Chapter 1 : Always
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That was obvious.
Of course he was. The Dark Lord wouldn’t let anything stand in his way. Not even one of his most ‘faithful’ followers.
He didn’t know. He didn’t understand. There was no way he could understand.
Because the Dark Lord didn’t understand love. Not at all. Not friendly love, or brotherly love or romantic love. He definitely did not understand the all consuming, yet unrequited love that Severus felt for Lily. Had always felt for Lily. Always would feel for Lily.
It was a kind of magic that was completely beyond the Dark Lord. It was power beyond all other kinds of power. Because with his love for Lily, Severus could do anything he had to. He could spend the last seven years of his life looking out for Potter’s son because he was also her son. He was half Potter but also half Lily. And that made him, the boy, special. In a way that no one else on the planet was. Because she had loved Harry with all of her heart, she had died for Harry and her love had kept him alive when nothing else could have.
She was special like that. She could make even he, Severus, feel special, with just a smile. He who was nothing, the product of a loveless, abusive marriage from bitter and cynical parents who didn’t love each other let alone him.
But she did. She loved him. As a friend, only ever as a friend, however much he wished it would be more.
And then she stopped. He hurt her and she stopped. And the look in her eye when he said that dreadful word, and when she cut ties with him for good, he would never forget. Ever. It would haunt him until he died.
Which he guessed wouldn’t be too long now.
It didn’t matter. He wasn’t afraid of death. He would be reunited with Lily, even if in the afterlife, like in real life, she would no longer speak to him. But he hoped she would.
He prayed she would.
He had enough left in him to give to the boy. The boy would take his memories and understand. Finally, he would understand that he wasn’t the bad guy, not entirely and not recently. That he had done it all for her. For Lily.
The first time they met. He and Lily and that dreadful sister of hers, Petunia. He would never forget the innocence that exuberated from her at that moment. It hadn’t been squashed by life or by pain. Even her magic was innocent; jumping higher and the flower.
That beautiful, innocent flower.
It hadn’t gone exactly right. She had been offended by the term ‘witch’ and gone storming off with her sister. But she had come back. He had knowledge which she craved and they quickly became friends.
His first friend.
His only true friend.
She held a special place in his heart which no one could ever even to hope to replace. Although no one had ever tried either.
And then they were off to Hogwarts and they met the bane of his existence and his equally repugnant side kick. Potter and Black.
He hated them on sight but thankfully Lily did too. They were rude and arrogant and egotistical. Especially Potter. He harassed Lily asking her out multiple times a day, never taking ‘no’ for an answer. It helped him that they were both Gryffindors. She had no escape. And he could do nothing.
All he could do was watch as she became friends with Lupin despite his repeated warnings that he was a werewolf and thus could not be trusted.
He could only watch as she tutored Pettigrew in Charms and Potions and became friendly with him, even if only at first out of pity for the ‘misfit marauder’.
And although she still disliked Potter and Black, vehemently disliked them, he could only watch as she became friendlier with them over time. He guessed it could only be expected; they spent months at a time in close proximity.
But still, every laugh she gave them, no matter how much she tried to hide them behind her veil of disapproval, hurt.
It was worth it though, to hear her badmouth Potter and to smile at him, Severus, especially as he knew how much it bugged Potter. He had her, and Potter didn’t.
Except he never really had her. She was his friend and that was it. Nothing more.
And then came that fateful day. The day that he will remember for the rest of his life. The day that he would do anything to change.
The day that he lost the friendship of the only girl he had ever loved.
No, not lost. Broke. Destroyed. Annihilated the friendship of the only girl he had ever loved.
The day he called her a mudblood.
It was all Potter’s fault.
Except it wasn’t. It was him. As much as he wished he could blame it all on him, he can’t. If Lily taught him anything, it was that he has to take responsibility for his own actions. And it was definitely his actions that caused their friendship to break apart.
It was him that hung out with Mulciber and Avery. It was him that was a Slytherin in all respects, other than with Lily. And then, he said that word, and he broke the only friendship he’d ever had and caused the girl he loved to hate him.
He pushed her towards Potter.
After that, incident, they became friends.
He became James, not Potter or arrogant toerag.
They worked together, on projects and as heads and eventually they began to date.
And his heart began to break.
More than it ever had before.
More than he had thought was humanly possible.
Seeing them together, holding hands in the corridor, hugging outside lessons, laughing with his friends, secret smiles and clandestine kisses – it was too much for him.
He couldn’t take that he was the one that had pushed her into his arms. That he, Severus, was the one that had caused this kind of hurt for himself and his own heart.
And so he did it. He joined him. The Dark Lord.
Because it hurt less.
Because it was revenge against Potter.
Because he hoped to keep her safe.
Because he still loved her and he just couldn’t take it.
Because he was a coward.
Take your pick, any of them work.
But he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t keep her safe. In fact, it was his fault that she died. He gave the Dark Lord the prophecy that brought about her death.
He betrayed her, just as much as Pettigrew did.
He tried to keep her safe. He did everything he could. He went to Dumbledore and to the Dark Lord, but nothing was enough.
They trusted the rat and he betrayed them.
And then his world ended. She died and he died with her.
Except he was forced to stay alive. He had to protect her son, the one remaining part of her still alive in this world.
But no one was to know. Severus couldn’t stand it if Potter’s son knew what he was doing. He couldn’t stand it for her eyes to look at him from his face.
It was wrong.
He hated it and he hated him.
But he did what he had to do to protect him.
Because he was Lily’s. And for that reason alone, he was worth saving.
And even more than that, not that Severus needed any other reason, but he was the only one that could bring about the Dark Lord’s downfall. And Severus wanted him to fall. He needed him to fall. He had killed Lily and he must die.
And he protected him for years. Only to discover that he had been raised to die at the proper moment.
After everything he had done, to protect her and his son, it was for nothing.
Despite how much he loved her and always would, it would never be enough.
He had to keep him safe, for her. He did his part, he played his role. He fed information to the Dark Lord and he watched out for the boy. He helped him when no one else could.
All for her love.
The love that was never really his.
The love that he could read on a piece of parchment over sixteen years old and yet was more than she ever felt for him.
A love that was written for Black of all people.
A mere shadow of the familial love she felt for Black.
Which was nothing in comparison to what she felt for Potter.
Because what she felt for Potter, inexplicably was as deep and as wide as what he felt for her.
What he had always felt for her.
What he would always feel for her.