spun around, his wand out, and spat a Silencing Charm. "Keep your filthy comments to yourself, Rosier. Or else I'll glue your tongue to the roof of your mouth, got me?"
Rosier nodded, shrinking away from Severus, whose eyes burned black fire.
"There's no such spell, Snape," muttered Avery.
"Then I'll invent it," Severus stated coldly. "So keep your mouth off my girlfriend."
Then he turned away and entered his room, locking it securely behind him.
Regulus was sprawled on the couch, looking as if he had cried himself to sleep, his dark hair all mussed and rumpled, and a slight bruise on his jaw.
Severus sighed, then transfigured his friend's robes into a set of pajamas and tucked a blanket about him. "Good night, Reg," he murmured, then slipped into his four poster and Noxed the lamp. He was certain his dreams would be pleasant and much better than those of his friend's, for once.
So did you like Sev and Lily's little tryst?
The quotes from Shakespeare came from A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet.
How did you like Sev & Reg's room? And who feels sorry for Reg?
Oh, one more thing--the squid never had a name in the books, so I called him Decius-from the Latin for ten. I thought it was appropriate.
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