Chapter 1 : even after all this time
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Look what can happen with a love like that, it lights up the whole sky.
She should hate him.
It’s simple: he turned on her, denounced her, chose the other side, chose to shroud himself in darkness while she still glittered in the light.
It’s simple, everyone tells her. It’s obvious. It’s clear.
It should be simple. But it isn’t.
He should forget her.
Memories. It’s dangerous to remember - for her, for him, for everyone. He made his choice, she made hers, and that should be the end of it. He should forget her.
But he can’t.
It feels like they have always been connected, two bodies in space orbiting around each other, never able to break free. From the first moment they had spoken, and she had launched herself into the air from that swing like a shooting star, bright and shining and fiery, they have been bound to one another.
They had balanced each other out. He had taught her, and she’d been an eager pupil, listening as he spun tales of all the things they would be able to do one day. She had taught him, too: not about potions and spells, but of a different kind of magic, the magic of love and friendship and kindness. She had reminded him of the fact that not all of life would be the coldness of his home or the heat of his father’s anger.
It seems he has forgotten that.
Even now, they balance each other out, separated by what seems to be an universe, light and dark.
He had needed her. But sometimes, he had worried that she didn’t need him.
She was the sun and he depended on her for light. He circled her, unable to leave her.
What did a sun need?
He had tried not to worry, because for some unfathomable reason she would stay, continuing to light up everything she touched.
They were quite the pair, Lily and Severus.
And then in one word, he shattered everything, and the world had gone black. There was no more light.
He had wished he could take it back. He still wishes he could take it back. Stop time, hold it in one perfect moment of clarity, where she was not the sun, but instead they both were stars, shining equally brightly.
But he can’t.
There is a raid on what the Order believes to be a Death Eater hideout. She volunteers, of course: she will do whatever she can.
They’re more prepared than the Order expects, and fighting quickly breaks out. She gets separated, obligated to carry out her mission: search for incriminating evidence. So she doesn’t hear the desperate order: Retreat.
She’s lost, terribly lost, and her heart is pounding as she frantically tries to search for something, anything to make this worth it.
She finally spies a piece of parchment, and as she reads it, Lily realizes this is what she needs. She closes her fist around it just as she hears the sound of voices down the hall.
“Check that there aren’t any left, Severus.”
She’s frozen, paralyzed as the door opens.
He can’t breathe as he opens the door only to see her standing there. He hasn’t seen her in so long, but it’s undeniably Lily with that fiery red hair.
Even now, terrified as she must be, she still glows. Her light hasn’t been extinguished: even though it is not quite as brilliant, it is still steady and does not falter.
Please, she says with her eyes and without thinking, he mouths window. Her eyes widen in understanding, and she gives an imperceptible nod.
And with those eyes, those startlingly green eyes, she tells him thank you. And even without words, he senses she has forgiven him, as much as she can.
She is still the sun. She is still brightly shining. And for a moment, Severus feels hope once again, a flickering flame reigniting slowly.
He turns and walks out, closing the door behind him.
“Nobody there,” he calls, and he moves on to the next room.
She has no idea why he does it.
She had prepared for death, torture, capture - but not freedom.
He had mouthed window, and she had scampered away, out the window and down the side of the house. Hitting the ground, she had run like she had never run before, terrified that someone else would come along.
Once Lily gets far enough away, she Apparates back to headquarters, before falling on the ground, shaking.
She has no idea why he does it.
Or does she?
Love and friendship are funny, fickle things.
She forgives him for what he said, because it hurts too much to continue holding the grudge, a sharp pain in her side.
Perhaps Lily does know.
So when everyone immediately surrounds her in relief, questioning how she managed to survive when they all took her for dead, she merely shrugs.
“Luck,” she says, and then, so soft that none can hear, she adds, “or something like it.”
She can never hate him, no easier than she could hate Petunia.
He can never forget her, no easier than he could forget the abuse of his father.
She is still the sun, and he remembers that.
What does a sun need?
A sun needs something to pin its hopes to.
She will never hate him, despite what the others say.
They say her love will be her downfall; she thinks it will be her savior.
“After all this time?”
A/N: Top quote from the Persian poet Hafiz. Bottom quote is from DH, pg 687 in the US hardback version.
This story decided that it wanted to be told and kept bothering me until I wrote it. So here's my small tribute to Snape and Lily. (also, I listened to the song that this was named for quite a bit writing this) Thank you for reading this! :)