They say that when you die, you travel to this place called limbo. My limbo happened to be the very place where I first spoke to Lily. The playground. I watched as I spoke with her about her becoming a witch and then watched as she got so very upset – since she thought that I was insulting her and her and her sister wandered back to their house quickly. I watched as Lily looked behind her shoulder at me curiously.
I felt a hand on my shoulder. A gentle squeeze. I looked up and saw Albus watching her and her sister depart.
He smiled sadly. “You really did love her didn't you?”
I didn't respond.
“You have every right to be angry with me,” Albus continued. “I'd be angry with me. I've put all of you through so much but I believe that there's something that I can do. I've always wondered how you really wanted this memory to go?”
“I would have told her that it was okay to be a witch,” I stated truthfully. “That it's okay to be different. That she's not a freak as Petunia said she was.”
“And if you were given the choice to change that – would you?” Albus asked. He stared at me curiously.
“Would she still end up with James Potter?” I asked bitterly. “Everything I've ever done – it's been for her.”
“I know Severus.”
“I would do anything I could to go back to that very moment. I made so many mistakes with Lily. Called her names – said things that I never meant and all it did was push her away. I never meant to do that. All I was trying to do was protect her, in the end – she died. She died because of me,” I looked over at the swing set regretfully. “I shared some of my favorite moments with Lily here. I had so many opportunities to tell her how I've really felt and I didn't.”
“And if you could – would you go back to this place and time?” Albus asked.
I could still see Lily and Petunia from afar as they walked away.
I smiled. “I would. I would in a heartbeat.”
“I want you to do something for me Severus. Think back to the very first time that you first saw Lily, it's important.” Albus said persistently.
“Why? I'm dead.”
“You're only dead if you truly believe you are – and it's my understanding that Lily has always been able to brighten up your life for you,” he responded.
I stared at him before closing my eyes skeptically and I thought back to the very first time that I had seen Lily.
* * * * * * * * * * *
I had been playing by the river by myself when I had first noticed her. I didn't even know her name but something that I did know was that she had this flaming red hair and there was just something about her that really drew me to her. Something that made her special and one of my first impressions of her even when I was a child, was that she carried all of these characteristics with her and that it was a pity that she was only a muggle.
When I first saw her, I ran and hid. I didn't want her to see me, I was slightly curious as to why she was outside by herself, surely she must have friends; a family to keep her company. It was odd for me to see her by herself.
I watched as she hopped recklessly from one rock to the other. Then she stopped at the last one that stopped in the middle of the river. It was fall, so the river was full. After all, it was London and it rained quite often. It was odd that it wasn't raining this very day. Actually, even though it was cold – sunlight peaked out from the dark clouds.
She was staring at the edge by the river curiously, she glanced around to make sure that no one was watching before taking one daring jump.
I held my breath as I watched her. What was she doing? Surely she knew that she would not make the jump and that she would find herself caught in the roaring tides of the river. I prepared myself to jump in after her. After all, that was the only noble thing to do.
But then, something extraordinary happened. She landed gracefully on the other side of the river. She beamed excitedly and glanced once more around to make sure that no one had seen. She twirled around in the leaves victoriously.
It was in this moment, that I knew that she was special and that she carried the same secret that I carried.
It was also in this moment, that I knew that I had to watch her. To make sure that was careful with herself; after all – no muggle could see her do this, they would use her abilities to their advantage. And she was far too special for that.
So I made it a habit to follow her. I never had the courage to actually approach her, after all, why would she want to be friends with someone like me?
* * * * * * * * * * *
“Petunia! I have something to show you.”
“Lily, what is all of this fuss?”
So Lily was her name. That really fitted her, I concluded. After all, to me she was just as pretty as a lily. Maybe even more. Now, you may think it odd that I still have not revealed myself to her – but this was only my second time seeing her. I had seen her and her sister walk by my house as they headed over to the river and followed behind them quietly so that neither one of them could see me.
“Just watch!” Lily's voice was filled with excitement. “Not even mummy knows about this. This has to be our secret okay?”
Petunia nodded, “just tell me what this is about Lily.”
“Don't be afraid,” she warned.
“Afraid? Afraid of what?”
Petunia watched as Lily grabbed a crumpled leaf and concentrated on it. A few moments passed, and the once crumpled leaf was now beautifully colored and looked as though it had just fallen recently off the tree.
Petunia gapped at the leaf and looked at Lily astonished.
“How can you do that?” She asked.
“I don't know,” Lily replied. “I just can. I can do other things too Petunia! Sometimes, when I jump it's like I'm flying. It's like – it's like magic!”
Petunia frowned. I watched from behind a rock as she turned almost green with envy but then the green was carefully replaced with red.
“I'm telling mum, this isn't normal, there's no such thing as magic!” She cried and she turned around on her heel and ran away from Lily. Leaving Lily who was still holding the leaf.
I watched Lily for a moment who stood there looking distraught.
“I'm a freak,” she whispered so quietly that even I could barely hear her.
I sat there staring at her in astonishment. She was no freak. She was anything but a freak. This was why Muggles can't know about our secret. Muggles, just like my father, just don't understand. They can't see that magic is a gift, something to be cherished rather then to be kept locked in a box.
Minutes passed, and just as I was about to come out of my hiding spot to comfort her – to tell her that she was no freak a middle aged women appeared.
Tears began to fall from Lily's eyes.
“Mum, I'm sorry,” she wailed.
Her mother approached her and gave her a hug.
“Petunia tells me that you can do a magic trick,” she smiled warmly at her daughter. “Do you mind showing me?”
Lily wiped her tears away with her sleeve and looked down at her shoes. She was clearly embarrassed. Embarrassed of her gift.
“No reason to be shy,” her mother pushed.
Lily picked up another crumpled leaf. Looking at her mother and then looking at the leaf, once again the crumpled leaf looked alive again with beautiful shades of reds and orange. She quickly looked at her mother, looking for her reaction.
Instead of being angry like Petunia she smiled warmly at her daughter and gave Lily a hug.
“You know what this means don't you?” Her mother asked.
Lily shook her head.
“You're special. But sometimes, even if we are special – we have to keep these things secret okay Lily? Petunia doesn't understand and I know you don't. But until you do understand your gift – you shouldn't do anymore magic. This has to be kept secret.”
* * * * * * * * * * *
I didn't see her at the river again for a very long time. For a while, the river had been the place where she would do her magic in secret. After the conversation she had with her mother, she must of understood that she shouldn't be practicing magic in the open at a very young age.
A part of me was relieved. Glad that she was being careful, the other part of me was bitter. Bitter that I didn't approach her that day when she had called herself a freak. Like her mother, I wanted to tell her that she was no freak and that she carried a gift. A gift that just had to be kept secret and not shown to certain people.
My mother kept my gift a secret from my father for a very long time. It had been our secret as well. She told me that my father just wouldn't understand it. It wasn't until I did accidental magic in front of him when she finally confessed to him that I too – was a wizard and not to worry – because I wouldn't do magic in front of him again. That soon, I would be accepted into a school where I could practice my gift.
I understood how Lily had felt back at the river. The way Petunia had looked at her was the way that my father had looked at me. He looked at me like I was a freak and it was in that moment, that my gift didn't feel much like a gift at all.
“Very well,” was all he said.
I knew in that moment, that I would never live up to his expectations and ever since then he looked at me and treated me differently.
* * * * * * * * * * *
“You're a witch.”
Okay, so maybe I didn't have to tell it to her so boldly. I just could not contain myself though. It was hard watching her deny something that was so true about her. Something that made her unique and different from everybody else.
Lily stared at me for a moment, Petunia was looking at me furiously and went to go grab Lily's arm.
To my surprise (and delight) she shook Petunia's arm away. She stared at me in wonder. As though I was Albus Dumbledore himself. To me though, Lily had the right to know that she wasn't crazy. That magic was happening because it was a part of her and a part of me too.
“And you're not a freak,” I finished.
This caused her eyes to light up like fireworks. It's funny, it was in that moment that I truly noticed that color of her eyes. Emerald green – and when she smiled they simply sparkled. Like it did in that moment when she smiled.
“How do you know that I'm a witch?” She asked.
“LILY! Come on!” Petunia pleaded. “Mum will not be happy. Remember what she said? She said that you – that we can't tell anyone about your – your abnormality. I'm pretty sure she meant this boy too.”
“I know that you're a witch,” I continued “Because I'm a wizard.”
I ignored Petunia glares as I watched Lily take in what I had told her.
“And there's others like me? Like us?” Lily asked excitedly.
“I'm not a freak?”
I actually laughed at this point and shook my head.
“No, you're anything but a freak Lily.”
To Be Continued
So I made a few changes in their first meeting – enjoyed it? Hope you did. Please remember to read and review!