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O-kaaay, thought Severus slowly, reaching out towards the tree-trunk to steady himself. The important thing now was to not think. Don't follow any of the horrific trains of thought that have suddenly opened up in front of you. Don't consider what this means for the future, and don't imagine her running into Potter as she hurries through the corridors, looking for some shred of hope or comfort –

Oh fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

He slid down the tree-trunk into a sitting position, and stared up at the branches, hardly daring to blink in case it provided an opportunity for his imagination to spring into action. He had to dodge all the depressing thoughts that would come flocking in now that he'd seen her running away from him. And thinking about dodging the thoughts was no good, because, sooner or later, it would involve thinking about exactly what it was he was trying not to think about.

You're not cured, and she's not coming back.

Oh fuck, fuck, fuck – okay, go through all the ingredients required for a batch of Scintillating Solution. Two scoops of beetle-eyes; four drops of nettle-juice; five milligrams of arsenic – even though the text-book says three, and Agrippa's Almanacke says that anything over four is a potentially lethal dose – three porcupine quills, added only after the mixture curdles, and never, ever, before you've added the arsenic. Messing with quantities was alright, but messing with the order was stupid –

So stupid to show her those memories. You had her. Do you think love is some kind of fair-minded international summit? Pretty girls don't go out with people like you unless you trick them.

Okay, okay, the Scintillating Solution obviously wasn't hard enough. It gave his mind an opportunity to wander. Something harder, but not too hard, because pausing to remember would cause horrible, pregnant silences to open up like sink-holes in his head.

The first goblin rebellion was in 411 AD in Rome, and it made the previous year's attack on the city by Visigoths look like a rowdy party. Loss of life – both wizard and goblin, although they were mysteriously always tallied up separately – totalled a hundred and seven – well, either a hundred and seven thousand, or a hundred and seventeen thousand – it definitely had some ones and some sevens in it.

You forced yourself to stay awake in those classes while everyone else was snoozing happily, and this is all you remember?

Severus clenched his fists and ploughed onwards.

Minor uprisings followed in 417 and 418 AD, culminating in the signing of the Treaty of Genoa, which stipulated that goblins could carry wands only if the goblin in question was over four foot three. This had to be abandoned when it was pointed out that a lot of wizards weren't over four foot three, and wouldn't take kindly to having their wands confiscated in a spirit of fairness. Negotiations broke down into skirmishes in 420 AD, and it was during these battles that a band of mercenaries from Lombardy - then known as the Valenci, but soon to be Anglicized as 'the Valances' - established a particular reputation for goblin-slaying.

Meg - on the rare occasions when she was awake in class - had always beamed when Professor Binns got to that bit.

For a second, Severus saw her beaming face in his mind's eye, and felt as though he was going to throw up. He didn't even have time to think the depressing thoughts that must have been underpinning that feeling - the fact that she would think she'd been right about him all along, the fact that she would make sure Lily never got another chance to go near him - he just knew she was connected to every kind of misery, and he couldn't keep her in his head.

So he clenched his fists, stared fiercely up at the overhanging beech-branches, and skipped forward a few centuries, to the next goblin rebellion that didn't have a Valance in it. There weren't many to choose from.



The universe always provided for James Potter. True, it usually provided for him by giving him exactly what he wanted, but, when it couldn't do that, it gave him difficult and demanding tasks to keep him from moping. It had practically showered them on him in the past day and a half. It had sent him halfway across the country to dig a grave, and then all the way back again to perform some dangerous magical experiments on a cloak. These weren't his usual forms of entertainment - in fact, he'd been close to fainting during the grave-digging bit - but at least it was keeping him from dwelling on the memory of Lily leaping to her feet in that stomach-churning way when she'd seen Severus Snape enter the Hospital Wing.

Now he was pacing restlessly through the Hogwarts corridors, watching with a strange mixture of satisfaction and annoyance as people scuttled deferentially out of his way. He thought better when he was moving, and Madam Pomfrey had forbidden any broomstick-riding until at least a week after his broken arm was healed.

James had listened queasily to her tales of patients who didn't observe this rule – apparently, sometimes, their bones could jump right out of their skin – and had wondered if it could possibly be more painful than seeing Lily jump out of her seat at the approach of Snivellus Snape. He'd toyed with the idea of trying it, out of sheer, gloomy curiosity, but it probably wouldn't have helped things. Besides, Madam Pomfrey had been through a tough time, from what he could gather – and, for the first time in his life, James had decided to apply his considerable intelligence to the task of making somebody else feel better.

He might as well start with Madam Pomfrey. In the coming months – and to keep his Lily safe – he was going to have to spend a lot of time making Snape's life easier, and he had a feeling that was going to sour him on altruism forever.  

That night in the Hospital Wing had been the closest James had ever come to despair. On his way up the spiral staircase to Dumbledore's office, he genuinely hadn't known what he was supposed to do with the rest of his life. He'd had it all planned out – from the age of fifteen – and now the crucial ingredient was missing. He couldn't think of anything he wanted, if he couldn't have Lily. And he couldn't think of any way to stop loving her without becoming a completely different person. Somehow, she'd become tangled up in his dreams. He'd meant them to be a net to ensnare her, but she'd wrestled free, and was now limping back to Severus Snape, with the tattered remains of his life still attached to her foot.

He had barely been able to smile at Dumbledore when he'd stomped into his office – which, of course, had made Dumbledore's smile even broader. James liked the Headmaster – he even liked the nonsense-words that the old man periodically barked out – but there was no denying the fact that weird things made him happy. Rudeness and hypocrisy made him happy; knitting-patterns made him happy; the constant pranks and shenanigans of the students made him happy. And James knew he didn't have any right to complain about that, because, if it hadn't been for Dumbledore's capacity to take delight in mischief, he would have been expelled years ago.

Dumbledore had ushered him into a seat, but remained standing himself, staring absent-mindedly out of the window. If James had expected a similarly absent-minded interrogation, he was instantly disappointed.

"How did you find Professor Caladrius?"

James twisted round in his seat, trying to meet the old man's eyes. It had been a long, painful, miserable, exhilarating night, and he didn't like the idea of someone standing right behind him, boring their eyes into the back of his neck.

"I just sort of… followed the trail of feathers, sir…"

"No, not tonight, James," said Dumbledore affably. "How did you find him when he was just one of a hundred million birds in the sky?"

"Oh." James turned back round, so that Dumbledore wouldn't see his face. Maybe it was better to have the old man staring at his neck. His neck probably wouldn't give too much away.

In fact – though James didn't know it – it was giving away the fact that he hadn't washed very attentively after his last Quidditch practice – but Dumbledore was far too polite to mention it.

"I'm good with animals, sir," he said, staring straight ahead.

"And how is that?" asked Dumbledore, a picture of affable interest. "Can you understand them as well as track them?"

James gave an uncomfortable shrug. "Not exactly understand them… but I can sort of… sympathize."

Dumbledore couldn't possibly know, could he? They had been so careful. The Hominum Revelio Charm wouldn't work on them in their animal forms – and they had always changed under the invisibility cloak, to be on the safe side.

James had always assumed – as a matter of course – that they were fooling him. But, even if they weren't – even if the old man somehow found out they were unregistered Animagi – he had assumed that he was cool enough to understand. Registration was for Animagi who could be dangerous. It was obvious – it was just obvious – that it didn't apply to James and his friends.

"Um," said James, to fill up the silence. "Are you just curious, sir?"

Dumbledore turned back to the window, his voice heavier, and less playful, than before. "I have a very dangerous job for a man who can track, and sympathize with, animals. It doesn't have to be yours, James, but I think you would excel at it."

James turned round to face him again, his hazel eyes shining. "Dangerous?" he said.

It had been the beginning of a very long conversation, which – since dawn was now spilling over the windowsill – had been interrupted by a House Elf bringing in a breakfast-tray of bacon and eggs. James was slightly annoyed at how happy he was about that. Much to his surprise, heart-break had not affected his appetite.

Greyback's execution was going to be a massacre. Everyone seemed to know that, without having the slightest clue how to avoid it. The Ministry wanted to use the execution as a show of strength – a public statement that the Death Eaters would not be tolerated. Voldemort wanted to use it as an opportunity to show the world that the Ministry wasn't strong enough to execute his Death Eaters. Neither of them cared about Greyback, much – most of Voldemort's followers would have chopped his head off with pleasure, in different circumstances. But now he was like a sort of flag – meaningless in himself, but with the potential to take an all kinds of new, dangerous meanings, depending on where he was standing.

And all that would have been fine, if it was just a political scrap – if it was just Aurors versus Death Eaters. But the Ministry had ordered all its employees to turn up and show support. And, to make it safe, they were being ordered to hand over their wands upon entry. So you were going to get a lot of unarmed civilians caught in the middle of an extremely deadly PR campaign – a battle for hearts and minds that was sure to turn into a battle for blood and guts – with both sides getting more blood and guts than they would know what to do with.

"The only way to save lives," said Dumbledore, with none of his usual twinkle, "is to ensure that Greyback's execution does not take place."

"And how do we do that?"

"By letting him escape."

James had frowned at him, his mouth still full of eggs and bacon. "Um… won't he kill more people that way?"

"Not if he is immediately recaptured by somebody who has a great deal of experience at keeping werewolves under control," said Dumbledore.

Slowly – and a little sheepishly – James grinned at him.

This was perfect. With a mouth full of eggs and bacon, and a brain full of teenage bravado, he obviously couldn't express just how perfect it was – but it was something dangerous and desperate, out in the open air – maybe it was even something that would impress Lily. And, best of all, Padfoot and the others could help. They'd be dying to help. There would be no arguments about this one. It would be like a whole month of full moons rolled into one.

And, at the back of his mind, he wondered whether Dumbledore wanted to give Moony a chance to face the man who'd made him a werewolf. Dumbledore was clever like that and, after all, old scores didn't get settled on the executioner's block.

He also wondered – with a sick feeling in his stomach – whether Dumbledore was giving him this task to prevent him from moping about Lily and Snape.

But it didn't matter. James had never needed to take charity before, but he didn't have any qualms about doing so now. He needed to keep busy.

The other – more painful – solution provided by the universe had arrived later on that day, when James had finally plucked up the courage to go back to the cottage where he'd left the Boggart-Lily, and ask for the Invisibility Cloak back.

There was no answer when he knocked on the door – although it took two or three tries to bring himself to knock loud enough to be heard. He didn't know what was going to happen to him when he saw her. If he burst into tears, or – worse – started bragging about Quidditch, he would have to kill himself as soon as he could politely get away.

But there was no answer, so he supposed she must have moved on. Voldemort was hunting her, after all – or had been, the last time he'd checked – so she probably had to keep moving. Maybe she'd left the cloak inside.

James stomped over a bed of dried thistles to reach the living-room window, and peered gingerly inside. 'Living-room' was what they'd always called it, but, in fact, it was living-room, dining-room and bedroom rolled into one. Apparently, the cottage had been built for a mad hermit who thought too much personal space was a sin. James felt a little ashamed that he hadn't had anything better to offer her, even though she was a weird, attractive, nightmare-Lily, and he knew he shouldn't be trying to impress her. It was just force of habit by now.

It took him a while to discern anything through the grimy window-pane, and even longer to work out what it was he was actually seeing. When he did, he doubled up as though he'd been punched in the stomach, and sprinted back to the door, forcing it open with a wild and uncoordinated kick. In his panic, he'd forgotten about Alohomora – and even about the fact that he had keys. He just knew there was a figure lying motionless on the bed, and that her substantial chest was not moving up and down with the rhythm of breathing.

Somewhere in the horrible tangle of thoughts that followed was the fleeting hope that he could give her mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but she was so obviously dead when he reached her side that he knew there would be no point. The hope sank back down into the tangle, where it merged with a vague feeling of guilt and disgust.

The Boggart was so thin when seen from the side – and so colourless when she had her eyes shut – that, at first, he'd thought he was just seeing a crumpled black dress that hadn't been put away properly. But then he had noticed her red hair pouring over the sides of the narrow bed, still giving off its stained-glass glow, even though she was dead.  

Her arms were resting by her side, and the Invisibility Cloak was folded neatly on top of her chest – as if she was a toy, all packed up and ready to go back in her box.

And James thought: that's the kind of woman you're dealing with – the kind who tidies up before dying, to make things nicer for the poor person who's going to have to come in and discover her corpse. How could you possibly understand her? How could you possibly make her happy? It would take an ambitious masochist to even try

There was a note pinned to the Invisibility Cloak. Miserably, James bent over it, noticing – with an extra kick of wretchedness – that it was written in Lily's round, looped handwriting, so familiar to him from essays and classroom notes.

Dear James,

This belongs to you. Thank you for lending it to me. You've treated me with more kindness than I had any right to expect. Please don't go too crazy about Quidditch in the coming years. And don't be sad about my death. Believe me, it was long overdue.

Oh, two more things: Please bury me with the necklace – it's vitally important that you don't try to take it off. And please trust Lily. She knows how to look after herself.

Your friend,

L.S.


He buried her in the woods at the back of the cottage, wrapping her in bed-sheets so that he wouldn't have to see that beloved form getting gradually covered with earth. He thought about Quidditch statistics the whole time – which wouldn't have pleased her, but was the only way to keep himself together. He hadn't known her very well, of course, but he didn't like seeing that shape dead – even if it was a cynical, murderous, and disturbingly attractive mockery of the woman he loved.

He even made a little cross of wood to serve as a headstone, and carved the words 'A Good Boggart' into the cross-piece. He didn't want Lily's name on anything. Carving her name on that cross would be like setting that future in stone – especially if the name he carved was 'Lily Snape'.

Besides, she was a good Boggart, in every possible sense. If being a good Boggart meant terrifying everyone you met, well, she had that in her locker – and, if it meant being kind and merciful, she could do that too, provided you didn't mind a few cynical jokes and derisive comments.

He hadn't taken the necklace off, which was probably an indication of just how shaken he was, because he usually broke every rule that he couldn't see the sense in, and she had hardly gone out of her way to explain.

Still, rule-breaking wasn't as much fun when you didn't have a crowd of adoring fans standing round, ready to marvel at your nerve.

And that was it. The Boggart was dead. He now had to use every trick up his sleeve – and a wizard's sleeves were always bulging – to ensure that the same fate didn't happen to Lily Evans. He couldn't take her away from Snape – he had a feeling he'd need an industrial-strength Severance Charm to even try – but he could give her every weapon he had at his disposal. For when things turned nasty.

So now he was pacing the Hogwarts corridors, watching flagstones, steps and carpets blur beneath his feet, avoiding conversations by telling people he was going over next season's Quidditch tactics in his head. His Quidditch skills were shrouded in mystery to most of the student body, so they scuttled immediately out of his way, afraid of breaking some kind of spell.

It was silly, really. All his closest friends understood that his Quidditch skills just boiled down to a willingness to risk breaking his neck with every swoop and dive. It was amazing what you could do if you weren't afraid to try. The only drawback was the occasional broken bone, and the pretty-much-constant exasperation of Madam Pomfrey.

And then he saw her – stumbling blindly down the corridor, as pale and shaky as if she'd just walked through a ghost.

James didn't think to ask her what the matter was – he was too eager to tell her what he'd got to say, and chances like this didn't come around very often – so, ignoring her protests, he grabbed her arm and dragged her towards the Charms classroom.

"I need to talk to you, okay? – just for a minute – half a minute," he added desperately, as she snatched her arm away.

For a second, Lily craned her neck round in panic, as though she was afraid that someone was following, but the fight went out of her when she saw the empty corridor behind them, and she allowed James to re-take her arm and steer her by the elbow into the deserted classroom.

This sudden compliance was his first clue that something was seriously wrong. Guilt slapped him in the face – the way Lily should have done when he'd put his hands on her.

"What's the matter?"

Lily just shook her head. Her eyes were red-rimmed, and she was pursing her lips as though it was the only thing keeping her from screaming.

James opened and closed his mouth for a bit, skirting around the edge of that miserable helplessness where girls started crying and there was nothing he could do to make them stop. "Don't cry, Evans," he said wretchedly. "Look – I've got a present for you." He took out the Invisibility Cloak, and held it by the collar, so that it unrolled all the way to the floor in one smooth, silvery, shimmering motion.

Lily blinked at him, but she obviously wasn't able to talk yet, so he filled the silence nervously. "You know what it is, right? You know what it can do? Well," – he beamed – "I've been making some improvements to it. Spent the whole morning testing them."

It had been – despite his heart-broken emotional state – kind of fun. He and the other Marauders had found an empty classroom, stationed Wormtail in the middle of it with the Invisibility Cloak thrown over his head, and hurled every jinx, hex and curse they could think of in his direction. The cloak had repelled them all – which, as James had pointed out to the over-scrupulous Moony, he'd known it would, otherwise he simply wouldn't have put Wormtail at risk like that.

Moony had rolled his eyes.

"It'll repel most jinxes and aggressive spells," said James. "And, believe me, I know quite a few. It'll also allow you to Apparate in and out of places that have anti-Apparition Charms – even Hogwarts – because I've sewn House-Elf-hair into the weave. Oh, also," he added, grinning, "another benefit of that is that the Hominum Revelio Charm won't reveal you if you're under the cloak. We think there might be some side-effects – like a House Elf's tendency to be compliant and obedient when you're wearing it – but we were testing it on Wormtail, so we couldn't really tell."

"What?" Lily managed, as he proffered the cloak to her. "Why…?"

"Well, because he's pretty compliant and obedient to begin with-"

"No," said Lily, clearing her throat. "Why are you giving it to me?"

"Aha," said James, as though his favourite student had found the flaw in his deliberately-flawed argument. "I'm glad you asked me that, Evans. It's a question that Padfoot asked me too – although, with him, it obviously wasn't so politely phrased. And, in essence, I think it boils down to this: I am not a Gryffindor. I know the Gryffindor way to deal with a friend who's being stupid. I've seen it done. I've done it myself. You sever all ties with that friend, and wait for them to come to their senses. You don't try to reason with them. You sure as hell don't make it easier for them to go on being stupid. The important thing is, you've taken a stand – you've shown them that they're wrong and that you're not going to tolerate it. End of story."

James plunged his hands into the pockets of his robes and stared at the floor. "But I can't do that with you. If you want to trust Severus Snape, I can't just shrug it off and say 'Oh, well, she'll realize her mistake soon enough'. You shouldn't have to suffer just because he's an untrustworthy bastard-"

Lily didn't even pause to glare at him. Perhaps she didn't trust her red-rimmed eyes to sustain a glare. She just headed for the door, the way a Gryffindor would. Miserably, James flicked his wand, and the door slammed shut in front of her.

"Okay," he said quickly. "Okay, forget I said that. Whether he's a bastard or not, I can't just leave you unprotected. I can't take that chance, okay? So the Cloak's yours for a whole load of reasons. Muggle-borns aren't going to be safe in the coming months and, from what Dumbledore says, you really pissed Voldemort off in that dream-world. It's not just Snape you need protecting from-"

"Let me out," said Lily, in a steely voice. James made a mental note not to use the word 'Snape' again.

"You know I'm right," he protested. "You can heal more people with this cloak than without it."

He'd hit on something there. Appeal to her sense of self-preservation, and she'd look down at you with withering scorn, but appeal to her duty as a healer, and you had her trapped, like a deer in the headlights.

She turned round slowly, chewing her lip. "It's a family heirloom isn't it?" she said, nodding at the cloak. "Meg says it's been passed down in your family for generations. If that's true, Potter, then it's not yours to give me. You're supposed to give it to your children."

James groaned inwardly. "Um... how can I say this without sending mental? If I was going to have children, it would've been with you... So, your children, you know, whoever you have them with... are probably going to be the closest things to blood relations I'm ever going to get. Does that make sense?"


Lily was angry. She had been queasy, frightened, heart-broken, mortified, and even a little bit flattered, but now all those different emotions had given up on making their individual voices heard, and had clubbed together to form a solid wall of anger that struck her breast like a hammer.

It was making her mad that things had arranged themselves this way. She had left Severus – which hadn't been easy – her ears still ringing with the screams of her future victims – and run straight into Potter, who was being infuriatingly nice and telling her that she was his only fucking hope for having children! It felt as though the world was sloping down to make it easier for her to fall in one particular direction. How dare it do that - as though it knew what was best for her? She knew what was best for her! The world had submerged her in death and despair, and now it thought it could just pull her out, shake her off and say 'happily ever after'.

"No, I'm sorry!" she snapped, putting her hands on her hips. "You don't get to make those kinds of choices when you're seventeen! You don't know who you're going to meet, or how you're going to feel-"

"Okay," said James, running an exasperated hand through his hair. "So maybe I'll be back for it – how does that sound? Maybe you're just looking after it for me. Can you do that?"

Lily wondered – with the small portion of her mind which wasn't melting with anger – whether she would have been as annoyed as this if the world had bent over backwards to make it easy for her to be with Severus Snape.

No. Of course not. Because that was what she wanted. That was where her heart lived. How could she even think about going in a different direction? What good would she be to anyone without her heart?

"What is this about, Potter?" she asked, passing a weary hand over her eyes.

"Snape!" he shouted, throwing his hands up in the air. "If you're going to be with Snape, you're going to need all the protection you can get! I've…" He hesitated, licked his lips, and then charged on regardless. "I've seen what happens to you if you stay with him. That Boggart… she was a Death Eater, Evans, she killed people! I don't want that to happen to you!"

Lily felt as though she'd been slapped in the face. It was mild, compared to what she'd felt in those memories, but it was still hard to recover from without going red and letting her eyes fill with tears.

"You met her?"

"I rescued her when Snape was going to hand her over to Voldemort," said James. "Didn't he tell you?"

Lily passed another hand in front of her eyes. "Maybe," she said weakly. She couldn't get over what she'd seen in those memories - all that hunger and blood - and she needed to get over it so that she could shout at Potter, because she was damn sure he was doing something wrong!

And, at the back of her mind, she kept thinking: If it had been somebody else killing those Death Eaters, you would have forgiven them – or at least found some reason to hope. But, because it was you, it was unforgivable. Because it was you, there are no excuses and there will be no redemption.

It's not logical. You're not different from other people. You knew that when the Slytherins were calling you an inferior piece of scum who didn't belong in the magical world. Why can't you remember it now?

Besides, she saved Severus from his curse - or from thinking he was cursed, anyway. Of course, you might have undone all that good work by leaving him, but you can't let Potter stand there bad-mouthing her as though he knows the slightest thing about her - as though he knows why she did it!

"She wasn't so bad," Lily croaked, lifting up her chin defiantly. "I'll never do what she did, but still… she wasn't so bad. Anyway, you know what's supposed to happen if I marry you? Guillotine Valance told me when she possessed me - and it ties in with what Severus saw in those Dementor-memories..."

"We all live happily ever after?" James suggested wretchedly.

"No. We have a child who's supposed to bring about Voldemort's downfall. We die protecting him at the age of twenty-one."

James stared straight ahead for a few moments, and then put his head on one side and chuckled. "That's why Caladrius said I was supposed to breed…"

"What?"

"Oh, nothing."

"Twenty-one, Potter!" she shouted. "That's four years' time! Is that long enough for you to do everything you want to do in life? Was that the kind of future you planned on?"

James shrugged defensively. "Not originally," he said, frowning. "I think I'd probably take it now, though..."

"And you know what?" said Lily, who hadn't been listening. "Part of me thinks it would be ideal. To be unquestionably on the right side – to die for something worthwhile. My life would be so much easier if I could fall in love with you and become Mrs. Fearless Pure-blood Gryffindor! But I've got to be me, haven't I? What good would I be, playing that part, if I didn't believe it? How could I start off a life of virtuous heroics with a lie?"

Ever since she found out she was a witch - maybe even before then - she'd been frightened of who she was. She had thrown herself head-first into everyone else's problems just to avoid thinking about it. And she hadn't liked herself much – and she had been afraid of her anger, and her feelings for certain furious Slytherins – but, somehow, she had managed to grasp one truth and cling to it like a piece of driftwood in this sea of adolescent confusion – and that was that you shouldn't let other people tell you who you were and what you were supposed to do. Tuney had tried to tell her she was a freak; the Slytherins had tried to tell her she was a piece of filth who didn't belong in the magical world; the Sorting Hat had tried to tell her she was a Gryffindor – but they didn't know her! Or, anyway, they didn't know her like she did!

She didn't want any promises or safeguards or guarantees. She just wanted a choice. If she could have a choice, she would put up with all the hardships and temptations that would follow. It was worth it to be free.  

"You know what else?" she said calmly, staring straight ahead. "I don't want to die at the age of twenty-one. And, for some reason, I feel almost ashamed to admit that – like it shouldn't be my main priority – but why the hell not? Am I supposed to say that dying at the age of twenty-one to protect my son is ideal – for either me or for him? I don't want to die, and I don't want to become a mass-murdering bitch, and I refuse to believe that those are my only options! Severus says we can be anything we want now…"

"And you believe him?" James shouted. "You think he wants what's best for you? You think he'd let you be free?"

"Yes, that's what I think," said Lily, in a steely voice. "I'm not saying it would be easy, or that he'd want to, but I think he'd let me be free. I think it in every fucking bone of my body. I know all the arguments against it – and they're strong arguments – and I still think he'd let me be free. This is me, Potter," she said grimly, folding her arms. "I get angry – I swear – I have a powerful urge to curse pure-blood bigots, and I never, ever give up on the people I love. End of story."


James stared at her for a while, caught between misery and admiration. This was exactly what he loved about her – all this blind, passionate, illogical conviction. She'd had it in spades on the day he'd first realized he loved her, when she had told him she would rather go out with the Giant Squid.

The giant squid, I could have handled, thought James morosely – but Snivellus Snape…

Still, how could you be miserable when the woman you loved was being so… herself – and displaying all the qualities you loved her for? Even when she was using those qualities to kick you squarely in the balls, surely you had to be happy – in the back of your pain-addled mind – that they existed?

He could do this. He could let her go – to make her happy. It was no big thing – in the same way that breaking your neck at the end of a Wronski Feint was no big thing. You just faced front and didn't think about it.

"Okay," he said, shrugging. "Okay. It sounds like you think he's got your best interests at heart."

Lily's eyes narrowed as she tried to unravel the implications of that sentence, but he didn't give her much time to do so.

"The important thing is that you're free," he said, marveling at the steadiness of his voice. "It sounds like everyone's trying to marry you off."

Lily shrugged cautiously. She was still expecting some kind of attack – but, with every second that it didn't come, her cheeks were reddening, as though she was starting to feel embarrassed about all the shouting. "Yeah," she said, looking down at her shoes. "I even read in a book last week that girls who survive a Dementor's kiss without any visible side-effects are known as Death's Brides."

James nodded thoughtfully, and said - because he couldn't help it: "You know, even the Grim Reaper sounds like better husband material than Severus Snape…"

"The point," said Lily, her voice hardening, "is that I'm seventeen, and I've got no business thinking about forever."

"Especially since you're a seventeen-year-old muggle-born in a war that's very big on ethnic cleansing," James pointed out.

"Right," she agreed, giving him a grudging smile.

James held the cloak out to her, feeling wretchedly jovial – like a man on Death Row making jokes to put his executioner at ease. "Here you go, then, Evans," he said, helping her slip the cloak on over her shoulders, and watching all those lovely curves disappear. "Death's Cloak for Death's bride. You wear this, and not even he will be able to find you. You wear this, and you can leave the Grim Reaper standing at the altar, looking even more grim. And I'll leave you alone – I promise."

"Until you want the cloak back," said Lily, who was now just a pedantic and pretty head floating in mid-air. "Which you will."

James didn't argue. "Here," he said, grabbing at a fold of the cloak and raising it over her head like a hood, so that, when he dropped it over her face, she would disappear completely. It felt like a weird reversal of lifting up the bride's veil to kiss her at the end of a wedding ceremony. And, when he dropped the cloak, he might never see her face again, so he hesitated, trying to think of something reassuring to say.

"You know, you're pretty screwed up, but you've got good instincts. Even if you don't really like yourself very much, you trust in your own abilities, and your own cleverness."

"I had to," said Lily, frowning, "those were the things the Slytherins were trying to tell me I didn't have."

"Well," said James, "just pretend that those Slytherins are now trying to tell you you'll turn into a mass-murdering Death Eater, and you'll be fine."

"Thanks, Potter," said Lily, giving him a smile that – in the circumstances – was not as exasperated as it could have been.

James tried to take a mental snapshot of this smile, and then dropped the cloak. It would hurt later, no doubt, but he'd be off chasing werewolves by then. He'd have the wind rushing through his fur, and his best friends at his back. He'd be trying to out-race Sirius, who was very fast on a flat plane, but didn't have a stag's ability to bound over obstacles at a split-second's notice.

It was going to be alright. The Boggart had told him to trust her, and he would. Who knew? Maybe he'd see her again. The world worked in very mysterious ways. It would bloody have to, if it was a world in which Snape could get the girl.


Severus had been staring fixedly at the overhanging branches of the beech tree for so long that the image had burnt itself into his retinas. So, when Lily's face swam into view above him – just as he was going over the gory details of the nineteenth goblin rebellion – he very reasonably assumed it was a hallucination. But, because he didn't like to look stupid in front of any version of Lily – even the imaginary ones – he raised his eyebrows expectantly, as though she was interrupting a very important train of thought and she'd better have a good reason for doing so.

"I'm sorry I ran away," she said, without any kind of expression at all.

Severus stared at her for a few seconds, blinked, and then struggled to sit upright, trying to re-contextualize this as a conversation which was actually happening. An imaginary Lily would either be crueller, or a lot more amorous.

"Um…"

"But you knew I was going to come back, right?" she said, still in that ethereally calm tone of voice.

"I…" Severus hesitated, astonished at the answer. "I don't think I'd dismissed it as a possibility," he admitted, frowning.

Lily giggled. It made tears leak out of the corners of her eyes.

"What?"

"Sorry," said Lily, trying to straighten her face and wipe away tears at the same time. "You've just got this really school-teacherly way of expressing yourself. I was noticing it in the Boggart's memories too. I like it," she added, because he was starting to glare at her.

"Will you always like it?" he asked, determined not to hope just yet.

Lily stretched her legs out on the grass and stared thoughtfully at her shoes. "I dunno – maybe. I've liked hot, buttered toast for my entire life, and I must've had that every day since I was old enough to eat solids."

Severus edged towards her tentatively, just as he had when he was a little boy – with no particular aim in mind, just curious to see how close he could get before she slapped him. "So, let me get this straight," he said, frowning. "You're comparing our relationship to your unhealthy predilection for hot, buttered toast?"

Lily gave him a sort of shrugging-nod, and he tilted his head on one side, thinking about it. "I don't think that works," he said at last. "Because pretty much everybody likes toast, but I would think I'd be labelled as an acquired taste."

Lily giggled, and wiped her eyes again. "Alright – what kind of food-stuff would you like to be?"

Severus shrugged. "I don't know. The kind you smear all over your breasts and get another woman to lick off?"

This time, Lily doubled over with giggles. Her voice was still raw and ragged from all the tears she'd been suppressing, but it was a wonderful sound to Severus. It winched his heart up out of his stomach, where it had been wallowing – and getting corroded with stomach-acid – for at least an hour.

"I won't let your life be like hers," Severus muttered, when the peals of laughter had died down.

Something snapped between them. It felt like some kind of invisible barrier in the air had shattered, and they were suddenly reaching for each other, in a way that was half-greed and half-panic. It was too urgent and confused to even result in kissing – they just knew that they had to be holding on to each other, as though they'd fall off the edge of the world if they let go. Severus fixed his arms around her waist and dragged her back to the base of the tree, like a fresh kill. She buried her face in his boney shoulder, and he buried his in her gingerbread hair, wishing away every particle of matter that wasn't Lily, forgetting where he was, who he was, and even – and this was a big thing for Severus, although he didn't realize it at the time – who might be watching.

"I know," she whispered, tracing along his ribs with her fingertips, in a way that was probably intended to soothe, but actually tensed every muscle in his body, and made his nerve-endings scream with urgency. Still, the lust was a soothing feeling, in a way, because he was eminently used to it.

"And, even if those things really happen to me," Lily went on, sniffing, "I'll be stronger next time. I won't-"

Severus couldn't stand to hear it, so he interrupted her with a kiss. But she went on speaking, as though the words and the kisses were on big soothing stream – as though she could talk and kiss herself into something resembling peace. "Now she's warned me – that's what she meant to do, Sev, I'm sure of it – show us what not to do, and how not to treat each other." She kissed him again, and continued to babble. "Only… it was scary to see how easy it was, you know? She was just like me. And she didn't really do anything wrong, a- apart from killing people. It was like… my worst nightmare…"

"Of course it was," said Severus, trying to keep his voice steady. "She's your Boggart. She was designed to be your worst nightmare."

"Yeah," said Lily wretchedly. "But why couldn't my worst nightmare be something stupid and far-fetched, like ten-foot-high killer robots?"

"Because you're clever?" Snape suggested, annoyed that this was something he even had to point out. "There's no point fearing something that's never likely to happen, is there? – although I wouldn't write off ten-foot-high killer robots just yet – and, if it wasn't possible to flip out and kill people, you wouldn't be so brave for not doing it."

Lily sniffed, and tucked a lock of hair behind her ears. "She was pretty brave, and she still did it…"

"That's true," said Severus, wondering if he was composed enough to communicate all the wonderful strangeness of the way he saw the Boggart-Lily. "She was brave up to a point – and then she lost hope and killed people – and then she got brave again. She saved my life in Mapledurham, when I'd done everything possible to ruin hers. Of course, you don't want it to go that far, and it won't – I promise it won't – I'm just saying that, even after she killed those people, she wasn't lost. It's not as easy to stay lost as you'd think."

Lily didn't say anything. She just lined up their palms absent-mindedly, in that way she liked to do – as though she was hoping their souls could meet up at the point of contact, and discuss the matter without resorting to words. It didn't seem impossible at the moment.

"You know why I think your life won't be like hers?" said Snape conversationally. "It's in story-form, so you'd have to listen for about ten minutes without interrupting me. D'you think you can do that?"

Lily glared at him playfully, which he took for assent.  

"This is my favourite story about Godric Gryffindor," he said. "He was younger than Slytherin, did you know that? In fact, the first historical mention of him comes from Slytherin's journals. Slytherin's already made a name for himself by then, of course – even though he's only twenty-four when Gryffindor shows up. Witches and wizards were scattered all over the country at this time, trying to practise their culture in secret, because the muggles got spooked by everything from their names to their modes of transportation – and, when muggles get spooked, they get violent. Adult witches and wizards could defend themselves, but wizard-children were just children, and they went missing all the time. Slytherin wandered up and down the country trying to protect magical people – and not just from muggles, although I think he was always more enthusiastic when the muggles were the villains. There were Dark wizards, too – who made the lives of ordinary witches and wizards difficult by making magic so much more conspicuous. Up in Snowdonia, there was a Welsh wizard who went in for the whole rape and pillage thing – with all the extra carnage that magic can add to it. He used to burn villages with Foe Fire, poison wells, and turn his Hippogriffs loose on all the livestock. He was attracting attention and giving magic a bad name – that's how Slytherin saw it – so he made the long journey to the Welsh mountains to shut him up, by whatever means necessary."

He leaned back against the tree, enjoying the way Lily's eyes lit up when she was listening to his stories. "On his way, he meets this scruffy-looking twelve-year-old – very respectful, if not very well-dressed – who calls him 'Master Magus' and begs to be allowed to accompany him to confront the Welsh wizard. Slytherin – probably none too kindly – explains that he's only a boy and he'll get himself killed – and also that assistance is not, in fact, necessary. He rides off, leaving the boy behind, but notices him following – on a half-starved farm-horse – two days later. Slytherin transfigures the boy's horse into a mouse and leaves him stranded in the wilderness – but, after another few days, the boy catches up to him again. And not with magic, that's the weird thing. He's been walking through the nights as well as the days, while Slytherin's been stopping to sleep and rest his horse."

"The boy's almost on the brink of collapse by this point, and he's won some grudging respect from Slytherin through sheer bloody persistence, so Slytherin gives him food and water, and tells him kindly that he's too young and too inexperienced to face the Welsh wizard by his side. Maybe one day, he says – after he's been trained – but not now. The boy eats the food, drinks the water, listens respectfully, and doesn't argue, but he's still following Slytherin when Slytherin sets out the next day."

"So our glorious Hogwarts-founder loses patience with him – puts him under the Full Body-bind Curse and leaves him lying on a snowy mountainside that's crawling with wolves. Nobody terrorizes Slytherin – or so he thinks. Now," Snape paused, his black eyes glittering, "how do you think our boy manages to follow him this time?"

Lily played the game, because she was enjoying the story. She pursed her lips and took a few wild guesses. "He persuades the wolves to tow him? He waits for a really strong gust of wind to blow him down the mountain?"

"It's almost as ridiculous as that," said Snape, inclining his head to one side. "He yells his head off, causes an avalanche, and gets swept to the bottom of the mountain on a tide of snow."

"No way!" Lily exclaimed, giggling. "He'd break his neck! Or suffocate-"

"This is Gryffindor, remember?" said Snape grimly. "The son-of-a-bitch was always lucky. Anyway, Slytherin, who's reached the foot of the mountain by this point, hides behind a tree when the snow comes sweeping past him, and finds this boy – blue-skinned, half-frozen, and still petrified – washed up at his feet. And he knows he's been beaten. He could kill the boy right there – or leave him in the snow for another hour and let nature take its course – but he won't, because now he's curious. He thaws the boy out, gives him a wand, and tells him not to disappoint. Needless to say – Gryffindor being Gryffindor – he doesn't."

"Well?" said Lily, outraged at this premature end to a thoroughly entertaining story. "Did they kill the Welsh wizard?"

"Hmm?" said Snape, because it was irresistible to tease her. "Oh, no. Neither of them killed in those days. They cleaned out his memory, his larder, and his library, and went off to deal with the next miscreant. Of course, that was the journey on which they met the buxom, giggling Helga Hufflepuff, who told dirty jokes that shocked Slytherin to his bones, and gave the twelve-year-old Gryffindor something to think about. But I'll tell you about that some other time."

Lily gave him a haughtily approving look, as though this promise just about passed muster – and then smiled, because she could never stay haughty for long. "That was a nice story," she said. "I didn't think there were any nice stories about Slytherin and Gryffindor."

"There aren't many," Snape admitted. "But the point I was trying to make is that Gryffindor wasn't brave because he battled goblins and Dark Wizards with a massive great ruby-encrusted sword. He was brave because he refused to give up. That's what being a Gryffindor means – it's about banging your head against a problem until either your head or the problem comes apart. It's not particularly clever, but sometimes, being clever won't do any good. There's no way to outwit random events like a dead baby. Most of the time, the world's too mental to outwit, and what you really need is sheer, bloody-minded persistence – the ability to pick yourself up even when there's nothing to pick yourself up for. Gryffindor made stupidity a virtue. He made not learning into a refined and noble art. And that's the last nice thing you'll ever hear me say about him, so you'd better remember it."

Lily gave him a nudge that was half-playful and half-tearful. "Are you calling me thick, then?"

He smiled. "That's right. Strategically, occasionally, happily thick. It's the best thing to be in the worst moments, and I love you for it."
Continuing from The New Young Widows' Club [link]

Something tells me I should be proof-reading it again before posting, but I'm too knackered, so please look kindly on all my mistakes, lovely readers! :hug: :hug: :hug:
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:icon28dragons:
28dragons Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2013
I really like how you wrote James. He's a git, but he's grown more noble here at the end, willing to stop chasing Lily, and even giving her his cloak, out of love. It's selfless. So was what Sev did, when he attempted the Liberus charm the first time, and then trusting Lily enough to show her the Boggart's memories. But, James seemed to let Lily go more easily than Severus did XD

I'm glad she changed her mind in the end, lol!
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:iconlilynoelle:
lilynoelle Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2012  Student General Artist
Gorgeously written, Lucy, as always!
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:iconkielastalon:
Kielastalon Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2012
Hi Lucy ... I've spent the last week obsessively reading every single chapter ... So my house is a mess and the kids are eating tinned spaghetti! I'll try not to gush but I am in awe of how well you write, and sev and lily are so convincing. Thank goodness she's becoming more rounded in these last chapters .... Saint lily in canon always annoyed me (although you came close to making me understand how she could be that way when she enthuses to sev about the witch who was burnt for her ideals.) I'd love to discover more about the first wizarding war ... Like the flash forwards in the bogart lily scenes. I mean, if Harry doesn't get born, how does the war end? ( of course, we do have a prophetic alternative in Neville I guess). My favourite bit altogether (apart from the gloriously romantic bits, of course) is when snape notices voldemort's acne scars. Suddenly, the villain is real and vulnerable rather than mythical ... Which makes it all the more interesting. And I love snape's twisted (but justified) take on dumbledore ... In canon he's too omniscient and benign to be pulling all those strings!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner May 1, 2012
:hug: :w00t: Thank you so much! It cheers me up no end to hear that there are people out there reading and enjoying this story! :heart: (And I LOVE tinned spaghetti, so I think your kids are lucky things!)

Yes, I need to write more about the first wizarding war really. My original aim with this story was to just get Sev and Lily to a point where they're free, with no prophecies or curses to pin them down, but sometimes I think it would be nice to write more about their futures, (and especially about Voldemort's defeat - I was just worried that I'd be writing forever if I took the story that far!) Perhaps I'll come back to the fanfic after I've tried writing other things (I made myself promise that I'd try writing original fiction after I'd got this story to the ending that I originally planned. I'm just a bit dubious about my ability to live without Sev and Lily! ;)).

So glad you like Voldemort's acne scars! :giggle: I must bring them back - it's good to know that epic Dark Wizards can get acne too!

Anyway, thank you so much for reading and commenting! :tighthug: Hopefully, the next chapter will be ready soon,

Lots of love,

Lucy.
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:iconkielastalon:
Kielastalon Featured By Owner May 1, 2012
Another chapter to come ... Hooray!... I'll check every hour now, I'm ashamed to admit! bereft as I'll feel when you stop this fanfic, I really do so encourage you to write original fiction. I know you mentioned in a comment that you find ideas hard to come by ... But it seems to me that this fic could almost stand alone from canon, especially when they're in mapledurham. And your original characters are as real to me as any of JKs ... If I think of the books now it's your sev and lily, and even your Malfoy I see. And Henry Calabrius is just as real to me as trelawney or flit wick. I hope you'll be famous one day my dear ... I wouldn't be surprised! Oh, and I wondered if you ever re-read your early chapters? It's just that since I devoured them all in a great rush, it was obvious how much your style has evolved ... The characters became more rounded (especially narcissa and malfoy) and your prose became more fluent and powerful and tight. Maybe fanfic is thebest training ground for aspiring authors!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner May 2, 2012
:hug: Thank you! That's totally a relief to hear because, sometimes, I read old chapters and worry that I can't write that well anymore. I must say, I've never read the fanfic all in one go, though - I have no idea how it flows or whether it all makes sense (I think I'm going to have to do some major editing and tying-up of loose ends when it's finished! :faint:). But, yes, writing this story has been wonderful practice for writing in general - and the responses I've had from lovely readers like you have made me feel a lot more confident (before I started writing this, I pretty much couldn't write one sentence without crossing it out in disgust! :giggle:) DA has made me much happier about writing - I just wish I could fall in love with my own characters as deeply as I fell in love with Sev and Lily!

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:iconswordhawthorn:
swordhawthorn Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2012
Argh, I've been so late chatching up with these! :(

And I don't know if it's because it's been such a while, but reading these latest chapters feels a bit different. Sev and Lily seem older. Their reactions to events really does show (to me at least) how much they've been through now.

I don't really know what to say about James...it's not even that I feel sorry for him...it's...almost like...respect! I really never thought I'd hear myself say (type) that, but he is quite magnanimous in defeat, and considering that defeat is something so new to him, he deals with it pretty well.

Aw, and the embrace under the tree!! That went a long way to healing the damage my heart has encurred from being a Severus fan. Thank you! :hug:
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2012
Thank you, dear! :hug: I'm so glad you liked these new chapters! (I definitely feel as though the characters have grown up too. The way Sev didn't immediately despair - or, anyway, tried not to immediately despair - when Lily left him shows real progress!) And no worries at all about late replies - heaven knows, my chapters are horrendously long; it would be very unfair of me to expect my readers to drop everything and plough through them as soon as they're posted! I'm always happy to see comments whenever they arrive! :tighthug:
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:iconswordhawthorn:
swordhawthorn Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2012
Haha, I actually do kind of drop everything when I see a new chapter, but I haven't been on in a while & my watch has about a million things in it. And also, you'll get no complaints about long chapters from me. The longer the better *blushes* ! xx
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:iconshyfoxling:
shyfoxling Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012
Nice story about Slytherin and Gryffindor there :)
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2012
Thanks, Lisa! :hug: :) I'd like to write some more about those two.
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
You are a very wicked lady, Miss Lucy.

You had me scared.

Because... it all seemed so reasonable. So plausible. So inescapable... a True Tragedy all over again. Sev and Lily come so close only to trip up at the pinnacle of their achievements and screw it all up. Lily falls into James' arms because he's there, being his lucky self. Then James get to die the hero, Harry gets to live as the hero, and Snape trudges onward through life as the would-be tragic hero. All is fated; knowing the future or not knowing makes no difference because it cannot be altered.

So, thanks for making my heart seize up in the panicked sorrow of the inevitable conclusion.

No really. Thanks.

But seriously now ;) I love it. That quick dash toward the canonical was just enough to make me appreciate -even more- all that is Sev&Lily.

James has become downright sympathetic to me now that you've written him this far. I hate him for being so relatable now. He's somehow turned into the poor schmuck who does all he can to get the girl, is everything any girl would want, will always be there for her, would die for her, loves her faithfully, and doesn't get her.
Omg. He's Snape!
Except without quite as many sins to feel remorseful over, and without the death of his beloved on his soul.

One thing I really enjoyed realizing about the books when I looked back on them was how much Severus and James seemed alike, particularly when Harry views Snape's memories of their first ride on the Hogwarts express. If they'd only been switched at birth, it would have been Severus who was rewarded and praised for his magical skill, who was well-loved by his parents and everyone around him. They're both clever, both boastful (sorry Snape, but in your oh-so-Slytherin way, you are), both obsessed over the same woman, and both brave and loyal to the bitter end.
I feel like you've really brought that out in this chapter with James. Nowhere more than in this passage:
And James thought: that's the kind of woman you're dealing with – the kind who tidies up before dying, to make things nicer for the poor person who's going to have to come in and discover her corpse. How could you possibly understand her? How could you possibly make her happy? It would take an ambitious masochist to even try…
If you switch it to "And Severus thought:", I think that's the one thought that ever came out of James' head that could just have easily come directly out of Sev's.

And so I say, "brava!"
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2012
Yay! Thank you, dear! :hug: (And sorry for scaring you with that dash towards the canon ending!) I couldn't have really ended the story that way, but I just wanted to create some suspense (am a mean writer! ;)) although I did worry afterwards that people would get halfway through this chapter and stop reading in despair!

And I LOVE the idea of James becoming a new-Severus (which I guess is mean too for poor James!) but, you're right, J.K. Rowling really hinted that they were similar in essence, but shaped into completely different people by their circumstances ("that air of being well cared-for - even adored - that Snape so conspicuously lacked! :cries: :heart:) I'm really interested in how James will turn out now that he doesn't have the girl. (Another thing which makes me quite want to continue this fanfic ad infinitum!)

Oooh, I also wanted to tell you that the first part of this chapter (where Severus is trying to distract himself from the onslaught of depressing thoughts) is just how I try to deal with my pessimism (particularly week-day mornings when I'm half-asleep in the shower - which is, for some reason, the time when my depressing thoughts choose to attack - perhaps because I'm not awake enough to defend myself). Annoyingly, Sev fought them off much more successfully than I usually do! ;)
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:iconmelorik:
Melorik Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012
I think James is just getting creepy by this point.

Hmm.. that's an interesting reversal. I'm thinking the same thing about James, that Lily/Potter shippers think about Sev... twilight zone. :P
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2012
I think James is just getting creepy by this point.

Oh dear! Was it because he said if he was ever going to have children, it would have been with her? I wondered if that was going too far, but I just thought 'well, those Gryffindors always seem so sure of everything'! ;)

Yes, I wonder if he's talking too much in this chapter - you know, sort of vocalizing his feelings too much for a teenage boy. I guess he's a very confident teenage boy, and he's used to saying everything he feels without hesitation - but I might trim some of his dialogue - I'm particularly disliking the bit where he says: "I think I'd probably take it now, though..."

I like the idea of James seeming like the canon Severus, though - that opens up the possibility that he'll develop into an interesting character! ;)
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:iconjustbecause62:
JustBecause62 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:dance::boogie::dance:

I love it! You've done a fantastic job of making James into a sympathetic character while still being his boastful, infuriating, thick-headed self, and I applaud you for that. And Sev and Lily are just adorable here. :iconawplz:

Oh, and I'm assuming the half-starved farm-house was supposed to be a half-starved farm-horse? ;P
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
:giggle: :blushes: It was indeed! I've changed that now (And, if that's the only mistake, I'll be very happy! :phew:)

I'm so glad you liked James's character here! I find him sooo hard to write, because I'm shy and I don't like sports. ;) If we ever met up, we'd have absolutely nothing to say to each other!
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:iconjustbecause62:
JustBecause62 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:giggle: Yes, I think I would be in about the same situation there.

And don't worry about my birthday..:) my dA profile doesn't display the information so I wouldn't have expected anything. :D But thank you.
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:iconjulesdrenages:
JulesDrenages Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
Lily, that boy must love you more than you can possibly imagine for praising Gryffindors in front of you... ç__ç
Could you feel the love? I could.

...

...oh James, what an adorable idiot you are! :love:
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
:giggle: :nod: You're right - and I bet she'll never let him forget that he said nice things about Godric Gryffindor! (I really want to write the adventures of Gryffindor and Slytherin now. There's nothing I find funnier than exasperation, and Slytherin must have been exasperated with that boy from dawn until dusk!)
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:iconjulesdrenages:
JulesDrenages Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2012
And such chapters will delay the inevitable end... U_U
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:iconpolkadotpeony:
polkadotpeony Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
Le sigh, perfection. I LOVED it. :)

Before I get into my love for Snape and Lily, let me address James. Once again you have managed to delve into the inner physic of a character and come up with so many interesting things I can't even wrap my head around it. I mean James is so perfectly written in your hands. I can suddenly understand him so well, and dare I even say that I kind of like him when you write him? I think it's actually interesting because the story that Severus tells about Gryffindor and how Gryffindor's are thick and that's what he loves about Lily... I think that is ironically what is lovable about James as well.

I loved Lily's observation that the world was tilting in such a way that it was forcing her into James' arms. And of course I love that in your story she gets angry about it and fights against it. I choose to believe in JKR's canon, Lily was too depressed and painfully missing Severus in her life that when the world tilts to send her in James' direction she no longer has any fight left to oppose it. Not to mention that as you write James, it's really not impossible to imagine how someone could not come to love James. It's just that I still don't understand how two Gryffindor's could actually be compatible together. I could actually envision more fighting between them than with a Slytherin and Gryffindor. But I digress...

Snape and Lily... I don't even know what to say. You just get them perfectly every damn time, and I LOVE it. Please say that there are more adventures ahead for these two! I would love to see them doing something together as a team. And I am now curious as to what Lily will do with the invisibility cloak. I'm happy that this chapter does not leave me in a cliffhanger but I hope it doesn't mean that it will be awhile until your next chapter. I just can't get enough of reading your stuff. It's so incredibly rich in character study.

Speaking of which I can't leave before mentioning this last bit that I loved. I loved your (yet again brilliant) explanation of the differences between Slytherins and Gryffindors. How Gryffindors are born with luck and fortitude that when they face a difficult situation there is no thought it their mind that it could possibly turn out badly, because it never does turn out badly. I mean if you start out on top, and never get punished for taking a risk, then what's to stop you from not taking more risks? Nothing. On the flip side a Slytherin is often born into a life lacking joy, and filled with some form of strife. They have to learn to use cunning intelligence to get the through every rough situation. They learn very early on that taking a chance is dangerous, it rarely turns out well so why do it? It's foolish and stupid to take chances. It's much safer and more likely to turn our favorably if you strategically plot through each situation all the while preparing for the worse case scenario. You learn early on to look out for yourself cause no one else is going to. So then one begins to think, are we born with the personalities of either a Slytherin or Gryffindor (or Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw) or do the situations we are born into shape up as such? It's sort of the chicken or the egg mentality. All I know is that once again I am even more convinced that my husband is a Gryffindor and I am a Slytherin. And this just provides further insight into what drives us.

And now that you're thoroughly bored, GREAT chapter and I CANNOT wait for the next one!!!! :D
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
Yaaaay! Thank you, my dear! I love your comments (how could you suggest that they were boring me? They always get me thinking, and there's nothing I love thinking about more than Sev and Lily! ;) :heart: Well, unless it's Narcissa and her pretty dresses...)

I've found myself liking James a lot recently too. He's not really sensitive enough for Lily, but there's something infuriatingly lovable about his cheerful outlook. (And, you know, it's much easier to like him when he doesn't get the girl! ;))

And I can see your point about Lily and James - I can totally imagine the canon-Lily just choosing James because he made her laugh and cheered her up! (In that dark world they lived in, she probably needed a lot of cheering up :() I have no idea how two Gryffindors managed to get along, but I guess they'd make up quite quickly after every fight, because they just don't nurse grudges the way a Slytherin can! ;))

Anyway, thank you so much for reading and commenting! :hug: This isn't the last chapter, don't worry (although I think there will only be one more, plus the epilogues. Still have no idea what I'm going to do without this story in my life! :fear:)

P.S. Did you notice that Sev finally told Lily he loved her? He kind of slipped it in under the radar (and after telling her she was thick! ;)) but I thought that was the only way he'd ever feel safe enough to say it!
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:iconpolkadotpeony:
polkadotpeony Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
Yes! I did catch that last bit at the end right after I posted my reply actually. I was like, "wait, did he just say he loved her? In a cryptic, convoluted sort of way?" lol I expect nothing less from Severus. ;)

AH! WHAT? One more chapter?! ::cries:: NO!!! :( Well I do hope there are lots and lots of epilogues. Otherwise I will go into a Severus/Lily withdrawal. I look forward to your story updates so much. I feel as if it's one of my very last remaining connections to their characters. Not as many people write about them anymore. :( It's very depressing.
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:iconjustbecause62:
JustBecause62 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:w00t: Another chapter! It's like a 4-day late birthday present! *runs off to read it*
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
Oh dear, I'm sorry I missed your birthday! :hug: Hopefully this will count as a belated present! (I'm glad it wasn't a sad chapter, or it would have been a rubbish present - although, now I come to think of it, I seem to recall dedicating the chapter where Morry dies to one of my friends for her birthday, and that can't have been a very cheerful gift! :faint:)
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:iconhhimring:
hhimring Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
I love this: goblin rebellions, Invisible Cloak, Godric Gryffindor, and all!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
:hug: Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it! I kind of want to write a history of Gryffindor and Slytherin now, just roaming around the country, dealing with dark wizards and exasperating each other! ;)
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:iconhhimring:
hhimring Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2012
I'd totally read that!
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