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It was only an hour before dawn. Severus didn’t see the point in going to sleep. He sat beside Lily’s bed in the Hospital Wing, watching her sleep, counting every breath, and looking with open suspicion at the first rays of dawn-light warming her face.  

He knew Caladrius had been predicting Guillotine Valance’s death when he said that Lily would die tonight but still, he wanted to be sure. She wasn’t going to die on his watch.

When the light got so bright that he could no longer dismiss it as moonlight, and she still appeared to be breathing, he got up and leaned out of the open window. Every inch of him was aching.    

Madam Pomfrey had asked him lots of questions about how he’d saved Lily’s life. He supposed she was trying to find something to like about him, so that the healing magic would work. Severus had given her monosyllabic answers. He didn’t feel like making anybody’s life easier at the moment, least of all his own.

As a result, the marks of his injuries had disappeared, but not the pain. The skin on his palm had healed over, but it was still throbbing as though he was clutching a scorpion. And it hurt to smile – but then, that hadn’t proved much of a problem so far. With Lily asleep, there probably wasn’t anyone in the world who would notice.

There was a lot to think about, technically – he knew that, and yet his mind had been blissfully blank for hours. He let the sound of Lily’s breathing hypnotize him. He had managed to shrink all his worries down into one, governing anxiety – everything else would be alright, as long as the sound of Lily’s breathing continued.

And it lulled him into a state of sleepy contentment, like his Occlumency state, and yet so drastically different. The Occlumency state made him feel sharp-witted and powerful; this new state - what should he call it? - insomnia-ravaged concern? Anyway, whatever it was, it made him feel stupid and horribly vulnerable. If the sound of her breathing stopped, for the briefest of seconds, there was a wrench at his heart, as though a fish-hook had been embedded in it, and was being unceremoniously tugged free.     

With the first rays of dawn-light came Dumbledore. He walked into the Hospital Wing – treading lightly, so as not to wake Lily, and wincing at the sound of the dawn chorus, as though he had a terrible hang-over. Severus – ready as he usually was to think the worst of people – couldn’t believe that to be the case. He knew the smell of alcohol intimately. For other children, the smell of cut grass or baby-powder might evoke their childhood – for Severus, it was whisky and gin.

Dumbledore just had the slightly smoky smell caused by Apparating long distances.

Snape supposed he’d been explaining everything to the Minister for Magic. Perhaps he’d even been looking for the escaped prisoners on Azkaban. They hadn’t had wands, so it would have been difficult for them to get off the island but, for many of them, even drowning in the North Sea was preferable to going back.

Without any preamble, Snape said: “You wanted Caladrius to get captured by the Dark Lord, didn’t you? That’s why you took so long to rescue us. You wanted him to have a chance of seeing the Dark Lord’s death, so that you’d know exactly how to bring it about.”

Dumbledore smiled amicably, as though this blunt line of questioning was not unexpected, and took a seat beside Snape’s bed.

“We had discussed it,” he said mildly. “In theory, Professor Caladrius had agreed to be captured. But your decision to kidnap him rather took us by surprise, I’m afraid. We hadn’t had time to discuss tactics.”

Snape felt a lurch in his stomach as he remembered that he was going to be expelled. He was surprised Dumbledore had allowed him to remain in the Hospital Wing with Lily all night. They had an adequate infirmary at Azkaban. Although things might be a little turbulent there, now he came to think of it.  

“It was pointless anyway,” he grumbled, forcing his thoughts back towards Caladrius.

“How so?”

“Well, he’s dead, isn’t he? He couldn’t have got off the island. He didn’t have a wand. Unless he swam - ,”

“He is not dead,” said Dumbledore. “Hogwarts  has magic beyond that of any single man or woman. It is the cumulative product of generations of brilliant minds – it has been shaped by centuries of intense adolescent emotions. It never loses a person who calls the castle their home. And, as Headmaster, I have access to this highly useful strain of magic. Caladrius is alive. He is certainly different. His movements are erratic – his thoughts almost non-existent. But he will find his way back to me. He knows how important his mission was.”

And when he does come back, thought Snape, he’ll tell you that Lily needs to marry Potter, in order to have that despicable child of prophecy, who’s going to look so much like his dad.  

Unless there was another way. If there was another way, Caladrius would have seen it tonight.

Severus passed a hand across his aching temples. What he really wanted – and he was half-ashamed to admit it, even to himself – was his mother. It was hard to remember the last time he’d felt comfort, but he had a vague notion that it had entailed her cold hands on his forehead, and the sound of that wistful voice talking about the world of magic.

That was it, finally. The world of magic wasn’t a comfort anymore – but the childish idea of it that his mother had preserved in her memory would always be soothing. He’d lie through his teeth about what he’d been through just to hear that hushed, reverent note in her voice whenever she talked about wizard crackers, or Floo Powder, or dragons.

He didn’t know why he should care that she kept her innocence. She’d never stood up for him – never really even noticed him. She had lived and breathed to fight with dad. All her energy had been tied up in that great endeavour – she’d invested heart and soul, sweat and tears, in it. She’d turned hatred into a fine art. It was kind of beautiful, the way she loathed him – or it would have been to somebody else, anyway. Even sunsets aren’t so pretty when you’re living in them.

But he was only just beginning to appreciate what an achievement it was that none of that masterful resentment had ever been directed at him. He was the reason she was cursed. She had murdered a unicorn just to give him a chance at life. Everything she’d done had been for him. It would have been understandable – it would have been logical – to hate him for it. But she didn’t.  

Perhaps that was why she'd always ignored him. When hatred is your whole life, probably the kindest thing you can do for your loved ones is pretend they don't exist.   

Anyway, she didn’t need to know anything about him. He was a symbol. He was supposed to right all her wrongs - by being respectable, by making friends with the 'right sort', by never associating with muggles. And he would have done anything to make her happy - or, at least, he’d thought so at the time. So he went to Hogwarts – he made friends with pure-bloods and poster-boys; he hadn’t needed any extra incentives to run away from the merest suggestion of the word 'muggle'.

But all these things had taken him further and further away from Lily.

He was afraid he’d already made the mistake that his mother had made – throwing away everying – his career, his prospects, his family respectability – just for love. And Severus knew, from the example of his parents, that love went sour, when you didn’t have anything else.

Getting Lily was going to be hard enough, he’d always known that, but how did he keep her? And where would it get him? He still couldn’t help his mother; he still couldn’t make her proud; he still couldn’t make arrogant creeps like Potter pay for what they’d done to him. Was his happiness going to make everything right? Was it going to restore the name of the Princes, or save his mother from the gin-soaked gorilla she’d married? No.

So the plan had been to get powerful and then get Lily. Maybe he could reach such a height of influence that he could tell people what to think about her. He could entrench himself in politics or dark magic, bring his mother back into the magical world – where dad would never follow her – and then marry Lily, and dare the bastards to say that she was inferior.

And he’d been good at it – so terribly, wonderfully good at it. He understood people’s vanities and frailties. He knew how to exploit them. And, oh, how good he was at dark magic! As though he’d been made for it. He could make anything happen. Bend people to his will as easily as breathing.

He could never explain that to Lily. She didn’t understand what it was like to feel powerful, because she’d never understood what it was like to feel powerless. It was all so simple for her. Bad things were bad, no matter how good they felt.

But, in the end, none of it mattered – not his mother’s wishes, not his enticing talent for Dark Magic, not the heady thrill of finally being powerful – because he wanted Lily. The instant he knew that it was her, and not Narcissa, in the cells of the Hanged Man – the instant the door slammed shut on those suddenly bright green eyes, everything had become bewitchingly clear.  

Those other feelings hadn’t disappeared. He’d still been frightened and ambitious – he still wanted to teach Potter a lesson; he still wanted to inspire fear at every turn; he still ached for that blissful feeling of control he got when he was performing Dark Magic – but he had to put all that to one side until Lily was safe. Because the alternative was unthinkable.

“I’m going home,” he announced, without any clear idea about how he was going to do that.

“But you have classes in a few hours,” said Dumbledore.

Severus frowned. “I thought I was expelled.”

“Would you like to be?”

Snape wrestled with his irritation. It wasn’t easy to do when you’d been awake for twenty-eight hours, and when every inch of you had been pummeled into what, had he been somebody else, might have been called submission.  

“What are you talking about, please?” he said, as politely as he could manage.

Dumbledore smiled. “Lily has told me that you saved her life last night, on a number of occasions. I would like to offer you the opportunity to stay here.”

“But I broke the law!” he protested.

“In several places,” Dumbledore agreed cheerfully. “A compound fracture, and one that I have been at great pains to heal tonight. I have ensured that the Ministry knows nothing of your… shall we say... hasty actions concerning Professor Caladrius. The only ones, in fact, who do know of it are James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Meg Valance – and they have been instructed to say as little of Caladrius’ disappearance to their fellow students as possible. As you can imagine, they were unenthusiastic about keeping your secret, but I have persuaded them that spreading information which encouraged vigilante justice in the corridors of Hogwarts was in nobody’s interests. And, to Mr. Lupin, I pointed out that you had already been kind enough to keep a secret for him.”

Severus scowled suspiciously. “Are you doing this because you want something in return?” he spat, “or because you feel guilty that you weren’t there for Lily and I was?”

Dumbledore chuckled ruefully. “It’s sad that you can only understand sympathy as an attempt at blackmail. And particularly sad that you happen, in this case, to be correct.”  

“What do you want?”

But the smile wasn’t gone from Dumbledore’s face. He was watching Severus almost wistfully. “You really are perfect for this, Severus. So suspicious, so paranoid. I’m surprised you haven’t thought of it yourself.”

“Thought of what?” Severus said, very slowly and deliberately, trying not to let him see the impatience.

“I have never seen a more naturally gifted Occlumens,” said Dumbledore. “It is particularly impressive when I consider the strength of feeling you have to conceal every day. Naturally, you slip up from time to time  – usually at the sight of Mr. Potter. But it may well be that this is a survival mechanism – to stop you from sinking into your Occlumency state permanently. Mind magic can be very compulsive, as I’m sure you’re aware. Why, when you can conceal your thoughts from a fellow wizard, should you not choose to conceal them from yourself? Why bother with a clumsy and inexact medium like conversation when you can just reach in and pull the truth out of somebody’s head? Mind magic makes life so easy and, as with everything that makes life easy, it can be highly addictive, and highly detrimental to your well-being.”

“What’s your point?” Severus interrupted.

Contrary to all his expectation, Dumbledore was very direct. “I can train you. I have books on the subject that even Voldemort has never heard of. I also happen to be extremely good at it myself. I had to work at it – I had nowhere near your level of natural aptitude for the subject – but then my upbringing was more secure – up to a point.”

Snape was whispering his questions now, because he was so afraid of the answers. “Why do you want me to learn Occlumency?”

“So that you can spy on him for me.”

“Spy on him?” he repeated mechanically.

“Yes.”

“On the Dark Lord?”

“Yes.”

“Using Occlumency?”

“An admirably succinct summary, Severus, yes.”

“But that’s impossible.”

“You’ve done it once.”

Snape, lost in the confusion that preceded fury, mumbled: “You want every night of my life to be like this one?”   

“Now that I know you have an interest in the downfall of the Dark Lord - ,”

“What interest?” he interrupted jerkily.  

“He wants to kill your best friend, and thousands like her.”  

“He’ll spare her, if I ask him to,” Severus muttered.

“And that,” Dumbledore replied, with a grimace of distaste “is where your plan falls apart. It was a good plan, Severus, but it failed to take into account that Lily is Lily. You’ve seen what she will do to protect the people she cares about – and even the ones she doesn’t care about. She would rather die than be safe while people like her are suffering. And she’ll find a way to die, no matter how closely you watch her.”

He swept a speck of dust off his robes, so that he missed the pained look that shot across Snape’s face before he could get his feelings under control.

“In the end, it is not my stubbornness that you have to contend with,” he continued. “Mine pales in comparison to hers. Next to her, I am practically flexible. The only way to keep her safe is to ensure that the Dark Lord is beaten.”

“He can’t be beaten!” Severus yelled, but there was a pleading edge to his fury now. “Did you see what he was doing in there? He was controlling the Foe Fire! How many wizards do you think can do that? There’s nobody better than him!”

“The best man does not always win.”

This sentence hit Severus like a fist in the chest, because he knew from bitter experience that the best man did not always win – the grinning, chirpy, Quidditch-playing man always won, and would always win, even when he was lying dead on the lawn outside his burning cottage in Godric’s Hollow.

Severus changed tack; that was too painful to think about right now.  

“Look at her!” he shouted, gesturing over at the soundly-sleeping red-head across the ward. “You think she knows what she wants? She’s border-line suicidal! She needs to be looked after!”

“Are we both in agreement that you’d have a better chance of looking after her if you were not expelled?” Dumbledore said sharply.

Snape glared at him. “So that’s the way it’s going to be.”

Dumbledore sighed. “I am giving you what you want, Severus,” he said sadly. “You just don’t know it yet.”

A ringing silence succeeded this remark. Snape was pressing his lips together furiously. If he opened them, he was either going to be sick, or he was going to curse the wrinkled old lunatic into oblivion. Neither of these was a good idea right now, no matter how appealing they seemed.   

“Just so we’re clear,” he said, forcing himself to be calm, “how far is this going to go? You want me to become a fully-fledged Death Eater, with a Dark Mark and everything?”

“Let’s take it one step at a time,” said Dumbledore.

“Because, if I take the Dark Mark, I’ll never be able to run away from him,” Severus persisted.  

“I know.”

“Of course you do,” he replied, with bitter brightness. “Why would that worry you?”

“Believe it or not, Severus, your welfare is important to me.”

“Yes, you made that very clear last night when you took three hours to rescue us.”

“I wasn’t aware that you needed rescuing. You kidnapped a member of my staff and sold him to Voldemort. You can understand my hesitancy.”

Snape shuddered at the mention of the name. The shadows had disappeared with the dawn-light, but still, whenever somebody said that name, wherever they said that name - whether it was in a dark-cave or a sunlit meadow - it caused echoes. The word had layers, however innocently or absent-mindedly it was spoken. It had potential. It was like Lily’s breathing – a gentle sound that caused emotional shock-waves to reverberate through the air. And just as all Snape’s hope was anchored to the one sound, all his fear was anchored to the other.

“You knew that Lily needed rescuing,” he muttered resentfully.

“Yes, I did know that. But I was confident in her abilities and – I must admit – rather curious to see what you would do once she joined the fray.”

Snape stared at him, open-mouthed. “You had it all worked out, didn’t you?” he said, in a voice that was half-sarcastic and half-disgusted.

Dumbledore chuckled again. The more he was insulted, the happier he seemed to become. Severus gave up. There was no shaming somebody like that. He took a deep breath, and forced his ravaged brain to consider his options.

There weren’t any. But the important thing about being a Slytherin was to make your enemy think you had something to bargain with, even when you were completely at his mercy.  

“Alright,” he said, keeping his voice level with every ounce of self-control he possessed. “Here’s what I’m going to need. You know those special privileges you grant to the House Quidditch Captains?” he asked, with distaste ringing in every syllable. “Letting them out of the school at night, so they can take pretty young girls into Hogsmeade and get them drunk?”

“That’s very far from being the point of the exercise,” Dumbledore murmured, “but yes.”

“Well, I’ll need to leave the school at night too. You let Potter and his goons strut around like they own the place, and they’re not even risking their lives for you - ,”

“Very well,” said Dumbledore courteously. “Is there anything else?”  

“Yes,” said Snape. “I want to go home. I’ll need at least a week off. So will she, I expect. Send her home when she wakes up. I’m going there now.”

To his everlasting surprise, Dumbledore agreed to these concessions. He promised to take him to Manchester by side-along Apparition, and send Lily after him as soon as she was ready.

Severus rubbed his throbbing palm uncomfortably. The bruise on his eye – which Madam Pomfrey had, to all appearances, healed – was starting to prickle too. Should he tell her that the healing spells weren’t working? No. She meant it as a message. Break my protégé’s heart and there won’t be a Doctor on earth who could Heal the injuries I’ll give you. Severus wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction of knowing that it hurt.  

She didn’t trust him. Well, that made almost everyone. The only people who trusted him were the two women counting on him to make everything right. But he couldn’t make things right for both of them.

And he’d chosen, hadn’t he?

He had to go to Spinner’s End, to see the woman he hadn’t chosen. Because that was it. He would have to leave her there – in that muggle dung-hill, with that gin-soaked gorilla. He was supposed to get powerful so that he could take her away from all that – but that wasn’t an option anymore.  

Still, he had to go to Spinner’s End, to say goodbye.

As though he could read Snape’s mind, Dumbledore got heavily to his feet and said: “Shall we go, then?”

“Yeah.”

“Welcome to the Order of the Phoenix, Severus.”

“Yeah,” said Snape unenthusiastically. “Great.”


Lily awoke to the sound of birdsong, and the grey, soupy light of dawn on her eye-lids. For a moment, blissful amnesia gripped her. She could hear Madam Pomfrey bustling about – slamming cupboard doors with absent-minded ferocity, the way she did when she’d been called upon to heal a bully and it had left a bad taste in her mouth.

Lily rolled over comfortably. She’d fallen asleep while helping out in the Hospital Wing again. Pretty soon, there would be a cup of tea, and a lecture on the properties of Mandrakes. The clinical smell of the Hospital Wing – with its undertones of rosewood, juniper and hellebore – was indescribably soothing to her.

And then, with a roaring in her ears that warped the bird-song and made it sound like screeching, the memories rushed back. Those hungry flames in the shape of wild beasts – the Victorian doll with the pointed teeth – the rising tide. She sat up in bed, gasping for air, and felt a hand grip her elbow. It was too gentle to be Madam Pomfrey’s.

“It was just a nightmare, Evans,” said a sunny, hopeful voice. “You’re safe now.”

Lily groaned.  

When she could bear to, she opened her eyes. The Hospital Wing was empty, but she had expected it to be. Madam Pomfrey didn’t habitually allow visitors to watch her patients sleep. But Potter didn’t care about little things like rules.  

There was a disturbance in the air beside her – the sensation of reality rippling like the surface of a lake – and then he stepped out from under his invisibility cloak, grinning broadly.

“How long have you been there?” she asked grumpily.

“Not long,” he said, cheerful as ever. “I had to wait until Dumbledore and Snivellus left - ,”

“Don’t call him that,” said Lily mechanically, shifting her gaze back to the ceiling. She had a vague notion that she ought to feel awkward with Potter – after all, she hadn’t really spoken to him since she’d been told that she was destined to marry him, have his child, and then die for it, all in the space of five years. But she just felt numb. Too numb even to be ravenously curious, the way she usually was when she was distressed.

Everything was back to normal, except she knew now how flimsy – how temporary – normality was. She was under suspended sentence. What did it matter that she’d lived through the night, or stopped Guillotine Valance from killing Idris Mulligan? What did it matter if she knew now that Severus wanted her? She was going to have to say goodbye to him sooner or later.  

Because, if there was a chance of defeating Voldemort – the slimmest, glimmering chance – then she had to take it, didn’t she? No matter how much self-sacrifice it involved? And that poor unborn baby boy – could she deny him the chance of life just because she selfishly wanted to live past the age of twenty-one?

But was it even certain? Guillotine Valance had been trying to break her spirit when she’d told Lily about her future. OK, it fitted in with the way poor Professor Caladrius used to shudder whenever she came near him – but she had no other proof. Could she say goodbye to Severus – risk him sinking deeper into Dark Magic and Death Eater friendships– just on the strength of a threat from a revenge-crazed ghost?  

If Caladrius was here, he’d be able to tell her what to do. There would be no more secrets this time. It was too important. They would plan her future - however little remained of it - together.

With thoughts like this echoing through her head, Lily couldn’t help feeling a little sorry for herself. The tears slipped out from under her eyelids before she could blink them back.

“Oh no,” said Potter, shaking his head rapidly. “Don’t do that, Evans,” he hissed. “I hate it – I hate it – when you do that!”

He took out his wand and pointed it at her. There was a confused moment, in which Lily's sleepy brain tried to get to grips with the fact that Potter was actually threatening her, and then he yelled:

“Evanesco!”

Lily felt the tears on her cheeks instantly evaporate. She stared at Potter, open-mouthed. That was definitely wrong. She didn’t know much about the customs of the wizard world, but she knew that magicking away somebody else’s tears was pretty damn intrusive. It was like asking someone what the Sorting Hat had said when it Sorted them. It could only be done by your closest friends – and, even then, only when you were in a mood to let them.  

“Did you just vanish my tears?” she demanded.

“Sorry,” said Potter shortly, looking embarrassed. He had picked up a handful of her sheets and was twisting them fiercely between his fingers. “Just don’t cry anymore, OK? I’ll make it right. I’ll fix it. Just tell me what’s wrong.”

Miserable as she felt, this typical attitude from Potter brought a smile to her face. “This isn’t Quidditch,” she mumbled, brushing away another tear, and blushing furiously.

“Just as well,” said Potter, with a shade of his usual swagger. “If it was Quidditch, Snivellus wouldn't have been able to rescue you, that's for sure - ,"  

Lily sighed. What had she done to deserve this? Why did she have to wake up to a hang-over of dark memories and Potter's relentless confidence? And would it be cruel to tell him what was really bothering her? Well, just at this moment, she didn't particularly care about being cruel. “You know Meg’s great-aunt?” she asked abruptly.

“The Valance cannibal?”

“Yeah,” said Lily. “Except, it turns out, she wasn’t. She just had her kids taken away from her. Anyway, I sort of… drank her memories… by accident… and her spirit possessed me.”

Potter gave a low whistle, but didn’t say anything.

“And she told me…” Lily blushed again, aware of how melodramatic this was going to sound. “She told me I’m supposed to die in five years.”

“Are you sick?” he asked, horrified.  

“No. It’s a prophecy.” She sighed. “It’s a good death, really.” She risked a glance at him, and decided the conversation would get far too awkward if she told him the person she was supposed to die for just happened to be their son. “It means there’s a chance that You-Know-Who will be beaten.”

Potter shook his head resolutely. “There’ll be another way - ,” he muttered. “There’s hundreds of ways to beat that snake-faced loon - ,”

Lily shook her head wretchedly. She looked at Potter, twisting his fingers helplessly while she battled with the tears. What would happen to him after she had died for their son? Would he be safe? She couldn’t imagine Voldemort letting him live, but Guillotine Valance hadn’t mentioned anything about his death.  

He sighed. “So, Snivellus didn’t do such a perfect job of saving the day after all -,”

“Don’t call him that - ,” Lily interrupted again, but James cheerfully ignored her, the same as usual.

“Well, I’m here to pick up where he left off. Just tell me what you need.”

Tell me what you need. Lily bit her lip. It was a very carefully phrased question, of course. He didn’t ask her what she wanted, because she wanted all kinds of noble, unfeasible things. She wanted all her friends to be happy; she wanted the downfall of evil; she wanted wizards and muggles to peacefully co-exist. But Potter had heard all that. He wanted to know what she needed – as though actions had no consequences, as though the world only existed to make her happy – as though he could make it roll like an obedient dog at her feet.  

She’d been feeling helpless all night: buffeted around by possessive men and possessive spirits. Dragged off to the Hanged Man because Severus had left her no choice – whisked off to Azkaban by Bruiser’s thirty year-old revenge plans – hauled into the inner recesses of her own mind by Guillotine Valance, who needed to borrow her body so that she could go out and throttle a ninety year-old woman – who, as it turned out, had not murdered her children. Everybody else had a plan – everybody else had a future. But Lily never got to scheme; she only got to react. She wanted to be ahead of events, for once. She wanted to be the one surprising people.

And she wanted to know that there was hope. Potter’s confidence was so infectious. He could shrug off prophecies of doom the way he would shrug off the news that the Slytherin team had superior broom-sticks. The odds didn’t really matter. They were just scenery. What really mattered was whether you kept your nerve in the moment.     

She knew she had to tell him to stay away from her. Not only was she not interested in going out with him, but there was a possibility that he’d actually die if such a relationship ever occurred. She wanted to tell him to run – to go back to his privileged, pure-blooded family – find a nice, well-connected girl to marry – probably one of the shrill, screaming Quidditch fans that mobbed him in every corridor – and live a very long life, securely wrapped up in his own personal cloud of happy-go-lucky ignorance.

But she needed help.  

“What I really need,” she began hesitantly, “is for somebody to find Professor Caladrius.”

Potter grinned; here was finally something he could fix. No more grappling silently with her tears; no more writhing with helplessness.

“He’s seen Voldemort’s death, I know it,” Lily went on hurriedly, trying to justify her selfishness. “If there’s another way – if we’re already going in a different direction – he’d know about it.”

Potter sat on the side of her bed, feeling truly in control for the first time in hours. Helplessness was so foreign to his nature. It chafed and wriggled against his insides as though he’d swallowed Gillyweed. He had a very loyal, generous spirit – and, once somebody earned his affection, he was used to being able to reward them for it: he was used to having something to give them. He could buy them anything they wanted, or introduce them to famous people, or just – just let them bask in his reflected glory. It was usually enough. But he didn’t have anything that Lily wanted. It was infuriating. If only she was more vain – if only she wanted designer dresses or the prestige of dating the most popular boy in the school – well, then he probably wouldn’t like her as much, he had to concede. It was a bit of a Catch 22.   

“So, Caladrius was with you on Azkaban?” he prompted gently.

“Yes,” said Lily, frowning. “Dumbledore says he’s alive. But I don’t know how he could have got off the island. He didn’t have a wand. Voldemort had the Floo Network cut off, and all the broomsticks burnt as soon as he landed. He couldn’t have swum away...” A note of anxiety crept into Lily’s voice here. “He would have frozen.”

“Why does Dumbledore think he’s alive?”

“Something about the castle being able to keep track of all its inhabitants – and, as the owner of the castle, Dumbledore has access to this magic,” Lily muttered. “But he said Caladrius was moving really fast, and barely thinking. But how could that be? If he was unconscious, how could he be moving around? Unless he’s been Transfigured. Animal thoughts are harder to trace. But a Transfiguration spell couldn’t last this long.”

Potter’s eyes widened. “He’s the flunked Animagus, isn’t he?” he whispered urgently. “The one who tried to turn into a bird when he was at school, but the transformation went badly wrong?”

“Yeah,” said Lily skeptically, “But it went wrong.”

Potter shook his head. “You don’t understand,” he said. “The Animagus Charm can lie dormant in someone’s body for years, and get triggered in times of great emotional stress.”

Lily was thoughtfully silent for a moment. “But, if he’s an Animagus, why wouldn’t he have flown straight back to the castle?”

“Half the effort is the turning back,” said Potter excitedly. “It’s not easy to keep your human mind… the first time. You forget who you are. When you’ve done the transformation a few times, it gets easier, apparently.” He added the ‘apparently’ with a swift, defiant look, as though daring her to question him further. She didn't.

“After a while, you learn how to keep your human memories when you’re in the animal state," he went on. "But, if Caladrius has never done it before, he might have forgotten who he is.”

“So he might not be able to turn back?”

“He’ll be physically capable of it; it just won’t occur to him. As far as he’s concerned, he’s a bird. Why would he want to transform into a human?”

Lily was silent again. It suddenly dawned on her how hopeless her situation was. If Caladrius didn’t even know that he was a human – if he didn’t even know that he was running – well, flying, she corrected herself – then how were they ever supposed to find him? Would he look a little like Caladrius, in his bird form? Professor McGonagall had those spectacle-markings around her eyes, as a tribute to the fact that she always wore glasses as a human. But perhaps that was a conscious choice. She was a registered Animagus, after all. She had nothing to hide. If Caladrius didn’t even remember his human form, he was unlikely to retain any reminders of it in his animal state.

“This is brilliant,” said Potter, his eyes shining.

What?

“I can find him, Evans!”

“Oh, you can talk to animals now?” she asked skeptically.

Potter hesitated. “Not talk to them exactly, but…” he trailed off, and then re-grouped. “Don’t you worry, Evans, I’ve got my ear to the ground.”

Drunk on the unfamiliar thrill of feeling useful to her, Potter leaned forward, grinning suggestively. “Anything else I can do for you, while I’m here?”

Lily’s reply was instant, if slightly uncomfortable. “Stop giving Severus a hard time.”

Potter grimaced, as though he had a bad taste in his mouth. It was the first time she’d ever seen anything like bitterness on his face. “It’s a bad idea, Evans… you and him…”  

“No, no, you’re all wrong about him,” she replied hurriedly. “He’s not like the people he hangs around with - ,”

“Yeah, he’s worse.”

Lily grappled for words, before realizing that there were none that would convince him. She settled for a “Please.”

And how could he say no to her? He was terrified that the tears would make a reappearance. Of course, they would anyway, if she started going out with Snape, but he would deal with that when the time came.


“So,” said Sirius, trying to sum this up for what felt like the thousandth time, “we’re looking for a bird, who isn’t really a bird, but may not know that he isn’t a bird?”

“Yeah.”

“For Evans?”

“Yeah.”

“Who happens to be going out with Snape?”

There was a long silence. Moony and Wormtail, who'd been lounging about in the arm-chairs in the Gryffindor common room, watching the fight, looked away uncomfortably.   

“It looks that way,” James answered defiantly, “yeah.”

“And we can trust Snape’s girlfriend, can we?”

“I haven’t told her anything about us.”

“That’s not what I asked.”

“Alright, no, we obviously can’t trust Snape’s girlfriend,” he conceded, “but we can trust Lily Evans, and she’s never going to stop being Lily Evans - ,”

“What happens if she becomes Lily Snape?”

It was a harsh question. James looked pained, but not angry. That was worse, somehow.  

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, alright?” he mumbled, shoving his hands in his pockets.

There was a silence. Sirius seemed too angry for words, so James turned to Lupin, who had been gazing thoughtfully at the flames, letting the argument wash over him. He was incredibly detached sometimes. You always knew you could rely on him, but you didn't know how many mental deserts he'd have to cross in order to get to you.   

“What do you think, Moony?” he asked gently.

Lupin looked up. “I would be inclined to agree.” He said simply. “Dumbledore trusts Snape, or he never would have let him back into the school. And, if he saved Lily’s life, right under Voldemort’s nose - ,”

“But the bastard knocked you out!” Sirius shouted.

Lupin shrugged. “He didn’t kill me. He left me alive to tell on him. That’s got to be worth something.”

“I don’t believe this,” Sirius breathed.  

“We have a chance to find someone who knows how to defeat Voldemort,” Lupin persisted. “We can’t let that opportunity slide just because we don’t like the boyfriend of the girl who gave us the tip-off. There’s more to be gained here than there is to be lost. You must see that.”  

“I don’t understand any of you! Some snooty red-head – probably a masochist, if she has a thing for that weasel Snape – tries to get us to do her dirty-work for her, and you’re queuing up to help?”

“Casting vote, Wormtail?” James asked wretchedly.

Pettigrew looked at them. Usually, he would agree with Sirius – simply because he was terrified of Sirius. In their animal forms, Sirius had carried him by his tail in his jaws. That wasn’t the kind of situation you forgot when he was standing over you, glowering. But Pettigrew had an instinct for discord that was even stronger than his instinct for self-preservation. Something that encouraged division between those inseparable friends, James and Sirius, could only be a good thing.

“No harm in finding the guy,” he mumbled.

Sirius threw his hands up in exasperation. “Thanks a lot, Wormtail - ,”

“Leave him alone,” James growled. “I asked him. You’ve got a problem with his answer, take it up with me.”

“That bitch will be the death of you, James,” said Sirius quietly. “You know that, don’t you?”

James Potter didn’t look away. “Don’t call her a bitch,” he said slowly, emphasizing every word. “You call her that one more time - ,”

“And what?” Sirius snapped.

Out of the corner of his eye, James saw Lupin stand up and place a restraining hand on Sirius’ shoulder. It was shaking, but his jaw was set with grim determination.

“The compromise is obvious,” he murmured. “We find Caladrius, and we take him straight to Dumbledore. Snape and Evans don’t have to come into it.”

For a moment, it looked as though it wouldn't work. James half-hoped that it wouldn't. He wanted to fight. It would clear the air, at least temporarily. But then Sirius relaxed. He shrugged off Lupin's hand, shot one more accusing look at James, and then slouched off, muttering: "Your funeral".        


It was raining in Manchester. The street-lamps were still blazing in the grey dawn. Their rusty-orange glare reflected in the puddles, and made them look like bubbling pits of oil. The rain didn’t wash away the filth; it only made it shiny.

The city lights at night always felt to Severus like a headache. Dull, throbbing glows that looked unnatural and surreal. He thought about the colours and shapes that had blossomed on the insides of his eyelids when Voldemort had put him under the Cruciatus Curse, and knew instantly that they were the colours and shapes of the city skyline. Manchester was what pain looked like.   

But it was a reassuring, grounding kind of pain. What was it Regulus had said? ‘Pain doesn’t lie to you – it doesn’t flatter you – it doesn’t let you forget that you’re just a man’.

That was what Spinner’s End felt like – an antidote to all the heady thrills of Dark Magic. Whatever wonders the world contained, you could always find a place like Spinner’s End, where life dragged on from one boring, suffocating second to another, over a beige-and-cream polyester carpet. It was the most stolidly un-magical place you could imagine. Maybe that was why dad had chosen it. Spend five years in Spinner’s End and even clean air and kindness would start to sound like a fairy-story – imagine what the relentlessly dreary red-bricks and washing-lines would do to your memories of dragons, or Floo Powder, or Unicorns.

And yet this was where he had to leave his mother, for the rest of her life. She’d never leave dad unless her true love – the magical world – asked her to come back. And the magical world wasn’t going to be too keen on anyone called ‘Snape’ from now on.

As though responding to these gloomy thoughts, the cigarette-burn on his palm gave a throb, and the healed skin broke open again. Severus sighed. Thanks a lot, Madam Pomfrey.

She probably did her best. Her lovely assistant would have been able to do a better job – she had a touch like calamine lotion – if calamine lotion smelled of ginger-bread and kindled warmth in remote, but strangely insistent, parts of you.

Not why you’re doing this, he told himself, before the accusation could form in his mind. Lily needed him, just by virtue of who she was. She made people angry – sometimes by the mere fact that she existed – sometimes by character traits that were too deeply-ingrained to be altered, and too adorable for Severus to want her to alter them.

He hadn’t been able to let go of her last night.

Dumbledore took him to Spinner’s End by side-along Apparition, and then disappeared without a word, leaving him on the corner of the endless red-brick street.

Snape counted along the doorways until he found the blue-grey one – dead-looking as Dementor flesh – and took his customary deep breath, as though he was about to dive into deep water, before he knocked on the door.  

Eileen Snape opened it and staggered slightly at the sight of her son – even paler in the streetlight, with wet hair, and tattered robes, through which raw and bloody skin was showing. His robes were singed; they smelled of wet fireworks, and sea water. There was a purple bruise blossoming over his left eye. But he didn’t have that closed, furrowed, resentful look she had grown to recognize. His shoulders weren’t hunched; his arms weren’t crossed over his chest, as though he was trying to keep his organs from falling out. He was almost unrecognizable.

Perhaps it was because he was too tired to be defensive; certainly, he was swaying a little. She saw him grab onto the door-frame to steady himself, and this simple action filled her lungs with an expanding pain that left no room for air. She felt as though she was drowning in grief.

But his voice was very calm, and his face was absent-mindedly content.     

“Are you busy?” he asked.

A silence succeeded this extraordinary question. Eventually, Eileen said: “It’s six o’clock in the morning, Severus.”

Snape’s face cleared. “That’s good,” he said. “I was afraid he’d be awake. I just need to sit down for a bit, and then we’ll talk, OK?”

And then he collapsed. He’d known all along he was going to, but he wanted it to be on his doorstep, on his terms, and far away from snooty pure-bloods, arrogant Quidditch players and scheming Headmasters.  If there was ever a safe place to show weakness – and there wasn’t – it was here, in the least magical place on earth, beside his mother.  

His head landed against the doormat and, in the last few seconds of fading consciousness, the word ‘Welcome’, woven into the rough matting, swam in front of his eyes. He heard Dumbledore’s parting words: “Welcome to the Order of the Phoenix, Severus”.

And then everything went black.
Continuing from The Angel in the Ice [link] and hopefully tying up some of the loose ends! I guess this is the conclusion to that part of the story but (as the next chapter, Spinning Plates, makes clear), there are still plenty of people to annoy Severus, and therefore plenty of things to write about! ;)
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:iconluxmindero831:
LuxminderO831 Featured By Owner Aug 9, 2012
That longing for his mother, it's so universal, isn't it. Have you ever read a book called "White Oleander"? I love that book. There's this part in it when the main character, Astrid, in the hospital with her teenaged friend who's having a baby. She's in pain and she calls out for her mother and Astrid thinks about how her friend isn't really calling out for her mother, who was an incarcerated, crack-addicted whore who never been around for her. Rather the Mother we all long for when we're in pain or scared. I had a similar experience when I was a sixteen and I was hospitalized after a car accident. I felt like I wanted my mother, but I didn't really like my mom, you know? She and I fought all the time and after a series of unfortunate events she was pretty emotionally checked-out from me and my siblings.

But longing for mother when you feel frightened and helpless is like this instinct. I like the idea of even someone as scathed and jaded as Snape that instinct.

I'm going to read the rest. Have you submitted anything for publication up to this point? You should. Have you ever taken any creative writing classes? All you need, in my humble opinion, is an editor and some mentoring. You have all the talent you need to get published: creativity, longevity, an awesome vocabulary, style, and prose that are impressing me more and more. I know that you can't publish this because it's a spin-off another author's work, but if it weren't I would say that with some editing and some shaping your writing is good enough to be a novel. And a profitable one at that.

It has elements, and please don't be offended by this comparison, that remind me strongly of Twilight. Forbidden love, unrequited love, a love triangle, and, since it's in England, a similar soggy climate. I like the Twilight series personally. Your style is very introspective, with a lot of inner dialogue of the main characters, a lot like Stephanie Meyer.

Okay, I have to ask you this. Sorry if it seems WAY left field. Have you ever watched an American TV show called Buffy: The Vampire Slayer?
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012
Oooh, yes, I used to love Buffy! :heart: I think I stopped watching after the third season, but it made a huge impact on my imagination. (Plus, I have extra reason to love Joss Whedon now, because I thought The Avengers was SO awesome!)

And I'm not at all offended by the comparison to Twilight - it was a totally gripping read (although I got so annoyed by Edward that I had to write a blog about how he was nowhere near as good as Severus Snape! :giggle: ;) [link]) Yes, I think love stories set in a soggy, cold climate are always more fun, because the hero and heroine have an excuse to snuggle up!

No, I've never submitted anything for publication before. I never really started writing regularly before I wrote this fanfic. It built up my confidence and my love of writing, but I knew I could never publish it, so I promised myself I'd finish it (for the sake of the lovely people who'd left comments and encouraged me) and then try to write something else.

I'm currently on chapter four of the 'something else' (it doesn't have a name yet - I never really know what my stories are about until I'm half-way through them, so it seems silly to name them before that! ;)) I'm posting it on a friends-only account on Livejournal (because publishers in Britain think that, if you've posted your work publically, it's already been published, and they won't touch it!) I'm still not sure I like the new story as much as 'Sympathetic Magic' - it will take a looooooong time for me to fall in love with other characters as deeply as I did with Sev and Lily! :faint: - but I like it more than when I first started. You'd be most welcome to read it, if you're interested (although I hardly like to give you even more reading when Sympathetic Magic is so long!) Do you have a Livejournal account?

Anyway, I totally agree with what you say about our longing for mothers - I've felt that too, when I've been feeling particularly low. And I guess it doesn't have anything to do with the particular mother in question - it's like we're longing for an ideal of motherhood (although my mum was lovely, so it's hard for me to separate the two). I haven't read White Oleander, but it sounds good. (You know, I hardly read anything these days except Terry Pratchett - he's my favourite author and he never fails to cheer me up!)

Anyway, sorry for the long essay! I still can't believe how quickly you're whizzing through this story! I hope you're liking it - and thank you so much for all these lovely comments - they never fail to put a smile on my face! :hug:
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:iconluxmindero831:
LuxminderO831 Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012
Joss Whedon is so brilliant. He's produced a lot of excellent work. I can understand why you didn't want to watch Buffy after Angel left, but of her three love interests, her last, Spike, will always be my favorite. Toward the last couple of seasons most fans agree that the quality of the show was slipping. He got caught up working on a lot of different projects and he was spreading himself so thin that his absence in the writer's room of Buffy was glaring. However, season six is my favorite. Buffy gets really depressed and insecure and even a little self-destructive. I could finally relate to her on this unprecedented level.

I swear, I see Buffy in some of my favorite authors sometimes. Sometimes I read something and I'm like, "I bet this person likes Buffy." I've even thought that about Stephanie Meyer a few times. And I didn't like Edward either. I favored Jacob. But, then again, I am a dog person.

I don't have an account on LiveJournal, but after I'm done with Sympathetic Magic I will be happy to create one and read your new story. If you can stand a little constructive criticism I will be happy to provide it. If not, just say the word and I will keep any suggestions for improvements to myself. Keep in mind, that I have no "official" qualifications to judge your work. I majored in English when I attended college, but I never graduated. I just LOVE to read.

What sort of books does Terry Pratchett write? I might read him. "White Oleander" is by an author called Janet Fitch and it's a really good read. It's about this little girl called Astrid whose beautiful, proud mother is sent to prison for murdering her ex-lover, and her struggle through her adolescence in the Los Angeles foster care system. It's just...poetic and heartbreaking and inspiring. They made a pretty good movie off of it as well.

When I'm immersed in something good I read it pretty quickly. The other day I took my daughters to McDonalds to play and I was sitting there listening to my Mp3 player and going through the books in my Kindle. I kept wishing I could access Sympathetic Magic through it. I longed to know what happened next.

Have you ever read anything by Ruth Rendell? She's British and she's, somehow, become one of my favorite authors. I just mean, because of the genre she writes. Psychological thrillers. It isn't a genre I read that much, but she just writes these really great characters. My three favorites are, "The Crocodile Bird," "The Water's Lovely," and "Adam and Eve and Pinch Me."

Anyways, I'm writing an essay myself. Talk to you later.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
Hello, dear! Sorry for all the late replying, I've had a hellishly busy weekend! And now it's nearly over, and I've got to go back to work tomorrow, feeling as though I've hardly had a chance to sit down! :faint: Still, at least I have lovely comments from you to cheer me up :hug:

Of course, constructive crticism is always welcome - especially from someone who's read as widely as you have. I'd be really happy to hear your thoughts on my new story, when you've finished Sympathetic Magic (or whenever you want - I don't mean to push you into it!)

Terry Pratchett writes comic fantasy (in fact, I think his first few books were written to make fun of the fantasy genre, but now he just makes fun of everything! ;)) His characters and his dialogue are amazing, and he just has the sweetest, most patient understanding of people! If you were going to start reading him, I'd recommend starting with 'Nation' - that's one of my all-time favourite books, and it's not part of a long series (as most of his books are) so it can be read on its own. I've never read Ruth Rendell, but I've often been told that I should. I like thrillers and mystery stories! :heart: (In fact, I wish I could write them, but I get sidetracked describing the characters' feelings and I think that probably causes my writing to lose momentum sometimes. :faint:)
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner May 14, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Severus passed a hand across his aching temples. What he really wanted – and he was half-ashamed to admit it, even to himself – was his mother.
I wasn't expecting that abruptly poignant moment. You caught me off guard. :cling:

When hatred is your whole life, probably the kindest thing you can do for your loved ones is pretend they don't exist.
:( Yes... sometimes I think that's how it works.

“It’s sad that you can only understand sympathy as an attempt at blackmail. And particularly sad that you happen, in this case, to be correct.”
Yeah, that's right Dumbledore. At least you admit it.
Dumbledore may well be the most frustrating character in the entire series for me.

And, my response at seeing more Mr. Potter: "No, James. No, go away! Away I tell you!" :noes:

His head landed against the doormat and, in the last few seconds of fading consciousness, the word ‘Welcome’, woven into the rough matting, swam in front of his eyes. He heard Dumbledore’s parting words: “Welcome to the Order of the Phoenix, Severus”.
Fantastic ending scene.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner May 17, 2010
:hug: :blowkiss: Thank you! It was wonderful to write some rest for Severus finally, even though it was only on a doormat in Spinner's End! ;)

I found the appearance of James Potter really worrying too - no matter how much I dislike him, he always seems to get on with Lily whenever he has a scene with her! As someone who sympathizes with Severus probably way too much, it's always disconcerting to me whenever Potter goes near Lily.
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:iconflameofthewest7:
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2009
This is fabulous! The way you write Dumbledore has such an authentic, canon feel to it. I second dronarron's opinion for:
"The more he was insulted, the happier he seemed to become."

Your Severus/Dumbledore interactions are pefectly compatible with the book, and delightful to read because of your own Snape-centric perspective that characterizes them. Very well done!

I also am very intrigued by his relationship with Eileen--or rather, the way the memories of his childhood and adolesence shape his present-day psyche. For instance, the way the smell of gin triggers his thoughts back to those days. Very nice touch!

P.S. Do you realize you've got me hooked on this story now (even the chapters that aren't about Lucius and Narcissa?) ;)

P.S.S. Can anyone tell me WHY Lily married James Potter?!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2009
Thank you, I can't tell you how happy I am that you're enjoying the story! :dance: I'm planning to bring Lucius and Narcissa back soon, though. I want to describe all their elaborate wedding plans (I totally love describing dresses and jewels! It's almost as good as describing Severus being sarcastic, or Severus without his shirt on! ;))
No idea why Lily married James Potter! He has a very endearing, puppy-dog kind of devotion to her, and he makes her laugh - but that's all I've got! His confidence is so infuriating!
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:icondronarron:
dronarron Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2009
This is just an amazing chapter. And now is the time for me to learn what the comment limit is on dA.

He’d still been frightened and ambitious – he still wanted to teach Potter a lesson; he still wanted to inspire fear at every turn; he still ached for that blissful feeling of control he got when he was performing Dark Magic – but he had to put all that to one side until Lily was safe.

This has got to be a large part of Severus in a nutshell.

And just as all Snape’s hope was anchored to the one sound, all his fear was anchored to the other.

Ooo... I like this.

Dumbledore chuckled again. The more he was insulted, the happier he seemed to become. Severus gave up. There was no shaming somebody like that.

lol. That's Dumbles, all right.

He had a very loyal, generous spirit – and, once somebody earned his affection, he was used to being able to reward them for it: he was used to having something to give them. He could buy them anything they wanted, or introduce them to famous people, or just – just let them bask in his reflected glory.

Man! On the one hand I find this endearing, well the first half anyway. The second half just makes me *facepalm*. I mean yes, I agree, these are a couple of James's good qualities. But half the stuff he considers good to give back? Augh! Reading between the lines, I’d say I think he's a bit conceited, mate, to steal a phrase.

I like your Sirius here. Well, I mean, he annoys me like hell, but that's one of the things I enjoy about him as a character (as opposed to Severus, whom I like as a person as well as a character).

Pettigrew had an instinct for discord that was even stronger than his instinct for self-preservation. Something that encouraged division between those inseparable friends, James and Sirius, could only be a good thing.

Because it affords an opportunity for his own advancement in the pecking order, perhaps? I'm actually impressed that he "mumbles" his answer; cowardly perhaps, but crafty, that one.

“That bitch will be the death of you, James,” said Sirius quietly. “You know that, don’t you?”
James Potter didn’t look away. “Don’t call her a bitch,”


I'm amused at the echo of "that Snivellus" "don't call him that" :) But actually out of the two, I wonder who is really the more dangerous... I'm inclined to think it's Sirius. I think he's more hotheaded and more inclined to be savage if you provoke him. James is reckless and all too, but I feel like he would probably be trying to talk him down, whereas if Sirius really got pissed off, then look out Potter.

He thought about the colours and shapes that had blossomed on the insides of his eyelids when Voldemort had put him under the Cruciatus Curse, and knew instantly that they were the colours and shapes of the city skyline. Manchester was what pain looked like.

:eyepopping: Wow. This... wow. This is so great.

If there was ever a safe place to show weakness – and there wasn’t – it was here, in the least magical place on earth, beside his mother.

Of course it would be; show weakness when magic is nearby, especially magic-wielding, unpredictable humans, and it could spell disaster...
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2009
:boogie: Wow, thank you so much, I absolutely love these comments! You're so kind! It was so important for me to get to the end of this chapter, because I've never really finished a story before, and I was starting to feel like I never would!
I must admit, my reaction to James and Sirius is exactlly the same as yours - Sirius makes me fume! He's so thoughtless and cruel. And, while I dislike James a little bit less, his confidence is just sickening sometimes! I don't really enjoy writing James/Lily interactions, because it depresses me, as a perpetual Sev-Lily shipper but, as long as they get to argue a bit, it's not too bad! ;)
But I loved writing Sev getting increasingly annoyed with Dumbledore, and Dumbledore getting increasingly cheerful because of it! That was so much fun!
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
F^$%ing Brilliant!!! I'm just dying for more. I had such a sick feeling in my stomach through this whole chapter. I fear for them all. And I loved the scene with the Marauders altogether. Peter has always been very difficult for me to get a hold of as a character. He eludes me, but you've done a lovely job of him here. James, Sirius and Remus were all perfect.

Gosh, I could go on alllll day long about how amazing this chapter is. I think it is really one of my favorites of yours so far.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2009
:dance: :sun: :glomp: Thank you, you have no idea how much that means to me! I felt anxious for the characters too, even while I was writing it (how much sense does that make? I knew what was going to happen? Well, roughly, anyway). For some reason, I get really depressed writing interactions between Lily and James Potter. I think it’s because, every time I write them, I realize how well they get along, and I don’t want them to get along! I’m totally on Sev’s side there. Anyway, it means so much to me that you’ve been following this story all the way! :hug: (Poor Sev! I’m happy he’s finally going to get some sleep now! He’s been awake for about sixteen chapters. That’s just not good for him!)
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know what you mean about Lily and James. I get sick everytime she is warmed by something he says or does. Maybe its because he has everything, and if he doesn't get Lily, it's not the end of the world. He might be sort of disappointed for awhile, but he would get over it (boys like James usually do, and with very little effort), and he could move on and be happy. He likes Lily, but he doesn't 'need' Lily. Come to think of it, perhaps that is the appeal for Lily. For someone as giving as she is, being with someone who 'needs' her as much as Severus must be sort of exhausting after awhile. But anyway, I don't want James and Lily together, because I just think of Severus, bruised and bleeding, unconscious on the doorstep of Spinner's End, and I'm all like NOOOOO!!!!! :giggle: Such a silly fan girl, I am.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2009
Oh, I know! If there's a more painful image than Severus bleeding on a doorstep, it's Lily smiling at Potter's antics while he's doing it! I'm sorry, I didn't mean for the chapter to be painful - I actuallly think that (despite all the bruises and blackmail) Sev's quite happy at this moment - or maybe as close to happiness as he ever gets! ;)
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh yes, he is, but he doesn't know that Potter is back at Hogwarts wooing his girl :-(. Gah!!! I just want to snuggle under the covers with him and make it all better.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2009
Sigh! Me too! And, instead, he gets a doorstep in Manchester and a confused parent! It's just not right. :(
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:iconnorthangel27:
northangel27 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know!!! *snuggles him*
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