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Snape went back to the deserted dungeon classroom he sometimes used for studying, when the library was too full of rowdy morons, and the Slytherin common-room too full of sneering pure-bloods. Darkness and solitude was necessary for performing certain kinds of spell - and, anyway, he didn’t want to be observed reading the kind of books he’d sneaked out of the library of The Hanged Man in Knockturn Alley. That place was a ghoulish treasure-trove: Snape had found books on Necromancy, dark curses, the breeding of ferocious magical creatures and the summoning demons: all of them involving wonderful, technical, ambitious magic that Dumbledore was simply afraid of. Magic, as far as Snape was concerned, shouldn’t be a slave to ideas, especially not the feeble ideas of morality and kindness that Dumbledore entertained.  

He waved his wand to ignite the burning torches set in brackets in the walls. They made the damp stone iridescent with reflected light. He liked being down here at the cool roots of the castle - the stone seemed to absorb some of his anger and frustration - and focus whatever was left that couldn’t be absorbed (because all the stone in the castle couldn’t accommodate the entirety of Snape’s anger). Down here, every grievance with the world turned into a grievance with James Potter.   

“Finally,” said a wonderfully familiar voice, one that sent a surge of electric pleasure hurtling through his body. “I was beginning to think you’d never get here.”

Snape turned, and was confronted with a wonderful sight. The stone seemed to have absorbed and projected his dreams, as well as his nightmares.

Lily was standing there - pink-cheeked and smiling. The firelight was gilding her ruby-red hair, and she had let a lock of it fall over her right eye - as she always did when she was nervous. Her left eye, however, was blazing and brilliant - it was directing a look of pure audacity at him, and Snape, starved as he was of those eyes and that look, had to look away for fear of betraying the sudden, choking happiness that had seized him by the throat and was lifting him off the floor.

“I thought you’d be here,” she said. “I’ve got so much to tell you.”     

She was smiling - actually smiling - at him: it was a nervous, excited kind of smile, one that reminded him very much of their childhood. She had smiled that way whenever she was about to share a secret with him - some new spell, or wonderful place to go - whenever she was simply bubbling over with bliss, but shy of revealing the full extent of her rapture. Lily was like that; she had a tremendous capacity for joy, but she had learned to feel that it was somehow indecent to express it. He supposed it was growing up in Manchester, with the grey skyscrapers, grey cloud and grey faces. He supposed, too, that it might have had something to do with him telling her not to behave ‘like a squealing Hufflepuff’ all the time, but she had no idea, because he’d never been able to tell her, and now he probably never would, that it was beautiful, incredible, unthinkable, adorable that she had lived all these years as a ‘mudblood’ in the magical world and she could still melt with rapture when she discovered a new charm or a book on healing magic.

“Well?” Lily prompted. “Are you going to say something? If it’s ‘get lost, mud blood’, I have to warn you, I put the Selective Verbalization Charm on every member of Slytherin house - it was quite a complicated piece of magic, actually - so I’d be more creative in my abuse, if I were you.”  

Snape just looked at her. The surge of pleasure he’d felt at the sight of her seemed to have short-circuited his brain. Her skin was glowing - and, in the half-light of the dungeon, it was luminous - a tender pink, like apple blossom.

Too impatient to worry about making sense, and too nervous to look at her, he blurted out:  

“Lily, I’m so sorry - ,”

“No, I’m sorry,” she interrupted.  

But Snape wouldn’t be deterred. “You know I didn’t hit you with that cauldron,” he stammered, “- it was Bella, she - ,”

“I know,” Lily said. “She let it slip when she was threatening me tonight.”

Snape would ordinarily have questioned her about this, but right now his heart was over-brimming with apologies, and he wanted to get them all out of the way before she came to her senses and started ignoring him again. “And thing - the thing I called you…” he murmured.

“Very smart,” Lily murmured playfully. “I wouldn’t want you to be rushed to the Hospital Wing right now, not when I’ve finally got you alone.”

Had Severus been listening properly, he might have thought this an odd thing to say, but he was dazed with happiness and relief, and carried away by the momentum of the apologies he’d been silently, hopelessly, repeatedly rehearsing for six months.  

“I didn’t mean it,” he said. “You know I didn’t mean it. You know I think you’re - ,” Snape paused breathlessly - he was stuck at the same impasse as before, but he was feeling much more desperate this time.

Lily came to his rescue. “I didn’t think you meant it,” she said soothingly, holding his eyes with hers. And Snape was almost melting with gratitude and love - he could feel his eyes prickling alarmingly. He looked down at the floor and, euphoric and uncomfortable, he mumbled. “I was angry. It was that Potter -,” but even Potter’s hated name couldn’t be pronounced with its usual venom - in fact, he could hardly remember what it was that Potter had done to get so hated, because Lily was smiling at him, the way she used to.    

She pressed a finger to his lips. Her face was so close to his that he could see nothing but those intense, evergreen eyes.

“I’ve missed you,” she murmured.

Snape just smiled stupidly - he was too happy to even berate himself for it.

Suddenly, she was undoing his tie, laughing and clumsy with eagerness, and pressing her hot lips to his, and planting kisses all over his face and neck - kisses that seared through every nerve in his body and made him shudder with bliss. For a moment, Snape was too shocked to respond. He let her throw her arms around him, and suffered her passionate kisses, as though she were some kind of affectionate aunt. Then the reality of his situation dawned on him and, with it, a spreading sense of greed. He clasped her to him, kissing her hot face, tasting her skin, wanting to press her into his heart, so that there would always be a Lily-shaped impression in it, wherever he went.  

“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” Lily said, laughing.     

Snape thought of telling her that he couldn’t believe it, either, but he couldn’t assemble the words. Gradually, however, as he tried to catch his breath, and screwed up his entire body against the fierce, raging bliss that was trying to find expression, and that would make him say stupid, incoherent things that he didn’t want to inflict on her just now, doubts began to occur to him, as they always did on the few occasions when happiness had seemed likely to overcome him. Snape didn’t believe he deserved to be happy and, because he didn’t believe it, nobody else believed it either.   

This wasn’t like Lily. Her skin underneath her school shirt was hot, and her eyes were over-bright, as though with fever.  

Clinging to his last lingering shreds of resistance, Snape pulled away from her. He saw her pretty laughter falter. Half relenting, he pulled her back towards him and touched a curl of her red hair. This was all he had left. He could already feel rationality draining out of him, like sands out of an hourglass, and he didn’t know how to say what he knew he had to say.

“Lily,” he breathed, “you- you’re OK, aren’t you?”

“Never better,” she said, smiling. Her cheeks were glowing coral pink and her skin was hot to the touch. She did look feverish, but this only made her beauty more brilliant. Snape tried to look away from those blazing green eyes, and said:

“Because you seem… different.”

Lily’s started kissing him impatiently, but he pulled her back. Now there were only a few grains left in the hourglass, and he had to be sure that this was real and she was alright, so he blurted out. “It’s just… I wouldn’t want to… you know… take advantage.”

“Really? I thought you were a Slytherin.”

“I am, but…”

“I feel fine. Really.”    

The next time her lips touched his, blissful oblivion gripped Snape - he forgot everything: the only thing he seemed to remember was her name, so he said it eight or nine times until she laughed and told him she knew who she was, now more than ever.

“You’re amazing,” he mumbled, burying his face in her ruby-red hair, relishing the delicious ginger-bread smell of her shampoo and wondering vaguely at the curls. Lily’s hair never curled like this.     

And her skin was hot and pink, and she had a fever…

Realization shuddered through him like an electric shock. Cold, prickling horror coursed through every vein. “You’ve taken the Rosura,” he muttered, in a kind of trance of pain.

“I know,” she said, with a cheerful shrug. “I recognize the symptoms: pink skin, curly hair, insatiable thirst for men. My hormones may be going crazy, Severus, but there’s nothing wrong with my mind.”

Severus withdrew from her, dizzy with horror, and turned to stare at the dripping dungeon walls. He felt grief-stricken, humiliated - he’d been tricked into revealing his feelings under false pretences. Burning self-hatred rose in his throat - he’d been so stupid, so stupid, to believe she felt the same way. He’d been so desperate to speak to her, after all these months of separation, he hadn‘t realized how uncharacteristically she’d been behaving.

Except that it wasn’t uncharacteristic, really, for Lily to be joyful, tender-hearted and shy. Rosura usually turned women into predatory monsters like Bellatrix.

“Were you going to tell me?” he asked in a hollow voice.

Lily bit her lip. “I thought it might complicate things.”  

Snape didn’t respond. He continued to stare at the wall. Wave after wave of miserable realization was crashing over him - horrible possibilities kept occurring to him. When the potion wore off - and it would be within a matter of hours: Rosura’s symptoms were intense but short-lived - she’d know everything. He wasn’t worried that she’d laugh at him - in his darkest paranoid fantasies, Snape had never imagined that she would laugh at him, because she was too kind. But her kindness was immeasurably worse: she’d pity him; the very idea made his skin crawl. He couldn’t bear the thought of her pitying him. He’d rather die than know she pitied him.  

And then humiliation gave way to aching sadness. He had never been so close to happiness, and now he was worse off than where he’d started. They could never be friends again.

“Does it matter?” she asked.

Does it matter?”

“I mean,” Lily added, in a small voice, “don’t you want me?”

Snape turned to look at her. Her voice took a while to reach him, as though she was whispering to him from the opposite side of a great chasm. “It’s just… you’re going to be so mad at me when the potion wears off,” he murmured.  

“I know,” Lily shrugged with cheerful understanding. “You can have me, guaranteed, now, and never again, or possibly someday, and maybe forever. It’s a tough choice. Especially for a Slytherin.”

“Yeah…”

“You know, magic is never completely arbitrary,” she said, in that same patient, quizzical tone, as though they were simply reasoning out a problem in class. “Sometimes potions show you who a person really is, what they‘re really thinking. Admittedly, you can’t believe a word I say right now, but you can’t argue with the fact that I came here, knowing you’d be here - I mean, I kissed two Hufflepuff boys on the way, because Rosura is a very powerful potion, but I didn’t stay with them. I came to find you. ”   

Snape nodded, only half hearing her. The bit about the Hufflepuff boys made it through his confusion, and he wished it hadn’t.

He couldn’t, he couldn’t, take advantage of Lily, could he? She was Lily.

But he never got to choose, because it was at that point that a scream tore the glittering darkness like a knife, and Snape realized that Malfoy was loose in the castle and Narcissa hadn’t taken the Rosura.

Calmly, as though commenting on the weather, he said: “I think Narcissa’s going to die.”

Lily just looked at him. She reached her hand out to touch his face, and then drew it back again. There seemed to be a terrible struggle going on behind those glittering, green eyes.

Suddenly, she looked up at him - her expression one of steely resolution - and said. “We’d better go help her, then, hadn’t we?”

Snape stared at her. “Even if it means you don’t get to have me?”

“I’ll live,” she said, in a voice that was both sarcastic and mournful. “Narcissa won’t, if we don’t do something now.”

Snape continued to look at her. The intense emotions of the past few minutes must have made him delirious, because a smile was creeping across his face. “You’re amazing,” he said.

“You said that already.”

“I wasn’t in possession of all the facts, then,” he told her, grinning through the haze of pain.
Following on from Rosura, Part Two. A very romantic chapter, as a concession to my desperate wish for these two characters to be happy. Don't worry, I'm still canon, (I think!) I'm just seeing how far I can stretch the canon. Everything will be back to tragic normality in a few chapters' time!
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:iconveronika-art:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Edited Apr 26, 2015
:heart: Thank you for this :heart:  “You’re amazing!!"
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:iconanouk-lisole:
Anouk-Lisole Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2011
No! No tragic normality! I can't take it! I must've torn half the hair out of my head! My face has claw marks on it! It was so wonderful and so awful! And I hate/love you!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011
:hug: Don't worry, I was much more fixed on a canon ending at the beginning of the story than I am now! I totally started out with the idea of making everything fit in with the events of J.K. Rowling's books, but the characters sort of wandered...

Of course, normality is always tragic for our poor dear Sev! :sniff:
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:iconjoshuadonovan:
JoshuaDonovan Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2010
Ohhh, i can't stop reading! Not fair! ohhhhh, i love it! i love it!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2010
Yay! :w00t: Thank you, I'm so glad you're enjoying the story! It's rather long, but I've completely fallen in love with the characters! :heart: :blushes:
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:iconjoshuadonovan:
JoshuaDonovan Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2010
Oh i love it, i'm so in love with Snape, with Lucius! Oh, you're really awesome! :heart: :la:
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2010
:tighthug: :w00t: :hug:
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner May 6, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
As northangel127 has already said, you do a good job of rendering Lily human. I've seen the "saint Lily" characterization so many times in other fics. To me, rendering Lily pure and saintly is just as bad as rendering Severus evil. It just completely flattens her into a figure in a melodrama.
That's not to say that Snape might not turn her into this in his own mind, but when reading from a more objective point of view, I much prefer a Lily with a few flaws.
Great chapter. :D
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner May 6, 2010
Yes, saintly Lily would be no fun! Like Sev, I always secretly enjoy her malicious moments! :)
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:iconmalfoyfanatic:
MalfoyFanatic Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
woooow, Severus and Lily are so cute! I know it would have destroied alle the plot, but why on earth didn't JKR made them marry or at least beeing a couple (the canon way, I mean)? At least you do... And, the witch is going to die! Hopefully Luciues gets her :P
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2008
I wish they had got together too - James Potter sounds like such a creep, he definitely doesn't deserve Lily! And Severus loves her so much. Well, at least he's had five minutes of happiness here. :)
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:iconmalfoyfanatic:
MalfoyFanatic Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
If there were guys like them at my school (and to be honest there are, kind of), I would really prefer the Severus-like one. I would come to the terms with the greasy hair, if he just has Snapes humour! :D
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2008
Yeah, me too. Greasy hair is a small price to pay for his dry, sarcastic jokes!
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, this was just simiply fantastic. Can I tell you how much I loved both Lily and Severus in this chapter! You are so talented. I hardly read fanfiction because so little of it is any good, but this story is really some of the best stuff I've read in a long time.

Favorite part:

Calmly, as though commenting on the weather, he said: “I think Narcissa’s going to die.”

Lily just looked at him. She reached her hand out to touch his face, and then drew it back again. There seemed to be a terrible struggle going on behind those glittering, green eyes.

Suddenly, she looked up at him - her expression one of steely resolution - and said. “We’d better go help her, then, hadn’t we?”

Snape stared at her. “Even if it means you don’t get to have me?”

“I’ll live,” she said, in a voice that was both sarcastic and mournful. “Narcissa won’t, if we don’t do something now.”

Snape continued to look at her. The intense emotions of the past few minutes must have made him delirious, because a smile was creeping across his face. “You’re amazing,” he said.

“You said that already.”

“I wasn’t in possession of all the facts, then,” he told her, grinning through the haze of pain.


These two are obviously already two of my favorite characters in the world, but after that moment I got a whole new level of respect. I often thought of how, if they had not parted ways when they did, how very much they could have accomplished together, how very much they could have changed the wizarding world for the better.

Keep writing. I can't wait for more!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2008
Yay! I'm so glad you liked it, I haven't really written anything like this before, was not sure how it would turn out! I didn't want to make out that Snape wouldn't consider taking advantage of Lily, because he is a man, after all! And he kind of thought he had lost all hope of being with her anyway. I agree that they could have accomplished a great deal together, both being very clever and creative (and Lily could have dealt with the public side of things, because Snape isn't great with people!)
Thank you so much for your comments, you've really given me confidence to try writing new kinds of things, and I'm very grateful :hug:
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
What I liked here is that, as you said, Severus is a man... Well actually, a teenage boy, which is even worse in these sort of matters, but he does stop himself. It hurts him more to think of taking advantage of her, to think that she might be with him against her will and might regret it later. He has always struck me as someone who just wanted to be loved for who he really was and to be loved unconditionally. Any other kind of love wouldn't really be satisfying. He might drown himself in momentary pleasure in an attempt to forget some great pain, but it wouldn't be about love, and it would never, ever be with Lily.

I loved that Lily had the strength to overcome the potion's influence, that she had that kind of strength, and again I think we see her healer's heart outweighing her own personal desires here. She is willing to deny herself the screaming needs of her own body (and her heart because we both know she really loves Severus) just to save the life of a girl who has done nothing but treat her like crap. That's pretty admirable in my books.

It could have come across as the old "Saint Lily" stereotype that we see so much in fan fiction and which I hate, but under the influence of your skilled pen it came across very believable and Lily still kept her humanity and didn't become some sort of archetype or icon.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2008
I love your insights into these characters! Yes, I think Snape would indulge in momentary pleasure to forget his pain. That's something I've been very afraid of writing because, for some weird reason, I feel kind of jealous on Lily's behalf! I've written about Snape's attraction to Narcissa, but I'm dreading having to write any kind of fulfilment of the attraction! (As for Bella, I'm fairly sure Snape would run a mile if she offered herself to him - I mean, I know he's a teenage boy but she is frightening!)
Yes, Lily was very strong. I'm not sure I would have been as resolute in her place. ;)
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I think that the whole Snape/Narcissa dynamic is fascinating. There are so many reasons they and so many reasons they wouldn't. It's something I love, but I have always trod around very delicately. And I agree about Bellatrix. I think she rather turns his stomach actually. His soul is too soft at its core to ever find someone like Bella the least bit appealing.

And I agree with you about Lily. I am almost certain I could not have been as strong. ;-)
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