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The Snake or the Stag by LilyFire
Chapter 1 : I: Prologue
 
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A/N: Thanks to OctoberSeaBreeze for the story summary and to SeverusSnape15 for being a wonderful beta!





Thanks to aphroditie @ TDA for the lovely Chapter Image!
I: Prologue

She walked through the corridor at a slow pace, even though she was late for class. Had anyone been around to see her, they would have been shocked. Her, not rushing to class. She, a prefect, and top of the year, not bothering to even try to get there as soon as possible? It was unheard of. After all, Lily Evans was never late for class.

This day was different. Lily couldn't be bothered to really try because of what had transpired at breakfast that morning. She couldn't believe he had asked her to Hogsmeade. The thought made her smile. She hadn't realized she'd been waiting for him to ask, but when he had, it was like a weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. 

October thirteenth, the next day, Lily would be going to Hogsmeade with him. She could never tell if his feelings for her were the same as hers were for him, but she desperately hoped so. Lily hoped – almost beyond hope – that he would lay awake at night thinking of her, just as thoughts of him kept her awake.

Lily worried about him, that was true. She knew what her friends said about him; how he was getting close to those who had family on the wrong side of the war; how they saw him taunting the younger students, coming very close to....

No, Lily wouldn't believe it. After all, she was just like the people they said he did those things to, and he was her best friend. Severus would never harm or belittle anyone based on their blood status, Lily knew it.

Besides, now wasn't the time to be thinking these things. Now was the time to be happy. She held in a sigh as she pushed open the door to the Charms class. "I'm sorry Professor, I lost track of time."

Professor Flitwick smiled at her. "That is quite all right Miss Evans. If you'll take a seat...." he trailed off, gesturing to her normal seat in the front of class.

She sat next to her other best friend, Dorcas Meadows. Dorcas slid the notes she'd already taken over to Lily.

"'Bout time, what were you doing?"

"Nothing," Lily whispered, flushing slightly. Dorcas had already turned her attention back to Flitwick and didn't notice. Before Lily could go back to day dreaming about what may happen during the Hogsmeade trip, a note landed in front of her. She turned and scowled when she saw James Potter grin at her.

Lily had nothing against Potter personally, they normally didn't interact at all. He was just such a rule-breaker. He and his friends were always up to something, and the expression on his face now was the same one he wore when they pulled their pranks.

Lily really shouldn't open the note, who knew what it could be. She glanced down at it and pushed it to the side. No, she wouldn't open it. She scribbled down some notes, listening intently to what Flitwick was saying, but the note was still in her line of vision.

Suppressing a sigh and resigning herself to her fate, she opened the note.

Lily scanned it quickly, her eyebrows shooting up as she did.

Evans,

I know we really don't talk much, but I really like you and I think I have for a long time. Ever since you accidentally turned me into a toe-rag in transfiguration last term, actually. I was wondering if you would go to Hogsmeade with me. Please?

Circle one:

Yes   No

Lily nearly giggled. She remembered these from primary school, before she discovered she was a witch. She thought for a moment of what Hogsmeade with Potter would entail. Probably the new Zonko's joke shop that had been put in at the start of last year and maybe a Butterbeer. She didn't see Potter as the romantic type.

Not that she really saw Severus that way either, but he had asked first. Besides, Lily didn't really think of Potter much at all and certainly wouldn't go on a date with him at the moment. She did need to at least know someone first.

Lily circled the no answer, but added a note of her own.

Potter,

I might have said yes, but I don't know you at all. We've barely talked at all since second year. I did apologize for the toe-rag incident. And I already have plans for this Hogsmeade weekend. Sorry.

Evans

Lily did snort when she realized she and Potter weren't even on a first name basis. She flicked the note back to him, using her wand for accuracy. Dorcas, who hadn't missed the snort, looked over at her.

"What was that about?" she asked, eyes glittering. Dorcas liked James's friend Remus, though she wouldn't tell him.

"After class," Lily whispered back and began taking notes.

After Charms was Herbology, where they were again wearing the earmuffs from second year. Lily managed to get stuck with a frilly pink pair, but she didn't mind. Professor Night was probably tired of wearing them, after all. But that meant that she hadn't had time to tell Dorcas all about Severus asking her to Hogsmeade and James's note until lunch.

"Okay Lily, tell me," Dorcas said once they had managed to sit down and get their sandwiches. Lily smiled. This was why she loved her best friend. There wasn't the crazy giddiness their other roommate had when faced with news about boys.

"Well, you know how Severus asked me to talk for a moment after breakfast," she said casually. Dorcas frowned, but nodded. She didn't like Severus, but she wouldn't say anything against him so long as he was Lily's friend. "Well, he asked me to Hogsmeade tomorrow."

Dorcas smiled. "Kept you waiting long enough didn't he?" she asked. Lily shook her head.

 "You've had a crush on him forever, Lily. It was obvious." Giggling at Lily's worried look, Dorcas added, "To me, anyway."

Relieved, Lily continued. "And then in Charms, Potter sent me a note. You know, those ones like we would get in primary school…or, actually, I guess you don't," she said. "It basically said he liked me, and asked if I liked him and would go to Hogsmeade with him tomorrow."

"And you said no," Dorcas filled in.

"Of course, but it was funny, in a way. He had put yes and no at the bottom for me to circle one." The pair looked over at the boys sitting half-way down the table. They suddenly busted out laughing. Dorcas sighed.

"He doesn't even know I exist," she said.

"Oh please, don't start that. Eva does it enough."

At that, both girls started laughing. Lily glanced over at the group of boys again, though. She felt a little bad about it, but she knew Remus liked Dorcas. He told her when they were patrolling one night. Lily just wasn't sure how Dorcas would feel if she knew his secret.

Lily had confronted him about it a week before the first full moon of the term. It had been casual, but she could tell he had been a little frightened.

"So, Remus, I guess you won't be here for a few of our rounds next week, will you?"

She glanced over at him in time to see him visibly pale, which was a feat for him.

"Wh-what do you mean?"

"You can be honest with me. I'm sorry. I really am. I just—I thought I knew in third year, when we studied werewolves, but I couldn't be sure. I'm still not, to be honest, but the evidence all adds up."

"Third year," Remus said quietly, almost to himself. "That long?"

Lily simply nodded. "I won't tell. I think you're a great guy. It doesn't bother me." She gave him a small reassuring smile. "After all, we all have demons we have to face. It's just that people can see yours, and though you can't help it, they judge you for it."

He had just stared at her for a few moments. "Remus?" she finally questioned.

He swallowed. "Thank you, Lily," he said, his voice a little gruff. "You don't know what that means to me."

They had gotten closer after that, and she counted him among her friends. Dorcas had been raised differently than Lily had. She was a half-blood, but the last muggle-born in her family had been back in the early 1900s. As such, she had been raised with many of the prejudices wizards had, including werewolves. It wasn't that she had said anything about them, but Lily didn't want to take that risk.

"I just—I know it's silly, but I want him to at least give me a second look, you know?" Dorcas looked at Lily, her brow furrowed. "I should probably just give up, but I don't want to."

"Remus has a lot on his mind. You know how it is, with his family not being every well off and all the medical problems they have; he probably has enough on his mind without the added thoughts of girls."

"Yeah,” Dorcas sighed.

It wasn't like her friend at all to do this. Normally, she was the upfront-get-things-done type. Regretting it the minute the words left her mouth, Lily told her friend to talk to Remus instead of waiting on him to do the talking.

The lunch bell rang then and Dorcas went to Muggle Studies while Lily went to Ancient Runes. Remus caught up to her about the time she walked through the door. He was the only one out of their group to take this class. The other three had divination.

"I'm sorry Remus," she said the instant their eyes met. Lily sensed his guard raise.

His voice was soft when he spoke. "Sorry for what?"

"Dorcas keeps going on about you," Lily started, causing a smile to spring to his lips. "I told her-" she stopped, unsure of how to say it. Remus's eyebrows rose to his hairline. "No, not that," she said, and he relaxed a little. "I told her that she should sort of take charge and talk to you."

He completely relaxed at the sound of this. "Is that all?" he asked. "That's fine. I've been trying to work up the courage to talk to her anyway."

"But what if she finds out? I don't really know how she feels about your…furry little problem." She had heard Potter use that before.

Remus smiled. "It's fine, Lily. I should actually thank you."

Lily smiled back at him. At least he wasn't angry with her. Hearing someone else enter the class, she looked around and saw Severus. He smiled at her before glancing at Remus. He didn't like that she was his partner in this class, but she and Remus got along well and Severus sat with Avery.

"Remus, did you know Potter asked me to Hogsmeade?"

"I did," he said. "You should call him James, you know. He was really disappointed you said no."

"We aren't even on a first name basis," she said, though it didn't seem as strong a reason now as it had a few hours ago. "He addressed it to Evans."

"I know, but he really does like you. He just doesn't know how to show it." Remus paused for a second before asking whom she was going with.

"Oh, umm," she blushed. "Severus. He asked this morning."

"Oh, well, I suppose I'll tell James I didn't ask. He and Severus have a certain…umm...."

"Hatred?" Lily offered with a laugh. "I don't know why they hate each other so much."

"I don't either," Remus admitted. Just as he was about to say something else, the Professor walked into the room, effectively stopping all conversation.

Later that night, as Lily slid between the crimson sheets of her four-poster bed, she thought of the conversation she and Remus had had. Why did Severus and James hate each other so much? She would get to the bottom of it.

After tomorrow.

Grinning, Lily again began day dreaming about Hogsmeade with Severus, which soon turned into real dreams as she drifted to sleep.


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