I have loved Lily Evans for as long as I can remember; it seems as though I loved her all her life. I loved her when we were kids in Spinner’s End, and she wouldn’t talk to me because her sister Petunia told her not to. I loved her when we started school together, and she talked non-stop to avoid letting her nerves get the best of her. I loved her when we drifted apart and barely spoke at all; when she started associating with Alice, and I spent time with my fellow Slytherins. I even loved her when she gave her heart to that arrogant, waste-of-space, pretty-boy, Potter.
The funny thing is that I never told her, not once. Not when she was panicking after performing magic for the first time, and had turned her sister’s hair blue. Not when we were buying our wands together before our first term, and she was worried she wouldn’t fit in. Not when we spent hours practising potions with each other; the only time we spent together during our later years. Not even when she came to me, crying about how Potter had been using her for some stupid dare. Not once did I think to let her know that she was loved, always and completely, by me.
Potter did though; he told her, and she rejected him. Perhaps that was where our biggest difference has always lain; if she had rejected me, I would never have recovered. He barely even seemed to notice the blow, before bouncing right back to ask her again. Maybe that’s why she could bring herself to love him, as she could never love me. I expect I will never know; from that point on, we could only grow further apart.
I realise it might seem odd – for one who loves a muggle-born to take the path I did. At the time, however, it seemed the only path left. Sides were being taken, the battle was coming on fast, and her side didn’t want me. The Order of the Phoenix seemed to be Gryffindor through and through; they had no space for an awkward, angry, young Slytherin with unsavoury connections. The Dark Lord however... he had all the time in the world, and to those who followed him, he offered not just a new world, but a place in it. He offered me almost everything I had ever wanted, and his enemies were almost exactly the same as my own.
I never breathed to Lily one word of my feelings; but when I knew I must, I spoke of them to Him. I told him everything; how I, the Half-Blood Prince, cared so much for some ‘mud-blood’ that I would beg for her protection. He listened, he absorbed, and he responded the way I knew Lily never would – with acceptance and compassion. I went to him desperate; I came away even more so. The Dark Lord is many things, but compassionate is not one of them, and I knew that while I might risk my life to obey him, I would not risk hers.
And so, in my desperation, I turned to my last resort – Dumbledore – and now, as a traitor and a spy, I finally was of value to him. He stood for everything the Dark Lord despised, and I knew that by joining his side, I had signed my own death warrant. It might take a year, it might take twenty, but one day I would pay with my life for trying to protect hers. It would be worth it. That was the greatest problem with my love for the now Mrs Potter – her hate did not diminish it whatsoever.
Dumbledore took me on, and gave me the relief that the Dark Lord could not provide; he truly would do all he could to protect the Potters. It was not quite what I had wanted, but if her safety required them all to live, I would permit that price too. A life for a life; it was, I suppose, what I owed him. Moreover, it meant that she would be safe, protected by magicks beyond my own – beyond even the Dark Lord’s – and that was all I could hope for.
Looking down now, at her lifeless, yet unbroken and un-bloodied body, I love her still. Even in failure, I still accept the decisions I have made, and the price I will one day pay. I have even agreed to help protect the child – Harry – for whom she died; because of whom the Dark Lord killed her. I cannot simply love her all her life; I must love her all of mine.
A.N. Yes, this is very short. Yes, this is very unlike my other stories. Yes, I am blaming spending too much time reading challenges. Yes, I would like to know what you think. :-)