Chapter 1 : The Fool You Made Me
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She loved someone else. She wanted someone else, and – loathe as he was to admit it – that someone else wanted her, too, loved her like it was as natural as breathing. She kissed that someone else, let him touch her and whisper in her ear. That someone else made her laugh and, God, the way she glowed when she was with him…
Even when she died, Severus Snape was sure that she glowed. All because that certain, very particular someone else was so impossibly, madly, in love with her. And she was in love with him right back.
Her happiness with someone else would always, always haunt him.
I. Behind My Back
She said she didn't fancy him.
Hadn't that been what she said? Snape couldn't remember anymore, and he couldn't very well ask her. She'd made her feelings for their friendship – or lack thereof – quite clear by now. He'd uttered that unforgiveable word, and it had shattered everything.
They were over. Done. Finished.
He'd lost any chance he'd ever had, and now it was easy – so infuriatingly simple – for James Potter to close in.
Snape watched, from around a shadowy corner of the courtyard, as Potter took a tentative seat next to Lily on the bench she'd occupied for the past half an hour. She'd been alone, staring off across the grounds and into space. The summer breeze tugged at the ends of her hair, and the setting sun splashed across it, lighting it up in hundreds of red-and-gold explosions of color – scarlet and bronze, honey and persimmon, dancing and flickering like a flame on the tip of a candle. She'd been running an obsessive finger up and down the strap of her shirt, twisting and untwisting. It was a nervous habit of hers, Snape knew, and he wondered what she was thinking about.
But he couldn't ask.
So he just kept watching as Potter took a seat next to her. His shirtsleeves were rolled up and his hands were stuffed in his pockets, and he was staring determinedly down at his knees. Snape felt something hot and toxic bubble in the pit of his stomach, but he couldn't look away; he had to know what was going to happen.
He wondered if Lily had spoken to Potter since the incident by the lake, or if she'd been avoiding him like the plague as well.
"Hey, Evans," Potter said in that voice – that voice he used whenever he was talking to Lily.
Snape swore he saw Lily's lips twitch at the sound.
"Hey, Potter," she said.
Was she – Snape's brow furrowed as he considered it – she wasn't teasing him, was she? Teasing was an awful lot like flirting, and flirting was an awful lot like…
But she didn't fancy him. That's what she'd told Snape, all those weeks and months ago.
No. Snape shook his head. No, he was wrong. He'd lost his patience with her, he'd told her that Potter fancied her – anyone could see that – and all she'd done was make some flippant remark about how arrogant Potter was. She hadn't said a thing about how he fancied her, or how she felt about that.
Shit. Fuck. Damn it.
"How've you been?" Potter was talking again, breaking through the tortured silence that lingered in the courtyard. Snape watched as Potter's hands come out of his pockets, and one set of fingers drummed against his thigh while the other ran through his hair.
Lily hated when Potter did that.
"Fine." Lily shrugged, all the while continuing to twist a strap around her finger. The twisting was quicker now, almost frantic, cutting off her circulation when she didn't untwist it fast enough, and Snape wondered at that. "Looking forward to going home, getting away from… this… for a bit."
Snape felt his heart sink when she said this. He knew what this was – it was him. She couldn't get away from him at Hogwarts, not really, but there were plenty of places for her to hide when they were back home for the summer holidays. And she wanted to hide from him, to get away.
She didn't want to see him anymore, and there she was, right now, sitting with Potter.
How had this happened?
Potter nodded. "Yeah," he said. "Yeah, I guess. I get that."
They were quiet again, and the silence very nearly killed Snape as he watched it settle in the small space between them. It was such a heavy silence, weighed down by things that neither of them was saying, but Snape had to acknowledge their existence.
There was something there – something – and maybe it didn't mean anything right now, but… God. It was still there.
Snape watched as Lily untwisted her finger from the strap of her shirt. She tangled her fingers together and rested them in her lap. She took a deep breath – he could see it in the way her shoulders lifted and fell – and she choked out her next words through a sob.
Why was she crying?
"James, can we be friends?" she asked, begged, almost; it sounded like she was pleading, and it made Snape feel physically ill. "We've always been sort of mates, yeah? And I'm really, really mad at you right now – pissed – but I just – I want to friends, anyway. If you want."
Potter nodded; he'd been nodding as soon as the first words slipped out from between Lily's lips. It looked painful, how vigorously he was nodding.
"Yeah," he said. "Yeah, I – I want. To be friends, with you. You know that I want – more –"
Lily shook her head and Snape felt like he could breathe a little better again.
"Not more," she said through tears that were for some reason still falling, and Potter's shoulders slumped. "You're – James, I can't do more, but I – I'm really confused and I'm scared because what's going to happen to me? If my own friends – people who are supposed to be my friends, if they can't keep themselves from hating me, then – God, fuck this."
She was really crying now. Snape had never seen her cry like that; she hadn't shed a single tear in front of him, not that day by the lake or any of the times he'd tried to apologize afterwards. She'd been cold, stone cold, and now she was malleable and broken and vulnerable.
Potter, who was messing up his hair and looking more out-of-sorts than Snape had ever seen him. His fingers drummed frantically against his thigh, his hand twitched, jerked towards the ones that Lily had grasped together in her lap. He pulled back at the last second and Lily noticed – she even laughed, a little bit.
"I'm sorry," she mumbled. "You've got no idea what I'm talking about, do you?"
"I do," Potter was quick to say, and Snape had to suppress a derisive snort. It was so like Potter, to think he knew what Lily meant, to tell her he did, to lie like that, just to keep her attention on his fat head for a little while longer. "But nobody hates you, Evans, not the people who're worth anything, and Sniv– he's not worth it."
There was another beat of silence.
"I swear, you don't know him like I used to." Lily took another deep breath. "Or – I dunno, maybe I never knew him the right way, the way I thought I did. I know I didn't." She very nearly laughed again, and there was that coldness Snape had already grown so accustomed to. "God, the way he used to talk to my sister, just because she wasn't 'like us'… I should have seen it coming."
Snape turned away from the scene and hurried away, out of the courtyard. He couldn't hear anymore. He couldn't keep listening as Lily held all of his old mistakes against him, couldn't watch as she let Potter – Potter – into her life, taking his place, as if Potter had never done anything wrong before.
He'd apologized, he'd begged, he'd tried to make it up to her, and for what? So she could effectively shut him out of her life, so she could more comfortably situate herself with James bloody fucking Potter like she so obviously wanted to do? Of course it had only been a matter of time before she cut Snape out, all for the sake of Saint Potter.
Snape felt the bitterness as it surged its way through his veins, boiling his blood, sending his heart on such a rapid-fire pace that it was sure to burst out of his chest and leave him for dead. He didn't try to stop it.
He should have seen it – the way she looked at him, at Potter, the boy she was supposed to hate, the boy she'd given every indication that she did hate, and yet he was always catching her attention. He'd been doing it all year, in the library and the corridors and everywhere else; Lily's eyes were always wandering, following him. Snape knew that, but he'd ignored it, instead choosing to believe every last one of Lily's lies, all her fabrications, her dramatizations about what a conceited berk James Potter was.
And he loved her, anyway.
Snape felt whatever was left of his heart crack, right down the jagged line that had been creased with Lily's fingerprints, because of course it was her – it had always been her, and the damned thing of it was that now she'd never know.
He couldn't imagine what she'd do if he tried telling her now.
No, Snape thought again. No, he couldn't tell her, couldn't even entertain the idea. It didn't matter. It was too late, and perhaps it had always been too late. Because she'd never let down her defenses with him the way she did with Potter, right there in the courtyard; she'd never been that honest with Snape. So maybe she had known, too, all along, that she had to keep a certain amount of distance from him.
And now she was sitting alone with Potter, and there was something – for the fucking love of Merlin, there was something there, Snape couldn't deny it, and nothing had ever made him this angry before.
Snape's fist cracked against the stone wall. His knuckles broke, and he watched as the blood crept its way down the back of his hand.
II. All Your Tricks
The first few months of their sixth year went by without incident. Snape was thankful for it, but he should have known better than to think the peace would last. There was too much tension, too much pent-up energy, and it was bound to release in an explosive way.
Snape just hadn't expected it to be so personal, too.
It had been personal for Lily, he knew, but now he was just another bystander to her abuse. Even though it was obviously taking a toll – she'd lost weight, there were dark shadows under her eyes, she never went anywhere unescorted – she let the blows roll off her shoulders. Her escorts, though… That was another story.
It wasn't uncommon for Potter and Black, Pettigrew and even Lupin to be issued a hefty amount of detentions, but the first term of their sixth year seemed to be unmatched by any other year thus far. Normally Snape would have chalked it up to their arrogance, that pig-headed conceit that so often got them into trouble, but it was more than that. They were fighting like they were out of Hogwarts, like they were in the midst of battle already. They met the aspiring Death Eaters' rage with their own, and no threatening twitch of an enemy's wand, no utterance of "Mudblood," nothing seemed to go unpunished.
Snape had managed to keep out of it, but he knew that wouldn't last. And – as his sorry excuse for luck would have it – his time for keeping out of it ran out.
It happened in just another corridor on just another Thursday afternoon during just another free period. He was loitering about with Avery, Mulciber, and Regulus Black, the lot of them brooding and shooting sneers and dirty looks at passersby like they were expected to do. They hadn't been looking for trouble, but Snape knew that finding it anyway wouldn't exactly be unheard of.
So when he heard the unmistakable bark that was Sirius Black's laugh and the bell-like sound that could only be Lily's and the chatter of those other rowdy Gryffindors, he knew that trouble was exactly what they were about to get.
Avery and Mulciber's twisted faces cracked into near-identical grins, and Regulus – as was custom whenever he had a run-in with his estranged brother – looked nervous as hell. Snape fingered his wand and resigned himself to the worst.
They came into view – Pettigrew's round and mirthful face, Black's mischievous smirk, Lupin's lanky and loping walk, a flash of Potter's specs, and… Lily.
Lily, Lily, Lily.
Her long red hair was twisted into a loose braid that was coming apart, and curls were springing forth, escaping their confines. Her eyes – those green, green eyes – were bright and happy and sparkling like they were lit up from the inside. And maybe they were, in a sense.
She was holding Lupin's hand; Snape would wonder at that, if it had been any of the others. But she'd always had something of a soft spot for the werewolf, much to Snape's disgust, and this was a gesture of friendship, of comfortable and platonic intimacy. She laughed again, this time at something Pettigrew said. Black pinched her waist and she shoved him away, sure to return the wink he shot her in the process.
And there was Potter, too. Snape felt that old bitterness flare to life in his bloodstream as he saw the way Potter was looking at her. It was all adoration and protectiveness, and he couldn't seem to stop touching her – a squeeze of her shoulder, a slide across her lower back, a brush of fingers against the back of her free hand, and on and on and fucking on –
"Hey, Potter!" Mulciber called out, breaking Snape free of his teeth-gritting reverie.
The group paused on their walk past the Slytherins. Pettigrew visibly swallowed, Black scowled, Potter's eyes narrowed, and Lupin's hand tightened its grip on Lily's. Mulciber paid special attention to this last action, and he exchanged a grin with Avery.
"Funny," he said with a sneer, nodding towards those joined hands. "Thought it was you who was fucking the Mudblood, Potter."
"Piss off, Mulciber," Black very nearly growled. His wand was out and at the ready as he sidestepped enough to block Lily from view. "Nobody wants to hear you run your filthy mouth, got it?"
"Seems like a certain Mudblood's mouth is the one that's been running," Avery chimed in, and Snape had to resist the urge to roll his eyes. Merlin, his friends were imbeciles…
Black was about to retort, but Lily's hand on his shoulder stopped him.
"Come on, it's not worth it," she said to him. She kept her eyes determinedly averted from Snape's (not that he'd try to catch her gaze these days but, still, her obvious avoidance stung). "Let's just go."
"Right…" Black exchanged a look with Potter, who nodded stiffly, like it was taking all his energy to restrain himself from attacking their antagonists. Black stuffed his wand back into his pocket and smiled – forced, Snape noted, but there was something genuine about it, too, when he turned back to Lily. "Okay, whatever you say, Evans."
Snape was almost breathing easy – almost – but then, Mulciber never could keep his mouth shut, could he?
"I mean, I knew Mudbloods were trash," he said, loud enough for the retreating Gryffindors and several passersby to hear, "but who knew Evans was such a whore, right –"
That's when Potter stopped restraining himself.
Stupid tosser didn't even bother with his wand.
"James!" Lily shouted (right, he was James now, Snape couldn't help but remember. No more cold formalities between the two of them…). But it was too late for Lily's shout to be heard.
"Fucking prick." James's fist sank into Mulciber's face, and the sound of his nose breaking reverberated around the corridor, mingling with the cheers and jeers and whistles from faceless onlookers. And then they were on the ground – Potter and Mulciber, throwing punches, and Potter certainly had the upper hand as his fists crashed into his adversary's face and his furious voice spewed curses and insults.
Snape didn't, however, have time to dwell on Mulciber's predicament. Pettigrew and Avery were at it now, too, and Snape had to rush to assist Regulus as the older Black pulled his wand out again. Lupin had caught Lily around the waist and hauled her back, away from the fight that was all punches and hexes and broken bones.
She was kicking at his shins and yelling obscenities at her friends – God, they were her fucking friends – but the boy's grip never slackened and Lily couldn't get to her wand. Snape found himself very silently thankful that Lupin was there to do that, to hold Lily back. He knew his fellow Slytherins, and he knew that none of them would hesitate to curse her within an inch of her life; and since they'd resorted to this crude Muggle dueling, there was no telling what sort of bruises she'd obtain if she was free to join the fray.
Mulciber had found a way to best Potter, and he forgot his wand as well as his ham-like hands wreaked havoc on his assailant's face. Snape obtained a healthy black eye from Black and Regulus had a busted lip, but Black abandoned that fight when he saw what was happening to Potter. He tackled Mulciber, much to the delight of the crowd that had formed around the fight, and it was all blood and swear words and heavy physical assault.
"Remus, let me go!" Snape heard Lily shout as the fight escalated. "Let me go, I'm going to kill the whole lot of them –"
"Taking care of it, Evans!" Potter shouted back as he flung Avery off of a heavily bloodied Pettigrew.
"You're first on my list, Potter!"
But he only laughed.
Laughed. In the middle of a fight – a fight that he started, conceited prat that he was, and a fight he was consequently going to be punished most severely for. Snape made sure to get his fist into Potter's eye, wands be damned, because how thick could you be, really, to laugh like that while you and your friends were bleeding? Just because Lily paid the slightest bit of attention to him – threatening him, no less – Potter thought he had an opportunity for happiness?
It was so completely fucked.
Snape felt his anger peak as the fight progressed, but it never came to a head the way they all so craved for it to do. The shouts of the crowd were enough to attract the attention of several, very quickly irate, teachers.
"Enough!" Professor McGonagall practically shrieked as she waved her wand and blasted the grappling boys away from each other. "Hospital wing! All of you, now. We'll deal with you there."
The group shuffled along the corridor, shooting scowls at each other through black eyes and broken noses, bloody lips and loosened teeth. Snape glanced back to see Lily, looking furious but all the same, she was holding one of Potter's hands, pressing a handkerchief to his split knuckles to stem the flow of blood that was vying to escape. Potter offered her a weak smile and she responded with a dirty look.
"Don't be mad," he muttered, forcing Snape to strain his ears to catch their conversation.
"Oh, I'm not mad," Lily said. "Mad doesn't quite cover it. Furious, maybe. Livid, enraged, I'm-going-to-kill-you pissed…"
Snape quit straining his ears. All they heard was flirting laced with an anger that – despite Lily's colorful vocabulary – wasn't really there.
But Lily's lack of any real anger didn't stop anyone else's from surfacing, which became obvious enough when Dumbledore swept into the hospital wing. Snape watched as the headmaster made his way to the other end of the ward, where the Gryffindors were being patched up by the nurse. The curtain had been drawn around a couple of beds to keep the rival students out of sight of each other – a vain attempt at dousing the enmity between them, Snape thought, but it wasn't of much consequence to him; he could still hear most everything that was said, especially when Potter started shouting.
"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO?"
He was furious, Snape noted privately, pleased that Potter had so completely lost the cool he'd maintained through most of the fight in the corridor.
Serves him right.
"Keep your voice down, Potter, this is a hospital wing –" Madam Pomfrey was objecting irritably, but Potter ignored her.
"I'm so sick of this!" he continued to rage. "Fucking tired and fed up and just done with it all! I mean, come off it, Professor, don't act like you don't know what the lot of them are getting up to when they're not at school! And then they come back here, acting like they're better than everyone else –"
Snape didn't bother suppressing his snort. That was rich, really, coming from James Potter; what right did he have to condemn anyone for their arrogance? Years of privilege had apparently founded quite the air of hypocrisy, too.
"– and I can promise you right now, Professor, that if any of them come near her again, you can go ahead and kick me out of here because I will kill them, rip them apart, I've had enough!"
Snape's stomach churned with that bitter, envious rage that had become such a friend to him over the past few months. James Potter, playing the goddamn hero – the fucking white knight – as if he had the right, as if he had any bearings over Lily, as if she were his –
He heard her voice then. He couldn't make out what she was saying, only that it was low and soothing, and whatever words were wrapped up in that tenderness had apparently been enough to dilute Potter's rage.
Curious, Snape angled himself so he could see through the slit in the curtain that surrounded the Gryffindors. He could just make out Lily's profile, her unruly braid, her narrow frame stooped slightly as she looked at Potter, who was sitting on the edge of one of the beds. Her forehead was leaning against his, and her fingers encased his fist, and she was still talking in that same indecipherable voice – smooth and soothing and indicating nothing remotely close to the anger she had faked on the way to the wing.
Snape looked away, into his lap, away from Lily and every last feeling she elicited from him, every last feeling that he just couldn't shake. Not that he tried, really.
He bit his lip so hard that it bled.
He hated that he couldn't stop loving her, and he hated her for that.
III. Too Much
It was October 16, 1977.
A Sunday, a nice Sunday, a nice mid-afternoon at about 2:42 P.M.
They were out on the grounds – lots of students were, basking in the glory of a pleasant autumn afternoon. Fallen leaves danced their way over the overgrown lawns, skidded across the cobblestone of walkways and courtyards. Owls swooped and hooted overhead. Friends laughed.
It was idyllic, almost, if you were the right sort of people for that kind of thing.
Snape watched from a secluded but not-so-far-off distance as Lily tried to outrun Potter and Black, who had been chasing her for a good ten minutes but didn't seem to tire of it, despite how out-of-breath Lily was getting.
"Little help here, Pete?" she called out over a laugh as she dove behind a clump of bushes and rolled aimlessly away.
"Nice try, Lilykins," Black teased, "but Wormtail knows better than that!"
"It's true, I do," Pettigrew readily admitted. He bit off the head of a Chocolate Frog and, smiling indulgently, watched his friends.
Lily swore loudly. "Remus, darling?"
"Why, so I can get thrown into the lake with you?" Lupin caught Lily around the waist and spun her into Potter's waiting arms. "Sorry, Lily, but I know better than that, too."
"NO!" Lily shrieked and laughed and kicked as Potter lifted her easily into his arms. Snape's hand twitched towards his wand, but it was so useless that he let his hand drop back down to his side. "James, James, James, don't!"
Black wolf-whistled. "Somebody likes saying your name, Prongs!"
"Oh, piss off!" Lily shouted right back at him.
"Don't get cranky, Evans," Potter said as he meandered towards the lake's edge. "You said you wanted to go out with the giant squid; it was a couple years ago, but I'm sure you remember. I'm just trying to give you what you want – see, the squid, he's a bit shy –"
Anger bubbled just beneath Snape's surface. Is that what they did, then? he thought furiously as he watched Lily laugh and fruitlessly attempt to wriggle free of Potter's hold. They joked about that day by the lake, did they?
The day he lost everything… and they laughed about it, like it was a game, like it was a pleasant little foray into the past, a past where Lily spent her time with him instead of them?
"I don't want to go out with the giant squid!" Lily yelled. She managed to free herself from Potter's grip, only to find herself in the more compromising position of being flung over his shoulder with his arm locked around the back of her knees.
His – their – friends laughed, and Snape scowled when Potter slapped playfully but a little too lingeringly across the back of Lily's trousers.
"Wanker!" she laughed and mimicked his action, giving him a resounding smack across his arse.
"How bold of you, Head Girl." Potter grinned and waded ankle-deep into the lake. "Too bad you've got a date with the squid to attend to, otherwise I'd give you a good thorough snogging right now, since you obviously need it. Honestly, you grab a bloke like that, you're going to give him ideas –"
Realizing that she was about to be dropped into the autumn-chilled water, Lily screamed again. "I don't want to go out with the giant squid!" she repeated. "That was a fluke, I tell you, a fluke!"
"Oh, yeah?" Potter exchanged a knowing grin with his friends. Snape wondered at that, and his heart dropped at the implication. He wasn't stupid; he should have known all along – he had, to an extent – and now… "Who d'you want to go out with, then?"
"I – I don't know!" Lily said, and Snape saw her face redden. He saw that blush, and he knew that tone of voice; it was the voice she used on her parents whenever they were trying to wheedle information out of her that she didn't want to give.
They might not be friends anymore, but Snape still knew her.
"Ooooh, wrong answer," Potter said, and he tossed her into the lake with another grin and a loud splash.
Snape watched as Lily resurfaced, soaked and spluttering but smiling, anyway, and – hell, she was always so beautiful. She was obviously freezing. Water cascaded down from her hair and over her peach-toned skin, curving around every contour of her jaw and neck and shoulders. Her shirt was plastered to her lean torso, her eyes were big and bright and laughing and she was so heart-wrenchingly gorgeous like that.
Her smile split her face in two and Snape felt his heart go the same way. It always did. It never stopped, his heart, it never stopped breaking around her and that knee-weakening smile.
But that smile was for Potter now, and she was beautiful for him – just for him.
Snape knew it. He could tell. She was lit up from the inside and it was Potter who did that to her.
And Potter was smiling back at her, all adoration and awe and the cocky self-assurance that he was about to get what he wanted – what he'd ached, pined, and starved for, what he'd dreamed about in his sleep and fantasized about in his waking hours.
He was going to get everything, and – as a consequence – Snape was really about to lose it all this time.
Everything, in one fell swoop.
"James Potter, you complete twat!" Lily shot at him through that smile. Her skin was alive with goose pimples and a blood rush, and she was treading water like it didn't bother her in the slightest, despite her earlier protests.
But now she just kept… looking… at Potter. In that way. That way.
Snape was losing it. Fucking losing it all.
"You love me!" Potter said.
She does. It was making her glow from the inside like a paper lantern that James Potter had so lovingly crafted with his own two hands – hands that would take her, pull her to him, away from Snape.
"Not a chance!" Lily laughed.
She's lying. Why was she always lying?
"You want me!" he tried.
She does. It was practically raining down from her eyes, crashing out of her bone structure, how badly she wanted him.
"Getting warmer," she allowed. But it was clear – God, so clear, so obvious – that Potter had already hit the mark, dead-center, right in the heart that was sitting so readily on Lily's sleeve. For him. All for him.
Lily was his. She was James Potter's.
How had this happened?
"Say it, Evans!" Potter prompted, but he already knew. He had to know. "I want to hear you."
No. No, no, God, please, no.
If she didn't say it, maybe Snape could ignore it. Maybe it wouldn't be real, maybe it could be stopped before it even started, because once it started it would be too late, for good. Maybe her heart could go back to where it belonged, away from Potter, because she couldn't –
Don't say it.
But she smiled again, and she was beautiful, and it was all for him.
"Go out with me, Potter!"
He watched them. He couldn't help it. His eyes craved it, his heart begged to be shattered, and who was he to deny the pain that his soul so desperately pined for? His better judgment certainly wasn't loud enough to keep him from this self-destruction.
All across the castle, Snape watched them, and he saw it, and he hated it. It was exactly what Lily wanted and he couldn't – he didn't –
At meals, Lily nicked food from his plate, and Potter kissed the pumpkin juice from her lips.
In class, Potter's fingers drummed against the back of her hand, and Lily flipped her hand to catch his. Their grip tightened once or twice, and then it relaxed, and their joined hands slid from the desktop to Potter's right leg. His thumb caressed her knuckles for an hour and a half.
In the corridors, he kissed her neck, right at the corner between her ear and jaw line.
In the library, Lily stretched up on her toes and still couldn't reach. Potter put one hand on her hip and he squeezed and he reached up over her head for the book she needed. She flipped through it, right there, so that Potter could wrap his arms around her, pull her back against his chest, and bury his face in her hair. She smiled and kept reading.
On the grounds, late in February, she tackled him into a pile of snow and they fell in love and watched the sky. He heard them say it; they carried, those words – seven of them, stitched together by twenty-one letters, nine syllables – across the bitter winter wind:
"I love you."
"So marry me."
That had been the worst – those echoing words, all those years ago in February – because he wanted her, too, wanted her forever. But there she went, giving her forever away to someone else, intertwining her eternity with someone else's the same way she intertwined their fingers.
She had what she wanted – that mad impossible love song. That's what James Potter gave her.
And that, consequently, by extension, is what ate away at him, Snape would think, over and over again as Lily's happiness with someone else played its haunting game through his restless mind. Potter offered and she accepted, she shared with him everything, all of those things she'd never share with anyone else, not the same way – her smile, her touch; that look, that way. Whispered words, in the dark, across a pillowcase. Her hand, her fingertips tracing the line of his.
Her life. Her short, sweet life, and she ended it with James Potter. She could have gone on – that had been offered to her – but she left. With him. With Potter.
Her heart was on her sleeve and he held her hand. Because he was what she'd wanted. Just him.
Snape was bitter and broken and in love,
and Lily glowed.