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This story is set during the events of The Order of the Phoenix, but in a universe where Lily Potter managed to survive Voldemort’s attack on her family. Severus Snape, Lily Potter, Dolores Umbridge, Voldemort, and my eternal gratitude, belong to J. K. Rowling

Lily was crying when she heard the knock at her office door. It was Snape’s knock. She knew, because it was as curt and impatient as his sentences. It was one knock away from barging in.

There was an urgency to everything he did these days. But it wasn’t an urgency that made him nervous. He just gave off a feeling of rigidly controlled, focused energy. Those curt, clipped sentences; those measured footsteps; the way he swept round corners in his billowing black robes; even the way he curled his lip with contempt and told the students not to slouch – everything had a point to it, suddenly. And the point was no longer to make everybody else suffer.

She sniffed and tried to tidy herself up a bit, before remembering that Snape noticed everything, and would be unlikely to miss swollen eyes and red cheeks, even if he was kind enough not to mention them. Still, she tried to put off the moment when he would notice them by holding a book in front of her face, with rather shaky hands.    

She drew a slow, shuddering breath and, keeping her voice determinedly steady, asked him to come in.

“What’s wrong?” he said, before he’d even had time to shut the door.

Lily peered over the top of the book in exasperation. It appeared her emotions were so unruly that Severus Snape could sense them through a wall.

“Nothing,” she said, lowering the book in front of her face again.

“Oh, yes, I remember,” said Snape gently. “I’m supposed to guess, aren’t I?” He walked around the desk and hooked a finger under her chin, lifting it gently, until her tear-streaked face was glaring up at him.

Then he sighed deeply. “And what has he done this time?” he murmured.

She pulled away from him defensively. Even this level of Potter-criticism – Snape’s mildest level – was too much for her.

“He hasn’t done anything,” she protested. “It’s h-her!”

He guessed at once who she was talking about. Her voice only got that spiteful when she was talking about one person.

To begin with, she’d tried to find things to like about Dolores Umbridge. She had thought, from the ugly ornamental plates that hung on the walls of her office, that she liked cats. As it turned out, she just liked soul-crushingly shallow decorations. Everything about Dolores Umbridge was ugly. It should have come as a surprise to nobody that she delighted in ugly things. The bow that squatted on top of her hair, the lace doilies, the fluffy pink cardigan – they were not just there to make her seem unthreatening. She actively liked them.

She thought pink was pretty. She thought frills were elegant. She thought kittens were “just darling”. She collected china ornaments of sheepish-looking dogs. She hung lace curtains over the castle’s slit-like windows. She made Professor Sprout cover up the hairy stalks on her Venomous Tentacula, saying that they were “too indecent” for the students to see.

Professor Sprout had blushed and muttered something about the plant being very rare.

“It had better be, my dear,” said Umbridge sweetly, making a note on her clipboard. She paused to take in the Herbology teacher’s dirty fingernails and soil-smudged cheeks. “Oh, and do have a wash before the next class, won’t you? You’ll feel so much better for it.”

Lily dragged her thoughts wretchedly back to the present. “In detentions…” she said slowly, hoping that the sentence wouldn’t actually make her sick, “she’s been using those h-horrible quills… the ones that make you write with your own blood. He’s got a scar an inch deep!”

She watched Snape’s blurry outline through her tears. If the tiniest suggestion of a smile had flickered across his face, she would have hated him forever. Thankfully, he was frowning – although perhaps that was such a habit by now that his features naturally fell into that position.

Anger and solitude had carved that perpetual frown into his face, but it was fainter than it had been. Nothing could smooth out the lines completely – nothing could take away what he’d been through – but the tension in his muscles, even if it hadn’t loosened, appeared to be causing him less pain. His hunched shoulders had dropped down. His eyes didn’t burn into you anymore; they drank you up. It was as though there was finally something in the world he didn’t have to set himself against.

He had settled. And, if that angry energy shone out of him – because it still did from time to time – it made him seem strong, like a suit of hellish armour. It made her feel as though it was all going to be used to protect her.  

Sometimes, she still got the impression that he was trying to wrestle back demons. Sometimes, his black eyes, when he turned them towards her, would go from hungry and bottomless to hard and opaque. And she would try to guess what it was he was thinking about. Usually, it happened when her dead husband was mentioned.  

“And I can’t tell Dumbledore,” she went on miserably, looking away from those thirsty black eyes. “He’ll be so angry – I don’t know what he’ll do. And he can’t afford to get on the wrong side of Umbridge right now—”

“Alright,” said Snape crisply. “Don’t cry. I’ll take care of it.”

Lily stared at him, nonplussed. “Severus…” she started tentatively, “just to be clear… I don’t actually want her killed.”

He raised his eyebrows on his way to the door. “You don’t think much of me, do you?” he asked, “either morally or intellectually?”

“Oh, that’s not true!” she protested. “I think an awful lot of you intellectually!”

Snape’s lips almost twitched into a smile, but he straightened them with consummate skill.

“Just leave it to me,” he said.  

“Severus,” she called out, before he could shut the door. “Dumbledore doesn’t know, does he? About the quills?” She felt mean for even asking the question – she would trust Dumbledore with her life. But her son’s life was something different.

Snape barely hesitated. “Of course he doesn’t,” he said, and closed the door with a snap.   

They had a kind of understanding. They would never be friends if they talked about politics, or Potter, so they kept their conversations fiercely and happily irrelevant. Snape had vowed from the very beginning that he wouldn’t inflict his company upon her. He watched her, with miserable fascination, from over the top of a book, while she chattered away to those shouting, scrambling Gryffindor idiots.  

And then, for reasons he still wasn’t able to fathom, she had sought him out. She asked him questions about Potions. They completed the Prophet’s crossword together. They played wizard’s chess. Not a word was spoken about the war, or about Potter. This was their time to rest and heal and forget.

He still didn’t know what she’d wanted when she sought him out. A challenge for her empathy? A change from the ceaseless wittering about Quidditch? Had she wanted to talk to someone who could match her own intelligence for once? Or had she just sensed that he needed her?

Lily could pull life out of anything. All she had to do was listen. She didn’t breathe life into you; she didn’t pass electricity through you. She just called it forth; she just created a silence that nourished you – in the same way that Voldemort filled the world with deafening screams, and drove you back into your head.

There was space for you in that silence. You could expand into it. You could be yourself. When she listened, you felt as though you were worth listening to.

She made space for him, even in that claustrophobic castle. She loosened the strangling tendrils of all his duties and responsibilities – of dealing with moronic students and spying on the Dark Lord. He didn’t feel as though that was his job anymore; it was just his hobby. The real work – and it involved just as much self-discipline and concentration – was trying to get on with Lily.

He was out of practice. Solitude was a hard habit to break. And, as for saying tactful things that a girl might want to hear, he had given up on the usefulness of learning any such skill years ago.  

But she didn’t seem to need conversation. She would sip golden-coloured jasmine tea and say things to him that a student would have got six months’ worth of detentions for. And, when he was frowning and withdrawn, she would amuse herself by scanning the spines of the books on his book-case, pulling certain volumes down and leafing through them as though he wasn’t there. She would say tantalizingly uninformed things about potions, until he was compelled to come out of his sulk to correct her.

For some reason, he couldn’t throw her out, however angry or antisocial he was feeling. At times, he could see James Potter’s handprints all over her skin, like black bruises, but, even with jealousy roaring in his ears as though he was underwater, he didn’t want her to go. He wanted to be by himself; he wanted to scowl and sulk and snap; he wanted to talk to people who could be relied upon never to mention the word “Potter”, but he couldn’t stand to let her out of his sight. He wanted to hear her string of impertinent questions and playful jokes.

She was still Lily. Years of misfortune hadn’t crushed her spirit. When he’d been complaining about the incurable arrogance of her son, she had just raised her eyebrows and said, with a completely straight face:

“You know, there’s been a terrible miscommunication between you two.”

That was it. It was the closest Snape had come to laughing in the past fifteen years. The fact that she could describe the biggest feud of his life – the bane of his existence – as a “miscommunication” was so very Lily. It was nobody’s fault. They had just misunderstood each other. It was unfortunate, but it could all be worked out. And the funny thing was, she made the madness so beautiful that he wanted it to be true. For a moment, it seemed plausible that the grinning, swaggering, attention-seeking Potter boy was simply modest and misunderstood. That was the effect her optimism had on people.

Snape had just replied with the words. “You know, I’ve never met anybody like you before.”

“Even when you met me the first time?” she asked playfully.

“Perhaps not even then.”  

The Ministry had decided to hold their Christmas party at Hogwarts. It was practically an extension of Ministry property now, although nobody actually said so. They didn’t ask Dumbledore’s permission – Umbridge had simply announced one evening in the staff room that the party would be held in the Great Hall – and then added, as though she was doing everyone a tremendous favour, that they were all invited to attend.

Lily got ready with Professor Sprout, whose confidence needed some bolstering after all Umbridge’s remarks about her standards of cleanliness. They styled each other’s hair. Lily managed to straighten out the Herbology teacher’s perpetual curls using Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion, and Professor Sprout plaited sprigs of ivy and jasmine into Lily’s long red hair. She also selected a green silk halter-neck dress for Lily to wear – partly because Professor Sprout approved of any kind of greenery, and partly because they both agreed the low cut of the dress would annoy Professor Umbridge.  

Severus was dressed in his finest too – again with that indefinable look of haste and hunger. He was waiting for her at the bottom of the marble staircase, wearing sweeping black dress-robes and watching the assembled Ministers with nauseated interest. That expression always made her giggle. It occurred when something happened to make him suspect the world wasn’t as full of morons as he’d initially thought. It was as though he’d heard an intelligent comment from a piece of mould, and was staring at it with incredulous disbelief.

It had never happened when she’d first come to the castle. Back then, he’d looked exactly the way someone from hell would have looked. He had crackled with a furious energy that wouldn’t allow him to stand still. It had been blazing out of his eyes like flames from an open furnace. It had tensed all his muscles, until he looked like a grimacing statue, carved from stone. But he had always tried to keep it on the inside. He breathed hard through his nose, as though everything would have come spilling out if he opened his mouth. He was animated by demons, but they weren’t going to make him do anything foolish. Every step he took was rigidly controlled.

But now he was, if not calm, at least settled. Could she take credit for it? Probably not. He always found the air easier to breathe when the students had gone home for the holidays. And the darkness came back, the sharp, resentful lines on his face sharpened, whenever he was looking at Harry or Remus or Sirius.

They spent most of the evening watching the assembled crowds. They counted how long it took Umbridge, in any conversation with Lily, to come out with the word “Muggle-born”. It was about ten seconds, and it was always accompanied by a wincing smile, as though she was pointing out a tiny mistake in an otherwise very promising piece of homework.   

And then, when they were off-duty – when they had smiled at enough important people (or, in Snape’s case, refrained from scowling at them) – they went back to his office in the dungeons. He offered her some of his priceless elf-made wine, but probably just to annoy her, because he knew she refused anything made by house-elves on principle. The fact that she did this, despite adoring elf-made wine, always seemed to amuse him.   

Lily didn’t really feel like celebrating anyway. She couldn’t help dwelling on the memory of Harry’s scars. She stared at the fireplace in the grate morosely.  

“Poor Harry,” she murmured, twisting a lock of jasmine-plaited hair around her finger. “Why does this kind of thing always happen to him?”

“Is that a rhetorical question,” said Snape, closing the wine-case with a snap, “or would you like me to tell you?”

“Tell me.”

He gave her a long, calculating look. “I think you’ll be angry.”

“As angry as I would be if you kept on teasing me like this?”

Again, he brought out that wary, slightly amused stare. “Very well,” he said. “It’s because he won’t be taught.”

Lily sighed heavily, but he held up a hand to stem the tide of protests. “I’m not saying it’s always a bad thing,” he added. “It obviously served him very well in his childhood. Your sister wasn’t able to persuade him that the world was full of idiots, for example – and she very nearly persuaded me. A thousand detentions have not been able to persuade him that he should refrain from speaking his mind at certain moments. A dozen near-death experiences have not been able to teach him to refrain from charging into a fight when he is quite clearly out-muscled. He won’t be taught. He has a fixed idea of what’s right and wrong, and he sticks to it. I believe that’s what you like in people.”  

Lily just shook her head wearily, so he continued:

“If it is, you shouldn’t be upset that it results in so much persecution. Even if you won’t accept the fact that he goes looking for it, you can’t deny the fact that he has been warned.”

“I don’t deny it!” she protested, her cheeks glowing with warmth. “But he’s taking a stand. He’s showing people that they don’t have to bow down to these maniacs. He’s setting an example.”

“And, in turn, Umbridge is making an example of him. He is showing the students how to rebel, and she is showing them what will happen if they do. The ones who were going to be scared will still be scared. The ones who were going to rebel will still rebel. It isn’t changing anything.”  

Lily sighed helplessly. Her eyes were suddenly very large and round. In a gentler voice, he added: “I told you you’d be angry.”

“But he’s only fifteen,” she muttered, her shoulders slumped with defeat. “He shouldn’t have to face all this at fifteen.”

Snape looked as though he was going to say something, but clearly decided against it. Instead, he took a sip of wine and frowned into the flickering shadows.  

“He doesn’t think he’s in the wrong,” he offered at last, grimacing with the difficulty of finding something to say about Potter which was both comforting and true. “That’s the most important thing.”

Lily laughed helplessly. He was trying to comfort her with something he’d frequently criticized about Harry. Clearly, there was only so far he was willing to go, even for her. He would risk his life for Harry – but he could do that with absolute contempt. He could be a martyr to a teenage boy’s stupidity. It was the kind of exasperated fate he would have secretly enjoyed. But praising Harry would have rocked the foundations of his world.   

And yet, he was trying. He didn’t want her to be upset, even at Harry Potter’s expense. That was… sweet. Being restrained was sort of better than being nice, if you thought about it. Nice people didn’t have to bite back their anger; they didn’t have any anger to bite back. And they didn’t shudder with exasperation at stupidity, so when they came to the stupid person’s rescue, it was natural; it was easy. It hadn’t taken any effort.

He was trying. She repeated that to herself far more often than she would have liked to admit.

“Let him simmer for a while,” said Snape, obviously relieved by her laughter.  “He’ll calm down.”

“You think everyone is a potion ingredient, don’t you?” she asked petulantly.

“Certainly,” he said, with a half-smile. “Some are volatile. Some react badly with other ingredients. And some need to be cut up into tiny pieces.”

Lily raised her eyebrows coolly.  

“That was a joke,” he added. And then, evidently unable to resist, he muttered. “Cutting Potter up into tiny pieces would only increase the mess he already has a tendency to cause.”

She laughed again, shaking her head. “You’re hopeless. If you’d married me, we would have argued all the time.”  

“What a lucky escape I must have had,” said Snape frostily.  

Lily flinched. The tail-end of that sentence whipped at her. And she couldn’t suppress the blushing impulse to apologize for his lucky escape. “I’m sorry,” she said suddenly. “You know – that you were unhappy.”

Snape raised his eyebrows. “That’s putting it very mildly,” he said.  

“But, does it follow that you would have been any happier with me?” she argued, trying to make it sound as they were just discussing a problem in class. “You would have had a wife you loved, but all your friends would have disowned you. And I would have stood in the way of your career—”

“You mean the highly-paid, distinguished career I have at the moment?” he asked, with biting sarcasm. “You mean the friends I’ve been deceiving for fifteen years?”

Lily ignored that. “I just think you would have learned to resent me, after a while.”

“If I couldn’t resent you when you married James Potter, I think you’re safe,” he snapped.

Lily was silent. He never mentioned her dead husband, or the son who so much resembled him, if he could help it. His mouth was twisted with bitterness, as though the name had left an unpleasant after-taste. And his eyes were hard again; black iron rather than a black hole.

“It won’t be long now,” he added, glancing at the door.

“What exactly are we waiting around for?” she asked sheepishly.

“Your Christmas present.”

Lily knew better than to question him. Instead, she picked up a book from his desk and let the silence enfold them again. It was a comfortable silence. Occasionally, she glanced up and saw him watching her, but he would always look away again with split-second haste. Still, the sight of her eventually seemed to soften his frown-lines. His eyes gained depth again. Yes, they were just like black holes, she thought, as he hastily turned them away from her; they sucked in light. They couldn’t get enough of it. No light ever came out of him – he metabolized it all into that dark energy he was constantly having to wrestle back – but he was voraciously hungry for it all the same.

And, when she thought about how exquisitely he controlled those demons, she realized she loved him.  It wasn’t the same as loving somebody pure. He wasn’t soft-hearted or innocent or naturally inclined to be happy. And there had been all that undertow before he’d been bullied, beaten and blighted by grief. But he was trying.

All that effort, all that strength, turned her knees to jelly. Anyone could turn from a man into a monster, but it took grit to go the other way.

If a few sarcastic comments about her son was the price of Severus’s soul, then she could pay it. She wasn’t as impulsive, now, as she had been when they were young.

The office door banged open, making her jump. Umbridge was standing on the threshold, trembling with anger. Lily’s heart – which had risen into her throat, and was wriggling there as though she’d swallowed a tree-frog – sank.

“What’s the matter, Professor?” Severus asked calmly.

This!” she shouted, waving a hand under his hooked nose. “This is the matter! Dumbledore’s uncontrollable brats are the matter! This whole lawless, barbaric school is the matter!”  

There was a ringing silence. Into it, Severus dropped the gentle phrase: “Could you be more specific?”

Umbridge strode into the room and placed one hand, palm-downwards on his desk. She towered over him – in spirit, if not in stature, because she was barely taller than Severus even when he was sitting down. In her other hand she was holding a bunch of those hideous quills,  jet-black and extremely pointed.

“I’ve been using…” she stopped and noticed Lily, who gave her the sweetest smile she could muster. “I’ve been teaching the children using blood quills,” she resumed. “Treasured family heirlooms, as it happens.”

Severus raised his eyebrows politely, but said nothing.

“And the high-spirited little things,” she went on, through clenched teeth, “have somehow managed to reprogram the quills so that, regardless of who is holding them, they write on me.”

She waved the back of her hand under Severus’s nose again. This time, Lily could see the red-raw outline of the words “I must not tell lies”.

“Fascinating,” said Severus lightly. “I sympathize, Professor. I’ve frequently felt the urge to tattoo my more thick-headed students with basic potion-making precepts. But never moral advice. It always seemed to be too late for that.”

“How did they do it?” she screeched impatiently. “They’re kept in a locked cabinet! An elaborately locked cabinet!”

“I regret to say that no lock is proof against an inquisitive teenager,” said Severus mildly. “Especially not the self-satisfied ones we have in this school.” He took the bunch of quills from out of her hand and peered at them – subjecting them to exactly the same calm, expectant, and vaguely nauseated look he would have used on misbehaving Gryffindors.

“The quills work by touch-recognition,” he explained. “They write with the blood of whoever is holding the handle. I believe the handles of these quills have been covered with a single layer of your skin-cells. It would be invisible to the naked eye, but it would have the effect of tricking the quill into believing that you were the one holding it.”

Umbridge looked scandalized. “My skin cells?” she breathed. “But how did they—”

“Best guess,” Severus interrupted, clearly enjoying himself now, “is an Epithelial Charm. It’s used in healing magic for the re-growing of skin. The intruder would only need a sample of your cells. One of your hairs would have done it. And then the charm can spin these cells into any configuration of tissue you desire. It’s quite exceptionally complicated, I believe.”    

“It’s Potter!” she breathed furiously.

Severus’s eyebrows rose, if possible, even higher. “You think Potter would be capable of such advanced magic?” he asked patiently, as though dealing with a very dense student. “A fifteen-year-old? And not the brightest fifteen-year-old in the school, by anyone’s estimation.”

“Who knows what he’s capable of?” she asked stupidly.

“With respect, Professor, I do.” He shot a quick glance at Lily, and she could see that his black eyes were sparkling with enjoyment. “He has, in any case, been away for the Christmas holidays for the past two weeks. If you have only noticed the sabotage now – and I’m given to understand that you hold over five detentions a day – then it seems reasonable to assume the act was committed recently.”

“He could have come back,” she muttered. “The wretched boy gets everywhere.” She shot Lily a fake, simpering smile and added: “No discredit to you, my dear. I’m sure it isn’t your fault the boy is so impossible to control.”  

“Oh, yes, it is,” said Lily solemnly.

“It must have been someone extremely well-qualified,” Severus interrupted firmly. “But that may not help us to narrow it down. We’ve had half the country’s most distinguished witches and wizards in the castle tonight. It may have been a political opponent or a disgruntled parent.”

Umbridge gasped. Her mean, sunken eyes lit up. “I saw Madam Bones in the corridor outside my office tonight!” she exclaimed.

Severus raised his eyebrows again. “And would she have any reason to interfere with your teaching methods?”

“I…” Umbridge hesitated. “After a great deal of provocation, mind you – and to teach her a lesson that badly needed to be learned – may have used the quill on Susan Bones last week.”

Severus was tactfully silent.

“With full authorization of the Ministry, of course,” she added, glaring at him.

He inclined his head respectfully. “Of course.”

“I beg your pardon, Professor,” Lily began, with wide-eyed innocence. “But why can’t you just order some more quills?”  

Umbridge hesitated again. Her skin had turned slightly green. Severus answered for her. “I believe the Professor is deferring to the authority of the 1948 ban on Experimental Disciplinary Equipment,” he said lightly.  

“But surely,” said Lily, in astonishment, “Professor Umbridge would never have used the quills in the first place if they were banned by the Ministry.”

“Only their purchase is banned, not their use!” Umbridge snapped. “And I inherited mine from my great aunt. Everything is entirely legal and above-board.” She sniffed. “And I resent your insinuations.”

“I’m sure Professor Evans didn’t mean to insinuate anything,” said Severus, laying a delicate stress on the word “insinuate”.

The inheritance law was a pure-blood loophole. You could own all kinds of dangerous objects if you’d inherited them. If you inherited them, deadly poisons and virulent curses were a part of your culture. The law didn’t pry any further, as long as it was understood that these cultural artifacts were purely ornamental, and would not be used to disembowel anybody.

“This is clearly a plot against the Ministry,” Umbridge went on, with feverish enthusiasm. “It’s nothing short of an attack on the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister!”

“Yes, indeed,” said Severus, poker-faced. “You would be entirely justified in taking the case before the Wizengamot, if – and I’m sure this is just a formality – you were able to prove that you’d inherited the quills from your great aunt. It would finally silence all those impertinent members of the committee who’ve been suggesting that you are descended on both sides from Muggle greengrocers.”  

Umbridge snapped her head up in alarm. “Nobody has been suggesting that,” she quavered.  

Severus gave her a thin, civil smile. “I’m delighted to hear it,” he said.

Her righteous fury had deflated a little. “Well,” she muttered, looking lost. “I’ll give her one more chance to toe the line. Cornelius wouldn’t want disunity in his government.”

“You’re very forbearing, Professor,” Severus replied.

“The greater goal is to improve this school, after all, not fight amongst ourselves.”

“Very true.”  

Umbridge hovered for a while. She looked from Snape’s carefully expressionless face, to Lily’s mysteriously glowing cheeks, and then clearly decided that the pair of them were too suspicious to be confided in. She headed for the door, still pursing her lips with fury.

“By the way,” she added, pausing in the doorway and casting a haughty glance at Lily. “That is a most unsuitable dress.”

The office door slammed behind her. Lily waited, holding her breath, until the shadow under the door-frame had disappeared, and then she burst out laughing. It might have just been the way the fire-light caught his frown-lines, but she could have sworn Severus was smiling.

“Severus…” she said weakly. “That was amazing… you were brilliant.”

He looked away quickly. She wouldn’t have thought it possible, but perhaps he was embarrassed. He was breathing hard through his nose again, and his eyes were glittering in the firelight. She got the feeling he was still trying to wrestle back demons. Only, this time, she didn’t want him to.

He started to say something, but she never got to find out what. She didn’t give him time to say it. And he certainly couldn’t say anything afterwards.

She leaned across the desk and kissed him.
For =northangel27's Snapely Contest.
This chapter is not linked to the other stories in my gallery - it's just one of many AU fantasies that helped me recover from the trauma of reading The Deathly Hallows! ;)

Title: Scars
Rating: PG
Word Count: 4,978
Summary: An AU piece about adult Sev and Lily, since I've never written about them before. Much withering sarcasm and Umbridge-baiting!
Warnings: None.
Betaed By: *dronarron
Add a Comment:
polkadotpeony Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2011
OMG Is it even possible that I could respect you more as a writer?! This story just proves how amazing you are. How you are able to write Severus so convincingly as a teenager AND as an adult. It's astounding. He is the same but also so different and you do it perfectly. Here of course he reminds me so much of the Severus in the books. But also the teenage Severus in Sympathetic magic. It's seriously perfection. You've also done the same with Lily. You have clearly written her here as an adult who has been through a lot but who is still so much like she was when she was younger. LOVE IT. And you prove once again how their relationship works. How despite everything they still have this connection, a deep thread that ties them together so perfectly.
And oh my goodness the Umbridge bit was absolutely brilliant. I would have kissed him too.
Oh and all the things Lily thinks about Severus and how the fact that he is trying so hard, and how it's so much more admirable to someone who was a monster to go back to being good... that was all spot on. Every reason she was mentioning for loving him was my reason as well.
Sigh... I hope you never stop writing these two. I feel like they live on for me when you write them. :) And it makes me SO happy.
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011
:w00t: Yay! Thank you, dearie, you've cheered me up no end! (I have mixed feelings about this chapter, because some crazy loon said horrible things about it during the contest it was written for. As usual, I got my feelings out in a journal entry [link] but it's still kind of painful to think about this chapter, and that time in my life. Thankfully, my internet connection was broken at the time, so I couldn't dwell on it too much! ;))

Anyway, I'm really happy that you liked it! It was fun to write about Severus and Lily as adults (and I have such a clear mental image of that green silk dress! Dresses and dunderheads are good things to write about! :nod: :giggle:)
polkadotpeony Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2011
How could anyone say anything bad about your writing?! It's unthinkable. Your writing is the complete opposite of flat, it is so alive and dimensional. It's colorful and vibrant. And I'm pretty positive that Snape agrees with me. He is quite happy with the accuracy you have portrayed him. :)
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011
:giggle: I don't think he's happy with me at the moment, because he's hiding away and not letting me finish the next chapter (although maybe he's sulking because James Potter's in it too much! ;))
polkadotpeony Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011
Oh geez I know how that is. He can be quite stubborn when he wants to be. You just have to negotiate with him. Promise him lots of alone time with Lily in the future. With a big bed. ;)
Snevans95 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2011
That Umbridge baiting was quite possibly the most wonderful thing I've ever seen. And lilyhbp is wonderful for introducing your writing to me. Beautifully done!
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2011
Thank you so much! :hug: I'm really glad you liked this! (I really dislike Umbridge, so the Umbridge-baiting was fun to write! :giggle:) And I'm so happy to hear that lilyhbp suggested my writing to you - that was sweet of her! I hope you continue to like my writing (there's loads more, if you're interested - a whole one-hundred-and-something-chapter fic about Sev and Lily's school days! :faint: You can find the list of chapters in my journal here: [link]

Anyway, thanks again for your kind comments, I really appreciate it! :hug:
laventadorn Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2011
Even though I read this a long time after the book was over (obviously) it still helped me deal with it, too. :)

Also, that is the most Snapely Christmas present OF ALL TIME.
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2011
:giggle: I'd love a Christmas present like that from Snape (Umbridge is one of my least favourite characters EVER, and she never really gets her come-uppance in the books!)
CreativeLittle1 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2010
I have a feeling that all of your stories are going to end up on my favourites list...

This was an absolute pleasure to read.
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2010
:hug: :heart: :glomp: I never object to people faving my stories! ;) Thank you so much for your kind comments!
chiburaska Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2009
Oooohhhh, Beautiful! is there more? I love this! Is a shame I couldn't read it before. I Love it!
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2009
Thank you! :hug: I'm so glad you liked it! I don't know if there will be any more to this story, but it was fun writing about Snape as an adult (especially because he got to be very sarcastic about Harry! ;)) so I'll think about it! Thanks again for your kind words! :)
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009
Your work is featured in my journal!! Congratulations!! :trophy:
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009
Thank you so much, Lily! :hug: I really appreciate it! :heart:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2009
artisteri Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I thought that was really amazing. There is so much depth and so many complicated issues between the two of them, which I'm sure would be even worse had she survived the attack, and you managed to portray the two of them coping through it and growing up so beautifully and realistically.

I adore these two, and I didn't want it to end! XD It's brilliant, thanks for sharing!
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2009
:hug: Thank you, that really means a lot to me, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I love your paintings of Sev and Lily too. :heart: They're such fantastic characters, aren't they? I love writing about their relationship and their arguments! :)
artisteri Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh yes they're fantastic characters! I never get tired of the two of them (and James, silly adolescent James :P)
Thanks for the fav too :) I will definitely read more of your lovely work! (And if you need something HP related illustrated, just ask and I'd be more than happy to)~
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 2, 2009
:omg: That would be fantastic! I love the idea of having my story illustrated (am so bad at drawing myself, it's really frustrating!) So, if you have the time, and if you feel you want to, then that would be amazing!
James makes me laugh too, but I find it hard to write from his view-point, because I still haven't quite forgiven him for being so mean to Sev! ;)
artisteri Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Haha I know what you mean, evil James XD I tried to write a long story myself about how he changed and how Lily's perception of him changed... it's challenging and fun though I'm not as good a writer as yourself XD
But I shall definitely catch up with your story, though it might take me a little while, and I hope to sketch out some scenes (if you have anything specific let me know ;))
And thanks for the watch and fav!
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2009
You're most welcome! I've been really enjoying your art, it's so full of life and light and amazing colours. :heart:
And, if you ever fancy posting your fan-fiction, I'd love to read it. Anything that could help me understand James Potter would be a very good thing! :)
lilynoelle Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2009  Student General Artist
There had better be more! :D I loved so many things about this that it would be pointless to list them all. I adored the lines about Lily drawing life out. And this:
"He had settled. And, if that angry energy shone out of him – because it still did from time to time – it made him seem strong, like a suit of hellish armour. It made her feel as though it was all going to be used to protect her."

Beautiful. As usual, you've captured Lily's very essence. Great work.
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2009
:dance: :heart: Thank you so much, that really means a lot to me, especially coming from someone who understands Lily so wonderfully herself! I liked writing the two of them as adults, because I felt as though they would be less inclined to argue now that they're more mature - and now that they've known what it's like to live without each other! I don't know if there will be a continuation, but I'll certainly give it some thought. Thanks again! :hug:
lilynoelle Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2009  Student General Artist
:hug: :heart: I think Lily is a wonderfully layered character, and I love discovering new aspects of her, as I know you do, too. :) I agree: had Lily survived, her relationship with Severus would have been smoother and more mature. Oh, why JK Rowling, why?!?! lol Please do a continuation. I love where this is going. :heart:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2009
I know what you mean! I would have loved to see Sev and Lily get together in the HP books!
At the risk of being self-promoting, I have a whole chapter about the healing effects Lily has on people, which I think you might like if you liked this one. Of course, don't worry if you're busy, but here's a link to it just in case you'd like to read it. [link]
Thanks again for your comments, they really mean a lot to me! :hug:
lilynoelle Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2009  Student General Artist
I'd love to read it; in fact, I'd love to just read anything more of your writing - I need to find time out from school, homework, housework, etc., and relax with a nice pot of tea and some good S/L fanfics. :D :heart:
SnapeStar Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2009
Yup awesome. Extremely awesome. So awesome. Awesome. So Awesome.
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2009
:hug: Thank you so much, I'm really glad you liked it! :)
I FINALLY found the time in these hectic period to read this and I loved it very much - your adult Severus and Lily really, really touch me, and I must admit that I like this more mature (somewhat sadder and softer?) Lily better than the young one, probably because I feel she hurts him less (oh, the happy egoism of youth...)...
Fantastic! :thumbsup: I should adore to read more of this.
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2009
Thank you, that really means a lot to me! :hug: I thought (as older people) they would probably be more willing to compromise for each other (though it's difficult to imagine Sev giving up all the Potter-abuse! ;)) Sorry to hear your life has been hectic recently. Hope you find some time for relaxing soon (also, I hope 'relaxing' entails painting some more Severus fan-art! :giggle:)
Yes, the tiredness of old age... ;) How I feel it coming, too :D.
I have been merely travelling of late, and next week I have to leave again, this time for good old Ireland, then on to Sweden, but I sincerely HOPE to be able to get some more routine back into my life by mid-november; and to be able to draw/paint Severuses again (I still owe two kiribans, for instance... :ashamed:)
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2009
Am very envious - I'd love to go to Ireland! (And, really, I'm so near, I have no excuses, other than laziness, for not going!) I hope you have a lovely time there. :hug:
Well, I suppose that now is not the best period of year to travel to the British Isles anyway... ;) If I did not have to go for work as well I would probably have chosen Spring or early Autumn. But I do love Ireland, it is one of my favourite places in the wide, wide world ;). Have you ever been there?
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2009
No, I'm bad at travelling! :( I don't mind being in different places, I just don't like the process of getting there. And, somehow, I never seem to have enough money! I've been to Italy, France, Germany and Greece, but nowhere outside of Europe. That's why your photographs and paintings of your travels always make me happy, because they're glimpses of the world seen through the eyes of someone who likes the same things I do, but is not too lazy to travel! ;)
mybreathingselfagain Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2009
Interestingly enough, the process of travelling itself, that is, the way before reaching a destination (which so far had always been my favourite part) is tiring me out more and more, I noticed it a lot during my past two trips to Ireland and Sweden... I must be REALLY getting old :no:.
And as I have said before, it makes me glad to help creating a window to the world for you :hug:. Hope you are doing well and defying winter bravely ;).
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2009
I am defying winter bravely by staying indoors with a book! Perhaps that doesn't count as 'bravely'... ;)
I'm sorry to hear that the travelling has been tiring! I always feel that travelling is useful, if only for helping you appreciate the myriad comforts of home! :)
(1 Reply)
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mybreathingselfagain Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009
Hello?? She (*northangel27) needs to favour (and so she has done) EVERY single entry for the contest, otherwise how could she collect all the pieces together in a folder? Sometimes it does not hurt to think a little.
forgottencha0s Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2009
Maybe you should approach this differently if this is how you--or others--feel. Instead of directly bashing people, and even the contest entrants, the polite thing to do is note the individual holding the contest. Considering yourself a business person who has been in this industry for a while, one would have assumed you had the common sense to know the courteous way to go about it. It's also an eyebrow-raiser when someone goes to great lengths to create a new account just for this purpose, instead of approaching northangel directly. There's something suspicious in that alone.

There was no review at all of this piece--just a few smilies. For all you know, it's a mere thanks for joining, i'm glad you're supporting my contest by taking a part.
northangel27 Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Jerry, kindly direct any further opinions or comments you have on this matter to myself or to DA staff. It is completely unnecessary for you to post such a comment on the author's work, as she has personally done nothing wrong.
Nynaeve-3 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2009
Great story! You are as good with adult Snape and Lily as with young ones. Lily's thoughts about Snape reminded me of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis:

When a man who has been perverted
from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing, does some tiny
little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and
thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God's
eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a
friend... We see only the results which a man's choices make out of his raw
material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what
he has done with it.

Btw, if you need a beta, I suggest myself. I am good with canon details and have all HP books in electronic format.
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2009
Thank you so much, that really means a lot to me! :hug: I love the C.S. Lewis quote. That is exactly how I imagine Severus - as somebody struggling every minute against his instincts and his upbringing. And that's really heroic, in a kind of subtle, unspectacular Slytherin way! :)
It's very kind of you to offer to beta my work. I do sometimes have trouble with the canon details (as you've seen! ;)), so it would be good to have someone glance over some chapters before I post them. If I could send you any ones that I'm unsure about (because I'm usually OK with the spelling and punctuation), then that would be great!
Pantheryx Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2009
Squee! A story from you on adult Snape and Lily. Not that I don't love your writing of them as teenagers, but it was interesting to see how you handled their more mature characters. I love the attention you pay to all the details, and I thought the story was hilarious. Especially because I hate Umbridge.

Well done!
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2009
Thank you so much, I'm really glad you liked the story! :hug: I hate Umbridge too. I think she's even more evil than Voldemort in places!
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2009
It's a very intriguing and realistic interpretation of how their relationship would evolve. I loved the bit about the "lawless, barbaric school!" (It actually seems like something Snape might bellow to Dumbledore, in a moment of stress!)
The description of how Severus seems to envision Potter's fingerprints on her was chilling!
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2009
Thank you so much! :hug: (Apologies for the late reply, my internet has been broken!) I really liked the idea of Sev being obsessed by the physical traces James Potter has left on her. It's the kind of dark, neurotic thought Sev might have!
Vizen Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2009
... I won't tell too much because it's a Contest Entry and I'm supposed to be a judge there ( ...scaring, isn't it ? XD ). But let me tell you that I really enjoy reading how you managed to show the adult Snape this time. :worship:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2009
:dance: :hug: Thank you so much, I'm glad you liked it! I loved writing adult Snape (and specifically, adult Snape being sarcastic and making a fool of Umbridge! ;))
Melorik Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2009
*clap clap*

Well, what can I say.

Sev/Lily romance set in this time period, when they're adults, has to be my favorite setting to read stories about the pair.

It's nice to see that you can write them older and more mature, just as well as you can write them younger.

It's interesting because in the last comment you mentioned your doubt about whether the two could make each other happy. Well... a good way to answer that question is to do what you did here. It looks like in this AU they certainly could find an equilibrium where they compliment each other. Unlike your main story though, Lily has figured out by this point that Sev is trying for her, and that he -does- love her.. so she's not doubting it.

I can't comment much on Severus from what I've read here because this is mainly from Lily's perspective. Nevertheless he is more mature and more controlled by this point. And not controlled like his younger self, where he's trying his best not to explode. This Sev seems more... at peace... with his surroundings. I suppose that makes alot of sense since Lily is alive and she acts as a balancing influence to him.

In any case, I found this thoroughly enjoyable. Sev rewiring Umbridges quills was quite.. "Slytherin" of him. I love how he's also giving her all the clues that would be true of him as the perpetrator, but she's too stupid to realize it :D.

Keep up the brilliance,

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