Chapter 2 : Cloudburst: Chapter Two
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I hate your big dumb combat boots, and the way you read my mind.
I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me rhyme.
I hate it, I hate the way you're always right. I hate it when you lie.
-- 10 Things I Hate About You --
“Welcome, welcome,” Professor Slughorn whooped, mustache hairs bristling with excitement. “What a lovely morning for potions, no? N.E.W.T. levels, I think you’ll find them quite thrilling, if I do say so myself.” He smiled at the room of students, taking in each of their faces as if he was searching for the most magnificently cut jewel. As his gaze fell upon the closest table, his lips turned down in a confused frown.
“Mr. Snape,” he questioned. “Where is Ms. Evans?”
“Here, Professor!” Lily gasped as she slid in through the door at the back of the room, flushed and clearly out of breath. “I apologize,” she huffed, giving everyone a nervous smile as they all turned as one to look at her, “for my tardiness.”
“Not to worry, my dear girl,” Professor Slughorn exclaimed, noticeably brightened by her appearance. “Just take your seat and we will begin.”
Surveying the room, Lily realized with a sinking in her stomach that there were only two seats available: one next to James Potter and the other next to Severus. Potter looked absolutely delighted, grinning at her and patting the empty space on the bench next to him. Her eyes lingered on Severus, but his nose was pressed into his Potions book, long hair covering his face.
With a dejected sigh, she joined Potter at his table and immediately removed her Potions supplies from her bag.
“Well, well, Evans, look who couldn’t--”
“Don’t,” she snapped in a whisper, fixing him with a glare and jabbing a finger in his face, “make me regret this.” James raised his hands in surrender but the smile never left his face. After a few moments of theatrical instructions, Professor Slughorn told them to gather their ingredients and get started. Lily rose quickly from her seat, heading straight into the supply closet without a word to anyone.
After collecting everything she needed she turned to make her way back to her table but found she couldn’t make it very far. Severus was standing right in the doorway, his hands empty, his heavy stare fixed directly on her.
“Excuse me,” she tried hoarsely, throat gone dry. He made no sign of movement. “Please,” she added, trying to meet his gaze but instead finding herself looking away. She could feel her heartbeat speeding rapidly. The cupboard quickly emptied as students gathered their ingredients and returned to their tables, none of them paying attention to the silent conflict happening right in front of them. Before long she and Severus were the only ones left.
“It’s not over,” he said finally, a dangerous lilt to his words.
“Yes it is. Just let me be.” She took a step toward the door, but he sidestepped to stand in front of her once again.
“I’m not giving up on you, Lily.” His look was fierce, determined.
“Move,” she demanded in a voice that sounded much more confident than she felt. Truth be told, he was beginning to frighten her.
“I won’t. I won’t stop until you at least agree to talk to me.” A hint of desperation piercing his words, he lifted his hand toward her.
“I don’t want to talk to you. Ever!” She took a step back from him, fixing him with a glare.
“I know you miss me.” His face softened as he implored her. Black eyes frantically searched her face. “I know you can’t stand this. Let’s just...let’s just forget it. Start over?”
“No,” she whispered, a sob catching in her throat, her chin trembling. She shook her head and met his questioning gaze with watery eyes. “No.”
“What’s going on, Snivellus?” James appeared behind Severus in the doorway, casually leaning against the frame with a smirk sliding up his cheek. For the first time in her life, Lily was glad to see him.
“Nothing that concerns you, Potter,” Severus bit through clenched teeth, his hands balling into fists.
“Oh? Well, I thought it might since you seemed to have kidnapped my partner.”
“She’s not yours!” he snapped suddenly, turning fully to face James. Red blotches colored his neck and face. “She’ll never be yours.”
“Perhaps not.” James shrugged and, in Severus’s distraction, he reached a hand out to Lily who quickly slid between the two of them and out into the classroom. “But she is my Potions partner, Snivelly. Which is where we are, in case you’ve forgotten. I suggest you get to work before you muss up your reputation and old Slughorn sees you for who you really are. Wouldn’t want to lose your only admirer, would you?”
Severus glared at him, nostrils flaring, lip curled in a snarl, as James followed Lily. Just as he had gotten a few feet away, he looked over his shoulder with a grin and whispered, “And I wouldn’t say ‘never’.” He winked and, before Severus had a chance to respond, was back at his table helping Lily measure out ingredients.
“Thank you,” she mumbled, keeping her head lowered and her attention fixed on the beetles she was crushing into a powder. Surprised, James looked up from the contents of the cauldron he had been stirring, tilting his head as he examined her. Though her hair had fallen in front of her face, he could see the mist in her eyes.
“Don’t mention it, Evans.” Running a hand through his hair and giving her his winning smile he said, “It was my pleasure.” Her brow furrowed and silence fell over them, the only sound the meticulous scraping of pestle against mortar. James watched her work curiously, the evidence of frenzied thoughts on his face.
“Don’t call him that,” she demanded in a low voice, suddenly breaking into his musings.
“Hmm?” He met her gaze and she paused her work to look him straight in the eye.
“Don’t call him that name,” she repeated with a sniff. Scrunching up his face he stuck his tongue out the side of his mouth, making a show of thinking about it for a moment. Lily kept her eyes on him the entire time, brows raised expectantly, daring him to say no.
“Okay.” He gave a half-shrug as if it were of no great consequence. She eyed him warily, unsure of what had just happened. She didn’t know why she had asked him to stop in the first place, but she had been positive she was going to get some ridiculous, witty remark and then he’d go on being his usual arrogant self. That was it? Just “okay”?
“No other names, either,” she continued, suspicion lacing every word.
“Clever!” He laughed, shaking his head. “No, no other names.” She gave him an appraising look which he met with a steady gaze and an easy smile. When she seemed satisfied with what she saw, she lowered her head and continued to crush the beetle parts.
“So,” he started slyly, drawing out the vowel, “do I get to make a request of you now?”
“What kind of request?” she asked uncertainly, pouring the powder carefully into the cauldron and giving it a quick stir.
“Go out with me.” As expected, she shot him a glare but, much to his delight, it was accompanied by the hint of a smirk.
“No,” she declared, tossing the remnants of a sopophorous bean she had just juiced at him.
“Hey!” he squealed rather girlishly, patting his hair down to make sure the bean hadn’t gotten stuck. Her quiet giggles caught him off guard and caused his mouth to spread into a wide grin. Yet, with one quick glance in Severus’s direction, her face fell and all was quiet again.
“I can’t believe that guy!” James waved his arms in exasperation, relaying to his friends what had happened between Lily and Severus in Potions as they made their way toward the Great Hall for lunch. “He has the gall to call her a-a you-know-what and now he’s harassing her?”
“I don’t really think it’s something we need to be getting involved in,” Remus began tentatively, knowing that it wouldn’t go over well but hoping one of them might have some sense.
“You can’t be serious?” Sirius exclaimed, completely appalled by the suggestion. “Pass by this perfect opportunity to give Snivelly a nice whack around? Absolutely mental!”
“Moony, how am I supposed to let this go?” James asked, an internal debate going back and forth behind his eyes. “He’s practically stalking her--trapping her in corners, threatening her; she could get hurt.”
Remus huffed in frustration, unable to come up with a legitimate answer. He, too, was worried for Lily’s safety. He had never seen Severus look so vehement and determined as he had that morning. “Just don’t go making trouble where there isn’t any.”
Unfortunately, his warning was heard a bit too late for Sirius. Rounding the corner, they found Severus kneeling on the ground hurriedly gathering his things, which seemed to have spilled from his bag.
“Speak of the devil, Prongs!” Sirius said loud enough for Severus to hear. “It’s the King of Slime himself.” Severus glanced behind his shoulder, shooting daggers with his eyes, before tying up his knapsack and starting to leave, though an inkwell and a few bits of parchment were still strewn across the corridor.
“Not so fast, Snivellus. James and I would like a word,” Sirius continued, pulling out his wand and hitting Severus with a light zapping spell, giving no heed to the flustered look James gave him. The gaunt boy paused in his step, turning to face them, a snarl deforming his face.
“C’mon Padfoot, let’s just go.”
“Go?!” Sirius took in his best mate, eyes opened wide in shock. At the same moment, Severus’s lips curled into a smirk.
“Afraid, Potter?” he taunted, letting his bag drop to the floor, slipping his wand from his pocket. “Or have you just gone soft?”
“Not at all Sni-Snape,” James corrected himself with a quick look behind him. Severus’s smirk turned into a wicked grin while Sirius shook his head in disbelief.
“Ahh, I see.” Severus chuckled. “She’s got you wrapped right around her little finger now, hasn’t she?”
“What is he on about?” Sirius demanded between clenched teeth, but James ignored him, keeping his full attention on the Slytherin before him.
“Not at all, Snape.” This time he said his name with much more force. “I just--oh, I don’t know--actually keep my word? I wouldn’t expect a greaseball like you to understand something as noble as that.”
Severus narrowed his eyes into slits, knuckles turning white as his grip tightened around his wand.
“That’s more like it!” Sirius exclaimed, twirling his own wand in his hand in celebration ,before pointing it at Severus and lifting his brows mischievously. But James still made no move for his wand. In fact, his hands were stuffed into the pockets of his robes, his appearance mimicking that of someone rather relaxed. At the same moment, Sirius and Severus fixed James with quizzical stares.
“I’m pretty hungry. How ‘bout you, Remus?” James said conversationally while Sirius’s mouth dropped open and Severus’s eyes narrowed further.
“Famished,” he replied with a toothy grin, glad of the opportunity to get out of there. James began to walk down the corridor, Remus by his side, but when he realized Sirius wasn’t following them he paused and turned his head to look at him.
James fixed his best mate with a stare and nodded his head in the direction of the end of the hall, brows raised expectantly, daring him to do anything other than go to lunch.
“Or not...” Sirius grumbled, pocketing his wand and shuffling after James and Remus. Severus watched them pass, anger boiling his blood.
“Don’t you dare walk away from me!” he yelled, wand pointed at their retreating backs. Sirius swivelled around immediately, fire returning to his eyes. Remus stiffened and glanced over his shoulder. James, however, refused to turn.
“I believe I made it clear that we were done here.”
“Pretending to be Mr. High-and-Mighty isn’t going to win her over, Potter,” Severus snarled. “I can see right through your little act and so can she.” James’s shoulders lifted and lowered in a shrug, causing Severus’s lip to curl back from his teeth. “Turn around and face me, damnit!”
With a humourless chuckle, James did as he was told, a sinister look about him. His entire face had gone dark, one brow arched menacingly, a smirk sliding up his cheek. “As you wish,” he began, pulling his wand from his pocket. Severus ground his teeth, body visibly shaking with rage. Yet, just as James leveled his wand with Severus’s chest, a flash of red caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. Without warning, his smirk dissolved into a grin. Head tilted back, he let out a raucous bout of uncontrollable laughter.
“Oh, yeah,” he said, attempting to stifle his laughter but utterly failing, “we’re done.”
“What are you on about, Potter?”
“Someone’s come to see you.” He nodded his head toward the far corner of the corridor, a look of amused disbelief in his eyes. Shaking his head and snickering under his breath, James turned his back on Severus once again, motioning for his friends to follow. “Have fun, Lils,” he called over his shoulder with a dismissive wave.
Snape furrowed his brow in confusion, grinding his teeth together as he spun around on his heel, wand raised to fend off whoever else had come to mess with him. Immediately, he stopped in his tracks. There, at the opposite end of the hall, half her body hidden by the wall, stood Lily, her wand pointed directly at him, unwavering. Cold features stared back at him, not a hint of doubt in those emerald eyes.
“Lily--” he started, lowering his arm to his side, but she cut him off with a shake of her head.
“You’re wrong.” He titled his head in question, but he did not have to wait long for her next biting words. “I don’t miss you. I don’t care about you. I don’t want anything to do with you.”
Before he could even fully take in what she had said, she whipped around on her heel and disappeared, leaving Severus completely alone.
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