Chapter 4 : A test
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The next day Severus left potions class feeling particularly disgruntled. Although Lily had told him she needed time away from him, she was all he could think about. The feel of her lips on his, the way her eyes lit up when she laughed…he was in a Lily-induced daze.
Clinging on to the fact that she felt something for him, he reflected upon the words of their last conversation with optimism rather than concern. That is, until he turned the corner while making his way to the astronomy tower and saw Lily in front of him.
His automatic response to the sight of her was an increase in both heart beat and happiness. It took his mind a moment to register that James Potter’s arms were wrapped around her waist, and that their foreheads were touching. The moment he realized this, Severus’ happiness was immediately replaced by anguish. As Severus passed them, James was beginning to lean in toward Lily as if to kiss her. Lily broke eye contact with James when she saw Severus , and she stumbled backward, straight into him.
“Hi, Sev,” she said, obviously flustered. She glanced back and forth between James and Severus as if unsure of whom she should be talking to.
Ignoring the pit in his stomach, Severus simply said, “Hello, Lily,” and walked on, making sure not to show his disdain at seeing her be so close with James.
“Leave her wanting more,” he thought to himself as he walked on.
When Lily entered astronomy, Severus was pleased to see a puzzled look on her face. However, he made sure to act as though he didn’t notice her throughout the entire class. She walked out ahead of him when class ended, which at the moment suited him just fine.
However, when he entered the corridor, Severus’s heart jumped when he again spotted Lily ahead of him. She was bending over and picking up books that she had clearly dropped, and was looking very frazzled. Severus slid up behind her as she stood up, books in hand.
“So…how’s your thinking going?” asked Severus.
Lily started, then shot him a look and said, “Fine.”
“So…you’re figuring things out then?”
Lily twirled a piece of red hair around her finger. “Sure, you could say that.”
Severus chuckled. “You’re lying.”
“I am not!” said Lily defensively, dropping the lock of hair.
“I’ve known you since we were kids. I know when you’re lying,” said Severus casually, “And you are lying now.”
Lily rolled her eyes. “Ugh! Sev, you’re so annoying. Fine, thinking is doing nothing for me and I’m not figuring things out. There! Are you satisfied that you are temporarily ruining my life?”
“Ruining it? I think that’s a bit harsh, Lils,” said Severus.
She ignored this comment.
Severus pushed forward with his interrogation. “So…you’ve been thinking a lot to try to figure out, how you feel about Potter, am I right?” he asked.
Lily nodded, and then shook her head in opposition. “Not just James,” she said. “You, too.”
She looked up at him to gauge his response. One of the things that Severus admired most about her was her brazen honesty.
Severus blushed and turned away. “You know, Lily,” he said, fumbling with the buttons on his sleeve. I don’t know how you expect to figure anything out by just thinking.”
She turned her head towards him. “What do you mean?”
“Well, I just don’t think that thinking can produce anything, really. You’ll just keep mulling over the same ideas, and you won’t progress anywhere.”
Lily considered this and said, “Alright, well, what do you suggest instead?”
“Kiss me again,” said Severus automatically.
Lily’s eyes widened. “And that’s supposed to help me, how?” she asked.
“Well,” said Severus, blushing further, “If you kiss me again, you might be able to figure out how you feel about me. You won’t be caught by surprise, like you were last time, so you’ll know that whatever you feel…or don’t feel, is genuine.”
“I don’t know, Sev,” said Lily quietly. “That could just complicate things even more. I’ve already cheated on my boyfriend once, without intention. I’m not sure that I want to do it again, with full control over the situation.”
“Or it could simplify it! If you feel nothing, then you go back to….him, with no harm done, no confusion. That’s better than going back to him now, without having kissed me for real, and having conflicted feelings, isn’t it?”
Lily looked Severus directly in the eyes and said, “And if I do feel something?”
Severus’ heart quivered but he calmly replied, “Then we’ll-you’ll-deal with that, if that’s the case. It’s better to know, either way, I think.”
Lily was quiet for a few moments, using her intelligent brain to weigh the pros and cons.
“You’re right,” she said with a sigh, “You always are.”
Severus grinned broadly. “So?” he asked, taking a step toward her.
“Not now,” she said, smacking him on the arm. “There are far too many people around. Meet me outside after dinner, by the fountain to the right of the statue of Edisus, okay?”
“Okay,” he said.
“I have to get to class,” she said. “I guess I’ll…see you later.”
She did not give him their usual hug goodbye, but this didn’t surprise him. He watched her walk away, focusing on an unfamiliar feeling that was accompanying the butterflies in his stomach. Hope.
That night, Severus walked outside into the chilly night air with his hands in his pockets and his head down, with his hair swinging in front of his face. He turned right and walked down a winding path, passing the statue of Edisus, and pausing before the fountain.
Lily was already there, sitting on a nearby bench. He took a moment to admire her beauty. Her hair shone even in the moonlight, and her soft frame was silhouetted against the darkening sky.
He stepped forward, and sat on the bench next to her. “Hi, Lils,” his voice chimed.
“Hi, Sev,” she said. She looked anxious and distracted.
“Don’t be nervous,” he said, placing a hand on top of hers, “It’s just me.”
Lill flashed half a smile at this reassurance and said, “How could you tell?”
Severus chuckled. “I’ve told you before, I’ve known you for so long that I can read you like a book.”
“Sev, tonight stays between us, right?”
“Of course. Just like always,” returned Severus seriously.
“Okay, then,” said Lily. “Here goes…”
Lilly leaned in and pressed her lips against his. She intended to break away after a few seconds, but when she found that his lips were moving against her own, she was unable to. She felt a warm electricity from his lips, and a tingle shot down her spine as his arms reached around her. She placed a hand on his shoulder as they kissed, and allowed the other to stroke his hair. She pulled him closer toward her as she deepened the kiss, and his arms immediately tightened around her. His hand ran down her back and she shivered. She was entirely lost in his kiss. Then, to her surprising disappointment, he slowly pulled away. She reached for him again, but he grabbed her wrists and held her at bay.
He was breathing heavily and his eyes were shining. Seeing a similar shine reflected in Lily’s own green eyes, he asked, “So, did you feel anything?”
Lilly responded by taking his hands from her wrists and kissing him again.
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