Chapter 7 : An interruption
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After breakfast, Severus was walking back to his dormitory when he spotted Lily sitting with her friend Alice sitting on a bench between columns. Both were facing away from him and as he grew close he intended to reach out and catch Lily off-guard, until he heard the word “James” in their conversation.
Severus immediately slowed down and sat himself on the bench nearest to theirs. He was separated from Lily by a mere foot, but this space was filled with a giant column, so there was no way she could see him.
He strained his ears to hear their conversation, feeling a little guilty as he did so.
“You two must be doing well, then. I know you didn’t come back last night!” said Alice. At this, Severus’ heart began to race.
“Oh don’t give me that look!” returned Lily. “You know I haven’t done anything serious.” Severus sighed quietly in relief.
Alice laughed and replied, “Well then where were you two last night? Details. I want to know everything.”
“We were in the astronomy tower. He lit a fire and set up a shield charm to keep us warm. We just…laid there and talked,” said Lily with a shy note in her voice.
“How romantic! I never pictured James to be the type,” said Alice honestly.
Lily laughed, “That’s exactly what I told him! But-listen to this Alice-he told me he’s fancied me since year one.” At this, Severus rolled his eyes. “And all the mean stuff he’s done to me, he said was just to get my attention. He never meant any of it to hurt me.”
Severus heard suspicion in Alice’s voice as she said, “And you believe him?”
“Yes!” said Lily, a little too quickly for Severus’ liking. “I know he was being honest. I can just tell, with him.” Severus groaned slightly.
“Well then, I give you my blessing,” said Alice mockingly.
At this point, Severus started to seethe with jealousy. James had spent the whole night with Lily, and here she was openly talking about it with her friend. Severus wished it had been he who Lily boasted about. He was romantic too, wasn’t he? What about their indoor picnic the other night?
As Severus mulled over these feelings, he thought to himself, “I have to do whatever it takes to make her feel my love.”
At this, he rose from his seat, stepped over to Lily, and put his hands on her shoulders. “Guess who,” he said cheerfully.
Colour came to Lily’s cheeks as she turned around. “Severus!” she exclaimed, clearly caught off guard.
“What were you ladies talking about?” he asked innocently.
“James,” said Alice, looking Severus defiantly in the face.
A jaw muscle twitched slightly, but Severus kept his composure and simply turned to Lily saying, “How are you two?”
Lily was clearly uncomfortable with getting this question from Severus, but she answered, “Fine,” in a mumble.
Alice stood up and said, “Well, I’m going to get going, see you later Lily.” She shot Severus a cool look as she left.
Severus took her place on the bench and commented, “I don’t think she likes me very much,” with a crooked grin.
Lily narrowed her eyes at him, “Well, you aren’t particularly kind to her, Sev. You didn’t even say hello.”
“Well she certainly took no time to rub your and James’ relationship in my face, so I’d say we’re even,” he replied.
Lily stared at him for a moment, and Severus felt as though she was analyzing him. He shifted uncomfortably. He leaned toward her to pick up the book by her side, and whispered into her ear, “You smell amazing.”
Lily smiled at him. He scooted closer on the bench, and used his fingers to open the palm of her hand that was on the opposite side of her body from the hallway, and thus hidden from sight. He began to trace circles inside of it with his fingeres. “You look it, too,” he added.
Lily blushed, “Who knew you were such a flirt?” she whispered teasingly.
Severus grinned broadly. “There’s more where that came from tonight, by the Black Lake, if you want it,” he said.
“Does 9 o clock work?”
Lily reached for him to hug him as per usual, and he placed a hidden kiss upon her head as they embraced.
That night, Lily walked through the Gryffindor common room on her way to meet Severus. Much to her dismay, James was sitting on one of the couches by the fireplace.
“Hey, Lily, where are you going?” he asked curiously.
“Oh, I’m just…I wanted to go to the library and do some research,” she fumbled.
“On a Friday night?” Alice asked from the couch next to his.
Lily rolled her eyes. “Yes. I have a Muggle Studies paper due on Monday and I want to get a head start on it, so I’m not worrying about it all weekend.”
James laughed. “A bit strange, my girlfriend, isn’t she?” he joked to Alice. Alice did not respond, but instead gave Lily a puzzled look.
James got up and gave her a kiss on the forehead, which kindled a sense of guilt within her.
Lily then left the dormitory and made her way through the grounds to the Black Lake. When she reached the large beech tree on the water’s edge, there was no Severus in sight.
“Psst, Lily,” she heard from somewhere nearby.
She glanced around her, searching in vain for the location of the voice.
Then she heard Severus’ familiar laugh coming from above her. She glanced up to see him sitting on a low branch of the nearest tree.
“Sev! How did you get up there?” she asked.
He waved his wand and a golden ladder descended the length of the tree trunk.
“Nice move,” Lily said as she began to climb the ladder.
She sat herself next to him and placed her head on his shoulder. In response, she put his arm around her, which sent a surge of warmth through her body.
“Hello, love,” he said.
Lily smiled and turned to face him, and he surprised her with a small kiss in return.
Lily looked down at the ground below her and remembered another event that had taken place in this same location.
“Severus,” she said, “Remember that time that you…called me a mud-well, you know what? After James and his gang messed with you?”
“How could I forget?” he responded. “It was right here. It was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.” He took a piece of her hair in his hands and tucked it gently behind her ears. “I’m sorry, Lily, I don’t think I could ever apologize enough.”
“You know I forgave you back then,” said Lily. “But…that night. When you sat outside the portrait hole…” she avoided his eyes as she continued. “You said you would have stayed there all night if I didn’t come out. Would you have? Really?”
“Of course!” Severus cried. He seemed almost offended by the question.
Severus took his hand and tilted her face toward his so he could look her in the eye. “Because even one day spent with you hating me would be the worst day of my life,” he said.
Lily leaned in and they began a slow and passionate kiss. It lasted for several moments, lifetimes even, when they heard a loud gasp below them. They broke away suddenly and Lily‘s eyes searched the ground below. She saw a flash of black hair and Gryffindor robes disappear out of sight and towards the castle.
“Who was that?!” cried Severus, his eyes wide.
“Alice,” replied Lily heavily.
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