Chapter 2 : The Promise in the Snow
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Twelve massive Christmas trees towered over the Great Hall, glittering with twinkling golden lights that, upon closer inspection, turned out to be real sparkling fairies who flitted delicately back and forth from branch to branch. Suits of armor spontaneously burst into holiday carols in the corridors, and Peeves the poltergeist had taken to dangling springs of mistletoe over unsuspecting students. Each classroom had been draped in beautiful garlands of holly and laurel, and Hagrid’s Christmas wreaths featured tiny owls decked in red bows. The entire castle had an aura of warmth and cheer about it, and it was in this festive atmosphere that Sirius Black decided to give his friends their Christmas gifts.
Sirius typically chose to give his friends their Christmas presents early since he always went home for the holidays, although that wouldn’t be the case this year. Sirius was no longer welcome at Grimmauld Place, and he doubted very much that he would’ve had a nice Christmas there anyway. Sirius was quite happy to be spending the holidays at Hogwarts; Remus, who always stayed at school over Christmas, would be with him and they planned on practicing levitating snowballs through McGonagall’s open windows.
Sirius grinned at the thought.
He opened his trunk and scooped out a handful of carefully wrapped presents. He gathered the assorted packages and began carrying them downstairs to the common room. He was quite proud of the gifts he’d chosen for his friends this year. Remus, James, Peter, his cousin Narcissa of course, and his fellow classmate Arthur Weasley would all be receiving gifts. Sirius placed the neatly wrapped parcels on the table and arranged them in a line. He glanced at his watch.
As if on cue, the portrait hole swung open and James, Remus, Peter, and Arthur clambered into the common room.
Sirius grinned. “Finally! I thought you lot would never come back from dinner,” he said.
“And miss an opportunity for presents?” said James. He winked at Sirius.
“Peter couldn’t tear himself away from the pudding,” said Remus, but not unkindly. Peter elbowed him in the ribs playfully. “Ouch!” said Remus, rubbing the spot gingerly.
“Are those for us, Sirius?” Arthur asked anxiously, removing his horn-rimmed glasses, wiping them clean with the sleeve of his robes, and then putting them on again. Sirius clapped Arthur on the back.
“Yes, Weasley, they are. Go on, open them!” he said eagerly. The boys walked over to the table. James picked up his present and pretended to shake it thoughtfully.
“It doesn’t look big enough to be a new broomstick,” he said in mock gloom. Sirius laughed, a sound that always resembled a bark.
“Go on, open it, Prongs!” As his friends tore open the wrappings of their individual gifts, Sirius couldn’t help but feel good. Although he had been born into money, material things had never mattered very much to him, except for when it came to his friends. He had spent quite a bit of time deliberating over what he wanted to get for each of his friends. Narcissa was a big harder, since she had decidedly more girly interests, but Sirius felt sure she’d like her present as well.
Peter let out a squeal of delight. “Sirius! This is amazing,” he exclaimed, examining the brand new solid gold model of the galaxy Sirius had chosen for him Peter was terrible at Astronomy, and Sirius had decided the galaxy model was not only beautiful, but practical as well.
“Now you’ll never need to copy any of our Astronomy homework again,” said Sirius, smiling.
Arthur’s mouth had dropped open. “Is that real gold?” he asked, then quickly looked as if he wished he hadn’t said anything.
Remus nodded. “That’s real, all right. Sirius, it must’ve cost you a fortune, “ he said warily.
Sirius shrugged. “Not much,” he said, feeling a bit uncomfortable.
He knew that Arthur was very poor, and that Remus wasn’t much better. He hoped they didn’t think that he was simply flaunting his wealth. James emitted a similar gasp of delight as he unwrapped his gift. Sirius had purchased an autographed Quidditch glove that had belonged to Conor Doyle, the Irish Seeker for the International team.
James positively hero-worshipped the Irish team, and he was now flexing his fingers inside the glove.
“It’s just my size! Conor Doyle! Thanks, mate! Wait ‘til Mum and Dad see this!”
Arthur and Remus were both staring at the glove, slack-jawed. Remus opened his parcel almost apprehensively. His eyes widened as the wrappings fell off to reveal a stunning solid gold chess set, along with a ;lush set of new dress robes.
Sirius sincerely hoped Remus wasn’t offended by the robes; Remus’s own robes were extremely shabby and several inches too short. Sirius smiled half-heartedly at Remus. He was surprised to be greeted with a firm hug.
“Thanks, Padfoot,” he whispered, just out of earshot of Arthur. Sirius could tell by the look in Remus’s eyes that he was truly moved by the robes, as well as the chess set.
“Expect to get beat soundly by me over Christmas with that,” said Sirius, gesturing to the glittering chess set.
Arthur’s eyes were now bugging so far out of his head that Sirius was sure they could almost reach the opposite wall. Sirius shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his robes and studied the floor. He had not intended to make Arthur uncomfortable. Arthur slowly untied his heavy package. His glasses slipped all the way down his nose.
“What is that?” said Peter, looking positively incredulous. James and Remus also abandoned their own gifts to gaze in bewildered curiosity at the strange object in front of Arthur.
“It’s…it’s called a telephone,” said Sirius, clearing his throat loudly. “It’s a device that Muggles use to keep in contact with one another. The man at the shop said that you spin the numbers on the dial,” he twirled the gold dial around a few times,” and then you pick up the receiving end. “ He shrugged. “I think Muggles use them a lot,” he said, wishing Arthur would stop staring at him so intently.
Arthur slowly got to his feet. He faced Sirius, and pushed his glasses up onto the bridge of his nose He fixed Sirius with a meaningful look. “This is the best Christmas present I’ve ever gotten,” he said breathlessly.
“Don’t mention it, “ said Sirius, breaking eye contact awkwardly and pretending to fiddle absent-mindedly with his watch. He knew that most of Arthur’s classmates often made fun of his fervent obsession with everything Muggle-related, but Sirius thought Arthur was a very decent bloke, although sometimes he too thought Arthur’s Muggle obsession a bit strange.
Remus stood suddenly and smiled. “Well, “ he said lightly, “I think we owe our dear friend Sirius a big thank you, don’t you all?”
“Aw, he’s blushing, “ said James in teasing voice. Sirius punched him in the arm playfully.
“All right, that’s enough you lot,” he said, grinning. “Happy Christmas.” He picked up Narcissa’s present off the table. “I’ve got to go find my cousin. See you in a bit,” he said, and climbed through the portrait hole.
Sirius was very happy that Remus, James, Peter and Arthur had all been pleased with their gifts. However, he couldn’t help but feel glad that Narcissa wouldn’t be intimidated by an expensive present; his cousin was just as wealthy as he.
Narcissa had asked Sirius to meet her in the Owlery; Sirius wished there was a secret passageway he could take to the tower instead of climbing over two hundred steps. After what seemed like an eternity, he heard the soft hooting of dozens of owls; he pushed open the heavy door to the Owlery. A girl with long white-blonde hair stood at an open window, staring out over the grounds.
“Sickle for your thoughts?” asked Sirius, grinning. His cousin turned to face him.
“Sirius! Happy Christmas!” she said, giving him a warm hug. She immediately spotted the parcel in Sirius’s hands. Her eyes lit up.
“For me?” She asked, batting her eyelashes.
Sirius laughed. “Oh, Cissy, if there’s on thing you love, it’s presents,” he said. “Go on, open it.” Narcissa took the package and began to unwrap it eagerly. She gasped when the wrappings fell away to reveal a silver necklace; a simple chain with the letter N dangling from it.
“I thought it was perfect for you,” Sirius offered. “Do you like it?”
Narcissa grinned. “I’m surprised at your good taste, actually. Black, are you becoming sophisticated?”
Sirius arranged his face in an expression of mock outrage.
“Me? Never!” he said in a hurt tone. Narcissa laughed. Her grey looked exactly like Sirius’. “Help you put it on?” Sirius offered. Narcissa nodded eagerly, and Sirius affixed the necklace around her neck. “There,” he said proudly, ”you can show it off to everyone at home over Christmas.”
Narcissa’s face fell. “Won’t you come home, too?” she asked. Sirius shook his head bitterly.
“Are you kidding? My mum would use an Unforgiveable Curse on me if I stepped inside that house,” he said, unable to keep the anger out of his voice. Narcissa fixed him with a pleading look.
“Grimmauld Place is where you belong, Sirius! It’s your home.” When he said nothing, she added quietly, “Christmas won’t be the same without you.”
Sirius’s eyes lit up.
“Then stay here at Hogwarts! With me and Remus!” Narcissa immediately stepped back. She looked slightly ashamed of something. Sirius considered her for a moment. Then something in his mind clicked. He narrowed his eyes.“I forgot. Blacks aren’t supposed to associate with dangerous half-breeds.” He spat out the word “half-breeds”.
Narcissa stared at her shoes. “I like Remus,” she offered gingerly.
Sirius wasn’t convinced. “Oh, right,” he scoffed,” you’ve never even said two words to Remus.”
Narcissa looked miserable. “Sirius,” she pleaded, “he seems nice, but still-“
“Let’s talk about something else,” Sirius said, cutting her off harshly. He stared moodily out at the lake. He could see the giant squid peacefully practicing its backstroke.
Narcissa peered over his shoulder timidly. Then she smiled mischievously. “I have a surprise for you. For tomorrow’s Quidditch match.”
Sirius turned around. Narcissa pressed a piece of parchment into his hand. Sirius read it and looked up curiously.
“Slughorn is giving me permission to sit with the Slytherins? And why on earth would I want to do that?”
Narcissa bristled. “There’s someone I want you to meet. Someone really important.”
Sirius groaned. Narcissa always liked to introduce him to her new boyfriends. She hardly ever went out with anyone unless Sirius approved.
“Sirius, this one’s different,” begged Narcissa,” He asked specifically to meet you. Please?” Sirius sighed.
“Fine. Why can’t you parade your new paramours in front of Regulus from now on?”
Sirius immediately regretted his words. He had been consciously avoiding mentioning his brother to anyone. Simply hearing Regulus’s name made him feel a multitude of emotions that he did not want to feel. He glanced at Narcissa.
“Don’t say I should make up with him,” he cautioned. “I’m not in the mood to hear it.”
Narcissa sighed deeply. “You never are, “ she said resignedly.
Sirius looked at Narcissa intently. He tried to minimize the sound of begging in his voice as he asked,” Will you promise me that you won’t ever end up like him? A crazy pureblood git? You’re the only family I’ve got left. Please promise me.”
Narcissa gave him a small hug. “You still have your brother, despite what you may think.” She stepped back. “I’ve got to go to breakfast. Happy Christmas, Black. See you tomorrow.” She smiled and left.
It was only after Sirius returned to the Gryffindor common room (after gazing for some time at the lake, and remembering vividly an episode in Regulus’s first year when Sirius had taught him how to skip stones across the water) that Sirius realized that Narcissa had never given him her promise.
Sirius very much wished he could skive off his classes until the holiday break finally came upon them, however Remus somehow managed to convince him that this was not the best idea. Begrudgingly, he gathered his books and headed for Divination in the North Tower. Peter was waiting for him in Professor Trelawney’s classroom; Sirius and Peter always sat in the back of the classroom near the fireplace.
Professor Trelawney’s room was always very stuffy, and Sirius and Peter usually took turns prodding each other to stay awake. Sirius flopped onto his usual pouf, took out his Divination textbook, and promptly dozed off. Peter, however, kept poking him awake.
“Oi!” said Sirius irritably, rubbing his shoulder after Peter had poked him for what felt like the hundredth time. ”What is it? Can’t you tell I’m trying to sleep?”
“Trelawney’s heading our way,” Peter hissed, jerking he head in her direction. “She wants to crystal gaze with us.”
Sirius sighed. He straightened up and rearranged the books on his desk. “What’s that?,” he asked, pointing at the piece of parchment in front of Peter. Peter was a very skilled artist ( a fact that Sirius had always been secretly jealous of) and he had drawn a detailed portrait of a bodiless hand, coloring it silver.
Peter looked at the parchment. “I don’t know,” he said thoughtfully.
Sirius rolled his eyes. “You drew it, didn’t you?” he asked impatiently.
Peter appeared to be deep in thought. “It’s strange,” he said finally, “I keep having dreams about a hand, a silver hand.”
Sirius frowned. “Well…what’s it doing in the dreams? Tap-dancing across your desk?” He snorted and narrowly avoided the piece of Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum that Peter tossed at him.
“Actually,” said Peter, “the hand tries to strangle me, and then I wake up.”
Sirius stared at him. “That’s not a dream, Wormtail, that’s a nightmare!” he said.
“Maybe I’ll ask Professor Trelawney what it means,” said Peter, as Professor Trelawney swooped over to their small corner of the classroom.
“Good afternoon, my dears,” Professor Trelawney said in her usual misty voice. Peter and Sirius locked eyes and they both cringed. Sirius and Peter both agreed that “my dears” sounded like something their grandmothers would address them as.
“Have we seen anything in our crystal gazing today, my dears?” asked Professor Trelawney. Sirius caught Peter’s eye and they both grinned.
“Erm-not really,” admitted Peter. Professor Trelawney frowned in disapproval. She leaned over their crystal ball, squinting beadily. Behind her back, Peter did an exaggerated imitation of the Professor, squinting and frowning. Sirius struggled hard not to laugh.
Professor Trelawney gazed intently into the crystal ball, rubbing her hands over it. Peter emitted a loud fake yawn. Sirius grinned. He stretched his legs out on the table and crossed his ankles. “Looks like we’ll be here for a while,” he whispered to Peter.
“Mr. Black, kindly remove your feet from my table,” said Professor Trelawney, without looking up. Then she let out a small gasp. “What is it?” asked Sirius, not bothering to uncross his feet.
“There’s something here," said Professor Trelawney excitedly, pressing her nose against the crystal ball. She stood motionless, then turned to Sirius. She fixed him with an imperious look. Her gaze was so intense that Sirius felt slightly unnerved. “My dear,” she said dramatically, “I see great suffering ahead of you. An island, in the middle of the sea.”
“That doesn’t sound so bad,” Sirius cracked.
Professor Trelawney looked at him with great dislike. “Heed my warning, my dear”, she said, shaking her head, “Should you ever come across a man, a man who can turn himself into an animal at will-“ Sirius uncrossed his ankles and sat up straight, his mouth open in shock-“ be careful. This man will destroy everything you hold dear.”
She gathered her robes, and quickly moved on to the next table. Sirius looked at Peter, who looked just as stunned as Sirius felt.
“What was that all about?” said Peter, looking completely bewildered.
The next afternoon Sirius prepared to meet Narcissa in the entrance hall so they could head down to the Quidditch pitch together. He was sorely disappointed that he wouldn’t be sitting with his fellow Gryffindor; how was he supposed to cheer for James if he was in the middle of a bunch of hostile Slytherins?
He sighed, put on a maroon Gryffindor scarf and headed to the entrance hall. Narcissa was already waiting for him, wearing her green winter cloak. She looked excited. Sirius grunted an acknowledgement and they began trooping across the grounds towards the pitch. Around them, students chatted excitedly.
Sirius pouted inwardly. Far ahead, he could see Peter and Remus talking animatedly. Why had he agreed to this?
Narcissa squeezed his arm eagerly as they made their way towards the Slytherin section of the stands. “Oh, look, Lucius has saved us seats in the front row!” she said happily.
Sirius stopped in his tracks. “Lucius?” he asked incredulously. Lucius Malfoy was a Slytherin 5th year. Sirius had never met him, however it was common knowledge that the Malfoys, like the Blacks, were one of wizard kind’s most prestigious families. Lucius was said to be extremely haughty and arrogant. Sirius had seen the way he conducted himself in the corridors; he seemed to think he owned the entire school.
“Come on,” Narcissa hissed, pulling Sirius forward. Lucius smiled as they approached. He was wearing green robes of the finest fabric, and his white-blonde hair was immaculate. He held out his hand to shake Sirius’s. Sirius didn’t take it. Narcissa elbowed him sharply. Sirius took Lucius’s hand and shook it, then quickly let go. Lucius smiled again.
“Sirius,” he said, as if he’d known Sirius all his life,” Such a pleasure to see you. And Cissy,” he said turning to Narcissa, who was beaming, “you look absolutely lovely.” Narcissa blushed.
Sirius turned. “You hate it when I call you Cissy!” he exclaimed. Narcissa avoided his eye. Lucius ignored this statement. He turned to Sirius.
“So,” he said, smiling broadly again, “Sirius! Let me introduce you to my friends.” He proceeded to introduce Sirius to several Slytherins all dressed in the same kind of very fancy robes that Lucius himself was wearing.
Sirius couldn’t help but notice that none of their hair looked nearly as perfect as Lucius’. Thankfully, Madame Hooch blew her whistle and fourteen brooms rose into the air. Sirius muttered “C’mon, James,” under his breath. He was watching James scan the air for the snitch when he felt a determined poking in his side. Sirius turned irritably. It was Lucius.
“What do you want?” Sirius grumbled, still eyeing James.
“Don’t look so depressed, Sirius, we’ve got an excellent chance of winning with Regulus as Seeker, he’s quite good, have you seen him fly?”
Sirius stared at him. “He’s my brother,” was all he could manage.
Lucius laughed loudly. “Sirius, of course I knew that you weren’t Cissy’s only cousin at Hogwarts!” he said, still chuckling.
Sirius tapped Narcissa on the shoulder. “Yes?” she said innocently.
Sirius snorted in disbelief. He jerked his thumb in Lucius’ direction.
“Is this guy for real?” he asked, completely nonplussed.
Narcissa giggled and pointed. Sirius jumped as he realized that Lucius’s blonde head was peering over his shoulder.
“Of course I’m real, Sirius! What do you think I am? A ghost?” He paused, then burst out laughing, as if this was the funniest thing he’d ever heard.
“That’s not what I meant,” said Sirius through gritted teeth, “and can you stop saying my first name as if we’re best friends?”
Lucius snapped his fingers. “Macnair! Butterbeer!” he said, and one of his cronies scampered off. Sirius had a brief mental image of what James would do if Sirius ordered him to fetch butterbeer. Macnair came back and handed a bottle each to Sirius and Lucius. “A toast,” said Lucius, raising his bottle, “to a Slytherin victory!”
“I’m not in bloody Slytherin!” said Sirius in complete frustration. A roar came from the crowd; James soared right over their heads. He spotted Sirius and Lucius and pulled his broom abruptly. His foot knocked Lucius’s bottle of butterbeer right out of his hands, and Sirius thought he saw him wink as he flew off.
Lucius squealed as though he were about to be trampled by a raging hippogriff.
“What’s wrong?” asked Sirius, barely concealing his laughter.
Lucius looked extremely flustered. He rubbed his head anxiously. “Your Seeker gave me a butterbeer shower,” he said, turning to face Sirius. “How does it look?” he asked, in a voice of barely concealed panic.
“How does what look?” asked Sirius.
“My hair!” said Lucius, looking as if he were close to tears. He rubbed his head again anxiously.
Sirius couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “Er-fine, just fine mate,” he said in what he hoped was an earnest voice.
Lucius still looked worried. “Well, Sirius,” he said, glancing at Narcissa, who was avidly watching Regulus avoid the Gryffindor Beater, “I’m very glad we’re going to be friends from now on because-“
“What makes you think we’re going to be friends?” interrupted Sirius. “I don’t even know you!” He thought of adding “and I don’t like you, either,” but decided against it.
Lucius acted as if Sirius hadn’t spoken. “Naturally, Sirius, when Cissy told me her cousin had been placed in Gryffindor, I became worried. A Black in Gryffindor? It’s just not done,” he said, continuing to shake his head, “So I told Cissy, don’t you worry, I’ll help. Pull a few strings. Obviously you’re a pureblood so there must’ve been some awful mistake at the Sorting…” he trailed off.
“What do you mean, you’ll help?” Sirius asked furiously.
Lucius simply beamed. “Sirius, I can teach you how to mingle with the right people. How to behave in the right social circles. How to-“
“How to toss my hair around like a veela?” said Sirius angrily. “No thanks.”
He had had enough of Lucius Malfoy.
He shot Narcissa a thoroughly disgusted look and clambered out of his seat. “Sirius, wait!” she called.
Lucius wore a pitying expression. “Don’t worry, Cissy,” Sirius heard him say calmly, “he’ll come around. Perhaps I should invite him to join my Slytherin School Fine Robe Society. It’s a club I just started, we meet twice a month and get first choice of the finest fabrics Madame Malkin’s has to offer-“
Sirius clapped his hands over his ears. He couldn’t stand to hear anymore. Sirius drew his cloak tighter around him as he trudged through the snow away from the stadium. James would be disappointed to find out that Sirius had messed the match, but Sirius figured all would be forgiven when he explained about Lucius Malfoy.
Sirius could see his breath in front of him. Tiny snowflakes were beginning to fall. Sirius stuck his tongue out, and tried to catch one. Suddenly, an idea struck him. He glanced around to make sure he wasn’t being watched. Satisfied that he was completely alone, Sirius transformed into his black shaggy dog form.
He barked excitedly and leaped through the snow. It felt liberating to escape out of his own body. He pounced happily through the powdery snow towards some birds, which fluttered away angrily. He laughed and it came out as a bark. He was exploring the grounds near Hagrids’ hut when he heard footsteps crunching through the snow. Sirius wasn’t concerned; whoever it was would just think they’d encountered a friendly stray. He looked up as the footsteps drew nearer. Sirius was shocked to see Severus Snape standing over him.
It was a very odd experience; usually Snape would’ve tossed an insult at Sirius by now. To Sirius’s utter astonishment, Snape bent down and began scratching him behind the ears. Sirius thought this was such a surprising action that he actually backed away and growled slightly. To his horror, Snape leaned forward.
“What’s wrong?” he asked quietly. “I won’t hurt you,” he added. Sirius felt panicky. If he ran away, it might seem suspicious and Snape would surely follow him. Before he knew what was happening, Snape was digging in his tattered school bag. He drew out a chocolate frog. “Here,” he said, “Eat this. You look hungry.” Sirius ate it reluctantly.
Snape began to scratch behind Sirius’s ears. “Who do you belong to?” he asked out loud. “Do you live in the village?” Sirius barked, and Snape laughed. “I’ll take that as a yes,” he said. Sirius had never felt so uncomfortable in his life. He had never seen Snape smile before, let alone laugh. It was extremely disquieting.
Snape was now face to face with Sirius, petting him. “You look cold,” he was saying, “Do you want to sleep in the castle? I’m sure I can smuggle you into my dormitory.” Sirius did not want to imagine what James, Remus, and Peter would do if they’d heard this statement.
Snape patted Sirius on the head. “Don’t want to watch the Quidditch match? Me either,” he said, shaking his head slightly. He stared at the stadium in the distance. Then he patted Sirius again. “I like you,” he said lightly, “You’re a loner, like me. But you shouldn’t be out here in this cold,” he added firmly. Sirius was so stunned that Snape was actually being nice that he hadn’t noticed a girl walking towards them.
“Severus!” she said,” Whose dog is that?” Sirius wasn’t surprised to see Lily Evans standing in the snow next to him. Although Lily was a Gryffindor, Sirius often spotted her and Severus together. He supposed they’d known each other before coming to Hogwarts. Lily was also a 5th year. She had dark red hair and green eyes. Sirius thought she was a kind girl who also seemed very bright. James had fancied her for years, although Lily had never returned his ardor.
Sirius noticed that Snape stood up very quickly as Lily approached; he ran a hand self-consciously through his greasy black hair. “I think it’s a stray,” said Snape. Lily bent down and scratched Sirius’s ears. “You’re a good doggy, aren’t you?” she asked. She turned to Snape. “He seems too well-behaved to be a stray,” she said, and Sirius grinned inwardly.
Lily gestured towards a stone bench near them, and she and Snape sat down. “Come here, doggy,” Lily called, and Sirius sat obediently at her feet. “Sev, isn’t it too cold out here for you?” Lily asked. “You’re not even wearing a cloak!”
Snape blushed. “I’m fine,” he muttered, although he was shivering.
“I think the snow is beautiful, don’t you, Sev?” asked Lily, drawing her initials in the snow. Snape nodded. He couldn’t seem to take his black eyes off of Lily. Lily absent-mindedly patted Sirius’s head. “Sev,” she said thoughtfully, “Can I ask you something?”
“Anything,” Snape said quietly. He had been drawing something in the snow; Sirius noticed that he had traced the letters “S.S.” next to Lily’s initials. Lily looked at Snape. Before she spoke, however, she unfastened her cloak and rearranged it so it was now draped over both her and Snape’s shoulders.
“There,” she said firmly,” now we’re both out of the cold.”
Snape looked mortified. “I’ve got a cloak,” he protested, but Lily waved her hand impatiently.
“No, you haven’t,” she said, and Snape turned a deep shade of red.
“What did you want to ask me?” he muttered.
Lily looked at him intently. Sirius saw Snape’s hand almost reach for Lily’s then he apparently thought better of it. Lily hesitated. “Do you believe that You-know-who is recruiting an army of so called Death Eaters?”
Snape’s face paled. This time he did reach for Lily’s hand, although she didn’t seem to mind. His black eyes met her green ones. “It’s true,” he said slowly.
Lily looked afraid.
“I’ve heard they’re recruiting Hogwarts students,” she whispered. Snape nodded. Lily gasped. “Who would join them? “ she said in a bewildered tone. “Pureblood gits like Lucius Malfoy?”
Sirius barked. He doubted very much that preening Lucius Malfoy would ever be brave enough to join the Death Eaters. Snape looked around at the falling snow. “Maybe if people knew more about them,” he said slowly,” people wouldn’t be so afraid of them.”
Lily’s eyes narrowed.
“What makes you say that?” she asked suspiciously. Snape avoided her eyes. Lily wrenched her hand out of his grasp. “Sev, you wouldn’t consider joining them, would you?” she pleaded.
“Lily-“ Snape began, but she interrupted angrily.
“Look, Sev, I know you’ve got a thing for the Dark Arts, but joining the Death Eaters is completely different. They kill people, Sev! They’re evil! And you are the very opposite of evil.” Snape’s black eyes poured over Lily. “Please,” she whispered, grabbing his hand,” please, Sev. Promise me you won’t ever join them.” She touched his cheek. “I know you, Sev. And you’re brave, and…” she trailed off.
Snape had begun writing in the snow at their feet. It was now dark outside. He whispered “Lumos” and shone his wand light upon the hill of snow. Above he and Lily’s initials he had written the words “I promise.”
He squeezed Lily’s hand tightly. “I promise,” he whispered fiercely. “I will never go to the Dark Side, Lily. I want to stay where it’s light. And that’s with you.”
Lily leaned over and kissed him lightly on his pale cheek. Snape’s mouth dropped open in surprise.
Lily laughed. “C’mon, Sev,” she said, standing up,” let’s go inside and warm up.” They made their way through the crunching snow towards the castle, leaving Sirius alone next to their snowy promise.
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