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In the library, darkness had turned the windows into black mirrors. It was one of those exhilarating nights where the atmosphere outside was at once forbidding and inviting. The darkness beyond the window was impenetrable; it seemed thicker than on any other night, and the wind howled plaintively through the unseen branches in the forbidden forest, adding the creaking of trees and whipping of leaves to the wild, but invisible, cacophony.
But everything inside the library was warm and quiet, though the studying students were thrillingly reminded of the cold by the creeping chill that oozed from between the window-panes.   

Severus and Lily were sitting at their favourite table by the window. This would be their last night together for a long time, although neither of them knew it. Tomorrow, their friendship would shudder to a halt down by the lake with the words 'filthy little mudblood'. And, when they found each other again, their relationship would bear little resemblance to the term 'friendship'.

But tonight, they were studying quietly. The noise of the gale outside was generating an air of nervous excitement, and they kept stealing glances at each other over the top of their books, and smiling, though neither of them knew precisely what it was they were smiling about. They were together, indoors, and the night outside was horrible. That was enough.

Neither of them had made any mention of the kiss in Greenhouse Three. In fact, nobody who knew Snape would have noticed any difference in his behaviour, except that he was grinning a lot for no apparent reason, and was suddenly behaving with perfect civility to Janus, who had sought him out at the Slytherin table in the Great Hall the day before:  

"I vas told your mother's name vas Eileen Prince."

"Yeah?" Snape had replied cautiously.

"She came to Durmstrang to play Gobstones in my father's time. He said she vas vonderful. Such poise and concentration!"

Snape had tried to imagine his mother with poise and concentration. These days, she was so absorbed in her own misery that she forgot to brush her hair, or iron her clothes. Last time Snape had seen her she had put lipstick on her bottom lip but not the top one. Her magic, when she was permitted by her husband to attempt it (that is, when her husband was out, or asleep), was clumsy and feeble. Eileen Prince lived wrapped up in the worst moments of her life, and was only really haunting the present.

"Oh," he'd said. "Great."

"You vere still very unkind to Lily," Janus had muttered, but without much conviction, as though this was merely a ceremonial comment that he had to get out of the way before they could talk about Gobstones again.  

Snape gave a dismissive wave of his spoon. "Have you seen much of her lately?"

"No. She is avoiding me, I think. She must like somevone else."  

Snape had shivered with delight, and listened to the talk about Gobstones without a trace of his usual impatience.

Remembering this conversation with Janus, Snape glanced up from his book at Lily. The crashes and creaks of what was unmistakeably a tree being blown over in the forest made her shiver slightly and she looked up, too.

"I hope Hagrid's alright in this weather," she said, glancing pointlessly out of the window.

Snape looked back down at his book, and said, with the barest trace of a sneer, that it would take more than a gale to blow Hagrid over.

Lily recognised that it was in deference to her feelings that he had kept his sneer to a minimum, and she smiled slightly. It was hard for him to be nice, but he was trying. Putting down her book for good, she leaned back in her chair and stretched her legs out.

"I don't think my brain can absorb any more tonight," she said, yawning.  

Snape put his book down too. Lily had closed her eyes and was sitting back in her chair contentedly. Everything was dark beyond their pool of candlelight, as though somebody had set out to paint the scene on a black background, but given up half-way through. The stands behind her extended only a little way, before they dropped off into darkness. Lily's pale, radiant skin and darkly glowing hair seemed to be the only colour left in the world; they were both so intense that they reminded Snape of stained glass, with the sun streaming through it.

As he watched her, all the sharp, resentful lines on his face softened; his habitual frown disappeared; he looked suddenly very young and eager; his eyes seemed to deepen – they no longer resembled hard black stones but bottomless pits. He was strangely transfigured. Nothing about his appearance had changed, but everything was different. Lily did not notice this, however; he dropped his gaze to his book as soon as she opened her eyes, and then his face became sharp, opaque and resentful once more.  

"I've been thinking," Lily began in a low voice, because Madam Pince was looking murderous, "of asking Margot Holloway to Magical Ethics this week. Maybe I can reason her out of her political apathy."

"You just can't resist a lost cause, can you?" Snape murmured.

"One of the reasons I'm friends with you," she replied cheerfully, helping herself to one of the chocolate frogs that were piled beside his books.  

Snape treated her to one of his strange, exasperated smiles. These expressions were a kind of compromise whenever happiness was trying to intrude upon his thoughts, but he couldn't quite give way to it. He was too frightened of being humiliated to let go of his calm, sneering, indifferent manner, even around Lily, but neither could he ignore the pleasure he felt in her presence, so this odd little half-grimace, half-smile was the result.

Once or twice, pure love had overcome his fear of rejection, even his resentment, and he had drawn her into his arms, his contentment too perfect for words. On such occasions, he pitied the Marauders, or even forgot who they were, and let his beautiful Lily fill his whole world. He would be on the verge of telling her how he felt about her, but always some vague fear would intrude – fear of her laughter or, worse, her pity, fear that they couldn't be friends anymore – and instead he would press his face into her red hair, willing her to read his mind, because he couldn't tell her what was in it.

Lily understood more of his feelings than he generally gave her credit for. She knew that he wanted to be close to her but was too frightened of being rejected or betrayed; she knew that he admired her, and thought her clever; they had developed a way of expressing affection through teasing and playful arguments that managed to circumvent all his fears about being close to people; but she couldn't guess that he loved her. He confused her: sometimes he was so distant with her that he seemed positively disdainful. If she tried to sympathise with him about the way the Marauders treated him, he would snap at her, or tell her it was none of her business. The only exception he made to this was when she offered to insult James Potter, and Lily didn't really feel that Snape's resentful obsession with James Potter should be encouraged.  

Besides which, five years of taunting and prejudice had diminished her self-esteem more than anyone would have guessed from her confident manner. She couldn't imagine anybody loving her, least of all Severus, who was so wretched and proud and aggressive and solitary.

Despite her better judgement, however, she liked him; she cherished the teasing insults he lavished upon her, she found the arguments exciting (except when he veered into terrain so morally repugnant to her that she felt slightly sick), she allowed herself to hope that he could learn to be a better person, and even flattered herself that the hope was selfless, just a generous expression of confidence in an old friend. Occasionally, she would tell herself not to lose her head; she couldn't trust him, after all; he was too angry, too cruel. But while these worrying aspects of his personality were only directed towards others, she always found some way to overlook them.

She was later to become very angry with herself for that.

Lily looked at her chocolate frog card and gave an involuntary exclamation of delight that caused Madam Pince to swoop down on them with a deranged fervour in her eyes.

"Quiet!" she hissed, spit flying onto their table.

Lily gave an apologetic little smile, which entirely failed to charm the librarian, and lowered her eyes demurely to her book, trying to look as sorry as possible. This only lasted a few seconds, however, because the moment Madam Pince had stalked away, breathing very hard through her nostrils, Lily turned to Severus and whispered.

"I've got Circe! She's the only one I was missing!"

Snape raised his eyebrows. "And is that any reason to behave like a squealing Hufflepuff?"

She ignored him, too consumed with elation to join in the friendly exchange of insults.

Snape continued to look at her while she greedily read over Circe's various achievements – she was, apparently, a pioneer in the fields of Potions and Transfiguration. When Lily looked back up at him, there was a fathomless expression in his black eyes. She would have called it tenderness, except that it was a bit too fierce. Whatever it was, it made her blush.

"The first magical feminist," Lily said proudly, after a while. "A very clever witch who turned men into beasts." She sighed theatrically and then muttered: "If only it was legal to follow her example!"

"Of course, you realise that, as it was my chocolate frog, the card actually belongs to me?"

Snape couldn't suppress a smile at the appalled, wide-eyed look she now directed at him.  

"You wouldn't…" she began, but then checked herself. Lily was always quick to understand how other people felt, though hopelessly ignorant of her own feelings.  

It wasn't precisely that he didn't want to be kind to her – he was always helping her with spells and potions, and warning her about attacks that his Slytherin friends were planning – it was just that it had to be exasperated kindness, or condescending kindness; otherwise, it made him vulnerable. Lily realised that she could get her chocolate frog card and make him happy at the same time, and all she had to do was compromise her principles a little.

The realisation that she was always compromising her principles for Severus Snape pressed on her slightly, but she brushed it away, impatient to make him smile.

"I'll tell you what I'll do," she said, in a shrewd, business-like voice. "You give me this, and I will assist you in any non-fatal tricks you might be planning to play on James Potter."

She was not disappointed. Snape grinned at her. The slight uneasiness she had felt didn't leave her, however. Although she hated Potter and didn't see anything wrong with defending her friends from his casual cruelty (besides which, she fully considered him too arrogant to be capable of suffering, in any meaningful way), she didn't like to encourage Snape's enmity, or get involved in it herself.

"I'll have to approve them first," she added quickly.

Snape shook his head, still grinning at her. "You wouldn't approve anything. I know you. You'll end up feeling sorry for him."

Lily looked highly affronted. "If there's anyone in the world I couldn't feel sorry for, it's him! After what he did to you in Charms last week - ."

Snape's smile faded instantly. A dull flush suffused his sallow cheeks and he said, a little aggressively, "I don't need your pity."

"I'll remember that," she said, trying to smile. Not for the first time, she wondered whether she was just trying to convince herself that he was her friend. She blushed, miserably confused, and muttered something about getting an early night before the exam tomorrow.  

Snape didn't say anything. He watched her until she was swallowed up by the darkness outside the reach of the candlelight, and then shuddered wretchedly. It was only when the sound of her footsteps had died away that he realised she had left the chocolate frog card behind her. For a few moments, he considered going after her, apologising, forcing her to take the card, but then his thoughts strayed to the Charms lesson she had alluded to and, lost in bitter recollections, he let her go. He would find her tomorrow, and make everything all right.
This story continues from where the Vinculus Charm left off, but it's not really important to have read that one (the bit about Janus is the only thing that won't make sense!) I wanted to write about how Sev and Lily's friendship worked, since they're so different: why he didn't tell her how he felt, and how come she didn't guess. And, anyway, I just love writing their conversations and (especially) their arguments!
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:iconveronika-art:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2015
After reading this again, so many years, so many things come to my mind... beautiful style, amazing prose, all the details so perfectly written, both their characters so well done. Snape´s character is incredible close to what I have in my mind... and well, this is really just a master piece of work... incredible how well you can write!
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:iconelora-kay:
Elora-Kay Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
You have a marvelous writting style. I'm a big critic when it comes to prose, especially fan fiction, but here your story flows, shows raw emotion that every person that ships Severus and Lily feels-or wants to feel-and pours it onto the paper (hypothetically) like paint and makes a masterpiece with your fingers.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2011
Thank you so much! :hug: :) You've really made my day, I'm so happy to hear that you like this! There's lots more (like, 128 chapters, I think! :faint:) You can find a list of the order of chapters in my journal here: [link]

Anyway, thank you again for your sweet comment! I'm really happy to hear that my writing style reminded you of a painting, because this whole story was inspired by some of the beautiful Sev/Lily fanart here on DA! :heart:
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:iconanouk-lisole:
Anouk-Lisole Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2011
Oh! But this is so lovely! And sad! It's making me terribly wistful! And every few paragraphs I have to clutch my chest, for fear my heart will burst right out of it!

This: "Lily's pale, radiant skin and darkly glowing hair seemed to be the only colour left in the world; they were both so intense that they reminded Snape of stained glass, with the sun streaming through it." Beautiful. Really elegant imagery.

"Once or twice, pure love had overcome his fear of rejection" is so perfectly simple it made me stop for a moment just to marvel at it.

And then, "She was later to become very angry with herself for that." And it's like the ground suddenly dropped out from beneath me. Le sigh. I'm both anticipating and dreading the next chapter!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2011
Thank you! :hug: :) I'm so happy you're reading this story!

That description of Lily's hair as stained glass was totally inspired by the fan-art here on DA (especially =lilyhbp's work. She always manages to give Lily this beautiful, darkly glowing hair! :heart:) That's one of the reasons I wanted to post this story on DA - so that it could be near to the fan-art that inspired it.

Lily and Sev's relationship always makes me sad too. They're so different and yet so desperate for each others' good opinion! :( I think that's what made me first fall in love with their characters - the idea that they're opposites that antagonize each other and yet, in a weird way, also complete each other. In fact, that's why there isn't much plot at the beginning of the story, because I just couldn't stop writing their arguments! ;)
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:iconjanach:
janach Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Their friendship doesn’t end with “filthy little Mudblood.” It ends with “Save your breath.” One word spoken in panic and humiliation should not be enough to kill a friendship, not if Lily is as kind and sympathetic as people say. Of course, she does persist in seeing consideration for others’ feelings as “compromising her principles.” That girl needs to learn that principles must be mitigated with human understanding, or one becomes a heartless ideologue.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2010
I have to say, I find it hard to condemn Lily for her actions. Personally, I would have forgiven Severus, but I can totally understand why she didn't. Suppose you were a black teenager, who'd suffered racial abuse ever since you started school, and then your friend started hanging out with future ku klux klan members and called you a very offensive racist name in front of the entire student body! I agree with you that principles should be mitigated with human understanding, but I can see why she would have found that hard to forgive.

In this story (not necessarily in canon) she stops talking to him because she's frightened of what her feelings for him might lead her to do. She's worried that he will lead her to betray her principles and maybe even become a Death Eater. I don't agree with her there either, but it must be quite frightening to be in love with someone as angry as Severus Snape!

Anyway, sorry, this is becoming an essay. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! :hug:
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:iconveronika-art:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2015
It is Lucy, it´s very frightening... 
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:iconblackmage339:
BlackMage339 Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
This was beautifully written - and I really like how you've given Snape more negative traits. Too many people (myself included ^_^; though I'm getting better at not doing it!) tend to gloss over the fact that he can be pretty vengeful and spiteful at times, it's refreshing to see Lily recognising that and trying to justify it for the sake of their friendship, rather than have Snape just being the "tortured good guy" again :)
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2010
Thank you so much! :hug: That really means a lot to me! I'm fascinated by Snape's character, and the spiteful aspects of his nature are almost more fun to write than the other parts! (My absolute favourite things to write are his dry, sarcastic remarks - that was the part of his character that I first fell in love with. A bad guy with a sense of humour! :)) I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed the story - thanks again for commenting!
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:iconblackmage339:
BlackMage339 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
You're very welcome ^^ I totally agree, from the first book I just loved the sarky lines he came out with, stuff that no one else would get away with!
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:iconevyheartway:
evyheartway Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2010
:heart: !!!
Snape had tried to imagine his mother with poise and concentration :heart:

so this odd little half-grimace, half-smile was the result. :heart:

She would have called it tenderness, except that it was a bit too fierce :heart:

I love the terrible last sentence :-( He would find her tomorrow, and make everything all right.

I find very interesting the point with Lily self-esteem . you’re brilliant at explaining how theirs character work , interact together and clash...!

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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2010
:dance: :hug: Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it! I'm quite addicted to writing arguments between Sev and Lily, so these are my favourite chapters to write! Their personalities are so different, but, in a strange way, the fact that they're opposites means they kind of complete each other. :heart:
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:iconevyheartway:
evyheartway Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2010
:-) :nod: :hug:
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
:( If you didn't know what happens the next day, you could read this and think it was just a sweet, fluffy little story. As it is, it's just full of moments soon to become bitter "what if's."

I got Coldplay's "The Scientist" in my head while reading this. I think it's Snape's theme song, really.

Oh, and I presumptuously award you bonus points for mentioning one of my favorite Greek characters. :D
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2010
You mean Circe? I love her too! :dance: :) It's nice to talk to a fellow Circe-fan. I haven't heard Coldplay's 'the Scientist' but I'll look it up on youtube. I'm always on the look-out for Severus theme-songs! I like Arcade Fire's 'My Body is a Cage'. It always reminds me of Sev's death scene in the HP books, and how glorious but unfair his fate is!
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
I listened to "My Body is a Cage," thanks for the recommendation. I must have heard it before at some time, but I never applied it to Snape. :) You're right; it fits his final moments well.
And, while we're trading... have you heard Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt?" Maybe it's the address to "my sweetest friend," or perhaps the strange sort of hope in the final lines.. but it seems well suited to the Potions Master's history of loss and regret.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2010
Oh, yes, I love that song! You're right, it fits perfectly with Snape's situation, with the reference to 'My sweetest friend' and the 'I will let you down. I will make you hurt'. Poor Sev! :( And I agree, the final lines do have a strange sort of hope; it's not comfort exactly, but determination, which is so very Severus! We should make a Snape-related playlist! :)
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:iconsvenly:
Svenly Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is a very beautifully written story, and I think one of the best portrayals of Snape I've read. I liked that you stayed true to the character and didn't try to make him overly sympathetic and didn't do the opposite and make him mean and make us question why Lily would ever want to be his friend. And the ending of the story is wonderfully sad.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2009
Thank you so much, that's really kind of you! :hug: I've always wondered how these two characters managed to get on, since they're so incredibly different. Sev/Lily arguments are my favourite thing to write! :)
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:iconsvenly:
Svenly Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You write them very well!
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:iconwotchertonks7:
wotchertonks7 Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2009
That was lovely! I wish they could stay friends.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2009
Thank you :hug: I know, I find their relationship so fascinating - how Lily tries so hard to be patient with him, and Snape tries so hard to be normal for her! Poor Sev! :( Thanks very much for your comments, I really appreciate them. :)
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:iconwotchertonks7:
wotchertonks7 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2009
I don' think I've ever heard a more perfect summary. That is what they are both like. But teenagers are often that way.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2009
True. It's hard enough for two such different people to understand each other at the best of times, but when they're both teenagers, struggling to be cool and popular, it's almost impossible. Poor things. I wish they'd met as adults, really! :(
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:iconwotchertonks7:
wotchertonks7 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2009
I wonder if they would have gotten on any better as adults. Maybe Sev was different. It was joining the Death Eaters and Lily's death that really made a complete misanthrope.

I have a fanfic is the works, who knows if I'll ever have time to get to it, where Lily splits from Sev as teens because she wants to be popular and he was too difficult to be around anymore. Then they meet years later as adults. Sev is a head healer and Lily an unhappy housewife, and she can't help but admire the new man he's become and wonder if she'd made a mistake.
Your explanation helped give me a new insight into their relationship. Thanks for that!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2009
You're welcome, I'm really happy you liked the fan-fic! :hug: I'd be very interested to read yours too, I hope you do get to it sometime. :) I'm always fascinated by Sev/Lily fics, because I still think that, despite their differences, they would have been so good for each other. She would have dragged him out of himself once in a while, and he would have helped her to be less impusive and Gryffindor-ish!
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:iconwotchertonks7:
wotchertonks7 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2009
Yes! Exactly. That's why I only like SxL fics that have happy romantic endings.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2009
I don't know whether my fic has a happy ending yet. I hope it will - the characters have become so dear to me! And Snape's canon story is almost unbearably sad! :( But I guess I'll have to see what happens. I've been having so much fun writing it, I don't want to think about endings yet! ;)
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:iconveronika-art:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Jan 9, 2009
Your illustration Lucy :heart: :glomp: [link]
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2009
Yay!!!! :boogie: :heart: :w00t: :glomp: Thank you again, it's amazing!
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:iconvampiressartist:
Vampiressartist Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Your work is featured in this article! :) [link]
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2008
Thank you so much, I'm honoured! :hug:
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:iconveronika-art:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2008
"Lily’s pale, radiant skin and darkly glowing hair seemed to be the only colour left in the world; they were both so intense that they reminded Snape of stained glass, with the sun streaming through it." I adored how you described this paragraph... as a painting!!! - sighs-

I think you did an amazing job in this chapter. It`s very well written. The structure begins and ends with the darness and light, Sev and Lily. And it shows just how it must have been. He trying so hard to hide his love for her, and she feeling guilty and strange around him, wondering, blushing with his strong gaze... their arguments and his words are spot on...

Thank you for this chapter. It`s truly a jewel. :+favlove:

PS. Oh I wish he had told her!!!!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 20, 2008
Thank you! :hug: I think that was a DeviantArt inspired description. You always colour Lily's hair as though it is stained glass - dark but luminous! I really wanted to evoke that. I love writing interactions between Snape and Lily, because they seem so different, but they have found a kind of understanding together. I think they're very similar at heart - they both just want to be loved! :)
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:iconveronika-art:
Veronika-Art Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2008
It`s such a lovely description. If I were to paint it, I would have all the elements needed...you write soo well!!! Wow!!!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2008
Thank you! :) I'm so glad you're liking it!
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:iconreject4lyf:
reject4lyf Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2007
this is brilliant, fantastic job!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2007
Thanks so much! I'm glad you like it!
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:iconlily-in-utopia:
Lily-in-Utopia Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2007
yay!! another part of the story!!!! aah dramatic irony, it's so sad! you've got a great writing style, i really enjoyed this :heart:
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2007
Thanks very much, Lily!
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